Dallas TX Area Real Estate Blog

Restaurants in Frisco

Restaurants in Frisco

Another question I am asked by people looking to buy a new home in Frisco, TX or simply investigating the myriad of real estate options in Frisco is: “How are the restaurants in the area?”

Um, fantastic. But not in the way you might expect.

First, a little perspective. For those of us who have lived and worked in the Frisco (and Dallas) area for a long time, every few years there will be a report that exclaims (!) Dallas and the Dallas area has more restaurants per capita than any place in the U.S.

I decided to see if that’s true and, well, I have no idea. There’s a lot of information on the internet but it doesn’t make sense to me — a real estate guy, not a restauranteur.

This is what I did find: Dallas and surrounding communities have the fourth largest number of restaurants in the entire country behind New York/New Jersey (an astounding 46,000+), Chicago (30,000 +/-), and Los Angeles (20,000 +/-). Depending on the year and the health of the economy, the Dallas area boasts upwards of 14,000 restaurants — or, as one local news outlet put it, one restaurant for every 508 people.

To people wanting to buy a new home in Frisco, TX or considering Frisco real estate options, this is what’s interesting: Much of Dallas’ growth in the dining industry is actually attributed to real estate. When we see a trend in real estate like the rise of mixed-use developments, there is a corresponding uptick in restaurants to serve those developments, which includes commercial, retail, residential, and entertainment.

Frisco is the perfect example. So if you’re looking for a new home in Frisco...

3 Questions to Ask Before Buying Your Dream Home

3 Questions to Ask Before Buying Your Dream Home

If you are debating purchasing a home right now, you are probably getting a lot of advice. Though your friends and family will have your best interest at heart, they may not be fully aware of your needs and what is currently happening in the real estate market.

Ask yourself the following 3 questions to help determine if now is actually a good time for you to buy in today’s market.

1. Why am I buying a home in the first place?

This truly is the most important question to answer. Forget the finances for a minute. Why did you even begin to consider purchasing a home? For most, the reason has nothing to do with money.

For example, a recent survey by Braun showed that over 75% of parents say “their child’s education is an important part of the search for a new home.”

This survey supports a study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University which revealed that the four major reasons people buy a home have nothing to do with money. They are:

  • A good place to raise children and for them to get a good education
  • A place where you and your family feel safe
  • More space for you and your family
  • Control of that space

What does owning a home mean to you? What non-financial benefits will you and your family gain from owning a home? The answer to that question should be the biggest reason you decide to purchase or not.

2. Where are home values headed?

According to the latest Home Price Index from CoreLogic, home values are projected to increase by 5.3% over the next 12 months.

What does that...

Will Increasing Mortgage Rates Impact Home Prices?

Increasing Mortgage RatesThere are some who are calling for a decrease in home prices should mortgage interest rates begin to rise rapidly. Intuitively, this makes sense as the cost of a home is determined by the price of the home, plus the cost of financing that home. If mortgage interest rates increase, fewer people will be able to buy, and logic says prices will fall if demand decreases.

However, history shows us that this has not been the case the last four times mortgage interest rates dramatically increased.

Here is a graph showing what actually happened:

Dramatic Mortgage Rate Increases

Last week, in an article titled “Higher Rates Don’t Mean Lower House Prices After All, the Wall Street Journal revealed that a recent study by John Burns Real Estate Consulting Inc. found that:

“[P]rices weren’t especially sensitive to rising rates, particularly in the presence of other positive economic factors, such as strong job growth, rising wages and improving consumer confidence.”

Last week’s jobs report was strong and the Conference Board just reported that the Consumer Confidence Index was back to pre-recession levels.

Bottom Line

We will have to wait and see what happens as we move forward, but a decrease in home prices should rates go up is anything but guaranteed.


Is Getting a Home Mortgage Still Too Difficult?

Getting a Home Mortgage

There is no doubt that mortgage credit availability is expanding, meaning it is easier to finance a home today than it was last year. However, the mortgage market is still much tighter than it was prior to the housing boom and bust experienced between 2003 - 2006.

The Housing Financing Policy Center at the Urban Institute just released data revealing two reasons for the current exceptionally high credit standards:

  1. Additional restrictions lenders put on borrowing because of concerns that they will be forced to repurchase failed loans from the government-sponsored enterprises or Federal Housing Administration (FHA).
  2. The concern about potential litigation for imperfect loans.

