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!

May 17, 2021

Your House Could Be the Oasis in an Inventory Desert

Your House Could Be the Oasis in an Inventory Desert | MyKCM

Homebuyers are flooding the housing market right now to take advantage of record-low mortgage rates. Many have a sense of urgency to find a home soon since experts forecast a steady rise in both rates and home prices this year and next. As a result, buyer demand greatly outweighs the current housing supply. Here’s how the shortage of houses for sale sets yours up to be the oasis in an inventory desert.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), today’s housing inventory sits at an incredibly low 2.1-month supply, far below the 6-month mark for a neutral market. Inventory of single-family homes a year ago was already very low, and as you can see in the graph below, this year’s levels are even lower:Your House Could Be the Oasis in an Inventory Desert | MyKCMDue to these market conditions, today’s buyers frequently enter fierce bidding wars while trying to purchase a home. This in turn drives up home prices and gives sellers incredible leverage in the negotiation process, two big wins if you’re going to sell your house this year.

Bottom Line

In such a hot market, it can feel as though the supply of homes has virtually dried up, leaving buyers to wander in an inventory desert. That’s why there’s never been a better time to sell. To a parched buyer needing to secure a home as soon as possible, your house could be a true oasis.

Posted in Selling Tips
May 17, 2021

WHICH DOWN PAYMENT STRATEGY IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

You’ve most likely heard the rule: Save for a 20-percent down payment before you buy a home.
The logic behind saving 20 percent is solid, as it shows that you have the financial discipline and stability
to save for a long-term goal. It also helps you get favorable rates from lenders.

But there can actually be financial benefits to putting down a small down payment—
as low as three percent—rather than parting with so much cash upfront,
even if you have the money available.

THE DOWNSIDE

The downsides of a small down payment are pretty well known.
You’ll have to pay Private Mortgage Insurance for years, and the lower your down payment,
the more you’ll pay. You’ll also be offered a lesser loan amount than borrowers who have a 20-percent
down payment, which will eliminate some homes from your search.

THE UPSIDE

The national average for home appreciation is about five percent.
The appreciation is independent of your home payment, so whether you put down
20 percent or three percent, the increase in equity is the same.
If you’re looking at your home as an investment,
putting down a smaller amount can lead to a higher return on investment,
while also leaving more of your savings free for home repairs, upgrades,
or other investment opportunities.


 


THE HAPPY MEDIUM

Of course, your home payment options aren’t binary.
Most borrowers can find some common ground between the security of a traditional
20 percent and investment-focused, small down payment.

Your trusted real estate professional can provide some answers as you explore your financing options.


Posted in Buying Tips
May 13, 2021

82,338 Great Reasons to Buy a Home Today

82,338 Great Reasons to Buy a Home Today | MyKCM

The financial benefits of buying a home as compared to renting one are always up for debate. However, one element of the equation is often ignored – the ability to build wealth as a homeowner.

Most experts are calling for home prices to continue appreciating over the next several years. The most recent Home Price Expectation Survey, a survey of over one hundred economists, real estate experts, and investment and market strategists, expects home appreciation to increase as follows:

  • 2021: 6%
  • 2022: 4.5%
  • 2023: 4%
  • 2024: 3.6%
  • 2025: 3.5%

Using their annual projections, the graph below shows the equity build-up a purchaser could earn, using a $350,000 home as an example:82,338 Great Reasons to Buy a Home Today | MyKCMA homeowner could increase their net worth by over $80,000 in five years. That’s an average of $16,000 annually. That number should be in any equation determining the financial benefits of owning a home compared to renting.

Bottom Line

Homeowners are going to make a substantial amount of money in home equity over the next five years. If you’re ready to buy a home, let’s connect so you can enjoy this great benefit as well.

Posted in Buying Tips
May 12, 2021

Is Home Price Appreciation Accelerating Again?

Is Home Price Appreciation Accelerating Again? | MyKCM

At the beginning of the year, industry forecasts called for home price appreciation to slow to about half of the double-digit increase we saw last year. The thinking was that inventory would increase from record-low levels and put an end to the bidding wars that have driven home prices up over the past twelve months. However, that increase in inventory has yet to materialize. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that there are currently 410,000 fewer single-family homes available for sale than there were at this time last year.

