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June 1, 2020

2020 Outlook: Real Estate Market Forecast

2020 Outlook: Real Estate Market Forecast

  

We’re in the midst of the longest economic expansion in U.S. history, and economists think there’s still room to grow. A recent survey by the National Association for Business Economics found that experts believe the U.S. economy will remain positive throughout 2020.1

 

Still, given that recessions are a natural (and necessary) part of a business cycle, we know this period of growth will inevitably end. So you may be wondering … how will an eventual recession impact the real estate market?

 

Many Americans assume a recession would lead to a decline in housing prices like we saw during the Great Recession of 2008. But the real estate market crash we experienced wasn’t typical. In fact, the last recession wasn’t typical at all. It was the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

 

ATTOM Data Solutions analyzed real estate prices during the last five recessions and found that, in the majority of cases, home prices actually went up. Only twice (in 1990 and 2008) did prices decline, and in 1990 it was by less than one percent.2

 

So what can historical precedent—combined with today’s data—tell us about the future of real estate? Here’s where experts predict the housing market is headed in 2020 and beyond.

  

HOME PRICES WILL KEEP RISING

 Economists predict U.S. housing prices will continue to rise, regardless of a recession. In fact, property data firm CoreLogic forecasts a faster rate of growth for home prices in 2020 than we saw in 2019, with the biggest gains at the lower end of the market.3

 

Arch MI Chief Economist Ralph DeFranco expects entry-level home prices to increase faster than incomes this year, making it even more difficult for many first-time buyers to afford to enter the market.4

 

“Low interest rates and a shortage of starter homes will continue to push up prices,” predicts DeFranco. “This is especially the case for lower price points, since builders have tended to focus on more expensive, higher-profit houses and less on replenishing low inventories of entry-level homes.”4

 

“Real estate is on firm ground with little chance of price declines,” said National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. "However, in order for the market to be healthier, more supply is needed to assure home prices as well as rents do not consistently outgrow income gains.”5

 

What does it mean for you? If you have the ability and desire to buy a home now, don’t let a fear of recession or falling prices hold you in limbo. Economists expect home values, as well as rent prices, to continue rising. So you’ll likely pay more the longer you wait.

 

 INVENTORY CONSTRAINTS WILL CONTINUE

 According to Redfin, Americans are staying in their homes longer. In 2019, the average homeowner had resided in their home for 13 years, up from just eight years in 2010. That means there are fewer homes available today for those who want to buy.6

 

It’s possible that an increase in new construction could offer some relief. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) expects single-family housing starts to total one million this year, the highest level since 2007. And NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun predicts the average price of new construction will decline slightly as builders shift to building smaller, more affordable homes.7

 

However, these efforts may not be enough to meet current demand. “Despite improvements to new construction and short waves of sellers, next year will once again fail to bring a solution to the inventory shortage,” predicts Realtor.com Senior Economist George Ratiu. “In 2020, we expect inventory to struggle to grow and could instead reach a historic low level.”8

 

What does it mean for you? If you’re looking to buy a starter home, be prepared to compete for the best listings. Start your search early, and if you’re up against a deadline (like a new baby), build in plenty of time to find the right home. We can help you assess your options, including new construction and up-and-coming developments.

  

MORTGAGE RATES WILL REMAIN LOW

 Mortgage rates have declined more than a full percentage point since November 2018, when they hit a recent peak of 4.94%.9 The Mortgage Bankers Association predicts rates will remain low, at around 3.7%, through mid-2021.10

 

While it may not seem significant, on a $200,000 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, that lower rate means buyers could save around $145 on their monthly payment and more than $52,000 over the life of their mortgage. Lower mortgage rates make homeownership more accessible and affordable for buyers.

 

Although economists expect mortgage rates to stay low, they caution against waiting to act. Economic factors, shifts in supply and demand, or unforeseen impacts of the November election could cause rates to rise unexpectedly. “We recommend borrowers with long-term plans of staying in their homes to lock in a low rate now because there’s no telling how long these low rates will last,” warns Preetam Purohit, a capital markets trader at Embrace Home Loans.11

 

What does it mean for you? If you’re looking to buy a home, act soon to lock in a historically low mortgage rate. It will minimize your monthly payment and could save you a bundle over the long term. And if you plan to stay in your current home for a while, consider whether it makes sense to refinance your mortgage at today’s lower rates.

