Jan. 20, 2022

Real Estate Professionals Are Experts at Keeping You Safe When You Sell

Real Estate Professionals Are Experts at Keeping You Safe When You Sell | MyKCM

If you’re on the fence about whether or not you want to sell your house this year, there’s good news. For nearly two years, real estate professionals have worked tirelessly to ensure the safety of buyers and sellers during the pandemic.

Today, they’re seasoned experts, not just in the art of buying and selling homes, but also in how to keep you safe throughout the process. Real estate professionals have learned new technologies plus safety and sanitation measures. As new variants emerge, those lessons continue to be key ways agents add value.

Real Estate Advisors Stay Current on Guidance for In-Person Showings

Agents don’t leave your health up to chance. They follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to ensure in-person showings are safe. NAR maintains industry-specific resources to ensure agents are informed on the latest recommendations and best practices.

Guidance from the CDC also equips real estate professionals with the know-how to employ sanitization and disinfectant measures during the health crisis, so they’re safe for you and your potential buyers.

Digital Tools Can Enhance Your Home Sale

In addition, agents are also well versed in using technology and digital tools to sell your home efficiently. In their guidance for realtors, NAR says:

“The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting members in unprecedented ways, and raises numerous unique and novel issues for the real estate industry.”

Real estate advisors have responded by reimagining the tech and tools they use. For instance, serving clients at a distance and limiting exposure to others is more important now than ever. That’s because restricting the number of people you need to interact with during the sales process is one of the best ways to keep everyone safe.

To accomplish this, agents now use a variety of methods to serve their clients, including:

  • Virtual Open Houses, Tours, and Listing Appointments
  • High-Quality Photos for Websites and Social Media
  • eSignature
  • Video Conferencing

Bottom Line

The health challenges we face today have fundamentally changed the way real estate professionals conduct business for the better. Let’s connect today so you have the latest tools on your side to feel safe and confident when you sell your house this year.

Jan. 13, 2022

Avoid the Rental Trap in 2022

Avoid the Rental Trap in 2022 | MyKCM

Are you one of the many renters thinking about where you’ll live the next time your lease is up? Before you decide whether to look for a new house or another apartment, it’s important to understand the true costs of renting in 2022.

As a renter, you should know rents have been rising since 1988 (see graph below):

Avoid the Rental Trap in 2022 | MyKCM

In 2021, rents grew dramatically. According to ApartmentList.com, since January 2021:

. . . the national median rent has increased by a staggering 17.8 percent. To put that in context, rent growth from January to November averaged just 2.6 percent in the pre-pandemic years from 2017-2019.”

That increase in 2021 was far greater than the typical rent increases we’ve seen in recent years. In other words – rents are rising fast. And the 2022 National Housing Forecast from realtor.com projects prices for vacant units will continue to increase this year:

“In 2022, we expect this trend will continue and fuel rent growth. At a national level, we forecast rent growth of 7.1% in the next 12 months, somewhat ahead of home price growth . . .”

That means, if you’re planning to move into a different rental this year, you’ll likely pay far more than you have in years past.

Homeownership Provides an Alternative to Rising Rents

If you’re a renter facing rising rental costs, you might wonder what alternatives you have. If so, consider homeownership. One of the many benefits of homeownership is it provides a stable monthly cost you can lock in for the duration of your loan.

As Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:

“. . . fast-rising rents and increasing consumer prices, may have some prospective buyers seeking the protection of a fixed, consistent mortgage payment.”

If you’re planning to make a move this year, locking in your monthly housing costs for 15-30 years can be a major benefit. You’ll avoid wondering if you’ll need to adjust your budget to account for annual increases.

Homeowners also enjoy the added benefit of home equity, which has grown substantially right now. In fact, the latest Homeowner Equity Insight report from CoreLogic shows the average homeowner gained $56,700 in equity over the last 12 months. As a renter, your rent payment only covers the cost of your dwelling. When you pay your mortgage, you grow your wealth through the forced savings that is your home equity.  

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking of renting this year, it’s important to keep in mind the true costs you’ll face. Let’s connect so you can see how you can begin your journey to homeownership today.

Dec. 20, 2021

Struggling To Find a Home To Buy? New Construction May Be an Option.

Struggling To Find a Home To Buy? New Construction May Be an Option. | MyKCM

There’s no question that the financial benefits of selling a house are outstanding today. Now is truly a great time to list if you’re ready to make a change. But if you do sell your house right now, you may be wondering where you’ll go when you move.

With so few homes available to buy right now, you might be considering building a new home as one of your options. But you may be unsure if that’s the way to go. Let’s compare the benefits of a newly built home versus moving into an existing one, and why working with a real estate agent throughout the process is mission-critical to your success no matter what you decide.

