Miracle on Winoak, WE MOVED IN!

Meet the Fosters (Angela & Maya)

What led you to becoming a home buyer?

Angela: We had recently had a home and then my husband lost his job. Coca-Cola phased out his position, so we had to move out of our current home to get things back on track. This meant getting our credit and financials back together. We had to work to get back into a home as it was better than renting an apartment. We came from a home and really wanted to get back into one.

Can you share the story as to why it was time to buy?

Angela: We were getting to a certain age and it was like if you don’t get in now you’re going to miss it.

What challenges did you have during the process of buying a house?

Angela: Yes, we had everything set and got our finances together. Then my husband got ill and was diagnosed with pneumonia and COVID and in those three to four months it was touch and go. He was in and out, up and down, then right before it came time to close he passed away.

What kept you going and continuing to move forward?

Maya: Personally, Dedrick and Ink Realty worked really hard to get us this dream home that we really, really wanted. Honestly, we wouldn’t know what we would do without them. We didn’t have many options lined up. We were tired of renting and really just wanted a home for our family to be in and that would be ours.

What did you like about the floor plan you chose?

Angela: The main bedroom was far from the secondary bedroom. The other bedrooms were at the front of the house and the living room was the center where the family could come together. You’re not jumbled up on coming around the corner, you know. That’s what we liked about it. Anybody at the end of the day can come back together if they want to. The spacing, the lighting it offered, everyone could go to their individual space and then get back together. We love coming together, we really needed the coming together feeling.

What has been your favorite space and features?

Angela: My bedroom. My nice big TV is hanging on the wall and I get to relax on the couch if I want to.

Maya: I love the kitchen. It has an open floor plan, so you can look straight into the living room and see everything. You can watch TV while you’re cooking. If you want to listen to specific music, you don’t have to have it throughout the home.

What did you enjoy most about buying a brand new home?

Angela: Knowing that it was mine. It was going to be the first one in it and the last one in it. It was new. I wanted to hang my curtains in my brand new house.

What advice would you give others that are interested in buying a brand new house?

Angela: You have the option to pick the floor plan you like. You can pick the colors, the cabinetry and you can upgrade your appliances. You know, you just choose, it's a lot you can personalize for JUST YOU.

Maya: There’s more personalization in the initial buying of a brand new home rather than buying a home and renovating it. 

How long did it take to find this home?

Angela: My husband saw this floor plan and he said, "this is it". I had no choice and he said, "this is OK," and I said, "OK", lol. He picked the refrigerator which I didn’t like, but it works, lol. There were a lot of people trying to get a home in this community. There was a line all the way down the street.

What advice would you offer for those who are considering buying but have not purchased yet?

Maya: My advice would be, make that choice and get in on the first phase so that your equity can build up and is established, as your home is something you can pass down to the next generation.

What phase did you get into this community?

Angela: We got in on the first phase and we’re excited about it. It's exciting to see the growth and we can see money. As far as money goes, if you have the money and the option to wait for a couple of phases to come in. But if you want the best deal and bang for your buck to build equity, you must definitely get in on the first phase.

Maya: You can see pride of ownership in this community and everyone feeding off of what each other is doing. You can see a slight boost in morale because you’ve noticed when people have their home looking nice they are more friendly. They will ask, "Hey, how are you guys doing?" Then conversation starts and you get to know and share where you found certain deals to add to your home value.

What builder did you choose?

Angela: DR Horton

What made you choose a DR Horton Product?

Angela: I was satisfied with the builder because they offered a wide range of floor plans. The staff will leave you to look and be free to roam. Ink Realty you really did a great job! Our agent, Dedrick Flowers did a great job with us.

Dedrick, can you share your excitement about the Fosters?

Dedrick: I’m super happy about the Fosters. They’re great, great, great people. I’ve known this family over 20 years, since Maya was a baby. They are just great people and to help them accomplish their goal of home ownership is a blessing.


Even if you're not in a competitive real estate market where you need to do everything to stand out, a mortgage pre-approval is your key to understanding your budget, help you speed up the process, and prove to the real estate world that you are serious about buying your dream home.  

Here we've laid out everything you need to know about getting pre-approved, how long is your mortgage pre-approval good for, and what should you do if your pre-approval will soon come to an end. Heed these tips before even thinking of house-hunting so sellers will know you’re on top of your game! 

Before starting your search, your first step should be to prove that you have the financial ability to purchase a home. In the pre-approval process, the lender reviews your loan application and your finances to determine whether you will qualify for a mortgage. They will have a preliminary examination of your credit, employment, income, assets, monthly debts, and other financial information.

