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5 Steps for Boomers Preparing to Downsize

Although it can be difficult to move from the family home, the decision to downsize to a simpler and more affordable life can be a good one for aging baby boomers. Here are 5 steps on how to go about it:

  1. Dream, research & strategize – Make your wish list. Begin by dreaming and considering different scenarios. What matters most? Where do you want to be – city? suburbs? 55 & over community? What about location? Do you want to be close to medical? close to airport? close to family?
  2. Begin to Downsize in Place – That means begin to get rid of your stuff. Storage is a big issue when downsizing. One perspective is to imagine how many rooms you’ll have in your new home, then purge belongings to fit your new space.
  3. Use available resources to help market your home – Curb appeal and online marketing are important now. Use a real estate agent who can help you spruce up your home for sale. Impressions count – both in person and online.
  4. Make a detailed plan based on monthly payments – Downsizing savings typically come from lowering monthly mortgage payments by using cash from selling your existing home. Additional savings come from reduced property taxes, maintenance and utilities. Prepare for the long-term. A National Association of Realtors survey says downsizers on average plan to stay 15 years in their new home.beach House2
  5. Scout locations – This is the fun part. With the “business” side of downsizing taken care of and your wish list in hand, you can turn your dreams into reality. Hop on the internet to research – can you afford a London flat? How about the beaches in Mexico? Statistically, the trend for downsizing boomers is toward smaller, walkable U.S. cities with well furnished homes, high speed internet, and accessible services.

Information provided by Keller Williams Dallas Metro North. Call us today – we have over 400 qualified agents ready to assist you with your real estate needs!

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The Best Home Security Pins

Home Security1Even though Flower Mound was recently ranked the #1 safest community in Texas, it’s still important to be mindful about your home security. Is your home security PIN easy to guess? With four digits you have exactly 10,000 choices — and some pins are stronger than others. This SAFEHOME article suggests do’s and don’ts for personal identification numbers you may find helpful.

Security PIN Don’ts

The best home security PINs are easy for you to remember yet difficult for others to guess. Therefore the worst PINs are 1) common or 2) easy to guess with research about your household. Here are examples of PINs to avoid.

  • The Default PIN: Your home security system might have a default PIN. Do not keep this code! Replace a default PIN as soon as possible.
  • Your Usual PIN: Don’t use the same PIN in different places. Using the same PIN for bank cards and your alarm system, for example, increases your vulnerability.
  • Patterns: Avoid choosing PINs with common number patterns such as 1234, 2222 and 2468. These sorts of PINs are very common and relatively easy to guess with sheer luck. (Don’t try to get clever with pi either; 3141 is a popular PIN too.) Also avoid physical patterns that simply move across or down the keypad, such as 2580.
  • Address and Phone: Don’t use part of your address or phone number when setting your PIN. For example, if your phone number is 867-5309, then “5309” would be a not-so-secure PIN.
  • Birthdays and Anniversaries: A criminal can easily research the dates of importance to you and your family members. Therefore don’t use birthday numbers or a wedding anniversary date as a PIN.
  • Years: It’s wise to avoid any PIN that starts with 19 or 20, such as 1968 or 2017, because criminals have found that these PINs are rather common. Also avoid using years that have historical significance such as 1776.

Home SecuritySecurity PIN Do’s

With so many don’ts, what’s left? Here are tips for choosing a home security PIN that’s memorable but can’t easily be compromised.

  • Start with a Digit 2-9. The best home security PINs start with a digit from 2 through 9. These are much less common than PINs starting with 1.
  • Space Your Numbers. People tend to choose PIN digits that are adjacent to each other on a security keypad. Make your PIN harder to guess by choosing digits that are more distant from each other. For example, 4917 is more difficult to guess compared with 4569.
  • Use Letters. Use letters instead of numbers to remember your home security code. For example, the phrase “A Very Fine House” is abbreviated AVFH. On a security keypad the corresponding digits are 2834.

Extra Security PIN Tips

For extra PIN security, be sure that your alarm control panel isn’t in view of prowlers, including prowlers with binoculars.

fingerprintsBe sure to clear your fingerprints or other signs of control pad wear. If you leave prints on a touchscreen control panel, you could make it easy for an intruder to narrow down the possibilities for your PIN. With pushbutton control panels, occasionally changing your PIN can help ensure that all the buttons wear evenly.

 

Home security information provided by Keller Williams Dallas Metro North. Call us today – we have over 400 qualified realtors eager to assist you!

 

Homeownership & Well-Being: It’s Complicated

Model house in female hands.Homeownership has come to represent security and wealth – the American Dream, realized, for millions who place their stake through property. There is evidence, even, that homeownership lends itself to overall satisfaction.

Financially, homeownership is also associated with well-being, according to a new report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The CFPB defines “financial well-being” as “a state of being wherein a person can fully meet current and ongoing financial obligations, can feel secure in their financial future and is able to make choices that allow them to enjoy life.”

