Feb. 20, 2020

The Overlooked Financial Advantages of Homeownership


The Overlooked Financial Advantages of Homeownership | MyKCM

There are many clear financial benefits to owning a home: increasing equity, building net worth, growing appreciation, and more. If you’re a renter, it’s never too early to make a plan for how homeownership can propel you toward a stronger future. Here’s a dive into three often-overlooked financial benefits of homeownership and how preparing for them now can steer you in the direction of greater stability, savings, and predictability.

1. You Won’t Always Have a Monthly Housing Payment

According to a recent article by the National Association of Realtors (NAR):

“If you’ve been a lifelong renter, this may sound like a foreign concept, but believe it or not, one day you won’t have a monthly housing payment. Unlike renting, you will eventually pay off your mortgage and your monthly payments will be funding other (possibly more fun) things.”

As a homeowner, someday you can eliminate the monthly payment you make on your house. That’s a huge win and a big factor in how homeownership can drive stability and savings in your life. As soon as you buy a home, your monthly housing costs will begin to work for you as forced savings, coming in the form of equity. As you build equity and grow your net worth, you can continue to reinvest those savings into your future, maybe even by buying that next dream home. The possibilities are truly endless.

2. Homeownership Is a Tax Break

One thing people who have never owned a home don’t always think about are the tax advantages of homeownership. The same piece states:

“Both the interest and property tax portion of your mortgage is a tax deduction. As long as the balance of your mortgage is less than the total price of your home, the interest is 100% deductible on your tax return.”

Whether you’re living in your first home or your fifth, it’s a huge financial advantage to have some tax relief tied to the interest you pay each year. It’s one thing you definitely don’t get when you’re renting. Be sure to work with a tax professional to get the best possible benefits on your annual return.

3. Monthly Housing Costs Are Predictable

A third item noted in the article is how monthly costs become more predictable with homeownership:

As a homeowner, your monthly costs are most likely based on a fixed-rate mortgage, which allows you to budget your finances over a long period of time, unlike the unpredictability of renting.”

With a mortgage, you can keep your monthly housing costs steady and predictable. Rental prices have been skyrocketing since 2012, and with today’s low mortgage rates, it’s a great time to get more for your money when purchasing a home. If you want to lock-in your monthly payment at a low rate and have a solid understanding of what you’re going to spend in your mortgage payment each month, buying a home may be your best bet.

Bottom Line

If you’re ready to start feeling the benefits of stability, savings, and predictability that come with owning a home, let’s get together to determine if buying a home sooner rather than later is right for you.

Posted in Buying
Feb. 13, 2020

How the Housing Market Benefits with Uncertainty in the World


How the Housing Market Benefits with Uncertainty in the World | MyKCM

It’s hard to listen to today’s news without hearing about the uncertainty surrounding global markets, the spread of the coronavirus, and tensions in the Middle East, just to name a few. These concerns have caused some to question their investment plans going forward. As an example, in Vanguard’s Global Outlook for 2020, the fund explains,

“Slowing global growth and elevated uncertainty create a fragile backdrop for markets in 2020 and beyond.”

Is there a silver lining to this cloud of doubt?

Some worry this could cause concern for the U.S. housing market. The uncertainty, however, may actually mean good news for real estate.

Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, discussed the situation in a recent report,

“Global events and uncertainty…impact the U.S. economy, and more specifically, the U.S. housing market…U.S. bonds, backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, are widely considered the safest investments in the world. When global investors sense increased uncertainty, there is a ‘flight to safety’ in U.S. Treasury bonds, which causes their price to go up, and their yield to go down.”

Last week, in a HousingWire article, Kathleen Howley reaffirmed Fleming’s point,

“The death toll from the coronavirus already has passed Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, that bruised the world’s economy in 2003…That’s making investors around the world anxious, and when they get anxious, they tend to sell off stocks and seek the safe haven of U.S. bonds. An increase in competition for bonds means investors, including the people who buy mortgage-backed bonds, have to take lower yields. That translates into lower mortgage rates.”

