5 Reasons Homeownership Makes ‘Cents’

The American Dream of homeownership is alive and well. Recent reports show that the US homeownership rate has rebounded from recent lows and is headed in the right direction. The personal reasons to own differ for each buyer, but there are many basic similarities.

Today we want to talk about the top 5 financial reasons you should own your own home.

  1. Homeownership is a form of forced savings – Paying your mortgage each month allows you to build equity in your home that you can tap into later in life for renovations, to pay off high-interest credit card debt, or even send a child to college. As a renter, you guarantee that your landlord is the person with that equity.
  2. Homeownership provides tax savings – One way to save on taxes is to own your own home. You may be able to deduct your mortgage interest, property taxes, and profits from selling your home, but make sure to always check with your accountant first to find out which tax advantages apply to you in your area.
  3. Homeownership allows you to lock in your monthly housing cost – When you purchase your home with a fixed-rate mortgage, you lock in your monthly housing cost for the next 5, 15, or 30 years. Interest rates have remained around 4% all year, marking some of the lowest rates in history. The value of your home will continue to rise with inflation, but your monthly costs will not.
  4. Buying a home is cheaper than renting – According to the latest report from Trulia, it is now 37.4% less expensive to buy a home of your own than to rent in the US. That number varies throughout the country but ranges from 6% cheaper in San Jose, CA to 57% cheaper in Detroit, MI.
  5. No other investment lets you live inside of it – You can choose to invest your money in gold or the stock market, but you will still need somewhere to live. In a home that you own, you can wake up every morning knowing that your investment is gaining value while providing you a safe place to live.

Bottom Line

Before you sign another lease, let’s get together to help you better understand all your options.

 

Posted by The KCM Crew

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How Do I Find a Home Sale Price in My Neighborhood?

 

If you’ve seen some “for sale” signs in your neighborhood slapped with “sold” banners, you may wonder just how much money your own house is worth. Perhaps you’ve been considering selling, or could be convinced to sell if the price was right. But how do you know at which price they were sold?

For starters, you can go to realtor.com®, select the “Just Sold” tab and plug in your ZIP code. A list of homes that recently sold will pop up, along with the prices for which they sold. That’s a start, but it doesn’t give you the big picture you need to know exactly what your home might be worth. That’s where your real estate agent comes in.

“Agents can discuss pricing of other sales or pending sales in our area with other agents to help you estimate home values,” says Michele Lerner, author of “HomebuyingTough Times, First Time, Any Time.” “A [real estate agent] can also provide you with a free comparable market analysis to help you decide if you want to sell your home. And while it’s a great idea to find out about recent home sales in your community, you also should recognize your home may not sell for a similar price.”

Lerner says there are a variety of factors that may make your home sell for a significantly different price than those surrounding it. For example, your home could be in better or worse condition than other homes recently sold, or there may be other factors that influence desirability, such as lot location or even the direction rooms in the house face.

In general, the real estate market changes rapidly, and timing is a large factor in a sale price. Many of the factors of the larger market are out of your hands—mortgage rates, the local economy, the national economy, consumer confidence and the availability of homes for sale all influence a final price.

Rick Snow, a Realtor® with Exit West Realty in El Paso, TX, says when determining comp prices, you have to compare apples to apples.

“I try to find properties within 150 square feet either side of the subject property with similar features,” Snow says. “The number of bedrooms doesn’t really matter because they are all figured into the square footage, but baths, 1/2, 3/4 or full give more value. For example a three-bedroom, two-bath home that is 1,800 square feet would come out the same as a four-bedroom, two-bath home that’s 1,800 square feet, but a three-bedroom, 2 1/2 bath would be worth more.”

Will home improvements help?

If you look through the listings and feel like your house isn’t up to snuff, you may think about remodeling. Before you do, though, you should determine if the cost of remodeling will be worth the amount a renovation will add to your property.  For example, if you remodel your bathroom, it will cost you anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000, and you’ll gain back an average of 66% of the money you spent. Beyond that, however, will the shiny new bathroom be the tipping point for a buyer to select your home over another? You can’t know for sure.

Snow says home improvements can be challenging.

“Homeowners often believe they can recapture money that is spent on improvements dollar for dollar, and that just isn’t the case. Many improvements add marketability but not additional value. Even projects that add value typically don’t bring back a dollar-for-dollar return on investment. The other ‘drawback’ to improvements is personal taste. The things you like and are willing to spend money on to make your home more pleasing to you, I might not like. Then when I am looking at the house, in my mind I’m thinking how much it will cost me to get rid of this or that. Many buyers then base their offer on value minus what it’s going to cost me to make it the way I want it.”

If you are going to make some improvements with the hopes of increasing your home’s value, just be careful not to do too much remodeling.

“Be sure to consider the potential negative consequences of ‘over-improving’ your home for the neighborhood,” Lerner says. “It could be harder to sell your home in the future if it’s much larger or more expensive than the surrounding homes.”

