The 2 Surprising Things Homebuyers Really Want

The 2 Surprising Things Homebuyers Really Want | MyKCM

In a market where current inventory is low, it’s normal to think buyers might be willing to give up a few desirable features in their home search in order to make finding a house a little easier. Don’t be fooled, though – there’s still an interest in the market for some key upgrades. Here’s a look at the two surprising things buyers seem to be searching for in today’s market, and how they’re impacting new home builds.  The 2 Surprising Things Homebuyers Really Want

Homebuyers Are Not Giving Up Their Garages

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) recently released an article showing the percentage of new single-family homes completed in 2018. The data reveals,

  • 64% of new homes offer a 2-car garage
  • 21% have a garage large enough to hold 3 or more cars
  • 7% have a 1-car garage
  • 7% do not include a garage or carport
  • 1% have a carport

The following map represents this breakdown by region:The 2 Surprising Things Homebuyers Really Want | MyKCMEvidently, a garage is something homebuyers are looking for in their searches, but that’s not all.

Homebuyers Are Not Giving Up Their Patios

Patios are on the radar for buyers as well. Community areas are often common amenities in new neighborhoods, but as it turns out, private outdoor spaces are quite desirable too. NAHB also found that,

“Of the roughly 876,000 single-family homes started in 2018, 59.4% came with patios…This is the highest the number has been since NAHB began tracking the series in 2005.”

As shown in the graph below, the number of new homes built with patios has been increasing for the past 9 years. Clearly, they’re a desirable feature for new homeowners too.The 2 Surprising Things Homebuyers Really Want | MyKCM

Bottom Line

Homebuyers are looking for garage space and outdoor patio living. If you’re a homeowner thinking of selling a house with these amenities, it appears buyers are willing to spring for those key features. Let’s get together today to determine the current value and demand for your home.

Make the Dream of Homeownership a Reality in 2020

Make the Dream of Homeownership a Reality in 2020

Make the Dream of Homeownership a Reality in 2020

In 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. led and inspired a powerful movement with his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Through his passion and determination, he sparked interest, ambition, and courage in his audience. Today, reflecting on his message encourages many of us to think about our own dreams, goals, beliefs, and aspirations. For many Americans, one of those common goals is owning a home: a piece of land, a roof over our heads, and a place where our families can grow and flourish.

If you’re dreaming of buying a home this year, the best way to start the process is to connect with a Real Estate professional to understand what goes into buying a home. Once you have that covered, then you can answer the questions below to make the best decision for you and your family.

1. How Can I Better Understand the Process, and How Much Can I Afford to Make the Dream of Homeownership a Reality in 2020?

Business people using tablet computers in meeting

The process of buying a home is not one to enter into lightly. You need to decide on key things like how long you plan on living in an area, school districts you prefer, what kind of commute works for you, and how much you can afford to spend.

Keep in mind, before you start the process to purchase a home, you’ll also need to apply for a mortgage. Lenders will evaluate several factors connected to your financial track record, one of which is your credit history. They’ll want to see how well you’ve been able to minimize past debts, so make sure you’ve been paying your student loans, credit cards, and car loans on time. Most agents have loan officers they trust that they can refer you to.

According to ConsumerReports.org,

Financial planners recommend limiting the amount you spend on housing to 25 percent of your monthly budget.”

2. How Much Do I Need for a Down Payment? 

Canva - 100 U.s. Dollar Banknotes

In addition to knowing how much you can afford on a monthly mortgage payment, understanding how much you’ll need for a down payment is another critical step. Thankfully, there are many different options and resources in the market to potentially reduce the amount you may think you need to put down up front.

If you’re concerned about saving for a down payment, start small and be consistent. A little bit each month goes a long way. Jumpstart your savings by automatically adding a portion of your monthly paycheck into a separate savings account or house fund. AmericaSaves.org says,

“Over time, these automatic deposits add up. For example, $50 a month accumulates to $600 a year and $3,000 after five years, plus interest that has compounded.”

