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5 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Professional When Buying or Selling!

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Whether you are buying or selling a home it can be quite an adventurous journey, which is why you need an experienced real estate professional to guide you on the path to your ultimate goal. In this world of instant gratification and internet searches, many sellers think that they can For Sale by Owner or FSBO.

The 5 reasons you NEED a real estate professional in your corner haven’t changed, but have rather been strengthened by the projections of higher mortgage interest rates & home prices as the market continues to pick up steam.

1. What do you do with all this paperwork?

Each state has different regulations regarding the contracts required for a successful sale, and these regulations are constantly changing. A true real estate professional is an expert in his or her market and can guide you through the stacks of paperworknecessary to make your dream a reality.

2. Ok, so you found your dream house, now what?

There are over 180 possible steps that need to take place during every successful real estate transaction. Don’t you want someone who has been there before, someone who knows what these actions are, to make sure that you achieve your dream?

3. Are you a good negotiator?

So maybe you’re not convinced that you need an agent to sell your home. After looking at the list of parties that you will need to be prepared to negotiate with, you’ll soon realize the value in selecting a real estate professional. From the buyer (who wants the best deal possible), to the home inspection companies, to the appraiser, there are at least 11 different people who you will need to be knowledgeable of, and answer to, during the process.

4. What is the home you’re buying/selling really worth?

It is important for your home to be priced correctly from the start to attract the right buyers and shorten the amount of time that it’s on the market. You need someone who is not emotionally connected to your home to give you the truth as to your home’s value. According to the National Association of REALTORS, “the typical FSBO home sold for $185,000 compared to $245,000 among agent-assisted home sales.”

Get the most out of your transaction by hiring a professional.

5. Do you know what’s really going on in the market?

There is so much information out there on the news and the internet about home sales, prices, and mortgage rates; how do you know what’s going on specifically in your area? Who do you turn to in order to competitively, and correctly, price your home at the beginning of the selling process? How do you know what to offer on your dream home without paying too much, or offending the seller with a lowball offer?

Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, advises:

“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.”

Hiring an agent who has his or her finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying or selling experience an educated one. You need someone who is going to tell you the truth, not just what they think you want to hear.

Bottom Line

You wouldn’t replace the engine in your car without a trusted mechanic. Why would you make one of the most important financial decisions of your life without hiring a real estate professional?

 

Posted by The KCM Crew

6 Log Cabins You’ll Want To Live In All Year Long

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Lake views framed by the Appalachian Mountains? Yes, please!

Rough around the edges? Maybe. Roughing it? Hardly. These six log cabins for sale might change your mind about what log-cabin living can be.

Wish you could swap your surroundings for towering redwoods, sparkling lakes, and black bears (from a safe distance, of course)? These six log cabins for sale on Trulia right now could allow you to do just that.

These not-so-rustic retreats balance the call of the wild with creature comforts like fully loaded kitchens, cozy fireplaces, and spacious decks. And that’s not even mentioning the stunning views, wide open spaces, and wildlife sightings

These 6 Log Cabins for Sale Bring out the Pioneer in All of Us

A one-bedroom getaway: 4475 Lower Bear Paw Road, Murphy, NC 28906

Price: $82,900

Aptly named “Bear Paw Cabin,” this quaint, one-bedroom retreat in North Carolina, sits on 1.07 acres in black bear country — that is, the Southern Appalachian Mountains of Cherokee County. Deer, wild turkeys, and other wildlife make a home in the area too, and you might even spot one of the above taking a cool drink from the water’s edge at Hiwassee Lake. Technically a reservoir, the 22-mile-long, 6,090-acre body of water is about a 10-minute drive from the 1,016-square-foot cabin (hello, trout fishing and boating!). Ideal as a vacation home, the cabin is just 25 minutes from downtown Murphy, with its picturesque boutiques and historic points of interest.

