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!

Dec. 1, 2020

Key Terms to Know in the Homebuying Process [INFOGRAPHIC]

Key Terms to Know in the Homebuying Process [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

    • Buying a home can be intimidating if you’re not familiar with the terms used throughout the process.
    • To point you in the right direction, here’s a list of some of the most common language you’ll hear along the way.
    • The best way to ensure your homebuying process is a positive one is to find a real estate professional who will guide you through every aspect of the transaction with ‘the heart of a teacher’ by putting your needs first.
Posted in Buying Tips
Nov. 30, 2020

10 Best Ways to Connect with Younger Buyers

woman standing in front of house

 

According to NAR’s mid-year demographic survey, the average real estate agent is a 55-year-old white female who attended college and is a homeowner. By contrast, the median age of first-time homebuyers is 33. That means that real estate professionals may not be plugged in to the platforms and processes that make for effective marketing and messaging to today’s most active homebuyers.

If you are trying to get your name in front of younger buyers, or just want to get better at communicating with your existing younger clients, these tips will help you develop the platforms and processes that get results. As always, make sure that your brand is well-developed and your message is effective in order to optimize the impact of your marketing efforts.

hands pointing to a laptop

1. Optimize your online presence.

Younger buyers use online resources less for initial information gathering and more for confirmation. That means that if they hear of you through a friend, relative, direct mail promotion, or another marketing channel, they’ll check you out online to learn more about your reputation. Make sure your website is attractive, fast-loading, SEO optimized, and user friendly, and put time into gathering reviews and testimonials in online platforms to show off your track record.

 

person on phone and laptop

 

2. Consistently engage on social media.

It’s not important to be everywhere on social media. It’s important to be consistent and active on the platforms that younger clients are using. For the young and financially savvy demographic you’re looking for, Instagram is probably the platform of choice, with more than half of their 500 million daily active users in the 18–34 age bracket. Rather than trying to manage a variety of platforms, consider going all-in on Instagram posts, videos, and Stories, updating them consistently and actively interacting with your audience there.

woman on camera

3. Use video to connect with your audience.

Across all platforms, video is the communication medium of choice, so if you have been resisting creating video content, it’s time to get on board. The good news? You don’t have to look perfectly camera-ready on each video. Younger buyers are more concerned with authenticity than polished presentation. Make sure you have good lighting and be sure to include subtitles so that users can consume your video content with the volume turned off if necessary. For more help creating videos, check out this blog on common mistakes in video marketing.

 

exterior view of home at night with pool

4. Use professional-level content for all of your promotional materials.

You can no longer get away with low-quality selfies in lieu of a headshot or crooked camera-phone photos of your latest listing’s random corners. Hi-res photos, well-crafted content, and other professional presentations are no longer optional for younger clients—they’re a baseline expectation that reflects on you and your level of professionalism. And, don’t forget, ReminderMedia’s Creative Services team can help you create a winning headshot to use in your marketing. 

woman texting

5. Get used to communicating via text.

For younger clients, common, everyday communication is primarily through text message or messaging apps, while more complex information and document sharing is through email. Notice what’s missing? Chatting by phone is considered by many younger consumers to be off-limits unless you schedule it in advance for a specific purpose. Talk to your younger buyers about how they’d prefer to be contacted if you’re in any doubt.

dog in glasses at laptop

6. Automate content and frequently requested information.

Younger people are not used to waiting for information and answers—especially for information that you should have at your fingertips. Create drip email and text campaigns for prospective and new clients and ensure that you always have commonly requested information ready to share in the form of a blog post, social media graphic, or sharable infographic. If your schedule makes it difficult to answer questions and supply information in a timely manner, put a member of your support staff to work screening for inquiries and answering frequently asked questions promptly.

