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Need to Replace Pet-Damaged Carpet?

As a pet owner, you know that accidents happen. There are a variety of reasons why our four-legged friends do their business or act out inside the house and on the floor. Maybe they’re marking their territory, or their anxiety may be manifesting in their clawing at the carpet. However, your home is probably your biggest investment, so you want to maintain its resale value—and keep it from looking and smelling like a litter box. So, what are the best options for pet-resistant flooring that would also appeal to future buyers? Check out the expert’s top recommendations.

Hardwood

If you have your heart set on beautiful hardwood floors, you’ll be happy to know that there are a few types of hardwood that are durable enough for Fido. Real wood floors are extremely durable and designed to withstand the traffic of busy families, including man’s best friend. Your dog’s claws will be less likely to scratch harder wood varieties like oak, maple, walnut, or—one of the strongest options—bamboo. The hardness of bamboo makes it more resistant to scratches, liquids, and mess, which helps out with pet accidents. If you’re considering bamboo, be sure to get medium- to high-priced bamboo flooring since the cheaper options aren’t as sturdy or scratch-resistant.

Porcelain tile

Your delicate porcelain dinnerware may lead you to believe that this type of material is not the strongest flooring option, but the experts say otherwise. The simplest floor to maintain—not only for pets but also for spaces with heavy traffic—is porcelain tile. Porcelain tile that has a glaze on it will not absorb any hazardous bodily fluids from pets and is easy to clean. An additional note is that sweeping, vacuuming, and wiping with a damp mop is all that’s needed to keep it sparkling. And, there’s an additional benefit to porcelain: It will not absorb odors. It is also recommended to use a grout that is nonabsorbent which will prevent liquids from seeping between the tiles and provide excellent stain resistance. However, you might want to avoid porcelain tile if your pup is older and has a hard time getting around. Many dogs do not have good traction on slippery surfaces, and older dogs may get injured and not be able to walk on surfaces without some tactile grip.

Luxury vinyl tile

Vinyl, in general, has come a long way since the days of disco. Luxury vinyl tile is a great, pet-friendly option as it’s scratch- and stain-resistant. Some varieties are even waterproof. Many people choose luxury vinyl tile because it can replicate popular (but less resilient) flooring options like hardwood or marble, and it costs way less. The cleaning is quick and easy and luxury vinyl tile doesn’t stain like carpeting.

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7 Questions to Ask at an Open House That Uncover the Truth

Open houses are undeniably a fun way to fantasize over property that could be yours. Still, once you’re done staring up at those high ceilings and peeking into walk-in closets, you should also try to get beyond the surface appearance of the place and take the golden opportunity to gather some valuable information.

In case you’re stumped on what to say, here’s a list of smart questions to ask at an open house. Whether you’re querying the listing agent or the home seller who happens to be on site, these topics will help you deduce whether the place is truly right for you.

Can you tell me more about the house?

This is a great way to break the ice and get the conversation going with owners or agents on site. This may seem like a vague question, but that is the point. Pay attention to what is mentioned first, and more importantly, what is not said, which could be a weakness.

What shape is this place in? Have there been any recent improvements?

It’s good to find out what improvements have been made so that you know they won’t need to be done after you purchase the place. If you find out that something like the boiler or roof was repaired or replaced recently, then the chances of it being required again soon are small.

While there really isn’t a way of anticipating when something would break or need to be redone, it’s helpful to rule out what won’t need to be fixed immediately based on what’s been done already. More information about the condition of the building or anticipated repairs should be disclosed during the due diligence process.

Has there been a lot of interest in the property?

This is a nice way of asking how much competition you could face if you make an offer. Just keep in mind that listing agents will typically try to paint a positive picture, so it’s up to you to read between the lines.

If the listing agent says things have been slow at the property and the listing has been on the market for an extended time, this may be your opportunity to negotiate a better price. On the other hand, if the agent informs you of high interest, this may be your cue to act more quickly than you might have planned.

