The Dallas/Fort Worth real estate market has drastically changed over the last few months as mortgage rates have increased and the market has generally cooled off from its red hot streak it was on over the last few years.

You may be wondering what is really happening in the market since everything has changed, so we caught up with local Realtor Lacy Zihlman to find out.

What is going on in the housing market in Dallas right now?

Inflation and higher interest rates have caused the housing market to cool down, Lacy said.

"Overall, this is a good thing because we could not sustain the multiple offer situations and crazy offers way above the list price which caused housing prices to become inflated," she said.

The market now is more balanced for buyers and sellers which is what everyone wants, Lacy explained.

Should I wait to purchase a home until interest rates go down?

No one can say with certainty when interest rates will decrease.

Lacy noted that the current situation is simply supply and demand.

"What if you wait for interest rates to go down, but the cost to purchase a home goes up? Remember, you are marrying the house and not the interest rate. You have the option to refinance in the future," she said.

Is it a better time for buyers to purchase now than in the last 2 years?

Housing inventory is up and demand is down slightly, making it easier for buyers to find a home they truly love and to avoid those pesky multiple offer situations, Lacy said. So the answer is definitely "yes," Lacy said.

When should I get pre-approved?

It's never too early to speak with a lender, Lacy said.

"I always recommend my buyers have a candid conversation with a lender to discuss purchase price, property taxes, interest rates and closing costs," she said. "The lender does not have to pull your credit at this point, but they can help you decide what price range you feel comfortable with."

They can also help you understand what you qualify for and what you may feel comfortable with around a price point.

"You may qualify for $500,000 but when you break down the total monthly payment, it may be higher than expected so leaning on a lender and your trusted real estate agent are key to helping you find the best price range for your individual needs/goals," Lacy said.

I want to be in a new home in the Spring, so when should I begin house hunting?

The sooner you begin the journey, the more prepared you will be, Lacy said.

The first two things she recommends doing are speaking with a lender and having your Realtor set up a custom search through the MLS.

Other websites including Realtor, Redfin and Zillow, are convenient, but they aren't always accurate and up to date, Lacy said.

"Also, they don't show properties that are in 'Coming Soon' status," she noted. "As you review properties included in your custom search, this helps narrow down which cities/neighborhoods you prefer as well as how property prices compare in different areas."

Lacy said that typically it takes 30 days to close on a home once you have found the perfect house and go under contract.

"So give yourself plenty of time to secure financing, review your MLS search to narrow down cities or school districts and then time to house hunt, which could take days or even months," she said.