January 10th, National Cut Your Energy Costs Day

National Cut Your Energy Costs Day [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

  • On January 10th of each year, “National Cut Your Energy Costs Day” encourages consumers to reduce their overall energy costs by improving home efficiency.
  • According to Freddie Mac, a typical U.S. family spends $2,200 per year on energy bills. By making energy efficient upgrades, you could reduce your energy bills by up to 30%.
  • To assess the energy efficiency of your home and see how it measures up, take a moment to check out Home Energy Yardstick to calculate your estimated opportunity. Don’t forget to have your energy bills nearby!

 

4 Reasons to Buy a Home This Fall

4 Reasons to Buy a Home This Fall | MyKCM

Here are four great reasons to consider buying a home today, instead of waiting.

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Insights Report shows that home prices have appreciated by 3.6% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts prices will continue to increase at a rate of 5.8% over the next year.

The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase Next Year

The Primary Mortgage Market Survey from Freddie Mac indicates that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have recently hovered just above 3.5%. This is great news for buyers in the market right now, because low interest rates increase your purchasing power – but don’t wait! Most experts predict rates will rise over the next 12 months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the National Association of Realtors are in unison, projecting that rates will increase by this time next year.

An increase in rates will impact your monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, your housing expense will increase if a mortgage is needed to buy your next home.

3. Either Way, You Are Paying a Mortgage 

There are some renters who haven’t purchased a home yet because they’re uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you’re living rent-free with your parents, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or that of your landlord.

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

Are you ready to put your housing costs to work for you?

4. It’s Time to Move on With Your Life

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears both are on the rise.

But what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

Look at the actual reason you’re buying and decide if it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer, or you just want to have control over custom renovations, maybe now is the time to buy.

Bottom Line

Buying a home sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings. Let’s get together to determine if homeownership is the right choice for you and your family this fall.

Ready to start looking for a new home? Begin your search at https://nexthomevictors.realgeeks.com/dani-hallsell/ .  Have a real estate related question? Call, text or email me; I answer questions for free!

Dani

 

5 Tips for Starting Your Home Search

5 Tips for Starting Your Home Search | MyKCM

In today’s market, low inventory dominates the conversation in many areas of the country. It can often be frustrating to be a first-time homebuyer if you aren’t prepared. Here are five tips from realtor.com’s article“How to Find Your Dream Home—Without Losing Your Mind.”

1. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage Before You Start Your Search

One way to show you’re serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage. Even if you’re in a market that is not as competitive, understanding your budget will give you the confidence of knowing whether or not your dream home is within your reach. This will help you avoid the disappointment of falling in love with a home well outside your price range.

2. Know the Difference Between Your ‘Must-Haves’ and ‘Would-Like-To-Haves’

Do you really need that farmhouse sink in the kitchen to be happy with your home choice? Would a two-car garage be a convenience or a necessity? Before you start your search, list all the features of a home you would like. Qualify them as ‘must-haves’‘should-haves’, or ‘absolute-wish list’ items. This will help you stay focused on what’s most important.

3. Research and Choose a Neighborhood Where You Want to Live

Every neighborhood has unique charm. Before you commit to a home based solely on the house itself, take a test-drive of the area. Make sure it meets your needs for “amenities, commute, school district, etc. and then spend a weekend exploring before you commit.”

4. Pick a House Style You Love and Stick to It

Evaluate your family’s needs and settle on a style of home that will best serve those needs. Just because you’ve narrowed your search to a zip code doesn’t mean you need to tour every listing in that vicinity. An example from the article says, “if you have several younger kids and don’t want your bedroom on a different level, steer clear of Cape Cod–style homes, which typically feature two or more bedrooms on the upper level and the master on the main.”

5. Document Your Home Visits

Once you start touring homes, the features of each individual home will start to blur together. The article suggests keeping your camera handy and making notes on the listing sheet to document what you love and don’t love about each property you visit.

Bottom Line

In a high-paced, competitive environment, any advantage you can give yourself will help you on your path to buying your dream home.

