All posts by HometownGirl

I'm a mom first and foremost. I love God and my family & friends. I'm a native Texan and will always be a Texan because I can't stand cold weather! I graduated from Texas A&M in 1995 and went into the corporate world as a programmer. I got married in 1998 and had 3 children starting in 2000. These years have flown by way too fast. One has flown the coop and I have 2 more in high school, getting ready to fly the coop. When my children were young, I wanted a way to be able to have more free time with them and be able to pick them up whenever I wanted to. I wanted to be there for all of their practices and appointments. And the way to do that was to start my own business. Hence, Hometown Realtors of Texas was born! We are a real estate brokerage based in the Greater Houston area. I've been doing real estate for 15 years and I can't see me doing anything else. I'm a people person and helping them achieve their dreams of home ownership just fulfills a sense of purpose.

How inflation impacts home prices

How inflation affects Home Prices

When Inflation and interest rates rise, it wreaks havoc in the market

When inflation rises, the cost of everything rises.  Because of increasing costs of lumber it’s only natural that home price go up in correlation to inflation.  As such, it discourages new home building.  Therefore, the market turns to existing inventory.  As a result, this benefits sellers, adding even more fuel to the seller’s market we’ve been experiencing

Inflation, in turn, also impacts the mortgage market. The Federal Reserve typically tightens monetary policy to help fight inflation. As a result, we have seen interest rates spike in the past weeks. This makes buying a home even more challenging. In order to keep the same payment that was once wanted, buyers now have to lower their expectations with a lower priced home. So what’s one to do you might ask?  Well there are some tips and tricks that you follow during these times to soften the blow.

Buy a House ......... ASAP

With more Fed rate hikes and higher prices on the horizOn, experTs say time is of the essence for buyers —at least if they want to avoid further hitsVto affordability.

“Rising inflation means that cash nw holds more value than it will in the future, assuming inflation continues to rise,” says Rob Heck, vice president of mortgage at Morty, a mortgage loan marketplace. “It could be cheaper to buy right now than in the future, especially if home prices continue their upward climb.”

Put simply: If you buy now, you lock in a price and mortgage payment in today’s dollars — not the less valuable dollars of the future.

Buying soon can also help consumers avoid skyrocketing rent prices, which are rising faster than home prices in many places. According to, the median asking rent last month was up 17% compared to March 2021.

“If you buy now, you’ll have the chance to benefit from the inflation of home prices,” says Maggie Gomez, a certified financial planner and founder of Money with Maggie, which provides financial and investment advisory services. “Rent prices are increasing right alongside home prices, so you may not be saving much by waiting to buy if you end up spending a lot of time paying someone else’s mortgage at inflated costs.”


Lindsey Bell, chief markets and money strategist at Ally, recommends determining your absolute cap — the maximum you can spend on your monthly mortgage payment — and working backward from there.

“Buyers should take a hard look at their overall budget and determine what their final home price is,” Bell says. “Basically, they need to understand when it’s time to walk away.”

If you plan to spend more than before, you’ll also want to factor in bigger down payment (20% of a $400,000 house is a lot more than 20% of a $350,000 one), higher costs of living and the rising prices of ancillary goods and services — like those associated with your move and home maintenance and repairs.

As Dennis Duban, a CPA and founder of DLD Accountancy, explains, “Movers, remodeling costs, utilities, property taxes and insurance will all increase, so buyers should be aware of these costs as well when doing a budget.”

Expand your Home search

Once you adjust your budget, you may also want to reassess your house-hunting strategy. That might mean looking at smaller properties or townhomes, searching in more rural, less in-demand areas or just shopping in lower price ranges.

If you opt for the latter choice, proceed with caution — particularly if you’re eyeing a fixer-upper. As with everything, the price of building materials and labor are rising, so repairing or renovating a property will cost you more than before, too.

“The materials needed to renovate a home will likely be more expensive and take longer to arrive than expected,” says Steven Gottlieb, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Warburg in New York. “Buyers need to plan accordingly, even if taking on a minor facelift in the new home.”


In a higher-cost environment, qualifying for the lowest interest rates possible will help keep monthly costs to a minimum. To do this, though, you’ll need a high credit score — usually a 740 or higher, depending on your lender.

“Keeping your credit score as high as possible will get you the best mortgage rate, and that will keep your payment down,” Duban says.

