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      Rent Vs. Own [INFOGRAPHIC]

      Rent Vs. Own [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

      Some Highlights:

      • Owning your own home vs. renting may lead to some great options, such as locking in your monthly payments and having the freedom to customize your living space.
      • Whether you rent or own, you have to cover someone’s mortgage costs. You may as well be doing so to build your own wealth, rather than that of your landlord.
      • Renting and owning both have up-front fees when you sign your lease or close, respectively. Think about putting that money to work for you!

      Why Now Is the Perfect Time to Sell Your House

      Why Now Is the Perfect Time to Sell Your House | MyKCM

      As a homeowner, it’s always tempting to dream about the next big project you’re going to tackle. The possibilities are endless. Should I renovate? Should I refinance? Should I stay? Should I move? The list goes on and on.

      In today’s housing market, it’s actually a great time to shift your thoughts toward selling your house and moving up into the home of your dreams. Here’s why:

      Inventory is on the rise, but there’s still an overall shortage of houses for sale (less than a 6-month supply found in a more normal market), so homes are going under contract quickly. In fact, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Realtors® Confidence Index Survey reports that right now homes are only staying on the market for an average of 27 days. That’s less than one month, an even more accelerated pace from the 36-day trend we saw last spring.

      Why Now Is the Perfect Time to Sell Your House | MyKCM

      The same report also indicates there are more interested buyers than active sellers today, which is one of the big factors driving home prices higher.

      .Why Now Is the Perfect Time to Sell Your House | MyKCM

      Why Now Is the Perfect Time to Sell Your House | MyKCM

      This power combination provides an ideal environment for sellers aiming to close a quick sale and earn a big return as we wrap up the summer season.

      Bottom Line

      There’s still time to make a move before the school year starts and the fall weather sets in. Maybe it’s time to make a change. Let’s get together to determine if selling now is the right decision for your family.

       

      Is Renting Right for Me?

      Is Renting Right for Me? | MyKCM

      If you’re currently renting and have dreams of owning your own home, it may be a good time to think about your next move. With rent costs rising annually and many helpful down payment assistance programs available, homeownership may be closer than you realize.

      According to the 2018 Bank of America Homebuyer Insights Report, 74% of renters plan on buying within the next 5 years, and 38% are planning to buy within the next 2 years.

      When those same renters were asked why they disliked renting, 52% said rising rental costs were their top reason. The results of the survey can be seen here:

      Is Renting Right for Me? | MyKCM

      It’s no wonder rising rental costs came in as the top answer. The median asking rent price has risen steadily over the last 30 years, as you can see below:

      Is Renting Right for Me? | MyKCM

      There is a long-standing rule that a household should not spend more than 28% of its income on housing expenses. With nearly half of renters (48%) surveyed already spending more than that, and with their rents likely to rise again, it’s never a bad idea to reconsider your family’s plan and ask yourself if renting is your best angle going forward. When asked why they haven’t purchased a home yet, not having enough saved for a down payment (44%) came in as the top response. The report went on to reveal that nearly half of all respondents believe that “a 20% down payment is required to buy a home.”

      The reality is, the need to produce a 20% down payment is one of the biggest misconceptions of homeownership, especially for first-time buyers. That means a large number of renters may be able to buy now, and they don’t even know it.

      Bottom Line

      If you’re one of the many renters who are tired of rising rents but may be confused about what is required to buy in today’s market, let’s get together to determine your path to homeownership.

      5 Tips to Help You Find the Accessible Home of Your Dreams

      Having trouble finding a home that fits your accessibility needs? You’re not alone. Homebuyers searching for accessible homes often find the process difficult and frustrating. However, these helpful home-buying tips can make locating your ideal home so much easier. Here’s where you should start when it comes to finding and buying a mobility-friendly home.

       

      Plan Your New-Home Checklist Now

       

      Searching for and buying a new home can be a hectic process. To keep essential tasks from getting lost in the shuffle, come up with a list of projects you need to complete to feel safe and comfortable in your new home. Be sure to put changing your locks at the top of that checklist so your new property will be secured from the start. Research top-quality locksmiths in and around your area. You can also use online resources to take care of other tasks around the home, such as hiring house cleaners or setting up necessary utilities.

       

      Make Organizing Finances a Top Priority

       

      Your new-home checklist should also include making financial accommodations to help you purchase your new home. This is a good time to meet with your financial advisor to go over any essential information that will be needed during the home-buying process. This is a step many buyers skip, but financial advisors can provide practical solutions to help you make the most of your home purchase. What’s more, advisors can often make securing home financing as stress-free as possible. That includes accounting for any additional expenses you may incur later, such as costs of accessibility renovations or other upgrades to your home.

       

      Start Your Search with a Real Estate Pro

       

      Many home-buying articles will advise you to begin your home search online, but this is another area where it pays to work with the pros. While that may work in many cases, homebuyers who are looking for specialty or luxury features in a home are better off contacting an experienced real estate professional. This is especially true when those specialty features include accommodations for accessibility. Finding a home with those features can be complicated, but a real estate company with experience in your desired area will be able to anticipate those complications and prepare solutions to offset them.