A 3-bedroom lakeside log cabin: 75 Bluff Court, Tuscumbia, AL 35674

Price: $179,900

Heads up, anglers: This modern, lakefront log cabin in northwest Alabama is only 1,000 feet from the 43,100-acre Pickwick Lake, a body of water that’s renowned for its smallmouth bass and catfish. The centuries-old town of Tuscumbia, where this cabin is located, is famous for something else altogether: It was the hometown of Helen Keller. The cabin was built in 1979 and features a front porch, beamed vaulted ceilings, a fireplace, an updated kitchen with a center island and breakfast nook, and a sunroom that overlooks a portion of the property’s 0.7-acre wooded lot. With 2,178 square feet that include three bedrooms and two bathrooms, this place could certainly serve as the year-round residence for a lucky family.

A custom cabin in a national forest: 8505 S. Breezy Pine Road, Mayer, AZ 86333

Price: $409,900

This custom-built, 2,900 square foot log cabin in Prescott, AZ takes rural living to new heights. The property has been carved into a tiny corner of the 1.25 million-acre Prescott National Forest, with an elevation of 7,000 feet. Rising from a landscape of ponderosa pines, juniper, and chaparral, the three-bedroom, three-bathroom residence features custom touches. Think hand-hewn door frames, hickory cabinetry, and a river-rock fireplace. The two-story great room is completed by cathedral ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, and sliding doors that lead to a wraparound deck. There, guests can take in a stunning view of the valley before heading to the ground-level hammock and pergola.

A view in California’s gold country: 1601 Tai Pan Drive, Placerville, CA 95667

Price: $500,000

With its wraparound deck and Sierra Nevada-setting, scenery is paramount at this 1,920-square-foot cabin in Placerville. The panorama of treetops is met by the sound of rushing water from nearby Granite Creek, which snakes through the property’s private 7 acres (horse-lovers take note). Inside the cabin, residents can kick back beside the wood stove, gather around the massive island in the modern kitchen, or take a catnap in one of the three bedrooms. There’s no shortage of things to do out and about in El Dorado County, nicknamed the “Mother Lode” due to its role in the California gold rush. Explore historic gold mines, visit a winery or orchard, take a day trip to Lake Tahoe (it’s about a two-hour drive), or have brunch at Sweetie Pies, one of many restaurants in downtown Placerville.

Luxury log cabin in Tennessee: 107 Peek Over Knoll, Butler, TN 37640

Price: $839,680

Just wait until you see the water views offered by this 3,349-square-foot, heavy-timber luxury log home in Butler, a small town on the northern shore of Watauga Lake in northeast Tennessee. The 10-square-mile man-made lake framed by the Appalachian Mountains and the Cherokee National Forest can be seen from nearly every room in the 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom custom-built home, but it’s simply spectacular from the cathedral-ceilinged great room. Still, the best views of the lake can be found out on the rear deck, where the natural scenery serves as a gorgeous backdrop. The cabin is about 1 mile from the local marina and downtown Butler (stop by The Butler Museum to learn how it earned the nickname “the town that wouldn’t drown”).

An oasis on the San Francisco Peninsula: 13890 Skyline Blvd., Woodside, CA 94062

Price: $1.749 million

Sandwiched between the 4,711-acre Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve and 900-acre Purisima Park, this contemporary cabin on the San Francisco Peninsula promises peace. The 2,160-square-foot cabin’s wood- and rock-adorned exterior give it a Zen-like aesthetic, especially when fog hangs low over the lush, 3-acre property. The meditative vibe continues inside, thanks in part to clean lines, a river-rock fireplace, planked ceilings and walls, and plenty of skylights. With four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a modern kitchen, and a short 6-mile distance to the Pacific Ocean, this place has “rental income” written all over it. That is, if you can bring yourself to leave.

Posted by Julie Davis on Trulia

 

Is 2017 the Year to Move Up to Your Dream Home? If So, Do It Early!

