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Today's Real Estate Market Explained Through 4 Key Trends

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

Hi there!  

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

1)  A Shortage of Homes for Sale

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

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

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

2)  Buyer Competition and Bidding Wars

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

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

3)  Home

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Housing Supply is Rising. What Does That Mean For You?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sellers: Our Supply Challenges

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Americans See Real Estate as a Better Investment than Stocks, Gold

Americans See Real Estate as a Better Investment Than Stocks or Gold | MyKCM

Last month, in a post on the Liberty Street Economics blog, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York noted that Americans believe buying a home is definitely or probably a better investment than buying stocks. Last week, a Gallup Poll reaffirmed those findings.

In an article on the current real estate market, Gallup reports:

“Gallup usually finds that Americans regard real estate as the best long-term investment among several options -- seeing it as superior to stocks, gold, savings accounts and bonds. This year, 41% choose real estate as the best investment, up from 35% a year ago, with stocks a distant second.”

Here’s the breakdown:Americans See Real Estate as a Better Investment Than Stocks or Gold | MyKCMThe article goes on to say:

“The 41% choosing real estate is the highest selecting any of the five investment options in the 11 years Gallup has asked this question.”

Is real estate really a secure investment right now?

Some question American confidence in real estate as a good long-term investment right now. They fear that the build-up in home values may be mirroring what happened right before the housing crash a little more than a decade ago. However, according to Merrill Lynch, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs, the current real estate market is strong and sustainable.

As Morgan Stanley explains to their clients in a recent Thoughts on the Market podcast:

“Unlike 15 years ago, the euphoria in today's home prices comes down to the simple logic of supply and demand. And we at Morgan Stanley conclude that this time the sector is on a sustainably, sturdy foundation . . . . This robust demand and highly challenged supply, along with tight mortgage lending standards, may continue to bode well for home prices. Higher interest rates and post pandemic moves could likely slow the pace of appreciation, but the upward trajectory remains very much on course.”

If you'd like to talk to me about buying or selling a home, I'm always happy to talk about All Things Real Estate! Never has it been more clear why "real estate is the savings account you live in," and now more than ever is a great time to buy in, trade up, or cash out on your real estate investment. Call anytime! 406.570.1653

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Some Buyers Prefer Smaller Homes...

Some Buyers Prefer Smaller Homes

Some Buyers Prefer Smaller Homes | MyKCM

Over the past year, we’ve had plenty of opportunities to reflect on what we consider most important in our lives. The place we call home is one of the biggest things many of us are reevaluating. George Ratiu, Senior Economist at realtor.com, shares:

“The very nature of the pandemic, through the health implications, social distancing, and need to isolate, has really brought a central focus on the importance of home for most Americans…In a sense, it has elevated real estate markets as a centerpiece of our lives.”

For some, this has spurred an interest in making a move to a home that better suits our changing needs. In a recent study on today’s homebuyer preferences, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) states:

“When asked more specifically how the pandemic may have impacted their preference for home size21% or about 1 out of every 5 buyers, do want a larger home now as a direct result of the health crisis, while another segment – 12% – would prefer a smaller one instead.”

While you might expect more time at home to lead to a need for more space, it’s interesting that a significant portion of homeowners actually want less. For those who own larger homes right now and have a desire to move, today’s housing market is full of opportunities. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.comexplains:

“In a real estate market that is tipped in the favor of sellers, boomers and older homeowners are really the ones holding the cards…Those who are selling homes can use the profits to help them buy new ones.”

As a homeowner today, you likely have equity that can be put toward the purchase of your next home. With the equity growth homes have seen over the past year, you may have more than you think, which can help significantly as you make a move into your next home. According to a report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR):

“Home sellers cited that they sold their homes for a median of

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Time To Trade-Up or Downsize for You?

Millennials: Is It Time to Buy a Bigger Home?

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In today’s housing market, all eyes are on millennials. Not only are millennials the largest generation, but they’re also currently between 25 and 40 years old. These are often considered prime homebuying years when many people begin to form their own households and invest in real estate. If you’re like many millennials who are spending much more time at home these days, you may have a growing need for more space or upgraded features, making moving more desirable than ever.

For those millennials who already own a home, there’s a great opportunity to move up in 2021. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, explains:

“Older millennials will be trade-up buyers with many having owned their first homes long enough to see substantial equity gains.”

Even if you bought a home sometime in the last few years, you may have more equity than you realize, and that’s a big factor to consider when you’re thinking about moving. According to the Homeowner Equity Insights Report from CoreLogic:

“In the third quarter of 2020, the average homeowner gained approximately $17,000 in equity during the past year. This marks the largest average equity gain since the first quarter of 2014.”

Growing equity can be the driver you’re looking for to fund your next move, especially if what you need in a home is changing right now. As equity builds over time, it can be put toward the down payment on your next home.

In addition to equity gains, today’s housing market affordability is powered by record-low mortgage rates, so

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3 Ways Home Equity Can Have a Major Impact on Your Life

3 Ways Home Equity Can Have a Major Impact on Your Life!

3 Ways Home Equity Can Have a Major Impact on Your Life | MyKCM
There have been a lot of headlines reporting on how homeowner equity (the difference between the current market value of your home and the amount you owe on your mortgage) has dramatically increased over the past few years. CoreLogic indicated that equity increased for the average homeowner by $17,000 in the last year alone. ATTOM Data Solutions, in their latest U.S. Home Equity Report, revealed that 30.2% of the 59 million mortgaged homes in the United States have at least 50% equity. That doesn’t even include the 38% of homes that are owned free and clear, meaning they don’t have a mortgage at all.

How can equity help a household?

Having equity in your home can dramatically impact your life. Equity is like a savings account you can tap into when you need cash. Like any other savings, you should be sensible in how you use it, though. Here are three good reasons to consider using your equity.

1. You’re experiencing financial hardship (job loss, medical expenses, etc.)

Equity gives you options during difficult financial times. With equity, you could refinance your house to get cash which may ease the burden. It also puts you in a better position to talk to the bank about restructuring your home loan until you can get back on your feet.

