Real Estate Agent Cynthia  Fowler
Cynthia Fowler
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July
5

Your Guide to Long-Distance House Hunting

House Hunting Tips

Finding the perfect home is a challenging endeavor under normal circumstances, but searching for a home in a different city or state might seem impossible. Coordinating the purchase of a lifetime from several hundred miles away can seem like a daunting task.

While long-distance house hunting can pose challenges, our real estate agents want you to know that it's not as difficult as it seems. In today's world, with easily accessible online listings and the ability to conduct virtual tours, it's actually never been easier. Here are some tips on how to make your long-distance home search a success:

  • Visit Your New Neighborhood
    When starting a long-distance home search, it always helps to visit the new town to get a sense of the neighborhood, community, and amenities. A basic familiarity with the area allows you to choose the right location, envision your new life, and plan ahead. Take a trip or two to your new hometown and drive around, visit local businesses, and explore the area. When clients travel into town to look at Dallas homes for sale, we always encourage them to spend a day or two exploring our great city.

  • Choose A Reputable Local Agent
    When long-distance house hunting, working with an agent you can trust is more important than ever. Your agent can provide valuable local information, find listings that meet your criteria and negotiate the terms of your home sale. They can also help coordinate virtual listing tours. Choosing an agent that knows the area and has a strong reputation can really help make long-distance house hunting a success.

  • Include Travel Expenses In Your Budget
    Chances are you're going to want to make a trip to your new hometown at some point, whether it's during the house-hunting process or after your new home is under contract. Travel expenses can quickly eat into your funds, so make sure to factor travel expenses such as airfare, rental cars, gas, and hotel into your home-shopping budget.

  • Determine What You're Looking For
    Because your ability to tour homes in person may be limited, your buying decision will be naturally influenced by logic rather than emotion. Therefore, start by clearly defining your price range, and then create a list of the top 5 things you can't live without. Whether it's a specific location, a home office, or two full baths -- determine your non-negotiables and use them to narrow down your choices.

  • Don't Waive Your Inspection Contingencies
    Making an offer on a home sight unseen can be nerve-wracking, to say the least. If you aren't able to see the home in person, you can at least rely on your inspection contingencies to uncover any red flags. Be sure to consider the standard home inspection, pest inspection, radon, and sewer. These inspections give you the ability to back out of the deal without any penalty if problems arise and you can't come to terms on how to resolve them. Make sure to talk to your agent about what to expect with inspections.

Buying a home in a new city comes with its challenges, but it's actually never been easier than it is today. Contact us today to check out some great home listings in the Dallas area.

February
22

Out-of-town homebuyers are willing to spend more than DFW homebuyers – what's another 10%

Homebuyers looking to move to Dallas from other regions last year, especially from California and the west coast, were willing to pay 10.6% more than locals, new research finds.  People looking to move to Dallas are willing to pay an average maximum budget of $701,760, while locals are willing to pay up to an average of $634,465, according to a recent report from Redfin.   The company compiled the average maximum list price filters for homes in the saved home searches of its users. The analysis includes cities with at least 3,000 home searchers from inside the metro and 3,000 from outside the metro last year.

North Texas suburbs Plano and Frisco are prime examples of out of state transfreees willing to pay more.  Plano's average maximum for migrants was $695,729 and the average maximum was locals was $646,383 for a difference of 7.6% more. Frisco had an average maximum for migrants of $784,688 and the average maximum for locals was $802,154 for a difference of 2.2% less.

States without income taxes such as Texas and Tennessee are seeing many transplants from California who see that as a deal, said Redfin.   "People moving from the West Coast will pay way over asking price without batting an eye," Geyer said. "It's really hard for locals to compete right now, and it can be devastating for first-time buyers who aren't able to offset high prices by selling a home before they buy a new one."   The number one out of state buyer into Dallas-Fort Worth is from the Los Angeles suburbs.

  • Dallas Business Journal, February 16, 2022
February
6

When will it be a buyer's market?

