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!

Feb. 25, 2022

The 2 Major Buckets that you need before buying a home?

What Are The 2 Major Buckets that you need before buying a home? 

When it comes to buying a home, you need to be equipped and educated with the right kind of information so you’ll have the confidence that you need. Having this type of knowledge helps you to become prepared better financially, especially during the closing day. With that being said, let’s talk about the two major buckets involved when buying a home. A common misconception that I get all the time is, Downpayment Cost and Closing Cost are just the same. It’s not. These costs are two different sides of the coin. That’s why in this blog, I will elaborate on what the difference is between these two things. 

 

1. The Downpayment Cost. 

First of all, what is the downpayment? Your downpayment is the money that you have to put

up when it's time to buy your home. You don't have to put this money up right away, but you want to have the money because you're going to need it at the closing table. 

 

Let’s illustrate how much money do you need as a Downpayment Cost.

FHA Loan. 

Let’s say, for example, I was buying a $200,000 home under an FHA Loan, The downpayment for a Home under FHA is 3.5% Which means that you need to prepare at least $7,000 if you want to buy a home with FHA Loan. 

 

2. Conventional Down Payment

With conventional downpayment, you need to prepare at least 3-10% of the total purchase price of the home. Sometimes, it could go up to up to 20%, but you don't need to put out the whole 20%. 

 

3. VA Loan

Veterans don’t need to put any money down when it comes to their downpayment.

What’s your next move now?
The first thing you need to do is find a good lender to work with. As soon as you have selected that particular lender, make sure you have an understanding of what your lender’s products are because there are various types of loan products out there that you can choose from. You need to select the best loan products that work for you because some of them might come with higher interest rates.

Posted in Buying Tips
Feb. 24, 2022

The Path To Homeownership Can Be Steeper for Some Americans

The Path To Homeownership Can Be Steeper for Some Americans | MyKCM

As we celebrate Black History Month, we honor and recognize the past and present experiences of Black Americans. A significant part of this experience is investing in a home of their own. While equitable access to housing has come a long way, the path to homeownership is still steeper for households of color. It’s an important experience to talk about, along with how working with the right real estate experts can make all the difference for diverse homebuyers.

We know it’s a more challenging journey to achieve homeownership for some because there’s still a measurable gap between the overall average U.S. homeownership rate and that of non-white groups. Today, the lowest homeownership rate persists in the Black community (see graph below):

The Path To Homeownership Can Be Steeper for Some Americans | MyKCM

Homeownership is an essential piece for building household wealth that can be passed down to future generations. However, there are obstacles in the homebuying process that can negatively impact certain racial and ethnic groups, including the Black community. This can delay or prevent many from achieving homeownership, challenging their ability to grow their net worth. A report by Vanessa G. Perry of the George Washington University School of Business and Janneke Ratcliffe of the Urban Institute explains:

“. . . households of color have much lower homeownership rates than white households and consequently hold, at the median, just one-eighth the wealth of white households.”

On top of that, when Black households do become homeowners, research shows they pay more for those homes overall than the average household. Raheem Hanifa, a Research Analyst for the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard Universitytells us:

“Black homeowners not only have primary mortgages with higher interest rates than white homeowners with similar incomes, they also have higher interest rates than white homeowners with substantially lower incomes, . . . Black homeowners have experienced systemic barriers to homeownership and wealth-building opportunities that have limited their ability to access credit, which is a key component in receiving low mortgage interest rates.”

For Black homebuyers, the inequity that remains in housing can be a point of pain and frustration. That’s why it’s so important for members of diverse groups to have the right team of experts on their sides throughout the homebuying process. These professionals aren’t only experienced advisors who understand the market and give the best advice. They’re also compassionate allies who will advocate for your best interests every step of the way.

Bottom Line

Opportunities in real estate improve every day, but there are still equity challenges that many face. Let’s connect to make sure you have an advocate on your side as you walk the path to homeownership.

Posted in Market Updates
Feb. 23, 2022

Fix Your Yard’s Drainage Now

 

Drainage problems can be a major issue for homeowners. Not only does poor drainage cause standing water in your yard, but it can also lead to leaks and foundation problems with your house depending on where the water collects. As if that wasn’t bad enough, landscaping and lawn upkeep becomes a lot harder when your yard doesn’t drain well. Is there anything that can be done about these problems?