Since the pre-approval letter will also indicate the actual loan amount you qualify for, you should use that as your guide when shopping for a home because your lender will only let you borrow up to that certain amount.

When you find a home you want, your real estate agent will submit the pre-approval letter together with your offer to the seller. This will prove to the seller that you are serious about buying and can obtain a mortgage.

Buying a house does take time. Your home search and loan approval process could go on for weeks, even months, before you can actually close the deal and get the keys to your home. If your journey to being a homeowner actually took a long cut, will your pre-approval letter still be valid by the time of your purchase?

While there is no definite duration for the validity of the mortgage pre-approval letter, in general, it is typically good for 60 to 90 days or about three months. Still, the actual time frame is indicated in your letter. So if you need a longer time frame, you have to ask for it beforehand. 

However, many lenders and sellers may consider your letter too old after three months. Yes, making a decision as huge and remarkable as buying a home shouldn't be put into such a short timeframe. However, your financial situation can change anytime within that three-month period. Lenders could have a hard time trusting you if your letter is more than a few months old because you could’ve done things that hurt your DTI and credit, like losing your job or buying a car. There is an expiration date to ensure the potential borrower has excellent DTI from the start until the end of his or her homebuying journey.

Also, the expiration date lenders placed on your pre-approval letter acts as a hastening mechanism so you can choose a home before the interest rate indicated in your letter goes up. It prevents you from taking a leisurely stroll through open houses for weeks and extending the buying process.

If your house-hunting journey is taking a bit longer than planned and your pre-approval letter is about to expire, you'll likely need to renew it. However, there’s no need to go through all the trouble of applying all over again. Just take it back to your lender, together with your updated financial statements and pay stubs to show there’s been no change to your income, debts, or credit scores.

And since pre-approval letters are only valid for a certain period, it might be best to only get it when you’re already serious about looking for a home.

When you're applying for a mortgage, having one or two checks on your credit report will indeed temporarily lower your credit score. It can lower your score for a few points, depending on your initial score and the number of payments you’re making, but it shouldn’t be significant. The problem comes when the hard checks or inquiries on your FICO score raise too many flags, which could get you disqualified from getting a loan.

If you don’t want the pre-approval process to cause any significant stress to your credit report, you can pull a soft report or a soft inquiry. Unlike hard checks, it won’t affect your credit score and you can use it as reference. Since soft inquiries are only visible to you, if you found out your score is lower than 620, it might be best to hold off purchasing a house for now and do the necessary steps to improve your score.


Purchasing your first home can be the largest financial decision of your life, but it can also be an exciting financial milestone. However, while a trusted realtor will offer you invaluable advice, you will still need to do a lot of work to have a good sense of a realistic budget. Only you can determine how much you can really afford, and the biggest mistake you can make will be to overlook some important details of your financial situation. Strive to be very careful, and let this list guide you towards making the right decisions.

1. Prepare a detailed computation of your expenses.
Prepare a budget that factors in all your current and ongoing bills, while leaving enough wiggle room for unexpected bills you may need to deal with. An old rule you'll be unwise to follow still is allowing yourself to buy a home that is priced two to three times your gross income. This computation doesn’t take into account your debts and monthly family expenses. Make a list of everything you pay for on a monthly basis, including credit cards, student loans, car amortizations, savings, and even date nights with your spouse. Allot a fixed budget for each so that you can have a precise idea of exactly how much would be left to spend on homeownership costs.
2. Use mortgage calculators only as a guide.
It’s great to take advantage of the available mortgage calculators at your disposal, but use these only as a starting point. Take a closer look at the results and make further computations based on the stability of your income and how personal choices in the future may affect your cash flow. Are you planning to have a baby in the next two to three years? Are you thinking of going to graduate school? These kinds of plans will have a major impact on your finances, so make accurate predictions and think as far ahead as you possibly can.
Also, note that very few calculators will be thorough enough to allow a holistic look at your current financial situation, so be careful with the ones you choose to use, as you may end up overestimating your financial capacity. Try slashing a good 20% off the affordability results shown by the typical online calculator, and you’ll see that this figure is a more realistic or practical amount.
3. Don’t max out your budget.
Getting qualified for a certain amount doesn’t necessarily mean you should spend it all. The costs of homeownership are highly variable since property taxes and insurance costs change every year. However, most lenders will qualify you for a mortgage payment based on your dues for the current year and will leave no room for adjustments should your expenses go up in the following years. This is why it is essential to figure out the most practical way to spend the amount you’ve been approved for.
4. Think beyond your actual mortgage.
Consider the myriad of expenses that would continue long after your mortgage has been paid off, such as maintenance, utilities, and association fees. Some of these fees are even likely to increase over time, so it’s best to do the math and figure out if you’ll be comfortable handling all these simultaneous expenses.
5. Be ready for the possibility of a financial breakup.
While the possibility of a breakup between you and your spouse sounds impossible at the moment, it is still advisable to cover all your bases and be comfortable with the idea of paying for the house alone. This doesn’t mean that you’re preparing for an inevitable separation – this can simply help determine whether you’ll be able to shoulder your monthly dues if your spouse suddenly loses his/her job, or if he/she cannot contribute for a particular stretch of time. This will also help you avoid taking such a risky loan.


