Every homeowner wants to make sure they maximize their financial reward when selling their home. But how do you guarantee that you receive the maximum value for your house?
Every homeowner wants to make sure they maximize their financial reward when selling their home. But how do you guarantee that you receive the maximum value for your house?
It’s a few weeks before closing, I’ve worked out situations with my lender on what I need to do and find out NOT one but TWO of my deals are falling through. In real estate, every deal doesn’t go through. Those aren’t the things I share publicly because that isn’t sexy. How many Realtors out there are really talking about those things? One of the two was deal set to close FOUR days before my home. That WAS my downpayment. I couldn’t sleep at all after finding out. I really was about to watch something I dreamed of walk away so easily. However, when you really work your business, you are never without business. I had another deal come through and close a few weeks prior that secured the extra funds I needed to pay off my car. We even worked everything out to where I brought in $1300 at closing.
I swear every call I received from the lender, my heart would drop. I’m like I have no more money to give without completing falling out of my living comfort zone.
What I learned from the whole process is
1. Never depend on others to do what you REALLY want to do. I know deals may fall through however that one deal set me back because I was dependent on it for my home. Had I not had my house tied to it, I would have been okay.
2. Be resourceful. Just because you have one way or doing things doesn’t make it the only or best way. I was able to use a mortgage credit certificate (which helps me qualify for a tax credit for the life I own the home) to help offset my debt to income ratio. This helped me not really break the bank after paying the car off.
3. Always have MORE money. Down payment assistance route was never my option because I knew the cost of that would have me way out of my comfort zone. I settled for a slightly higher rate than I felt I should have gotten because of the money I wanted to bring to closing. I still feel like my rate should be lower and somewhere between now and April, I hope that can happen.
4. Don’t sweat the small stuff. I tossed and turned every night until I signed the papers. I never got to really enjoy my home when I moved in because I suddenly had to move as my lease ended the day after closing. In my mind, I had to grind for the first mortgage payment. It’s like bills are due and there is no time to slack off. This made me not really sit back and enjoy my hard work. I overworked myself for 2017 because I had grand goals. The first and most important one has been accomplished.
Let’s take a look at the process:
Newlyweds are saying “I do” to each other, and equate to over half of first time home buyers that are also saying “I do” to their dream homes. It makes sense! When you put two hearts together, the time comes to find a home to nourish that love. A home that brings two of your places together, and makes it one. If you and your spouse are ready to fall in love with the perfect house together, here are five tips to make sure the process goes smoothly, and you come prepared.
1. YOUR WEDDING BUDGET: Your wedding is a one-time event that shouldn’t be less than what you’d imagine. It’s a beautiful time to put all of your dream pieces together. However, it’s best to sit down and find out ways you can shift the budget to help with your down payment for a home, if you plan to purchase. The average couple spends a little over $20,000 on their wedding. Even a savings of $5000 from your wedding budget can help with owning the perfect home.
2. WEDDING GIFTS: Wedding bliss comes with wedding gifts. Let’s admit, one of our favorite times during the wedding season is all of the gifts that come pouring in! Have any friends or family pitching in cash? Save that to put towards your down payment. And depending on the generosity of your gifts, you can even open an account dedicated to your down payment, that friends and family can gift to.
3. GET PRE-APPROVED: One of the least brought up conversations in relationships is the credit and financial history of your soon-to-be spouse. Get together with a lender to go over both of your histories to know what needs to be done to put you guys in a position to own together. In some cases, only one person can get approved, while the other can’t. If you want to put both of your incomes toward the cost of the house you want, talking to a lender early on can ensure you are prepared to make the right moves.
4. THE RIGHT AGENT: That’s where I come in! For starters, I can connect you with a lender to ensure you guys are being watched over from the best recommendations. And it’s an absolute joy to take the stress out of buying a home for my newly wed couples. We all know how stressful, although joyous, a wedding can be. To then jump into buying a house shortly after, well, it’s certainly a lot to get through. But I can guide you through all of the steps to make sure you end up with a house you love. Just think of me as a wedding planner, but for homes.
5. NOW THERE’S TWO: Although some spouses are a match made in heaven, loving and adoring the same exact things, often times that’s not the case with most couples. You still are your own persons, and have your own tastes. This is where the first step to comprise really begins. Spending a good bit of money on a place you both will love and call home. A happy marriage starts with a happy home, so be sure you both are considerate of each other’s wants and needs in style and location, so you both are happy with the home you end up getting.
Let’s start the chat to happily ever after. Visit newavenuerealty.com to search for your future marital home.