When are the sellers looking to close?

The two main points that are negotiated during the purchase of a property are the price and the timing of the closing. You can use this information to tailor your offer to the seller’s needs. In other words: Some sellers may need to move out ASAP if they’ve bought a new home. Or if they’re waiting for new construction to be complete, they might need to cool their heels instead. If you’re flexible on your move-in date, you can highlight this in your offer to make it stand out—and maybe even snag a better deal as a result.

How much do utilities usually run?

This question can be an important part of monthly budgeting. All buyers are anxious to know what their monthly costs will be with utilities included. Principal, interest, maintenance, and taxes are easily available, but utility estimates may only be available from the owner. This is also a good question if you’re apartment hunting, as utilities could include different things at different places.

Some buildings include things like electric and gas in the monthly common or maintenance charges, while others require owners to set up accounts with the respective providers to be billed directly through them. Sometimes buyers assume that the monthly charges listed for the unit are all-inclusive and are surprised after living in the unit for a month to receive a $300 electric bill on top of the monthly charges from the building.

How much traffic can one expect in this area?

If an open house is on a weekend, which is usually the case, a buyer cannot readily know if there is traffic during the week for commuters going to and from work. Ask if this is a street that people use to avoid traffic lights or to get to school and work. It will give you an idea of the expected noise level and safety.

What is the neighborhood like?

Buyers want a neighborhood that fits their current or perceived lifestyle. Buyers almost always ask this question at open houses. However, it’s a tricky one for agents to answer because of the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits housing discrimination based on race, religion, sex, or family/economic status. That being said, this is where it pays to listen to the subtext. If an agent says, “Well, there is a great community playground in this cul-de-sac,” then you can probably deduce that the area is more family-friendly than upscale yuppy. This one will require a little sleuthing, but ultimately, it’s worth doing some digging at an open house to make sure what you see is what you get!

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How Sellers Win When Housing Inventory Is Low

How Sellers Win When Housing Inventory Is Low | MyKCM

In today’s housing market, the number of homes for sale is much lower than the strong buyer demand. As a result, homeowners ready to sell have a significant advantage. Here are three ways today’s low inventory will set you up for a win when you sell this season.

1. Higher Prices

With so many more buyers in the market than homes available for sale, homebuyers are frequently getting into bidding wars for the houses they want to purchase. According to the latest data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), homes are receiving an average of 3.7 offers in today’s market. This buyer competition drives home prices up. As a seller, this certainly works to your advantage, potentially netting you more for your house when you close the deal.

2. Greater Return on Your Investment

Rising prices mean homes are also gaining value, which increases the equity you have in your home. In the latest Homeowner Equity Insights ReportCoreLogic explains:

“In the second quarter of 2021, the average homeowner gained approximately $51,500 in equity during the past year.”

This year-over-year growth in equity gives you the ability to sell your house and then put that money toward a down payment on your next home, or to keep it as extra savings.

3. Better Terms

In a sellers’ market like we have today, you’re in the driver’s seat if you make a move. You have the power to sell on your terms, and buyers are more likely to work with you if it means they can finally land their dream home.

So, is low housing inventory a big deal?

Yes, especially if you want to sell on your terms. Moving now while inventory is so low is key to maximizing your opportunities.

Bottom Line

If you’re interested in taking advantage of the current sellers’ market, let’s connect today to determine your best move.

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There Are More Homes Available Now than There Were This Spring

There’s a lot of talk lately about how challenging it can be to find a home to buy. While housing inventory is still low, there are a few important things to understand about the supply of homes for sale as we move into the end of the year.

The Number of Homes for Sale Usually Peaks in the Fall

In the residential real estate market, trends generally follow a predictable and seasonal pattern. Typically, the number of homes available for sale (or active monthly listings) peaks in the fall. But in a chapter where so little feels normal, the question becomes: should we expect a fall peak this year?

