North Texas Real Estate Blog

March 17, 2022

Credit Score Goals

Tracking The Importance of Credit Scores

Do you track your credit score? Credit scores can help creditors determine whether to give you credit, decide the terms they offer, or the interest rate you pay. Having a high score can benefit you in many ways - especially in real estate. For example, higher scores make it easier to get a loan, rent an apartment, or lower your insurance rate. Before you jump headfirst into searching for your dream home, you need to ensure your finances are in order. First, review your credit score and determine if you need to take action to strengthen your credit.

📈 Why Your Credit Score and Report Matter When Buying or Renting a Home

As a buyer, a strong credit score and report make you a more desirable loan candidate. When deciding to approve you for a home loan, mortgage lenders take a deep dive into past car loans, student loans, credit cards, bills, and more. They also review your history of repayment and public-record information. If their findings are positive, they will be much more likely to approve you for a loan and offer lower interest rates and better terms.

💯 What Credit Score Do You Need

The credit score required for a loan depends on the type of mortgage you select, the size of your down payment, and your lender. According to QuickenLoans, most lenders require around a score of 620 or higher for a conventional mortgage with lower interest rates and flexible repayment periods. Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans require a minimum score of 580. The rental market also carefully scrutinizes credit scores for potential tenants. Most landlords require a credit score of 620 or higher.

🆓 How to Find Your Credit Score for Free

You're entitled to one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies. To obtain your free report, visit Annual Credit Report

⬆️ How to Improve Your Credit

There are ways to improve your score. These include, but are not limited to, correcting payment errors on your credit report, ensuring you make all payments on time, making micropayments in between due dates, and paying down credit cards.

Feb. 25, 2022

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day in NTX

Posted in Around Town
Feb. 8, 2022

Is Real Estate The Answer To Inflation?

Housing And Low Interest Rates Hedge Against Inflation

🤢 Has inflation reared its ugly head in your life lately?

Have you found yourself complaining about the cost of housing, food, fuel, and services? A quick scan of the news and social platforms reveals many stories about rising prices. For example, 2021 marked the highest inflation increase in 40 years caused by the broken supply chains of the pandemic and increased demand for housing, cars, and building materials.

💸 How do investors hedge their portfolios against inflation?

Bankrate has a great article on the five best ways to combat inflation. But, of course, one of the best ways to protect against it is to purchase a home. Even Real Estate Investment Trusts or REITs are a great way for investors to fight inflation.

🏘️ Why is real estate one of the best inflation hedges?

Because it is a tangible asset that tends to hold its value over time. Moreover, the mortgage payments are fixed for the loan duration, whereas rents tend to increase over time.  Workers are enjoying strong demand for their labor, and wages are rising, which should keep housing affordable even as home prices appreciate. On top of that, remote-work-enabled migration is also creating opportunities in areas of the country where housing is more affordable.

⏱️ If you have home-buying on your radar, why are you waiting?

I have talked with many buyers wary of losing out in the tight real estate market. It isn't easy to purchase a home in the current market, but buyers are not doing themselves any favors by waiting it out. Home prices have jumped in the last year, making affordability a genuine concern. Experts agree that this is not a bubble, and no one expects prices to drop any time soon. The longer a buyer waits to purchase, the less home they will be able to buy. Homes valued at $400,000 twelve months ago are now selling in the $500,000's.

The housing market is quite competitive for buyers, so the number one thing I have my clients do is prepare for the battle. Check out my post from last year on the best ways to be prepared to buy a home. These steps have helped so many clients win in the competitive environment. If you feel ready to tackle inflation and fight the buyer battle, give me a call. Together we can make your homeownership dreams come true!

Posted in Buying a Home
Jan. 6, 2022

How To Find An Accurate Home Value

Why is an accurate home value important?

Technology has enabled many companies to offer instant online home valuations. A simple search online will yield hundreds of options from mortgage lenders, internet investment buyers, national real estate companies, and local agents.

Online valuation tools can be helpful, but they have not been able to keep up with the explosive market of the past year. The real estate market in North Texas is dynamic. When I entered my own home into one of these tools, the value came in nearly $50,000 lower than it is!

Reasons to know your home's value

Knowing the value of your home can be necessary for various reasons.

  • Refinancing your existing mortgage
  • Getting a HELOC (home equity line of credit)
  • Selling
  • Challenging your tax assessment
  • Getting your mortgage insurance removed

The best way to get your home's value

Our market grew at an astounding pace last year. To be sure that you are getting the best data, ask a local agent to run the numbers. I’d be happy to provide you with an estimated value of your home. I want to be the person you think of when it comes to real estate, whether buying, selling, investing, renting, or financing.

If you’d like to know the value of your home, email, call, or text me, and I’d be happy to put together a market analysis.

Simply send me your address and I will respond within 24 hours. Send Email

 

Dec. 7, 2021

2021 Was A Busy Year

A Look Back At The 2021 Real Estate Market

Overall Health of the Market

2021 was a banner year in North Texas and the real estate market took off and just kept going. Low inventory spurred a phenomenal spike in home values. Home values rose over 25% last year. Some pockets and neighborhoods saw an even larger increase. Take a look at the Collin County averages for 2021...

Interest Rates in 2021

Interest rates remained historically low all year. This proved to be quite an advantage to buyers as they were forced to combat the increasing home prices. While the market does seem to be easing a bit as we head into 2022 most experts agree that we will continue to see limited inventory and low rates throughout 2022. 

 

How Can I Help You In 2022?

I had a great year and am looking forward to more of the same in 2022. If your plans for the new year involve buying, selling, or investing in real estate, keep me in mind. I get things done!

Oct. 27, 2021

Market Update 2021

Review of 3rd Quarter Data

What a year 2021 has been in the North Texas real estate market.