Are you thinking about buying a home? Download my free Buyers Guide, “Things to consider when buying a home”. And start you home search at mynexthome.com.

Dani

Existing-Home Sales Report Indicates Now Is a Great Time to Sell

Existing-Home Sales Report Indicates Now Is a Great Time to Sell | MyKCM

The best time to sell anything is when demand for that item is high and the supply of that item is limited. The latest Existing-Home Sales Report released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), reveals that demand for housing continues to be strong, but the supply is struggling to keep pace. With this trend likely continuing throughout 2020, now is a great time to sell your house.

THE EXISTING-HOME SALES REPORT

The most important data revealed in this report was not actually sales. In reality, it was the inventory of homes for sale (supply). The report explained:

  • Total housing inventory at the end of August decreased 2.6% to 1.86 million homes available for sale.
  • Unsold inventory is lower than the 4.3-month figure recorded in August 2018.
  • This represents a 1-month supply at the current sales pace.

According to Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR,

“Sales are up, but inventory numbers remain low and are thereby pushing up
home prices.”

In real estate, there is a simple guideline that often applies here. Essentially, when there is less than a 6-month supply of inventory available, we are in a seller’s market and we will see greater appreciation. Between a 6 to 7-month supply is a neutral market, where prices will increase at the rate of inflation. More than a 7-month supply means we are in a buyer’s market and can expect depreciation in home values (see below):Existing-Home Sales Report Indicates Now Is a Great Time to Sell | MyKCM

As we mentioned before, there is currently a 4.1-month supply of homes on the market, and houses are going under contract fast. The Existing Home Sales Report also shows that 49% of properties were on the market for less than a month when they were sold. In August, properties sold nationally were typically on the market for 31 days. As Yun notes, this should continue,

“As expected, buyers are finding it hard to resist the current rates…The desire to take advantage of these promising conditions is leading more buyers to the market.” 

Takeaway: Inventory of homes for sale is still well below the 6-month supply needed for a normal market, and supply will fail to catch up with demand if a sizable supply does not enter the market.

Bottom Line

If you are going to sell, now may be the time to take advantage of the ready, willing and able buyers who are out there searching for your house to become their dream home.

Visit  https://www.nexthomevictors.com/cma/property-valuation/ to get an idea of what your home is worth in today’s market!

Dani

Mid-Year Housing Market Update: Three Things to Know Today

Mid-Year Housing Market Update: Three Things to Know Today | MyKCM

Shifting trends and industry-leading research are pointing toward some valuable projections about the status of the housing market for the rest of the year.

If you’re thinking of buying or selling, or if you just want to know what experts are saying is on the horizon, here are the top three things to put on your radar as we head into the coming months:

  1. Home prices are appreciating at a more normal rate: Home prices have been appreciating for about ten years now. Experts at the Home Price Expectation Survey, Mortgage Bankers Association, Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae are forecasting continued growth throughout the next year, although it should be leveling-off to normal appreciation (3.6%), as we move into 2020.
  2. Interest rates are low: Over the past 30 years, the average mortgage rate in the United States has been 8.27%, and rates even peaked as high as 18% in the 1980s. Today, at 3.81%, the rate is considerably lower than the historical 30-year average. Although experts predict it may climb into the low 4% range in the near future, that’s still remarkably lower than our running average, suggesting a great time to get more for your money over the life of your loan.
  3. An impending recession does not mean there will be a housing crash: Although expert research studies such as those found in the Duke Survey of American CFOs and the National Association of Business Economics, are pointing toward a recession beginning within the next 18 months, a potential recession isn’t expected to be driven by the housing industry. That means we likely won’t experience a devastating housing crash like the country felt in 2008. Expert financial analyst Morgan Housel tweeted:

“An interesting thing is the widespread assumption that the next recession will be as bad as 2008. Natural to think that way, but, statistically, highly unlikely. Could be over before you realized it began.”

In fact, during 3 of the 5 last U.S. recessions, housing prices actually appreciated:Mid-Year Housing Market Update: Three Things to Know Today | MyKCM

Bottom Line

With prices appreciating and low interest rates available, it’s a perfect time to buy or sell a home. Let’s get together to discuss how you can take the next step in the exciting journey of homeownership.

