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Want to Build Wealth? Buy a Home this year

Every year, households across the country make the decision to rent for another year or take the leap into homeownership. They look at their earnings and savings and then decide what makes the most financial sense. That equation will most likely take into consideration monthly housing costs, tax advantages, and other incremental expenses. Using these measurements, recent studies show that it’s still more affordable to own than rent in most of the country.

There is, however, another financial advantage to owning a home that’s often forgotten in the analysis – the wealth built through equity when you own a home.

What has this equity piece meant to homeowners in the past?

Want to Build Wealth? Buy a Home This Year. | MyKCM

ATTOM Data Solutions, the curator of one of the nation’s premier property databases, just analyzed the typical home-price gain owners nationwide enjoyed when they sold their homes.

CoreLogic, another property data curator, also weighed in on the subject. According to their latest Homeowner Equity Insights Report, the average homeowner gained $17,000 in equity in just the last year alone.

What does the future look like for homeowners when it comes to equity?

Here are the seven major home price appreciation forecasts for 2021: The National Association of Realtors (NAR) just reported that today, the median-priced home in the country sells for $309,800. If homes appreciate by 5% this year (the average of the forecasts), the homeowner will increase their wealth by $15,490 in 2021 through increased equity.

Want to Build Wealth? Buy a Home This Year. | MyKCM

Bottom Line

As you make your plans for the coming year, be sure to consider the equity benefits of home price appreciation as you weigh the financial advantages of buying over renting. When you do, you may find this is the perfect time to jump into homeownership.

High Demand + Low Inventory = TIME TO SELL!

The housing market led the way in our nations economic recover last year, and it does not appear to be slowing down a bit! Record-low mortgage interest rates are a driving factor in this continued momentum, with average rates hovering at historic all-time lows.

Why Right Now May Be the Time to Sell Your House | MyKCM

According to the latest Realtors Confidence Index Survey from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), buyer demand across the country is incredibly strong. That’s not the case, however, on the supply side. Seller traffic is simply not keeping up.

NAR also just reported that the actual number of homes currently for sale, nationally stands at 1.28 million, down 22% from one year ago (1.64 million). Additionally, inventory is at an all-time low with 2.3 months supply available at the current sales pace. In a normal market, that number would be 6.0 months of inventory – significantly higher than it is today.

Currently, there are only 57 active listings in Roscommon County. Just 10 in Missaukee County and 18 in Crawford County. Which makes our area slightly lower than the national numbers.

What does this mean for buyers and sellers?

Buyers need to remain patient in the search process. At the same time, they must be ready to act immediately once they find the right home since bidding wars are more common when so few houses are available for sale.

Sellers SHOULD NOT wait until spring to put their houses on the market. With such high buyer demand and such a low supply, now is the perfect time to sell a house on optimal terms.

Bottom Line

The real estate market is entering the year like a lion. There’s no indication it will lose that roar, assuming inventory continues to come to market. To learn more about my professional listing services, CLICK HERE.

2020 vs 2021 Real Estate Update

This past year has been financially devastating for many Americans. But despite everything that happened this year, the real estate market not only survived but thrived, playing a big part in our economic recovery along the way. Let’s review:

Rising Home Values

Homeowners seen dramatic gain in home equity over the last twelve months. In fact U.S. homeowners with mortgages have seen their collective equity increase by a total of $1 TRILLION since the third quarter of 2019! That equates to a national average gain in equity of $17,000 over the last year. 10% more than last year.

This build-up in equity gives more options to homeowners who have been financially impacted by the pandemic. Today, homeowners with substantial equity are in a much better position to work out a deal with their lender if they cannot pay their mortgage. Alternatively, they also have the power to sell and walk away with their equity in the form of cash or as a down payment toward a more affordable house, or a home that better accommodates the new remote learning/working world we have been thrusted into.

Falling Interest Rates

Over the past year, mortgage rates have fallen more than a full percentage point, hitting a new historic low 15 times. This is a great driver for homeownership, as today’s low rates provide consumers with some significant benefits. Here’s a look at three of them.

1. Move-up or Downsize: One option is to consider moving into a new home, putting the equity you’ve likely gained in your current house toward a down payment on a new one that better meets your needs – something that’s truly a perfect fit, especially if your lifestyle has changed this year.

2. Become a First-Time Homebuyer: There are many financial and non-financial benefits to owning a home, and the most important thing is to first decide when the time is right for you. You have to determine that on your own, but know that now is a great time to buy if you’re considering it. Just take a look at the cost of renting vs. buying.

