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!

Aug. 2, 2021

Key Questions To Ask Yourself Before Buying a Home

Key Questions To Ask Yourself Before Buying a Home | MyKCM

Sometimes it can feel like everyone has advice when it comes to buying a home. While your friends and loved ones may have your best interests in mind, they may also be missing crucial information about today’s housing market that you need to make your best decision.

Before you decide whether you’re ready to buy a home, you should know how to answer these three questions.

1. What’s Going on with Home Prices?

Home prices are one factor that directly impacts how much it will cost to buy a home and how much you stand to gain as a homeowner when prices appreciate.

The graph below shows just how much experts are forecasting prices to rise this year:Key Questions To Ask Yourself Before Buying a Home | MyKCMContinued price appreciation is great news for existing homeowners but can pose a significant challenge if you wait to buyUsing these forecasts, you can determine just how much waiting could cost you. If prices increase based on the average of all forecasts (12.46%), a median-priced home that costs $350,000 in January of 2021 will cost an additional $43,610 by the end of the year. What does this mean for you? Put simply, with home prices increasing, the longer you wait, the more it could cost you.

2. Are Today’s Low Mortgage Rates Going To Last?

Another significant factor that should inform your decision is mortgage interest rates. Today’s average rates remain close to record-lows. Much like prices, though, experts forecast rates will rise over the coming months, as the chart below shows:Key Questions To Ask Yourself Before Buying a Home | MyKCMYour monthly mortgage payment can be significantly impacted by even the slightest increase in mortgage rates, which makes the overall cost of the home greater over time when you wait.

3. Why Is Homeownership Important to You?

The final question is a personal one. Before deciding, you’ll need to understand your motivation to buy a home and why homeownership is an important goal for you. The financial benefits of owning a home are often easier to account for than the many emotional ones.

The 2021 National Homeownership Market Survey shows that six of the nine reasons Americans value homeownership are because of how it impacts them on a personal, aspirational level. The survey says homeownership provides:

  • Stability
  • Safety
  • A Sense of Accomplishment
  • A Life Milestone
  • A Stake in the Community
  • Personal Pride

The National Housing & Financial Capability Survey from NeighborWorks America also highlights the emotional benefits of homeownership:Key Questions To Ask Yourself Before Buying a Home | MyKCMClearly, there’s a value to homeownership beyond the many great financial opportunities it provides. It gives homeowners a sense of pride, safety, security, and accomplishment – which impacts their lives and how they feel daily.

Bottom Line

Homeownership is life-changing, and buying a home can positively impact you in so many ways. With any decision this big, it helps to have a trusted advisor by your side each step of the way. If you’re ready to begin your journey toward homeownership, let’s connect to discuss your options and begin your journey.

Posted in Buying Tips
July 30, 2021

Improve Your Home’s Organization!



Organization is an important part of keeping your home clean and tidy. Unfortunately, organization doesn’t always come easy to homeowners. It may be that your home just lacks the storage solutions that you need to effectively organize, or your house simply isn’t large enough to effectively contain all your family’s stuff. Maybe there is enough room, but the way your rooms are laid out makes things a bit difficult. Whatever the reason, you might feel like you’re fighting an uphill battle with organization and that it never lasts as long as you’d like.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to getting your house organized, but there are some things that might help. Not all of these suggestions are likely to fit your specific situation, but a few might point you in the right direction to start getting a better grip on your home’s organization. Even if the individual suggestions don’t fully apply to your home and its layout, they still might give you ideas that will help you get your home’s excessive disarray under control.

Adjust Your Storage Methods

There are a number of things that you can do to help improve the storage options in your home. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Don’t organize spices or dry goods items based on their names; sort them based on the frequency of use instead. This lets the things that you use most often be near the front of your storage and those things that are less frequently used can go in the back or on a harder-to-reach shelf.
  • Label folders, boxes, and any other long-term storage containers. You should also avoid having a catch-all or miscellaneous option; put things where they go at the start, instead of dealing with an ever-growing pile in need of sorting.
  • Use dividers to improve organization in your drawers, allowing you to store multiple types of items together without causing a significant amount of clutter.
  • Install hooks for coats and set up a container to hold shoes near your main entryway, then make sure that members of your household use both. This will help prevent those shoes, jackets, and coats from ending up strewn all over the house.