young woman sitting at bench

7. Emphasize your ability to guide and educate your audience.

One of the primary reasons young buyers prefer to work with a real estate professional is because they trust expertise. Let your younger clients know that you have the qualifications and experience to guide and educate them throughout the process of searching for and purchasing their home. Create and share original content that offers value-added information to reinforce your expertise.

two women talking

8. Inform younger buyers, but don’t talk down to them.

While you’ll want to be a source of expert information, don’t talk down to your younger clients or treat them as if they don’t know their own minds. Many younger buyers pride themselves on the extensive research and preparation they do before they move forward with a decision, so they may have spent time reading, listening to podcasts, and watching video content about the home buying process as well as talking with parents and friends who have insights to share. Feel them out to find out where the gaps in their knowledge are and provide guidance where necessary.

 

housing lifecycle

9. Think in terms of the long-term housing lifecycle.

You may think it’s not worth your time to work with a younger client because they don’t have the homebuying budget you’re used to. However, it’s important to remember that you have the opportunity to become their lifelong trusted real estate advisor, working with them again and again on both sides of the transaction as they upgrade to larger, more expensive homes. Once you have made a solid connection with your younger buyer, stay in touch and engaged so that you will be ready to help the next time they need you.

and breathe sign

10. Offer perspective and calm in the midst of uncertainty.

When they’re going through their first home purchase, every setback can seem like a disaster and every delay can seem like forever. Don’t think of your age as a handicap in connecting with younger buyers; think of it as providing you, and them, with perspective and the ability to know that, ultimately, all will be well. When they are uncertain or afraid, let your years of experience offer much-needed reassurance and inspiration.

 

 

 

Posted in Selling Tips
Nov. 30, 2020

It Pays to Sell with a Real Estate Agent [INFOGRAPHIC]

It Pays to Sell with a Real Estate Agent [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

    • Today, it’s more important than ever to have an expert you trust to guide you as you sell your house.
    • From your safety throughout the process to the complexity of negotiating the deal, you need a professional on your side.
    • Before you decide to take on the challenge of selling your house on your own, let’s connect to discuss your options.
Posted in Selling Tips
Nov. 27, 2020

Dealing With Popcorn Ceilings

 

 

Popcorn is great with a movie or possibly for stringing around an old-fashioned Christmas tree, but it’s a little less universally loved when it’s applied to the ceiling as a texture. “Popcorn ceiling,” a type of texture that looks a lot more like cottage cheese than popcorn, was widely used in homes from the 1950s through the mid-1980s, regardless of architecture style.

 

A Warning About Popcorn Ceilings

Many popcorn ceiling treatments were manufactured using asbestos fiber, which was legal until the mid-1970s in most states. However, the asbestos-containing compound was still legal to sell until all stores were depleted, so if your home was built prior to the mid-1980s, there’s a significant chance your popcorn ceilings contain asbestos.

Just having asbestos bound up on your ceiling doesn’t pose a significant health risk by itself. The problem occurs when these ceiling materials are disturbed. Dust particles containing asbestos can be inhaled, which is really bad for your lungs. Because of this, it’s important to have an asbestos test on your ceiling materials if you’re considering cutting into or removing portions of it. It’s also vital that you invest in filtration respirators that will capture asbestos particles. And in some locations you may need a permit or licensed professionals to remove asbestos containing materials.

Your Popcorn Ceiling Options

Ceiling work can be a huge pain even under the best circumstances, but when you have to add in the risk that popcorn ceilings can represent, it gets even more troublesome. However, you have several different options for refreshing your popcorn ceilings without adding significant risk to your household. Consider:

