• October 18, 2017
    Moving-Up to a Luxury Home? Now’s the Time!

    Moving-Up to a Luxury Home? Now’s the Time! | MyKCM

    If your house no longer fits your needs and you are planning on buying a luxury home, now is a great time to do so! We recently shared data from Trulia’s Market Mismatch Study which showed that in today’s premium home market, buyers are in control.

    The inventory of homes for sale in the luxury market far exceeds those searching to purchase these properties in many areas of the country. This means that homes are often staying on the market longer which can eventually lead to a price change.

    Those who have a starter or trade-up home to sell will find buyers competing, and often entering bidding wars, to be able to call your house their new home.

    The sale of your starter or trade-up house will aid in coming up with a larger down payment for your new luxury home. Even a 5% down payment on a million-dollar home is $50,000.

    But not all who are buying luxury properties have a home to sell first.

    In a Washington Post article, Daryl Judy, an associate broker with Washington Fine Properties, gave some insight into what many millennials are choosing to do:

    “Some high-earning millennials save money until they are in their early 30s to buy a place and just skip over that starter-home phase. They’ll stay in an apartment until they can afford to pay for the place they want.”

    Bottom Line

    The best time to sell anything is when demand is high and supply is low. If you are currently in a starter or trade-up house that no longer fits your needs and you are looking to step into a luxury home, now’s the time to list your house for sale and make your dreams come true.




    October 17, 2017
    Buying Remains Cheaper Than Renting in 39 States!

    Buying Remains Cheaper Than Renting in 39 States! | MyKCM

    In the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia, they explained that homeownership remains cheaper than renting with a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage in the 100 largest metro areas in the United States.

    The updated numbers show that the range is an average of 3.5% less expensive in San Jose (CA), all the way up to 50.1% less expensive in Baton Rouge (LA), and 33.1% nationwide!

    A study by GoBankingRates looked at the cost of renting vs. owning a home at the state level and concluded that in 39 states, it is actually ‘a little’ or ‘a lot’ cheaper to own (represented by the two shades of blue in the map below).

    Buying Remains Cheaper Than Renting in 39 States! | MyKCM

    One of the main reasons owning a home has remained significantly cheaper than renting is the fact that interest rates have remained at or near historic lows. Freddie Mac reports that the current interest rate on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage is 3.91%.

    Nationally, rates would have to reach 9.1%, a 128% increase over today’s average of 4.0%, for renting to be cheaper than buying. Rates haven’t been that high since January of 1995, according to Freddie Mac.

    Bottom Line

    Buying a home makes sense socially and financially. If you are one of the many renters who would like to evaluate your ability to buy this year, let’s get together and find you your dream home.




    October 16, 2017
    Thinking of Selling? You Should Do It TODAY!!

    Thinking of Selling? You Should Do It TODAY!! | MyKCM

    That headline might be a little aggressive; however, as August 2017’s housing market data begins to roll in, we can definitely say one thing: If you are considering selling, IT IS TIME TO LIST YOUR HOME TODAY!

    In a recent article by CBS News, they explained that the number of existing home sales is shrinking, and Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors, said:

    “There should be 3 million homes on the market right now…Yet, there are only 1.9 million.”

    And this situation will be affected greatly by recent natural disasters. Yun continued by saying:

    “Before the hurricanes I would have predicted 1.35 million in new-home construction in 2018…I’ll have to scale that down now.”

    NAR, in their August 2017 Realtors® Confidence Index, indicated that:

    “Amid sustained job creation and sustained historically low mortgage rates, REALTORS®reported…that buyer demand is stronger compared to conditions one year ago… and that fifty percent of properties were on the market for less than one month when sold.”

    The only challenge to today’s market is a severe lack of inventory. A balanced market would have a full six-month supply of homes for sale. Currently, there is only a 4.2-month supply of inventory, which is down from 4.5 months one year ago.

    Bottom Line

    With demand increasing and supply dropping, this may be the perfect time to get the best price for your home. Let’s get together and discuss the inventory levels in your neighborhood to determine your next steps.




    October 12, 2017
    Net Worth of Homeowners 44X Greater than Renters

    Net Worth of Homeowners 44X Greater than Renters | MyKCM

    Every three years, the Federal Reserve conducts their Survey of Consumer Finances in which they collect data across all economic and social groups. The latest survey data, covering 2013-2016 was released two weeks ago.

    The study revealed that the 2016 median net worth of homeowners was $231,400 - a 15% increase since 2013. At the same time, the median net worth of renters decreased by 5% ($5,200 today compared to $5,500 in 2013).

    These numbers reveal that the net worth of a homeowner is over 44 times greater than that of a renter.

    Owning a home is a great way to build family wealth

    As we’ve said before, simply put, homeownership is a form of ‘forced savings.’ Every time you pay your mortgage, you are contributing to your net worth by increasing the equity in your home.

    That is why, for the fourth year in a row, Gallup reported that Americans picked real estate as the best long-term investment. This year’s results showed that 34% of Americans chose real estate, followed by stocks at 26% and then gold, savings accounts/CDs, or bonds.

    Greater equity in your home gives you options

    If you want to find out how you can use the increased equity in your home to move to a home that better fits your current lifestyle, let’s get together to discuss the process.




    October 11, 2017
    Builder Offering to Pay Off Student Loans for Buyers

    Builder Offering to Pay Off Student Loans for Buyers | MyKCM

    Millennials are on track to become the most educated generation in history. This means they are also the generation with the most student debt. Depending on the type of degree earned, as well as the prestige of the institution attended, there are some millennials who graduate college with what equates to a mortgage payment.

    For those first-time buyers, and even some move-up buyers, who took advantage of the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit in 2008, there is an interesting program being introduced by Lennar Home Builders and Eagle Home Mortgage.

    “Borrowers with Eagle Home Mortgage's Student Loan Debt Mortgage Program can direct up to 3% of the purchase price (up to $13,000) to pay their student loans when they buy a new home from Lennar, one of the nation's largest homebuilders. The contribution doesn’t directly increase the purchase price of the home or add to the balance of the loan.”

    The program allows borrowers, whose credit and income requirements qualify, to put down as low as 3% and have a maximum loan amount of $424,100. At the time of closing, Lennar contributes up to 3% to pay down student loans incurred while attending universities, colleges, community colleges, trade schools and other certificate-granting programs.

    Jimmy Timmons, President of Eagle Home Mortgage, gave more context about the reasons behind the creation of the program,

    "Americans are more burdened than ever by student loans, with $1.3 trillion in outstanding student loans spread out among 42 million borrowers.  

    Particularly with millennial buyers, people who want to buy a home of their own are not feeling as though they can move forward. Our program is designed to relieve some of that burden and remove that barrier to owning a home."

    According to the Wall Street Journal, “housing observers said other builders are likely to look to mimic the program, which could help lure more of the critical first-time-buyer segment into home purchases.”

    Bottom Line

    If you are one of the many millennials who may have delayed purchasing your first home, or feel stuck in a house that no longer fits your needs, there are programs and options available to help you achieve your dream!




    October 10, 2017
    Millionaire to Millennials: Buy a Home Now!

    Millionaire to Millennials: Buy a Home Now! | MyKCM

    In a CNBC article, self-made millionaire David Bach explained that “the single biggest mistake millennials are making” is not purchasing a home because buying real estate is “an escalator to wealth.”

    Bach went on to explain:

    “If millennials don’t buy a home, their chances of actually having any wealth in this country are little to none. The average homeowner to this day is 38 times wealthier than a renter.”

    In his bestselling book, “The Automatic Millionaire,” Bach does the math:

    “As a renter, you can easily spend half a million dollars or more on rent over the years ($1,500 a month for 30 years comes to $540,000), and in the end wind up just where you started — owning nothing. Or you can buy a house and spend the same amount paying down a mortgage, and in the end wind up owning your own home free and clear!”

    Who is David Bach?

    Bach is a self-made millionaire who has written nine consecutive New York Times bestsellers. His book, “The Automatic Millionaire,” spent 31 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. He is one of the only business authors in history to have four books simultaneously on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek and USA Today bestseller lists.

    He has been a contributor to NBC’s Today Show, appearing more than 100 times, as well as a regular on ABC, CBS, Fox, CNBC, CNN, Yahoo, The View, and PBS. He has also been profiled in many major publications, including the New York Times, BusinessWeek, USA Today, People, Reader’s Digest, Time, Financial TimesWashington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Working Woman, Glamour, Family Circle, Redbook, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Investors’ Business Daily, and Forbes.

    Bottom Line

    Whenever a well-respected millionaire gives investment advice, people usually clamor to hear it. This millionaire gave simple advice – if you don’t yet live in your own home, go buy one.




    October 9, 2017
    No… You Do Not Need 20% Down to Buy NOW!

    No… You Do Not Need 20% Down to Buy NOW! | MyKCM

    The Aspiring Home Buyers Profile from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) found that the American public is still somewhat confused about what is required to qualify for a home mortgage loan in today’s housing market. The results of the survey show that non-homeowners cite the main reason for not currently owning a home, as not being able to afford one.

    This brings us to two major misconceptions that we want to address today.

    1. Down Payment

    NAR’s survey revealed that consumers overestimate the down payment funds needed to qualify for a home loan. According to the report, 39% of non-homeowners say they believe they need more than 20% for a down payment on a home purchase. In actuality, there are many loans written with a down payment of 3% or less.

    Many renters may actually be able to enter the housing market sooner than they ever imagined with new programs that have emerged allowing less cash out of pocket.

    2. FICO® Scores

    An Ipson survey revealed that 62% of respondents believe they need excellent credit to buy a home, with 43% thinking a “good credit score” is over 780. In actuality, the average FICO® scores of approved conventional and FHA mortgages are much lower.

    The average conventional loan closed in August had a credit score of 752, while FHA mortgages closed with a score of 683. The average across all loans closed in August was 724. The chart below shows the distribution of FICO® Scores for all loans approved in August.

    No… You Do Not Need 20% Down to Buy NOW! | MyKCM

    Bottom Line

    If you are a prospective buyer who is ‘ready’ and ‘willing’ to act now, but are not sure if you are ‘able’ to, let’s sit down to help you understand your true options.




    October 5, 2017
    The Truth About Homeowner Equity

    The Truth About Homeowner Equity | MyKCM

    A recent article from a reputable news source was titled: Here's why some homeowners still can't sell. In the opening bullets of the article, the author claimed, “Negative equity is one of the main reasons why there are so few homes for sale.” The article then goes on to soften that stance but we want to bring better clarity to the equity situation.

    A recent report from CoreLogic (which was quoted in the article) revealed that over 80% of all homes now have “significant equity,” which means the home has over 20% equity. That level of equity allows the homeowner to sell their home if they so desire. (There was no reference to significant equity in the article.)

    If eight out of ten homeowners now have significant equity in their homes, it is hard to make the claim that lack of equity is “one of the main reasons why there are so few homes for sale.”

    Here is a map showing the percentage of homes in each state which currently have significant equity:

    The Truth About Homeowner Equity | MyKCM

    Bottom Line

    If you are one of many homeowners who is debating selling your home and are wondering how much equity you have accumulated, let’s get together to determine if now is the time to list.




    October 4, 2017
    A Tale of Two Markets: A 6-Month Update

    A Tale of Two Markets: A 6-Month Update | MyKCM

    Six months ago, we reported that the mismatch between the type of inventory of homes for sale and the demand of buyers in the US was causing the formation of two markets.

    In the starter and trade-up home categories, there were significantly more buyers than there were homes for sale, causing a seller’s market. In the premium, or luxury, home categories, the opposite was true as there was a surplus of these homes compared to the buyers that were out searching for their dream homes, which created a buyer’s market.

    According to the National Association of Realtors latest Existing Home Sales Report, the inventory of existing homes for sale in today’s market is at a 4.2-month supply. Inventory is now 6.5% lower than this time last year, marking the 27th consecutive month of year-over-year decreases.

    Looking at the latest report from Trulia, we can see that not much has changed, and in fact, recent natural disasters across the country have made inventory conditions even more dire.

    Trulia’s market mismatch score measures the search interest of buyers against the category of homes that are available on the market. For example: “if 60% of buyers are searching for starter homes but only 40% of listings are starter homes, [the] market mismatch score for starter homes would be 20.”

    The results of their latest analysis are detailed in the chart below.

    A Tale of Two Markets: A 6-Month Update | MyKCM

    Nationally, buyers are searching for starter and trade-up homes and are coming up short with the listings available, which is leading to a highly competitive seller’s market in these categories.

    Premium homebuyers, on the other hand, have the best chance of less competition and more inventory of listings in their price range with a 14.7-point surplus, which is creating more of a buyer’s market.

    Bottom Line

    Real estate is local. If you are thinking about buying OR selling this fall, let’s get together to discuss the exact market conditions in your area.




