Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

Oct. 16, 2021

Getting Started With Epoxy Cabinet Refinishing Kits

What do you do when your kitchen needs a facelift? Those cabinets are solid, they’re functional, but man, are they dated! One option many homeowners are turning to is cabinet refinishing kits. Many of these pre-built kits use a water-based epoxy coating to ensure that the cabinets get the most rock-solid finish possible without investing in a lot of professional-grade equipment. But there’s a lot more to refinishing cabinets with these materials than opening the can and getting to work.

Prepping for an Epoxy Finish

If you’ve never heard it before, take this away with you: The biggest predictor of success for your DIY project is how well you prep your surfaces and work area. It’s really that simple, even though prep work can be pretty involved. Creating a clean, smooth, ready-to-coat cabinet door takes a lot of effort, but yields magnificent results. This is the number one secret of the pros, besides having all that fancy painting equipment.

So how do you prep for an epoxy cabinet refinish? There are steps.

  1. Remove all the cabinet doors, drawer fronts, and hardware. Label each and store them where they won’t get lost or damaged. Using sticky notes to track cabinet doors can be a really good trick, since doors may look alike but not actually fit the same.
  2. Fill any cracked surfaces with a compatible filler and sand it smooth. You can’t simply paint away problems in your cabinetry.
  3. Clean your cabinet fronts, cabinet doors, and exposed finish on cabinet bases thoroughly to remove oils, spills, and other messes that will interfere with paint adherence.
  4. Cover any surface that you don’t want paint on. This includes your backsplash and your countertops, and even your work area. This is not a material that you can necessarily just peel off should you have a drip.
  5. Set up areas for your doors and drawer fronts to cure. Curing can take several days per painted side, so ensure the area is super clean and free of any drafts that could deposit dust and other debris.

Only once you’ve fully prepped your area should you begin the task at hand. Taping your cabinet bases can help keep the paint lines sharp, but remember to remove the tape while the paint is wet for the best results. It’s not always necessary to paint the insides of your cabinets, but should you choose to, remember that the pre-built kits are only designed to cover outer surfaces, so you’ll need extra coating material.

Posted in Home Maintenance
Oct. 15, 2021

Experts Agree: Homeownership Provides a Path to Long-Term Wealth

Experts Agree: Homeownership Provides a Path to Long-Term Wealth | MyKCM

A recent survey from LendingTree.com found there are multiple reasons why Americans would choose to purchase a home instead of renting. Some of the most popular non-financial reasons given include:

  • The flexibility to make the space your own
  • The pride homeownership offers
  • The sense of stability

In the same survey, 41% of respondents say they’d rather own a home than rent because of the unique way homeownership builds wealth over time.

And experts agree – the home you own is an important tool for building your net worth. Here’s what many of those experts have to say about building long-term financial stability through homeownership.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR):

“Homeowners who purchased a typical single-family existing-home 30 years ago at the median sales price of $103,333 with a 10% down payment loan and who sold the property at the median sales price of $357,700 in 2021 Q2 accumulated housing wealth of $349,258, . . .

Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, points out that a home is truly a one-of-a-kind asset. It’s the only asset that’s both an investment and a place for you to call your own.

“The major financial advantage of homeownership is the accumulation of equity in the form of house price appreciation. . . . We won’t always have 17% house price appreciation, but we have to take into account the fact that the shelter that you're owning is an equity-generating or wealth-generating asset.

Homeowners can leverage the wealth they generate in several ways throughout their life. Tapping into accumulated equity has long been used to pay for the cost of an education, to start a business, or to fund various other expenses. The Joint Center of Housing Studies at Harvard points out:

“. . . by paying down mortgage principal each month and participating in the long-term appreciation of home values, a family can build wealth that can be used for retirement or other needs, including helping the next generation.

Bottom Line

With home prices expected to continue to appreciate in coming years, homebuyers have an opportunity to start the long-term wealth-building process right now. Let’s connect today if you’re ready to begin your journey on the path to becoming a homeowner.

