What the Recent Rate Shifts Mean for You

Today I have John Hardimon on the line from the John Hardimon Team at Verity Mortgage to explain to us what the recent Fed rate increases mean for us.

Today, I have a special guest on the line, John Hardimon of the John Hardimon Team at Verity Mortgage. They are our preferred mortgage lender and we refer them to our all of our clients. John is here to give his expert opinion on how the Fed’s recent rate increase affects you. He has a team of three licensed loan officers and has been in the business for 19 years. According to John, the Federal Reserve has decided to raise the bank funds rate. The bank funds rate is the amount banks have to pay to borrow funds and, in turn, loan money out to us. When their rates go up, so do ours. That rate went up a quarter of a point, which isn’t huge, but it is still a move. Something else that has taken place, John says, is that the market has changed in the way that mortgage-backed securities are not as desirable because the stock market is doing really well, which makes those securities more expensive.

We have a strong market and now is a great time to take advantage of that.

We had a quarter of a point move from the market, and a quarter of a point move from the Federal Reserve, which means there’s been nearly a half point move over the past six weeks. John believes the market has been positive in responding to the new President-elect. According to John, if you have a $400,000 loan that goes up half a point, that would make a difference of about $700 per year, so if you find a good house that makes sense for you today, it’s best to buy now. The recent jump isn’t a huge deal, but it is something to be aware of. John says the bottom line is that rates have been low over the last few years and the market has been good, so you should take advantage of it. The real estate market is so strong and is getting even better. John also brought up a great question. If you are looking to buy a house, why keep paying up to $30,000 a year in rent, when you could put that toward equity in your own home, paint, have a dog, have a BBQ cookout, and have all the other great things that homeownership brings? Now is a great time to take advantage of the market. If you have any other questions for John, you can reach him at 972-820-5730 or email him at john@johnhardimon.com.

If you have any questions I can answer or you're thinking about buying or selling a home, give me a call or send me an email. I'd be happy to help!

Is Our Market Hotter Than It’s Ever Been?

The DFW real estate market is the hottest it’s ever been. All across the area, sales are up and inventory is down.

What’s happening in the DFW area market right now?

In short, everything still looks to be extremely positive. How long is it going to continue to be this good? We don’t know. We don’t own a crystal ball, and our market doesn’t move as fast as other markets. We have a three-to-six month lag before we really see how things are going to react in the market.

Here are some key figures to know that paint a clear picture of where we’re at and how far we’ve come since this time last year:

  • The median sales price has risen 9.7% to $220,000. 
  • The average days on market has dropped 19.2% to 42 days.
  • Closed sales have risen 4.9%. That’s 107,686 residential home sales and roughly 215,000 transactions in total. 
  • The level of inventory has dropped 10% from 5.5 months to 2.7 months. The lower this number is, the hotter the market usually is.
  • New listings are up 2.9%. In the entire MLS, there were 137,847 new listings. Since only about 108,000 properties sold, though, that means 22% of the properties that came on the market failed to sell.

We’re in the hottest market the DFW area has ever seen.

So, even though we’re in the hottest market the DFW area has ever seen, there’s no guarantee that your home will sell. You still need to prepare it right, market it correctly, and set the right price for it.

If you want to geek out on some more numbers with us or you have any questions about buying or selling real estate in the DFW area, please get in touch with us in any way you can. We’d love to help you!

Who Should You Take Real Estate Advice From?

Real estate represents the biggest investment most people will make in their entire lifetime. With that much at stake, don’t take advice from non-experts.

We talk to several different types of people in our business every single day. The one thing that unites them is that they all seem to be taking real estate advice from people who are non-experts. I want you to think for a second and imagine that you’re having a health issue. Say it’s something like chest pains. Who would you be taking advice from regarding those chest pains? Would it be a cardiologist with credentials and experience in dealing with chest pains, or your uncle who once had a heart attack? Obviously, you should take advice from the doctor. The same logic applies to real estate. Even though real estate isn’t a matter of life and death, it’s still a huge investment. In fact, it’s the biggest investment most people will make in their lifetime. Lots of people have not only their money tied up in it, but also their hopes and dreams. The last thing you want to do is get bad real estate advice from someone who has simply bought or sold a home before. Just because that person bought or sold a home once doesn’t mean they know what the best course of action is in your particular situation.

Real estate is a huge investment, so you should only get advice from an expert.

