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Home Is Where the Heart Is More than Ever This Year

There’s no denying the financial benefits of homeownership, but what’s often overlooked are the feelings of gratitude, security, pride, and comfort we get from owning a home. This year, those emotions are stronger than ever. We’ve lived through a time that has truly changed our needs and who we are, and as a result, homeownership has a whole new meaning for many of us.

According to the 2021 State of the American Homeowner report by Unison:

“Last year, staying home became a necessity and that caused many homeowners to have renewed gratitude for the roof over their head.”

As a nation, we continue to work through the challenges of a pandemic that’s pushed us all to new limits. Over the past year and a half, we’ve spent more time than ever at home: working, eating, schooling, exercising, and more. The world around us changed almost overnight, and our homes were redefined. Our needs shifted, and our shelters became a place that protected us on a whole new level. The same study from Unison notes:

  • 91% of homeowners say they feel secure, stable, or successful owning a home
  • 64% of American homeowners say living through a pandemic has made their home more important to them than ever
  • 83% of homeowners say their home has kept them safe during the COVID-19 pandemic
Home Is Where the Heart Is More than Ever This Year | MyKCM

It’s no surprise this study also reveals that homeowners are now more emotionally attached to their homes as well:As we’ve learned throughout this health crisis, homeownership can provide the safety and security we crave in a time of uncertainty. That sense of connection and emotional stability genuinely reaches beyond just the financial aspect of owning a home. As JD Esajian, President of CT Homes, LLCsays:

“Aside from the financial factors, there are several social benefits of homeownership and stable housing to consider. It has long been thought that buying a home contributes to a sense of accomplishment. Still, most individuals fail to realize that homeownership can benefit your mental health and the community around you.”

Whether you’re thinking of buying your first home, moving up to your dream home, or downsizing to something that better fits your changing lifestyle, take a moment to reflect on what Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, notes:

“Buying a home is not just a financial decision. It’s also a lifestyle decision.”

Bottom Line

If you’re considering buying a home, it’s not entirely about the dollars and cents. Don’t forget to weigh the non-financial benefits that may truly change your life when you need them most.

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Why Now Is a Great Time To Sell Your House

As we near the end of the year, more homeowners are realizing the benefits of today’s sellers’ market. Record-breaking home price appreciation, growing equity, low inventory, and competitive mortgage rates are motivating homeowners to make a move that addresses their changing lifestyles.

In fact, recent data from realtor.com shows a larger share of homeowners are planning to list their houses this winter. So, that means more homes are about to hit the market, which will lead to more choices for buyers too.

According to George Ratiu, Manager of Economic Research at realtor.com:

“The pandemic has delayed plans for many Americans, and homeowners looking to move on to the next stage of life are no exception. Recent survey data suggests the majority of prospective sellers are actively preparing to enter the market this winter.

If you’re thinking of waiting until the spring to sell your house, know that your neighbors may be one step ahead of you by selling this winter. If you want to stand out from the crowd, this holiday season is the best time to make sure your house is available for buyers. Here’s why.

Sellers Are Still Firmly in the Driver’s Seat

Why Now Is a Great Time To Sell Your House | MyKCM

Historically, a 6-month supply of homes for sale is needed for a normal or neutral market. That level ensures there are enough homes available for active buyers (see graph below):The latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows the inventory of houses for sale sits at a 2.4-month supply. This is well below a neutral market.

What Does That Mean for You?

When the supply of homes for sale is as low as it is today, it’s much harder for buyers to find homes to purchase. This drives up competition among buyers, who then submit increasingly competitive offers to win out against others in the home search process. As this happens, prices rise and your leverage as a seller rises too, putting you in the best position to negotiate a contract that meets your ideal terms.

And while the low housing supply we’re facing won’t be solved overnight, sellers this season should move quickly to maximize their potential. As the data shows, with more prospective sellers planning to list their homes this winter, selling sooner rather than later helps your house rise to the top of a holiday buyer’s wish list so you can close the best possible deal.

Bottom Line

Listing your home over the next few weeks gives you the best chance to be in front of buyers competing for homes this holiday season. Let’s connect today to discuss how you can benefit from today’s sellers’ market.

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How Smart Buyers Are Approaching Rising Mortgage Rates

Last week, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate from Freddie Mac inched up to 3.1%, and experts project rates will continue rising through 2022:

“The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 2.9% in the third quarter of 2021. We forecast mortgage rates to increase slightly through the remainder of the year and reach 3.0%, rising to 3.5% for full year 2022.”

If you’re thinking of buying a home, here are a few things to keep in mind so you can succeed even as mortgage rates rise.