3. Refinance: If you already own a home, you may decide you’re going to refinance. It’s one way to lock in a lower monthly payment and save more over time. However, it also means paying upfront closing costs, too.

The chart below shows how much you would save per month based on today’s rates compared to what you would have paid if you purchased a home exactly one year ago, depending on how much you finance:

What will 2021 be like for the market?

Bottom Line

2021 looks very promising for anyone looking to enter the real estate market, with interest rates expected to remain low, home values continuing to rise, buyer traffic staying high and inventory levels predicted to rise.

As always, if you have any questions or would like to discuss your options, simply contact me directly. I am happy to assist you anyway I can!

Cheers

Working From Home May Spark your Next Move!

If you’ve been working from home this year, chances are you’ve been at it a little longer than you initially expected. Businesses all over the country have figured out how to operate remotely to keep their employees healthy, safe, and productive. For many, it may be carrying into next year, and possibly beyond.

While the pandemic continues, Americans are re-evaluating their homes, floorplans, locations, needs, and more. Some need more space, while others need less. Whether you’re renting or own your home, if remote work is part of your future, you may be thinking about moving, especially while today’s mortgage rates are so low.

A recent study from Upwork notes:

“Anywhere from 14 to 23 million Americans are planning to move as a result of remote work.”

To put this into perspective, last year, 6 million homes were sold in the U.S. This means roughly 2 – 4X as many people are considering moving now, and there’s a direct connection to their ability to work from home.

Why Working from Home May Spark Your Next Move | MyKCM

The same study also notes while 45.3% of people are planning to stay within a 2-hour drive from their current location, 41.5% of the people who are citing working from home as their primary reason for making a move are willing to look for a home more than 4 hours away from where they live now (See graph below):In some cases, moving a little further away from your current location might mean you can get more home for your money. If you have the opportunity to work remotely, you may have more options available by expanding your search. Upwork also indicates, of those surveyed:

“People are seeking less expensive housing: Altogether, more than half (52.5%) are planning to move to a house that is significantly more affordable than their current home.”

Whether you can eliminate your daily commute to the office, or you simply need more space to work from home, your plans may be changing. If that’s the case, it’s time to connect with me, to assess your evolving needs and determine your path together.

Bottom Line

This has been a year of change, and what you need in a home is no exception. Let’s connect today to make sure you have expert guidance on your side to help you find a home that fits your remote work needs.

Top Reasons This Fall Is the Perfect Time To Sell!

Homeownership is one of the best ways to invest in your financial future, especially as your home equity grows. Home equity is a form of forced savings that can work to your advantage as the value of your home appreciates. Across the country, home equity was increasing before the health crisis swept our nation, and it continues to grow throughout the year, giving sellers powerful options in this market.

According to the just-released Q2 Homeowner Equity Insights Report by CoreLogic:

“U.S. homeowners with mortgages (roughly 63% of all properties) have seen their equity increase by a total of nearly $620 billion since the second quarter of 2019, an increase of 6.6%, year over year.”

Home Equity Give Sellers Options in Today’s Market | Keeping Current Matters

What Does This Mean for Sellers?

When equity is rising, as it is today, you may have more invested in your home than you realize. Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, notes:

“As homeowners gain equity in their homes, they are more likely to consider using that equity to purchase a larger or more attractive home – the wealth effect of rising equity. In today’s housing market, fast rising demand against the limited supply of homes for sale has resulted in continued house price appreciation.”

If you’ve been considering making a move – whether that’s to get into a bigger home or to downsize to a smaller one – it’s a great time to reach out to a real estate professional to learn how to put your equity to work for you. You may be in a position to pay that equity forward toward your next home purchase and afford it sooner rather than later.

And if that isn’t enough to convince you that now is the perfect time to sell.

Check out these 4 reasons why now is the perfect time to sell!
1. Buyers Are Actively in the Market

ShowingTime, a leading real estate showing software and market stat service provider, just reported that buyer traffic jumped 60.7% compared to this time last year. That’s a huge increase.

It’s clear that buyers are ready, willing, and able to purchase – and they’re in the market right now. In many regions of the country, multiple buyers are entering bidding wars to compete for the home they want. Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market so you can sell your house in the most favorable terms.

2. There Are Not Enough Homes for Sale

In the latest Existing Home Sales Report, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) announced that there were only 1.49 million units available for sale. That number was down 18.6% from one year ago. This means in the majority of the country, there aren’t enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers.