  • Simply repainting. Sure, popcorn ceilings are hard to clean and can really date your home, but for many houses, popcorn was the original ceiling texture. Regardless of how you may feel about it, it’s period appropriate. If it’s holding well to the ceiling and you’re not experiencing any issues (besides cosmetic ones), repainting your popcorn may be the best way to refresh it. It’s a cheap, simple solution for a ceiling that doesn’t need any patches or repairs.
  • Encasing it in drywall. Choosing thin drywall that’s made for ceilings can give you a brand new ceiling to work with. Not only will this encase any asbestos between two layers of ceiling material, but you can also start fresh with very little mess, unlike scraping popcorn with all its hassle and risks. Fresh drywall can be used on popcorn ceilings that are less than perfect, even if they contain holes, but you’ll need to make sure the attachment surface is consistently level. This may require you to shim out missing bits of drywall.
  • Installing a new ceiling system. Several lightweight ceiling systems exist that can be used to cover popcorn or other texture ceilings. They generally consist of tongue and groove segments that work with a rail system to create a seamless new ceiling with a pattern. Several popular choices include systems that mimic wood ceilings, tin ceilings, or even bead board.
  • Removing the popcorn texture. You can often remove a popcorn ceiling by scraping the material off with a trowel. Depending on how it was applied, you’ll either do it while it’s dry or after it’s been wetted. If you do decide to remove it, be aware that it will create a substantial mess; you’ll need to remove everything from the room and protect the walls to avoid unnecessary mess and damage. It’s a very complicated process, and you’ll definitely need to wear proper respiratory protection.
Posted in Home Keppr
Nov. 25, 2020

Why Do I Need Earnest Money?

When you’re shopping for a home, it can feel like you’re hemorrhaging money.
You’ve got all sorts of things to pay for, from loan application fees to home inspections,
so when the issue of earnest money comes up unexpectedly,
it can be a “slam on the brakes” moment.

Now that the days of low to no down payments are largely past and
markets everywhere seem to be running thin on inventory,
earnest money may well be the most important negotiating tool you’ve never heard of.

 

What Is Earnest Money?

When you make an offer on a home, part of that offer can include a little show of
good faith on your part, in the form of cold, hard cash.

Generally, one to three percent of the offer price is pretty normal
for an earnest money deposit, but this can vary pretty widely based on market conditions.
And the more you put up, the better.

But what happens to that money?

Earnest money is literally just a show of faith. When you go to the closing table,
it becomes part of your cash to close equation,
which includes other line items like your down payment,
your closing costs, and your prepaid items.
It’s not a bribe or an extra fee to convince a seller to sell to you.

It will simply be applied in full as a credit in your closing documents,
reducing the amount of money you need to bring with you on the big day.

Here’s the one kicker. If you were to decide to back out of the contract with no real cause,
the seller may be entitled to some or all of that earnest money.

However, plenty of situations exist where you may not be able to close, but your earnest money will be refunded, such as:

  • An unacceptable home inspection. This all has to be stipulated in your contract;
    there are no givens in a real estate transaction, but there are things that are pretty standard. Having an unacceptable home inspection, if the seller is not willing to make reasonable repairs,
    can be a cause for terminating the contract and getting your earnest money back.
  • Your financing falls through. Again, you’ll need a financing clause or addendum to ensure you’re covered in this event,
    but because financing is so important to real estate transactions in general, they are pretty standard.
    If your financing falls through due to no fault of your own (you’ve been laid off, your bank closes, a co-borrower dies),
    you should generally be able to reclaim your earnest money. The specifics will be in your real estate sales contract, so pay close attention.
  • The seller can’t close. There are a few rare situations where a seller can’t close the transaction.
    These are incredibly uncommon, but they do happen once in a while. For example, you might find out that the seller only believed they were the owners of the home. This can occur when a parent dies without a will,
    forcing the property into probate court even when it’s clear an only child will be the sole heir.
    And in the case that the seller can close, but chooses not to for whatever reason, you would also get your money back.
What Is an Earnest Money Note?

In some markets, you may have an additional option for earnest money, known as an earnest money promissory note.
This is essentially an IOU that accompanies the offer. On the note, you’ll specify exactly when you’ll either turn the paper into actual cash or forfeit the offer entirely. Though these were once very common, they’re far less so today.
If you choose to use an earnest money promissory note, be sure to describe in great detail why you’re not able to provide earnest money on the spot and how you will remedy this.

