If you’d like to buy a home but you’re not sure when to actually start the process, our KW Memorial real estate team is here to tell you that now is the best time to do so! Mortgage rates and home prices have both been increasing this year, and they are expected to continue increasing. The longer you wait, the more you might have to pay for a home in the Houston real estate market.

Mortgage rates matter when it comes to buying. This is true for first-time buyers and for move-up buyers looking for a bigger or better home than they’re in now. What makes mortgage rates so impactful is this: Home prices are their greatest now than any time in history. However, it is more affordable to own a home today than it has been in the past! That is thanks to mortgage rates.

Mortgage interest rates are the difference between price and cost. The price of a home is the dollar amount you see in a listing. The cost of the home is what you will pay each month.

Today, interest rates are hovering around 4.40 percent. In 1988, the average mortgage rate was 10.34 percent! So even though home prices were lower, rates were much higher, and wages were lower. All in all, it’s cheaper for you to own a home now than it was for your parent’s generation to own.

Zillow did a study to see how much of a person’s median income would be necessary to purchase a home, based on mortgage rates, home prices and average wages. Historically, it has been 20 percent of median income necessary to buy a median priced home. Today, it’s 15.7 percent. At a 5 percent mortgage rate, it’ll be 18.3 percent. If rates go up to 7 percent, it’ll be 22.7 percent.

Rates are not predicted to decrease any time soon, but many experts predict that they will continue to increase. That means that the cheapest time to buy a home is now! Rates have already increase from 3.95 percent in January to 4.40 percent in April.

For now, as this KCM Crew chart shows, rates have begun to level off for the spring market. That is great news for Houston homebuyers! With more listings coming onto the Houston real estate market, now is the best time to buy. Experts predict rates may increase to 4.48 percent by June, and 4.73 percent by the end of the year. Now is not the time to wait!

If you want to buy, contact our team at Keller Williams Memorial. We’ll match you up with an agent, answer all your questions, and begin you on the process of buying a home. Our experienced, professional team will be by your side the entire time! Let’s get you the house you deserve, so you can start investing in your future, and living the life you’ve dreamed of.

 

The KW Memorial real estate team is here to help you accomplish your home-buying goals in the Houston real estate market year-round! If you think that you have to wait to buy a home until spring, think again. We’re here to fill you in on why this holiday season or winter season may be the best time for you to snag a deal!

With less real estate activity during the holidays and in the winter months, you may think that you will not find a home that you want to buy. But there are numerous perks to buying now as well, if you do find a home that you love! Check out some of the perks:

  • You’ve got less competition. Sure, there are typically fewer homes on the market during the holidays, but there are also fewer buyers to compete with! If you find a home you love and want to buy, you might have more negotiating power if no other buyer is bidding on that home as well. If you wait until spring, you will very likely be dealing with multiple offers being placed on each home.
  • Sellers are motivated. There are typically fewer buyers and sellers in the winter months, but that means if a home is on the market, that seller is most likely motivated to sell! If not, they’d probably wait until after the holidays to list. They may need to relocate on a specific timeline. When this is the case, again, you will find that you have more negotiating power to get a closing done quickly.
  • There are tax advantages. If you want to reap the tax rewards of buying a home, the sooner you buy, the better! If you close on a home by year’s end, you can start enjoying the tax perks come April and beyond. You can deduct mortgage interest, property taxes and more.
  • You’ll see the house in its true state. It’s easy to make a home look gorgeous in the spring or summer, when trees are budding and the grass is lush. However, it’s wise to view a home in what may be its ‘ugliest’ time of year as well, when it’s dark outside and plant life diminishes. How warm is the house? How bright is the house? You can take note of flaws that otherwise may be hidden.
  • Professionals are at the ready. Because real estate slows down during the holidays, if you find a home to purchase now, the closing process may run much faster and smoother than if you wait until spring. Wither fewer clients, agents, mortgage lenders, inspectors, appraisers, etc. will have a more flexible schedule for helping you.

Ready to buy a home in Houston TX? Have questions about the Houston real estate market? Ready to find an agent to help you out? Contact us, the Keller Williams Memorial real estate team! We are here and ready to help you year-round with your home-buying and home-selling needs!