       

      Look for Stylish, But Safe, Accessibility Upgrades

       

      Your home should be safe and accessible, but that does not mean you have to sacrifice style and luxury. There are so many beautiful ways to incorporate accessibility into a home without those features being overtly obvious. French doors, for example, are a lovely option for wider doorways, while open floor plans can make moving around much easier. For larger homes with multiple floors, a custom elevator can improve your quality of life and add a touch of luxury as well. Your realtor can help you search for available local properties with these small touches so you can find a home that fits your needs and dreams.

       

      Wait Before Making Accessibility Changes on Your Own

       

      Once you and your realtor have put together a list of accommodations you need in a new home, your search should be much easier. However, you still may have trouble finding a property that completely fits with your needs. As you look at potential properties, keep in mind that you can always make renovations once you move in. Living in your home for a bit before you plan extensive upgrades will give you a better idea of what projects you need to make your home more comfortable. Plus, you can plan to employ a contractor to complete multiple jobs at once, rather than spacing them out over time.

       

      Mobility issues do not have to prevent you from finding the home of your dreams. There are plenty of homes with accessibility features on the market — you just need to know where to start to make finding a home that fits you a simple task. Consult an experienced realtor and use the tips above to take the guesswork out of finding an accessible home in your area. 

      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 the cost of a mortgage on a $200,000 home with a 5% down payment & PMI, compared to a 20% down payment

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

      without PMI: The larger the down payment you can make, the lower your monthly housing cost will be, but Freddie Mac urges you to remember:

      “It’s no doubt an added cost, but it’s enabling you to buy now and begin building equity versus waiting 5 to 10 years to build enough savings for a 20% down payment.”

      Bottom Line

      If you have questions about whether you should buy now or wait until you’ve saved a larger down payment, let’s get together to discuss our market’s conditions and help you make the best decision for you and your family.

      The information contained, and the opinions expressed, in this article are not intended to be construed as investment advice. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained herein. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on the information or opinions contained herein.

      Time for Your Dream Home, Gen X!

      Time for Your Dream Home, Gen X! | MyKCM

      During the housing market crash, Gen X homeowners lost more wealth than other generations. However, things are changing now! A strong economy, increasing home prices, and the recovery of the housing market are helping this generation to regain their lost wealth.

      According to Pew Research Center,

      Their fortunes have rebounded more than those of other generations during the post-recession economic expansion and as home and stock prices have risen. Since 2010, the median net worth of Gen X households has risen 115%. In fact, in 2016, the most recent year with available data, the net worth of a typical Gen X household had surpassed what it was in 2007 ($84,200 vs. $63,400)”.

      The same report also mentioned,

      15% of Gen X’s homeowners were ‘underwater’ on their homes in 2010 (meaning they owed more than they owned). By 2016 only 3% were underwater.

      As a result of homes regaining market value and their increasing net worth, many Gen Xers are presented with the opportunity of selling their current home in order to move up to the house they always dreamed of!

      According to the 2019 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report by the National Associations of Realtors, in 2018 Gen Xers made up the second largest share of home buyers by generation at 24%.

      The report also provided some highlights about their purchase:

      • Greatest share that purchased a multi-generational home (16%).
      • Largest share that purchased a detached single-family home (88%).
      • Highest median household income ($111,100).
      • Bought the most expensive homes of all the generations.
      • Job-related relocation was identified as the primary reason to buy.

      But this generation is not only buying- they are selling too!

      • The largest share of home sellers (25%).
      • Highest median household income among sellers ($123,600).
      • Tenure in the previous home was a median of 9 years.
      • House too small was indicated as the primary reason to sell.
      • 91% sold the home using a real estate professional.

      Bottom Line

      If you are a Gen Xer who would like to know exactly how much your house is worth today so you can move up to the home of your dreams, let’s get together to analyze your current circumstances.

       

      A Lack of Inventory Continues to Impact the Housing Market

      A Lack of Inventory Continues to Impact the Housing Market | MyKCM

      The housing crisis is finally in the rear-view mirror as the real estate market moves down the road to a complete recovery. Home values are up and distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales) have fallen to their lowest point in years. The market will continue to strengthen in 2019.

      However, there is one thing that may cause the industry to tap the brakes: a lack of housing inventory! Buyer demand naturally increases during the summer months, but supply has not kept up.

      Here are the thoughts of a few industry experts on the subject:

      Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at National Association of Realtors

      “Further increases in inventory are highly desirable to keep home prices in check, the sustained steady gains in home sales can occur when home price appreciation grows at roughly the same pace as wage growth.”

      Jessica Lautz, Vice President of NAR

      “There’s a supply-demand mismatch… More inventory is needed at the lower end and a price reduction may be needed at the upper end.”

