June is National Homeownership Month!!

June is National Homeownership Month!! | The KCM Crew

National Homeownership Month actually started as a week-long celebration of homeownership during the Clinton administration in 1995. In 2002, President George W. Bush proclaimed June as the National Homeownership Month. Here is an excerpt from his proclamation:

“Homeownership is an important part of the American Dream…A home provides shelter and a safe place where families can prosper and children can thrive. For many Americans, their home is an important financial investment, and it can be a source of great personal pride and an important part of community stability.”

“Homeownership encourages personal responsibility and the values necessary for strong families. Where homeownership flourishes, neighborhoods are more stable, residents are more civic-minded, schools are better, and crime rates decline.”

“During National Homeownership Month, I encourage all Americans to learn more about financial management and to explore homeownership opportunities in their communities. By taking this important step, individuals and families help safeguard their financial futures and contribute to the strength of our Nation.”

Help celebrate National Homeownership Month by posting the above photo on your social media accounts, blogs and newsletters.

5 Reasons to Sell Now

5 Reasons to Sell Now | The KCM Crew

Many sellers are still hesitant about putting their house up for sale. Where are prices headed? Where are interest rates headed? Can buyers qualify for a mortgage?  These are all valid questions. However, there are several reasons to sell your home sooner rather than later. Here are five of those reasons.

1. Demand is Strong

There is currently a pent-up demand of purchasers as many home buyers pushed off their search this past winter because of extreme weather. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the number of buyers in the market, which feel off dramatically in December, January and February, has begun to increase again over the last few months. These buyers are ready, willing and able to buy…and are in the market right now!

2. There Is Less Competition Now

Housing supply is still under the historical number of 6 months’ supply. This means that, in many markets, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in that market. This is good news for home prices. However, additional inventory is about to come to market.

There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners are now seeing a return to positive equity as prices increased over the last eighteen months. Many of these homes will be coming to the market in the near future. Also, new construction of single-family homes is again beginning to increase. A recent study by Harris Poll revealed that 41% of buyers would prefer to buy a new home while only 21% prefer an existing home (38% had no preference).

The choices buyers have will continue to increase over the next few months. Don’t wait until all this other inventory of homes comes to market before you sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

One of the biggest challenges of the 2014 housing market has been the length of time it takes from contract to closing. Banks are requiring more and more paperwork before approving a mortgage. As the market heats up, banks will be inundated with loan inquiries causing closing timelines to lengthen.  Selling now will make the process quicker and simpler.

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move-Up

If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by over 19% from now to 2018. If you are moving to a higher priced home, it will wind-up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait. You can also lock-in your 30 year housing expense with an interest rate in the low 4’s right now. Rates are projected to be over 5% by this time next year.

5. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take back control of the situation by putting your home on the market and pricing it so it sells. Perhaps, the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

That is what is truly important.

Non-Traditional “Retirement” Metros Becoming Meccas for Older Adults Who Want to Age in Place

Our guest blogger today is Nikki Buckelew. As the Founder and CEO of the Seniors Real Estate Institute, Nikki brings great insight into the Senior Market.

It’s probably only natural for real estate agents to assume that most boomers or retirees bent on moving to a new city to enjoy their golden years will be on the trail to Florida, Arizona, or some other state blessed with warmth and plenty of sunshine. And those states are probably the ones best situated to offer plenty of age-in-place benefits, right?

Nope.

When a boomer or senior who’s open-minded about where they wish to move and retire searches Google for the best cities to age in place or best cities to retire, they finds some spots that are a bit out of the norm, but quite intriguing nonetheless.

Places like Sioux Falls, SD; Provo, UT; Iowa City, IA; Bismarck, ND; Columbia, MO; Omaha, NE; Madison, WI; and Boston, MA top the list.

As adults 55+ begin to contemplate their future and plan for a possible move, they are hearing more and more about the importance of preparing to age-in-place. They already know they hope to live in their own home, independently, for as long as possible. And the cities listed above – plus many other non-traditional retirement options – are receiving plenty of attention as go-to spots for their aging-in-place benefits in the form of quality healthcare, accessible transportation, government initiatives in building the city as senior-friendly, and a number of other indexes.