Posted in Buying Tips
Oct. 14, 2021

Top Video Doorbells for 2021

It’s a new year and a new article about doorbells. What can we say? Video doorbells have added a much-needed component to a range of systems, from home security to smart homes. Who doesn’t want to know who’s at the door before they so much as bother to get up and look out the peephole? No one. That’s who.

Choosing a video doorbell can be a challenging process. There are a lot of technical differences between many different models that look alarmingly similar, as well as various considerations like subscription fees and installation requirements to be aware of.

What You Need to Get Started

Video doorbells require various methods of installation and have different means of powering the sensitive electronics within. Before you choose a doorbell, it’s important to determine if the doorbell will require an existing doorbell transformer, and if so, in what voltage. Older systems could produce as little as six volts, while newer systems could produce as much as 16 volts.

Systems that don’t require an existing transformer usually run on a battery pack that’s removable and rechargeable, which makes them far more flexible options for homes that might otherwise not be able to power a video doorbell. With a self-install, it’s important that you monitor the power usage for the first few weeks to ensure that your doorbell is getting adequate power.

What About Subscriptions?

Many video doorbells will require a monthly subscription fee in order to maintain your video feeds on their cloud storage. You can usually choose from a few different packages that will allow you to retrieve data for a set amount of time and in a specific resolution. It might seem silly to pay extra for HD video of your front door now, but if that video feed helps catch a porch pirate because the images were so crystal clear that the perp was unmistakable, you’ll appreciate it.

Top Video Doorbells for 2021

This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of video doorbells for 2021, but these are some of the better ones on the market as of the writing of this blog, as determined by independent reviewers.

  • Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2. 
    It’s on the upper end price-wise for video doorbells, but that’s because this doorbell has all the whistles and… er… bells. Using a radar sensor, the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 can actually tell where people are on your property in order to provide the best view of both visitors and intruders. It also has one of the highest resolution cameras currently available, at 1536p HD, as well as Alexa greetings.
  • Nest Hello. 
    With a mid-to-upper price point, you should expect a lot from the Nest Hello. Fortunately, it really delivers. Although it requires a hardwired connection, the Nest Hello can recognize individual visitors using facial recognition software, as well as announce them via Google Assistant or Alexa. It also continuously records video, unlike Ring products which require a triggering event to start recording. That’s a pretty nice feature for people who need more intense monitoring, as well as those who want to keep an eye on the wildlife scampering around their yard at night.
  • Maximus Answer DualCam. 
    Although the Maximus Answer DualCam won’t be able to communicate with Alexa or Google Assistant, it can do something no other video doorbell currently does: look straight down. This may seem like a small thing, but if you have limited porch space or simply struggle with neighborhood box thieves, being able to see that your package is still safe and sound on the porch is kind of a huge benefit. The doorbell is a dual cam, however, meaning that it also will look straight out at visitors like all other doorbells do. Reviewers have complained that the speaker can be very quiet, but if you’re only using it to watch packages, that may be a smaller concern considering the smaller price point.
Posted in Home Keppr
Oct. 13, 2021

Don’t Tackle Selling Your Home on Your Own – an Agent Can Help

Don’t Tackle Selling Your Home on Your Own - an Agent Can Help | MyKCM

If you’re looking to maximize your sale and minimize your effort, you need to work with a real estate professional. In a sellers’ market like today’s, it can be tempting to list your house on your own – known as For Sale By Owner (FSBO). But the truth is, a real estate professional can save you time and money by managing every step of the process, from pricing your home to reviewing documents and handling negotiations.

Before you decide to sell your house on your own, here are five reasons why working with an agent is your best bet to maximize the sale of your home.

1. First impressions are everything – and an agent knows how to make a great one.

Prepping a house for sale requires a significant amount of time and effort, even though it may seem simple at first glance. Doing it right so it stands out takes expertise and an understanding of what buyers are looking for. An agent considers things like:

  • Should you take down any personal art or pictures?
  • How much landscaping should you invest in to boost your house’s curb appeal?
  • What wall colors are most appealing to buyers?

