Holidays are over, and now it’s time to look ahead at the new year

What You Need to Know About Selling in Winter

Your home should look its best when it hits the market to help you get the best offers, and each season offers its own challenges. If you’re selling your home in the middle of winter, you’ll likely have to work around lackluster lighting and minimal visual assistance from your plants. However, here are some tips to make sure your home makes the best first impression possible.

1. Keep walkways clear.
Don’t let mother nature take up space on your walkways. Keep them clear to ensure the path to your house is safe and attractive.

2. Create atmosphere.
Make your home warm and inviting by keeping your thermostat set to a pleasant temperature when buyers come by, especially when it’s cold outside. You can tie in the idea of warmth by folding afghans or throw blankets across your living room furniture.

3. Let in light.
Pull back the curtains and open up the blinds before a showing to ensure you’re taking full advantage of any available natural light. A quick window cleaning will also ensure you don’t miss out on natural light.

4. Work with buyers’ schedules.
The winter months are often hectic as people try to accomplish tasks before the sun sets, so look for ways to add flexibility to your schedule so that buyers can view your home in the evenings and on weekends. Being flexible with your closing date can also help attract buyers.

If you or someone you know is thinking about making a move in the new year, give me a call! I’ll be glad to help.
How to Declutter and Help Your Community in 2020

What began as treasure can easily become clutter over the course of a year. If you’re looking to clear out items you no longer use, why not donate it to someone in need? Here are three things you can donate to make a positive difference to someone in your community and reclaim space in your home.

1. Coats
Are you running out of closet space? If you have coats you no longer wear, consider giving them to someone in need. It will free up space for your other storage needs and help someone stay warm in the new year.

2. Furniture
Big, bulky furniture can be very comfortable, but it also makes most homes feel smaller than they are. If you’re looking to reclaim space, consider donating over-sized furniture items to a charitable organization and investing in smaller-scale furniture instead.

3. Electronics
If you have working tablets, phones, computers, or TVs lying around that you no longer use, consider donating them to a family in need. Your old tech could be just what a student needs to help them succeed in school.
Home Maintenance Resolutions for 2020
Homes need continuous maintenance to keep them in good condition. Plan to invest one to four percent of your home’s value in maintenance costs each year to avoid losing home value!

1. Interior
If you invest time in some simple maintenance, you can keep the inside of your home looking like new. Some tasks your home may need include repainting the walls, restripping and resealing wood, or restaining trim and built-ins. Some more complicated repairs may involve replacing worn or outdated floors or rebuilding fixtures.

2. Exterior
Taking time each year to maintain the exterior of your home will help ensure your home doesn’t take in excessive damage-causing moisture. Some tasks you should complete each year include cleaning and repairing your gutters/downspouts, inspecting and repairing your roof, and repainting, cleaning, and repairing your home’s siding.

3. Systems
Part of keeping your home in good condition is ensuring your systems are running safely. Cleaning your chimney flue, replacing air filters, and other inspection and cleaning projects can keep your home and family safe by helping to prevent floods and fires caused by poorly maintained systems.

4. Landscaping
Keeping your outdoor structures and landscaping in good condition is also important. Keep an eye out for erosion issues, rodent infestations, and dangerous trees. You should also refinish your deck, fence, and other wood structures semi-annually.

The 2020 Real Estate Projections…

That May Surprise You

The 2020 Real Estate Projections That May Surprise You | MyKCM

 

This will be an interesting year for residential real estate. With a presidential election taking place this fall and talk of a possible recession occurring before the end of the year, predicting what will happen in the 2020 U.S. housing market can be challenging. As a result, taking a look at the combined projections from the most trusted entities in the industry when it comes to mortgage rateshome sales, and home prices is incredibly valuable – and they may surprise you.

Mortgage Rates

The 2020 Real Estate Projections That May Surprise You | MyKCM

Projections from the experts at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac all forecast mortgage rates remaining stable throughout 2020:Since rates have remained under 5% for the last decade, we may not fully realize the opportunity we have right now.

Here are the average mortgage interest rates over the last several decades:

  • 1970s: 8.86%
  • 1980s: 12.70%
  • 1990s: 8.12%
  • 2000s: 6.29%

Home Sales

The 2020 Real Estate Projections That May Surprise You | MyKCM

Three of the four expert groups noted above also predict an increase in home sales in 2020, and the fourth sees the transaction number remaining stable:With mortgage rates remaining near all-time lows, demand should not be a challenge. The lack of available inventory, however, may moderate the increase in sales.

Home Prices

The 2020 Real Estate Projections That May Surprise You | MyKCM

Below are the projections from six different expert entities that look closely at home values: CoreLogicFannie Mae, Ivy Zelman’s “Z Report”, the National Association of Realtors (NAR), Freddie Mac, and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).Each group has home values continuing to improve through 2020, with four of them seeing price appreciation increasing at a greater pace than it did in 2019.

Is a Recession Possible?

In early 2019, a large percentage of economists began predicting a recession may occur in 2020. In addition, a recent survey of potential home purchasers showed that over 50% agreed it would occur this year. The economy, however, remained strong in the fourth quarter, and that has caused many to rethink the possibility.

For example, Goldman Sachs, in their 2020 U.S. Outlook, explained:

“Markets sounded the recession alarm this year, and the average forecaster now sees a 33% chance of recession over the next year. In contrast, our new recession model suggests just a 20% probability. Despite the record age of the expansion, the usual late-cycle problems—inflationary overheating and financial imbalances—do not look threatening.”

Bottom Line

Mortgage rates are projected to remain under 4%, causing sales to increase in 2020. With growing demand and a limited supply of inventory, prices will continue to appreciate, while the threat of an impending recession seems to be softening. It looks like 2020 may be a solid year for the real estate market.

3 Benefits to Buying…

Your Dream Home This Year

3 Benefits to Buying Your Dream Home This Year | MyKCM

Outside of a strong economy, low unemployment, and higher wages, there are three more great reasons why you may want to consider buying your dream home this year instead of waiting.

1. Buying a Home is a Great Investment

Several reports indicate that real estate is a good investment, topping other options such as gold, stocks, bonds, and savings. Why? Real estate helps build equity, a form of investing for you and your family. According to CoreLogic’s Equity Report,

“U.S. homeowners with mortgages (roughly 64% of all properties) have seen their equity increase by a total of nearly $457 billion since the third quarter 2018, an increase of 5.1%, year over year.”

This means the average homeowner gained approximately $5,300 in equity over the past year. If you want to start building your equity, put your housing costs to work for you through homeownership this year.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Low

The Primary Mortgage Market Survey from Freddie Mac indicates that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have fallen since November 2018 when they hit 4.94%. In their latest forecastFreddie Mac expects rates to remain low, leveling out to a yearly average of 3.8% in 2020.

When you purchase a home at a low mortgage rate, it will impact your monthly mortgage payment, giving you the opportunity to buy more house for your money.

3. Investing in Your Family is a Win

There are some renters who haven’t purchased a home yet because they’re uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you’re living rent-free with your parents, you’re paying a mortgage – either yours or that of your landlord.

Today, rental prices continue to increase, and when you’re paying your landlord’s mortgage instead of your own, you’re not the one earning the equity. As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ you can use later in life to reinvest in your family. You can use it for a variety of opportunities, such as saving for your children’s education, moving up to a bigger home, or starting your own business. As a renter, it can be more challenging to achieve those types of dreams without home equity working for you.

Bottom Line

Buying a home sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings and long-term financial growth for you and your family. Let’s get together to determine if home-ownership is the right choice for you this year.

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