Winter is the perfect time to buy a home!

Winter is the perfect time of year for plenty of things: making snow angels, going ice skating, and drinking hot cocoa by the fire are all things that come to mind.

But do you know what else winter is the perfect time of year for?

Buying a home.

There’s no better time to find your dream home than the winter months. Here are five reasons why winter is the perfect time to find a home:

1. There’s less competition

One of the best reasons to purchase a home during the winter is that there’s typically less competition.

Winter isn’t the most popular time of the year to move; kids are still in school and potential buyers with children tend to wait until spring or summer to start looking to avoid having to pull their children out of school. And because there’s less buyers on the market, you’ll face less competition on the homes you’re interested in.

You’re also less likely to face multiple offer situations when the market is less competitive — which means that when you find a home you love and put in an offer, you’re not going to be up against anyone else, which greatly increases the chance of your offer being accepted.

2. Prices are more competitive

Another major benefit of buying a home in the winter is that the pricing is more competitive.

This means that in the winter, you’re far more likely to get a deal on your home than spring or summer. In fact, recent research shows that while buyers paid $1500 more than the sale price of the average US home during the peak spring season. But in the winter? They paid $3100 less.

3. You’ll deal with more motivated sellers

Another plus of buying in the winter?

Because there aren’t as many buyers on the market, sellers are much more motivated to sell — which means they’ll be much more willing to negotiate with you.

That can mean anything from coming down on the price, covering some (or all) of your closing costs, working with you on the closing date, or even throwing in extra appliances to sweeten the deal.

If you buy during the peak season, sellers don’t have as much incentive to negotiate since there’s a lot of competition, so do yourself a favor and buy in the winter when sellers are much more motivated to get their home sold.

4. You get to see how your new home holds up in the cold

If you live in an area with harsh winters, another benefit of buying a home in the winter is that you get to see how your potential new home will hold up in the cold — while it’s actually cold outside.

If you buy during the warmer months, your new home may look great. But when winter rolls around you might find that the chill in the air travels from outside to inside, or that your home is properly insulated to keep ice from building up on the exterior.

Bottom line: When you buy in the winter, you get to see your potential new home’s winter performance before you buy. You can make sure that your house has proper heating and insulation instead of buying in summer and hoping for the best — which can be an expensive mistake.

5. You get to take advantage of your real estate agent’s slow season

Because the winter months are typically slower in the real estate industry, your agent likely doesn’t have as many clients as they would in the peak season — which logically means you’ll probably get more of their attention.

A great real estate agent will always take care of you — no matter how busy they are. But there are only so many hours in the day, and during the peak season, he/she will likely have multiple clients they need to split their attention between.

But less real estate activity in the winter means less clients for your real estate agent, which means they have more time and energy to devote to you and your home search. They’ll be more available to research potential homes, show you new properties, and answer your questions — which will make your home search easier, faster, and more enjoyable.

As you can see, winter just might be the perfect time to buy a home. So bundle up, call your agent, and get out there and find your new home!

Declutter for holiday guests

The holidays. It’s a time for celebration, a time for good food and good cheer, and – for many homeowners – a time for out-of-town visitors. And while gathering your loved ones from all corners of the globe to celebrate with you and your family undoubtedly brings holiday joy, it can also bring more than a bit of holiday anxiety.

If you’re like most homeowners, you’ve probably accumulated quite a bit of clutter since spring cleaning. And with piles of toys and clothes and all manners of STUFF spilling out of every drawer, closet, and cabinet, the thought of hosting guests can quickly have you singing the holiday blues.

But don’t worry! It’s not too late to get your home in order and your clutter under control. Here are 5 decluttering tips to get your home ready for holiday visitors:

1. Prep Your Kitchen For Maximum Efficiency.

A large part of any holiday gathering is the meal, and if you’re the one playing host, you’ll likely be the one responsible for getting that meal on the table. The last thing you want is to spend your entire celebration stuck in the kitchen, rifling through cabinets looking for that casserole dish you haven’t seen since Mother’s Day. Organizing, getting rid of unnecessary utensils and tools, and prepping everything you’ll need to get your meals cooked, plated, and served is key. The right preparation saves you a ton of time, energy, and frustration, leaving you free to spend the holiday enjoying the company of your family and friends.

