Should You List in January Or Wait for the Spring Selling Season?

Conventional wisdom says wait until the warmer months to put your house on the market. Here are a few reasons to rethink that idea.

Small house in woman's hands; Shutterstock ID 90062977; PO: Cat Overman; Job: blog post

Small house in woman’s hands; Shutterstock ID 90062977; PO: Cat Overman; Job: blog post

Thousands of homeowners speak to their real estate agent this time of year to consider their sale options — typically for the spring. It takes a few months for the agent and seller to plan and prep to list the home, so starting now makes sense.

Over the years, I’ve asked sellers if they would consider listing their home in January, right after the first of the year. At first, they look at me like I’m crazy. “Who sells a home in the dead of winter?” they ask.

As it turns out, many sellers not only successfully make it happen, but actually end up better off. Here’s why.

Buyers are out 24/7/365

In the past, buyers waited for spring to start their shopping because that’s when the majority of listings hit the market for the spring selling season.

Today’s buyers look at listings all day, every day. They have apps on their phone, get listings texted and emailed to them, and don’t care about the time of year.

They’re looking for inventory, and will buy homes well before the spring. List your home in January, and you will have a captive audience.

Bonuses, inheritances and tax implications

Each year, real estate agents’ phones ring come January. Previously active buyers want to re-engage, and new buyers come out of the woodwork. What causes this yearly phenomenon?

The end of the year often brings family events, financial activities and discussions about gifting for tax implications. Conversations about inheritances and taxes, money and homeownership seem to occur at many families’ holiday dinners.

Additionally, at year’s end, people take stock of their incomes, find out about work bonuses, and start thinking about whether they want to spend another year renting. Buyers start to take a second look at the tax implications of homeownership, too.

Whether it’s a new buyer who moves quickly or a previously active buyer who re-engages, these house hunters are around in January and will look at your home if it’s for sale.

Where’s the competition?

Typical sellers wait until spring to list. There’s no doubt that visible grass, blooming flowerbeds, and a spotlight on outdoor areas make houses more inviting.

But that also means that there might be two or three similar houses for sale in your neighborhood or school district, in your price range. Thus, it changes the supply-and-demand balance.

You’re better off being the only game in town when it’s time to sell. The more homes on the market, the more the buyers spread out.

Buyers shopping in January understand that the home won’t show as well as it does in the spring and summer months. Many of them don’t care. Having photos of your home during these times of year will help them envision it in the warmer seasons.

If you’re a flexible seller — meaning that you aren’t under any time restrictions or time frames to sell, and your home is already in showing condition — consider listing in mid- to late January. You can always control and negotiate your closing deadline with a buyer. If someone falls in love with the home, they may not mind waiting until April to close.

Also, many buyers have been at it for many months (sometimes years). So, come January, they are tired of open houses Sundays and the real estate hunt. This is your target buyer and, in part, they’re why it’s better to list in January than to wait until spring.

Posted by Brendan Desimone on Zillow

5 Most & Least Regretted DIY Home Projects

Hire a pro or do it yourself? See how homeowners rank these common projects.

Thinking of going the DIY route for a home improvement project? Well you’re not alone. Nearly three-quarters of homeowners have completed a DIY project in the past three years. However, 40 percent of them wished they hadn’t, according to a new survey from home design site Zillow Digs.

Deciding whether to do it yourself or hire professional help is a common question. To help homeowners make better decisions related to tackling home improvement projects, Zillow Digs asked homeowners from around the country which projects they regretted the most and the least. The results of the survey are revealed below.

Top 5 most-regretted DIY projects

1.  Add or expand a room (such as a bathroom or bedroom)

2. Refinish cabinetry (kitchen or bath)

3. Refinish basement or attic

4. Reinstall new carpeting

5. Refinish or install new hardwood floors

Top 5 least-regretted DIY projects

1. Replace lighting fixtures

2. Replace cabinet hardware (kitchen or bath)

3. Paint one or more rooms

4. Install new kitchen appliances

5. Replace plumbing fixtures (bath, sink, toilet)

Looking for inspiration for your next home renovation project? Check out Zillow Digs today!

