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DIY Gallery Wall

Thinking about adding a gallery wall? Here’s a step by step process to make it easy!

Start With Art

If you’re goin

g for a modern look, choose a color palette and find art that fits within that. You can also try pieces that are from one collection, or ones that have a similar theme. If you want to make it appear like more of a long-time collection, use new and vintage prints and paintings.

Keep It Cohesive

If your images are going to vary, try to keep your frame choices cohesive – at the least, get them all in the same color. You will want any mat-boards to be the same color as well.

Make A Plan

Before adding any nails, lay your pieces out on the floor. Take a photo of your final arrangement so that you will know what you want it to look like up on the wall. You can also use painter’s tape to create outlines on your wall so you can imagine what the pieces will look like once they are up.

Use A Level

Making sure that first piece is hung correctly is one of the most important steps. If your reference point is crooked or slanted, the whole gallery can be thrown off.

Maintain Uniform Spacing

While the idea of a gallery wall isn’t necessarily to be perfectly organized, you don’t want it to appear messy. Leave the same amount of spacing between your pieces so the wall doesn’t appear haphazardly thrown together.

Use Measuring Tricks

Painter’s tape can be used in this step to mark off the amount of space you want between the frames. The tape will double as spacers between items as you hang the collection. Trying to use a measuring tape while hanging items can become frustrating, especially in small spaces.

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Millennials: Is It Time to Buy a Bigger Home?

Millennials: Is It Time to Buy a Bigger Home? | MyKCM

In today’s housing market, all eyes are on millennials. Not only are millennials the largest generation, but they’re also currently between 25 and 40 years old. These are often considered prime homebuying years when many people begin to form their own households and invest in real estate. If you’re like many millennials who are spending much more time at home these days, you may have a growing need for more space or upgraded features, making moving more desirable than ever.

For those millennials who already own a home, there’s a great opportunity to move up in 2021. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.comexplains:

“Older millennials will be trade-up buyers with many having owned their first homes long enough to see substantial equity gains.”

Even if you bought a home sometime in the last few years, you may have more equity than you realize, and that’s a big factor to consider when you’re thinking about moving. According to the Homeowner Equity Insights Report from CoreLogic:

“In the third quarter of 2020, the average homeowner gained approximately $17,000 in equity during the past year. This marks the largest average equity gain since the first quarter of 2014.”

Growing equity can be the driver you’re looking for to fund your next move, especially if what you need in a home is changing right now. As equity builds over time, it can be put toward the down payment on your next home.

In addition to equity gains, today’s housing market affordability is powered by record-low mortgage rates, so moving at a time when you can get more for your money may be more realistic than you think.

Bottom Line

If you’re a millennial thinking about moving this year, you’re not alone. Let’s connect to shed light on the equity you have in your current home and the opportunities it can create.

The Wheaton/Wass Real Estate Team

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How to Make a Winning Offer on a Home

How to Make a Winning Offer on a Home | MyKCM

Today’s homebuyers are faced with a strong sellers’ market, which means there are a lot of active buyers competing for a relatively low number of available homes. As a result, it’s essential to understand how to make a confident and competitive offer on your dream home. Here are five tips for success in this critical stage of the homebuying process.

1. Listen to Your Real Estate Advisor

An article from Freddie Mac gives direction on making an offer on a home. From the start, it emphasizes how trusted professionals can help you stay focused on the most important things, especially at times when this process can get emotional for buyers:

“Remember to let your homebuying team guide you on your journey, not your emotions. Their support and expertise will keep you from compromising on your must-haves and future financial stability.”

A real estate professional should be the expert guide you lean on for advice when you’re ready to make an offer.

2. Understand Your Finances

Having a complete understanding of your budget and how much house you can afford is essential. The best way to know this is to get pre-approved for a loan early in the homebuying process. Only 44% of today’s prospective homebuyers are planning to apply for pre-approval, so be sure to take this step so you stand out from the crowd. Doing so make it clear to sellers you’re a serious and qualified buyer, and it can give you a competitive edge in a bidding war.

3. Be Prepared to Move Quickly

According to the latest Realtors Confidence Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the average property sold today receives 3.7 offers and is on the market for just 21 days. These are both results of today’s competitive market, showing how important it is to stay agile and alert in your search. As soon as you find the right home for your needs, be prepared to submit an offer as quickly as possible.