It’s also important to note that the solution for running low on storage isn’t to simply buy extra storage containers. If you’re running low on storage space, sort through what’s currently in storage and see if you can pare things down before adding additional storage.

Out With the Old, In With the New

A big cause of clutter and running low on space is buying new and upgraded products while still holding on to the items that they’re replacing. This doesn’t mean that you should only own one jacket or a single purse, of course; it makes sense to have multiples of some items, so long as the older items are still actively being used. If you buy something with the clear intention of replacing something else but that something else is still sticking around unused, though, then there may be a problem.

Electronics are the biggest culprit here; if you get a new phone or tablet, you should sell, donate, or give away the old one instead of sticking it in a drawer to take up space. The same goes with clothes that are damaged or threadbare, purses or backpacks with broken straps or other damage, and all those other items that you tell yourself you’ll get fixed eventually but never do. Go through all your old items that haven’t been touched for 6 months or more and see what you can get rid of. You should also get in the habit of prepping old items for donation soon after picking up a newer model.

 

Posted in Home Staging Tips
July 29, 2021

Remote Work Has Changed Our Home Needs. Is It Time for Your Home To Change, Too?

Remote Work Has Changed Our Home Needs. Is It Time for Your Home To Change, Too? | MyKCM

Over the past year, many homeowners realized what they need in a home is changing, especially with the rise in remote work. If you’re longing for a dedicated home office or a change in scenery, now may be the time to find the home that addresses your evolving needs.

Working from Home Isn’t a Passing Fad

Before the pandemic, only 21% of individuals worked from home. However, if you’ve recently discovered remote work is your new normal, you’re not alone.

survey of hiring managers conducted by Statista and Upwork projects 37.5% of U.S. workers will work remotely in some capacity over the next 5 years (see chart below):Remote Work Has Changed Our Home Needs. Is It Time for Your Home To Change, Too? | MyKCM

Working from Home Gives You More Flexibility and More Options

If you fall in that category, working from home may provide you with opportunities you didn’t realize you had. The ongoing rise in remote work means a portion of the workforce no longer needs to be tied to a specific area for their job. Instead, it gives those workers more flexibility when it comes to where they can live.

If you’re one of the nearly 23% of workers who will remain 100% remote, you have the option to move to a lower cost-of-living area or to the location of your dreams. If you search for a home in a more affordable area, you’ll be able to get more house for your money, freeing up more options for your dedicated office space and more breathing room. You could also move to an area you’ve always dreamed of vacationing in – somewhere near the beach, the mountains, or simply an area that features better weather and community amenities. Without your job tying you to a specific location, you’re bound to find your ideal spot.

If you’re one of the almost 15% of individuals who will have a partially remote or hybrid schedule, relocating within your local area to a home that’s further away from your office could be a great choice. Since you won’t be going into work every day, a slightly longer commute from a more suburban or rural area could be a worthy trade-off for a home with more features, space, or comforts. After all, if you’ll still be at home part-time, why not find a home that better suits your needs?

According to the latest Top Ten Issues Affecting Real Estate from The Counselors of Real Estate (CRE), many homebuyers are already taking advantage of their newfound flexibility:

“. . . after years of apparent but variant trends towards urbanization, the pandemic universally caused a movement away from urban cores, particularly for those with higher incomes who could afford to move and for lower-income individuals seeking lower costs of living.”

Bottom Line

If you’ve found what you’re looking for in a home has changed due to remote work, it may be time to make a move. Let’s connect today to start prioritizing your home needs.