Rates are rising, inventory remains historically low and prices are sky high. Is a buyer's market on the horizon? Even as forecasters predict an uptick in homes hitting the market early this year, the most homes under construction since before the Great Recession, and more buyers to be priced out due to already high prices and rising mortgage rates, economists told Inman they don't foresee a return to what has traditionally been known as a buyer's market any time soon.  Sellers remain in the driver's seat, and economists told Inman the country still has a long way to go to settle into potentially new ways of thinking about just what is a normal housing market in the modern age.  So while December 2021 saw more new homes hit the market than at any other time, the country is working its way through a supply backlog that is helping to keep sellers in control.  If you look at demographics, you can say that the current level of construction is pretty close to normal. But what that doesn't tell you is how much behind that total supply is.   "It's still going to take a really, really long time to make up for the last 15 years of a lack of supply coming in," said Nicole Bachaud, economist for Zillow.

  • Inman News, February 1, 2022
January
24

Many homebuyers will be priced out of the market in 2022

Rising mortgage rates and last-year's record-breaking runup in home prices are expected to price many would-be homebuyers out of the market this year, denting sales of existing homes but bringing home price appreciation back down to more sustainable levels, Fannie Mae economists say.

"We expect the narrative around housing this year to shift from one of extremely limited inventories leading to hypercompetitive bidding wars to one in which increasingly more would-be homebuyers are priced out of the market," Fannie Mae economists said in commentary accompanying their latest monthly forecast.

New and existing home sales

Source: Fannie Mae Economic and Housing Outlook, January 2022.

Fannie Mae economists see sales of existing homes falling by 3.2 percent this year, to 5.945 million, which would still be the second-best year since 2006. Sales of new homes are projected to grow by 14.9 percent, to 885,000, as builders start putting homes now under construction on the market. Even with the projected increase in new home sales, total home sales are expected to fall from 6.91 million in 2021 to 6.83 million this year.

But that forecast could prove to be overly optimistic, Fannie Mae economists warn, if mortgage rates continue to rise as the Federal Reserve winds down its purchases of government debt and mortgages and starts raising short-term interest rates.

"The Fed has accelerated the pace at which it intends to reduce monetary accommodation, as inflation appears more resilient than initially expected," said Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan, in a statement. "Currently, we expect inflation to run above the Fed's two-percent target through 2023, and for the Fed to respond by tightening over that period. The resultant rise in interest rates will likely put additional stress on housing affordability measures vis-à-vis higher mortgage rates for consumers and the continued, though decelerating, rise in home prices."

The Fed is in the process of winding down an emergency program implemented during the pandemic, in which it was purchasing $120 billion in Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities every month to keep interest rates low. When it's done tapering, Fannie Mae economists expect the Fed to start raising the short-term federal funds rate in March, and implement three rate increases this year.

Fannie Mae and MBA mortgage rate forecasts

Fannie Mae economists project mortgage rates will rise only gradually, hitting 3.4 percent by the end of this year before leveling off at 3.5 percent in 2023. Economists at the Mortgage Bankers Association are predicting a more abrupt rise in rates, to 4 percent by the end of 2022 and 4.3 percent next year.

But both projections were made before minutes of the Fed's December meeting were released, which revealed that after tapering its asset purchases, the Fed was contemplating shrinking its balance sheet.

That news prompted a runup in 10-year Treasurys and mortgage rates, which pose an "upside risk to our published interest rate forecast," Fannie Mae economists said. Based on more recent data, Fannie Mae estimates that mortgage rates could go up by two-tenths of a percentage point more than currently forecast.

The latest survey from the Mortgage Bankers Association shows rates on 30-year fixed-rate loans averaged 3.64 percent during the week ending January 14. The Optimal Blue Mortgage Market Indices, which track daily changes in mortgage rates, show rates on 30-year fixed-rate conforming mortgages hit 3.78 percent on Tuesday.

Looking at recent history, a 100-basis point change in the 30-year mortgage rate over the course of a year can dent home sales by 8 percent, with a one-to-two quarter time lag, Fannie Mae economists noted. "As such, we could expect home sales to be about 1 to 2 percent lower than our published forecast over this next year if the recent rate increase holds."

However, the same forces pushing interest rates higher — consumer and investor confidence in continued economic growth — could also support home purchases, "partially mitigating any negative effects on sales from higher rates," Fannie Mae economists said. But if interest rates are readjusting "due to new expectations over long-run inflation or a shift in monetary policy, then the effect could be larger. Our next forecast will of course incorporate formally any recent interest rate changes."

The forecast assumes that in the near term, the Omicron surge "will have only modest and temporary economic impacts. The severity of the variant appears to be lesser than prior waves, and most high frequency economic indicators suggest a smaller change in consumer behavior compared to the 2020-2021 winter wave of COVID."

