Don’t Be Scared

There are a LOT of reports in the media of a “housing crisis.” It fills the headlines, but when you read the actual articles there are economists saying any crisis is very unlikely! This isn’t 2008. Now is a perfect time to sell your present home and buy one that fits your current lifestyle better.

Here is a link to find out what your home might bring on the open market. It’s no obligation, just a way to start your thought process!

Home Owners Need Resources

I want to be your “go to” person for anything related to real estate! If you’ve got a question, I have or can find the answer!

Managing an asset worth hundreds of thousands of dollars is a responsibility that requires attention to details such as timely payment of the mortgage, home repairs and maintenance, upkeep, and oversight of financial issues including taxes, insurance, and other things.

Depending on how long you’ve been a homeowner, you may have faced some of the decisions common to homeownership.  Occasionally, there could be something new that you haven’t had to deal with in the past.  This is where having a resource you can rely on becomes valuable.

During the buying or selling process, it is natural to turn to your agent for information and advice but during those periods in between where do you go for counsel?  Sure, you can turn to the Internet but that may not be the best place to get advice for your situation.

We encourage you to think of us as your “source of real estate information”; someone you’re comfortable with asking a question and confident that you’ll get good advice.  We not only want to be there for you when you buy or sell, but all the years in between.

By helping you with the day-to-day decisions of homeownership, we believe we can develop relationships that will lead to future sales when you move again, as well as recommendations to your friends who need the services of a trusted real estate professional.

Whether you simply need the recommendation of a service provider, a trustworthy mortgage professional, an estimate of your current market value, or advice on what kind of improvements are best to consider, we’re happy to share that information with you.

Just a few of the kinds of questions we get almost every week:

  • Can you recommend a good (plumber, painter, handyman, etc.)
  • What is the current value of my home?
  • How do I challenge a property tax assessment?
  • When should a homeowner refinance?
  • How often should we update our personal home inventory?

I want to be your “go to” person for everything to do with real estate.  If you have a real estate question, please call me at (972) 333-8638.  If I don’t have the answer, I’ll find it for you or point you in the right direction.

McKee Smith, REALTOR®, has been selling and buying homes in Dallas and Fort Worth for many years. He knows and understands the intricacies of the DFW housing market. He works out of his home in Coppell, Texas. He is a Senior Real Estate Specialist® (SRES®) and new home construction buyer representation certified.  Remember – McKee has the keys to selling your home!

Securing Your Retirement

Retirees want a safe and secure investment whose income will not be eroded by inflation. Single-family homes meet those requirements.

Social Security was established, on August 14, 1935, to take care of the country’s elderly in their retirement years.  Today, about 65 million or 1/6 of Americans collect benefits and the average monthly retirement amount received in January 2022 was $1,614 per month or about $19,370 per year.

This annual Social Security benefits exceed the 2022 Federal poverty level of $13,590 for individuals and $18, 310 for a family of two but from a practical level, it is nowhere near enough to be comfortable in your “Golden Years.”

Every adult in the workforce, can go to SSA.gov to find out what to expect to receive based on their planned retirement age.  Since it probably won’t be the amount you need to retire comfortably, at least you’ll know how short you’ll be so that you can devise an investment plan.

There’s a quick formula to estimate the investable assets needed by retirement to generate a certain income.  The target annual income is divided by a safe, conservative yield to determine the investable assets needed.

A person wanting $100,000 annual income generated from a 5% investment would need investable assets of $2,000,000.  If a person had $500,000 now, they would need to accumulate $1.5 million more by the time they retire.  A 50-year-old wanting to retire at 65 would need to save about $100,000 a year for 15 years.

If trying to save an extra $100,000 a year seems impossible, consider the leveraged growth available in rental real estate.  The use of borrowed funds can contribute to the yield earned by the investment.  By reinvesting the positive cash flows from the rental to retire the mortgage, the home could be paid for by retirement, providing more cash flow when it is needed the most.

