The WAY to North Texas Real Estate News, Market Trends and Real Estate Information Blog - Dallas, Fort Worth, Allen, Frisco, McKinney, Plano, Prosper, and Little Elm 

Dec. 4, 2018

FHA home loan options in 2019


What are your FHA home loan options in 2019?

In Collin County now $484,350!


Those looking to start house hunting in the new year should know about FHA loan guaranty limits and how those limits can change from year to year. This is a very important detail of the home loan process you should know before starting the search for your dream home.


FHA loans have limits that are set periodically and can change from year to year. For many years, the basic limit did not change, and in high or low-cost areas the limits are naturally different but the amount of those respectively higher or lower limits don’t always change.

However, in 2018 FHA loan limits did change, and borrowers found they had increased limits according to FHA Mortgagee Letter 2017-16. The national limit in 2018 was set at $453,100, up from the 2017 limit of $424,100.


FHA sets the loan limits for Single Family mortgages limits by the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and county. The updates are usually published annually, but some years have featured more than one update due to FHA/HUD policy changes.


The 2018 FHA loan limits were published in advance of the new year on December 7, 2019; if a similar publication scheduled is followed this year we will learn about the new loan limits early but borrowers cannot take advantage of any changes (assuming there are changes to be made for 2019 to FHA loan guaranty limits) until the new year.

FHA Loan Limits For The Remainder Of 2018


The national conforming loan limit for FHA mortgages for 2018 is set at $453,100, which applies to any new purchase home loan a borrower applies for under the FHA Single Family Home Loan program. It’s entirely possible that this limit may remain the same in 2019, but it’s not safe to assume no changes are forthcoming.


FHA Loan Limits For Low-Cost Areas

In 2018, the FHA national low cost area mortgage limits are 65 percent of the national conforming limit of $453,100 as broken down below:

• One-unit: $294,515

• Two-unit: $377,075

• Three-unit: $455,800

• Four-unit: $566,425


FHA Loan Limits For High-Cost Areas

FHA loan limits for single family loans in high cost areas is calculated at 150% of the national conforming loan limit of $453,100 broken down as follows:

• One-unit: $679,650

• Two-unit: $870,225

• Three-unit: $1,051,875

• Four-unit: $1,307,175


FHA home loan limits in areas such as Alaska, Guam, Hawaii, and the Virgin Islands have additional consideration and may be higher. Ask your lender for the figures on FHA mortgage loan limits if you are house hunting in these areas.


FHA Home Loan Options In 2019

If you are house hunting in 2019, your FHA home loan options include condo loans, mobile home loans, fixer-upper loans under the FHA 203(k) Rehabilitation Loan program (also available as a refinance loan) and even the FHA One-Time Close construction loan which lets you have a home built to your specifications rather than purchasing existing construction.

The usual FHA loan occupancy rules, minimum standards for safety and livability, and other regulations that govern the suitability of homes to be purchased with an FHA loan will apply.



In Collin, Denton and Tarrant County now $484,350 is the high limit.


We continue to see a strong job market and growth in DFW. Collin county especially is still growing North and still gaining new corporation's HQ, which equals jobs. The median sales price is $373,087 as of October 2018


Dec. 2, 2018

OPEN HOUSE 2304 Red Oak Little Elm

Posted in Buying
Nov. 20, 2018

Buying or Selling December is the Month!

Redfin did a study on selling during different times of the year. Their findings showed that, "Homes listed from December 31st through March 21st had a 9% greater chance of selling within 6 months than homes put on the market between March 22nd and June 21st."

And "Between December 31st and March 21st, those homes had a 10% greater chance of selling at or near their asking price versus listings between June 22 and September 20th."

The article included from Inman News (below) shows how buying NOW is best way to save money. December is here. If you are buying you have 31 days to close on a home and get the tax breaks on 2018 home purchase, you will get a lower interest rate because the Federal Reserve will be increasing rates in December and you will be getting the home at the lowest price possible. 

The most recent meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (aka “The Fed”) ended September 26. As everyone expected, the group hiked its benchmark federal funds rate. While the action didn’t directly affect mortgage rates, it did lend to an overall environment of rising rates, which certainly doesn’t help the mortgage rate shopper.