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If you are considering moving up to your dream home, it may be better to do it earlier in the year than later. The two components of your monthly mortgage payment (home prices and interest rates) are both projected to increase as the year moves forward, and interest rates may increase rather dramatically. Here are some predictions on where rates will be by the end of the year:

Freddie Mac

While full employment and rising inflation are signs of a strong economy, they also have the potential to push mortgage rates and house prices up. The higher rates and higher prices create significant affordability concerns, which may continue to characterize the housing market for the rest of 2017.”

Lynn Fisher, Vice President of Research & Economics for the Mortgage Bankers Association

By the time we get to the fourth quarter of this year, we will still be under 5 percent – we are thinking 4.7 percent…Something north of 5 percent by the time we get to 2018, and by the time we get to 2019, we show fourth-quarter rates hitting 5.5 percent.”

Mark Fleming, First American’s Chief Economist

Despite some regional disparities, title agents and real estate professionals do not expect increasing mortgage rates to have a significant impact on the housing market this spring. Continued good economic news, increasing Millennial demand and confidence that buyers will remain in the market even if rates exceed 5 percent bode well for 2017 real estate.

Len Kiefer, Deputy Chief Economist for Freddie Mac

We will probably see rates higher at the end of year, around 4.5%.”

Bottom Line

If you are feeling good about your family’s economic future and are considering making a move to your dream home, doing it sooner rather than later makes the most sense.

 

Posted by The KCM Crew

Utility Bill Busters – 11 Unique Things Homeowners Can To Today To Save Money!

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There are some things that can be done to reduce your utility bills and also extend the life of some of your home’s equipment. These tips can even help create better cooling and heating in your home. With the average annual yearly spend of over $3,500, wouldn’t it be nice to reduce some of this spend and still have a comfortable home? Many folks think they cannot do anything to manage their utility bill. Or they think they know exactly what to do but may not have thought of these additional tips. 

Landscaping can Make a Difference

Managing your landscape can actually effect your utility bill. Try trimming back bushes around your HVAC equipment. Or resetting your sprinklers for a more focused watering approach. By resetting your sprinklers to run for shorter periods of time you can reduce your water consumption and your utility bill.

Standard Home Maintenance can Help

Regularly checking your HVAC equipment and checking windows around your home for any broken seals can help manage your energy consumption. If your equipment is not working properly than you need to resolve it to manage your bills. If you have broken seals, your air conditioning unit will work harder by cooling the outside where these areas are exposed.

Read on for more tips on how to reduce your consumption and therefore lower your utility bills to save money!

 

Posted on HomeZada

Get All the Facts about PMI

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When it comes to buying a home, whether it is your first time or your fifth, it is always important to know all the facts. With the large number of mortgage programs available that allow buyers to purchase a home with a down payment below 20%, you can never have too much information about Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI).

What is PMI?

Freddie Mac defines PMI as:

“An insurance policy that protects the lender if you are unable to pay your mortgage. It’s a monthly fee, rolled into your mortgage payment, that is required for all conforming, conventional loans that have down payments less than 20%.

Once you’ve built equity of 20% in your home, you can cancel your PMI and remove that expense from your mortgage payment.”

As the borrower, you pay the monthly premiums for the insurance policy, and the lender is the beneficiary. Freddie Mac goes on to explain that:

“The cost of PMI varies based on your loan-to-value ratio – the amount you owe on your mortgage compared to its value – and credit score, but you can expect to pay between $30 and $70 per month for every $100,000 borrowed.” 

According to the National Association of Realtors, the average down payment for all buyers last year was 10%. For first-time buyers, that number dropped to 6%, while repeat buyers put down 14% (no doubt aided by the sale of their home). This just goes to show that for a large number of buyers last year, PMI did not stop them from buying their dream homes.

Here’s an example of the cost of a mortgage on a $200,000 home with a 5% down payment & PMI, compared to a 20% down payment without PMI:

The larger the down payment you can make, the lower your monthly housing cost will be, but Freddie Mac urges you to remember:

“It’s no doubt an added cost, but it’s enabling you to buy now and begin building equity versus waiting 5 to 10 years to build enough savings for a 20% down payment.”

