Category: Uncategorized

February 5th, 2018 by KC Metro Team

There are some people who have not purchased homes because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize, however, that unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s.
As Entrepreneur Magazine, a premier source for small business, explained in their article, “12 Practical Steps to Getting Rich”:

“While renting on a temporary basis isn’t terrible, you should most certainly own the roof over your head if you’re serious about your finances. It won’t make you rich overnight, but by renting, you’re paying someone else’s mortgage. In effect, you’re making someone else rich.”

Christina Boyle, Senior Vice President and head of the Single-Family Sales & Relationship Management organization at Freddie Mac, explains another benefit of securing a mortgage as opposed to paying rent:

“With a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, you’ll have the certainty & stability of knowing what your mortgage payment will be for the next 30 years – unlike rents which will continue to rise over the next three decades.”

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ which allows you to build equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee the landlord is the person building that equity.
Interest rates are still at historic lows, making it one of the best times to secure a mortgage and make a move into your dream home. Freddie Mac’s latest report shows that rates across the country were at 4.22% last week.
Bottom Line
Whether you are looking for a primary residence for the first time or are considering a vacation home on the shore, now may be the time to buy.

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February 5th, 2018 by KC Metro Team

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Consider adding more floral patterns into your staging. It’s bold and trendy, home designers say.

Floral prints are seeing a revival in home design, according to the design community on Houzz, a home renovation and design platform. In fact, they are calling florals one of the hottest home design trends of 2018.

But its re-emergence in interiors does come with a twist this time around. Floral designs in contrasting colors is trending. It can make a big statement and can be an eye-popping pattern to jazz up a space.

“Forget low-energy patterns and think botanical references in high-contrast colors, such as black and white, or teal and gold, and over-sized blooms,” Houzz notes in its forecast.

Floral patterns of roses, peonies, and lilacs are popular in wall art, throw pillows or bedding, rugs, or furnishings. It can feel vintage, and add a little flair to an otherwise neutral staging palette.

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February 2nd, 2018 by KC Metro Team

Highlights:

Watching the big game at home with your friends & family offers many advantages.
There’s more room to entertain a large crowd and you don’t have to worry about complaints to your landlord if you cheer too loudly!
The kitchen is big enough to make as many appetizers as you want, and if some of your guests are only there to watch the commercials, they can do so on a different TV in another room!

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February 1st, 2018 by KC Metro Team

Just like with any product or service, the law of supply and demand impacts home prices. Any time that there is less supply than the market demands, prices increase.
In many areas of the country, the supply of homes for sale in the starter and trade-up home markets is so low that bidding wars have ensued, and the busy spring-buying season is just around the corner.
CoreLogic recently conducted an analysis on national home prices at the time of sale for their January 2018 MarketPulse Report and found that a third of homes sold for at least list price.

“The share selling above list price was almost three times the trough in January 2008 and represented more than one-fifth of total sales.”

Many markets in the western part of the country and around major cities are experiencing higher shares of homes selling above list price.

“San Francisco had the largest share of homes—76 percent—that sold for at least the list price, and Seattle and Los Angeles followed with 63 and 51 percent, respectively. Miami had the lowest share—16 percent—of homes selling at or above the list price.”

Increased demand during the spring and summer months, the traditionally busier seasons for real estate, will no doubt influence how many homes continue to sell over list price.
This should not be seen by sellers as permission to overprice their homes, though. Buyers are becoming more and more educated, especially those who have been searching for their dream homes for a while now while waiting for new inventory to come to market.
Realtor.com gives this advice:

“Aim to price your property at or just slightly below the going rate. Today’s buyers are highly informed, so if they sense they’re getting a deal, they’re likely to bid up a property that’s slightly underpriced, especially in areas with low inventory.”

Bottom Line
Without a large wave of new listings coming to market, buyers will continue competing with each other for the homes that are available. If you are thinking of selling your home, now may be the time to do so before more competition comes this spring. Let’s get together to determine the demand for your house in our area.