Today, there are 2.7 million Americans who are currently in a forbearance program because of the pandemic. Ninety percent of those in the program have at least 10% equity. That puts them in a better position to get a loan modification instead of facing foreclosure because many banks will see the equity as a form of collateral in a new deal. If you’re in this position, even if you can’t get a modification, the equity allows you the option to sell your house and walk away with your equity instead of losing the house and your investment in it.

2. You need money to start a new business

We’ve all heard the stories about how many great American companies

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Want to Build Wealth? Buy a Home.

Want to Build Wealth?  Buy a Home.

Want to Build Wealth? Buy a Home This Year.

Every year, households across the country make the decision to rent for another year or take the leap into homeownership. They look at their earnings and savings and then decide what makes the most financial sense. That equation will most likely take into consideration monthly housing costs, tax advantages, and other incremental expenses. Using these measurements, recent studies show that it’s still more affordable to own than rent in most of the country.

There is, however, another financial advantage to owning a home that’s often forgotten in the analysis – the wealth built through equity when you own a home.

Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist for First American, discusses this point in a recent blog post. She explains:

“Once you include the equity benefit of price appreciation, owning made more financial sense than renting in 48 out of the 50 top markets, with the only exceptions being San Francisco and San Jose, Calif.”

What has this equity piece meant to homeowners in the past?

ATTOM Data Solutions, the curator of one of the nation’s premier property databases, just analyzed the typical home-price gain owners nationwide enjoyed when they sold their homes. Here’s a breakdown of their findings:Want to Build Wealth? Buy a Home This Year. | MyKCMThe typical gain in the sale of the home (equity) has increased significantly over the last five years.

CoreLogic, another property data curator, also weighed in on the subject. According to their latest Homeowner Equity Insights Report, the average homeowner gained $17,000 in equity in just the last year alone.

What does the future look like for homeowners when it comes to equity?

Here are the seven major home price appreciation forecasts for 2021:Want to Build Wealth? Buy a Home This Year. | MyKCMThe National Association of Realtors (NAR) just reported that today, the median-priced home in the country sells for $309,800. If homes appreciate by 5% this year (the average of the forecasts), the homeowner will increase their wealth by $15,490 in 2021 through increased equity.

Bottom Line

As you make your plans for the coming year, be sure to consider the equity benefits of home price appreciation

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Will COVID Forbearances Cause Home Values to Plummet?

Will Forbearance Plans Lead to a Tsunami of Foreclosures? | MyKCM

At the onset of the economic disruptions caused by the COVID pandemic, the government quickly put into place forbearance plans to allow homeowners to remain in their homes without making their monthly mortgage payments. Today, almost three million households are actively in a forbearance plan. Though 29.4% of those in forbearance have continued to stay current on their payments, many have not.

Yanling Mayer, Principal Economist at CoreLogic, recently revealed:  

"A distributional analysis of forborne loans’ payment status reveals that more than one third (39.1%) of all forborne loans are now 150+ days behind payment, while as many as 1-in-4 (25.5%) are 180+ days past due.”

These homeowners have been given permission to not make their payments, but the question now is: how many of them will be able to catch up after their forbearance program ends? There’s speculation that a forthcoming wave of foreclosures could be the result, and that could lead to another crash in home values like we saw a decade ago.

However, today’s situation is different than the 2006-2008 housing crisis as many homeowners have tremendous amounts of equity in their homes.

What are the experts saying?

Over the last 30 days, several industry experts have weighed in on this subject.

Michael Sklarz, President at Collateral Analytics:

“We may very well see a meaningful increase in the number of homes listed for sale as these borrowers choose to sell at what is arguably an intermediate top in the market and downsize to more affordable homes rather than face foreclosure.”

Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American:

“The foreclosure process is based on two steps. First, the homeowner suffers an adverse economic shock…leading to the homeowner becoming delinquent on their mortgage. However, delinquency by itself is not enough to send a mortgage into foreclosure. With enough equity, a homeowner has the option of selling their home, or tapping into their equity through a refinance, to help weather the economic shock. It is a lack of sufficient equity, the second component of the dual trigger, that causes a serious delinquency to become

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I'm In Love With Montana

I'm In Love With Montana

“I’m in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection. But with Montana it is love. And it’s difficult to analyze love when you’re in it.”  John Steinbeck, Travels With Charley: In Search of America

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Why It's Important to Price Right, Even In Today's Market!

Why It’s Important to Price Your House Right Today | MyKCM

Even in today’s sellers’ market, setting the right price for your house is one of the most valuable things you can do. According to the U.S. Economic Outlook by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), existing home prices nationwide are forecasted to increase by 4.5% in 2021. This means experts anticipate home values will continue climbing next year. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for realtor.com, notes:

“We expect price gains to ease somewhat in 2021 and end 5.7% above 2020 levels, decelerating steadily through the spring and summer, and then gradually reaccelerating toward the end of the year.”

How to Price Your House

When it comes to setting the right price for your house, the goal is to increase visibility and drive more buyers your way. Instead of trying to win the negotiation with one buyer, you should price your house so that demand is maximized and more buyers want to take a look.

As a seller in today’s market, you might be thinking about pricing your house on the high end while so many of today’s buyers are searching harder than ever just to find a home to purchase. But here’s the thing – a high price tag does not mean you’re going to cash in big on the sale. It’s actually more likely to deter buyers.

Right now, even when there are so few houses for sale, your house is more likely to sit on the market longer or require a price drop that can send buyers running if it isn’t priced just right from the very beginning.Why It’s Important to Price Your House Right Today | MyKCMIt’s important to make sure your house is priced correctly by working with a trusted real estate professional throughout the process. When you price it competitively from the start, you won’t be negotiating with one buyer. Instead, you’ll likely have multiple buyers competing for the house, potentially increasing the final sale price.

The key is to make sure your house is priced to sell immediately. This way, it will be seen by the greatest number of buyers. More than one of them may be interested, and

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Relief for Homeowners Affected by Coronavirus

I hope you're staying hydrated, well-rested, and you're exercising moderately every day!  Whew.  It's a tall order, but it's good work.  