Ready to see what homes are available today? Visit https://nexthomevictors.realgeeks.com/dani-hallsell/

Dani

8 Things Buyers Notice as Soon as they Walk In

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Buyers notice everything, good and bad. From the moment they walk in the front door, they are trying to determine if this is the right home for them and their family. If you have your home listed for sale, paying attention to what the buyers’ notice can mean the difference between an offer and a missed opportunity.

Here are eight things that buyers notice as soon as they walk in a house:

  1. Light- A bright home is inviting. Make sure you fill your home with lots of natural light or a soft evening glow.
  2. Smell- Nothing is less inviting than a strong odor. Even candles and air fresheners can be overwhelming. Less is more and make sure nothing unpleasant is lingering from last nights dinner or your furry friends.
  3. Space- Remove any unneeded furniture and offer a spacious home which flows. If you need a little help, hire a local stager or interior designer for a consultation.
  4. Ceilings- Of course, you can’t make your ceilings higher, but make sure they are free from water stains and spider webs; buyers will look up.
  5. Windows- Make sure windows are clean to maximize light and be sure to wipe down window sills and touch up with fresh paint if needed.
  6. Pictures and personal items- Remove personalization as much as possible so the buyers can imagine their family in the home.
  7. Outdated furnishings and fixtures- If your home is filled with hand-me-downs, consider a professional stager. Old wallpaper or old paint colors should be replaced as well.
  8. Dirty or cluttered rooms- Most important, clean everything thoroughly and box up items you don’t use daily.

A little attention to details will help your home sell faster and for more money.

Ready to make a move? Contact me for a no obligation consultation, and we can discuss the value of your home and marketing options.

Dani 

Buying Your Dream Home When Inventory is Low

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If you are actively searching for a new home, you know that low inventory of homes for sale has made things difficult for buyers.  In a “Seller’s Market” there are not many homes for sale, and when a new home comes on the market, it is met with multiple offers.  Not only do these homes sell within days, but often over asking price.

If you are a buyer in this market, you may feel overwhelmed. However, with a solid strategy, you can still find your dream home, even when inventory is low.

  • One Step at a Time: Home buying is not a one-time moment, but a series of steps. Make decisions as they come, as you move through the process; make sure each discovery is one you can live with. Your REALTOR should provide you with a Home Purchase Process to help with the buying process.
  • Start with a Lender: Understand your financial possession and lending options before looking for a new home. There is nothing more disappointing than finding the “home of your dreams,” and then discovering that you cannot qualify for the loan to buy it.   Most buyers have an “idea” of how much they can afford to buy, but a lender can tell you what mortgage you can qualify for and the monthly payments with principal, interest, and taxes.  You will also receive a Pre-approval letter from your lender so the seller will feel comfortable accepting your offer when submitted.
  • Write a Competitive Offer: You don’t want to over-pay for a new home, but if the property is priced at Market Value and you want it, offer that amount. If you don’t, the next buyer will.
  • Keep Contingencies to a Minimum: Stick to the basics: home inspection, well and septic, attorney approval, and finance approval. If you are buying with FHA financing, you may ask for 3% towards your closing cost, and if you have a home to sell, you may include a 72-hour contingency.
  • Write a Clean Offer: Make it easy for the sellers to say “Yes!”.

Ready to look at new construction options? Please send me a message using the box to the right, or call, text or email me! If you are active on social media, please look me up on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram using the icons on the bottom right of this page.
Dani

Home Buyer Best Practices if you Love Your REALTOR®

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In the process of finding a new home, your real estate agent should become your new best friend. For a few weeks or longer, you will probably talk to them more than anyone else you know!

So how do you make sure you’re doing your part of building a good relationship with your agent?

Here are eight things that you should consider if you want to keep your agent happy throughout the home buying process. Remember that your agent has your best interest in mind, so applying these behaviors is ultimately about making your home buying journey a success!