Posted by Alexa Fiander on Zillow

Equity Matters A LOT… Just Ask Freddie Mac

There are many reasons, both financial and non-financial, that homeownership remains an important part of the American Dream. One of the biggest reasons is the fact that it helps build family wealth. Recently, Freddie Mac wrote about the power of home equity. They explained:

“In the simplest terms, equity is the difference between how much your home is worth and how much you owe on your mortgage. You build equity by paying down your mortgage over time and through your home’s appreciation. In a nutshell, your money is working for you and contributing toward your financial future.”

They went on to show an example where a person bought a home for $150,000 with a down payment of 10% ($15K), resulting in a loan amount of $135,000. The buyer secured a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 4.5% with a monthly mortgage payment of $684.03 (not including taxes and insurance).

The chart below demonstrates the home equity built after 7 years of making mortgage payments and assuming the historic national average of 3% per year home appreciation:

And that number continues to build as you continue to own the home.

Merrill Lynch published a report earlier this year that showed the average equity homeowners have acquired by certain ages.

Bottom Line

Home equity is important to building wealth as a family. Referring to the first scenario above, Freddie Mac explained:

“Now, if you continued to rent, and made the same payment of $684.03 per month, you’d have zero equity and no means to build it. Building equity is a critical part of homeownership and can help you create financial stability.”

Put your housing cost to work for you and your family. Meet with a real estate professional today to explore your options.

Posted by The KCM Crew

Savvy Shopping for Black Friday Deals

Set your alarm (or just charge up your laptop). Black Friday is almost here, and the deals on household goods are unbeatable!

Thanks for your purchase. Cropped image of a customer paying to shop assistant by a credit card at the cash desk; Shutterstock ID 252655090; PO: Cat Overman; Job: blog post

Thanks for your purchase. Cropped image of a customer paying to shop assistant by a credit card at the cash desk; Shutterstock ID 252655090; PO: Cat Overman; Job: blog post

With the holiday shopping season already under way (earlier than ever!), you may be thinking Black Friday is the time to buy that HDTV or budget laptop you’ve been eyeing. After all, the prices are so attractive. Just $150 for a name brand TV? Prices on bargain model laptops starting at only $99? The deals are pretty hard to resist.

Don’t just fixate on electronics, though. Consider purchasing items for your home, too. Sure, these purchases may not be as sexy as a sleek new phone, but there are plenty of great deals on items you’ll use year-round.

Large appliances

This is the time of year when you see retailers bundle sets — like washers and dryers, for example — and sell them at a discount. And the savings can be significant — up to several hundred dollars off, plus free local delivery and haul away. Special financing may also be available.

Don’t need a set? Don’t worry — individual appliance deals are impressive, too.

Oh, and if you have your heart set on that pricey, but oh-so-worth-it, Dyson vacuum cleaner, now is a good time to buy one.

Kitchen items

Need a new blender? Coffee maker? Microwave? It’s an ideal time to purchase these types of items as well, as the deals are better than average, according to

And there’s no time like the present to complete your dream kitchen. Keep an eye out for normally expensive brands which may now be affordable, once you consider the rebate.

Tools and hardware

Whether you’re in the market for a storage cabinet, mechanic’s tool set, generator, lawn and garden gadgets, or snow blower, you’ll find it available at prices that won’t break the bank.

Tabletop essentials

You’ll see savings on everything from holiday collectibles to ornaments and figurines — just in time for the rapidly approaching holiday season. Whether you’re hosting relatives, entertaining guests, or just feeling festive, Black Friday is a good day to shop for tabletop essentials that can help set the mood.

Posted by Vera Gibbons on Zillow

Tiny Homes Under 400 Square Feet

These small spaces offer lots to love, and what they lack in floor space, they make up for in charm.

Tiny footprints can make a big impact — on the environment, your wallet, and your quality of life. These micro homes obliterate the notion that living small means living with less.

