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Date Archives: July 2020

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July
27

Home Maintenance Issues To AddressAs a homeowner, protecting your largest financial asset should be a top priority, but many of us are guilty of turning the occasional blind eye when it comes to certain problems around the house. However, failing to take care of some seemingly small repairs can result in compounding problems and expensive repair bills down the line. Below are six home maintenance issues that you should never wait to address:

  1. A Damp Basement 
    Water in the basement is not a problem to ignore. Not only can it lead to property damage and foundation deterioration, but it also creates a breeding ground for dangerous mold and mildew that can have a hazardous impact on air quality. The longer the problem is ignored, the more time the mold and mildew has to grow. The first step to resolving the issue is to figure out how the water is getting in. A damp basement could be a sign that water is pooling near the foundation of your home. If this is the case, you may want to reevaluate your landscaping and check your gutters and downspouts. Worst case, you may need to install a drain tile.
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July
22

Best Time to Sell? When Competition Is at an All-Time Low | MyKCM

In a recent survey of home sellers by Qualtrics, 87% of respondents said they were concerned their home won't sell because of the pandemic and resulting economic recession. Of the respondents, 51% said they are "seriously worried." That concern seems reasonable considering the current condition of the economy. The data, however, is showing that home purchasers are still very active despite the disruptions American families have experienced this year.

The latest Existing Home Sales Report published by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed that 340,000 single-family homes sold in this country last month. NAR's most recent Pending Sales Report (homes going into contract) surpassed last month's number by over 44%, which far exceeded analysts' projections of 15%. ShowingTime reported that appointments to see homes (both virtually and in-person) have increased in every region of the country and are up 21.4% nationwide over the same time last year.

While buyer activity is surging, the number of listings has fallen to an all-time low. Zelman Associates, in their latest residential real estate report, revealed that housing inventory as a percentage of households has fallen to 1.2%, which is half of the long-term average and lower than any other time in our history.

Bidding Wars Heating Up Again

With buyer demand growing and the supply of available homes shrinking, purchasers are again finding themselves needing to outbid other buyers. NAR, in a recent blog post, revealed:

"On average, there were about three offers on a home that closed in May, up from just about two in April 2020 and in May 2019 (2.3 offers)."

Bidding wars guarantee houses sell quickly at a price near or even slightly over the listing price.

Bottom Line

If you're thinking of selling, don't be concerned about putting your house on the market right now. There's no better time to sell an item than when demand for it is high and supply is low. It is exactly at that time when you will negotiate your best possible deal.

July
21

Does Your Home Have What Buyers Are Looking For? | MyKCM

There's great opportunity for today's homeowners to sell their houses and make a move, yet due to the impact of the ongoing health crisis, some sellers are taking their time coming back to the market. According to Javier Vivas, Director of Economic Research at realtor.com:

"Sellers continue returning to the market at a cautious pace and further improvement could be constrained by lingering coronavirus concerns, economic uncertainty, and civil unrest."

For homeowners who need a little nudge of motivation to get back in the game, it's good to know that buyers are ready to purchase this season. After spending several months at home and re-evaluating what they truly want and need in their space, buyers are ready and they're in the market now. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR) explains:

"A number of potential buyers noted stalled plans due to the pandemic and that has led to more urgency and a pent-up demand to buy…After being home for months on end – in a home they already wanted to leave – buyers are reminded how much their current home may lack certain desired features or amenities."

The latest Market Recovery Survey from NAR shares some of the features and amenities buyers are looking for, especially since the health crisis has shifted many buyer priorities. The most common home features cited as increasingly important are home offices and space to accommodate family members new to the residence (See graph below):Does Your Home Have What Buyers Are Looking For? | MyKCMThe survey results also show that among buyers who indicate they would now like to live in a different area due to COVID-19, 47% have an interest in purchasing in the suburbs, 39% cite rural areas, and 25% indicate a desire to be in small towns.

As we can see, buyers are eager to find a new home, but there's a big challenge in the market: a lack of homes available to purchase. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com explains:

"The realtor.com June Housing Trends Report showed that buyers still outnumber sellers which is causing the gap in time on market to shrink, prices to grow at a faster pace than pre-COVID, and the number of homes available for sale to decrease by more than last month. These trends play out similarly in the most recent week's data with the change in time on market being most notable. In the most recent week homes sat on the market just 7 days longer than last year whereas the rest of June saw homes sit 2 weeks or more longer than last year."

