3 Questions to Ask Before You Buy Your Dream Home

3 Questions to Ask Before You Buy Your Dream Home | MyKCM

If you are debating purchasing a home right now, you are probably getting a lot of advice. Though your friends and family will have your best interests at heart, they may not be fully aware of your needs and what is currently happening in the real estate market.

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

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

This is truly the most important question to answer. Forget the finances for a minute. Why did you even begin to consider purchasing a home? For most, the reason has nothing to do with money.

For example, a survey by Braun showed that over 75% of parents say, “their child’s education is an important part of the search for a new home.”

This survey supports a study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University which revealed that the top four reasons Americans buy a home have nothing to do with money. They are:

  • A good place to raise children and for them to get a good education
  • A place where you and your family feel safe
  • More space for you and your family
  • Control of that space

What does owning a home mean to you? What non-financial benefits will you and your family gain from owning a home? The answer to that question should be the biggest reason you decide to purchase or not.

2. Where are home values headed?

According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median price of homes sold in May (the latest data available) was $252,800, which is up 5.8% from last year. This increase also marks the 63rd consecutive month with year-over-year gains.

If we look at home prices year over year, CoreLogic is forecasting an increase of 5.3% over the next twelve months. In other words, a home that costs you $250,000 today will cost you an additional $13,250 if you wait until next year to buy it.

What does that mean to you?

Simply put, with prices increasing each month, it might cost you more if you wait until next year to buy. Your down payment will also need to be higher in order to account for the higher price of the home you wish to buy. 

3. Where are mortgage interest rates headed?

A buyer must be concerned about more than just prices. The ‘long-term cost’ of a home can be dramatically impacted by even a small increase in mortgage rates.

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), NAR, and Fannie Mae have all projected that mortgage interest rates will increase over the next twelve months, as you can see in the chart below:

3 Questions to Ask Before You Buy Your Dream Home | MyKCM

Bottom Line

Only you and your family will know for certain if now is the right time to purchase a home. Answering these questions will help you make that decision.

A ‘Buyer’ in Hand is Worth Two in the Bush

I really love this blog today – I have this conversation with my Sellers a lot these days. The media will drive the hype of Seller’s market and this can sometime make Sellers feel like they are untouchable. This causes a problem when it comes to appraisals mostly. A good example of this happened recently where a buyer made an offer $15,000 above list price (which was crazy considering we were already pushing the market with our list price) the Sellers of course wanted to take this highest offer. I supported this decision whole heartedly but we also discussed that the home might not appraise so we couldn’t count on this high offer price until the appraisal came in and if it didn’t appraise at full offer price we may still want to move forward with the transaction at the appraised value. Time off market is crucial and buyers lenders are as well. It never hurts to take the highest offer price as long as you understand that it is just an offer and still has to be appraised.
I also really love the message of “treat others as you would want to be treated” this can often be lost when money is involved.
My business has slowed down and I don’t do well with being slow so help me out and send any referrals of people that you know who might be thinking of buying or selling a home right now or in the future. Send them this post and introduce us by email. I will take care of the rest!!

A ‘Buyer’ in Hand is Worth Two in the Bush

A ‘Buyer’ in Hand is Worth Two in the Bush | MyKCM

In today’s highly competitive seller’s market where there are more buyers than there are homes for them to buy, some sellers may feel like the ball is in their court.

And they would be right when it comes to choosing which offer to accept, the closing date, or even which improvements they are willing to make to their house prior to selling.

One thing to remember though, is that there is always a line that shouldn’t be crossed.

Interest rates can change, financing might not go through, the appraisal might not come back at the price that you have agreed to. These are all opportunities to work with your buyer to make sure that the sale still happens.

You may think that, because buyer demand is so high right now, you can choose to make your buyer jump through hoops. But what happens if they reach their limit and need to walk away? You’re starting over… weeks, maybe months later… and other buyers may wonder what’s wrong with the house since the last deal fell through.

The Golden Rule

We were all taught from a young age to “treat others as you would like to be treated.”This shouldn’t change once you have a buyer who seems as though they would do anything to buy your home.

Buying Is Now 33.1% Cheaper Than Renting in the US

Buying Is Now 33.1% Cheaper Than Renting in the US

Buying Is Now 33.1% Cheaper Than Renting in the US | MyKCM

The results of the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia show that homeownership remains cheaper than renting with a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage in the 100 largest metro areas in the United States.

The updated numbers actually show that the range is an average of 3.5% less expensive in San Jose (CA), all the way up to 50.1% less expensive in Baton Rouge (LA), and 33.1% nationwide!