    October 3, 2017
    You Don't Want to Hear This from Your Listing Agent

    You Don't Want to Hear This from Your Listing Agent | MyKCM

    You’ve decided to sell your house. You begin to interview potential real estate agents to help you through the process. You need someone you trust enough to:

    • Set the market value on possibly the largest asset your family owns (your home)
    • Set the time schedule for the successful liquidation of that asset
    • Set the fee for the services required to liquidate that asset

    An agent must be concerned first and foremost with you and your family to garner that degree of trust. Make sure this is the case.

    Be careful if the agent you are interviewing begins the interview by:

    • Bragging about their success
    • Bragging about their company’s success

    An agent’s success and the success of their company can be important considerations when deciding on the right real estate professional to represent you in the sale of your house. However, you first need to know that they care about what you need and what you expect from the sale. If the agent is not interested in first establishing your needs, how successful they may seem is much less important.

    Look for someone with the heart of a teacher’ who comes in prepared to explain the current real estate market to you, and is patient enough to take the time to show you how it may impact the sale of your home; not someone only interested in trying to sell you on how great they are.

    You have many agents from which to choose. Pick someone who truly cares.




    October 2, 2017
    Which Homes Have Increased in Value the Most?

    Which Homes Have Increased in Value the Most? | MyKCM

    Home values have risen dramatically over the last twelve months. The latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors puts the annual increase in the median existing-home price at 5.6%. CoreLogic, in their most recent Home Price Index Report, revealed that national home prices have increased by 6.7% year-over-year.

    CoreLogic broke appreciation down ever further into four price ranges which gives a more detailed view than simply looking at the year-over-year increases of the national median home price.

    The chart below shows the four tiers and each one’s growth from July 2016 to July 2017 (the latest data available).

    Which Homes Have Increased in Value the Most? | MyKCM

    It is important to pay attention to how prices are changing in your local market. The location of your home is not the only factor in determining how much it has appreciated over the course of the last year. Lower priced homes have appreciated at greater rates than homes at the upper ends of the spectrum, due to demand from first-time home buyers and baby boomers looking to downsize.

    Bottom Line

    If you are planning on listing your home for sale in today’s market, let’s get together to go over exactly what’s going on in your area and your price range.




    September 29, 2017
    Should I Buy a Home Now? Or Wait Until Next Year? [INFOGRAPHIC]

    Should I Buy a Home Now? Or Wait Until Next Year? [INFOGRAPHIC]| MyKCM

    Some Highlights:

    • The Cost of Waiting to Buy is defined as the additional funds it would take to buy a home if prices & interest rates were to increase over a period of time.
    • Freddie Mac predicts interest rates to rise to 4.4% by next year.
    • CoreLogic predicts home prices to appreciate by 5.0% over the next 12 months.
    • If you are ready and willing to buy your dream home, find out if you are able to!




    September 28, 2017
    Thinking of Selling your Home? Competition is Coming

    Thinking of Selling your Home? Competition is Coming | MyKCM

    The number of building permits issued for single-family homes is the best indicator of how many newly built homes will rise over the next few months. According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development Residential Sales Report, the number of these permits were up 7.7% over last year.

    How will this impact buyers?

    More inventory means more options. Danielle Hale, Realtor.com’s Chief Economistexplained this is good news for the housing market - especially for those looking to buy:

    "It's not spectacular construction growth, but it's slow and steady in the right direction. Eventually, the pickup in single-family home construction will mean [buyers] will have more options. Especially with the limited number of sales right now, more options are really needed."

    How will this impact sellers?

    More inventory means more competition. Today, because of the tremendous lack of inventory, a seller can expect:

    1. A great price on their home as buyers outbid each other for it
    2. A quick sale as buyers have so little to choose from
    3. Fewer hassles as buyers don’t want to “rock the boat” on the deal

    With an increase in competition, the seller may not enjoy these same benefits. As Hale said:

    "As new construction continues to increase, home shoppers will eventually have more [choices] and a bit more time to make purchase decisions compared to today's quick-moving housing market."

    Bottom Line

    If you are considering the sale of your home, it might make sense to beat this new construction competition to the market.




    September 27, 2017
    What to Look for in Your Real Estate Team

    What to Look for in Your Real Estate Team | MyKCM

    How do you select the members of your team who are going to help you make your dream of owning a home a reality? What should you be looking for? How do you know if you’ve found the right agent or lender?

    The most important characteristic that you should be looking for in your agent is someone who is going to take the time to really educate you on the choices available to you and your ability to buy in today’s market.

    As Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, advises:

    “When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.”

    Do your research. Ask your friends and family for recommendations of professionals whom they have used in the past and have had good experiences with.

    Look for members of your team who will be honest and trustworthy; after all, you will be trusting them with helping you make one of the biggest financial decisions of your life.

    Whether this is your first or fifth time buying a home, you want to make sure that you have an agent who is going to have the tough conversations with you, not just the easy ones. If your offer isn’t accepted by the seller, or they think that there may be something wrong with the home that you’ve fallen in love with, you would rather know what they think than make a costly mistake.

    According to a Consumer Housing Trends Study, millennials have already started to prefer a more hands-on approach to their real estate experience:

    “While older generations rely on real estate agents for information and expertise, millennials expect real estate agents to become trusted advisers and strategic partners.”

    Look for someone to invest in your family’s future with you. You want an agent who isn’t focused on the transaction but is instead focused on helping you understand the process while helping you find your dream home.

    Bottom Line

    In this world of Google searches, where it seems like all the answers are just a mouse-click away, you need an agent who is going to educate you and share the information that you need to know before you even know you need it.




    September 26, 2017
    More Than Half of All Buyers Are Surprised by Closing Costs

    More Than Half of All Buyers Are Surprised by Closing Costs | MyKCM

    According to a survey conducted by ClosingCorp, over half of all homebuyers are surprised by the closing costs required to obtain their mortgage.

    After surveying 1,000 first-time and repeat homebuyers, the results revealed that 17% of homebuyers were surprised that closing costs were required at all, while another 35% were stunned by how much higher the fees were than expected.

    “Homebuyers reported being most surprised by mortgage insurance, followed by bank fees and points, taxes, title insurance and appraisal fees.”

    Bankrate.com gathered closing cost data from lenders in every state and Washington, D.C. in order to share the average costs in each state. The map below was created using the closing costs on a $200,000 mortgage with a 20% down payment.

    More Than Half of All Buyers Are Surprised by Closing Costs | MyKCM

    Keep in mind that if you are in the market for a home above this price range, your costs could be significantly greater. According to Freddie Mac,

    “Closing costs are typically between 2 and 5% of your purchase price.”

    Bottom Line

    Speak with your lender and agent early and often to determine how much you’ll be responsible for at closing. Finding out that you’ll need to come up with thousands of dollars right before closing is not a surprise anyone is ever looking forward to.




    September 25, 2017
    How to Get the Most Money from the Sale of Your Home

    How to Get the Most Money from the Sale of Your Home | MyKCM

    Every homeowner wants to make sure they maximize their financial reward when selling their home. But how do you guarantee that you receive maximum value for your house? Here are two keys to ensure that you get the highest price possible.

    1. Price it a LITTLE LOW 

    This may seem counterintuitive. However, let’s look at this concept for a moment. Many homeowners think that pricing their home a little OVER market value will leave them room for negotiation. In actuality, this just dramatically lessens the demand for your house (see chart below).

    How to Get the Most Money from the Sale of Your Home | MyKCM

    Instead of the seller trying to ‘win’ the negotiation with one buyer, they should price it so that demand for the home is maximized. By doing this, the seller will not be fighting with a buyer over the price, but will instead have multiple buyers fighting with each other over the house.

    Realtor.com gives this advice:

    “Aim to price your property at or just slightly below the going rate. Today’s buyers are highly informed, so if they sense they’re getting a deal, they’re likely to bid up a property that’s slightly underpriced, especially in areas with low inventory.”

    2. Use a Real Estate Professional

    This, too, may seem counterintuitive. The seller may think they would make more money if they didn’t have to pay a real estate commission. With this being said, studies have shown that homes typically sell for more money when handled by a real estate professional.

    A new study by Collateral Analytics, reveals that FSBOs don’t actually save any money, and in some cases may be costing themselves more, by not listing with an agent.

    In the study, they analyzed home sales in a variety of markets in 2016 and the first half of 2017. The data showed that:

    “FSBOs tend to sell for lower prices than comparable home sales, and in many cases below the average differential represented by the prevailing commission rate.”

    The results of the study showed that the differential in selling prices for FSBOs when compared to MLS sales of similar properties is about 5.5%. Sales in 2017 suggest the average price was near 6% lower for FSBO sales of similar properties.

    Bottom Line

    Price your house at or slightly below the current market value and hire a professional. This will guarantee that you maximize the price you get for your house.




    September 22, 2017
    Lack of Existing Home Inventory Slows Sales Heading into Fall [INFOGRAPHIC]

    Lack of Existing Home Inventory Slows Sales Heading into Fall [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

    Some Highlights:

    • The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released their latest Existing Home Sales Report.
    • First-time homebuyers made up 31% of all sales in August.
    • Homes are selling quickly with 51% of homes on the market for less than a month.
    • A limited supply continues to drive up prices for the 66th consecutive month.




    September 21, 2017
    Why Are So Few Homes for Sale?

    Why Are So Few Homes for Sale? | MyKCM

    There is no doubt that the largest challenge in today’s housing market is a lack of housing inventory for sale. This challenge has been defined as an “overwhelming lack of supply,” and even a “straight up inventory crisis.”

    First American just released the results of a survey which sheds light on the reasons for the current lack of supply.

    The survey asked title agents and real estate professionals to identify what they believe are the top reasons for this lack of inventory in their markets. Here are the results of the survey:

    • 47% - existing homeowners are worried that they will not be able to find a home to buy
    • 5% - first-time buyer demand is absorbing a large share of available homes
    • 3% - existing homeowners’ mortgage rates are lower than the current rates
    • 6% - insufficient or negative equity in the home
    • 6% - foreign buyer demand is absorbing a large share of available homes

    As the survey revealed, there is a shortage of current homeowners willing to put their homes on the market for one of three reasons (see numbers 1, 3 and 4 above).

    Is this an opportunity for some homeowners?

    The report on the survey explains:

    “The crowd has spoken, and it seems in many markets home buyers and sellers alike are ‘imprisoned’ by the lack of housing inventory."

    That leaves a tremendous opportunity for every homeowner not facing these concerns. If you can put your home on the market today, you are subject to far less competition than at any time in recent history. That will result in your home selling quickly and for the highest possible price.

    Bottom Line

    While many homeowners are feeling imprisoned for multiple reasons, those who are not handcuffed by these concerns have a once in a lifetime opportunity to sell their houses at a peak selling time.




    September 20, 2017
    More Americans Say Now is a Good Time to Sell!

    More Americans Say Now is a Good Time to Sell! | MyKCM

    Recently released data from Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey revealed that rising home prices were the catalyst behind an eight-point jump in the net percentage of respondents who say now is a good time to sell. The index is now 21 points higher than it was this time last year.

    Overall, 62% of Americans surveyed said that now is a good time to sell (up from 58%), while 26% of respondents said that now is not a good time to sell (down from 30%). The net score is the difference between the two percentages, or 36%.

    According to CoreLogic, home prices are now up 6.7% over last year and 78.8% of homeowners with a mortgage in the US now have significant equity (defined as 20% or more).

    As home prices have increased, more and more homeowners have realized that now is a good time to sell their homes in order to take advantage of the extra equity they now have.

    At the same time, however, rising prices have had the exact opposite impact on the good-time-to-buy scale as many buyers are nervous that they will not be able to afford a home; the net score dropped 5 points to 18%.

    Doug Duncan, Vice President & Chief Economist at Fannie Mae, had this to say,

    “In the early stages of the economic expansion, home selling sentiment trailed home buying sentiment by a significant margin. The reverse is true today.

    The net good time to sell share is now double the net good time to buy share, with record high percentages of consumers citing home prices as the primary reason for both perceptions.Such a sizable gap between selling and buying sentiment, if it persists, could weigh on the housing market through the rest of the year.”

    Buyer demand continues to outpace the supply of homes for sale, which has driven prices up across the country. Until the supply starts to better match demand, there will be a gap between the sentiments surrounding buying and selling.

    Bottom Line

    If you are considering listing your home for sale this year, now is the time!




    September 19, 2017
    Home Sales Expected to Increase Nicely in 2018

    Home Sales Expected to Increase Nicely in 2018 | MyKCM

    Freddie MacFannie Mae, and The Mortgage Bankers Association are all projecting that home sales will increase in 2018. Here is a chart showing what each entity is projecting in sales for the remainder of this year and the next.

    Home Sales Expected to Increase Nicely in 2018 | MyKCM

    As we can see, each entity is projecting sizable increases in home sales next year. If you have considered selling your house recently, now may be the time to put it on the market.




    September 18, 2017
    5 Reasons to Sell This Fall

    5 Reasons to Sell This Fall | MyKCM

    Here are five reasons listing your home for sale this fall makes sense.

