NE TEXAS Real Estate News

Buying a Home Can Be Scary... Until You Know the Facts [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM
Posted in:Home Buying Tips and tagged: Home Buying Tips
Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on October 29th, 2018 4:02 PM
Whether You Rent or Buy, Either Way You're Paying a Mortgage! | Simplifying The Market

Whether You Rent or Buy, Either Way You’re Paying a Mortgage!

  

There are some people who have not purchased homes because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize, however, that unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s.

As Entrepreneur Magazine, a premier source for small business, explained in their article, “12 Practical Steps to Getting Rich”:

“While renting on a temporary basis isn’t terrible, you should most certainly own the roof over your head if you’re serious about your finances. It won’t make you rich overnight, but by renting, you’re paying someone else’s mortgage. In effect, you’re making someone else rich.”

Christina Boyle, Senior Vice President and head of the Single-Family Sales & Relationship Management organization at Freddie Mac, explains another benefit of securing a mortgage as opposed to paying rent:

“With a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, you’ll have the certainty & stability of knowing what your mortgage payment will be for the next 30 years – unlike rents which will continue to rise over the next three decades.”

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ which allows you to build equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee the landlord is the person building that equity.

Interest rates are still at historic lows, making it one of the best times to secure a mortgage and make a move into your dream home. Freddie Mac’s latest report shows that rates across the country were at 4.22% last week.

Bottom Line

Whether you are looking for a primary residence for the first time or are considering a vacation home on the shore, now may be the time to buy.

Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on February 6th, 2018 11:06 AM
FICO® Scores on Approved Home Loans Drop Again | Simplifying The Market

FICO® Scores on Approved Home Loans Drop Again

According to Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Report, the average FICO® Score on all closed loans dropped to 722 which is its lowest mark since April. The average includes all approved refinance and purchase loans.

FHA and VA loans showed the most opportunity for millennials looking to enter the market with low down payments and even lower FICO® Score requirements.

Ellie Mae’s Millennial Tracker revealed that those who purchased homes in December with an FHA Loan were able to do so with an average down payment of 4% and a FICO® Score of only 684.

Joe Tyrell, EVP of Corporate Strategy at Ellie Mae commented on the opportunity this brings to buyers,

“With the average credit score dipping, lenders are extending credit to borrowers who may have had no previous access to the housing market.”

Bottom Line

More and more potential buyers are able to qualify for a mortgage loan now! If you are debating a home purchase, let’s get together and evaluate your ability to buy today!


Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on January 19th, 2018 11:04 AM
61% of First-Time Buyers Put Down Less than 6% | Simplifying The Market

61% of First-Time Buyers Put Down Less than 6%

Many potential homebuyers believe that a 20% down payment is necessary to buy a home and have disqualified themselves without even trying. The median down payment for all buyers in 2017 was just 10% and that percentage drops to 6% for first-time buyers.

Zillow Senior Economist Aaron Terrazas’ recent comments shed light on why buyer demand has remained strong,

“Looking into 2018, rent is expected to continue gaining. More widespread rent growth could mean home buying demands stay high, as renters who can afford it move away from the unpredictability of rising rents toward the relative stability of a monthly mortgage payment instead.”

It’s no surprise that with rents rising, more and more first-time buyers are taking advantage of low-down-payment mortgage options to secure their monthly housing costs and finally attain their dream homes.

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many first-time buyers who is not sure if you would qualify for a low-down payment mortgage, let’s get together and set you on your path to homeownership!

Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on January 19th, 2018 10:41 AM

Wondering If You Can Buy Your First Home?

There are many people sitting on the sidelines trying to decide if they should purchase a home or sign a rental lease. Some might wonder if it makes sense to purchase a house before they are married and have a family, others might think they are too young, and still, others might think their current income would never enable them to qualify for a mortgage.

We want to share what the typical first-time homebuyer actually looks like based on the National Association of REALTORS most recent Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers. Here are some interesting revelations on the first-time buyer:

Wondering If You Can Buy Your First Home? | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

You may not be much different than many people who have already purchased their first homes. Let’s meet to determine if your dream home is within your grasp.


Posted in:Home Buying Tips and tagged: Home Buying Tips
Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on January 19th, 2018 10:31 AM
Feeling ‘Stuck in Place’? You Aren’t Alone… And There’s Hope! | Simplifying The Market

Feeling ‘Stuck in Place’? You Aren’t Alone… And There’s Hope!

Whether you are a renter who is searching for your dream home or a homeowner who feels like your only option is to renovate, you have at least one thing in common: feeling stuck in place.

According to data from the National Association of Realtors’ Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, the average amount of time that a family stays in their home remained at 10 years in 2017. This mark ties the highest marks set in 2014 and 2016. Back in 1985, when data was first collected on this subject, homeowners stayed in their homes for an average of only 5 years.

