Why You Need An Agent for New Construction

Are you ready to buy a home and considering going in the route of new builds? It may seem like an easy enough process, where you get to call the shots of how you want your dream home to be, but there is a lot of risk when it comes to new construction if you are going in blindly. It’s unfortunately not as trouble free as we’d like to hope, if you don’t have the right representative by your side to help with the things that need to be looked out for from a professional’s eye. Below, we’ll dive into the many reasons you need a professional buyer’s agent representing you in the sale. They are, after all, on your side. And it’s their role to ensure you aren’t taken advantage of by the builders and their representatives in the transaction.
1. HIRING THE RIGHT BUILDER

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.

5. NEGOTIATIONS

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.

I BOUGHT A HOUSE: The Early Stages

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.”

Spec home that sealed the deal

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.

Kitchen…Cabinets…Counter Space…WHAT!!!! I knew I wouldn’t choose those cabinets at all.

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.

Cabinet and floor selections
Where all the creativity went…Maybe a little.
Debated back and forth with myself on 30″ inch cabinets or 36″ inch cabinets in the master. Went with the latter.
It’s starting to coordinate
Brick and stone options

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.

Preview of what my backyard could look like

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.

Future location of my house
First choice of front door
Kitchen faucet
Master tub sample
Separate shower
Sink choice in all bathrooms
Style of second bathroom with tile on the wall
Stain selection for front door

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.

Final front door selection.

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 BOUGHT A HOUSE! What I Learned? – The Financials

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.

2017

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.

Hello 2018!!!

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.

Winding Down 2017

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.

YCondo Living in Carrollton

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

NOW OPEN: Legacy Hall in Plano

Yesterday was the grand opening for this long awaited cafeteria hall projectory in Plano. As if Legacy West wasn’t already amazing, it opened up a food galore called Legacy Hall. It features just about all you can think of when it comes to food. No longer will you and your friends bicker about what to eat anymore. Everyone can find something they enjoy ans meet back at the table to enjoy each other’s company.

I took a brief tour today since I was nearby checking out the Villas at Legacy West by Britton Homes. All I can say is the brunch lines will be LONG on the weekends. I fell in love with this place as soon as I entered it. However I hate crowds and know the weekend will be the time I would not want to be near. 😂

It has great seating with eclectic decor around. Take a view with my photos. You can learn more about the restaurants located inside the food hall here: Legacy Hall Restaurants. How are you living in your neighborhood?

To List or Not List During the Holidays

 

Every year at this time, many homeowners decide to wait until after the holidays to put their homes on the market for the first time, while others who already have their homes on the market decide to take them off until after the holidays.

Here are seven great reasons not to wait:

  1. Relocation buyers are out there. Many companies are still hiring throughout the holidays and need their employees in their new positions as soon as possible.
  2. Purchasers who are looking for homes during the holidays are serious buyers and are ready to buy now.
  3. You can restrict the showings on your home to the times you want it shown. You will remain in control.
  4. Homes show better when decorated for the holidays.
  5. There is less competition for you as a seller right now. Let’s take a look at listing inventory as compared to the same time last year:

7 Reasons to List Your Home This Holiday Season | Keeping Current Matters

  1. The desire to own a home doesn’t stop when the holidays come. Buyers who were unable to find their dream home during the busy spring and summer months are still searching!
  2. The supply of listings increases substantially after the holidays. Also, in many parts of the country, new construction will continue to surge reaching new heights in 2018, which will lessen the demand for your house.

Bottom Line

Waiting until after the holidays to sell your home probably doesn’t make sense.

Focusing on the Future

We are less than 2 months away from 2018 and it’s been on my mind since August. I’ve been taking time to create what my life looks like for the upcoming year. I’m very understanding that life doesn’t always work the way we want it but I’ve gotten pretty intentional on what I want and different avenues to achieve it. 

As I hear up to 2018, I’ve been Thinking what can I do now, as in today, to make 2018 great. I don’t want to plan 2018 with ifs but actually what do I do today to guarantee this for 2018. 
My questions for others is to think what is there for you to do today to make tomorrow better. I’ll admit I get caught up in my head so often and sometimes I don’t live in the moment. I am still working on it but my essence is always what’s my next move. Do you wait for 2018 to plan the life you want to live or do you plan it in advance? 

What does 2018 look like for Andrea? 

The year of 2018 includes investment avenues in real estate with one investment property, a bridge/mentoring real estate component (been working on these for about a 1.5 years), an ebook geared to millenials about credit and making it work for you, and more. For me, my dreams are only limited by me. Do they scare me? HELL EFFING YES…but when they scare me, I know I am doing something right. 

Still Have a Starter Home? You Can Move-Up Now.

 

I will have to admit that I don’t like calling homes a starter home because what is the first home for most is the second home or third home for others. However, if you or your family have outgrown the home you currently reside in, this is the perfect time to move-up. Why so? Well entry-level or starter homes are still flying off the shelf in DFW. Homes that can sell under $250,000 are high in competition. The homes in the $300,000s and up are taking their time to sell and prices are being slashed left and right. The time to move-up is happening now.

Tell me more Drea. 

Well, you can sell your home at top dollar and use the proceeds from the sale to move-up putting 10-20% down on that home. Interest rates are still incredibly low and your payments will still be in range of affordability. There’s an affordable payment and more home for you or your family.

If that condo is getting too small and you want a house, this is a good time to move up to a house. If the house is 1500-1600 square feet and you now need about 2500-3000 square foot, look into selling and moving up to your next home.

If your house no longer fits your needs and you are planning on buying a luxury home, now is a great time to do so! Data from Trulia’s Market Mismatch Study which showed that in today’s premium home market, buyers are in control.

The inventory of homes for sale in the luxury market far exceeds those searching to purchase these properties in many areas of the country. This means that homes are often staying on the market longer which can eventually lead to a price change.

Those who have a starter or trade-up home to sell will find buyers competing, and often entering bidding wars, to be able to call your house their new home.

The sale of your starter or trade-up house will aid in coming up with a larger down payment for your new luxury home. Even a 5% down payment on a million-dollar home is $50,000.

But not all who are buying luxury properties have a home to sell first.

In a Washington Post article, Daryl Judy, an associate broker with Washington Fine Properties, gave some insight into what many millennials are choosing to do:

“Some high-earning millennials save money until they are in their early 30s to buy a place and just skip over that starter-home phase. They’ll stay in an apartment until they can afford to pay for the place they want.”

Bottom Line

The best time to sell anything is when demand is high and supply is low. If you are currently in a starter or trade-up house that no longer fits your needs and you are looking to step into a luxury home, now’s the time to list your house for sale and make your dreams come true.