Taking Time Off Can Be Costly

How Smart Buyers Are Approaching Rising Mortgage Rates | MyKCM

Mortgage rates play a significant role in your home search. As rates go up, your monthly mortgage payment increases if you’re buying a home, directly affecting how much you can afford. And even the smallest increase can have a large impact on your monthly payment (see chart below):With mortgage rates on the rise, you’ve likely seen your purchasing power impacted already. Instead of waiting and hoping rates will fall, today’s rates should motivate you to purchase now before rates increase more.

Smart Buyers Can Succeed by Planning Ahead

You can use your newfound motivation to energize your search and plan your next steps accordingly so you’re prepared to act no matter what happens with mortgage rates. One way to do that: take rising rates into consideration as part of your budget.

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, puts it best, saying:

“Smart buyers should consider calculating a monthly payment not only at today’s rates, but also at rates that are a bit higher so that they won’t be derailed by a sudden upward move. . . .”

You should also be ready to act when you find the home that meets your needs. That means getting pre-approved with a lender so there won’t be any delays when the time arrives.

The best way to prepare is to work with a trusted real estate advisor now. An agent can connect you with a lender, help you adjust your search based on your budget, and be ready to act quickly when it’s time to make an offer.

Bottom Line

Serious buyers should approach rising rates as a motivating factor to buy sooner, not a reason to wait. Waiting will cost you more in the long run. Let’s connect today so you can better understand your budget and be prepared to buy your home even before rates climb higher.

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4 Ways Homeowners Can Use Their Equity

Your equity is a powerful tool that can help you achieve your goals as a homeowner. And chances are, your equity grew substantially over the past year. According to the latest Equity Insights Report from CoreLogic, homeowners gained an average of $51,500 in equity over the past year.

If you’re looking for the best ways to use your growing equity, here are four options:

1. Use Your Equity To Buy a Home That Fits Your Needs

If you’re finding you no longer have the space you need, it might be time to move into a larger home. Or, it’s possible you have too much space and would like something smaller. No matter the situation, consider using your equity to power a move into a home that fits your changing lifestyle. Moving into a larger home can provide extra space for remote work or loved ones. Downsizing, on the other hand, may mean saving time and money by caring for a smaller home.

2. Move to the Location of Your Dreams

If the size of your home isn’t a challenge but your current location is, it could be time to relocate to a new area. Maybe you enjoy vacationing in the mountains, at the beach, or another area, and you’re dreaming of living there year-round. Or perhaps the distance between you and your loved ones is greater than you’d like, and you want to close the gap. No matter what, your home equity can fuel your move to the location where you really want to live.

3. Start a New Business

If you’re not ready to move into a new home, you can use your equity to invest in a new business venture. As the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy says:

“There is an estimate of 31.7 million small business owners in the United States, many of them started their business with the equity they had in their home.

While it’s not recommended that homeowners use their equity for unnecessary spending, leveraging your equity to start a business that you’re passionate about can potentially grow your nest egg further.

4. Fund an Education

Whether you have a loved one preparing to head off to college or you’re planning to go back to school yourself, the thought of paying for higher education can be daunting. In either situation, using a portion of your growing equity can help with those costs, so you can make an investment in someone’s future.

Bottom Line

Your equity can help you achieve your goals. If you’re unsure how much equity you have in your home, let’s connect today so you can start planning your next move.

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Retirement May Be Changing What You Need in a Home

The past year and a half brought about significant life changes for many of us. For some, it meant entering retirement earlier than expected. Recent data shows more people retired this year than anticipated. According to the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis, 2021 saw a retirement boom:

“At least 1.7 million more older workers than expected retired due to the pandemic recession.”

If you’ve recently retired, your home may not fit your new lifestyle. The good news is, you’ve likely built-up significant equity that can fuel your next move. According to the latest Homeowner Equity Insights report from CoreLogichomeowners gained more than $50,000 in equity over the past 12 months alone. That, plus today’s sellers’ market, presents a great opportunity to sell your house and address your evolving needs.

You Can Move Closer to the Ones You Love

The 2021 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) provides a look at the reasons people buy homes. For those reaching retirement age, the number one reason to buy is the opportunity to be closer to loved ones, friends, or relatives.

If you find yourself farther from your loved ones than you’d like to be, retirement and the equity you’ve built in your home may enable you to move closer to the people in your life who matter most.

You Can Find the Right Home for Your Needs

Not only can your equity power a move to a new location, but it can also help you purchase the right size home. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR, says many homebuyers 55 and older choose to downsize – or buy a smaller home – when they make a purchase:

“Clearly from the age patterns, young people want to upsize, and the older generation is looking to downsize. . . .”

Whatever your home goals are, a trusted real estate advisor can help you to find the best option for your situation. They’ll help you sell your current home and guide you as you buy your next one while you move into this new phase of life.

Bottom Line

If you’ve recently retired and your needs are changing, you’re not alone. Let’s connect so you can get a better sense of how to find a home that will match your situation.