What has been the result of these concerns?

6.3 Million Less Mortgages

The Policy Center report went on to say:

“It was so hard to get a mortgage in 2015 that lenders failed to make about 1.1 million mortgages that they would have made if reasonable lending standards had been in place. From 2009 to 2014, lenders failed to make about 5.2 million mortgages thanks to overly tight credit. In total, lenders would have issued 6.3 million additional mortgages between 2009 and 2015 if lending standards had been more reasonable.”

In an interview with DSNews, Laurie Goodman and Alanna McCargo of the Policy Center further explained:

“Our Housing Credit Availability Index (HCAI)* measures the probability that mortgage borrowers...

Shopping in Frisco

Shopping in Frisco TX

Don’t laugh: Whenever prospective homebuyers contact me about Frisco, TX real estate or homes for sale in Frisco, the first question they ask me beyond the usual house stuff is “What’s the shopping like in Frisco?”

I’m not joking. Every part of the country has something it’s known for: mountains outside of Denver, beaches along the coasts in Florida, golf courses pretty much everywhere. Here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, particularly North Dallas and Frisco the quality of shopping and local eateries are big attractions in lieu of mountains and beaches.

So, when it comes to shopping, Frisco — and surrounding communities of McKinney, Allen, Grapevine and Southlake . . . heck, pretty much everywhere in the DFW area — has amazing shopping that’s not just spend, spend, spend. It’s enjoy, take your time, browse, have lunch (or dinner or coffee), maybe even catch a movie while you’re out. Shopping is an experience here, not just a necessity.

For people looking at homes for sale in Frisco, TX or are investigating Frisco real estate, The Brent Germany Team has produced a quick overview of shopping in Frisco (and surrounding areas).

Signature Shopping

For a “bedroom” community outside of Dallas, Frisco features one of the premier all-around shopping malls in the entire area — Stonebriar Centre — to rival NorthPark Center in Dallas and Galleria Dallas in North Dallas.

NorthPark and Galleria Dallas both feature high-end, luxury shopping, which is certainly attractive to prospective homebuyers considering new homes in Frisco or Frisco real estate. Both are about a 30-minute, easy-access...

What Happens After Your Offer is Accepted?

What Happens After Your Offer is Accepted?

I don’t mean to be an alarmist. I just want you to know that, once you have a contract in hand to purchase a new home, there’s more to do to get the transaction closed.

Statistics from various organizations show that, for various reasons, anywhere from 10 to 25 percent of pending home sales don’t close. That sounds high to me, but failed closings do happen. Our work together — as home buyer and realtor — isn’t finished until the papers are signed and the keys are in your hands.

In this post The Brent Germany Team takes a look at what happens after your offer is accepted — and what can go wrong.

Errors in Processing Documents

One of the most common closing problems is an error in documents. These can be as simple as misspelled names, incorrect addresses, transposed numbers, or a missing page. No matter the reason, errors cause delays.

The Brent Germany Team recommends asking to see every piece of paperwork far in advance, if possible. By law, you will receive your Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure forms three days before closing. Look at them immediately and carefully. If you don’t understand something, let us know. We are involved until the very end.

Mortgage Delays and Last-Minute Requests

In a hot real estate market, lenders are inundated with requests. Your file could easily fall to the bottom of a pile on an loan officer’s desk with more urgent loans to process. Lenders also ask for information at the last minute, and that can leave you scrambling and lead to closing delays.

I remind home buyers to find out early what documents, exactly, are needed to complete your file and write the loan in a timely manner. I also recommend...

Typical Issues on a Home Inspection

Typical Issues on a Home Inspection

If you are a first time home buyer, chances are you’ve never encountered a home inspection. They’re an interesting balance between really helpful information and too much information.

Here’s why they are important and, sometimes, a nuisance — like Aunt Betty who keeps showing up unannounced.

Home Inspections and Inspectors

Simply put, a home inspection is performed by a professional inspector, who visually inspects every aspect of the home you are considering purchasing — the structural integrity of the house, the mechanical systems, pretty much everything you can think of.

I tell clients that home inspections are an essential part of the buying process because you want to know what you are buying, making sure big ticket items are in working order:

The air conditioner and heater are working properly.

There are no hidden leaks in the plumbing and there’s no deterioration or incompatible materials used in the system.