Due to the health crisis, many homeowners were reluctant to list their homes earlier this year. That will change as the economy continues to recover. The choices buyers have will increase going into the new year. Don’t wait until additional sellers come to market before you decide to make a move.

3. The Process Is Going Quickly

Today’s ultra-competitive environment has forced buyers to do all they can to stand out from the crowd, including getting pre-approved for their mortgage financing. This makes the entire selling process much faster and simpler, as buyers know exactly what they can afford before shopping for a home. According to the latest Origination Insights Report from Ellie Mae, the time needed to close a loan is just 49 days.

4. There May Never Be a More Important Time to Move

You’ve likely spent much of the last six months in your current home. Perhaps you now realize how small it is, and you need more space. If you’re working from home, your children are doing virtual school, or you just need more space, your current floor plan may not work for your family’s changing needs.

Bottom Line

The housing market is prime for sellers right now, so let’s connect to get the process started this fall. If the timing is right for you and your family, the market is calling your name.

Let’s chat about your real estate needs today!

* Keeping Current Matters Article Information

A Remarkable Recovery for the Housing Market!

For months now the vast majority of Americans have been asking the same question: When will the economy turn around? Many experts have been saying the housing market will lead the way to a recovery, and today we’re seeing signs of that coming to light. With record-low mortgage rates driving high demand from potential buyers, homes are being purchased at an accelerating pace, and it’s keeping the housing market and the economy moving.

Here’s a look at what a few of the experts have to say about today’s astonishing recovery. In more than one instance, it’s being noted as truly remarkable.

Ali Wolf, Chief Economist, Meyers Research

“The housing recovery has been nothing short of remarkable…The expectation was that housing would be crushed. It was—for about two months—and then it came roaring back.”

Fannie Mae

“Recent home purchase measures have continued to show remarkable strength, leading us to revise upward our home sales forecast, particularly over the third quarter. Similarly, we bumped up our expectations for home price growth and purchase mortgage originations.”

Now that being said, inventory is arguably the biggest challenge for buyers in today’s housing market. There are simply more buyers actively looking for homes to purchase than there are sellers selling them, so the scale is tipped in favor of the sellers.

Why is inventory so low?

There are many reasons why it’s hard to find a home to buy today, stemming from an under supply of newly constructed homes to sellers pressing pause on their moving plans due to the current health pandemic. One of the key factors making it even more challenging, however, is the amount of time current homeowners are staying in their homes. There has truly been a fundamental shift in the market that started about 10 years ago: people are staying put longer, and it’s contributing to the shortage of houses for sale.

Thinking of Selling Your House? Now May be the Right Time | MyKCM

Thankfully, with the strength the market has gained over the last 10 years, today’s homeowners are in a much better equity position. Now is a fantastic time for homeowners who are ready to make a move to break the 10-year trend and sell their houses, especially while buyer demand is so high and inventory is so low. It’s a prime time to sell.

In addition, with today’s historically low interest rates, there’s an opportunity for sellers to maintain a low monthly payment while getting more house for their money. Think: move-up opportunity, more square footage, or finding the features they’re really looking for rather than doing costly renovations. With more new homes poised to enter the market this year, homeowners ready to make a move may have a golden opportunity to do so right now.

Bottom Line

The strength of the housing market is a bright spark in the economy and leading the way to what is truly being called a remarkable recovery throughout this country. If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, maybe this is your year to make a move after all.

If you are ready to leverage the equity in your home, sell & upgrade at today’s historically low rates, now is the perfect time! Simply contact me today!

CALL: 989-429-1057 -or- EMAIL: ashley@realestate-madesimple.com

Real Estate Is On Fire

Earlier this month, realtor.com announced the release of their initial Housing Recovery Index, a weekly guide showing how the pandemic has impacted the residential real estate market. The index leverages a weighted average of four key components of the housing industry, tracking each of the following:

  1. Housing Demand – Growth in online search activity
  2. Home Price – Growth in asking prices
  3. Housing Supply – Growth of new listings
  4. Pace of Sales – Difference in time-on-market

The index then compares the current status “to the last week of January 2020 market trend, as a baseline for pre-COVID market growth. The overall index is set to 100 in this baseline period. The higher a market’s index value, the higher its recovery and vice versa.”

The graph below charts the index by showing how the real estate market started out strong in early 2020, and then dropped dramatically at the beginning of March when the pandemic paused the economy. It also shows the strength of the recovery since the beginning of May.

