As the largest state in the continental United States, Texas is filled with big cities and iconic tourist attractions. With five of the fifteen most populated cities in the United States, it is easy to see that people enjoy Texas. From Houston to Amarillo and El Paso to Longview, there is plenty to do and to see in the over 268,000 square miles of the Lone Star State.
The capital city of Texas is a hip spot for people who love live music. Austin is known for being the Live Music Capital of the World and is the home to over 250 live-music venues. It is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States, and for a good reason: there is a lot to do in the heart of Texas in the city that enjoys being weird.
Places to Visit and Things to do in Austin
While in Austin, there are several places to see and things to do. Of course, the city is known for hosting the ever-growing SXSW Festival, but there is more to the city than that. There are natural areas that offer recreation and relaxation, and cultural events that showcase the local treasures in the capital city. These spots include:
Zilker Metropolitan Park Attractions and Barton Springs Pool
Lady Bird Lake
Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge at dusk to see the Mexican free-tailed bats take flight
The largest city in Texas is in Houston. Like Austin, people continue to move to the city for the opportunities it offers. The Bayou City is home to world-class professional sports teams, memorable museums, and the beautiful beaches on nearby Galveston Bay. Houston is also known for being the home of Johnson Space Center and Mission Control.
Must-Visit Places in Houston
To get the most out of your time in Houston, these are some of the places tourists should see. Many of these spots are family-friendly and provide insight into the American experience in Houston.
San Antonio brings old and new Texas together in one vibrant city. It is filled with historic sites, natural beauty, and modern tourist attractions. The historic spots often bring the tourists to San Antonio, but it is the city as a whole that brings them back for more. Like Houston and Austin, San Antonio is also a growing city with many people moving in each day.
Things to do in San Antonio
The historic spots in San Antonio are the most frequently visited places in the city. But, the River Walk offers delicious food and plenty of nightlife and entertainment. These are the spots you must see when you visit the home of the Alamo.
The Alamo and the historic mission and battlefield
Pearl District and Farmers Market
San Antonio Missions National Historical Park & Mission Trail
Even though all of these cities are in the same state, they could not be more different from each other. Dallas is a massive city known for its wealth from several lucrative industries like oil and finance. In the 1970s and 80s, the popular TV show Dallas showed the world the beautiful ranches and the vibrant downtown. But the city offers so much more than oil, horses, and money. It is a city filled with history, architecture, and cultural centers.
Top Attractions in Dallas
When visiting Big D, tourists can pay homage to the 35th president. They can also see the way that nature meets innovation in local parks, museums, and architecture. Check out these places when traveling to Dallas:
At the far western side of Texas is El Paso, which was once known for being the lawless gateway to the wild west. Now, the city is a popular spot along the Rio Grande across the way from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. It is a busy port for good traveling back and forth between the two countries, and with that trade comes a vibrant culture that is unique to the city. Along with all of the features of a big city, El Paso also has a rugged mountain landscape that is ideal for outdoor activities.
What to do in El Paso
When in El Paso, take the opportunity to enjoy the Mexican and American cultural sites and sounds. With the proximity to Mexico, there is plenty to do in the city that you cannot do in other places around the United States. There are also several parks with awe-inspiring natural wonders.
Whether you visit all of the big cities in Texas in one vacation or you visit one at a time, you will not be disappointed. The five large cities in the Lone Star State offer unique opportunities that you cannot find in other cities. Texas has everything, from the modern Perot Museum in Dallas to the high-tech history at Johnson Space Center in Houston to old-world history at the Alamo in San Antonio to the awe-inspiring views of Big Bend National Park outside of El Paso. You won’t be disappointed when visiting the big cities in Texas.
Thinking about becoming a first-time homebuyer in Dallas? Congratulations! The decision to buy your first home is both exciting and overwhelming, especially when you start thinking about the financial impact it’s going to have on your life.
You want to make sure that you’re in the best financial position possible so that when you approach mortgage and financing companies, you walk in with confidence.
According to credit repair Dallas experts, if you’re looking to purchase your first home in Dallas, here is the credit score that you’ll need and additional tips to help you gain that financial confidence before heading to the bank.
Dallas Housing Market for First-Time Homebuyers
Average Home Prices in Dallas
The average pricing of single-family homes in Dallas is currently $385,000. As home values go up, the average price follows. Just in the past year, there has been a 3% increase in home prices, with a continued rise predicted by another 4.5% by September 2020.
