Does Your Home Have What Buyers Are Looking For?

There’s great opportunity for today’s homeowners to sell their houses and make a move, yet due to the impact of the ongoing health crisis, some sellers are taking their time coming back to the market. According to Javier Vivas, Director of Economic Research at realtor.com:

“Sellers continue returning to the market at a cautious pace and further improvement could be constrained by lingering coronavirus concerns, economic uncertainty, and civil unrest.”

For homeowners who need a little nudge of motivation to get back in the game, it’s good to know that buyers are ready to purchase this season. After spending several months at home and re-evaluating what they truly want and need in their space, buyers are ready and they’re in the market now. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR) explains:

“A number of potential buyers noted stalled plans due to the pandemic and that has led to more urgency and a pent-up demand to buy…After being home for months on end – in a home they already wanted to leave – buyers are reminded how much their current home may lack certain desired features or amenities.”

The latest Market Recovery Survey from NAR shares some of the features and amenities buyers are looking for, especially since the health crisis has shifted many buyer priorities. The most common home features cited as increasingly important are home offices and space to accommodate family members new to the residence (See graph below):The survey results also show that among buyers who indicate they would now like to live in a different area due to COVID-19, 47% have an interest in purchasing in the suburbs, 39% cite rural areas, and 25% indicate a desire to be in small towns.
As we can see, buyers are eager to find a new home, but there’s a big challenge in the market: a lack of homes available to purchase. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com explains:

“The realtor.com June Housing Trends Report showed that buyers still outnumber sellers which is causing the gap in time on market to shrink, prices to grow at a faster pace than pre-COVID, and the number of homes available for sale to decrease by more than last month. These trends play out similarly in the most recent week’s data with the change in time on market being most notable. In the most recent week homes sat on the market just 7 days longer than last year whereas the rest of June saw homes sit 2 weeks or more longer than last year.”

In essence, home sales are picking up speed and buyers are purchasing them at a faster rate than they’re coming to the market. Hale continues to say:

“The housing market has plenty of buyers who would benefit from a few more sellers. If the virus can be contained and home prices continue to grow, this may help bring sellers back to the housing market.”

Bottom Line

If you’re considering selling and your current house has some of the features today’s buyers are looking for, reach out to us at NewAvenueRealty.com. You’ll likely be able to sell at the best price, in the least amount of time, and will be able to take advantage of the low interest rates available right now when buying your new home.

Keepingcurrentmatters.com

It’s Property Protest Time! 2020 Update

2020 Property Protests in North Texas

In 2020, the property protest looks a tad bit different than it normally does. For starters, the assessments came out later than normal. There aren’t many in person protests (way I prefer) this year and most counties are asking people to protest online along with evidence. It is important to note the following when protesting in 2020: Any impact to market value due to factors during the 2020 calendar year would not impact appraised values until the following year.

Each year, respective counties send out new tax bills for the year to be paid by December. In Texas, one of the biggest expenses for homeowners are property taxes. We don’t have state income taxes therefore most local entities such as the county, school districts, county hospitals, cities, and sometimes county community colleges are paid through the property taxes.

The 2020 property tax assessments from various counties in the metroplex have been mailed out and guess what? Your property taxes may have increased. That’s the norm in Texas. What most people are seeing are a significant increase in their home value assessment (the property tax assessment value is getting really close to market values which we will talk more about later) by their counties. The key in protesting is to make sure you are being charged your fair amount in property taxes.

Did you know fewer than 20% of homeowners appeal their property taxes? This means they may pay more than their fair share. The best thing to do is to protest them. Why? You have a chance of lowering the amount you pay in property taxes by simply saying that this is too much. Let’s make a change in 2020 until the state government decides how they want to handle the property tax reform, shall we?

Here are tips to protesting your property tax assessment:

Make sure you have filed your homestead exemption.

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You have until April 30th to file your homestead exemption with your county to save money on property taxes. You only have to do this once but if you failed to do it theJanuary – April AFTER you purchased your home, this is your chance to do it. A homestead exemption helps you save money on your property taxes. It also prevents your tax value from increasing more than 10% per year.

Check for mistake’s on the county’s description on your home.

Does the county have your 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, formal dining home at 1805 square foot as 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms at 1925 square feet? It happens all the time and no one corrects it. A lot of county information is incorrect but we let it ride as gospel. Check your county’s website to make sure the square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and lot size are accurate in their assessment.