Thought you might like to know of some resources available to you if you have the need. If I've omitted any resources that you know of, feel free to get in touch w me and I'll pass along the info.  (Extra points for you if you call me:  I'm contact-starved, and I'd love to hear your voice!)

The Federal Housing Financing Agency (FHFA) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have announced a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions for at least the next 60 days.   Here's a link: https://www.hud.gov/press/press_releases_media_advisories/HUD_No_20_042 .  Homeowners who are struggling financially as a result of coronavirus may postpone their mortgage payments for up to 12 months. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and their servicers have been instructed to be proactive in providing assistance to homeowners and to provide forbearance on their loans.  Mortgage payments will be paused with no impact to credit.   Here are some links to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac assistance sites:   https://www.knowyouroptions.com/covid19assistance  and https://myhome.freddiemac.com/mortgage-help/contact.html 

Additionally banks have posted their own policies and ways for consumers to contact them directly for assistance.  Here's more info:  

Bank of America:  https://about.bankofamerica.com/promo/assistance/latest-updates-from-bank-of-america-coronavirus; Capital One:  https://www.capitalone.com/coronavirus/; Chase Bank:  https://www.chase.com/digital/resources/coronavirus; Truist Bank:  https://www.truist.com/coronavirus-response/banking-solutions; US Bank:  https://www.usbank.com/splash/covid-19.html; Wells Fargo: https://newsroom.wf.com/press-release/corporate-and-financial/wells-fargo-announces-aid-customers-and-communities-impacted; Mr. Cooper (mortgage servicer): https://www.mrcooper.com/blog/2020/03/20/coronavirus/ and Flagstar (mortgage servicer):  https://www.flagstar.com/promo/update.html.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is urging consumers to protect their credit during this time.   https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/protecting-your-credit-during-coronavirus-pandemic/.  This site is a good source of info:  they have a number of resources focused on short-term and long-term financial protection -- for instance how to manage bill-paying in the near future, how to manage student loans, and how to negotiate debt collections.

For the latest updates and public health policies, here's a link to the Centers for Disease Control's COVID-19 site:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2Findex.html.  And you might also be interested in checking in to the EPA's website concerning coronavirus.  The Good News is at the current time they haven't found the

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Are We About to See a Wave of COVID-19 Foreclosures?

Are We About to See a New Wave of Foreclosures?

Are We About to See a New Wave of Foreclosures? | MyKCM

With all of the havoc being caused by COVID-19, many are concerned we may see a new wave of foreclosures. Restaurants, airlines, hotels, and many other industries are furloughing workers or dramatically cutting their hours. Without a job, many homeowners are wondering how they’ll be able to afford their mortgage payments.

In spite of this, there are actually many reasons we won’t see a surge in the number of foreclosures like we did during the housing crash over ten years ago. Here are just a few of those reasons:

The Government Learned its Lesson the Last Time

During the previous housing crash, the government was slow to recognize the challenges homeowners were having and waited too long to grant relief. Today, action is being taken swiftly. Just this week:

  • The Federal Housing Administration indicated it is enacting an “immediate foreclosure and eviction moratorium for single family homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages” for the next 60 days.
  • The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced it is directing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to suspend foreclosures and evictions for “at least 60 days.”

Homeowners Learned their Lesson the Last Time

When the housing market was going strong in the early 2000s, homeowners gained a tremendous amount of equity in their homes. Many began to tap into that equity. Some started to use their homes as ATM machines to purchase luxury items like cars, jet-skis, and lavish vacations. When prices dipped, many found themselves in a negative equity situation (where the mortgage was greater than the value of their homes). Some just walked away, leaving the banks with no other option but to foreclose on their properties.

Today, the home equity situation in America is vastly different. From 2005-2007, homeowners cashed out $824 billion worth of home equity by refinancing. In the last three years, they cashed out only $232 billion, less than one-third of that amount. That has led to:

  • 37% of homes in America having no mortgage at all
  • Of the remaining 63%, more than 1 in 4 having over 50% equity
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Buying With Less Than 20% Down

There aren't many costs built into a home loan that can be removed, but Private Mortgage Insurance is one that can be. If you don't have a 20% down payment for your home, PMI can get you into a home while conditions are otherwise right for you (say while the interest rates are low!) Cancel the PMI once you've built 20% equity in your home so you can remove that expense from your monthly mortgage payment. Interested? Let's talk! (406) 570-1653

What You Need to Know About Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

What You Need to Know About Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) | MyKCM

Whether it is your first time or your fifth, it is always important to know all the facts when it comes to buying a home. With the large number of mortgage programs available that allow buyers to purchase homes with down payments below 20%, you can never have too much information about Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI).

What is PMI?

Freddie Mac defines PMI as:

“An insurance policy that protects the lender if you are unable to pay your mortgage. It’s a monthly fee, rolled into your mortgage payment, that is required for all conforming, conventional loans that have down payments less than 20%.

Once you’ve built equity of 20% in your home, you can cancel your PMI and remove that expense from your mortgage payment.”

As the borrower, you pay the monthly premiums for the insurance policy, and the lender is the beneficiary. Freddie Mac goes on to explain that:

“The cost of PMI varies based on your loan-to-value ratio – the amount you owe on your mortgage compared to its value – and credit score, but you can expect to pay between $30 and $70 per month for every $100,000 borrowed.” 

According to the National Association of Realtors, the average down payment for all buyers last year was 13%. For first-time buyers, that number dropped to 7%, while repeat buyers put down 16% (no doubt aided by the sale of their homes). This just goes to show that for a large number of buyers last year, PMI did not stop them from buying their dream homes.

Here’s an example of

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Home Affordability?!

 

Rates are on their way down again -- you'll want to be in touch after you read this article.  Never been a better time to buy.  

Jen Walsh (406) 570-1653

 

The Ultimate Truth about Housing Affordability

The Ultimate Truth about Housing Affordability | MyKCM

There have been many headlines decrying an “affordability crisis” in the residential real estate market. While it is true that buying a home is less affordable than it had been over the last ten years, we need to understand why and what that means.

