Valerie Quinn Rydland
Coldwell Banker Realty

Happy Mother's Day

 

 

 

 

 

 

CB
Simple Tips For Staying Positive
I have personally set a goal to stay positive and spread kindness, especially during these challenging times. Here are a few simple, effective ideas to make sure we see the silver lining each day.
  • Get outdoors. Walk, garden or just take time to reflect and smell the roses.

  • Use FaceTime, Zoom, Teams or pick up the phone to check in on friends, family, neighbors and colleagues.

  • Spread some kindness each day. Nextdoor lets you see what others in your community may need. Give back – helping others helps you, too.

  • Have a laugh! Share some jokes or funny videos to alleviate stress and lighten up with laughter.

  • Be grateful. Leave a reminder in your phone each day to give thanks for all the good in your life.

  • Schedule some downtime from social media and the latest headlines. Quiet time is essential, and you might find a break from the headlines brightens your day.
Remember, today's issues are temporary. I believe we can stay strong and persevere. Please feel free to contact me for any reason – whether you have real estate questions or you just need someone to talk to. We'll get through this together!
Coldwell Banker
 

 

 

Buying a Home? Here is an update from my valued partner Rod Kunkel from Assuring Your Comfort Inspection Services:

 

Hello Valerie.  I wanted to update you on what I am doing in light of COVID-19.  First, I am still inspecting.  Home Inspections are a critical step of the contracted home acquisition process similar to appraisals and closings.  However, adjustments to the inspection process are required to decrease the risk of spreading/contracting COVID-19.

 

Effective last week, I will be wearing gloves during the entire inspection.  I will wash hands before, during, and after the inspection and will be using hand sanitizer.  Masks will be worn inside the home.  If I or anyone on my staff is not feeling well on inspection day, the inspection will be rescheduled.   Currently I have had no symptoms of COVID-19 and know of no one with this virus.  

 

Communication to Selling Agent:

My communication to the selling agent will be via Showing Time.  However, to ensure they are reading the notes, I will also send a separate text message emphasizing what needs to be communicated to the seller to include:

·        Inspector will be wearing gloves, mask, and use hand sanitizer

·        No people can be present in the house during the inspection

·        If anyone living in the house has experienced COVID-19 symptoms or has tested positive, the inspection will be cancelled or rescheduled.

·        Ask the seller to wipe all inspected surfaces (door, window, appliance handles, etc.) with sanitizing wipes before and after the inspection to ensure the safety of the inspector and the home owners.

·        The inspection may take longer due to increase protocol of wiping surfaces and wearing PPE.

 

Walk-through:

In order to meet the 6 foot distancing guideline, the walk-through will be done virtually, real-time, using video conferencing capability (FaceTime, Zoom, or equivalent).  In this way, the buyer and you (the buyer’s agent) can ask questions and see the deficiencies on your phone, tablet, or laptop while remaining safe in a totally different location.  A bit of coordination will be required to arrange each electronic walk-through, but we feel it is the safest procedure to follow given the current situation.  Please call me if you want to discuss more details on the above.

 

We hope this virus concern is minimized or eliminated soon, for the benefit of our communities, our country, and the rest of the world.   Until we know it’s safe to return to previous practices, this will be our new procedure.

 

Best Regards,

Rod


--

Rod Kunkel
Assuring Your Comfort, LLC
Cell: 952-607-9699

 

 

 

 

 

Hi! The current situation with the Covid 19 virus has interrupted many people’s family plans to enter the real estate market this spring. I've been receiving many questions from sellers that were planing to sell this spring and early summer. There is not a one answer that fits all and each situation should be evaluated carefully. If you would like to talk through your situation, let me know! Stay safe! Val

 

 

 Best Advice Does Not Mean Perfect Advice 

The Best Advice Does Not Mean Perfect Advice | MyKCM

The angst caused by the coronavirus has most people on edge regarding both their health and financial situations. It’s at times like these when we want exact information about anything we’re doing – even the correct protocol for grocery shopping. That information brings knowledge, and this gives us a sense of relief and comfort.

If you’re thinking about buying or selling a home today, the same need for information is very real. But, because it’s such a big step in our lives, that desire for clear information is even greater in the homebuying or selling process. Given the current level of overall anxiety, we want that advice to be truly perfect. The challenge is, no one can give you “perfect” advice. Experts can, however, give you the best advice possible.

Let’s say you need an attorney, so you seek out an expert in the type of law required for your case. When you go to her office, she won’t immediately tell you how the case is going to end or how the judge or jury will rule. If she could, that would be perfect advice. What a good attorney can do, however, is discuss with you the most effective strategies you can take. She may recommend one or two approaches she believes will be best for your case.

She’ll then leave you to make the decision on which option you want to pursue. Once you decide, she can help you put a plan together based on the facts at hand. She’ll help you achieve the best possible resolution and make whatever modifications in the strategy are necessary to guarantee that outcome. That’s an example of the best advice possible.