There are many reasons why homeowners have decided to stay and not to sell. A recent Wall Street Journal article had this to say,

“Americans aren’t moving in part because inventory levels have fallen near multidecade lows and home prices have risen to records. Many homeowners are choosing to stay and renovate, in turn making it more difficult for renters to enter the market.” 

Sam Khater, Deputy Chief Economist for CoreLogic, equated the lack of inventory to “not having enough oil in your car and your gears slowly [coming] to a grind.”

Historically, a normal market (in which prices increase at the rate of inflation) requires a 6-7 month supply of inventory. There hasn’t been that much supply since August of 2012! Over the course of the last 12 months, inventory has hovered between a 3.5 to 4.4-month supply, meaning that prices have increased and buyers are still out in force!

Challenges in the new-home construction market have “helped create a bottleneck in the market in which owners of starter homes aren’t trading up to newly built homes, which tend to be pricier, in turn creating a squeeze for millennial renters looking to get into the market.”

“Economists said baby boomers also aren’t in a hurry to trade in the dream homes they moved into in middle age for condominiums or senior living communities because many are staying healthy longer or want to remain near their children.”

So, what can you do if you feel stuck & want to move on?

Don’t give up! If you are looking to move-up to an existing luxury home, there are deals to be had in the higher-priced markets. Demand is strong in the starter and trade-up home markets which means that your house will sell quickly. Let’s work together to build in contingencies that allow you more time to find your dream home; the right buyer will wait.

Posted in:Home Buying Tips and tagged: Home Buying Tips
Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on November 15th, 2017 10:16 AM
Don't Let Fear Stop You from Applying for a Mortgage | Simplifying The Market

Don’t Let Fear Stop You from Applying for a Mortgage

A considerable number of potential buyers shy away from jumping into the real estate market due to their uncertainty about the buying process. A specific cause for concern tends to be mortgage qualification.

For many, the mortgage process can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be!

In order to qualify in today’s market, you’ll need to have saved for a down payment (73% of all buyers made a down payment of less than 20%, with many buyers putting down 3% or less), a stable income and good credit history.

Throughout the entire home buying process, you will interact with many different professionals, all of whom perform necessary roles. These professionals are also valuable resources for you.

Once you’re ready to apply, here are 5 easy steps that Freddie Mac suggests you follow:

  1. Find out your current credit history & score – even if you don’t have perfect credit, you may already qualify for a loan. The average FICO® Score of all closed loans in September was 724, according to Ellie Mae.
  2. Start gathering all your documentation – income verification (such as W-2 forms or tax returns), credit history, and assets (such as bank statements to verify your savings).
  3. Contact a professional – your real estate agent will be able to recommend a loan officer that can help you develop a spending plan, as well as determine how much home you can afford.
  4. Consult with your lender – he or she will review your income, expenses, and financial goals to determine the type and amount of mortgage you qualify for.
  5. Talk to your lender about pre-approval – a pre-approval letter provides an estimate of what you might be able to borrow (provided your financial status doesn’t change), and demonstrates to home sellers that you are serious about buying!

Bottom Line

Do your research, reach out to professionals, stick to your budget, and be sure that you are ready to take on the financial responsibilities of becoming a homeowner.

Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on October 31st, 2017 11:18 AM

Report: Homeownership Is a Precondition of the American Dream | Simplifying The Market

Report: Homeownership Is a Precondition of the American Dream

Americans ranked “owning a home I love” higher than any other options (including “starting a family” and “finding a fulfilling career”) as an important part of the American Dream.

Despite some claims that homeownership’s importance to the American Dream is in decline, the report found that the dream of homeownership remains strong.

Of Americans who said they think achieving the American Dream is important, 70% think homeownership is important to the dream, and 41% think homeownership is very important to the dream.

What about Millennials?

Hearth addresses the desires of millennials by explaining:

“Contrary to popular opinion, millennials who want to achieve the American Dream are 5% more likely than Baby Boomers to think homeownership is important. And two-thirds of millennial renters view homeownership as important to the American Dream.

Although millennials are often portrayed as fickle and transient, they actually seek the stability of homeownership even more than their parents.”

Other Key Findings from the Report:

  • Homeowners are 126% more likely than non-homeowners to view homeownership as a way to build wealth. Nevertheless, homeowners still overwhelmingly associated homeownership with a family living space.
  • Homeowners are 24% more likely than non-homeowners to see homeownership as an achievement that reflects hard work.
  • Millennials are 77% more likely than baby boomers to see a home primarily as a way to build wealth.
  • Baby boomers are 98% more likely than millennials to see a home as a way to pass wealth down to children or family.
  • Millennials are 29% more likely than baby boomers to see a home as an achievement that reflects hard work–an outcome we expected given that many millennials are still working hard to afford their first homes.