4. Make a Fair Offer

It’s only natural to want the best deal you can get on a home. However, Freddie Mac also warns that submitting an offer that’s too low can lead sellers to doubt how serious you are as a buyer. Don’t make an offer that will be tossed out as soon as it’s received. The expertise your agent brings to this part of the process will help you stay competitive:

“Your agent will work with you to make an informed offer based on the market value of the home, the condition of the home and recent home sale prices in the area.”

5. Stay Flexible in Negotiations

After submitting an offer, the seller may accept it, reject it, or counter it with their own changes. In a competitive market, it’s important to stay nimble throughout the negotiation process. You can strengthen your position with an offer that includes flexible move-in dates, a higher price, or minimal contingencies (conditions you set that the seller must meet for the purchase to be finalized). Freddie Mac explains that there are, however, certain contingencies you don’t want to forego:

Resist the temptation to waive the inspection contingency, especially in a hot market or if the home is being sold ‘as-is’, which means the seller won’t pay for repairs. Without an inspection contingency, you could be stuck with a contract on a house you can’t afford to fix.”

Bottom Line

Today’s competitive market makes it more important than ever to make a strong offer on a home. Let’s connect to make sure you rise to the top along the way.

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Where Have All the Houses Gone?

In today’s housing market, it seems harder than ever to find a home to buy. Before the health crisis hit us a year ago, there was already a shortage of homes for sale. When many homeowners delayed their plans to sell at the same time that more buyers aimed to take advantage of record-low mortgage rates and purchase a home, housing inventory dropped even further. Experts consider this to be the biggest challenge facing an otherwise hot market while buyers continue to compete for homes. As Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.comexplains:

“With buyers active in the market and seller participation lagging, homes are selling quickly and the total number available for sale at any point in time continues to drop lower. In January as a whole, the number of for sale homes dropped below 600,000.”

Every month, realtor.com releases new data showing the year-over-year change in inventory of existing homes for sale. As you can see in the map below, nationwide, inventory is 42.6% lower than it was at this time last year:Where Have All the Houses Gone? | MyKCM

Does this mean houses aren’t being put on the market for sale?

Not exactly. While there are fewer existing homes being listed right now, many homes are simply selling faster than they’re being counted as current inventory. The market is that competitive! It’s like when everyone was trying to find toilet paper to buy last spring and it was flying off the shelves faster than it could be stocked in the stores. That’s what’s happening in the housing market: homes are being listed for sale, but not at a rate that can keep up with heavy demand from competitive buyers.

In the same realtor.com report, Hale explains:

Time on the market was 10 days faster than last year meaning that buyers still have to make decisions quickly in order to be successful. Today’s buyers have many tools to help them do that, including the ability to be notified as soon as homes meeting their search criteria hit the market. By tailoring search and notifications to the homes that are a solid match, buyers can act quickly and compete successfully in this faster-paced housing market.”

The Good News for Homeowners

The health crisis has been a major reason why potential sellers have held off this long, but as vaccines become more widely available, homeowners will start making their moves. Ali Wolf, Chief Economist at Zondaconfirms:

“Some people will feel comfortable listing their home during the first half of 2021. Others will want to wait until the vaccines are widely distributed.”

With more homeowners getting ready to sell later this year, putting your house on the market sooner rather than later is the best way to make sure your listing shines brighter than the rest.

When you’re ready to sell your house, you’ll likely want it to sell as quickly as possible, for the best price, and with little to no hassle. If you’re looking for these selling conditions, you’ll find them in today’s market. When demand is high and inventory is low, sellers have the ability to create optimal terms and timelines for the sale, making now an exceptional time to move.

Bottom Line

Today’s housing market is a big win for sellers, but these conditions won’t last forever. If you’re in a position to sell your house now, you may not want to wait for your neighbors to do the same. Let’s connect to discuss how to sell your house safely so you’re able to benefit from today’s high demand and low inventory.

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How the Sharing Economy Has Impacted Real Estate

sharing economy real estate

Over the last decade, the sharing economy has transformed the way we eat and travel. Sharing services such as Lyft, Uber and DoorDash have become ubiquitous in communities throughout America. At the same time, these concepts have infiltrated the real estate market in some compelling and disruptive ways.