The yield from treasury bonds is the rate investors receive when they purchase the bond. Historically, when the treasury rate moves up or down, the 30-year mortgage rate follows. Here’s a powerful graph showing the relationship between the two over the last 48 years:Popular Perspective Delivers Gift to U.S. Housing Market | MyKCMHow might concerns about global challenges impact the housing market in 2020? Fleming explains,

“Even a small change in the 10-year Treasury due to increased uncertainty, let’s say a slight drop to 1.6 percent, would imply a 30-year, fixed mortgage rate as low as 3.3 percent. Assuming no change in household income, that would mean a house-buying power gain of $21,000, a five percent increase.”

Bottom Line

For a multitude of reasons, 2020 could be a challenging year. It seems, however, real estate will do just fine. As Fleming concluded in his report:

“Amid uncertainty, the house-buying power of U.S. consumers can benefit significantly.”

Posted in Buying
Feb. 6, 2020

Great News for Renters Who Want to Buy a Home

Great News for Renters Who Want to Buy a Home

Great News for Renters Who Want to Buy a Home | MyKCM

Rents in the United States have been skyrocketing since 2012. This has caused many renters to face a tremendous burden when juggling their housing expenses and the desire to save for a down payment at the same time. The recent stabilization of rental prices provides a great opportunity for renters to save more of their current income to put toward the purchase of a home.

Just last week the Joint Center of Housing Studies of Harvard University released the America's Rental Housing 2020 Report. The results explain the financial challenges renters are experiencing today,

“Despite slowing demand and the continued strength of new construction, rental markets in the U.S. remain extremely tight. Vacancy rates are at decades-long lows, pushing up rents far faster than incomes. Both the number and share of cost-burdened renters are again on the rise, especially among middle-income households.”

According to the most recent Zillow Rent Index, which measures the estimated market-rate rent for all homes and apartments, the typical U.S. rent now stands at $1,600 per month. Here is a graph of how the index’s median rent values have climbed over the last eight years:Great News for Renters Who Want to Buy a Home | MyKCM

Is Good News Coming?

There seems, however, to be some good news on the horizon. Four of the major rent indices are all reporting that rents are finally beginning to stabilize in all rental categories:

1. The Zillow Rent Index, linked above, only rose 2.6% over the last year.

2. RENTCafé’s research team also analyzes rent data across the 260 largest cities in the United States. The data on average rents comes directly from competitively rented, large-scale, multi-family properties (50+ units in size). Their 2019 Year-End Rent Report shows only a 3% increase in rents from last year, the slowest annual rise over the past 17 months.

3. The CoreLogic Single Family Rent Index reports on single-family only rental listing data in the Multiple Listing Service. Their latest index shows how overall year-over-year rent price increases have slowed since February 2016, when they peaked at 4.2%. They have stabilized around 3% since early 2019.

4. The Apartment List National Rent Report uses median rent statistics for recent movers taken from the Census Bureau American Community Survey. The 2020 report reveals that the year-over-year growth rate of 1.6% matches the rate at this time last year; it is just ahead of the 1.5% rate from January 2016. They also explain how “the past five years also saw stretches of notably faster rent growth. Year-over-year rent growth stood at 2.6% in January 2018, and in January 2016 it was 3.3%, more than double the current rate.”

It seems tenants are getting a breather from the rapid rent increases that have plagued them for almost a decade.

Bottom Line

Rental expenses are beginning to moderate, and at the same time, average wages are increasing. That power combination may allow renters who dream of buying a home of their own an opportunity to save more money to put toward a down payment. That’s sensational news!

Posted in Buying
Sept. 12, 2019

14 First Time Homebuyer Mistakes To Avoid

Infographic Design By Susan & Troy Susan & Troy: Sedona Real Estate Agents

Posted in Buying
June 6, 2019

10 Ways To Protect Your Home When On Vacation


The 10 Best Restaurants In Huntington


When you’re excited about vacation, it’s easy to forget about what you’re leaving behind. That is, until you get to the airport and wonder: Did I lock the door? Is the iron on? Is the garage door open? Secure your home before you leave so you can travel with maximum confidence and peace of mind. These home security tips for when you’re on vacation will help ensure that you won’t return to any unpleasant surprises.