One of the bright spots in investments is rental real estate which is also open to self-directed retirement savings.  Single-family homes offer high loan-to-value mortgages at fixed interest for long terms on appreciating assets with tax advantages and reasonable control.  Price appreciation alone has outpaced inflation for the last fifty years.

Many Americans have participated in Individual Retirement Accounts, SEPs, 401(k)s or other types of retirement that would supplement the Social Security benefits.  Many of these are invested in mutual funds which have lost about 20% in value in 2022.  With inflation at a 40-year high, many retirees and future retirees are concerned about their income from these investments.

Retirees want a safe and secure investment whose income will not be eroded by inflation.  Single-family homes, in predominantly owner-occupied neighborhoods, meet those requirements.  Home prices have experienced double-digit appreciation in the past two years and around 5% for the last five decades.

DecadeHome Prices Average Annual IncreaseConsumer Prices Average Annual Increase
70’s9.9%7.2%
80’s5.5%5.6%
90’s4.1%3.0%
00’s2.3%2.6%
10’s4.9%1.8%
20 + 2112%3%
  Source: NAR & Bureau of Labor Statistics

Increased mortgage rates coupled with rising home prices have sidelined many would-be purchasers who want to be in a home.  Since they cannot buy at this time, the next best alternative is to rent a home.  This has added to the increased demand for single-family homes in good neighborhoods which has resulted in increased rents.  While this isn’t good news for tenants, it is for investors.

Investing in rental real estate could be a way for you to increase your retirement income and grow your net worth while avoiding the volatility of the stock market.  Current homeowners already are aware of the value of homes as well as the maintenance they require.

To get more information about single-family homes for rentals, download our Rental Income Properties guide. You can also schedule a time with me to get answers to any questions you may have and find out about what is available now.

McKee Smith, REALTOR®, has been helping people like you sell and buy homes in the DFW area for many years. He is very knowledgeable about the housing market in Dallas and Fort Worth. He works out of his home in Coppell, Texas. He is a Senior Real Estate Specialist® (SRES®) and new home construction buyer representation certified.  Remember – McKee has the keys to selling your home!

5 Factors That Affect The Sale Of Any Home

Selecting the “right” person to market your home is very important and worth careful consideration.

Owners directly control four of the five factors that affect the sale of any home: price, location, condition, terms, and the agent you select.  The one thing you can’t control is the location of the home, but you can adjust the other factors to compensate for failings.

The seller controls the price of the home which determines its positioning in the marketplace.  If it is priced too high, it will take longer to sell and, in some cases, for less than what it should have sold for because when it doesn’t sell immediately, it is assumed that there must be an issue with it.  If it is priced too low, the owner will not realize as much of their equity as they should.

Not pricing the home in the proper search brackets could keep the property from being exposed to potential and likely, buyers.  For example, if a home is priced at $399,000 to follow an age-old retail marketing principle, many of the most likely buyers will never know about it because they are searching for properties in the $400,000 to $450,000 range.

The seller also controls the condition of a property which affects not only the marketability of a home but indirectly, the price.  Homes in the best condition appeal to more buyers because for the most part, they are using their available cash for the down payment and closing costs and may not be able to afford to make cosmetic or more expensive improvements to the property.

Clutter can keep buyers from seeing your home, and more importantly, it will keep them from seeing themselves in your home.  There are three basic causes of clutter: there is too much stuff in the home; there is not enough space in the home, and there is no organization.

Selling a home is about positioning it to sell which sometimes means temporarily or permanently getting rid of things that make the home look small or distract the buyers from seeing its potential for them.

Terms are the financial preferences established by the seller.  In a competitive market with multiple bids, a seller may not have to offer any terms such as financing, appraisal, or inspection contingencies.  This will restrict the number of buyers who are financially able to pay cash and are willing to do so.