This has forced those who made appreciation forecasts this past January to amend those projections. The Mortgage Bankers AssociationFannie MaeFreddie Mac, the National Association of Realtors, and Zelman & Associates have all adjusted their numbers upward after reviewing first quarter housing data. Here are their original forecasts and their newly updated projections:Is Home Price Appreciation Accelerating Again? | MyKCMEven with the increases, the updated projections still don’t reach the above 10% appreciation levels of 2020. However, a jump in the average projection from 5.3% to 7.7% after just one quarter is substantial. Demand will remain strong, so future appreciation will be determined by how quickly listing inventory makes its way to the market.

Bottom Line

Entering 2021, there was some speculation that we might see price appreciation slow dramatically this year. Today, experts believe that won’t be the case. Home values will remain strong throughout the year.

 

Posted in Market Updates
May 11, 2021

Refresh Your Garage This Spring


In most households, the garage serves many important purposes. It keeps your car safe from weather, theft, and other damage. It provides storage space for your outdoor equipment and other things. In some homes, it even provides a crawl space or attic access. Despite this, however, the garage is often one of the last places many homeowners think of when trying to come up with spring home improvement projects. If you think that your garage might need a little extra love this spring, here are a few things that you could do to give it a refresh.

Enhance Your Storage

One way that you can reinvigorate your garage and make it a much more useful space is to add additional storage options within it. Depending on how your garage is currently set up, this could be as simple as installing a few shelves or adding a couple of cabinets to give you somewhere to put items that might otherwise just be sitting around or cluttered together. You could even add a cabinet with a lock to give you a secure space to store chemicals or other items that you don’t want children or pets to have easy access to.

There are a few ways that you could take this a bit further if you really want some nice storage solutions, though. A pegboard can be a great addition to your garage, especially if you need a place to store tools for easy access; you can even trace around the various tools with a permanent marker or paint pen to make it obvious what goes in which space. Other storage options include a rack to hold a bicycle to keep it out of the way, corner shelves with a lazy Susan for storing small components out of the way, or under-shelf bins to hold small items like screws, nails, and other fasteners.

Fix Up That Floor

Your garage floor takes a lot of abuse, and over time it can really start to show. Stains, discolorations, and cracks are all common in garage floors, and over time the floor can really start to degrade. While it will probably take a while before the damage gets so bad that you have to start making major repairs, having a messed up garage floor can make you less likely to use the garage, and beyond a certain point can even affect the resale value of your home. Luckily, this is usually pretty easy to fix.

Concrete crack fillers can smooth out the surface of your garage floor, preventing further damage and giving you a uniform surface again. In many cases, these fillers can even roughly match the color of your existing garage floor so that the filled cracks aren’t overly obvious. A variety of concrete cleaners are also available to help remove stains and discoloration from the floor as well. If you want to really enhance the look of your floor while protecting it from further damage, epoxy-based sealants and floor paints provide you with a hard coat on top of the cleaned and filled concrete that will resist leaks, stains, and everyday traffic to keep your garage floor looking good for years to come.

Revive Those Garage Doors

Have your garage doors seen better days, or do you not have doors on your garage at all? Either way, installing new garage doors, or even just replacing the door opening mechanism, can give new life to your garage. Modern garage doors help to protect everything in your garage and provide a decorative enhancement to the look of your home. In many cases, the openers can even be connected to smartphone apps or other smart home components to give you more control even when you’re away from the house.

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Posted in Home Staging Tips
May 10, 2021

Whole Home Water Filtration Systems and You


Your home is your castle, but like a lot of castles in the days of yore, the water could probably be better. Unlike in those ancient castles, though, modern technology makes it possible for you to have clean, safe water, no matter what sort of problems plague your fortress’s water supply. Choosing a whole home water filtration system is a big commitment, but depending on your water quality and source, it can make more sense than using filters at specific endpoints in the house.

Whole House Filters Versus Point of Use Filters

Many homeowners wonder what the advantages are to installing a whole-home filtration system versus simply using things like tap filters and refrigerator filters. After all, aren’t those the only places where water quality really matters? Absolutely not.

Hard water, for example, can be very hard on any appliance that has water regularly run through it, from your washing machine to your toilet or dishwasher. Over time, sediment and mineral build-up can shorten the life span of any and all of these often expensive pieces of equipment. Installing a whole home water filtration system automatically removes problematic minerals and particulates from your water before it enters other points in your home, so you won’t have to take your chances on when an appliance will stop working or need repairs.