The role of a real estate professional is just like the role of the lawyer. An agent can’t give you perfect advice because it’s impossible to know exactly what’s going to happen throughout the transaction – especially in this market.

An agent can, however, give you the best advice possible based on the information and situation at hand, guiding you through the process to help you make the necessary adjustments and best decisions along the way. An agent will get you the best offer available. That’s exactly what you want and deserve.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking of buying or selling, contact a local real estate professional to make sure you get the best advice possible.

 

 

 

 

Why the Stock Market Correction Probably Won’t Impact Home Values

Why the Stock Market Correction Probably Won’t Impact Home Values | MyKCM

With the housing crash of 2006-2008 still visible in the rear-view mirror, many are concerned the current correction in the stock market is a sign that home values are also about to tumble. What’s taking place today, however, is nothing like what happened the last time. The S&P 500 did fall by over fifty percent from October 2007 to March 2009, and home values did depreciate in 2007, 2008, and 2009 – but that was because that economic slowdown was mainly caused by a collapsing real estate market and a meltdown in the mortgage market.

This time, the stock market correction is being caused by an outside event (the coronavirus) with no connection to the housing industry. Many experts are saying the current situation is much more reminiscent of the challenges we had when the dot.com crash was immediately followed by 9/11. As an example, David Rosenberg, Chief Economist with Gluskin Sheff + Associates Inc., recently explained:

“What 9/11 has in common with what is happening today is that this shock has also generated fear, angst and anxiety among the general public. People avoided crowds then as they believed another terrorist attack was coming and are acting the same today to avoid getting sick. The same parts of the economy are under pressure ─ airlines, leisure, hospitality, restaurants, entertainment ─ consumer discretionary services in general.”

Since the current situation resembles the stock market correction in the early 2000s, let’s review what happened to home values during that time.Why the Stock Market Correction Probably Won’t Impact Home Values | MyKCMThe S&P dropped 45% between September 2000 and October 2002. Home prices, on the other hand, appreciated nicely at the same time. That stock market correction proved not to have any negative impact on home values.

Bottom Line

If the current situation is more like the markets in the early 2000s versus the markets during the Great Recession, home values should be minimally affected, if at all.

 

 

Economic Slowdown: What the Experts Are Saying

Economic Slowdown: What the Experts Are Saying | MyKCM

More and more economists are predicting a recession is imminent as the result of the pullback in the economy caused by COVID-19. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research:

“A recession is a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales.”

Bill McBride, the founder of Calculated Riskbelieves we are already in a recession:

“With the sudden economic stop, and with many states shutting down by closing down schools, bars and restaurants…my view is the US economy is now in a recession (started in March 2020), and GDP will decline sharply in Q2. The length of the recession will depend on the course of the pandemic.”

How deep will it go?

No one knows for sure. It depends on how long it takes to beat this virus. Goldman Sachs anticipates we will see a difficult first half of the year, but the economy will recover in the second half (see below):Economic Slowdown: What the Experts Are Saying | MyKCMGoldman also projects we’ll have “further strong gains in early 2021.”

This aligns with the projection from Wells Fargo Investment Institute:

“Once the virus infection rate peaks, we expect a recovery to gain momentum into the final quarter of the year and especially into 2021.”

Again, no one knows for sure how long the pandemic will last. The hope is that it will resolve sometime over the next several months. Most agree that when it does, the economy will regain its strength quickly.

*QUARTER 1 DATA FROM GOLDMAN SACHS WAS UPDATED FROM 0% TO -0.2% ON 3/17/20 AFTER THE INITIAL RELEASE.

Bottom Line

This virus is not only impacting the physical health of Americans, but also the financial health of the nation. The sooner we beat it, the sooner our lives will return to normal.

 

 

 

Are We About to See a New Wave of Foreclosures?

Are We About to See a New Wave of Foreclosures? | MyKCM

With all of the havoc being caused by COVID-19, many are concerned we may see a new wave of foreclosures. Restaurants, airlines, hotels, and many other industries are furloughing workers or dramatically cutting their hours. Without a job, many homeowners are wondering how they’ll be able to afford their mortgage payments.

In spite of this, there are actually many reasons we won’t see a surge in the number of foreclosures like we did during the housing crash over ten years ago. Here are just a few of those reasons:

The Government Learned its Lesson the Last Time

During the previous housing crash, the government was slow to recognize the challenges homeowners were having and waited too long to grant relief. Today, action is being taken swiftly. Just this week:

  • The Federal Housing Administration indicated it is enacting an “immediate foreclosure and eviction moratorium for single family homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages” for the next 60 days.
  • The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced it is directing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to suspend foreclosures and evictions for “at least 60 days.”