If we look at the active monthly listings for 2021 (shown in the chart below), we’ll see that the number of homes on the market has increased fairly steadily since spring this year. The realtor.com data shows we’re still seeing an increase in active inventory month-over-month. While that gain is a bit smaller month-to-month (see August to September in the chart), September numbers are still up from the month prior.There Are More Homes Available Now than There Were This Spring | MyKCM.The important takeaway here is the latest monthly numbers show growth. At the end of September, buyers had more options to pick from than they did this spring. That’s encouraging for buyers who may have paused their search months ago because they had trouble finding a home. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, sums this up nicely:

“Put simply, this September buyers had more options than they’ve had all year and while that’s typical of early fall, that’s not what happened in 2020. Still, it’s important to remember that while buyers may have an easier time this fall than they did in the spring, the market remains more competitive than it has been historically at this time of year.” 

As Hale says, a fall peak in inventory is in line with typical seasonal trends. While it’s impossible to say for certain what the future holds for housing inventory, we do know both buyers and sellers have opportunities this season based on the latest data.

What Does That Mean for You?

If you’re thinking of buying a home, rest assured you do have more options now than you did earlier this year – and that’s a welcome relief. That said, today’s market is still highly competitive. This isn’t the time to slow your search. It’s actually the season when the number of homes available for sale tends to peak. Focus on the additional options with renewed energy this season and be prepared for ongoing competition from other buyers.

If you’re considering selling your house, realize that while growing, inventory is still low. Selling now means you’ll be in a great position to negotiate with buyers – and competition among buyers is good news for your bottom line. Eager buyers will likely be motivated to act before the holidays, giving you the benefit of a fast sale.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re buying or selling, there’s still a chance to make your goals a reality this season. Let’s connect so we can discuss what’s going on with the local market and current trends and what they mean for you.

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Do I Need Neutral Painted Walls To Sell My Home?

“If you want to sell your home, paint your rooms beige.” That could be the rallying cry of real estate agents across the country, and for good reason. Presentation and first impressions mean everything when selling a home, and the men and women who make their living selling homes know that neutral colors will generally spark more interest from buyers than bold colors.

Human beings are sensitive to color on a deep, emotional level. This makes sense: Our earliest ancestors relied on colors to tell them if a plant was ripe or safe to eat, for example. Those deeply ingrained senses of what colors mean in nature stay with us in our cities and suburbs; we may not need to make life-and-death decisions based on the color of a strange fruit, but we still carry the emotional cues that kept our ancestors safe.

This trait can complicate things when painting a house, however. A certain hue that you think looks perfect in your living room might trigger a deep sense of discomfort in a visitor. The deeper the color you choose for your walls, the stronger effect it might have on others. Conversely, the closer your home’s colors are to pure, neutral white, the less they will emotionally affect visitors — or potential buyers.

But an all-white home can be dull, not to mention extremely hard to keep clean. With a little awareness of color theory and some creative restraint, you can have the best of both worlds: a home in which color brings out each room’s best features, and a house that’s likely to sell without requiring major repainting.

Color psychology is the study of the emotional cues prompted in humans by various colors. These can be quite strong: Bold yellow, for example, can upset small children, while light yellow is commonly used as a gender-neutral color for babies’ rooms. Blue is often associated with calmness, serenity and cold temperatures. Red, on the other hand, may symbolize excitement, love, anger, warfare or energy. These are useful traits to understand as you plan how to show off your home’s best features to potential buyers.

But how do you turn an understanding of color psychology into an attractive, sellable interior design? The process is easier than you might think.

The Power of Color

The first step in applying color theory to your home is to understand what you want each room to say. Is a bedroom used for rest and relaxation for the adults in the home, or is it a bright, happy playroom for the children? Is the kitchen a family gathering place, or is it an area where high-tech styling makes meal preparation fast and efficient? Asking questions like these will help you define moods for your rooms. Compare these moods to the emotions evoked by different colors, and you’ll quickly create a list of general hues that are most appropriate for each room of your house. Narrow your color search further by looking at the paint colors in the middle or lighter ends of these ranges, since this will help you avoid painting too much wall space with a too-bold color.