Consumer and B2B Rental Lodging

These days, more and more individuals and companies are using Airbnb services to book temporary lodging. In most cases, patrons use these sharing services for short-term stays in place of traditional hotels. Other people use them as a replacement for apartment rentals for long-term lodging.

While many real estate owners use Airbnb platforms to make extra money from unused properties or even bedrooms; some real estate investors are making millions from their properties.

Escalating Home Prices

In many cities, the sharing economy has played a role in driving up home prices. In places with limited inventory, for instance, it can be hard on local buyers when real estate investors buy up properties to use them as short-term rentals for tourists. This is one of the reasons many communities have implemented laws requiring that short-term rental properties be owned by local residents.

Commercial Short-Term Rentals

Leveraging the same concepts used in short-term travel rentals, some real estate investors are using the sharing economy to make commercial offices a more profitable investment. Instead of leasing or buying office space, freelancers, entrepreneurs and small businesses are being invited to participate in co-office arrangements. These shared work offices come with amenities, furniture, utilities, internet access, and sometimes even P.O. boxes and mailing addresses to help startups appear more professional. Some larger corporations even use them for traveling or remote employees.

It’s Not a Free-for-all

While that sharing economy has brought lucrative opportunities to many, it isn’t for everyone. Property owners should be aware that many cities have implemented rules governing Airbnb services. While it may sound relatively straightforward, the legal definition of a short-term rentalsharing economy can vary based on the county or city. Some places have surprising laws relating to length of stay, while others have very stringent rules relating to structure types.

In addition to regulating structure types and lengths of stay, many local governments also impose legal restrictions on short-stay rental businesses. To keep real estate investors from renting an entire unit or property as a short-term rental, many cities require that the home be owned by a local primary resident. On the other hand, some cities, such as San Diego for instance, completely prohibit any type of short-term rental; while others regard short-term rentals as “hotels” that are only allowed in designated zones.

Since these types of regulations can vary significantly, it’s important for property owners to check with local institutions to find out what qualifies as a short-term rental and which types of licenses and permits are needed. In Colorado Springs, for instance, there are some pretty clear regulations and licensing requirements for anyone who wants to use their property as a short-term rental for BNB services.

Things to Consider

While it can be disruptive in certain instances, the sharing economy brings good opportunities to the real estate market. For investment buyers, it can be a lucrative way to ensure a greater ROI, as long as the property exists in an area that attracts tourists or business travelers.

For ordinary homeowners, the concept provides an opportunity to earn extra money and help reduce the overall costs of a mortgage payment. Still, to fully take advantage of opportunities, it’s important for buyers to have an ally who can educate them on the local laws and regulations that govern short-term rental properties in and around the local community.

While rules and regulations can vary, most cities and counties demand that all buyers acquire – at minimum – short-term rental licenses and general business licenses. Applications typically require owners to affirm that their properties meet safety and health requirements, are up to code and compliant with local zoning laws. Owners are also usually required to notify neighbors that they plan to use a home as a short-term rental. Property owners may also be required to provide evidence that the property is a primary or secondary residence.

With more than six decades of collective experience, The Wheaton Team provides invaluable guidance and expert advice for home buyers and sellers. Specializing in residential real estate throughout all of Colorado Springs, our team can guide you through the complex selling, buying and financing process. Contact our knowledgeable real estate professionals to learn more.

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Is 2021 the Year to Size-Up Your Home?

2020 was a year for change. Many lifestyle adjustments and plenty of time at home. During that time, you may have started to think about how much your current home suits your needs, even if you thought at one point that the home you’re in could be your forever home.

Last year impacted the needs of many in a variety of ways, and it’s okay to recognize that the home in which you currently live might not fit your lifestyle now. If you’ve turned a room in your home into a makeshift office or school space, you’re trying to exercise at home, or you are just spending more time in your own four walls than you ever expected to, you may be ready to move onto something bigger.

With an inventory drop of 22% over the last year and home price appreciation at 7.3% year-over-year, it has never been a better time to sell. Inventory has decreased and demand has increased, which has driven prices have been driven up. This is great news if you are a homeowner and you’re thinking about selling. Your home equity has likely risen as prices have increased and there’s a large pool of buyers searching for the perfect home.

If you can relate to all of the above and are weighing your options when it comes to selling and finding a bigger space, let’s chat today.