Other interesting findings in the report include:

  • Interest rates have remained low and, even though home prices have appreciated around the country, they haven’t greatly outpaced rental appreciation.
  • With rents & home values moving in tandem, shifts in the ‘rent vs. buy’ decision are largely driven by changes in mortgage interest rates.
  • Nationally, rates would have to reach 9.1%, a 128% increase over today’s average of 4.0%, for renting to be cheaper than buying. Rates haven’t been that high since January of 1995, according to Freddie Mac.

Bottom Line

Buying a home makes sense socially and financially. If you are one of the many renters out there who would like to evaluate your ability to buy this year, let’s get together to find your dream home.

The TRUTH Behind the RENT vs. BUY Debate

The TRUTH Behind the RENT vs. BUY Debate

The TRUTH Behind the RENT vs. BUY Debate | MyKCM

In a blog post published last Friday, CNBC’s Diana Olnick reported on the latest results of the FAU Buy vs. Rent Index. The index examines the entire US housing market and then isolates 23 major markets for comparison. The researchers at FAU use a “‘horse race’ comparison between an individual that is buying a home and an individual that rents a similar-quality home and reinvests all monies otherwise invested in homeownership.”

Having read both the index and the blog post, we would like to clear up any confusion that may exist. There are three major points that we would like to counter:

1. The Title

The CNBC blog post was titled, “Don’t put your money in a house, says a new report.” The title of the press release about the report on FAU’s website was “FAU Buy vs. Rent Index Shows Rising Prices and Mortgage Rates Moving Housing Markets in the Direction of Renting.”

Now, we all know headlines can attract readers and the stronger the headline the more readership you can attract, but after dissecting the report, this headline may have gone too far. The FAU report notes that rising home prices and the threat of increasing mortgage rates could make the decision of whether to rent or to buy a harder one in three metros, but does not say not to buy a home.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates are Rising

According to Freddie Mac, mortgage interest rates reached their lowest mark of 2017 last week at 3.89%. Interest rates have hovered around 4% for the majority of 2017, giving many buyers relief from rising home prices and helping with affordability.

While experts predict that rates will increase by the end of 2017, the latest projections have softened, with Freddie Mac predicting that rates will rise to 4.3% in Q4.

3. “Renting may be a better option than buying, according to the report.”

Of the 23 metros that the study reports on, 11 of them are firmly in buy territory, including New York, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, and more. This means that in nearly half of all the major cities in the US, it makes more financial sense to buy a home than to continue renting one.

In 9 of the remaining metros, the decision as to whether to rent or buy is closer to a toss-up right now. This means that all things being equal, the cost to rent or buy is nearly the same. That leaves the decision up to the individual or family as to whether they want to renew their lease or buy a home of their own.

The 3 remaining metros Dallas, Denver and Houston, have experienced high levels of price appreciation and have been reported to be in rent territory for well over a year now, so that’s not news…

Beer & Cookies

One of the three authors of the study, Dr. Ken Johnson has long reported on homeownership and the decision between renting and buying a home. The methodology behind the report goes on to explain that even in a market where a renter would be able to spend less on housing, they would have to be disciplined enough to reinvest their remaining income in stocks/bonds/other investments for renting a home to be a more attractive alternative to buying.

Johnson himself has said:

“However, in perhaps a more realistic setting where renters can spend on consumption (beer, cookies, education, healthcare, etc.), ownership is the clear winner in wealth accumulation. Said another way, homeownership is a self-imposed savings plan on the part of those that choose to own.” 

Bottom Line

In the end, you and your family are the only ones who can decide if homeownership is the right path to go down. Real estate is local and every market is different. Let’s get together to discuss what’s really going on in your area and how we can help you make the best, most informed decision for you and your family.

The Connection Between Home Prices & Family Wealth

The Connection Between Home Prices & Family Wealth

The Connection Between Home Prices & Family Wealth | MyKCM

Over the next five years, home prices are expected to appreciate 3.22% per year on average and to grow by 17.3% 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 purchased and closed on a $250,000 home in January. If we look at only the projected increase in the price of that home, how much equity will they earn over the next 5 years?

The Connection Between Home Prices & Family Wealth | MyKCM

Since the experts predict that home prices will increase by 4.4% this year alone, the young homeowners will have gained $11,000 in equity in just one year.

Over a five-year period, their equity will increase by nearly $43,000! 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!

Will Housing Affordability Be a Challenge in 2017?