If you’d like to buy a home, but don’t think you can because you don’t have enough saved for a down payment, or because you have poor credit, we have good news! You don’t need 20 percent down, and you can still buy with bad credit. Your Keller Williams Memorial real estate team is here to explain.

The Aspiring Home Buyers Profile found that 30 percent of non-homeowners believe that they need 20 percent or more for a down payment on a home purchase, just to qualify. That isn’t true at all! The majority of first-time buyers don’t put 20 percent down. You can score a loan with as little as 3 percent down, or up to 10 percent down, if you have stable income and good credit.

Speaking of credit, an Ipson survey found that 62 percent of respondents think they need excellent credit to buy a home, with 43 percent thinking a good credit score is over 780. In truth, the average conventional loan in August had a credit score of 752, and the average for a FHA loan was 683.

If your credit score still isn’t up to par with these numbers, there are a few steps you could take:

1. Check for credit report errors. Creditors make mistakes more often than you realize. See if any errors come up that aren’t yours. If you had a one-time mistake, such as one late payment, call the organization and ask for it to be removed from your credit. You may be surprised how often they’ll do this!

2. Get a low credit score home loan. For a FHA loan, you need a minimum credit score of 580 and you can put down as little as 3 percent. However, you’ll have to pay for mortgage insurance, so that’ll up your homeowner costs. You might also end up with a higher interest rate, meaning you’ll pay more over the life of the loan than with a mortgage with a lower interest rate.

3. Increase your down payment. Let’s say your credit history isn’t the best, but you’ve saved up a lot of cash, or you’ve recently gotten a new job with a high salary. The more you put down, the less risk you are to the lender. Increase your down payment to 25 or 30 percent and you’ll strengthen your chances of qualifying for a loan. If you have loads of money saved, you could also just pay cash!

If you have questions about the home-buying process in the Houston real estate market, or you’d like to start searching for the home of your dreams, contact us! The Keller Williams Memorial real estate team is here and ready to help you achieve all of your home-buying goals this fall season.

 

If you’ve got a stressful job, there’s nothing worse than coming home to a stressful home environment as well! KW Memorial is here to offer you tips for turning your home’s atmosphere into a more relaxing, peaceful one. Not only will you benefit, but a potential buyer might appreciate this as well!

The first step to de-stressing your home environment is to declutter. Clutter is chaos, and therefore it creates chaos in the mind. Studies have showing that having a clutter-free, organized and clean home can help you feel happier and more relaxed.

Another step to consider is painting some of the rooms in your home with colors that promote relaxation and feelings of peace! House Beautiful recently shared 16 colors known to do that:

  • Mauve – It’s graceful and subtle and sets a great tone for a dining room.
  • Tan – This soft shade creates a feeling of coziness, like a warm glow of candlelight. It’s great for a living room.
  • Deep Blue – It’s tranquil, but also exciting, and can create calmness and confidence. Be brave and use it in a kitchen, or it’d also be great for an office.
  • Mist Gray – This fog-like color would give a sitting area a quiet sophistication. Great for a living room, family room or office. Try meditating with it.
  • Coral – Warm and inviting, it’s similar to the glow of the sun. It feels like a retreat! Try it in a bedroom, kitchen or dining room. It’s great for entertaining spaces.
  • Purple – Purple is known to be relaxing when talking of darker color options. You sink into the color like you’d sink into a comfortable couch. It opens up space as well. Try it in a bedroom.
  • Blue-Gray – This could remind you of the quietness of a rainy day. It’s a great color for a refuge room, such as living room or library. Combine it with richer hues of blue or gray.
  • Light Green – This green shade gives you the feeling of fading light on a summer afternoon. Imagine it on a veranda, in a bathroom or in a laundry room.
  • Celestial Blue – This color is light and subtle enough to look good paired with any other color. With floral patterns, your room would feel like a garden. Great for a living room, bedroom or bathroom.

For more of House Beautiful’s options, along with example rooms painted with each color, check out the article. Which is your favorite color? Where would you put it in your home? Share!

