6 must-do’s before buying a home

Buying a home is a huge investment. For most people, it is the largest purchase they will ever make. Before you jump into the wonderful world of homeownership, however, make sure you are prepared. Learn about credit score requirements, mortgage options and other must-do’s as a first step.

Have a checklist

Whether you are a first-time buyer or an experienced owner, buying a house requires a “preflight check,” in the words of Barry Zigas, director of housing policy for the Consumer Federation of America.

Read on for Bankrate’s 6-item checklist, including tips on the types of savings you need, plus advice about what matters beyond purchasing a home at its resale value.

  1. Strengthen your credit score – email me @ admin@mycastlemyhome regarding credit repair
  2. Figure out what you can afford
  3. Save for down payment, closing costs
  4. Build a healthy savings account
  5. Get preapproved for a mortgage or provide proof of funds from your financial institution on their letterhead.
  6. Buy a house you like

Read more:
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Smart Home Features..Can it Make you safe?

10/07/2016 | Author: Editorial Staff

Smart home technologies have obvious benefits, such as more efficient heating and cooling or being able to unlock doors remotely. But do you know a smart home can also be a safer home?

Smart smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors are clear examples of devices that keep your family safe. If these devices connect to a central hub or mobile device, they can alert you to issues in the home and let you take action whether or not you’re present. Smart garage doors can let you know if they’re left open. Internet-connected cameras and motion sensors can detect intruders in the home. Smart locks can quickly and easily be programmed to block a person who is now unwelcome in your home.

Keep in mind that smart home features, like any online service, can be vulnerable to security weaknesses. Create strong passwords, secure any wireless networks or hard-wire devices, read reviews before purchasing devices, and stick with devices or systems from established brands that you can trust to update security features and provide support.

Smart home features may not be at the top of your list when shopping for a home, but they can add value and safety.



How slowly do you want to sell your home?

09/16/2016 | Author: Marty Kramer

I’ve never heard a homeowner say he wants to sell his home as slowly as possible. Yet some people make poor decisions that lead to their homes staying on the market much longer than average. In fact, there are a few homes in my neighborhood that have been for sale way longer than others nearby.

With each of those homes, my reaction was the same when I first saw the asking prices. Wow, can they really get that much?

So far, the answer has been no. In the meantime, those sellers have been paying carrying costs for their homes … month after month after month.

How do you determine an asking price that’s high enough to maximize your profit but not so unrealistically high that it will make your home harder to sell? A Texas REALTOR® can go over the numbers with you and explain how your home’s value fits in to the current sales market.


What’s the point of mortgage points?

09/30/2016 | Author: Editorial Staff

If you’re financing a property purchase, you’ve probably come across the term points or discount points. Although there are other meanings, most often these terms refer to prepaid interest, with one point equal to 1% of your mortgage loan.

Lenders offer borrowers the opportunity to purchase points on their mortgage, which means you’re paying up front to lower the interest rate of your loan. Here are some questions to ask when deciding whether you should buy points:

How long will you live in the house?
You usually benefit more from points the longer you stay in the property. That’s because the savings you realize on each monthly payment will accumulate and eventually offset—hopefully exceed—your points payment.

Can I afford points?
You need to provide a downpayment and cover the closing costs to secure a mortgage. Do you also want to pay for points?

How much will the rate come down?
Each point costs 1% of the loan amount, but the interest-rate reduction you receive varies from lender to lender.

You do the math!

Let’s say you have been renting for three years. The average rents run $850 per month. I would consider that to be on the low side. Let’s do the math to see how much you could have put into a house note or a tax rebate!
850 x 36 =$30,600 that is three years of rent!
In the first years of home ownership, most of the proceeds go into the interest of the loan. The good news is that you can claim a tax rebate on some of the interest. However, over time, the amount of principle will grow, plus the fact that in a normal market situation appreciation will occur, in most cases.
It is a great time to own home! The prices are down, loans are at an all time low of 3 ¼ %! Most cases it is cheaper to buy a home then rent a home. So if you are tired of paying rent, take advantage of this offer while it lasts!

More millennials are living with their parents, but not the group you think

More millennials are living with their parents, but not the group you think


09/13/2016 | Author: Editorial Staff

Have you been working with parents who need space at home for their adult children? If not, you’ll probably see more of this clientele soon, because adults in their late 20s and early 30s are living with their parents at record or near-record levels, according to data from the Pew Research Center.

Data show that in 2014—for the first time in more than 130 years—18- to 34-year-olds in the United States were more likely to be living with their parents than with a spouse or partner in their own household.

The usual assumption is that recent college graduates are those who head back to mom and dad’s house after leaving campus, but it turns out college graduates are actually the least likely to live with their parents. According to Pew Research, only 19% of those with a bachelor’s degree lived with their parents. Instead, millennials who live in their parents’ home are more likely to have a high school diploma or only some high school education.

In particular, 25- to 29-year-olds living at home with their parents rose to the highest levels on record, while census data suggest the number of 25- to 34-year-olds living with their parents kept rising in 2015.

Read more about these findings on Pew’s website. Then, learn more about working with clients who have multigenerational households in Texas REALTOR® magazine.





