July 18th, 2019 by KC Metro Team

Over 10% of all residential homes are purchased by investors, and that number continues to rise. Who are these investors?
Many have speculated that the large institutional conglomerates such as Blackstone, American Homes 4 Rent, and Colony Starwood dominate investor purchases. However, a special report on investor home buying by CoreLogic, Don’t Call it a Comeback: Housing Investors Have Been Here for Years, shows this is not the case.
Ralph McLaughlin, CoreLogic’s Deputy Chief Economist and author of the report, explained his findings at the recent National Association of Real Estate Editors conference in Austin:

“Investor buying activity in the U.S. is at record highs. And our records go back confidently, about 20 years…
What’s going on and why? Well, it turns out, it’s not the big institutional guys that are leading the increase in home buying. It’s actually the smaller guys. It’s those that have bought between one and ten properties over this 20-year period, they’re the ones that are really leading the increase in investor home buying.”

Here is the breakdown of the percentage of purchasers by type of investor over the last six years according to the report:As the graph shows, the percentage of “Mom & Pop” investors is currently dominating the number of homes purchased by investors, as the percentage of homes purchased by both professional and institutional investors is falling.
Bottom Line
Most houses purchased by an investor are bought by small investors looking to diversify their financial portfolio by adding a real estate component. If you are investing in real estate as either a landlord or someone who fixes-up and flips the house, let’s chat about the ways you can build or liquidate your current portfolio of properties.

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July 17th, 2019 by KC Metro Team

Over the last few years, many sellers have been hesitant to put their houses on the market because they feared not being able to find another home to buy.
We’ve reported on inventory shortages in the past, and it’s been a constant concern for potential buyers throughout recent years. New research shows the inventory concern is starting to decrease among potential buyers.
According to First American, the two leading obstacles to homeownership that buyers feel today are Affordability and Limited Inventory. This means the feeling that homes are less affordable has risen, while the fear of limited inventory has decreased, delivering a wealth of good news for sellers.At the same time, over the past 12 months, we’ve seen a steady month-over-month increase in the number of homes coming to market for purchase. In the past, the lack of listings and available inventory slowed down the real estate market. This recent increase in current inventory has many buyers and sellers now thinking it is time to make their move – and rightfully so! For the last two months, we’ve seen over 4 months of inventory become available for sale, a promising number that’s been slowly increasing this year and creating more buying opportunities.To further support the idea of an improving real estate market, Sam Khater, the Chief Economist at Freddie Mac says,

“…In the near-term, we expect the housing market to continue to improve from both a sales and price perspective.” 

Many experts, like Sam, believe the second half of 2019 will drive a stronger market than we saw at the beginning of the year. This is great news for homeowners who have put off getting their houses on the market and are now ready to make a move.
Bottom Line
What a difference we’ve seen over the course of this year! If you’re thinking of selling, now is the time as inventory is on the rise.

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July 16th, 2019 by KC Metro Team

With the recent lower interest rates, many homeowners are wondering if they should refinance.
To decide if refinancing is the best option for your family, start by asking yourself these questions:
Why do you want to refinance?
There are many reasons to refinance, but here are three of the most common ones:

Lower your interest rate and payment – This is the most popular reason. If you have a 5% interest rate or higher, it might be worth seeing if you can take advantage of the current lower interest rates, hovering below 4%, to reduce your monthly payment and overall cost of the loan.
Shorten the term of your loan – If you have a 30-year loan, it may be advantageous to change it to a 15 or 20-year loan to pay off your mortgage sooner.
Cash-out refinance – With home prices increasing, you might have enough equity to cash out and invest in something else, like your children’s education, a vacation home, or a new business.

Once you know why you might want to refinance, ask yourself the next question:
How much is it going to cost?
There are fees and closing costs involved in refinancing, and Lenders Network explains:

“If you were to refinance that loan into a new loan, total closing costs will run between 2%-4% of the loan amount.”

They also explain that there are options for no-cost refinance loans, but be on the lookout:

“A no-cost refinance loan is when the lender pays the closing costs for the borrower. However, you should be aware that the lender makes up this money from other aspects of the mortgage. Usually pay charging a slightly higher interest rate so they can make the money back.”

If you’re comfortable with the costs of refinancing, then ask yourself one more question:
Is it worth it?
To answer this one, we’ll use an example. Let’s assume you have a $200,000 home loan. A 4% refinance cost will be $10,000. If you want to lower your interest rate from 6% to 4%,  then refinancing is going to save you $244 per month. To break even ($10,000/$244), you need to continue owning your home for over 40 months.
Now that you know how the math shakes out, think about how much longer you’d like to own your current home. If you plan to stay for more than 3 years, then maybe it is advantageous for you to refinance.
If, however, your current home does not fulfill your present needs, you might want to consider using your potential refinance costs for a down payment on a new move-up home. You will still get a lower interest rate than the one you have on your current house, and with the equity you’ve already built, you can finally purchase the home of your dreams.
Bottom Line
There are many opportunities for growth in the current real estate market. To find out what’s right for your family, let’s get together to help you understand your options and guide you toward the best decision.

