Why Working with a Local Real Estate Professional Makes All the Difference

If you’ve entered the real estate market, as a buyer or a seller, you’ve inevitably heard the real estate mantra, “location, location, location” in reference to how identical homes can increase or decrease in value due to where they’re located. Well, a new survey shows that when it comes to choosing a real estate agent, the millennial generation’s mantra is, “local, local, local.”

CentSai, a financial wellness online community, recently surveyed over 2,000 millennials (ages 18-34) and found that 75% of respondents would use a local real estate agent over an online agent, and 71% would choose a local lender.

Survey respondents cited many reasons for their choice to go local, “including personal touch & handholding, longstanding relationships, local knowledge, and amount of hassle.”

Doria Lavagnino, Cofounder & President of CentSai had this to say:

“We were surprised to learn that online providers are not yet as big a disruptor in this sector as we first thought, despite purported cost savings. We found that millennials place a high value on the personal touch and knowledge of a local agent. Buying a home for the first time is daunting, and working with a local agent—particularly an agent referred by a parent or friend—could provide peace of mind.”

The findings of the CentSai survey are consistent with the Consumer Housing Trends Study, which found that millennials prefer a more hands-on approach to their real estate experience:

“While older generations rely on real estate agents for information and expertise, Millennials expect real estate agents to become trusted advisers and strategic partners.”

When it comes to choosing an agent, millennials and other generations share their top priority: the sense that an agent is trustworthy and responsive to their needs.

That said, technology still plays a huge role in the real estate process. According to the National Association of Realtors, 95% of home buyers look for prospective homes and neighborhoods online, and 91% also said they would use an online site or mobile app to research homes they might consider purchasing.

Bottom Line

Many wondered if this tech-savvy generation would prefer to work with an online agent or lender, but more and more studies show that when it comes to real estate, millennials want someone they can trust, someone who knows the neighborhood they want to move into, leading them through the entire experience.

 

Posted by The KCM Crew

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Best Home Improvements For Every Month Of The Year

The best time of year to buy a refrigerator is right around the corner.

Does it feel as if your home improvement to-do list never ends? Try organizing your projects by month. Then knock these 12 items off your list.

Once you become a homeowner, the number of things you need (or want) to improve increases exponentially. There’s always something to be done. But certain times of year are better to tackle specific projects, whether your goal is to save money or sanity. Not sure where to begin? We’ve laid out a schedule below.

January: Clean your carpets and rugs

It may seem counterintuitive to do this when it’s cold out, but according to Jonathan Barnett, founder of Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning in Lakewood, CO, your flooring gets really dirty during the winter. Waiting until spring to remove all that grime can make it harder to get stains out. “Plus, the lack of humidity during the winter months allows moisture to evaporate quickly so wet carpets dry faster,” Barnett says. “And a clean carpet provides a healthier and better-smelling home, which is especially important during the winter, when most people spend the majority of their time indoors.”

February: Paint a room or two

Now is the perfect time to tackle an indoor project that you can enjoy year-round. “Indoor projects aren’t weather-dependent; it’s more of a supply and demand thing,” says Shaun McCarthy, president and owner of Handyman Connection in Colorado Springs, CO. If you’re hiring someone to paint for you, winter is a good time to do it. You’re likely to get a much better price than you’d get during the spring and summer, when many people book exterior painting jobs. But even if you’re planning to do it yourself, there are still benefits. Brisk winter air is good for curing paint, so cracking that window for ventilation serves a double purpose. (Unlike humid summer air, it won’t make your paint take longer to dry.) While you’re at it, if you haven’t weather-stripped or caulked your windows and doors, do it in February before the winds of March set in, says McCarthy

March: Clean your gutters

“The most common problem I see in my home inspections is a wet basement or crawl space,” says Marc Shanley, a certified master inspector at Trinity Inspection, which services homes in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. One common culprit? Clogged gutters, which do an ineffective job of directing runoff away from your home’s foundation. All that moisture can cause major foundation problems. Depending on your gutters (and whether you have overhanging trees), you may need to tackle this task more than once a year. Even so, it’s best to do this before the April rains hit.

April: Refinish your hardwood floors

If you’ve discovered hardwoods beneath your new home’s carpeting, wait until spring to complete this labor-intensive but transformative task. “If you wait until it’s really hot out, the finish can cure too quickly and the sheen might not dry properly, which leads to a glossy, uneven finish,” says Arne Johansson, owner of Arne’s Floor Sanding in Minneapolis, MN.

May: Buy a new refrigerator

Although most large appliances go on sale later in the year, refrigerators have their moment in May, in preparation for the summer. To make room for that new inventory, the older versions usually go on sale, which can mean big discounts for consumers. Want even more savings? Consider energy efficiency (look for the Energy Star certification) and ask if you can buy the floor model. Don’t forget to haggle!