Homeowners Learned their Lesson the Last Time

When the housing market was going strong in the early 2000s, homeowners gained a tremendous amount of equity in their homes. Many began to tap into that equity. Some started to use their homes as ATM machines to purchase luxury items like cars, jet-skis, and lavish vacations. When prices dipped, many found themselves in a negative equity situation (where the mortgage was greater than the value of their homes). Some just walked away, leaving the banks with no other option but to foreclose on their properties.

Today, the home equity situation in America is vastly different. From 2005-2007, homeowners cashed out $824 billion worth of home equity by refinancing. In the last three years, they cashed out only $232 billion, less than one-third of that amount. That has led to:

  • 37% of homes in America having no mortgage at all
  • Of the remaining 63%, more than 1 in 4 having over 50% equity

Even if prices dip (and most experts are not predicting that they will), most homeowners will still have vast amounts of value in their homes and will not walk away from that money.

There Will Be Help Available to Individuals and Small Businesses

The government is aware of the financial pain this virus has caused and will continue to cause. Yesterday, the Associated Press reported:

“In a memorandum, Treasury proposed two $250 billion cash infusions to individuals: A first set of checks issued starting April 6, with a second wave in mid-May. The amounts would depend on income and family size.”

The plan also recommends $300 billion for small businesses.

Bottom Line

These are not going to be easy times. However, the lessons learned from the last crisis have Americans better prepared to weather the financial storm. For those who can’t, help is on the way.

 

 

 

 

Three Reasons Why This Is Not a Housing Crisis

Three Reasons Why This Is Not a Housing Crisis | MyKCM

In times of uncertainty, one of the best things we can do to ease our fears is to educate ourselves with research, facts, and data. Digging into past experiences by reviewing historical trends and understanding the peaks and valleys of what’s come before us is one of the many ways we can confidently evaluate any situation. With concerns of a global recession on everyone’s minds today, it’s important to take an objective look at what has transpired over the years and how the housing market has successfully weathered these storms.

1. The Market Today Is Vastly Different from 2008

We all remember 2008. This is not 2008. Today’s market conditions are far from the time when housing was a key factor that triggered a recession. From easy-to-access mortgages to skyrocketing home price appreciation, a surplus of inventory, excessive equity-tapping, and more – we’re not where we were 12 years ago. None of those factors are in play today. Rest assured, housing is not a catalyst that could spiral us back to that time or place.

According to Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at Realtor.com, if there is a recession:

"It will be different than the Great Recession. Things unraveled pretty quickly, and then the recovery was pretty slow. I would expect this to be milder. There's no dysfunction in the banking system, we don't have many households who are overleveraged with their mortgage payments and are potentially in trouble."

In addition, the Goldman Sachs GDP Forecast released this week indicates that although there is no growth anticipated immediately, gains are forecasted heading into the second half of this year and getting even stronger in early 2021.Three Reasons Why This Is Not a Housing Crisis | MyKCMBoth of these expert sources indicate this is a momentary event in time, not a collapse of the financial industry. It is a drop that will rebound quickly, a stark difference to the crash of 2008 that failed to get back to a sense of normal for almost four years. Although it poses plenty of near-term financial challenges, a potential recession this year is not a repeat of the long-term housing market crash we remember all too well.

2. A Recession Does Not Equal a Housing Crisis

Next, take a look at the past five recessions in U.S. history. Home values actually appreciated in three of them. It is true that they sank by almost 20% during the last recession, but as we’ve identified above, 2008 presented different circumstances. In the four previous recessions, home values depreciated only once (by less than 2%). In the other three, residential real estate values increased by 3.5%, 6.1%, and 6.6% (see below):Three Reasons Why This Is Not a Housing Crisis | MyKCM

3. We Can Be Confident About What We Know

Concerns about the global impact COVID-19 will have on the economy are real. And they’re scary, as the health and wellness of our friends, families, and loved ones are high on everyone’s emotional radar.

According to Bloomberg,

“Several economists made clear that the extent of the economic wreckage will depend on factors such as how long the virus lasts, whether governments will loosen fiscal policy enough and can markets avoid freezing up.”

That said, we can be confident that, while we don’t know the exact impact the virus will have on the housing market, we do know that housing isn’t the driver.

The reasons we move – marriage, children, job changes, retirement, etc. – are steadfast parts of life. As noted in a recent piece in the New York Times, “Everyone needs someplace to live.” That won’t change.

Bottom Line

Concerns about a recession are real, but housing isn’t the driver. If you have questions about what it means for your family’s homebuying or selling plans, let’s connect to discuss your needs.

 

 

 

5 Simple Graphs Proving This Is NOT Like the Last Time

5 Simple Graphs Proving This Is NOT Like the Last Time | MyKCM

With all of the volatility in the stock market and uncertainty about the Coronavirus (COVID-19), some are concerned we may be headed for another housing crash like the one we experienced from 2006-2008. The feeling is understandable. Ali Wolf, Director of Economic Research at the real estate consulting firm Meyers Research, addressed this point in a recent interview:

“With people having PTSD from the last time, they’re still afraid of buying at the wrong time.”