Annual home price appreciation, by quarter

Source: Fannie Mae Economic and Housing Outlook, January 2022.

Fannie Mae economists expect that national home price growth "will remain strong but decelerate" in 2022, and that worsening affordability will slow home price growth from a peak of 18.5 percent during the third quarter of 2021, to 7.6 percent by the end of the year.

"Our expectation of 7.6 percent growth in 2022 is still considerably higher than the average pace of 5.4 from 2012 to 2019," Fannie Mae economists said. "However, this represents a large deceleration from 2021's expected record house price growth of 17.3 percent."

Fannie Mae economists are keeping a close eye on recent increases in the average back-end debt-to-income (DTI) ratios of borrowers, particularly for first-time homebuyers, as an indicator of growing affordability issues.

"This measure is likely soon to meet or eclipse the recent high recorded in 2018, which precipitated a notable slowing in home sales following a rise in mortgage rates," they said. "For now, there appears to be ample prospective homebuyers engaging in bids to facilitate sales even as some drop out of the market completely, but the amount will likely lessen as the year unfolds."

However, Fannie Mae economists see a risk that some metro areas "have overheated and will experience at least modest price declines over the next year or two," singling out Boise City and Austin as examples "where there may be declines."

Mortgage refinancing and purchase loan originations by year

Source: Fannie Mae Economic and Housing Outlook, January 2022.

While a modest dip in home sales is expected this year, Fannie Mae economists see rising home prices driving a 10 percent increase in purchase mortgage originations, which are projected to hit $2.049 trillion this year. But rising mortgage rates are expected to gut the pandemic-fueled refinancing boom, with refi originations falling by 50 percent, to $1.289 trillion.

But if recent increases in mortgage rates hold, Fannie Mae economists say purchase mortgage volumes could be $33 billion lower in 2022 than they're currently forecasting, and that 2022 refinance volumes could be about 10 to 15 percent lower than forecasted.

  • Inman, January 19th, 2022
November
8

Don't Fall for These Real Estate Myths

Real Estate Myths

Today's real estate market remains hot, hot, hot, with sellers enjoying high prices, while buyers are facing a highly competitive market that has made it difficult for some to land the home they're longing for. This is especially true for those selling homes in Dallas/Fort Worth or shopping for Dallas homes for sale and Fort Worth homes for sale

It's easy to get distracted during the buying or selling process by certain widespread real estate myths. Our real estate agents help many families in the area find their dream home and advise them to not fall for misconceptions they might hear from well-meaning friends and family members.

Read on about some common real estate myths you should not fall for.

  • Myth 1: You don't need to do any prep work
    Many home shoppers think the process starts by rushing out and touring houses either in person or online before you've gotten yourself organized. The best course of action to ensure a smooth transaction is to plan your financing. Get either a preapproval letter or perhaps even a prequalification letter, from the lender you choose. This will help you be prepared when it's time to make an offer, but you'll also be able to focus on searching within the price range you're qualified for -- rather than wasting time looking at homes that are out of reach.

  • Myth 2: You can do it alone
    You'll be missing the expertise an agent brings to the process, including knowledge of market conditions, and above all, the ability to negotiate the best deal. A good agent will also help you get your paperwork ready. Organized, complete paperwork can make the process flow much more smoothly than when papers and forms are shoddily prepared and incomplete.

  • Myth 3: You can rely solely on online sources
    These resources can tell you a lot, such as an estimate of what your home is worth, or a calculation of your monthly mortgage payment. What's missing is a visit to a property by an agent, who can determine if the data is all correct.

  • Myth 4: You won't need to worry about repairs
    Modern builders are tending to build quickly at minimal expense. That means you need to exercise caution regarding lower-quality construction. Hire a home inspector who is well versed in new home construction to suss out potential problems. Talk to your real estate agent about what to look for in new home construction  -- or older homes if you're looking at an older model.

  • Myth 5: You should always offer less than the asking price for a home
    Low-balling the seller can be annoying to the point they may move on to a potential buyer who's easier to work with. Do you really want the home? Is the price reasonable? Then offer the list price or a price that's close to it. In really hot markets, you may need to offer over the list price to make sure you're in the competition. Your real estate agent should be able to help you strategize the best approach.