The ball is now rolling and it’s official, I’m buying a house. Although I was quite excited, deep down I felt like something was going to happen during this time. I kept wondering why the other lender kept saying I wouldn’t qualify but my new one was like Yes! Would I get so far in my process and it not come true? Honestly, it was these thoughts that stopped me from publicly discussing building a home.
So here we are. It’s May 2017 and I’m starting. It’s getting real. I’m nervous and excited at the same time.
I went away for the Fourth of July weekend at Essence and came back to this.
It was at this moment who I was emotionally invested. I needed to do whatever it took to keep the no and nay says away. It’s July 2017 and my home is slated to be completed in 2 months. I started to pay off EVERYTHING. When I say EVERYTHING, I did everything. That tax bill that I should have paid off in 2016 was finally paid off. Those credit cards were finally paid off. I did whatever the lender saw fit. However, there was a hold up. The lender I was using had internal issues that affected me. I get a call from a random person saying he’s know my loan officer. I am NOT receptive to it. I’ve been working with this particular lender for the company and I like him. He had a Realtor Day at his lake house and I really enjoyed him. Your personal finance is heavily on display when buying a home so it is important to work with someone you can trust. I trusted this guy not the new guy calling. I let that be known and it was told to me that my regular guy would finish up my loan process. Well, two weeks later, they LOCKED him out of the file.
As a Realtor, I understood the internal issues but as the now consumer, I was hot. The communication now lagged because my second lender guy was ON IT. I had questions and he had answers. This mess from the inside meant a delay on getting an answer. I was in debate with should I pay my car off. Can I do this instead? Can we use this program to help offset my DTI (Debt to income ratio because that was really my main issue anyway. It wasn’t my debt more so the income I claimed. I wanted to pay lower taxes so the income that I actually made was lower)? I remember distinctly waiting a week and a half for my question to be answered when I responded 5 minutes later to an original email. It was at that moment that I said GOODBYE.
I didn’t want to be involved in the tussle anymore and communication is MAJOR for me. Buying a home or better yet financing a home is stressful enough. I didn’t need the extra stress. I went back to my sales rep and said okay, who is next on the list. I told her I’d try one of the preferred lenders again and if it didn’t work, I’d go with one of my own lenders and just pay $20K extra because I’d lose my incentives for working with an outside lender.
She recommends Mortgage Financial Services and Jim Ward. I thoroughly explained to Jim what was happening, what I needed, and to guarantee he could get me to the closing table. If he couldn’t do it, just let me know ahead of time. He mentioned he could but I would have to pay off my car. I was trying to avoid that. I was like Jim, “I don’t owe like $2000 on the car. I owe almost $8000 and now we are interfering with the money I have saved for my downpayment. After counting my resources, I knew I had a closing right before the scheduled date to close on my home. In some way, this could work out OR it could end really bad. Just my luck, it got bad before it got good.
I’ve extended this to four parts. I couldn’t add so much for part 3. Thanks for reading and stay tune for the final part next week*
The most important part of finding an agent is having a professional’s perspective to finding a builder with a great reputation. You get to benefit from your agent’s network of vendors, lenders, and home builders. They have the industry expertise to connect you with a builder that matches your needs, and more than likely, have already had experience with the builder with a past client. Or, if they haven’t worked with a builder you want to use directly, they can gather person-to-person recommendations from other agents to know the expected experience with said builder. They will help you find one, that not only delivers exactly what their clients want, but in a timely fashion.
2. THE RIGHT LOT IN THE RIGHT NEIGHBORHOOD
The lot you choose to go with in a new build can either be a positive to your new home, or detrimental. In the excitement of the process, we tend to overlook important features of a property. It’s important to have a professional to ensure you make a purchase that will best serve you. They’ll be able to find a neighborhood that best fits your lifestyle and a lot that has a location that works for you. Whether you’re single with pets, or a family with children, the lot location can really make a huge impact. Especially when it comes time to selling it in the future. These are important things your agent will be able to help walk you through, so your decisions work in your favor in the long term, as well as now.
3. UPGRADES AND PLAN MODIFICATIONS
Not only will your agent be able to ensure you get the upgrades and modifications that will best suit your lifestyle, but will also help you make decisions that will increase the value of your home in the long term. They are working for your best interest long term, and with an agent’s guidance, you can be sure to make changes that end up benefiting you.
4. HANDLING CONTRACTS AND PAPERWORK
Your agent will handle the contract and all of the paperwork, and they will be sure to review it to ensure that it is in your best interest. They will be able to help you break down the best loan types, purchasing processes, and steps to take that benefit YOU, not the builder. They are, after all, working for you. They’ll make sure there are no overlooked terms in a builder’s contract that could end up hurting you after you move in. Or even during the building process. You want to make sure you have a professional who is experienced with the paperwork and contracts and knows how to make revisions that work in a way that make you happy.