Go through your kitchen and remove any tools you won’t be using for your holiday meals, like your frozen yogurt machine or Halloween cake molds. Organize your pots and pans by size and function so you can easily locate them as you’re preparing your dishes. Clear everything off the counters so you have plenty of space to work on and aren’t wasting time trying to find room as you go along.

Not only will prepping your kitchen help you prepare and serve your meal more efficiently, but it’ll also save you time on your cleanup… which means more time to enjoy those delicious holiday desserts.

2. Get Your Kids Into The Spirit of Giving.

If you have children, clutter is par for the course. Between clothes, shoes, sporting gear, and toys, it seems like their clutter multiplies overnight. Factor in that your children are just going to be getting MORE clutter from your holiday guests in the form of presents, and things can quickly get out of hand.

But the holidays are all about giving, and they actually present the perfect opportunity to help your kids downsize, declutter, and give back to people in need.

Find a local charity that’s accepting holiday donations, and talk to your children about the importance of sharing the holiday spirit with other children who are less fortunate than they are. Help them work through their clutter and identify toys and clothes they’ve outgrown to give to charity.

Not only does this help to declutter your home, it also helps teach your children an important lesson about the spirit of giving, and your children will feel good knowing that their things are going to give someone else a wonderful holiday season.

3. Keep The Holiday Decorations To A Minimum.

While holiday decorations can add a nice ambiance to your home for the holidays, overdoing it can cause more clutter and overwhelm your visitors. Take stock of your holiday decorations, and be honest with yourself about which will add to the space and get your guests in the holiday spirit and which will just take up space and make them feel like they’re in the holiday aisle of the local Target.

To keep holiday decoration clutter to a minimum, think of them as an accent, NOT a focal point. Instead of displaying your entire collection of snowglobes, choose 1 or 2 that have a sentimental meaning and display them on your mantle. Hang up one Thanksgiving art project that your child made at school, not every project from the past 5 years.

Taking the less is more approach to holiday decorations will make your home feel more spacious and less cluttered while still creating that special holiday experience for your guests.

4. Rearrange Your Furniture.

While your current furniture setup likely works perfectly for you and your family, it might not be the most functional as you add more people for the holidays. Too much furniture + too many people = serious clutter.

Take stock of your current furniture arrangements and see how you can maximize each space. Rearrange the couches in your living room to form a circle around the middle of the room so everyone can face each other. Take any unnecessary tables or shelves that are taking up space without adding functionality and move them to the garage. Move, remove, and rearrange your furniture to create a space that feels more open and inviting.

5. Make Room For Your Guests’ Clutter.

No matter how well you declutter before the arrival of your holiday guests, the truth of the matter is they’ll be bringing clutter with them. And if you don’t have a place for them to put their clothes, suitcases, and other things, your home will feel just as cluttered as it felt pre-holidays within 10 minutes of their arrival.

Clear out space in a closet or garage for each guest to store their suitcase. If possible, give them space in a closet or drawer to put away their clothes. Make room in the bathroom for things like extra curling irons and electric shavers.

By being prepared and having a plan of action for your guests’ clutter, you can stop it from re-cluttering your space.

With these 5 decluttering tips, your home will feel organized, spacious, and ready to host your out-of-town holiday visitors.

How a REALTOR® can help you as a buyer

Picture a home with a shady backyard overflowing with blooming flowers, chirping birds, and a spacious deck to enjoy it all. You might be a smitten first-time buyer already planning outdoor dinner parties with friends. Then your Texas REALTOR® asks “Do you like gardening?” A well-maintained yard can be an expensive, time-consuming, and water-intensive investment, but that might never come up without your Texas REALTOR®.

The Benefit of Having an Expert on Your Side

A Texas REALTOR® can be the one to ask tough questions that help you narrow your home search. Visiting open houses or touring homes solo may lead otherwise prudent people to fall in love with lush gardens when they can’t keep their current houseplants alive.

This is just one of the many ways Texas REALTORS® keep homebuyers focused as they look at potential properties. Having an experienced Texas REALTOR® at your side can help you feel more at ease with the process and encourage you to think hard about what you’re looking for.

Don’t Waste Your Time on a Solo Home Search

You may think you’re a strong researcher, but when it comes to being a first-time homebuyer, the best resource you can have is a Texas REALTOR®. She can point out aspects of homeownership that you won’t find online, provide lessons learned from experience, and be the helpful reminder that there’s a perfect home for everyone but not every perfect home is for you.How

When Is The Best Time Of Year To Buy A Home?