Posted in Market News
July 28, 2021

Pop Quiz: Can You Define These Key Terms in Today’s Housing Market? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Pop Quiz: Can You Define These Key Terms in Today’s Housing Market? [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • The language of buying and selling a home may sound scary at first, but knowing how key terms relate to today’s market can help you. For example, current low mortgage rates and higher wages positively impact affordability for buyers, while home price appreciation continues to grow home equity, which sellers can use to fuel a move up.
  • Terms like appraisal (what lenders rely on to validate a home’s value) and contingencies (which buyers can minimize to make their offer stand out) directly impact the transaction.
  • You don’t need to be fluent in the language of the market to buy or sell. Instead, let’s connect today so that we can translate the process together.
Posted in Market Updates
July 27, 2021

Garage Doors for Convertible Spaces

When you think of a garage area, most likely the first thing that comes to mind is a place to store your car or other vehicles. You might also picture some shelving or storage on some of the walls, but for most people, the garage is largely a single-purpose structure. It doesn’t have to be this way, however; for an increasing number of homeowners, the garage is becoming a multipurpose room with easy access to fresh air, light, and the outside in general via the garage doors.

There are a lot of options available when it comes to converting a garage into some other space. To really get the most out of these conversions, you might consider upgrading or changing your garage door as well. The type of door that you have can make a big difference in the overall effectiveness of your converted space, so here are some things you should keep in mind when choosing your new garage door.

Choosing the Right Door

There are a few different garage door options that you might choose depending on your needs. While some garage doors have small window spaces and that can be useful if you just want to add a little bit of light, garage doors made of clear plexiglass panels can provide much more light and a largely unobstructed view, which is ideal if you are using the garage space as a lounge area or have plants growing inside. Side-mounted garage doors that roll back along a side wall instead of the ceiling can also be useful, allowing you to control the size of the entryway if the converted area is being used more as a standard room. If you plan to decorate the door like you would any other wall, a single-panel garage door that opens without bending or rolling might be your best bet.

These are only a few of the options that are available when it comes to picking a garage door that meets your needs. Some options even work as add-ons that can work with many door types, such as a screen that allows fresh air and light in while the door is open but keeps out the bugs and other unpleasantness much like a standard screen door would. These sorts of add-ons provide even more possibilities and allow you to further customize your garage space to meet your specific needs.

What Will You Use It For?

There are several ways that you could use a garage for something other than just storing your car and little bits of assorted outdoor junk. Common garage conversions include building a personal gym, making a craft room or other creative space, creating a lounge area that connects to an external patio, or even making a learning space for children who are learning from home. You might be surprised at how much of a difference some paint and the right flooring can make when it comes to a garage space!

Regardless of what you use the space for, you’ll likely want to change out the garage door to get the most out of the space. While having the option to open the door to increase access to your garage space is usually desirable, having a solid garage door probably won’t be ideal for the garage’s new purpose. That’s why it’s important to think about the actual purpose of the room, since that can affect the type of garage door you need.

There are a lot of options available when it comes to converting a garage into some other space. To really get the most out of these conversions, you might consider upgrading or changing your garage door as well. The type of door that you have can make a big difference in the overall effectiveness of your converted space, so here are some things you should keep in mind when choosing your new garage door.

Posted in Home Maintenance
July 26, 2021

Today’s Real Estate Market Explained Through 4 Key Trends

Today’s Real Estate Market Explained Through 4 Key Trends | MyKCM

As we move into the second half of the year, one thing is clear: the current real estate market is one for the record books. The exact mix of conditions we have today creates opportunities for both buyers and sellers. Here’s a look at four key components that are shaping this unprecedented market.

A Shortage of Homes for Sale

Earlier this year, the number of homes available for sale fell to an all-time low. In recent months, however, inventory levels are starting to trend up. The latest Monthly Housing Market Trends Report from realtor.com says:

“In June, newly listed homes grew by 5.5% on a year-over-year basis, and by 10.9% on a month-over-month basis. Typically, fewer newly listed homes appear on the market in the month of June compared to May. This year, growth in new listings is continuing later into the summer season, a welcome sign for a tight housing market.”

This is good news for buyers who crave more options. But even though we’re experiencing small gains in the number of available homes for sale, inventory remains a challenge in most states. That’s why it’s still a sellers’ market, giving homeowners immense leverage when they decide to make a move.

Buyer Competition and Bidding Wars

Today’s ongoing low supply, coupled with high demand, creates a market characterized by high buyer competition and bidding wars. Buyers are going above and beyond to make sure their offer stands out from the crowd by offering over the asking price, all cash, or waiving some contingencies. The number of offers on the average house for sale broke records this year – and that’s great news for sellers.