Bottom Line

If you have questions about whether you should buy now or wait until you’ve saved a larger down payment, let’s get together to discuss our market’s conditions and to help you make the best decision for you and your family.

 

Posted by The KCM Crew

3 High-Impact Spots to Use Bold Color

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Don’t hold back — bright, bold colors are on trend and easier to incorporate than you might think.

The next two years are all about the big, the bold, and the beautiful. While neutrals and metallics will always dominate interior color palettes, the new color trends are paving the way for a rise in fearless accents.

Adding pops of color to your home doesn’t have to be a daring feat. Bold hues in a few unique places make a world of difference. Whether it’s a new front door color or a festive case good, let’s dive into a few unexpected ways to use bold color.

Daring details

Subtle yet significant architectural details — like baseboard trim, molding, and wainscoting — are hidden gems when it comes to adding color in unexpected places.

A move as simple as swapping out a neutral trim for a bold, lacquered shade turns even the tiniest space into a prominent focal point. A new color on the old staircase railing stirs instant conversation with visiting guests, while a bright fireplace mantle breathes in new life.

Don’t forget your home’s exterior: Unique details like brackets, corbels, and hidden soffits are perfect places to add a fun, unexpected color pop. Spring gardening DIY calling your name? Shutters and built-in window planters are easy projects, and great candidates for your favorite fab shade.

A colorful front door sets the tone for visitors entering your home. Photo from Zillow listing

Go bold in the bathroom and kitchen

Tubs and sinks — who would ever think that the workhorses of the bathroom and kitchen could be prime real estate for a new splash of color? While avocado-green kitchen sinks are a thing of the past, modern counterparts are taking over the design realm in fun, bold shades.

For a DIY route, paint the underside of a farmhouse-style, wall-mounted sink or vintage clawfoot tub for a fun take on an old classic. Go for tubs and sinks that have lips — they make the new color application look seamless.

A deep egglant tub anchors an otherwise light and bright bathroom. Photo from Zillow listing

Color and case goods

What better way to add an unexpected hue in your space than with a custom case good? Case goods are extremely versatile — use them as a buffet in the dining room, a console in the entry, a dresser in the bedroom, or even a chest in the living room.

While most furniture pieces feature a beautiful, natural stain or a neutral shade, customizing a case good with a vivid hue is a sure way to turn that piece into a showstopper.

If a new case good isn’t in your future, a fresh coat of paint and some fun hardware on a well-loved piece is an easy way to bring new life into an unexpected place. Have fun with an emerald-green buffet in the dining room or a coral console for a festive entrance — whatever shade you choose, it’ll be a unique piece.

Matching aqua chests add a lively touch while providing handy storage. Photo courtesy of The Design Firm

Posted by Kerrie Kelly on Zillow

How Fast Can You Save for a Down Payment?

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Saving for a down payment is often the biggest hurdle for a first-time homebuyer. Depending on where you live, median income, median rents, and home prices all vary. So, we set out to find out how long it would take you to save for a down payment in each state.

Using data from the United States Census Bureau and Zillow, we determined how long it would take, nationwide, for a first-time buyer to save enough money for a down payment on their dream home. There is a long-standing ‘rule’ that a household should not pay more than 28% of their income on their monthly housing expense.

By determining the percentage of income spent renting a 2-bedroom apartment in each state, and the amount needed for a 10% down payment, we were able to establish how long (in years) it would take for an average resident to save enough money to buy a home of their own.

According to the data, residents in Iowa can save for a down payment the quickest in just under 2 years (1.99). Below is a map created using the data for each state:

What if you only needed to save 3%?

What if you were able to take advantage of one of Freddie Mac’s or Fannie Mae’s 3% down programs? Suddenly, saving for a down payment no longer takes 5 or 10 years, but becomes attainable in a year or two in many states as shown in the map below.

Bottom Line

Whether you have just begun to save for a down payment, or have been saving for years, you may be closer to your dream home than you think! Meet with a local real estate professional who can help you evaluate your ability to buy today.

 

Posted by The KCM Crew