On a monthly basis, the National Association of Realtors (NAR), produces a Housing Affordability Index. According to NAR, the index…

“…measures whether or not a typical family earns enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a typical home at the national and regional levels based on the most recent price and income data.”

Their methodology states:

“To interpret the indices, a value of 100 means that a family with the median income has exactly enough income to qualify for a mortgage on a median-priced home. An index above 100 signifies that family earning the median income has more than enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a median-priced home, assuming a 20 percent down payment.”

So, the higher the index, the more affordable it is to purchase a home. Here is a graph of the index going back to 1990:

The Ultimate Truth about Housing Affordability | MyKCM

It is true that the index is lower today than any year from 2009 to 2017. However, we must realize the main reason homes were more affordable. That period of time immediately followed a housing crash and there were large numbers of distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales). Those properties were sold at large discounts.

Today, the index is higher than any year from 1990 to 2008. Based on historic home affordability data, that means homes are more affordable right now than any other time besides the time following the housing crisis.

With mortgage rates remaining low and wages finally increasing, we can see that it is MORE AFFORDABLE to purchase a home today than it was last year!

Bottom Line

With

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Today's Homes Are a BARGAIN Compared to Historic Norms...

 Last Chance!  Homes are a Bargain Compared to Historic Norms

 

This applies not only to home-purchases, but to investment purchases as well.  Whether you're thinking about buying your first home, moving up, or taking the leap and buying an investment property, the percentage of your income required is less than it was for your parents, or even your older siblings!   

Whether you need strategies for investment or a terrific lender, I can help!  Get in touch anytime.  

 

Last Chance! Homes are a Bargain Compared to Historic Norms | MyKCM

A loaf of bread used to be a nickel. A movie ticket was a dime.  Not anymore. Houses were also much less expensive than they are now. Inflation raised the price of all three of those items, along with the price of almost every other item we purchase.

The reason we can still afford to consume is that our wages have also risen over time. The better measure of whether an item is more expensive than it was before is what percentage of our income it takes to purchase that item today compared to earlier. Let’s look at purchasing a home.

The COST of a home is determined by three major components: price, mortgage interest rate, and wages. The big question? Are we paying a greater percentage of our income toward our monthly mortgage payment today than previous generations? Surprisingly, the answer is no.

Historically, Americans have paid just over 21% of their income toward their monthly mortgage payment.

Though home prices are higher than before, wages have risen as well. And, the most important component in the cost equation – the mortgage rate – is dramatically lower than it was in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s.

Today, according to the latest Home Affordability Index just released by the National Association of Realtors, Americans are paying 17.4% of their income toward their mortgage payment. That is much lower than the 21% average previous generations have paid.

Last Chance! Homes are a Bargain Compared to Historic Norms | MyKCM

Bottom Line

The cost of purchasing a home today is a bargain compared to previous generations when we look at it from a percentage of income basis. However, with mortgage rates expected

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Don't Rent: Buy!

This. Is. Huge. If you're a millenial (or a Gen X-er, or a Boomer, or a single woman, or a single man, or...) and you're renting, I can help you stop making mortgage payments for someone else. We can find a solution for you!  Call/text/PM any time (570.1653).  

 

Millionaire To Millennials: Don’t Get Stuck Renting A Home… Buy One!

Millionaire To Millennials: Don’t Get Stuck Renting A Home… Buy One! | MyKCM

In a CNBC article, self-made millionaire David Bach explained that: “The biggest mistake millennials are making is not buying their first home.” He goes on to say that, “If you want to build real financial security, real wealth for your lifetime, then you need to buy a home.”

Bach went on to explain:

“Homeowners are worth 40 times more than renters. Now, that first home doesn’t need to be a dream home, it can be a very small home. You might literally have to buy a small studio apartment, but that’s how you get started.”

Then he explains the secret to buying that home!

“Don’t do a 30-year mortgage. You want to take that 30-year mortgage and instead pay it off early, do a 15-year mortgage. What happens if you do a 15-year mortgage? Well, one, you pay the mortgage off 15-years sooner, that means you’ll be able to retire in your fifties. Number two, you’ll save a fortune (on potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest payments).”

What will it cost to pay your mortgage in fifteen years? He explains further:

“For fifteen years, you got to brownbag your lunch. Think about that! Brownbag your lunch literally for fifteen years. You can retire ten years sooner than your friends. You’ll have real wealth, because you bought a home – you’re not a renter. And you’ll be financially secure for life.”

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.

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

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This is Critical for Buyers

How Current Interest Rates Can Have a High Impact on Your Purchasing Power

How Current Interest Rates Can Have a High Impact on Your Purchasing Power | MyKCM

According to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage are currently at 4.61%, which is still near record lows in comparison to recent history!

The interest rate you secure when buying a home not only greatly impacts your monthly housing costs, but also impacts your purchasing power.

Purchasing power, simply put, is the amount of home you can afford to buy for the budget you have available to spend. As rates increase, the price of the house you can afford to buy will decrease if you plan to stay within a certain monthly housing budget.

The chart below shows the impact that rising interest rates would have if you planned to purchase a home within the national median price range while keeping your principal and interest payments between $1,850-$1,900 a month.

How Current Interest Rates Can Have a High Impact on Your Purchasing Power | MyKCM

With each quarter of a percent increase in interest rate, the value of the home you can afford decreases by 2.5% (in this example, $10,000). Experts predict that mortgage rates will be closer to 5% by this time next year.

Act now to get the most house for your hard-earned money.  I can help!

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Don't Put Off Moving Up!

Moving Up to Your Dream Home? Don’t Wait!

Moving Up to Your Dream Home? Don’t Wait! | MyKCM

Mortgage interest rates have risen by more than half of a point since the beginning of the year, and many assume that if mortgage rates rise, home values will fall. History, however, has shown this not to be true.

Where are home values today compared to the beginning of the year?

While rates have been rising, so have home values. Here are the most recent monthly price increases reported in the Home Price Insights Report from CoreLogic:

  • January: Prices were up 0.5% over the month before.
  • February: Prices were up 1% over the month before.
  • March: Prices were up 1.4% over the month before.

