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      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. 

      5 Powerful Reasons to Own Instead of Rent

      5 Powerful Reasons to Own Instead of Rent | MyKCM

      Owning a home has great financial benefits.

      In a recent research paper, Homeownership and the American Dream, Laurie S. Goodman and Christopher Mayer of the Urban Land Institute explained:

      “Homeownership appears to help borrowers accumulate housing and nonhousing wealth in a variety of ways, with tax advantages, greater financial flexibility due to secured borrowing, built-in ‘default’ savings with mortgage amortization and nominally fixed payments, and the potential to lower home maintenance costs through sweat equity.”

      Let’s breakdown 5 major financial benefits of homeownership:

      1. Housing is typically the one leveraged investment available

      Homeownership allows households to amplify any appreciation on the value of their homes by a leverage factor. A 20% down payment results in a leverage factor of five, meaning every percentage point rise in the value of your home is a 5% return on your equity. If you put down 10%, your leverage factor is 10.

      Example: Let’s assume you purchased a $300,000 home and put down $60,000 (20%). If the house appreciates by $30,000, that is only a 10% increase in value but a 50% increase in equity.

      2. You’re paying for housing whether you own or rent

      Some argue that renting eliminates the cost of property taxes and home repairs. Every potential renter must realize that all the expenses the landlord incurs (property taxes, repairs, insurance, etc.) are baked into the rent payment already – along with a profit margin!!

      3. Owning is usually a form of “forced savings”

      Studies have shown that homeowners have a net worth that is 44X greater than that of a renter. As a matter of fact, it was recently estimated that a family buying an average priced home this past January could build more than $42,000 in family wealth over the next five years.

      4. Owning is a hedge against inflation

      House values and rents tend to go up at or higher than the rate of inflation. When you own, your home’s value will protect you from that inflation.

      5. There are still substantial tax benefits to owning

      We know that the new tax reform bill puts limits on some deductions on certain homes. However, in the research paper referenced above, the authors explain:

      “…the mortgage interest deduction is not the main source of these gains; even if it were removed, homeowners would continue to benefit from a lack of taxation of imputed rent and capital gains.”

      Bottom Line

      From a financial standpoint, owning a home has always been and will always be better than renting.

       

      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.

       

      #CompassComingSoon

      #CompassComingSoon

      What is it exactly about Compass COMING SOON listings that is important for you as an agent individually, as well as for all of us at Compass collectively - agents and staff - in every region of the USA? Here are my TOP 10 reasons:       

      1.  Human Beings are by their very nature attracted to having knowledge first, even more so in to-days day and age where there is so much information out there.   

       2.   Like a movie, who wouldn't want to see a movie before the crowds see it? While we like to get information first, we also like the excitement and exclusivity of knowing we were there first. As marketers creating some sense of excitement and energy has a great value and fuels energy behind a marketing campaign. It adds an additional marketing moment of substantive value. 

      3.  COMING SOON listings - if they appear on compass.com first - drive traffic to compass.com. We are all beneficiaries when there are more eyeballs focused on our website.                 

      4.  COMING SOON listings are not exclusionary of other agents within Compass or at competing brokerages. We encourage ALL agents to see our coming soon listings, show them and sell them! All agents benefit by this. They are NOT off-market listings at all.             

      5.  COMING SOON listings take away from 'days on market'. For those of you lucky enough to be in super-fast moving markets, this may not matter to you....yet. Having a COMING SOON listing out for 10 days without the clock starting has value in a world where many search engines automatically list properties in priority of newest.           

      6.  Most Broadway productions are tested in smaller markets before coming to Broadway. Like a Broadway Show, a COMING SOON listing allows you to test the market too. Should you lower or raise the price? Did several agents point out a flaw or feature you may not have noticed or focused as much attention on?                                               

      7.  Clients and Sellers love creative marketers. A COMING SOON listing demonstrates agent innovation and adds to your marketing arsenal. It demonstrates additional value agents bring to the table.       

      8.  In a world where aggregators and technology entities continue to make every effort to minimize or eliminate the human agent, COMING SOON re-captures our essential role in the brokerage equation. It is something these antagonists do not have and may break the consumer's addiction to them. We have evidence it's doing so already.   

      9.  Social Media requires many impressions to have an effect. Many consumers search for newness via social media. COMING SOON affords your followers a reason to follow you more closely....and add followers! In New York a disclaimer is essential, so be sure to check your area what the local MLS rules require: "All listings are simultaneously syndicated to the REBNY RLS. Compass is a licensed real estate broker. All material herein is for informational purposes only, was compiled from sources deemed reliable but is subject to errors and omissions. Compass makes no representation or guarantees that Coming Soon properties are available in your region, or that its use will result in the benefits described herein. This is not intended to solicit properties already listed. Equal Housing Opportunity."                 