Bottom Line

The report concluded:

“This survey revealed a powerful finding: Across demographic groups, homeownership remains a precondition of the American Dream.”

Posted in:Home Buying Tips and tagged: Home Buying Tips
Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on September 14th, 2017 11:19 AM
Posted in:Home Buying Tips and tagged: Home Buying Tips
Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on June 22nd, 2017 10:06 AM
Can Your Real Estate Agent Answer These Important Questions? | Simplifying The Market

Can Your Real Estate Agent Answer These Important Questions?

Whether you are selling or buying a home, the real estate agent you hire is critical to guaranteeing your family makes the right decision. Most agents can walk you through the process and explain the industry ‘lingo,’ but you should expect so much more than that.

The housing crisis made everyone aware that truly understanding the real estate market is more complicated than it seems. Today, there are many questions your real estate agent must be able to answer to ensure your family is making the right decision. Here are just a few:

  • What impact does the movement in mortgage interest rates have on buyer demand? 
  • With home prices increasing rapidly, are we headed toward another housing bubble?
  • Do you need a 20% down payment to purchase a home?
  • Why can’t we list at a higher price and drop it later if necessary?

When you are interviewing an agent to represent your family in your next real estate transaction, make sure they can intelligently answer all your questions, while simply and effectively explaining what is happening in the current housing market.

Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on June 7th, 2017 5:23 PM
4 Tips for Effectively Making an Offer | Simplifying The Market

4 Tips for Effectively Making an Offer

So, you’ve been searching for that perfect house to call a ‘home,’ and you finally found one! The price is right, and in such a competitive market, you want to make sure that you make a good offer so that you can guarantee that your dream of making this house yours comes true!

Freddie Mac covered “4 Tips for Making an Offer” in their latest Executive Perspective. Here are the 4 tips they covered along with some additional information for your consideration:

1. Understand How Much You Can Afford

“While it’s not nearly as fun as house hunting, fully understanding your finances is critical in making an offer.”

This ‘tip’ or ‘step’ should really take place before you start your home search process.

As we’ve mentioned before, getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and will allow you to make your offer with the confidence of knowing that you have already been approved for a mortgage for that amount. You will also need to know if you are prepared to make any repairs that may need to be made to the house (ex: new roof, new furnace).

2. Act Fast

“Even though there are fewer investors, the inventory of homes for sale is also low and competition for housing continues to heat up in many parts of the country.” 

According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report, the inventory of homes for sale is currently at a 3.7-month supply; this is well below the 6-month supply that is needed for a ‘normal’ market. Buyer demand has continued to outpace the supply of homes for sale, causing buyers to compete with each other for their dream homes.

Make sure that as soon as you decide that you want to make an offer, you work with your agent to present it as soon as possible.

3. Make a Solid Offer

Freddie Mac offers this advice to help make your offer the strongest it can be:

“Your strongest offer will be comparable with other sales and listings in the neighborhood. A licensed real estate agent active in the neighborhoods you are considering will be instrumental in helping you put in a solid offer based on their experience and other key considerations such as recent sales of similar homes, the condition of the house and what you can afford.”

Talk with your agent to find out if there are any ways that you can make your offer stand out in this competitive market!

4. Be Prepared to Negotiate

“It’s likely that you’ll get at least one counteroffer from the sellers so be prepared. The two things most likely to be negotiated are the selling price and closing date. Given that, you’ll be glad you did your homework first to understand how much you can afford.

Your agent will also be key in the negotiation process, giving you guidance on the counteroffer and making sure that the agreed-to contract terms are met.”

If your offer is approved, Freddie Mac urges you to “always get an independent home inspection, so you know the true condition of the home.” If the inspector uncovers undisclosed problems or issues, you can discuss any repairs that may need to be made with the seller, or cancel the contract.

Bottom Line 

Whether you’re buying your first home or your fifth, having a local professional on your side who is an expert in their market is your best bet in making sure the process goes smoothly. Happy House Hunting!

Posted in:Home Buying Tips and tagged: Home Buying Tips
Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on May 22nd, 2017 11:15 AM

#1 Answer to the Housing Shortage: New Construction

The biggest challenge to today’s housing market is the shortage of housing inventory for sale. A normal market would see a six-month supply of homes for sale. Currently, that number is below four months. This is the major reason home prices have continued to appreciate at higher levels than historic averages.

The good news is that builders are now starting to build more homes in lower price ranges.

Builder Confidence is Up

The Housing Market Index from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reveals that builder confidence increased last month. HousingWire quoted NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz about the reason for the increase in confidence amongst builders.