Not only did prices continue to appreciate, the level of appreciation accelerated over the first quarter. CoreLogic believes that home prices will increase by 5.2% over the next twelve months.

How can prices rise while mortgage rates increase?

Freddie Mac explained in a recent Insight Report:

“In the current housing market, the driving force behind the increase in prices is a low supply of both new and existing homes combined with historically low rates. As mortgage rates increase, the demand for home purchases will likely remain strong relative to the constrained supply and continue to put upward pressure on home prices.”

Bottom Line

If you are thinking about moving up to your dream home, waiting until later this year and hoping for prices to fall may not be a good strategy.

Call me to find out what your home's worth in today's market:  moving up may be surprisingly easy!  

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4 Reasons Why Today's Hot market is NOT 2008 All Over Again

This strong current market really doesn't compare to the real estate market just before the crash of  of '08.  Here's why:   
 
 
4 Reasons Why Today’s Housing Market is NOT 2006 All Over Again | MyKCM

With home prices rising again this year, some are concerned that we may be repeating the 2006 housing bubble that caused families so much pain when it collapsed. Today’s market is quite different than the bubble market of twelve years ago. There are four key metrics that explain why:

  1. Home Prices
  2. Mortgage Standards
  3. Mortgage Debt
  4. Housing Affordability

1. HOME PRICES

There is no doubt that home prices have reached 2006 levels in many markets across the country. However, after more than a decade, home prices should be much higher based on inflation alone.

Frank Nothaft is the Chief Economist for CoreLogic (which compiles some of the best data on past, current, and future home prices). Nothaft recently explained:

“Even though CoreLogic’s national home price index got to the same level it was at the prior peak in April of 2006, once you account for inflation over the ensuing 11.5 years, values are still about 18% below where they were.” (emphasis added)

2. MORTGAGE STANDARDS

Some are concerned that banks are once again easing lending standards to a level similar to the one that helped create the last housing bubble. However, there is proof that today’s standards are nowhere near as lenient as they were leading up to the crash.

The Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center issues a Housing Credit Availability Index (HCAI). According to the Urban Institute:

“The HCAI measures the percentage of home purchase loans that are likely to default—that is, go unpaid for more than 90 days past their due date. A lower HCAI indicates that lenders are unwilling to tolerate defaults and are imposing tighter lending standards, making it harder to get a loan. A higher HCAI indicates that lenders are willing to tolerate defaults and are taking more risks, making it easier to get a loan.”

The graph below reveals that standards today are much tighter on a borrower’s credit situation and have all but eliminated the

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Slaying Homebuying Myths

Home Buying Myths Slayed [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • The average down payment for first-time homebuyers is only 6%!
  • Despite mortgage interest rates being over 4%, rates are still below historic numbers.
  • 88% of property managers raised their rents in the last 12 months!
  • The credit score requirements for mortgage approval continue to fall.
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Clogged Toilet? Here's a Tip!

 
Ever had the toilet clog up when there's no plumber to be had?  (Think Thanksgiving Day and your company is almost there. ugh.)  This tip could be a lifesaver!
 

 
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

There's a certain sense of urgency that comes when faced with a clogged toilet, and no feeling is quite like that of the pending doom of toilet water, mere seconds away from spilling out onto the floor you're standing on. Thankfully, plungers are designed to save us from that fate — but what if you reach for one and it's not there?

 

Whether you're one plunger shy, or coaxing a clog that a plunger just won't work loose, we have good news for you: If you have access to dish soap and very, very hot water, you've got one more shot at it before calling a plumber!


 
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

How To Tackle A Seriously Clogged Toilet With Dish Soap:

  • Fill a pot with a gallon of water and set it on the stovetop. You want it very hot, but not quite boiling. (Boiling water could crack the toilet bowl, yikes!)
  • Pour at least a half cup of dish soap into the toilet bowl, let it sit until the water is ready on the stovetop.
  • Carefully pour the gallon of very hot water into the toilet bowl and watch as the soap helps to unclog the toilet. If you're worried about there being too much water in the toilet bowl once you try to flush, turn the water valve off (located behind the toilet close to the floor).

It might sound crazy, but it actually works!

You may have to wait up to 15 minutes for the clog to work loose. If you don't see any action after that point, you're probably going to need to call a plumber.

This is Why it Works

It's pretty simple — just like they do on food particles that are stuck to your dishes in the sink, the combination of hot water and dish soap help to dissolve and break up whatever

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Bankruptcy? You Might Qualify for a Home Loan Sooner Than You'd Thought!

If you've had a bankruptcy, you may qualify for a home loan sooner than you'd thought.  Need an experienced lender who can help?  I can put you in touch!  Call/text me any time.  

Boomerang Buyers: Most Qualify for Financing in 2-3 Years

Boomerang Buyers: Most Qualify for Financing in 2-3 Years | MyKCM

According to a new study from Lending Tree, Americans who have filed for bankruptcy may be able to rebuild enough credit to qualify for a home loan in as little as 2-3 years.

This is in stark contrast to the belief that many have that they need to wait 7-10 years for their bankruptcies to clear from their credit reports before attempting to apply for either a mortgage or a personal or auto loan.

The study analyzed over one million loan applications for mortgages, personal, and auto loans and compared borrowers who had a bankruptcy on their credit report vs. those who did not to find out the “Cost of Bankruptcy.”

The study found that 43.2% of Americans who filed bankruptcy were able to repair their credit back to a 640 FICO® Score in less than a year. The percentage of those who achieved a 640 FICO® Score increased to nearly 75% after 5 years. The full breakdown of the findings was used to create the chart below.

Boomerang Buyers: Most Qualify for Financing in 2-3 Years | MyKCM

Americans who were able to repair their credit scores to a range of 720-739 within three years of filing were able to obtain the same financing options as those who had never filed bankruptcy.

According to Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insights Report, 53.5% of those who were approved for a home loan had FICO® Scores between 600-749 last month. This is great news for Americans who are looking to re-enter the housing market.

