Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

 

5 Tax Perks Homeowners Should Know

Homeownership tends to come with benefits. But some of the most appealing (at least financially speaking) are the tax perks.

Once you become a homeowner, you qualify for a number of deductions, credits and other tax breaks you couldn’t have previously, and they could save you a significant amount of money — or result in a bigger refund.

Are you a new homeowner or thinking of buying a home this year? Here are some tax benefits you have to look forward to:

  1. Mortgage Interest Deduction: As long as you itemize your returns, you can deduct the interest you pay on up to $750,000 in mortgage loans.

  2. Energy Update Credit: Making your home more energy-efficient can also qualify you for various tax incentives. You can check online to see what you may be eligible for.

  3. Home Office Deduction: If you’re working from home, you can also write off home office costs. There are some caveats to this one: It must be an area exclusively used for work, and it needs to be your principal place of business. Talk to your tax preparer to make sure you qualify.

  4. Capital Gains Exclusion: When you sell your home, you don’t have to report the profits as income, as long as those profits fall under $250,000 (if you’re single) or $500,000 (if you’re a couple).

  5. Property Tax Deduction: You can also write off your property taxes up to $10,000. Much like mortgage interest, you have to itemize your returns to do so.

Depending on your situation, you may be able to take advantage of other tax benefits. Be sure to talk to an accountant or tax planner for guidance.

Not yet a homeowner but ready to take the leap?

Nov. 29, 2022

3 Ways You Can Use Your Home Equity

 

3 Ways You Can Use Your Home Equity | MyKCM

If you’re a homeowner, odds are your equity has grown significantly over the last few years as home prices skyrocketed and you made your monthly mortgage payments. Home equity builds over time and can help you achieve certain goals. According to the latest Equity Insights Report from CoreLogicthe average borrower with a home loan has almost $300,000 in equity right now.

As you weigh your options, especially in the face of inflation and talk of a recession, it’s important to understand your assets and how you can leverage them. A real estate professional is the best resource to help you understand how much home equity you have and advise you on some of the ways you can use it.  Here are a few examples.

1. Buy a Home That Fits Your Needs

If 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 need something smaller. No matter the situation, consider using your equity to power a move into a home that fits your changing lifestyle. 

If you want to upgrade your house, you can put your equity toward a down payment on the home of your dreams. And if you’re planning to downsize, you may be surprised that your equity may cover some, if not all, of the cost of your next home. A real estate advisor can help you figure out how much equity you have and how you can use it toward the purchase of your next home.

2. Reinvest in Your Current House

According to a recent survey from Point, 39% of homeowners would invest in home improvement projects if they chose to access their equity. This is a great option if you want to change some things about your living space but you aren’t ready to make a move just yet.

Home improvement projects allow you to customize your home to suit your needs and sense of style. Just remember to think ahead with any updates you make, as some renovations add more value to your home and are more likely to appeal to future buyers than others. For example, a report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows refinishing or replacing wood flooring has a high cost recovery. Lean on a local professional for the best advice on which projects to invest in to get the greatest return on your investment when you sell.

3. Pursue Your Personal Goals

In addition to making a move or updating your house, home equity can also help you achieve the life goals you’ve dreamed of. That could mean investing in a new business venture, retiring or downsizing, or funding an education. While you shouldn’t use your equity for unnecessary spending, leveraging it to start a business or putting it toward education costs can help you achieve other lifelong goals.

Bottom Line

Your equity can be a game changer. If you’re unsure how much equity you have in your home, let’s connect so you can start planning your next move.

Posted in Home Selling Tips
Nov. 25, 2022

VA Loans Can Help Veterans Achieve Their Dream of Homeownership

 

VA Loans Can Help Veterans Achieve Their Dream of Homeownership | MyKCM

For over 78 years, Veterans Affairs (VA) home loans have provided millions of veterans with the opportunity to purchase homes of their own. If you or a loved one have served, it’s important to understand this program and its benefits.

Here are some things you should know about VA loans before you start the homebuying process.

What Are VA Loans?

