Existing Home Sales Surge into Summer [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some Highlights:

  • Existing Home Sales reached their third highest mark this year in May.
  • Inventory of homes for sale has dropped 8.4% since last year, marking the 24th consecutive month of year-over-year declines.
  • NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun had this to say: “Those able to close on a home last month are probably feeling both happy and relieved. Listings in the affordable price range are scarce, homes are coming off the market at an extremely fast pace and the prevalence of multiple offers in some markets are pushing prices higher.”

Posted by KCM Crew

75% of Homeowners Think Now is a Good Time to Sell!

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released the findings of their Q2 Homeownership Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) Survey. The report covers core topics like, “if now is a good time to buy or sell a home, the perception of home price changes, perceived ability to qualify for a mortgage, and [an] outlook on the U.S. economy.”

The survey revealed that 75% of homeowners think now is a good time to sell, compared to 70% last quarter. This is a considerable increase from more than a year ago when 66% agreed.

Even though homeowners believe that now is a good time to sell, many have not taken the step to list their homes, as inventory shortages still exist across the country. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s Chief Economist, had this to say:

“There are just not enough homeowners deciding to sell because they’re either content where they are, holding off until they build more equity, or hesitant seeing as it will be difficult to find an affordable home to buy…

As a result, inventory conditions have worsened and are restricting sales from breaking out while contributing to price appreciation that remains far above income growth.”

Bottom Line

If you are wondering if now is a good time to sell your house, let’s get together to discuss the opportunities available in our market.

 

Posted by The KCM Crew

5 Reasons Why Buying an Old House Is a Great Idea

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We understand the appeal of moving into a newly constructed home. After all, it’s hard not to be enticed by brand-new appliances, floors, and heating, cooling, and electrical systems. Plus, buying an old place that needs work can be intimidating, especially for those of us whose only brush with restoring a house has come from watching reruns of “Fixer Upper.”

However, home buyers can see all the beauty and potential in older houses. What some view as eyesores, others see as charm—four walls full of history that can’t be duplicated. Besides the nostalgia factor, an old house can be a smart purchase for the sake of your wallet.

Take a look at the top reasons why buying an old house might just be the best decision you’ll ever make.

1. Old homes are cheaper than new homes

What classifies as an older home? In general, if a home does not use or contain modern materials such as high-performance concrete, it qualifies as “old.” Normally, these homes would have been built before 1970.

Shelley Cluff, a real estate broker and owner of Park Place Homes, in Midland, MI, explains that an older home gives you substantially more bang for your buck.

“On average, a comparably sized new construction can sell for 10% to 20% more than an older, updated home,” she says. While newer homes might cost less to maintain, they are also built with different materials such as energy-efficient products that drive up the cost of building them and, by extension, the cost of buying them.

2. Old homes have better-quality construction

The saying “they don’t build ’em like they used to” is generally true. Established houses are built to last, and many aspects of the construction cannot be reproduced today. Older homes might be built with wood made from old-growth trees (trees that attained great age by not being significantly disturbed) and therefore more resistant to rot and warping.

Even the walls are likely different. In an older home they’re probably built with plaster and lathe, making them structurally stronger than the drywall construction of modern homes. These older materials also provide a better sound barrier and insulation.

3. Old homes are often in established locations

When choosing a neighborhood, home buyers weigh a number of factors—including the school district, crime rate, and walkability. If you’re looking at buying an old house, chances are it’s in a well-established, and probably stable, area. This is a good thing. 

4. Old homes have more character

See that mature oak tree towering over the front yard that took decades to reach such heights? You’re not going to get that kind of curb appeal from a new construction.

Some older homes have managed to maintain the amenities that are characteristic of the era it was built in—for example, original crown molding, herringbone-patterned hardwood floors, and built-ins.

While newer homes will reflect the trends of current times, they won’t satisfy other eclectic tastes. Victorian homes with authentic stained-glass windows or a midcentury sunken living room can’t be found in modern houses. While many designers do emulate these characteristics, you might prefer to go for the real thing.

5. Lot size tends to be larger with old homes

Newer homes might come with newer amenities, but on the outside (specifically in the backyard) things aren’t as remarkable. According to data from CoreLogic, new constructions tend to have a larger house with a smaller lot.

“The median size of a new home increased from 1,938 square feet in 1990 to 2,300 square feet in 2016, but lot sizes during this same period decreased from 8,250 square feet to 6,970 square feet.”

In an effort to keep the cost of new homes down and bring in more revenue, homebuilders have favored building larger homes on smaller lots. Why?

“When home prices appreciate at a fast pace, the land value rises even faster, which in turn drives the cost of homes higher,” according to CoreLogic.