Home Buyer and Home Seller Seminar

Home Buyer and Home Seller Seminar

Credit/HomeBuyer & Home Seller Seminar



Informative Information on Credit/Credit Repair/Homebuyer

Looking to Purchase/Sell/Lease a Home

Current Information Regarding the Dallas Real Estate Market

Step by Step Process in Purchasing a Home

The Good, The Bad, the Unknown in Purchasing or Selling  a Home

Know what Parties are Involved in your Home Purchase or Home Sale

What does it take to Sell a Home or Purchase a Home

Starting with Pre-Approval to Closing and Funding the Loan

We Are in A Seller’s Market…

What does that mean…

Join us to find out what a Seller’s Market mean to a Home Buyer and Seller

Zillow and Trulia Home Estimates — inaccuracy…

Zillow and Trulia Home Estimates — inaccuracy… Trust a Real Estate Agent… Not Zillow and Trulia when it come to pricing your home … or purchasing a home… Read Article below and see why…

Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff sold home for much less than Zestimate

Clients putting Zestimates on a pedestal? Point them toward this sale

  • Agents can demonstrate the Zestimate’s shortcomings by showing the discrepancy between the sales price of a home formerly owned by Zilow CEO Spencer Rascoff and its Zestimates.
  • Luxury home Zestimates are more likely to be off than others due to ‘non-quantifiable facts.’
  • Irregular lot sizes or proximity to ‘arterial’ roads can sometimes throw off Zestimates

Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff may have recently given real estate agents a gift they won’t soon forget: a sure-fire way to show that Zestimates can miss by a mile.

How? By selling a property for much less than its Zestimate.

On February 29, Rascoff sold a Seattle home for $1.05 million, 40 percent less than the Zestimate of $1.75 million shown on its property page a day later.

The gap between the Zestimate of Rascoff’s former property and its sales price has decreased only modestly since then.

Zillow readily acknowledges that Zestimates can be inaccurate, but some consumers can still take them at face value, causing headaches for agents.

Screen shot shows Zestimate of property formerly owned by Spencer Rascoff the day after it sold for $1.05 million

Screen shot shows $1.75 million Zestimate of property formerly owned by Spencer Rascoff the day after the home sold for $1.05 million

Citing the chasm between the sales price of Rascoff’s former home and the property’s Zestimate may be one way for real estate professionals to show clients that Zestimates are, as Zillow says, only a conversation starter for pricing a home, not the final word on its value.

Zillow CEO sold his home for way less than Zestimate.

Philip Gray, a San Leandro, California-based appraiser, is taking this approach. Bringing up the Zestimate of the property Rascoff recently offloaded will help him deal with the frequent pushback he receives from homeowners “who think Zillow is the magic 8-ball,” he said.

‘We missed’ 

Zestimates on Rascoff’s former home have certainly been overstating the property’s value, said Zillow Chief Analytics Officer Stan Humphries.

“The fact that we missed and there are empirical reasons we missed — that’s a great conversation that real estate agents should have” with consumers, he said, citing the property’s irregular lot and location on a busy road as partly responsible for its Zestimate’s inaccuracy.

But he expressed hope that, in the same discussion, agents also won’t instill “data nihilism” in consumers, and that they acknowledge that humans also can miss the mark.

Smaller gap at start

In July, the Zestimate of Rascoff’s former property wouldn’t have raised the eyebrows of anyone who’s familiar with automated valuation models (AVMs). At $1.388 million, the property’s Zestimate was 7.3 percent higher than its listing price of $1.295 million at the time.

Since Zillow only shows revised historical Zestimate data on property pages, the home’s property page currently indicates that the property’s Zestimate was around $1.6 million in July 2015, somewhere in the neighborhood of $200,000 more than the Zestimate that actually appeared on its property page on July 17, 2015.

Screen shot showing historically revised February Zestimate of Rascoff's former property.

Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff sold home for much less than Zestimate

Every real estate agent isn’t a REALTOR®?

If you’re planning to buy, sell, or lease property, you’re probably in the market for a real estate professional to help you through the process. But you may be stuck on who to choose. Depending on where you live, there may be many people interested in your business. Here’s one way to make it easier on yourself: Find a Texas REALTOR®.

Not all real estate agents are Texas REALTORS®
Anyone who wants to sell real estate in Texas must get licensed by the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC). To obtain a license, someone must pass the real estate licensing exam, and after passing, must take real estate education classes. But these actions don’t make someone a Texas REALTOR®.

How does someone become a Texas REALTOR®? After obtaining his or her real estate license, the license holder can join the local association of REALTORS®, the state-level association of REALTORS®, and the National Association of REALTORS®. Only then may someone be called a REALTOR®.

What makes a Texas REALTOR® different?
REALTORS® follow a Code of Ethics. The Code of Ethics outlines how REALTORS® should serve consumers, and this consumer-oriented code holds REALTORS® to a high standard of professional behavior.

Membership in the Texas Association of REALTORS® has added benefits. Texas REALTORS® have exclusive access to more than 100 forms for many types of real estate transactions that other real estate agents don’t have. These forms can help you avoid legal problems down the line.

When can I put my house back on the market after a contract falls through?

A buyer and I used TREC’s One to Four Family Residential Contract (Resale) for the sale of my home, but the sale didn’t close by the date in the contract. While the buyer and I figure out how to terminate the contract—and who gets the earnest money—can I put the house back on the market? I want to sell it, not waste weeks while we consult our attorneys.

You should talk to an attorney first about the legal liabilities of proceeding with a sale without terminating the original contract.

In this situation, there are two ways to formally terminate the contract:

  • The parties can agree to terminate and sign a document that releases both parties from further obligations under the contract. If you are working with a Texas REALTOR®, he or she can use TAR’s Release of Earnest Money form to accomplish this.
  • A judge can order the contract terminated.

Your primary goal should be formal termination of the contract. This ensures you can sell the property to someone else without risking a lawsuit that could stop a subsequent sale of the property.