In essence, home sales are picking up speed and buyers are purchasing them at a faster rate than they're coming to the market. Hale continues to say:

"The housing market has plenty of buyers who would benefit from a few more sellers. If the virus can be contained and home prices continue to grow, this may help bring sellers back to the housing market."

Bottom Line

If you're considering selling and your current house has some of the features today's buyers are looking for, let's connect. You'll likely be able to sell at the best price, in the least amount of time, and will be able to take advantage of the low interest rates available right now when buying your new home.

July
20

Thinking of Selling Your House? Now May be the Right Time | MyKCM

Inventory is arguably the biggest challenge for buyers in today's housing market. There are simply more buyers actively looking for homes to purchase than there are sellers selling them, so the scale is tipped in favor of the sellers.

According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), total housing inventory is down 18.8% from one year ago. Inventory is well below what was available last year, and the houses that do come to the market are selling very quickly.

Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac notes:

"Simply put, new housing supply is not keeping up with rising demand. We estimate that the housing market is undersupplied by 3.3 million units, and the shortage is rising by about 300,000 units a year. More than half of all states have a housing shortage."

Why is inventory so low?

There are many reasons why it's hard to find a home to buy today, stemming from an undersupply of newly constructed homes to sellers pressing pause on their moving plans due to the current health pandemic. One of the key factors making it even more challenging, however, is the amount of time current homeowners are staying in their homes. There has truly been a fundamental shift in the market that started about 10 years ago: people are staying put longer, and it's contributing to the shortage of houses for sale.

In the 2019 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, NAR explained:

"In 2019, the median tenure for sellers was 10 years…After 2008, the median tenure in the home began to increase by one year each year. By 2011, the median tenure reached nine years, where it remained for three consecutive years, and jumped up again in 2014 to 10 years."

As shown in the graph below, historical data indicates that staying in a home for 5-7 years used to be the norm, until the housing bubble burst. Since 2010, that length of time has trended upward, toward 9-10 years, largely due to homeowners aiming to recoup their equity:Thinking of Selling Your House? Now May be the Right Time | MyKCMThankfully, with the strength the market has gained over the last 10 years, today's homeowners are in a much better equity position. Now is a fantastic time for homeowners who are ready to make a move to break the 10-year trend and sell their houses, especially while buyer demand is so high and inventory is so low. It's a prime time to sell.

In addition, with today's historically low interest rates, there's an opportunity for sellers to maintain a low monthly payment while getting more house for their money. Think: move-up opportunity, more square footage, or finding the features they're really looking for rather than doing costly renovations. With more new homes poised to enter the market this year, homeowners ready to make a move may have a golden opportunity to do so right now.

Bottom Line

There are simply not enough houses for sale today. If you're ready to leverage your equity and sell your house, let's connect today. It's a great time to move while demand for homes to buy is extremely high.

July
20

Staging Mistakes

Staging your home is an important step to take before putting it on the market. It helps your real estate photos look more appealing, which brings potential buyers inside your door. And once the buyers are there, a perfectly staged home lets them visualize their family living happily in your home. Home staging mistakes, however, can have the opposite effect.

Our real estate agents point out the following common staging mistakes you might be making in your home. 

  1. Failing to Start with a Plan
    Start your home staging process by having a plan and strategy. Keep in mind who your home is likely to appeal to and stage your home accordingly.

  2. Neglecting to Make Improvements
    Making quick, inexpensive improvements to your home and fixing major problems that can't be ignored are important to prospective buyers. The most beautiful, appropriate staging won't hide maintenance issues that need to be addressed.

  3. Ignoring Your Home's Lighting
    A home with lots of artificial and natural light will look brighter and cheerier than a dark one. Take down dark or heavy window treatments and replace them with ones that let the light shine through. And add cool LED lighting to any space that has fewer than four lights.

  4. Too Much Furniture
    Including some furniture in your home staging is a good idea. Just make sure you don't have too many pieces since it can make your home seem small and crowded.