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January 31st, 2018 by KC Metro Team

When it comes to talking about millennials, there are many stereotypes out there that have influenced the way the public feels about the generation. Whether it’s the assumption that millennials are irresponsible with money and would rather buy avocado toast than save for a down payment, or that millennials jump from job to job, the majority of these stereotypes paint the generation in a negative light.
A new study by Bank of America entitled Better Money Habits Millennial Report recently came to the defense of the generation when it reported that:

“Millennials deserve more credit – both from themselves and from others – for their mindfulness when it comes to money and their lives.”

Here are some key takeaways from the study proving that millennials deserve more credit for what they are already doing:

63% are saving – (47% have $15,000 or more in savings)
54% are budgeting – (73% who have a budget stick to it every month)
57% have a savings goal – (67% who have a goal stick to it every month)
46% have asked for a raise in the past 2 years – (80% who asked for a raise got one)
59% feel financially secure – (16% have $100,000 or more in savings)

Many have wondered if millennials even want to own their own homes or if they would choose to rent instead. Well, not only do they want to own their own homes, but many already do and are looking to trade up! A recent study by realtor.com shows that 49% of Americans who plan to sell their home in the next 12 months are millennials!
Danielle Hale, realtor.com’s Chief Economist, gave some insight into why millennials are looking to sell,

“The housing shortage forced many first-time homebuyers to consider smaller homes and condos as a way to literally get their foot in the door. Our survey data reveals that we may see more of these homes hitting the market in the next year.”

Bottom Line
Not every millennial fits into the stereotypes that are so prominent in our society. Those who have risen above the stereotype are ready and willing to buy a home of their own, and many others already have!

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January 30th, 2018 by KC Metro Team

Urban Institute recently released a report entitled, “Barriers to Accessing Homeownership,” which revealed that “eighty percent of consumers either are unaware of how much lenders require for a down payment or believe all lenders require a down payment above 5 percent.”
Myth #1: “I Need a 20% Down Payment”
Buyers often overestimate the down payment funds needed to qualify for a home loan. According to the same report:

“Consumers are often unaware of the option to take out low-down-payment mortgages. Only 19% of consumers believe lenders would make loans with a down payment of 5% or less… While 15% believe lenders require a 20% down payment, and 30% believe lenders expect a 20% down payment.”

These numbers do not differ much between non-owners and homeowners; 39% of non-owners believe they need more than 20% for a down payment and 30% of homeowners believe they need more than 20% for a down payment.
While many believe that they need at least 20% down to buy their dream home, they do not realize that programs are available that allow them to put down as little as 3%. Many renters may actually be able to enter the housing market sooner than they ever imagined with programs that have emerged allowing less cash out of pocket.
Myth #2: “I Need a 780 FICO® Score or Higher to Buy”
Similar to the down payment, many either don’t know or are misinformed about what FICO® score is necessary to qualify.
Many Americans believe a ‘good’ credit score is 780 or higher.
To help debunk this myth, let’s take a look at Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insight Report, which focuses on recently closed (approved) loans.

As you can see in the chart above, 53.5% of approved mortgages had a credit score of 600-749.
Bottom Line
Whether buying your first home or moving up to your dream home, knowing your options will make the mortgage process easier. Your dream home may already be within your reach.

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January 29th, 2018 by KC Metro Team

Every winter, families across the country decide if this will be the year that they sell their current houses and move into their dream homes.
Mortgage rates hovered around 4% for all of 2017 which forced many buyers off the fence and into the market, resulting in incredibly strong demand RIGHT NOW!
At the same time, however, inventory levels of homes for sale have dropped dramatically as compared to this time last year.
Trulia reported that “in Q4 2017, U.S. home inventory decreased by 10.5%. That is the biggest drop we’ve seen since Q2 2013.”
Here is a chart showing the decrease in inventory levels by category:

The largest drop in inventory was in the starter home category which saw a 19% dip in listings.
Bottom Line
Demand for your home is very strong right now while your competition (other homes for sale) is at a historically low level. If you are thinking of selling in 2018, now may be the perfect time.