 

 

MILLENNIALS WILL DRIVE THE MARKET

 Millennials are expected to account for more than half of all mortgages this year, outnumbering Generation X and Baby Boomers combined. It’s not surprising, considering their age and stage of life. In 2020, the largest cohort of millennials will turn 30, and the oldest millennials will turn 39.8

 

"Family changes tend to drive home-buying decisions," explains Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale. "Millennials are going to be active in the housing market not just because they're just at the age when they're thinking about becoming first-time home buyers, but they're also in the age range when they're having kids."12

 

Younger millennials flocked to urban centers that offered easy access to work, shopping, and restaurants. But high prices, lack of square footage, and subpar schools are driving millennials out to the suburbs as they begin to marry and expand their families.

 

In response, a new model for suburban living has emerged. “Hipsturbias,” or mixed-use communities that bring the live/work/play concept to the suburbs, were recently named one of the top real estate trends for 2020 by the Urban Land Institute.4

 

What does it mean for you? If you’re a millennial who has been priced out of urban living or is looking for more space for your growing family, a number of suburbs in our area have a lot to offer. We can point you towards the communities that will best meet your needs. And if you’re a homeowner with plans to sell, give us a call. We know how to market your home to millennials … and can help you sell quickly for top dollar by appealing to this leading market segment!

 

 WE’RE HERE TO GUIDE YOU

 While national real estate numbers can provide a “big picture” outlook, real estate is local. As local market experts, we can guide you through the ins and outs of our market and the issues most likely to impact sales and home values in your particular neighborhood.

 

If you’re considering buying or selling a home in 2020, contact us now to schedule a free consultation. We’ll work with you to develop an action plan to meet your real estate goals this year.

 

START PREPARING TODAY


If you plan to BUY this year:

 

  1. Get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you plan to finance part of your home purchase, getting pre-approved for a mortgage will give you a jump-start on the paperwork and provide an advantage over other buyers in a competitive market. The added bonus: you will find out how much you can afford to borrow and budget accordingly.
  2. Create your wish list. How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need? How far are you willing to commute to work? What’s most important to you in a home? We can set up a customized search that meets your criteria to help you find the perfect home for you.
  3. Come to our office. The buying process can be tricky. We’d love to guide you through it. We can help you find a home that fits your needs and budget, all at no cost to you. Give us a call to schedule an appointment today!

 

If you plan to SELL this year:

 

  1. Call us for a FREE Comparative Market Analysis. A CMA not only gives you the current market value of your home, it will also show how your home compares to others in the area. This will help us determine which repairs and upgrades may be required to get top dollar for your property, and it will help us price your home correctly once you’re ready to list.
  2. Prep your home for the market. Most buyers want a home they can move into right away, without having to make extensive repairs and upgrades. We can help you determine which ones are worth the time and expense to deliver maximum results.
  3. Start decluttering. Help your buyers see themselves in your home by packing up personal items and things you don’t use regularly and storing them in an attic or storage locker. This will make your home appear larger, make it easier to stage ... and get you one step closer to moving when the time comes!

 

Sources:

1.      NBC News -
https://www.nbcnews.com/business/economy/what-impending-recession-new-survey-shows-most-people-think-they-n1098511

2.      Curbed -
https://www.curbed.com/2019/1/10/18139601/recession-impact-housing-market-interest-rates

3.      HousingWire  -
https://www.housingwire.com/articles/corelogic-expects-home-prices-to-do-this-in-the-next-12-months/

4.      Forbes -
https://www.forbes.com/sites/alyyale/2019/11/15/2020-housing-outlook-expert-predictions-for-mortgage-rates-home-prices-tech-and-more/#343ea4522935

5.      National Association of Realtors -
https://www.nar.realtor/newsroom/expect-continued-economic-growth-slower-real-estate-price-gains-and-small-chance-for-recession-in

