Want to buy a house in 2018? Here are 6 Steps to take now!

Many of us make New Year’s resolutions from dieting, exercising, traveling, etc.  If one of your resolutions is to purchase that dream home in 2018, here are some helpful steps you can take to make that dream a reality.

Check your credit score.

FICO scores range from 300-850.  If your score is above 740, typically you will get a better interest rate on a loan.  This lower rate could mean saving thousands of dollars per year.  If your credit falls a little short you should look into repairing it.  You can start by correcting any errors and paying bills on time.  It is wise to use 30 percent or less of your total available credit.

Don’t open new credit cards.

Opening new lines of credit could hurt your chances of getting a mortgage or getting the best rate.  As tempting as it may be to save 20 percent of your purchase that one time at a store, it is not worth it in the long run.

Interview real estate agents.

You may ask for referrals from your family and friends, but what is most important is to shop around to find the agent that is the perfect fit for you.  Make sure the agent is a good communicator, knowledgeable and experienced.

Keep tabs on interest rates.

Not everyone gets the same interest rate on a mortgage loan.  This depends on your finances and lender you choose.  It is best to shop around for the lowest rates.

Find a mortgage lender & get pre-approved.

Before you even start looking for a home, look for a mortgage lender to find out how much home you can afford or if you are in the position to purchase a home at that time.  Most lenders will tell you some things that you could do to get there faster.  Most real estate agents require pre-approval letters before setting up house hunting trips.

 

If you are interested in purchasing a new home this year, the Stacey Feltman group can help.  We are have the experience, knowledge and negotiation skills to help make your REALTY DREAMS A REALITY!

Contact us at 214-356-8368

 

 

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Keep your sanity on Holiday road trips with kids!

Make it a family affair

Don’t wait until the last minute to get your kids psyched for your holiday journey. If you involve them in the planning process, they’re likely to be more invested in the trip. Give them little tasks so they’ll feel like they’re contributing.

Beat rush hour

You can’t avoid traffic jams caused by accidents or emergency roadwork, but you can plan your trip so you’re not in big cities during the morning or evening rush. You might also consider leaving at night if you feel well rested and comfortable driving in the dark. There will be fewer cars on the road, and your kids will probably sleep most of the way.

Bring snacks

Have a supply of good travel foods (Cheerios, string cheese, bananas) with you at all times. Water is the best on-the-go beverage because kids only drink as much as they need, which will cut down on emergency bathroom breaks.

Be prepared for messes

Have available some hand sanitizer, a small travel first-aid kit, some paper towels and/or handi-wipes

Keep kids entertained

Let your children pack their own bag of toys, travel games, books, and so on. But bring a special surprise or two to pull out when they start getting bored maybe a gift you bought just for the trip. Give little ones their favorite lovey, and then read or tell them a story so they don’t feel ignored. For older kids, encourage them to scout out license plates and road signs or have them track your route with a marker on a map or if you child is tech savvy a tablet with age appropriate games can keep them entertained for hours.  Some schools give a holiday reading list that they can get done before the busy family time.

Most of all be prepared to let the children know that a normal 3 hour trip could take longer due to the busy holiday traffic.

The Stacey Feltman Group wishes all a Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels!

 

 

 

 

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Suffering with Allergies?

If it is one thing that North Texans know about, it’s the misery that comes along with allergies.  In the real estate business, the Stacey Feltman Group helps a lot of people relocating to the area and one of the main things they hear about is how bad allergies can be in Texas.  While we cannot control mother Earth, we can try to eliminate a lot of allergens inside our homes.  Here are a few helpful hints to help you through…

Beat the Dust in the Bedrooms!

We spend a lot of time in our beds at night getting our beauty rest, but behold the ugly dust mites that are inhabiting our mattresses.  A quick fix is to cover your mattress and pillows with zip-on dust mite covers.  Dust also settles in pillows, bedding and drapes.  Go curtain free if possible or use curtains that can be washed along with bedding and pillows.  If you have pets that shares a bed with you their dander can be an issue.  Bathing pets weekly can help relieve some of the dander.  Most people have carpet in their bedrooms, if you cannot remove carpet vacuuming once a week can help pull up some of the dust.  Vacuuming can stir up dust, so you may want to wear a mask while vacuuming carpets.  Some vacuum cleaners have a HEPA filter that will trap dust and keep it from settling back into the carpet.

Keep the Outdoors Out!

Lay down two doormats at each entryway—one outside, one inside—to keep outdoor irritants from finding their way inside. Or, have your family and guests remove their shoes when they enter, so they don’t spread allergens around.

Change those Air Filters!

Don’t forget to clean or replace the filters in your heating and cooling system. Just follow the manufacturers’ instructions on timing and frequency.

Ditch the Drapes!

