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August
23

Dallas-Fort Worth Only U.S. Market Where Home Sale Prices Dropped Last Month

The North Texas housing market is downshifting quickly, with Dallas-Fort Worth being the only U.S. market to see a decrease in home sale prices last month, according to a report released today.  DFW home prices are down 1.9% year over year in July, according to the latest Re/Max National Housing Report.

 

And what a difference a month makes.  Last month, DFW led the U.S. for home price increases, with June prices up 29.3% over the previous year.   In hard numbers, home sales prices in DFW fell to $413,900 in July from $422,000 in July 2021.   Homes in DFW spend an average of 23 days on the market before selling.

 

Higher interest rates and inflation, as well as record home prices, triggered a sharp drop in demand for housing, said Todd Luong, a realtor with Re/Max DFW Associates:  "Here at our Re/Max office in Dallas-Fort Worth, our listings are currently getting on average 2.7 showings per week," Luong said. "Last year, at this same time, our listings were earning on average 5.9 showings per week. That is a huge drop in buyer demand compared to the previous year. Record home prices and higher mortgage rates have forced many potential buyers out of the market, especially first-time homebuyers."

 

While the latest trends may disappoint some sellers, buyers now have more choices and better opportunities for good deals, Luong said.   Luong said that the DFW housing market has been challenged with low inventory for years and reached an all-time low earlier this year, with only a two-week supply. Now, however, inventory is increasing.  "Although buyers have more choices now, it is still not a balanced market as we only have about a two-month housing supply," Luong said. "In a normal market, you have about a five to six-month supply of housing."

 

A new report from Zillow also found falling home values, although the numbers didn't match Re/Max's precisely because of different study methods and different geographic definitions of DFW as a metro area, among other reasons.  According to Zillow's findings, the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area's typical home value is $396,904, down 1.1% since June, the first month of decline. Values are up 55.4% since July 2019.

 

Zillow also reported that the mortgage payment on a typical home in DFW is $2,633 a month, including taxes and insurance. That's up 77.4% compared to July 2019.

According to Zillow, inventory in DFW has risen 10.2% since June, and the share of listings with a price cut in July was 22%, compared to 15.6% in June.  Nationwide, after two years of unprecedented growth, home values fell for the first time since 2012 as competition for houses eased, according to Zillow's July market report.

 

The slowdown is being driven by decreased competition among buyers. Zillow's analysis says that affordability pressures have pushed many to the sidelines, and buyers are waiting in the wings to resume their search if and when prices relax a bit.  Skylar Olsen, Zillow's chief economist, called the flattening of home values "a badly needed rebalancing.  This slowdown is about discouraged buyers pulling back after the affordability shock from higher rates," Olsen said. "As prices soften, many will renew their interest, and we will continue our progress back to 'normal.'"

 

Luong said he sees positive signs in the market.  The interest rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage dropped below 5% after peaking in June. More than 290,000 new jobs were added in Dallas-Fort Worth last year, so North Texas has one of the strongest labor markets in the country.   "Reasonably priced homes that are in good condition and move-in ready are still selling very fast," he said. "However, the bidding wars have subsided considerably across the board."

  • Dallas Business Journal, August 19, 2022
April
18

Kitchen Features Bakers Will Love

Baking Updates

Do you love baking but wish your kitchen was more functional for your culinary needs? Or, do you want to create a space that makes it easier for you to bake your favorite dishes?

By making a few simple changes to your kitchen, you can improve the functionality and efficiency of your kitchen. Our real estate agents know that many of these projects will make your home more appealing to potential buyers.

Here are some features and additions that we recommend to make your kitchen more baking-friendly. 

  1. Add Storage Accessories to Your Cabinets for Your Sheet Pans and Baking Equipment
    If you have to dig through your cabinets to find a specific piece of baking equipment, outfit your cabinets with pullout shelves or drawers. This makes it easy for you to find the pan or baking sheet you're looking for without having to pull every single item out. Pullout shelves also work well for housing heavy appliances, like your stand mixer or bread machine, when they aren't in use, so you have more counter space. 
  1. Integrate Open Shelving into Your Kitchen Design
    Open shelving is an excellent way to store and display items that you frequently use when baking, like measuring cups and mixing bowls. If you have any bakeware with a gorgeous design that can also function as decor (like ceramic pieces in a vibrant color or print or items in a seasonal holiday print), open shelves are a terrific option to show them off. Or, perhaps you have cookbooks or family recipes that you utilize during your baking sessions. Open shelves work well for housing cookbooks or even displaying a written family recipe as a decorative piece. Many buyers find open shelving appealing, making this a smart addition before you add your home to the inventory of Fort Worth homes for sale
  1. Opt for Pull-Out Cabinets to Store Baking Ingredients
    If you're willing to consider more dramatic upgrades, pullout cabinets are a versatile addition that enables you to set up a more functional baking station. While pullout cabinets are frequently used for trashcans, another idea is to use them to house baking supplies that you might purchase in large quantities, like different types of flour and sugar. The design of a pullout cabinet is perfect for housing containers to store your baking ingredients. Another benefit of adding pullout cabinets is that they're a buyer-friendly upgrade when you add your home to the list of Dallas homes for sale
  1. Set Up a Kitchen Island
    A kitchen island is an excellent alternative for expanding your counter space so that you have more room for preparing your recipes, decorating cakes and cookies, and sampling your finished product. While you can install a kitchen island that utilizes your current cabinets and counters, this isn't your only option. Many furniture retailers sell rolling kitchen islands that add extra prep space and allow you to move the island according to your culinary needs. 

