March 29, 2023

Real Estate in 2023 - What's the strategy?

Real Estate in 2023 - What's the strategy?

Disclaimer: This blog is not meant to convince you to buy or sell your house, I promise!

So then why am I writing this? To answer that, let me start by telling you a little bit about myself. My name is Logan Gutwein and I’ve been a Fort Worth resident for almost 4 years and a DFW resident for 15. I took a leave of absence from 2015 to 2019 to attend Texas A&M University where I majored in Aerospace Engineering before returning home to work with an engineering company in Fort Worth. Now, almost 4 years later you can find me working as a real estate agent and investor. But, I want to focus on my first year after college to answer that original question.

So, as a wise and prudent young man fresh out of college, I did what anyone would do who was looking to unlock the secrets to future financial freedom… I spent my entire signing bonus and college savings on getting a private pilot's license (which I haven’t even finished…)! The reason I tell you this is because I don’t want you thinking that I’m some prodigy real estate mogul. More accurately I was just an average 23 year old who dreamed of owning a house one day and was annoyed at how much money I was throwing away in rent! I grew up with parents who ran a successful property management and real estate investment company, yet still I saw home ownership as this out of reach and intimidating goal. Through a little budgeting and a lot of mentoring, that out of reach goal became not only reachable but exciting and comfortable! I’m writing this to those of you who think and dream about owning your own home but, like I was, are unsure if that dream is possible for you right now.

So my main aim in writing this is to help bring clarity! At no point will you find me trying to talk you into buying a house, so please do not interpret it that way. But I do think this will be helpful to a lot of you. Here’s what to expect:

  1. Some raw data
  2. Takeaways and correlations
  3. Advice and strategies for the home buying hopefuls

Some raw data

I’m an engineer at heart. I love numbers because they rarely lie and, if presented correctly, are easy to understand. You’re going to get full vulnerability in these numbers. I’m not sugar coating or twisting anything. Just good ol’ reliable data! Here we go!

To start trying to understand public perception of the real estate market, I first needed to understand who I was talking to. Now I know there are A LOT of ways to do this, but since this is a blog and not a book I chose just a few. With a sample size of 184 different people, this is who I had.

Figure 1: Age

Figure 2: Gender

Figure 3: Occupation

Ok so quick pause. The gender data is just about what I was expecting with a pretty even split down the middle. As for occupation, that is also about what I was expecting. Both of these seem to be a good representation of the population at large. But what about age? I should note that I focused most of my attention on getting responses from people living in or around Fort Worth and Dallas proper with some sprinkled around the suburbs (as well as a few out of towners). If you look at census data for these areas you’ll see that the bell curve for age peaks for the 25-34 range. So that matches up pretty well. Also let me break age down into larger bins for the sake of the future discussion:

Figure 4: Generational Grouping

Alright now back to it! Here are a few more things I was interested in knowing about those who filled out the survey.

Figure 5: Home Ownership

Figure 6: Current Living Situation

I also thought it would be interesting to see if how much an individual pays in rent had any effect on their outlook on buying or selling a home. So here’s that data:

Figure 7: Monthly Rent

From here, the survey took participants to one of two sections. First up are two questions asked to people who own their home. This has a sample size of 112.

Figure 8: Homeowners outlook on selling

Figure 9: Homeowners outlook on buying

I asked this same question to people who rent and, with a sample size of 72, here’s what they said:

Figure 10: Renters outlook on buying


Alright, now that you know the same things I know, allow me to connect a couple dots. If you look at the histograms above (Figures 8 through 10) you can see that the numbers are pretty much all over the place. And when I break those numbers down by generation, it’s really not much clearer. 

Figure 11: Average Outlook on Buying

Figure 12: Average Outlook on Selling

In general there seems to be more pessimism in the older generations, but if you look at it person by person, there is a pretty equal number of optimistic and pessimistic people at every age group. Let's compare figures 9 and 10 to figures 11 and 12. We see that people are all across the board on how they feel about buying and selling. And yet (with the exception of a slightly more pessimistic Gen X) the average comes out to be near neutral for each generation. But it isn’t just age. I found that this didn't change when I looked at gender, monthly rent, or even occupation. So if none of these factors seem to make a difference in a person's outlook - what then seems to divide the optimistic from the pessimistic?

