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Date Archives: April 2020

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April
28

Keys to Selling Your House Virtually | MyKCM

In a recent survey by realtor.com, people thinking about selling their homes indicated they're generally willing to allow their agent and some potential buyers inside if done under the right conditions. They're less comfortable, however, hosting an open house. This is understandable, given the health concerns associated with social contact these days. The question is, if you need to sell your house now, what virtual practices should you use to make sure you, your family, and potential buyers stay safe in the process?

In today's rapidly changing market, it's more important than ever to make sure you have a digital game plan and an effective online marketing strategy when selling your house. One of the ways your agent can help with this is to make sure your listing photos and virtual tours stand out from the crowd, truly giving buyers a detailed and thorough view of your home.

So, if you're ready to move forward, virtual practices may help you win big when you're ready to sell. While abiding by state and local regulations is a top priority, a real estate agent can help make your sale happen. Agents know exactly what today's buyers need, and how to put the necessary digital steps in place. For example, according to the same survey, when asked to select what technology would be most helpful when deciding on a new home, here's what today's homebuyers said, in order of preference:

  • Virtual tour of the home
  • Accurate and detailed listing information
  • Detailed neighborhood information
  • High-quality listing photos
  • Agent-led video chat

After leveraging technology, if you have serious buyers who still want to see your house in person, keep in mind that according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), there are ways to proceed safely. Here are a few of the guidelines, understanding that the top priority should always be to obey state and local restrictions first:

  • Limit in-person activity
  • Require guests to wash their hands or use an alcohol-based sanitizer
  • Remove shoes or cover with booties
  • Follow CDC guidance on social distancing and wearing face coverings

Getting comfortable with your agent – a true trusted advisor – taking these steps under the new safety standards might be your best plan. This is especially important if you're in a position where you need to sell your house sooner rather than later.

Nate Johnson, CMO at realtor.com ® notes:

"As real estate agents and consumers seek out ways to safely complete these transactions, we believe that technology will become an even more imperative part of how we search for, buy and sell homes moving forward."

It sounds like some of these new practices might be here to stay.

Bottom Line

In a new era of life, things are shifting quickly, and virtual strategies for sellers may be a great option. Opening your doors up to digital approaches may be game-changing when it comes to selling your house. Let's connect so you have a trusted real estate professional to help you safely and effectively navigate through all that's new when it comes to making your next move.

April
27

Virtual Open House Prep

You've decided to sell your home, and now want to show it off to potential buyers. More potential buyers are attending virtual open houses and showings to find their dream home from the comfort of their current residence. Just because they won't be there in person, doesn't mean you can skip vital steps in presenting and staging your home. Our real estate agents compiled a checklist for a virtual open house, so your property stands out from other New England homes for sale. Make sure to do these things before your virtual open house or showing. 

  1. Eliminate Clutter 
    Virtual open house attendees will want to see every room and every angle. So clutter has nowhere to hide! Box up and remove as much as half your belongings so that the home seems more spacious. Give away what you can, and store the stuff you want but don't need in a storage unit. Hosting a virtual open house in a cluttered home can deter buyers.  
  2. Remove Personal Items 
    Even if you're not ready to empty your home, at least make personal things vanish. That includes pictures and collected items so potential buyers can envision their own lives in your home.

    Click Here to Read More...

April
27

What Impact Might COVID-19 Have on Home Values? | MyKCM

A big challenge facing the housing industry is determining what impact the current pandemic may have on home values. Some buyers are hoping for major price reductions because the health crisis is straining the economy.

The price of any item, however, is determined by supply and demand, which is how many items are available in relation to how many consumers want to buy that item.

In residential real estate, the measurement used to decipher that ratio is called months supply of inventory. A normal market would have 6-7 months of inventory. Anything over seven months would be considered a buyers' market, with downward pressure on prices. Anything under six months would indicate a sellers' market, which would put upward pressure on prices.

Going into March of this year, the supply stood at three months – a strong seller's market. While buyer demand has decreased rather dramatically during the pandemic, the number of homes on the market has also decreased. The recently released Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed we currently have 3.4 months of inventory. This means homes should maintain their value during the pandemic.