Before you know it, you’ll have enough for a down payment if you’re disciplined and thoughtful about your process and can Make the Dream of Homeownership a Reality in 2020

3. Saving Takes Time: Practice Living on a Budget

Canva - Piggybank on Dollar Banknotes

As tempting as it is to settle in each morning with a fancy cup of coffee from your favorite local shop, putting that daily spend toward your down payment will help accelerate your path to homeownership. It’s the little things that count, so start trying to live on a slightly tighter budget if you aren’t doing so already. A budget will allow you to save more for your down payment and help you pay down other debts to improve your credit score. A survey of Millennial spending shows,

“70 percent of would-be first-time homebuyers will cut spending on spa days, shopping and going to the movies in exchange for purchasing a home within the next year.”

While you don’t need to cut all of the fun out of your current lifestyle, making smarter choices and limiting your spending in areas where you can slim down will make a big difference.

Bottom Line – Make the Dream of Homeownership a Reality in 2020

If homeownership is on your dream list this year, take a good look at what you can prioritize to help you get there. Let’s get together today to discuss the best steps you can take to start the process.

Can a Clean Desk Really Boost Your Productivity at Work?

By Julia Malacoff
clean-desk.jpg
ExperienceInteriors/Getty Images

January is all about fresh starts and taking the time to accomplish things you didn’t get the chance to do last year-like maybe finally dealing with your messy, cluttered desk at the office. In honor of National Clean Off Your Desk Day today (yep, that’s real), we decided to find out: How important is it really to your productivity and quality of work to have a clean and orderly desk situation? Does a cluttered desk actually equal a cluttered mind? (BTW, these nine “time-wasters” are actually productive.)

Are You a Minimalist or a Messy Worker?

Research on the topic is somewhat conflicting. While studies have shown that a messy desk can encourage creativity and even increase productivity, research also acknowledges that for more precise, detail-oriented work, an organized work space is much more beneficial. Your preference for messy or clean may also come down to personality, says Jeni Aron, professional organizer and founder of Clutter Cowgirl in NYC. “A desk is a highly personal environment,” says Aron. “Some people LOVE having many materials on their desk at all times; it makes them feel alive and connected to their work.”

How to Live, Work, and Earn Like a Boss

Learn tips for success from a life coach. Another smart move: Earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment when treating your team.

Often writers, artists, and academics enjoy this kind of environment because their notes and papers can actually spark new ideas. The problem, though, is when a person starts to feel unproductive because of their desk area. “Unfinished projects and missed deadlines are two indicators of not having a productive office environment,” she says. So basically, ask yourself if your work is suffering or you feel overwhelmed despite a reasonable scheduele. It could be that pile of notepads, boxes, or other stuff piling up on and around your desk. (One writer stopped multitasking for an entire week to see if it improved her productivity. Find out.)

Another important thing to consider? The vibe your desk is giving off to everyone else in your office. “Presenting yourself as an organized, confident, and together person is obviously quite crucial in an office dynamic,” says Aron. “It is also physically challenging to have meetings in a cluttered office. People might not feel relaxed or at the peak of their performance when their eyes are darting everywhere seeing your mess with nowhere to set down even a cup of coffee.” You want your coworkers, and especially your boss, to know you have it together-even if your desk is a hot mess.

How to Organize Your Work Space

On the other hand, it’s sometimes less important that your desk is organized than it is that your actual work is organized. “Having an organized work space is important, but what’s even more important is tailoring the organization of your work space to the organization of your work,” says Dan Lee, director at NextDesk, a maker of power adjustable desks. He suggests thinking about the way you successfully get things done and the tools that make you feel most productive before tackling any desk reorganization project. For example, “If you never use paper notebooks or printouts, why are they taking up valuable desk real estate?” he says. Instead, focus on making sure you have the tools you need to actually make progress, since that’s much more important than how your desk looks aesthetically. Aron agrees, noting that “having the ability to set up a system that works for who you are now-whether you’re a pile person or a file person-will encourage you to go through each day in a systematic and orderly way.” And that’s what really matters, right? As long as you’re getting your work done to the best of your ability, you should be free to choose whatever organizational system (or lack thereof) that you want. (Here, read up on the physical and mental health benefits of organization.)

According to Lee, there are two approaches you can take to reorganizing your work life. “One is the idea of doing a single-day deep clean, where you set aside a whole day (or at least an afternoon) to take everything off your desk and out of your drawers, clean all the surfaces, and put things back in an organized fashion,” he says. This might not be possible or practical for everyone, especially if you have a really hectic work schedule, so the other approach is more gradual. “Take 10 minutes at the start or end of each workday to toss unneeded papers, wipe down any crumbs or coffee rings, and put office supplies back where they belong,” he suggests.