 

If your home’s organization is suffering now that school is back in session, you’re not alone. The sudden influx of early mornings, homework assignments, backpacks and sports gear is enough to send any homeowner’s space into disarray. The Keller Williams Memorial team is here to offer some suggestions!

The more prepared each room of your house is for kids, clutter and chaos, the less you’ll have to worry about. Here are some suggestions that Inman News offered for some major rooms in your home:

  • Bathroom – If your kids share a bathroom, consider upgrading it with dual sinks. This isn’t just for a master bathroom anymore! This allows each kid space at the sink. Add plenty of baskets and bins for each person’s toiletries and this could help prevent stuff from cluttering all areas of the sink. For the shower, consider a handheld sprayer for easy height adjustment. Pour shampoo and conditioner into pump bottles for less mess and fewer bottles. Decorate with kid-friendly décor like towels, rugs and shower curtain. Steer away from child-height amenities, as they will outgrow them. Invest in stepping stools instead.
  • Kitchen – The kitchen is the hub of the home. Add an oversized island to your kitchen for easy seating and cleanup for breakfast and after-school snacks. Leave the table for family dinner and homework time. Consider a built-in desk for storing school papers and homework, but use a filing system to keep them all organized, or you’re sure to misplace a field trip permission slip somewhere along the way!
  • Mudroom – Mudrooms are beloved by parents all over the country now! Either build one into your home, or outfit a traditional foyer to act as a mudroom. You need organized space for shoes, backpacks, athletic equipment, jackets, etc. At school, kids use lockers or cubbies. It is wise to replicate this design in your mudroom or foyer. Add benches, lockers or cubbies to your space, and color-code them for each person. This is a place where all of each person’s items can be stored. At the least, add separators in the coat closet so each child’s items remain together.

The Inman News article even suggests having dual laundry rooms, one upstairs and one down. For more tips and suggestions, check out the article in its entirety.

We hope these tips will help you feel more organized at your home as the school year unfolds. When ready to buy or sell in the Houston real estate market this fall, contact us! The Keller Williams Memorial Team is here and ready to answer your questions and get you going toward achieving your real estate goals! We look forward to hearing from you!

 

As the seasons transition here in Houston, we see typical transitions in the real estate market as well. Inventory tends to decline, but buyer demand is still strong. After Hurricane Harvey, these trends are even more prevalent, with inventory dropping. If you’d like to buy a home this fall, there are a few tips that will be helpful for you to know while searching in a seller’s market. Your Keller Williams Memorial real estate team is here to fill you in!

1. Have an open schedule. With inventory so low, you pretty much have to snatch up a home that meets your needs as soon as it comes on the market! Decide what you absolutely need from a home, such as a number of bedrooms or location, and only search homes with that criteria. When one becomes available, go see it as soon as you can, and make an offer if interested. Have a preapproval before you begin your search, which helps sellers take you seriously as a candidate.

2. Bring your best offer. There is a good chance that sellers will receive multiple offers, so this isn’t the time to beat around the bush. Offer your best offer first. Offer other positive perks as well, such as a fast close or more money down. If you can pay cash, that usually wins in these market conditions. But sometimes a seller will choose a family to live in their home over an investor, so writing the seller a personal letter as to why you love the house couldn’t hurt.

3. Be ready to compromise. When it comes to closing agreements, the negotiations are typically in favor of the seller in a seller’s market, so be ready to compromise. For example, some sellers may choose to take appliances that are usually left with the home, or others may refuse to take care of inspection items. Decide what you’re willing to compromise on, but anything that is a safety or health hazard should not be compromised.

4. Work with an agent! With the favor being on the seller’s side, you may get trampled as a buyer working alone. It is essential right now to work with a professional agent who will advocate on your behalf, to make sure you aren’t agreeing to anything you don’t realize, to assist you in negotiating the best price, to assure that all the correct paperwork is signed, to take care of communication with the seller’s agent, to get you in to see properties as soon as they become available, etc.

When ready to buy a home in the Houston real estate market this fall season, contact the Keller Williams Memorial real estate team! We are here and ready to answer all of your questions and to help guide you through the entire home-buying process, until you are holding a key to your new home.

