5 Reasons to Resolve to Hire a Real Estate Professional [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some Highlights:

  • As we usher in the new year, one thing is for certain… if you plan to buy or sell a house this year, you need a real estate professional on your team!
  • There are many benefits to using a local professional!
  • Pick a pro who knows your local market and can help you navigate the housing market!

 

Posted by The KCM Crew

Start 2017 Off Right… List Your House for Sale

As we are about to bring in the New Year, families across the country will be deciding if this is the year that they will sell their current house and move into their dream home. Many will decide that it is smarter to wait until the spring “buyer’s market” to list their house. In the past, that might have made sense. However, this winter is not like recent years.

The recent jump in mortgage rates has forced buyers off the fence and into the market, resulting in incredibly strong demand RIGHT NOW!! At the same time, inventory levels of homes for sale have dropped dramatically as compared to this time last year.

Here is a chart showing the decrease in inventory levels by category:

Bottom Line

Demand for your home is very strong right now while your competition (other homes for sale) is at a historically low level. If you are thinking of selling in 2017, now may be the time.

 

Posted by The KCM Crew

Sneak Peek! 10 Design Predictions For 2017

Bye, granite! Marble is going to take over in a major way for 2017.

Bye, granite! Marble is going to take over in a major way for 2017.

Find out the biggest decor trends now, before they dominate on Instagram.

Although it hasn’t arrived yet, 2017 is already shaping up to be an interesting year for decor. There’s a sea change coming to our homes that designers have been sensing over the past few months, especially in areas that have long been dominated by one look. For example: granite countertops. For the longest time, you couldn’t watch five minutes of a real estate hunting–type show without hearing a potential homeowner wax poetically about the virtues of the pricey material. But a cursory glance through Instagram’s top design accounts shows a surprising lack of the ubiquitous material, which possibly signals the end of the granite era. Instead, trends for 2017 are all about options that express your unique perspective on decor — and this idea goes far beyond our kitchens.

“Home interiors and the concept of ‘living well’ [are] changing,” says New York, NY–based interior designer Heather Higgins. “It is less about opulence and fashion and more about comfort, ease, and a sense of personal style.” The emphasis on individualism is resulting in the rise of trends that are anything but traditional. Here are the top looks that have registered on the radar of design experts, along with a few formerly popular decor ideas that will be on the wane in 2017.

1. Cerused woods

Also referred to as a limed-wax finish, this technique adds color to wood while also revealing its unusual grain. It’s expected to be big for cabinets and flooring, especially in dramatic hues of black, “greige,” and dark gray.

2. Marble surfaces

If we had to name one of the biggest trends of 2017, marble would be it. In white or black, the material has jumped over from chic cafes and restaurants and into our kitchens and bathrooms. It’s not just for countertops, though: Look out for marble motifs in carpets, wallcoverings, and even fabrics.

3. Animal-inspired textures

Whether real or faux, leather, shagreen, and parchment will be hot materials for 2017. Mainly, these hides will be used as an unexpected pop of texture in accent furniture.

4. Statement headboards

Designers have noticed a pattern when it comes to beds: The emphasis is on a headboard rather than a traditional bed (the kind that comes with a matching footboard). And those headboards? They’re statement pieces with bold silhouettes and luxe fabrics.

5. Shiny metal finishes

Think shiny hardware is so ’80s? Think again. Polished brass and bronze knobs, knockers, pulls, and faucets are back in a big way. It’s a trend that’s easy to bring into your home — just swap out your current hardware.

6. Matte appliances

Stainless steel has long been the default choice for stylish kitchens everywhere. Not in 2017. Following the trend in beauty, matte-finish appliances in dark hues bring an element of drama into the kitchen.

7. Patterned wallcoverings

After years of solid walls, wallpaper is poised for a comeback. Designers are seeing an interest in all-over, dramatic patterns like paisley, overscaled florals, and abstract designs. You’ll see these wallcoverings in small spaces, like powder rooms, often in darker hues.

8. Jewel tones

No longer are homeowners (and renters with understanding landlords) content with blank white walls. Jewel tones like emerald and amethyst add warmth and personality to a space, particularly in entryways and small spaces. It’s not just about hue but also intensity. Even neutral paint colors like gray can go bolder.