6.      Redfin -
https://www.redfin.com/blog/homeowners-staying-in-their-homes-longer/

7.      HousingWire -
https://www.housingwire.com/articles/builders-are-coming-to-the-housing-markets-rescue/

8.      Realtor.com -
https://www.realtor.com/research/2020-national-housing-forecast/

9.      YCharts -
https://ycharts.com/indicators/30_year_mortgage_rate

10.   MBA Mortgage Market Forecast November 2019  -
https://www.mba.org/news-research-and-resources/research-and-economics/forecasts-and-commentary

11.   Dallas Morning News -
https://www.dallasnews.com/sponsored/real-estate/2019/11/23/experts-predict-where-mortgage-interest-rates-land-in-2020/

 

12.   Realtor.com -
https://www.realtor.com/news/trends/biggest-changes-coming-in-2020-real-estate-and-tips-for-buyers-and-sellers/

Posted in Market Updates
May 11, 2020

Top 10 Myths That Trip Up First-Time Home Buyers

Top 10 Myths That Trip Up First-Time Home Buyers

If you’re thinking about buying a home, you’ve probably received your share of advice from family and friends. Add to that the constant stream of TV shows, news segments, and social media posts that over-simplify the home buying process for easy entertainment.

 

With so much information to sift through, it can be tough to distinguish fact from fiction. That’s why we’re revealing the truth behind some of the most common home buyer myths and misconceptions.

 

Buying a home is a big decision, but it doesn’t have to be a scary one. If you arm yourself with knowledge and a qualified team of support professionals, you’ll be well equipped to make the right choices for your family and financial future.

 

Myth #1: You need a 20% down payment.

Plenty of buyers are purchasing homes with down payments that are much less than 20% of the total cost of the property. Today, you can buy a home with as little as 3-5% down.

 

There are multiple programs out there that allow you to have a lower down payment, and a lender or mortgage broker can talk you through which option is the best for you. Since you’re putting less money down, you’re a riskier borrower to your lender than people who put down a full 20%. Because of this, you will most likely need to pay mortgage insurance as part of your monthly payment.

 

Myth #2: Real estate agents are expensive.

Your agent is with you every step of the way throughout your home buying journey, and he or she spends countless hours working on your behalf. It sounds like having an agent is expensive, right? Well, not for you. Buyers usually don’t pay a real estate agent’s commission. Your agent’s fee is paid for at closing by the seller of the home you’re buying.1 The seller knows to factor this cost into the property’s total purchase price.

 

Myth #3: Don’t call a real estate agent until you're ready to buy.

The earlier you bring in an agent to help with the purchasing process, the better. Even if you’re in the very early stages of casually browsing Zillow, a real estate professional can be a huge help.

 

They can create a search for you in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), so you get notifications for every house that meets your criteria as soon as it hits the market. The MLS is typically more up-to-date than popular home search sites like Zillow and Trulia. Setting up a search a few months before you’re considering buying gives you a good idea of what’s out there in your town that’s in your budget. Reviewing the MLS and speaking with an agent as soon as possible can help you set realistic expectations for when you actually start the house hunting process.


Myth #4: Fixer-uppers are more budget friendly.

We’ve all watched the shows on HGTV that encourage people to go after fixer-uppers because they’re more affordable and allow buyers to eventually renovate the home to include everything on their wishlist. But, this isn’t always the case.

 

Sometimes, homes that need a lot of work also require a lot of money. Big renovations, like add-ons, a total kitchen remodel, or installing a pool, take a lot longer than it looks on TV. If you’re really interested in a fixer-upper, ask your agent to show you a mix of newer homes and older homes. If you fall in love with an older home that needs a lot of work, get some quotes from contractors before you buy so you know the real cost of the renovations and see if you can work them into your budget.

 

Myth #5: Your only upfront cost is your down payment.

Your down payment is big, but it isn’t the only money you’ll spend during the home buying process. At closing, you’ll pay your down payment, but you’ll also bring closing costs to the table. Closing costs are typically anywhere from 2-4% of the total purchase price of the home.2 This amount includes the cost for items like homeowners insurance, title fees, and more.