      10.  In markets where there is a growing inventory, a COMING SOON campaign can draw attention to your new listing in a crowded sea of options. Slower markets are finding the exhausted buyer who has seen everything to be the most inclined to pounce on the newest. In fast-moving markets with limited options, a time advantage is always a plus.                                                                       

      Have a wonderful day and MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND. Drive carefully if you are driving and please take care!     

       
       

      Compass Contemplations for Wednesday

      DID YOU KNOW? Existing-home sales ran at a seasonally adjusted annual 5.19 million rate in April, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday. That was 0.4% lower than March and 4.4% lower than a year ago. The median selling price in April was $267,300, a 3.6% annual increase. First-time buyers made up 32% of transactions in April, while individual investors accounted for 16% of buyers. (Marketwatch)


      DID YOU KNOW? Those living in Minnesota have an average score of 713. South Dakota, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts round out the top 5 US states with the highest average credit scores for 2018. The lowest score, 652, belonged to those living in Mississippi. Louisiana, Nevada, Georgia, and Texas are all in the bottom of Experian’s ranking as well, with scores of 659 or below. (CNBC)

      DID YOU KNOW? Over the past year, 22% of respondents in a survey of 2,200 US adults say the average credit card balance they carried was between $100 - $500, while about 10% of people say they had a balance over $5,000. At close to 18% interest.

      DID YOU KNOW?  Over 85% of videos on Facebook are watched without sound. Use subtitles and text. Make the visuals SING!  (INMAN)                                                                                           

      DID YOU KNOW? 25% of American jobs - belonging to about 36 million people - are at risk of being replaced by automation or artificial intelligence over the next 20 years, according to a Brookings Institution report issued in January.

      DID YOU KNOW? New York City’s economy grew 3% from January through March 2019, a bit more than the 2.7% jump in gross city product recorded in the first quarter of 2018. (Crain’s)  

      Compass Contemplations for Tuesday

      DID YOU KNOW? Is Madison Avenue retail rebounding? Since January 17 new stores have opened on this corridor that 4 years ago commanded rents up to $1,600/sf. Now, this number is closer to $1,000/sf. There is a growth in wellness, beauty, sustainability, and brands that have prices reaching broader markets. One thing missing from the Avenue that has helped drive retail traffic in other parts? More food. Stores are collaborating with one another. What is the biggest trend worth watching?  Several brands are BUYING their buildings or retail spaces. By doing so they remove the risk of future rent escalations beyond their control. (WWD)

       

      DID YOU KNOW? The homeownership rate among households headed by someone under 35 was 35.4% as of the first quarter of 2019, according to the Census Bureau. In 1999 that level was about 40%.  WHY?

      * The Great Recession caused the Millennial unemployment rate of those aged 20 - 24 to go as high as 17% in 2010. It would have been even higher if more young people hadn’t opted to continue schooling instead of joining the labor force or simply stopped looking for work.

      * This delayed entry into the workforce is taking them longer to develop the financial wherewithal to buy a home. 

      * Many are saddled with higher levels of student debt than previous generations, making mortgage approvals more daunting. 

       * The tough labor market they faced early in their careers may have delayed other life events that often coincide with the decision to own a home: Millennials have been getting married/having children later.

      * The 2017 tax cuts reduced financial incentives for homeownership. 

      * Banks have become more risk-averse since the crisis, more eager to extend pricey mortgages to wealthier clients than to lend to those seeking smaller home loans, as do many first-time buyers.

      * A greater share of millennials live in the central city of a metropolitan area with a population of 500,000+ than did Generation X at the same age...where buying a home is less affordable.

      * Fewer urban millennials have decamped to the suburbs in their 30s than previous generations.  (WSJ)

      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.

      Compass Contemplations for Wednesday

      Good morning,

       

      DID YOU KNOW? Small business confidence ticked up and remains at a high level for the second quarter. The CNBC|Survey Monkey Small Business Confidence Index reading of 59 (up from 58 in the first quarter 2019) indicates that small business owners are optimistic about the direction of their business over the next 12 months. 77% of 50+ person small businesses described business conditions as good and only 1% said conditions are bad.

       

      DID YOU KNOW? Japan’s bullet trains can reach nearly 200 mph and date to the 1960s. They have moved more than 9 billion people without a single passenger causality. America's ACELA is the fastest and averages 65 mph between NYC and Boston because its lines (created in the late 1900's) were never designed for high-speed systems. China built 19,000 miles of high-speed rail all in the past 10 years. The USA virtually abandoned rail-served infrastructure with highway-served infrastructure mostly dedicated to the automobile. (CNBC)

       

      DID YOU KNOW? Sellers who sold their homes in June - meaning June was the sale date on the deed of the house, so they likely put the home on the market in spring -  got 9.2% more than what their home was valued at, according to data released this month from real estate analytics firm ATTOM Data Solutions. Sellers got a premium in other spring and summer months too: May (7.4%); July (7.3%); April (6.4 %); March (6.1%); August (5.8%); meanwhile December, January and October sellers got less than a 4% premium. Demand is much higher in spring and summer in part because school is out and winter is over so people are out and about. (Marketwatch)

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