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Real Estate Continues to Show Unprecedented Strength This Year

Real Estate Continues to Show Unprecedented Strength This Year

Real Estate Continues to Show Unprecedented Strength This Year | MyKCM

The 2020 housing market has surpassed all expectations and continues to drive the nation’s economic recovery. The question is, will this positive trend continue throughout the rest of the year, especially given the uncertainty around the current health crisis, the upcoming election, and more?

Here’s a look at what several industry-leading experts have to say.

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist, National Association of Realtors

“Home sales continue to amaze, and there are plenty of buyers in the pipeline ready to enter the market…Further gains in sales are likely for the remainder of the year, with mortgage rates hovering around 3% and with continued job recovery.”

Frank Martell, President and CEOCoreLogic

“Homeowners’ balance sheets continue to be bolstered by home price appreciation, which in turn mitigated foreclosure pressures…Although the exact contours of the economic recovery remain uncertain, we expect current equity gains, fueled by strong demand for available homes, will continue to support homeowners in the near term.”

Zillow

Zillow’s predictions for seasonally adjusted home prices and pending sales are more optimistic than previous forecasts because sales and prices have stayed strong through the summer months amid increasingly short inventory and high demand.

The pandemic also pushed the buying season further back in the year, adding to recent sales. Future sources of uncertainty including lapsed fiscal relief, the long-term fate of policies supporting the rental and mortgage market, and virus-specific factors, were incorporated into this outlook.”

Bottom Line

Many economists are in unison, indicating the housing market will continue to fuel the economy through the end of the year, maintaining this unprecedented strength.

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Is it Time to Move into a Single-Story Home?

Is it Time to Move into a Single-Story Home?

Is it Time to Move into a Single-Story Home? | MyKCM

Once the kids have left the nest, you may be wondering what to do with all of the extra space in your home. Chances are, you don’t need four bedrooms anymore, and it may be a great time to sell your house and downsize, maybe even into a single-story home. You’ve likely gained significant equity if you’ve lived in your home for a while, so making a move while demand for your current house is high could be your best step forward toward the retirement goals you set out to achieve several years ago.

The dilemma, though, is where to go next. A big concern for many homeowners who are ready to sell is finding a home to move into, given today’s lack of houses available for sale. There is, however, some good news: the number of single-family 1-story homes being built today is on the rise, improving your odds of finding the right home for your changing needs. In a recent article, The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) explains:

“Nationwide, the share of new homes with two or more stories fell from 53% in 2018 to 52% in 2019, while the share of new homes with one story grew from 47% to 48%.”

Here’s a map showing the breakdown of newly constructed homes being built by region, and the percentage of 1-story and 2-story homes in that mix:Is it Time to Move into a Single-Story Home? | MyKCM

What are the benefits of buying a one-story home?

Still not sure about buying a single-story home? An article from Home Talk covers several advantages of switching from two floors to one:

1. Energy Efficient

“It is easier to heat and cool a single-story house [than] it would be to regulate the temperatures of a multi-story house.”

Most single-story homes only need one heating or cooling unit, and they typically stay cooler than a two-story home, both of which can lead to significant savings.

2. Easier to Maintain

“Doing a general cleaning in a single story requires less effort and you will be able to see all areas that need cleaning and the areas are easily accessible.”

Cleaning and maintenance of a single-story home can take less time and effort, and better upkeep helps improve the overall value of the home.

3. Accessible for Everyone

“A single-story house can be accessed by anyone, whether they are young children or the senior citizens.”

If you’re looking for a house that provides a safe and easily accessible environment at any age, a single-story home may be optimal.

4. Good Resell Potential

“When buying a single-story house, you should consider the resale value should you think of reselling it in case of a circumstance that can happen. Look at the growth rate of that area. Due to the high demand of these types of houses it is [easy] to resell them and depending on the growth rate of an area, it increases in value significantly.”

Single-story homes have a lot of benefits and are often in higher demand. This bodes well for future resale opportunities.

Bottom Line

There are many benefits to downsizing into a one-story home. Doing so while demand for your current house is high might make it easier than ever to make a move. Let’s connect if you’re ready to purchase the single-story home you need while homes are so affordable today.

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Why Pricing Your House Right Is Essential

Why Pricing Your House Right Is Essential

Why Pricing Your House Right Is Essential | MyKCM

In today’s real estate market, setting the right price for your house is one of the most valuable things you can do.

According to the U.S. Economic Outlook by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), existing home prices nationwide are forecasted to increase 4.7% in 2020 and 4.1% in 2021. This means experts anticipate home values will continue climbing into next year. Today, low inventory is largely keeping prices from depreciating. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.comnotes:

“Looking at the sheer number of buyers, low mortgage rates, and limited sellers, the strength of home prices–which are now growing at the highest pace since January 2018–makes sense.”

