Dallas TX Real Estate Blog

March 1, 2018

Don't let scammers steal your downpayment [INFOGRAPHIC]

Unforuntately, in the digital age we live in, financial scams have become a fact of life. Primarily, wire fraud has become a real threat to any real estate transaction.

This infographic explains common wire fraud scams, how to protect yourself, and what to do if you suspect wire fraud.

Wire Fraud Threatens Real Estate Transaction

 

 

Feb. 28, 2018

Dallas Market Report January 2018

Last year, U.S. consumers seemed to be operating with cautious optimism. Salary wages were edging upwards and home buying activity was competitive, especially in the affordable segment. Not much has changed in 2018 but there are some concerns about interest rates increasing by 1% by the end of 2018. For consumers contemplating a major expense like a home purchase, that is another factor adding to the high emotions that go with the purchase.

Here is a graphic snapshot about the Dallas and wider North Texas market:

NTREIS JAN 2018

It has now been several years of rising prices and low inventory. Those who bought a home and overpaid to get the deal seem to be satisfied with their decision. As sellers attempt to cash out on rising prices, I am observing buyers being more selective.

New Listings were up in the North Texas region 3.3 percent to 10,685. Pending Sales increased 1.6 percent to 8,193. Inventory shrank 2.6 percent to 20,862 units. Prices moved higher as Median Sales Price was up 4.9 percent to $235,000. Days on Market increased 6.1 percent to 52. Months Supply of Inventory was down 4.3 percent to 2.2 months, indicating that demand increased relative to supply.

Feb. 27, 2018

NTREIS MLS: A Homebuyer's Online Guide

Understanding List Status in the North Texas MLS 

MLS (Multiple Listing Service) for Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex

In the event that you never heard of the term "MLS", here's a concise guide on what it is, its history and how your real estate agent uses it. The real estate business has an alphabet soup of abbreviations but here in North Texas, the MLS uses the latest and greatest in technologies to support the real estate ecosystem of Dallas and its surrounding areas.  

A multiple listing service (MLS) is a list exchange service utilized by licensed real estate professionals and is actually the source of nearly all property listings for Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com.  For several decades, real estate brokers have been cooperating together by exchanging listing information in a Multiple Listing Service (MLS), hence enabling them to syndicate their data to local brokerage and agent websites. Under this arrangement, the selling and listing agent benefit by sharing and consolidating data, and it allows websites like www.NTX-Houses.com to expose home listings to as many buyers as possible, which in essence maximizes the possibility of selling these homes for maximum price. Before the internet was invented, MLSs uses MLS books and later on, CD/ROM and other media to distribute the information and the internet now simply took the MLS to a whole new level.  

North Texas Real Estate Information System

Most North Texas real estate associations rules require that agents and brokers accurately report the status of listings and promptly report changes in that status. Real estate agent is required to make status changes in the NTREIS MLS within 3 days. This helps maintain the integrity of the data being presented and so before you look at a property on Zillow and get all excited, look it up on www.NTX-Houses.com and there is a chance that listing may not show up  on this website.  Not because our website is lacking in inventory but because Zillow and other competing portals may have out of date listings and in some instances, fake listings so buyer beware. 

Following is a list of codes that you may encounter when you are reviewing home listings on www.NTX-Houses.com:

ACTIVE - Property is available for purchase.

ACTIVE OPTION - Property is under contract with an option but may accept back-up offers and showing requests. Once the option expires, the status must be changed and typically moves to the next step (PENDING) in the process and deal becomes firm or it goes back to market. 

ACTIVE CONTINGENT - Property is under contract with a contingency but maybe available for showings and back-up contracts. Contingencies may be due to to Sale of Other Property but they can be almost anything. Typical contingencies may also include: lender approval required (as in a short sale), bank financing and property inspections. This status is usually used until all contingencies have been met and removed. In the case of financing, this could potentially remain active until closing. 

ACTIVE KICKOUT - Property is under contract contingent upon the sale of another property but maybe available for showings and back-up contracts. If a better offer is presented, the original offer could be kicked out if the contingency has not been removed. It all depends on the executed contract.