    1. Demand Is Strong

    The latest Buyer Traffic Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains very strong throughout the vast majority of the country. These buyers are ready, willing, and able to purchase… and are in the market right now! More often than not, multiple buyers are competing with each other to buy a home.

    Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

    2. There Is Less Competition Now

    Housing inventory is still under the 6-month supply that is needed for a normal housing market.

    This means that, in the majority of the country, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in the market. This is good news for homeowners who have gained equity as their home values have increased. However, additional inventory could be coming to the market soon.

    Historically, the average number of years a homeowner stayed in their home was six, but that number has jumped to an average of almost nine years since 2008. There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move, as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. As home values continue to appreciate, more and more homeowners will be given the freedom to move.

    The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don’t wait until this other inventory comes to market before you decide to sell.

    3. The Process Will Be Quicker

    Today’s competitive environment has forced buyers to do all they can to stand out from the crowd, including getting pre-approved for their mortgage financing. This makes the entire selling process much faster and much simpler as buyers know exactly what they can afford before home shopping. According to Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insights Report, the time to close a loan has dropped to 43 days, after seeing a 12-month high of 48 days in January.

    4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move Up

    If your next move will be into a premium or luxury home, now is the time to move-up! The inventory of homes for sale at these higher price ranges has forced these markets into a buyer’s market. This means that if you are planning on selling a starter or trade-up home, your home will sell quickly AND you’ll be able to find a premium home to call your own!

    Prices are projected to appreciate by 5.0% over the next year according to CoreLogic. If you are moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait.

    5. It’s Time to Move on With Your Life

    Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

    Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

    That is what is truly important.




    September 15, 2017
    Top 5 Reasons Why Millennials Choose to Buy [INFOGRAPHIC]

    Top 5 Reasons Why Millennials Choose to Buy [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

    Some Highlights:

    • “The majority of millennials said they consider owning a home more sensible than renting for both financial and lifestyle reasons — including control of living space, flexibility in future decisions, privacy and security, and living in a nice home.”
    • The top reason millennials choose to buy is to have control over their living space, at 93%.
    • Many millennials who rent a home or apartment prior to buying their own homes dream of the day that they will be able to paint the walls whatever color they'd like, or renovate an outdated part of their living space.




    September 14, 2017
    Report: Homeownership Is a Precondition of the American Dream

    Report: Homeownership Is a Precondition of the American Dream | MyKCM

    Hearth just released their 2017 State of the American Dream report which showed that Americans still see homeownership as an integral piece of the American Dream. The report confirmed that “all generations–including millennials–agree homeownership is very important to achieving the American Dream.

    Americans ranked “owning a home I love” higher than any other options (including “starting a family” and “finding a fulfilling career”) as an important part of the American Dream.

    Despite some claims that homeownership’s importance to the American Dream is in decline, the report found that the dream of homeownership remains strong.

    Of Americans who said they think achieving the American Dream is important, 70% think homeownership is important to the dream, and 41% think homeownership is very important to the dream.

    What about Millennials?

    Hearth addresses the desires of millennials by explaining:

    “Contrary to popular opinion, millennials who want to achieve the American Dream are 5% more likely than Baby Boomers to think homeownership is important. And two-thirds of millennial renters view homeownership as important to the American Dream.

    Although millennials are often portrayed as fickle and transient, they actually seek the stability of homeownership even more than their parents.”

    Other Key Findings from the Report:

    • Homeowners are 126% more likely than non-homeowners to view homeownership as a way to build wealth. Nevertheless, homeowners still overwhelmingly associated homeownership with a family living space.
    • Homeowners are 24% more likely than non-homeowners to see homeownership as an achievement that reflects hard work.
    • Millennials are 77% more likely than baby boomers to see a home primarily as a way to build wealth.
    • Baby boomers are 98% more likely than millennials to see a home as a way to pass wealth down to children or family.
    • Millennials are 29% more likely than baby boomers to see a home as an achievement that reflects hard work–an outcome we expected given that many millennials are still working hard to afford their first homes.

    Bottom Line

    The report concluded:

    “This survey revealed a powerful finding: Across demographic groups, homeownership remains a precondition of the American Dream.”




    September 13, 2017
    Happily Ever Homeowner

    Happily Ever Homeowner | MyKCM

    Married couples once again dominated the first-time homebuyer statistics last year at 66% of all buyers, according to the most recent Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers. It is no surprise that having two incomes to save for down payments and contribute to monthly housing costs makes buying a home more attainable.

    Many couples are deciding to use what would otherwise be their wedding fund as a down payment on their first home, as unmarried couples made up 8% of all first-time buyers last year. If you’re single, don’t fret; you can still buy your dream home! Single women made up 17% of first-time buyers in 2016, while single men accounted for 7% of buyers.

    According to a survey by the Wedding Report, the average cost of a wedding in the United States at the start of the year was $25,961, which equates to a 10% down payment on a median priced home.

    A recent article from the New York Times found that many singles are now asking their parents to allow them to use the money they’ve saved up for their wedding day to instead buy a home.

    In the case of Carrie Graham, a Protestant minister from Austin, TX, her parents had saved a ‘five-figure sum’ for her wedding and were more than willing to give her that money as a down payment on her dream home. Graham told The New York Times,

    “Buying the home wasn’t me saying, ‘I’m never going to get married’ or I am going to get married.’ My own home had way more than equity benefits. It was a real gift to have a home in an extremely desirable neighborhood in a city that I love. It’s brought me joy.”

    Bottom Line

    More and more first-time homebuyers are finding a way to purchase their dream homes, even if that means delaying their dream weddings.




    September 12, 2017
    Looking for Your Dream Home? Know What You Want vs. What You Need

    Looking for Your Dream Home? Know What You Want vs. What You Need | MyKCM

    In this day and age of being able to shop for anything anywhere, it is really important to know what you’re looking for when you start your home search.

    If you’ve been thinking about buying a home of your own for some time now, you’ve probably come up with a list of things that you’d LOVE to have in your new home. Many new homebuyers fantasize about the amenities that they see on television or Pinterest, and start looking at the countless homes listed for sale through rose-colored glasses.

    Do you really need that farmhouse sink in the kitchen to be happy with your home choice? Would a two-car garage be a convenience or a necessity? Could the ‘man cave’ of your dreams be a future renovation project instead of a make-or-break right now?

    The first step in your home buying process should be getting pre-approved for your mortgage. This allows you to know your budget before you fall in love with a home that is way outside of it.

    The next step is to list all the features of a home that you would like, and to qualify them as follows:

    • ‘Must-Haves’ – if this property does not have these items, then it shouldn’t even be considered (ex: distance from work or family, number of bedrooms/bathrooms).
    • ‘Should-Haves’ – if the property hits all of the ‘must-haves’ and some of the ‘should-haves,’ it stays in contention but does not need to have all of these features.
    • ‘Absolute-Wish List’ – if we find a property in our budget that has all of the ‘must-haves,’ most of the ‘should-haves,’ and ANY of these, it’s the winner!

    Bottom Line

    Having this list fleshed out before starting your search will save you time and frustration, while also letting your agent know what features are most important to you before starting to show you houses in your desired area.




    September 11, 2017
    4 Reasons to Buy a Home This Fall!

    4 Reasons to Buy a Home This Fall! | MyKCM

    Here are four great reasons to consider buying a home today, instead of waiting.

    1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

    CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index reports that home prices have appreciated by 6.7% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 5.0% over the next year.

    The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

    2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase

    Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have hovered around 4%. Most experts predict that rates will rise over the next 12 months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors are in unison, projecting that rates will increase by this time next year.

    An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, your housing expense will increase if a mortgage is necessary to buy your next home.

    3. Either Way, You Are Paying a Mortgage 

    There are some renters who have not yet purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s.

    As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to have equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person with that equity.

    Are you ready to put your housing cost to work for you?

    4. It's Time to Move on With Your Life

    The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.

    But what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

    Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide if it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe now is the time to buy.

    If purchasing a home for you and your family is the right thing for you to do this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.




    September 8, 2017
    How Supply and Demand Impacts Real Estate Home Values [INFOGRAPHIC]

    How Supply and Demand Impacts Real Estate Home Values [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

    Some Highlights:

    • The concept of supply & demand is a simple one. The best time to sell something is when the supply of that item is low & the demand for that item is high!
    • Anything under a 6-month supply is a seller’s market!
    • Nationally, there has not been a 6-months inventory supply since August 2012!
    • Inventory levels differ depending on the area of the country and price range, so let’s get together to discuss the exact market conditions in our area.




    September 7, 2017
    America Needs Your House!!

    America Needs Your House!! | MyKCM

    The biggest challenge in today’s real estate market is a lack of housing inventory. How big of a challenge is the housing shortage? Here are what four industry economists are saying on the issue (emphases added):

    Mark Fleming, First American’s Chief Economist

    “The underlying fundamental issue is an overwhelming lack of supply… The supply of newly constructed homes is also sagging, adding to the supply challenges. Over the last eight years, housing demand has increased by 5.9 million, but the net new number of housing units has only increased by 3.5 million.”

    Svenja Gudell, Zillow’s Chief Economist

    “Everyone has been talking about tight inventory but I think we are OK calling it a straight up inventory crisis at this point. We just don’t have enough homes.”

    Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist

    “House prices today are higher than they were at the peak in the summer of 2006, near-record-low mortgage rates have boosted housing demand, and sales volume is robust. The spoiler is the lean inventory of houses for sale.”

    Lawrence Yun, National Association of Realtors’ Chief Economist

    “Listings in the affordable price range continue to be scooped up rapidly, but the severe housing shortages inflicting many markets are keeping a large segment of would-be buyers on the sidelines.”

    Bottom Line

    If you are considering selling your house soon, now may be the time to get it on the market. The lack of competition could lead to a faster sale at a higher price.




    Spetember 6, 2017
    Homeowners: Do You Know Your Home’s Value?

    Homeowners: Do You Know Your Home’s Value? | MyKCM

    The latest edition of CoreLogic’s Home Price Index shows that nationally, home prices have appreciated 6.7% over the last year and 0.9% month-over-month. The release of the report included this headline,

    “National Home Prices Now 50% Above March 2011 Bottom”

    The real estate market has come a long way since 2011, which is great news for homeowners!

    Nearly 79% of homeowners with a mortgage in the US now have significant equity in their homes (defined as over 20%), according to the latest Equity Report. The challenge is that not every homeowner knows how much their home’s value has appreciated.

    Homeowners in Denver, CO lead the way with 8.7% appreciation over the last year, while owners in Washington and Utah have experienced a 3% increase in values since the start of this year!

    Nationally, CoreLogic forecasts that home values will increase another 5.0% by this time next year.

    Bill Banfield, VP of Capital Markets at Quicken Loans, recently explained the importance of knowing the conditions in your area,

    “With home values constantly changing, and the rates of change varying across the country, this is one more way to show how important it is for homeowners to stay aware of their local housing market.”

    Bottom Line

    Do you know what your house is worth? Have you stayed put because you are nervous you won’t have enough equity to buy your dream home? Let’s get together to perform an equity analysis and give you the freedom to achieve your dreams.




    September 5, 2017
    How Your Home’s Value Grows Your Family’s Wealth

    How Your Home’s Value Grows Your Family’s Wealth | MyKCM

    Over the next five years, home prices are expected to appreciate 3.64% per year on average and to grow by 18.4% cumulatively, according to Pulsenomics’ most recent Home Price Expectation Survey.

    So, what does this mean for homeowners and their equity position?

    As an example, let’s assume a young couple purchased and closed on a $250,000 home in January. If we look at only the projected increase in the price of that home, how much equity will they earn over the next 5 years?

    How Your Home’s Value Grows Your Family’s Wealth | MyKCM

    Since the experts predict that home prices will increase by 5.0% this year alone, the young homeowners will have gained $12,500 in equity in just one year.

    Over a five-year period, their equity will increase by nearly $49,000! This figure does not even take into account their monthly principal mortgage payments. In many cases, home equity is one of the largest portions of a family’s overall net worth.

    Bottom Line

    Not only is homeownership something to be proud of, but it also offers you and your family the ability to build equity you can borrow against in the future. If you are ready and willing to buy, find out if you are able to today!




    September 4, 2017
    14,904 Homes Sold Yesterday… Did Yours?

    14,904 Homes Sold Yesterday… Did Yours? | MyKCM

    There are some homeowners who are patiently waiting to get the price they hoped for when they originally listed their houses for sale. Something these homeowners might want to take into consideration is the fact that if their homes haven’t sold yet, maybe they’re not priced properly.

    After all, 14,904 houses sold yesterday, 14,904 will sell today, and 14,904 will sell tomorrow.

    14,904!

    This is the average number of homes that sell each and every day in this country, according to the National Association of Realtors’(NAR) latest Existing Home Sales Report. NAR reported that sales are at an annual rate of 5.44 million. Divide that number by 365 (days in a year) and we can see that, on average, over 14,904 homes sell every day.