It is imperative in the purchasing process to have an agent that is able to represent you and negotiate for you. The building process is so much more than having the builder put in your favorite counters and floors. They will be able to get you a price that actually benefits you – not the builder. They will be able to run a comparative market analysis to ensure you are paying a fair price for the property. You don’t want to end up overpaying for the home – it could put you in a tough spot when it comes time to sell. They’ll also be able to negotiate terms around building time frame, closings costs, and so many other aspects of a contract that you may otherwise overlook.
6. BUILDER’S AGENT REPRESENTS THEM, NOT YOU
It may seem easy just to pop into an office of a new build, or a builder’s office, and use the onsite agent. But keep in mind that this agent works FOR the builder, NOT for you. So they will be working to make sure the builder gets the best deal at the end of the day. By having a buyer’s agent of your own, you can ensure there is a professional on your side that can walk you through the process and avoid being taken advantage of during the transaction. They will also have a better handle on things when you hit bumps along the way. If you end up working with a builder who isn’t holding their end of the deal, they will have the power to make connections that ensure the builder holds their end of the contract terms.
During my work hours, I would browse online to search for communities. I had settled to 3 and went to look at their products. I finally had settled on the community I wanted but needed to see the floorplan because I had questions about the closet. I need it to be spacious enough that made it easy for two to share for resale purposes.
One morning I went to visit the builder’s sister community 10 minutes away from where I wanted to build. I get to mingling with the sales rep. I let her know that I am actually searching for myself and what I was looking for. I narrowed it down to space as a key factor for me. Space for storage is huge for me. She looks at me and says, “We can go look at that plan but I think I have one you’ll love.” In my mind, I’m just like that isn’t what I came here for. However, I’m a Realtor and I should check out the floorplan for other clients. What I love about HistoryMaker Homes is the amount of space you get for your money. Their tagline is “More Space. Less Money.”
This is the home we toured. I was like okay. When we walked in, I was in love. It was EVERYTHING I somehow all of sudden wanted.
It had space for days and the kitchen was a great size for just me. It was what I imagined my very first house to be.
I went back to this house for the next 3 weeks showing anyone who wanted to venture with me.
I finally went one Sunday with my friend Lauren and she’s a sensible friend. She was like you just have to pull the plug. I was like I don’t know. Andrea, she said, you like this house. You’ve been out here 3 times this week you might as well buy the house. Conversation with my mom helped the situation. She said to me, Andrea, no one is ever ready. We weren’t “ready” to buy this house but we had help from my dad and another family friend. I’m sending you $1000 and you add the other and go build your house.
That was all the confirmation I needed. I went out the next day with my checkbook in tow.
I was building my house.
The day I went there with Lauren one of the preferred lenders was at the model home. He said I shouldn’t worry about student loans as I could possibly go conventional and be okay. I was nervous about the calculation of student loans and the taxes I’d owe from 2016 tax year. I showed him my profit and loss statement along with 2015 tax return. I asked how much income did I need to show to realistically buy the house. My CPA and I worked together to be reasonable on the tax amount owed and for qualification purposes as well.
When you are self-employed, your income for home purchases are based on a 2 year average on the adjusted gross income. That means you can’t write everything off as you normally would. You have to show some income.
I was approved for a home loan or so I thought. A few days later I get an email to start the design process of my home. I’m excited, nervous, and more. I setup the appointment for a Monday but go by on that Saturday to browse the design room on what they had to offer. By that Monday, I pretty much decided what I wanted my house to look like.
By this time I had already chosen my lot. I decided to go with a premium lot which backed up to this high end community that would continue towards my neighborhood in a few years. Once I saw how the homes lined up, I was sold.
Hey, those homes in that neighborhood were already in the high $300s on the other side of the highway. There isn’t any telling what they would be in the next few years which would be valuable for my home.
After the first design room, I was excited but nervous to tell a soul. The only people who knew were a few close friends of mine and my parents.
The second showroom appointment was supposed to be literally a week later to finalize my designs. However, I couldn’t schedule the appointment until my lender sent an approval. I call to see when he was and his answer: My dear, you aren’t going to qualify. I’m sorry.
If you know me, no is NEVER the final answer. Background: The income that I felt comfortable with paying taxes on averaged with 2015 tax income made my debt to ratio high. I assured him a 1000 times that I’d pay whatever I needed to to make the situation work. I honestly don’t think he believed me but he said we can do it.