1. Lock the doors and windows

Locking up might seem too obvious to mention, but an estimated 32% of burglars enter through unlocked doors. Windows are also weak points, so keep them closed and locked, even on the upper floors. A clever burglar can still access them, and an open window anywhere in the house might let in animals, rain or wind. 

2. Clear out the mailbox

Mail piling up is a tip-off that no one’s home. Have a trusted neighbor, friend or housesitter collect your mail and keep it safely out of sight. Alternatively, you can request a temporary mail hold or mail forwarding through USPS.com. If you subscribe to any newspapers or subscription boxes, pause your delivery.


3. Use lights to create the illusion that someone’s home

Darkness is another trademark of an empty house — it also allows thieves to sneak in undetected. Nix that vulnerability by leaving a few lights on. Better yet, use motion detector lights to illuminate any intruders, or opt for smart lighting so you can set the lights to a timer and control them remotely. 


4. Keep the yard maintained

Unless you have an extremely low-care yard, the lawn or garden will definitely need attention if you’re gone long enough. Make sure your landscaping professional continues working in your absence, and if you don’t have one, ask a neighbor or hire temporary help. If you live in a wintry climate, consider snow removal as well. 

5. Leave a car in the driveway

Former burglars have reported that a vehicle in the driveway is a major deterrent in scoping out potential targets, because it almost always means that someone is home. Leave your (locked) car where people can see it, or see if a neighbor wants to park there. 

6. Hide or lock up valuables

Easy-to-grab expensive items are extremely alluring to criminals. Conceal and secure the high-value items in both your home and garage. Lock up the most important things in a household safe. Remember that many thieves don’t draw the line at stealing physical goods — they also want to steal your identity. Lock up social security cards, financial information and any personal identification that you’re not bringing with you. 

7. Don’t broadcast your plans online

Don’t post about your vacation on social media until after you return (and make sure your kids don’t either). By sharing travel plans, you’re advertising that your house will be empty. You can never be completely sure who sees that information, especially if you have many followers or a public profile.

8. Get your security system ready

If you have a home security system or security cameras, make them obvious to potential intruders. Cameras should be conspicuous so they can see and be seen. Post home security signs and decals prominently. If you don’t have a system, fake signs might be better than nothing. Also, make sure the security system and any automated devices you have are programmed correctly for your absence. If you have a professionally monitored system, inform the company that you’re going away. Make sure cameras, smoke detectors and any other components are on and in good working order, and that your smart home devices are programmed appropriately. 

9. Adjust the thermostat

Adjust the thermostat to prevent the HVAC system from needlessly heating or cooling empty rooms. Programmable smart thermostats make this a lot easier, and you can remotely adjust them to comfortable temperatures for when you get back.

10. Prevent water damage

Some experts recommend turning off the house’s main water supply valve to prevent possible water damage from leaky pipes. This is a viable option if you live in a moderate climate and the house will be empty, but if you live in a cold area, or someone will be checking in while you’re gone, you probably want to leave the water on. 