There are many reasons, however, indicating this real estate market is nothing like 2008. Here are five visuals to show the dramatic differences.

1. Mortgage standards are nothing like they were back then.

During the housing bubble, it was difficult NOT to get a mortgage. Today, it is tough to qualify. The Mortgage Bankers’ Association releases a Mortgage Credit Availability Index which is “a summary measure which indicates the availability of mortgage credit at a point in time.” The higher the index, the easier it is to get a mortgage. As shown below, during the housing bubble, the index skyrocketed. Currently, the index shows how getting a mortgage is even more difficult than it was before the bubble.5 Simple Graphs Proving This Is NOT Like the Last Time | MyKCM

2. Prices are not soaring out of control.

Below is a graph showing annual house appreciation over the past six years, compared to the six years leading up to the height of the housing bubble. Though price appreciation has been quite strong recently, it is nowhere near the rise in prices that preceded the crash.5 Simple Graphs Proving This Is NOT Like the Last Time | MyKCMThere’s a stark difference between these two periods of time. Normal appreciation is 3.6%, so while current appreciation is higher than the historic norm, it’s certainly not accelerating beyond control as it did in the early 2000s.

3. We don’t have a surplus of homes on the market. We have a shortage.

The months’ supply of inventory needed to sustain a normal real estate market is approximately six months. Anything more than that is an overabundance and will causes prices to depreciate. Anything less than that is a shortage and will lead to continued appreciation. As the next graph shows, there were too many homes for sale in 2007, and that caused prices to tumble. Today, there’s a shortage of inventory which is causing an acceleration in home values.5 Simple Graphs Proving This Is NOT Like the Last Time | MyKCM

4. Houses became too expensive to buy.

The affordability formula has three components: the price of the home, the wages earned by the purchaser, and the mortgage rate available at the time. Fourteen years ago, prices were high, wages were low, and mortgage rates were over 6%. Today, prices are still high. Wages, however, have increased and the mortgage rate is about 3.5%. That means the average family pays less of their monthly income toward their mortgage payment than they did back then. Here’s a graph showing that difference:5 Simple Graphs Proving This Is NOT Like the Last Time | MyKCM

5. People are equity rich, not tapped out.

In the run-up to the housing bubble, homeowners were using their homes as a personal ATM machine. Many immediately withdrew their equity once it built up, and they learned their lesson in the process. Prices have risen nicely over the last few years, leading to over fifty percent of homes in the country having greater than 50% equity. But owners have not been tapping into it like the last time. Here is a table comparing the equity withdrawal over the last three years compared to 2005, 2006, and 2007. Homeowners have cashed out over $500 billion dollars less than before:5 Simple Graphs Proving This Is NOT Like the Last Time | MyKCMDuring the crash, home values began to fall, and sellers found themselves in a negative equity situation (where the amount of the mortgage they owned was greater than the value of their home). Some decided to walk away from their homes, and that led to a rash of distressed property listings (foreclosures and short sales), which sold at huge discounts, thus lowering the value of other homes in the area. That can’t happen today.

Bottom Line

If you’re concerned we’re making the same mistakes that led to the housing crash, take a look at the charts and graphs above to help alleviate your fears.

 

Reasons to Fall in Love with Homeownership 

Top Reasons to Love Homeownership [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • There are many benefits to love about homeownership, and they’re not all financial.
  • Being a part of a neighborhood, driving academic achievement, and improving mental health are just a few of these advantages.
  • Let’s get together today to determine if you’re ready to embrace the rewards of owning your own home.

 

 

 

 

 

Despite tight market Twin Cities real estate activity up in 2019  Tags:

The Twin Cities housing market continued to show steady growth in 2019 according to the annual market wrap-up from the Minneapolis Area REALTORS® and the St. Paul Area Association of REALTORS®. At a joint news conference in St. Paul, the associations announced a growing economy, favorable rates and a persistent scarcity of homes for sale have uplifted home prices for eight consecutive years. Lower mortgage rates helped offset declining affordability brought on by rising home prices.

“In our market, like others across the country, lack of housing inventory has been a recurring theme for buyers. It continued in 2019 as buyers, looking for entry level options and more affordable choices, felt the most pressure. Buyers, however, have remained persistent resulting in gains, both in sales volume and price appreciation,” said Patrick Ruble, President of the Saint Paul Area Association of REALTORS®. “Fortunately, the region’s economy continues to grow, unemployment remains low and we are seeing growth in wages. We have a healthy market and look forward to some of the sticking points, such as the limited inventory, easing in the coming year.”

