Home Maintenance Made Easy

April 19, 2016 - Comments Off on Home Maintenance Made Easy

Home maintenance is essential to preventing costly repairs.  This handy checklist will help you keep on top of home maintenance tasks so you can keep your home in great condition for years to come.

Home Maintenance Made Easy-1_Page_1Home Maintenance Made Easy-1_Page_2

Thinking of Buying a Home? 3 Questions Every Buyer Should Answer First

January 20, 2016 - Comments Off on Thinking of Buying a Home? 3 Questions Every Buyer Should Answer First

3-Questions-KCM

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 interest at heart, they may not be fully aware of your needs and what is currently happening in the real estate market.

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

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

This truly is 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.

A study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University reveals that the four major reasons people 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 Home Price Index from CoreLogic, home values are projected to increase by 5.3% over the next 12 months.

What does that mean to you?

Simply put, if you are planning on buying a home that costs $250,000 today, that same home will cost you an additional $13,250 if you wait till next year. Your down payment will need to be higher as well to account for the higher home price.

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), the National Association of Realtors and Freddie Mac have all projected that mortgage interest rates will increase by approximately three-quarters of a percent over the next twelve months as you can see in the chart below:

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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.

 

Building Family Wealth Over The Next 5 Years

December 23, 2015 - Comments Off on Building Family Wealth Over The Next 5 Years

Family-Wealth

As the economy continues to improve, more and more Americans are seeing their personal financial situations also improving. Instead of just getting by, many are now beginning to save and find other ways to build their net worth. One way to dramatically increase their family wealth is through the acquisition of real estate.

For example, let’s assume a young couple purchases and closes on a $250,000 home in January. What will that home be worth five years down the road?

Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists every quarter. They ask them to project how residential prices will appreciate over the next five years. According to their latest survey, here is how much value that $250,000 house will gain in the coming years.

HPES-Equity-Earned.jpg

Over a five year period, that homeowner can build their home equity to over $40,000. And, in many cases, home equity is large portion of a family’s overall net worth.

Bottom Line

If you are looking to better your family’s long-term financial situation, buying your dream home might be a great option.

Prices & Mortgage Rates Going Up in 2016

December 4, 2015 - Comments Off on Prices & Mortgage Rates Going Up in 2016

Prices-Rising-KCM

The monthly mortgage payment on a home is determined by two elements: the price of the house and the interest rate you pay on your mortgage. Recently released reports are revealing that the experts expect both elements to increase in 2016.

HOME PRICES

CoreLogic has projected a nationwide 5.2% home value appreciation for the next twelve months. Here is their breakdown by state:

Prices-KCM.jpg

MORTGAGE INTEREST RATES

All four of the entities that provide projections on mortgage interest rates agree: they’re going up in 2016. Here are the predictions over the next four quarters:

Current rates.jpg

Bottom Line

With both home values and interest rates projected to increase over the next twelve months, buying (or moving-up), sooner rather than later, makes sense.

Millennials: What FICO Score is Needed to Buy a Home?

December 1, 2015 - Comments Off on Millennials: What FICO Score is Needed to Buy a Home?

Millennials-Credit-KCM

In a recent article by the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, it was revealed that some Millennials are not looking to purchase a home simply because they don’t believe they can qualify for a mortgage.

The article quoted Jessica Lautz, the National Association of RealtorsManaging Director of Survey Research, as saying that there is a significant population that does not think they will be approved for a mortgage and doesn’t even try. The article also quoted Fannie Mae CEO Tim Mayopoulos :

“I do think that there’s a sense out there in the marketplace among borrowers that credit may not be available, especially for people with lower credit scores.”

So what credit score is necessary?

A recent survey reported that two-thirds of the respondents believe they need a very good credit score to buy a home, with 45 percent thinking a “good credit score” is over 780.

In actuality, the FICO score on closed loans (as reported by Ellie Mae) is much lower and has been dropping over the last several months.

FICO-score-KCM.jpg

Bottom Line

Millennials who are considering a home purchase should get advice from a local real estate or mortgage professional now. They may be surprised how much the requirements for a mortgage have eased.

Should I Wait to Put Down a Bigger Down Payment?

October 5, 2015 - Comments Off on Should I Wait to Put Down a Bigger Down Payment?

Should-I-Wait-KCM

Some experts are advising that first time and move-up buyers wait until they save up 20% before they move forward with their decision to purchase a home. One of the main reasons they suggest waiting is that a buyer must purchase private mortgage insurance if they have less than the 20%. That increases the monthly payment the buyer will be responsible for.