“The HMI measure of future sales conditions reached its highest level since June 2005, a sign of growing consumer confidence in the new home market. Especially as existing home inventory remains tight, we can expect increased demand for new construction moving forward.”

Builders are Meeting the Needs of Today’s Purchaser

Builders are not only jumping into the market – they are doing a better job of matching current demand. The Wall Street Journal recently reported:

“In a shift, new households are overwhelmingly choosing to buy rather than rent. Some 854,000 new-owner households were formed during the first three months of the year, more than double the 365,000 new-renter households formed during the period, according to Census Bureau data.”

The WSJ article went on to say:

“Home builders are beginning to shift their focus away from luxury homes and toward homes at lower price points to cater to this burgeoning millennial clientele.”

The graph below compares 2016 to 2017 new construction sales by price point. As we can see, builders are slowly beginning to shift to prices more favorable to the first-time and non-luxury buyer.

#1 Answer to the Housing Shortage: New Construction | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

There is a drastic need for a larger supply of home inventory to meet the skyrocketing demand. Builders are finally doing their part to help rectify this situation.

Posted in:Home Buying Tips and tagged: Home Buying Tips
Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on May 18th, 2017 2:36 PM
What You Need to Know About Qualifying for a Mortgage
What You Need to Know About Qualifying for a Mortgage [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • Many buyers are purchasing a home with a down payment as little as 3%.
  • You may already qualify for a loan, even if you don't have perfect credit.
  • Take advantage of the knowledge of your local professionals who are there to help you determine how much you can afford.
Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on May 12th, 2017 9:58 AM
The Impact of Homeownership on Family Health | Simplifying The Market

The Impact of Homeownership on Family Health

The National Association of Realtors recently released a study titled 'Social Benefits of Homeownership and Stable Housing.’ The study confirmed a long-standing belief of most Americans:

“Owning a home embodies the promise of individual autonomy and is the aspiration of most American households. Homeownership allows households to accumulate wealth and social status, and is the basis for a number of positive social, economic, family and civic outcomes.”

Today, we want to cover the section of the report that quoted several studies concentrating on the impact homeownership has on the health of family members. Here are some of the major findings on this issue revealed in the report:

  • There is a strong positive relationship between living in poor housing and a range of health problems, including respiratory conditions such as asthma, exposure to toxic substances, injuries and mental health. Homes of owners are generally in better condition than those of renters.
  • Findings reveal that increases in housing wealth were associated with better health outcomes for homeowners.
  • Low-income people who recently became homeowners reported higher life satisfaction, higher self-esteem, and higher perceived control over their lives.
  • Homeowners report higher self-esteem and happiness than renters. For example, homeowners are more likely to believe that they can do things as well as anyone else, and they report higher self-ratings on their physical health even after controlling for age and socioeconomic factors.
  • Renters who become homeowners not only experience a significant increase in housing satisfaction but also obtain a higher satisfaction even in the same home in which they resided as renters.
  • Social mobility variables, such as the family financial situation and housing tenure during childhood and adulthood, impacted one’s self-rated health.
  • Homeowners have a significant health advantage over renters, on average. Homeowners are 2.5 percent more likely to have good health. When adjusting for an array of demographic, socioeconomic, and housing–related characteristics, the homeowner advantage is even larger at 3.1 percent.

Bottom Line

People often talk about the financial benefits of homeownership. As we can see, there are also social benefits of owning your own home.

Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on May 11th, 2017 11:27 AM
Is 2017 the Year to Move Up to Your Dream Home? If So, Do It Early! | Simplifying The Market

If you are considering moving up to your dream home, it may be better to do it earlier in the year than later. The two components of your monthly mortgage payment (home prices and interest rates) are both projected to increase as the year moves forward, and interest rates may increase rather dramatically. Here are some predictions on where rates will be by the end of the year:

Freddie Mac

While full employment and rising inflation are signs of a strong economy, they also have the potential to push mortgage rates and house prices up. The higher rates and higher prices create significant affordability concerns, which may continue to characterize the housing market for the rest of 2017.”

Lynn Fisher, Vice President of Research & Economics for the Mortgage Bankers Association

By the time we get to the fourth quarter of this year, we will still be under 5 percent – we are thinking 4.7 percent…Something north of 5 percent by the time we get to 2018, and by the time we get to 2019, we show fourth-quarter rates hitting 5.5 percent.”

Mark Fleming, First American’s Chief Economist

Despite some regional disparities, title agents and real estate professionals do not expect increasing mortgage rates to have a significant impact on the housing market this spring. Continued good economic news, increasing Millennial demand and confidence that buyers will remain in the market even if rates exceed 5 percent bode well for 2017 real estate.

