3bHello DFW! We all know that before we even start looking for a place to buy or rent, we consider a lot of things, especially the neighborhood. After all, it’s not enough that we just fell in love with the home but is located in an area where the neighborhood isn’t as good as what we expect or would want it to be. Buying a home isn’t like buying something from the department store that we can just send back if we find it defective or doesn’t meet our standards.

Here are Tips for Finding the Perfect Neighborhood!

  1. Is it close to your favorite spots? Make a list of the activities — movies, health club, church, etc. — you engage in regularly and stores you visit frequently. See how far you would have to travel from each neighborhood you’re considering to engage in your most common activities.
  2. Check out the school district. This is especially important if you have children, but it also can affect resale value. The Department of Education in your town can probably provide information on test scores, class size, percentage of students who attend college, and special enrichment programs. If you have school-age children, visit schools in the neighborhoods you’re considering. Also, check out http://www.schoolmatters.com.
  3. Find out if the neighborhood is safe. Ask the police department for neighborhood crime statistics. Consider not only the number of crimes but also the type — such as burglaries or armed robberies — and the trend of increasing or decreasing crime. Also, is crime centered in only one part of the neighborhood, such as near a retail area?
  4. Determine if the neighborhood is economically stable. Check with your local city economic development office to see if income and property values in the neighborhood are stable or rising. What is the percentage of homes to apartments? Apartments don’t necessarily diminish value, but do mean a more transient population. Do you see vacant businesses or homes that have been for sale for months?
  5. See if you’ll make money. Ask a local REALTOR® or call the local REALTOR® association to get information about price appreciation in the neighborhood. Although past performance is no guarantee of future results, this information may give you a sense of how good of an investment your home will be. A REALTOR® or the government planning agency also may be able to tell you about planned developments or other changes in the neighborhood — like a new school or highway — that might affect value.
  6. Make personal observations. Once you’ve narrowed your focus to two or three neighborhoods, go there and walk around. Are homes tidy and well maintained? Are streets quiet? How does it feel? Pick a warm day if you can and chat with people working or playing outside.

Online resources: http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/handouts-for-customers/for-buyers/tips-for-finding-perfect-neighborhood

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Hi there DFW! Inflation is often defined as a sustained   increase in prices for a broad range of goods. In this case, home prices!

According to the S&P Dow Jones Indices released latest data today for   December 2014 shows a slight uptick in home prices across the country. Nine cities reported monthly   increases in prices.

“The fastest year-over-year gains were in San Francisco and Miami. Twelve cities including Cleveland, Denver and     Seattle, saw prices rise faster in the year to December than a month earlier. Las Vegas led the declining annual returns with 6.9%, down from 7.7% annually.”

Interestingly, housing is generally viewed as a good asset when it comes to inflation because it doubles the value of the house which makes a very good investment, you may even get a 4 times higher return of investment in the future. Of course, the economy is dynamic, there are a lot more factors that affect house prices but when the influence of other   factors is small, more money moving around more quickly will increase the price. So with inflation, housing prices tend to rise.

Online resources: Home Prices Grew at Twice the Rate of Inflation in 2014. http://rismedia.com/2015-02-24/home-prices-grew-at-twice-the-rate-of-inflation-in-2014/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=eNews

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Hello DFW! As we all know, buying a home or condo for instance is the largest financial commitment that most of us will ever make. Most decisions involve a lot of money, but honestly, it really isn’t about the money. Money is a guiding consideration, but it is not the most important.

Here are 7 Reasons to Own your Home!

  1. Tax breaks. The U.S. Tax Code lets you deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage, your property taxes, as well as some of the costs involved in buying your home.
  2. Appreciation. Real estate has long-term, stable growth in value. While year-to-year fluctuations are normal, median existing-home sale prices have increased on average 6.5 percent each year from 1972 through 2005, and increased 88.5 percent over the last 10 years, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. In addition, the number of U.S. households is expected to rise 15 percent over the next decade, creating continued high demand for housing.
  3. Equity. Money paid for rent is money that you’ll never see again, but mortgage payments let you build equity ownership interest in your home.
  4. Savings. Building equity in your home is a ready-made savings plan. And when you sell, you can generally take up to $250,000 ($500,000 for a married couple) as gain without owing any federal income tax.
  5. Predictability. Unlike rent, your fixed-mortgage payments don’t rise over the years so your housing costs may actually decline as you own the home longer. However, keep in mind that property taxes and insurance costs will increase.
  6. Freedom. The home is yours. You can decorate any way you want and benefit from your investment for as long as you own the home.
  7. Stability. Remaining in one neighborhood for several years gives you a chance to participate in community activities, lets you and your family establish lasting friendships, and offers your children the benefit of educational continuity.

Online resources: To calculate whether buying is the best financial option for you, use the “Buy vs. Rent” calculator at http://www.GinnieMae.gov

Back to School…. from across the pond

Carrick A Rede Rope Bridge in Northern Ireland

As it was time to go back to school here at home, our family decided to go across the pond to visit family in Ireland.  My husband’s parent came to the U.S. in the 1920s, so there is always someone new to meet when we visit!  It was interesting this time as many of the cousins were asking me about the real estate market in the U.S., as they have had a rough time in Ireland as well.  It was interesting to discuss the similarities in the swings of our real estate markets even though we are so far apart!

I was also happy to report to them that our market was getting stronger each day and that our biggest struggle this summer had been a shortage of inventory.  I hope if you are looking buy or sell, that you call your agent today!  And remember, you don’t even have to be at home to talk about real estate.

Coppell Summer Home Review

 Hello Dallas heat!  I believe it is safe to say as much as we love summer, this Texas sun delivers a bit of a punch.  As realtors we climb in and out and back in our cars all summer long.  THANKFULLY, we can say we have been doing it OFTEN this year.  The temptation of these incredible mortgage rates, and current pricing of homes have the market showing some positive movement.  Currently, the first week of July, 30 year mortgage rates are sitting around 3.67%.  Home prices in Coppell,TX and the surrounding areas have definitely stabilized.  Additionally, we have even seen a few homes with MULTIPLE offers. (Break out the champagne if you are one of these fortunate sellers!) Considering a move and use don’t know the market value of your home or area? We can provide this information to you and even send you over a few amazing listings.