VA home loans provide a pathway to homeownership for those who have served our nation. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs describes the program like this:

“VA helps Servicemembers, Veterans, and eligible surviving spouses become homeowners. As part of our mission to serve you, we provide a home loan guaranty benefit and other housing-related programs to help you buy, build, repair, retain, or adapt a home for your own personal occupancy.”

Top Benefits of the VA Home Loan Program

In addition to helping eligible buyers achieve their homeownership dreams, VA loans have several other great benefits for buyers who qualify. According to the Department of Veteran Affairs:

  • Qualified borrowers can often purchase a home with no down payment.
  • Many other loans with down payments under 20% require Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). VA Loans do not require PMI, which means veterans can save on their monthly housing costs.
  • VA-Backed Loans often offer competitive terms and mortgage interest rates.

A recent article from Veterans United sums up just how impactful this loan option can be:

“For the vast majority of military borrowers, VA loans represent the most powerful lending program on the market. These flexible, $0-down payment mortgages have helped more than 24 million service members become homeowners since 1944.”

John Bell, Acting Executive Director of the Department of Veterans Affairs Loan Guaranty Service, also explains why this program is so powerful:

“It provides early ownership for many people that would not have that opportunity to begin with. Since there’s no down payment, it allows people to hold their wealth and it gives them the ability to have long term financial security by being able to own a house and let that equity grow.”

Bottom Line

Homeownership is the American Dream. Our veterans sacrifice so much in service of our nation, and one way we can honor and thank them is to ensure they have the best information about the benefits of VA home loans. Thank you for your service.

Nov. 18, 2022

Should You Update Your House Before You Sell? Ask a Real Estate Professional

 

Should You Update Your House Before You Sell? Ask a Real Estate Professional. [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • You may be wondering what needs to be renovated before you sell your house. In today’s shifting market, making your house appealing is more important than ever.
  • That’s why it’s essential to lean on a real estate professional who has in-depth knowledge of today’s housing market. They know what buyers are looking for and how to highlight any upgrades you make.
  • Let’s connect so you know where to focus your efforts so your house will stand out in a today’s market.
Posted in Home Selling Tips
Nov. 4, 2022

Homeownership Wins Over Time

 

Homeownership Wins Over Time [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

Oct. 26, 2022

3 Graphs Showing Why Today’s Housing Market Isn’t Like 2008

 

3 Graphs Showing Why Today’s Housing Market Isn’t Like 2008 | MyKCM

With all the headlines and talk in the media about the shift in the housing market, you might be thinking this is a housing bubble. It’s only natural for those thoughts to creep in that make you think it could be a repeat of what took place in 2008. But the good news is, there’s concrete data to show why this is nothing like the last time.

There’s Still a Shortage of Homes on the Market Today, Not a Surplus

For historical context, there were too many homes for sale during the housing crisis (many of which were short sales and foreclosures), and that caused prices to fall dramatically. Supply has increased since the start of this year, but there’s still a shortage of inventory available overall, primarily due to almost 15 years of underbuilding homes.

The graph below uses data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to show how the months’ supply of homes available now compares to the crash. Today, unsold inventory sits at just a 3.2-months’ supply at the current sales pace, which is significantly lower than the last time. There just isn’t enough inventory on the market for home prices to come crashing down like they did last time, even though some overheated markets may experience slight declines.

3 Graphs Showing Why Today’s Housing Market Isn’t Like 2008 | MyKCM

Mortgage Standards Were Much More Relaxed Back Then

During the lead-up to the housing crisis, it was much easier to get a home loan than it is today. Running up to 2006, banks were creating artificial demand by lowering lending standards and making it easy for just about anyone to qualify for a home loan or refinance their current home.

Back then, lending institutions took on much greater risk in both the person and the mortgage products offered. That led to mass defaults, foreclosures, and falling prices. Today, things are different, and purchasers face much higher standards from mortgage companies.

The graph below uses Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI) data from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) to help tell this story. In that index, the higher the number, the easier it is to get a mortgage. The lower the number, the harder it is. In the latest report, the index fell by 5.4%, indicating standards are tightening.