9. Nailhead details

You’ve seen them on sofas for ages, but now nailhead details jump to accent pieces like storage chests, credenzas, and even light fixtures. They even form their own patterns — no longer limited to the edges.

10. Overdyed rugs

We’ll never see sisals and solids go out of fashion, but there is something new in the world of rugs. It’s all about an overdyed effect that features rich, saturated colors. These colorful showstoppers are practically pieces of art for your floor.

Posted by Brie Dyas on Trulia

 

Homeowner’s Net Worth Is 45x Greater Than A Renter’s

Every three years, the Federal Reserve conducts a Survey of Consumer Finances in which they collect data across all economic and social groups. The latest survey, which includes data from 2010-2013, reports that a homeowner’s net worth is 36 times greater than that of a renter ($194,500 vs. $5,400).

In a Forbes article, the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) Chief EconomistLawrence Yun predicts that by the end of 2016, the net worth gap will widen even further to 45 times greater.

The graph below demonstrates the results of the last two Federal Reserve studies and Yun’s prediction:

Put Your Housing Cost to Work for You

As we’ve said before, simply put, homeownership is a form of ‘forced savings.’ Every time you pay your mortgage, you are contributing to your net worth. Every time you pay your rent, you are contributing to your landlord’s net worth.

The latest National Housing Pulse Survey from NAR reveals that 85% of consumers believe that purchasing a home is a good financial decision. Yun comments:

“Though there will always be discussion about whether to buy or rent, or whether the stock market offers a bigger return than real estate, the reality is that homeowners steadily build wealth. The simplest math shouldn’t be overlooked.”

Bottom Line

If you are interested in finding out if you could put your housing cost to work for you by purchasing a home, meet with a real estate professional in your area who can guide you through the process.

 

Posted by The KCM Crew

Existing Home Sales Surge Through The Holidays [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some Highlights:

  • November’s Existing Home Sales report revealed that sales are now at an annual pace of 5.61 million which is “now the highest since February 2007 (5.79 million) and is 15.4% higher than a year ago (4.86 million).”
  • Total housing inventory (or the inventory of homes for sale) fell 8.0% from last month and is now 9.3% lower than November 2015.
  • Inventory has dropped year-over-year for the last 18 months.
  • The median price for all home sales in November was $234,900, up 6.8% from last year and marks the 57th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

 

Posted by The KCM Crew

10 Thoughtful Holiday Gifts the Entire Family Can Enjoy

Mark three, four or even more people off your list at once with these gifts the whole family will love.

It’s always a challenge to figure out the perfect gift for a friend or family member, but it’s even more of a puzzle when you’re trying to pick a holiday gift for the whole family.

Family gifting is becoming more common as holiday celebrations get bigger and bigger. It’s a great way to honor the holiday spirit without breaking the bank or going crazy trying to figure out gift ideas for each family member. A family gift is meant to be something that the entire family can enjoy together. And with the holiday so close, we wanted to give you some last-minute ideas that you could easily organize without ordering anything online.

1: Movie Night

A gift card for Netflix is something that the whole family can enjoy together for months. You can choose different denominations depending on how many months you’d like to gift. Pair the certificate with a basket filled with a few different types of popcorn and boxes of movie theater candy.

Gift: Netflix Gift Card, bestbuy.com
Pair With: Snack + Candy Basket

2: Socks For All

Gift a bright, colorful pair of holiday socks for everyone in the family. You can choose coordinating colors and designs so that everyone can wear them together on Christmas. Also include gourmet hot cocoa mix or a selection of holiday teas.

Gift: Tommy Hilfiger Fair Isle Socks, macys.com
Pair With: Gourmet Hot Cocoa Mix

3: Board Games

Rustic White Photography, LLC

Rustic White Photography, LLC

Choose two or three games based on the ages of the family members. Classic, go-to games that usually work well are Jenga, Pictionary, Clue, Monopoly or Scrabble. You could also try finding games at your local thrift store and bringing five to six retro board games as a gift.

Gift: Retro Board Game, target.com
Pair With: Assorted Holiday Dessert Basket (for Game Night!)

4: Mobile Printer

Though the kids might steal it away, a wireless mobile printer is a great family gift. These printers allow you to print pictures directly off your mobile phone or tablet. They’re small enough to toss in a bag, and they’re lots of fun to bring to parties (or even to break out and use on Christmas Eve!).