The Pros of Newly Built Homes

First, let’s look at the benefits of purchasing a newly constructed home. With a brand-new home, you’ll be able to:

1. Create your perfect home.

If you build a home from the ground up, you’ll have the option to select the custom features you want, including appliances, finishes, landscaping, layout, and more.

2. Cash-in on energy efficiency.

When building a home, you can choose energy-efficient options to help lower your utility costs, protect the environment, and reduce your carbon footprint.

3. Minimize the need for repairs.

Many builders offer a warranty, so you’ll have peace of mind on unlikely repairs. Plus, you won’t have as many little projects to tackle. QuickenLoans puts it like this: 

“Buying a new construction vs. existing home typically means you’ll have fewer repairs to do. It can be a huge relief to know that it’s unlikely you’ll have to repair the roof or replace the furnace.”

4. Have brand new everything.

Another perk of a new home is that nothing in the house is used. It’s all brand new and uniquely yours from day one.

The Pros of Existing Homes

Now, let’s compare that to the perks that come with buying an existing home. With a pre-existing home, you can:

1. Explore a wider variety of home styles and floorplans.

With decades of homes to choose from, you’ll have a broader range of floorplans and designs available.

2. Join an established neighborhood.

Existing homes give you the option to get to know the neighborhood, community, or traffic patterns before you commit.

3. Enjoy mature trees and landscaping.

Established neighborhoods also have more developed landscaping and trees, which can give you additional privacy and curb appeal. As Investopedia says, if you buy an existing home:

“Odds are, too, that the home will have mature landscaping, so you won't have to worry about starting a lawn, planting shrubs, and waiting for trees to grow.”

4. Appreciate that lived-in charm.

The character of older homes is hard to reproduce. If you value timeless craftsmanship or design elements, you may prefer an existing home. According to Houseopedia:

Charm is priceless. Existing homes, especially those built in the 1950’s or before, often offer architectural elements, historic charm and a quality of craftsmanship not available in new homes.”

The choice is yours. When you start your search for the perfect home, remember that you can go either route – you just need to decide which features and benefits are most important to you. Working with the guidance of your trusted real estate advisor will help you make the most informed and educated decision, so you can move into the home of your dreams.

Bottom Line

If you have questions about the options in your area, let’s discuss what's available and what's right for you, so you’re ready to make your next move with confidence.

Dec. 20, 2021

What Everyone Wants To Know: Will Home Prices Decline in 2022?

What Everyone Wants To Know: Will Home Prices Decline in 2022? | MyKCM

If you’re thinking of buying a home in today’s housing market, you may be wondering how strong your investment will be. You might be asking yourself: if I buy a home now, will it lose value? Or will it continue to appreciate going forward? The good news is, according to the experts, home prices are not projected to decline. Here’s why.

With buyers still outweighing sellers, home prices are forecast to continue climbing in 2022, just at a slower or more moderate pace. Why the continued increase? It’s the simple law of supply and demand. When there are fewer items on the market than there are buyers, the competition for that item makes prices naturally rise.

And while the number of homes for sale today is expected to improve with more sellers getting ready to list their houses this winter, we’re certainly not out of the inventory woods yet. Thus, the projections show continued appreciation, but at a more moderate rate than what we’ve seen over the past year.

Here’s a look at the latest 2022 expert forecasts on home price appreciation:What Everyone Wants To Know: Will Home Prices Decline in 2022? | MyKCMWhat’s the biggest takeaway from this graph? None of the major experts are projecting depreciation in 2022. They’re all showing an increase in home prices next year.

And here’s what some of the industry’s experts say about how that will play out in the housing market next year:

Brad Hunter of Hunter Housing Economics explains:

“. . . the recent unsustainable rate of home price appreciation will slow sharply. . . . home prices will not decline. . . but they will simply rise at a more sustainable pace.”

Danielle Hale from realtor.com agrees:

Price growth is expected to move back toward a normal range, but this is on top of recent high prices, . . . So prices will [still] hit new highs. . . . The pace of price growth is going to slow notably . . . ”

What Does This Mean for the Housing Market?

While home price appreciation is expected to continue, it isn’t projected to be the record-breaking 18 to almost 20% increase the market saw over the past 12 months. Overall, it’s important to note that price increases won’t be as monumental as they were in 2021 – but they certainly won’t decline anytime soon.

What Does That Mean for You?

With motivated buyers in the market and so few homes available to purchase, the imbalance of supply and demand will continue to put upward pressure on home prices in 2022. And when home price appreciation is in the forecast, that’s a clear indication your investment in homeownership is a sound one.