The first factor is key. The ability to afford a home affects sense of well-being, the report shows. The CFPB assigned respondents to a survey, on a scale of zero to 100, scores of well-being. In comparing homeowners and renters, homeowners averaged a 58, while renters averaged a 49. (As a whole, respondents to the survey averaged a 54.) Generally, Americans in good enough financial straits (in the context of income and savings) are in a position to purchase a home; the capacity to own, therefore, rather than ownership itself, is a predicator of well-being.

Business 01Affordability is also impactful in that those with a lower share of their income spent on housing have higher scores of well-being. Respondents paying more than 50 percent of their income on housing averaged a 46.5, roughly 10 points below the 56.51 of respondents who shell out 30 percent or less.

Respondents with “non-retirement investments” have higher scores of well-being, as well. (A house, often, is an appreciating asset, building wealth, as other investments do, over time.) Respondents with even one non-retirement investment averaged a 62, while those without averaged a 51. (Real estate, relatedly, has ranked as the No. 1 investment in several studies.)

“Housing satisfaction” is connected similarly. Respondents “very satisfied” with the place they live averaged a 60; those less than “very satisfied” averaged a 50. One distinction, however: The ability to improve level of satisfaction (buying in a more costly but safer neighborhood, for example) hinges on having the wherewithal to do so.

New Home - family - 01Financial well-being is also linked to homeownership in unanticipated ways. According to the report, age, education and physical health are the top three influences on financial well-being. Age has implications: Americans at a certain life stage, for instance, could be of the perception that “now” is the time to own a home. If they do not meet that expectation, their sense of well-being could suffer.

A cushion for emergencies, likewise, is related. Respondents with access to at least $2,000 for the unexpected (within 30 days) averaged a score of 62 – leaps ahead of the 39 for those without. On the other side of the coin: Respondents who have experienced a “financial shock,” such as a major home repair, averaged a 52, while those who have not averaged a 57.

“The strongest relationships to financial well-being appear to be related to savings and security nets,” the report states. Homeownership, for most, is both – but its relationship to well-being? It’s complicated.

Information provided by Keller Williams Dallas Metro North. Call us today – we have over 400 qualified agents ready to assist you with your real estate needs.

Monthly Review of the Texas Economy

Texas1Texas’ labor market has recovered from the onslaught of Hurricane Harvey. The state gained 316,100 non-agricultural jobs from October 2016 to October 2017, an annual growth rate of 2.6 percent, higher than the nation’s employment growth rate of 1.4 percent.

According to the Real Estate Center’s latest Monthly Review of the Texas Economy, the nongovernment sector added 279,300 jobs, an annual growth rate of 2.8 percent, also higher than the nation’s employment growth rate of 1.6 percent in the private sector.

Texas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in October 2017 was 3.9 percent, lower than the 4.8 percent rate in October 2016. The nation’s rate decreased from 4.8 to 4.1 percent.

All Texas industries except the information industry had more jobs in October 2017 than in October 2016.  The mining and logging industry ranked first in job creation followed by other services, manufacturing, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, professional and business studies, and transportation, warehousing, and utilities.

All Texas metro areas except Texarkana, Waco, and Beaumont-Port Arthur had more jobs in October 2017 than in October 2016. College Station-Bryan ranked first in job creation followed by Corpus Christi, San Antonio-New Braunfels, Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood, Dallas-Plano-Irving, and Fort Worth-Arlington.

The state’s actual unemployment rate in October 2017 was 3.5 percent. Amarillo had the lowest unemployment rate followed by Midland, College Station-Bryan, Austin-Round Rock, and Lubbock.

by Ali Anari, November 27, 2017 (Texas A&M University – Real Estate Center)

Monthly Review provided by Keller Williams Dallas Metro North. Call us today for help with your real estate needs!

Most Important Features Millennials Want in Their Homes

shutterstock_626492420There have been a lot of studies, think pieces and discussions trying to figure out millennials. Business owners were skeptical about hiring millennials a few years ago and now, as this younger generation continues to grow and succeed in life, the housing market seems to be the next millennial-facing industry.

There’s no doubt that millennials have finally entered the housing market. In fact, they currently make up 35 percent of buyers throughout the United States. Approximately 68 percent of all first-time home buyers fall into this age bracket, as well. But what do they want inside their homes?

Let’s take a look and see what millennials are looking for when it comes to buying a home.

Interior Laundry RoomSeparate Laundry Rooms – Say what you will about millennials and their laundry habits, the majority of millennial homebuyers are searching for homes with an additional room just for laundry. Roughly 92 percent of homebuyers want a separate laundry room, coming in as the No. 1 thing millennials are looking for.

Outdoor Lighting – The second most desired feature for millennial homebuyers is exterior lighting. Roughly 90 percent of all people searching for a home in the current market want exterior lighting to illuminate their landscape.