 

You’ll also need to pay for an inspection before closing, which usually costs a few hundred dollars. This price will be higher or lower based on the size of your new property. Your lender will also require an appraisal. An appraiser will come in and inspect the home to determine how much it’s worth. Depending on your lender, you may have to pay this when the appraisal is conducted or it might be rolled into your closing costs.

 

Myth #6: You need a high credit score to buy a house.

You don’t need perfect credit to buy the perfect home. There are loans out there that buyers with lower credit scores can qualify for. These are good options for people who have had credit issues in the past, but some of them come with additional fees you will need to pay. Speak to a few local lenders or mortgage brokers to talk through which options might be best for you.


Myth #7: You can't qualify for a mortgage if you're still paying off student loans.

While some buyers may feel more comfortable paying off their existing debts before taking the leap into homeownership, it’s not a requirement. When you’re applying for a mortgage, the lender takes a close look at your debt-to-income ratio.If you want to calculate this on your own, add up all of your monthly debt payments and divide those by your monthly income. When you’re lender does this, they’re trying to make sure that you will be able to afford your monthly mortgage payments along with your other existing payments. If your income is high enough to allow you to make all of these payments each month, having a student loan will most likely not stop you from getting a mortgage.

 

Myth #8: You should base your budget on what your lender approves.

How much house you qualify for and how much you can afford are two totally different numbers. When you prequalify for a mortgage, your lender will look at your income, debt, assets, credit score, and financial history to determine how much money you might qualify for.For some people, this number might be much higher than you thought because lenders tend to approve for the highest amount they think you can afford. But that doesn’t mean that’s how much you should borrow.

 

Instead, figure out how much house you can actually afford. An online mortgage calculator can be a good first step in determining this number. We recommend thinking about what you want your monthly payment to be as a starting point. And remember to include your principal, interest, taxes, and, insurance. You should also think about ownership expenses that aren’t part of your monthly payment, like HOA dues and maintenance.


Myth #9: It's all about location.

You’ve heard the phrase. Location, location, location is basically the real estate industry’s motto, but we’ll let you in on a little known secret: It’s not always true. Yes, location is great to consider when it comes to school districts and commute times, but you also need to think about how the home will function for you and/or your family’s lifestyle. If a family of five is choosing between a one bedroom condo in the bustling city center and a 4-bedroom home out in the suburbs, the latter is probably the best, most functional choice for them. Also, by buying in a less sought after neighborhood, your property taxes will most likely be much lower!

 

Obviously, you might still want to choose an area with great resale potential, and this is something that your agent can speak to you about. They’re an expert in your city and are constantly monitoring buying and selling trends.

 

Myth #10: If you look hard enough, you'll find a home that checks every box on your wishlist.

You’ve seen that famous house hunting show. And while we have our suspicions about how real it is, the one thing they get right is that almost every buyer needs to compromise on something. Yes, the perfect house that meets every item on your wishlist is probably out there, but it’s also probably double or triple your budget.

 

A long wishlist can be a great starting point for figuring out what you want and don’t want, but we recommend narrowing that wishlist down to the top five things that are important to you in order of priority. We also recommend noting on your wishlist what your absolute deal breakers are, like “must have a yard for our dog,” and noting what you can live without, like “heated bathroom floors.”

 

This is a great list to discuss when you first start talking to an agent. A good real estate agent will be able to look at your list and find properties that might work for you. By coming to that first meeting with realistic expectations and knowledge about home buying rather than a bunch of myths heard here and there, you’ll be able to start the process off on the right foot and be in your new house in no time.

 

 

WE’RE HERE TO HELP

 

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned homeowner, there’s no reason to go through the home buying process without an advocate on your side. We’re here to answer your questions and do the hard work for you, so you can spend your time dreaming about your new home. Call us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

 

Get a FREE copy of our Home Buyer’s Guide to Getting Mortgage Ready

 

Now that we’ve cleared up these common homebuyer myths, find out if you know the steps you should take to prepare financially before you apply for a mortgage. Contact us to request a complimentary copy of our “Home Buyer’s Guide to Getting Mortgage Ready.”