Our market is constantly changing and bringing with it new challenges and new opportunities. This year the focus has been on inventory and prices. This past spring, record demand drove housing inventory to record lows, which caused property values to soar to record highs. At the close of the third quarter, the data shows significant price increases. Inventory is lower than this time last year, but sales are higher.

The competition among buyers for homes is fierce, and that has driven prices up. In addition, DFW experienced strong growth, and interest rates have remained low.

What are the opportunities for sellers?

The current conditions make for a perfect environment for sellers. The inventory is low and more buyers are competing for the same homes. If you plan to put your home on the market, check out my tips for selling your home in a seller's market. While many sellers can get away with doing less preparation than in previous years, homes that are well-maintained, clean, and updated are seeing the most gains. When all those offers roll in, you must also understand the appraisal gap in order to make the best decision on which offer to select. 

What are the challenges for buyers?

It is going to be challenging to get the home of your dreams. The inventory is low, and there are plenty of buyers out there vying for the same property. I have a great article on how to win the buyer battles. Buyers must understand the appraisal gap when offering higher than the list price. Many buyers question how strong their offer should be. Understanding the market is key to making an offer a contender. Take a look at the above data for Collin County. The final sales price averages 3.7% greater than the list price. That is the county average. I have seen homes in some neighborhoods go as much as 25% (or more) over the list price. Buyers must be sure they know the data on the specific community when deciding on an offer price.

It is still a great time to buy - prices are projected to increase in the coming months as the inventory remains low. Interest rates are also low at this time. If a buyer holds off on purchasing a home, the increase in prices in the coming months will limit the size and location of the home they can afford. Interest rates are also projected to climb, further limiting one's buying power.

Got Questions?

I continuously track our market closely to keep you informed on the latest developments. If you have any questions about this data or would like a closer look at your own city or neighborhood, give me a call. 

Sept. 29, 2021

Area Pumpkin Patches

DFW Pumpkin Patches 2021

Posted in Around Town
July 7, 2021

Live in the PAYMENT, Not the PRICE

Interest rates are an integral factor in purchasing a home. They determine how much house a buyer can afford. Low interest rates not only give purchasers a lower monthly payment, but they also yield higher savings over the total span of the loan. Take a look at the scenario below.

Owners should also consider the overall cost of the loan when determining if it is the right time to refinance an existing mortgage — a drop of 1% in interest rate results in some surprising savings.

Many experts are predicting that these historic low rates should prevail through the end of 2021. 

Are you wondering what your mortgage options look like? I know some excellent lenders who can help you navigate the current mortgage rates. Give me a call! 

June 11, 2021

Understanding the Appraisal Gap

How much money do buyers need to bring to the closing table when offering over the list price?

These are some crazy times in North Texas when it comes to buying a home. Many buyers are struggling to get a home under contract. Once they do secure a home, buyers must come to terms with the amount of money required to close the deal. 

Education on the seller's market...

The number one task I make sure to complete when meeting with a buyer for the first time is to discuss the data on the current market. I will run analytics on current housing trends for my clients using their target area and price point. 

It is important for buyers to understand these data points:

  • Median days on market - how quickly do they need to respond
  • Average list to sales price ratio - the minimum amount to offer over listing price
  • Maximum list to sales price ratio - a realistic expectation of what it will cost to get a home
  • Closing and transaction costs - how much they NEED to have and how much EXTRA money they have to make strong offers
  • Appraisal gap - what it means for lenders making loans on homes where the contract price is greater than the current value of the property

The Appraisal Gap

The appraisal gap is something most buyers are struggling with these days. Many believe that as long as the price they offer on a home is within the amount they have been pre-approved to purchase they can make offers for over the listing price. 

However, lenders will not give loans for amounts greater than the home is worth. Therefore, if there is a gap between the amount of the purchase price and the value of the home, the buyer is responsible to provide those funds at closing. 

Every Market Has Complications

This is just one of the complexities in today's market. This is why you need a REALTOR® on your side that understands what it takes to purchase a home. I will make sure you are prepared and know your limits when making offers. Contact me today to get started making your dream home purchase a reality.

May 6, 2021

This Crazy Real Estate Market Could Save You Thousands

Many homeowners can save thousands of dollars as a result of the current surge in home prices?

It has been in the news, it has been reported here on this blog, and it has been the subject of some great humor. It is the current unprecedented seller's market in real estate. Inventory is extremely low and that is driving prices of homes through the roof! (pun intended)

There are many homeowners taking advantage of rising home values. Let's explore a few ways that you can use the current market to your advantage. 

What are the benefits of increasing home values? 

If you are carrying Private Mortgage Insurance or PMI, then you may be in luck! PMI is needed on many mortgages for homes where the loan value is greater than 80% of the value of the home. Meaning that if you bought a home and put less than 20% down then you are likely carrying this fee. PMI adds a few hundred dollars to your monthly payment. You can save thousands of dollars by removing this PMI.

One Simple Step To Remove PMI from your mortgage loan.

Fortunately, it is quite simple to remove the PMI. You don't even have to refinance your loan. All you have to do is contact your mortgage company and request a desktop (or drive-by) appraisal of your home. Most mortgage companies don't even charge for this type of service. If your home value has increased enough to lift that ratio of loan to value to 80% then you should be entitled to have that PMI removed! 

Check for other savings too...

While you are evaluating your mortgage loan, check to see if you could also benefit from a refinance. Here is a great tool to help you decide if there is a financial benefit to refinancing your loan.

Many of my clients are also taking advantage of their increased home value to take out a home equity line of credit loan. This is called a HELOC and can be useful for taking on home renovations and updates. 

I am here when you need me!

Of course, if what you really want to do is buy or sell a home, I would love to help you there! Give me a call

 

 

Posted in Money Matters