An expert real estate advisor relies on their experience to answer these questions and more so you don’t invest in the wrong things. Your time and money are important – you shouldn’t waste either.

2. Agents have tools to maximize the number of views your home gets.

Put plainly, the more buyers that view your house, the better your return will be. In our current market, homes are receiving 3.8 offers on average per sale, according to recent data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). While that’s promising for the sale of your home, it’s important to understand your agent’s role in bringing buyers in.

Agents have multiple tools at their disposal – from social media to agency resources – to ensure your home is viewed by more prospective buyers. Leveraging the tools available to your agent and your agent’s expertise may help boost your sale price as well.

3. An agent won’t miss anything in the fine print.

Your agent can also save you time by taking any guesswork out of navigating the required documentation. Today, more disclosures and regulations are mandatory, meaning the number of legal documents you need to juggle is growing.

Because there’s so much to take care of, it can be hard to truly understand all of the requirements and the fine print. That’s where an expert advisor can truly shine. They’ve been through the process before and can be your guide to avoid any costly missteps.

4. Expert advisors know the market and how to price your home.

Another way your agent maximizes the sale of your home is by making sure it’s priced right. Real estate professionals have the experience to compare your house to recently sold homes in your area. They also understand the market at large and can factor in any upgrades you’ve completed to your home. Combining these factors is the key to making sure your home is priced to move quickly – and at a competitive price.

When you FSBO, you’re operating without this expertise. Even with your own research, you may not find the most up-to-date information and could risk setting a price that’s inaccurate or unrealistic. If you price your house too high, you could turn buyers away before they’re even in the front door. This could also cause problems when it’s time for the appraisal.

5. Your agent will be an expert negotiator.

In addition to their experience navigating sales, real estate professionals understand how to negotiate every aspect of a deal. They also know all the parties that will be involved with the sale, including:

  • The buyer, who wants the best deal possible.
  • The buyer’s agent, who will use their expertise to advocate for the buyer.
  • The inspection company, which works for the buyer and will almost always find concerns with the house.
  • The appraiser, who assesses the property’s value to protect the lender.

An agent relies on their experience and training to make the right moves during the negotiation. They’ll know what levers to pull, how to address each individual’s concerns, and when you may want to get a second opinion. Selling your house as a FSBO means you’ll need to be prepared to have these conversations on your own.

Bottom Line

Selling a house takes time, effort, and expertise – don't go at it alone. Let’s connect to make sure you have an expert on your side to make the most of your sale

Posted in Selling Tips
Oct. 12, 2021

GETTING READY FOR RETIREMENT

HOW TO GET READY FOR RETIREMENT

For most people, retirement feels like a long way off.
But, if you don’t start preparing as early as possible, you may find yourself in a place of
financial insecurity when the time does come.

To avoid this, consider implementing the following tips.

    1. Calculate your target savings.
      In general, it’s recommended that you save between 10 to 15 percent of your income for retirement.
      However, you can always use an online savings calculator to determine the amount
      you need to save for your specific needs and goals.
    2. Contribute to your employer’s retirement savings plan.
      Does your job offer a 401(k), traditional IRA, or Roth IRA?
      Sign up and start saving as soon as they allow you to.
      It’s recommended to set up automatic paycheck deductions and, once the money is in your
      retirement fund, don’t touch it.
    3. Take advantage of employee benefits.
      Many employers offer matching which generally requires you contribute a certain percentage
      of each paycheck and your company will then contribute a matching amount with funds
      of their own. They might also offer health savings or flexible savings account.
      By contributing to these accounts, you reduce your amount of taxable income, allowing you to save more money.
    4. Pay off your debts.
      Start by paying off any high-interest credit card debt first.
      Then look at other debts, such as student loans and car payments,
      and make a plan for paying those off incrementally.
    5. Reduce daily spending.
      Although this feels like a no-brainer,
      spending your money thoughtfully now can make a big impact later.
      Seek out areas of your life where you can.

Posted in DFW Lifestyles
Oct. 11, 2021

What Do Supply and Demand Tell Us About Today’s Housing Market?