 

 

Fortunately, yes. There are actually a few different ways to treat drainage issues in your yard, and this is a great time to undertake a project to correct them. By taking action now, you can avoid problems that might arise from heavy spring rains. The exact solution to your drainage issues will depend on the cause of your problem, so here are a few different options to consider.

 

Grading Issues

One common cause of problems with drainage is inconsistent grading in your yard. This can cause problems if your home is at the bottom of a big slope across your yard, but it can also be an issue if the grading is inconsistent and as a result has one or more low spots in the yard. Water flows along with the soil wherever the grade leads, so this can cause it to collect around your home or in low areas which can then become swampy and overgrown.

Regrading your yard can be done either with specialized tools that scrape soil from higher areas into lower onesv or by bringing in additional soil to completely change the grade. Each method has its advantages, with redistribution being favored when there are both high and low areas in your yard, and the addition of new soil being best when you need to change an otherwise mostly good grade. Once the regrading is finished you can seed the graded area and have grass growing by the time spring arrives.

Soil Penetration

Another big problem with drainage comes when the water simply can’t penetrate down into the soil in time to be absorbed. This is especially problematic because you end up with way too much water in the areas where water collects but the soil in other areas might not get enough. Sometimes this is because the soil has too much clay in its composition so it’s difficult for water to penetrate, and sometimes it’s a result of other issues such as thick thatch. In some cases, it’s even just a matter of the soil being too compacted by traffic and time. Regardless of the cause, though, there are solutions.

Clay-heavy soil is the most work-intensive to correct, but the solution is also pretty simple. You simply need to break up the clay and add soil or sand into the mix to make it easier to drain. Sometimes this is as easy as adding a few holes in the clay-heavy area and mixing it together, especially if the clay is in a relatively small area. In some instances, though, you may need to do some tilling or another heavy mixing to break up larger clay beds.

Other issues can be fixed by using a dethatcher on your lawn to break up the thatch buildup or running tools over the ground that punch small holes to break up overly compacted topsoil. Dethatching and aerating the soil like this are often done together, as the loosening of soil is good for the growing grass as well even if it wasn’t excessively compacted.

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Posted in Home Keppr
Feb. 21, 2022

What Every Seller Needs To Know About Renovating This Year

What Every Seller Needs To Know About Renovating This Year | MyKCM

If you’re planning to sell this year, you’re probably thinking about what you’ll need to do to get your house ready to appeal to the most buyers. It’s crucial to work with a trusted real estate professional who knows your local market to get your home ready to sell. But there are a few things you should consider when deciding what to renovate and update before listing this season. Here are three things to keep top of mind as you’re making your list of projects to tackle this year.

1. The Number of Homes for Sale Is Very Low

Housing inventory sits far below what is normally considered a balanced market. In fact, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the latest data indicates inventory is hitting an all-time low. Because there’s such a limited supply of homes available for sale, you’re in a unique position when you sell your house to benefit from multiple offers and a quick process.

But you want to do so while buyers are still scooping homes up as fast as they’re being listed. Spending time and money on renovations before you sell could mean you’ll miss your key window of opportunity. Of course, certain repairs may be important or even necessary. The best way to determine where to spend your time – and your money – is to work with a real estate advisor to confirm which improvements are truly needed and which ones aren’t likely to be deal-breakers for buyers.

2. Buyers May Be Willing To Take on Projects When They Purchase Your House

Today, many buyers are more willing to take on home improvement projects themselves to get the house they’re after, even if it means putting in a little extra work. A recent survey from Freddie Mac finds that:

“. . . nearly two-in-five potential homebuyers would consider purchasing a home requiring renovations.

If more buyers are willing to tackle repairs on their own, it may be wise to let the future homeowners remodel the bathroom or the kitchen to make design decisions that are best for their specific taste and lifestyle. Depending on the structural condition of your house, your efforts may be better spent working on small cosmetic updates, like refreshing some paint and power washing the exterior to make sure the home stands out. Instead of over-investing in upgrades, the buyer may change anyway, work with a real estate professional to determine the key projects to tackle that will give you the greatest return on your investment.