Gather Your Comps

It is important to keep up with the values of homes in your neighborhood. Most time people don’t realize what other homes are selling for. To gather more accurate comps, connect with a local REALTOR to see what homes have sold for within the last 3 months or 90 days in your neighborhood. In Denton County, Texas where I am located, the county has said they assessed the values based on the value on January 1, 2020. Therefore make sure the comps represent October 2019 to January 2020. Keep recent comps on you just in case.

You can enter your address below to determine what your home is worth.

Highlight Flaws in Your Home

Check high and low for the flaws.

We all love our homes and it is the best thing since slice bread. However, this is the time to really compare your home and get very judgmental about it. If you notice most of the homes that have sold nearby all have hardwood or some wood-like material, while you have carpet everywhere, take pictures of it. If you know your home is in need of a new roof or has foundation issues, take pictures and/or provide the quotes of those repairs that are needed.

Consider the negative influences near your nearby such as backing up to a busy street, water tower behind the home, or being on the main road to the neighborhood. Those are items that an appraiser would dock off your home’s market value when it is time for you to sell, use it to your benefit for your property taxes. P.S. I am not saying to trash your home or that you won’t ever be able to sell your home, this is to save money on your property taxes. I sold a home in Fort Worth last year and my clients ended up getting the property for less because the appraiser thought it was in a less desirable location than other homes comparable to it. It’s a gorgeous home and my clients love it. However, they got a win to buy it at a lesser price.

New Construction Woes

In most cases for newly built homes, there is a tricky line for homeowners. The previous year, your home was assessed based on land value. Now, it is based on the value of the home with a home on it. Check the price of the home that they county says your home is. Is it higher than what you paid for the home? Is it higher than what new homeowners can build the same exact home for? If your answer is yes to either one, that’s your protest. Texas is a non-disclosure state. In order to win the battle on the first one, you may have to show what you paid for your new home. The other option is to stop by the builder’s office (if they are still in the neighborhood) or pull it offline and see what your home is being sold for at base price. Is it lower than the county’s assessment? If so, your argument here is that your home has been lived in. No one is going to purchase your home for higher than what they can build their home for. Then take pictures of the things that you got standard (if you built) with the builder and haven’t updated.

Check Local Real Estate Trends

In addition to talking to your REALTOR for comps, ask them to pull the real estate trends. Homes have the potential to increase in value or appreciate. However, a property can decrease in value or depreciate. Is the price of homes sales decreasing in your zip code? A decrease in value can be caused in excess supply, lack of demand, deflation or other reasons that take away the property value. Home values fluctuate so don’t get nervous. It is just something for you to know and use in your protest. Homes appreciate normally 2-4% a year. Find out what is happening in your local area. It can be completely different from Aubrey to Crowley.

It can be that your area isn’t appreciating as much as the county THINKS it is appreciating.

Things to Remember

The county’s assessor’s don’t see the inside of your home. They can only see the outside of it. This is the time to show and prove what your home looks like. Use the knowledge that you have from the tips above to help lower your tax assessment value which in return lowers your property taxes. After you have your evidence, schedule an appointment with the county to present your case OR present the information online. It is important to protest annually to minimize your property taxes.

The counties are giving you 30 days from receipt to protest your online or through the mail. It is varying from county to county as some counties have yet to send out notices as of today. Find out how your local county tax assessor is handling property protest during COVID-19.

Denton County

Collin County

Tarrant County

Dallas County

Kaufman County

If you need any assistance in gathering information to present your case, contact me at via email at atfowler@newavenuerealty.com.

Let’s Talk DFW Real Estate!

Move from renter to homeowner.

The time is here and you want to buy a home. There are so many people who are excited from moving from renter to homeowner throughout every year. However, with the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex growing each and everyday, how do you decide on where to live?

For some people, the close proximity to work is important. For others, the close proximity to things outside of work is more important. I’ve actually had clients that had to live near Target. As a Target fanatic myself, I couldn’t blame them. After searching any and everywhere, they gave up the dream to buy a home near a Target. However, guess what? We found them a home in their price range ACROSS from a Target. LOOK AT GOD!