Need more help navigating today's real estate market? Contact us today.

September
17

Homebuyers in DFW Are Forking Over More Cash

The average DFW home down payment is now $40,000

With home prices soaring, buyers must spend more up front to put a roof over their heads.  Dallas-Fort Worth-area homebuyers on average are forking over almost $40,000 in down payments when they purchase a property, according to a study by LendingTree.  That's an all-time high, but D-FW down payments are less than the $46,283 nationwide average in the 50 largest metro areas.  "While there are signs that the housing market is beginning to cool somewhat, home prices are still significantly higher in many parts of the U.S. than they were before the coronavirus pandemic," LendingTree's Jacob Channel said in the report. "One of the side effects of these higher home prices is higher down payments."  "If you are a first-time homebuyer, that means the nest egg you need to save up is basically 16% larger than it was a year ago because home prices have gone up," said Frank Nothaft, CoreLogic's chief economist. "The first-time homebuyers are having sticker shock right now.  "That's why we are seeing in some of the latest statistics maybe there's a bit of a slowdown in homebuying toward the end of the summer."

Dallas Morning News, September 8, 2021

October
26

Questions to Ask Your Realtor During a Video Tour

Questions During Video Tour - Home for Sale - RE/MAX DFW Associates

If you're interested in buying a home, you may live in another city and find it difficult to travel to see each house you're interested in. Or perhaps you'd simply like to save some time and rule some houses in or out without seeing them in person. That's why video tours of homes for sale are becoming more and more popular with prospective homebuyers.

Our real estate agents suggest that you ask your REALTOR the following questions during a video tour:

  • Do you notice any indoor or outside odors?
    Your agent should be able to tell you if there are any unusual or unpleasant smells in the home, including those associated with pets, sewage, or a musty odor. Outside smells are also important to note so you can make sure the home isn't located near a garbage dump, paper mill, or other industrial site.

  • Is there anything you see that might be a concern?
    Since your agent is actually in the home, he or she can spot details that may not be visible to you via video. Cracks, signs of water damage chipped molding, and other issues your agent sees can then be called to your attention.

  • Are there any noises you hear inside and outside the home? 
    You'll want to know if the agent can hear any noises such as traffic, loud music coming from the neighbors, or crowds from a nearby public area.

  • Can I see the views from the windows?
    You'll want to know what you'd be looking at from each of the windows if you bought the home, so ask your agent to open any window treatments and show you the view from each window.

  • Can I see the rooms from different angles?
    To get a true sense of what the home really looks like, you'll need to see each room from different angles. This will help you visualize where rooms and fixtures are in relation to one another and where doorways and windows are located.

  • Can you measure certain areas for me?
    You may need to know, for example, if your dining room table will fit in the room where you'll eat. Or maybe you wonder if your entertainment center will fit where you envision it. Ask your agent to measure certain specific areas so you'll know for sure if your furniture will fit as you'd like it to.

  • Does anything look different than what you expected?
    Photos can sometimes allow a seller to accentuate or minimize a particular feature, so ask your agent if he or she is surprised by how anything in the home actually looks in person.

  • Can you zoom in on certain areas?  
    You may want to get a good close look at certain areas, such as the kitchen appliances or cabinets, to see if they have any flaws when viewed more closely.

  • Can I see the landscaping, and does it look well maintained?
    Make sure you see the outside of the home, taking the time to see the landscaping to see if it's attractive and well maintained.

  • Can you show me the neighborhood?
    Ask your agent if he or she can show you the houses next door as well as a view down the street. You need to get a good idea of how close the home is to other houses and how well other homes are maintained.

Contact us at RE/MAX DFW Associates for more information about taking a video tour of Dallas homes for sale. We offer this service for your convenience and would be happy to answer any questions about the homes you tour. 

July
13

Buyers: Should You Put in an Offer Sight Unseen?

Buy a House Sight Unseen - RE/MAX DFW Associates

If you're looking to move to the Dallas/Fort Worth area, house hunting can be complicated by the commute to open houses and other viewings. If you spot a particularly appealing choice among the Dallas homes for sale, you may consider making an offer before you're able to tour the house in person. This option has its risks, but with some caution, making an offer before you have a chance to see the house in real life can pay off. 