The latest Confidence Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) says the average home for sale receives five offers (see graph below):Today’s Real Estate Market Explained Through 4 Key Trends | MyKCMFor buyers, the best way to put a compelling offer together is by working with a local real estate professional. That agent can act as your trusted advisor on what terms are best for you and what’s most appealing to the seller.

Home Price Appreciation

The competition among buyers is driving prices up. Over the past year, we’ve seen home price appreciation rise across the country. According to the most recent Home Price Index (HPI) from CoreLogic, national home prices increased 15.4% year-over-year in May:

“The May 2021 HPI gain was up from the May 2020 gain of 4.2% and was the highest year-over-year gain since November 2005. Low mortgage rates and low for-sale inventory drove the increase in home prices.”

Rising home values are a big part of why real estate remains one of the top sought-after investments for Americans. For potential sellers, it also means it’s a great time to list your house to maximize the return on your investment.

A Rise in Home Values and Equity

The equity in a home doesn’t just grow when a homeowner pays their mortgage – it also grows as the home’s value appreciates. Thanks to the jump in price appreciation, homeowners across the country are seeing record-breaking gains in home equity. CoreLogic recently reported:

“…homeowners with mortgages (which account for roughly 62% of all properties) have seen their equity increase by 19.6% year over year, representing a collective equity gain of over $1.9 trillion, and an average gain of $33,400 per borrower, since the first quarter of 2020.”

That’s a major perk for households to leverage. Homeowners can use that equity to accomplish major life goals or move into their dream homes.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about buying or selling, there’s no time like the present. Let’s connect to talk about how you can take advantage of the conditions we’re seeing today to meet your homeownership goals.

Posted in Market Updates
July 23, 2021

Why This Isn’t Your Typical Summer Housing Market

Why This Isn’t Your Typical Summer Housing Market | MyKCM

In real estate, it’s normal to see ebbs and flows in the market. Typically, the summer months are slower-paced than the traditionally busy spring. But this isn’t a typical summer. As the economy rebounds and life is returning to normal, the real estate market is expected to have an unusually strong summer season.

Here’s how this summer is stacking up against the norm and what it means for you.Why This Isn’t Your Typical Summer Housing Market | MyKCM

Inventory is increasing.

According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), inventory levels have been rising since February of this year. Looking at the graph below, there’s a clear upward trend, as shown in the green bars. Currently, there’s roughly a 2.5 months’ supply of homes for sale. And while inventory is trending up as more houses are coming to the market, it’s still much lower than several of the previous summers, as the orange bars indicate.Why This Isn’t Your Typical Summer Housing Market | MyKCMIf you’re looking to buy, some relief is on the way in the form of more homes coming to the market. Just remember, we still have less inventory than the norm, so be patient in your search.

If you’re thinking of selling, now is the time. Work with your agent to list your house before it has more competition on the market.

Time on the market is still shorter than normal.

Unlike the typical summer trend, time on the market is moving at the fastest speed we’ve seen since NAR started collecting this survey-based information in 2011. The most recent Realtors Confidence Index shows that the average home is on the market for just 17 days, as shown in green in the graph below. This means houses are selling at a much faster pace than a typical summer, which the orange bars represent.Why This Isn’t Your Typical Summer Housing Market | MyKCMIf you’re looking to buy, this means you need to be prepared to move fast. Brace for a quick pace and rely on your agent to stay in the know on the available homes in your area.

If you’re thinking of selling, data shows your house will likely sell quickly. If you’re worried about where you’ll go once your house sells, consider a newly built home as a good way to move up.

Price appreciation is still rising.

The last big factor making this an unusually strong market this summer is home price appreciation. According to the State House Price Index from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), we’re currently experiencing double-digit house price appreciation and have an average of 12.6% appreciation across the country. The graph below uses data from NAR to show a more granular view of how prices have changed month-to-month over the past few years. The green bars show the current price appreciation we’re experiencing today. Our current levels are well above what we’ve seen in recent summers, shown by the orange bars.Why This Isn’t Your Typical Summer Housing Market | MyKCMIf you’re looking to buy, competition and bidding wars are driving prices up. Getting pre-approved can show the seller you’re serious and help you know what you can afford. Once you do, work with your agent to make a strong offer that stands out.