Who should you be getting your real estate advice from? You should get it from a trusted real estate agent in the area. That’s exactly who we are. We’ve handled hundreds of transactions over the years here in the DFW area, and we’ve seen every possible scenario you can think of. We know the marketplace and we have a working knowledge of many different lenders, title companies, and other agencies. It’s our duty to look out for your best interests, so talk to us first before you start shopping for homes or putting your own on the market. If you have any questions about the home buying or home selling process, give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you!.

The Importance of Consulting With a Buyer Specialist

There are a lot of moving parts involved in the home buying process. The most important step, however, is consulting with a buyer specialist.

We live in the age of instant information. We recognize that when people want something, they want it immediately. However, buying a home is not as simple as going to the store, taking a product off of the shelf, and paying for it at the register. Real estate is complicated, and a purchase can take a long time.

The process involves determining what kind of home you want, comparing prices on properties, figuring out how you’ll pay for the house, and finally, negotiating with a person on the other end of the transaction who has another agenda. Even though it’s a simple process, it’s not done easily. There are over 80 different variables that are involved in a home purchase transaction. Each one of those variables needs to be proactively managed in order to get you the best deal possible.

What I’ve noticed over the course of my years in real estate, having taken part in hundreds of transactions, is that buyers want three things: a good deal, a selection of inventory, and the least amount of hassle possible.

A buyer specialist’s goal is to serve the buyer and accommodate every one of those needs. This will allow you to get the right home at the right price and potentially save you tens of thousands of dollars in the process. How does the buyer specialist do this?
There are over 80 different variables involved in a home purchase transaction.
On our team, we take you through a system with a specific list of steps to follow. Before we take you through this system, however, we need to first have a consultation with you. We can’t serve you well if we don’t sit down with you and have a conversation about the largest investment that you’re probably ever going to buy in your life. There are a lot of people involved in this transaction and there is a lot of money changing hands, so we want to make sure that you are protected.

For this reason, you’ll have to do a few things before you begin looking at houses. First, be sure to consult with a buyer specialist. This will help you determine whether the team you’re meeting with is made up of the right agents to help you find the right house at the right price with the least amount of hassle.

Next, you’ll want to get pre-qualified for your mortgage. Most buyers will need to get a mortgage in order to purchase their next home, and it’s very important to get pre-approved and pre-qualified for that mortgage before you begin looking at houses. You don't want to get your heart set on a home before knowing what you can afford.

There are a lot of moving parts involved in the home buying process, so if you have any questions about what a buyer consultation entails or would like to arrange one yourself, please don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an email. We’d be happy to help you!

Drawbacks of Selling Your Home on Your Own

As you will see, most people who try selling their home on their own fail because they lack the necessary expertise and knowledge of a real estate agent.

Whether you should try selling your home on your own or not depends on a couple of things. Do you have the expertise? Can you drive the buyers? Do you know how to price your home correctly? Do you have expert knowledge of the paperwork?

Sadly, most FSBOs do not. Every year, the National Association of Realtors puts out what they call their “Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers,” where they survey lots of different buyers and sellers at closing and ask them questions about their transactions. Here’s what they found:

  • FOSBO transactions only made up 9% of all residential transactions
  • 45% of those people already knew the buyer before they put their house up for sale.
  • 89% of buyers said that they found their house through a real estate agent.
  • 86% of those people said that the agent was the one who brought the home to their attention.

FSBOs on average sell for 17% less than those who list their homes with real estate agents. There are a couple of reasons we can identify why this happens. For one thing, FSBOs tend to attract a lower quality of buyer. Another reason is they lack the knowledge and expertise of what’s going on in the market. They don’t have the network needed to find buyers, the marketing to expose their home to the market, and lack the knowledge of paperwork needed or how to even use that paperwork. Lastly, they lack the knowledge of how to price their property in the market.

FSBOs on average sell for 17% less than those who listed with an agent.

Lots of times we see FSBOs drastically overprice their property. Overpricing your property ends up helping you shoot yourself in the foot. You end up selling for much less than what the house could have sold for in the beginning.

If you’re thinking about going the route of FSBO, you certainly can. There are success stories every day; however, the majority of FSBOs fail miserably. A real estate agent can help you with that. They’re there so that you can get the most amount of money for your property in the shortest amount of time with the least amount of hassles. Even after you’ve paid them their commission, they’ll net you more money than if you tried selling your home on your own.

If you’re thinking about selling your home, talk to us first. Just give us a call or send us an email and we’d be happy to help you.

What Happens if Your Dallas Home Is Not Selling?