Indeed, several of these listings are offering a lifestyle, not merely a new house. Whether you fancy acres of secluded woods, a waterfront dock, or a novel aesthetic, the following homes offer a glimpse into a redefined standard of living.

Sturgeon Bay, WI

6004 Bay Shore Dr, Sturgeon Bay, WI
For sale: $165,000

While not as miniature as your childhood toy trains, this 192-square-foot caboose has been transformed into a nostalgic tiny home, complete with a kitchen, bath, eating area, and bunk beds within its closed quarters. This 1.58-acre wooded lot also hosts a two-story 128-square-foot cottage with additional beds.

See more homes for sale in Sturgeon Bay.

Shelbyville, KY

56 Boat Dock Rd, Shelbyville, KY
For sale: $39,900

Located on Guist Creek Lake, this 396-square-foot, 1-bedroom, 1-bath home has a personal dock and unlimited boat launch. The interior is well maintained, with fresh paint and flooring.

See more Shelbyville homes for sale.

Lansing, NC

401 Riverwood Trl, Lansing, NC
For sale: $120,000

Combining two acres of land with 275 feet of river frontage, this 400-square-foot, 1-bedroom, 1-bath home offers a multitude of natural gifts. The wooden interior is cozy in traditional cabin fashion, and the covered deck offers a treehouse feel.

See more Lansing listings.

Silverado, CA

28882 Foothill Dr, Silverado, CA
For sale: $324,000

Located in notoriously pricey Orange County, this 268-square-foot home is a far cry from the “Real Housewives” abodes. Bursting with character, this 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom home provides generous outdoor living and proximity to the Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary.

See more homes on the market in Silverado.

Madison, CT

70 Wildcat Rd, Madison, CT
For sale: $149,900

This impeccably styled 400-square-foot home is overwhelmingly charming, boasting beamed ceilings and a pleasant color palette. Located close to town and beaches, this home offers a tranquil setting that’s not too far off the beaten path.

See more Madison homes for sale.

Bon Carbo, CO

16022 County Road 30.0, Bon Carbo, CO
For sale: $179,000

When seclusion is not enough, this is the completely off-the-grid, 1-bedroom, 1-bath home you’ve been searching for. Nurtured for years, this 252-square-foot cabin in the mountains is paired with an additional guest cottage, gardens, outdoor cooking facilities, and solar panels.

See more homes for sale in Bon Carbo.

Port Vincent, LA

18120 Cooper St, Port Vincent, LA
For sale: $148,000

Located on a sizeable waterfront lot off the Amite River, this 400-square-foot home is perfect for a boat owner. In addition to having a delightful interior, this 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom home features a covered boat slip and lift, and a covered RV/boat port.

See more listings in Port Vincent.

Ashford, WA

32504 State Route 706 E, Ashford, WA
For sale: $65,000

Hiking, skiing, and fishing, all at a moment’s notice. This 224-square-foot, 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom home located near Mount Rainier claims 1.9 acres of Northwestern magnificence.

See more listings in Ashford.

Oden, MI

4700 Oden Rd UNIT 6, Oden, MI
For sale: $71,900

Reasonable waterfront living is part of the deal with this 245-square-foot, 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom home. Situated on 180 feet of shared frontage on Crooked Lake, this cottage provides effortless boat access with its private dock.

See more homes for sale in Oden.

Posted by Sharona Ott in Zillow


Should I Pay a Mortgage Interest Rate over 4%?


Mortgage interest rates, as reported by Freddie Mac, have increased over the last several weeks. Along with Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, the Mortgage Bankers Association and the National Association of Realtors are all calling for mortgage rates to continue to rise over the next four quarters.

This has caused some purchasers to lament the fact they may no longer be able to get a rate less than 4%. However, we must realize that current rates are still at historic lows.

Here is a chart showing the average mortgage interest rate over the last several decades.


Bottom Line

Though you may have missed getting the lowest mortgage rate ever offered, you can still get a better interest rate than your older brother or sister did ten years ago; a lower rate than your parents did twenty years ago and a better rate than your grandparents did forty years ago.

Posted by The KCM Crew