  • Take A New Look 
    Making an offer sight unseen is much less literal than it used to be. With services such as Facetime, Zoom, and Skype, it's possible to take a virtual tour. A seller may arrange for a virtual open house to show off their home to potential buyers, or you may ask for a personal virtual viewing. Low-tech options include hiring a home inspector or even a trusted friend to tour the property and take notes. Our real estate agents will be happy to facilitate a viewing that meets the needs of buyers and sellers alike.

  • Working In The Dark
    Virtual tours can be challenging if you're not used to the technology and may gloss over elements you should inspect more closely. Virtual tours may pay little attention to the outdoor spaces, focusing instead on the house itself. You don't get a chance to tour the neighborhood or view the street the house is on, and online data on the neighborhood may be outdated. A virtual tour, while helpful, shouldn't be your only information on the house or the area the house is in. You'll need to do more careful research when making an offer on a house you cannot personally view.

  • A New Insight 
    Online research into the neighborhood, combined with virtual tours and the help of a real estate agent and a licensed house inspector, can help you expand the area of your house hunt well beyond the areas you can commute to for in-person viewings. You may get broader insights into the area where you plan to move than if you'd stuck to just in-person viewings alone. A house inspector can spot issues that homebuyers just don't have the experience to readily identify. A friend you trust to inspect the house won't be under the same pressure you might feel to make an offer, and is free to be more discerning.  Every precaution you should take when making an offer sight unseen will make your house hunt a better one, even with properties you have the chance to view in person. 

While you may prefer to wait to view a property in person, making an offer before you can see a house can be a sound purchasing decision. We'd love to discuss your home viewing options with you. Please contact us today. 

February
17

Improve Your Odds as a First-Time Homebuyer

Buy a Home - Beat the Odds - RE/MAX DFW Associates

Buying a home for the first time can feel like an overwhelming experience. The walkthroughs, loan applications, and negotiations are only made more difficult when your offer is denied by a seller who chooses another buyer. Our real estate agents are also discouraged when a great offer goes unaccepted. Although a normal part of this process is to feel like the odds are stacked against you, remember that it's only a matter of time until you're handed the keys to your dream home.

Why First Time Homeowners are Faced with Unfavorable Odds

As each generation gets older, many men and women hope to purchase their first home early in adulthood. Unfortunately, there are a variety of factors that could prevent potential homebuyers from the home of their dreams. Some of the common hurdles first-time buyers struggle to overcome include:

  • Saving for a Down Payment
    A 20 percent down payment is a significant amount to save, especially for younger homebuyers. A single individual may find it difficult to reach this amount alone within a few years. Studies report that an individual may need up to 11 years to save for a down payment. Others may be struggling with student loan debt or are earning a salary that does not enable them to afford the homes in their area.

  • Increases in Housing Prices
    Even if an individual or couple are not struggling with debt and are earning salaries that meet the national average, these hopeful homebuyers can still encounter obstacles in the form of rising property values. Home prices are rising significantly in larger cities throughout the country where younger adults are relocating to, particularly new homes.

  • Limited Homes Available in an Area
    Even when young adults choose to relocate to larger real estate markets, they're still discovering that there are limited homes available — especially entry-level homes. Older adults are choosing to age in their current city, downsizing to smaller and more affordable homes.

  • Difficulties Qualifying for a Loan
    Although they may have an adequate down payment, some younger adults do not have the credit score or history necessary to secure a loan.

  • Increased Competition
    Young adults are facing two challenges simply because of their age. Not only are they competing for homes with other Millennial homebuyers, but they are also competing against another sizeable population — Baby Boomers who are downsizing. With the two largest generations competing for limited homes, it's increasingly difficult to secure a home.

How to Improve Your Odds as a First-Time Homebuyer

These obstacles may seem difficult to overcome, but don't lose hope! There are ways in which you can improve your odds of securing the home of your dreams even in a competitive market. We suggest that first-time homebuyers consider these tips:

  • Monitor and resolve any issues with your credit score. If you have a limited credit history, take responsible steps to improve it.

  • Save for more than the minimum down payment amount. Putting a few thousand extra aside will help cover closing costs or any bidding wars you might get into.

  • Limit your demands and try to find amicable ways to compromise during negotiations.

  • Submit an offer that's slightly above the asking price. A well-priced home could encourage more offers and your elevated offer will immediately stand out.