For 2 more weeks, he still never sent the approval. We discussed this more than once. Every time we would talk he would say, you’re good to go. I’ll send it over to the design team. I would be ready for the second showroom appointment and they’d say, “Andrea, we can’t schedule the second appointment without the pre-approval from the lender.” Back to conversation #50 with lender one. I would say, I thought you said I was good. Why hasn’t the pre-approval been sent? (This is when I learned being the REALTOR on your own deal is hard…who is there to help diffuse the issue when you stress out?) He even told me to go back and edit the taxes and just bite the bullet to pay $25,000 worth of taxes. That would make my debt to ratio lower. Umm, come again? Let’s just say that was our last conversation.
I went back to my sales rep and said who’s the next lender on your list because this one isn’t working. I had too many incentives tied to the home. Initially I wanted to use one of my preferred lenders but the incentives to build and close were far too great to let it go. I went to lender number 2. He was quick and had me approved after our conversation. Final design room was appointed and my reality was becoming real.
However, the first lender’s words echoed in the back of my mind each time I went to visit my house. My mentality has always been to prove people wrong and damn it, I was going to prove that first lender wrong.
I went in thinking I was going to do white or gray cabinets. I saw these smoke cabinets and knew I needed them in my home.
It was all starting to be too good to be true…in this case, it was. Lender number 2 had inside issues that affected me. *deep sighs*
Stay tuned for Part 3. To catch up, read Part one of I BOUGHT A HOUSE.
I’ve been a REALTOR® for 4 years and have been trying to purchase my own home in just about that same amount of time.
2012 – 2013
Here’s the backstory. I graduated grad school in August 2012. I started working for a nonprofit in South Dallas in January 2013 where the premise of our business was revitalizing South Dallas and homeownership was one of those ways. There was no way I could talk about the values of homeownership without buying my own home. However, credit stood in my way. I knew I made mistakes from college that hunted me. The income and the debt weren’t syncing to make it right. Until one day, I decided I wanted a house. Working at the nonprofit, I knew what credit score I needed to have. I believe when I started on my credit, my score was at 585. I needed a minimum of 620 to get a down payment assistance program and go from there. I managed my money, I saved, and I would scroll online. Looking for a home was the easy part. It wasn’t until I found a home around the corner from my then apartment that was perfect. It had a pink and green room and a doggy door. It was perfect for me, so I thought? I called the Realtor to show it to me. It was a foreclosure listed at $120K. I had already did a cost analysis being a Housing Counselor so I knew how much I could possibly afford.
When I walked into this house, the ceiling was caved in. You could see mold and so much more. There was mildew around the doggy door and I wanted to run. RUN THE HELL OUT and kill the dream. LOL
I immediately went back to the drawing board. The fixer upper home was NOT in my budget. It sounds nice on paper but what people fail to realize is the cost of fixer upper. If you can barely afford the downpayment like I was at that moment, a fixer upper may not be for you. Cosmetic updates and fixer upper are two different things.
I had gotten my real estate license in between that time and decided this was the chance for me to be able to really scour through the market. I connected with a few lenders and found one I liked to work my own house deal. She qualified me for $120K which was right on the money for the foreclosure home that I saw. However, at that time, I had started doing deals in real estate and was ready to leave my full time job. I told the lender that and she was like yeah to get a home being self-employed, you’ll need 2 years of tax returns. What? That meant I would have to wait 2 years before coming back to get qualified. Well, 2016 it would be.
FAST FORWARD TO 2016!
I’m ready to get a mortgage. I’ve made decent money in real estate so I should be good. Well, I went with a different lender that I worked with. He approved me but at this time $140K. You know why? As a self-employed person, we pay A LOT in taxes. I saw the first estimate and was like no thank you. Therefore my income was lower than I originally told the lender (self-employed people are qualified based on the income they report to the IRS) and the average of 24 months only qualified for $140K. I knew where I wanted to live and $140K wasn’t even buying a door to the house. I spread out my options within Denton County between Little Elm, Aubrey, Cross Roads, Oak Point, The Colony, Carrollton, and Lewisville. I knew for sure I loved the 380 area however homes were around $180-200K. I halted the process then and said I would try again in 2017. I knew my taxes for 2015 and 2016 combined would have more income than my taxes for 2014 and 2015 were.
By tax time, I knew I had to make my numbers stand out to buy my house. In simplest terms, I knew I couldn’t write off everything. I had to strategically plan it out and know what the estimated taxes would look like. Thank GOD for a past client would recommended their CPA. I saved so much in taxes and still claimed the income that I needed. It was at that moment, I was able to purchase a home up to $246K. Originally, my budget was set at $180K. I set myself up on a search on the MLS for homes under $200K in my desired areas. I noticed that the homes that were under $200K were getting slim. I had to act fast and knew I wasn’t getting under $200K in my desired area.