  1. Know What You Want and What You Need

So you finally have a budget and want to buy a house. Great! Now what? You call a real estate agent. Now the real work begins! Your agent know all about houses, but not about your expectations, wants and needs. Do a bit of soul searching; what areas are you interested in living? Are you particular about having a beautiful view? These are things you should know for yourself–and don’t forget to inform your agent (who, buy they way, should be asking you these questions at your initial buyer consultation)!

  1. Never Call a Listing Agent On Your Own

You hired a professional REALTOR to represent you and provide you with accurate information, so why would you do more work than you have to? That is their job: to do the calling for you. Most importantly, your agent knows how to position your inquiry and negotiate on your behalf. Keeping some distance between you and the listing agent is essential to a successful transaction.

  1. Don’t Depend On Listing Syndication Websites More Than Your Agent

The Internet is a beautiful place, with lots of information available at your fingertips. True as this is, a computer will not be as reliable as a trusted agent. There is no harm in poking around various home search sites, but when you want more information on a property, it’s best to call your agent. Your licensed REALTOR has information available to them that the public can’t access. Who wouldn’t want the inside scoop?

  1. Don’t Wait Too Long

When you find the perfect house, make your offer. There is nothing worse than dragging your feet and missing out on the home of your dreams. Yes, this is a big decision. However, if you’ve done your research ahead of time and know what you want in a home when you find that house, it’s time to pull the trigger.  Being decisive will help you get what you want.

  1. Don’t Lowball

“This offer may be ridiculous, but could you check if they’d take it?” Buying real estate should involve a negotiation, within reason. You want to make an offer that will start a conversation, not one that will result in a definitive “no,” or worse, no response at all. So if you like the home, why would you risk making an offer that will go ignored? If you have built a strong relationship with your agent, you should be comfortable asking them for their feedback on your offer, and listen to their advice.

  1.  Don’t Ask your Agent to Show Properties Without Being Pre-Approved

Your agent knows that this is the most critical first step in the home buying process. Yes, it’s tempting to put this off until you’ve found your dream home, but waiting that long can lead to missed opportunities. If you’re scrambling to get pre-approval when you’re ready to make an offer, you may miss out on the house. Worse, you could fall in love with a home only to find out later that you don’t qualify to buy it. Save yourself the heartache of losing out on the home of your dreams and make sure you get pre-approved before you start looking!

  1. Don’t Negotiate on Visible Problems After the Inspection

Problems that you notice about the home when you first view it–peeling paint, cracked tiles–should be factored into your initial offer on the house. The point of the inspection is to call your attention to problems that aren’t visible to the average person. When you come back to the seller to negotiate after the inspection, limiting your requests to those items only discovered through the inspection will help keep your deal on track. Asking for a credit on peeling paint at that point may cause unnecessary tension between you and the seller or worse, cause the deal to fall apart.

  1. Don’t Look at Homes Outside of Your Price Point

Insisting on looking at homes outside your price point is just a gateway to disappointment. Most of the time, when people look at something they cannot afford, they then think they have found the perfect house. However, if it’s outside your budget, it’s outside your budget, and there is not much you can do about that.

It is best to simply not look at homes that you cannot afford, or risk more heartache and a more difficult home buying experience overall.

Ready to start looking for Your NextHome? Send me a message using the box to the right, or call, text or email me! If you are active on social media, please look me up on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram using the icons on the bottom right of this page.

Dani

Investing in Real Estate to Diversify Your Portfolio

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Serious investors know the value of a diversified portfolio. In addition to stocks and bonds, real estate should be included in your investment mix. One way to accomplish this is to purchase, hold, rent or flip actual real property as part of your investment strategy. Real estate is a solid asset which can provide annual income, asset appreciation, and quick profit. To be successful in real estate investing, it is critical that you identify what skills you have and your tolerance for risk. Then choose a type of investment that works for you and repeat that model.