If you’re thinking of selling, seize this opportunity to use your additional equity from this price appreciation to power your next move.

Bottom Line

This isn’t a typical summer. Whether you’re buying or selling, let’s connect to talk about how you can capitalize on today’s market conditions to sell your house or find your dream home.

Posted in Market Updates
July 22, 2021

What’s In Your Toolbox? Plumb Bobs, Levels, and Squares



There are a lot of tools in the world, and some of them have some very specialized uses. Sometimes these uses are pretty obvious; a hammer is used to hammer nails, and a wrench is used to tighten nuts. Even tools that you think you’re familiar with might surprise you, though; a hammer is a hammer, but do you know the difference between claw hammers and ball-peen hammers? What about all the different types of pliers that you might run across? Knowing exactly how specific tools are supposed to be used can help you to avoid errors and make finding the right tool for the job a lot easier.

With that said, here are a few pretty common tools that you might not know enough about to use effectively. Learning a bit more about them will help to ensure that you always have the right tool for the job and know exactly how it should be used (and more importantly, how it shouldn’t).

Plumb Bobs

The humble plumb bob can be a very useful tool. While at first glance it looks like it’s just a weight on a string, a plumb bob can tell you whether your work is truly vertical or if it’s leaning in some other direction. That’s not the only use of this helpful tool, however. If you’re building something that has an irregular shape, you can use a plumb bob to determine where its center of gravity is to make sure that it’s properly supported. When combined with an angular scale or a tool known as an inclinometer, you can also use a plumb bob to determine the slope of a hill or surface by comparing the measured angle to the vertical line created by the plumb bob.

Levels

When you look at a level, figuring out how to use it often seems like a no-brainer. Just line it up so that the bubble appears between the lines on the level, right? Unfortunately, this sort of reasoning is one of the leading causes of people using a level and finding out later that their shelf or other project isn’t actually very level.

Levels come in a lot of different sizes, and that’s not just because manufacturers want to cater to personal preference. When using a level, it’s important to have the level cover as much of the surface that you’re trying to level as possible. For a small picture, using a small level works great. For a large shelf or a storage unit with adjustable legs, that same level isn’t going to give you a complete picture. Using a level that’s close to the same size as the surface that you’re leveling is the best way to use one of these tools effectively, but if that’s not possible then you should check the level at both ends of the surface as well as the middle. You might be surprised at how much of a difference this can make.

Squares

The handy-dandy square (which ironically is often a triangle) is a very useful tool if you know how to use it. Its most obvious function is to show you whether a corner is 90 degrees or not, but that’s not all that it can do. Depending on the type of square you have and its size you can also use the square to make measurements, mark 45-degree angles (and often other angles) for cuts, determine whether a segment of a surface is flat or warped, and more. It’s also important to remember that just because a corner seems to be 90 degrees, that’s not always the case; using a longer square or checking multiple corners is the best way to ensure that your work is actually square.

Posted in Home Maintenance
July 21, 2021

Housing Supply Is Rising. What Does That Mean for You?

Housing Supply Is Rising. What Does That Mean for You? | MyKCM

An important factor in today’s market is the number of homes for sale. While inventory levels continue to sit near historic lows, there are indications we may have hit the lowest point we’ll see. Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, recently said of our supply challenges:

It looks like inventory may have hit a bottom (we’ve seen this in the higher frequency data as well). Unsold inventory in May was at 2.5 months supply, up from 2.4.

To put it into perspective, the graph below shows levels of inventory rising since the beginning of the year:Housing Supply Is Rising. What Does That Mean for You? | MyKCMWe’re still not close to a balanced market, which would be a 6 months’ supply of homes for sale. However, we are seeing a slow but steady increase in homes coming up for sale. And that leaves many buyers and sellers wondering the same thing: what does that mean for me?