Here’s one that stuck out, of the people that responded that they feel pessimistic about the prospect of buying a home in this market, 42% do not have parents that own their own home. Of the people that feel optimistic, 85% have parents who own their own home. And then of the group in the middle (those who feel it is an average time to buy), 90% have parents who own homes.

This is a pretty significant difference between the optimistic and the pessimistic participants. When we consider that there is a fairly even representation amongst demographic groups on either side of this optimism/pessimism line, you have to at least note the contrast. Also, 75% of people whose parents don’t own homes were below the age of 32. That leaves us with a significant number of people with parents in their 50s and 60s who don’t own homes. And these same people, on average, feel more pessimistic about the prospect of buying a home. 

At this point I want to pause. There are certainly more correlations I could make, but again this is a blog and not a book. So let me discuss these two major findings.

First off let’s talk about that correlation between parents owning homes and optimism/pessimism about buying a home. With a sample size this large, I wouldn’t want to simply call that a coincidence. And while there are certainly many reasons not to own a home, I think the impact that can have in this case is significant. Home ownership is no small deal, and most of us (whether we realize it or not) are heavily impacted by watching our families. Everything from the foods we eat, to the way we decorate, to the traditions and holidays we celebrate. We are, in many ways, products of our lived experiences. And so the types of exposure to home ownership, or lack thereof, that we have can certainly have an impact on how we feel about buying a home! And maybe it’s not a matter of parents owning or not owning a home. Perhaps you’ve been burned on your investments in the past (stocks, crypto, etc.) or found success in only taking chances when the economic waters were calm. Maybe your spheres of influence, or the people you talk with or go to for advice, feel largely uncertain about the state of the economy. Or maybe you’re used to getting bad financial advice and have walls up anytime things seem risky or uncertain. Regardless, there are likely many lived experiences impacting your outlook on whether or not now is a good time to be thinking about buying or selling a home, and that’s normal!

Next we have the relative uniformity of the data. You may have, like me, looked at many of the figures above and said “woah, these are all over the place.” We have men and women from every generation, occupation, etc that feel this is the best time to buy and the exact same breakdown claiming it’s the worst. No one demographic group feels better or worse than another (well besides a more pessimistic Gen X). This is really the perfect picture of where things are at, right? There are so many ways to look at the economy and at real estate and so many ways to invest. For some people, they’ve found that buying in turbulent times brings opportunity. Others have found success in buying in more steady or hotter markets. No one has the secret formula, but many people have opinions.

So if you are at a place where you’re thinking about buying a home but are stressed about everything you’re hearing (both good and bad), fear not you aren’t alone! But if that is you, let’s talk about solutions.

Advice and strategies for the home buying hopefuls

Let me reiterate, this next section is not written to convince people to buy a home. It’s written for the people who would like to buy but are afraid, confused, or uncertain about how in the world they’ll pull that off. The following figure will show you the biggest concerns the participants of this survey have right now when they think about buying a home. I’ll speak to them.

Figure 13: Concerns of Survey Participants

Interest rates are too high

I know full well that there are a lot of people out there kicking themselves and feeling like they missed their only chance to buy a home. But that’s just not true. All you need is to know how to work the system and what to be looking for. Some sellers are having to drop the list price of their homes as much as 20% or more. Some builders are offering thousands towards closing, or have deals with lenders to offer reduced interest rates. In many markets, sellers are much more desperate to work with buyers bringing them offers. This could result in things like seller funded 2/1 buydowns, or 3 year free refinancing on loans, etc. I understand these things may not mean anything to many of you without a full explanation, but the idea I’m getting at is that if you want to buy a home there are ways you can make that happen (and maybe even for a better deal than 9 months ago when buyers had to make insane offers to get the house they wanted). We’re in a window where many sellers are dropping prices in response to higher interest rates, and prices will stabilize and then rise as interest rates flatten for the long term.