It’s no secret that we are in the hottest seller’s market that Dallas has ever seen. In fact, Dallas is one of the top 10 seller’s markets in the United States. That said, there are still people who have a difficult time selling their homes. What happens if your home is not selling?

There are four fundamental pillars of selling your home:

  1. Location of the property.
  2. Condition and showability of the home.
  3. Marketing the home.
  4. The price of the home.
Now, you can’t just rely on one pillar to sell your home. Each of them has to be working in order for you to be successful. You need to examine these areas and see if there is anything you can improve on if your home is still sitting on the market.

Unfortunately, you cannot do anything about the location of your home. You can’t pick up your home and move it into a different neighborhood or off the busy street corner; it is what it is.

You cannot change the location of your home, but you can change its condition, marketing, or price.

However, you can improve the condition and showability of your home. We recommend doing a pre-listing inspection so that you can fix any issues before your home goes on the market. We also recommend staging your home. A staged home sells 50% faster and for 7% more money than an unstaged home. 

As for marketing, real estate professionals handle that. We are expert marketers. We hire professional photographers, shoot videos, and put your home on every website out there. We do a lot of social media marketing and we have a database of more than 12,000 people we can market to. We are very proactive about dealing with other agents, running open houses, and more. We do everything we can to expose your home to the highest number of qualified buyers out there.

If everything else is working — your home is in its best condition, it’s showing well, and your agent has implemented a great, proven marketing strategy — then you may have to look at price. No one wants to go through a price reduction but sometimes it’s what you have to do in order to sell your home.

If you have any questions about selling or your home or about real estate in general, please don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email.  My team and I would be happy to help you!

The Latest Trends in the Dallas Real Estate Market

So far this year, things in the real estate market have been going gangbusters. Remember, the real estate market really started to turn around in the second quarter of 2012, so we have had four great years in Dallas Fort Worth. In fact, just this past June we were ranked as the third hottest market in the United States.

For the pre-owned, residential resale market, the median price is $205,000 - a 9.3% increase from this time last year. That number gets even higher when you factor in townhomes, condos, and new construction, but most people tend to focus on the resale market.

Whether you are buying or selling a home, you should be concerned about the days on market. The average days on market gives you an idea of how long it will take to sell your home or how quickly you need to make an offer. Right now, the average days on market for the resale market is 38 days, a 30% drop from this time last year. The median number is way less than that, at 16 days on market. That means half of all properties go under contract within two weeks of hitting the market.

There are more buyers than
there are homes on the market.

Closed sales for the year are up by about 7%. This year, 89,000 homes have been sold.

The supply of homes on the market is a key economic indicator of how the market is doing. Right now, we have an inventory of 2.5 months, which is a 14% drop year over year. If you’re a buyer and you’ve been wondering why it’s so hard to find a home, it’s because of that low inventory level. Ultimately, there are more buyers than there are homes on the market.

If you’re thinking of buying a home, you need to get connected with a really good agent who knows the market and can set up the right offer for the seller. We even have access to off-market properties so that you have a few more options to look at in this hot seller’s market.

If you have any questions, please give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!

What to Know When Buying a New Home in Dallas

Newly-constructed homes are excellent choices if you want a custom-built, quality home. They’re great investments for the future, but there are some things you should know before going out and buying one from the builder.

  1. Builders like to work with real estate agents. More than 85% of homebuyers are working with agents, and this should be no exception when you purchase a new home. Agents often have pre-existing relationships with builders, so this makes the negotiation and the entire transaction much simpler.
  2. Find out what it’s going to cost to buy a new home versus a pre-owned home. In the DFW area, buying a new home over a similar-sized resale home will cost you up to 20% more, and this does not account for builder upgrades either. Be prepared to pay more, but also know that you’re getting a product that is higher in quality.

    New homes cost more, but
    you’re paying for the quality.

  3. Check out the home before closing. Even new homes can have problems, so you should always have them inspected. Our clients recently had a home inspected that was not up to par, so it’s important to get everything inspected. It seems odd that a brand new home would have problems, but trust me, they can and they will.

If you need help finding a new home in the DFW area, please don’t hesitate to contact me. It’s costing less to build new homes now than it ever has before, and interest rates are mighty low. That makes now a perfect time to purchase.

I look forward to hearing from you!

How Scott Neal Real Estate found us exactly what we wanted and was always on top of things.

“We told them what we wanted, they found exactly what we needed, and they were right on top of things, because of the housing market here.They had everything prepared so if we wanted to close on a house or put in paperwork for the house, they had everything prepared for us right then and there.”