In a recent article, Freddie Mac explained what this would mean for a $200,000 house:

Difference-in-Percentage-and-20

However, we must look at other aspects of the purchase to see if it truly makes sense to wait.

Are you actually saving money by waiting?

CoreLogic has recently projected that home values will increase by 4.3% over the next 12 months. Let’s compare the extra cost of PMI against the projected appreciation:

PMI-vs-Appreciation

If you decide to wait until you have saved up a 20% down payment, the money you would have saved by avoiding the PMI payment could be surpassed by the additional price you eventually pay for the home. Prices are expected to increase by more than 3% each of the next five years.

Saving will also be more difficult if you are renting, as rents are also projected to increase over the next several years. Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell explained in a recent report:

“Our research found that unaffordable rents are making it hard for people to save for a down payment … There are good reasons to rent temporarily – when you move to a new city, for example – but from an affordability perspective, rents are crazy right now. If you can possibly come up with a down payment, then it’s a good time to buy a home and start putting your money toward a mortgage.”

Laura Kusisto of the Wall Street Journal recently agreed with Dr. Gudell:

“For some renters there may be a way out: Buy a house. Mortgages remain very affordable.”

Mortgage rates are expected to rise…

Freddie Mac is projecting that mortgage interest rates will increase by almost a full percentage point over the next 12 months. That will also impact your mortgage payment if you wait.

Bottom Line

Sit with a real estate or mortgage professional to truly understand whether you should buy now or wait until you save the 20%.

Staging Your Home for Great Listing Photos

September 30, 2015 - Comments Off on Staging Your Home for Great Listing Photos

If you’re thinking of selling your home, here are some great staging tips.

Staging Your Home for Great Listing Photos

Selling Your Home? Price It Right From The Start!

August 11, 2015 - Comments Off on Selling Your Home? Price It Right From The Start!

In today’s market, where demand is outpacing supply in many regions of the country, pricing a house is one of the biggest challenges real estate professionals face. Sellers often want to price their home higher than recommended, and many agents go along with the idea to keep their clients happy. However, the best agents realize that telling the homeowner the truth is more important than getting the seller to like them.

There is no “later.”

Sellers sometimes think, “If the home doesn’t sell for this price, I can always lower it later.” However, research proves that homes that experience a listing price reduction sit on the market longer, ultimately selling for less than similar homes.
John Knight, recipient of the University Distinguished Faculty Award from the Eberhardt School of Business at the University of the Pacific, actually did research on the cost (in both time and money) to a seller who priced high at the beginning and then lowered the their price. In his article, Listing Price, Time on Market and Ultimate Selling Price published in Real Estate Economics revealed:

“Homes that underwent a price revision sold for less, and the greater the revision, the lower the selling price. Also, the longer the home remains on the market, the lower its ultimate selling price.”

Additionally, the “I’ll lower the price later” approach can paint a negative image in buyers’ minds. Each time a price reduction occurs, buyers can naturally think, “Something must be wrong with that house.” Then when a buyer does make an offer, they low-ball the price because they see the seller as “highly motivated.” Pricing it right from the start eliminates these challenges.
Don’t build “negotiation room” into the price.
Many sellers say that they want to price their home high in order to have “negotiation room.” But, what this actually does is lower the number of potential buyers that see the house. And we know that limiting demand like this will negatively impact the sales price of the house.
Not sure about this? Think of it this way: when a buyer is looking for a home online (as they are doing more and more often), they put in their desired price range. If your seller is looking to sell their house for $400,000, but lists it at $425,000 to build in “negotiation room,” any potential buyers that search in the $350k-$400k range won’t even know your listing is available, let alone come see it!
One great way to see this is with the chart below. The higher you price your home over its market value, the less potential buyers will actually see your home when searching.

Price
A better strategy would be to price it properly from the beginning and bring in multiple offers. This forces these buyers to compete against each other for the “right” to purchase your house.
Look at it this way: if you only receive one offer, you are set up in an adversarial position against the prospective buyer. If, however, you have multiple offers, you have two or more buyers fighting to please you. Which will result in a better selling situation?
Source: Keeping Current Matters, August 3, 2015

How to Childproof Your Home

August 10, 2015 - Comments Off on How to Childproof Your Home

We care about our clients’ safety! Here are some tips on how to keep little ones safe while they are in your home.

How to Childproof Your Home

Important Tips to Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal

June 9, 2015 - Comments Off on Important Tips to Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal

We have found that when a house is on the market, following these tips on enhancing your home’s curb appeal greatly improve the likelihood of a fast sale at the highest price obtainable.

Keep Your Property in Top Shape