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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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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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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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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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