Fed rates


What rates do to purchase power

If you are selling now is the time to get the home locked in a listing agreement with a REALTOR® and start the process of selling. Buyers are in the market now! Inventory is still low for good homes and there is less competition right now vs the coming months. 

If you have any questions please reach out. Wacasey group is here to help you with the "WAY" to buy, to sell or invest in Real Estate. 


Want a good deal on a home? Buy in December

Dec. 26 is the day to get the best discount on homes, according to a new study from Attom Data Solutions

The day after Christmas is the best day to buy a home if you’re looking for a discount, according to a new study from Attom Data Solutions. Overall December is the best month to buy a home if you’re looking for a deal, the study found.

“People closing on a home purchase Dec. 26 were submitting offers around Thanksgiving and starting their home search around Halloween — likely not a common path to home purchase for most buyers and exactly why it’s the best time to buy,” Daren Blomquist, Attom’s senior vice president said.

“Buyers and investors willing to start their home search right about when stores are setting up Christmas decorations will face less competition and likely be dealing with more motivated sellers, giving them the upper hand in price negotiations,” he added.

Only 10 days of the year actually offer discounts below estimated market value — and no months do overall — according to the analysis. Seven of the days are in December, with one each in October, November and February.

Attom’s data, which covers the last five years of sales, said the lack of market discounts can be attributed to the hot seller’s market of the past few years.

On Dec. 26, buyers, on average, can save an estimated $2,500 by purchasing their home the day after Christmas. On Dec. 7, they can save $2,000.

By the same metric, the end of May is the worst time to buy a home. Buyers can expect to pay, according to the past five years of data, more than 9 percent over the estimated value on May 28, 29 and 30.

“The prevalence of December in the best days to buy is really all about the holidays,” Blomquist said. “Very few buyers are looking for homes to buy around the holidays, which means less competition for the few contrarians out there who are buying.”

“The days in October, November and February, are also likely related to down times when it comes to buyers making offers,” Blomquist added. “Keep in mind the dates we list here are going to be roughly one month after an offer is accepted.”

Blomquist explained that on Oct. 12 — where buyers can get, on average, a $1,000 discount — those offers were probably accepted over Labor Day. And on February 12 — when buyers can get a $500 — discount, the offers were likely accepted around the New Year.

Overall, buyers can expect to pay just 0.5 percent over the estimated value, on average, in the month of December. Prices are the highest above estimated value in June, where buyers can expect to pay 7.3 percent above the estimated value.

The best month to buy a home changes depending on the region too, according to the data. But Attom’s study found that cold-weather seasons — or just fall and winter in some places — tended to offer the best discounts. Every state, other than Hawaii, had the best discounts in either October, November, December, January or February.


Email Patrick Kearns

Nov. 18, 2018

Selling to Opendoor is Money Out-the-Door!

How much money do Opendoor sellers leave on the table?


How much money do home sellers leave on the table if they sell to Opendoor, the property-exchange platform that’s raised $320 million?

A look at Opendoor’s listings in Las Vegas, the company’s latest market, points toward the answer.

On March 17, Opendoor was trying to sell its Las Vegas listings for an average of 6.13 percent more than it bought them for.

Looking at the data from a seller’s perspective, Opendoor customers sold their homes at an average discount of 5.75 percent off what Opendoor had listed the properties for on March 17. These stats are based on the 11 Las Vegas-area listings that appeared on Opendoor’s website on March 17.

The figures seem to raise the possibility that homeowners can sell their homes to Opendoor for less than they’re worth. Considering that Opendoor charges a service fee of 6 to 12 percent, sellers might end up paying much more than they would if they used a real estate agent.

But then again, a range of variables may sometimes shake out in a way that supports Opendoor’s claim to buy at market value.

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Take the example of one home that Opendoor purchased on February 23. The startup bought the property for $322,000 and has since listed it at $345,000.

Let’s say Opendoor sells the home for 4 percent less than its list price, $331,200, and we assume this price is equal to market value.

That would suggest the seller sold to Opendoor at a 2.78 percent discount off market value, equal to $9,200.

Add in the 6.5 percent service fee that Opendoor says it charged this seller ($20,900) and the cost of selling to Opendoor would come out to $30,100, or a little over 9 percent of the home’s market value.