Want a home with a larger kitchen so that you have additional space for baking? Contact us today to get started!

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.

July
12

5 Ways to Upgrade Your Kitchen

Dallas Kitchen Upgrades

Love to cook? If so, you may be looking for a dream kitchen among Fort Worth homes for sale. You probably have some good ideas about what you want in a kitchen, but our real estate agents have some insightful advice that might make you reconsider what you're looking for. For instance, many homeowners think large when it comes to kitchen space, but experts say it's more important for your kitchen to be organized than to be expansive.

Make the most of your kitchen with these upgrades.

  1. Create a Good Workflow
    Gathering guests in the kitchen while you cook is a definite trend, but you want to arrange things so your guests can enjoy visiting and not be in the way. Place them nearby where they can enjoy a drink or some snacks, but not where you have to work around them. Plan for your cooktop to be out of the flow of traffic; take that a step further and locate the trash or the bar away from the cooking flow so you don't have to dance around obstructions. By the same token, you want essentials nearby, such as the refrigerator, pots and pans, most favored utensils, and cooking ingredients.

  2. Invest in Good Counters
    You want good quality counters, but that doesn't mean you need to invest in the most expensive materials. For instance, granite is popular, but it requires considerable upkeep and can scratch easily. Another popular material is soapstone, which is soft and can be scratched, but it's not delicate. It also ages nicely and can stand high heat. Compressed recycled quartz is a popular choice that stands up to wear and comes in several choices.

  3. Go for Quality Cookware
    Forget those 20-piece cookware sets. Rather, buy piece by piece and only buy what you need. For instance, you're likely going to use a frying pan or skillet more than, say, a saucier, so do invest in one that's of good quality. But investing in an inexpensive non-stick skillet for daily egg cooking isn't a bad idea. You can save the quality piece for the gourmet dishes, and just let the non-stick go when it wears out.  

    A cast-iron skillet is one way to acquire a quality piece that doesn't cost much. These last forever. You might also want to invest in a fully clad pot, which means it's composed of three layers of bonded metal. These pots are known for even transmittal of heat, which translates to nice browning instead of hot spots.

  4. Think Bold
    While white kitchens with a bold pop of color or two have prevailed over recent years, the trend may be shifting to more adventurous colors. For instance, bright blue cabinetry might call to you, as might a green marble countertop or a backsplash that makes an eye-catching statement. If you know you're staying in your current home, choose the colors that appeal most to you.

  5. Consider Sustainability 
    The throw-away syndrome is something we all need to lose, and no better place to start than in your kitchen upgrade. As you look to redo your kitchen, shop for quality, artisanal, sustainably made items that will last a lifetime. For example, consider adding quality food storage solutions to get rid of plastic wrap usage.

Still looking for a home complete with the perfect kitchen for all your culinary adventures? Our agents can help. Contact us today.

August
31

Don't Let Your Credit Score Hold You Back from Your First Home

Credit Score - First-Time Homebuyers – RE/MAX DFW Associates

Our real estate agents here at RE/MAX DFW Associates know that sellers have been bouncing back in our area for weeks now. It's about time for buyers to join the excitement and check out all of the great Dallas homes for sale that are hitting the market!

And that market is right for first-time home buyers.

Many people put off the decision to buy a home because they aren't sure about their finances or worry about their credit. With historic low interest rates, however, now's the time to test the waters. If you're interested in buying a home, you can begin working on your credit and make a big difference.

Your credit score is a numerical rating that helps lenders understand your financial habits. A higher credit score represents someone who is more likely to pay debts on time, making them a safer bet. 

Although your credit score is important, it doesn't have to be perfect!

By starting the right habits today, you can make a significant difference in your credit even if you only have a few weeks or months before you apply for a mortgage loan. Current "creditworthy" behavior is often weighed more heavily by lenders than any credit problems you had in the past.

Here's how you can get off to the right start by building your credit:

  1. Check Your Credit Report for Mistakes
    Your credit score is derived from information in your credit report, which can be hundreds of pages long. It lists all your current debts and obligations as well as your payment history. You can access your report for free online once a year – contest any mistakes you find and you could gain a few credit points.

  2. Pay Debts in Full If You Can
    If you have a few credit cards you can pay off quickly, go for it! Reducing the amount of total credit you use (while still having access to it) raises your score. For larger debts, it's best to start with the card that has the highest APR, then go on to the next highest, and so on in order.

  3. Put Other Plans on Pause for Now
    When you're looking for a new home, pump the brakes on a new auto loan or any other major debts. If you get approved for other financing, it can throw off your debt-to-income ratio, which makes it harder to get the best mortgage interest rates. A better rate could save you thousands of dollars!

  4. Mop Up Older Debts
    When it comes to debt, it's always best to communicate, agree on a payment plan, or make partial payment. If any debts fall into collections, always deal with those first. If you pay off a debt that has been around for a while, be sure you get written proof showing that it is paid in full.

  5. Revisit Your Budget
    Opportunities to spend less can help you improve your credit when the money you save goes to your debts. It's always a wise idea to take a close look at your budget and see if anything could be changed. That can give you a head start on writing a household budget and finding a great, affordable home.

  6. Use Programs for First-Time Buyers
    The federal government has created many different programs for first-time buyers. These allow buyers with lower credit scores to access funding with low or no down payment, and are often insured by the government, helping lenders and borrowers alike.

Getting a great mortgage starts with finding the right home – and there's no better ally than RE/MAX DFW Associates. Contact us to learn more.

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. 

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!

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. 

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