The major appliances work well.

The roof is in good shape.

There are no bulges, deflections, and other irregularities in the roof framing, exterior and interior wall framing, or cracks in the foundation.

And so on.

Home inspections average somewhere between 25 and 30 pages and document things you wouldn’t even think of. And that’s the rub: If an inspector finds anything major you —...

What Do You Need to Buy a House?

What Do You Need to Buy a House?

There’s so much information about real estate on the internet these days that it’s easy for first-time home buyers to become confused and drown in viewpoints and opinions.

The Brent Germany Team strives to keep answers simple, whether we’re having a conversation in the office or at a coffee shop, whether we’re answering an email or text message.

We’re asked all the time: “What do you need to buy a house?” Instead of inundating potential buyers with an exhaustive, detailed list of A to Z answers, we prefer to start with an overview or the major steps required for most home purchases.

Pre-Approval for Mortgage Loan

Once you decide to purchase a new home, the first step to take is acquiring the money to actually buy it, which means getting a mortgage. There are hundreds of mortgage lenders in the Dallas area, and The Brent Germany Team can recommend ones our clients have had success with and speak highly of. Or you can ask family, friends, or business associates for recommendations.

A good mortgage lender will explain the process, help you understand borrowing terms and options, and make the experience as easy and enjoyable as possible. Essentially, the lender will run a credit check, ask questions about your current financial situation, and determine eligibility based on these answers.

Find out what ratios lenders are using to determine if you quality for a loan. “28 and 36” are the most commonly used ratios — 28 percent of your gross income (before taxes) must cover your intended housing expenses. Monthly payments on outstanding debts, when combined with housing expenses, must not exceed 36 percent of gross income.

The end result is a pre-approval...

The Pros and Cons of Renting Versus Buying a Home

The Pros and Cons of Renting Versus Buying a Home

It’s one of the great, simple debates in real estate. Nothing like the state of the industry, what’s next for MLS, or emerging business models due to the internet. It’s just:

What are the pros and cons of renting versus buying a home?

Is it better to rent?

Is it better to buy?

The Brent Germany Team has answered these questions many times over the years. I always respond that there are many factors that go into this decision, including:

Financial situation

Employment circumstances

Lifestyle preferences

Relationship status

To help you along, here are some of the top pros and cons and associated costs for renting or buying a home based on The Brent Germany Team’s experience.

The Pros of Renting

No Responsibility for Maintenance or Repairs

Every home, no matter who owns it, requires maintenance and repairs over time. Ignore them and they get worse. When you rent, repairs are the responsibility of the landlord or management company (this also can be a con, by the way). If you have a good landlord, your maintenance worries are minimal.

No Property Taxes

A very enticing reason to rent. Property taxes are the second highest cost of home ownership for most people — next to the mortgage payment, of course. Home owners insurance, by the way, is a close third and is often overlooked by new home buyers when working up a budget.

Paying no property taxes...

The Home Buying Process from Start to Finish

The Home Buying Process from Start to Finish

Whether it’s your first or third time, buying a new home is exciting — and stressful. There’s that extra room and bigger back yard to dream about . . . and the search for the ideal place, getting a mortgage, filling out forms, and all the paperwork.

Helping people navigate the buying process, from start to finish, is one of the things I absolutely love about being a realtor. It can be fun, it can be tricky, but in the end there’s popping the champagne cork — clients buying their first house or moving into their dream home.

Over the years of buying (and selling) homes for clients throughout the Dallas area, The Brent Germany Team has assembled a start-to-finish list of things for new home buyers (and those who need a refresher) to consider when buying a home.

#1 Is It Time?

To buy that first home?

To buyer a bigger house or move into a new neighborhood or part of town?

Only you (and your spouse or family) can answer that. And in today’s crazy Dallas-area real estate market, it’s not an easy question to answer — housing prices are up, availability of homes that interest you may not be easy to find, and there’s always mortgages and financing to consider.

My advice is: If you have an inkling, even a tiny notion that you want to buy that first home or upsize or downsize the house you’re in, it’s never too early to familiarize yourself with the process.

#2 Finding that Perfect Home — Online

So you think it’s time to buy. Or nearing the time to buy. It never hurts to start looking. Finding the right house, in the right location, with everything you desire, for the right price, takes time....