If a real estate agent sold the same property at our presumed market value while charging a 6 percent commission, the seller would have paid only around $20,000.

But a combination of other variables could tilt the cost of Opendoor either up or down, such as closing costs and repair cost credits paid by the seller, and light repairs made by Opendoor.

In our example, Opendoor received a repair cost credit equal to $1,100 from the seller, but then shelled out $2,600 on repairs, nudging up the home’s value, according to Opendoor CEO Wu. He also said Opendoor pays an average of 1.5 to 2 percent in seller concessions when the firm sells a home, including a possible repair cost credit.

Taking all this into account, Opendoor should have only ended up costing the seller a half percentage point more than an agent, Wu said.

Having carved out footholds in Phoenix and Dallas, Opendoor began looking to buy properties in Las Vegas in late 2016, but only made listings searchable on its website last week. It showed a total of 11 Las Vegas listings on March 17.

Opendoor was offering a commission of 2.5 percent to buyer’s agents, which is less than the going rate of 3 percent, according to Todd Miller, broker-owner of Nevada Realty Solutions and the founder of Homing In, a property valuation startup.

“2.5 percent is just asking to not get showings,” Miller said.

But Opendoor has since raised this fee to 3 percent.

“It was literally just a mistake,” Wu said. “We thought 2.5 percent was standard in Vegas, and it’s not.”

Two Opendoor competitors, OfferPad and Knock, recently burst onto the scene with head-turning funding rounds, heralding a push by property-exchange platforms into the industry.

As the dust settles, consumers will emerge with a clearer grasp of their pros and cons, putting their staying power to the test.


Editor’s note: This story has been updated with additional information from Opendoor.


Nov. 12, 2018

Buying a home today vs a year from now

The cost of buying a home today vs. a year from now

If you as a buyer are reluctant to buy now, then you need to rethink your position. Many consumers are not aware that interest rates are increasing and very few understand how costly these seemingly small increases can be over the life of a 30-year mortgage. 

Experts believe that interest rates will increase by another quarter point before the end of 2018 (That is December folks!!!) and that another three rate hikes will follow in 2019. This means today’s rate of 4.85 percent could be 5.85 percent a year from now.

No big deal right? No! 

This one-point increase is much, much bigger than most people realize, costing borrowers up to 23 percent more in terms of interest paid over a 30-year mortgage. Depending on the size of the loan ($400,000-plus), that amount could easily exceed $100,000 or more in additional interest over the life of the loan... who has an additional $100k to throw away... ?

Educate your  yourself  now... save now and later

If you are waiting to purchase, here’s how how costly that decision actually is.

Understanding what higher costs mean

The rule of thumb for conforming Fannie and Freddie Mac loans is that your front end ratio (your proposed monthly payment), cannot exceed 28 percent of your income.

In the example above where the interest rate is 4.83 percent, to determine the front end ratio, divide the total annual payment by 0.28 (28 percent) to determine the total amount of income required for the borrower to qualify.

In other words, a borrower who makes approximately $45,129 annually in 2018 would have to make $50,443 the following year to qualify at the increased interest rate for the same $200,000 loan amount in 2019. (This is provided that their backend ratios, i.e., their total debt payments including, their mortgage, do not exceed 40 percent of their income.)

According to the amortization calculator, the difference in total interest paid over the life of the loan is $44,773 ($223,839 – $179,066) or approximately 23 percent of the entire loan amount. 

If rates increase by 2 full points

If the rates increase two full points from 4.83 percent to 6.83 percent, the total interest paid over the life on that $200,000 mortgage will be $270,825.

That’s an additional $91,759 in interest or almost 46 percent of the $200,000 loan amount!


Buyers sometimes worry that prices may decrease. The current prediction from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) regarding price appreciation is that 2018 prices will be up 4.7 percent nationally and will increase by 3.1 percent in 2019 and 2.7 percent in 2020.

While these numbers will vary widely across the country, the average price gain is predicted to be 5.8 percent over the next two years.

Consequently, the true cost of waiting to purchase for one year would be the 23 percent of additional interest plus whatever the predicted increase in prices would be. Adding the 3.1 percent median increase above to the additional interest they would pay, that’s 26.1 percent.