-Andrew Glaser

4 Ways to Get Ahead as a Buyer in Our Seller’s Market

We have quite a number of frustrated buyers coming to us recently. They are frustrated with the market and the lack of inventory that we have. In order to save you some stress if you’re thinking about buying, we wanted to share with you four great tips that will help you get ahead and start competing in this market. We’ve had a lot of success with these strategies. 

1. Be informed: It’s important to have realistic expectations. It’s the reason why we always like to have our buyers come to our office for a consultation before they begin the process. We just want them to be informed about what’s going on in the market, so they set the right expectations. 

2. Work with a great buyer specialist: Here at Scott Neal Real Estate, our buyer specialists do nothing but work with buyers to show houses, sell properties, and negotiate contracts. They know what they need to do to make sure your offer is accepted.

3. Get fully approved for a home loan: This is more than just talking to a loan officer. To get fully approved, you need to go through the entire application process with a bank or lender. They need to see your tax returns, bank statements, and more to get an idea of what you can afford. Also, if you’re a cash buyer, it’s important to provide us with your proof of funds.

We’ve had a lot of
success with these strategies.

4. Talk to your agents about your wants and needs: If your agent really knows what the bottom line is and what your wants are, they are going to give you the best resources that you can possibly have to meet all your needs and as many of your wants as possible. 

We know it can be frustrating out there, but if you follow these steps you have a much better shot at winning those bidding wars. We’ve had a lot of success with our buyers and in fact, some of our buyers are paying below asking price. 

Give us a call or send us an email if you need any help navigating today’s market, or if you’re looking to buy or sell yourself. We look forward to hearing from you!

Follow These Five Steps After You Go Under Contract

What happens when you go under contract as a buyer? There is a certain set of steps to follow in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. You submitted an offer on your dream home, you’ve negotiated price and terms, and you executed a contract. What happens next?

The first is what we call earnest money. This accounts for 1% to 3% of the purchase price as a deposit for the contract. It goes to the title company and is held in escrow.

In Texas, we don’t have a standard inspection period in our contracts. Instead, the second step is the option period. It’s a pre-negotiated amount of money for an established amount of time the seller gives you to terminate the contract. Normally, we use that time for any due diligence or inspection.  We then conduct the inspection, which is approximately 40-paged report that covers the roofs, the foundation, the appliances, and much more.

The third step includes acting on the report. Maybe we need some repairs. We might negotiate with the seller to make some repairs to the property or adjust the price. The option period allows the buyer to back out if they can’t agree with the seller.

Afterwards, we’ll have the lender appraisal, which is required 99% of the time. Step five involves a comprehensive walkthrough of the property to ensure it’s in the expected condition. Then it’s onto closing, where you show up with your check and sign off on the loan documents and the deed. This is when you’ll get the keys to your new home and celebrate!

If you have any questions about buying or selling, or have any questions, send us an email or give me a call. We look forward to serving you soon!

What Does the DFW Housing Market Look Like?

Today, I’m covering a market update for the Dallas-Fort Worth area during the first quarter of 2016.

Right now, the median sale price rests around $207,000. This is the exact middle. If you took all the properties, you’d look at the one priced exactly in the middle. That’s up by 9.8% from about  a year ago. The price per square foot is also up by 8.6%. It’s $101 per square foot.

How long does it take for a property to sell in our booming marketplace? On average, it takes around 20 days to sell in our MLS. From a year ago, that’s a 14.3% decrease. Remember that all of these statistics vary based on different circumstances, as well as specific neighborhoods. We’re giving you the overall health.

If you’re a seller, and your home has been listed for over 20 days, there’s a good reason why it isn’t selling. It’s probably overpriced. It’s nearly impossible to underprice your home in today’s market. You have to pay attention to strategic pricing.

Sales are up by 7.3% compared to 2015. Over the last year, 106,258 homes were sold. The key reason for all this activity is based on inventory. How many active listings are there compared to how many homes are selling per month? We only have 2.8 months of inventory currently! That’s down by 15.2%. That means it’s still a spectacular time to sell.

If you have any questions about this topic or more, give me a call or send me an email. I’d be happy to help you!

How We Can Sell Your Dallas Home The First Weekend

Today, we’re filming from an open house in sunny Garland, Texas! This house has four bedrooms, three full bathrooms, one half-bathroom, and a two-car garage. It’s listed for $225,000. We have all of our signs out here and over twenty people have showed up to tour the home this afternoon. With another hour to go we will have up to sixty people show today!