This information is consistent with the research completed by John Burns Real Estate Consulting, which recently reported:

"Historical analysis showed us that pandemics are usually V-shaped (sharp recessions that recover quickly enough to provide little damage to home prices)."

What are the experts saying?

Here's a look at what some experts recently reported on the matter:

Ivy Zelman, President, Zelman & Associates

"Supported by our analysis of home price dynamics through cycles and other periods of economic and housing disruption, we expect home price appreciation to decelerate from current levels in 2020, though easily remain in positive territory year over year given the beneficial factors of record-low inventories & a historically-low interest rate environment."

Freddie Mac

"The fiscal stimulus provided by the CARES Act will mute the impact that the economic shock has on house prices. Additionally, forbearance and foreclosure mitigation programs will limit the fire sale contagion effect on house prices. We forecast house prices to fall 0.5 percentage points over the next four quarters. Two forces prevent a collapse in house prices. First, as we indicated in our earlier research report, U.S. housing markets face a large supply deficit. Second, population growth and pent up household formations provide a tailwind to housing demand. Price growth accelerates back towards a long-run trend of between 2 and 3% per year."

Mark Fleming, Chief Economist, First American

"The housing supply remains at historically low levels, so house price growth is likely to slow, but it's unlikely to go negative."

Bottom Line

Even though the economy has been placed on pause, it appears home prices will remain steady throughout the pandemic.

April
20

The Pain of Unemployment: It Will Be Deep, But Not for Long | MyKCM

There are two crises in this country right now: a health crisis that has forced everyone into their homes and a financial crisis caused by our inability to move around as we normally would. Over 20 million people in the U.S. became instantly unemployed when it was determined that the only way to defeat this horrific virus was to shut down businesses across the nation. One second a person was gainfully employed, a switch was turned, and then the room went dark on their livelihood.

The financial pain so many families are facing right now is deep.

How deep will the pain cut?

Major institutions are forecasting unemployment rates last seen during the Great Depression. Here are a few projections:

  • Goldman Sachs - 15%
  • Merrill Lynch - 10.6%
  • JP Morgan - 8.5%
  • Wells Fargo - 7.3%

How long will the pain last?

As horrific as those numbers are, there is some good news. The pain will be deep, but it won't last as long as it did after previous crises. Taking the direst projection from Goldman Sachs, we can see that 15% unemployment quickly drops to 6-8% as we head into next year, continues to drop, and then returns to about 4% in 2023.

When we compare that to the length of time it took to get back to work during both the Great Recession (9 years long) and the Great Depression (12 years long), we can see how the current timetable is much more favorable.

The Pain of Unemployment: It Will Be Deep, But Not for Long | MyKCM

 

Bottom Line

It's devastating to think about how the financial heartache families are going through right now is adding to the uncertainty surrounding their health as well. Hopefully, we will soon have the virus contained and then we will, slowly and safely, return to work.

 

Contact us for any questions you may have about the housing market and the right time for you to buy or sell a home. 

 


The information contained, and the opinions expressed, in this article are not intended to be construed as investment advice. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. and The Masiello Group do not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained herein. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. and The Masiello Group will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on the information or opinions contained herein.

April
20

Landscaping Trends to Try

Now is the time of year when many homeowners start looking for ways to spruce up their curb appeal. If you're thinking about selling your home, this is particularly important. When dealing with springtime sellers, our real estate agents always recommend paying extra attention to the outdoor space. 

When it's done right, a landscape refresh will have a major impact on your home's value and will bring you a positive return on your investment. Before you start making changes, it's a good idea to check in with the latest trends. Here are four fun and exciting ideas you may want to consider incorporating into your new design. 