For example, if you have some stocks you were going to cash out for your down payment,
but didn’t want to touch until you were really ready, you may need time to sell enough to cover the earnest money.
In that case, specify this as the reason and say that you’ll initiate a sale on a certain day, then convert the note on that day.
Make sure to leave yourself a little leeway, because if you fail to perform, you can suffer serious consequences.

Generally speaking, earnest money promissory notes can be considered a sign of a weak offer,
but this varies from offer to offer and market to market and you should inquire before taking that leap.

Posted in Buying Tips
Nov. 25, 2020

Is Buying a Home Today a Good Financial Move?

Is Buying a Home Today a Good Financial Move? | MyKCM

There’s no doubt 2020 has been a challenging year. A global pandemic coupled with an economic recession has caused heartache for many. However, it has also prompted more Americans to reconsider the meaning of “home.” This quest for a place better equipped to fulfill our needs, along with record-low mortgage rates, has skyrocketed the demand for home purchases.

This increase in demand, on top of the severe shortage of homes for sale, has also caused more bidding wars and thus has home prices appreciating rather dramatically. Some, therefore, have become cautious about buying a home right now.

The truth of the matter is, even though homes have appreciated by a whopping 6.7% over the last twelve months, the cost to buy a home has actually dropped. This is largely due to mortgage rates falling by a full percentage point.

Let’s take a look at the monthly mortgage payment on a $300,000 house one year ago, and then compare it with that same home today, after it has appreciated by 6.7% to $320,100:Is Buying a Home Today a Good Financial Move? | MyKCMCompared to this time last year, you’ll actually save $87 dollars a month by purchasing that home today, which equates to over one thousand dollars a year.

But isn’t the economy still in a recession?

Yes, it is. That, however, may make it the perfect time to buy your first home or move up to a larger one. Tom Gil, a Harvard trained negotiator and real estate investor, recently explained:

“When volatile assets are facing recessions, hard assets, such as gold and real estate, thrive. Historically speaking, residential real estate has done better compared to other markets during and after recessions.”

That thought is substantiated by the fact that homeowners have 40 times the net worth of renters. Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist for First American Financial Corporation, recently said:

“Despite the risk of volatility in the housing market, numerous studies have demonstrated that homeownership leads to greater wealth accumulation when compared with renting. Renters don’t capture the wealth generated by house price appreciation, nor do they benefit from the equity gains generated by monthly mortgage payments, which become a form of forced savings for homeowners.”

Bottom Line

With home prices still increasing and mortgage rates perhaps poised to begin rising as well, buying your first home, or moving up to a home that better fits your current needs, likely makes a ton of sense.

Posted in Buying Tips
Nov. 23, 2020

Tips to Sell Your House Safely Right Now [INFOGRAPHIC]

Tips to Sell Your House Safely Right Now [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

    • Your agent now has over 6 months of experience selling houses during the pandemic and can make the process easier and safer for you today.
    • COVID-19 protocols and technology usage recommendations from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) are making it possible to sell houses right now, while agents continue to abide first and foremost by state and local regulations.
    • Let’s connect to discuss how to sell your house safely in today’s housing market.
Posted in Corona Virus
Nov. 18, 2020

The difference between Home Insurance and Home Warranty

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Posted in Buying Tips
Nov. 18, 2020

Why Working from Home May Spark Your Next Move

Why Working from Home May Spark Your Next Move | MyKCM

If you’ve been working from home this year, chances are you’ve been at it a little longer than you initially expected. Businesses all over the country have figured out how to operate remotely to keep their employees healthy, safe, and productive. For many, it may be carrying into next year, and possibly beyond.

While the pandemic continues, Americans are re-evaluating their homes, floorplans, locations, needs, and more. Some need more space, while others need less. Whether you’re renting or own your home, if remote work is part of your future, you may be thinking about moving, especially while today’s mortgage rates are so low.