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January 29th, 2018 by KC Metro Team

By Audra Slinkey, Home Staging Resource

A lot of people don’t realize just how much home stagers do for their clients. Certified professional home stagers are true artists and will go to great lengths to get that “right look,” as well as help seller’s maximize the return impact on the sale of their home.

Here are two, behind-the-scenes staging stories that show you how far your home stager will go to GET IT DONE RIGHT…

You may have seen this unique residence in your news stream a while back, but did you consider how it got staged?  It is on an island just off the Connecticut coast and the residence spans the entire three-acre island.

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There were five houses to be staged (a main house, guest house, tea house, game house, and pool house.)  The real kicker is that the caretaker’s boat had weight restrictions and could not hold couches, beds, or larger pieces–so the stager had to be creative!

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HSR Certified home stager Leia Ward of LTW Designs in Fairfield County is the brave home stager who took on this property, and using only accessories, staged it beautifully!  Here is a photo of her loading up the boat with all her gorgeous furnishings.

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Imagine how hard it must have been to crate all of those items over two docks, open sea, and yard space using just the wheel barrel you see here!

Leia and her team staged all day and into the evening but the outcome and sale of the home is what drives dedicated stagers like her.

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Since staging outdoor spaces has become much more critical to buyers, Leia makes sure no stone is unturned using what the client had and adding many more accessories to update the look.

View photos of Leia and her team’s staging of the property.

My second story entails a home that most people had given up on…

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Looking more like an Amityville Horror Movie, this home had been neglected and abused for years and unfortunately the inside was not much better…

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When RESA Stager of the Year, HSR Grad Brad Fletcher of the Home Staging Pros in Orlando, Fla. got a hold of this property … everything changed!

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The transformation is unbelievable, and it’s hard to envision this is the same house! Updated flooring, paint, fixtures, A LOT of clean up, and staging makes this a home that buyers will pay A LOT more for!

Professional home stagers make this kind of magic happen every day for their clients.  They are tireless, they are dedicated, and they are worth every penny.

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Buyers beware … not all home stagers are equal. Is Walmart equal to Restoration Hardware in quality and design? It’s not about getting the best price for your sellers; it’s about getting the best return on their investment. Brad and Leia are stagers who do just that.

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Slinkey ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Audra Slinkey is president of the Home Staging Resource, a RESA Accredited home staging training and certification company. Slinkey has personally trained over 3,000 stagers worldwide and is a bestselling author and international speaker. She also serves as president of the American Society of Home Stagers and RedesignersConnect with her on Facebook!

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January 26th, 2018 by KC Metro Team

Some Highlights:

“The majority of millennials said they consider owning a home more sensible than renting for both financial and lifestyle reasons — including control of living space, flexibility in future decisions, privacy and security, and living in a nice home.”
The top reason millennials choose to buy is to have control over their living space, at 93%.
Many millennials who rent a home or apartment prior to buying their own homes dream of the day when they will be able to paint the walls whatever color they’d like, or renovate an outdated part of their living space.

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January 25th, 2018 by KC Metro Team

Definitely an aggressive headline. However, as the final data on the 2017 housing market rolls in, we can definitely say one thing: If you are considering selling, IT IS TIME TO LIST YOUR HOME!
How did we finish 2017?

New-home sales were at their highest level in a decade.
Sales of previously owned homes were at their highest level in more than a decade.
Starts of single-family homes were their strongest in a decade and applications to build such properties advanced to the fastest pace since August 2007.

And Bloomberg Business just reported:

“America’s housing market is gearing up for a robust year ahead. Builders are more optimistic, demand is strong and lean inventory is keeping prices elevated.”

And the National Association of Realtors revealed that buyer traffic is stronger this winter than it was during the spring buying season last year.
The only challenge to the market is a severe lack of inventory. A balanced market would have a full six-month supply of homes for sale. Currently, there is less than a four-month supply of inventory. This represents a decrease in supply of 9.7% from the same time last year.
Bottom Line
With demand increasing and supply dropping, this may be the perfect time to get the best price for your home. Let’s get together to see whether that is the case in your neighborhood.

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