Posted in Home Protection
April 25, 2019

Columbia Events


Cayce Festival of the Arts
Featuring artists, crafters and authors from around the region - net proceeds to benefit a local charity selected by the Cayce Avenues Neighborhood Association
Kinetic Derby Day
Parade of kinetic sculptures (human-powered, handmade floats), adult and child soapbox derby racing, food trucks - hosted by City of West Columbia
West Columbia
Kid's Day of Lexington
Learn about health, safety and environmental awareness through booths, activities, live performances
Sweet & Savory Chef's Competition
A night of sweet treats, savory hors d'oeurves, live music and vote for your favorite dishes - benefits Palmetto Place Children's Shelter
ColaJazz Crawl: International Jazz Day
Multiple area venues will be hosting local and international jazz musicians - hosted by ColaJazz
3 - 4
Festival of Gardens
Visit eight private gardens in the Forest Lake neighborhood - a Columbia Green event
Rosewood Crawfish Festival
Lots of fresh crawfish and other tasty treats, live music, arts and crafts vendors, carnival rides, 5K crawdaddy dash run, and more
Columbia Wave Fest
Live music, food, vendors, kids zone - a Federation of Families of SC event in recognition of national Children's Mental Health Awareness Week
NAMIWalks Mid-Carolina
5K family-friendly walk - benefits the National Alliance on Mental Illness
Big Nosh
Sample popular Jewish foods and experience cultural events and activities
9 - 11
South Carolina Poultry Festival
3-day event includes parade, contests, car show, live music, 5K, carnival rides, street dances, fireworks, best chicken cooking contest
Lexington Wine Walk
Wine tastings, complimentary wine glass, hors d'oeuvres, live music - benefits the Lexington Beautification Foundation
17 - 18
Governor's Cup Road Race
2-days of racing with the Main Street Mile on Friday evening with kid's open and elite divisions then on Saturday is the half marathon and 5K events
Lemonade II
Living. Every. Moment. Optimistically. NonStop. And. Defying. Expectations is a cultural day party celebrating culture and arts - 21+ only at Hampton Preston Mansion
Metropolitan Bridal Expo
Plan the wedding of your dreams with vendors from the area inspiring you on the different aspects of wedding planning
Power of the Purse
Auctions of designer purses, spa packages and more - Women in Philanthropy event to raise money for women and children in need
Peach Tree 23 Yard Sale
Stretching 44 miles along SC 23 from Batesburg-Leesville to Modoc
South Carolina Square & Round Dancers Convention
For all levels of dancers - several dances plus clinics, workshops and more
Blythewood DOKO Rodeo
An IPRA championship rodeo, live music, rides for kids, food vendors - benefits local organizations
Peach Tree 23 Yard Sale
Stretching 44 miles along SC 23 from Batesburg-Leesville to Modoc
Posted in Outdoor Living
Oct. 26, 2018

Fall Cleanup


senior photo

 Fall weather is here with vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges, saturating skylines and grassy fields alike. The crisp, cool breezes blow through the air, shocking our senses and reminding us that Summer is, in fact, truly gone. 

Now it is sweater weather!  And pumpkin-flavored everything!


1. Clean up before you close up

Before closing up your home for the cold winter months, you want to clear out all the dust, dirt, pollen, and muck that’s been accumulating throughout the summer. The last thing you want to do is get stuck inside with all of that for the next few months – especially if you have allergies!

  • Check and clean your air filters
  • Wipe down the blinds, wash the curtains, and clean the ceiling fans, floors, and carpets.
  • Wash the walls, windows, doors, baseboards, etc.
  • Get behind and under all the furniture like couches, beds, bookshelves, etc.

2. Declutter and tidy up

Purge, purge, purge. Items you no longer use or do not want either sell, donate or throw out,

Whatever you choose, getting this done at least twice a year just makes the job that much easier.

3. Get rid of unwanted guests

Our homes tend to get invaded during the summer and become safe havens for critters like bugs, spiders, flies, etc. Fall cleaning is the perfect time to get into all the crevices around your home and get rid of those guys.

  • Vacuum and wipe down all the corners and creases at the ground and ceiling level
  • Wash the window sills
  • Don’t forget the closets! 


1. Clean and store summer garden tools.

If you've got a lawn to mow, there's no doubt you're already noticing the shorter days. Nothing like mowing the lawn after dark! With shorter days and slower growing grass, it's time to start thinking about storing your mower, rakes, and wheelbarrow for the off seasons. If you have an electric mower, you’ve got it easy. But if you have a gas-powered mower, you’ll have a little extra work to do. We asked a New England mower dealer about the top reason mowers give their owners trouble in the spring, and this was his number one: If you leave gas in the tank, it can deteriorate and damage internal engine parts over the winter. Avoid this by either running the tank dry before storing it, or adding fuel stabilizer to your gasoline can and topping off the tank before you put it away.