Sellers reversed three years of declines with a modest 0.2 percent increase in new listings in 2019. Buyers overturned a sales decline in 2018 with a 0.8 percent increase in purchases. The ongoing housing shortage has led to a competitive environment where multiple offers are commonplace, frustrating some consumers. Therefore, sellers are receiving strong offers in near record time. Market times did, however, increase 2.1 percent from 2018 while the ratio of sold to list price declined 0.1 percent. These two metrics could be early indicators of a shifting balance.

“Overall 2019 was a good year for real estate. After a slow start, activity picked up once rates fell back below 4.0 percent mid-year,” said Linda Rogers, President of the Minneapolis Area REALTORS®. “The second half of the year saw consistent sales gains, as record prices and declining affordability were offset by favorable rates and wage growth. Buyers were persistent despite tight inventory—particularly under $300,000. That’s no surprise, as the Twin Cities are a wonderful place to live, work and play.”

Rates remained attractive during the year. Despite starting the year around 4.5 percent, mortgage rates fell to 3.7 by year-end. Single family and new construction sales led the pack; so it’s no surprise that four-bedroom homes and homes over 2,500 square feet saw the largest gains. There’s still a “tale of two markets” dynamic at play: the under $350,000 or first-time buyer segment is severely undersupplied but also in high demand. The move-up market for homes over $500,000 is much better supplied, giving buyers more options and negotiating room.

“The Twin Cities housing market is a reflection of what’s been happening statewide,” said Bob Clark, President of the Minnesota Association of REALTORS®. “Realtors across Minnesota finished the year with slight increases in closings, new listings and continued growth in home prices.”

2019 by the Numbers

  • Sellers listed 76,345 properties on the market, a 0.2 percent increase from 2018
  • Buyers closed on 59,843 homes, a 0.8 percent increase from 2018
  • Inventory levels for December fell 19.6 percent compared to 2018 to 7,431 units
  • Months Supply of Inventory was down 21.2 percent o 1.5 months
  • The Median Sales Price rose 5.7 percent to $280,000, a record high
  • Cumulative Days on Market increased 2.1 percent to 49 days, on average (median of 23)
  • Changes in sales activity varied by market segment
    • Single-family sales increased 1.5 percent; condo sales fell 1.7 percent; townhome sales were down 1.4 percent
    • Traditional sales rose 1.8 percent; foreclosure sales decreased 31.9 percent; short sales fell 35.2 percent
    • Previously-owned sales increased 0.3 percent; new construction sales rose 6.9 percent

For other year-end residential real estate information and for stand-alone December 2019 data, visit www.mplsrealtor.com.

 


The Top States Americans Moved to Last Year!

The Top States Americans Moved to Last Year [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • Americans are on the move, and the most recent Atlas Van Lines Migration Patterns Survey tracked the 2019 traffic flow from state-to-state.
  • Idaho held on to the top spot of ‘high inbound’ states for the second time since 2017, followed by Washington State.
  • New York was the country’s outbound move leader in 2019, a designation it most recently held in 2014.

 

 

5 Reasons Homeowners Throw Better Parties During the Big Game 

5 Reasons Homeowners Throw Better Parties During the Big Game [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • There’s more room to entertain a large crowd.
  • The kitchen is big enough to whip up endless appetizers – yum!
  • You don’t have to worry about complaints to your landlord when the cheering kicks in!

 

 

 

2020 Homebuying Checklist

2020 Homebuying Checklist | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • If you’re thinking of buying a home, plan ahead and stay on the right track, starting with pre-approval.
  • Being proactive about the homebuying process will help set you up for success in each step.
  • Make sure to work with a trusted real estate professional along the way, to help guide you through the homebuying steps specific to your area.
 
 
 

 

Where Homebuyers Are Heading By Generation

Where Homebuyers Are Heading By Generation [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • Whether capitalizing on job opportunities, affordability, or warm-weather places to retire, Americans are making moves to these top cities to take advantage of the strength in the current housing market.
  • A strong economy and lower mortgage rates have made it easier for many would-be buyers to get into the market. According to realtor.com, it just depends on which market.
  • To find the top market in our area, let’s get together.

National Cut Your Energy Costs Day 

National Cut Your Energy Costs Day [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • 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!

5 Homebuying Acronyms You Need to Know 

5 Homebuying Acronyms You Need to Know [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • Learning the lingo of homebuying is an important part of feeling successful when buying a home.
  • From APR to P&I, you need to know the acronyms that will come up along the way, and what they mean when you hear them.
  • Your local professionals are here to help you feel confident and informed from start to finish…and this infographic will help you as you go.

 

 

3 Signs the Housing Market Is on the Rebound

3 Signs the Housing Market Is on the Rebound | MyKCM

The residential real estate market has been plodding along for most of the year. However, three recent reports show the market may be on the verge of a rebound:

1. Existing Home Sales (closed sales) are up, marking two consecutive months of growth.

2. Pending Home Sales (contracts signed) are up with each of the four major regions reporting both month-over-month growth and year-over-year gains in contract activity. Here is the month-over-month growth:

  • The Northeast rose 0.7%
  • The Midwest increased 0.6%
  • The South increased 1.4%
  • The West grew 3.1%

3. Buyer Traffic (the number of people shopping for a home) is up compared to the same time last year, and for the first time in 13 months.