New Index Reveals Impact of COVID-19 on Real Estate | Keeping Current Matters

It’s clear to see that the housing market is showing promising signs of recovery from the deep economic cuts we experienced earlier this spring. As noted by Dean Mon, Chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB):

“As the nation reopened, housing has been well-positioned to lead the economy forward.” The data today indicates the housing market is already on the way up.

In addition to the incredible news regarding the housing market being a pivotal part of our nation’s economic recovery, a recent Gallup Survey concluded that Real Estate is the BEST Long-Term Investment for Americans looking to invest in their future.

Respondents are asked to select real estate, stocks/mutual funds, gold, savings accounts/CDs, or bonds, as their choice for the best investment option. For the seventh year in a row, real estate has come out on top as the best long-term investment. Gallup explained:

“Real estate remains the most favored investment to Americans, as has been the case since 2013, when the housing market was on the rebound. More than a third of Americans have named real estate as the top investment since 2016.”

This year’s results indicated 35% of Americans chose real estate, followed by stocks at 21%. The full results covering the last decade are shown in the chart below:

Bottom Line

The belief of the American people in the stability of housing as a long-term investment remains strong, despite the many challenges our economy faces today. And considering that Real Estate has been leading the way back to economic stability & interest rates are still at near historic lows, it is very clear that now is the perfect time to Buy, Sell (or maybe both) Real Estate.

Contact me today for more information on how you can benefit from the current market conditions. (989) 429-1057

Home Prices: It’s All About Supply and Demand

As we enter the summer months and work through the challenges associated with the current health crisis, many are wondering what impact the economic slowdown will have on home prices. Looking at the big picture, supply and demand will give us the clearest idea of what’s to come.

Home Prices: It’s All About Supply and Demand | MyKCM

Making our way through the month of June and entering the second half of the year, we face an undersupply of homes on the market. Keep in mind, this undersupply is going to vary by location and by price point. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), across the country, we currently have a 4.1 months supply of homes on the market. Historically, 6 months of supply is considered a balanced market. Anything over 6 months is a buyer’s market, meaning prices will depreciate. Anything below 6 months is a seller’s market, where prices appreciate. The graph below shows inventory across the country since 2010 in months supply of homes for sale.Robert Dietz, Chief Economist for the National Home Builders Association (NAHB) says:

“As the economy begins a recovery later in 2020, we expect housing to play a leading role. Housing enters this recession underbuilt, not overbuilt. Estimates vary, but based on demographics and current vacancy rates, the U.S. may have a housing deficit of up to one million units.”

Given the undersupply of homes on the market today, there is upward pressure on prices. Looking at simple economics, when there is less of an item for sale and the demand is high, consumers are willing to pay more for that item. The undersupply is also prompting bidding wars, which can drive price points higher in the home sale process. According to a recent MarketWatch article:

“As buyers return to the market as the country rebounds from the pandemic, a limited inventory of homes for sale could fuel bidding wars and push prices higher.”

Home Prices: It’s All About Supply and Demand | MyKCM

In addition, experts forecasting home prices have updated their projections given the impact of the pandemic. The major institutions expect home prices to appreciate through 2022. The chart below, updated as of earlier this week, notes these forecasts. As the year progresses, we may see these projections revised in a continued upward trend, given the lack of homes on the market. This could drive home prices even higher.

Bottom Line

Many may think home prices will depreciate due to the economic slowdown from the coronavirus, but experts disagree. As we approach the second half of this year, we may actually see home prices rise even higher given the lack of homes for sale.

Source Info: Keeping Current Matters

6 Curb Appeal Boosters To Attract Buyers!

Curb appeal: It’s the make-or-break first impression of your home. It either beckons a second look or turns buyers off entirely. And now, in the age of the coronavirus, curb appeal is more vital than ever—since buyers might not be able to tour your home and are placing more weight on the exterior, or might be limiting in-person tours to only their top choices.

If you’re trying to sell your home during this pandemic—and the facade is a little worse for wear—don’t panic! Check out these tricks for curb appeal are so irresistible, buyers will be clamoring to know what’s inside.

1. Keep the yard green and pristine

The lawn is one of the first things buyers notice, whether they are pulling up to the curb or looking at an online listing. When it’s lush and green, it creates a favorable impression & it’s one of the cheapest things you can do to enhance curb appeal!

2. Mind your driveway and walkway

Hose down the driveway and walkway before showing your home or taking photos.

You might be inclined to overlook the driveway and front walk—how much can you really do to make concrete look good? But, truth be told, these areas are like the red carpet of curb appeal: They lead buyers to the main event, the inside of your home.

