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The Holidays Aren’t Stopping Homebuyers This Year

The Holidays Aren’t Stopping Homebuyers This Year | MyKCM

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are behind us, yet finding the perfect holiday gifts for friends and family is certainly still top of mind for many right now. This year, there’s another type of buyer that’s very active this holiday season – the homebuyer.

Each month, ShowingTime releases their Showing Index which tracks the average number of appointments received on active U.S. house listings. The most recent index notes:

“The Showing Index reported a 60.9 percent jump in nationwide showing traffic year over year in October, the sixth consecutive month to see an increase over last year.”

Here’s the breakdown of the latest activity by region of the country compared to this time last year:

  • The Northeast increased by 65.5%
  • The West increased by 64.7%
  • The Midwest increased by 55.7%
  • The South increased by 54.7%

Why is the traffic so active?

The health crisis definitely put homebuying plans on pause for many earlier this year. Buyers, however, are in the market and making moves well past the typical busy homebuying seasons of spring and summer.

One of the main reasons buyer traffic has continued to soar in the second half of 2020 is how dramatically mortgage rates have fallen. According to Freddie Mac, the average mortgage rate last December was 3.72%. Today, the rate is a full percentage point lower.

Bottom Line

There are first-time, move-up, and move-down buyers actively looking for the home of their dreams this winter. If you’re thinking of selling your house in 2021, you don’t need to wait until the spring to do it. Your potential buyer is very likely searching for a home in your neighborhood right now.

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Knowledge Is Power on the Path to Homeownership

 

Homeownership is on the goal list for many young adults, but sometimes it’s hard to know exactly how to get there. From understanding the homebuying process to pre-approval and down payment assistance options, uncertainty along the way can ultimately hold some buyers back.

Today, there are over 75 million Millennials and 67 million Gen Z’ers in the U.S., making up a significant number of both current and soon-to-be homebuyers. According to a recent Fannie Mae survey of more than 2,000 of these individuals:

“88% said they are confident they will achieve homeownership someday.”

In addition, the survey also reveals that for younger generations, the motivation to own a home may be more emotional than financial compared to previous generations:

  • <50% say they want to use their home as an asset
  • 78% believe it’s the best way to live the way they want, without restrictions
  • 80% believe homeownership is the best way to make it on their own

Whether homeownership goals come from the heart or are driven by financial aspirations (or maybe both), the obstacles standing in the way don’t have to bring these dreams to a screeching halt. The same survey also reveals two key roadblocks for potential buyers. Thankfully, they’re both easily overcome with the power of knowledge and trusted advisors leading the way. Here’s a look at these two challenges potential homebuyers face today:

1. 73% of future homebuyers are unaware of low-down-payment mortgage options

For those who want to purchase a home, low-down-payment options are instrumental to affording one sooner rather than later, especially given the amount of debt many younger adults have accumulated. Fannie Mae also notes:

“Among the challenges they face is an unprecedented amount of debt, along with a lack of understanding of the mortgage process and their own purchasing power. Debt, in particular, creates many obstacles such as a limited ability to save and the fear of taking on more debt.”

Today, there are more than 2,340 down payment assistance programs available nationwide to help relieve this pressure. Understanding what’s out there and the options available may help many buyers become homeowners faster than they thought possible. In a year like this, with record-low mortgage rates making their mark in the history books, being able to take advantage of the opportunity buyers have right now is essential to long-term affordability.

2. 64% of buyers expect lenders and other real estate professionals to educate them about the mortgage process

While many people love to do a quick search online to find instant answers to their questions, it isn’t the only way younger generations want to consume information or build their knowledge base. As the survey mentions, having trusted professionals help them learn what it takes to achieve their dreams is definitely on their wish list too.

Bottom Line

If you’re aiming for homeownership someday, it may be in closer reach than you think. Let’s connect so you can learn about the process and get the guidance you need to make it happen.

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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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9 Tips for First-Time Home Buyers in Colorado Springs

first time home buyers in colorado springs

Colorado Springs is a great place for buying a new home. Unfortunately, purchasing a home for the very first time can be a stressful experience. Here are some tips for streamlining the process so you can find the home you’ve always dreamed of. 

 

  1. Hire a good agent. There is a lot to learn about the home-buying process and plenty of complex paperwork to go through. An experienced real estate agent can help make the process a lot easier and a lot more affordable. 

 

Since you will be working closely with your agent, it’s important to find someone you get along with well. The agent should also be highly skilled, motivated and extremely knowledgeable about Colorado Springs and the surrounding area. This will help you target the right home in the right neighborhood. It will also help keep costs down, especially if the agent is very familiar with the local market and available home inventory. 

 

  1. Know what you can afford. Before you begin looking for your dream home, you need to have a clear idea of your price range. Use a home affordability calculator to help you determine how much you can safely afford to spend without taking on too much unwieldy debt.

 

  1. Get pre-approved. Sellers typically will not accept an offer unless you have a lender’s letter stating you can acquire the financing required to close the deal. Having a pre-approval letter makes you look more serious to sellers, giving you an advantage over buyers who have yet to take this key step.

 

  1. Look into local financing programs. Even if you have your finances in order, you may still have trouble coming up with a down payment. Fortunately, there are a number of first-time homebuyer programs available locally and statewide. 

 

Before you start browsing for homes, check to see if you might qualify for a first-time buyer program available through El Paso County. You should also look into one of the following programs available to qualified first-time buyers looking to purchase a home in Colorado Springs and other Colorado communities. 

 

 

  1. Budget for closing costs. In addition to securing money for a down payment, you will need to budget for closing costs. This will generally run between 2% and 5% of your loan amount. 

 

  1. Pick the right neighborhood. Even if a home is perfect, the actual neighborhood could be a bad fit. So be sure to:

 

  • Research local schools, even if you do not have kids, since schools affect home value.first time home buyers
  • Look at local crime and safety statistics.
  • Map the nearest pharmacy, hospital, grocery store and other amenities.
  • Explore the neighborhood at different times on various days to check out noise, traffic and activity levels.

 

A good local agent can help give you invaluable input about specific neighborhoods, but only if they specialize in Colorado Springs real estate. 

 

  1. Stick to your original budget. Since it’s easy to fall in love with an overpriced home, it’s best to only look at properties that cost less than the amount you were approved for. Although you may be able to afford your preapproval amount, it won’t account for other monthly expenses that come with homeownership. Shop with a firm budget in mind to avoid getting in over your head. 

 

  1. Don’t just buy a home for today. It’s easy to focus on properties that meet your existing needs. If you plan to start a new family or expand your existing one, however, it may be better to buy a larger home you can grow into. Always consider your future wants and needs when deciding between available properties.

 

  1. Act fast. Colorado Springs real estate moves quickly in many areas because of limited inventory. It’s best to check out any newly listed homes that interest you as fast as possible. If a property is listed on a Monday, don’t wait until Friday to look at it. If you hesitate, you risk losing out to a more ambitious buyer.

 

If you’re thinking of buying your first home, contact The Wheaton Team. Over the past decade, we’ve established a well-earned reputation for specializing in residential real estate throughout Colorado Springs and all of El Paso County. Let us help you find the home of your dreams.