Boomerang Buyers: Most Qualify for Financing in 2-3 Years | MyKCM

Raj Patel, Lending Tree’s Director of Credit Restoration & Debt-Related Services had this to say:

“People may think that filing a bankruptcy would put you out of the loan market for seven to ten years, but this study shows that it is possible to rebuild your credit to a good credit quality.”

“LendingTree’s research found that very few bankruptcy filers have a harder time [obtaining

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7 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Home to Retire In

7 Factors to Consider When Choosing A Home to Retire In | MyKCM

As more and more baby boomers enter retirement age, the question of whether or not to sell their homes and move will become a hot topic. In today’s housing market climate, with low available inventory in the starter and trade-up home categories, it makes sense to evaluate your home’s ability to adapt to your needs in retirement.

According to the National Association of Exclusive Buyers Agents (NAEBA), there are 7 factors that you should consider when choosing your retirement home.

1. Affordability

“It may be easy enough to purchase your home today but think long-term about your monthly costs. Account for property taxes, insurance, HOA fees, utilities – all the things that will be due whether or not you have a mortgage on the property.

Would moving to a complex with homeowner association fees actually be cheaper than having to hire all the contractors you would need to maintain your home, lawn, etc.? Would your taxes go down significantly if you relocated? What is your monthly income going to be like in retirement?

2. Equity

“If you have equity in your current home, you may be able to apply it to the purchase of your next home. Maintaining a healthy amount of home equity gives you a source of emergency funds to tap, via a home equity loan or reverse mortgage.”

The equity you have in your current home may be enough to purchase your retirement home with little to no mortgage. Homeowners in the US gained an average of over $14,000 in equity last year.

3. Maintenance

“As we age, our tolerance for cleaning gutters, raking leaves and shoveling snow can go right out the window. A condominium with low-maintenance needs can be a literal lifesaver, if your health or physical abilities decline.”

As we mentioned earlier, would a condo with an HOA fee be worth the added peace of mind of not having to do the maintenance work yourself?

4. Security

“Elderly homeowners can be targets for scams or break-ins. Living in a home with security features, such as a manned gate house, resident-only access and a security

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The Cost of Renting vs. Buying

The Cost of Renting vs. Buying Today [INFOGRAPHIC]

The Cost of Renting vs. Buying Today [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 (28.9%) vs. the percentage needed to buy a median-priced home (15.7%), 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!
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2 Ways to Get the Most Money from The Sale of Your Home

This is Huge. And frequently realtors get more money for a home-seller than they were getting as For-Sale-By-Owner sellers. (Even counting the agents' commissions!!)

 

2 Ways 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 the 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, but let’s look at this concept for a moment. Many homeowners think that pricing their homes a little OVER market value will leave them with room for negotiation. In actuality, this just dramatically lessens the demand for your house (see chart below).

2 Ways 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.

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

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Tired of Paying Your Landlord's Mortgage Yet?

Whether You Rent or Buy, Either Way You’re Paying a Mortgage!

Whether You Rent or Buy, Either Way You're Paying a Mortgage! | MyKCM

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

As Entrepreneur Magazine, a premier source for small business, explained in their article, “12 Practical Steps to Getting Rich”:

“While renting on a temporary basis isn’t terrible, you should most certainly own the roof over your head if you’re serious about your finances. It won’t make you rich overnight, but by renting, you’re paying someone else’s mortgage. In effect, you’re making someone else rich.”

Christina Boyle, Senior Vice President and head of the Single-Family Sales & Relationship Management organization at Freddie Mac, explains another benefit of securing a mortgage as opposed to paying rent:

“With a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, you’ll have the certainty & stability of knowing what your mortgage payment will be for the next 30 years – unlike rents which will continue to rise over the next three decades.”

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

Interest rates are still at historic lows, making it one of the best times to secure a mortgage and make a move into your dream home. Freddie Mac’s latest report shows that rates across the country were at 4.22% last week.

Bottom Line

If you're looking to stop making your landlord rich, I can help!  I have a heart for first-time homebuyers.  Call/text:  I'm always happy to talk homeownership with you!

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Gap Between Homeowners & Appraisers Narrows to Lowest Mark in 2 Years

When selling your home, sometimes it's important to defend your price to the appraiser! (One of the many reasons to have an experienced realtor on your team.)  If you're thinking of selling and you want to know what your house is worth, I can help.  Call me! I'd be happy to do a comparative market analysis and tell you the value of your home.  

Gap Between Homeowners & Appraisers Narrows to Lowest Mark in 2 Years | 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 4% or more over the next twelve months. One major challenge in such a market is the bank appraisal.

When 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 and what an appraiser’s evaluation of that same home is.

In the latest release, the disparity was the narrowest it has been in over two years, as the gap between appraisers and homeowners was only -0.5%. This is important for homeowners to note as even a .5% difference in appraisal can mean thousands of dollars that a buyer or seller would have to come up with at closing (depending on the price of the home)

The chart below illustrates the changes in home price estimates over the last two years.

Gap Between Homeowners & Appraisers Narrows to Lowest Mark in 2 Years | MyKCM

Bill Banfield, Executive VP of Capital Markets at Quicken Loans urges homeowners to find out how their local markets have been impacted by supply and demand:

“Appraisers and real estate professionals evaluate their local housing markets daily. Homeowners, on the other hand, may only think about their housing market when they see ‘for sale’ signs hit front yards in the spring or when they think about accessing their equity.”

“With several years of growth, owners may have more equity than they realize. Many consumers use

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Many First-Time Buyers Put Down Less than 6%

This is Big. Having a conversation with a good lender and finding out how much you actually have to put down for a home is super-important. It could be way less than you think. Need a referral? I can put you in touch w some great local lenders: call/text!

61% of First-Time Buyers Put Down Less than 6%

61% of First-Time Buyers Put Down Less than 6% | MyKCM

According to the National Association of Realtors’ latest Realtors Confidence Index, 61% of first-time homebuyers purchased their homes with down payments below 6% from October 2016 through November 2017.

Many potential homebuyers believe that a 20% down payment is necessary to buy a home and have disqualified themselves without even trying. The median down payment for all buyers in 2017 was just 10% and that percentage drops to 6% for first-time buyers.