    The report from NAR also revealed that there is currently only a 4.2-month supply of inventory available for sale (6-months inventory is considered ‘historically normal’).

    This means that there are not enough homes available for sale to satisfy all of the buyers who currently are out in the market in record numbers.

    Bottom Line

    We realize that you want to get the fair market value for your home. However, if it hasn’t sold in today’s active real estate market, perhaps you should reconsider your current asking price.




    September 1, 2017
    Top 5 A+ Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Pro [INFOGRAPHIC]

    Top 5 A+ Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Pro [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

    Some Highlights:

    • Hiring a real estate professional to buy your dream home, or sell your current house, is one of the most 'educated' decisions you can make!
    • A real estate professional has the experience needed to help you through the entire process.
    • Make sure that you hire someone who knows current market conditions & can simply and effectively explain them to you and your family!




    August 31, 2017
    Empty Nesters: Best to Remodel or Time to Sell?

    Empty Nesters: Best to Remodel or Time to Sell? | MyKCM

    Your children have finally moved out and you and your spouse now live alone in a four-bedroom colonial (or a similar type of house). You have two choices to make:

    1. Remodel your house to fit your current lifestyle and needs
    2. Sell your house and purchase the perfect home

    Based on the record of dollars spent on remodeling and renovations, it appears that many homeowners are deciding on number one. But, is that the best long-term solution?

    If you currently live in a 3-4-bedroom home, you probably bought it at a time when your children were the major consideration in determining family housing needs. Along with a large home, you more than likely also considered school district, the size of the property and the makeup of other families living in the neighborhood (example: you wanted a block with other kids your children could play with and a backyard large enough to accommodate that).

    Remodeling your home to meet your current needs might mean combining two bedrooms to make one beautiful master suite and changing another bedroom into the massive walk-in closet you always wanted. However, if you live in a neighborhood that historically attracts young families, you may be dramatically undermining the value of your house by cutting down the number of bedrooms and making it less desirable to the typical family moving onto your block.

    And, according to a recent study, you will recoup only 64.4% of a remodeling project’s investment dollars if you sell in the future.

    Your home is probably at its highest value as it stands right now. Instead of remodeling your house, it may make better financial sense to sell your current home and purchase a home that was built specifically to meet your current lifestyle and desires.

    In many cases, this well-designed home will give you exactly what you want in less square footage (read less real estate taxes!) than your current home.

    Bottom Line

    If you are living in a house that no longer fits your needs, at least consider checking out other homes in your area that would meet your lifestyle needs before taking on the cost and hassle of remodeling your current house.




    August 30, 2017
    Number of Buyers Putting Down Less Than 10% Hits 7-Year High

    Number of Buyers Putting Down Less Than 10% Hits 7-Year High | MyKCM

    According to Black Knight Financial Service’s Mortgage Monitor Report, 1.5 million Americans have purchased a home with down payments under than 10% over the last 12 months. This is great news for buyers as this marks a 7-year high.

    Many mortgage programs offered by agencies like Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae allow buyers to put down as low as 3% to purchasetheir dream homes. The strength of the housing market has aided buyers who used low-down-payment programs to buy. As a recent CNBC article points out,

    “Defaults on recent low down payment loans, so far, are slow, but that is as much a factor of the good credit quality as it is the strength of the housing market. Home prices are rising incredibly fast, meaning those borrowers are gaining equity in their homes quickly.”

    Low down payments aren’t just great for first-time homebuyers. These programs have allowed homeowners who want to capitalize on the equity they have in their homes to use the profit from their sale to pay off high-interest credit cards, fund education or even start a business.

    According to a new Census Report, the Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs, home equity was used to start 7.3% of all businesses in the United States, which equates to over 284,000! The industries that saw the most growth from home equity are accommodation & food services, manufacturing and, retail trade.

    Bottom Line

    Gone are the days of ‘20% down or no mortgage.’ What could you build with the equity in your house? Let’s get together today to evaluate your ability to achieve your dreams today!




    August 29, 2017
    Where Are the Home Prices Heading in The Next 5 Years?

    Where Are the Home Prices Heading in The Next 5 Years? | MyKCM

    Today, many real estate conversations center on housing prices and where they may be headed. That is why we like the Home Price Expectation Survey.

    Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts, and investment & market strategists about where they believe prices are headed over the next five years. They then average the projections of all 100+ experts into a single number.

    The results of their latest survey:

    Home values will appreciate by 5.0% over the course of 2017, 4.0% in 2018, 3.2% in 2019, 3.0% in 2020, and 3.0% in 2021. That means the average annual appreciation will be 3.64% over the next 5 years.

    Where Are the Home Prices Heading in The Next 5 Years? | MyKCM

    The prediction for cumulative appreciation increased from 17.8% to 18.4% by 2021. The experts making up the most bearish quartile of the survey are projecting a cumulative appreciation of 6.7%.

    Where Are the Home Prices Heading in The Next 5 Years? | MyKCM

    Bottom Line

    Individual opinions make headlines. We believe this survey is a fairer depiction of future values.




    August 25, 2017
    Home Prices Up 6.64% Across the Country! [INFOGRAPHIC]

    Home Prices Up 6.64% Across the Country! [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

    Some Highlights:

    • The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) recently released their latest Quarterly Home Price Index report.
    • In the report, home prices are compared both regionally and by state.
    • Based on the latest numbers, if you plan on relocating to another state, waiting to move may end up costing you more!
    • Alaska & West Virginia were the only states where home prices are lower than they were last year.



    Study: FSBOs Don’t Save Real Estate Commission

    Study: FSBOs Don’t Save Real Estate Commission | MyKCM

    One of the main reasons why For Sale By Owners (FSBOs) don’t use a real estate agent is because they believe they will save the commission an agent charges for getting their house on the market and selling it. A new study by Collateral Analytics, however, reveals that FSBOs don’t actually save anything, and in some cases may be costing themselves more, by not listing with an agent.

    In the study, they analyzed home sales in a variety of markets in 2016 and the first half of 2017. The data showed that:

    “FSBOs tend to sell for lower prices than comparable home sales, and in many cases below the average differential represented by the prevailing commission rate.” (emphasis added)

    Why would FSBOs net less money than if they used an agent?

    The study makes several suggestions:

    • “There could be systematic bias on the buyer side as well. FSBO sales might attract more strategic buyers than MLS sales, particularly buyers who rationalize lower-priced bids on with the logic that the seller is “saving” a traditional commission. Such buyers might specifically search for and target sellers who are not getting representational assistance from agents.” In other words, ‘bargain lookers’ might shop FSBOs more often.
    • “Experienced agents are experts at ‘staging’ homes for sale” which could bring more money for the home.
    • “Properties listed with a broker that is a member of the local MLS will be listed online with all other participating broker websites, marketing the home to a much larger buyer population. And those MLS properties generally offer compensation to agents who represent buyers, incentivizing them to show and sell the property and again potentially enlarging the buyer pool.” If more buyers see a home, the greater the chances are that there could be a bidding war for the property.

    Three conclusions from the study:

    1. FSBOs achieve prices significantly lower than those from similar properties sold by Realtors using the MLS.
    2. The differential in selling prices for FSBOs when compared to MLS sales of similar properties is about 5.5%.
    3. The sales in 2017 suggest the average price was near 6% lower for FSBO sales of similar properties.

    Bottom Line

    If you are thinking of selling, FSBOing may end up costing you money instead of saving you money.

     


    August 23, 2017
    Want to Keep up with the Joneses? Now's the Time

    Want to Keep Up with the Joneses? Now’s the Time | MyKCM

    Does your current house fit your needs? Does it seem like everyone else is moving up and moving on to more luxurious surroundings? Are you wondering what it would take to start living your dream life?

    Market conditions around the country have presented an opportunity like no other for those who are looking to make the jump to a premium or luxury home.

    The National Association of Realtors reports that national inventory levels are now at a 4.3-month supply. A normal market, where prices appreciate with inflation, has 6-7-months inventory. The national market has echoed the conditions felt in the starter and trade-up markets as inventory has declined year-over-year for 25 consecutive months.

    The chart below shows the relationship between the inventory of homes for sale and prices.

    Want to Keep Up with the Joneses? Now’s the Time | MyKCM

    According to Trulia’s latest Inventory Report, the inventory of homes for sale in the two lower priced markets has dropped by double digit percentages over the last 12 months (16% for starter and 13% for trade-up homes). While the inventory of homes in the premium home category has dropped by only 4%.

    This has created a seller’s market in the lower-priced markets, as 54% of homes were on the market for less than a month in the last Realtors Confidence Index, and a buyer’s market in the luxury market, where homes were on the market for an average of 160 days according to the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing.

    Bottom Line

    If you are even thinking of listing your home and moving up to a luxury home, let’s get together to evaluate your ability to do so. Homeowners across the country are upgrading their homes, why can’t you? Your dream home is waiting!




    August 22, 2017
    More Boomerang Buyers Are about to Enter the Market

    More Boomerang Buyers Are about to Enter the Market | MyKCM

    We previously informed you about a study conducted by TransUnion titled, “The Bubble, the Burst and Now – What Happened to the Consumer?” The study revealed that 1.5 million homeowners who were negatively impacted by the housing crisis could re-enter the housing market between 2016-2019.

    RecentlyHousingWire analyzed data from the US Bankruptcy Courts and revealed that 6 million Americans will have their bankruptcies disappear off their credit reports over the next five years and that this could “possibly send a flood of more homebuyers into the housing market.

    The chart below shows the total number of bankruptcies filed by year in the US over the last 10 years. The light blue bars represent over 3.3 million people who have already waited the 7 years necessary for their reports to no longer include their bankruptcies.

    More Boomerang Buyers Are about to Enter the Market | MyKCM

     

    How would this “send a flood of more homebuyers into the housing market”?

    As the article mentioned, in 2010 the number of chapter 7 bankruptcies increased to nearly 1.14 million. Now, 7 years later, they will begin to fade from credit histories, enabling prospective buyers to become homeowners again once their credit scores improve.

    As we can see from both reports, the homeownership rate has the opportunity to increase drastically over the next few years with all of these boomerang buyers returning to the market.

    Bottom Line

    If your family was negatively impacted by the housing bust, here is the light at the end of the tunnel! You may be able to purchase your dream home faster than you think!




    August 21, 2017
    Why Is It Important to Use a Professional to Sell Your Home?

    Why Is It Important to Use a Professional to Sell Your Home? | MyKCM

    When a homeowner decides to sell their house, they obviously want the best possible price for it with the least amount of hassles along the way. However, for the vast majority of sellers, the most important result is actually getting their homes sold.

    In order to accomplish all three goals, a seller should realize the importance of using a real estate professional. We realize that technology has changed the purchaser’s behavior during the home buying process. According to the National Association of Realtors’ 2016 Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, the first step that “…44% of recent buyers took in the home buying process was to look online at properties for sale.

    However, the report also revealed that 96% of buyers who used the internet when searching for homes purchased their homes through either a real estate agent/broker or from a builder or builder’s agent. Only 2% purchased their homes directly from a seller whom the buyer didn’t know.

    Buyers search for a home online but then depend on an agent to find the home they will buy (50%), to negotiate the terms of the sale (47%) & price (36%), or to help understand the process (61%).

    The plethora of information now available has resulted in an increase in the percentage of buyers who reach out to real estate professionals to “connect the dots.” This is obvious, as the percentage of overall buyers who have used agents to buy their homes has steadily increased from 69% in 2001.

    Bottom Line

    If you are thinking of selling your home, don’t underestimate the role a real estate professional can play in the process.




    August 18, 2017
    To Stage...or Not to Stage? That Is the Question! [INFOGRAPHIC]

    To Stage...or Not to Stage? That Is the Question! [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

    Some Highlights:

    • The National Association of Realtors surveyed their members & released the findings of their Annual Profile of Home Staging.
    • 50% of staged homes saw a 1-10% increase in dollar value offers from buyers.
    • 77% of buyer’s agents said staging made it easier for buyers to visualize the home as their own.
    • The top rooms to stage to attract more buyers are the living room, master bedroom, kitchen, and dining room.




    August 17, 2017
    58% of Homeowners See a Drop in Home Values Coming

    58% of Homeowners See a Drop in Home Values Coming | MyKCM

    According to the recently released Modern Homebuyer Survey from ValueInsured58 percent of homeowners think there will be a “housing bubble and price correction” within the next 2 years.

    After what transpired just ten years ago, we can understand the concern Americans have about the current increase in home prices. However, this market has very little in common with what happened last decade.

    The two major causes of the housing crash were:

    1. A vast oversupply of housing inventory caused by home builders building at a pace that far exceeded historical norms.
    2. Lending standards that were so relaxed that unqualified buyers could easily obtain financing thus enabling them to purchase a home.

    Today, housing inventory is at a 20-year low with new construction starts well below historic norms and financing a home is anything but simple in the current mortgage environment. The elements that precipitated the housing crash a decade ago do not exist in today’s real estate market.