Len Kiefer, Deputy Chief Economist for Freddie Mac

We will probably see rates higher at the end of year, around 4.5%.”

Bottom Line

If you are feeling good about your family’s economic future and are considering making a move to your dream home, doing it sooner rather than later makes the most sense.

Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on May 8th, 2017 11:51 AM
Buying a Home? Do You Know the Lingo? | Simplifying The Market

Buying a home can be intimidating if you are not familiar with the terms used during the process. To start you on your path with confidence, we have compiled a list of some of the most common terms used when buying a home.

Freddie Mac has compiled a more exhaustive glossary of terms in their “My Home” section of their website.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR) – This is a broader measure of your cost for borrowing money. The APR includes the interest rate, points, broker fees and certain other credit charges a borrower is required to pay. Because these costs are rolled in, the APR is usually higher than your interest rate.

Appraisal – A professional analysis used to estimate the value of the property. This includes examples of sales of similar properties. This is a necessary step in getting your financing secured as it validates the home’s worth to you and your lender.

Closing Costs – The costs to complete the real estate transaction. These costs are in addition to the price of the home and are paid at closing. They include points, taxes, title insurance, financing costs, items that must be prepaid or escrowed and other costs. Ask your lender for a complete list of closing cost items.

Credit Score – A number ranging from 300-850, that is based on an analysis of your credit history. Your credit score plays a significant role when securing a mortgage as it helps lenders determine the likelihood that you’ll repay future debts. The higher your score, the better, but many buyers believe they need at least a 780 score to qualify when, in actuality, over 55% of approved loans had a score below 750.

Discount Points – A point equals 1% of your loan (1 point on a $200,000 loan = $2,000). You can pay points to buy down your mortgage interest rate. It’s essentially an upfront interest payment to lock in a lower rate for your mortgage.

Down Payment – This is a portion of the cost of your home that you pay upfront to secure the purchase of the property. Down payments are typically 3 to 20% of the purchase price of the home. There are zero-down programs available through VA loans for Veterans, as well as USDA loans for rural areas of the country. Eighty percent of first-time buyers put less than 20% down last month.

Escrow – The holding of money or documents by a neutral third party before closing. It can also be an account held by the lender (or servicer) into which a homeowner pays money for taxes and insurance.

Fixed-Rate Mortgages – A mortgage with an interest rate that does not change for the entire term of the loan. Fixed-rate mortgages are typically 15 or 30 years.

Home Inspection – A professional inspection of a home to determine the condition of the property. The inspection should include an evaluation of the plumbing, heating and cooling systems, roof, wiring, foundation and pest infestation.

Mortgage Rate – The interest rate you pay to borrow money to buy your house. The lower the rate, the better. Interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage have hovered between 4 and 4.25% for most of 2017.

Pre-Approval Letter – A letter from a mortgage lender indicating that you qualify for a mortgage of a specific amount. It also shows a home seller that you're a serious buyer. Having a pre-approval letter in hand while shopping for homes can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.

Primary Mortgage Insurance (PMI) – If you make a down payment lower than 20% on your conventional loan, your lender will require PMI, typically at a rate of .51%. PMI serves as an added insurance policy that protects the lender if you are unable to pay your mortgage and can be cancelled from your payment once you reach 20% equity in your home. For more information on how PMI can impact your monthly housing cost, click here.

Real Estate Professional – An individual who provides services in buying and selling homes. Real estate professionals are there to help you through the confusing paperwork, to help you find your dream home, to negotiate any of the details that come up, and to help make sure that you know exactly what’s going on in the housing market. Real estate professionals can refer you to local lenders or mortgage brokers along with other specialists that you will need throughout the home-buying process.

The best way to ensure that your home-buying process is a confident one is to find a real estate professional who will guide you through every aspect of the transaction with ‘the heart of a teacher,’ and who puts your family’s needs first.

Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on May 5th, 2017 10:48 AM
Get All the Facts about PMI | Simplifying The Market

When it comes to buying a home, whether it is your first time or your fifth, it is always important to know all the facts. With the large number of mortgage programs available that allow buyers to purchase a home with a down payment below 20%, you can never have too much information about Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI).

What is PMI?

Freddie Mac defines PMI as:

“An insurance policy that protects the lender if you are unable to pay your mortgage. It's a monthly fee, rolled into your mortgage payment, that is required for all conforming, conventional loans that have down payments less than 20%.

Once you've built equity of 20% in your home, you can cancel your PMI and remove that expense from your mortgage payment.”

As the borrower, you pay the monthly premiums for the insurance policy, and the lender is the beneficiary. Freddie Mac goes on to explain that:

“The cost of PMI varies based on your loan-to-value ratio – the amount you owe on your mortgage compared to its value – and credit score, but you can expect to pay between $30 and $70 per month for every $100,000 borrowed.” 