Now let’s talk a little more in depth on where to go. Many times we love where we rent or we hate it. Do you know the cost of homes where you live? Here is the chance to see where you can buy. One rule of thumb I tend to tell people is that you can either afford 2 times your monthly salary or four times your monthly salary. Why so? Well, when you purchase a home, a lender qualifies you based on your debt to income ratio.

Debt to Income Ratio

debt-to-income, or DTI, ratio is derived by dividing your monthlydebt payments by your monthly gross income. The ratio is expressed as a percentage, and lenders use it to determine how well you manage monthly debts — and if you can afford to repay a loan.

Here’s a simple two-step formula for calculating your DTI ratio.

  1. Add up all of your monthly debts. These payments may include:
    • Monthly mortgage or rent payment
    • Minimum credit card payments
    • Auto, student or personal loan payments
    • Monthly alimony or child support payments
    • Any other debt payments that show on your credit report
  2. Divide the sum of your monthly debts by your monthly gross income (your take-home pay before taxes and other monthly deductions).
  3. Convert the figure into a percentage and that is your DTI ratio.

Keep in mind that other monthly bills and financial obligations — utilities, groceries, insurance premiums, healthcare expenses, daycare, etc. — are not part of this calculation. Your lender isn’t going to factor these budget items into their decision on how much money to lend you. Keep in mind that just because you qualify for a $300,000 mortgage, that doesn’t mean you can actually afford the monthly payment that comes with it when considering your entire budget. – Excerpted from Bankrate.com

Your debt to income ratio (DTI) will determine which loan program makes sense for you as well. If you have a higher DTI, you may work best with a FHA loan as they have higher DTI qualifications up to 56.9%. If you are at 50% or below, you may qualify to do a conventional loan. If your DTI, exceeds any of these numbers, you may be asked to pay off some things to get where you need to be to get qualified.

Mortgages are NOT like rental qualifications. Rental qualifications are based on your monthly gross income being 3 times the monthly rent. A mortgage lender looks at ALL of your debt reported on your credit report. Let’s use an example for DTI qualifications.

EXAMPLE:

Gross Income – $48,000 salary = $4000 per month

Debt: Car Note – $350; Student Loans – $200, Credit Card 1 – $55; Credit Card 2 – $75; Personal Loan – $100. These are all based on monhtly payments NOT the overall payment. The total debt in this situation is $780/month. Now let’s say that the mortgage payment on said home would be $1800. That would bring your total monthly debt up to $2580. Would the lender qualify you for that home? Well, let’s see. Divide $2580/4000. That equals 65% of debt to income. Now, the lender may not qualify you for a home that would cost $1800/month. However, you may can get qualified for a home that cost $1450/month. Want to spend a little more? Your next option would be to eliminate some of the debt. In this example, to get the home that cost $1800, you’d need to eliminate $350 of debt. Where would that be from?

I tell clients that the way they could afford more house would be to either eliminate some debt, increase income, put down more money on the home, or all of the above.

Cost of Homes in DFW

As you can see, the average price of homes in DFW have increased 2.9% from May 2018 to May 2019 to $330,766. This isn’t to say that all homes in DFW are $330,766 but on average the home sales are.

How do you find which areas fit more of your budget? Consider the average sales prices of area. Let’s break it down within counties.

Some of the top places that my clients are moving to are the following: Aubrey, Forney/Heartland, Celina, and McKinney. Check out the prices of those areas below:

Buyer’s Market or Seller’s Market

The month’s of inventory determine whether we are in a buyer’s market or a seller’s market. If there is 6 months of more of inventory, we are in a buyer’s market. That means there is a home out there for at least two buyers. Homes aren’t scarce and the options are there. If we have less than 6 months of inventory, we are in a seller’s market. That means inventory is tight and you are more than likely to see multiple offers.

If we go back and compare those cities that we just looked at (Aubrey, Celina, McKinney, and Forney), you will see what type of market these areas are in. Each city will have different stats which is why it is best to get very specific on 3-4 areas.

If we look at DFW as a whole, you will see that the overall metroplex is still in a seller’s market with 3.4 months of inventory which is up 17.2% from May 2018.

This is just the basics of a buyer’s consultation with New Avenue Realty Group. We help clients get from curiosity to possibility. Let’s get you into your new avenue in the metroplex. Book an appointment with me at atfowlerrealtor.appointy.com.