    The current increase in home prices is the result of a standard economic equation: when demand is high and supply is low, prices rise.

    If you are one of the 58% of homeowners who are concerned about home values depreciating over the next two years and are hesitant to move up to the home of your dreams, take comfort in the latest Home Price Expectation Survey.

    Once a quarter, a nationwide panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists are surveyed and asked to project home values over the next five years. The experts predicted that houses would continue to appreciate through the balance of this year and in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021. They do expect lower levels of appreciationduring these years than we have experienced over the last five years but do not call for a decrease in values (depreciation) in any of the years mentioned.

    Bottom Line

    If you currently own a home and are thinking of moving-up to the home your family dreams about, don’t let the fear of another housing bubble get in the way as this housing market in no way resembles the market of a decade ago.




    August 16, 2017
    Sellers: Your Home is an Oasis in an Inventory Desert

    Sellers: Your Home is an Oasis in an Inventory Desert | MyKCM

    First-time homebuyers are flocking to the real estate market by the thousands to find their dream homes in order to make their dreams of homeownership a reality. Unfortunately for many, the inventory of starter and trade-up homes in the US has struggled to keep up with demand!

    According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the inventory of homes for sale dropped 7.1% year-over-year to a 4.3-month supply and is down for the 25th consecutive month.

    Some homeowners may be hesitant to list their homes for sale because they are worried that they will also have a problem finding a home to buy and move in to. This is a legitimate concern; no one wants to sell their home quickly and not have anywhere to live.

    But there is good news! If you are thinking of moving up to a luxury or premium home, there is more inventory available in these markets and you may even get a great deal on a home that has been on the market for a while.

    If you are the owner of a starter home and you are looking to move into a trade-up home, or if you are just looking to relocate to a new area in a home of the same size, there is still hope!

    In many markets, homeowners are building contingency plans into their contracts. This means that the homeowner builds in extra time before they close in order to find their dream home and they are upfront about the contingency with any buyers who come to see the house.

    Your home is an oasis to buyers who are searching for homes in today’s market. The right buyers will sympathize and wait for you and your family to find your next home.

    Bottom Line

    Don’t let the fear of not finding a home to move in to stop you from moving on with your life. Let’s get together to discuss ways to set expectations with potential buyers from the start.




    August 15, 2017
    Homes Are Selling Quickly Nationwide

    The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released their latest Existing Home Sales Report, which revealed that homes were on the market for an average of 28 days in June. This is a slight increase from the 27 days reported in May, but down from 34 days reported a year ago.

    54% of homes across the country were on the market for less than a month in June!

    Among the 27 states with homes selling in 30 days or less are Washington, Utah, California, and Colorado. The map below was created using results from NAR’s Monthly Realtors Confidence Index Survey.

    Homes Are Selling Quickly Nationwide | MyKCM

    Bottom Line

    Buyer demand is increasing as the inventory of homes available for sale remains low. If you are thinking about listing your home for sale this year, let’s meet up so I can help you take advantage of current market conditions!




    August 14, 2017
    Homeowner’s Net Worth Is Still Greater Than a Renter’s

    Homeowner’s Net Worth Is Still Greater Than a Renter’s | MyKCM

    Every three years, the Federal Reserve conducts their Survey of Consumer Finances in which they collect data across all economic and social groups. The latest survey, which includes data from 2010-2013, reports that a homeowner’s net worth is 36 times greater than that of a renter ($194,500 vs. $5,400). 

    The latest survey data, covering 2014-2016 will be released later this year. In the meantime, Lawrence Yun, the National Association of Realtors’ Chief Economist estimates that the gap has widened even further, to 45 times greater ($225,000 vs. $5,000)! 

    Put Your Housing Cost to Work for You

    As we’ve said before, simply put, homeownership is a form of ‘forced savings.’ Every time you pay your mortgage, you are contributing to your net worth. Every time you pay your rent, you are contributing to your landlord’s net worth.

    The latest National Housing Pulse Survey from NAR reveals that 84% of consumers believe that purchasing a home is a good financial decision. William E. Brown comments:

    “Despite the growing concern over affordable housing, this survey makes it clear that a strong majority still believe in homeownership and aspire to own a home of their own. Building equity, wanting a stable and safe environment, and having the freedom to choose their neighborhood remain the top reasons to own a home. 

    Bottom Line

    If you are interested in finding out if you could put your housing cost to work for you by purchasing a home, let’s get together and evaluate your ability to buy today!




    August 11, 2017
    What State Gives You the Most ‘Bang for Your Buck’? [INFOGRAPHIC]

    Some Highlights:

    • Thinking of moving across the country? How far will your money take you?
    • The majority of states in the Midwest and South offer a lower cost of living compared to Northeast and Western states.
    • The ‘Biggest Bang for your Buck’ comes in Mississippi where, compared to the national average, you can actually purchase $116.01 worth of goods for $100.
    • For more information regarding the methodology used to create the map, visit the Tax Foundation.




    August 10, 2017
    Hey, Millennial Homeowners!! It May Be Time to Sell

    Hey, Millennial Homeowners!! It May Be Time to Sell | MyKCM

    Contrary to what many believe, Millennials are not the ‘renter’ generation. Millennials purchased a larger percentage (34%) of homes in the U.S. than any other age group in 2017 and the most recent Census Bureau report shows that the homeownership rate among Millennials is finally on the rise.

    Many Millennials took advantage of post housing crash prices and the First-Time Homebuyers’ Tax Credit and jumped into homeownership in 2010. If you are one of these buyers, now may be the time to sell for many reasons. Here are a few:

    1. Equity Build-Up

    Home prices have been on the rise since the beginning of 2012 and your house may have appreciated by more than you think. ATTOM Data Solutions, in their Q2 2017 U.S. Home Sales Report revealed that:

    “…homeowners who sold in the second quarter realized an average price gain of $51,000 since purchase — the highest average price gain for home sellers since Q2 2007, when it was $57,000.

    The average home seller price gain of $51,000 in Q2 2017 represented an average return of 26 percent on the previous purchase price of the home, the highest average home seller return since Q3 2007, when it was 27 percent.”

    2. Projected Home Price Increases

    If you just got married or just found out you are about to become a parent, you may have plans to move up a bigger home or perhaps move to a different area. Waiting to buy a more expensive home in this market probably doesn’t make sense. The experts contacted for the Home Price Expectation Survey are projecting home prices to increase by nearly 5% over the next year. Yes, your house’s price will increase but not as much as a home currently valued higher than yours.

    3. Projected Interest Rate Increases

    The Mortgage Bankers’ AssociationFreddie Mac, Fannie Mae and the National Association of Realtors are each projecting mortgage rates to increase over the next year.

    Higher PRICES + Higher INTEREST RATES = LARGER MORTGAGE PAYMENTS.

    Bottom Line

    If you are lucky enough to be one of those Millennials who purchased a house in 2010 (or even later), now might be the perfect time to move up to the home of your dreams!




    August 9, 2017
    Housing Inventory Hits 30-Year Low

    Housing Inventory Hits 30-Year Low

    Spring is traditionally the busiest season for real estate. Buyers, experiencing cabin fever all winter, emerge like flowers through the snow in search of their dream home. Homeowners, in preparation for the increased demand, are enticed to list their house for sale and move on to the home that will better fit their needs.

    New data from CoreLogic shows that even though buyers came out in force, as predicted, homeowners did not make the jump to list their home in the second quarter of this year. Frank Nothaft, Chief Economist for CoreLogic had this to say,

    “The growth in sales is slowing down, and this is not due to lack of affordability, but rather a lack of inventory. As of Q2 2017, the unsold inventory as a share of all households is 1.9 percent, which is the lowest Q2 reading in over 30 years.”

    CoreLogic’s President & CEO, Frank Martell added,

    “Home prices are marching ever higher, up almost 50 percent since the trough in March 2011.

    While low mortgage rates are keeping the market affordable from a monthly payment perspective, affordability will likely become a much bigger challenge in the years ahead until the industry resolves the housing supply challenge.”

    Overall inventory across the United States is down for the 25th consecutive month according to the latest report from the National Association of Realtors and now stands at a 4.3-month supply.

    Real estate is local.

    Market conditions in the starter and trade-up home markets are in line with the median US figures, but conditions in the luxury and premium markets are following an opposite path. Premium homes are staying on the market longer with ample inventory to suggest a buyer’s market.

    Bottom Line

    Buyers are out in force, and there has never been a better time to move-up to a premium or luxury home. If you are considering selling your starter or trade-up home and moving up this year, let’s get together to discuss the exact conditions in our area.




    August 8, 2017
    93.9% Of Homes in The US Have Positive Equity

    93.9% Of Homes in The US Have Positive Equity | MyKCM

    CoreLogic’s latest Equity Report revealed that ninety-one thousand residential properties regained equity in Q1 2017. The outlook for 2017 remains positive as well, as an additional 600 thousand properties will regain equity if home prices rise another 5% this year.

    The study also revealed that:

    • Roughly 63% of all homeowners have seen their equity increase since Q1 2016
    • The average homeowner gained about $14,000 in equity between Q1 2016 and Q1 2017
    • Only 1.6% of residential properties are near-negative equity

    Below is a map showing the percentage of homes with a mortgage, in each state, that have positive equity. (The states in gray have insufficient data to report.)

    93.9% Of Homes in The US Have Positive Equity | MyKCM

    Significant Equity Is On The Rise

    Frank Martell, President & CEO of CoreLogic, believes this is great news for the “long-term health of the U.S. economy.” He went on to say:

    “Homeowner equity increased by $766 billion over the last year, the largest increase since Q2 2014. The rising cushion of home equity is one of the main drivers of improved mortgage performance. Since home equity is the largest source of homeowner wealth, the increase in home equity also supports consumer balance sheets, spending and the broader economy.”

    Of the 93.9% of homeowners with positive equity in the US, 78.8% have significant equity (defined as more than 20%). This means that nearly three out of four homeowners with a mortgage could use the equity in their current home to purchase a new home, now.

    The map below shows the percentage of homes with a mortgage, in each state, that have significant equity. (The states in gray have insufficient data to report.)

    93.9% Of Homes in The US Have Positive Equity | MyKCM

    Bottom Line 

    If you are one of the many homeowners who are unsure of how much equity they have in their homes and are curious about their ability to move, let’s meet up to evaluate your situation.




    August 7, 2017
    How Long Do Most Families Stay in Their Home?

    How Long Do Most Families Stay in Their Home? | MyKCM

    The National Association of Realtors (NAR) keeps historical data on many aspects of homeownership. One of the data points that has changed dramatically is the median tenure of a family in a home, meaning how long a family stays in a home prior to moving. As the graph below shows, for over twenty years (1985-2008), the median tenure averaged exactly six years. However, since 2008, that average is almost nine years – an increase of almost 50%.

    How Long Do Most Families Stay in Their Home? | MyKCM

    Why the dramatic increase?

    The reasons for this change are plentiful!

    The fall in home prices during the housing crisis left many homeowners in a negative equity situation (where their home was worth less than the mortgage on the property). Also, the uncertainty of the economy made some homeowners much more fiscally conservative about making a move.

    With home prices rising dramatically over the last several years, 93.9% of homes with a mortgage are now in a positive equity situation with 78.8% of them having at least 20% equity, according to CoreLogic.

    With the economy coming back and wages starting to increase, many homeowners are in a much better financial situation than they were just a few short years ago.

    One other reason for the increase was brought to light by NAR in their 2017 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report. According to the report,

    Sellers 36 years and younger stayed in their home for six years…”

    These homeowners who are either looking for more space to accommodate their growing families or for better school districts are more likely to move more often (compared to 10 years for typical sellers in 2016). The homeownership rate among young families, however, has still not caught up to previous generations, resulting in the jump we have seen in median tenure!

    What does this mean for housing?

    Many believe that a large portion of homeowners are not in a house that is best for their current family circumstance; They could be baby boomers living in an empty, four-bedroom colonial, or a millennial couple living in a one-bedroom condo planning to start a family.

    These homeowners are ready to make a move, and since a lack of housing inventory is still a major challenge in the current housing market, this could be great news.




    August 4, 2017
    20 Tips for Preparing Your House for Sale [INFOGRAPHIC]

    20 Tips for Preparing Your House for Sale [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

    Some Highlights:

    • When listing your house for sale your top goal will be to get the home sold for the best price possible!
    • There are many small projects that you can do to ensure this happens!
    • Your real estate agent will have a list of specific suggestions for getting your house ready for market and is a great resource for finding local contractors who can help!




    August 3, 2017
    Millennial Homeownership Rate Increases

    Millennial Homeownership Rate Increases | MyKCM

    Recent headlines exclaimed the homeownership rate, as reported by the Census Bureau, rose again in the second quarter of 2017. What didn’t get much attention in the reports is that the homeownership rate for American households under the age of 35 increased a full percentage point from last quarter’s 34.3% to 35.3%. Millennials proved to have the highest increase of any age group.