Blinds or shades trap fewer allergens than fabric window treatments, but if you insist on curtains, opt for the machine-washable kind, which are easier to keep dust-free. Remove dust by vacuuming once a week with a brush attachment, and wash them frequently during months when you keep the windows open.

Eliminate the Mold in Bathrooms!

There are more than 100,000 species of mold on the planet, and one of their favorite places to live is your bathroom. Clean it regularly, making sure to dry off surfaces that collect standing water, and make sure it’s well ventilated. Also replace broken tiles and re-caulk sinks and tubs every few years to discourage mold growth behind walls.

Look Under the Kitchen Sink!

It’s a prime spot for mold growth when pipes drip. Pull everything out of the cabinet and inspect the interior carefully for signs of leaks. Also look for mouse droppings and cockroach webs, since rodents and bugs can trigger allergies, too. Get leaks fixed, seal holes, clean the area, and keep it tidy and dry to eliminate irritant build-up.  Other areas to look for mold in kitchen area include the refrigerator and washing machines.  Make sure you are cleaning these as well.  You can use vinegar and water to safely clean inside refrigerators and washers.

Go Carpet Free!

Minimize the amount of carpet you have.  If you can, replace with the many types of hardwood or solid surface floors.

If you suffer from allergies, you may need to see a doctor to determine what specific allergens you are allergic too.  Click HERE to check the daily pollen count in your area.

 

 

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Eliminate Your Thanksgiving Stress!

Halloween is over and now on to the next!  Never too early to prepare for Thanksgiving especially if you are the host!  Thanksgiving meal prep takes a lot of time and preparation not to mention all the other stuff you need to do to prepare for Holiday guests.  Family can be stressful in itself so let’s focus on the stuff we can try to control.  Hopefully, having a plan with pave the way for a beautiful feast and good time all can be grateful for.

One month out

Make a list of people that will be visiting.

Do you want it to feel cozy, elegant or casual?

Order your turkey and ham early

Choose recipes and figure out who will be making what

Do a walk-through of your home- does anything need to be updated or fixed? New decorating project?

Clear space in your pantry

Clear out the coat closet

Figure out if you will need extra tables, chairs, etc. to accommodate guests.

 

Two to Three Weeks ahead

Create DIY or figure out your table décor

Create your shopping list for non-perishable items and one for perishable items

Make your cooking schedule.  What things can be prepared ahead of time?

Shop for your non-perishables and leave them organized by dish

 

The weekend before

Tidy up your house.  Not the time for deep cleaning and purging.

Tidy up the front porch, maybe add a splash of color with plants or flowers

Clean out fridge and freezer to make room for prep items and leftovers

Shop for your perishable items

Purchase or pick up your frozen turkey so it can start thawing in the fridge

Review your menu and shopping lists to see if you left something out

 

The Day Before

Tidy up again focusing on main areas such as entry ways and bathrooms

Set the table with place settings and décor

Prep any dishes to decrease the workload

Clear out dishwasher

Put any frozen prep dishes you made prior in the fridge to thaw

Set up kids table if necessary

 

Thanksgiving Day

Start cooking Turkey early morning and start your cooking plan

After dinner, promptly put dishes in dishwasher to clear away and make room for dessert!

Graciously accept any help you get

Sit back and enjoy your pie!

 

 

 

 

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Haunted House for Sale!

It is the season of ghosts, goblins and trick or treaters!  This time of year many flock to the numerous haunted houses in their area for chills and thrills.  While this may be exciting and fun, in real life would feelings be the same?  Are buyers really spooked about purchasing and living in a haunted house?  Here is what they are saying…

Thirty-three percent of more than 1,000 consumers recently surveyed say they’re willing to live in a haunted house, and another 25 percent said they’d consider it, according to a newly released survey by realtor.com®.  Still, 40 percent of consumers said they’d need a price reduction in order to choose a haunted home over a non-haunted home. Also, a good neighborhood, extra square footage, and more bedrooms would convince them too, according to the survey. On the other hand, 42 percent of respondents insist they aren’t open to the idea of buying a haunted home, even for those extra perks.

For most buyers, living in a so-called haunted home is not that concerning as 28 percent of respondents have claimed to have lived in one in the past and 14 percent think they may have.

With inventory shortages across the US, like here in the DFW area, buyers may overlook haunted house claims to get into the home of their dreams and in the right schools.  Would you purchase a haunted home?

 

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Fall vs. Summer: Which is Really the Best Time to Buy a New Home?

Many buyers with children may question the fact that school has already started and are adamant about not changing schools. Other buyers may think that they can only get the best deals in the Spring/Summer seasons. This is not the case! Here is why…

Less Competition (Fall Wins!)
Competition drops off the in the Fall season but there are still homes for sale. In some cases, there’s just as much inventory that did not sell in the “prime season.” This puts the buyer in a great position to negotiate. Many sellers may be more motivated to sell before the holidays. Buyers will have more leverage in Fall!