  • The Northeast is up 5.9%
  • The Midwest increased 1.3%
  • The South is up 2.7%
  • The West grew 2.2%

In their most recent report, ShowingTime Chief Analytics Officer, Daniil Cherkasskiy explained:

“The trend we saw in year-over-year buyer traffic in previous months continued across the United States. For all four regions there were more showings per listing this year compared to last year, making it the most competitive August in the last five years.”

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist with the National Association of Realtors, believes the uptick in activity will continue into the future:

“It is very encouraging that buyers are responding to exceptionally low interest rates…With interest rates expected to remain low, home sales are forecasted to rise in the coming months and into 2020.”

Bottom Line

If you are thinking about selling your house, there are purchasers out there who are ready, willing, and able to buy.

 

The Benefits of a 20% Down Payment

The Benefits of a 20% Down Payment | MyKCM

If you are in the market to buy a home this year, you may be confused about how much money you need to come up with for your down payment. Many people you talk to will tell you that you need to save 20% or you won’t be able to secure a mortgage.

The truth is that there are many programs available that let you put down as little as 3%. Those who have served our country could qualify for a Veterans Affairs Home Loan (VA) without needing a down payment.

These programs have cut the savings time that many families would need to compile a large down payment from five or more years down to a year or two. This allows them to start building family wealth sooner.

So then, why do so many people believe that they need a 20% down payment to buy a home? There has to be a reason! Today, we want to talk about four reasons why putting 20% down is a good plan, if you can afford it.

1. Your interest rate will be lower.

Putting down a 20% down payment vs. a 3-5% down payment shows your lender/bank that you are more financially stable, thus a good credit risk. The more confident your bank is in your credit score and your ability to pay your loan, the lower the rate they will be willing to give you.

2. You’ll end up paying less for your home.

The bigger your down payment, the lower your loan amount will be for your mortgage. If you are able to pay 20% of the cost of your new home at the start of the transaction, you will only pay interest on the remaining 80%. If you put down a 5% down payment, the extra 15% on your loan will accrue interest and end up costing you more in the long run!

3. Your offer will stand out in a competitive market!

In a market where many buyers are competing for the same home, sellers like to see offers come in with 20% or larger down payments. The seller gains the same confidence that the bank did above. You are seen as a stronger buyer whose financing is more likely to be approved. Therefore, the deal will be more likely to go through!

4. You won’t have to pay Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

Simply put, PMI is “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%.”

As we mentioned earlier, when you put down less than 20% to buy a home, your lender/bank will see your loan as having more risk. PMI helps them recover their investment in you if you are unable to pay your loan. This insurance is not required if you are able to put down 20% or more.

Many times, home sellers looking to move up to a larger or more expensive home are able to take the equity they earn from the sale of their house to put down 20% on their next home.

If you are looking to buy your first home, you will have to weigh the benefits of saving a 20% down payment vs. the time and cost of continuing to rent while you save that amount.

Bottom Line

If your plan for your future includes buying a home and you’re already saving for your down payment, let’s get together to help you decide what down payment size best fits with your long-term plan!

 

Let Your Luck Run Out! Buy A Home This Spring [INFOGRAPHIC]

Don’t Let Your Luck Run Out! Buy A Home This Spring [INFOGRAPHIC] | My KCM

Some Highlights:

  • Interest Rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage have dropped to 4.41% from near 5% in 2018.
  • Take advantage of more inventory coming to market in the spring to find your dream home!
  • Buying now will allow you to start earning equity today!

 

 

 

What’s Going On with Bidding Wars?

What’s Going On with Bidding Wars? | MyKCM

In a strong seller’s market, like the one we have experienced over the past few years, bidding wars are common and expected. This makes sense! A seller’s market is defined as a market in which the inventory of homes for sale cannot satisfy the number of buyers who want to purchase a home.

According to the Cambridge English Dictionarybidding wars occur when two or more parties repeatedly outbid each other as they compete to purchase something- in this case, a home.

In some areas of the country, first-time buyers have been met with fierce competition throughout their experience. Some have been out-bid multiple times before finally winning a bid on a home to call their own.

According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), there is currently a 3.7-month supply of homes for sale.

With the current number of houses listed for sale and the level of demand from buyers, this means it would take 3.7 months for all the homes listed to sell if no additional listings came to market. Any supply number under a 6-month supply is considered a seller’s market. According to NAR, the housing market hasn’t had a 6-month supply of homes for sale since August 2012.

Good News for Buyers

A recent report shows that the percentage of houses sold including a bidding war before settling on a final price decreased from 53% in January of 2018 to 13% this year.