  1. Verticle and Container Gardening
    If you live in a home with a small outdoor area, you may have thought you didn't have many landscaping options. However, verticle and container gardening are both trending right now, and the results are stunning. There are kits available that make it easy to create "living walls," or you can add multiple rows of planter boxes to your fence. If you don't have a fence or wall to work with, try making a fun container garden. Choose a variety of plants and large decorative pots, then create your design by strategically placing them around your outdoor space. While owners of small spaces have embraced this trend, it works well in many different outdoor areas regardless of the size. If you have an outdoor kitchen, consider adding a living wall made up of a variety of herbs and spices. This creates a unique and beautiful addition to the space that's also incredibly functional. 
  1. Pops of Blue
    Blue is the color of the year, and it's popping up everywhere! Since it's a natural color that's both calming and relaxing, so it's the perfect addition to any outdoor space. There are a wide variety of ways to incorporate it into your landscape design. Start by adding some blue-hued plants like hydrangeas, grape hyacinth, globe thistle, delphinium, or blue fortune. Then, choose a blue-colored focal point to pull it all together. Since water features are also trending this year, a blue fountain or birdbath are both excellent options. 
  1. Edible Landscaping
    Many homeowners are embracing the "farm to table" experience they can create by opting for edible landscaping. Full-sized vegetable gardens are making a comeback. However, if you don't want to put in that much effort, you still have plenty of options. Consider planting raspberry or thornless blackberry bushes in place of traditional shrubs. It's also a great idea to combine edible landscaping with vertical and container gardening. This is the ideal way to grow lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, and more while saving space and avoiding the effort of maintaining a full garden. 
  1. Smart Irrigation
    The smart-home trend has made it outdoors! The latest high-tech irrigation systems make it easy to keep your landscaping looking beautiful with a minimal amount of effort. These new systems give plants the exact amount of water they need. This helps ensure that they stay healthy while also minimizing water waste. Homebuyers generally love houses with the latest technology, making this upgrade something worth looking into. 

If you're thinking about listing your home, you need an excellent real estate agent by your side. Contact us today to learn how we can help. 

April
16

Think This Is a Housing Crisis? Think Again. | MyKCM

With all of the unanswered questions caused by COVID-19 and the economic slowdown we're experiencing across the country today, many are asking if the housing market is in trouble. For those who remember 2008, it's logical to ask that question.

Many of us experienced financial hardships, lost homes, and were out of work during the Great Recession – the recession that started with a housing and mortgage crisis. Today, we face a very different challenge: an external health crisis that has caused a pause in much of the economy and a major shutdown of many parts of the country.

Let's look at five things we know about today's housing market that were different in 2008.

1. Appreciation

When we look at appreciation in the visual below, there's a big difference between the 6 years prior to the housing crash and the most recent 6-year period of time. Leading up to the crash, we had much higher appreciation in this country than we see today. In fact, the highest level of appreciation most recently is below the lowest level we saw leading up to the crash. Prices have been rising lately, but not at the rate they were climbing back when we had runaway appreciation.Think This Is a Housing Crisis? Think Again. | MyKCM

2. Mortgage Credit

The Mortgage Credit Availability Index is a monthly measure by the Mortgage Bankers Association that gauges the level of difficulty to secure a loan. The higher the index, the easier it is to get a loan; the lower the index, the harder. Today we're nowhere near the levels seen before the housing crash when it was very easy to get approved for a mortgage. After the crash, however, lending standards tightened and have remained that way leading up to today.Think This Is a Housing Crisis? Think Again. | MyKCM

3. Number of Homes for Sale

One of the causes of the housing crash in 2008 was an oversupply of homes for sale. Today, as shown in the next image, we see a much different picture. We don't have enough homes on the market for the number of people who want to buy them. Across the country, we have less than 6 months of inventory, an undersupply of homes available for interested buyers.Think This Is a Housing Crisis? Think Again. | MyKCM

4. Use of Home Equity

The chart below shows the difference in how people are accessing the equity in their homes today as compared to 2008. In 2008, consumers were harvesting equity from their homes (through cash-out refinances) and using it to finance their lifestyles. Today, consumers are treating the equity in their homes much more cautiously.Think This Is a Housing Crisis? Think Again. | MyKCM

5. Home Equity Today

Today, 53.8% of homes across the country have at least 50% equity. In 2008, homeowners walked away when they owed more than what their homes were worth. With the equity homeowners have now, they're much less likely to walk away from their homes.Think This Is a Housing Crisis? Think Again. | MyKCM

Bottom Line

The COVID-19 crisis is causing different challenges across the country than the ones we faced in 2008. Back then, we had a housing crisis; today, we face a health crisis. What we know now is that housing is in a much stronger position today than it was in 2008. It is no longer the center of the economic slowdown. Rather, it could be just what helps pull us out of the downturn.