Gift: HP Sprocket Photo Printer, bestbuy.com
Pair With: Batteries + Photo Paper Packs

5: Shopping Membership

Another gift that will keep giving the whole year is a membership to warehouse clubs like Costco or Sam’s Club. These stores offer great discounts on bulk items, but you can’t shop there unless you’re a member. Pair the gift with a classic Costco bakery item.

Gift: Gold Star Membership, costco.com
Pair With: David’s Cookies Butter Pecan Meltaways Tin (via Costco)

6: Pizza Night

Put together the makings of a fun, homemade pizza party for the whole family. Pick up pizza dough, fresh mozzarella cheese, marinara sauce and toppings like fresh tomatoes or prosciutto. Pair it with a pizza stone or a pizza cutter. For an extra fun presentation, stop by your local pizza place and see if you can buy one of their large boxes. You can cover up their logo with a piece of paper and write your own note on top.

Gift: 13-Inch Pizza Stone, bedbathandbeyond.com
Pair With: Chef-Inspired Basket

7: Do Good

Through organizations like Global Giving, you can purchase gift cards that allow each recipient to go onto the site, choose the cause that speaks most to them and make a donation. It’s a lovely gesture and a great way to teach kids about the power of generosity and giving.

Gift: Donation Gift Card, globalgiving.org
Pair With: A Gift That Gives Back

8: Jump-Start a Vacation

Airbnb

Airbnb

The gift of travel is one of the most amazing presents you could give a family to enjoy together in the coming year. A gift certificate to home-sharing site Airbnb would be a great way to help jump-start vacation plans, allowing the family to choose any spot in the world to enjoy their time away together. If you know there’s a specific place that they would like to visit, you could even include a travel guide book for that city or country.

Gift: Airbnb Gift Card, airbnb.com
Pair With: A Fun Gift for Travel Lovers

9: Steel Fire Pit

Daniel Pratt, 2013, Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Daniel Pratt, 2013, Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

This fire pit would be a great gift for a family that has a beautiful outdoor space to enjoy. Pair it with firewood and a s’mores kit, including marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate bars.

Gift: Steel Fire Pit, homedepot.com
Pair With: Homemade S’mores Kit

10: Rock Band

If the family you’re buying for loves video games, then this Rock Band set is perfect. Everyone can take turns being a rock star and choosing their favorite songs. Set it up on Christmas Eve so everyone at your holiday dinner can join in on the fun.

Gift: Rock Band 4 Bundle, bestbuy.com
Pair With: Gifts for Music Lovers

 

ESSENTIAL WINTER HOME MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST ITEMS TO START NOW

It’s that time of year again when the days are shorter and the cold air means your home and family are going to start feeling the drop in the temperatures. While we all love the idea of cozying up around a warm fireplace while it’s blustery cold outside, most of us don’t enjoy our heating unit dying on the coldest night of the year! This season of colder weather termed the “hibernation season” is the hardest on your plumbing and HVAC systems, as well as on your family’s comfort. American Home Shield and I have compiled an essential winter home maintenance checklist that will help your home get ready for the hibernation season instead of suffering through it in regret. We also give you some handy tips for organization to ensure your family is ready for canceled school days and winter vacation.

Try these Plumbing Tips Before it Gets Too Cold: Protect Plumbing Guide from American Home Shield

For most homeowners, the thought of having to check your plumbing pipes inside and outside of the house is only thought of right before the first freeze of the season. The hibernation season means colder temperatures and this is the time to ensure your plumbing lines are ready:

1. Water Heater Home Maintenance: Before the cold season fully sets in consider draining your water heater from sediment that has built up. Over time small pieces of sediments similar to small grains of sand can slowly shorten the life of your water heater. Consider draining it during before winter temperatures plunge below freezing and your water heater has to work harder.

This hot water heater maintenance video from American Home Shield can help.

2. Plumbing Pipes: Leave water dripping in your kitchen, bathrooms, laundry room and any room you have sinks when temperatures are expected to plunge below freezing. Open under counter cabinet doors around pipes to keep air circulating.