According to the National Association of Realtors, the average down payment for all buyers last year was 10%. For first-time buyers, that number dropped to 6%, while repeat buyers put down 14% (no doubt aided by the sale of their home). This just goes to show that for a large number of buyers last year, PMI did not stop them from buying their dream homes.

Here’s an example of the cost of a mortgage on a $200,000 home with a 5% down payment & PMI, compared to a 20% down payment without PMI:

Get All the Facts about PMI | Simplifying The Market

The larger the down payment you can make, the lower your monthly housing cost will be, but Freddie Mac urges you to remember:

“It's no doubt an added cost, but it's enabling you to buy now and begin building equity versus waiting 5 to 10 years to build enough savings for a 20% down payment.”

Bottom Line

If you have questions about whether you should buy now or wait until you’ve saved a larger down payment, let’s get together to discuss our market’s conditions and to help you make the best decision for you and your family.

Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on May 2nd, 2017 11:34 AM
Renting or Buying… Either Way You’re Paying a Mortgage | Simplifying The Market

There are some people who have not purchased homes because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage - either yours or your landlord’s.

As Entrepreneur Magazine, a premier source for small business, explained this month in their article, “12 Practical Steps to Getting Rich”:

While renting on a temporary basis isn't terrible, you should most certainly own the roof over your head if you're serious about your finances. It won't make you rich overnight, but by renting, you're paying someone else's mortgage. In effect, you're making someone else rich.”

Christina Boyle, Senior Vice President and head of the Single-Family Sales & Relationship Management organization at Freddie Mac, explains another benefit of securing a mortgage vs. paying rent:

“With a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, you’ll have the certainty & stability of knowing what your mortgage payment will be for the next 30 years – unlike rents which will continue to rise over the next three decades.”

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ which allows you to build equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee the landlord is the person with that equity.

Interest rates are still at historic lows, making it one of the best times to secure a mortgage and make a move into your dream home. Freddie Mac’s latest report shows that rates across the country were at 4.23% last week.

Bottom Line

Whether you are looking for a primary residence for the first time or are considering a vacation home on the shore, now may be the time to buy.

Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on May 1st, 2017 12:23 PM
Tax Return Depressing? Owning a Home Could Help | Simplifying The Market

Tax Return Depressing? Owning a Home Could Help

Many Americans got some depressing news last week; either their tax return was not as large as they had hoped or, in some cases, they were told they owed additional money to either the Federal or State government or both. One way to save on taxes is to own your own home.

According to the Tax Policy Center’s Briefing Book -“A citizen's guide to the fascinating (though often complex) elements of the federal Tax System” - there are several tax advantages to homeownership.

Here are four items, and a quote on each, from the Briefing Book:

1. Mortgage Interest Deduction

“Homeowners who itemize deductions may reduce their taxable income by deducting any interest paid on a home mortgage. The deduction is limited to interest paid on up to $1 million of debt incurred to purchase or substantially rehabilitate a home. Homeowners also may deduct interest paid on up to $100,000 of home equity debt, regardless of how they use the borrowed funds. Taxpayers who do not own their home have no comparable ability to deduct interest paid on debt incurred to purchase goods and services.”

2. Property Tax Deduction

“Homeowners who itemize deductions may also reduce their taxable income by deducting property taxes they pay on their homes.”

3. Imputed Rent

“Buying a home is an investment, part of the returns from which is the opportunity to live in the home rent-free. Unlike returns from other investments, the return on homeownership—what economists call “imputed rent”—is excluded from taxable income. In contrast, landlords must count as income the rent they receive, and renters may not deduct the rent they pay. A homeowner is effectively both landlord and renter, but the tax code treats homeowners the same as renters while ignoring their simultaneous role as their own landlords.”

4. Profits from Home Sales

“Taxpayers who sell assets must generally pay capital gains tax on any profits made on the sale. But homeowners may exclude from taxable income up to $250,000 ($500,000 for joint filers) of capital gains on the sale of their home if they satisfy certain criteria: they must have maintained the home as their principal residence in two out of the preceding five years, and they generally may not have claimed the capital gains exclusion for the sale of another home during the previous two years.”

Bottom Line

We are not suggesting that you purchase a house just to save on your taxes. However, if you have been on the fence as to whether 2017 is the year you should become a homeowner, this information might help with that decision.

Disclaimer: Always check with your accountant to find out what tax advantages apply to you in your area. 

Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on April 25th, 2017 11:38 AM
Again… You Do Not Need 20% Down to Buy NOW! | Simplifying The Market

A survey by Ipsos found that the American public is still somewhat confused about what is required to qualify for a home mortgage loan in today’s housing market. There are two major misconceptions that we want to address today.