Zillow Senior Economist Aaron Terrazas’ recent comments shed light on why buyer demand has remained strong,

“Looking into 2018, rent is expected to continue gaining. More widespread rent growth could mean home buying demands stay high, as renters who can afford it move away from the unpredictability of rising rents toward the relative stability of a monthly mortgage payment instead.”

It’s no surprise that with rents rising, more and more first-time buyers are taking advantage of low-down-payment mortgage options to secure their monthly housing costs and finally attain their dream homes.

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many first-time buyers who is not sure if you would qualify for a low-down payment mortgage, let’s get together and set you on your path to homeownership!

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Solid Reasons It'll Pay to Put Your Home on the Market Early in 2018

Reasons It'll Pay to Market Your Home Early in 2018:

It's been nearly a decade since the Great Recession delivered the worst housing crash in modern memory. But these days, the fallout feels squarely in the rearview mirror. Markets have bounced back with fervor, and confidence is skyrocketing: From Charlotte, NC, to Stockton, CA—homes are flying off the market at record prices, and buyers are still clamoring to get in the game.

One thing is clear: It's a great time to be a seller.

"We’ve seen two or three years of what could be considered unsustainable levels of price appreciation, as well as an inventory shortage that resulted in a record low number of homes for sale across the country," says Javier Vivas, director of economic research for realtor.com®.

In other words: Today's buyers are exhausted. And in many cases that means they're willing to sacrifice to get a toehold in the market.

Sounds like the stuff of seller's dreams, right? But know this: If you plan to sell in 2018—and you want to unload your home quickly and for maximum money—your window of opportunity may be rapidly narrowing. Here's why you should get moving ASAP.

1. Interest rates are still historically low, drawing buyers into the market

We may not be enjoying the rock-bottom interest rates of three years ago, but today's 30-year mortgage rates—hovering just above 4%—are still at a historic low.

That means the getting's still good for buyers—and, subsequently, for sellers looking to unload their homes.

But rates are on the rise, and it's widely predicted that they'll reach 5% before year's end.  Buyers know that the longer they wait to buy, the more expensive it will be.

That means you'd be wise to list your home earlier in the year before more rate hikes kick in. Not only will you capture the market of buyers hurrying to close a deal, but if you're buying after you sell, you'll also benefit from those lower rates.

2. Inventory remains tight—and demand high

Simply put, there are more buyers than available homes—particularly in red-hot markets where land is scarce and it isn't cheap to build.

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712,000 Homes in the US Regained Equity in the Past 12 Months!

712,000 Homes in the US Regained Equity in the Past 12 Months!

712,000 Homes in the US Regained Equity in the Past 12 Months! | MyKCM

CoreLogic’s latest Equity Report revealed that “over the past 12 months, 712,000 borrowers moved into positive equity.” This is great news, as the share of homeowners with negative equity (those who owe more than their home is worth), has dropped more than 20% since the peak in Q4 of 2009 (26%) to 4.9% today.

The report also revealed:

  • The average homeowner gained approximately $14,900 in equityduring the past year.
  • Compared to Q3 2016, negative equity decreased 22% from 3.2 million homes, or 6.3% of all mortgaged properties.
  • U.S. homeowners with mortgages (roughly 63% of all homeownershave seen their equity increase by a total of $870.6 billion since Q3 2016, an increase of 11.8%, year-over-year.

The map below shows the percentage of homes by state with a mortgage and positive equity. (The states in gray have insufficient data to report.)

712,000 Homes in the US Regained Equity in the Past 12 Months! | MyKCM

Significant Equity Is on The Rise

Frank Nothaft, Chief Economist at CoreLogic, believes this is great news for the “housing market.” He went on to say:

“Homeowner equity increased by almost $871 billion over the last 12 months, the largest increase in more than three years. This increase is primarily a reflection of rising home prices, which drives up home values, leading to an increase in home equity positions and supporting consumer spending.”

Of the 95.1% of homeowners with positive equity in the U.S., 82.9% have significant equity (defined as more than 20%). This means that more than 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 by state with a mortgage and significant equity.

712,000 Homes in the US Regained Equity in the Past 12 Months! | MyKCM

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many homeowners who are unsure of how much equity you have in your home and are curious about your ability to move, let’s meet up to evaluate your situation!   I can put you in touch w good lenders and evaluate your home's worth for you.

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How Rising Prices Will Help You Build Family Wealth in 2018

How Rising Prices Will Help You Build Family Wealth in 2018

How Rising Prices Will Help You Build Family Wealth in 2018 | MyKCM

Over the next five years, home prices are expected to appreciate on average by 3.35% per year and to grow by 24.34% 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 purchases and closes on a $250,000 home this month (January). If we only look at the projected increase in the price of that home, how much equity will they earn over the next 5 years?

How Rising Prices Will Help You Build Family Wealth in 2018 | MyKCM

Since the experts predict that home prices will increase by 4.2% in 2018, the young homeowners will have gained $10,500 in equity in just one year.

Over a five-year period, their equity will increase by nearly $45,000! 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!

 

Here's to a wonderful 2018! 

Cheers!  Jen Walsh 570.1653

 

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Reassuring News for the Gun-Shy: It's Not a Bubble.

Housing Prices are NOT Heading for Another Crash

As home values continue to increase at levels greater than historic norms, some are concerned that we are heading for another crash like the one we experienced ten years ago. We recently explained that the lenient lending standards of the previous decade (which created false demand) no longer exist. But what about prices?

Are prices appreciating at the same rate that they were prior to the crash of 2006-2008? Let’s look at the numbers as reported by Freddie Mac:

Housing Prices are NOT Heading for Another Crash | MyKCM

The levels of appreciation we have experienced over the last four years aren’t anywhere near the levels that were reached in the four years prior to last decade’s crash.

We must also realize that, to a degree, the current run-up in prices is the market trying to catch up after a crash that dramatically dropped prices for five years.

Bottom Line

Prices are appreciating at levels greater than historic norms. However, we are not at the levels that led to the housing bubble and bust.

If you know of someone who's looking to buy or sell a home, please have them get in touch with me!  I’ll be happy to follow up and take great care of them.  