What Do Supply and Demand Tell Us About Today’s Housing Market? | MyKCM

There’s a well-known economic theory – the law of supply and demand – that explains what’s happening with prices in the current real estate market. Put simply, when demand for an item is high, prices rise. When the supply of the item increases, prices fall. Of course, when demand is very high and supply is very low, prices can rise significantly.

Understanding the impact both supply and demand have can provide the answers to a few popular questions about today’s housing market:

  • Why are prices rising?
  • Where are prices headed?
  • What does this mean for homebuyers?

Why Are Prices Rising?

According to the latest Home Price Insights report from CoreLogic, home prices have risen 18.1% since this time last year. But what’s driving the increase?

Recent buyer and seller activity data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) helps answer that question. When we take NAR’s buyer activity data and compare it to the seller traffic during the same timeframe, we can see buyer demand continues to outpace seller activity by a wide margin. In other words, the demand for homes is significantly greater than the current supply that’s available to buy (see maps below):What Do Supply and Demand Tell Us About Today’s Housing Market? | MyKCMThis combination of low supply and high demand is what’s driving home prices up. Bill McBride, author of the Calculated Risk blog, puts it best, saying:

“By some measures, house prices seem high, but the recent price increases make sense from a supply and demand perspective.

Where Are Prices Headed?

The supply of homes for sale will greatly affect where prices head over the coming months. Many experts forecast prices will continue to increase, but they’ll likely appreciate at a slower rate.

Buyers hoping to purchase the home of their dreams may see this as welcome news. In this case, perspective is important: a slight moderation of home prices does not mean prices will depreciate or fall. Price increases may occur at a slower pace, but experts still expect them to rise.

Five major entities that closely follow the real estate market forecast home prices will continue appreciating through 2022 (see graph below):What Do Supply and Demand Tell Us About Today’s Housing Market? | MyKCM

What Does This Mean for Homebuyers?

If you’re waiting to enter the market because you’re expecting prices to drop, you may end up paying more in the long run. Even if price increases occur at a slower rate next year, prices are still projected to rise. That means the home of your dreams will likely cost even more in 2022.

Bottom Line

The truth is, high demand and low supply are what’s driving up home prices in today’s housing market. And while prices may increase at a slower pace in the coming months, experts still expect them to rise. If you’re a potential homebuyer, let’s connect today to discuss what that could mean for you if you wait even longer to buy.

Posted in Market Updates
Oct. 8, 2021

4 Tips To Prep for Your Home Sale This Fall

4 Tips To Prep for Your Home Sale This Fall | MyKCM

Even in a hot sellers’ market like today’s in which homes are selling so quickly, it’s still important to make a good first impression on potential buyers. Taking the time up front to prep your house appropriately can bring in the greatest return on your investment.

Here are four simple tips to make sure you maximize the sale of your house this fall.

1. Price It Right

One of the first things buyers will notice is the price of your house. That’s why it’s important to price it right. Your goal in pricing your house is to draw attention from competing buyers and let bidding wars push the final sales price up. Pricing your house too high, to begin with could put you at a disadvantage by discouraging buyers from making an offer.

Your trusted real estate advisor can help you find the price for your home that reflects the current market value. Lean on your agent to help you with this crucial first step.

2. Keep It Clean

It may sound simple, but keeping your house clean is key to making sure it gets the attention it deserves. As realtor.com says in the Home Selling Checklist:

“When selling your home, it’s important to keep everything tidy for buyers. . . . Remember to take special care with the bathroom, making sure the tile, counters, shower, and floors shine.”

Before each buyer visits, assess your space and determine what needs your attention. Wash the dishes, make the beds, and put away any toys. Doing these simple things can reduce any potential distractions for buyers.

3. Make It Easy To Visit

Giving buyers the opportunity to see your house on their schedule can be a true game-changer. Buyers are less likely to make an offer if it’s difficult to plan a tour or they can’t easily fit it into their schedule. Making your house available as often as possible helps create opportunities for more buyers to fall in love with your house.

Rest assured your trusted real estate advisor will keep your health and safety top of mind when buyers tour your home. Agents use the latest guidance to stay up to date on any protocols and sanitization recommendations.