Sellers are Exhausted (Fall Wins!)
Many of these sellers put their homes on the market in the “prime season” and had more energy and excitement. But after many showings, they start to get worn-out. Now they are ready to make a deal. Most will take a lower offer than to wait another six months for spring to come around. Some sellers may have a home that is being built or have to move for a job, therefore, again they are more open to negotiating and accepting a lower offer or the reason they have made a price adjustment.

Prices will Drop (Fall Wins!)
If homes listed during the busy summer months did not sell, chances are they could have been overpriced or at the upper limits of the comparables. Buyers will see prices fall more in line with market value. Again, sellers are more willing to negotiate and adjust their original list price.

Time on the Market (Fall Wins!)
Another issue that works against sellers but favors buyers. The longer the home sits unsold, the more bargaining power a buyer will have.

More Flexibility on Terms (Fall Wins!)
In the fall season, you will see less bidding wars and multiple offers. Therefore, tables are turned and buyers will have more flexibility on terms such as: Closing costs, Repairs, Seller Concessions and closing timeline.

If school being in session is what is hindering a buyer from making that purchase, stop that thinking! Think about the deal for long-term and the positives to make that switch. School just started so kids may not have gotten too comfortable yet in their class, so making this a perfect time to switch and start fresh at a new school. Kids will always make neighborhood and school friends.

In our case of Fall vs. Summer, Fall wins by a landslide! Call the Stacey Feltman Group today at
214-356-8368 or visit us on our website at www.staceyfeltmangroup.com.
We Make REALTY Dreams a REALITY!

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Do It Now! Tips to Get Your Kids Ready for School!

Frisco ISD Parents we are just 2 weeks away from that magical first day of school! This is the day some of us parents have been praying for! Now is the perfect time to get your kids and yourself ready for the upcoming chaos of the morning and afternoon rush. Here are some tips we can start doing now to prepare.

Ease the Family in to the school year schedule
The day of is not the time to start waking them up early. Start 2 weeks prior re-introducing them to the school year bedtime and start waking late sleepers up closer to the time they will need to wake up for school.

Lunch & snack time schedule
Find out what time your child will be eating lunch and having snacks for the upcoming school year and you can plan meals and snacks accordingly so they can better adapt to the new schedule.

Organize your days with a Family Calendar
Back to school also brings those extracurricular activities and busy after school schedules. You may be running around in chaos especially if you have more than one child. Create a family calendar that is centrally located with each person’s activities, meetings, etc. You can also color code each person’s activities. This will help you stay organized without the chaos!

School Shopping
Frisco ISD provides the opportunity to purchase back to school supply kits and delivers them to your child’s classroom so there is no need to deal with the hustle and bustle of going out and hoping one store has all you need. Do assess your kids wardrobe and make a list of items they will need to start school and Do shop early.

School Enrollment
Many schools like Frisco ISD have enrollment guidelines so make sure you are prepared and have the appropriate paperwork handy. For instance Frisco ISD requires:

Acceptable proof of residency is one of the following:

 A copy of a current (current or previous month) utility bill (electric, gas or water) which shows the current usage on it.
 A current lease (for 30 days until a utility bill is available).
 If you have recently purchased your home, a copy of the closing papers will suffice until a utility bill is available to reproduce (within 30 days).
 If you are living with a relative or friend in the FISD attendance zone, an affidavit must be completed, notarized and returned to the school office along with a current utility bill.
 Students living apart from parents—Refer to Policy FDB (LOCAL).

For more information visit http://www.friscoisd.org/about/enrollment/home

Reduce the morning madness
Each evening, think ahead to the following morning; where can you lighten the load? Set the breakfast table as you clear the dinner dishes, and make sure breakfast foods are easy to reach. Lay out children’s clothing the night before. Scan backpacks or launch pad spaces for missing homework, projects or library books. Make sure musical instruments or sports bags are packed and ready to go.

Finally, parents relax and keep calm because kids are almost back to school! If you start organizing and getting prepared early you will be all set to go!

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“Make Your Realty Dreams a Reality”

Just recently the news reported on the lack of affordable homes in the DFW area. DFW used to be known for the relatively low cost of housing compared to other similar sized markets. Dallas remains among the top 3 markets in the country in regards to highest year to year gains. Some say we are reaching a limit or ceiling if you will. Experts label affordable homes with those priced $200,000 and below. Over the past few years there are fewer and fewer homes that are available for that price point in DFW and its many suburbs. Many have to broaden their search to outside cities like Kaufman, Fate and Greenville where there are still at a good value.