Buyers: More Options Are Arriving, so It’s Time To Act

If you’re a buyer, more inventory coming to market is a welcome sight. More supply means more options and less competition, which could mean fewer bidding wars.

According to the latest Monthly Housing Market Trends Report, supply levels are continuing to increase, which is different from the typical summer market:

“In June, newly listed homes grew by 5.5% on a year-over-year basis, and by 10.9% on a month-over-month basis. Typically, fewer newly listed homes appear on the market in the month of June compared to May. This year, growth in new listings is continuing later into the summer season, a welcome sign for a tight housing market.

If you’re having trouble finding your next home, this news should give you the hope and motivation to keep your buying process moving forward. Experts project mortgage rates will begin increasing, which will make purchasing a home less affordable as time passes. You can still capitalize on today’s low interest rates, so stick with your search as more homes come to market.

Sellers: Our Supply Challenges Aren’t Over Yet, so Now Is the Time To Sell

If you’ve been putting off selling your house, you shouldn’t wait much longer. The year’s month-over-month gains in homes for sale have helped buyers, but we’re still very much in a sellers’ market.

As the graph below shows, even with the number of homes for sale rising, we’re still well below the supply levels we’ve seen historically:Housing Supply Is Rising. What Does That Mean for You? | MyKCMOf course, more homes are coming to market now, and more are expected in the coming months. Selling your house this summer gives you the chance to get ahead of the competition and maximize your sales potential before more homes are put up for sale in your neighborhood.

Bottom Line

More homes for sale means more options for buyers and more competition for sellers. Whether you’re looking to buy or sell, let’s connect today to discuss your options and why it’s still a good time to make your move.

Posted in Market News
July 20, 2021

Smart Kitchens, Smart Faucets


So-called “smart” devices are increasingly popular, adding new features and functionality to just about every room in your home. One room that you might not consider for a smart upgrade is the kitchen, but you should. There are a number of sensors and connected devices that can transform your kitchen into something special. One great option that’s often overlooked is the addition of a smart faucet to your sink.

While smart faucets aren’t as well known (yet) as other smart home add-ons such as smart lighting and smart thermostats, they can have a significant impact on how you use your kitchen. Not only can you turn the faucets on and off in different ways, but you can also have your smart faucets automatically save you money on your water bill. If you’re wondering whether a smart faucet might be a good addition to your home, read on for more info on just how these faucets can help you.

Smart Faucet Controls

One big advantage to smart faucets is that there are multiple ways to control the flow of water. In addition to standard handles or levers, many smart faucets contain features such as touch panels and motion sensors that allow you to turn the water on and off with little to no contact with the faucet itself. This adds convenience to using the sink in general and can help keep your kitchen area clean if your hands are dirty or covered with batter or other substances that you wouldn’t want to clean off of everything later.

Depending on the model, some smart faucets can also be controlled remotely using apps or voice controls. In most cases, you can even pair the apps on your smartphone with digital assistants such as Alexa and Google Assistant. This lets you control the faucet using Amazon Echo and Google Home devices, turning the water on and off as needed while doing prep work or otherwise getting things ready for the water.

Smart Water Usage

Another big benefit of smart faucets is the way that they help to control your water usage. The water-saving features of smart faucets help prevent wasted water by cutting off the flow when you aren’t actually using the sink. This keeps you from accidentally leaving the water running when you’re doing something that takes too long and can also help prevent drips and other problems that might occur when you don’t close a valve all the way.

Some smart faucets also let you track your water usage over time via their connected apps. This can make you more aware of how much water you’re using in the kitchen and may help you to ratchet back on your usage over time. Eliminating unnecessary water use will save you money and help the environment as well, and the awareness of how much water you’re using is a big part of cutting back on that unnecessary use.

Installing Your Smart Faucet

For the most part, installing a smart faucet is a lot like installing any other faucet. Depending on the faucet model, its smart features will be powered either by batteries or a nearby outlet; if the faucet is outlet powered, you’ll need to make sure that there’s a source of power close enough to hook the faucet up for it to work properly. Once installed, some smart features may require additional setup, especially if you plan to use the faucet with external devices such as an Echo or Google Home.

Posted in Home Maintenance