North Texas Real Estate Blog

Oct. 7, 2020

Three Scary Seller Mistakes

Are you about to make these common seller mistakes?

'Tis the season for thrills and chills! This year Halloween may look different for many, but there are still plenty of things out there to scare us. I prefer not to be afraid, and so I tend to avoid putting myself in scary situations. I carry this philosophy over into my business and work extra hard to prevent my clients from having a haunting experience when selling their home.

This month, I'm featuring 3 SCARY selling mistakes to avoid.

1️⃣ First - Failure To Prepare The Home  

Number 1 - Skipping the prep work. Prep-work includes clean up and declutter, repairs and upgrades, proper staging, and phenomenal photos. These pre-game steps are proven to bring higher profit to your bottom line and should never be overlooked. I try to meet with my sellers 3-4 weeks before they put the home on the market. This advance notice gives them time to schedule the work, and it gives me time to prepare marketing.

2️⃣ Second - Regretting To Price it Right

Number 2 - Overpricing the home. Overpricing a home leads to more days on the market, which typically leads to lower offer prices. Not to mention it's inconvenient to the seller to have to keep their home model ready for a more extended period. Overpricing the home and failing to do the prep-work drives the buyers to other properties.

3️⃣ Third - Neglecting To Use An Expert

Number 3 - Not working with an experienced market expert. As an experienced professional, I've got your back when it comes to preventing costly mistakes, including those covered in numbers 1 and 2. Not to mention, a skilled negotiation expert can make a massive difference to the amount of money you walk away with at the closing table.

If you know anyone buying or selling, let me take the SCARY out of the process.

Posted in Selling a Home
Sept. 2, 2020

Where Is The Local Housing Market Headed?

Will The Strong Seller's Market Continue?

I have been getting many questions lately about the state of the housing market and whether I think it is sustainable. I wish I had a crystal ball to answer these questions, but that is not a reality.

What drives the housing market?

What we do know is this: three things drive the housing market. I call them the three I's.

Looking at our current North Texas housing market, we see these I's come together to give us the results we've had so far in 2020. Inventory is meager. Interest rates are at historic lows. Income stability has been surprisingly strong for most of the area's homebuyers. This means that we have seen a brisk market, low days-on-market statistics, bidding wars, and rising home prices.

What will the 2021 market be like?

The next question I often get is, "How long will this last?" Therein lies the problem. The future of the housing market holds a lot of uncertainty.

Let's address the Three I's and see if we can make some educated predictions.

Inventory: We all know that when supply is low, demand goes up, and prices follow. Knowing that 4-5 million Americans are missing mortgage payments gives me pause. What will happen when the CARES Act ends? Will the foreclosure market spike next year? Many experts believe that it will. Experts also believe that pre-foreclosure sales will also explode as many sellers dump properties quickly to get ahead of financial woes. We could very well see an increase in inventory. This could cause prices to stagnate or even drop.

Interest Rates: Most experts agree that these low interest rates are going to hold well into 2021. So that part of the three-legged I's should remain the same.

Income Stability: There is a lot of uncertainty about where we are headed economically with the pandemic; it is predicted to stick around for a while. Overall job numbers indicate that in 2020 only 70% of those affected by layoffs and furloughs will go back to work. We also know that 30% of Americans missed housing payments in June - that is, rent and mortgage payments combined. Nationally, 4-5 million Americans are utilizing the mortgage forbearance program. The good news for the North Texas area is that the Dallas area fared much better than most other major metropolitan areas. Job growth occurred in the DFW area in May, June, and July. Let's hope this recovery stays on track.

 

Where are we headed?

That is the question we all wish we knew. Historically, the DFW metroplex tends to be less dramatic than other markets. Our highs and our lows do not fluctuate to the extreme like other areas. We have a strong economy and are showing signs of a healthy recovery. However, the unknown factors of the election, the extent of the pandemic, and the potential flood of inventory to the housing market give our industry some uncertainty.

Stay tuned...

Aug. 15, 2020

Should You Pay Off Your Mortgage Early?

⚖️Weighing the pros and cons...

Mortgage interest rates are at historic lows. Many of us never expected to see the rates fall below 3%. Yet here we are!

I specialize in helping my clients get the most out of their home value when buying or selling. Yet, I also want to save my current homeowners as much as possible.