You want to buy a home, but your credit score isn’t up to par. It’s a common issue among first-time buyers in the Houston real estate market! To help you learn how you can improve your credit score, and as fast as possible, your KW Memorial real estate team is here to offer you suggestions.

  • Pull credit reports. To really get the full picture of your credit history, pull your credit report and scores from all three major U.S. credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. You can pull your report for free from each of these once per year. Your score should be at least 580 for a FHA loan, and 620 or higher for a loan from major lenders.
  • Make changes. If you see errors on any of your credit reports, you can dispute them. Five percent of reports have errors, according to a 2013 study, so be sure to check this. The dispute process can be long and cumbersome, so the sooner you start, the better! If you have any one-time late payments, call the company and ask them to remove it from your record. Most will!
  • Improve your standings. If you’ve got debt, start paying it off. Pay your balance down to 1 percent of your credit limit when possible. If you don’t have the money right now, ask if your credit card companies will increase your credit limit, which improves your debt-to-credit ratio. (Don’t continue to spend, though!) Make all of your payments on time as well, which will start improving your score.
  • Become an authorized user. If you’ve got a financially responsible partner, friend or family member with good credit, you could become an authorized user on one of their accounts. The history of that account will show up on your credit report immediately and could boost your credit score. Just make sure to choose someone who will continue to pay off debts and pay on time!

The sooner you start working toward improving your credit, the better. The higher your credit score is, the better chance you have at scoring pre-approval from a mortgage lender! This could take time, so it’s never too soon to start.

Ready to buy a home in Houston now? Have questions about the home-buying process or about Houston real estate market conditions? Contact us at any time! The Keller Williams Memorial real estate team is here and ready to answer all of your questions and to help guide you through the home-buying process, until you have keys in your hand to the home of your dreams. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

Among Houston homeowners, kitchens and bathrooms are the most popular rooms to remodel in the home. Chances are, you spend a good amount of time in each of these. The bathroom is where you go first thing in the morning, and before you head to bed. You want to wake up and head to a room you love! Plus, it helps that kitchen and bathroom upgrades may yield increased home value and interest from buyers when you go to sell.

Your Keller Williams Memorial real estate team is here to tell you, like with all home improvement projects, not all upgrades are created equal. Realtor.com recently shared the best bathroom upgrades for both usefulness and return on investment. Here are some small upgrades to start with:

  • Reglaze your tub. You don’t have to spend thousands on the installation of a new tub! Having a tub glazed will cost around $1,500, much less. Focus instead on the front part of the bathroom rather than the shower area, if it’s in decent shape.
  • Invest in a sink. You spend a lot of time at your sink, so it may be worth investing in a new one! It could only cost a few hundred dollars for a contemporary sink, which will make all the difference in your bathroom’s appearance. Upgrading just your sink’s faucet handles can make a huge difference as well.
  • Go for tile. While natural stone is popular, it’s also pricey and taste-specific. Tile is timeless and appeals to a broader range of people. You can use subway tiles, which cost around 21 cents each and could add up to $10,000 of value to your home!
  • Upgrade lighting. Chances are, you spend a good amount of time looking in the mirror. Make sure that what you looks true to life with upgraded lighting and lighting fixtures. Dated light fixtures are a turnoff, and new fixtures could cost no more than $100.
  • Install a double vanity. Many buyers are looking for a bathroom with double vanities, whether for the heads of the household or for kids who share a bathroom. It typically costs between $200 and $800, and it could save many fights and yield more interest in buyers!
  • Get a water-saving toilet. Energy-saving upgrades are in, and a new upgrade like this could save you money and increase your home value. New toilets save up to 18,000 gallons of water annually and could shed more than $110 per year off your water bill.

For more bathroom upgrade tips, check out this Realtor.com article. What do you appreciate most in a bathroom? Leave a comment and share!

When ready to accomplish your home-selling and/or home-buying goals in the Houston real estate market this year, contact our KW Memorial real estate team. We are here and ready to help you get the job done!

 

Are you ready to buy a home for the first time? Feeling overwhelmed and anxious? As your Houston real estate team, we are here to help guide you through the entire process, and to support you along the way! Buying a home is one of the biggest investments you’ll make, if not the biggest, so it’s not to be taken lightly. But it’s also very exciting and shouldn’t be all stress! That is where we come in.