  • Get pre-approved for your mortgage loan before you begin your search. You should always calculate how much home you can afford before you begin searching. Securing pre-approval for a loan will show the seller that you are serious and able to afford the home.

Contact us today for the support and guidance first-time homebuyers need when buying Dallas homes for sale.

January
20

Real Estate Rescue: Yes, Your Agent Can Help with That

Real Estate Agent Help - RE/MAX DFW Associates

Our real estate agents are always working hard to connect our clients with the best Dallas homes for sale. Many clients, especially first-time buyers, are surprised by all we can do for them. A real estate agent is your guide through the whole home-buying process. If there's a question we don't know the answer to, we know where to find it! We strive to be our clients' top resource.

But agents don't just answer questions: They're also there to solve problems. No matter what comes up, a good agent will equip you with the knowledge and options to make a sound decision. Sometimes, the process of buying a house is smooth and easy. Most of the time, though, there are tricky choices to be made at one point or another. Your agent simplifies the issues.

Let's look at some of the unexpected ways agents can "rescue" their clients:

  1. Help You With Loan Preapproval
    Loan preapproval is the last step before a formal package, which you only get once you choose a home to bid on. Your agent can connect you with a lender who offers loan programs suited to your needs. You can also get advice on strategies around closing costs and other money issues.

  2. Help You Select a Home Inspector
    A trusted local agent has deep industry connections at all levels of the buying process. That makes it easy for them to orchestrate administrative tasks, such as finding a home inspector. An inspection is essential for ensuring no major repair bills are lurking around the corner!

  3. Help You Purchase a FSBO Home
    A "for sale by owner" (FSBO) home is one that has been placed on the market without the help of an agent on the seller side. As a buyer, though, your agent can bridge the gap and assist you during the purchase. An experienced agent will make it seamless.

  4. Help You Negotiate a Purchase
    Not everyone is a born negotiator. Even if you've never haggled before in your life, an agent brings the right skills to the table. Agents can stand in on your behalf and use their insights on the local market to argue for your interests when a home is overpriced.

  5. Help You Organize Your Big Move
    After closing comes moving, and that can be hectic. Not everyone has the opportunity to get a head start by moving things into a storage unit. Even if you find yourself with a whole home to pack up in days, your agent can recommend area movers who can do the job.

  6. Help You Find the Right DFW Home
    It might seem obvious that an agent helps you find a home, but most people don't know how far it goes. The better you know your wants and needs, the more your agent can do. Instead of focusing on one "dream home," you can have great new property listings to review every week.

  7. Help You Manage a Rental Property
    Buying a property for investment purposes? Most new Dallas-Fort Worth landlords soon decide they could use help running the business side of things. An agent can step in to screen renters, collect rent, and oversee maintenance issues. It's all done for you for a modest percentage of rent.

RE/MAX DFW Associates is the largest RE/MAX company throughout the entire southwestern United States. We got there by supporting our clients with the very best in real estate knowledge and customer service. Contact us to find out more about real estate opportunities in our area.

November
18

Is Playing Airbnb Host Right for You?

Short-Term Rentals - Hosting Tourists - RE/MAX DFW Associates

Dallas homes for sale are some of the most desirable around. It's no surprise many people enjoy seeing them up close – both to buy and to stay a while! Our real estate agents have noticed a trend: Newly-sold Dallas homes are becoming popular Airbnb destinations.

Airbnb equips homeowners to provide short-term lodging for travelers – from a day to a few months. It maintains an online, mobile-friendly platform where homeowners list properties and visitors view them. Once a booking is made, Airbnb notifies both parties. The company takes a portion of the proceeds; the rest goes to the homeowner.

Listing on Airbnb can be a terrific way to generate income from almost any Dallas home. If you choose, you can make hundreds or even thousands monthly, even while still living on the property. But making money with Airbnb isn't quite as easy as downloading an app. Here's how to decide whether it's the right move for you.

  1. Check Out Your Legal Obligations
    There are many places where Airbnb is a sort of Wild West – people you invite into a home are your guests, no questions asked. However, that's starting to change. In some places, you may be expected to follow tenant laws with rules about property upkeep, so seek appropriate advice.

  2. Think About Repairs and Renovations
    Airbnb users browse homes almost the same way would-be buyers do – by looking at photos and checking out the details of your listing. To stand apart from the crowd, you might need to think about new exterior paint, landscaping, or quick fixes like leak repairs.