4. Help Buyers Feel at Home

Finally, it’s important for buyers to see all the possible ways they can make your house their next home. As the realtor.com article puts it:

“The goal is to create a blank canvas on which buyers can project their own visions of living there, and loving it.”

An easy first step to create this blank canvas is removing personal items – pictures, awards, and sentimental belongings – from your space. If you’re unsure what should be packed away and what can stay, consult your trusted real estate advisor. Spending the time on this step can pay off in the long run, as the 2021 Profile of Home Staging from the National Association of Realtors notes:

“Eighteen percent of sellers’ agents said home staging increased the dollar value of a residence between 6% and 10%.”

Bottom Line

To make the most of today’s sellers’ market, avoid the temptation to skip over the essential preparation steps. Let’s connect today to discuss all the ways you can maximize your home sale.

Posted in Home Staging Tips
Oct. 7, 2021

Silence Is Golden: Quieting False Alarms


Alarms play an important part in keeping your home safe. Smoke alarms and other fire alarms can give you an early warning in case a fire breaks out somewhere in your house, which is why it’s recommended that you keep your alarms in working order. To make this easier, some homeowners opt for hardwired alarms which don’t require periodic battery changes to stay active; these alarms are powered by your home’s electrical wiring, so they’re always functional as long as you have power.

Unfortunately, these alarms sometimes go off when there isn’t a fire threat as well. While you don’t want your smoke alarm or other warning systems to miss signs of an actual fire, it can be pretty frustrating if your alarm goes off all the time when there’s no actual danger. If you have issues with an alarm that seems to always be going off, here are a few things that might help.

 

Cleaning Your Alarms

If you have a smoke alarm that’s way too sensitive, especially if I didn’t use to be, then there’s a good chance that you need to clean it. Dust, dirt, and similar small particles are some of the most common causes of alarms becoming too sensitive over time. The reason that this occurs is that these small particles can interact with your alarm in the same way that smoke particles do, triggering its sensitive mechanisms. Carefully cleaning your alarm with canned air or using a vacuum designed for electronics use can remove the dust and restore the alarm to proper working order.

It’s worth noting that insects might also be part of the problem with your alarm, especially if there’s a bit of a dust buildup on the alarm unit. These may be cleared out when you blow the dust-free from your alarm, but it’s possible that you’ll need to place insect baits or spray bug spray on the wall near your alarm to help get rid of them. Just make sure that you don’t spray the alarm itself, and keep in mind that even spraying near the alarm might temporarily set it off.

Humidity Issues

If dust isn’t the culprit for your overly sensitive alarm woes, humidity might be the problem. If the humidity is too high, water condensing on the sensors within the alarm, or even just water vapor or steam interacting with those sensors, can interfere with the alarm and cause it to go off. This can be especially problematic as too much water within the alarm can actually damage the alarm mechanism and cause it to completely stop working or start sounding all the time.

If humidity is your issue, the only way to take care of the problem is to remove the humidity. This can be accomplished with a dehumidifier placed in overly humid rooms, pulling water from the air and keeping it from affecting the alarm. If the problem is that the alarm is too close to a stovetop or otherwise being exposed to steam, you’ll need to do a bit more work to fix the issue; you’re going to have to install a hood, vent, or some other method of redirecting the steam before it comes in contact with the alarm. If you don’t, the steam will likely ruin the alarm sooner or later.

Professional Maintenance

In some cases, issues with smoke alarms are caused by electrical problems or insufficient current to keep them properly powered. For battery-powered alarms, all that’s required is to change the battery every few months to keep the alarm in good working order. With hardwired alarms, though, it’s a little more complicated. You’re going to need to call in an electrician to check out the situation, and they’ll either have to fix the wiring or possibly replace the alarm if it’s found to be defective.