 

 
Download US Version at: 
https://dashboard.thepaperlessagent.com/download/march-2018-digital-marketing-campaign-report/

Download Canadian Version at: 
https://dashboard.thepaperlessagent.com/download/canada-march-2018-digital-marketing-campaign-report/

 

Sources:

1.      Realtor.com -https://www.realtor.com/advice/finance/realtor-fees-closing-costs/

2.      The Balance - https://www.thebalance.com/buyer-s-closing-costs-1798422

3.      StudentLoanHero -https://studentloanhero.com/featured/student-loans-buying-house/

4.      Zillow -https://www.zillow.com/mortgage-learning/pre-qualification-vs-pre-approval/

 

Posted in Buying A Home?
May 11, 2020

Spring Is In The Air!

Spring Is In the Air!

Here are a few Pointers On What You Can Do To Prepare Your Lawn. 

decorative image

Is your lawn dull, and need some inspiration? A little preparation now will give you a green lawn all summer long! Below are a few steps of what preparations you can do to make a difference. 

Rake It All Clean
First things first, gently rake leaves, twigs, and dead grass off your lawn, and remove any debris.. This allows air and sunlight to reach down to the grass roots. Avoid power-raking, as hacking away at the ground can damage shallow grasses and good soil. Remember we are sandy loam in East Texas so do what you can to be as gentle as possible. 

Weed Your Lawn
Weeds like dandelions, hairy bittercress, common chickweed, and henbit go dormant in winter and re-emerge in the spring. For best results, pull as many weeds as possible by hand or use a hoe. Be sure to get the entire plant, roots and all. If you use a
 pre-emergent weed killer, make sure it’s a calm day. Wind can spread the chemicals onto plants you don’t want to kill and into waterways you don’t want to pollute.


Aerate
Aerating — making small holes in your soil — lets air, water and nutrients reach the roots of your lawn, encouraging healthy growth. On newer lawns (1-3 years old), aeration is encouraged twice a year, in the spring and fall. After that, you can switch to once a year in the spring. Don’t rake the plugs; leave them on t
he lawn as topsoil. Mow over them, and they will decompose naturally.


Overseed
Overseeding is the practice of spreading grass seed over your existing lawn. Cover bare and thinning patches of grass using a mix of seed that includes slow-growing and low-growing grasses — fine fescue or centipede grass, for example. Cool-season grasses such as bluegrass and annual ryegrass benefit the most from overseeding.

Water
Watering early in the morning prevents wasteful water evaporation and lets the grass blades dry before evening, which helps prevent insect and disease issues. Watering deeply and less frequently makes the roots stronger and deeper. Soil should be moistened to a depth of 6 inches a couple of times a week. Avoid overwatering, as soggy roots will rot and attract disease and insects. As a test, take an 8-inch screwdriver and push it into the lawn. If it goes in easily, your lawn is moist enough.
Fertilize
Fertilizer helps keep your lawn healthy, so it can resist disease and weeds. Grass often needs more nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium than the soil naturally provides. Use fertilizer before the heat of summer but avoid fertilizing when the ground is wet, or you risk fertilizer burn.

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Mow
When the grass is growing well, it’s time to mow. The proper mowing height will depend on your type of grass, but for good lawn health, follow the "one-third" rule: Never cut off more than one-third of the length of the grass. Mow more often when growth is peaking and back off when grass growth slows. It’s also best to "grasscycle" by leaving the grass clippings on the lawn. They return moisture and nutrients to the soil, so you'll need less fertilizer. Less Fertilizer means less work and less money you spend on your lawn. 

Three Signs That Your Crawlspace Is In Need Of A Professional
decorative image

1 - Moisture:
Moisture can seep into the foundation of a house and cause damage over time. If that’s not bad enough, a dark and moist environment like a crawlspace can offer an excellent breeding ground for mold. Most of the air in your house goes through your crawlspace at some point. That air can carry mold spores into your home and reduce the air quality of the entire house.

Can Home Builders be Sued Over Moisture in Basements?

Keep an eye out for moisture in your crawlspace, especially after it rains. You can detect it in the air if you have a good nose. You can also touch the ground and the walls looking for wet spots.