  3. Get Terrific Photos Ready
    No matter how prepared you are, you'll need to sell the "sizzle" of your home to stand out. Take quality photos in well-lit areas. Stage spaces by removing clutter and getting organized first. If you invest in major renovations, like a deck, you can use these to entice guests, too.

  4. Choose What Level of "Guest Experience" You Want
    Some Airbnb hosts are completely hands-off, while others strive to create an experience similar to, well, a B&B. This can result in higher ratings and more bookings, but it will inevitably mean that you invest more in overhead and spend more time with each guest.

  5. Be Ready to Track Your Expenses
    As fun as it can be to meet new people and introduce them to your community, Airbnb hosts are in it for the profit. Don't assume it'll be smooth sailing from the start: Track associated costs, like the cost of cleaning carpets, replacing lost keys, or making repairs after guests depart.

  6. Prepare to Lose Some Space
    The main drawback of renting on Airbnb is not having complete access to every room in your home whenever you wish. For some homeowners, this turns out to be a deal-breaker, especially if there is only one bathroom. Consider your first few guests a "test flight," then decide.

  7. Address Security Concerns
    The potential for loss or damage of your possessions is another serious issue with short-term guest rentals. Determine whether you need to buy more insurance for certain items, install or expand a security system, or take extra steps to ensure your keys are never misused.

Airbnb Is Here To Stay: Are You In?

For the right homeowner, Airbnb can be a great way to open up a new income stream without the substantial investment and property management woes of a dedicated rental home. If you're eager to get started, remember: A beautiful, modern home will position you to achieve more on Airbnb. Contact us to learn more about the best real estate opportunities in Dallas.

October
21

Buying and Selling a Home: How to Bridge the Gap

Bridge Loans - RE/MAX DFW Associates

Buying or selling a home can be a stressful situation, but buying and selling a home simultaneously can get downright terrifying if you're not ready for the transition. Fortunately, there are some ways to help ease the burden of buying and selling at the same time, and the primary method is by way of a bridge loan.  

Just like it sounds, a bridge loan helps bridge the gap between selling your current home and buying another. Our real estate agents are familiar with the challenges you face when trying to sell your existing home and purchase a new home, so we've put together this guide on how to bridge the gap.

  • How Does a Bridge Loan Work?
    Bridge loans are meant to be short-term solutions to help you purchase your new home. Generally speaking, you can borrow up to 80% of the combined value of the two homes. The 20% gap will need to be made up with equity in your current home or cash. Unless you've got a substantial amount in liquidity, you're probably banking on having a good deal of equity in your current home.
     
  • Reasons to Use a Bridge Loan
    Bridge loans, while available, are still fairly rare in the grand scheme of home loans. But just because they're rare doesn't mean they aren't worth considering.

    One of the main reasons you may choose to use a bridge loan is to secure your position as a buyer when making an offer. Many times, offers and contracts on homes are contingent on the buyer securing the necessary financing. While this is common, it leaves a lot to be desired on the seller's side and practically gives a buyer a free out if their financing falls through.

    With a bridge loan, you're guaranteed the cash to purchase the home you're looking to buy, which can significantly improve your position while making an offer on a home.

  • Reasons to Avoid Bridge Loans
    Bridge loans, as we've already said, are considerably more unorthodox compared to conventional loans or other mortgage products. Knowing that, it's essential to realize that getting a bridge loan is wholly dependent on your credit, debt-to-income ratio, and a lender's willingness to give you the money. 

    Even if you are in a relatively favorable financial position, getting a bridge loan is basically like taking out two loans at the same time. This means that you'll likely have double the payment as long as you technically own both homes, which can be a big financial burden. Understandably, this burden is only for a short time, but the real estate market is far from certain.

    No matter how confident you are of selling your existing home, there is still an inherent risk that you'll be stuck with a bridge loan for longer than you ever intended.

Talk to a Real Estate Agent

If you're looking to sell your current home and upgrade to a new home, no matter if you're looking to a bridge loan or not, selling your home quickly is critical. Contact us today to get in touch with an agent and let one of our agents help you search Dallas homes for sale!

