Path to Home Ownership

Path to home ownership

If you’re thinking of buying a home the Path to Home Ownership can be intimidating. You’re not alone. There are a lot of questions and everyone seems to have a different answer.

Remember that every situation is different. What your friend’s experience was will not be the same for you.

Here’s a map with 10 simple steps to follow in the homebuying process.

Let’s connect today to discuss the specific steps along the way in our DFW area.

Rent vs. Buy: How to Decide What’s Best for You

Rent vs. Buy is the question many are asking right now.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, median rent continues to rise. With today’s low mortgage rates, there’s great opportunity for current renters to make a move into their own home and pay the same or less then what they pay in rent each month.

While the best timeline to buy a home is different for everyone, the question remains: Should I continue renting or is it time for me to buy? The answer depends on your current situation and your future plans, so here are some thoughts to help you decide if you’re ready to own a home of your own.

1. Rent Will Continue to Increase

Rent vs. Buy: How to Decide What’s Best for You

This is one of the top reasons why renters decide to move because in most cases, rent will continue increasing each year. As noted above, the U.S. Census Bureau recently released its quarterly homeownership report, and as the graph shows, median rent is climbing year after year. When you own a home, you’ll lock in your monthly payment for the life of your loan, creating consistency and predictability in your payments.

2. Freedom to Customize

This is a big decision-making point for many people who want to be able to paint, renovate, and make home upgrades. In many cases, landlords determine all of these selections and prefer you do not alter them as a renter. As a homeowner, you have the freedom to decorate and personalize your home to truly make it your own.

3. Privacy

When renting, your landlord has access to your space in case of an emergency. If you own your home, however, you’re the one to decide who can come inside. Given today’s health concerns around the pandemic, this may be a growing priority for you.

4. Flexibility for Relocation

If you’re renting, it may be easier to move quickly should you have a job transfer or simply decide it’s time for a change. When you’re a homeowner and need to sell your house, this might take a little more time. Today, however, with the housing market’s low inventory, this may no longer be the case. Homes are selling at a record-breaking pace, so you may have more flexibility than you think.

5. Building Equity

When you pay your rent, your landlord earns the equity the property gains. If you own your home, the benefits of your investment go directly toward your net worth. This is savings you’ll be able to use in the future for things like sending children to college, starting a new business, buying a bigger home, or simply downsizing to save for retirement.

6. Tax Advantages

When you own your home, there are additional advantages that work in your favor as well. You can deduct things like your property taxes and mortgage interest (Always make sure you check with your accountant to see which tax-deductible benefits apply to your situation). When you rent, however, the tax benefits are directed to your landlord.

Bottom Line

It’s up to you to decide if you’d prefer to rent or buy, and it’s different for every person. If you’d like to learn more about the pros and cons of each, as well as resources to help you along the way, let’s connect to discuss your options. This way, you can make a confident and informed decision with a trusted expert on your side.

The information contained, and the opinions expressed, in this article are not intended to be construed as investment advice. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained herein. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on the information or opinions contained herein.

City vector created by freepik –

Two Important Impacts of Home Equity

Equity continues to rise, helping American homeowners secure a much more stable financial future. According to the most recent data from CoreLogic, the average homeowner gained $9,800 in equity over the past year. In addition, experts project 2020 home prices to continue rising. With prices going up, equity gains will also keep accelerating. Black Knight just reported:

“The annual percent change in the overall median existing single-family-home price has skyrocketed in the past several months, with recent numbers at three to five times higher than rates seen in the past several years.”

Knowing equity will help enable many homeowners to better survive the economic distress caused by the ongoing pandemic, it’s important to break down two key homeowner benefits of increasing equity.

1. Equity Increases a Homeowner’s Options to Buy a New Home

Aside from the financial damage of the last seven months, there has also been a tremendous emotional toll on many people. Shelter-in-place mandates, quarantine requirements, and virtual schooling have all made us re-evaluate the must-have requirements a home should deliver. Having equity in your current house gives you a better opportunity to move-up or build your perfect home from scratch.

Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, recently explained:

“As homeowners gain equity in their homes, they are more likely to consider using that equity to purchase a larger or more attractive home – the wealth effect of rising equity.”

If you need to make a move, the equity in your current home can help make that possible – right now.

2. Equity Enables Homeowners to Help Future Generations

An increase in home equity grows overall wealth, which can transfer to future generations. The Federal Reserve, in an addendum to their recent Survey of Consumer Finances, explains:

“There are numerous ways families can transmit wealth and resources across generations. Families can directly transfer their wealth to the next generation in the form of a bequest. They can also provide the next generation with inter vivos transfers (gifts), for example, providing down payment support to enable a home purchase or a substantial wedding gift.”

The Federal Reserve also explains another way wealth (including the additional net worth generated by an increase in home equity) can benefit future generations:

“In addition to direct transfers or gifts, families can make investments in their children that indirectly increase their wealth. For example, families can invest in their children’s educational success by paying for college or private schools, which can in turn increase their children’s ability to accumulate wealth.”

Bottom Line

Equity can help a homeowner grow their confidence in a more stable financial future. It provides near-term move-up options and creates a positive impact for future generations. In many cases, the largest single investment a person has is their home. As that investment appreciates in value, financial options increase too.
« Selling Your House Is the Right Move, Right Now [INFOGRAPHIC]How Down Payment Assistance Opens the Door to Homeownership »

The information contained, and the opinions expressed, in this article are not intended to be construed as investment advice. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained herein. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on the information or opinions contained herein.

Source: Keeping Current Matters

Many are Eager to Buy a Home Right Now

Many are eager to buy a home right now while affordability continues to be a highlight of the current housing market. However, a recent survey by Sparks Research shows that 20% of first-time homebuyers cite a lack of financial education as a barrier to homeownership. This is definitely understandable. If you don’t feel comfortable with the financial process of buying a home, it’s hard to make a confident decision. In fact, four in five homebuyers say they need help to understand what they can even afford in the first place. This is why finding the right professionals to help you through the process is so important. On top of that, the same survey reports over two-thirds of prospective homebuyers believe they’ll need assistance to save enough for a down payment. What they may not realize is that there are a lot of down payment assistance programs at the state and regional levels, and many of them have funds available for potential buyers. Down Payment Resources recently released its Q3 2020 Homeownership Program Index, which explains:

“The number of total programs is 2,340, and over 81 percent (81.1%) of programs currently have funds available for eligible homebuyers.”

Down Payment Assistance Programs Are Not Only for First-Time Homebuyers

Keep in mind, these programs aren’t just for first-time homebuyers, so it’s worth exploring your options no matter where you are in your homeownership journey. For example, if you’re working from home now, you may be thinking of relocating to a more affordable area where you can stretch your dollar further and have more space, inside and out. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explains:

“Rural areas have mortgages (USDA loans) that don’t require down payments; and some workers who can work from home may want to consider outer suburbs or small towns where USDA home loans are available and where homes are very affordable.”

If affordability is on your mind and you’re expecting to be working from home long-term, the right home may be in an area you haven’t considered yet. In addition, the assistance program you need might be within reach too. If you’re interested in learning more about down payment assistance programs, additional information is available through Down Payment Resource. Your real estate advisor can help you decide which option is best for you personally.

Bottom Line

Thanks to a range of down payment assistance programs, affordable options are out there for today’s hopeful homebuyers. It’s important to get the financial education you need to understand the homebuying process and accomplish your real estate goals. Let’s connect today to get you started on the path to your dream home.

Check out the Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation (TSAHC) for more information on a specifc program for Texans.

** Source: Keeping Current Matters.

What Are The Steps To Selling a House?

two hands palm up one holding keys and one holding a small house.

There are 8 basic steps to selling a house.