    This came as a surprise to some considering Millennials have come to be known as the “renter” generation. However, a new study by First American6 Trends Poised to Reshape Homeownership Demandrevealed reasons why homeownership numbers will continue to increase for Millennials.

    Millennials are the most educated generation in the U.S.

    Why does that matter? First American explains:

    “Our model shows that, all other factors being equal, the likelihood of homeownership increases by 3 percent for those that earn a bachelor’s degree over those with a high school degree. The likelihood of homeownership jumps another 3 percent for those that earn a graduate degree.”

    The more educated, the better the likelihood for homeownership. And, as we mentioned: Millennials are the most educated generation in the U.S.

    Homes & marriage go together

    Marriage is a key determinate in homeownership. According to an analysis by First American, the homeownership rate is 30% higher among married couples compared to non-married households.

    Millennials have put off marriage in the pursuit of higher education. As this group ages, more and more will marry and purchase a home.

    Parents buy houses

    According to the study:

    “The homeownership rate is 1.7% higher for households with one or two children compared to households with no children, and it is 5.4 percent higher for households with three or more children.”

    The report goes on to say that as Millennials grow older there may be an increase in not just marriage but also in married couples with children. That will probably also create a “corresponding” increase in homeownership demand.

    Wages and the economy

    The study goes on to explain that recent gains in income growth and a strengthening economy will also help all generations (including Millennials) be more willing and able to purchase a new home.

    Bottom Line

    We guess the time has come to announce – Here come the Millennials!!




    August 2, 2017
    Do Your Future Plans Include a Move? What's Stopping You from Listing Now?

    Do Your Future Plans Include a Move? What's Stopping You from Listing Now? | MyKCM

    Are you an empty-nester? Do you want to retire where you are, or does a vacation destination sound more your style? Are you close to retirement and not ready to move yet, but living in a home that is too big in size and maintenance needs?

    How can you line up your current needs with your goals and dreams for the future? The answer for many might be the equity you have in your house.

    According to the latest Equity Report from CoreLogic, the average homeowner in the United States gained $14,000 in equity over the course of the last year. On the West Coast, homeowners gained twice that amount, with homeowners in Washington gaining an average of $38,000!

    Do you know how much your home has appreciated over the last year?

    Many homeowners would be able to easily sell their current house and use the profits from that sale to purchase a condo nearby in order to continue working while eliminating some of the daily maintenance of owning a house (ex. lawn care, snow removal).

    With the additional cash gained from the sale of the home, you could put down a sizeable down payment on a vacation/retirement home in the location that you would like to eventually retire to. While you will not yet be able to live there full-time, you can rent out your property during peak vacation times and pay off your mortgage faster.

    Purchasing your retirement home now will allow you to take full advantage of today’s seller’s market, allow you to cash in on the equity you have already built, and take comfort in knowing that a plan is in place for a smooth transition into retirement.

    Bottom Line

    There are many reasons to relocate in retirement, including a change in climate, proximity to family & grandchildren, and so much more. What are the reasons you want to move? Are the reasons to stay more important? Let’s get together to discuss your current equity situation and the options available for you, today!




    August 1, 2017
    Be Careful Not to Get Caught in The Rental Trap!

    Be Careful Not to Get Caught in The Rental Trap! | MyKCM

    There are many benefits to homeownership. One of the top benefits is being able to protect yourself from rising rents by locking in your housing cost for the life of your mortgage.

    Don’t Become Trapped 

    A recent article by ConsumerAffairs addressed the continuous rise in rents, stating:

    “The cost of putting a roof over your head continues to go up. Not only are home prices still rising, but the cost of rent rose 0.5% in June.”

    Additionally, in the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University’s 2017 State of the Nation’s Housing Report, it was revealed that,

    “Despite a slight improvement from 2014, fully one-third of US households paid more than 30 percent of their incomes for housing in 2015. Renters continue to be more likely to face cost burdens…the number of cost-burdened renters (21 million) considerably outstrips the number of cost-burdened owners (18 million) even though nearly two-thirds of US households own their homes.”

    These households struggle to save for a rainy day and pay other bills, including groceries and healthcare.

    It’s Cheaper to Buy Than Rent 

    As we have previously mentioned, the results of the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia shows that homeownership remains cheaper than renting with a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage in the 100 largest metro areas in the United States.

    The updated numbers show that the range is an average of 3.5% less expensive in San Jose (CA), all the way up to 50.1% less expensive in Baton Rouge (LA), and 33.1% nationwide!

    Know Your Options

    Perhaps you have already saved enough to buy your first home. A nationwide survey of about 24,000 renters found that 80% of millennial renters plan to eventually buy a house, but 72% cite affordability as their primary obstacle. Aside from affordability, one in three millennial renters have concerns about their credit scores, and another 53% said that a down payment is an obstacle.

    Many first-time homebuyers who believe that they need a large down payment may be holding themselves back from their dream homes. As we have reported before, in many areas of the country, a first-time home buyer can save for a 3% down payment in less than two years. You may have already saved enough!

    Bottom Line

    Don’t get caught in the trap that so many renters are currently in. If you are ready and willing to buy a home, find out if you are able. Let’s get together to determine if you can qualify for a mortgage now!




    July 31, 2017
    Buyer Demand Continues Outpacing the Supply of Homes for Sale

    Buyer Demand Continues Outpacing the Supply of Homes for Sale | MyKCM

    The price of any item is determined by the supply of that item, as well as the market demand. The National Association of REALTORS(NAR) surveys “over 50,000 real estate practitioners about their expectations for home sales, prices and market conditions” for their monthly REALTORS Confidence Index.

    Their latest edition sheds some light on the relationship between Seller Traffic (supply) and Buyer Traffic (demand).

    Buyer Demand

    The map below was created after asking the question: “How would you rate buyer traffic in your area?”

    Buyer Traffic | MyKCM

    The darker the blue, the stronger the demand for homes in that area. Only three states had a ‘stable’ demand level.

    Seller Supply

    The index also asked: “How would you rate seller traffic in your area?”

    As you can see from the map below, 21 states report a ‘weak’ sellers traffic, 25 states report a ‘stable’ sellers traffic, only 4 states and DC report a ‘strong’ sellers traffic. Meaning there are far fewer homes on the market than what is needed to satisfy the buyers who are out looking for their dream homes.

    Seller Traffic | MyKCM

    Bottom Line

    Looking at the maps above, it is not hard to see why prices are appreciating in many areas of the country. Until the supply of homes for sale starts to meet the buyer demand, prices will continue to increase. If you are debating listing your home for sale, let’s get together to help you capitalize on the demand in the market now!




    July 28, 2017
    Inventory Drops Again, Sales Slow [INFOGRAPHIC]

    Highlights:

    • Existing Home Sales are now at an annual pace of 5.52 million.
    • Inventory of existing homes for sale dropped to a 4.3-month supply, marking the 25th month in a row of declines.
    • The median price of homes sold in June was $263,800. This is the 64th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains.




    July 27, 2017
    Americans Still Believe Real Estate is Best Long-Term Investment

    Americans Still Believe Real Estate is Best Long-Term Investment | MyKCM

    According to Bankrate’s latest Financial Security Index Poll, Americans who have money to set aside for the next 10 years would rather invest in real estate than any other type of investment.

    Bankrate asked Americans to answer the following question:

    “What is the best way to invest money you wouldn’t need for 10 years or more?”

     

    Real Estate came in as the top choice with 28% of all respondents (3% higher than last year), while cash investments - such as savings accounts and CD’s - came in second with 23% (the same as last year). The chart below shows the full results:

    Americans Still Believe Real Estate is Best Long-Term Investment | MyKCM

    The article points out several reasons for these results:

    “After bottoming out at the end of 2011 following the worst housing collapse in generations, home prices have gone gangbusters recently, climbing back above their record pre-crisis levels. Prices jumped 6.6 percent during the 12 months that ended in May, according to CoreLogic.

    Toss in persistently low interest rates, tax goodies that come with owning a mortgage, and the psychological payoff from planting your roots, and maybe it’s no wonder real estate remains popular.”

    The article also revealed that:

    “Bankrate’s Financial Security Index — based on survey questions about how people feel about their debt, savings, net worth, job security and overall financial situation — has hit its third-highest level since the poll’s inception in December 2010.”

    Bottom Line

    We have often written about the financial and non-financial reasons homeownership makes sense. It is nice to see that Americans still believe in homeownership as the best investment.




    July 26, 2017
    A ‘Buyer’ in Hand is Worth Two in the Bush

    A ‘Buyer’ in Hand is Worth Two in the Bush | MyKCM

    In today’s highly competitive seller’s market where there are more buyers than there are homes for them to buy, some sellers may feel like the ball is in their court.

    And they would be right when it comes to choosing which offer to accept, the closing date, or even which improvements they are willing to make to their house prior to selling.

    One thing to remember though, is that there is always a line that shouldn’t be crossed.

    Interest rates can change, financing might not go through, the appraisal might not come back at the price that you have agreed to. These are all opportunities to work with your buyer to make sure that the sale still happens.

    You may think that, because buyer demand is so high right now, you can choose to make your buyer jump through hoops. But what happens if they reach their limit and need to walk away? You’re starting over… weeks, maybe months later… and other buyers may wonder what’s wrong with the house since the last deal fell through.

    The Golden Rule

    We were all taught from a young age to “treat others as you would like to be treated.” This shouldn’t change once you have a buyer who seems as though they would do anything to buy your home.




    July 25, 2017
    Rising Home Prices Mean Great News for Homeowners

    Rising Home Prices Mean Great News for Homeowners | MyKCM

    Recently there has been a lot of talk about home prices and if they are accelerating too quickly. As we mentioned before, in some areas of the country, seller supply (homes for sale) cannot keep up with the number of buyers who are out looking for homes, which has caused prices to rise.

    The great news about rising prices, however, is that according to CoreLogic’s Homeowner Equity Report, the average American household gained over $14,000 in equity over the course of the last year, largely due to home value increases.

    The map below was created using the same report from CoreLogic and shows the average equity gain per mortgaged home during the 1st quarter of 2017 (the latest data available).

    Rising Home Prices Mean Great News for Homeowners | MyKCM

    For those who are worried that we are doomed to repeat 2006 all over again, it is important to note that homeowners are investing their new-found equity in their homes and themselves, not in depreciating assets.

    The added equity is helping families put their children through college, invest in starting small businesses, pay off their mortgages sooner and even move up to the home that will better suit their needs now.

    Bottom Line

    If you are a homeowner looking to take advantage of your home equity by moving up to your dream home, let’s get together to discuss your options!




    July 24, 2017
    U.S. Housing Inventory Hits a New Low… List Your House TODAY!

    U.S. Housing Inventory Hits a New Low… List Your House TODAY! | MyKCM

    Every summer, families across the country decide if this will be the year they sell their current house and move into their dream home.

    Mortgage rates have hovered around 4% for all of 2017, forcing buyers off the fence and into the market, resulting in incredibly strong demand RIGHT NOW!! At the same time, inventory levels of homes for sale have dropped dramatically as compared to this time last year.

    Trulia reported that “U.S. home inventory has tumbled 8.9% over the past year and has now fallen for nine consecutive quarters.” There is now 20% less inventory than there was five years ago.

    Here is a chart showing the decrease in inventory levels by category:

    U.S. Housing Inventory Hits a New Low… List Your House TODAY! | MyKCM

    Bottom Line

    Demand for your home is very strong right now while your competition (other homes for sale) is at a historically low level. If you are thinking of selling in 2017, now may be the perfect time.




    July 21, 2017
    Singles Are Falling for Their Dream Home First [INFOGRAPHIC]

    Singles Are Falling for Their Dream Home First [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

    Some Highlights:

    • According to NAR’s Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, the share of recent homebuyers who were single at the time of purchase held steady at 24% last year.
    • The percentage of first-time buyers who were single females rose to 17% (up from 16%), as the share of single men dropped from 11% to 8%.
    • The primary reason for buying a home amongst singles was the desire to own a home of their own (38% for women and 37% for men).




    July 20, 2017
    84% of Americans Believe Buying a Home is a Good Financial Decision

    84% of Americans Believe Buying a Home is a Good Financial Decision | MyKCM

    According to the National Association of Realtors®’ 2017 National Housing Pulse Survey84% of Americans now believe that purchasing a home is a good financial decision. This is the highest percentage since 2007 – before the housing crisis. Those surveyed pointed out five major reasons why they believe homeownership is a good financial decision:

    1. Homeownership means the money you spend on housing goes towards building equity, rather than to a landlord
    2. Homeownership creates the opportunity to pay off a mortgage and own your home by the time you retire
    3. Homeownership is an investment opportunity that builds long-term wealth and increases net worth
    4. Homeownership means a stable and predictable monthly mortgage payment
    5. Homeownership allows for various deductions on federal, state, and local income taxes

    The survey also revealed that the majority of Americans strongly agree that homeownership helps create safe, secure, and stable environments.

    Bottom Line

    Homeownership has always been and still is a crucial part of the American Dream.