This is a great post from KCM about the affordability of the market. Right now I am hearing all kinds of theories about the market- mostly fear driven. I think this is a year of re-set because the interest rates are finally going up. This was needed to keep everyone humble so to speak. Construction costs are increasing, home prices are increasing, number of buyers are increasing, but inventory is still low so things continue to plug along. I don’t think we will see any bad effects of this market but I do expect to see some re-setting of all facets of the market by 2018-19. Again no major effects but everyone will need to slow their boats a little so that we can still produce inventory. If inventory continues to stay really low then it will take buyers longer to find a home and prices will still continue to rise as the homes that sell will sell for the highest price the market will bear. Remember homes still have to appraise so even with multiple offers we can’t just name a price and make it happen- although I have experienced quite a few all cash offers which has made it tough for financed buyers to compete.
Bottom line is the market is still strong and healthy and will continue this way barring any craziness that happens with outside factors. Try to not let the election, inauguration, interest rates, etc affect you- just reach out to your favorite real estate agent ( this should be me!) to discuss!!! I look forward to hearing from you or your referrals soon!

Will Housing Affordability Be a Challenge in 2017?

Will Housing Affordability Be a Challenge in 2017? | MyKCM

Some industry experts are saying that the housing market may be heading for a slowdown in 2017 based on rising home prices and a jump in mortgage interest rates. One of the data points they use is the Housing Affordability Index, as reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Here is how NAR defines the index:

“The Housing Affordability Index measures whether or not a typical family earns enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a typical home at the national level based on the most recent price and income data.”

Basically, a value of 100 means a family earning the median income earns enough to qualify for a mortgage on a median-priced home, based on the price and mortgage interest rates at the time. Anything above 100 means the family has more than enough to qualify.

The higher the index, the easier it is to afford a home.

Why the concern?

The index has been declining over the last several years as home values increased. Some are concerned that too many buyers could be priced out of the market.

But, wait a minute…

Though the index skyrocketed from 2009 through 2013, we must realize during that time the housing crisis left the market with an overabundance of housing inventory with as many as one out of three listings being a distressed property (foreclosure or short sale). All prices dropped dramatically and distressed properties sold at major discounts. Then, mortgage rates fell like a rock.

The market is recovering, and values are coming back nicely. That has caused the index to fall.

However, let’s remove the crisis years and look at the current index as compared to the index from 1990 – 2008:

Will Housing Affordability Be a Challenge in 2017? | MyKCM

We can see that, even though prices have increased, mortgage rates are still lower than historical averages and have put the index in a better position than every year for the nineteen years before the crash.

Bottom Line

The Housing Affordability Index is in great shape and should not be seen as a challenge to the real estate market’s continued recovery.

Inadequate Inventory Driving Prices Up

This is true but every market is seeing variations on this. Some areas actually have higher amounts of supply but many of the homes are not in the best condition and over priced. There seems to be a disconnect with some Sellers that are pricing there homes at the high price point when they are not at the best condition.
While inventory is low buyers aren’t just buying anything that comes on the market. They are still looking for the best value which might mean a slightly higher price but the home has to be in excellent condition.
Reality is that the homes that sell for the highest prices are still the ones that are in the best condition and priced correctly.
Call me to see if your home is a candidate for selling this year and I can help you navigate the buying side as well!
For every transaction I close this year I will continue to donate to one of my four charities; Furkids, Decatur Education Foundation, FitWit Foundation, and Senior Connections-Meals on Wheels!

Inadequate Inventory Driving Prices Up

Inadequate Inventory Driving Prices Up | MyKCM

The latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR)revealed a direct correlation between a lack of inventory and rising prices.

We are all familiar with the concept of supply and demand. As the demand for an item increases the supply of that same item goes down, driving prices up.

Year-over-year inventory levels have dropped each of the last 18 months, as inventory now stands at a 4.0-month supply, well below the 6.0-month supply needed for a ‘normal’ market.

The median price of homes sold in November (the latest data available) was $234,900, up 6.8% from last year and marking the 57th consecutive month with year-over-year gains.

NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun had this to say:

“Existing housing supply at the beginning of the year was inadequate and is now even worse heading into 2017. Rental units are also seeing this shortage. As a result, both home prices and rents continue to far outstrip incomes in much of the country.”

But there is good news about rising prices. More and more homeowners are recovering from a negative equity situation and learning that they are able to sell their homes and either move up to their dream home or downsize to a property that will better suit their needs. Look for these homes to come to market soon.

Bottom Line

Buyer demand continues to outpace the supply of homes for sale. Listing your home in the winter attracts serious buyers who are looking to close the transaction quickly.

Will Increasing Mortgage Rates Impact Home Prices?