  • Select Your Realtor
  • Make Major and Minor Repairs
  • Declutter and Depersonalize
  • List and Show Your House
  • Receive Offer and Accept
  • Inspections and Appraisals
  • Move Out
  • Closing and Funding

Select Your Realtor

Selecting your Realtor first is very important. They will be able to guide you through all of the other steps and help set expectations for the entire process. Make sure whomever you choose understands your needs and your goals so everyone is working in the same direction.

Make Major and Minor Repairs

Go ahead and get all those “things” fixed. It will help bring a higher price to your property, it will decrease the repairs a buyer will ask of you, and it will make your product and overall more desirable purchase.

Take care of major repairs…get the roof and foundation assessed at by a reputable company, ensure all the electrical outlets work, and there are no plumbing issues. All of these items will show up later if not taken care of now.

Declutter and Depersonalize

We have all seen the “Bad MLS Photos” on social media. Don’t let your house be one of those. Clear out all the closets, cabinets, and garage. Clear the counters on in the kitchen and the bathrooms. Take down all the personal items and family photos. You want potential buyers to see themselves in the home; not wondering about the people that currently live there.

List and Show Your House

When your house is ready your Realtor will post your listing in MLS and start the marketing of it to the public and other agents. You want to be as flexible as possible in allowing showings on your property. Make sure everything is in a “show-ready” state, pets are secured, and your house make a perfect first impression. Remember, when a potential buyer is looking at your house they are looking at the others in the area so you want yours to stand out.

Review Offers and Accept

Offers may come in within hours or it may be days or weeks. There are many factors that contribute to this from price, current market, and property condition. However, whenever offers come in your Realtor is require to present each one to you. You and your Realtor will review any and all offers to determine which one is best for you and your situation. Price is not always a determining factor. Once all details and terms are agreed upon you accept the offer.

Image of Robin McCoy and circles with 8 steps to selling your home

Inspections and Appraisals

Next up are the buyer’s inspection and the lender’s appraisal of your property . See our interview with a general inspector for insight on what they are hired to do.

The general inspection is basically a “state of the property” at a particular day and time. The inspector will provide a detailed report to the buyer and as a seller you can expect to receive a list of requested repairs. All of these are negotiable between you and the buyer.

The lender will always require an appraisal to determine the value of the property. An appraiser, vetted but not chosen by the lender, will come to the house to see and evaluate the property. They use MLS data as well as other resources to determine the value of the property.

Move Out

Once all of the inspections, financing, and appraisals are complete it is time to move out. Typically you want to vacate the property the day before closing unless other arrangements, such as a lease back, have been arranged.

Closing and Funding

Closing is where the property is tranferred from the seller to the buyer. In Texas this is done via a Title Company and they serve as a third party ensuring all the required documents are complete.

Funding is the final step when all the documents have been approved and the lender funds the loan. At this point the property is fully transferred to the new buyer.

Robin McCoy |

How Do I Get The Down Payment for a House?

Often we want to buy a house however don’t think we have the funds required to make it happen. How do I get the down payment for a house?

a box made of money with a red bow ties around it. Get a gift for your downpayment for a house

Get a Gift

You can get a gift from a relative for the down payment and closing costs. They can even gift you the entire amount of the down payment, and many lenders will allow it, depending on your credit score and the lender’s loan underwriting guidelines. (Keep in mind, some lenders require documentation of gift money, such as a signed letter from the donor and verification of transfer of funds.

stack of money with an egg sitting on it will 401k written on the egg. Use your 401k for the downpayment for your house.

401(k) Loan

You can also borrow from employer-sponsored 401ks to fund your down payment. On 401k loans, borrowing limits are quite generous: You can borrow up to the lesser of $50,000 or half the value of the account. That’s enough to fund a 20% down payment on a $250,000 house, or a 10% down payment on a $500,000 house.

Rubber stand laying on its side with Loan Approved stamped over the words Life Insurance. Use Life Insurance for the downpayment for your house.

