20 Tips for Preparing Your House for Sale [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some Highlights:

  • When listing your house for sale your top goal will be to get the home sold for the best price possible!
  • There are many small projects that you can do to ensure this happens!
  • Your real estate agent will have a list of specific suggestions for getting your house ready for market and is a great resource for finding local contractors who can help!

Posted by The KCM Crew

June 2017 Statistics are Looking Good!

Market Reports

Missouri REALTORS® publishes a monthly market statistic report which includes:
  • Number of homes sold and purchase price
  • Days on market
  • Median purchase price
  • Average purchase price
  • Statewide sales volume

Latest Market Report

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to download the full report.

Posted by Missouri REALTORS®

Do Your Future Plans Include a Move? What’s Stopping You from Listing Now?

Are you an empty-nester? Do you want to retire where you are, or does a vacation destination sound more your style? Are you close to retirement and not ready to move yet, but living in a home that is too big in size and maintenance needs?

How can you line up your current needs with your goals and dreams for the future? The answer for many might be the equity you have in your house.

According to the latest Equity Report from CoreLogic, the average homeowner in the United States gained $14,000 in equity over the course of the last year. On the West Coast, homeowners gained twice that amount, with homeowners in Washington gaining an average of $38,000!

Do you know how much your home has appreciated over the last year?

Many homeowners would be able to easily sell their current house and use the profits from that sale to purchase a condo nearby in order to continue working while eliminating some of the daily maintenance of owning a house (ex. lawn care, snow removal).

With the additional cash gained from the sale of the home, you could put down a sizeable down payment on a vacation/retirement home in the location that you would like to eventually retire to. While you will not yet be able to live there full-time, you can rent out your property during peak vacation times and pay off your mortgage faster.

Purchasing your retirement home now will allow you to take full advantage of today’s seller’s market, allow you to cash in on the equity you have already built, and take comfort in knowing that a plan is in place for a smooth transition into retirement.

Bottom Line

There are many reasons to relocate in retirement, including a change in climate, proximity to family & grandchildren, and so much more. What are the reasons you want to move? Are the reasons to stay more important? Let’s get together to discuss your current equity situation and the options available for you, today!

Posted by The KCM Crew

Be Careful Not to Get Caught in The Rental Trap!

 

There are many benefits to homeownership. One of the top benefits is being able to protect yourself from rising rents by locking in your housing cost for the life of your mortgage.

Don’t Become Trapped 

A recent article by ConsumerAffairs addressed the continuous rise in rents, stating:

“The cost of putting a roof over your head continues to go up. Not only are home prices still rising, but the cost of rent rose 0.5% in June.”

Additionally, in the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University’s 2017 State of the Nation’s Housing Report, it was revealed that,

“Despite a slight improvement from 2014, fully one-third of US households paid more than 30 percent of their incomes for housing in 2015. Renters continue to be more likely to face cost burdens…the number of cost-burdened renters (21 million) considerably outstrips the number of cost-burdened owners (18 million) even though nearly two-thirds of US households own their homes.”

These households struggle to save for a rainy day and pay other bills, including groceries and healthcare.

It’s Cheaper to Buy Than Rent 

As we have previously mentioned, the results of the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia shows that homeownership remains cheaper than renting with a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage in the 100 largest metro areas in the United States.

The updated numbers show that the range is an average of 3.5% less expensive in San Jose (CA), all the way up to 50.1% less expensive in Baton Rouge (LA), and 33.1% nationwide!

Know Your Options

Perhaps you have already saved enough to buy your first home. A nationwide survey of about 24,000 renters found that 80% of millennial renters plan to eventually buy a house, but 72% cite affordability as their primary obstacle. Aside from affordability, one in three millennial renters have concerns about their credit scores, and another 53% said that a down payment is an obstacle.

Many first-time homebuyers who believe that they need a large down payment may be holding themselves back from their dream homes. As we have reported before, in many areas of the country, a first-time home buyer can save for a 3% down payment in less than two years. You may have already saved enough!

Bottom Line

Don’t get caught in the trap that so many renters are currently in. If you are ready and willing to buy a home, find out if you are able. Let’s get together to determine if you can qualify for a mortgage now!

 

Posted by the KCM Crew

9 Easy Ways to Cut Your Electric Bill by up to $750

With just a few simple adjustments, you can plug into big savings on your annual utility spending.

We all want to save energy and money, right? But it’s not always so easy — perhaps you don’t have the time for a home energy audit, or maybe there simply isn’t room in the budget for that energy-saving appliance you want.

No worries! Here are some quick and easy ways to reduce your home energy usage right now.

