February 4th, 2019 by KC Metro Team

There are some people who haven’t purchased homes because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. However, everyone should realize 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.”

With home prices rising, many renters are concerned about their house-buying power. Mike Fratantoni, Chief Economist at MBA, explained:

“The spring homebuying season is almost upon us, and if rates stay lower, inventory continues to grow, and the job market maintains its strength, we do expect to see a solid spring market.”

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.
As mentioned before, 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 4.46% 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 4th, 2019 by KC Metro Team

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

The fireplace is a hot home accessory to accent when a home is for sale, and a little staging can go a long way in giving it the attention it deserves. Staging and real estate professionals submitted some of their favorite staging photos and tips for our new slideshow, How I Staged It: Give the Fireplace Top Billing. Check out these stunningly staged fireplaces for ideas to inspire your own staging.

Want to have your photos featured? We’re looking for staging insights and photos for making over the entryway and dining room. Submit your pictures to mtracey@realtors.org.

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February 1st, 2019 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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January 31st, 2019 by KC Metro Team

Last year we saw headlines about a possible housing market bubble, and many wondered if Americans still felt confident about the value of their homes. Recently, the 2018 Houzz & Home Study revealed:

“Homeowners with mortgages have seen their home equity more than double since 2011, increasing to a record-setting $8.3 trillion in 2017.”

The average homeowner gained $16,200 in home equity between Q2 2017 and Q2 2018 according to the latest release of CoreLogic’s Home Equity Report.
Since 2011 home values have increased significantly throughout the country, with prices rising by 5.1% in 2018 alone. When surveyed, homeowners revealed the top four reasons why they felt their homes had increased in value.

Desirable Location
Improved National Economy
Improved Local Economy
Low Home Inventory in My Area

As we can see, not only does the data show that the homes have appreciated, but homeowners also believe they know why. Many have taken advantage of the opportunity to use their newly found equity to sell their current house and move up to their dream home!
2019 will be a good year for the homeowners that still want to take advantage of their home equity! CoreLogic forecasts that home prices will increase by 4.8% by the end of the year.
Bottom Line
If you are a homeowner who would like to find out your current home value, let’s get together to discuss the hidden opportunities in your home!

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January 30th, 2019 by KC Metro Team

Recently, David Greene, co-host of the BiggerPockets podcast and a nationally renowned author and speaker, wrote an article in Forbes explaining how investing in real estate could help build wealth. Many of the points he made also apply to a family owning their own home. Here are a few:
1. Appreciation

“The rising of home prices over time, is how the majority of wealth is built in real estate. This is the ‘home run’ you hear of when people make a large windfall of money. While prices fluctuate, over the long run real estate values have always gone up, always, and there is no reason to think that is going to change.
One thing to consider when it comes to real estate appreciation affecting your ROI is the fact that appreciation combined with leverage offers huge returns. If you buy a property for $200,000 and it appreciates to $220,000, your property had made you a 10% return. However, you likely didn’t pay cash for the property and instead used the bank’s money. If you consider that you may have put 10% down ($20,000), you actually have doubled your investment, a 100% return.”

2. Leverage

“By nature, real estate is one of the easiest assets to leverage I have ever come across—maybe the easiest. Not only is it easy to leverage the financing of it, but the terms are incredible compared to any other kind of loan. Interest rates are currently below 5%, down payments can be 20% or less, and loans are routinely amortized over 30-year periods.”

3. Paying Off the Debt

“One of the best parts of investing in real estate is the fact that … you’re slowly paying down your loan balance with each payment to the bank… After enough time passes, a good chunk of every payment comes off the loan balance, and wealth is created.”

4. Forced Equity

“Forced equity is a term used to refer to the wealth that is created when an investor does work to a property to make it worth more…
Example of this would be adding a third or fourth bedroom to a property with only two, adding a second bathroom to a property with only one, or adding more square footage to a property with less than the surrounding houses.”

Though Green was talking about investors, the same could be said about a family upgrading their own home.
Bottom Line
Green put it best by saying:

“There are many ways to build wealth in America, but real estate might be the safest, steadiest and simplest way to do so.”

To read the full article, click here.

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January 29th, 2019 by KC Metro Team

Over the course of the last thirty years, a shift has happened. An entire generation has been raised to believe that a college education is their key to unlocking opportunities that were not available to their parent’s or grandparent’s generations.
Due to this, student loan debt has soared to $1.5 trillion and represents the largest category of debt, surpassing credit card and auto loan debt in 2010 and never looking back. As more and more Americans continue their education amongst rising tuition costs, this number will no doubt increase.
Many housing experts have blamed student loans for a drop in the homeownership rate for young families, and to an extent, they’ve been right. Increased debt at the time of graduation has no doubt limited young people from being able to afford a home at the same rate as their parents or grandparents did at the same age.
In a recent Forbes article, the author explained that “in just the class of 2017, the average student has about $40,000 in debt — almost enough for a 20% down payment on a median-priced home.”
The Federal Reserve set out to determine exactly how much impact student loan debt has had on the homeownership rate of those 18-34 (millennials). Their results found that,

“Every $1,000 in student loan debt delays homeownership by about 2.5 months, but it doesn’t prevent homeownership entirely.
 In fact, by the time college grads reach their 30s, those with student loan debt have a homeownership rate nearly identical to those who didn’t take out loans.” (emphasis added)

In the Wall Street Journal’s coverage of the Fed report, they found that recent graduates prioritize paying off their student loans over saving for a down payment, despite their desire to be a homeowner. Many with debt want to “get that monkey off (their) back (before they) make any new investments.”
This has just delayed the wave of young home buyers from hitting the market. But as Danielle Hale, the Chief Economist at realtor.com warns,

“2020 will be peak millennial, the year when the largest number of millennials will turn 30.”