So if a big backyard is on your list on nonnegotiables, you’re most likely to find that in an older home.

Posted by Niko Vercelletto on realtor.com

7 Off-the-Grid Homes That Will Make You Want to Unplug

Living sustainably doesn’t mean roughing it.

The chaos of modern life — with the constant stream of emails, multitude of devices and keeping pace with modern technology — can be exhausting. If you’ve ever thought about throwing away all your electronics, living sustainably or finally ditching life in the city, these seven off-the-grid homes may have just what you need.

Ambajejus Lake, ME

Moreair Is, Ambajejus Lake, ME
For sale: $389,600

Photo from Zillow listing.

Unplugging from smart phones and the internet wouldn’t be difficult at this ultra-private island property off Ambajejus Lake. In addition to the beautiful lake and Mount Katahdin views, it features two structures: one that is more insulated for winter stays, and a larger cabin that would be more comfortable during the summers. You can enjoy complete solitude with this property — your nearest neighbor would be approximately one mile away.

Find more homes near Lake Ambajejus.

Boise, ID

50 Yellow Pine Ln, Boise, ID
For sale: $725,000

Photo from Zillow listing.

This charming Idaho log cabin has floor-to-ceiling windows, a beautiful stone fireplace, a gourmet kitchen and a large bathroom with a clawfoot tub for soaking. The home comes with a large horse barn and complete-and-utter privacy on 40 acres of land. Hydro- and solar-powered, this home makes it very easy for you to enjoy a sustainable, off-the-grid lifestyle in the middle of the woods.

See more homes for sale in Boise.

Winthrop, WA

98 Sage Canyon Rd, Winthrop, MA
For sale: $497,000

Photo from Zillow listing.

This home, with views of the North Cascades National Park and Methow Valley, makes going off the grid look luxurious. The house is set on 97 acres, featuring protected meadows, wildflowers and a pine forest. Inside, the home boasts 3,600 square feet of custom craftsmanship, including a spiral staircase, large rec room and a spa-like master bathroom.

See more homes in Winthrop.

Sierraville, CA

804 Fiberboard Rd, Sierraville, CA
For sale: $988,000

Photo from Zillow listing.

With such close proximity to Lake Tahoe and Reno, NV, this home is the perfect getaway for those wishing to unplug. The interior of the home is rustic yet modern with a chef’s kitchen, two-story ceilings in the living area and a large stone fireplace. The property is perfect for snowmobiling in the winter and fishing in the summer, and even includes its own helipad.

Check out more homes for sale in Sierraville.

Albuquerque, NM

20 Canoncito Dr NE, Albuquerque, NM
For sale: $612,000

Photo from Zillow listing.

Steps from the Piedra Lisa and La Luz trailheads, this solar-powered home is made for exploring the high desert. It was also designed to bring the outdoors in with large windows, a deck spanning the width of the house and a cozy window seat.

See more Rio Rancho listings.

Wolcott, VT

1858 Town Hill Rd, Wolcott, VT
For sale: $399,000

Photo from Zillow listing.

Whether you’re craving a cozy spot to finally draft that novel, or you simply want to enjoy the privacy and tranquility of rural Vermont, this custom-built, modern home fits the bill. Completely self-sufficient with propane radiant-floor heat, it’s made for those harsh Northeastern winters. It also has an apple orchard and a permanent tree blind for a homeowner who wishes to hunt on the land.

Find more homes in Wolcott.

Black Mountain, NC

60 Bucks Walk, Black Mountain, NC
For sale: $949,000

Photo from Zillow listing.

Sweeping mountain and forest views, a custom-crafted interior and a separate, spacious guest cottage are just a few of this home’s selling points. Though the home has the capability to be completely off the grid with solar paneling, a diesel generator and cistern water storage, you won’t be roughing it with an updated kitchen, tranquil bathrooms and a library.

Posted by Jamie Birdwell-Branson on Zillow

Do You Know How Much Equity You Have in Your Home?

CoreLogic’s latest Equity Report revealed that 91,000 properties regained equity in the first quarter of 2017. This is great news for the country, as 48.2 million of all mortgaged properties are now in a positive equity situation.

Price Appreciation = Good News for Homeowners

Frank Nothaft, CoreLogic’s Chief Economist, explains:

One million borrowers achieved positive equity over the last year, which means risk continues to steadily decline as a result of increasing home prices.”

Frank Martell, President and CEO of CoreLogic, believes this is a great sign for the market in 2017 as well, as he had this to say:

Homeowner equity increased by $766 billion over the last year, the largest increase since Q2 2014. The rising cushion of home equity is one of the main drivers of improved mortgage performance. Since home equity is the largest source of homeowner wealth, the increase in home equity also supports consumer balance sheets, spending and the broader economy.”