Reduce hot water usage

Don’t worry — you don’t have to take a low-flow shower! But heating up hot water does require energy, so take the simple and painless route:

  • Adjust the water heater’s temperature. Lower your water heater to 120 degrees F (49 degrees C). An added bonus — you’ll lower the risk of scalding accidents.

  • Don’t overuse the dishwasher. Try to run your dishwasher only once a day or when it’s completely full. See if your utility company offers savings for running appliances at off-peak times.
  • Wash clothes in cold water. Most modern detergents clean clothes very well with cold water. If you have items that you really need to wash in hot water, save them up and do one hot load every few weeks.

Projected savings: Up to $250 per year, depending on the number of people in your home.

Turn it off

Little things add up! An easy way to save money on your energy bill is turning off the lights, electronics, and other energy users when you’re not using them.

  • Leave a room, switch lights off. Make a habit of turning off everything in the room when you leave it — the TV, lights, your computer, etc.
  • Get the kids involved. Make a game out of turning off the lights instead of constantly reminding them to do it. Offer some sort of small, nonmonetary reward for remembering to turn off their bedroom lights for a week.
  • Install countdown timer light switches. For intermittently used rooms, such as the bathroom or laundry room, install a countdown timer light switch that will turn off the lights after a specified period, so you don’t ever have to worry about it.

Projected savings: Between $100-$300 per year, depending on the number of people and rooms in your home.

Heating and cooling bill savings

Generally speaking, the furnace and air-conditioner are the big energy hogs in your home. Here are some easy ways to reduce your dependence on them — and save money!

  • Use windows strategically. Install heavy drapes or blinds on windows located in sunny areas of your home. Open the blinds on cold days to take advantage of the sun’s warmth, and close them on warm days to block out the sun.
  • Install ceiling fans. This one takes a bit more effort than the others, but the payoff can be quite large. Run ceiling fans counterclockwise or downward during the summer to force cool air down into the room. Run them clockwise and upward in the winter to better distribute the warm air.

  • Adjust the thermostat. Yes, this sounds obvious, but one of the best ways to save on heating and cooling bills is simply lowering the thermostat in the winter and raising it in the summer! A programmable thermostat is ideal, but you can save money even with a traditional thermostat. In winter, lower your thermostat by 10 to 15 degrees for at least eight hours — when you leave for work, before you go to bed, or both — then raise it when you’re back.  If you have air-conditioning, do this in reverse come summer.

Projected savings: From 10-30 percent on your heating and cooling bills each year.

Saving energy doesn’t have to be a chore. With some very simple lifestyle changes, you can reduce your carbon footprint and save big!

 

Posted by Jane Drill on Zillow

What does a real estate agent do all day anyway?

Have you ever wondered about the typical workday of a real estate agent? There is probably more involved than you think! Below are some of the key responsibilities of real estate agents. See if you have what it takes!

Infographic originally posted in “What Does a Real Estate Agent Do All Day Anyway?” by Cara Ameer on Inman

Fed elects to hold off on interest rate hike

As expected, the Federal Reserve released its decision to hold off on any increases to the federal funds rate in July.

The Federal Open Market Committee started its July meeting on Wednesday to discuss the current state of the U.S. economy. The committee voted to keep the federal funds rate at its current range between 1% and 1.25%.

In view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, the Committee decided to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 1 to 1-1/4 percent The stance of monetary policy remains accommodative, thereby supporting some further strengthening in labor market conditions and a sustained return to 2 percent inflation.

The FOMC stated that the labor market continued strengthening and that economic activity has been rising moderately this year.

“The Committee continues to expect that, with gradual adjustments in the stance of monetary policy, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace, and labor market conditions will strengthen somewhat further,” the committee said in its statement.

Most economists, including those at Fannie Mae, forecasted that the Fed would raise rates in June and December.

However, some believe this year has already seen the last of its interest rate increases. Financial Analyst Christopher Whalen predicted a rate hike in June, but he added that it might be the last one for a while since FOMC members are beginning to see the U.S. economy slow down.

Last year, Jason Obradovich, New American Funding executive vice president of capital markets, explained that for all its intentions, the Fed probably won’t be raising rates as much as it would like in 2017.

However, while the Fed failed to meet its goals for interest rate hikes in previous years, this year proved different.

In June, the Fed voted to raise interest rates for the second time this year. The first rate hike occurred in its March meeting.

And later, FOMC minutes showed raising the federal funds rate isn’t the only thing on the committee’s agenda. Members brought up the balance sheet in the meeting, saying they may begin to shrink it this year.

 

Posted on housingwire.com