1. Down Payment

The survey revealed that consumers overestimate the down payment funds needed to qualify for a home loan. According to the report, 40% of consumers think a 20% down payment is always required. In actuality, there are many loans written with a down payment of 3% or less.

Many renters may actually be able to enter the housing market sooner than they ever imagined with new programs that have emerged allowing less cash out of pocket.

2. FICO® Scores 

The survey also revealed that 62% of respondents believe they need excellent credit to buy a home, with 43% thinking a “good credit score” is over 780. In actuality, the average FICO® scores of approved conventional and FHA mortgages are much lower.

The average conventional loan closed in February had a credit score of 752, while FHA mortgages closed with a score of 686. The average across all loans closed in February was 720. The chart below shows the distribution of FICO® Scores for all loans approved in February.

Again… You Do Not Need 20% Down to Buy NOW! | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

If you are a prospective buyer who is ‘ready’ and ‘willing’ to act now, but are not sure if you are ‘able’ to, let’s sit down to help you understand your true options.

Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on April 14th, 2017 11:22 AM

SHERRY DICKSON & ASSOCIATES TEAM

July Edition

Ready to own a home? Or, if you're already a proud homeowner, do you want to throw a great cookout? This month's newsletter will help you to do both in Paris plus if you're planning a move, I've got a few helpful tips for that too. Read on and have a great month.


Six Steps to Homeownership


Step 1 – Set the foundation
Before starting your home search, there are a lot of things you should think about. The first being your credit because it’s the most important factor in whether you’ll be a homeowner or renting for a little longer than you'd like. Create a budget so that you know how much you can afford to borrow, and pay monthly, for a home. Ensuring your mortgage payment is no more than 30 percent of your monthly income is a good rule of thumb.

Step 2 – Decide on what you want
Put together a list of items you want: school districts, neighborhoods, and access to highways. Research and choose the types of property features you want in a house. Don't be shy! You can narrow your list later.

Step 3 – Contact a real estate agent
You'd talk about your real estate needs, and your plans. And, you'd discuss everything from neighborhoods, schools, the mortgage and housing industries, to any other factors that affect your buying decision. Your agent can also help during the loan process.

Step 4 – Find your dream house
Using your list of must-haves, your agent will show you houses that are a good fit for you. As you tour houses, you should point out what things you like and don't like. Often, buyers amend their list of must-haves, and your agent will trim it down to the houses you'll love.

Step 5 – Negotiate the deal
It's common to receive a counter offer. You'll be empowered to choose whether or not to take the counter offer, present your counter offer, or refuse the offer.

Step 6 – Close the deal
Upon finalizing the contract, you'll work with your lender to close the loan. If you've been pre-qualified, this won't be a long process. Then, you'll get a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) detailing closing costs from your lender, and your agent will help you close on your home.

Remember that if you or someone you know will house hunt soon, let me know. You can email me at sherrydicksonteam@gmail.com or call me at (903) 361-2733 any time.


SHERRY DICKSON & ASSOCIATES TEAM
SHERRY DICKSON TEAM / Harold Carter Realtors
(903) 361-2733

Upcoming Open Houses


Make sure to check out my upcoming open houses.
Click here to see my listings. I hope to see you there!


Planning a Move?


If you’re thinking of relocating, make sure you’ve got your ducks in a row. Here are a few to-dos that are often forgotten when you’re moving:

— Have your car serviced if you’re driving.

— Pack and label boxes that you’ll open first for each room. Using the kitchen as an example, this box would have dishwashing liquid, baggies, and a couple of pans.

— Double check with your insurance company to find out their policies on covering your belongings while you’re traveling to your new place.

— Refill any prescriptions a week or two before you leave.

— Get referrals from your doctors for new physicians in your new city.

— Keep important papers, like contracts, with you in your car.

— Remember to remove valuables from your bank safe deposit box. .

— Try to avoid stress!


How to Throw an Awesome Backyard Barbeque


Barbeque season is in full swing. In order to have the perfect cookout, you have to plan ahead and plan for a few surprises. Use these tips and ideas to make your next backyard party one to remember:

— Have plenty of trash bags and garbage cans. Label them if you want to keep recyclables separate.

— If you’re using a gas grill make sure you have plenty of fuel. Or, if you’re giving it a go on a traditional grill, make sure there’s plenty of coal and lighter fluid to keep you cooking.

— Don’t forget the repellent! Have plenty of spray and sunscreen for guests.

— Think of details that make things easier or more fun like tablecloth weights, recycle bins, outdoor lights, and games to play.

— Have a designated play area and eating area for kids.

— Ice and cups are two things that are most likely to run out in the middle of your cookout. Keep triple the amount you think you’ll need on hand.

