3 Reasons you should buy a house now.

3 Reasons you should buy a house now.

One of the most common questions I get ask is “How is the market?”, and I normally answer “It depends”. Many times this gets people confused and seems like a sales answer, but it really depends.

When someone is telling a story about a restaurant they visited, what is the most common question? “How was the food?”, right? It depends. Some people may love it, while others would never go to the place. The same thing is with the real estate market. It depends on whether you are looking to buy or sell, in what area, the price range, fixer-upper or turn key…All this factors into how to get a straight answer.

Over the last few years, the market was great for most sellers, but for buyers, not so much. There were not enough choices, and even when you found a house, there were sometimes dozens of other buyers making an offer on the same house. Anyone considering buying a house was very frustrated. However, we know that market is cyclical and eventually it will level off. Good news for all the buyers, that level is happening right now.

Here are the 3 reasons you should buy a house now.

  1. Relatively high inventory. Over the last few years, the DFW area has seen tremendous growth. More people moving to the area needing a place caused the shortage of inventory. It took a few years, but this year it has finally caught up, and there are more homes available for sale. Better yet, now you have more choices on new homes as well (little secret: builders are more willing to negotiate).
  2. Low interest rate. In January of this year (2018), the interest rate was 4.03% (FreddieMac). By July the rate went up to 4.53%, only a .5% difference. However, on a $300,000 loan that would translate about $88/mo PI extra (Principal and Interested). Applying that extra to your payment at a lower interest, you would pay off your mortgage about 3.5 years sooner. Most lenders I have spoken to are predicting that the rate will go up another .5-1% in the next year.
  3. Less competition. Most homes are sold in the summer months, that’s when the competition is the strongest. This competition drives the prices up too. However, as the school year starts, many buyers put off moving to the next year. This is the right opportunity for you as a buyer, as you won’t have as much competition from other buyers driving the price up.

Please note that this may not apply to all markets and situations. Its best to talk to your trusted Real Estate agent, Lender, or Financial advisor.

Lastly, if you want to lower your tax burden and increase your net worth, according to many economist and financial advisors, owning real estate is about the best thing you can invest in. Ever wonder why wealthy people own so many homes?

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How to Make a New House Your Own

How to Make a New House Your Own

By Julea Joseph, guest contributor

The keys are in your buyer’s hands! They’ve gone through the process … the search, deciding, inspection, stress, closing, and finally, the elation of buying a new home. Now, they have to make it their own. Here’s how.

Color –  Paint is the least expensive, easiest way to update a space.  It can individualize a room and put your personal stamp on your home. Pick your color style: From modern farmhouse neutrals to Boho bold colors. Whatever is in your style files (Pinterest, HOUZZ, tear-sheets), color can showcase it. And color doesn’t have to be just on the walls. If you want to keep the wall color simple, infuse color with your furniture, art, or accessory choices. Get your craft on by painting a piece of furniture, or recover your dining chairs seats with new fabric. Try trending wallpaper on a single accent wall or powder room. Create a signature look with a statement making front door color. With color, the change is quick, easy and all you.

Photo credit: Benjamin Moore

Your Favorite Things –  A home should hold your beautiful art, furniture, passed down family treasures, and loved flowers in your garden beds.  Simple daily rituals with favorite things, cozy slippers slipped on at the end of day, or tossing your keys into that old bowl, will infuse you into the home. It could be something new that defines your new chapter of home. That perfect comfy sofa you spied, a fresh new style that you’ve wanted to try out, fun new pillows to add a splash to a patio set. By incorporating these favorite things, you’ll become instantly grounded in your new space.

Photo credit: Julea Joseph, Reinventing Space

Make Your Bed! – A bed is your personal haven and cocoon. Dressing your bed makes your home environment feel luxurious. Even if the bedroom still has boxes, you can sleep well with a beautifully made bed. I like to mix old with new. New, fresh, very fancy (the best you can afford) sheets, a stylish linen duvet set slipped over your old favorite down comforter and pillows. Pair the bedding with Grandma’s quilt or your favorite throw at the end of the bed and you’ll be ready for a great night’s sleep.

Photo credit: Julea Joseph, Reinventing Space

Room to Room – This is where you channel Frances Mayer, the character from “Under the Tuscan Sun” – by going room to room to make it yours. Don’t try to tackle the entire home’s decorating and styling needs, instead, try to work on the spaces you spend the most time in first.

Photo credit: Julea Joseph, Reinventing Space

Five Senses – Nothing says home more than seeing, smelling, hearing, tasting, and feeling your favorites things of home. Put out those family photos, beloved books, play music, light some candles in your favor scent, open your favorite wine, and curl up on that fluffy sofa and celebrate home.

Photo credit: Julea Joseph, Reinventing Space

This post originally appeared at Reinventing Space. Reprinted with permissions. Copyright 2018. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Julea Joseph is the owner and lead designer at Reinventing Space in Chicago. Visit her website and blog at Julea.com.

Hot Home Trend: Go Big With Your Tile

Hot Home Trend: Go Big With Your Tile

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Supersized tiles are making over more floors, and this may be welcome news to many homeowners. Large format tiles means less grout to clean. The large tile trend may be partially motivated out of function, not just aesthetics.

More homeowners are experimenting with larger tile sizes, whether with porcelain, ceramic, or vinyl flooring.

Tile squares may be about 12 inches or so in most standard kitchen floors. But now sizes up to 24 inches or more are catching on.

Besides the easier-to-clean aspects of this, the larger tile squares often can make a space look bigger. That’s because there are less grout lines breaking up a floor into boxy squares, which leads to the perceptions of elongated spaces. (Another tip from designers in elongating a space with your tile: Be sure to select a grout color that most closely matches the color of your tile. That will also help make your floors look more expansive.)