June: Freshen up your exterior

Now’s the time to wash your windows (or pay someone to do it), power-wash your siding, and install screens in your windows. Before you power-wash, be sure that all your weatherstripping and caulking is secure (and your windows are closed). Otherwise, you risk shooting the cleaning liquid into your house, says McCarthy. He also advises testing the washer’s power on an inconspicuous area of your exterior beforehand. “You want to clean your house, not take the paint off of it,” he says.

July: Fertilize your lawn

“Your lawn needs a solid four to six fertilization applications throughout the year to keep it healthy and growing,” says Gene Caballero, co-founder of GreenPal, an app that matches customers with landscapers. “Fertilizing in July will give your lawn the vitamins and nutrients it needs to get through the rest of the hot summer months. Also, this midsummer application helps to prevent weeds from germinating — setting you up for less weed pulling in the fall.”

August: Paint your home’s exterior

The best time to paint your home’s exterior is when temperatures remain consistent from day to day and don’t drastically dip overnight. “The real key,” says McCarthy, is “to work your way around the house so that you’re always painting in the shade.” First, map out what time of day the sun hits each side of your home, then paint accordingly. Of course, you could always hire a pro for this task. You might want to get some estimates, especially for a multistory house. Investing in the equipment (including a tall ladder or two) might not be worth the cost or the hassle.

September: Replace your windows

Caulk adheres better when the temperature is between 40 and 80 degrees, so those glorious days of late summer and early fall are an ideal time to replace your windows. Plus, when the cold weather does hit, new windows will keep the heat where it belongs — inside your house.

October: Buy new appliances

Big-ticket appliances such as stoves, washing machines, and dishwashers debut their newest models around this time of year. That frequently means deep discounts on the old ones. Some retailers will even start their holiday sales early. Double savings!

November: Remodel your bathroom

Contractors are entering their slow season this month, so they’re more willing to jump on a small project and get it done quickly, says McCarthy. “A powder room is a good way to test a contractor out, especially if you’re in the market for a larger renovation like a kitchen,” he says. “If you like the way it turns out, great; if you don’t, it’s low risk.”

December: Build a deck

You’ll probably get a good deal, because deck builders will be winding down for the winter. But adding a deck onto your house when it’s cold out makes sense from a building perspective too. December is less humid, so if you’re using pressure-treated wood, it’ll dry more consistently and evenly. Also, the hot sun won’t beat down on it, which can cause warping and cracking.

 

Posted by Michelle Hainer on Trulia

 

Inventory Challenges Continue! [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some Highlights:

  • After a surge in March, existing home sales and new home sales slowed due to a drop in inventory available for sale in the start-up and trade-up categories.
  • Median existing home prices surged for the 62nd straight month, up 6.0% over last year to $244,800.
  • New home prices slowed as builders have started to turn their focus toward single family, smaller homes.

 

Posted by The KCM Crew

Inventory Shortages Are Slowing Down the Market

The real estate market is moving more and more into a complete recovery. Home values are up. Home sales are up. Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales) have fallen dramatically. It seems that 2017 will be the year that the housing market races forward again.

However, there is one thing that may cause the industry to tap the brakes: a lack of housing inventory. While buyer demand looks like it will remain strong throughout the summer, supply is not keeping up.

Here are the thoughts of a few industry experts on the subject:

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR:

“Sellers are in the driver’s seat this spring as the intense competition for the few homes for sale is forcing many buyers to be aggressive in their offers. Buyers are showing resiliency given the challenging conditions. However, at some point — and the sooner the better — price growth must ease to a healthier rate. Otherwise sales could slow if affordability conditions worsen.”

Tom O’Grady, Pro Teck CEO

“The lack of inventory is very real and could have a severe impact on home sales in the months to come. Traditionally, a balanced market would have an MRI (Months Remaining Inventory) between six and 10 months.

This month, only eight metros we track have MRIs over 10, compared to 27 last year and 48 two years ago—illustrating that this lack of inventory is not being driven by traditionally ‘hot’ markets, but is rather a broad-based, national phenomenon.”

Ralph McLaughlin, Chief Economist at Trulia

“Nationally, housing inventory dropped to its lowest level on record in 2017 Q1. The number of homes on the market dropped for the eighth consecutive quarter, falling 5.1% over the past year.”

Freddie Mac

“Tight housing inventory has been an important feature of the housing market at least since 2016. For-sale housing inventory, especially of starter homes, is currently at its lowest level in over ten years. If inventory continues to remain tight, home sales will likely decline from their 2016 levels. …all eyes are on housing inventory and whether or not it will meet the high demand.”

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of selling, now may be the time. Demand for your house will be strongest at a time when there is very little competition. That could lead to a quick sale for a really good price.

Posted by the KCM Crew

Talk with one of our agents today to list your home!

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

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

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!

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