Forget keeping up with the Joneses; kids these days just want to blow the Joneses out of the water.

Forget keeping up with the Joneses; kids these days just want to blow the Joneses out of the water.

Many consumers have spent too much on a luxury handbag, or signed on for a car payment that might require a regular phone call to Mom and Dad. But the price tag of appearing successful, wealthy, and independent has just gone up, as a new Bankrate.com survey shows that 30 million homebuyers have felt pressured to overspend on a home.

The survey also accounts for how peer pressure comes into play when shopping for things like school supplies or holiday gifts.

Ted Rossman, an industry analyst with Creditcards.com, said potential homebuyers should remember to identify costs beyond what’s posted on the “for sale” sign.

“You need to be careful not to overextend yourself, and you need to account for taxes, insurance and maintenance,” Rossman said. “But what feels like a stretch at first could become a much more reasonable monthly payment over time. That’s because your income could very well go up, and assuming you opt for a fixed-rate mortgage, that payment will remain static. So you’re insulating yourself from inflation in a way that renters are unable to do. Property taxes and construction costs generally go up over time, so factor that in, particularly if you’re planning major home improvements.”

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homeIt takes about a year and a half for a home to hit the buy-rent breakeven horizon in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, research by Zillow economists for the first quarter of 2018 revealed.

The Zillow Buy-Rent Breakeven Horizon measures the amount of time it takes for owning a home to make more financial sense than renting the same home. (more…)

avocado toast

Is this avocado toast the only thing standing between you and homeownership? (Photo courtesy Wikipedia Commons)

It was the sternly worded lecture heard ‘round the Millennial world — give up avocado toast if you want to buy a house.

And almost as soon as Australian real estate developer Tim Gurner’s words trilled over the airwaves, the debate began: Was it really a matter of just not being frugal and smart, or was Gurner being dismissive of a larger problem because, well, he’s rich and out of touch?

Many felt insulted, and some skewered the claim in humorous fashion (just check Twitter, where people are still clapping back). An article fact-checking the claim also revealed that no, it’s not as easy as just not buying coffee and avocados, too.

“In fact, research suggests that people from 18-to-34, a group often referred to as Millennials, are no more freewheeling with their spending on travel and dining than other generations,” the article on CNBC.com revealed. “And it would take a lot of skipped avocados to put a dent in the heavy costs of homeownership, which is not always a prudent financial goal.”

The same article found that Millennials spend about $305 more than Baby Boomers per year on eating out. “The truth is, even if Millennials assumed the eating-out habits of Baby Boomers, it would take around 113 years before they could afford a down payment on a home,” the article added.

“If you gave up every healthy smashed avocado sprinkled with creamy Feta, it would save you a mere $176 per month,” another piece at CBS News’ Moneywatch found. “At today’s paltry interest rates, that’s likely to net you just $11,000 in five years, which isn’t enough for a car, much less a house.”

So with all that in mind, we found the perfect couple to weigh in. Bob and Kimberly Sinnott. Bob owns Toasted, a restaurant in Dallas that sells (among other things) avocado toast. Kimberly is a local Realtor.

I mean, really — how many other couples do you know that would combine to be the perfect source for a story about avocado toast and homebuying? None. The answer is none.

Because the two are busy (they are also brave souls who moderate a bustling and sometimes fractious Facebook group for Lakewood and Lakewood-adjacent residents), we shot them some questions via email, and they responded.

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Amy Vanderoef

Amy Vanderoef and her son

Amy Vanderoef is a well-known personality to DFW. She is best known from her role as the Emmy-nominated host on WFAA’s Good Morning Texas and on-air talent on the Rodney Anderson Show on Talk Radio 1190 AM. Her television career has taken her everywhere from the set of Dancing with the Stars, to ABC’s The View and countless red carpet events.

Amy Vanderoef

Amy Vanderoef

This single mom recently started her homebuying journey with Ebby Halliday Realtor Peter Loudis, one of the top producers in Ebby’s Lakewood-Lake Highlands office.

She’s documenting her adventure on social media as @Amyvanderoef, including her blog at  AmyVanderoef.com.

“Amy has decided to take the plunge into homeownership and she searched for a local real estate expert and came across my name,” Loudis said. “She is looking for a new home in East Dallas and wanted to track her journey and give a real account of the homebuying process.”

Choosing a brokerage was an essential part of Vanderoef’s homebuying process.

“Having my Ebby Halliday team by my side has made all of the difference – their knowledge and confidence in this housing market allows me to enjoy the process while they lead the way,” she said. “Peter Loudis came highly recommended as an award-winning industry leader, and he’s a family man, which is important, too. He has been amazing to work with!”

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ebby halliday app

Consumers, especially Millennials, are changing up their house-hunting strategies. More than ever, buyers are relying on smartphone apps to discover available properties and narrow down their searches before getting in touch with a real estate professional.

Ebby Halliday Realtors has been on the leading edge of technology in the North Texas real estate market since they introduced a searchable website in the 1990s. Many brokerages weren’t even online then.

They are again shaping the technology landscape in real estate with the Ebby Halliday Realtors app, offering a plethora of powerful features and user-friendly components.

“The Ebby app is a natural extension of our website, ebby.com, said Randall Graham, vice president and director of marketing for Ebby Halliday Realtors. “We are dedicated to meeting all of our clients’ needs by providing advanced interactive mapping for consumers on the go.”

The app is proof of their expertise in the area of technology, showing Ebby “gets” the needs of modern buyers, particularly Millennials.

“This innovative app provides information in a natural way starting with a map, not a menu,” said Graham. “Just a few of the functions available to Ebby app users on the go include the ability to immediately find open houses and newly listed properties, and it’s easy to perform detailed searches and to share properties of interest with friends or your Realtor.”

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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.”

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IMG_7045

Downtown San Antonio’s Dolorosa Bridge as seen from the Riverwalk

I have a few friends that moved to San Antonio after college. One of them is an architect and the other was a medical student. Both were initially bummed about moving to the Alamo City. It was so different from Houston and Austin and Dallas. They weren’t sure they would like it. They didn’t know a lot of people there.

I now see them post cool photos of cycling trips, historic buildings, trips to local watering holes and parks … they either learned to love San Antonio, or they busted their bottom to build the momentum the city needed to be a cool place. And you know what? More and more Millennials are doing the same thing, opting for San Antonio and Houston over Dallas and Austin according to Trulia’s dissection of U.S. Census Bureau surveys.

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