This is great news for homeowners! But, do they realize that their equity position has changed?

According to the Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI), more homeowners are beginning to realize that they may have more equity than they first thought.

This is only the second time in the survey’s history that the net share of those saying it’s a good time to sell surpassed the net share ofthose saying it’s a good time to buy.

78.8% of homeowners have significant equity (more than 20%) in their homes today!

This means that many Americans with a mortgage have an opportunity to take advantage of today’s seller’s market. With a sizeable equity position, many homeowners could easily move into a housing situation that better meets their current needs (moving to a larger home or downsizing).

Doug Duncan, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist at Fannie Mae spoke out on this issue:

“High home prices have led many consumers to give us the first clear indication we’ve seen in the National Housing Survey’s seven-year history that they think it’s now a seller’s market. However, we continue to see a lack of housing supply as many potential sellers are unwilling or unable to put their homes on the market…” 

Bottom Line 

If you are one of the many Americans who is unsure of how much equity you have built in your home, don’t let that be the reason you fail to move on to your dream home in 2017! Meet with a local real estate professional today, who can help you evaluate your situation and assist you along the way!

 

Posted by The KCM Crew

Your Anti-To-Do List: 7 Summer Chores You Can Skip

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Summertime brings not only booze-enhanced barbecues in the backyard and frenzied bocce tournaments on the lawn, but also a slew of home maintenance and housekeeping tasks. Buzzkill! But here’s some good news: You might be overdoing it. Experts say that certain tasks you might have assumed you have to do during the warm-weather months might not be as critical—or onerous—as you think. In case you’re looking to let certain items on your long to-do list slide, consider rethinking these tasks below so you can spend more of your summer having fun than slaving away.

1. Cleaning your grill

Now that barbecue weather is in full swing, many roll up their sleeves and set out to scour gunk off their grill. But watch out—doing so is not only unnecessary, but also potentially dangerous. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned Americans against wire grill-cleaning brushes because the bristles can come loose and get lodged in your food.

A far easier and safer alternative? Pop the grates in the oven and set it on the self-cleaning mode, then pop them in the dishwasher to rinse them off. And rub the grates with a little cooking oil to keep stuff from sticking. Here’s more on how to clean a grill.

2. Washing your windows

With all that bright sunlight streaming through your panes, it is suddenly a lot easier to see all the grime that accumulated through the winter. But here’s a little secret: Most of that gunk is on the outside—so there’s no need to clean both inside and out. Target the dirtier side, and you’ll be amazed by the difference you can make in half the time.

As for the screens, Green Cleaning Coach Leslie Reichert says not to worry about removing and washing them.

“Just wipe them with a large, looped microfiber cloth. The microfiber will capture the dust on the screen and make it look as clean as if you washed it.”

3. Dusting your drapes and curtains

Simply toss your curtains and (machine-washable) drapes into the dryer for 10 to 15 minutes on low.

“That will knock the dust off, and you won’t have to go through washing, drying, and ironing,” Reichert says.

4. Scrubbing your deck and outdoor furniture

“Get yourself an electric blower and power washer,” Reichert recommends. These two tools will do all the scrubbing for you.

“Use the blower to remove dirt and debris from your patio, deck, driveway, walkways, and even the sides of your house,” she says. Then, “the power washer will clean off all of the above.”

If you can’t afford to buy this equipment, you can rent a pressure washer or a blower from stores such as Home Depot.

5. Weeding your garden

Mulch your garden instead! Start by covering the ground around your plants with light-blocking biodegradable fabric. Then cover with two inches of mulch. This will keep weeds from taking over and will help your garden retain more water, resulting in a break on another summer chore: watering.

6. Laundering winter bedding

If you prefer lighter bedding when it gets hot, don’t worry about laundering it before putting it away.

“Place blankets in a vacuum-sealed bag and put them away until fall,” says Reichert. She says you can wait to launder them in the fall, when that freshly laundered bedding will feel nicer.

But realistically, there’s actually no need to swap out winter bedding for summer. The reason: All-season duvets are available that can cover you comfortably all year round.

7. Transitioning from your winter to summer wardrobe

Reality check: There’s no reason to store our winter sweaters under the bed to make room for T-shirts and shorts, provided you’ve purged your wardrobe of all the things you don’t wear. And rather than pulling out each item and hemming and hawing over whether it should stay or go, Reichert says there’s a much easier way: Weed it out in reverse.

Start by putting all your cold-weather clothes in a plastic bin and set it aside for the season. Next, put all your warm-weather clothes in another bin. As you use those clothes, launder and replace them in your closet and drawers.