Now comes the fun part: designing your rooms with color and furnishings to capture the moods you’ve identified. There are countless factors that play into making each room right, including the furniture and decorative items, the flooring, the quality of light through the windows and your desire (and budget) to change these. In general, you can often create stunning effects by choosing one or two items to showcase with bold color, offset by neutral complementary colors in the rest of the walls and furnishings.

It helps to keep a sense of restraint when choosing color and design layouts; a bold color can quickly become overwhelming if used too much, and too many complementary colors in one room can make even sparse furnishings look busy and cluttered. Try to limit each room’s color palette to no more than three colors: a bold accent, a middle-tone that can be used to frame the accent and a more neutral color for the background, like the walls. This will ensure that, while you will be able to break free of the all-beige, neutral-color blahs, you will still have a home that has a good chance of selling without major changes.

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What Might Your Homeowners Insurance NOT Cover?

There are things that can happen to their homes that their homeowners insurance policies don’t cover. Fire is the basic coverage provided by an insurance policy, while other common perils are water damage, theft, wind and liability. Earthquake and flood usually require a separate policy. In some states you can add earthquake coverage as an endorsement. It is important to discuss the risk you face and purchase the proper coverage. Just so you’ll be forewarned, here are eight other perils, besides damage from an invading squirrel, for which you probably aren’t insured.

1. Floods

Damage caused by flooding is excluded under standard homeowners insurance policies, according to the institute’s primer on what disasters are covered by insurance. That’s why it’s prudent to obtain flood insurance, either from a private insurer or through the U.S. government’s National Flood Insurance Program.

2. Earthquakes

When a 5.8 magnitude earthquake in Virginia shook the U.S. east coast in 2011, it caused as much as $300 million in losses and varying degrees of damage to 600 residences. Many of the owners may have been chagrined to discover that their homeowners insurance didn’t cover the cost of repairing the harm to their houses. Coverage for earthquakes, which can damage foundations and collapse walls, requires a separate policy, though a standard homeowners policy generally will cover damage from fires caused by quakes, according to the institute.

3. Sewer Backups

Sewer backups can be pretty messy, and they’re not covered either by homeowners insurance policies or flood coverage, according to the institute. Instead, you’ll need to purchase additional sewer coverage.

4. Maintenance Damage

Maintenance damage. Homeowners policies don’t cover damage caused to your home by your neglect of basic maintenance, according to the institute. Similarly, you’re not covered if your house becomes infested by termites and other pests, or develops mold.

5. Backyard Trampolines and Pools

Sure, they’re fun. But according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, both trampolines and pools are dangerous enough that some companies may not insure your property if you have them, or else may exclude liability for any injuries related to them. They also may even cancel your policy if you don’t inform them when you get a trampoline or a pool, or don’t follow the policy’s safety guidelines.

6. Dog Attacks

If your family pet bites a visitor, you’re typically covered for legal liability up to your policy’s liability limit — usually $100,000 — according to the institute. The average dog bite claim is around $39,000, so you should be OK. But it’s a bigger problem if you own a breed with a reputation for being aggressive, because some insurance companies won’t cover you at all.

7. Really Expensive Jewelry

Typically, homeowners’ policies set a limit on how much bling they’ll cover — usually around $1,500, according to the institute’s article on jewelry and other valuables. If you’ve got a lot of costly rings or necklaces, you’ll want to consider getting a floater policy, which covers any sort of loss, including dropping your ring down a drain. That’ll require you to get the items appraised professionally.

8. Your Stuff in Someone Else’s Basement

If you’ve got a friend or neighbor who allows you to store some of your possessions in his or her basement, you could lose out in the event of a disaster, according to Amy Bach, executive director of United Policyholders, a California-based consumer advocacy group. That person’s insurer isn’t going to cover your losses, since you’re not the homeowner. “You’d have to try to collect money from your friend,” Bach says.