Bottom Line

It’s important to know that home prices are not projected to decline in the new year. Instead, they’re forecast to rise, just at a more moderate pace. Let’s connect to make sure you’re up to date on what’s happening with home price appreciation in our market, so you can make an informed decision about your next move.

Dec. 16, 2021

Two Reasons Why Waiting To Buy a Home Will Cost You

Two Reasons Why Waiting To Buy a Home Will Cost You | MyKCM

If you’re a homeowner who’s decided your current house no longer fits your needs, or a renter with a strong desire to become a homeowner, you may be hoping that waiting until next year could mean better market conditions to purchase a home.

To determine whether you should buy now or wait another year, you can ask yourself two simple questions:

  1. Where will home prices be a year from now?
  2. Where will mortgage rates be a year from now?

Let’s shed some light on the answers to both of these questions.

Where Will Home Prices Be a Year from Now?

Three major housing industry entities are projecting ongoing home price appreciation in 2022. Here are their forecasts:

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median price of a home today is $353,900. Using an average of the three price projections above (6.5%), a home that sold for $353,900 today would be valued at $376,904 at the end of next year. As a prospective buyer, you would therefore pay an additional $23,004 by waiting.

Where Will Mortgage Rates Be a Year from Now?

Today, Freddie Mac announced their 30-year fixed mortgage rate was at 3.1%. However, most experts believe mortgage rates will rise as the economy recovers. Here are the forecasts for the fourth quarter of 2022 by the three major entities mentioned above:

That averages out to 3.7% if you include all three forecasts. Any increase in mortgage rates will increase your costs.

What Does It Mean for You if Home Values and Mortgage Rates Increase?

If both variables increase, you’ll pay a lot more in mortgage payments each month. Let’s assume you purchase a $353,900 home today with a 30-year fixed-rate loan at 3.1% (the current rate from Freddie Mac) after making a 10% down payment. According to mortgagecalculator.net, your monthly mortgage payment would be approximately $1,360 (this does not include insurance, taxes, and other fees because those vary by location).

That same home one year from now could cost $376,904, and the mortgage rate could be 3.7% (based on the industry forecasts mentioned above). Your monthly mortgage payment after putting down 10%, would be approximately $1,561.Two Reasons Why Waiting To Buy a Home Will Cost You | MyKCMThe difference in your monthly mortgage payment would be $201. That’s $2,412 more per year and $72,360 over the life of the loan.

Add to that the approximately $23,004 a house with a similar value would build in home equity this year due to home price appreciation, and the total net worth increase you could gain by buying this year is over $95,364 (the $72,360 mortgage savings plus the $23,004 potential gain in equity if you buy now).

Bottom Line

When asking if you should buy a home, you may think of the non-financial benefits of homeownership. When asking when to buy, the financial benefits make it clear that doing so now is much more advantageous than waiting until next year.

Dec. 9, 2021

Why It Just Became Much Easier To Buy a Home

Why It Just Became Much Easier To Buy a Home | MyKCM

Since the pandemic began, Americans have reevaluated the meaning of the word home. That’s led some renters to realize the many benefits of homeownership, including the feelings of security and stability and the financial benefits that come with rising home equity. At the same time, many current homeowners have decided their house no longer meets their needs, so they moved into homes with more space inside and out, including a home office for remote work.

However, not every purchaser has been able to fulfill their desire for a new home. Here are two obstacles some homebuyers are facing:

  • The ability to save for a down payment
  • The ability to qualify for a mortgage at the current lending standards

This past week, both of those challenges have been mitigated to some degree for many purchasers. The FHFA (which handles mortgages by Freddie MacFannie Mae, and the Federal Housing Administration) is raising its loan limit for prospective purchasers in 2022. The term used to describe the maximum loan amount they will entertain is the Conforming Loan Limit.

What Is the Difference Between a Conforming Loan and a Non-Conforming Loan?

Investopedia explains the difference in a recent post:

“Conforming loans are the only loans that meet the requirements to be acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Jumbo loans, which exceed the conforming limit, are the most common type of nonconforming loan.”

What Difference Does It Make to Me as a Home Buyer?

Forbes article earlier this year explains the benefits of a conforming loan and why they exist:

“Since lenders can’t sell non-conforming loans to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to free up their cash, they’re a bit riskier for the lender. This is especially true for jumbo loans, which aren’t backed by any government guarantees. If you default on a jumbo loan, it’s a huge blow to the lender.

Thus, lenders generally charge higher interest rates to compensate, and they can have even more requirements. For example, lenders who give out jumbo loans often require that you make a down payment of at least 20% and show that you have at least six months’ worth of cash in reserve, if not more.”