To raise your score, you can pay down your debts, avoid late payments and fix any errors on your credit report. Reducing your credit card balances or asking for a higher credit limit can also help. You may want to bring a bigger down payment to the table, too. This lessens the risk for the lender, and they may reward you with a lower interest rate. It also protects you in case home prices decline over time. “A higher down payment acts as a better hedge against declines in real estate values,” Bell says. “The more put down, the lower the chances that a slight dip in the market will put buyers in a position where they owe more than what their future home is worth.”

A low credit score can negatively impact your mortgage application and interest rate. The good news is that credit repair companies, such as Credit Saint, may be able to help you increase your credit score in within a few months!


Finally, if you’re looking to reduce costs in the face of inflation, it’s important to choose your mortgage loan carefully. As Heck explains, “There are a lot of different options available that could work well for you as a buyer and putting 20% down and getting a 30-year mortgage is not always the best fit.”

An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) may be a better option for some buyers. These have lower rates for the first few years of the loan term —typically three, five, or seven years — and the rate can adjust after that. These may be smart for buyers who know they won’t stay in the home long.

“An ARM allows a buyer to lock in at a lower than average mortgage rate for a set term,” says Kimberly Jay, a real estate agent with Compass in New York. “This can save a buyer money if they don’t plan on living in the home for a long period of time.”

There are also loans that come with low down payment requirements and no mortgage insurance costs, which may also soften the blow of inflation for qualifying buyers. Before you begin your home search, talk to a loan officer or mortgage broker about what loan programs you may be eligible for, and be sure to shop around. Rates and terms can vary significantly from one mortgage company to the next.

Bubble trouble ahead?

Fast-rising home prices? ✅ Out-of-control bidding wars? ✅ Investors flooding the market? ✅

Over the past two years, the nation has watched worriedly as home prices seemed to hit a new record high every month. Many buyers have been offering six figures over asking prices to snag properties. It’s been uncomfortably reminiscent of the runup to the housing bust that blew up the world’s economy roughly 15 years ago.

As the market has progressively heated to a boiling point, most real estate experts swore up and down that the housing market wasn’t in a bubble. Mortgage interest rates were so low, in the unprecedented mid-2% range, that buyers could afford the inflated prices, they said. Lenders were no longer making bad mortgages that could trigger another foreclosure crisis. And this time around, a housing shortage that has reached crisis proportions has resulted in many more buyers than properties for sale—just the opposite of the 2007–08 pre-crash conditions. This market could support the frenzy, they explained.

But that might not be so true anymore with mortgage rates soaring to their highest point in more than a decade, hitting 5% last week as they continue their upward march. Many of those same experts are now warning the housing market might be approaching a bubble—if it isn’t in one already.

There’s only so much that homebuyers can afford before they’re priced out of the market. In March, when rates surpassed the 4% mark, the number of buyers applying for mortgages fell 5%, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Nationally, buyers are paying about 42% more in their monthly mortgage payments for the same house today than they did a year ago. The potent combo of rising home prices, up 14% year over year in March, and escalating mortgage rates, which rose nearly 2 percentage points, has added hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a month to those mortgage bills

And that’s on top of what potential buyers are spending on everything else. Rents are up about 17% year over year, inflation is running at 8.5%, and gas prices rose about 40%. Many folks are simply tapped out.

How can the system handle skyrocketing home prices, mortgage rates, and rental prices simultaneously? Some believe it can’t.

Buyers expecting some pricing relief will likely be disappointed. Even if prices do fall, homebuyers will still be saddled with higher monthly mortgage payments. Rates have risen so much, so quickly, that they will likely more than make up for lower prices, costing homebuyers even more money.

And more desirable communities with plenty of high-paying tech and manufacturing jobs could see prices still continue to rise.

“You’re now starting to see people stretch their budgets,” says Ali Wolf, chief economist of building consultancy Zonda. “The market looks more frothy than it did just six months ago.”

Prices are likely to continue growing—for now

Medical debt removal from credit reports potentially impacts millions of consumers

The three major consumer reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) recently announced future changes to the reporting of medical collection debt. According to the CFPB, these changes will erase nearly 70% of medical collection debt from consumer credit reports.