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As Home Equity Rises, So Does Your Wealth

Tree growing on coins, money growing, business success concept.

Homeownership is still a crucial part of the American dream. For those people who own a home (and those looking to buy one), it’s clear that being a homeowner has considerable benefits both emotionally and financially. In addition to long-term stability, buying a home is one of the best ways to increase your net worth. This boost to your wealth comes in the form of equity.

Equity is the difference between what you owe on the home and its market value based on factors like price appreciation.

The best thing about equity is that it often grows without you even realizing it, especially in a sellers’ market like we’re in now. In today’s real estate market, the combination of low housing supply and high buyer demand is driving home values up. This is giving homeowners a significant equity boost.

According to the latest data from CoreLogic, the amount of equity homeowners have has continued to grow as home values appreciate. Here are some key takeaways from the Homeowner Equity Insights Report:

  • The average homeowner gained $51,500 in equity over the past year
  • There was a 29.3% increase in national homeowner equity year over year

To give you an idea of what that looks like in your area, the map below shows the average equity gains by state.As Home Equity Rises, So Does Your Wealth | MyKCM

What does all of that mean for you?

If you’re already a homeowner, you likely have more equity in your house than you realize. The numbers in the map above reflect year-over-year growth. If you’ve been in your home for longer than a year, you’ll likely have even more equity than that. That equity can take you places. You can use the equity you’ve gained to fuel your next move, achieve other life goals, and more.

On the other hand, if you haven’t purchased a home yet, understanding equity can help you realize why homeownership is a worthwhile goal. Homeowners across the nation gained an average of over $50,000 in equity this year. Don’t miss out on this chance to grow your net worth.

Bottom Line

If you want to learn more, let’s connect. A trusted advisor can help you understand where home prices are today, how they contribute to a homeowner’s net worth, and the impact equity can have when you own a home.

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25 Cheap Ways To Upgrade Your Home

1. Add some character and add texture to your walls with peel-and-stick wall panels.

2. Create a charming accent wall with peel-and-stick paper.

3. Upgrade your countertops to faux granite with a DIY paint kit instead of spending a fortune to replace it.

4. Reseal all those cracks in your tub and tile with caulking and make your bathroom look new again.

5. Update recess lighting without doing any electrical work with magnetic shades.

6. Install crown molding to help make your home look historic and charming.

7. Adding a fresh coat of paint to get that pop of color (or get rid of it) will give your home a touch-up without costing you a fortune.

8. Get the stainless-steel appliances you’ve always wanted at a fraction of the price with paint.

9. Add privacy and a touch of elegance, and make your windows look super expensive, with with “leaded-glass” film.

10. Paint your cabinets to give your kitchen that just-remodeled feeling for pennies versus what it would cost to replace them.

11. Add a new tile backsplash to give your kitchen (or bathroom) that gorgeous custom look.

12. Add a medallion to your light fixtures to instantly elevate your ceiling game.

13. Paint your ugly vinyl floors to get rid of the eyesore without ripping up the floor.

14. Bulk up your baseboards with paint and extra trim instead of replacing them.

15. Install shelving systems in every room to add storage.

16. Upgrade the fixtures in your bathroom to give yourself a mini spa experience.

17. Swap the handles on your cabinets and drawers to update your kitchen.

18. Add a doorbell to your home if you don’t already have one, or upgrade your current one.

19. Update light switches to give your home a fresh look and a tech upgrade.

20. Add some curb appeal and a pop of color by painting your front door.

21. Forget interior designers! Find matching fabrics, paints, and materials with a color match tool.

22. Get even more curb appeal by sanding down and painting rusted railings.

23. Consider these useful tips for upgrading your bathroom.

24. Cover door scuffs and prevent new damage with a metal kick plate.

25. Add adhesive mirrored tiles to the underside or top of your cabinets to subtly reflect light and make your space look brighter.