Example: $250,000 purchase price today appreciates 3.1 percent to $257,750 in 2019.

So with all this said, what does that mean to you the buyer...???

Prices are predicted to increase by 3.1 percent over the next year and interest rates are predicted to increase from 4.83 percent to 5.83 percent.

What this means in terms of your ability to purchase is that instead of being able to qualify with your income of $46,629 in 2018, you will need an income of $52,114 to qualify for the same home a year from now.

Will you be able to show that extra $6,985 in income this time next year? If not, you will have to settle for a less expensive home. It’s your choice — would you like to buy now or wait and be forced to buy something less expensive?


Prices are predicted to increase by 3.1 percent over the next year and interest rates are predicted to increase from 4.83 percent to 5.83 percent. This means that the $250,000 home you’re looking at today will be worth $257,775 in 2019. 

This means that you would pay $5,775 more for the same property next year plus an additional $46,209 in interest over the life of your loan.

In other words, the cost of waiting a year to purchase is $51,984. It’s your choice — buy now and save $51,984 in additional interest and appreciation costs or wait and settle for less next year.

As always the Wacasey Group at Keller WIlliams is here to help you. Please reach out to us at 9762-379-7184 or email us at 

You can also follow us @dahlisawacasey @shawnwacasey @wacaseygroup @fcdrealtor @spartanrealtor on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 


- Borrowed and Adapted from Inman News and Bernice Ross


Posted in Buying
Oct. 18, 2018

KW vs Zillow vs vs Everyone exploited in NYC when the brokerages pulled their listings... Anyone else see a model here... Now, Keller Williams with the largest network of agents, is building a consumer facing portal to compete with Zillow.... Hummm... What if KW pulls a nationawide end around on ZIllow and the portals, makes their broker owners and agents pull all their listings from IDX, even for a short term. What happens to Zillow's model when they do not have access to listing feeds from 165,000 agents? Just a thought...

Posted in Market Updates
Oct. 1, 2018

Does Your School District Affect Your Home’s Value

Does Your School District Affect Your Home’s Value?

Home values are determined through a complicated series of calculations roughly based on the cost of actual construction plus value-adds like proximity to shopping and other conveniences. The prices that other nearby homes have sold for in the past are also taken into consideration. Formulas are applied, mysterious algorithms are run.

In short, home valuation is magic and appraisers are all wizards.

Although the workings behind the curtain may be both intimidating and seemingly unpredictable to home buyers and sellers, there is one thing that we can say definitely can affect your home’s value is your school district.

The Numbers Have It

A quick twirl around the web turns up a handful of recent surveys and studies that all say essentially the same thing: better schools means your house might be worth more.

It’s interesting, though, that at least one study from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis found that schools that were just barely below the average for quality had no influence on the homes where their students lived. These houses were priced based only on their characteristics, like having three bedrooms or a lot the size of a city block. On the other hand, higher-quality school districts increased each home’s price well above what the physical characteristics would have normally indicated.

The National Association of Realtors reports that 26 percent of all buyers chose their house based on the school district’s quality. However, among age groups prime to have children in the household, 40 percent of those under 36 years of age considered the school district an influential factor, as did 35 percent of those buyers 37 to 51.

The New York Times noted that “There are many factors in a home price, of course, but economists have estimated that within suburban neighborhoods, a 5 percent improvement in test scores can raise prices by 2.5 percent.”

How Much More Will You Pay?

The problem with trying to price a home based on less concrete metrics, like school district quality, is that there’s someone else out there that also has an idea what that added value amounts to and may want to fight you for it. This year in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas metroplex, for example, homes were frequently being sold for more than their listed price because someone out there had to have that house in that location and right now.

But, you can still look at price trends for homes in a very general and national way to get a feel for the influence of school districts. The Washington Post reported on a huge study by Redfin that included 407,000 home sales and almost 11,000 elementary school districts across 57 metropolitan markets. The study’s goal was to determine the average additional value brought to homes by their elementary districts.

Surprisingly, top-rated districts brought a whopping $50 per square foot extra when compared to average schools. That’s an extra $100,000 for a 2,000 square foot home!! The effect in California’s hottest markets was even more dramatic, with buyers paying up to $500,000 more for the best districts.