2 - Rodents, insects, and other pests:
Keep an eye out for critters and signs of their presence, such as animal feces, nests, and gaps in the crawlspace that could serve as entrance and exit points. Insects and rodents should be eliminated quickly, as unchecked activity can quickly grow into an infestation. A pest control professional can help you determine the extent of the problem and recommend the best mitigation strategies.

3 - Wood rot:
Rot can be a very costly problem. This form of fungus grows inside the wood, weakening it as it spreads. The good news is that there are lots of chemical products on the market that can kill and remove rot from wood. The bad news is that these methods don’t work when rot damage is too extensive. Detecting the early signs of wood rot can save you the expense of having to replace huge chunks of a house’s foundation.

There are two types of rot that may affect your crawlspace: wet rot and dry rot. Signs of wet rot include the wood becoming darker, feeling soft or spongy when pressed, and the appearance of cracks in the affected area, as well as localized fungus growth, which may resemble mushrooms.

Dry Rot will also cause wood to feel weak and spongy. This tends to be a more destructive variety of rot, but it’s also easier to spot due to the growth of the mycelium — a white substance that looks a bit like cotton or wool and clings to the affected wood. If you spot that, or any other sort of fungal growth or rot, get a professional involved.

Questions? Visit Us at  https://www.roseranchrealty.com/

 
Many Blessings, 
Jen Bradshaw Ahrens
Let's Get Moving!
 
Mobile : 903-287-6113
Mobile : 214-458-3944
Equal Housing Opportunity
May 6, 2020

Welcome to Rose Ranch Realty

May 1, 2020

20 Ways to Save Money and Stretch Your Household Budget

These days, it seems like everyone’s looking for ways to cut costs and stretch their income further. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to reduce your household expenses without making radical changes to your standard of living. When combined, these small adjustments can add up to significant savings each month.

 

Here are 20 things you can start doing today to lower your bills, secure better deals, and begin working toward your financial goals.

 

  1. Refinance Your Mortgage - For prime borrowers, mortgage rates are at or near historic lows. Depending on your current mortgage rate and the terms you choose, refinancing could save you a sizable amount on your monthly payments. There are fees and closing costs associated with refinancing, so you’ll need to talk to your lender to find out if refinancing is a good option for you.

 

  1. Evaluate Your Insurance Policies - If it’s been a while since you priced home or auto insurance, it may be worthwhile to do some comparison shopping. Get quotes from at least three insurers or independent agents. Try bundling your policies to see if there’s a discount. And inquire about raising your deductible, which should lower your premium.1

 

  1. Bundle Cable, Phone, and Internet - You can also save money by bundling your cable, phone, and internet services together. Shop around to see who is willing to give you the best deal. If switching is too much of a hassle, ask your current provider to match or beat their competitor’s offer.

 

  1. Better Yet, Cut the Cord on Cable - In many cases, you can save even more if you cancel your cable subscription altogether. An antenna should give you access to the major stations, and many of your favorite shows are probably available on-demand through a less expensive streaming service subscription.

 

  1. Revisit Your Wireless Plan - You can often save by switching from a big brand to an independent, low-cost carrier. If that’s not feasible, ask your current provider for a better deal or consider downgrading to a cheaper plan.

 

  1. Adjust Your Thermostat - Turning your thermostat up or down a few degrees can have a noticeable impact on your monthly heating and cooling costs. To maximize efficiency, change your filters regularly, and make sure your windows and doors are well insulated.

 

  1. Use Less Hot Water - After heating and cooling, hot water accounts for the second largest energy expense in most homes.2 To cut back, repair any leaks or dripping faucets, install low-flow fixtures, only run your dishwasher when full, and wash clothes in cold water when possible.