3. Your Agent Will Help You Spotlight the Upgrades You’ve Made

Over the past year, many people made a significant number of updates to their homes. The most recent State of Home Spending report finds:

“Home improvement spending rose 25% year-over-year to $10,341. Homeowners who invested in home improvement did an average of 3.7 projects, up from 2.7 in 2020, . . .”

With more homeowners taking on more projects in the past 12 months, there’s a good chance you’ve already made updates to your home that could appeal to buyers. If that’s the case, your real estate advisor will find ways to highlight those upgrades in your listing.

The same is true for any projects you invest in moving forward. No matter what, before you renovate, contact a local real estate professional for expert advice on what work needs to be done and how to make it as appealing as possible to future buyers. Every home is different, so a conversation with your agent is mission-critical to make sure you make the right moves when selling this season.

Bottom Line

In a sellers’ market like today’s, it’s important to spend your time and money wisely when you’re getting ready to move. Let’s connect today so you can find out where to target your efforts before you list.

Posted in Selling Tips
Feb. 20, 2022

What do you need to know about Homestead Exemptions in 2022?

 

Homestead Exemption has changed significantly this year. 

You no longer have to wait to apply for your homestead exemption. In the previous years, you would need to wait to apply for homestead exemptions. You can only apply from January to April. Now you can apply right after you close on your home. All you need to do is update your driver's license to show this is your new home.

The application is FREE!

Yes, you can get the application for free. Your Title Insurance will try to get you paid for it but it is 100 percent, Free 99. You will only need to answer a few questions on there and then you can mail that in with a copy of your driver's license to the county or you can take it down to the county you're in.

Homestead Exemption can actually have a lot of benefits for your new home. 

Once you're a qualified homeowner, it will help perform your taxes increasing more than

10 a year. It also protects you against certain creditors who are trying to take your homestead away from you. Aside from that, you will benefit from not having that huge tax increase like there's a cap on that tax increase. People look at the exemption amount and they freak out by how big that is. Homestead Exemption allows you to get that number down lower.

You don't have to hire and pay somebody else to file for Homestead Exemptions on your behalf.
Once you purchase a home, you're going to get so much junk in the mail and people are

trying to say, “Hey I'll do your homestead exemption for you for $40 and don't even know what they're trying to get people for. I know it's simple to let somebody else do it, but all they're doing is taking your money. They are not applying for your homestead exemption for you, they're just scamming you out of money.


I hope this information is useful in helping you apply for your homestead exemption. If you haven’t done so already, go ahead and reach out to my partner, Bridget Denison and she will happily help you get homestead exemption.

Posted in Buying Tips
Feb. 19, 2022

Millions of Americans Have Discovered the Benefits of Multigenerational Households

Millions of Americans Have Discovered the Benefits of Multigenerational Households | MyKCM

If your needs are changing, you may be thinking about sharing a home with additional loved ones, such as grandparents, adult children, or other extended family members. Whether it’s for financial or health-related circumstances, or simply because you’ve reached a new phase of life, you might be wondering if living with multiple generations under the same roof is a good move for you. Many people have found themselves in a similar situation and they’ve already made the choice to live in a multigenerational home.

What Is a Multigenerational Home?

The Pew Research Center defines a multigenerational household as a home with two or more adult generations. They include households with grandparents and grandchildren under the age of 25. As you weigh your options and decide if multigenerational living is right for you, here's some helpful information highlighted by other homeowners living with additional loved ones.

The Benefits of Multigenerational Living

A recent report from Generations United surveyed individuals living in a multigenerational setting and asked them about the key benefits of this housing arrangement. It says:

Nearly all Americans who live in a multigenerational household (98%) feel their household functions successfully, citing various aspects of home design, family relationships and interactions, and supports and services influencing their success.”

The study identifies some of the top benefits of this lifestyle as an improved financial situation, better mental and physical health, strengthened bonds with loved ones, and more (see chart below):

Millions of Americans Have Discovered the Benefits of Multigenerational Households | MyKCM

Those are just some of the reasons why most people who decide to live in this situation find it worthwhile. As Donna Butts, Executive Director at Generations United, says:

"Families may come together from need, but they are staying together by choice. Indeed, more than 7 in 10 (72 percent) of those currently living in a multigenerational household plan to continue doing so long-term."