This was it. I was finally going to do it. I scoured through the area that I wanted to buy in after narrowing it down to 3 communities. I LOVED new construction and thought it would be the best way to save more money to purchase, give me a great timeframe, and sign one more 6 month lease to end apartment living forever.
*Check out the next blog/vlog as I walk you through my home buying process.*
Feeling inspired to begin your home buying process? Visit newavenuerealty.com.
I’m late but HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! It’s been hard getting things back into full gear mode for the new year. I’ve basically focused on finishing clients out who I feel should have closed in 2017 but that is neither here nor there.
It’s crazy that I have two separate clients who have had the same delays with their homes being built. I am not sure why but that has been the case.
2017 taught me a lot to give to new clients for 2018 and beyond. As much as real estate becomes second nature to me, it’s new to others. I realize my role as a Realtor is still to educate and do it more often that not. Markets in the United States are vastly different even in the same state. It helps to teach others how DFW market is going and how it works for them.
I had someone ask if the market was dried up. Well inventory has always been low for the past few years and the lower your pre-approval the less chance you have about finding your home. Does it mean it isn’t out there? No, but where you look should change. The style of home could be it. Stay open and on course. Do note what is cosmetic CAN BE CHANGED.
With only 4 days left in 2017, I decided to take today to recap on what’s happened in 2017 and what to look forward to in 2018.
This year I did a lot more new construction than I thought I would. A good 90% of my sales stemmed from clients building their homes including myself. I ended the year helping 20 families purchase homes with a sales volume of $4.55 million. When I say when 2017 started, I was like it may be time to put this Master’s degree in use. Lol
In all honesty, I had deals under contract but in real estate, you cannot count your coins before you get them because anything can happen. That sales volume of 2017 should be much higher but unfortunately deal break or get delayed as I saw 2 get delayed and 2 fall through.
This year taught me a lot about myself and my business. For me personally, it taught me to never depend on people to be able to do what you really want to do. You need to provide the needs for yourself and not have it solely depend on others. In my business, I learned that it is going to take a whole lot for you to break that ceiling you’ve been in because now you have something to work towards.
I had a discussion with a friend I’ve known since 2012. She’s always said how she’s so proud of me. She met me during the grad school struggle years and the last year of it at that. I had no direction and no clue on where I was going. I was throwing things at the wall and hoped they stuck. I told her that I am just a risk taker. I don’t claim to have it all together but after 4 years I can say I’m getting the hang of this real estate career.
For 2018, I want to step outside of real estate a little and do some new projects. Most are real estate related but there will be some that I think take a me out my comfort zone. I’ll share in more detail in 2018. Did I mention 2018 is the year of 30 for me? I’m so freaking excited to turn 30. I probably have like 30 things I want to do this year from personal to business life. One new nugget in business is being selected to be on the 2018 Agent Leadership Council for my office. That’s technically like the Board of Directors of Agents at my office of over 600 agents. The selection is there for top agents. Little ole Me? I remember a few months ago I told my Team Leader that if anything requiring a leadership position became available to NOT forget about me. However, when I said this I wasn’t thinking the ALC. This just takes me a step further and reminds me to say to people, ask for what you want. You have not because you ask not. Just did that yesterday when I negotiated my new loveseat.
Thanks to all friends, family, colleagues, clients, and all for making 2017 one to be proud of. I promise I held in tears yesterday at my last closing. I had a discussion with a friend I’ve known since 2012. She’s always said how she’s so proud of me. She met me during the grad school struggle years and the last year of it at that. I had no direction and no clue on where I was going. I was throwing things at the wall and hoped they stuck. I told her that I am just a risk taker. I don’t claim to have it all together but after 4 years I can say I’m getting the hang of this real estate career.
My newest listing is one I absolutely adore. When clients ask whether they should buy a condo, townhome, or single family home, my answer is simple. I say your lifestyle will determine which route is best for you. If you enjoy apartment living and don’t want to mow a yard or take care of a foundation, then condo or a townhome is perfect! When I say perfect, this one is it!
I literally get into kicks and giggles over this one. Although it is a small 2 bedroom condo, it gives so many possibilities. You can’t even get a 2BR apartment at the price you can own this at.
Check out the video below:
P.S. I know the furniture is amazing but unfortunately the seller loves it just as much too.
View more photos and schedule to view the home at bit.ly/1609Marsh