3 Graphs Showing Why Today’s Housing Market Isn’t Like 2008 | MyKCM

This graph also shows just how different things are today compared to the spike in credit availability leading up to the crash. Tighter lending standards over the past 14 years have helped prevent a scenario that would lead to a wave of foreclosures like the last time.

The Foreclosure Volume Is Nothing Like It Was During the Crash

Another difference is the number of homeowners that were facing foreclosure after the housing bubble burst. Foreclosure activity has been lower since the crash, largely because buyers today are more qualified and less likely to default on their loans. The graph below uses data from ATTOM Data Solutions to help paint the picture of how different things are this time:

3 Graphs Showing Why Today’s Housing Market Isn’t Like 2008 | MyKCM

Not to mention, homeowners today have options they just didn’t have in the housing crisis when so many people owed more on their mortgages than their homes were worth. Today, many homeowners are equity rich. That equity comes, in large part, from the way home prices have appreciated over time. According to CoreLogic:

“The total average equity per borrower has now reached almost $300,000, the highest in the data series.”

Rick Sharga, Executive VP of Market Intelligence at ATTOM Dataexplains the impact this has:

“Very few of the properties entering the foreclosure process have reverted to the lender at the end of the foreclosure. . . . We believe that this may be an indication that borrowers are leveraging their equity and selling their homes rather than risking the loss of their equity in a foreclosure auction.”

 This goes to show homeowners are in a completely different position this time. For those facing challenges today, many have the option to use their equity to sell their house and avoid the foreclosure process.

Bottom Line

If you’re concerned we’re making the same mistakes that led to the housing crash, the graphs above should help alleviate your fears. Concrete data and expert insights clearly show why this is nothing like the last time.

Posted in Market Updates
Sept. 24, 2022

Check out some tips for selling your home this fall

 

Fall Home Selling Checklist [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • When it comes to selling your house, you want it to look its best inside and out so it catches the attention of buyers. A real estate professional can help you decide what to do to make that happen.
  • Focus on tasks that can make it inviting, show it’s cared for, and boost your curb appeal.
  • Let’s connect so you have advice on what you may want to do to get your house ready to sell this season.
Posted in Home Selling Tips
July 18, 2022

Buying a home versus renting

Posted in Market Updates
June 26, 2022

Real Estate is a great invesment

Homeownership Is a Great Hedge Against the Impact of Rising Inflation

Homeownership Is a Great Hedge Against the Impact of Rising Inflation | MyKCM

If you’re following along with the news today, you’ve heard about rising inflation. Today, inflation is at a 40-year high. According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB):

“Consumer prices accelerated again in May as shelter, energy and food prices continued to surge at the fastest pace in decades. This marked the third straight month for inflation above an 8% rate and was the largest year-over-year gain since December 1981.”

With inflation rising, you’re likely feeling it impact your day-to-day life as prices go up for gas, groceries, and more. These climbing consumer costs can put a pinch on your wallet and make you re-evaluate any big purchases you have planned to ensure they’re still worthwhile.

If you’ve been thinking about purchasing a home this year, you’re probably wondering if you should continue down that path or if it makes more sense to wait. While the answer depends on your situation, here’s how homeownership can help you combat the rising costs that come with inflation.

Homeownership Helps You Stabilize One of Your Biggest Monthly Expenses

Investopedia explains that during a period of high inflation, prices rise across the board. That’s true for things like food, entertainment, and other goods and services, even housing. Both rental prices and home prices are on the rise. So, as a buyer, how can you protect yourself from increasing costs? The answer lies in homeownership.

Buying a home allows you to stabilize what’s typically your biggest monthly expense: your housing cost. When you have a fixed-rate mortgage on your home, you lock in your monthly payment for the duration of your loan, often 15 to 30 years. James Royal, Senior Wealth Management Reporter at Bankratesays:

A fixed-rate mortgage allows you to maintain the biggest portion of housing expenses at the same payment. Sure, property taxes will rise and other expenses may creep up, but your monthly housing payment remains the same. That’s certainly not the case if you’re renting.”

So even if other prices increase, your housing payment will be a reliable amount that can help keep your budget in check. If you rent, you don’t have that same benefit, and you won’t be protected from rising housing costs.