In lower price range homes, there could be a wealth of qualified buyers that need to use low down payment options, closing cost assistance from the seller, or other things.  When the seller consents to offer a variety of terms, the market of potential buyers increases.  The seller can still select the most qualified if they are not limiting protected classes.

The fourth marketing factor that the seller controls is the agent they select to represent them in the sale of the home.  Selecting the “right” person to market your home is very important and worth careful consideration.

Your agent will be the manager of the entire marketing process. They’ll position your home to be competitive with the other homes in your price range and area while attracting the broadest range of buyers possible.  Your agent will offer advice on what needs to be done before the property is offered for sale.  Your agent can also offer recommendations for a variety of service providers if work needs to be done.

There are a lot of professionals involved in the sale of a home like lenders, title officers, appraisers, inspectors, insurance agents, surveyors, and the buyer’s agent, just to name a few.  Your listing agent will coordinate the communications between the other professionals and negotiate directly with them.  Your agent’s role as third-party negotiator is critical and you need to feel confident in their ability to serve your best interests.

  1. Price
    • Too high; not realistic
    • Doesn’t acknowledge the Internet search range
  2. Location
    • A poor location can negatively affect the price 
    • Since location cannot change, must adjust the price for a poor location
    • Condition
    • Clutter
    • Drive-up appeal
    • Deferred maintenance
    • Odors
    • Carpets
    • Lack of updates
  3. Terms (applicable to certain price ranges)
    • Buyer concessions like closing costs
    • Incentives like home warranty, appliances, floor covering, etc.
    • Buy-down interest rates
  4. The Agent you select
    • Experience
    • Knowledge of neighborhood
    • Promotional expertise

For more information, download my Sellers Guide.

McKee Smith, REALTOR®, has been helping people like you sell and buy homes in the DFW area for many years. He is very knowledgeable about the housing market in Dallas and Fort Worth. He works out of his home in Coppell, Texas. He is a Senior Real Estate Specialist® (SRES®) and new home construction buyer representation certified.  Remember – McKee has the keys to selling your home!

Now Is Still A Great Time To Buy A Home

The media is exaggerating “doom and gloom” in the market! Here’s a interview with Charles Mentesana on why it is still a good time to buy!

Here are a few highlights:

  • Since you no longer need to offer $50k to $100k over the asking price, you might end up with a lower payment even with higher interest rates.
  • Sellers are making far more concessions than they were just two months ago.
  • Home ownership is a proven way to build wealth.

McKee Smith, REALTOR®, is an experienced real estate agent that specializes in the Dallas and Fort Worth market. He understands the intricacies of the DFW housing market. He works out of his home in Coppell, Texas. He is a Senior Real Estate Specialist® (SRES®) and new home construction buyer representation certified.  Remember – McKee has the keys to selling your home!

Moving Down In An Up Market

There are options available to coordinate the sale of your home and the purchase of your new one. Ask McKee Smith, REALTOR®, for details.

Selling and buying a lower priced home in an “Up” market can be to your advantage.  The advantage is to maximize the sales price of your existing home and replace it with a less expensive one.

Moving down in an “up” market may be to your advantage in multiple ways.  It is possible that your present home doesn’t meet your current needs like it once did.  Making a move can allow you to “re-balance” the equity in your home to better reach your future goals.

The “up” market maximizes the sales price you can expect to receive, and it will free the equity in your home. A lower priced home will result in reducing your housing costs with lower property taxes, insurance, utilities, and maintenance…while improving your liquidity position.

It is not required to reinvest the proceeds of the sale.  You may decide to get an 80% loan-to-value mortgage on the replacement home to get the best interest rate and avoid private mortgage insurance.  This would allow you to put the excess proceeds into an income producing or growth investment, start a business, fund an education, buy a second home, take a spectacular trip, gift a down payment to a relative, or any other different projects.