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July 15th, 2019 by KC Metro Team

Questions continue to come up about where home prices will head throughout the rest of this year, as well as where they may be going over the few years beyond. We’ve gathered current data from the industry’s most reliable sources to help answer these questions:
The Home Price Expectation Survey – A survey of over 100 market analysts, real estate experts, and economists conducted by Pulsenomics each quarter.
Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) – As the leading advocate for the real estate finance industry, the MBA enables members to successfully deliver fair, sustainable, and responsible real estate financing within ever-changing business environments.
Zelman & Associates – The firm leverages unparalleled housing market expertise, extensive surveys of industry executives, and rigorous financial analysis to deliver proprietary research and advice to leading global institutional investors and senior-level company executives.
Freddie Mac – An organization whose mission is to provide liquidity, stability, and affordability to the U.S. housing market in all economic conditions extending to all communities from coast to coast.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) – The largest association of real estate professionals in the world.
Fannie Mae – A leading source of financing for mortgage lenders, providing access to affordable mortgage financing in all markets.
Here’s the home price appreciation these experts are projecting over the next few years:

Bottom Line
Every source sees home prices continuing to appreciate, which is great news for the strength of the market. The increase is steepest throughout the rest of 2019, and prices should continue to rise as we move through 2020 and beyond.

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July 12th, 2019 by KC Metro Team

Some Highlights:

According to the US Census Bureau, “millennials” are defined as 18-36-year-olds.
According to NAR’s latest Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, the median age of all first-time home buyers is 32.
More and more “old millennials” (25-36) are realizing that homeownership is within their grasp now!

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July 11th, 2019 by KC Metro Team

The Federal Reserve Bank (The Fed) recently released their 2019  Survey of Consumer Expectations Housing Survey. The survey reported that 65% of Americans believe homeownership is a good financial investment. Since 2014, the percentage has increased by over nine percent.The Fed’s survey also showed that when the results are broken down by age, education, income, or region of the country, more than 55% of Americans in each category see homeownership as a good investment.
This coincides with a recent Gallup survey of Americans which revealed that real estate was their number one choice for the best long-term investment when compared to stocks, savings accounts or gold.
Bottom Line
Americans’ belief in residential real estate as a good financial investment continues to grow as the housing market returns to normalcy.

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July 10th, 2019 by KC Metro Team

Since June of last year, we have seen an increase in the inventory of homes for sale month per month. Every spring and summer, the inventory increases because people want to sell their home. For those with children, they may want to be in their new home for the beginning of the school year.
If you are one of those sellers, you may find these 4 tips helpful in getting your home sold more quickly.
1. Make buyers feel at home
Declutter your home! Pack away all personal items like pictures, awards, and sentimental belongings. Make them feel like they belong in this house! According to the Profile of Home Staging by the National Association of Realtors,

“83% of buyers’ agents said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home.”

Not only will your house spend less time on the market, but the same report mentioned that,

“One-quarter of buyers’ agents said that staging a home increased the dollar value offered between 1 – 5%, compared to other similar homes on the market that were not staged.”

2. Keep it organized
Since you took the time to declutter, keep it organized! Before the buyers show up, pick up toys, make the bed, and put away clean dishes. It is also a good idea to put out some cookies fresh from the oven or a scented candle. Buyers will remember the smell of your home! According to the same report, the kitchen is one of the most important rooms to stage in order to attract more buyers.
3. Give buyers full access
One of the top four elements when selling your home is access! If your home is available anytime, that opens up more opportunity to find a buyer right away. Some buyers, especially those relocating, don’t have much time available. If they cannot get into the house, they will move on to the next one.
4. Price it right
As we mentioned at the beginning, more inventory coming into the market guarantees there will be some competition. You want to make sure your home is noticed. The key to selling your house in 2019 is ensuring it is Priced to Sell Immediately (PTSI). That way, your home will be seen by the greatest amount of buyers and will sell at a great price before more competition comes to market!
Bottom Line
If you want to sell your house in the least amount of time at the best price with as little hassle as possible, a local real estate professional is a useful guide. Call us today to find out what you need to do to sell your home more quickly.

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July 9th, 2019 by KC Metro Team

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.

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July 8th, 2019 by KC Metro Team

Homes priced at the top 25% of the price range for a particular area of the country are considered “premium homes.” In today’s real estate market, there are deals to be had at the higher end! This is great news for homeowners wanting to upgrade from their current house.
Much of the demand for housing over the past couple of years has come from first-time buyers looking for their starter home. Many of the more expensive homes listed for sale have not seen as much interest.
According to ILHM’s Luxury Report, this mismatch in demand and inventory of luxury and premium homes has created a Buyer’s Market. For the purpose of the report, a luxury home was defined as one that costs $1 million or more.

“A Buyer’s Market indicates that buyers have greater control over the price point. This market type is demonstrated by a substantial number of homes on the market and few sales, suggesting demand for residential properties is slow for that market and/or price point.”

The authors of the report were quick to point out that current conditions at the higher end of the market are no cause for concern.

“While luxury homes may take longer to sell than in previous years, the slower pace, increased inventory levels and larger differences between list and sold prices, represent a normalization of the market, not a downturn.”

Luxury can mean different things to different people. To one person, luxury is a secluded home with plenty of property and privacy. To another, it could be a penthouse at the center of a bustling city. Knowing what characteristics mean luxury to you will help your agent find you the home of your dreams.
Bottom Line
If you are debating upgrading your current house to a premium or luxury home, now is the time!

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July 5th, 2019 by KC Metro Team

Some Highlights:

If you are thinking of buying a home, you may not know where to start.
Here is a simple list of 10 steps that you will go through to purchase a home.
Make sure to ask your agent for details about each step and what else may be required in your area!

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