What Happened Last Week?

The FHFA has significantly increased its Conforming Loan Limits for 2022. Sandra L. Thompson, FHFA Acting Director, explains in the press release that:

“Compared to previous years, the 2022 Conforming Loan Limits represent a significant increase due to the historic house price appreciation over the last year. While 95 percent of U.S. countie​s will be subject to the new baseline limit of $647,200, approximately 100 counties will have conforming loan limits approaching $1 million.”

This means that more homes now qualify for a conforming loan with lower down payment requirements and easier lending standards – the two challenges holding many buyers back over the last year.

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) also increased its Conforming Loan Limits for 2022. That could also mean an easier path to homeownership for many prospective buyers. As the Forbes article explains:

“FHA loans can be very beneficial if you don’t have as much savings, or if your credit score could use some work.”

Bottom Line

Buying your first or your next home may have just gotten much easier (less stringent qualifying standards) and less expensive (possibly lower mortgage rate). Let’s connect to discuss how these changes may impact you.

Resources:
  1. To get more information on the new FHFA Conforming Loan Limits, click here.
  2. To get more information on the new FHA Conforming Loan Limits, click here.
Dec. 2, 2021

Why Now Is a Great Time To Sell Your House

Why Now Is a Great Time To Sell Your House | MyKCM

As we near the end of the year, more homeowners are realizing the benefits of today’s sellers’ market. Record-breaking home price appreciation, growing equity, low inventory, and competitive mortgage rates are motivating homeowners to make a move that addresses their changing lifestyles.

In fact, recent data from realtor.com shows a larger share of homeowners are planning to list their houses this winter. So, that means more homes are about to hit the market, which will lead to more choices for buyers too.

According to George Ratiu, Manager of Economic Research at realtor.com:

"The pandemic has delayed plans for many Americans, and homeowners looking to move on to the next stage of life are no exception. Recent survey data suggests the majority of prospective sellers are actively preparing to enter the market this winter."

If you’re thinking of waiting until the spring to sell your house, know that your neighbors may be one step ahead of you by selling this winter. If you want to stand out from the crowd, this holiday season is the best time to make sure your house is available for buyers. Here’s why.

Sellers Are Still Firmly in the Driver’s Seat

Historically, a 6-month supply of homes for sale is needed for a normal or neutral market. That level ensures there are enough homes available for active buyers (see graph below):Why Now Is a Great Time To Sell Your House | MyKCMThe latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows the inventory of houses for sale sits at a 2.4-month supply. This is well below a neutral market.

What Does That Mean for You?

When the supply of homes for sale is as low as it is today, it’s much harder for buyers to find homes to purchase. This drives up competition among buyers, who then submit increasingly competitive offers to win out against others in the home search process. As this happens, prices rise and your leverage as a seller rises too, putting you in the best position to negotiate a contract that meets your ideal terms.

And while the low housing supply we're facing won't be solved overnight, sellers this season should move quickly to maximize their potential. As the data shows, with more prospective sellers planning to list their homes this winter, selling sooner rather than later helps your house rise to the top of a holiday buyer’s wish list so you can close the best possible deal.

Bottom Line

Listing your home over the next few weeks gives you the best chance to be in front of buyers competing for homes this holiday season. Let’s connect today to discuss how you can benefit from today’s sellers’ market.

Nov. 22, 2021

Sellers: You’ll Likely Get Multiple Strong Offers This Season

Sellers: You’ll Likely Get Multiple Strong Offers This Season | MyKCM

Are you thinking about selling your house right now, but you’re not sure you’ll have the time to do so as the holidays draw near? If so, consider this: even as the holiday season approaches, there are plenty of buyers out there, and they really want your house. Here’s why selling this winter is a win for you.

Today’s buyers are still dealing with a limited number of homes for sale. Thanks to continued low inventory, those buyers are competing with one another for their dream home. And when that happens, if your house is one of the few on the market, it will rise to the top of the pool – and it will be worth it.

According to the latest data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the average seller received 3.7 offers on their house in September. For a view into what’s happening at the state level, take a look at the map below:Sellers: You’ll Likely Get Multiple Strong Offers This Season | MyKCMNationwide, the average seller today is getting nearly four offers. That number is significant because it means you’ll likely have multiple offers to pick from if you sell your house this season. To put things into perspective, no matter where your state falls, remember that you really only need one good offer to close the deal.

Any offer you receive will likely be from a highly motivated buyer who’s doing everything they can to beat the competition. The stakes for buyers are high. They’ve been looking for a house and they want to lock in their dream home before prices and mortgage rates rise further next year. Chances are, they’ll get creative with the terms of their offer, which could include waiving contingencies and offering over the asking price – both of which are great news for you.