The expression “other people’s money” describes borrowing money and using it to invest with the expectations of earning more than the rate you’re paying.  Mortgage interest is one of the most attractive ways to borrow money because it is generally the lowest rate compared to other types of loans while having the option to get a fixed-rate mortgage for up to 30 years.  Most other borrowed funds involve short terms and floating interest rates.

Rental real estate could be a possibility to invest part of the funds.  There is a shortage of available rentals which has caused rents to increase like homes have appreciated.  Single-family homes for rentals provide large loan-to-value mortgages at fixed interest rates for long terms on appreciating assets with defined tax advantages and reasonable control not found in many other investments.  For more information, download our Rental Income Properties Guide.

Homeowners who have owned and occupied their principal residence for two of the last five years are entitled to exclude up to $250,000 of gain for single persons and $500,000 of gain for married persons filing jointly.  For more information, see IRS topic #701.

Contact your real estate professional to find out more information like potential sales price, what net proceeds you can expect to receive on a sale, available replacement homes, and the types of mortgages and rates available.

McKee Smith, REALTOR®, has been selling and buying homes in Dallas and Fort Worth for many years. He knows and understands the intricacies of the DFW housing market. He works out of his home in Coppell, Texas. He is a Senior Real Estate Specialist® (SRES®) and new home construction buyer representation certified.  Remember – McKee has the keys to selling your home!

Good Records Can Reduce Capital Gains

The best is to record the expenses and receipts as close to when they are made instead of having to dig through boxes or forgetting what was done altogether!

Regardless of whether you’re entitled to $250,000 or $500,000 of exclusion when you sell your home, prices have gone up so much in the past two years, that you may be approaching the limit where you might have to pay tax on the excess when you sell.

Any improvements you have made to the home during your ownership can be used to raise your basis in the home which will reduce your gain.  It is worth the effort to start reconstructing the list, both big ticket items and lower priced items that qualify.

While repairs to your home do not count as improvements, other money that either materially adds value, appreciably prolongs the useful life of the property, or adapts a portion of the property to a new use will qualify.  Hopefully, you have contracts and agreements on the major items and receipts on things over $75.

If you have photographs before and after the improvements were made, it can help prove that they were made. 

The best proof is to record the expenses and receipts as close to when they are made instead of digging through boxes and invariably, either not finding them or worse yet, forgetting what was done altogether.

Download more information on this from IRS Publication 523 and the Homeowners Tax Guide.

McKee Smith, REALTOR®, has been helping people like you sell and buy homes in the DFW area for many years. He is very knowledgeable about the housing market in Dallas and Fort Worth. He works out of his home in Coppell, Texas. He is a Senior Real Estate Specialist® (SRES®) and new home construction buyer representation certified.  Remember – McKee has the keys to selling your home!

Become A Victim Of Inflation Or Benefit From It

Inflation is here. How you react and what you do will make a difference in how it affects you!

In inflationary times like these, currently, the highest in 40 years, the purchasing power of your money diminishes each day; essentially, buying you less.  The biggest threat is to be without capital assets, like a home, that is benefiting from the increase in prices. 

Your money buys less gasoline now, than it did a year ago, by close to 50%. Beef prices are up about 20% since last year.  Used cars are about 35% more expensive than they were a year ago. Mortgage rates are near 5% after reaching their lowest of 2.65% in January 2021.

And then, there is the price of houses.  CoreLogic reports that home prices increased year over year by 20% in February 2022.  Their Home Price Index indicates an annual five percent increase in prices from 2014 to 2021.

For many people, the American dream of owning a home is slipping away.  Adjusting your expectations for the perfect home and when you expect to achieve it, can be a legitimate, long-term strategy for making the dream come true.  Delaying the gratification of getting everything you want in a home now and making compromises that would allow you to stair-step your way into the “forever home” could be the plan to incrementally reach your goal.