If you have not already taken advantage of these low rates, call one of my lender partners today. Right now! I am hearing that the refinance rates are inching up.

💸Consider your options regarding paying off your mortgage debt or diverting your extra money to other investments.

When it comes to paying off your mortgage debt, you will find two points of view:

  1. There is no such thing as good debt. Pay off your loan as soon as you can. Avoid excess interest charges. Live a debt-free life.
  2. Interest rates are so low; it is practically free money. Take the extra money you would use to pay down the mortgage debt and invest it in other places that give you a higher return.

The benefits of paying off your mortgage early...

Here are some of the positive outcomes of paying off your mortgage.

  • Peace of mind - The most significant advantage of paying off your debts is peace of mind. Many people enjoy the freedom that accompanies a debt-free life. There is something to be said about freeing up cash flow for other opportunities. 
  • Higher income - Your mortgage payment is likely to take up a large portion of your monthly income. Freeing up this burden will ease your monthly expenses.
  • Interest savings - Have you ever looked at an amortization chart for a home loan? A 30-year mortgage chart is several pages long, and it reflects exactly how much the loan actually costs. For example, a $300,000 mortgage at 3% interest for 30 years will cost you an additional $155,333 in interest payments.
  • Predictable return - investments can go up or down. We recently saw how fragile the economy could be. However, no longer paying interest on a loan can be like earning a risk-free equivalent to the mortgage interest rate.

The benefits of keeping the low-interest debt...

There are plenty of advisors out there backing the idea of keeping the low-interest loan and divert that extra money to higher yield investments. These are the reasons they support this action.

  • Not a liquid asset -The money tied up in your home is considered dead equity. There is no return and no immediate benefit. A house is not a liquid asset. The only way to get access to the value is to borrow against it or sell it. If you need the money tied to the value of your home because of unemployment - you will not likely qualify for a loan, so your only option will be to sell it.
  • Lack of diversity - A paid-off home might be disproportionate to your net worth. This poses risks as well since the real estate market can also fluctuate. You want to be sure that your portfolio is diversified.
  • Higher returns elsewhere - The most common argument is that the stock market has historically gained 10% annually. Making smart investments in the market could provide gains that make up for the interest you pay on the mortgage.

Is there a middle ground?

If you plan to stay in your home, but don't want to put all of your money into your investment, here's some fantastic information.

⌛ You can knock eight years off your mortgage!

This mortgage hack is not a new concept, but it's brilliant. All you have to do is make half of your mortgage payment every two weeks. That results in 26 half-payments, which equals 13 full monthly payments each year. That extra payment can knock eight years off a 30-year mortgage, depending on the loan's interest rate.

Before you start making extra payments, check with your mortgage company first. Some companies only accept additional payments at specific times or may charge prepayment penalties. If your moneylender isn't open to biweekly payments, open a new bank account exclusively for your mortgage payment. Deposit your half-payment every two weeks and use that money to make your full mortgage payment on every second deposit. This method will allow you to save for that extra yearly payment. In any case, I don't recommend paying a fee to initiate a biweekly mortgage plan when this is something you can accomplish on your own.

Hopefully, this information was helpful to you, and feel free to pass it along to someone you know. As always, when you are looking to buy, sell, or invest in real estate, I would love to help you.

Posted in Money Matters
July 1, 2020

Do You Have #FOMO?

💰 How Homeowners Are Losing Thousands💰 

The North Texas Market Is Strong!

Have you heard about our 2020 market❓How the most excellent homes are selling within hours, and with multiple offers ❓It's TRUE, and you could be missing out❗

Let me show you how WAITING to sell your home could be COSTING YOU THOUSANDS.
😱 👇👇👇👇👇👇 

✔ FACT: There is ONE months' worth on inventory for sale right now in Allen.

✔ FACT: A balanced market is typically 4 months worth of inventory; right now, the SELLERS have the ADVANTAGE! 

✔ FACT: Although it is still a seller's market, THIS WON'T BE THE CASE FOR LONG! 

What Could It Cost To Wait?

If you wait until inventory rises to sell your home, it could cost you thousands of dollars.

