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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

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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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Chances of Another Foreclosure Crisis? “About Zero Percent.”

Chances of Another Foreclosure Crisis? “About Zero Percent.” | MyKCM

There seems to be some concern that the 2020 economic downturn will lead to another foreclosure crisis like the one we experienced after the housing crash a little over a decade ago. However, there’s one major difference this time: a robust forbearance program.

During the housing crash of 2006-2008, many felt homeowners should be forced to pay their mortgages despite the economic hardships they were experiencing. There was no empathy for the challenges those households were facing. In a 2009 Wall Street Journal article titled Is Walking Away From Your Mortgage Immoral?, John Courson, Chief Executive of the Mortgage Bankers Association, was asked to comment on those not paying their mortgage. He famously said:

“What about the message they will send to their family and their kids?”

Courson suggested that people unable to pay their mortgage were bad parents.

What resulted from that lack of empathy? Foreclosures mounted.

This time is different. There was an immediate understanding that homeowners were faced with a challenge not of their own making. The government quickly jumped in with a mortgage forbearance program that relieved the financial burden placed on many households. The program allowed many borrowers to suspend their monthly mortgage payments until their economic condition improved. It was the right thing to do.

What happens when forbearance programs expire?

Some analysts are concerned many homeowners will not be able to make up the back payments once their forbearance plans expire. They’re concerned the situation will lead to an onslaught of foreclosures.

The banks and the government learned from the challenges the country experienced during the housing crash. They don’t want a surge of foreclosures again. For that reason, they’ve put in place alternative ways homeowners can pay back the money owed over an extended period of time.

Another major difference is that, unlike 2006-2008, today’s homeowners are sitting on a record amount of equity. That equity will enable them to sell their houses and walk away with cash instead of going through foreclosure.

Bottom Line

The differences mentioned above will be the reason we’ll avert a surge of foreclosures. As Ivy Zelman, a highly respected thought leader for housing and CEO of Zelman & Associates, said:

“The likelihood of us having a foreclosure crisis again is about zero percent.”

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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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Selling a Home: 8 Questions to Ask Your Realtor

home selling questions to ask a realtor

Selling a house can be a complicated process fraught with all sorts of complications and potential mishaps. A good real estate agent can simplify the process and greatly improve your chances of success. To ensure that you enter the home-selling process with your eyes open, be sure to ask your agent the following key questions.

  1. What are your credentials?

If you’re thinking of selling your home, it’s important to hire a reputable agent with a state license. They should also belong to the local real estate trade association, which will give them access to the multiple listing service, or MLS, allowing them to list your property far and wide to attract more prospective buyers.

  1. Do you specialize in this area?

A local real estate expert can provide a huge advantage for sellers. Local agents are aware of available inventory, area market conditions and upcoming developments in the area. They will also know about plans for stores or other amenities that will impact the value of your home and determine how quickly it will sell. Local agents also know what local buyers are looking for in real estate. It’s important to remember that your agent needs to be able to sell not only your home but your entire neighborhood.

  1. What do I have to disclose to buyers?

While it makes sense to present your house in its best light, you must also be prepared to disclose some of its flaws. Colorado disclosure laws require sellers to alert buyers about the physical condition of a home, along with specific defects and the existence of dangerous materials or conditions. If you fail to adequately disclose specific facts, you could face lawsuits or various pending matters that could hold up the sale, impact property value or leave you liable for financial restitution. 

  1. Should I hire an inspector? 

Many buyers will include inspection contingencies in their offers. Sometimes, however, it makes sense for sellers to hire an inspector to perform a pre-inspection to check for potential problems before the property is listed.home selling questions for realtor

A pre-inspection can give you a chance to fix problems in advance and present buyers with a clean bill of health for the home. Since it will cost money, however, it’s best to check with your real estate agent to see if a pre-inspection is warranted for your property.

  1. How will you arrive at the listing price?

Few things are as critical to a seller than the price of a home. Your agent’s ability to set an appropriate listing price will go a long way toward determining your success. A home that is priced too high will languish on the market. If it’s priced too low, on the other hand, you may be leaving money on the table. It’s important to make sure your agent is an expert on the local real estate market and knows what similar homes have recently sold for.

  1. What is your sales plan?

A good real estate agent should have a written sales plan that identifies the marketing strategy to attract prospective buyers to your property. From listing services to social media to open houses, multiple marketing channels can help you secure a higher sales price. Make sure the agent is capable of providing professional photography, video and staging elements. This will make a better impression on buyers and improve the chances of a successful sale.

  1. What should I do to prepare my home?

Get your agent’s advice for necessary upgrades and repairs. Ask what hacks they might suggest for impactful, budget-friendly improvements that pique interest in buyers. Find out if they suggest whole-scale staging services or just some basic cleaning and decluttering.

  1. How will we communicate? 

Make sure your agent is willing to communicate according to your preferences, whether it’s by text, email or phone conversations. Knowing the frequency and method of communication can be important in selling your home. Your agent should be available to answer any questions that might come up along the way. They should also be willing to accommodate your schedule when it comes to planning open houses.

If you’re planning to sell your home, The Wheaton Team can help. We specialized in residential real estate in Colorado Springs, Monument and the entire El Paso County. Let us help streamline the complex selling process and help you sell your home for a price that meets your expectations. Contact us today to get started!