Energy-Efficient Appliances – Another aspect of home-buying that cracks the top 10 for millennials is having energy-efficient appliances inside the home. (In fact, across every generation of homebuyers, 90 percent of people are looking for this feature.)

Hardwood FlooringHardwood Floors – Millennial homebuyers also prefer hardwood floors for their homes. Rather than choosing carpeting, approximately 82 percent of homebuyers are searching for properties with open hardwood floor plans.

There are still plenty of millennials who aren’t ready to buy a home just yet – but it looks like these are the kinds of features they will be looking for when they are ready to enter the housing market.

Information about Millennial homebuyers provided by Keller Williams Dallas Metro North. Call us today – we have over 400 outstanding agents ready to assist you with your real estate needs!

 

What’s the Good News for November?

Good News1

eSports Facility coming to Frisco. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has teamed with Fort Worth-based real estate investor John Goff to get into the $700 million global eSports industry.

Esports5Jones & Goff acquired a majority of CompLexity Gaming, an eSports organization that has been based in Houston since 2007.  The CompLexity Gaming organization, its management and its Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and DoTA 2 teams will relocate to the DFW area and will have offices at The Star in Frisco.  The group intends to build an eSports facility at The Star, which is the current office location of the Dallas Cowboys, in the future.

The Cowboys will also participate in the Madden NFL Club Championship events in the coming months, which will be the first time all teams from a professional sports league take part in an eSports event. Other NFL owners such as Robert Kraft and Stan Kroenke have purchased slots in the Overwatch League, but the Jones family joins a short list of NFL owners to invest or acquire an existing team in the space.

Forbes recently estimated there are about 148 million eSports players worldwide.

Logistics1International Logistics Center breaks ground on a new industrial park on the south side of DFW International Airport. Located near the intersection of State Highway 360 and U.S. Highway 183, the 40-acre business park will include 3 buildings totaling more than 640,000 square feet of warehouse space. The development can accommodate tenant sizes of 20,000 to 320,000 square feet.

North Texas has added millions of square feet of new distribution and e-commerce space to the region in recent years. In the first quarter of 2017, North Texas developers leased nearly 6.5 million square feet of space — ranking the region as the No. 2 industrial market in the United States.  E-commerce accounts for about 12% percent of industrial leasing activity nationwide, and an additional estimated 30% of indirect leasing through closely tied logistics, distribution and support businesses.

Pecan2Pecan Square Development moves forward in Northlake. Hillwood officials announced their purchase of 1,157 acres near the southwest corner of I35W and FM 407 in Northlake, about 6 miles north of Texas Motor Speedway.  This is the beginning of a $1.5 billion development that will be known as Pecan Square.

The residential community will eventually include 3,000 newly built homes, with prices expected to range from $270,000 to $500,000 or more.  A mix of commercial retail, educational and residential uses will be featured in Pecan Square, which gets its name from the 200 pecan trees on the property that will be preserved. The initial phase will include 609 single-family homes, and homes from 8 builders should be on the market by summer 2019.  The developer donated land for an elementary school and sold Northwest ISD the land for a middle school, high school and football stadium so that families will be able to attend K – 12 within Pecan Square.  They estimate that the full buildout of Pecan Square will take 10 to 12 years.

Nissan1Nissan partners with Sundance Square. The one acre Sundance Square Plaza in downtown Fort Worth, which includes a stage and a pavilion, has become a gathering place with regularly scheduled concerts and events.   To help pay for its free programs — and to bring in even more events and more widely recognized acts — Sundance Square has signed a one-year sponsorship deal with Nissan USA that lets the automaker display its vehicles, put up signage and be included in advertising for the plaza.   Nissan states that the sponsorship was an obvious decision for them since Texas is home to 70+ Nissan dealerships and 7,000+ Nissan employees.

Rangers1Arlington Breaks Ground on mega-entertainment complex. Arlington’s new $1.1 billion ballpark is officially under construction! The new home of the Texas Rangers will feature 41,000 seats and a retractable roof. However, to be ready for the 2020 season, an estimated 97,000 truckloads of dirt must first be hauled away!

Additionally, ground has been broken on the new $150 million Live! by Loews-Arlington hotel. It will be built adjacent to the Texas Live! entertainment complex and near the Rangers new ballpark.  The resort hotel, the first Loews Property developed in Texas in 30 years, is scheduled to welcome its first guests in 2019.  The 14-story, 302-room hotel will include an infinity-edge pool, and an event lawn for special events. There will also be a covered outdoor bar called Tower Terrace that will have views of the nearby stadiums and Arlington’s entertainment district.

Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams called Texas Live! the largest entertainment complex outside of Las Vegas.  Alex Tisch, executive vice president of Loews Corporation, said it would be “the biggest destination outside of Orlando.”

Information provided by Keller Williams Dallas Metro North. Call us today – we have over 400 qualified agents ready to assist you with your real estate needs!