Water filters on specific appliances can be sufficient if you really just don’t like the taste of your water, or if you’ve placed in-line filters on your most delicate equipment. But remember that spot filters can only protect the items that are being filtered, and won’t cover other parts of your home that you may not have realized need filtering. They can also get expensive to maintain if you have many filters that need to be changed regularly.

What Can You Filter With a Whole House Filter?

A whole house filter can remove many common contaminants that may be present in your water. It’s a good idea to have a water test before you make a final decision on what you’d like your whole house filter to accomplish. A few things the most popular filtration mediums can reduce or eliminate entirely include:

  • Sediment
  • Chlorine and chloramine
  • Hydrogen sulfide
  • Heavy metals
  • Bacteria and viruses
  • Pesticides and herbicides
  • VOCs

Most whole-home filters consist of sediment filters, carbon filters, and, if you’re on well water, a UV lamp. However, because these are generally cartridge systems, you ultimately have control over what’s being filtered out. If your water tests show significant problems with heavy metals, you may need additional equipment for drinking water. Reverse osmosis systems can also filter out things like heavy metals and produce very pure water, but they use a lot of extra water and can be very slow, so they’re generally only recommended for spot usage. They’re often used only for drinking and cooking water, so you won’t necessarily need a huge add-on to your whole home filter.

Posted in Home Maintenance
May 10, 2021

4 Big Incentives for Homeowners to Sell Now

4 Big Incentives for Homeowners to Sell Now | MyKCM

The housing market keeps sailing along. The only headwind that could take it off course is the lack of inventory for sale. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that there were 410,000 fewer single-family homes for sale this March than in March of 2020. The key to continued success in the residential housing market is for more listings to come on the market. However, many homeowners are concerned that selling their homes could be challenging for several reasons.

Recently, Homes.com released the findings of a survey that identified these concerns, as well as what it will take for homeowners to feel comfortable selling their houses. Here are the four major homeowner concerns and a quick explanation of what’s actually happening in the housing market today.

1. Homeowners don’t know if they’ll be able to secure their next home before selling.

In negotiations, leverage is the power that one side may have to influence the other side while moving closer to their negotiating position. A party’s leverage is based on the ability to award benefits or eliminate costs on the other side.

In today’s market, buyers have compelling reasons to purchase a home now:

  • To own a home of their own
  • To buy before prices continue to appreciate
  • To secure a mortgage at a historically low rate, while they last

These buyer needs give the seller tremendous leverage. Most already realize this leverage enables the homeowner to sell at a good price. However, this leverage may also be used to negotiate time to find their next home. The homeowner could sell their home to the buyer at today’s price, which will enable the purchaser to take advantage of current mortgage rates. In return, the buyer might lease the house back to the seller for a pre-determined length of time while the seller finds a new home or has one built.

This gives the buyer what they want while also giving the seller what they need. It’s a true win-win negotiation.

2. Homeowners don’t know if their current home will sell for the asking price or top market price.

This is the perfect time to maximize profits while selling a house. NAR just released a study showing that bidding wars are at an all-time high. The study reveals that when comparing the first quarter of last year to the first quarter of this year, the number of offers on homes for sale doubled from an average of 2.4 to 4.8 offers.

Whenever there’s a bidding war, the price of the item for sale escalates. Bloomberg recently reported:

“For the first time ever, the average U.S. home is selling for above its list price.”

If a seller is looking for a top-dollar sale, there’s no better time to sell than right now.

3. Homeowners don’t know if they will get an offer without their home requiring work or updates.

Again, leverage is the greatest strength a seller has in this market. Due to the lack of homes for sale, many buyers are more willing to take on home improvement projects themselves in order to get the home they’re after.

A recent post on whether or not to renovate before selling notes:

“It may be wise to let future homeowners remodel the bathroom or the kitchen to make design decisions that are best for their specific taste and lifestyle. As a seller, your dollars and time might be better spent working on small cosmetic updates, like refreshing some paint and power washing the exterior. Instead of over-investing in your home with upgrades that the buyers may change anyway, work with a real estate professional to determine the key projects that will maximize your listing, without overdoing it.”

If a seller is worried about doing work or updates on their home, they must realize that today’s historically low inventory likely renders these projects less critical to the sale of the house.

4. Homeowners don’t know if they can have a quick closing process.

When speed is important, there are two points sellers should look at:

  • The time it takes to find a buyer for the home
  • The time it takes to close the transaction

In the latest Existing Home Sales Report, NAR explains:

“Properties typically remained on the market for 18 days in March, down from 20 days in February and from 29 days in March 2020. Eighty-three percent of the homes sold in March 2021 were on the market for less than a month.”