Owning a home in today’s market, even if it isn’t the ultimate home, provides a significant hedge against inflation.  Not only is the home appreciating faster than the rate of inflation, but the mortgage on the home also produces leverage that increases a homeowner’s return on their equity.

Homeowners have both the home’s appreciation and its amortization working in tandem to increase their equity.  Money in a bank account or the stock market can’t compare to the potential.

$40,000 invested in a certificate of deposit earning 1% would be worth $42,040 in five years.  If the same amount was invested in the stock market that earned 6% annually, it would be worth $53,529.  However, if the $40,000 were invested in a $400,000 home, with a mortgage at 5% for 30 years, that appreciated at 5% annually, the equity would be close to $180,000 at the end of the same five-year period.

Connect with me and let’s put together a plan to help you benefit from inflation.

McKee Smith, REALTOR®, has been selling and buying homes in Dallas and Fort Worth for many years. He knows and understands the intricacies of the DFW housing market. He works out of his home in Coppell, Texas. He is a Senior Real Estate Specialist® (SRES®) and new home construction buyer representation certified.  Remember – McKee has the keys to selling your home!

When Are Negotiations Over?

Experienced agents know negotiations continue through inspections, repairs, financing, contingencies and much more!

The primary negotiation in a home purchase takes place when the contract is agreed upon which includes the price, closing and possession.   With inventory down over 19% in the past year and multiple offers being more of the norm than the exception, the first round of negotiations can be challenging.

Buyers and sellers alike feel relieved once it has resulted in an agreement, but experienced agents know there is more to come if there are contingencies for financing, inspections, or other things.  The competition for the home may be so tough that the buyer waived their rights for what would be normal contingencies.

Financing is one of the most common contingencies in normal situations but when multiple offers are involved, the cash offers tend to have the advantage.  If you don’t have the resources to make a cash offer, the next best position is to be pre-approved with a commitment letter from the lender.  Arrange for the lender to confirm the pre-approval directly with the listing agent prior to the listing agent presenting the offer.

There have been buyers who know they don’t have the cash to close and apply for a mortgage anyway and try to reinsert the provision outside of the contract.  Experienced listing agents will advise the seller to have the buyer provide proof of funds necessary to close and verify that they do indeed exist.

The purpose of an inspection is for the buyer to receive an objective evaluation of the condition of the home and its components to identify existing defects and potential problems.  The expense for inspections can be several hundred dollars and it’s reasonable for buyers not to want to spend the money before they find out if they can come to terms with the seller.  From a different perspective, sellers want to know quickly if the buyer is going to reject the home due to the inspections because they could be losing time.   For that reason, inspection time frames are limited to a few days from acceptance of the offer.

Sometimes, buyers will expect sellers to make all the repairs listed on the report and this is where the second round of negotiations begins. If the seller refuses, the negotiations can go back and forth until the other party accepts the offer on the table.

When purchasing a new home from a builder, it is expected for everything to be in working order; after all, it is new.  However, it is reasonable to expect that existing homes, that are not new, have a different standard.  While it’s understandable that buyers would want to be aware of major items that are not in “working order”, normal wear and tear of components based on their age should be expected.

In a highly competitive seller’s market, buyers might do whatever they can to get their contract accepted, realizing that there is another place to negotiate when they’re not competing with other buyers’ offers to purchase.

The negotiations involved in a home purchase are not complete until the buyer and seller have signed the papers and the title has passed to the buyer.  Up until the closing is finished, any item that comes up could prolong the negotiations.

For this to be a WIN-WIN situation, both seller and buyer must feel good about the negotiations that led to the transaction closing.  Neither party should feel that the other party had an unfair advantage over them.

McKee Smith, REALTOR®, has years of experience in the DFW area housing market. He knows the many unique features of Dallas and Fort Worth area home sales. He works out of his home in Coppell, Texas. He is a Senior Real Estate Specialist® (SRES®) and new home construction buyer representation certified.  Remember – McKee has the keys to selling your home!