With More Adults Living Under One Roof, You May Need More Space

If you decide to look for a multigenerational home, it’s important to understand what everyone will need to make the arrangement work to its fullest. Something that often makes the top of the list for homeowners living with multiple generations is additional space for privacy. This could mean more bedrooms and bathrooms or features like an in-law suite or a basement.

If you’re realizing your current house doesn’t provide the room you need for multigenerational living, an expert real estate advisor can help you navigate the process to find the right home that works for you and your loved ones.

Bottom Line

Living in a multigenerational household has real and impactful benefits. If you’re interested in learning more about these options in our local area, let’s connect so you can find a home that fits your changing needs.

Posted in Market Updates
Feb. 18, 2022

The Home Title Insurance explained.

The Home Title Insurance explained. 

 

 

Do you need title insurance when you are purchasing a home? What is escrow? Last week, I got a chance to chat with my good friend Bridget Dennison who is an Expert Escrow Officer from Texas Secure Title. She's the best closer in the business and I have the pleasure of getting more information on why new homeowners need Title Insurance. 

 

What is Title Insurance? 

The title insurance is just like any other insurance that you get. This is much like your car insurance, and your homeowner's insurance. The only difference is, title insurance protects you for the past so this protects your biggest investment that you're probably going to make in your lifetime. Homeowners insurance protects you for future events. 

 

What are the benefits of having Title Insurance?

1. Protection from unexpected claims. 
If you have a claim leaky brief, or whatever you're going to call your home homeowner's insurance and they will protect you if there was anything missed on the title at closing. Let's say there was a deceased person on the home’s title and we closed on it. Now a child or a family member is suddenly interested in the home that you just recently purchased. This is where Title Insurance comes in to protect you from surprising moments like that. 


2. It protects you from a certain Lien on the property. 
Let’s face it, a lot of unpleasant surprises can come at the closing table. Maybe was missed during the closing day so they can't go after you. Usually, a title insurance company can cover you up to the sales price of the home. Let’s say, you purchased a $287,000 home, the title insurance company is going to cover your attorney fees, and everything for free up to $287,0000. 

3. Relax knowing that your prized investment is protected.
The true peace of mind for the biggest asset that you're going to purchase in your life can only occur when you know it's 100% yours and you're not going to worry about anybody else coming in and trying to take your home from you. There won't be any doubt in your mind that somebody's gonna try and take your homestead away from you. 

 

How can an Escrow Agent help you in your home buying journey?
If you are a first-time homebuyer, you need more than just a Real Estate Agent. You need lenders, home inspectors, and most especially, a good Escrow Agent. Home-buying is a fairly new process and your Escrow Agent will walk you through it by constantly giving you an update every time they do something in the file. You get an update and step-by-step guides on what's to going to happen next. 


What happens during the Closing day?

The day before closing, home buyers will get an email indicating how much money they need to bring to the closing table. You will be informed about the parties that need to be present at closing, and what to expect. For a seller closing, it's usually 20 to 30 minutes and then the buyer’s side changes anywhere from 30 minutes an hour depending on the lender you're working with and they have you sign electronically signed documents ahead of time or not. The escrow agent will explain the documents so both parties can be prepared for closing and have every understanding and every question answered by your lender when it comes to your loan financially. 


During the closing day, you need to make sure you have a good advanced understanding of your payment. The last thing we want to do is have someone get to the closing table and really not understand what they're getting into because they’re signing a lot of paperwork. 


Do you think you’re ready to buy a home? Do you have a good reliable team to ensure your journey is smooth sailing? Take the buyer readiness survey now to find out. 

Posted in Buying Tips
Feb. 17, 2022

What’s the Best Use of My Remodeling Dollars?


When it comes to remodeling, some changes that you make to your home are going to net you a big return on your investment. Sometimes this return comes in the form of an increase to the overall value of your property, while sometimes the return is more in the form of your enjoyment and the overall usefulness that your home has for you. Either way, there’s a definite positive side to your remodeling project that you’ll reap the rewards from for years to come. With some other projects, though… well, let’s just say that they seemed like a good idea at the time.

If you’re considering remodeling your home, it’s important that you think about what you want to do before you start. This will help you avoid projects that just waste money or leave things worse off than they started. So how do you know if a project is going to be worthwhile? Here are a few suggestions that might help.