Bottom line: The price houses are going for in your neighborhood definitely provide some insight into how much you might be able to get for yours. Just remember, that there are a lot of factors that go into how much people will pay for a house, and digging deeper will help you get the best picture of what yours may be worth.

Posted by Julie Ryan Evans on realtor.com

Click HERE to find out how much your home is worth!

Lessons on Home Safety with Kids

Many people know how to detect a fire or even put out a fire with a fire extinguisher. Many people also understand how to carefully climb a ladder or turn on a stove. But kids need to be taught how to do these things and how to stay safe while around the home. 

What to do during a fire risk

Depending on your child’s age, they may be able to use a fire extinguisher to put out a small fire. If you have teenagers, you can teach them how to use a fire extinguisher to put out a kitchen fire. However, smaller children may not be tall enough or old enough to understand the severity of a fire. So for little kids, it is best to teach them how to dial 911 and then go outside to stay out of harms way.

If the fire is too big, obviously teaching all children to leave the house and dial 911 will make all the difference between safety and serious injury.

Stay off the ladders

Ladders are tricky household maintenance tools. Our recommendation is that all kids stay off ladders unless there is supervision. Even adults on tall ladders should have someone at the bottom holding the ladder still to make sure there is no danger of falling. This also goes for home step stools of a significant height. The item up high can wait until someone else is around.

Electricity and water do not mix

Teaching kids that electrical items need to stay far away from water is very important. Many of us are aware that mixing water and electricity can lead to electric shocks and cause serious injury. Children do not always understand that a radio or television does not belong on a bathtub ledge. Teach children of all ages to keep the electrical items away from water. This also goes for teenagers using hairdryers in the bathroom over a running water sink.

Stay away from power tools

Power tools are like ladders. They are great at fixing things but they are also seriously dangerous. Power tools are best used with adult supervision and with specific training from a skilled adult. Teach kids to stay away form the power tools. And if you have the ability to lock the motors from running, it is best to keep safety mechanisms in place.

Keep clear of roofs

For some reason, kids sometimes think they can fly … just like Superman. It is important to discuss the issues of climbing or sitting on a roof and the dangers that can come with it. Roofs like ladders can cause serious injury and even potentially death. It is important to discuss height issues with children. This also goes for climbing tall trees around your house. Last thing you need is a scare and broken arm for one of your children.

Lawn Mowers

Over time, kids are given the responsibility to cut the grass. Whether they use push mower or rider mowers, these machines have high powered, fast moving blades that are designed to cut grass quickly. If children are not taught the respect of the machine, they could end up hurting themselves due to major cuts that can lead to severe bleeding. It is important to teach children how a lawn mower works in addition to the chore assigned to moving the lawn.

Understanding cleaning supplies

Some cleaning supplies can be toxic. It is important to keep cleaning supplies out or reach of little children. And potentially to add a child safety lock to the cabinets where the cleaning supplies are located. Small children do not understand not to drink cleaning supplies and cleaning supplies can cause death in a child. It is also important to educate older children about the use of cleaning supplies and the need to keep them away from their younger siblings. Using natural cleaning supplies will also help to remove risk of children getting sick from these supplies.

Keeping children safe can be challenging, but by practicing these simple instructions, you can minimize the risk from home related accidents.

Posted on HomeZada

Report: Homeownership Is a Precondition of the American Dream

Hearth just released their 2017 State of the American Dream report which showed that Americans still see homeownership as an integral piece of the American Dream. The report confirmed that “all generations–including millennials–agree homeownership is very important to achieving the American Dream.

Americans ranked “owning a home I love” higher than any other options (including “starting a family” and “finding a fulfilling career”) as an important part of the American Dream.

Despite some claims that homeownership’s importance to the American Dream is in decline, the report found that the dream of homeownership remains strong.

Of Americans who said they think achieving the American Dream is important, 70% think homeownership is important to the dream, and 41% think homeownership is very important to the dream.

What about Millennials?

Hearth addresses the desires of millennials by explaining:

“Contrary to popular opinion, millennials who want to achieve the American Dream are 5% more likely than Baby Boomers to think homeownership is important. And two-thirds of millennial renters view homeownership as important to the American Dream.

Although millennials are often portrayed as fickle and transient, they actually seek the stability of homeownership even more than their parents.”

Other Key Findings from the Report:

  • Homeowners are 126% more likely than non-homeowners to view homeownership as a way to build wealth. Nevertheless, homeowners still overwhelmingly associated homeownership with a family living space.
  • Homeowners are 24% more likely than non-homeowners to see homeownership as an achievement that reflects hard work.
  • Millennials are 77% more likely than baby boomers to see a home primarily as a way to build wealth.
  • Baby boomers are 98% more likely than millennials to see a home as a way to pass wealth down to children or family.
  • Millennials are 29% more likely than baby boomers to see a home as an achievement that reflects hard work–an outcome we expected given that many millennials are still working hard to afford their first homes.