 

  1. Lower Overall Water Consumption - To decrease your water usage, take shorter showers, and turn off the sink while you brush your teeth and wash your hands. If you don’t have a low-flow toilet, retrofit your current one with a toilet tank bank or fill cycle diverter. And irrigate your lawn in the morning or evening to minimize evaporation.3

 

  1. Conserve Electricity - Save electricity by shutting off your computer at night and installing energy-efficient LED light bulbs. You can minimize standby or “vampire” power drain by utilizing power strips and unplugging idle appliances.4

 

  1. Purchase a Home Warranty - While there is an upfront cost, a home warranty can provide some protection and peace of mind when it comes to unexpected home repair costs. Most plans provide coverage for major systems (like electrical, plumbing, and HVAC) and appliances (such as your dishwasher, stove, or refrigerator).

 

  1. Outsource Less - From lawn care to grocery shopping to minor home repairs, we pay people to do a lot of things our parents and grandparents did themselves. To save money, try cutting back on the frequency of these services or taking some of them on yourself.

 

  1. Prepare Your Own Meals - It costs nearly five times more to have a meal delivered than it does to cook it at home.5 And home cooking doesn’t just save money; it’s healthier, cuts down on calorie consumption, and can offer a fun activity for families to do together.

 

  1. Plan Your Menu in Advance - Meal planning is deciding before you shop what you and your family will eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It can help you lower your overall food bill, eliminate waste, and minimize impulse purchases. When possible, buy produce that is in season, and utilize nutrient-rich but inexpensive protein sources like eggs, beans, ground turkey, and canned tuna.

 

  1. Plant a Garden - You can save even more on produce by growing it yourself. If you have space in your yard, start-up costs are relatively minimal. Gardening can be a rewarding and enjoyable (not to mention delicious) hobby for the whole family. And it could save you around $600 per year at the grocery store!6

 

  1. Review Memberships and Subscriptions - Are you paying for services and subscriptions you no longer need, want, or can utilize? Determine if there are any that you should suspend or cancel.

 

  1. Give Homemade Gifts - Who wouldn’t appreciate a scratch birthday cake or tin of cookies? And if you enjoy crafting, Pinterest and Instagram are full of inspiring ideas. Show your recipient how much you care with a homemade gift from the heart.

 

  1. Minimize Your Debt Payments - The best way to reduce a debt payment is to pay down the balance. But if that’s not an option right now, try to negotiate a better interest rate. If you have a good credit score, you may be able to qualify for a balance transfer to a 0% or low-interest rate credit card. Keep in mind, the rate may expire after a certain period—so be sure to read the fine print.

 

  1. Get a Cash-back Credit Card - If you regularly pay your credit card balance in full, a cash-back credit card can be a good way to earn a little money back each month. However, they often come with high-interest rates and fees if you carry a balance. Commit to only using it for purchases you can afford.

 

  1. Ask for Deals and Discounts - It may feel awkward at first, but becoming a master haggler can save you a lot of money. Many companies are willing to negotiate under the right circumstances. Always inquire about special promotions or incentives. See if they are able to price match (or beat) their competitors. And if an item is slightly defective or nearing its expiration date, ask for a discount.

 

  1. Track Your Household Budget - One of the most effective ways to reduce household expenses is to set a budget—and stick to it. A budget can help you see where your money is going and identify areas where you can cut back. By setting reasonable limits, you’ll be able to reach your financial goals faster.

 

 

Want more help getting a handle on your finances? Use the budget worksheet below to track income and expenses—and start working towards your financial goals today! Please reach out to me for a downloadable version.

 

HOUSEHOLD BUDGET WORKSHEET

 

Expected

Actual

Difference

HOUSING

Mortgage/taxes/insurance or Rent

 

 

 

Utilities (electricity, water, gas, trash)

 

 

 

Phone, internet, cable

 

 

 

Home maintenance and repairs

 

 

 

FOOD

Groceries

 

 

 

Restaurants

 

 

 

TRANSPORTATION

Car payment/insurance

 

 

 

Gas, maintenance, repairs

 

 

 

OTHER

Health insurance

 

 

 

Clothing and personal care

 

 

 

Childcare

 

 

 

Entertainment

 

 

 

Gifts and charitable contributions

 

 

 

Savings, retirement, college fund

 

 

 

INCOME

Salary/wages

 

 

 

Tips and other

 

 

 

MONTHLY TOTALS

Total Actual Income

 

Total Actual Expenses

 

ADDITIONAL SAVINGS

 

 

 

WE’RE HERE TO HELP

We would love to help you meet your financial goals. Whether you want to refinance your mortgage, save up for a down payment, or simply find lower-cost alternatives for home repairs, maintenance, or utilities, we are happy to provide our insights and referrals. And if you have plans to buy or sell a home this year, we can discuss the steps you should be taking to financially prepare. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation!