I have been getting this question from many buyers who are trying to decide whether to buy now or later when they think the prices will decrease. The biggest impact on home prices is amount of inventory. If there is a ton of inventory than prices will decrease because there is more competition. Right now inventory is still very low so prices are still strong. The fact that the economic factors are strong overall also keeps the housing market stable. The market will slow a little while buyers re-adjust to the increase in rates psychologically but if you are looking to buy instead of wasting money on rent it is the time to do it before it costs you more to purchase because the interest rate has gone up!
If you want to discuss more or know anyone who is thinking about buying -send me an email and I will be happy to share market statistics to help them make an educated decision!

Will Increasing Mortgage Rates Impact Home Prices?

Will Increasing Mortgage Rates Impact Home Prices? | MyKCMThere are some who are calling for a decrease in home prices should mortgage interest rates begin to rise rapidly. Intuitively, this makes sense as the cost of a home is determined by the price of the home, plus the cost of financing that home. If mortgage interest rates increase, fewer people will be able to buy, and logic says prices will fall if demand decreases.

However, history shows us that this has not been the case the last four times mortgage interest rates dramatically increased.

Here is a graph showing what actually happened:

Will Increasing Mortgage Rates Impact Home Prices? | MyKCM

Last week, in an article titled “Higher Rates Don’t Mean Lower House Prices After All, the Wall Street Journal revealed that a recent study by John Burns Real Estate Consulting Inc. found that:

“[P]rices weren’t especially sensitive to rising rates, particularly in the presence of other positive economic factors, such as strong job growth, rising wages and improving consumer confidence.”

Last week’s jobs report was strong and the Conference Board just reported that the Consumer Confidence Index was back to pre-recession levels.

Bottom Line

We will have to wait and see what happens as we move forward, but a decrease in home prices should rates go up is anything but guaranteed.

In a Seller’s Market: Is it Time to Downsize?

20160517-STM-Share

A study by Edelman Berland reveals that 33% of homeowners who are contemplating selling their house in the near future are planning to scale down. Let’s look at a few reasons why this might make sense for many homeowners, as the majority of the country is currently experiencing a seller’s market.

In a recent blog, Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, highlighted the advantages of selling your current house and downsizing into a smaller home that better serves your current needs. Ramsey explains three potential financial advantages to downsizing:

  1. A smaller home means less space, but it also means less time, stress and money spent on upkeep.
  2. Let’s assume you save $500 a month on your mortgage payment. In 30 years, you could have an additional $1–1.6 million in the bank to get you through your golden years.
  3. Use the proceeds from selling your current home to pay cash for a smaller one. Just imagine what you could do with no mortgage holding you down! If you can’t pay cash, aim for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage and put at least 10–20% down on your new home. Apply the $500 you saved from downsizing to your new monthly payment. At 3% interest, you could pay off a $200,000 mortgage in less than 10.5 years, saving almost $16,000 in the process.

Realtor.com also addressed downsizing in a recent article. They suggest that you ask yourself some questions before deciding if downsizing is right for you and your family. Here are two of their questions followed by their answers (in italics) and some additional information that could help. 

Q: What kind of lifestyle do I want after I downsize?

A: “For some folks, it’s a matter of living a simpler life focused on family. Some might want to cross off travel destinations on their bucket lists. Some might want a low-maintenance community with high-end upgrades and social events. Decide what you want to achieve from your move first, and you’ll be able to better narrow down your housing options.”

Comments: Many homeowners are taking the profit from the sale of their current home and splitting it in order to put down payments on a smaller home in their current location, as well as a vacation/retirement home where they plan to live when they retire.

This allows them to lock in the home price and mortgage interest rate at today’s values. This makes sense financially as both home prices and interest rates are projected to rise.

Q: Have I built up enough equity in my current home to make a profit?

A: “For most homeowners, the answer is yes. This is if they’ve held on to their properties long enough to have positive equity that will be sizable enough to put a large down payment on their next home.”

Comments: A study by Fannie Mae revealed that only 37% of Americans believe that they have significant equity (> 20%) in their current home. In actuality, CoreLogic’slatest Equity Report revealed that 72.6% have greater than 20% equity. That equity could enable you to build the life you’ve always dreamt about. 

Bottom Line

If you are debating downsizing your home and want to evaluate the options you currently have, let’s meet up so I can help guide you through the process.

Housing Market Snapshot [INFOGRAPHIC]

Housing-Market-Update-STM

Some Highlights:

  • Home sales are up 1.5% year-over-year and 5.1% month-over-month.
  • Demand is still much higher than the available housing inventory which declined 2.2% from March 2015.
  • This is the 49th consecutive month with year-0ver-year price gains.

Great information provided by the KCM Blog