When it comes to pricing your home, the goal is to increase visibility and drive more buyers your way. Instead of trying to win the negotiation with one buyer, you should price your house so that demand is maximized and more buyers want to take a look.

How to Price Your Home

As a seller, you might be thinking about pricing your house on the high end while so many of today’s buyers are searching harder than ever just to find a home to purchase. You’re thinking, higher price, greater profit, right? But here’s the thing – a high price tag does not mean you’re going to cash in big on the sale. It’s actually more likely to deter buyers and have them looking at the houses your neighbors are selling instead.

Even today, when the advantage tips toward sellers because there are so few houses for sale, your house is more likely to sit on the market longer or require a price drop that can send buyers running in the other direction if it isn’t priced just right.Why Pricing Your House Right Is Essential | MyKCM

A Trusted Real Estate Professional Will Help

It’s important to make sure your house is priced correctly by working in partnership with a trusted real estate professional. When you price it competitively, you won’t be negotiating with one buyer over the price. Instead, you’ll have multiple buyers competing for the home, and that’s what ultimately increases the final sale price.

The key is making sure your house is priced to sell immediately. That way, it will be seen by the most buyers. More than one of them may be interested, and your house will be more likely to sell at a competitive price.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about listing your house this fall, let’s discuss how to price it right so you can maximize your exposure and your return.

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6 SMART HOME DEVICES FOR LESS THAN $100

Every day, the world presents us with new technology. It seems like there isn’t much left that technology can’t do. Thankfully, with every advancement, many items have become more affordable. While a high-tech home may not be the choice for everyone, there are plenty of budget-friendly options to try out if you are interested in making your home a little bit more accessible. Here are 6 items to try:

  1. Smart Speakers

    Setting reminders, asking questions, and playing music on demand has never been so easy! Smart speakers are capable of making lists for you, looking up recipes, and so much more.

  2. Smart Plugs

    Left the coffee pot plugged in and need to turn it off, but you aren’t home? Smart plugs allow you to turn off (and on) something plugged in from your phone. These are also great for lighting systems like lamps or even holiday lights.

  3. Smart Doorbells

    Smart doorbells are an incredible investment. Monitor who is ringing your doorbell, when packages are dropped off, and so much more all with your phone!

  4. Smart Locks

    Lost keys? Need to let someone in to water your plants while you are out of town? Smart Locks allow you to use your phone to lock and unlock your door, or just use a keypad!

  5. Smart Switches

    Smart switches allow you to turn lights off and on with your phone. Next time you forget to turn off the kitchen light and you are already in bed, smart switches can save the day!

  6. Smart Bulbs

    Adjust the brightness of color in any room when you install smart bulbs. Great for kids or rooms where you want to be able to dim the lights!

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Tips for DIY Real Estate Photography

real estate photography tips

Real estate listing photos are critical for piquing interest in buyers. But how do you take professional-looking pictures that accentuate a property’s best features? Read on to learn how you can take beautiful, compelling photos that will put your home’s best foot forward.

Get the Right Gear

To take quality real estate photos that frame your property in the best light, you need the right equipment and the ability to shoot in manual mode. This includes a wide-angle lens of up to 24mm, which will allow you to capture an expansive area of each room inside a single frame while stretching and elongating to make space seem larger.

Although it isn’t essential, a tripod is a good idea for less-experienced photographers. Because it’s steady, a tripod allows you to use very slow shutter speeds to utilize the ambient light. It will also help ensure that you are always shooting from the correct height with each photo, in every single room.

Prepare a Strategy

It’s a good idea to make a list of all the essential rooms, so you can spend some time preparing each one for your photoshoot. Declutter and depersonalize, so it will be easier for prospective buyers to imagine themselves living in the home. Try to determine each room’s best feature and use that as the focal point for your photos.

Shoot at the Right Height

real estate photography tips DIYFor real estate photography, you should always try to shoot at around five feet. This tends to provide an ideal view of each room. If you go too low or too high, it can give a distorted view of the home. This is another reason why it’s a good idea to use a tripod for real estate photography.

Ensure Optimal Lighting

Natural light is generally easy to photograph, and a tripod will allow you to use slow shutter speeds to make the most of any ambient light in low-light environments. Even if a home already has a lot of great natural light, however, you should still turn on the internal lights to give the home an inviting warmth.

When shooting indoors during the day, the outdoors will usually appear brighter than the indoors. Unfortunately, you can only expose for one or the other. In these situations, it’s best to take two exposures: one for the outdoors and one for the indoors. Then layer both images in Photoshop, and brush back to create a perfectly exposed view out windows.