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Five Holiday-Hosting Disasters and How to Avoid Them!

Take a look at the most common things that can go wrong when you have guests and learn how to prevent them.

Imagine you’re preparing to host your annual holiday party, and you’re past the point of no return. The veggies and meats have been bought. Guests are already braving busy airports and crowded highways to get to your home -- and then your oven won’t turn on. Your home-cooked meal has quickly turned into a microwave dinner.

That’s just one of many hosting nightmares that can stop your party in its tracks! Thankfully, some of the worst mishaps easily can be avoided. Here are five of the most widespread problems and some tips on how to avoid them.  Keep your holiday party on track!

Problem: The Oven Doesn’t Heat!

For any holiday part, the oven is the most important appliance in your house.  If it fails, the centerpiece of your meal could go from roasted turkey, to pizza from your local Dominos!

How to avoid:

  • There are any number of reasons a stove can break, but one common cause of disaster is easy to prevent:  Don’t self-clean your oven until AFTER the holidays. You risk blowing a fuse or a thermostat, and tracking down an oven technician around the holidays is, well: impossible.  Plus who wants one more thing to do before the holidays!  Take it easy, and clean it in... January!

Problem: The Kitchen Sink Clogs!

The day after Thanksgiving is the busiest of the year for plumbers. The prime cause of this clog-a-thon is the mistreatment of drains when cooking holiday feasts.   Be smart this Thanksgiving and avoid clog-a-thons for the rest of the holidays.

How to avoid:

  • Fats and cooking oils can solidify in your pipes, so never dispose of them in your kitchen sink.
  • If you have a garbage disposal, make sure it’s running before anything goes in it, and never feed it any stringy, fibrous, or starchy foods like poultry skins or potato peels.
  • To fix, don’t rely on chemical drain-clearing products that can harm your pipes. Use a snake instead, available for $15
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Advantages of Living in a Small Home

While the jury is still out on whether or not Tiny Houses (micro-houses of 500 square feet or less) are here to stay or just a passing fad, Smaller Homes may be just the thing for those looking to live in high-demand areas. Bigger than a Tiny House, small homes range from 1000 - 2000 square feet. Cottages, bungalows, and shotgun houses are all typical smaller homes, and Bozeman and the Gallatin Valley has a wealth of them. To get into 'hot' neighborhoods without getting into really high prices, small homes represent an option for some to live in a great neighborhood. What a small home lacks in space, it makes up for in easy access to amenities and walkable neighborhoods.

According to a recent post in Business Insider, it's not unusual for the value of small homes to rise faster than that of larger homes. In one region of Florida, small homes showed a dramatic growth rate of 19.5% each year (2013-2016), while the area's largest homes appreciated by only 5.1% during the same time period. http://www.businessinsider.com/are-smaller-homes-valuable-2…

A Washinton Post article informs that downsizing to a small home can come with some built-in offbeat perks, including: "You have a bulletproof reason to graciously decline Aunt Laura's offer of her lime-green, fake-leather living room set that might have looked good 40 years ago. You'll have no place to put it..." http://www.washingtonpost.com/…/…/07/08/AR2010070806792.html

If you're looking for your own bulletproof excuses to keep from acquiring more stuff from Aunt Laura, I can help!

Cheers!

Jennifer Walsh REALTOR
570.1653
Let's Get Real! ®
A report by Nerdwallet suggests that smaller homes gain value faster than larger houses.
BUSINESSINSIDER.COM

 

 
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Advantages of Living in a Small House

While the jury is still out on whether or not Tiny Houses -- micro-houses of 500 sq feet or less --  are here to stay or just a passing fad, Smaller Homes may be just the thing for those looking to live in high-demand areas.  Bigger than a Tiny House,  small homes range from 1000 - 2000 square feet.  Cottages, bungalows, and shotgun houses are all typical of the smaller homes that have been prevalent through generations of homeownership in the US.  In many areas including Bozeman and the Gallatin Valley, there is a wealth of them.  To get into 'hot' neighborhoods without getting into the really high prices, small homes represent a real option for some to live in a central location. What a small home lacks in space, it makes up for in easy access to amenities and walkable neighborhoods.  And with ready access to VRBOs and other short-term vacation rentals, a homeowner can get away without having that spare bedroom.  (You can always put up visiting friends and family at a nearby Airbnb.  And why not share meals at nearby restaurants? You know you hate cooking for a crowd!)

     According to a recent post in the finance section of Business Insider, it's not unusual for the value of small homes to rise faster than that of larger homes. In one region of Florida, small homes showed a dramatic growth rate of 19.5% each year (2013-2016), while the area's largest homes appreciated by only 5.1% during the same time period.  http://www.businessinsider.com/are-smaller-homes-valuable-2017-2 . The greater price appreciation of smaller homes is the result of people choosing a cheaper entry point into areas of higher demand, higher prices, and higher taxation.

     In addition to the greater rate of appreciation, the costs for maintaining a smaller house are significantly lower.  According to a recent article on Trulia.com,  the electric bill for a 1000-square-foot home is approximately $200 less per month than the electric bill for a 3000-sq-ft home on average.  Even routine repairs and maintenance are less expensive for a smaller house:  replacing a (smaller)

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The 2017 Buying Season is Here, and It's Time to Get Strategic – And Creative! – in Your Financing Options

If you're a first-time home buyer or an honorably-discharged military veteran, consider asking your lender about a Montana Mortgage tax Credit Certificate (MCC). This program allows a taxpayer to receive an annual federal tax credit against his tax liability over the life of a mortgage. On a 30-year loan, that could amount to up to $60,000. This isn't a deduction: it's a dollar-for-dollar reduction against your federal tax liability. Consequently home buyers may qualify for mortgages which lenders may not have originally extended without the Mortgage Credit Certificate:  the money saved in the tax credit can be counted as income to the borrower on a monthly basis.  Check it out for yourself!  Here's a link:
Go ahead and call me if you need to Get Real! (You can call me if you need to sell Real too!)
Jen Walsh REALTOR
(406) 570-1653

 

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