The larger tile formats are popping up in kitchen flooring and as in bathrooms surrounding the tub or shower. Designers say the larger formats offer a more modern, “clean lines” vibe to a room’s flooring.

Using Tax Refund for a Downpayment

Using Tax Refund for a Downpayment

Here is some insight on how Americans can invest their tax return and how first-time home buyers may look to invest long term. One of the major hurdles for potential home buyers is the downpayment. With a sizable tax refund, the average American would have a sizeable or partial downpayment depending on which region or market you live in. The estimated average tax refund is expected to be $2,840 for most Americans this year, which is slightly down from $2,895 last year. Some of the main recommendations on what to do if you receive a tax return are save, invest, splurge, pay down debt, donate or fund a business idea. The younger generation is working to overcome debt, lack of savings and rising home prices.

irs refund

Let us look at the data from NAR’s 2017 Home Buyer and Sellers:

  • For first-time buyers, the median downpayment ticked down to 5% in 2017 from 6% in 2016.
  • First-time home buyers made up 22% of all buyers.
  • For first-time home buyers, 13 percent cited their most difficult step in the home buying process was saving for a downpayment.
  • For first-time home buyers, 25% said saving for a downpayment was the most difficult step in the process. It took 32% of first-time home buyers more than two years to save up for a downpayment however, 29% were able to come up with a downpayment within six months or less and that is where the tax refund can help.
  • For first-time home buyers, 78% used their savings to make a down payment while 25% used a gift from a relative or friend.  The third most used source of a downpayment was sale of stocks, a loan from a relative or their tax return at 7 percent. All buyers made up 4 percent and repeat buyers made up 2 percent who used their tax return.

With improved job markets and rising wages, first-time buyers could apply the tax refund of approximately of $2,840 to boost their downpayment when entering a housing market, which has experienced very tight inventories and rising prices. By state, Connecticut on average is expected to have the highest tax return at $3,126 while Vermont may have the lowest return at $2,254. Below you can find your state to estimate your return.


Charts from savingtoinvest.com.



Styling Tips to ‘Wow’ Spring-Time Home Buyers

Styling Tips to ‘Wow’ Spring-Time Home Buyers

By Patti Stern, PJ & Co. Staging and Interior Decorating

The new year and the upcoming spring season brings with it a fresh outlook and new beginnings. What will prospective home buyers be thinking about while searching for their new “happy place”? For sellers preparing their homes to sell this spring, that means engaging buyers by showcasing a warm, welcoming and cheerful property that others can easily envision living in. The following are our spring décor styling tips to help sellers prepare their property to stand out among the sea of new listings.

P_1 picture

Natural Elements Paired with Metallics

One of our favorite trends is plants of all shapes and sizes–succulents, trees or plants in baskets and colorful planters, and fresh or synthetic garden flowers in vases and wreaths. Since metallic accents continue to be on-trend, we love pairing the two together for an elegant touch to appeal to today’s buyers who like to feel close to nature.


Pops of Bright Accents

Pair bold pops of colorful accessories such as accent pillows, throws, artwork, glass bowls filled with fruit, and fluffy bathroom towels against a neutral backdrop to give any room a boost of energy and warmth. Mix and match different textures and patterns for added depth and a modern style.


Update Paint Colors

Whether you repaint an entire room or an accent wall, a fresh coat of paint works wonders to instantly brighten and open a space to make it appear larger. To spruce up your curb appeal, try a fresh coat of a trending spring color such as Benjamin Moore’s Caliente for your front door to create a welcoming first impression.


Fresh Bedding

To create a spring-like oasis in the bedroom, switch out winter bedding and replace it with fluffy duvets in white, or on-trend floral patterns paired with a soft, cozy throw and accent pillows in different sizes, colors, and textures.  To complete the look, add soothing nature-inspired wall art in complementary colors.

For more examples of interior decorating and home staging, visit www.pjstagingdecorating.com.

PattiABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patti Stern is principal, interior decorator, and professional stager of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating. She has been decorating and staging homes since 2005. She and her team provide turnkey, full-service home staging and interior decorating to clients across Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts. She also developed an award-winning staging program for the luxury homebuilder, Toll Brothers. Her company received the Houzz 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 Awards for Customer Service.

President’s Day 2018: How Does the White House Compare to the Average Home?

President’s Day 2018: How Does the White House Compare to the Average Home?

In the spirit of President’s Day we can use data from the 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers to see how the typical home differs from the White House.

Typical Home Purchased in the U.S.

  • 85% of buyers purchased a previously owned home, with 83% of buyers choosing a detached single-family home.
  • Looking by first-time and repeat buyers, both also purchased detached single-family homes more often with 81% of first-time buyers and 84% of repeat buyers.
  • 51% of all buyers purchased their home in a suburb/subdivision.
  • The typical detached single-family home purchased was 1,930 square feet.
  • Recent homes purchased also had a median of 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and were built in 1991.
  • Among all buyers, the expected length of tenure in the home purchased was 15 years.

The White House

  • The White House was built in 1792, and in comparison is located in an urban or central area.
  • The White House contains 6 levels, has 132 rooms, including 35 bathrooms.
  • It also includes features such as: a tennis court, jogging track, swimming pool, billiard room, movie theatre, and bowling alley.
  • While tenure in the median expected tenure in home lasts around 14 years, in the White House the expected tenure is between 4 and 8 years.


For more information on this data check out the President’s Day Infographic and the 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.