Life Insurance

If you have a whole life policy, you can either borrow or cash it in. Since most of these are purchased with after-tax dollars there may not be tax implications

Stack of money with a house sitting on it. Use Secured Loan for the downpayment for your house

Secured Loan

If you have an asset that is free and clear, such as a vehicle, you may be able to get a secured loan against the value of the asset. Other assets may include art, jewelry, and comic books. Really anything of value.

Hand holding a key and keyring with a house fob. Says Down Payment Assistance Programs. Use DPA Down Payment Assistance for the downpayment for your house

DPA (Down Payment Assistance)

Several government entities offer down payment assistance programs; and they aren’t all for first-time homebuyers. Check out the Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation (TSAHC) for more information on how you may qualify for this program.

Outline of a house with household items pictured inside. Use the sale of personal property for the downpayment for your house.

Sale of Personal Property

With verification of value and a bill of sale, the funds from the sale of personal property can be used for the down payment. Have a motorcycle you never ride? How about Grandpa’s stamp collection? Have a garage sale and get rid of all the stuff you don’t want to move with you anyway.

Ten clay cubes stacked on each other with the outline of a person on each one. Use programs from Human Resources for the downpayment for you house.

Human Resources

Some employers offer down payment assistance as a benefit to employees. These awards are eligible for down payment through FHA financing. Even if you think your employer is too small, or you won’t qualify, it doesn’t hurt to ask – it’s one work perk that can really make a difference when you need it the most.

3 blocks of money stacked on top of each other with the words Tax Refund sitting on top. Use your tax refund for the downpayment for your house.

Tax Refund

You can use this year’s tax refund to become a homeowner. A copy of this year’s tax returns and a copy of the refund check or bank statement showing the refund amount is all that is required.

Image of a target with a green dart on the bull's eye that says Second Job. The word "earnings" across the bottom. Use earning from a second job for your downpayment for you house.

Second Job

Get yourself a side hustle! Even though you may not be able to use this income to qualify if you haven’t had the job for two years, the cash earned from this second job can be used for the down payment. Pay stubs and bank statements can provide a paper trail to source the funds.

Image of a piggy bank with a hand putting coins in the bank. Use Savings and Budgeting for the downpayment for your house.


Cutting back on extras (that daily coffee drive-thru or breakfast taco), along with any of the above ideas, would get you into a home faster.

1950s Character in East Dallas

9935 Galway Drive, 75218

living room with light coming through the windows. sofa, table and two arm chairs with fireplace

Amazingly well kept home in the Lake Park Estates area of East Dallas with the 1950s East Dallas Character we have all come to love. This home is situated on a corner lot and has a backyard oasis just ready for relaxing and reflection.

Outdoor patio with fire pit chairs bright red pillows and japenese maple. Mature trees

This 3 bedroom and 2 bath home is over 1700 square feet. It has the original hardwood floors and all the details that give a 1950s home the character you want without the inefficency you don’t. Formal dining area and 2 living areas give everyone the space they need and want.

Cherry dining table looking into living area. Stained glass over the window
Living area with two armchairs, looking into the kitchen, original wood flooring showing the 1950s Character of East Dallas

The home is just a hop, skip, and a jump from White Rock Lake and the Dallas Arboretum. Feeding Hexter Elementary.. a Blue Ribbon School..just ties everything about this 1950s East Dallas Character home into a bow.

For more information on this property visit our Property Search Page.

9628 Galway, Dallas 75218

9628 Galway in Dallas is on the market just waiting for new owners to come in and pick up the love the current owner has for this house. When I asked the seller for her favorite things here is what she told me…

  • The trees
  • The yard
  • The shopping center virtually across the street
  • Being so close to White Rock Lake
  • How my house has been a little gem with little maintenance

Feeding into Hexter Elementary school, 9628 Galway Drive is a wonderful starter home for young families. Just a short distance from White Rock Lake and the Aboretum this house is fabulous for the walker, bike rider, and outdoor lover. At under 2000 square feet and a one-story home it is perfect for downsizing adults that are looking for a more manageable home to retire in.

Nolo’s Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home (Nolo’s Essential Guidel to Buying Your First House)

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