The Milken Institute, a non-partisan think tank, compiled a list in 2012 of the 259 Best Cities to Age Successfully. Another ranking is due later this summer of 2014. It divided the rankings into “Large Metros” and ‘Small Metros,” with Provo, Utah topping the Large City list and Sioux Falls the Small City rankings.

Others in the Top 10 of Large Cities to Age Successfully include Pittsburgh, Toledo, Des Moines, Salt Lake City, and Washington D.C.

Others in the Top 10 of Small Cities to Age Successfully include Rochester, MN, Ann Arbor, MI, Missoula, MT, Durham-Chapel Hill, NC, and Gainesville, FL.

See the entire list here and learn more about the Milken Institute’s approach to promoting aging-in-place awareness: http://successfulaging.milkeninstitute.org/bcsa.html

Frankly, if I were a real estate agent or broker in any of these top cities (and even many further down the list), I’d be going full-bore to make sure I was positioned to capture as much of this older adult segment in my town as possible. Yes, older adults will purposefully be moving to my city and I should be the one to serve them and find a stellar house for them to buy. That would include promoting my area’s dominance as a haven for older adults, while working to ensure that I had the knowledge to properly help them. And oh yeah. Since older adults from outside the area will be searching online for information about my city, I’d want to make sure that I popped up front and center on Google as an expert in real estate for boomers and seniors in my town.

Simply put, lists like this give you plenty of marketing power – plus motivation – to grab a huge segment of business in your market that perhaps you never even knew existed.

Create Wealth: Move Up Now!!

Create Wealth: Move Up Now!! | The KCM Crew

Many experts are currently discussing a variety of topics such as real estate as an investment, the movement on mortgage interest rates and reasons to buy now instead of waiting. It is important that we realize that this does not apply solely to the first time home buyer.

The opportunity that exists in real estate today is there for everyone.

However, the family that already owns a home might be thinking that, if they wait, their home could be worth more next year than it is now. And that may cause them to delay moving up to the home of their dreams thinking it makes good financial sense. Actually, the opposite is true. This is the best chance a family has to buy up into the home that makes sense for their family right now.

We must realize that whatever percentage of value we gain on our house will also be gained on our dream home.

Let’s assume your current home is worth $500,000. Your house will be worth $520,000 next year if prices rise by 4% over that time (a number projected by the Home Price Expectation Survey).

However, the $750,000 home you are hoping to move into will also appreciate by about that same 4%. That means next year it will be valued at $780,000. You wouldn’t make $20,000 by waiting. You would actually be losing $10,000 ($30,000 – $20,000).

And, you will pay a lower interest rate on the mortgage than you probably will next year.

Plug in the numbers that apply to your house and the home you are longing to buy and see what the bottom line turns out to be for you.

That is how wealth is built in this country – by purchasing real estate at the right time, at the right price and at the right terms.

Go out and find your family’s dream house and buy it! Ten years from now, you will be glad you did!

Moving Up? Do it Now!

Moving Up? Do It Now | The KCM Crew

A recent study revealed that the number of existing home owners planning to buy a home this year is about to increase dramatically. Some are moving up, some are downsizing and others are making a lateral move. Another study shows that over 75% of these buyers will, in fact, be in that first category: a move-up buyer. We want to address this group of buyers in today’s blog post.

There is no way for us to predict the future but we can look at what happened over the last year. Let’s look at buyers that considered moving up last year but decided to wait instead.

Assume they had a home worth $300,000 and were looking at a home for $450,000 (putting 10% down they would get a mortgage of $405,000). By waiting, their house appreciated by approximately 10% over the last year (based on the Case Shiller Pricing Index). Their home could now sell for $330,000. That would mean an additional $30,000 in equity assuming they didn’t incur any expenses in selling the home.

But, the $450,000 home would now be worth $495,000. Adding the original 10% down payment ($45,000) to the additional equity ($30,000), they would now have a $75,000 down payment. That would still need a mortgage of $425,000.

Here is a table showing what additional monthly cost would be incurred by waiting:

Cost of Waiting Visual Members

According to the Home Price Expectation Survey, home prices are projected to appreciate by approximately 6% over the next eighteen months. Interest rates are also expected to rise by as much as another full percentage point in that same time period according to FreddieMac. If your family plans to move-up to a nicer or bigger home, it may make sense to move now rather than later.