 


We encourage you to reach out to our expert agents to discuss your unique buying or selling situation. We're here for you!

April
13

Recession? Yes. Housing Crash? No.

Recession? Yes. Housing Crash? No. | MyKCM

With over 90% of Americans now under a shelter-in-place order, many experts are warning that the American economy is heading toward a recession, if it's not in one already. What does that mean to the residential real estate market?

What is a recession?

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research:

"A recession is a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales."

COVID-19 hit the pause button on the American economy in the middle of March. Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and Morgan Stanley are all calling for a deep dive in the economy in the second quarter of this year. Though we may not yet be in a recession by the technical definition of the word today, most believe history will show we were in one from April to June.

Does that mean we're headed for another housing crash?

Many fear a recession will mean a repeat of the housing crash that occurred during the Great Recession of 2006-2008. The past, however, shows us that most recessions do not adversely impact home values. Doug Brien, CEO of Mynd Property Management, explains:

"With the exception of two recessions, the Great Recession from 2007-2009, & the Gulf War recession from 1990-1991, no other recessions have impacted the U.S. housing market, according to Freddie Mac Home Price Index data collected from 1975 to 2018."

CoreLogic, in a second study of the last five recessions, found the same. Here's a graph of their findings:Recession? Yes. Housing Crash? No. | MyKCM

What are the experts saying this time?

This is what three economic leaders are saying about the housing connection to this recession:

Robert Dietz, Chief Economist with NAHB

"The housing sector enters this recession underbuilt rather than overbuilt…That means as the economy rebounds - which it will at some stage - housing is set to help lead the way out."

Ali Wolf, Chief Economist with Meyers Research

"Last time housing led the recession…This time it's poised to bring us out. This is the Great Recession for leisure, hospitality, trade and transportation in that this recession will feel as bad as the Great Recession did to housing."

John Burns, founder of John Burns Consulting, also revealed that his firm's research concluded that recessions caused by a pandemic usually do not significantly impact home values:

"Historical analysis showed us that pandemics are usually V-shaped (sharp recessions that recover quickly enough to provide little damage to home prices)."

Bottom Line

If we're not in a recession yet, we're about to be in one. This time, however, housing will be the sector that leads the economic recovery.

April
13

Neighborhood for Your Dog

There's so much to consider when picking out a new neighborhood. It needs to be the proper place for you and your family, but what about Fido? Will your dog love and appreciate the neighborhood that you choose? Here are five tips for picking a neighborhood your dog will love.

  1. Get a Big Yard
    It's convenient to let your pooch play in your own yard without having to take him on a leash to the park each day. Consider how much space your dog will have to roam. Bonus points if there is a safe, reliable fence, doghouse, or kennel already included with the yard.
  2. Check Out Other Dogs
    When you go to check out a house or neighborhood be on the lookout for people out walking their dogs. Or maybe you'll see some pups playing in a fenced-in yard. These are good clues that your neighbors enjoy dogs and that you'll probably be warmly welcomed.
  3. Find Easy Access to Dog Care
    As a pet owner, you want to be prepared when you move into your new neighborhood. Have an idea of where to find the following pet services. 
    • Does this new neighborhood offer close proximity to a veterinarian clinic? If your dog currently has prescriptions, can you or another family member get to the clinic easily to fill them when they're due?
    • Does the vet clinic offer 24/7 emergency services? 
    • Are there obedience classes and groomers in the area?
    • Are there specialty pet stores or wholesale stores that offer the necessities?
    • If you work long hours, take vacations, or need to hop on a plane for a family emergency across the state or country, is there a highly-rated doggy daycare, a network of pet sitters, or any kennels nearby?
  1. Seek Safe Walking Paths
    Your dog will love a neighborhood where they can go on frequent walks with you. Be on the lookout for well-lit sidewalks. If there are no sidewalks, is the street full and safe enough to walk in regularly? You and your dog need a convenient way to exercise, and whether you walk down the sidewalk for an hour a day or need a quick way to get to the local dog park, great walking paths are a necessity. If you live in a snowy area, take notice of whether your neighbors and the city/town employees clear the sidewalks promptly. 
  2. Check Out Community Camaraderie
    Does your neighborhood seem to welcome four-legged friends? Be on the lookout for the following things when touring the neighborhood:
    • Are there several "No Pets Allowed" signs? 
    • Do community members allow their pets to wander? If so, will rogue cats and dogs drive your pup crazy and turn stress-relieving walks into nightmares?
    • Do the restaurants include seating for pups or outdoor patio areas for you and your canine companion to dine?
    • Are there trash cans along the main streets to offload stinky poop bags during outings? 
    • Are dog parks within walking distance? Try to hit the park on a busy weekend to see if the dogs and their owners seem respectful of one another.
    • Are there community canine-themed events like dog shows and parades?