These are some of the costs of waiting:

  • ⏱️When inventories rise, homes take longer to sell, which will give you higher carrying costs, including mortgage, taxes, insurance, and more.
  • 🤑When homes take longer to sell, buyers tend to get a better discount. Without competition from other buyers, the offers tend to be lower than the list price. 
  • 🛠️When buyers have the upper hand in a transaction, they tend to request more repairs.

Don't Miss Out On The 🔥 Market! 

Find out what your home is worth in today's market by clicking here.

Request an in-home or virtual consultation to get your custom punch-list on how to get your home ready for today's market. 

Don't delay!  Strike while the iron is hot! Talk to you soon!

Posted in Selling a Home
June 17, 2020

The Value of a Pool

The value of adding a pool to your Texas home

Does a Swimming Pool Add Value To A Home?

It's officially summer, and in Texas, that means cooling off in the pool. Due to the recent pandemic, some neighborhoods are delaying or canceling their public pool openings this summer. In response, many homeowners are looking to add a pool of their own.

One question I get often is: Does a swimming pool add value to a home?

In other words, If you sell your home, will the selling price cover most or all of the pool's costs, or will you take a hit on your investment?

Determining the return on investment.

Numerous components impact the worth that a pool has on your property. For instance... If you live in an area where a significant number of your neighbors have pools, your investment is probably stable. In fact, in those circumstances, not having a pool might decrease your home's marketability. In the metroplex area, a pool can be an attractive feature for potential buyers.

Let's talk numbers... Appraisors use a grid to determine the value of a pool in comparison to homes without one. So if your property is worth $400,000, you can increase your home's value by about $20,000 to $35,000.

The value a pool adds to a home in Texas

How much do swimming pools cost?

In most areas, the average cost of installing an in-ground concrete pool is approximately $50,000 - $75,000, which means you'll only recoup a portion of your original pool investment. Of course, if you and your family will get a lot of use and enjoyment from your pool, there is the intangible value that goes with that, and recouping your investment may be a moot point. Because can you really put a price on summertime fun and smiles? If you are thinking of adding a pool and would like some expert advice based on your specific home, give me a shout. I'm here to serve.

 

May 21, 2020

How To Standout Online

5 Tips To Help You Shine

When I got into this business nearly eight years ago, the number one thing I learned was that over 90% of home-buyers begin their search online. That still holds today. However, the recent pandemic shifted the real estate model a bit, and now more functions of home buying and selling can be done virtually.

I have sold homes without the buyer even being in town. They viewed the homes online and through video, signed the papers online, and closed on the new home from a remote location. I have hosted virtual open houses and conducted practically every aspect of my job through alternate technical means.

How Can Sellers Adapt To Online Practices?

So how can sellers adapt and stand out in this new real estate realm? More than ever, a robust online presence is vital to selling success. When I list your home, I will make sure that a video walkthrough is available for online buyers. I provide 3D photos so that buyers can view a home virtually.

For any of these features to bring about favorable results, sellers MUST take steps to make their home stand out online. Here are my five pro-tips to help you do just that.

Curb appeal

This one is first on my list. It would be best if you prepared your home to catch the attention of online shoppers, but now you also need to capture their hearts when they drive by. Buyers have a more significant reason presently to drive by homes before they view them. Tend to your lawn, your trees, and your landscape. Lay down fresh mulch and add some color to your flowerbeds.

Neutralize Your Walls.

Gray. White. Taupe. Keep your walls a neutral color and avoid intense colors. If you have older-style wallpaper, remove it and paint the walls a neutral color. Neutral colors and clean walls make a HUGE difference in photos and in person. A fresh coat of paint is an easy way to boost your home's appeal.

De-clutter

A clean and simple environment is crucial for photos. Clear away everything from your bathroom and kitchen counters. You can have some simple decor items such as a bowl of soaps or a bowl of fruit. Remove those refrigerator magnets. Simplify the art and photo displays on your walls. Get rid of excess furniture. Focus on creating an open and inviting path throughout the home. Remove furniture that blocks movement or view to the next room or windows. Keep in mind - you are not setting each room up for your day-to-day living - you are setting up the spaces to look good on camera.

Stage Where It Matters

The most important rooms in your home are the living room, kitchen, and master bedroom. It also would help if you spent a little time on the entryway to set the mood when a buyer enters your home. Make the decor current and eye-catching or removed altogether. During this time, we have been staging homes in three ways.