A recent study from Upwork notes:

“Anywhere from 14 to 23 million Americans are planning to move as a result of remote work.”

To put this into perspective, last year, 6 million homes were sold in the U.S. This means roughly 2 – 4X as many people are considering moving now, and there’s a direct connection to their ability to work from home.

The same study also notes while 45.3% of people are planning to stay within a 2-hour drive from their current location, 41.5% of the people who are citing working from home as their primary reason for making a move are willing to look for a home more than 4 hours away from where they live now (See graph below):Why Working from Home May Spark Your Next Move | MyKCMIn some cases, moving a little further away from your current location might mean you can get more home for your money. If you have the opportunity to work remotely, you may have more options available by expanding your search. Upwork also indicates, of those surveyed:

“People are seeking less expensive housing: Altogether, more than half (52.5%) are planning to move to a house that is significantly more affordable than their current home.”

Whether you can eliminate your daily commute to the office, or you simply need more space to work from home, your plans may be changing. If that’s the case, it’s time to connect with a local real estate professional to assess your evolving needs and determine your path together.

Bottom Line

This has been a year of change, and what you need in a home is no exception. Let’s connect today to make sure you have expert guidance on your side to help you find a home that fits your remote work needs.

Posted in Market News
Nov. 17, 2020

Ready, Set, TableScape!

If you’ve ever browsed through home decor magazines, gone to high-end cookware stores, or even scrolled through Instagram, you’re probably familiar with elaborately decorated dining tables full of flowers, ornamental place mats, and lavishly embellished dining plates. And, while beautiful, these table settings don’t always look that easy to achieve yourself.

In reality, the tables you see on the pages of magazines, in stores, and on perfectly curated profiles do take a lot of work to craft. It’s a true art form now known as tablescaping, and it’s an activity that can be a lot of fun once you’ve mastered it.

Though you might not have a huge guest list for Thanksgiving this year, it can still be enjoyable to make your dining table look picture-perfect. If you’re not sure where to start, the guide below breaks down a few ideas to help.

A Theme Dream

One of the things that makes tablescapes so beautiful and eye-catching is that they are typically created around a theme. And whether you want to go the traditional route or try something a little more out of the box, there are plenty of ways to achieve the look you want.

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    • CLASSIC FALL FEAST
      Bring traditional fall colors and decor together for a classic Thanksgiving tablescape. Start with a neutral base (such as a cream-colored table runner and crisp, white plates), and build out your color from there. Place brightly colored gourds throughout the center of the table until it feels full, along with natural elements like individual red, yellow, and orange leaves and small branches. And, for a personal touch, you could also place a miniature pumpkin on each plate with guests’ names.

      What you'll need:

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    • WHIMSICAL AND WOODSY
      Part of the magic of this season is the beautiful transformation of nature, so why not make your table feel like it belongs in a cottage in the forest? Focus primarily on natural colors (e.g., browns, greens, and grays) and decorative elements that look plucked from the woods. Utilize moss and branches as a centerpiece, with white candles interspersed. (You can even place the candles on wooden holders for a rustic look.) Also, consider making use of fall ingredients by putting a sprig of fresh rosemary or sage on each plate or by placing bunches of cinnamon sticks throughout the table—which will also give off a wonderful scent.

      What you'll need:

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  • MODERN AND REFINED
    If simple and pared down is more your style, you can still create a thoughtfully decorated table that doesn’t feel chaotic or cluttered. Start with simple place settings, like crisp white or blue plates paired with silver or gold flatware, but have some fun with the table runner, napkins, or place mats—a shade of red will add a pop of color that still feels classic. Keep the centerpiece simple, such as a glass bowl of small gourds, pine cones, and acorns, or a traditional candelabra with plain white or gold candles. Just remember: for a simple and modern appearance, uniformity is key.

    What you'll need:

Posted in DFW Lifestyles