If you’re on the fence about when to sell, remember your house is a hot commodity this season. As other sellers take a break for the holidays with plans to re-list their homes in the new year, you can put your house in front of motivated buyers by making your move today. That means your house will be the center of attention, and likely the center of a bidding war too.

Bottom Line

Selling now gives you even more opportunity to win big as buyers compete for your house in today’s market.

Nov. 18, 2021

What’s Happening with Home Prices?

What’s Happening with Home Prices? | MyKCM

Many people have questions about home prices right now. How much have prices risen over the past 12 months? What’s happening with home values right now? What’s projected for next year? Here’s a look at the answers to all three of these questions.

How much have home values appreciated over the last 12 months?

According to the latest Home Price Index from CoreLogic, home values have increased by 18.1% compared to this time last year. Additionally, prices have gone up at an accelerated pace for each of the last eight months (see graph below):What’s Happening with Home Prices? | MyKCMThe increase in the rate of appreciation that’s shown by CoreLogic coincides with data from the other two main home price indices: the FHFA Home Price Index and the S&P Case Shiller Index.

The last year has shown tremendous home price appreciation, which is resulting in a major gain in wealth for homeowners through rising equity.

What’s happening with home prices right now?

All three indices mentioned above also show that while appreciation is in the high double digits right now, that price acceleration is beginning to level off (see graph below):What’s Happening with Home Prices? | MyKCMYear-over-year appreciation is still close to 20%, but it’s clearly plateauing at that rate. Many experts believe it will drop below 15% by the end of the year.

Keep in mind, that doesn’t mean home values will depreciate. It means the rate of appreciation will slow, yet stay well above the 25-year average of 5.1%.

What about next year?

The recent surge in prices is the result of heavy buyer demand and a shortage of homes available for sale. Most experts believe that as more housing inventory comes to market (both new construction and existing homes), the supply and demand for housing will come more into balance. That balance will bring a lower rate of appreciation in 2022. Here’s a look at home price forecasts from six major entities, and they all project future appreciation:

  1. Fannie Mae
  2. Freddie Mac
  3. Mortgage Bankers Association
  4. Home Price Expectation Survey
  5. Zelman & Associates
  6. National Association of Realtors

What’s Happening with Home Prices? | MyKCMWhile the projected rate of appreciation varies among the experts, due to things like supply chain challenges, virus variants, and more, it’s clear that home values will continue to appreciate next year.

Bottom Line

There have been historic levels of home price appreciation over the last year. That pace will slow as we finish 2021 and enter into 2022. Prices will still rise in value, just at a much more moderate pace, which is good news for the housing market.

Nov. 11, 2021

VA Loans: Helping Veterans Achieve Their Homeownership Dreams

VA Loans: Helping Veterans Achieve Their Homeownership Dreams | MyKCM

The purpose of Veterans Affairs (VA) home loans is to provide a pathway to homeownership for those who have sacrificed so much by serving our nation. As the Veterans Administration says of the program:

“The objective of the VA Home Loan Guaranty program is to help eligible Veterans, active-duty personnel, surviving spouses, and members of the Reserves and National Guard purchase, retain, and adapt homes in recognition of their service. . . .”

For over 75 years, VA home loans have provided millions of veterans and their families the opportunity to purchase their own homes.

2020 Data on VA Home Loans

  • 1,246,817 home loans are guaranteed by the Veterans Administration
  • The average VA loan amount totals $301,044
  • 178,171 of those using a VA Loan are first-time homebuyers

Top Benefits of the VA Home Loan Program

As we reflect on their sacrifice and honor our nation’s veterans, it’s important to ensure all veterans know the full extent of benefits VA home loans offer. As Jeff London, Director of the VA Home Loan Programsays:

“VA loans offer an extraordinary opportunity for veterans because of lower interest rates, lower monthly payments, no or low-down payments, and no private mortgage insurance.”

Those who qualify for a VA home loan are eligible for the following:

  • Borrowers can often purchase a home with no down payment. In 2020, 350,094 individuals using a VA Loan were able to purchase their homes without putting money down.
  • Many other loans with down payments under 20% require Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). VA Loans do not require PMI, which means veterans can save on their monthly housing costs.
  • Finally, VA-Backed Loans often offer the most competitive terms and interest rates.

Bottom Line

One way we can honor and thank our veterans this year is to ensure they have the best information about the benefits of VA home loans. Homeownership is the American Dream. Our veterans sacrifice so much in service to our nation and deserve to achieve their homeownership goals. Thank you for your service.