So what can you do if you are a buyer looking for “affordable housing” but do not want to move too far out of the reach of DFW? Answer is you need to be more “attractive” to the sellers of those homes that do pop up on the market and here is how…

1. Become pre-qualified with a lender.
2. Make sure you have a real estate professional by your side. .
3. Move quickly once you find the house you want.
4. Write a personal letter to the sellers to let them know how much you love their home and how you will continue to love it the way they did.
5. Start with the best offer. You may only get one chance to make an offer and will need to go in at your highest and best.
6. Be realistic about the inspection and repairs.
7. Make a bigger earnest money deposit.
8. Make back-up offers if you don’t get it the first time.
9. Consider waiving or shortening contingencies.

The Stacey Feltman Group can help you with your home buying needs. Call us today at (214) 356-8368. Our group has the experience, knowledge and drive you help you make your realty dreams a reality!

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Do I Really Need a Realtor to Purchase a New Construction Home?

Did you know that Dallas-Fort Worth actually leads the nation in the number of new houses being built? This is a result of the influx of all the new workers for Toyota, JPMorgan Chase, Liberty Mutual, Raytheon and so on and so on. Builders are helping out our inventory by ramping up their construction. With so many builders, one may ask “Do I need a Realtor to purchase a new home?” And the answer is YES!

Builders have sales reps, can’t they help me?
The answer is yes they can help you BUT there is a huge difference. Builder sales reps represent the builder as they are contractually obligated to do. The sales rep can help explain the different floorplans, elevations, lots available, upgrades, specials, etc. Realtors are trusted resources and can help you navigate between the different builders and the complexity of the home buying process. They buyer agency agreement you have with your Realtor ensures that he or she will represent your interests alone.

What is the Fiduciary responsibility of my Realtor?
You are the number ONE! You have an expert who is looking out for YOU and your best financial needs, an expert that is contractually obligated to protect you. Those new construction contracts can range from 25 pages to 100+ pages long and your Realtor can help you understand specific clauses, riders, and upgrade options that affect you and make sure you understand what you need to before you sign the dotted line.

Can my Realtor negotiate a better deal?
YES! Remember that there are many builders out there wanting you to build a new home with them. A Realtor knows all the many ins and outs of the different builders and what all they have to offer and the outcome. If your Realtor has sold new construction homes to past clients, they can share those experiences good and bad. A Realtor can negotiate price as well as special items into the contract that you may not have considered like ceiling fans, extra electrical outlets, etc.

How is my Realtor involved in the building process?
Signing the contract is just the beginning. You must also have to get your financing in order, work with title companies and attend many inspections throughout the construction. A Realtor can manage the process and can attend inspections with you to ensure that you are not missing anything during each phase of the build. During your final walk-through, otherwise known as your blue tape walk-through, a trusted Realtor can help you see items the builder may have missed and stand up for you in getting those items taken care of in a timely manner. They will have your back!

So a Realtor does all this with no cost to me the buyer?

That is correct! The seller/builder is responsible for the agent’s commission. With no money out of your pocket, you will have the comfort of knowing you have someone obligated to you and offer an extra layer of protection, most of all you will have peace of mind!

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North Texas Buyers Avoid These 5 Mistakes!

All North Texas communities including Frisco, TX have a strong competitive housing market. With the influx of Toyota, Liberty Mutual and other big companies relocating here it has become almost challenging for buyers to get the house that they want. Here are 5 common mistakes buyers should avoid when searching for their new home.

Delaying
The term “dragging your feet” is relevant to this situation. Buyers must be ready and have all the necessary paperwork such as a pre-approval letter from the day they begin house-hunting. That way they can act quickly with an offer on the home they like. Not having these things ready could cost them the deal.

Making an offer for the pre-approved amount
Showing your financial strength is a must. When submitting an offer, especially in a multiple offer situation buyers need to make sure their pre-approval letter is for more than the offer price if approved by the lender. Bringing a pre-approval letter for the exact amount can make the listing agent nervous because it creates no wiggle room to negotiate and the buyer may not qualify if interest rates rise.

Submitting a lowball offer
Lowballing usually backfires especially in the seller’s market we are currently experiencing in Frisco and surrounding areas. If the lowball offer is not backed up by comparable data the seller will feel offended and cause the buyer to miss out on the property and/or make seller not want to work with them at all. It is important to listen to a professional Realtor for advice on what to offer.

Waiving Inspection
Always get a home inspection! During the Option period buyers should have home inspected to make sure it is in good shape. This gives buyer an out without losing earnest money.

Being too nitpicky
In a seller’s market, buyers should take certain steps to make sure they look good in the eyes of the seller. Listing agents determine which buyer will be easier to deal with in multiple offer situations. Buyers may want to avoid pointing out every defect or questioning the seller’s tastes. Buyers should act and be reasonable which in turn can rub off on the seller to do the same in return. Remember there are more buyers out there than homes for sale, you must stand out!

One of the biggest mistakes is not having a professional, local Real Estate Agent by your side! Call the Stacey Feltman Group today for all your real state needs!

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