Eighteen days is fast, and it’s a new record. Here are the days the average house is on the market in each state:4 Big Incentives for Homeowners to Sell Now | MyKCMRegarding the time it will take to close the transaction, all-cash sales accounted for 23% of all home purchase transactions in March. All-cash sales can usually be closed in thirty days.

If a mortgage is necessary, the most recent Origination Insight Report from Ellie Mae shows:

“Time to close all loans decreased in March. The average time to close a purchase fell to 51 days, down from 53 the month prior.”

If you’re looking for a quick closing process, there’s never been a market in which the two-step process (finding a buyer and closing the deal) has taken less time.

Bottom Line

Selling your house can be daunting, especially in a fast-paced market. However, the fact that we’re in such a strong sellers’ market clearly eliminates many common concerns. Let’s connect today so you can learn more about the opportunities for homeowners who are ready to sell.

Posted in Selling Tips
May 7, 2021

Should I Buy Now or Wait? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Is Home Price Appreciation Accelerating Again? | MyKCM

At the beginning of the year, industry forecasts called for home price appreciation to slow to about half of the double-digit increase we saw last year. The thinking was that inventory would increase from record-low levels and put an end to the bidding wars that have driven home prices up over the past twelve months. However, that increase in inventory has yet to materialize. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that there are currently 410,000 fewer single-family homes available for sale than there were at this time last year.

This has forced those who made appreciation forecasts this past January to amend those projections. The Mortgage Bankers AssociationFannie MaeFreddie Mac, the National Association of Realtors, and Zelman & Associates have all adjusted their numbers upward after reviewing first quarter housing data. Here are their original forecasts and their newly updated projections:Is Home Price Appreciation Accelerating Again? | MyKCMEven with the increases, the updated projections still don’t reach the above 10% appreciation levels of 2020. However, a jump in the average projection from 5.3% to 7.7% after just one quarter is substantial. Demand will remain strong, so future appreciation will be determined by how quickly listing inventory makes its way to the market.

Bottom Line

Entering 2021, there was some speculation that we might see price appreciation slow dramatically this year. Today, experts believe that won’t be the case. Home values will remain strong throughout the year.

 

Posted in Buying Tips
May 6, 2021

4 Tips to Give Your Small Backyard a Makeover

The typical American home has increased in size over the years, and, with this shift, the backyard has subsequently shrunk. Although it varies by state, the average yard in the United States is now around a quarter-acre, making anything less, by definition, smaller than average. However, working with less square footage doesn’t mean you have to do less when it comes to your renovation.

Below are four ways you can upgrade your small outdoor space and guarantee a welcoming and relaxing environment that suits your needs.grandmother and granddaughter using deviceCREATE AN ILLUSION.

You may already be familiar with the idea that adding height gives the impression of more space. This principle is often used in interior decorating, but the same can be applied when updating your backyard.

Installing a tall fence can be particularly beneficial in urban environments. Here, yards are often stacked one on top of the other, but height can be utilized to create dimension regardless of your location. If you’re worried about the fence looking too harsh, opt for natural materials like cedar, redwood, or teak, and incorporate greenery or vines throughout.

If you have a little more space to work with, consider installing a pergola or another tall, decorative structure over the seating area. Most retailers sell pergolas in a variety of sizes, so you shouldn’t have too much difficulty finding one that suits your yard without overwhelming it. These structures are perfect for hanging lanterns on or wrapping with string lights to increase ambiance and evoke the feeling of a much bigger space.

grandmother and granddaughter using device

  1. CHOOSE FURNITURE WISELY.
    When you have space to play with, you can go big with furniture. However, when space is tight, it’s important to consider the amount of surface area that seating and tables will consume. Instead of going with a clunky metal or glass table and chair set that’s hard to move, choose pieces that are easily collapsible and can be moved out of the way for more standing room when needed. Natural wood or faux wood folding Adirondack chairs are a great option, as they are stylish, can be easily upgraded by adding colorful cushions and fold up in a snap.

    Make use of small folding tables as well, which can accommodate a variety of arrangements. These tables should be big enough to hold a few drinks, yet small enough that they don’t feel out of place with the minimalistic seating.