Compromises: School or Shopping?

When announced its findings from a back to school survey in 2013, a few surprising trends popped up. For example, buyers were more than happy to make major sacrifices in order to get their kids into the right school district. Of the people surveyed and indicated that school boundaries were an important factor in their search (90.53 percent), 42 percent would give up parks and trails, 43.96 would give up a bonus room, 50.6 would give up easy accessible shopping and 62.39 percent could live without a pool or spa.

Three out of five buyers said that school boundaries would definitely influence their buying decisions.

Breaking It All Down

All of this may sound quite complicated, but at the end of the day, it’s really simple. There are only so many houses in the best school districts, and there are more buyers to buy than sellers to sell. Since school districts are so important to many buyers, things like bidding wars may result, where buyers make above sales price offers, perhaps many of them, until someone is tapped out and a winner is named.

Their prize? The house that is now $40k over asking price.

It’s a snowball effect, really. Those way-over-asking-price homes end up being comparable homes when the appraiser comes around a few months later, raising the prices of all the homes around them. So, in a very real way, it can be said that your school district, provided it’s a good one and not merely average, has a massive impact on your home’s value.

Where Can You Go for Advice on Buying or Selling in a Hot School District?

Your HomeKeepr community is a wealth of information about all things home ownership. From buying your first house to having a home inspection, getting help with a tax reassessment, or having someone out to repair the gutters, you’ll have your choice of the best home pros in your area. Log in today to find the people who can answer your burning questions or help you navigate a tricky transaction in the school district of your dreams.

Connect with my favorite local pros
Posted in Selling
Sept. 19, 2018

Sellers whats your time worth

Sellers: What’s Your Time Worth?

There are just too many hours in the day, aren’t there?

If you need a time-intensive project to fill the moments not occupied by your work and family commitments, consider selling your house without a WACASEY GROUP REALTOR®.

You’ll spend hours learning about real estate transactions and studying your local real estate market. Then you can create a sales and marketing strategy that incorporates an in-depth analysis of values in your neighborhood.

Be sure to block your calendar for a few weeks. You’ll be hosting open houses on the weekends, and on call during the week to show the house to potential buyers.

Next, you can learn about Texas real estate forms—where to find them, which ones you need, how to fill them out. And don’t worry about getting sued; that only happens if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Or you could leave the market analysis, advertising, showings, and paperwork to an expert, a WACASEY GROUP REALTOR®, and reclaim many hours of your time.

Posted in Selling
Sept. 19, 2018

Understanding Earnest Money

One of the most important parts of the home buying process and one that you, and most people, may never have heard of until it is time to buy. It is called Earnest Money. This small, but very important item, could help you land the home of your dreams. Here’s an explanation of how earnest money works in a real estate transaction.

What is Earnest Money?

Earnest money is an amount agreed to in the real estate contract that you will pay soon after entering into a contract as a show of “good faith” that you intend to purchase the property. In Texas this is usually a maximum of 3 days after the contract is executed (agreed and signed). If the deal closes and you buy the property the earnest money is typically credited toward your home purchase.

Think of earnest money as a "get out of jail card..." I know what you are thinking, what do you mean get out of jail? Let me assure you no one is going to jail. What I mean is that the home can be locked up in the courts if there is ever an issue with the contract where one party seeks damages for not selling. The earnest money is money to the Seller so they will not sue for performance on the buying contract and you both can walk away. You only lose the earnest money and the seller gets his home back (out of jail) and can go out to sell it again. 

How Much Earnest Money is Enough?

Choosing the right amount can show a seller you’re a serious buyer. A larger deposit might be one way to make your offer stand out among other offers, but you want to choose an amount you are comfortable with. Your Texas REALTOR® at Wacasey Group can help you make an informed decision about how much earnest money to include with your offer. Typically we see 1-3% of the asking price as a good amount to consider for the earnest money amount. 

Who Holds onto the Earnest Money?

It usually goes to an escrow agent—an impartial third party, such as a title company—who holds it until the transaction closes. We at the Wacasey Group have relationships with many of the local and national title companies. The great thing about the title company holding your earnest money is that they are insured and regulated by the state agencies. 

Who Gets the Earnest Money if the Transaction Doesn’t Close?