October
18

Forecasters – What to Expect Over Next 12 Months

Paige Shipp, regional director with housing analyst MetroStudy Inc. fears home sales might slow next year in the ramp up to presidential and congressional elections.  "We typically have much slower selling seasons right before an election," she said. "After that happens, the flood gates open and people come out. It's not a matter of who wins."   Worries about a recession may also impact the home market.  "We spent the better part of the last decade still looking over our shoulder," said George Ratiu, senior economist with Realtor.com.  "The last recession was so bad that we are still carrying some of the scars from that."   However, Dr. James Gaines, chief economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University states that Texas economy is still expanding.  "And we are extremely unlikely to be in a recession by the end of this calendar year," he said. "We are probably pretty safe through the first six months of next year."

  • Dallas Morning News, October 14, 2019

 

October
17

Too Few Moderate Homes; Too Many Upper-End Homes

The number of homes listed for sale with North Texas real estate agents has risen by about 15% this year. But they aren't in the price range most buyers want.  "The inventory is increasing at the upper end — $750,000 and above," Dr. James Gaines, chief economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University said. "If you have a well-located $300,000 house, you can sell it tomorrow. We are seeing evidence of price fatigue in the market."  D-FW home prices are up only about 3% so far in 2019 — nothing like the double-digit percentage home price gains of a couple of years ago.  "The recent spike in mortgage rates did expose how price sensitive the market is," said Paige Shipp, regional director with housing analyst MetroStudy Inc. "Things are not quite as rosy as they seem in terms of what people can afford."  Many home sellers haven't gotten the message, she said. "They want to list their house for more than their neighbors sold for and sell it overnight."  D-FW has an undersupply of homes priced below $250.000.

  • Dallas Morning News, October 14, 2019
September
23

Homebuyers: Is Multi-Generational Living Right for You?

Multi-Generational Living - RE/MAX DFW Associates

Life never stands still, and the single-family home occupied by the nuclear family unit doesn't work for everyone. There's a rising demand for multi-generation homes as younger adults stay at home longer, and families come together to take care of parents and grandparents in their retirement years. Today our real estate agents are providing you with all the information you need to decide if multi-generational living is right for your family.

What Is Multi-Generational Living? 

We're seeing a rising trend of multi-generational living spaces in our inventory of Dallas homes for sale, and it isn't surprising given the recent trends. Close to 25% of families are currently or have recently shared a multi-generational living arrangement. These are often younger couples starting families while still living at home with parents. In some cases, grandparents return to live with their children after the grandchildren have grown up and moved away. This can be in one large home or in multiple structures on the same property, such as the ever-popular "mother-in-law" suite.

There are several reasons why this living situation can be advantageous, as it allows multiple generations to pool their resources. and enjoy a standard of living that may not be available individually. It may also be an opportunity for home improvements to increase the value of the property. It also can be a boon for working adults as retired family members may help to take care of children and save the family a significant amount on childcare costs. This may seem like a recent development, but prior to the 1950s, it was common for three or more generations to share the same household. 

Why You Might Consider Multi-Generational Living

Some consider an adult still living with their parents a mark of failure, or a retired person moving back in with their children to be an act of interference. Both of these are unfair characterizations. Multi-generational living has concrete financial benefits, but trends show that financially successful families are also adopting the lifestyle as security in an uncertain economic climate.

The cost of living is getting more expensive while wages and benefits remain stagnant, and this is putting the squeeze on families that are seeing fewer opportunities to save money, invest, or plan for retirement. Having grandparents spend their hard-earned retirement with their children may be the only way for their children to save enough money for their retirement. Recent college graduates with student debt can benefit from having an additional generation to help with household expenses.  

The Warmth Of A Multi-Generational Household

Whether the current working generation needs help from their parents or the older generation is finding retirement income insufficient, they may find things are better together. Multi-generational living can heal old wounds and bind families closer together, allowing grandparents more precious time to spend with grandchildren. It can give young couples an opportunity to spend time with each other away from the kids on the weekends, building a stronger relationship. It can bring old-fashioned expertise and know-how into the home.

It can also build closer bonds of understanding between the generations, even as caregiving and chores become a shared responsibility. It may also be a bridge from renting to finally being able to make the leap into homeownership with older parties able to co-sign on loans as well as help to meet minimum household income requirements. 

What do you think? Is multi-generational living something that might work for you? RE/MAX DFW Associates can help you find your ideal home for more than one generation. Contact us today for more information on our listings.