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Reasons You Should Consider Selling This Fall

Reasons You Should Consider Selling This Fall | MyKCM

If you’re trying to decide when to sell your house, there may not be a better time to list than right now. The ultimate sellers’ market we’re in today won’t last forever. If you’re thinking of making a move, here are four reasons to put your house up for sale sooner rather than later.

1. Your House Will Likely Sell Quickly

According to the Realtors Confidence Index released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), homes continue to sell quickly – on average, they’re selling in just 17 days. As a seller, that’s great news for you.

Average days on market is a strong indicator of buyer demand. And if homes are selling quickly, buyers have to be more decisive and act fast to submit their offer before other buyers swoop in.

2. Buyers Are Willing To Compete for Your House

In addition to selling quickly, homes are receiving multiple offers. That same survey shows sellers are seeing an average of 4.5 offers, and they’re competitive ones. The graph below shows how the average number of offers right now compares to previous years:Reasons You Should Consider Selling This Fall | MyKCMBuyers today know bidding wars are a likely outcome, and they’re coming prepared with their best offer in hand. Receiving several offers on your house means you can select the one that makes the most sense for your situation and financial well-being.

3. When Supply Is Low, Your House Is in the Spotlight

One of the most significant challenges for motivated buyers is the current inventory of homes for sale. Though it’s improving, it remains at near-record lows. The chart below shows how today’s low inventory stacks up against recent years. The lighter the blue is in the chart, the lower the housing supply.Reasons You Should Consider Selling This Fall | MyKCMIf you’re looking to take advantage of buyer demand and get the most attention for your house, selling now before more listings come to the market might be your best option.

4. If You’re Thinking of Moving Up, Now May Be the Time

If your current home no longer meets your needs, it may be the perfect time to make a move. Today, homeowners are gaining a significant amount of wealth through growing equity. You can leverage that equity, plus current low mortgage rates, to power your move now. But these near-historic low rates won’t last forever.

Experts forecast interest rates will rise. In their forecast, Freddie Mac says:

“While we forecast rates to increase gradually later in the year, we don’t expect to see a rapid increase. At the end of the year, we forecast 30-year rates will be around 3.4%, rising to 3.8% by the fourth quarter of 2022.”

When rates rise, even modestly, it’ll impact your monthly payment and by extension your purchasing power.

Bottom Line

Don’t delay. The combination of housing supply challenges, low mortgage rates, and extremely motivated buyers gives sellers a unique opportunity this season. If you’re thinking about making a move, let’s chat about why it makes sense to list your house now.

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Why Should You Stage Your Home To Sell?

As the real estate market turns sluggish, you may have to take steps to set your home apart from others. It won’t be enough to just put out a for-sale sign and wait for potential buyers. One way that homeowners can sell their homes more speedily is by home staging, which can have the added benefit of pushing up the selling price of your home. Basically, staging consists of arranging your home’s décor and furniture in such a way as to make the home have more of an appeal to prospective buyers.

In some cases, home staging can be a relatively simple and inexpensive undertaking. You may be comfortable with just cleaning up your home and removing all day-to-day items. On the other hand, you may want to consider investing a more substantial amount of time and money into your home staging project. The main benefit of investing in landscaping, painting and new furniture is that a potential buyer will come away from a visit to your home with a better idea of how his or her new home will look.

Home staging has been around since the 1970s. Although it began on the West Coast of the United States, the concept eventually spread to the rest of the country. There’s more to home staging than just decorating. The general idea behind home staging is to depersonalize your home so that a prospective buyer will be able to imagine him or herself living in it. By removing piles of newspapers and family photos, you’ll be able to increase your home’s appeal. Another tip is to choose neutral colors for your home’s carpet and paint. If it’s within your budget, you’ll also want to think about buying new appliances. Although many people do a good job of staging their own homes, you can also hire a professional to do the job for you.