Improving the Look

One of the best remodeling projects that you can undertake with respect to average cost versus average increase in resale value is adding or replacing garage doors. Homeowners who undertake this sort of a project typically recoup around 94 percent of their cost in their home’s resale value even when it’s just a change for cosmetic reasons. Replacing siding with manufactured stone veneer has a similar cost-to-resale-increase relationship, with around 92 percent of the cost being recouped. This says a lot about how big changes to the look of your home can positively affect your home’s resale value.

While not every remodeling project is going to make your home’s resale value skyrocket, in most cases you’ll recoup most of your money if you’re making improvements to the overall look of your home. Replacing siding, replacing old windows, or replacing your front door or entryway can all make your home look more like you want it to without causing you to lose a ton of cash value in the process. Just make sure that the project is well thought out before you dive in since you want to make sure that your improvements match other details of your home.

Functionality Improvements

Another big thing to consider when thinking about remodeling is how it will change the functionality of your home. A big example here is remodeling your kitchen; not only will you be able to change the look of your kitchen, but your remodel also gives you a chance to make some changes to how it functions as well. Adding or updating appliances, moving things around, and opening up that kitchen floor plan a bit can not only make the kitchen look better but can make it easier to use as well. The same goes for some other rooms in the home as well, where remodeling can create a big change in functionality.

Depending on the size and type of remodel you do for functionality changes, you can see a nice improvement in your home’s value as well. Going back to that kitchen remodel, minor functionality updates can get you around a 72 percent return on investment. Even more expensive major remodels can still get you around 57 percent of your money back in your home’s asking price. Bathroom remodels are similar, netting you 70 to 60 percent or more of your costs in home value.

Posted in Home Maintenance
Feb. 16, 2022

How Remote Work Impacts Your Home Search [INFOGRAPHIC]

How Remote Work Impacts Your Home Search [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • If your workplace is delaying its return to office plans or is allowing permanent work from home options, that may open up new possibilities for your home search.
  • Ongoing remote work could give you the chance for a change in scenery, a move to an area with a lower cost of living, or finding a home with more home office space.
  • If you want to learn more about how remote work can give you more options, let’s connect to discuss your situation and priorities for your home search.

 

Posted in DFW Lifestyles
Feb. 10, 2022

Home Insurance Advice for First Time Homebuyers


If you are a first-time homebuyer who's looking to buy a house and start shopping around homeowners insurance the most important thing you need to do is make sure you have the right type of policy. A lot of people a lot of times people just look at the paper and they look at what the numbers are exactly and then they look at the number at the bottom of the page. Oftentimes, they don't know what they're looking at and so because of it. They just choose the page that has the lowest number on the bottom and go with it. More often than not, people 
honestly don't understand the insurance policy, and a lot of people are embarrassed to say that they don't understand the homeowner's insurance, as best as they possibly should, This is why you need a guy like Abel from Goosehead Insurance so you can make informed decisions on how to get every extra warranty when you buy a home. 

 Now, is there such thing as too much insurance? 

The stark answer is no. There's no such thing as too much insurance because it's all about how comfortable you are with what you have. A good insurance agent like Abel will explain exactly what it is that you're going to be covered for and if there are things that you'd like to add on, you will absolutely know about it. At the end of the day, your insurance agent wants to make sure that you are both working towards the same objective. Your insurance agent will need to understand you as the buyer and so they will ask you questions such as, “Is price the most important thing? Is it going to be covered? Or is it a little mix of both? Or what is the best coverage for the least amount of money? Most people answer with the third because most people want to make sure they're protected. Based on your answer, the insurance agent will then make suggestions and then let you customize it according to what it is you want. One of the things most common practice in the insurance industry is people will send you a quote and that’s it. You then have to figure it all out by yourself. The real benefit of using Goosehead insurance isn't just that they can find you not only the best the cheapest policy, but also the best policy that fits you well. A lot of times clients find out that they can either have a lower payment or keep the same payment and still have way better coverage. 

 

I know how overwhelming buying a home is. A lot of time, there are so many things coming to your

mind that are going to hit you such as ensuring that you have the right electricity utility set up. You’ll get preoccupied with other things such as the home warranty. A lot of things can happen during the closing process which can take typically around 20 days. If you're going to buy a home in 30 days, make sure to have someone like Abel on your side who can do the shopping for you. 

Posted in Buying Tips