3. Garden and Drain Hoses: Now that the weather is getting colder it is time to disconnect your garden hoses before water freezes inside of them! Disconnecting the hoses also helps your faucet not back up into your internal plumbing system inside your home when frozen.

  • Preventative Measures: For exterior water pipes and pipes consider covering them with insulated sleeves. These will help your pipes stay warmer than the outdoor freezing temperatures.

Ensure your Fireplace is Ready for a Warm, Crackling Fire:

When temperatures get cold many homeowners rely on their wood burning fireplaces to help heat their homes. Unfortunately, many accidents occur during the winter season due to dirty chimneys and improper ventilation can cause smoke and carbon monoxide inhalation. Here are some tips to make sure your fireplace is ready:

4. Winter Home Maintenance: Hire a professional chimney sweep: While there are creosote sweeping logs you can burn in your fireplace to remove creosote from your chimney, it is still important to have a professional take care of what you can’t see.

  • A chimney sweep will:
    • Inspect your chimney, smoke ducts, flue pipes
    • Help prevent soot fires and gas emissions by inspecting the firebox, smoke shelf and other areas of your fireplace that you can’t reach.

5. Tips you can do for fireplace safety: Once your fireplace is professionally cleaned each season try and keep the firebox free of soot and ashes before you start a new fire.

  • Open a window: When using a fireplace allow for fresh air into your home to prevent smoke build-up. Don’t worry the air coming in will go up through the chimney.
  • Keep flammable items away: Ensure furniture, throw rugs and blankets, pillows and other furnishings are at least 4-5 feet away from the fireplace while in use.

Keep your House Warm and Air Clean with these HVAC Maintenance Tips:

Your Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning system (HVAC) are one of the most important systems in your home as it controls the comfort level, humidity, and quality of air in your household. During the colder months, your heating system or furnace can run double duty trying to compete with the outdoor temperatures. These American Home Shield recommended maintenance tips should be checked now to ensure a comfortable winter.

6. Hire an HVAC professional to inspect system: Each season your system should be inspected to ensure it’s working up to its potential. Higher energy bills and your home having problems heating and cooling could be signs of a larger problem.

7. Change your air filters monthly: This tip is one of the easiest because it doesn’t involve a professional and you can do it yourself. Check for the air filter size on the air handler unit and keep a few in storage so they’re no excuses when it’s time to change.

This American Home Shield video will show you

how to replace a furnace filter:

8. Learn how to properly use your thermostat: Many homeowners assume they know how to use their thermostat but several thermostats, especially Smart thermostats can actually learn your behaviors and lifestyle habit and adjust to save you energy. Take time to educate yourself and your family on how to properly use your thermostat before the cold weather sets in.

Organize and Clean your Home Before your Family Stays Indoors:

Each winter the opportunity for your family to stay in the house for longer periods of time is inevitable.Whether you’re getting ready for extended family and friends for the holidays or you’re gearing up for snow days from school, these organizing and cleaning tips from American Home Shield will help.

9. Clean out the kitchen and pantry: Have you noticed around hibernation season is when we like to cook, eat and entertain more? Your kitchen becomes the main hub of activity and cleaning out your refrigerator, pantry and utensil drawers will help the chef and family find exactly what they need. Throw out expired food in storage cabinets and why not install new shelf paper where one-too-many containers have spilled?

Food ingredients and green herbs on modern kitchen countertop.

Food ingredients and green herbs on modern kitchen countertop.

10. Declutter closets and entertaining rooms: Playing board games, video games, watching television and lounging around the family room are popular pastimes throughout the colder season. Before the chill sets in why not purge old toys and magazines? Donate old coats, boots and winter weather in your hall closet and give to charity or your local church. Visit your local discount store and stock up on new games, crossword puzzles and adult coloring books for those cold nights when the electricity goes out.

This hibernation season is going to be cold, but before it sets in you will be prepared with these home maintenance tips to ensure your family is warm, healthy and comfortable. If you’d like to find more tips from American Home Shield on preparing your home for winter, take a look at this video:

Is your home protected in case of an unforeseen problems occurs? American Home Shield can help with a home warranty. It can repair and replace all of your broken appliances and home systems.

Whether you are ensuring your plumbing and HVAC systems are working properly or you’re gearing up for more time indoors, you will be ready this winter season.

 

Posted by Ronique Gibson on stagetecture