Investing in an Asset That Historically Outperforms Inflation

While it’s true rising home prices and higher mortgage rates mean that buying a house today costs more than it did even a few months ago, you still have an opportunity to set yourself up for a long-term win. That’s because, in inflationary times, you want to be invested in an asset that outperforms inflation and typically holds or grows in value.

The graph below shows how the average home price appreciation outperformed the average inflation rate in most decades going all the way back to the seventies – making homeownership a historically strong hedge against inflation (see graph below):

Homeownership Is a Great Hedge Against the Impact of Rising Inflation | MyKCM

So, what does that mean for you? Today, experts forecast home prices will only go up from here thanks to the ongoing imbalance of supply and demand. Once you buy a house, any home price appreciation that does occur will grow your equity and your net worth. And since homes are typically assets that grow in value, you have peace of mind that history shows your investment is a strong one.

That means, if you’re ready and able, it makes sense to buy today before prices rise further.

Bottom Line

If you’ve been thinking about buying a home this year, it makes sense to act soon, even with inflation rising. That way you can stabilize your monthly housing cost and invest in an asset that historically outperforms inflation. If you’re ready to get started, let’s connect so you have expert advice on your specific situation when you’re ready to buy a home.

Posted in Market Updates
May 23, 2022

How Homeownership Can Bring You Joy

How Homeownership Can Bring You Joy

How Homeownership Can Bring You Joy | MyKCM

If you're trying to decide whether to rent or buy a home, you're probably weighing a few different factors. The financial benefits of homeownership might be one of the reasons you want to make a purchase if you’re a renter, but the decision can also be motivated by having a place that’s uniquely your own.

If you want to express yourself by upgrading and customizing your living space but are feeling held back by your rental agreement, it might be time to consider the perks of owning your home.

A Little Change Can Bring Lots of Joy

There’s a significant level of pride that comes from owning a home. That’s because it’s a space that truly belongs to you.

recent report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows making updates or remodeling your home can help you feel more at ease and comfortable in your living space. NAR measures this with a Joy Score that indicates how much happiness specific home upgrades bring. According to NAR:

There were numerous interior projects that received a perfect Joy Score of 10: paint entire interior of home, paint one room of home, add a new home office, hardwood flooring refinish, new wood flooring, closet renovation, insulation upgrade, and attic conversion to living area.

The report also breaks down just how much each of these projects can enhance your emotional attachment to your home, even leading you to want to spend even more time in the space (see graph below):

How Homeownership Can Bring You Joy | MyKCM

And while many of the items NAR highlights are larger tasks, some, like painting rooms, are much smaller. Even those quicker projects can still bring you a greater sense of joy and accomplishment. Not to mention when you make upgrades in your home, you could be increasing its value which also gives your net worth a boost if you invest your time and effort wisely.

You’re Free To Update Your Home to Your Heart’s Content

These types of updates can result in additional happiness when you complete them, but there’s another reason you can feel good as a homeowner. In most situations, you’re free to renovate or update the interior of your home without needing additional permission. But as Business Insider points out, renters may not have the same freedom:

“Your landlord won't always approve changes when you rent. But you have the power to update the home when you're the owner. (Just make sure any big changes are approved by your homeowner's association, if necessary.)”

If you do make changes as a renter, there’s a good chance you’ll need to revert them back at the end of your lease based on your rental agreement. That can add additional costs when you move out. That’s one major benefit of owning your own home. Unless there are specific homeowner’s association requirements, you typically won’t have to worry about the changes you can and can’t make.

Bottom Line

Deciding whether to rent or buy is a personal decision. The financial benefits are critical, but don’t overlook the emotional impact homeownership can have. Let’s connect to discuss all the benefits you can enjoy when you purchase your own home.

Posted in Market Updates
Sept. 16, 2021

Investment Loan News

<a title="FHFA Suspends Second Home, Investment Loan Limits" href="http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/09152021_gse_conservatorship.asp">FHFA Suspends Second Home, Investment Loan Limits</a>

Posted in Market Updates