The Wheaton/Wass Real Estate Team  719.822.1444

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What Experts Are Saying about the 2021 Job Market

Earlier this month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released their most recent Jobs Report. The report revealed that the economy lost 140,000 jobs in December. That’s a devastating number and dramatically impacts those households that lost a source of income. However, we need to give it some context. Greg Ip, Chief Economics Commentator at the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), explains:

“The economy is probably not slipping back into recession. The drop was induced by new restrictions on activity as the pandemic raged out of control. Leisure and hospitality, which includes restaurants, hotels, and amusement parks, tumbled 498,000.”

In the same report, Michael Pearce, Senior U.S. Economist of Capital Economics, agreed:

“The 140,000 drop in non-farm payrolls was entirely due to a massive plunge in leisure and hospitality employment, as bars and restaurants across the country have been forced to close in response to the surge in coronavirus infections. With employment in most other sectors rising strongly, the economy appears to be carrying more momentum into 2021 than we had thought.”

Once the vaccine is distributed throughout the country and the pandemic is successfully under control, the vast majority of those 480,000 jobs will come back.

Here are two additional comments from other experts, also reported by the WSJ that day:

Nick Bunker, Head of Research in North America for Indeed:

“These numbers are distressing, but they are reflective of the time when coronavirus vaccines were not rolled out and federal fiscal policy was still deadlocked. Hopefully, the recent legislation can help build a bridge to a time when vaccines are fully rolled out and the labor market can sustainably heal.”

Michael Feroli, Chief U.S. Economist for JPMorgan Chase:

“The good news in today’s report is that outside the hopefully temporary hit to the food service industry, the rest of the labor market appears to be holding in despite the latest public health challenges.”

What impact will this have on the real estate market in 2021?

Some are concerned that with millions of Americans unemployed, we may see distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales) dominate the housing market once again. Rick Sharga, Executive Vice President at RealtyTrac, along with most other experts, doesn’t believe that will be the case:

“There are reasons to be cautiously optimistic despite massive unemployment levels and uncertainty about government policies under the new Administration. But while anything is possible, it’s highly unlikely that we’ll see another foreclosure tsunami or housing market crash.”

Bottom Line

For the households that lost a wage earner, these are extremely difficult times. Hopefully, the new stimulus package will lessen some of their pain. The health crisis, however, should vastly improve by mid-year with expectations that the jobs market will also progress significantly.

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10 Items You Shouldn’t Store in Your Pantry

Not all foods store well in the pantry, even if it says it doesn’t require refrigeration. Some can go stale, others grow bacteria, and a few develop mold. Here are 10 items that are better off stored in your fridge.

Garlic-Infused Olive Oil

Homemade garlic-infused olive oil can contain botulinum spores, which grow into the bacteria that cause botulism. Any oil infused with garlic should be kept in the refrigerator to prevent bacteria growth. Throw it away after seven days.

Pure Maple Syrup

Pure maple syrup can go moldy, so it’s best stored in the fridge. If you store your syrup in the pantry and the container is opaque, you may not see the mold until you’ve started to pour syrup on your pancakes.

Sunflower and Truffle Oil

Cold-pressed oils like sunflower and truffle oil have a short shelf life if they’re not refrigerated. As they’re pricier than some of their counterparts, it’s definitely worth keeping them cold to extend their usefulness.

Nuts

When stored in the pantry, nuts are more likely to go stale. If you frequently reach for the nuts, you may be leaving bacteria behind, and if you grab a few nuts while your hands are wet, the chance that bacteria will grow increases. Over time, you could end up with nuts that are both stale and covered in bacteria.

Salami and Other Cured Meats

Cured meats are prone to drying out if opened and stored in the pantry. Wrap the meat in butcher paper and refrigerate it to preserve its flavor and texture, and to protect you from potential illness.

Chocolate

You can extend the life of chocolate by storing it in the refrigerator. Before you stick it in the fridge, wrap chocolate tightly. Once the chocolate is wrapped, put it in an airtight container until you’re ready to eat it.

Tortillas

Though tortillas are rarely served cold, it’s best to store them in the fridge. Whether you use flour or corn tortillas, they’ll stay fresher longer if kept at a regulated cold temperature after you open the package.