Investors can make significant profits by both flipping properties as well as holding them as rentals. The difference boils down to a few considerations.  First, what kind of income are you seeking: active or passive.  Actively buying, fixing and flipping properties is quick cash that requires careful timing and effort. Rental properties, on the other hand, offer passive long-term income which accumulates over time. Additionally, the property value increases during this time. The downside is that you must invest time in property maintenance and tenant management.

The second concern is the risk. Flipping property is not traditional investing where you buy and hold investment. Flipping is speculation. When purchasing a flipper,  you must carefully gauge the cost of refurbishment, remodeling and the cost of the holding time into the price valuation, then carefully market the home and realize the profit. Any number of variances can go wrong which can cause the value to drop and profits to diminish or even disappear, such as a delay in remodeling or a slow real estate market.

Keeping in mind that real estate is a substantial capital investment, it’s helpful to learn as much as you can.  These eight basic tips will give you some direction as you venture into real estate investing.

  1. Location, Location, Location: One of the most critical aspects of a successful real estate investment is the location. The right neighborhood, street or community can make thousands of dollars of difference
  2. Consider Wholesale Properties: Watch for properties listed below market value. Foreclosure lists, courthouse auctions and short sales are just a few of the options to buy below market value.
  3. Understand the Tax Advantages: Before you invest, visit your tax professional and learn about write-offs, business taxes, and tax breaks. Figure these numbers into your plans.
  4. Manage Your Credit: Leverage is essential in real estate investing. Determine your ability to gain loans and correct any mistakes in your credit report.
  5. A budget for the Unexpected: Have a fund available to draw on for the unexpected. Even the most carefully planned project can have unexpected costs.
  6. Don’t Over-Extend: After evaluating the risk, be honest about your ability to handle the negative possibilities the opportunity could present.
  7. Invest for the Long Term: Real estate investing should not be viewed as a “get rich quick” scheme.
  8. Be Patient: Wait for the right opportunity for your skills and budget.

Real estate offers solid investment opportunities. Investors can realize a profit and positive cash flow with careful planning and research.

Ready to begin investing in real estate? Send me a message using the box to the right, or call, text or email me!

Dani

 

 

Why is the Market Value of Your Home Important when You Decide to Sell?

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Nothing is more frustrating to a home seller than to have their home sit on the market without an offer. Selling a home is a big decision and an emotional one. By the time a homeowner determines the time is right to sell, they are ready to move. Besides, keeping a home show-ready is exhausting, so a listing that sits is frustrating.

The truth is there is only one reason why a listing doesn’t sell and eventually expires…price. It’s always the price. There is a price at which any, and all, homes will garner offers. Even the most run-down foreclosure will receive offers when priced low enough. Home sellers naturally want to get the best possible sales price for their home, but it’s important to be realistic. Present the house in the best possible light and offer it at market value.

So how can you determine the market value of your home? Talk to a local REALTOR®; they are the experts in your community. Only local real estate agents and appraisers have access to complete and reliable information by affiliation with the local Multiple List Service.

The market value of a property is merely the amount of money a buyer will pay for it. On the other hand, the assessed value of a home is based on a complex set of calculations to determine property taxes, and rarely the same as the market value. A professional appraiser determines the appraised value of a home, and that is the value your REALTOR® will be shooting for.  If the house is overpriced and the appraisal comes in lower than the sales price, the buyer may not have the extra money to buy the home since the bank will only mortgage up to appraised value.

Past transactions reveal market value so your REALTOR® will use the sales prices of homes sold in your neighborhood during the past six months that are similar to your home. He/she will also take into consideration location, condition, and upgrades of your home and the comparable homes. Current homes on the market in this location will also be taken into consideration when determining market value.

There is nothing to be gained by pricing a home above market value, and sellers lose valuable time by trying to do this. A listing will always get the most attention when it’s new on the market. This is the time to create excitement and get offers. When the house is over-priced, it will also be over-looked and eventually, the listing expires.

Curious to know the market value of your home? Through my membership with the National Association of REALTORS® and Realtor Property Resource® (RPR), I can give you an estimated market value for homes anywhere in the United States. Simply send me a message in the box to the right. I’m always available via phone, text, and email too!

Dani