      Danielle Hale, Chief Economist of Realtor.com

      “Heading into spring, U.S. prices are expected to continue to rise and inventory is expected to continue to increase, but at a slower pace than we’ve seen the last few months as fewer sellers want to contend with this year’s more challenging conditions… A buyer’s experience will vary notably depending on the market and price point they’re targeting.”

      Bottom Line

      If you are thinking of selling, now may be the time! Demand for your house will be strong at a time when there is very little competition. That could lead to a quick sale for a really good price!

       

      « A Tale of Two Markets [INFOGRAPHIC]

       

      The information contained, and the opinions expressed, in this article are not intended to be construed as investment advice. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained herein. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on the information or opinions contained herein.

      Home Buyers are Optimistic About Homeownership!

      Home Buyers are Optimistic About Homeownership! | MyKCM

      When we consider buying an item, we naturally go through a research process prior to making our decision. We ask our friends and family members who have made similar purchases about their experience, we get opinions and insights, and we read reviews online. There’s no difference when considering a home purchase!

      Most home buyers start by listening to the news to hear what is being said about the real estate market. They check with family and friends about their experience. They spend time online reading reviews about their desired neighborhood.

      The challenge is that comments from the news and those closest to us can contradict the data and reports. One source says one thing, while another source says something completely different.

      There is a group of homebuyers that are not allowing comments about an upcoming recession to interfere with their decision to buy a home. According to a survey by realtor.com®,

      Nearly 70 percent of home shoppers this spring think the U.S. will enter a recession in the next three years, but that hasn’t stopped them from trying to close on a home…Despite the fact that they foresee an economic downturn, they generally expressed confidence that a future recession will be better than 2008 for the housing market.”

      The report provides more insights from the survey:

      • Nearly 30% of the active home shoppers* surveyed expect the next recession to begin sometime in 2020.
      • 56% of shoppers believe home prices have hit their peak.
      • 41% believe housing will fare better than in 2008.
      • 45% of home shoppers feel at least slightly more optimistic about homeownership.
      • 33% reported no impact on their feelings about homeownership.

      Homebuyers are aware and making decisions with their eyes wide-open. As the report mentioned,

      “The fact that some [36%] home shoppers expect the next recession to be harder on the housing market than the last recession suggests that they are buying homes with eyes wide-open and very sober, if not slightly pessimistic, views of the housing market.

      This is a stark contrast to the years leading up to the last recession when ‘irrational exuberance’ was more common and yet another reason to expect that the next downturn will be very different for the housing market than the last.”

      Bottom Line

      If you are considering buying a home, let’s get together to help you understand our local market and determine if buying a home is the right choice for you now.

      *Active home shoppers are those consumers who responded that they plan to purchase their next home in 1 year or less.

      Buyer Demand Surging as Spring Market Begins

      Buyer Demand Surging as Spring Market Begins | MyKCM

      Last fall, some predicted that the 2019 residential real estate market would be a disaster. There was even the belief that we might experience a housing crash like the one that occurred during the last decade.

      However, according to two separate reports*, buyer demand dramatically increased over the last three months, leading into this spring buyers’ market (the March data is not yet available).

      Both the ShowingTime Showing Index and the National Association of REALTORS Buyer Traffic Index show that buyer demand has increased in each of the last three months.

      Buyer Demand Surging as Spring Market Begins | MyKCM

      Why the increase in demand? Increased buying power.

      According to the National Association of Realtors’ Economists’ Outlook Blog, purchasing a home has become more affordable, which has led to increased demand.

      “Due to the combination of falling home prices and mortgage rates, the income needed to make an affordable mortgage payment (mortgage no more than 25% of income) on a median-priced home with 10% down payment and 30-year fixed rate mortgage decreased from $60,425 in June 2018 to $53,783 as of February 2019, and the difference of $6,642 represents a gain in buying power because one can afford a home purchase at a lower level of income.”

      Bottom Line

      It appears the spring buyers’ market is going to be much stronger than many had projected. Whether you are selling or buying, this is important news.

       

      *The methodology behind the indices:

      The ShowingTime Showing Index

      “The ShowingTime Showing Index® tracks the average number of buyer showings on active residential properties on a monthly basis, a highly reliable leading indicator of current and future demand trends.”

      The National Association of REALTORS® Buyer Traffic Index

      “In a monthly survey of REALTORS®, NAR asks respondents ‘Compared to the same month last year, how would you rate the past month’s traffic in neighborhood(s) or area(s) where you make most of your sales?’ NAR compiles the responses into an index, where an index above 50 indicates that more respondents reported “stronger” traffic than “weaker” traffic.”

      Your Home's Spring Maintenance Checklist

      Your Homes Spring Maintenance Checklist [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

      Some Highlights:

      • Every spring, your home needs some extra TLC!
      • Whether you plan on selling your home this spring or not, conducting this maintenance will help ensure your home functions well for the rest of the year.
      • Your real estate agent will have a list of specific suggestions for getting your house ready for market and is a great resource for finding local contractors who can help!
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