 

 

Jen Bradshaw Ahrens   214- 458-3944                       Tammy Dennis              903-262-8409

 

 

The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be financial advice. Consult a financial professional for advice regarding your individual needs.

 

 

Sources:

 

1.      Insurance Information Institute -
https://www.iii.org/article/twelve-ways-to-lower-your-homeowners-insurance-costs

2.      Department of Energy -
https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/water-heating/reduce-hot-water-use-energy-savings

3.      Money Crashers -
https://www.moneycrashers.com/ways-conserve-water/

4.      Harvard University -
https://green.harvard.edu/tools-resources/poster/top-5-steps-reduce-your-energy-consumption

5.      Forbes -
https://www.forbes.com/sites/priceonomics/2018/07/10/heres-how-much-money-do-you-save-by-cooking-at-home/#2c53b2f35e54

 

6.      Money -
https://money.com/gardening-grocery-savings/

Posted in Budgeting
Dec. 20, 2017

Is buying a home right for you?

You may have questioned if buying a home is right for you.

Here are three key factors that may help you in deciding. 

 

 

1. Do you plan to live in a certain area or location at least two years? 

Often times people doubt if they want to buy because they are afraid they may not live in that location for very long. Did you know in East Texas the average rent per month is $1,100. If you lease for two years at $1,100 you are loosing $26,400. That is $26,400 that could be applied to a home of your own in return building your own equity. 

 

2. Is having a large down payment holding you back?

 

There are many people who believe that they have to have 20% down in order to purchase a home. Over the past decade the government has made many improvements to government insured loans. The average home buyer is able to put down as little as 3.5% on FHA insured loans! Conventional is now at 5% down and USDA is up to 100% financing with no down payment. It has never been easier to own your home with little to nothing down and rates are lower then they have been in years. There are also government assistant programs also such as SETH, http://sethfc.com/option-1/

Go the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs website to see what you may be eligable for 

https://www.tdhca.state.tx.us/homeownership/fthb/index.htm?gclid=CjwKCAiAsejRBRB3EiwAZft7sLDkKtPzjRmTY8ETZc1JdrJuUby-6hZ0PRKJv8_s2AOTKNZPeMQVTBoCYA0QAvD_BwE

 

3. Are you afraid to purchase a home only to end up with a ton of repairs? 

Being responsible for your own home may be a little scary. Luckily when you purchase a home you should have the help and guidance of your very own realtor. The realtor can help you get in contact with an inspector who will inspect your home during a option period. If the home has to many repairs you may choose to back out of the contract or negotiate for the seller to repair the item. One of the benefits of having a realtor help you with the process is the guidance and advice they can give you. Though a realtor is not an attorney they are professionals in this field and can help. Your realtor will usually help negotiate a home warranty for one year one your new home. This can help you with the cost of any repair you may incur. There are several companies to choose from. Ask your realtor which companies they recommend. 

 

Buying a home has never been easier! Get in contact today with your local realtor and find out what steps you can take to get started. 

 

Jen Bradshaw 

Rose Ranch Realty 

"Let's Get Moving!" 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Buying A Home?
July 31, 2017

Curious About Local Real Estate?

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Curious about local real estate? So are we! Every month we review trends in our real estate market and consider the number of homes on the market in each price tier, the amount of time particular homes have been listed for sale, specific neighborhood trends, the median price and square footage of each home sold and so much more. We’d love to invite you to do the same!

Get Local Market Reports Sent Directly to You

You can sign up here to receive your own market report, delivered as often as you like! It contains current information on pending, active and just sold properties so you can see actual homes in your neighborhood. You can review your area on a larger scale, as well, by refining your search to include properties across the city or county. As you notice price and size trends, please contact us for clarification or to have any questions answered.

We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

Posted in Market Updates