If you’re thinking about selling your home, we wanted to let you know this is something we do for all our sellers. It’s called our Mega Open House. The  idea is to get this home sold the first weekend it is listed on the market! We want to sell your property within the quickest time frame possible.

If you’re thinking about buying or selling a home in the surrounding Dallas area, we’d be happy to help you! Give us a call or send us an email today. Happy selling!

What Does it Take to Be a Successful Real Estate Agent in Dallas?

How did I get into real estate? Today I’m going to give you the full story, from my start up until now. I’m a firm believer that if you are dedicated to the business, have a good work ethic, and really care about helping people, real estate could be a rewarding and fulfilling career move for you.

My story begins in 2007. I had a friend who was working as an agent and one day he told me he thought I’d be a great agent with some practice. I was pretty young and naive at the time, but decided the time was right to take the plunge because what did I have to lose? Little did I know, the housing market would soon come to a screeching halt after the collapse of the financial market. I got my real estate license after the fact and began my career in 2008.

In 2008, my first full year, 40% of buyers dropped out of the market overnight. I sold 7 or 8 houses that year and 12 homes the next. In November 2009, I sold 5 homes right before Thanksgiving and decided I deserved the rest of the year off. This was a big mistake. It ended up being another 6 months before I sold another home. We were in a severe buyer’s market and I was getting frustrated. I thought, “There has got to be a better way to do this.”

This was when I made a decision that completely turned my business around. I dedicated myself to learning the business, networking with top agents, and hiring a coach to guide me in growing my business. In the second half of 2010, I sold 19 homes and have been selling 40+ homes a year ever since. It’s not because I’m the smartest guy around or the luckiest, it’s because I am a student of the business and I have a plan.

If you or someone you know is thinking about getting into the business, I can teach you how to grow a successful career in real estate. Just give me a call or send me an email, and I’ll be in touch!

What Do Your Days on Market Tell You About Your Dallas Home?

If you’re like most sellers, then you want to sell your home quickly and for top dollar. You’ll be excited to hear that the average days on market in the DFW is 43 days. This means that when a home comes onto the market, it takes an average of 43 days to complete the sale.

You’ll be even happier to hear that our clients usually only stay on the market for 19 days. The quicker you sell your home, the more money you will get for it. It’s important to price your home correctly and ensure that it is in tip-top condition to sell it quickly.

If your home has been sitting on the market longer than 30 days, you may be in trouble. Buyers will lose interest in the home, and you will not receive your full asking price. Please reach out to us if you’re having trouble selling your home, because we have strategies and solutions for this problem.

2015 In Review for Dallas Real Estate

We had another fantastic year of growth in the Dallas and Fort Worth area! We have excellent news to share with you today. These numbers benefit home buyers and sellers alike!

The median price for all types of properties rests at $204,355. Compared to last year, that’s an increase of 10.5%.

Nationally, we’ve experienced the appreciation rate slow down a little. As long as inventory remains low, we’re going to see price increases. Currently, we have 2.9 months worth of inventory available in the marketplace. That’s down nearly 15% compared to the past.

The approximate days on the market rests at 25 days. This presents the opportunity to sell quickly! You can sell your home within a month. Plus, if your property has already been listed for any longer, that means you need to change your strategy -- there’s clearly something wrong.

Over the last year, 103,435 properties have sold in the area. That’s up by about 5%. Overall, we’re experiencing a healthy and successful housing market. We had an awesome 2015 and it looks like it will roll into this year as well!

If you’re thinking about buying or selling a home, give me a call or send me an email today. I look forward to working together!

Where to Begin Your Loan Application in Dallas

I decided to apply for a home loan at a big bank, one that has a branch on every corner. Today, I want to share my experience with you and explain why I don't recommend going to big banks for home loans.

Not only did it take up to twenty minutes sitting in the lobby waiting for a banker, when I met with one, they didn't even know how to handle a loan application. For thirty minutes, I got shuffled from person to person until they finally printed a loan application for me!

Here's what they said would happen: Once I filled out the application, I would have to fax it to their central department, which is in a completely different state. Then, seven to nineteen days later, someone would get back to me and let me know what to do from there.

This is why we recommend that you use our loan officer. They will take your loan application over the phone and tell you in 30 minutes why you can or cannot buy a home right now.

Big banks may take seven to ten days to even get assigned to a loan officer. If you need to get a home loan or pre-approval, please talk to us. You need to get a pre-approval before you go out shopping for homes. By the time a big bank figures out your loan application, the property you had your eye on might be already gone.

If you have any questions, give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!