Consider Vertical Distortion

When setting up each shot, make sure you frame each photo so the vertical lines of walls and doorways are straight. Since wide-angle lenses can distort vertical lines, you may need to fix this in post-processing.

Choose the Right Settings

With real estate photography, it’s best to get everything in sharp focus by using an aperture of around f8 to f/11. You should also be sure to use your shutter speed and ISO to balance your exposure. If all this sounds like a foreign language to you, it may be better to hire a professional.

Your real estate agent should be able to connect you with a qualified photographer who can take beautiful photos that will frame your home in the best possible light. On average, most real estate photographers charge around $200 or less for homes less than 3,000 square feet. For larger houses, they may charge from $250 to $500.

Depending on your experience using a camera, it may be worth it to spend a little money to avoid the headache of a DIY photo shoot and ensure that you have professional pictures that elevate the look of your home.

Keep Your Editing Simple

Modern editing tools create a world of possibilities that can drastically enhance – and ruin – photos. Real estate photography is no place for fancy filters that give buyers unrealistic expectations that fall flat the moment they walk in for a showing.

During the editing process, resist the latest trends and go for a clean edit that remains true to real-life colors. If you decide to add a little contrast enhancement for some extra oomph, use moderation. When it comes to impactful real estate photography, subtlety is key.

Thinking of selling a home? The Wheaton Team can help. With more than six decades of combined experience, our knowledgeable team specializes in residential real estate throughout all of El Paso County, including Colorado Springs and the Tri-Lakes area. Let us guide you through each step of the selling process, so you can get a price that meets your expectations.

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How Do Realtors Get Paid?

how do realtors get paid

A real estate agent can streamline the complex process of selling or buying a new home. In return for their guidance and expertise, your agent will typically collect a commission based on a set percentage of a property’s selling price. Read on for an in-depth look into how your agent will be compensated for his or her services.

Digging Deeper into Commissions

Most real estate agents earn a living through commissions, which are essentially payments made directly to brokers for all the necessary services rendered in the purchase or sale of a real estate property.

A commission is typically a percentage of the home’s selling price, although it can sometimes be a flat fee. While agents rely on commissions for income, they usually only get a slice of the pie. To understand how agents are paid, it helps to know about the relationship between agents and brokers.

Agents and Brokers

Professional agents are licensed salespeople who work under the umbrella of a designated real estate broker. It’s important to note that an how realtors get paidagent is not able to work independently and is prohibited from being paid any commission directly by a consumer.

On the other hand, a broker is able to work independently and/or hire real estate agents. In most cases, real estate commissions are paid directly to the broker, who then splits the commission with the agent or agents involved in the transaction.

The broker’s compensation will almost always be specified in the listing agreement, and the rate of the broker’s commission is usually negotiable. Commissions are funded by sale proceeds, and it’s usually the seller who pays them, unless the seller and buyer negotiate a split.

Most sellers factor agent/broker commissions into a home’s asking price, so it could be argued that the buyer pays at least some portion of the commission in either case due to the inevitable increase in the overall asking price.

How Commissions Get Divided

Real estate commissions are often divided among several different people. In a standard real estate transaction, the commission might be shared between up to four professionals, including:

  • Buyer’s agent
  • Buyer’s agent’s broker
  • Listing agent
  • Listing broker

For instance, let’s consider an example of an agent who has taken a listing on a $400,000 property at a 6% commission rate. If the home sells for the asking price, the listing broker and the buyer’s agent’s broker would get 50% of the commission ($400,000 sales price x 0.06 commission ÷ 2 = $12,000 each). The brokers would then split the commissions with the agents.

It’s common for commissions to be divided so 40% goes to the broker and 60% goes to the agent; however, the split could also be split at whatever ratio the broker and agent have agreed upon. In a 60/40 split, each agent in the above example would receive $7,200 ($12,000 X 0.6), and each broker would receive $4,800 ($12,000 X 0.4). The final breakdown would be:

  • Buyer’s agent—$7,200
  • Buyer’s agent’s broker—$4,800
  • Listing agent—$7,200
  • Listing broker—$4,800

Commissions are sometimes divided among fewer people. For instance, when brokers list a property and also identify a buyer, they may keep the full 6% commission. Or, if a listing agent sells a home acting as both the buyer’s agent and listing agent, he or she would only need to split the commission with the sponsoring broker.

Of course, as with almost every other financial transaction, all parties must contend with taxes and business expenses. This includes everything from federal, state and self-employment taxes to the many costs of doing business, including dues and fees, insurance and advertising. All of this can turn what appears to be a substantial commission into a much more modest profit.