    A cantilever umbrella is another good investment to provide your yard with adjustable shade. Home Depot has a great tool that allows you to search for umbrellas by size, ensuring the umbrella you choose won’t overwhelm your yard and seating area. Cantilever umbrellas, in particular, are perfect for small yards because they are freestanding and can be angled up or down to protect most of or part of your yard from the sun.

    grandmother and granddaughter using device
    • HIDE HARD SURFACES AND ADD GREENERY.
      A backyard devoid of greenery doesn’t feel like much of a backyard at all, but a lush setting can be hard to achieve, especially if you’re in a city environment with little to no grass. Instead of installing faux grass, create the feel of nature with natural- or neutral-colored rugs. If you’re going with a pattern, diagonals can have a lengthening effect on a space and draw the eye outward.

      You can also add greenery by investing in easy-to-care-for plants that are well-suited for the climate you live in. (For instance, palm trees look pretty, but if you live in upstate New York, you might have a hard time keeping them alive). Costa Farms is a national plant retailer that ships plant direct to consumers. Its website has a Plant Finder feature, allowing you to search based on very specific criteria, including the plant type, lighting, and even personality, helping to ensure you choose the perfect plant for your outdoor space.

      When adding plants and flowers to your small yard, it’s important to make sure the greenery is balanced and that it doesn’t overshadow any other decorative features. Keep large-leaved plants toward the perimeter, and disperse smaller plants or flowers throughout the rest of the spaces.

      grandmother and granddaughter using device
    • THE PIÈCE DE RÉSISTANCE.
      You might think that because your backyard is small, there’s no room for recreation. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth; all you have to do is think outside the box. There are plenty of extras that can prime your space for gatherings, including a small fire pit, lawn games like jumbo Jenga, and even an outdoor bar.

      Think about the kind of gatherings you like to host, and make sure you have the tools to make it happen. You don’t have to go over-the-top, either. All of the aforementioned items can be created yourself or purchased relatively inexpensively, but they will have a big impact on the ambiance of your backyard.

Share these small backyard renovation tips with friends and family.

Posted in Home Staging Tips
May 5, 2021

Planning to Move? You Can Still Secure a Low Mortgage Rate on Your Next Home

Planning to Move? You Can Still Secure a Low Mortgage Rate on Your Next Home | MyKCM

This year, mortgage rates have started to slowly climb above recent record-breaking lows. Many homeowners planning to move may feel like they’ve missed the chance to score a great rate on their next mortgage. In reality, there’s still time to secure a rate far below the historic norm. Here’s why.

After creeping up for seven consecutive weeks, average mortgage rates have dropped more recently (See graph below). With rates taking a slight dip over the past two weeks at the same time the inventory of houses for sale is so low, homeowners today are sitting in the optimal seat to sell. What’s the advantage of selling your house now? Securing a low mortgage rate on your next home.Planning to Move? You Can Still Secure a Low Mortgage Rate on Your Next Home | MyKCMTo take advantage of today’s real estate market, experts are encouraging homeowners to act now before interest rates climb. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, explains:

…mortgage rates slid for a second week ... but we don’t expect rates to stay at this level for too long.”

Hale continues to say:

“For sellers, getting in early optimizes odds of a quick sale at a good price before there’s too much competition, but that means acting now … In this environment, sellers probably really can’t go wrong, and that’s especially true in the nation’s hottest housing markets where homes are selling quickly and getting the greatest number of viewers online.”

Most experts agree that rates will continue to trend upward. Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac, states:

Despite the pause in mortgage rates recently, we expect them to increase modestly for the remainder of this year.”

In addition, Freddie Mac recently released their Quarterly Forecast, which notes:

We forecast that mortgage rates will continue to rise through the end of next year. We estimate the 30-year fixed mortgage rate will average 3.4% in the fourth quarter of 2021, rising to 3.8% in the fourth quarter of 2022.” (See graph below):

Planning to Move? You Can Still Secure a Low Mortgage Rate on Your Next Home | MyKCMWhile buyers everywhere want to secure the lowest rate possible, it’s important to remember that today’s rates are still much lower than the historic norm. Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First Americanemphasizes:

“While mortgage rates have trended up in recent months, they are still historically low, so relative to one year ago, housing actually is still more affordable and that’s really thanks to this low mortgage rate environment we find ourselves in.”

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking of moving, don’t miss the opportunity to score a great rate on your next home mortgage. Let’s connect today so you can get your house ready to sell and find your dream home while mortgage rates are still low.

Posted in Market Updates