Posted in Home Maintenance
Oct. 6, 2021

As Home Equity Rises, So Does Your Wealth

As Home Equity Rises, So Does Your Wealth | MyKCM

Homeownership is still a crucial part of the American dream. For those people who own a home (and those looking to buy one), it’s clear that being a homeowner has considerable benefits both emotionally and financially. In addition to long-term stability, buying a home is one of the best ways to increase your net worth. This boost to your wealth comes in the form of equity.

Equity is the difference between what you owe on the home and its market value based on factors like price appreciation.

The best thing about equity is that it often grows without you even realizing it, especially in a sellers’ market like we’re in now. In today’s real estate market, the combination of low housing supply and high buyer demand is driving home values up. This is giving homeowners a significant equity boost.

According to the latest data from CoreLogic, the number of equity homeowners have has continued to grow as home values appreciate. Here are some key takeaways from the Homeowner Equity Insights Report:

  • The average homeowner gained $51,500 in equity over the past year
  • There was a 29.3% increase in national homeowner equity year over year

To give you an idea of what that looks like in your area, the map below shows the average equity gains by state.As Home Equity Rises, So Does Your Wealth | MyKCM

What does all of that mean for you?

If you’re already a homeowner, you likely have more equity in your house than you realize. The numbers in the map above reflect year-over-year growth. If you’ve been in your home for longer than a year, you’ll likely have even more equity than that. That equity can take you places. You can use the equity you’ve gained to fuel your next move, achieve other life goals, and more.

On the other hand, if you haven’t purchased a home yet, understanding equity can help you realize why homeownership is a worthwhile goal. Homeowners across the nation gained an average of over $50,000 in equity this year. Don’t miss out on this chance to grow your net worth.

Bottom Line

If you want to learn more, let's connect. A trusted advisor can help you understand where home prices are today, how they contribute to a homeowner’s net worth, and the impact equity can have when you own a home.

Posted in Buying Tips
Oct. 5, 2021

A-door-able Updates!


It goes without saying that your doors are an important part of your home. They provide security, help to control the temperature, and even play a big part in the overall look of your home. Your front door is one of the first things that people notice when coming to your home, and the state that your door is in can have a noticeable impact on the impression that people have of your house and property. Stop and think about it for a moment: What sort of a message is your front door sending?

If you don’t like what your door is saying or aren’t really sure how others view it, you might consider getting an upgrade. There are a few different types of updates you can give to your door depending on what you want and the sort of budget you’re dealing with, so you definitely have options. Here are a few things to think about while trying to decide if you’re ready to update your door or not.

Does Your Door Need an Update?

The first thing you should think about is whether your door actually needs updating. Don’t just think about your front door, though. While that’s the door in your home that gets the most attention, you should also stop and think about interior doors, back doors, and other doors that you, your family, and your guests will see. These other doors aren’t as likely to need a major update, but if they’re damaged or otherwise out of style then you might consider making some changes.

As you consider your doors, look at their physical condition: Is there any visible damage, or perhaps weathering or warping? Do the doors have trouble opening or closing, even after tightening hinge screws or making other adjustments? Think about how they look and how well they match the surrounding walls or other fixtures like shutters; do their colors and styles cause them to blend in, stand out, or contrast? What about features such as windows or other design work in the doors? Do they match what you envision for your home? This may seem like a lot of questions, but you want to consider both the look and the functionality of your doors when trying to decide whether to update or replace them.

Door Upgrade Options

If you’ve spent some time considering either your front door or other doors in your house and found them in need of some changes, it’s time to think about exactly what sort of change you want to see. Is it something subtle, or something more significant? Regardless of how you’d like to change the look and feel of your home, there are likely some door updates and upgrades that can help you achieve it.

One of the most basic updates you can make to your door is to change its color with a fresh coat of paint. This can be especially useful if you just want your door to stand out a bit more and appear more welcoming. If you want a larger color upgrade, paint the door and then paint or replace your window shutters to match. Windows or other door inlays can be installed into some doors, though it’s more likely that you’ll buy a new door to accomplish this major change in look. There are a few other reasons to buy a new door as well, especially if you’re looking at damage or warping. There are both wood and metal doors available depending on your needs, so be sure to shop around to find the perfect doors for your home.

Posted in Home Staging Tips