    July 19, 2017
    3 Tips to Succeed in Today’s Real Estate Market

    3 Tips to Succeed in Today’s Real Estate Market | MyKCM

    In today’s highly competitive real estate market, where inventory levels are not keeping up with the constant stream of buyer demand, there are steps you can take to ensure you are most prepared for success when buying a home.

    The 3 tips we are going to expand on today come from a recent blog by Trulia entitled, The Skinny on Skinny Inventory. 

    1. Be Prepared

    “Homebuyers should talk with a lender, real estate agent, and a home inspector BEFORE finding a home to make an offer on.”

    Being intentional, pre-approved, and prepared will set you up for the accelerated time tables that come with a highly competitive market. If you are the most prepared buyer interested in a home, if you have already secured financial approval, and if you are ready to move fast, your bid will be that much more attractive to a seller.

    2. Think Strategically

    “Starter homebuyers don’t have a home to sell and can be flexible on closing dates compared to homebuyers who are also trying to sell at the same time.”

    If you are one of the many first-time buyers looking for your dream home, know that being strategic and flexible about closing dates can also help your offer stand out from the rest. But don’t fret if you are a homeowner who will also have to sell your own house first – be upfront about your timeline with your agent and with any offers you make.

    3. Seek Out the Ugly Ducklings

    “Buyers might consider looking for homes that have been on the market for a while and investigate why. The reasons may be a deal-killer but all it takes is one ugly duckling to turn into a swan.”

    Finding a fixer-upper or a home that needs a little love might be your best way to guarantee that you are able to find a home in the neighborhood that you want. The worst house on the best block will go for a steal and offer instant equity once you fix it up!

    Bottom Line

    In today’s market, full of bidding wars and tough competition, finding ways to stand out from the rest by getting creative will improve your chances of having a home to call your own.




    July 18, 2017
    Thinking of Selling? You Should Act NOW!

    Thinking of Selling? You Should Act NOW! | MyKCM

    If you thought about selling your house this year, now more than ever may be the time to do it! The inventory of homes for sale is well below historic norms and buyer demand is skyrocketing. We were still in high school when we learned the concept of supply and demand: the best time to sell something is when supply of that item is low and demand for that item is high. That defines today’s real estate market.

    Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors, recently commented:

    “Buyer interest is solid, but there is just not enough supply to satisfy demand. Prospective buyers are being sidelined by both limited choices and home prices that are climbing too fast.”

    Yun goes on to say:

    "Current demand levels indicate sales should be stronger, but it's clear some would-be buyers are having to delay or postpone their home search because low supply is leading to worsening affordability conditions."

    In this type of market, a seller may hold a major negotiating advantage when it comes to price and other aspects of the real estate transaction, including the inspection, appraisal and financing contingencies.

    Bottom Line

    As a potential seller, you are in the driver’s seat right now. It might be time to hit the gas.




    July 17, 2017
    3 Questions to Ask Before You Buy Your Dream Home

    3 Questions to Ask Before You Buy Your Dream Home | MyKCM

    If you are debating purchasing a home right now, you are probably getting a lot of advice. Though your friends and family will have your best interests at heart, they may not be fully aware of your needs and what is currently happening in the real estate market.

    Ask yourself the following 3 questions to help determine if now is a good time for you to buy in today’s market.

    1. Why am I buying a home in the first place? 

    This is truly the most important question to answer. Forget the finances for a minute. Why did you even begin to consider purchasing a home? For most, the reason has nothing to do with money.

    For example, a survey by Braun showed that over 75% of parents say, “their child’s education is an important part of the search for a new home.”

    This survey supports a study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University which revealed that the top four reasons Americans buy a home have nothing to do with money. They are:

    • A good place to raise children and for them to get a good education
    • A place where you and your family feel safe
    • More space for you and your family
    • Control of that space

    What does owning a home mean to you? What non-financial benefits will you and your family gain from owning a home? The answer to that question should be the biggest reason you decide to purchase or not.

    2. Where are home values headed?

    According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median price of homes sold in May (the latest data available) was $252,800, which is up 5.8% from last year. This increase also marks the 63rd consecutive month with year-over-year gains.

    If we look at home prices year over year, CoreLogic is forecasting an increase of 5.3% over the next twelve months. In other words, a home that costs you $250,000 today will cost you an additional $13,250 if you wait until next year to buy it.

    What does that mean to you?

    Simply put, with prices increasing each month, it might cost you more if you wait until next year to buy. Your down payment will also need to be higher in order to account for the higher price of the home you wish to buy. 

    3. Where are mortgage interest rates headed?

    A buyer must be concerned about more than just prices. The ‘long-term cost’ of a home can be dramatically impacted by even a small increase in mortgage rates.

    The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), NAR, and Fannie Mae have all projected that mortgage interest rates will increase over the next twelve months, as you can see in the chart below:

    3 Questions to Ask Before You Buy Your Dream Home | MyKCM

    Bottom Line

    Only you and your family will know for certain if now is the right time to purchase a home. Answering these questions will help you make that decision.




    July 14, 2017
    Home Buying Myths Slayed [INFOGRAPHIC]

    Home Buying Myths Slayed [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

    Some Highlights:

    • Interest rates are still below historic numbers.
    • 88% of property managers raised their rent in the last 12 months!
    • The credit score requirements for mortgage approval continue to fall




    July 12, 2017
    Homeowners: Your Home Must Be Sold TWICE

    Homeowners: Your Home Must Be Sold TWICE | MyKCM

    In today’s housing market, where supply is very low and demand is very high, home values are increasing rapidly. Many experts are projecting that home values could appreciate by another 5%+ over the next twelve months. One major challenge in such a market is the bank appraisal.

    If prices are surging, it is difficult for appraisers to find adequate, comparable sales (similar houses in the neighborhood that recently closed) to defend the selling price when performing the appraisal for the bank.

    Every month in their Home Price Perception Index (HPPI), Quicken Loans measures the disparity between what a homeowner who is seeking to refinance their home believes their house is worth, as compared to an appraiser’s evaluation of that same home.

    Bill Banfield, VP of Capital Markets at Quicken Loans urges anyone looking to buy or sell in today’s market to remember the impact of this challenge: 

    “While a 1 or 2 percent difference in home value opinions may not seem like a lot, it could be enough to derail a mortgage.

    A homeowner [or a buyer] could be forced to bring more cash to closing in order to make a mortgage work if the appraisal is lower than expected. On the other hand, if an appraisal comes in higher, they could be surprised with more equity than they had planned. Either way, if owners are aware of their local markets it will lead to smoother mortgage transactions.”

    The chart below illustrates the changes in home price estimates over the last 12 months.

    Homeowners: Your Home Must Be Sold TWICE | MyKCM

    Bottom Line

    Every house on the market has to be sold twice; once to a prospective buyer and then to the bank (through the bank’s appraisal). With escalating prices, the second sale might be even more difficult than the first. If you are planning on entering the housing market this year, let’s get together to discuss this and any other obstacle that may arise.




    July 10, 2017
    5 Reasons Why You Should Not For Sale By Owner!

    5 Reasons Why You Should Not For Sale By Owner! | MyKCM

    In today’s market, with home prices rising and a lack of inventory, some homeowners may consider trying to sell their homes on their own, known in the industry as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO). There are several reasons why this might not be a good idea for the vast majority of sellers.

    Here are the top five reasons:

    1. Exposure to Prospective Buyers 

    Recent studies have shown that 94% of buyers search online for a home. That is in comparison to only 16% looking at print newspaper ads. Most real estate agents have an internet strategy to promote the sale of your home. Do you?

    2. Results Come from the Internet

    Where did buyers find the homes they actually purchased?

    • 51% on the internet
    • 34% from a Real Estate Agent
    • 8% from a yard sign
    • 1% from newspapers

    The days of selling your house by just putting up a sign and putting it in the paper are long gone. Having a strong internet strategy is crucial.

    3. There Are Too Many People to Negotiate With 

    Here is a list of some of the people with whom you must be prepared to negotiate if you decide to For Sale by Owner:

    • The buyer who wants the best deal possible
    • The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
    • The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country)
    • The home inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house
    • The appraiser if there is a question of value

    4. FSBOing Has Become More And More Difficult

    The paperwork involved in selling and buying a home has increased dramatically as industry disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. This is one of the reasons that the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 8% over the last 20+ years. 

    The 8% share represents the lowest recorded figure since NAR began collecting data in 1981.

    5. You Net More Money When Using an Agent 

    Many homeowners believe that they will save the real estate commission by selling on their own. Realize that the main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe they can save the real estate agent’s commission. The seller and buyer can’t both save the commission.

    Studies have shown that the typical house sold by the homeowner sells for $185,000, while the typical house sold by an agent sells for $245,000. This doesn’t mean that an agent can get $60,000 more for your home, as studies have shown that people are more likely to FSBO in markets with lower price points. However, it does show that selling on your own might not make sense.

    Bottom Line

    Before you decide to take on the challenges of selling your house on your own, let’s get together and discuss the options available in your market today.




    July 7, 2017
    Median Days on the Market Drops to 27! [INFOGRAPHIC]

    Median Days on the Market Drops to 27! [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

    Some Highlights:

    • The National Association of REALTORS® surveyed their members for their monthly Confidence Index.
    • The REALTORS® Confidence Index is a key indicator of housing market strength based on a monthly survey sent to over 50,000 real estate practitioners. Practitioners are asked about their expectations for home sales, prices and market conditions.
    • Homes sold in less than a month in 24 out of 50 states, and Washington D.C.
    • Homes typically went under contract in 27 days in May!




    July 6, 2017
    Epic Housing Shortage Being Reported

    Epic Housing Shortage Being Reported | MyKCM

    The Joint Center of Housing Studies (JCHS) at Harvard University recently released their 2017 State of the Nation’s Housing Study, and a recent blog from JCHS revealed some of the more surprising aspects of the study.

    The first two revelations centered around the shortage of housing inventory currently available in both existing homes and new construction.

    Regarding Existing Home Inventory:

    “For the fourth year in a row, the inventory of homes for sale across the US not only failed to recover, but dropped yet again. At the end of 2016 there were historically low 1.65 million homes for sale nationwide, which at the current sales rate was just 3.6 months of supply - almost half of the 6.0 months level that is considered a balanced market.”

    Regarding New Home Inventory:

    “Markets nationwide are still feeling the effects of the deep and extended decline in housing construction. Over the past 10 years, just 9 million new housing units were completed and added to the housing stock. This was the lowest 10-year period on records dating back to the 1970s, and far below the 14 and 15 million units averaged over the 1980s and 1990s.”

    Bottom Line

    The biggest challenge in today’s market is getting current homeowners and builders to realize the opportunity they have to maximize profit by selling and/or building NOW!!




    July 5, 2017
    Be Thankful You Don’t Have to Pay Mom and Dad’s Interest Rate

    Be Thankful You Don’t Have to Pay Mom and Dad’s Interest Rate | MyKCM

    Interest rates have hovered around 4% for the majority of 2017, which has given many buyers relief from rising home prices and has helped with affordability. Experts predict that rates will increase by the end of 2017 and will be about three-quarters of a percentage point higher, at 4.5%, by the end of 2018.

    Last week’s Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey revealed that interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage have fallen to their lowest mark this year, at 3.88%. This is great news for homebuyers looking to purchase and homeowners looking to refinance.

    The rate you secure greatly impacts your monthly mortgage payment and the amount you will ultimately pay for your home.

    Let’s take a look at a historical view of interest rates over the last 45 years.

    Be Thankful You Don’t Have to Pay Mom and Dad’s Interest Rate | MyKCM

    Bottom Line

    Be thankful that you can still get a better interest rate than your older brother or sister did ten years ago, a lower rate than your parents did twenty years ago, and a better rate than your grandparents did forty years ago.




    July 4, 2017
    Your Opportunity to Achieve the American Dream Keeps Getting Better!

    Your Opportunity to Achieve the American Dream Keeps Getting Better! | MyKCM

    Forbes.com recently released the latest results of their American Dream Index, in which they measure “the prosperity of the middle class, and…examine which states best support the American Dream.”

    The monthly index measures several different economic factors, including goods-producing employment, personal and commercial bankruptcies, building permits, startup activity, unemployment insurance claims, labor force participation, and layoffs.

    The national index score was rounded out to 100.0 in January as a baseline for comparison and it rose the fourth straight month in a row to 101.8.

    Alaska, coming in at 89.4, represented the lowest score on the index due in part to the recent collapse in oil prices. In contrast, Wyoming came in with the highest score at 115.1. The full results can be seen in the map below.

    Your Opportunity to Achieve the American Dream Keeps Getting Better! | MyKCM

    Forbes Senior Editor Kurt Badenhausen explained why many states saw a boost in the index last month:

    “The American Dream Index rose for the fourth straight month to 101.8 propelled by gains in goods-producing jobs and building permits, as well as declines in unemployment claims and mass layoffs.