One reason for the decline is an influx of homes being listed for sale. Even though the month’s supply number is not increasing, the number of homes for sale is. The chart below shows the year-over-year change in inventory over the last 12 months.

What’s Going On with Bidding Wars? | MyKCM

 

As you can see, the number of homes for sale has started to build over the last eight months. Prior to this reversal, inventory levels had fallen for 36 consecutive months when compared to the year before.

Danielle Hale, realtor.com’s Chief Economist, gave some insight into why bidding wars are less common on a local level this year,

"[Last year] you might have been the only listing in your neighborhood, and you could put your home up at a certain list price and you would likely see multiple offers at or above that list price. That tide is turning this year.

It's going to depend on what neighborhood you're in, but we expect it to be more common this year that you won't be the only listing."

Inventory in the luxury and premium markets (the top 25% of listings in an area by price), is increasing at a greater rate than the starter home market. As the choices buyers have continued to increase, the likelihood of a bidding war will decrease.

Bottom Line

If you are debating listing your house for sale this year, you may not want to wait for additional competition as inventory continues to rise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

Image may contain: 15 people, people smiling, text
 
 
 
 
 
 TOP 10 REASONS to LIST YOUR HOME DURING the HOLIDAYS....
 

1. People who look at property during the holidays are serious buyers and are more ready to make a decision.

2. Serious buyers usually have fewer houses to choose from during the holidays, so the property has less competition.

3. Houses “show better” when tastefully decorated for the holidays with the wonderful lights and festive colors associated with the season.

4. Buyers are more emotional during the holidays and often base their decision on the warmth and good feelings they receive when viewing the home.

5. Buyers have more time to look for a house during the holidays because they have designated time off from work to purchase a home.

6. Many people want to buy before the end of the year for financial and tax reasons.

7. January is traditionally the month for transfers. Transferees can’t wait until the spring to buy. These buyers need a home now and houses must be on the market to capture these buyers.

8. Sellers can restrict showings during personal family events and still take advantage of their homes being spruced up and decorated “show ready” property.

9. Sellers can sell now – but specify a delayed closing or extended occupancy until early next year if it is agreeable within the negotiations of the contract.

10. By selling now sellers have the opportunity to buy during the spring – when more properties are on the market.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mythical castle in the clouds

SPOTLIGHT

Home Myths Busted!

SEE THE FULL SPOTLIGHT
Money flying out of the roof of a home

You Only Think It’s True: 10 Myths Costing You Time and Money

Save your cash for more important things, like, you know, your mortgage.

Image: Patric Sandri/Offset

You can’t swing a tool belt without hitting a website or TV network offering tips on taking care of your digs. Save money by watering your lawn at night! No, water it in the morning! No, dig it up and replace it with a drought-hardy meadow!

Throw in the info you pick up from well-meaning friends and there’s a sea of home care truisms out there, some of which can sink your budget.

Myth 1: Stone Countertops Are Indestructible

 

A cracked gray and pink marble stone countertopImage: Marble Lite Inc.

 

Fact: Even rock can be damaged.

Marble, quartz, travertine, soapstone, and limestone can all be stained. Regular household cleaners can dull their surfaces over time. And marble is maddeningly fragile — it’s the prima donna of stone.

It’s easy to scratch. It’s easy to stain. Here’s the worst part: Mildly acidic substances like soda, coffee, lemon juice, even hard water will eat into marble, creating a cloudy, dull spot in a process known as etching.

“Spill a glass of wine on a marble counter and go to bed without cleaning it, the next morning you’ll have a problem,” says Louwrens Mulder, owner of Superior Stone in Knoxville, Tenn.

And while stone counters won’t crack under a hot pot, such direct heat can discolor quartz or marble, says Mulder. So be nice to your counters, no matter what they’re made of. And note that the best rock for your buck is granite. “It doesn’t stain or scratch. It’s tough because it’s volcanic rock,” Mulder says. Which means it can stand up to all the merlot and barbecue sauce you can spill on it.

Myth 2: Your Smoke Detector's Test Button Is Foolproof

Fact: The test button doesn’t tell you what you really need to know.

Yes, check your smoke detector twice a year. But all that test button will tell you is whether the alarm sound is working, not if the sensor that detects smoke is working. Pretty key difference there.

The best way to check your device is with real smoke. Light a long, wooden kitchen match, blow it out, and hold it near the unit. If the smoke sets off the alarm, it’s working. If not, replace the batteries. If it still doesn’t work, you need a new smoke detector. And replace those batteries once a year anyway, because dead batteries are the No. 1 reason smoke detectors fail.

Myth 3: Gutter Guards Are Maintenance-Free

Fact: You gotta clean gutter guards, too.

Gutter guards keep out leaves, but small debris like seeds, pine straw, and flower buds will still get through.