Bottom Line

The report concluded:

“This survey revealed a powerful finding: Across demographic groups, homeownership remains a precondition of the American Dream.”

Posted by The KCM Crew

National Preparedness Month and Tips Getting You Ready

September is National Preparedness Month. The Federal Emergency Maintenance Association (FEMA) coordinate over 30,000 members and 2,000 events around the United States to help people know what it means to be prepared for any emergency.  This Preparedness Community is a collaborative community where others share support and information in an effort to understand emergency preparedness. While this group also announces over 2,000 events nationwide that helps others become educated about hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados, forest fires, house fires, and so much more.

Getting prepared about challenging situations that could put your family and homes at risk could be the difference between actual life or death. National Preparedness Month is designed to avoid tragic situations.

Online Communication

First make sure you have tools available to you to alert you about weather conditions, a number of sites can help you with these efforts. Following resources on Twitter is also a great way to stay connected with real time information.  @FEMA @WeatherChannel @RedCross

FEMA developed this app to help you know how to be prepared if disaster strikes. Know where to take shelter if disaster strikes.

The Whole Family

Being prepared means preparing your whole family. Events are happening in your local area to educate you and your children about emergencies. In addition, making sure your family has all the important telephone numbers enables everyone to understand where each might be when something unexpected happens. Your children’s schools and your offices should also have plans. So make sure you sit down with the appropriate administrator of these plans to educate the members of your family.

Pets

Keeping your pets calm during a disaster situation can be difficult. If need be, make sure you have the appropriate food and name tags for your pets. You need to remember to take them with you. Pets cannot survive on their own if they are left behind. Here are videos and brochures to help you establish an emergency plan to include your pets.

Disabled Individuals

If you or a loved one or friend have some disabilities that require extra needs, make sure you prepare your equipment for a disaster situation. Your family member may use items like electronic wheelchairs. If this is the case, make sure you have them charged. This is in case the power is lost. Another option is to equip your home with a back up generator. If you have specific medications you require, make sure you have a supply on hand. This supply should last you 3 – 5 days.

Make a Kit

Make a kit of some of the most basic elements. Items like flashlights with working batteries, charged cell phones, first aid kits, water, and 3 days worth of food. Also add medications, blankets and potentially weather proof jackets. Having a kit organized helps in case you are both stuck in your home for and extended period of time. This kit can also help if you are not able to get to your home.

In the last 10 years, US citizens have been taking emergencies seriously. May citizens have been securing emergency plans all over the nation. Here are some statistics on who is actually do more with Emergency Preparedness.

 

Posted by The KCM Crew

Homeowners: Do You Know Your Home’s Value?

Home Value

The latest edition of CoreLogic’s Home Price Index shows that nationally, home prices have appreciated 6.7% over the last year and 0.9% month-over-month. The release of the report included this headline,

“National Home Prices Now 50% Above March 2011 Bottom”

The real estate market has come a long way since 2011, which is great news for homeowners!

Nearly 79% of homeowners with a mortgage in the US now have significant equity in their homes (defined as over 20%), according to the latest Equity Report. The challenge is that not every homeowner knows how much their home’s value has appreciated.

Homeowners in Denver, CO lead the way with 8.7% appreciation over the last year, while owners in Washington and Utah have experienced a 3% increase in values since the start of this year!

Nationally, CoreLogic forecasts that home values will increase another 5.0% by this time next year.

Bill Banfield, VP of Capital Markets at Quicken Loans, recently explained the importance of knowing the conditions in your area,

“With home values constantly changing, and the rates of change varying across the country, this is one more way to show how important it is for homeowners to stay aware of their local housing market.”

Bottom Line

Do you know what your house is worth? Have you stayed put because you are nervous you won’t have enough equity to buy your dream home? Let’s get together to perform an equity analysis and give you the freedom to achieve your dreams.

 

Click HERE to find out how much your home is worth today!

How Your Home’s Value Grows Your Family’s Wealth

Over the next five years, home prices are expected to appreciate 3.64% per year on average and to grow by 18.4% cumulatively, according to Pulsenomics’ most recent Home Price Expectation Survey.

So, what does this mean for homeowners and their equity position?

As an example, let’s assume a young couple purchased and closed on a $250,000 home in January. If we look at only the projected increase in the price of that home, how much equity will they earn over the next 5 years?

Since the experts predict that home prices will increase by 5.0% this year alone, the young homeowners will have gained $12,500 in equity in just one year.

Over a five-year period, their equity will increase by nearly $49,000! This figure does not even take into account their monthly principal mortgage payments. In many cases, home equity is one of the largest portions of a family’s overall net worth.

Bottom Line

Not only is homeownership something to be proud of, but it also offers you and your family the ability to build equity you can borrow against in the future. If you are ready and willing to buy, find out if you are able to today!

Posted by The KCM Crew

 

How much has YOUR home value appreciated? Click HERE to see how much your home is worth!