You’ll also want to ensure an easy startup in the spring by lubricating your pistons. Simply remove the spark plug (once the engine is cool of course) and pour a capful of engine oil into the spark plug hole. Pull the start cord a couple of times to distribute the oil.

When you’re ready to do a final cleaning, turn the mower off and turn it on its side to remove grass and remaining gunk from the deck.

2. Put away hoses and shut off exterior faucets.

If you live in a cold weather climate, hoses left attached to outdoor faucets can cause costly damage to your pipes and exterior walls. If water backs up in the pipes, it will likely freeze, expand, and then crack the hardware. So make sure to remove, drain, and store your outdoor hoses and turn off the shutoff valves that lead to those faucets. If you're not sure where to locate your shutoff valves, ask your plumber to show you. If your house has a basement, that's likely where you'll find it. 

3. Drain and turn off your sprinkler system.

Even underground irrigation systems can freeze and burst, so it’s important to turn off the water to your main sprinkler system, shut off any automatic controls, and open the drain valves to remove water trapped inside. You’ll also want to shake excess water from your above-ground sprinkler heads.

Don’t have drain valves? Hire a professional to blow out the pipes with compressed air. This will run you about $100, and will prevent costly repairs come springtime if any of your pipes burst.

4. Clean your gutters and downspouts.

5. Check the condition of your roof.

Since it’s your home’s first line of defense against wind, rain, and snow, it’s important to make sure your roof is in tip-top shape before the seasons turn. You can check for missing or loose shingles yourself, or better yet, hire a roofing professional to check it out and make any repairs. This is the best time of year to do maintenance on your roof.

6. Tend to trees and shrubs.

One of the most important home maintenance you can do in the fall is to cut the dead off your trees. This can prevent falling limbs, limit damage to your home during heavy winds and rain, and can also help preserve your trees through to the spring. Fall is also the best time to prune your plants in any climate simply because the summer growing season has come to an end.

Do you have a pool? Best to consult a professional for at least your first year as a pool owner. And always examine your pool cover for damage and replace if necessary.

Now that you have accomplished so much, kick back and enjoy that pumpkin spiced whatever.


Oct. 7, 2018

Columbus Day






What Is Columbus Day?

Columbus Day is a national holiday in the United States commemorating Christopher Columbus’ 1492 voyage to the Americas. It first became a federal holiday back in 1934, but had been celebrated unofficially for years prior, dating back to at least the 18th century. 

Who Was Christopher Columbus?

Christopher Columbus was an Italian explorer and navigator. We don’t know a whole lot about his early life, but do know he was born sometime before October 31, 1451. We also know he was mostly self-educated, coming to be well-versed in geography, astronomy, and history. From a young age, Columbus learned about the sea and traveled a lot. Later in life, driven by a desire to profit from the spice trade, he would become obsessed with finding a western sea route to China, India, and the rest of Asia.

In 1492, the joint Catholic Monarchs of Spain would agree to sponsor Columbus and his crew on a journey westward. Columbus would set sail in August of that year, leaving Spain with three ships. A couple months later, on October 12th, he landed on an island that is now part of the Bahamas.   

Columbus and his men would go on to visit the islands of Cuba and Hispaniola. He would set up a settlement in what is now Haiti, the first European colony in the New World since the Norse came to North America in the 10th century.

(A misconception is that Columbus was the first European to “discover” America. He was not. The Vikings beat him by some 500 years.)

In March, 1493, Columbus would return to Spain a hero, bringing back with him gold, spices, and slaves. He would ultimately cross the Atlantic again three other times. It wasn’t until his third voyage that Columbus finally realized he wasn’t in Asia, but a whole new continent. He died in 1506.

The History of Columbus Day in the United States

The first known Columbus Day celebration took place in 1792, on the 300th anniversary of Columbus’ initial voyage. The festivities took place in New York, and were organized by the Tammany Society. Soon after, other parts of the country began to hold similar commemorations. Many of these occurred in Italian and Catholic communities, and often featured religious ceremonies and parades in his honor.

In 1892, for the 400th anniversary of the event, President Benjamin Harrison issued a proclamation encouraging all Americans to celebrate Columbus and his achievements. It was around this time that celebrations of Columbus shifted from being religious and ethnic-based, to more secular and patriotic.