These tips will help you get a good idea if this new neighborhood will be the best fit for you and your canine. Our real estate agents are also here to assist you. Contact us, and we can help you find the perfect neighborhood for you and your pooch.

April
10

Looking to the Future: What the Experts Are Saying

Looking to the Future: What the Experts Are Saying | MyKCM

As our lives, our businesses, and the world we live in change day by day, we're all left wondering how long this will last. How long will we feel the effects of the coronavirus? How deep will the impact go? The human toll may forever change families, but the economic impact will rebound with a cycle of downturn followed by economic expansion like we've seen play out in the U.S. economy many times over.

Here's a look at what leading experts and current research indicate about the economic impact we'll likely see as a result of the coronavirus. It starts with a forecast of U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

According to Investopedia:

"Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the total monetary or market value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country's borders in a specific time period. As a broad measure of overall domestic production, it functions as a comprehensive scorecard of the country's economic health."

When looking at GDP (the measure of our country's economic health), a survey of three leading financial institutions shows a projected sharp decline followed by a steep rebound in the second half of this year:Looking to the Future: What the Experts Are Saying | MyKCMA recent study from John Burns Consulting also notes that past pandemics have also created V-Shaped Economic Recoveries like the ones noted above, and they had minimal impact on housing prices. This certainly gives hope and optimism for what is to come as the crisis passes.

With this historical analysis in mind, many business owners are also optimistic for a bright economic return. A recent PricewaterhouseCoopers survey shows this confidence, noting 66% of surveyed business owners feel their companies will return to normal business rhythms within a month of the pandemic passing, and 90% feel they should be back to normal operation 1 to 3 months after:Looking to the Future: What the Experts Are Saying | MyKCMFrom expert financial institutions to business leaders across the country, we can clearly see that the anticipation of a quick return to normal once the current crisis subsides is not too far away. In essence, this won't last forever, and we will get back to growth-mode. We've got this.

Bottom Line

Lives and businesses are being impacted by the coronavirus, but experts do see a light at the end of the tunnel. As the economy slows down due to the health crisis, we can take guidance and advice from experts that this too will pass.

April
6

Bathroom Remodel Ideas

With a few small changes, you can transform your bathroom from blah to beautiful. Remodeling your bathroom can have a significant impact on how much you enjoy your home, and it's also a project that can increase your home's resale value. 

Our real estate agents suggest the following seven bathroom remodeling ideas you'll want to try:

  1. Maximize Your Space 
    If you have a small bathroom, design the space with the idea of making it look larger. Installing glass doors for showers and tubs creates an open look, and you can also choose a pedestal sink since it will take up less room than a sink with cabinets underneath. If you still need storage, use racks that fit above the toilet.

  2. Update Your Fixtures 
    For comparatively little money, you can update your bathroom fixtures such as light fixtures, faucets, towel racks, and drawer pulls. These will give your bathroom an updated look and make a larger-than-expected difference in its overall appearance.

    Click Here to Read More...

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