Small figures can add up quickly when you’re buying or selling your home: home appraisals, loan origination fees, and new utility setup fees. We know not everyone is made of money, so here are a few options you can pursue to save money in the home buying and selling process.

1. Select how much agent support you need

In recent years, the real estate process has become much more personalized. Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, real estate brokerages are offering buyers and sellers more choices about the level of agent support that they need.

If you’re unsure of what to do and where to start, working with a real estate agent can help guide you through every step of the process, and make it stress-free. For sellers who are more experienced or willing to do some legwork, a more flexible listing package or going the for-sale-by-owner route may be enticing to help save on commissions.

Whichever you choose, pick the highest level of service you’ll need. (more…)

NAR’s recent generational survey uncovered some really interesting trends. For starters, more and more Millennials are eschewing urban life and heading for the burbs, where they can afford to buy a house. Though Millennials contributed the largest share of home buyers in 2017 at 36 percent, a shortage of single-family construction has kept aspiring homebuyers from making the move. Additionally, larger numbers of households are living a multi-generational lifestyle, with more younger Baby Boomers buying homes to house their adult children and their own parents. Even Gen X households are buying homes with the intent of having their parents under the same roof. 

Now that many Millennials have started to pay down their staggering student debt, more of them are starting families. According to NAR’s report, the share of Millennials with at least one child continues to grow. But for many Millennial households in America, their desire to become homeowners combined with slow wage growth and high housing costs have pushed many out of larger cities and toward the suburbs. In fact, 52 percent of Millennial homebuyers bought larger and more affordable properties in suburban locations. 

In fact, Thrillist just published a piece that speaks to this trend: “State of the Suburbs: Dallas.” Forced to look in every nook and cranny for a home they can afford, Millennials are now turning their eyes toward the close-in suburbs that might not get as much attention as the master-planned communities in Collin County, such as Duncanville, DeSoto, Garland, and Grand Prairie.  

Of course, a lot of these trends speak to life in Dallas, which has a very upwardly mobile workforce and a lot of Millennials. However, are we seeing a run on suburban living? We asked some of our most-trusted Realtors to find out. 

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home ownership

In a new national survey of renters, almost everyone dreams of home ownership, but affording it is not an option for many.

In Dallas, 97 percent of respondents claimed they want to own a home, but only 63 percent of those individuals could afford a mortgage in the city. The survey of 6,000 renters was created by Zumper, an apartment rental search company.

“The main contributing factor to this discrepancy seems to be that home values in Dallas are outpacing wage growth,” said Tanguy Le Louarn, head of data science at Zumper. “Various for sale reports in the Dallas area show an increase in home prices around 10 percent in the last year, some even report up to the mid double digits. Meanwhile, the Dallas Fed report recently stated that there has been a slow down in wage growth as higher paying jobs are being lost to lower paying ones—Dallas wages cannot keep up with the increasing home values.”

In fact, in a third of the surveyed cities, under half of renters earned enough income to qualify for a mortgage.

Interestingly, even though almost everyone surveyed wanted to buy, only 71 percent of respondents believe that the “American Dream” involves homeownership.

“While almost everyone wants to own a home at some point, the fact that only 71 percent of our respondents believe that the ‘American Dream’ involves homeownership highlights a potential shift in mentality of how this ideal can be achieved,” Le Louarn said. “While owning a home tends to be a good financial investment, it does not seem to be the end goal for as many people as it used to. Right now, homeownership is at its lowest ever and the renter population only continues to increase, especially among Millennials.”

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KESSLER PLAZA 2510 W 10th Street Front

It’s rare to find an adorable home at an affordable price in a North Oak Cliff neighborhood that is seeing dramatic price increases and appreciation. I mean, this area of Dallas is growing like gangbusters, attracting more and more Millennials, so prices are increasing along with gentrification.

But this home just west of Hampton Road in Kessler Plaza is not only a cutie from the curb, but it’s a tremendous value considering that in this area, similar homes are being marketed for much more — nearly $50,000 in some cases!

KESSLER PLAZA 2510 W 10th Street porch

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Floorplanet 1

I will never buy a home with a bathroom opening into a kitchen or dining room.  I will never buy a home with a fireplace in a corner, off-center or next to the front door.  I will never buy a home with an enclosed kitchen that can’t be opened, nor one requiring off-site laundry.  Deal-breakers — we all have them for every aspect of our lives.  I won’t date smokers or the tattooed.  I won’t buy a non-white car.  Of course my deal-breakers are someone else’s checkbox item.  One man’s trash … blah, blah, blah.

Agents, how many times have you shown a property, and within seconds heard “no” from a buyer? How much of your and your buyer’s time has been wasted getting to that visceral “no”? The home buying process has already been made more efficient by using the MLS and creating listings that offer pictures, virtual tours, room and lot dimensions, school districts, and the like.   So why doesn’t the average U.S. home listing include a floor plan while other countries do?

Oh, and it’s doubly maddening to see high-rise listings without a floor plan when all that’s typically required is a stop by the front desk to pick up a copy.

In order to move the needle a bit, I’ve looked into the costs and offers of three companies offering a floor plan creation service specifically for real estate agents. (more…)

PeteAmaya2

We love hearing stories that really put a face on the good people in the home loan industry, which is why we’re so thrilled to feature Pete Amaya of Guardian Mortgage Company on the blog today. He’s this month’s Guardian Angel, and we love that he’s putting down roots in Prosper, building a new home, and using Guardian Mortgage as his lender. If that’s not loyalty, we don’t know what is!

Jump to read more about Amaya, who is quite the gardening enthusiast, and why he chose a career with Guardian Mortgage Company.

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unmarried couples property rights

It has been said that falling in love consists of uncorking the imagination and bottling the common sense, and for many couples, buying a house together is an experience driven by excitement and emotion, especially in a market as hot as ours.

When a married couple in Texas buys a house, community property laws offer each person equal rights, responsibilities, and protections for their investment. But with more than 12 million unmarried partners living together in the U.S., and almost 13 percent of those being same-sex couples unable to get married in some states, it makes sense that the number of unmarried couples buying a house together is increasing.

For the unprepared couple, buying a house may mean buying trouble, too, as they fail to plan for the possibility of the relationship failing.

Dallas Realtor Franceanna Campagna has observed that firsthand with her clients.

“The home buying process is such an exciting and usually happy one, particularly for the first-time homebuyers, that people don’t like to drag in the three Ds of real estate: death, disaster, or divorce,” Campagna said. “However, I always advise clients that financial planning and estate planning is the best way to protect themselves and their investments from future unknowns.”

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It has been said that falling in love consists of uncorking the imagination and bottling the common sense, and for many couples, buying a house together is an experience driven by excitement and emotion, especially in a market as hot as ours.

When a married couple in Texas buys a house, community property laws offer each person equal rights, responsibilities, and protections for their investment. But with more than 12 million unmarried partners living together in the U.S., and almost 13 percent of those being same-sex couples unable to get married in some states, it makes sense that the number of unmarried couples buying a house together is increasing.

For the unprepared couple, buying a house may mean buying trouble, too, as they fail to plan for the possibility of the relationship failing.

Dallas Realtor Franceanna Campagna has observed that firsthand with her clients.

“The home buying process is such an exciting and usually happy one, particularly for the first-time homebuyers, that people don’t like to drag in the three Ds of real estate: death, disaster, or divorce,” Campagna said. “However, I always advise clients that financial planning and estate planning is the best way to protect themselves and their investments from future unknowns.”

(more…)