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Sellers: You’ll Likely Get Multiple Strong Offers This Season

Are you thinking about selling your house right now, but you’re not sure you’ll have the time to do so as the holidays draw near? If so, consider this: even as the holiday season approaches, there are plenty of buyers out there, and they really want your house. Here’s why selling this winter is a win for you.

Today’s buyers are still dealing with a limited number of homes for sale. Thanks to continued low inventory, those buyers are competing with one another for their dream home. And when that happens, if your house is one of the few on the market, it will rise to the top of the pool – and it will be worth it.

Sellers: You’ll Likely Get Multiple Strong Offers This Season | MyKCM

According to the latest data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the average seller received 3.7 offers on their house in September. For a view into what’s happening at the state level, take a look at the map below:Nationwide, the average seller today is getting nearly four offers. That number is significant because it means you’ll likely have multiple offers to pick from if you sell your house this season. To put things into perspective, no matter where your state falls, remember that you really only need one good offer to close the deal.

Any offer you receive will likely be from a highly motivated buyer who’s doing everything they can to beat the competition. The stakes for buyers are high. They’ve been looking for a house and they want to lock in their dream home before prices and mortgage rates rise further next year. Chances are, they’ll get creative with the terms of their offer, which could include waiving contingencies and offering over the asking price – both of which are great news for you.

If you’re on the fence about when to sell, remember your house is a hot commodity this season. As other sellers take a break for the holidays with plans to re-list their homes in the new year, you can put your house in front of motivated buyers by making your move today. That means your house will be the center of attention, and likely the center of a bidding war too.

Bottom Line

Selling now gives you even more opportunity to win big as buyers compete for your house in today’s market.

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4 Things Every Renter Needs To Consider

As a renter, you’re constantly faced with the same dilemma: keep renting for another year or purchase a home? Your answer depends on your current situation and future plans, but there are a number of benefits to homeownership every renter needs to consider.

Here are a few things you should think about before you settle on renting for another year.

1. Rents Are Rising Quickly

4 Things Every Renter Needs To Consider | MyKCM
4 Things Every Renter Needs To Consider | MyKCM

Rent increasing each year isn’t new. Looking back at Census data confirms rental prices have gone up consistently for decades (see graph below):If you’re a renter, you’re faced with payments that continue to climb each year. Realtor.com recently shared the September Rental Report, and it shows price increases accelerating from August to September (see graph below):As the graph shows, rents are still on the rise. It’s important to keep this in mind when the time comes for you to sign a new lease, as your monthly rental payment may increase substantially when you do.

2. Renters Miss Out on Equity Gains

One of the most significant advantages of buying a home is the wealth you build through equity. This year alone, homeowners gained a substantial amount of equity, which, in turn, grew their net worth. As a renter, you miss out on this wealth-building tool that can be used to fund your retirement, buy a bigger home, downsize, or even achieve personal goals like paying for an education or starting a new business.

3. Homeowners Can Customize to Their Heart’s Content

This is a big decision-making point if you want to be able to paint, renovate, and make home upgrades. In many cases, your property owner determines these selections and prefers you don’t alter them as a renter. As a homeowner, you have the freedom to decorate and personalize your home to truly make it your own.

4. Owning a Home May Provide Greater Mobility than You Think

You may choose to rent because you feel it provides greater flexibility if you need to move for any reason. While it’s true that selling a home may take more time than finding a new rental, it’s important to note how quickly houses are selling in today’s market. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the average home is only on the market for 17 days. That means you may have more flexibility than you think if you need to relocate as a homeowner.

Bottom Line

Deciding if it’s the right time for you to buy is a personal decision, and the timing is different for everyone. However, if you’d like to learn more about the benefits of homeownership, let’s connect so you can make a confident, informed decision and have a trusted advisor along the way.

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Two Graphs That Show Why You Shouldn’t Be Upset About 3% Mortgage Rates

With the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate from Freddie Mac climbing above 3%, rising rates are one of the topics dominating the discussion in the housing market today. And since experts project rates will rise further in the coming months, that conversation isn’t going away any time soon.

But as a homebuyer, what do rates above 3% really mean?

Today’s Average Mortgage Rate Still Presents Buyers with a Great Opportunity

Two Graphs That Show Why You Shouldn’t Be Upset About 3% Mortgage Rates | MyKCM

Buyers don’t want mortgage rates to rise, as any upward movement increases your monthly mortgage payment. But it’s important to put today’s average mortgage rate into perspective. The graph below shows today’s rate in comparison to average rates over the last five years:As the graph shows, even though today’s rate is above 3%, it’s still incredibly competitive.

Two Graphs That Show Why You Shouldn’t Be Upset About 3% Mortgage Rates | MyKCM

But today’s rate isn’t just low when compared to the most recent years. To truly put today into perspective, let’s look at the last 50 years (see graph below):When we look back even further, we can see that today’s rate is truly outstanding by comparison.