PENDING - Property is under contract with no more showings. 

SOLD - Property has been sold and is now out of the market. Real estate agent is required to make status changes in the NTREIS MLS within 3 days.

Feb. 25, 2018

Where is East Plano vs West Plano?

Most people read first about Plano and when they start house hunting, they start hearing about "West Plano", "East Plano" and the occasional "Central Plano".

Here is my perspective: All over the DFW metro, there are desirable parts to any town and there are not as desirable. Some people desire amenities, restaurants, nightlife... others desire diversity whether demographic or income... others desire affluence, status and great schools. People are different in what they desire and often times are limited by what they can afford.

So, for better or worse, here is my humble opinion as a Realtor:

  • East Plano is East of US-75 aka Central Expressway
  • West Plano is West of Coit Road (some will say Ohio, depends on who you speak to)
  • Central Plano is between US75 and Coit Road.

The above divides pretty much follow the attendance zones for the three senior high schools. Coit is the main road that follows the zone descriptions. However, as with real estate, change is the only constant.

The homes in West Plano are on average more expensive than typical Plano homes. The neighborhoods are newer, but many are also built to be highly exclusive and very upscale. Residents count "easy access to the Dallas North Tollway" as a big advantage for commuters allowing them access to most employment centers including Downtown Dallas within 20 minutes. But don't get me wrong, Plano West is a great high school but so is the Plano ISD system in general. I would never wish to give the impression that West Plano schools are the only reason to move there.

Feb. 23, 2018

Report: 61% of Buyers Closed on Their First Home in 2017 with only a Down Payment of 6% or Less

Among the first hurdles that home buyers have to to content with is saving for a down payment. 

Traditionally, if you had a 20% down payment, a buyer can secure financing and buy a property.  However, for a lot of folks dreaming about purchasing a home, this can represent a huge upfront investment putting home ownership out of reach.

If your creditworthiness is strong enough, then a 20% down payment may not be required at all to buy a house.  Actually, in some instances you do not even require a 10 percent down payment.  According to the National Association of Realtors: During 2017, a good 61 percent of first-time buyers bought a home with a down payment of 6 percent or less.

FHA loans represent the best low-down-payment mortgage option for many first-time home buyers and is making home ownership a reality for a new generation of homeowners.  The FHA program is great for folks possessing the financial means to responsibly pay their mortgage payments but may not have 20 percent down payment to get into the market.

The Takeaway

Do not let the prospect of a hefty down payment push you away from home ownership since it is in my opinion the most consistent wealth builder right now.  Begin talking to creditors and let's say that you don't have enough cash for a down payment, sometimes these lenders have access to down-payment assistance programs that make the potential for owning a house within your reach.

Feb. 22, 2018

Mortgage Rates Expected To Rise by End of 2018

Buying a home in Dallas TX is about to get more expensive for every home buyer.

Mortgage Rates Rise in 2018According to Freddie Mac's most recent report, mortgage interest rates are widely expected to rise in 2018. The rate for a 30-yr fixed-rate mortgage was 3.9% in Q4 of 2017, and it is expected to jump an entire point to 4.9% by the end of 2018 with many analysts expecting this to happen with a series of 0.25% incremental jumps. Now you maybe asking yourself: Hmm, one percentage point is not much really?

Let's do the math because it makes a huge difference in how much you’ll pay for your home over the length of your mortgage. Let's say you took out a $300,000 30-yr fixed rate mortgage, your monthly payment at 3.9% would be $1,415. At 4.9%, it would be $1,592 – and you’d pay a mind-boggling $63,720 more in interest over the course of the loan. In hindsight, those who paid $5,000 more than asking price to get into a home may have gotten a great deal so if you’re on the fence about buying, now is the time to get off the fence and get into the market.

If you keep pushing off buying a home until the end of the year, you may very possibly face higher mortgage rates and end up paying tens of thousands of dollars more for your home than you need to.