A driveway and front walk with minor cracks and weeds popping up through the expansion joints (the straight lines that divide the driveway and walkway) are an eyesore.

Luckily, it’s an easy fix.

Remove the weeds, and patch the concrete with caulk, Robertson suggests. Hose it down or power-wash it. For extra special touch, finish a concrete driveway or walkway with a clear, glossy sealer. At the very least, hose down the driveway and walkway before photos, or a video or in-person tour, to give it a fresh look.

3. Flaunt your nighttime appeal

Prospective buyers might be driving by after dark see what your house looks like at night. Turn on the charm with a warm glow from exterior lighting. All exterior lighting on the house and garage should match or have the same style for continuity, if possible.

4. Don’t forget the garage

Match your garage door color to the trim.

The garage is a key component in curb appeal, too, especially if it’s attached to the house. But how do you spruce up this often dull space? Try painting the garage door the same color as the trim on the house. Garage doors with a row of windows are pleasing to the eye, too.

DIY garage window kits are available for most newer garage door models and allow you to remove a row of existing panels and add glass inserts. If you’re adding windows where people can see in, don’t forget to stage the garage too!

5. Replace outdoor accents and give your landscaping some love

A shabby doormat, dingy house numbers, and a rusty old mailbox are hardly deal breakers, but they do leave a stale impression. If your outdoor accents have seen better days, replace them. Then make sure your landscaping looks lush for any passersby. Prune overgrown shrubs and trees. Weed flower beds, and spread a layer of fresh mulch.

Add pretty-looking annuals if your yard is lacking color. Plant a Japanese maple to fill a bare spot and create symmetry. Then wrap up by cleaning the windows and sweeping the cobwebs from the front porch. Tidy up and stage the front porch so buyers can imagine themselves relaxing there on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

6. Give your front door a face-lift

Would a shabby door with peeling paint, rusty hardware, and scuff marks entice a buyer to go inside? Front doors with glass inserts evoke a warm and welcoming feeling. If there isn’t room in the budget, rejuvenate your existing door with a fresh coat of paint and hardware.

In truth there are endless possibilities to explore when trying to boost your homes curb appeal & properly stage for sale. For additional ideas or an experts opinion on what buyers are really looking for & what catches their eye the best. Give me a call today, I would be happy to chat with you!

(989) 429-1057

*Blog Source: Realtor.com

Home Offices Are More Desirable Than Ever!

For years, we’ve all heard about the most desirable home features buyers are looking for, from upgraded kitchens to remodeled bathrooms, master suites, and more. The latest on the hot list, however, might surprise you: home offices.

In a recent article by George RatiuSenior Economist with realtor.com, he notes how listings with an office are selling quickly:

“As more companies have been embracing remote work, buyers are driving demand for houses with home offices higher. Homes featuring the term ‘office’ are selling 9 days faster than the overall housing inventory.”

Why Home Office Space Is More Desirable Than Ever | MyKCM

Today, more and more people are working remotely, and that’s not just because the current pandemic is prompting businesses to operate virtually. According to the same piece and the most recent data available, the number of employees working at home was fairly steady from 1997 – 2004 but has been climbing ever since (see graph below):Clearly, the work-from-home population is growing, and technology is making it possible. Just last month, according to an article on Think Google, searches for telecommuting hit an all-time high, and that’s certainly no surprise given our current situation.

People all over the U.S. are looking for answers on how to be most effective at home, and it’s making the ideal workspace more and more desirable. In fact, best practices from seasoned work-from-home professionals, like Chris Anderson, Senior Account Executive at HousingWire, tout that having a dedicated space is a must for productivity.

With today’s increasing demand for home offices, it’s a great feature to highlight within your listing if you’re selling a house that may meet this growing need. From bright natural light with large windows to built-in bookshelves or a quiet and secluded atmosphere, whatever makes your office space shine is worth mentioning to buyers when you’re ready to list your house.

Ratiu concludes:

“For housing, the continued increase in the share of remote workers implies that demand for homes with offices or dedicated work spaces will continue to increase. The current coronavirus pandemic offers a dramatic indication of the fact that companies and employees will have to develop plans and clearer policies for remote work beyond the current crisis.”

Bottom Line

Remote work may become more widely accepted as this current crisis teaches businesses throughout the country what it takes to function virtually. So, what seems like a business challenge today may be more of the norm tomorrow. With that in mind, if you have a home office, your house may be more desirable to buyers than you think.