To help prepare you for the process, NerdWallet made a list of 25 steps to take when buying a first home. The first few steps are to find out your credit score and what you can afford, and to apply for a mortgage and get preapproved. A preapproval will help you know what your budget is, so you shop within those means, and it’ll help sellers take you seriously, knowing that you can afford their home.

Once you’re preapproved for a mortgage loan, here are the next few steps to take:

  • Hire a buyer’s agent. We’ve got lots of options for you at Keller Williams Memorial! You want to choose an agent with a credible history, lots of experience, knowledge on the Houston area, and who is highly skilled and motivated. We can match you up with a buyer’s agent that is right for you!
  • Search in your budget. Your best bet is to shop for Houston properties that are a little less than what you were approved for. You want to account for closing costs, repairs that may be needed, taxes, insurance and home maintenance for the future. Leave some wiggle room!
  • Find the right neighborhood. This is as important as picking the right house. If you have kids, research the schools that they’ll be going to. Even if you don’t have kids, school ratings affect home values! Check out traffic, noise and activity levels at different times of the day, and commute times to your job.
  • Take advantage of open houses. These are a great way to view many homes in a short period of time. Collect as much information as you can about the ones that interest you. Pay close attention to details of the home and neighborhood. Schedule a second showing, especially if other buyers are present.
  • Plan for the future. Don’t just choose a home based on your current needs, plan for the future! If you plan on growing your family, buy a larger home that you can grow into, with plenty of bedrooms. If you’re aging and retiring soon, consider a ranch home without much maintenance.
  • Be ready for compromise. It’s a seller’s market right now, so be prepared to let the little things go, to compromise on things you were hoping your house would have, and to negotiate with the seller on terms.

Like we said, your Keller Williams Memorial real estate agent will be there to help guide you every step of the way! Contact us to begin your first-time home-buying process.

 

Have you been wanting to buy a home, but you can’t decide if now is the right time, or if homeownership is right for you? Allow the Keller Williams Memorial real estate team to help you decide!

Freddie Mac recently reported a study on the biggest perks of homeownership. If you are or were a homeowner, see if you relate to these. If you want to buy a home, see which of these resonates most with you!

Homeownership can build equity over time. The latest report of homeowners vs. renters net worth showed that a homeowner’s net worth is 36 times more than a renter’s! NAR’s latest report shows that a homeowner’s net worth is now 45 times greater. This is huge!

Monthly payments remain stable. If you have a fixed rate mortgage, your monthly mortgage payments won’t change. Your payment will be the same 10 years from now! As rent prices continue to skyrocket, you can expect your rent to continue to increase regularly.

Homeowners receive tax benefits. As a Houston homeowner, you can enjoy mortgage interest deduction, property tax deduction, imputed rent and profits from home sale as some of your tax benefits. You may also be able to write off some of your home-buying expenses.

You have design power. Homeowners love that they can design their home however they want, without following the rules of a landlord! Have fun with paint colors, yard accessories, pet toys, room renovations and more. Homeowners tend to take more pride in their homes because of this.

Homeownership improves community. When you own your home, and you’re surrounded by other homeowners in your neighborhood, it creates a sense of community and connection. Homeowners tend to enjoy more interaction with neighbors, and they report a higher feeling of security.

So, clearly homeownership has many perks! Is it for you? Ask yourself these three questions:

1. Why do you want to buy? The answer to this could be financial, or it could be something else entirely. Maybe you want a safe place to grow your family, you want your kids to receive good education, you want to control your living space, you want to save money or grow equity. There are so many great reasons!

2. Where are home values headed? Home prices have increased 5.8 percent year-over-year and for 63 consecutive months. They’re expected to rise 5.3 percent more over the next year. The sooner you buy, the more you could save!

3. Where are mortgage rates headed? Interest rates impact the long-term cost of a home dramatically, and right now, they’re still historically low. They’re expected to increase over the years to come, so again, the sooner you buy, the more you might save!

If you’ve got questions about the home-buying process in the Houston real estate market, or you’re ready to buy now, contact us. The Keller Williams Memorial team is standing by, ready to help!