  • In-person staging where the stager comes into the house to set it up for photography.
  • Virtual stating sessions where the stager studies photos of the rooms, generates a list of instructions and meets with the owner in a video meeting to finalize the process.
  • Use of technology to add virtual furniture to an empty room.

Price It Right

The right price is so important these days. Take a look at all the homes in your price range. Consider yourself in a beauty pageant, and those other homes are your competitors. To win, you have to look the best and provide the best value. If all those other homes are prettier or more talented than you, then all you can do is adjust your price.

Are You Ready To Sell Your Home?

I am ready to help you get to the finish line. Start with a free home valuation and a virtual or in-person consultation on getting your home ready. Give me a call today to get started. 

Posted in Selling a Home
May 1, 2020

How Did One Month Of Quarantine Affect Housing?

After a full month of quarantine, we have some data

I ran reports today to see how the Collin County market is doing after a full month of quarantine. All month long my colleagues and I have been discussing how we feel the market is doing. Everyone agrees that the market seems very strong. The consensus is that the inventory is low and buyers are battling it out over the best homes that hit the market. 

Is this a fair indicator? 

Sure the inventory is low. And definitely the buyers that are out there are serious about finding a good home. They are fighting over the good ones. (read that as - multiple offers still exist) However, when you look at the data, the VOLUME is actually lower now than this time last year. Take a look below at the data. We have seen a decrease in the number of listings, the number of homes under contract, and the number of closings. The only thing we have seen an improvement on is the number of days on the market. 

What Can We Expect This Summer?

Many experts predict that once the restrictions are completely lifted, our summer market will be flooded with both buyers and sellers. As more of our communities get back to work and our economy picks up, we expect the housing market to take the lead.

Yet some are taking a more cautious approach. We've already seen many of the iBuyers halt home purchases in our area. We've also seen some major brokerages cut staff (Redfin, Compass) The main concern is how the unemployment will slow the recovery

Wondering What This Means For You? 

I think this is a great time to buy or sell. The inventory is still low and the buyers that are out there are making offers. Interest rates are low and buyers should take advantage of that. Housing prices are holding steady. If you are ready to make a move, give me a call. Let's discuss your goals and talk about the specific data for your area. 

April 14, 2020

The Texas Home Buyers & Sellers Report

Texas buyers and sellers report

The Texas Association of Realtors Report

Each year the Texas Association of Realtors releases a report of data pertaining to the demographics, motivations, and opinions of Texas homebuyers and sellers. I love to review this report and see what the latest trends are in the market. Check out the full report right here.  

This year, I found it interesting to compare some key statistics against the Texas market from the previous decade. Take a look at the video below. Where are you first-time homebuyers? I can help!

 

April 7, 2020

The Hidden Dangers of Mortgage Forbearance

 

What is mortgage forbearance?

Have you received an offer to skip some of your mortgage payments due to hardship caused by COVID-19? If so, you NEED to watch this video... You may have gotten a letter in the mail with an offer to skip three or more of your mortgage payments. While this may sound tempting, make sure you read the fine print.

Forbearance or Deferment?

Depending on the circumstances and loan type, customers can request to defer their payments, and the payments would then be added to the end of their loan. In other cases, you may be approved to defer your payment but will be required to make a balloon payment just a few short months later. For example, if you skip 4 of your mortgage payments, in the 5th month, the bank would expect you to pay the prior 4 months in full, all at once.

Many are not aware of this fact and may not be in the position to make this large of a payout in the foreseeable future.

How do you know which hardship offer you can use?

Be sure you contact your lender to get all the facts before taking advantage of any relief offers. If you or someone you know is facing financial hardship, you may have additional options outside of deferring your payments.

Want to talk about all your options?

I am taking virtual appointments to discuss all your options confidentially and safely. I am proud to be your real estate partner and will continue to keep you updated on the latest.

Posted in Money Matters
April 1, 2020

Adapting To Change Amid COVID-19

Due to the COVID-19 Outbreak, we are now offering Virtual Services!


We are taking great caution to protect our loved ones during the Coronavirus, as well as yours. While our team is continuing to work remotely we've taken other precautions. We are now available for virtual meetings, showings as well as virtual open houses!! Of course, we can still do live showings with precaution. Click here to schedule a Virtual Tour of any of our listings!