If the transaction doesn’t close, the terms of the contract determine who receives the earnest money. For instance, the earnest money is typically returned to the buyer if the buyer exercises his right to terminate during the option period. If the buyer and seller can’t agree on who is entitled to the earnest money, things can get messy, sometimes even ending up in court. This is where having earnest money comes in and saves the day. You only lose a little amount in comparison to court and legal fees if you had to go to court. The seller gets a little to ease the pain of not selling. Earnest money in effect creates a win-win for both parties. 

If you have additional questions, please reach out to us. We are always here to help! or 972-379-7184

Thinking about selling, buying or leasing real estate? Our team of experts is ready to help you achieve your goals. Contact us today!

Sept. 17, 2018

Pumpkin Patches DFW


Creekwood United Methodist Church  Waiting for 2018 info.
261 Country Club, Allen

October 1 – 31, 2017


Country Critters Farm
3709 County Road 617, Alvarado, TX 76009

September 29 – November 11, 2018

Sunset Hill Tree Farm
3400 County Road 206, Alvarado, TX 76009

Saturdays & Sundays in October


Pumpkin Express – CLOSED
E Hickory Hill Rd At Hilltop Road, Argyle, TX 76226


First Christian Church
910 S. Collins, Arlington, TX 76010

St John the Apostle UMC Pumpkin Patch
5450 Mansfield Road, Arlington, TX 76017


Team Family Farms
1042 W Sherman Dr, Aubrey, TX 76227


Yesterland Farm
15410 Interstate 20, Canton, TX 75103

Weekends Sep 22 thru Nov 4, 2018

Corn Maze at Yesterland Farm
Corn Maze at Yesterland Farm


Big Orange Pumpkin Farm – CLOSED
5518 County Road 126, Celina


Mainstay Farm
1004 West Bethesda Road, Cleburne

Weekends September 29th – November 4th, 2018


Autumn at the Arboretum
8525 Garland Road, Dallas, TX

September 22 – November 21, 2018

Autumn at the Arboretum

St. James Pumpkin Patch
9845 McCree Road, Dallas, Texas 75238

October 1-31, 2018


Elves Farm
601 Harvey Ln. Denison

Open Saturdays & Sundays in October

Double Oak

Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch
Double Oak Ranch, Flower Mound

Flower Mound Pumpkin Village – CLOSED
4908 Cross Timbers, Flower Mound


Flower Mound

Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch
Double Oak Ranch, Flower Mound

Flower Mound Pumpkin Village – CLOSED
4908 Cross Timbers, Flower Mound


The Gentle Zoo Pumpkin Patch
12600 FM 2932, Forney, TX 75126


Pumpkins on the Prairie (Grace Ave. United Methodist Church)
3521 Main Street, Frisco, TX 75034

Grand Prairie

Green Meadow Petting Farm
5700 Lake Ridge Parkway, Grand Prairie

October 4 through November 1, 2018

The Woods United Methodist Church
1350 W. Bardin Road, Grand Prairie Texas 75052

September 30 – October 31, 2018



First Methodist Pumpkin Patch
455 Ball Street Grapevine, TX 76051

Every day from October 1 – 31, 2018

Hall’s Pumpkin Farm in Grapevine
3420 Hall Johnson Road, Grapevine, TX 76051

Daily, September 28 – October 31, 2018



The Big Orange Pumpkin Farm at Preston Trail Farms

15102 State Highway 289 in Gunter, Texas

September 15 – November 21, 2018


Storybook Ranch Pumpkin Patch
3701 S. Custer Road, McKinney

Tucker Hill Pumpkinville  CANCELLED in 2018 due to area development.
2100 State Blvd., McKinney


Pumpkin Patch at Christ United Methodist Church
3101 Coit Road, Plano; 972/596-4303,

Daily; September 23 – October 31st from 9:00am-5:00pm


Blase Family Farm
1232 East Fork Drive, Rockwall

September 29-October 31, 2018


The Patch at Southlake
101 E. Highland Street, Southlake, TX 76092



Lone Star Family Farm
4199 Highway 67, Stephenville, TX 76401

Fri/Sat/Sun; September 29 – November 10, 2018



Posted in Dallas