“Anything that doesn’t come out of the summer container by the end of the summer gets given away,” Reichert says.

Plus, postpurge you’ve likely got tons of room in your closet and drawers, so you can keep everything where it is; just rearrange so your summer stuff is more easily within reach.

Now relax and enjoy the season. And save an emu burger for us.

 

Posted by Adriana Velez on realtor.com

8 Dream Homes Serving Up a Slice of Island Life

From Hawaii to Nantucket, see a few gems currently on the market.

Island living means coffee on a balcony overlooking the ocean, or al fresco dining after a long day on the sand and the surf. With prime locations, beautiful architecture and idyllic temperatures nearly year-round, it’s easy to see why people pay a premium to live on an island.

But for those of us who are stuck in the city or suburbs for most of the year: mix up a Mai Tai, put on The Beach Boys and get in the spirit of summer by looking at these 8 exquisite island homes.

Freeland, WA

1924 Shore Ave, Freeland, WA
For sale: $2.995 million

Photo from Zillow listing.

This home on Whidbey island has no shortage of scenic views — with the ability to see Mount Rainier, the Seattle skyline and ocean from the comfort of the living room. Blue shaker siding on the outside of the house, close proximity to the water and elegant interior finishes, like wide-plank wood flooring and charming built-ins, make this an extraordinary and comfortable island home.

See more homes for sale in Freeland.

Nantucket, MA

222 Eel Point Rd, Nantucket, MA
For sale: $12.995 million

Photo from Zillow listing.

This Nantucket home takes the classic image of an East Coast beach house and turns it on its head. With clean lines, modern design and the use of solar and geothermal power, this home is anything but cookie cutter. The property spans nearly 5 acres with waterfront access, making it easy to explore the beautiful coastline.

Find more Nantucket homes for sale.

Tybee Island, GA

3 6th Ter, Tybee Island, GA
For sale: $3.175 million

Photo from Zillow listing.

Located within a few steps of the water, this Tybee Island home has sweeping ocean views and a private walkway down to the beach. Inside, the home is just as exquisite with elegant details such as Spanish ironwork on the front doors, trace ceilings in the master bedroom, an elevator, and an unobstructed view of the Atlantic Ocean.

See more homes in Tybee Island.

Key West, FL

311 Elizabeth St, Key West, FL
For sale: $3.95 million

Photo from Zillow listing.

This historic Key West home is a relaxing place to come back to at the end of a long day playing on the beach. With an inviting porch on the first and second floors, a spacious guesthouse, beautiful hardwood floors, a pool in the backyard and 4 total kitchens throughout the house, it’s the perfect space to find comfort in paradise.

Check out more homes in Key West.

Johns Island, SC

140 Flyway Dr, Johns Island, SC
For sale: $11.95 million

Photo from Zillow listing.

This unique Southern coastal home has all the hallmarks of a perfect island home: great access to the beach, unbelievable views from the large balcony and floor-to-ceiling windows in the living room that let in ample natural light. But, what sets this home apart are its interesting architectural details. This home has many rounded walls, curved windows and a circular foyer that almost make it feel like an observatory deck overlooking the ocean.

Check out more Johns Island homes.

Lahaina, HI

704 Mokuleia Pl, Lahaina, HI
For sale: $9.4 million

Photo from Zillow listing.

This Lahaina home is the quintessential picture of island living. Beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean combined with luxurious finishes such as intricately carved kitchen cabinets, paneling in the office and coffered ceilings in the master suite. The home includes over 2 acres of land as well as a pool and spa. It also comes with a private chipping and putting green.

Find more homes in Lahaina for sale.

Quogue, NY

216 Dune Rd, Quogue, NY
For sale: $19.7 million

Photo from Zillow listing.

Nicknamed The Sandcastle, this Quogue home is made for beach royalty. A heated infinity pool overlooking the ocean, wrought-iron staircase railing, box wainscoting and folding glass doors letting in the ocean breeze are just a few of the dreamy details that make up this island home.

See more Quogue homes for sale.

Hilton Head Island, SC

121 Dune Ln, Hilton Head Island, SC
For sale: $3.995 million

Photo from Zillow listing.

Traditional meets modern in this charming island home. Classic Southern details like painted shutters, an apron sink in the kitchen, and dark wood used throughout the home are juxtaposed with a state-of-the-art media room upstairs, creating the perfect beach getaway for the modern family. Enjoy private beach access and beautiful views from the covered porch that’s complete with a cozy fireplace.

Check out more Hilton Head Island listings.

 

Posted by Jamie Birdwell-Branson on Zillow