Congress and President Franklin D. Roosevelt would proclaim Columbus Day a national holiday in 1934. 

When Is Columbus Day?

In the past, Columbus Day was celebrated every October 12th (the date he reached the New World). However, in 1971, Columbus Day was changed to the second Monday of October.


Posted in HOLIDAYS
Aug. 31, 2018

Labor Day

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 Labor Day is the ultimate long weekend—it’s the end of summer, the beginning of fall.  Established nationwide in 1894, Labor Day is actually a dedication to the achievements and contributions of American workers.

Here are four surprising facts about the history of the holiday to get you thinking:

On the first Labor Day, 10,000 workers marched in New York City

In 1882, before the day was recognized as a national holiday, workers marched from City Hall to Wendel’s Elm Park, the largest park in New York City at the time. They gathered with their families for concerts, picnics and speeches.

The eight-hour work day wasn’t established until 1916

The Adamson Act instituted the eight-hour work day across the country. It was the first federal law that regulated employees’ hours at private-sector companies.

97% of US employers celebrate Labor Day

According to a Bloomberg BNA survey, almost all employers grant Labor Day as a full paid holiday for employees. Those employees who do work on Labor Day are likely to receive greater pay for their time on that day, the survey also revealed.

It’s a weekend for people to come together

In 1898, Samuel Gompers, the head of the American Federation of Labor said that Labor Day was meant to be a time when workers “lay down their tools of labor for a holiday, but upon which they may touch shoulders in marching phalanx and feel the stronger for it.”

So, whatever job you are stepping away from this Labor Day Weekend, celebrate and enjoy for a job well done!

For additional facts on Labor Day go to www.history.com/topics/holidays/labor-day




Posted in HOLIDAYS
Aug. 21, 2018

Back to School


Does Back to School Really Mean the End of the Real Estate Buying Season?

We’ve all heard the widely held belief that back to school signals the end of the home buying season.  The reasoning goes that, once children are back in school parents are less likely to uproot the family.  Back to school also means the end of Summer.  Those without children to consider will tell you this means the holidays are right around the corner, and no one wants to buy a home during the hectic last quarter.

Both of these bits of sage wisdom, or some variation thereof, are passed to you from friends and family members, potentially discouraging you from listing your home, or beginning a house buying hunt, at any time past September.  It turns out that many of these “helpful” or “well informed” pieces of advice aren’t based in any real life statistics.  

The Second Best Time of Year

While Spring and early Summer are great times for home buying and selling for families looking to settle into a neighborhood before the school year begins, it turns out that Fall attracts buyers for different, but equally compelling reasons.

Selling your home in autumn is the second best time of year.  Vacations are over, families are back into routines, and the holiday season is still far enough away to let us ignore.  Inventories that declined over the summer months pick up. Home sellers are generally more negotiable as they see the days shorten and serious buyers are looking for that special home for the thanksgiving buffet.  If you are considering a move now is a great time.”

Less Bidding and More Serious Buying

If the thought of entering the Spring time home buying spree leaves your head spinning, it turns out you aren’t the only one with the aversion.  Buying a home in the fall can mean less competition and less of a chance of getting into an emotion fueled bidding war.  But don’t think that means that there are fewer quality properties on the market.

Sellers in cooler climates will want to get their relocation out of the way before the snow and ice moves in.  The end of the year is also a common time for companies to hire, or relocate their employees.  Some sellers will also prefer to hold out listing their home until after the spring and summer season is over, hoping their property will get more attention once the market has leveled off.

Let’s Talk About That Whole School Thing

  As it turns out, fewer couples and homebuyers nowadays have minor children in the home to consider.  So while the whole concept of back to school equaling the end of the home buying and selling season may have been more relevant 20 or 30 years ago, the majority of those in the real estate market today don’t even have children to consider.

If you’re seriously considering buying or selling a home, any time is the right time.  With a wide selection of listings available near you, consider speaking with a W Realty agent and get your home search underway.