 By age 30, those who attained a bachelor’s degree right after high school will be one or two years away from paying off their loans and will have been in their career long enough to earn a higher salary.
In the long run, research shows that attaining a bachelor’s degree or more actually increases the chances that someone will become a homeowner.
Bottom Line
If you are one of the many millennials who has prioritized paying down your student loans over saving for a down payment, you’re not alone. Even if you are a couple years away from paying off your loans, let’s get together to help you determine if waiting really is the best decision for you!

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January 28th, 2019 by KC Metro Team

The price of any item (including residential real estate) is determined by the theory of ‘supply and demand.’ If many people are looking to buy an item and the supply of that item is limited, the price of that item increases.
The supply of homes for sale dramatically increases every spring, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). As an example, here is what happened to housing inventory at the beginning of 2018:

Putting your home on the market now, rather than waiting for increased competition in the spring, might make a lot of sense.
Bottom Line
Buyers in the market during the winter are truly motivated purchasers and they want to buy now. With limited inventory currently available in most markets, sellers are in a great position to negotiate.

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January 28th, 2019 by KC Metro Team

What is trending in home design in the new year? The designers at Houzz chimed in with their top picks. Here are a few of their choices for top home decor trends:

Photo by Caroline SharpnackSearch kitchen design ideas

Tile backsplash feature wall.

More kitchens are using tile for an accent wall, taking the tile from countertop to ceiling. The tile is even behind floating shelves and range hoods to create an eye-catching feature wall.

Photo by Jours & NuitsBrowse home office photos

Glass and steel room dividers.

In recent years, we’ve seen increased popularity in glass and steel for front doors and shower enclosures on Houzz. But good ideas spread quickly. We’re seeing more glass and steel dividers between interior rooms and expect that to continue in 2019. They give an open feeling while still providing some privacy and noise control, along with a stylish graphic element or contrasting color to otherwise white walls.

Photo by Chris SnookBrowse bathroom ideas

The centerpiece tub.

Homeowners are spending more to increase the size of their bathroom and carve out a spa-like space. And they’re devoting a lot of attention to making the tub the all-star of their space.

Photo by Fine House PhotographyBrowse kitchen ideas

Black is back.

Black is entering kitchens in a bigger way. Black range hoods, island accent colors, and all-black cabinets are popping up in more designs. Houzz predicts more kitchens featuring black cabinets paired with white walls, backsplash and countertops for a dynamic and sophisticated contrast.

Photo by Studio RevolutionLook for dining room design inspiration

Furniture benches in the dining area.

In the kitchen, built-in bench seating in a dining nook is not only trendy but also offers extra storage as an added bonus. Designers are bringing in bench furniture pieces, which offer an affordable and convenient alternative. “It turns almost any dining spot into more of a lounge area, and you can tuck a few storage baskets underneath for blankets, games, place settings and more, giving you the feeling of a banquette without the commitment,” Houzz notes.

Photo by Corynne PlessBrowse exterior home ideas

Board and batten exterior.

The modern farmhouse look is still going strong throughout the home, but exteriors are also reflecting it now too. “The board and batten method of construction delivers that homey look and adds texture and interest to what might otherwise be a flat facade,” Houzz notes.

Photo by Kelly Scanlon Interior DesignDiscover bathroom design inspiration

Wood vanities.

Wood vanities can help bring a large dose of warmth to the bathroom. Wooden vanities have long been popular on Houzz, but the latest designs are turning toward reclaimed wood or light wood with clear stains that draw out grain pattern details and knots.

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January 25th, 2019 by KC Metro Team

Some Highlights:

For Sale By Owner (FSBO) is the process of selling real estate without the representation of a real estate broker or real estate agent.
According to the National Association of Realtors’ Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, 36% of homeowners who decided to FSBO last year did so to avoid paying a commission or fee. But, homes sold with an agent net 6% more than those sold as a FSBO according to Collateral Analytics!
Before you decide to take on the challenges of selling your house on your own, let’s get together to discuss the advantages of having an agent on your side.

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January 24th, 2019 by KC Metro Team

Whether you are thinking of selling your house or buying a home, today’s real estate headlines can be confusing – perhaps even concerning. What is actually happening with mortgage rates? Are home values dropping or are they just rising at a slower pace? What impact will the economy have on the housing market?
If you are either a buyer or seller (or both), you need to know what it will mean to your family if you go ahead with the move. You need to understand three things:
1. What is happening in the housing market right now?
Consumers must get past those fear-mongering headlines and gain a deep understanding of what is truly happening. How strong is buyer demand right now? How much competition do listings have today compared to what they will have in the spring? People want to make an educated decision on what is probably their family’s greatest financial asset.
2. Why is it happening?
Understanding the individual pieces that impact the sale or purchase of real estate is important. Understanding how those pieces impact each other is critical. How does the amount of a down payment impact the mortgage rate a buyer will be offered? Can you still price your house a ‘little ahead’ of the market and still be sure it will sell?
3. How do the first two affect your local market?
Basically, you want an understanding of the overall housing market and a simple and effective explanation of how it will impact your personal real estate goals.
Bottom Line
The best way to get all three is to work with a professional who understands this shifting real estate market and can expertly guide you on the journey to reach your housing goals. Let’s get together to discuss what today’s market means for you.

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