Aron suggests taking your daily social media time (approximately 50 minutes for the average American-and that’s just on Facebook) and dedicating that time to your office clutter instead. The first step is to sit and decide how you would like to feel in your office, whether that’s at home or at work, she says. “Productive? Relaxed? Energized? You can use this feeling as your guideline for how to drive yourself toward making decisions about your stuff.” And instead of blocking off an entire weekend or day to get it done, schedule 30- to 60-minute intervals a couple of times a week until you get your space how you want. (Now that your desk is all set, you might want to get a head start on all that spring cleaning with these simple ways to declutter your life.)

Top Renovations for Maximum ROI

Top Renovations for Maximum ROI [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • If you’re planning on selling your house in 2020, these are the top renovations that will give you the highest Return on your Investment.
  • Regardless of how long you’re planning on staying in your current home, it’s smart to be aware of which home renovations add the most value.
  • The exterior of a house is the first thing buyers see when searching for a home. Upgrading your roof or siding will ensure your home leaves a great first impression!

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, looking at 2020 Real Estate 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

2020 Real Estate 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:The 2020 Real Estate Projections That May Surprise You | MyKCMSince 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

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:The 2020 Real Estate Projections That May Surprise You | MyKCMWith 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

Below are the 2020 Real Estate 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).The 2020 Real Estate Projections That May Surprise You | MyKCMEach 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 2020 Real Estate Projections

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.

2020 Forecast Shows Continued Home Price Appreciation

2020 Forecast Shows Continued Home Price Appreciation | MyKCM

Questions continue to rise around where home prices will head in 2020. The latest forecast from CoreLogic shows continued appreciation at 5.4% over the next year:2020 Forecast Shows Continued Home Price Appreciation | MyKCMAdditionally, ARCH Mortgage Insurance Company in their current Housing and Mortgage Market Review revealed their latest ARCH Risk Index, which estimates the probability of home prices being lower in two years. Based on the most recent results, 32 of the 50 U.S. states (plus D.C.) had a minimal probability of lowering by 2021.2020 Forecast Shows Continued Home Price Appreciation | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • Interest rates will be lower than they have been since before 1980 at 3.8% and are projected to remain steady throughout 2020!
  • According to CoreLogic, home prices will appreciate at a rate of 5.4% over the course of the year.
  • Experts predict that the number of homes sold next year will be equal to or outpace 2019.

Bottom Line

Experts forecast home price appreciation to continue at a moderate rate as we move through 2020 and beyond. With appreciation growing, let’s get together and plan for your next move.

Year-Over-Year Rental Prices on the Rise

Year-Over-Year Rental Prices on the Rise | MyKCM

Looking ahead, 2020 is projected to be a strong year for homeownership. According to the Freddie Mac Forecast,

“We expect rates to remain low, falling to a yearly average of 3.8% in 2020.”

If you’re currently renting, 2020 may be a great time to think about making a jump into homeownership while mortgage rates are low.

As noted in the National Rent Report,

the national rent index increased by 1.4 percent year-over-year.”

With average rents on the rise, this year-over-year increase may not sound like much, but it can add up – fast. The math on how much extra it will cost you over time surely doesn’t lie.

Here’s an example: On a $1,500 rental payment, an increase of 1.4% adds an additional $21 dollars per month to your payment. When multiplied by the twelve months in a year, it’s a $252 overall annual increase. The price continues to multiply when you rent year after year, as rental prices rise.

History shows how average rental prices have been increasing each year, and there doesn’t seem to be much end in sight. Here’s a look at how rents have grown since 2012 alone:Year-Over-Year Rental Prices on the Rise | MyKCMWhy not lock down your monthly housing expense, and at the same time build additional net worth for you and your family? If you’re thinking about buying a home, consider the financial benefits of what homeownership can do for you, especially while the market conditions are strong and current mortgage rates are low.

Bottom Line

With average rents continuing to rise, now may be a great time to stabilize your monthly payment by becoming a homeowner and locking into a low mortgage rate. Let’s get together to discuss how taking advantage of the current market conditions might work for you.