  5. Failing to Clean Thoroughly
    Even the nicest, best staged home will turn off buyers if it doesn't look and smell clean. Deep clean all areas of your home including your floors, windows, entryway, and garage floor.

  6. Keeping Things Too Personal
    Your home should have a neutral palette instead of boldly colored paint, furniture, and flooring. Personal items such as photos should also be removed and replaced with geometric artwork or something similar.

  7. Making Your Home Decor Overly Neutral 
    Neutral decor is important, but too much of it will make your home seem drab and unforgettable. Include some visual contrast by adding a pop of color with items like a decorative pillow, rugs, and wall art.

  8. Neglecting to Paint
    Paint looks dreary over time, so a fresh coat can help make a home look and smell new. This not only applies to your walls but also your ceilings.

  9. Misplacing Your Furniture
    Don't place furniture like couches and chairs up against walls or hiding in corners. Instead, move them a few feet away from the wall so you create natural pathways. Just make sure you don't create any barriers to a natural traffic pattern.

  10. Ignoring the Outdoors
    Taking care of the inside of your home is vital, but don't neglect the outside of your home. Outdoor areas that are well-tended show that you're taking care of your home. Take a little extra time and effort to add some touches such as a bistro table.

Contact us to learn more about how to avoid staging mistakes so you can present your home in the best possible way. Our agents have a great deal of experience buying and selling homes and can advise you on how to stage your home to attract buyers. 

July
13

New Neighborhood

When it's time to move to a new home, not only do you need to ensure that the home meets your needs, but you should check that the neighborhood is right for your household. Find the right neighborhood for you and your family by keeping the following 5 things in mind during your search. 

  1. Your Image of a Perfect Neighborhood
    Before you can pick a home in a new neighborhood, you need to determine what constitutes the perfect neighborhood in your eyes. Are you searching for a close-knit community where neighbors are quick to help out? Or do you prefer a neighborhood with large lots and lots of privacy? Make a list of the traits you value, and keep these details in mind when working with our real estate agents
  1. The Neighborhood's Transportation Options
    Another detail to keep in mind is what kind of transportation alternatives you prefer in your new neighborhood. If you want to minimize your use of a car, you might prefer a neighborhood in the city where you can walk to shops, restaurants, and other locales. Or, a neighborhood close to a local bus stop may be a good fit for your transportation needs. Maybe you don't mind a long commute and don't expect to walk or bike on a daily basis. In this case, you can expand your search. 
  1. Whether the Neighborhood has a Home Owner's Association
    When browsing prospective homes, ask if the neighborhood has an HOA. It's a matter of preference as to whether you want an HOA-governed property. Some individuals like the presence of an HOA and the standards that they set for homeowners. An HOA can strongly encourage homeowners to tend to overgrown lawns and gardens and tackle overdue home repairs. Others feel like HOAs are intrusive. They don't like to have any governing body restricting their activities.
  1. The Neighborhood's Noise Levels
    As you check out the exterior of a potential home, take a few minutes to listen to the neighborhood's sounds. If you're sensitive to noise, you'll want to make sure that any sounds you hear are sounds you'll be comfortable living with. Homes in a bustling area of your city may have a lot of noise at night from crowds, nearby music venues, and traffic. Properties in family-friendly neighborhoods may have the sounds of children and families enjoying a beautiful day outside. When possible, try to visit the property when noise levels are at their highest. This will give you a better idea of how effective the property is at blocking out potential noise pollution. 
  1. Whether There's a Potential for Further Neighborhood Development
    If the neighborhood is relatively young, it's possible that it might undergo further development in the coming years. New homes might be built, or new businesses may arise if the land is zoned for business usage. Additional construction isn't a bad thing (and often indicates that the neighborhood is located in an in-demand area likely to increase in value), but it can be a deterrent for some residents. After all, you might not want to live with the construction sounds! 

Ready to begin the search for your new neighborhood? Contact us today!

July
6

Budget Friendly Kitchen Upgrades

Is your kitchen looking a bit worn and outdated? One thing our real estate agents have learned in our many years buying and selling homes in Northern New England is that the kitchen is the most important room in the home. Here's how you can update yours on a budget. 

Click Here to Read More...

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