— Assign some smaller duties to family members or a few friends freeing you up for bigger tasks.

Use these tips and have a great barbeque party with friends and family this summer.

 


Questions about buying or selling?

Give us a call at (903) 361-2733 or send us an email at sherrydicksonteam@gmail.com.
We're glad to answer questions — no obligation, of course.

 

XSellerate
Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on July 6th, 2016 11:10 AM

9 Home Expenses You Have to Budget For

Article Shared From Trulia

 

 

If you think qualifying to buy a home takes financial stamina, budgeting for your home month by month and sticking to a long range plan can require the strategy and dedication of a marathon runner.

Ideally, lenders recommend that no more than a third of your income should go toward housing costs. Here's what you spend those dollars on:

Home budgeting: recurring monthly expenses

If you successfully figured out how to save for a down payment and budgeted your income to pay off debts like student loans and credit cards to qualify for a mortgage, you may feel like once you've bought a house you can relax. The reality, however, is that home budgeting doesn't stop when you close on your house. That was just the practice run. For as long as you own a home, exercise similar strategies to those you used when your goal was to buy. They can help you manage your income to cover recurring expenses like these:

Mortgage payments.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Expenditure survey indicates that 58 percent of the one third goes to pay your mortgage. If you have a fixed rate mortgage the payments remain the same, but escrow payments that can include property taxes, homeowners' insurance premiums, and private mortgage insurance fluctuate. Payment amounts, therefore, are adjusted by your lender periodically to cover increases.

Property taxes.

They increase with the value of your home but are tax-deductible

Homeowners insurance.

Typically insurance premiums increase each year. You may want or be required to have supplemental insurance for disasters such as floods and earthquakes, or elect to increase your coverage if you acquire more valuables. Shop around if this severely stretches your budget.

Private mortgage insurance (PMI).

If you purchased with less than a 20 percent down payment, you may be required to pay PMI for several years until you build at least 20 percent equity, or for the life of the mortgage. Double check with your lender for how long you must pay.

Homeowners' association (HOA) dues.

The amenities and services provided by an HOA vary considerably. They may or may not include full or partial landscaping services. HOA dues can increase as their budget requires.

Utilities.

These include your power bill, heating fuel, water, sewer, garbage, phone service, cable, and/or internet, all of which can increase.

But that is not all, oh, no. That is not all…

Budgeting for your home maintenance, emergency repairs, and upgrades

You don't buy a house just to pay the expenses listed above while you let it fall down around you. It's probably one of the largest investments, if not the largest, you'll make in your lifetime. You want to maintain its value, and when possible, improve and enhance it. If that one-third portion of your income seems bursting at the seams already, put your money-saving skills to work because you need to put something aside for the following expenses:

Budgeting for regular maintenance.

Routine maintenance includes inspections, replacing worn parts, cleaning, and landscaping. How much do you need to save for maintenance costs? Traditional advice says you can expect to spend annually from one to two percent of what you paid to buy your home, but if you bought an older home, a fixer, or a foreclosure in poor condition, it can likely be more. For a closer estimate, however, consult a home maintenance checklist and price out the current cost of these services in your area -- or the price of necessary tools and supplies if you plan to do routine maintenance yourself. Include cleaning supplies and associated costs, too. Add them all up and divide by 12 to establish a budget and a monthly savings plan for routine maintenance -- things like changing HVAC filters and annual inspections, gutter cleaning, window washing, and roof inspections.

Fund for emergency repairs and component replacements.

If you know the age of the various components of your home such as the roof, large appliances, furnace, windows, and wiring, for example, you can figure their remaining life expectancy by consulting the longevity chart for home components from the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI). Research the approximate cost of replacing them, then prioritize budgeting based on when they might conk out. Establishing this type of emergency fund, especially if you expect some of them to need replacing at the same time, can help you manage some hefty expenses when the time comes. If you can't make necessary repairs or replacements and try to sell the house first, you may take a hit on the selling price or even lose buyers if a home inspector reveals that your house needs expensive repairs.

Saving for home improvements.

Even if your new home is move-in ready, most homeowners have a wish list for future renovations or necessary additions. Prioritize yours on the basis of your home's condition -- is the roof leaking, for example? -- then on your comfort or family growth. If you have anything left in your monthly home expense budget, put what you can aside for that dream kitchen, bathroom remodel, or attic bedroom each month.

Buying a home can be one of the best decisions you make, but if you're a first time buyer, you need to prepare yourself for the financial demands. Serious budgeting -- and sticking to your budget when consumer distractions abound -- takes fortitude. Are you up for the challenge?

Posted by NE TEXAS REALTY GROUP on February 20th, 2016 11:10 AM

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