So if interest rates are your concern, start asking yourself or your agent questions like, “can I now find a better deal on the type of house I want?”, “can I work with the seller to buy down my interest rate in the near term?”, “are there programs being offered by lenders that could potentially help me rework my loan in the long term?”

I’m nervous about the current market

And you are not alone! Buying or selling a home is never a little deal, and so when you throw in a turbulent market it’s no surprise that many people are nervous. My advice is just to talk with people who know what they’re doing and who you can trust. Most people probably have a friend who they trust that works as a financial advisor or real estate agent. Consider talking with them to figure out what steps you can take to meet your goals. Things are changing quickly, and so talk with someone who can help you to navigate those changes.

I can’t afford the down payment

This was hands down my biggest deterrent from buying my first home. As I said at the beginning of this blog, I had blown my savings on a hobby and thought there was no way to both enjoy a social life and save for a house. But in came good ol’ Uncle Sam! There are various government programs that will allow you to put down as little as 3.5% for a downpayment (or less in other cases, such as for military members). For me that meant putting down just $8500 for my first home. But you don’t need to know all the options out there, you just need to know a good trustworthy loan officer. Don’t know one of those? Find a real estate agent you trust and I’m sure they’ll know a few!

The process of buying a home is intimidating

I was surprised that only 20% of people were concerned about this. Between understanding a personal budget, to navigating offers and contracts, all the way to locking down the terms of a home mortgage - buying a home is no walk in the park. But you may have noticed that I’ve been using a certain word a lot, and that’s “trust”. Behind every fear or concern in this industry is a person trained to understand and advise you in the process. So find one you trust and let them explain things clearly to you. You don’t have to make this sort of decision blindly. Let someone give you confidence and peace of mind so that you can make a decision that’s best for you!

I can’t afford the monthly payment

This is a great reason not to buy a house! However there are ways to get around this if it’s your only hurdle. Could you have roommates? Not only will they be paying off your mortgage, the rent might even be cheap for all involved parties. What about a back house? Lots of homes have a guest house. I know many people who airbnb a back house and it pays for most, if not all, of the mortgage each month. Or lastly, can you buy “less” house? My first house was always meant to be a stepping stone. I bought the first home, my house payments became equity, the house increased in value, and a couple years later the equity in that home became the downpayment for the home I’m in now and hope to be in for a long time.

I don’t know if I want to be in this area long term

Conventional wisdom would tell you that you should aim to keep your home for about 5 years in order to recuperate the money lost from closing costs. However if you don’t feel confident that you’ll stay put for that long, there are still things to think about. For example, my very first client started looking for a home that she knew she would only live in for 2 years at most. She’s a photographer and wanted to travel and live in fun new places. However she knew that wherever she ended up at the end of those travels, she would want to own her home. And so her goal in buying was to keep it as an investment property. Other people will pay her house payments and one day she’ll sell it and buy a house in the place she wants to call home.


Ultimately I’m a big believer in investing in real estate and owning a home. I think owning real estate, when done wisely, can really propel you down the path to financial freedom. But the steps to get there can be challenging at times. And so, in conclusion, my advice is this. If your goal is to own your home or just to invest in real estate in general, partner with a real estate agent you can trust and begin talking about it. Whether your timeline is a month or a year, consider beginning the conversation, making a plan, and taking steps to get there. If you don’t mind, I’d like to finish with a shameless plug and say that if I can be a resource for you then please do not hesitate to reach out - wherever you are in your timeline you will not be wasting my time and I won’t waste yours either. I love my job because it’s all about serving people, so whatever that looks like for you I’ll be there!

I hope this article served some of you well. Thanks for reading, and best of luck to those of you on a home buying journey!

Logan is a former engineer and full time real estate agent / investor. He loves the strategy side of the business such as analyzing deals, reimagining floor plans and keeping projects running smoothly. In his free time you can find him enjoying time with his friends and family, playing with his dog, or fixing something at his 118+ year old house.