Things to Consider

Commissions are typically only paid when a transaction settles. There are certain instances, however, when a seller might be liable for the broker’s commission even when a real estate transaction is not closed. For example, if the broker already has an offer from a willing and able buyer, he or she may still be entitled to claim a commission if the seller:

  • Chances his or her mind and refuses to sell
  • Has a title with uncorrected defects
  • Agrees with the buyer to cancel the transaction
  • Commits any sort of fraud in relation to the transaction
  • Insists on terms that weren’t included in the listing agreement
  • Can’t deliver possession of the home to the buyer within a reasonable timeframe
  • Has a spouse who refuses to sign the deed after already signing the listing agreement

The Bottom Line

In rare instances, real estate agents are employed by their brokers and paid an annual salary. Most commonly, however, agents earn income through commissions paid to brokers when real estate transactions are settled.

Thinking of buying or selling a home? The Wheaton Team can help. With 60-plus years of combined experience, our team specializes in residential real estate throughout Colorado Springs and all of El Paso County. Let us guide you through each step of the selling, buying and financing process, so you can turn your vision into reality.

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How Often Must a Colorado Real Estate License Be Renewed?

renew colorado real estate license

To protect consumers and prevent predatory practices, the state of Colorado requires real estate agents to acquire a professional license. Here’s what you should know about this license, including what it entails, why it’s required and how often it must be renewed.

Why licenses are required

As with any profession, a certified license affirms that a person has undergone a certain amount of training. It also demonstrates that the professional has accumulated enough expertise to pass examinations that confirm their industry knowledge.

While licensing requirements vary by state, the typical Colorado real estate agent has to complete several hours of real estate coursework. They must also become knowledgeable about all relevant local, state and national real estate practices and laws. Certified agents are also required to continue their education and must go through a regular renewal process to keep their certification from expiring.

How do agents obtain licenses?

To become certified, agents must complete 168 hours of approved pre-licensing education at an accredited school with DORA-approved college-level real estate courses. They must also complete a routine background check conducted by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

If they make it this far, agents are able to apply for licensing exams. This comprehensive final exam consists of 100 Colorado-specific questions and another 100 national questions. If they pass the test, the agent will need to provide proof of Errors & Omissions insurance. Then, they can complete their state real estate license application and await approval.

When do licenses have to be renewed?

To operate as a real estate agent in the state of Colorado, a person is legally required to obtain a license. They must also renew this license every three years. Agents are required to renew their licenses frequently to ensure that they adhere to the state’s continuing education requirements for real estate professionals.

Licenses aren’t everything

renew colorado real estate license 2While they do prove that an agent has received a minimum amount of education, real estate licenses don’t tell you much about a person’s experience, communication or professionalism. It takes years for savvy agents to accumulate the expertise they need to serve clients. It also takes years to develop reputations — either good or bad — which help clients decide on whether an agent will have their best interests at heart.

In virtually every industry, people prefer to work with professionals who have extensive experience and expertise. Real estate is no different. In fact, experience is more critical in real estate than in many other industries.

Without extensive experience, agents can have difficulty streamlining the complex home selling and buying process. They may overlook key details and have trouble attracting interested buyers. Inexperienced agents also tend to lack knowledge about local markets and the communities in which they work. On the other hand, experienced agents know how to pique interest in buyers and represent the best interests of the clients they serve.

They also know how to handle complex paperwork and navigate the many steps that go into each transaction. Experienced agents can efficiently identify and predict trends. They can tell you the neighborhoods that are trending up or down and explain why. If you don’t need to sell or buy right away, they can recommend when you should wait and when you should act.

Experience also plays a critical role at the negotiating table. Negotiating is an art form that is honed by frequent practice. Experienced agents often have insight into who is motivated to sell quickly and who has the patience to sit and wait for a more favorable deal.

It’s also important to understand that selling or buying a home typically requires working with vendors such as title companies, mortgage lenders, home inspectors, appraisers, pest inspectors and general contractors. Because they’ve been in the industry so long, experienced agents know who to avoid and who to trust.

Whether you’re planning to buy or sell a home, it’s important to make sure you are working with a licensed agent. It’s also important to make sure the agent has extensive industry experience, so there won’t be any surprises or needless complications that could torpedo the sale or purchase of a home.

Thinking of buying or selling a home? The Wheaton Team can help. With 60-plus years of combined experience, our team specializes in residential real estate throughout all of El Paso County, including Colorado Springs and the Tri-Lakes area. Let us guide you through each step of the selling, buying and financing process, so you can turn dreams into reality.