The changes in medical debt reporting will include:

  • Paid medical collection debt will no longer be reported on consumer credit reports (effective July 1, 2022)
  • Consumers will have more time to work with insurance and healthcare providers to address their medical debt before it’s reported. New third-party medical collections will be added to credit reports only after one year has passed. Currently, it is reported after six months
  • Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion will also no longer report third-party medical collection debt under at least $500 (starting sometime in the first half of 2023)

FICO® Score Impacts

The percent of people with FICO® Scores that have a paid medical collection reported is relatively low at ~2%, and approximately 10% of people with FICO Scores have a reported medical collection less than $500.

The most recent FICO® Score versions already have logic in place that bypasses all third-party collections (including medical) that are paid in full or those with an original amount under $100, and place less weight on unpaid medical debt relative to other unpaid bills. FICO Score 8 bypasses all third-party collections with an original amount under $100.

The potential impact on a person’s FICO® Scores associated with these changes will depend on both the amount of collection information removed as a result of these changes, as well as the other information contained in the person’s credit file:

  • If the consumer has other negative items reported in their credit file, the recency, frequency, and severity of those negative items will continue to be assessed by the score. Therefore, the removal of paid third-party medical collections and/or third-party medical collections <$500 may have a more modest impact on the score.
  • If the third-party medical collection is the only negative item reported, its removal could have a more substantial positive impact on score.

Houston home prices edge up

Homeowners nationwide enjoyed a more than 8% increase in home prices over the last 12 months ending in November, making it the largest year-over-year increase since March 2014, according to the CoreLogic Home Price Index.

The price increase reported in the Houston area was just below the national average, jumping 5.4% for single-family homes and 4% for condos and townhomes. While the home price appreciation report appeared to be good news for Houston home sellers, the report came with a warning, noting that the recent hurricane season and hard-hit oil industry are expected to result in a 1.4% price depreciation by this time next year.

The forecast shows annual home price growth slowing to 7.5% in the first quarter to 2.5% by November. This could be improved by potential federal aid aimed at supporting low- and middle-income buyers.

“The housing market performed remarkably well in 2020 despite the volatile economic state,” said Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic said in the press release. “While we can expect to see lingering effects of COVID-19 resurgences and subsequent shutdowns in the early months of 2021, vaccine distributions and stimulus actions should revitalize economic activity and keep home purchase demand and home price growth strong.”

Related: Buyer’s Resources

Mortgage Monday

Can I really buy a home???

Getting into a mortgage is not as hard as you think. And if you’re a veteran, check this out:

* 0% down payment options with no PMI
* 100% refinancing available with no appraisal and no income requirements
* Lower interest rates compared to conventional loans
* Easier loan qualifications compared to conventional loans

It’s easy to apply, and we can go over all the options with you! But we won’t be able to unless you apply. It’s quick and easy and you’ll have an answer fast

First Home Bank online application

Mortgate Rates Approach 3-Year Lows



Borrowing costs dropped to their second-lowest levels in three years, offering home shoppers an opportunity to lock in lower monthly mortgage payments.

The lower rates are “supporting homebuyer demand and leading to higher refinancing activity,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “Borrowers who take advantage of these low rates can improve their cash flow by lowering their monthly mortgage payments, giving them more money to spend or save.”

Low mortgage rates likely will stick around. The Federal Reserve on Wednesday voted to leave its benchmark rate unchanged. The Fed’s short-term rate does not have a direct effect on mortgage rates but does often influence them. “If the Fed is on hold, we are at least on hold with lower interest rates,” Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at, told CNBC


Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending Jan. 30:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.51%, with an average 0.7 point, dropping from a 3.60% last week. A year ago, 30-year rates averaged 4.46%.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3%, with an average 0.7 point, falling from last week’s 3.04% average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.89%.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.24%, with an average 0.3 point, falling from last week’s 3.28% average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.96%.


Have any other real estate questions, just ask me!




Source: Freddie Mac


“Copyright NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission.”

Let’s Talk Flood Insurance!

Did you know that you can transfer a flood policy that has old “grandfathered” mapping from a seller to a buyer?  Flood insurance is very difficult and constantly evolving and we know someone that can help you with the in’s and out’s.

For this to work, the flood insurance policy must be put into transition BEFORE the closing.  So when you are selling your home, make sure that you disclose your policy and what you have in place, if any.  As a buyer, you’ll want to ask the seller if they have anything in place for flood insurance.