Anything you're doing for the first time can often be frustrating and intimidating. More so when it comes to buying your first home! The stakes are high, and there’s no way you can make an impulse purchase. You can’t just contact the agent of a listing you’ve seen online and say “This is mine!”—no questions asked. Or give an offer on the first virtual open house you’ve attended. There are a ton of things to do and prepare even before finally scheduling a showing and making an offer on your potential home.

Even so, searching for your first home is an exciting journey. To further help you, here are five tips to remember before starting your search: 

1. Get Your Paperwork in order

You may want to do this even before starting to look at properties online, especially if you're applying for a mortgage. Some of the documents you’ll need to prepare include your last two years’ worth of tax returns, bank statements for the last three months, canceled rent checks, and current pay stubs and copies of your lease if you’re currently renting. These documents will be needed by the mortgage officer later on when he’s assessing your capability as a borrower. While assembling all that paperwork early on can be quite a pain, be assured that you’re getting a headstart on the competition.      

2. Check Your Credit Score

Your credit score is one of the biggest factors in your ability to secure a loan. Lenders will look at this number to determine whether you are creditworthy, and it will influence your interest rate, down payment, and other terms of your mortgage. It will also help you know which type of loan you can consider getting as different loan types have different credit score requirements. 

Check your credit score and obtain a copy of your credit report before you look at real estate online. If you think there are errors on your report, contact the credit bureau to dispute inaccurate or incomplete information. For less-than-stellar credit, take the necessary steps to boost your score so you'll be more confident in getting a better loan term as you look for your ideal home.

3. Get Pre-Approved

Resist the urge to start your home search without a mortgage pre-approval. This letter lets you know how much home you can afford and will show sellers that you are serious and have what it takes to buy. Lenders will do a full review of your employment or income, credit, and assets before they issue a pre-approval, so assembling your paperwork beforehand will save you the hassle.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage will help you gain a competitive advantage and speed up the home buying process. And with today's historically low mortgage rates and even low housing inventory, it has never been more crucial. Having a pre-approval before making an offer can help you stand out among sellers because it gives them extra security and confidence that the deal will push through.

4. Make a list of your "must-haves" vs "would-like-to-haves".

Next step is to consider your lifestyle and values before seriously shopping for real estate. Then, create a list of all the features of a home that you would like and categorize them as ‘must-haves,' ‘would-like-to-haves,’ and your ‘dream features.’ 

Ask yourself questions like: ‘Do I really need four or more bedrooms?’ ‘Is a two-car garage necessary?’ ‘Are granite countertops a must in my future kitchen?’ Your preferred number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage, and neighborhood features should be included in your non-negotiable elements. These crucial items should be followed by the ones that would be nice to have, such as an outdoor space, a home office, plenty of storage, and other features that are important for you and your family.

5. Find a Trusted Real Estate Agent.

Lastly, there's no reason for you to go through this complicated process of home buying alone. Especially during this age of new normal, working efficiently with a trusted realtor will help put you in a position to act fast when you’re ready to move. Find a good realtor who has extensive knowledge of the area or neighborhood, especially if trips outside are still limited.


The DFW real estate market has been experiencing a strong growth trend over the past few years. This is driven by a growing economy, a low cost of living, and a favorable business environment. The pandemic caused some initial disruptions, but the market rebounded quickly and has continued to perform well in recent months.

According to recent reports, the median home price in the DFW area has increased by around 12% in the past year, which is higher than the national average. This price growth has been fueled by a combination of high demand and low inventory, with many buyers competing for a limited number of homes on the market.

Furthermore, the DFW area has been attracting a lot of new residents, which is contributing to the tight housing market. This has led to a surge in new construction, particularly in the suburban areas, where developers are building new communities to meet the growing demand.

Overall, the DFW real estate market is currently a seller's market, with high demand, low inventory, and rising prices. However, there are indications that the market may be starting to cool down slightly, with inventory levels beginning to rise and some signs of buyer fatigue setting in.

Would you like to know how much your home is worth? Schedule a consultation and we'd be happy to prepare one for you!