Gutter guards can lessen your work, though — sometimes a lot. Instead of shoveling out wheelbarrow loads of leaves and other crap twice a year, you might just need to clean them every two years. But if there are lots of trees in your yard, once a year might be necessary.

Related: Money-Saving Tips to Repair Those Dastardly Gutters

Myth 4: A Lemon Is a Great Way to Clean a Disposal

 

Lemons ready to be added to a disposalImage: Anne Arntson for HouseLogic

 

Fact: While wanting to use natural cleaners is admirable, all of them will damage your disposal and pipes over time.

The lemon’s acidic juice will corrode the metal parts of your disposal. The mixture of salt and ice contains metal-eating acid, too. The coffee grounds are abrasive enough to clean the gunk off the blades and make it smell like a cup of americano, but they’ll accumulate in pipes and clog them.

The best natural cleaner for your disposal is good old baking soda. It’s mildly abrasive so it will clean the blades, but it’s a base, not an acid, and won’t damage the metal. Best of all, a box with enough baking soda big enough to clean your disposal twice costs less than a buck.

Myth 5: Mowing Your Lawn Super Short Means You'll Mow Less Often

Fact: You might not have to mow as often, but your lawn will look like awful.

Cut that grass under an inch high, and you’ll never have to mow again because your grass will die. Mowing a lawn down to the root — a screw-up known as scalping — is like cutting all the leaves off a plant.

Grass blades make and store your lawn’s energy. Removing more than 1/3 of the length of the blade will leave your grass too weak to withstand weeds and pests. It also exposes the roots to the sun, causing the lawn to dry out quickly. Leave 1 to 3 inches of grass above the roots to keep your lawn lush.

Myth 6: CFLs Cost Too Much, and Are Dangerous

Fact: CFLs (compact fluorescent lights) have come down in price since they first hit the market and don’t contain enough mercury to cause any harm.

You can buy one now for as low as $3. And replacing one incandescent bulb with a CFL will save nearly $60 a year for the lifetime of the bulb, says Consumer Reports. CFLs last an average of 5 years, so one bulb can save $300. A houseful of them, say 20, will save $600 each year.

And CFLs are a safe option. They actually lower your exposure to mercury indirectly, because they use 70 percent less electricity than incandescent bulbs. That means the coal-fired power plants that spew 340 million pounds of mercury into the air each year won’t have to run as long to keep our houses lit. Fewer toxins, lower power bills. What’s not to love?

Myth 7: A Trendy Kitchen Re-Do Will Increase My Home's Value

 

Avocado green kitchenImage: Tate Gunnerson

 

Fact: Décor trends come and go as fast as viral videos.

Remember those Tuscan-style kitchens with mustard gold walls, ornate cabinets, and medieval-looking light fixtures that were the must-have of the late ‘90s and early aughts?

Today, they’re as dated as flip phones. Instead of remodeling in the latest look, which costs $22,000 on average, try repainting in on-trend colors, which costs $1,700 on average. If you do opt for a full remodel, choose elements like Shaker cabinets, wood floors, and subway tile, a timeless style you’ll love 10 years from now.

Related: 7 Bad Habits Homeowners Need to Quit Now

Myth 8: A Contractor Recommendation From a Friend Is Good Enough

Fact: Good contractors have more than just your buddy to vouch for them.

Your neighbor’s rec is a good start, but talk to a couple of sources before you hire anyone. Check the contractor’s reviews on Angie’s List or other online rating sites.

Ask a local building inspector which contractors meet code on the properties they inspect. Ask the contractor for the names of past clients you can talk to, how many other projects they have going, how long they’ve worked with their subcontractors, and if they routinely do projects the size of yours.

Look at this as a job interview where the contractor is an applicant and you’re the hiring manager. Make them show you they’re the guy or gal for the work.

Related: 5 Secrets Your Contractor Doesn’t Want You to Know

Myth 9: Turning Off Your AC When You Leave Saves Energy

Fact: Turning off the air conditioner when you leave could actually cost you money.

That’s because when you turn it back on, all your savings will be lost as the unit works overtime to cool your hot house. A better way to save on utilities is to turn the thermostat up or down (depending on the season) 5 to 10 degrees when you leave, says home improvement expert Danny Lipford of todayshomeowner.com.

And the best option? “Install a programmable thermostat,” he says. Even better, buy one you can control remotely with your smartphone and adjust the temperature before you get home. Because thermostats you have to touch are so 1998.

Myth 10: Permits? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Permits

Fact: You do.

Let’s say your neighbor’s brother-in-law, Cecil, is an electrician. Cecil can rewire your kitchen in a weekend because he won’t inconvenience you with a permit. Should you hire Cecil? No. Building codes protect you. From Cecil. Getting a permit means an inspector will check his work to make sure he didn’t screw up.

Plus, if your house burns down in an electrical fire and your insurance company finds out the work was done without a permit, they won’t cover your loss. Check with your local planning or building department to find out if your project needs a permit. If it does, get one.