Flood insurance through the government (called NFIP) has the following type of coverages:

  1. Landlord or secondary homes do not offer replacement cost for the flood losses on the structure as we expect on our home/fire policies .  Flood loss settlement is done with ACV (with depreciation).  This is similar to how your car insurance losses are settled when you have a car totaled.  You don’t get a 2020 Buick if you were driving a 2012 Buick.
  2. NFIP flood coverage for the structure maximum is only 250K.  Excess flood and/or private flood insurance can be utilized to increase coverage.
  3. Mortgage companies force place flood insurance when it is absent.  This is only when the loan requires flood insurance in higher risk flood zones.



Your home is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, investment you will make in your life.  Be sure to protect your asset.  Work with your Realtor® as you buy or sell your home and work with TWFG for your insurance needs.  As always, you can call or text me at 832-928-3019.


Denise Frank –Broker/Owner Hometown Realtors of Texas



January 2020 Newsletter

January 2020 Newsletter

The holidays are over, and now it’s time to look ahead at the new year. Whether you’re already living in the home of your dreams or making plans for a big move, I look forward to being there for you this year. Find below some tips to reclaim space in your home, keep your home in tip-top shape, and some tips for if you’re planning to sell your home this winter.

How to Declutter and Help Your Community in 2020

What began as treasure can easily become clutter over the course of a year. If you’re looking to clear out items you no longer use, why not donate it to someone in need? Here are three things you can donate to make a positive difference to someone in your community and reclaim space in your home.

  • Coats – Are you running out of closet space? If you have coats you no longer wear, consider giving them to someone in need. It will free up space for your other storage needs and help someone stay warm in the new year.
  • Furniture – Big, bulky furniture can be very comfortable, but it also makes most homes feel smaller than they are. If you’re looking to reclaim space, consider donating over-sized furniture items to a charitable organization and investing in smaller-scale furniture instead. .
  • Electronics – If you have working tablets, phones, computers, or TVs lying around that you no longer use, consider donating them to a family in need. Your old tech could be just what a student needs to help them succeed in school.

Home Maintenance Resolutions for 2020

Homes need continuous maintenance to keep them in good condition. Plan to invest one to four percent of your home’s value in maintenance costs each year to avoid losing home value!

  • Interior – If you invest time in some simple maintenance, you can keep the inside of your home looking like new. Some tasks your home may need include repainting the walls, restripping and resealing wood, or restaining trim and built-ins. Some more complicated repairs may involve replacing worn or outdated floors or rebuilding fixtures.
  • Exterior – Taking time each year to maintain the exterior of your home will help ensure your home doesn’t take in excessive damage-causing moisture. Some tasks you should complete each year include cleaning and repairing your gutters/downspouts, inspecting and repairing your roof, and repainting, cleaning, and repairing your home’s siding.
  • Systems – Part of keeping your home in good condition is ensuring your systems are running safely. Cleaning your chimney flue, replacing air filters, and other inspection and cleaning projects can keep your home and family safe by helping to prevent floods and fires caused by poorly maintained systems.
  • Landscaping – Keeping your outdoor structures and landscaping in good condition is also important. Keep an eye out for erosion issues, rodent infestations, and dangerous trees. You should also refinish your deck, fence, and other wood structures semi-annually.

What You Need to Know About Selling in Winter

Your home should look its best when it hits the market to help you get the best offers, and each season offers its own challenges. If you’re selling your home in the middle of winter, you’ll likely have to work around lackluster lighting and minimal visual assistance from your plants. However, here are some tips to make sure your home makes the best first impression possible.

  • Keep walkways clear – Don’t let mother nature take up space on your walkways. Keep them clear to ensure the path to your house is safe and attractive.
  • Create atmosphere – Make your home warm and inviting by keeping your thermostat set to a pleasant temperature when buyers come by, especially when it’s cold outside. You can tie in the idea of warmth by folding afghans or throw blankets across your living room furniture.
  • Let in light – Pull back the curtains and open up the blinds before a showing to ensure you’re taking full advantage of any available natural light. A quick window cleaning will also ensure you don’t miss out on natural light.
  • Work with buyers’ schedules – The winter months are often hectic as people try to accomplish tasks before the sun sets, so look for ways to add flexibility to your schedule so that buyers can view your home in the evenings and on weekends. Being flexible with your closing date can also help attract buyers.

If you or someone you know is thinking about making a move in the new year, give me a call or contact me! I’ll be glad to help.