Whole-Grain Flours

Whole-grain flours retain the bran and germ that gets removed from all-purpose flours. Both bran and germ contain oils that can go rancid if they’re not refrigerated or frozen, so keep your all-purpose flour in the pantry, but move the whole-grain to the fridge.

Natural Peanut Butter

Natural peanut butter, the kind that separates in the jar, needs to be kept cool. Like the oils in whole-grain flours, the oils in natural peanut butter can go rancid if left in the pantry.

Mustard

Most mustard containers indicate that refrigeration isn’t necessary after opening. But mustard loses its flavor and vibrant color fairly quickly. To keep it tasting and looking its best, keep mustard in the refrigerator.

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What Does 2021 Have in Store for Home Values?

 

According to the latest CoreLogic Home Price Insights Report, nationwide home values increased by 8.2% over the last twelve months. The dramatic rise was brought about as the inventory of homes for sale reached historic lows at the same time buyer demand was buoyed by record-low mortgage rates. As CoreLogic explained:

“Home price growth remained consistently elevated throughout 2020. Home sales for the year are expected to register above 2019 levels. Meanwhile, the availability of for-sale homes has dwindled as demand increased and coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreaks continued across the country, which delayed some sellers from putting their homes on the market.

While the pandemic left many in positions of financial insecurity, those who maintained employment and income stability are also incentivized to buy given the record-low mortgage rates available; this is increasing buyer demand while for-sale inventory is in short supply.”

Where will home values go in 2021?

Home price appreciation in 2021 will continue to be determined by this imbalance of supply and demand. If supply remains low and demand is high, prices will continue to increase.

Housing Supply

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the current number of single-family homes for sale is 1,080,000. At the same time last year, that number stood at 1,450,000. We are entering 2021 with approximately 370,000 fewer homes for sale than there were one year ago.

However, there is some speculation that the inventory crush will ease somewhat as we move through the new year for two reasons:

1. As the health crisis eases, more homeowners will be comfortable putting their houses on the market.

2. Some households impacted financially by the pandemic will be forced to sell.

Housing Demand

Low mortgage rates have driven buyer demand over the last twelve months. According to Freddie Mac, rates stood at 3.72% at the beginning of 2020. Today, we’re starting 2021 with rates one full percentage point lower than that. Low rates create a great opportunity for homebuyers, which is one reason why demand is expected to remain high throughout the new year.

Taking into consideration these projections on housing supply and demand, real estate analysts forecast homes will continue to appreciate in 2021, but that appreciation may be at a steadier pace than last year. Here are their forecasts:What Does 2021 Have in Store for Home Values? | MyKCM

Bottom Line

There’s still a very limited number of homes for sale for the great number of purchasers looking to buy them. As a result, the concept of “supply and demand” mandates that home values in the country will continue to appreciate.

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Turning a House into a Happy Home

Turning a House into a Happy Home | MyKCM

We talk a lot about why it makes financial sense to buy a home, but more often than not, we’re drawn to the emotional reasons for homeownership.

No matter the living space, the feeling of a home means different things to different people. Whether it’s a certain scent or a favorite chair, the feel-good connections to our own homes are typically more important to us than the financial ones. Here are some of the reasons why.

1. Owning your home is an accomplishment worth celebrating

You’ve likely worked very hard to achieve this dream, and whether it’s your first home or your fifth, congratulations are in order for this milestone. You’ve earned it.

2. There’s no place like home

Owning your own home offers not only safety and security but also a comfortable place where you can simply relax and kick-back after a long day. Sometimes, that’s just what we need to feel recharged and truly content.

3. You can find more space to meet your needs

Whether you want more room in your home for your changing lifestyle (think: working from home, virtual school, or a personal gym), or you simply prefer to have a large backyard for socially-distant entertaining, you can invest in a location that truly works for your evolving needs.

4. You have control over renovations, updates, and your style

Looking to try one of those complicated wall treatments you saw on Pinterest? Tired of paying an additional pet deposit for your apartment building? Maybe you want to finally adopt that fur-baby puppy or kitten you’ve been hoping for. You can do all of these things in your own home.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a move-up buyer who wants to start a new chapter in your life, now is a great time to reflect on the intangible factors that turn a house into a happy home.

The Wheaton/Wass Real Estate Team is here to help.  Call today: 719.822.1444