One of the primary reasons for the rising costs is because Dallas is becoming a major hub for large companies. As one of the leaders in the United States for employment and population growth, Dallas has a booming housing market that’s steadily growing year over year, with no end in sight.
In fact, homes in the Dallas area are forecasting an 11.4% appreciation in just 3 years!
If you’re eyeing Dallas for your first home purchase, you’d be better positioned to get in on it now rather than waiting.
Credit Score Needed to Buy a Home in Dallas
Getting approved for a home loan or mortgage is one of the most daunting aspects of going through the first-time homebuyer process. One of the main factors that any bank will look at is your credit score.
For Texas homebuyers, the average credit score for first-timers is 671. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get a home loan with a rating under that. The minimum score depends on the type of loan that you’re requesting and lender guidelines.
You should also consider that the higher your credit score is, the better interest rate you’ll possibly get for your loan.
Conventional home loans are typically given through a private bank or financial institution. These loans usually have the highest credit score requirements, especially if you’re putting less than a 20% down payment. The minimum credit score for conventional loans is 620.
FHA or other government loans (USDA, VA, etc.) provide an alternative path for first-time homebuyers that can’t meet the stringent conventional home loan requirements.
These lenders are often willing to take on riskier financial situations because they’re typically backed by mortgage insurance, as well as federal funding. While each situation is unique, you’ll want at least a 580 to qualify for a loan through one of these programs.
Getting in on the Dallas housing market can be tough, but with a tight financial situation, you’ll be well-positioned to get the home of your dreams!
Tips to Budget for Your First Home
As a way to help you get your finances in order, here is some of the best advice we have to get you ready for taking the homeowning journey!
What you want in a home is going to dictate the price you’re going to pay. If you know you’d like to buy a home in the next few years, start trying to figure out what your target location would be. Go to open houses, get a feel for different areas of the city, and decide what’s important to you.
By checking out what you like and what you don’t like, you’ll be able to narrow down your requirements. For example, how important is the location? How big of a home do you want? Are there particular features that are important to you, like a garage or backyard?
Once you have an idea of what you’re actually looking for, you’ll have a greater understanding of how much you’re looking at spending and what you need to save for a downpayment.
With a target number in mind, you’ll know what the goal is.
Figure Out Your Household Net Income
You have a goal amount for your downpayment, but where is that money going to come from? What you need to do to figure that out is understand how much money you actually have each month after taxes.
Check your pay stub or use an online income calculator, and figure out how much money you get in your paycheck each month after taxes.
Once you have that number figured out, you can then calculate your monthly household expenses, like bills, utilities, groceries, insurance, to see what you’re “disposable” income is. This is the sum of money you have to take a portion of towards saving that downpayment.
Know Where to Cut Back
Once you understand how much money you have each month, after your bills, you should be able to see where exactly your money goes. Are there areas where you are overspending, and can easily cut back?
Think about things like how often you eat out or go shopping, and where you can cut those expenses back. Are there subscriptions that you really don’t use much, that you could live without?
Remember, the end result you’re after is homeownership. The more you can make adjustments to your budget, the more you can put towards getting to your goal. The more you can build up your savings fund or pay down outstanding credit cards and loans, the quicker you’ll get there!
Pay Off Your Debt
Unless you plan on saving the entire sales price of a home before buying, you’re going to need a mortgage. And, with a mortgage application comes a credit check, so you’ll want to make sure your score is as high as possible.
Paying off outstanding debt improves your credit score immensely, and you should work on getting yours down not only for mortgage approval but for the best interest rate you can get.
Many financial professionals suggest starting by paying off the debt with the highest interest rate first. This strategy will save you money in the long run because you won’t be paying interest as long.
However, if this really isn’t feasible for you right now, a good rule of thumb is to pay off your debt on time and try to pay slightly more than the minimum payment.
Even if this is all you can do, you’ll have all current accounts and a history of on-time payments at more than a minimum. These factors will play into a creditor’s evaluation of your finances.
If your credit score is significantly below the minimum, and you’re struggling with figuring out how to pay off your debts, consider hiring a credit repair company. They have the expertise and knowledge to put together a personalized plan to help you get out of debt, straighten out your credit score, and achieve your goal of homeownership in Dallas!
Buying your first home is a significant life change – both personally and financially. Ensure you’re making the best financial decision possible by planning ahead to understand what you’re getting yourself into.
Understand your current finances and create an actionable budget to squirrel away that downpayment, and consider hiring a credit repair company to help you get there quicker. With just a few steps, your dream of owning your first home is within reach!