What Does That Mean for You?

Being upset that you missed out on sub-3% mortgage rates is understandable. But it’s important to realize, buying now still makes sense as experts project rates will continue to rise. And as rates rise, it will cost more to purchase a home.

As Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First Americanexplains:

“Rising mortgage rates, all else equal, will diminish house-buying power, meaning it will cost more per month for a borrower to buy ‘their same home.’”

In other words, the longer you wait, the more it will cost you.

Bottom Line

While it’s true today’s average mortgage rate is higher than just a few months ago, 3% mortgage rates shouldn’t deter you from your homebuying goals. Historically, today’s rate is still low. And since rates are expected to continue rising, buying now could save you money in the long run. Let’s connect so you can lock in a great rate now.

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Why a Wave of Foreclosures Is Not on the Way

With forbearance plans coming to an end, many are concerned the housing market will experience a wave of foreclosures similar to what happened after the housing bubble 15 years ago. Here are a few reasons why that won’t happen.

There are fewer homeowners in trouble this time

After the last housing crash, about 9.3 million households lost their homes to a foreclosure, short sale, or because they simply gave it back to the bank.

As stay-at-home orders were issued early last year, the fear was the pandemic would impact the housing industry in a similar way. Many projected up to 30% of all mortgage holders would enter the forbearance program. In reality, only 8.5% actually did, and that number is now down to 2.2%.

As of last Friday, the total number of mortgages still in forbearance stood at  1,221,000. That’s far fewer than the 9.3 million households that lost their homes just over a decade ago.

Most of the mortgages in forbearance have enough equity to sell their homes

Due to rapidly rising home prices over the last two years, of the 1.22 million homeowners currently in forbearance, 93% have at least 10% equity in their homes. This 10% equity is important because it enables homeowners to sell their homes and pay the related expenses instead of facing the hit on their credit that a foreclosure or short sale would create.

The remaining 7% might not have the option to sell, but if the entire 7% of those 1.22 million homes went into foreclosure, that would total about 85,400 mortgages. To give that number context, here are the annual foreclosure numbers for the three years leading up to the pandemic:

  • 2017: 314,220
  • 2018: 279,040
  • 2019: 277,520

The probable number of foreclosures coming out of the forbearance program is nowhere near the number of foreclosures that impacted the housing crash 15 years ago. It’s actually less than one-third of any of the three years prior to the pandemic.

The current market can absorb listings coming to the market

Why a Wave of Foreclosures Is Not on the Way | MyKCM

When foreclosures hit the market back in 2008, there was an oversupply of houses for sale. It’s exactly the opposite today. In 2008, there was over a nine-month supply of listings on the market. Today, that number is less than a three-month supply. Here’s a graph showing the difference between the two markets.

Bottom Line

The data indicates why Ivy Zelman, founder of the major housing market analytical firm Zelman and Associates, was on point when she stated:

“The likelihood of us having a foreclosure crisis again is about zero percent.”

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Experts Project Mortgage Rates Will Continue To Rise in 2022

Mortgage rates are one of several factors that impact how much you can afford if you’re buying a home. When rates are low, they help you get more house for your money. Within the last year, mortgage rates have hit the lowest point ever recorded, and they’ve hovered in the historic-low territory. But even over the past few weeks, rates have started to rise. This past week, the average 30-year fixed rate was 3.14%.

What does this mean if you’re thinking about making a move? Waiting until next year will cost you more in the long run. Here’s a look at what several experts project for mortgage rates going into 2022.

Freddie Mac:

“The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) is expected to be 3.0 percent in 2021 and 3.5 percent in 2022.”

Doug Duncan, Senior VP & Chief Economist, Fannie Mae:

“Right now, we forecast mortgage rates to average 3.3 percent in 2022, which, though slightly higher than 2020 and 2021, by historical standards remains extremely low and supportive of mortgage demand and affordability.” 

First American:

“Consensus forecasts predict that mortgage rates will hit 3.2 percent by the end of the year, and 3.7 percent by the end of 2022.”

If rates rise even a half-point percentage over the next year, it will impact what you pay each month over the life of your loan – and that can really add up. So, the reality is, as prices and mortgage rates rise, it will cost more to purchase a home.

Experts Project Mortgage Rates Will Continue To Rise in 2022 | MyKCM

As you can see from the quotes above, industry experts project rates will rise in the months ahead. Here’s a table that compares other expert views and gives an average of those projections:Whether you’re thinking about buying your first home, moving up to your dream home, or downsizing because your needs have changed, purchasing before mortgage rates rise even higher will help you take advantage of today’s homebuying affordability. That could be just the game-changer you need to achieve your homeownership goals.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking of buying or selling over the next year, it may be wise to make your move sooner rather than later – before mortgage rates climb higher.