    Goods-producing jobs (manufacturing, mining, construction and agriculture) were up for the ninth straight month in May…Building permits rose for the fourth straight month compared to the prior year.”

    Bottom Line

    The American Dream, for many, includes being able to own a home of one’s own. With the economy improving in many areas of the country, that dream can finally become a reality.




    July 3, 2017
    NAR Data Shows Now Is a Great Time to Sell!

    NAR Data Shows Now Is a Great Time to Sell! | MyKCM

    We all realize that the best time to sell anything is when demand is high and the supply of that item is limited. Two major reports issued by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed information that suggests that now continues to be a great time to sell your house.

    Let’s look at the data covered in the latest REALTORS® Confidence Index and Existing Home Sales Report.

    REALTORS® CONFIDENCE INDEX

    Every month, NAR surveys “over 50,000 real estate practitioners about their expectations for home sales, prices and market conditions.”This month, the index showed (again) that home-buying demand continued to outpace supply in May.

    The map below illustrates buyer demand broken down by state (the darker your state, the stronger the demand is there).

    NAR Data Shows Now Is a Great Time to Sell! | MyKCM

    In addition to revealing high demand, the index also mentioned that “compared to conditions in the same month last year, seller traffic conditions were ‘weak’ in 24 states, ‘stable’ in 25 states, and ‘strong’ in D.C and West Virginia. 

    Takeaway: Demand for housing continues to be strong throughout 2017, but supply is struggling to keep up, and this trend is likely to continue into 2018.

    THE EXISTING HOME SALES REPORT

    The most important data revealed in the report was not sales, but was instead the inventory of homes for sale (supply). The report explained:

    • Total housing inventory rose 2.1% to 1.96 million homes available for sale
    • That represents a 4.2-month supply at the current sales pace
    • Unsold inventory is 8.4% lower than a year ago, marking the 24th consecutive month with year-over-year declines

    According to Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR:

    "Current demand levels indicate sales should be stronger, but it’s clear some would-be buyers are having to delay or postpone their home search because low supply is leading to worsening affordability conditions.”

    In real estate, there is a guideline that often applies; when there is less than a 6-month supply of inventory available, we are in a seller’s market and we will see appreciation. Between 6-7 months is a neutral market, where prices will increase at the rate of inflation. More than a 7-month supply means we are in a buyer’s market and should expect depreciation in home values.

    As we mentioned before, there is currently a 4.2- month supply, and houses are going under contract fast. The Confidence Indexshows that 55% of properties were on the market for less than a month when sold.

    In May, properties sold nationally were typically on the market for 27 days. As Yun notes, this will continue, unless more listings come to the market.

    "With new and existing supply failing to catch up with demand, several markets this summer will continue to see homes going under contract at this remarkably fast pace of under a month.”

    Takeaway: Inventory of homes for sale is still well below the 6-month supply needed for a normal market. And the supply will continue to ‘fail to catch up with demand’ if a ‘sizable’ supply does not enter the market.

    Bottom Line

    If you are going to sell, now may be the time to take advantage of the ready, willing, and able buyers that are still out searching for your house.




    June 30, 2017
    Existing Home Sales Surge into Summer [INFOGRAPHIC]

    Existing Home Sales Surge into Summer [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

    Some Highlights:

    • Existing Home Sales reached their third highest mark this year in May.
    • Inventory of homes for sale has dropped 8.4% since last year, marking the 24th consecutive month of year-over-year declines.
    • NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun had this to say: “Those able to close on a home last month are probably feeling both happy and relieved. Listings in the affordable price range are scarce, homes are coming off the market at an extremely fast pace and the prevalence of multiple offers in some markets are pushing prices higher.”




    June 29, 2017
    75% of Homeowners Think Now is a Good Time to Sell!

    75% of Homeowners Think Now is a Good Time to Sell! | MyKCM

    The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released the findings of their Q2 Homeownership Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) Survey. The report covers core topics like, “if now is a good time to buy or sell a home, the perception of home price changes, perceived ability to qualify for a mortgage, and [an] outlook on the U.S. economy.”

    The survey revealed that 75% of homeowners think now is a good time to sell, compared to 70% last quarter. This is a considerable increase from more than a year ago when 66% agreed.

    Even though homeowners believe that now is a good time to sell, many have not taken the step to list their homes, as inventory shortages still exist across the country. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s Chief Economist, had this to say:

    "There are just not enough homeowners deciding to sell because they’re either content where they are, holding off until they build more equity, or hesitant seeing as it will be difficult to find an affordable home to buy...

    As a result, inventory conditions have worsened and are restricting sales from breaking out while contributing to price appreciation that remains far above income growth.”

    Bottom Line

    If you are wondering if now is a good time to sell your house, let’s get together to discuss the opportunities available in our market.




    June 28, 2017
    Buyer's Market Helps Premium Home Sales Soar

    Buyer's Market Helps Premium Home Sales Soar | MyKCM

    We previously reported how a shortage of inventory in the starter and trade-up home markets is driving prices up and causing bidding wars, creating a true seller’s market. At the same time, in the premium home market, an over-abundance of inventory has started to see prices come down and put buyers in the driver’s seat, creating the beginning of a buyer’s market.

    Last week, the National Association of Realtors released their Existing Home Sales Report which shed some additional light on the impact of inventory levels on sales in each price range.

    The chart below shows the year-over-year difference in sales at each price range.

    Buyer's Market Helps Premium Home Sales Soar | MyKCM

    The under $100K range has shown declines in recent years due to the shortage of distressed homes available for sale (just 5% of sales this past month, compared to 35% in January 2012). Sales in the next two price ranges are no doubt being hindered by low inventory as buyers compete for the same home.

    NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun, explained:

    "Those able to close on a home last month are probably feeling both happy and relieved. Listings in the affordable price range are scarce, homes are coming off the market at an extremely fast pace and the prevalence of multiple offers in some markets are pushing prices higher."

    The biggest surprise? This is the first time in years where the $1M and up price range had the highest jump in sales when compared to last year and to all other price ranges (29.1%)! The two price ranges right underneath the $1M range were a close second and third. As the price went up, so did the sales!

    With additional inventory available in the higher price ranges, and the economy improving, many luxury buyers are finding it easier to find their dream homes. Yun commented,

    “The job market in most of the country is healthy and the recent downward trend in mortgage rates continues to keep buyer interest at a robust level.”

    Bottom Line

    If you are one of the many homeowners who is looking to sell your starter or trade up home and move up to a luxury home, now is the time!




    June 27, 2017
    Pre-Approval Should Always Be Your First Step

    Pre-Approval Should Always Be Your First Step | MyKCM

    In many markets across the country, the number of buyers searching for their dream homes greatly outnumbers the amount of homes for sale. This has led to a competitive marketplace where buyers often need to stand out. One way to show you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search.

    Even if you are in a market that is not as competitive, knowing your budget will give you the confidence of knowing if your dream home is within your reach.

    Freddie Mac lays out the advantages of pre-approval in the My Home section of their website:

    “It’s highly recommended that you work with your lender to get pre-approved before you begin house hunting. Pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.”

    One of the many advantages of working with a local real estate professional is that many have relationships with lenders who will be able to help you with this process. Once you have selected a lender, you will need to fill out their loan application and provide them with important information regarding “your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history.” 

    Freddie Mac describes the 4 Cs that help determine the amount you will be qualified to borrow:

    1. Capacity: Your current and future ability to make your payments
    2. Capital or cash reserves: The money, savings, and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash
    3. Collateral: The home, or type of home, that you would like to purchase
    4. Credit: Your history of paying bills and other debts on time

    Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and it often helps speed up the process once your offer has been accepted.

    Bottom Line

    Many potential home buyers overestimate the down payment and credit scores needed to qualify for a mortgage today. If you are ready and willing to buy, you may be pleasantly surprised at your ability to do so as well.




    June 26, 2017
    2 Myths Holding Back Home Buyers

    2 Myths Holding Back Home Buyers | MyKCM

    In Realtor.com’s recent article, “Home Buyers’ Top Mortgage Fears: Which One Scares You?” they mention that “46% of potential home buyers fear they won’t qualify for a mortgage to the point that they don’t even try.”

    Myth #1: “I Need a 20% Down Payment”

    Buyers overestimate the down payment funds needed to qualify for a home loan. According to the First Quarter 2017 Homeownership Program Index (HPI) from Down Payment Resource, saving for a down payment was the barrier that kept 70% of renters from buying.

    Rob Chrane, CEO of Down Payment Resource had this to say,

    There are many mortgage-ready renters today, but they don’t know it. Often, homebuyers remain sidelined for years due to the down payment.

    Many believe that they need at least 20% down to buy their dream home, but programs are available that allow buyers put down as little as 3%. Many renters may actually be able to enter the housing market sooner than they ever imagined with new programs that have emerged allowing less cash out of pocket.

    Myth #2: “I Need a 780 FICO® Score or Higher to Buy”

    The survey revealed that 59% of Americans either don’t know (54%) or are misinformed (5%) about what FICO® score is necessary to qualify.

    Many Americans believe a ‘good’ credit score is 780 or higher.

    To help debunk this myth, let’s take a look at Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insight Report, which focuses on recently closed (approved) loans.

    2 Myths Holding Back Home Buyers | MyKCM

    As you can see in the chart above, 53.2% of approved mortgages had a credit score of 600-749.

    Bottom Line

    Whether buying your first home or moving up to your dream home, knowing your options will make the mortgage process easier. Your dream home may already be within your reach.




    June 23, 2017
    The Cost of Renting vs. Buying in the US [INFOGRAPHIC]

    The Cost of Renting vs. Buying in the US [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

    Some Highlights:

    • Historically, the choice between renting or buying a home has been a tough decision.
    • Looking at the percentage of income needed to rent a median-priced home today (29.2%) vs. the percentage needed to buy a median-priced home (15.8%), the choice becomes obvious.
    • Every market is different. Before you renew your lease again, find out if you can put your housing costs to work by buying this year!




    June 22, 2017
    The Importance of Home Equity in Retirement Planning

    The Importance of Home Equity in Retirement Planning | MyKCM

    We often discuss the difference in family wealth between homeowner households and renter households. Much of that difference is the result of the equity buildup that homeowners experience over the time that they own their home. In a report recently released by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), they reveal how valuable equity can be in retirement planning.

    Craig Copeland, Senior Research Associate at EBRI, recently authored a report, Importance of Individual Account Retirement Plans and Home Equity in Family Total Wealth, in which he reveals:

    “Individual account retirement plan assets, plus home equity, represent almost all of what families have to use for retirement expenses outside of Social Security and traditional pensions. Those families without individual account assets typically have very low overall assets, so they have almost nothing to draw from for retirement expenses.”

    The report echoed the findings of a working paper, Home Equity Patterns among Older American Households, authored by Barbara Butrica and Stipica Mudrazija of Urban Institute. Fannie Mae highlighted these findings for their blog The Home Story this past winter, quoting Butrica and Mudrazija:

     “For most adults near traditional retirement age, a home is their most valuable asset — dwarfing retirement accounts, other financial assets, and other nonfinancial assets. Although relatively few retirees tap into their home equity, having it provides financial security… In fact, many retirement security experts argue that the conventional three-legged stool of retirement resources — Social Security, pensions, and savings — is incomplete because it ignores the home.”

    USAToday interviewed two area experts to comment on the EBRI report. Randy Bruns, a private wealth adviser with HighPoint Planning Partners, agreed with the findings:

    “Social Security and home equity are major pieces of the retirement puzzle.”

    Wade Pfau, Professor of Retirement Income at The American College of Financial Services and author of Reverse Mortgages: How to use Reverse Mortgages to Secure Your Retirement, said having the equity without a plan to use it won’t help:

    “Home equity is a very important asset for American retirees, and so it is important to think about how to make best use of home equity in retirement planning.”

    Bottom Line

    Whether you use the equity in your home through a reverse mortgage or by selling and downsizing to a less expensive home, it should be a crucial piece of your retirement planning.




    June 21, 2017
    The Supply & Demand Problem Plaguing New Construction

    The Supply & Demand Problem Plaguing New Construction | MyKCM

    Many real estate economists have called on new home builders to ramp up production to help relieve the shortage of inventory of homes for sale throughout the United States. The added inventory would no doubt aid buyers in their search to secure their dream home, while also helping to ease price increases throughout the country.

    Unfortunately for builders, there are many forces that are making it difficult for them to do just that!

    Last week at the National Association of Real Estate Editors 51st Annual Conference, CoreLogic’s Chief Economist Frank Nothaft broke down the 4 ‘L’s of New Home Construction: Lots, Labor, Lumber, and Lending.

    The concept of supply and demand is ripe in the new home construction industry. The four ‘L’s of new home construction are each suffering a supply problem, and with that comes added costs. Let’s break it down!

    Lots – There is a shortage of land near metros at an affordable price, causing builders to move farther and farther away from cities to keep costs down. This isn’t always an attractive option for those who want to stay close to work.

    Labor – The Great Reces