One question that pops up constantly from both first-time and seasoned homeowners alike is “When is the best time of year to buy a home?” Potential homeowners want to know the best time of year to get the best home for the lowest price – and ideally, at a time that makes sense for their life.

It would be great if there were a simple and straightforward answer, like “the best time of year to purchase a home is between April 1 and April 7.” But unfortunately, it’s not that simple.

Let’s take a look at the factors that play into answering the question “when is the best time of year to buy a home?”

Convenience

The first factor to consider when buying a home is convenience. This is particularly important if you have a family.

If you have school-aged children, you ideally want to move in between school years, so sometime between May and August. Pulling a child out of school in the middle of the year can be challenging, and children might have a hard time to adjusting to a new school in the middle of the year.

However, because so many potential homeowners have families that want to move during this time period, it drives up the prices, making the summer the most expensive time a year to buy a home.

So, if your main concern is convenience for your family, then summer is a good time to buy – just be prepared to pay a higher price than you would at other times of year.

Inventory

If your top priority is having a lot of houses to choose from, you’ll want to buy a house during the time of year when the most homes are on the market. That way, you’ll have your pick of multiple properties and are much more likely to find a home that has all the items on your wish list.

In most areas, the highest inventory peaks in the spring, right before the end of the school year. Inventory stays high throughout the summer and then starts to fall in early autumn, with the lowest inventory happening in late autumn and winter.

If you want a variety of homes to choose from, look to buy in the spring.

Price

If your main goal is to get an amazing home at a low price, the best time of year to buy is when competition is low. When there aren’t as many people looking to buy, it drives down the prices of homes, and you can purchase property at a significantly lower rate. On average, homes cost 8.45% less in January and February than they do in June, July, and August.

If you were looking at purchasing a $500,000 property, that would bring the price down $42,250 for a sale price of $457,750. That kind of price drop could save you a significant amount of money over the course of your mortgage and lower your monthly payments.

If you’re looking to get the most house for your money, purchasing a home in the winter is definitely your best bet.

The best time of year to buy a home is largely dependent on your needs and priorities. If you’re looking to buy at a time that’s most convenient for your family (and in particular, your children), buying during the summer is a great option. If you want to see as many homes as possible in order to find a property that has everything you’re looking for in a home, you’ll want to buy a home in the spring, when inventory is at its highest. And if your bottom line is you want to pay the lowest price possible, purchasing a home in the winter, when prices are significantly lower, will be the most advantageous.

Just keep in mind that finding and purchasing a home takes time; while it happens, the chances of finding a property during the first week of looking for a home are slim. On average, people spend 30 – 60 days looking for a home and another 14 – 60 days from contract to close, so make sure to give yourself plenty of lead time to take advantage of the time of year that’s best for YOU to purchase.

Buying Activity Driven By Projected Mortgage Rates Increasing

The real estate industry has seen extremely low interest rates for quite some time, but all of that may be about to change, and it’s driving a massive increase in buying activity.

According to a recent report from Freddie Mac, interest rates on home loans are expected to jump an entire percentage point in 2018 (from 3.9% in Q4 of 2017 to 4.9% by Q4 of 2018). That jump can mean a mortgage payment that’s hundreds of dollars more per month—and tens of thousands more paid in interest over the course of the loan. And according to a recent article from the team at Realtor.com, the threat of rising interest rates is pushing a new stream of buyers into the market. According to the article, potential buyers who were “on the fence” about buying are now making purchases in order to lock in lower interest rates, creating even more competition and driving up prices.

The Takeaway

If you’ve been thinking about putting your home on the market, now is the time to do it. With historically low inventory and a new rush of buyers into the market, there has never been better conditions to get the most value from your home sale.

Groundbreaking! Navarro Intermediate School

Community members are invited to a short groundbreaking ceremony for the new Navarro ISD Intermediate School at 5:00 PM on Thursday, January 12. The Board of Trustees awarded the $15,512,500 construction contract to Kencon, LTD. for a building that will house up to 650 4th through 6th graders.
The school district staff is excited to get this project underway! Superintendent Dee Carter says that this is an opportunity to again thank all of community members who supported the bond election and everyone who is interested in the growth of the district.
The event will be held, weather permitting, at the building site on Link Road, just past the Elementary School, where parking will be available.