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Nov. 1, 2022

Our latest Spotlight on Waco Episode at Junkyard Jewel Boutique

Posted in Spotlight on Waco
Oct. 31, 2022

Taking the Fear out of Saving for a Home

If you’re planning to buy a home, knowing what to budget for and how to save may sound scary at first. But it doesn’t have to be. One way to take the fear out of budgeting is understanding some of the costs you might encounter.  And to do that, turn to trusted real estate professionals. They can help you plan your finances and prepare your budget.

Here are just a few costs experts say you can expect.

1. Down Payment

Saving for your down payment is likely top of mind as you set out to buy a home. But do you know how much you’ll need to save? While each situation is different, there’s a common misconception that putting 20% down toward your purchase is required. An article from the Mortgage Reports explains why that’s not always the case:

“The idea that you have to put 20% down on a house is a myth. . . . The right amount depends on your current savings and your home buying goals.”

To understand your options, partner with a trusted real estate professional to go over the various loan types, down payment assistance programs, and what each one requires.

2. Closing Costs

Make sure you also budget for closing costs, which are a collection of fees and payments made to the various people involved in your transaction. Bankrate explains:

Closing costs are the fees you pay when finalizing a real estate transaction, whether you’re refinancing a mortgage or buying a new home. These costs can amount to 2 to 5 percent of the mortgage so it’s important to be financially prepared for this expense.”

The best way to understand what you’ll need at the closing table is to work with a trusted lender. They can provide you with answers to the questions you might have.

3. Earnest Money Deposit

If you want to cover all your bases, you can also consider saving for an earnest money deposit (EMD). An EMD is money you pay as a show of good faith when you make an offer on a house. According to realtor.com, it’s usually between 1% and 2% of the total home price.

This deposit works like a credit. It’s not an added expense – it’s paying a portion of your costs upfront. You’re using some of the money you already saved for your purchase to show the seller you’re committed and serious about their house. Realtor.com describes how it works as part of your sale:

It tells the real estate seller you’re in earnest as a buyer, . . . . Assuming that all goes well and the buyer’s good-faith offer is accepted by the seller, the earnest money funds go toward the down payment and closing costs. In effect, earnest money is just paying more of the down payment and closing costs upfront.”

Keep in mind, an EMD isn’t required, and it doesn’t guarantee your offer will be accepted. It’s important to work with a real estate advisor to understand what’s best for your situation and any specific requirements in your area. They’ll help you determine what moves you should make in the homebuying process to have the greatest success.

Bottom Line

Budgeting for your home purchase doesn’t have to be scary. Let’s connect so you’ll have an expert on your side to answer any questions you have along the way.

Posted in Buying a Home
Oct. 1, 2022

Spotlight on Waco at Waco Axe Co

Posted in Spotlight on Waco
Sept. 27, 2022

How an Expert Can Help You Understand Inflation & Mortgage Rates

If you’re following today’s housing market, you know two of the top issues consumers face are inflation and mortgage rates. Let’s take a look at each one.

Inflation and the Housing Market

This year, inflation reached a high not seen in forty years. For the average consumer, you probably felt the pinch at the gas pump and in the grocery store. It may have even impacted your ability to save money to buy a home.

While the Federal Reserve is working hard to lower inflation, the August data shows the inflation rate was still higher than expected. This news impacted the stock market and fueled conversations about a recession. It also played a role in the Federal Reserve’s decision to raise the Federal Funds Rate last week. As Bankrate says:

“. . . the Fed has raised rates again, announcing yet another three-quarter-point hike on September 21 . . . The hikes are designed to cool an economy that has been on fire. . .”

While their actions don’t directly dictate what happens with mortgage rates, their decisions have contributed to the intentional cooldown in the housing market. A recent article from Fortune explains:

“As the Federal Reserve moved into inflation-fighting mode, financial markets quickly put upward pressure on mortgage rates. Those elevated mortgage rates . . . coupled with sky-high home prices, threw cold water onto the housing boom.”

The Impact on Rising Mortgage Rates

Over the past few months, mortgage rates have fluctuated in light of growing economic pressures. Most recently, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate according to Freddie Mac ticked above 6% for the first time in well over a decade (see graph below):

How an Expert Can Help You Understand Inflation & Mortgage Rates | Simplifying The Market

The mortgage rate increases this year are the big reason buyer demand has pulled back in recent months. Basically, as rates (and home prices) rose, so did the cost of buying a home. That pushed on affordability and priced some buyers out of the market, so home sales slowed and the inventory of homes for sale grew as a result.

Where Experts Say Rates and Inflation Will Go from Here

Moving forward, both of these factors will continue to impact the housing market. A recent article from CNET puts the relationship between inflation and mortgage rates in simple terms:

“As a general rule, when inflation is low, mortgage rates tend to be lower. When inflation is high, rates tend to be higher.”

Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac, has this to say about where rates may go from here:

“Mortgage rates remained volatile due to the tug of war between inflationary pressures and a clear slowdown in economic growth. The high uncertainty surrounding inflation and other factors will likely cause rates to remain variable, . . .”

While there’s no way to say with certainty where mortgage rates will go from here, there is something you can do to stay informed, and that’s connect with a trusted real estate advisor. They keep their pulse on what’s happening today and help you understand what the experts are projecting. They can provide you with the best advice possible.

Bottom Line

Rising inflation and higher mortgage rates have had a clear impact on housing. For expert insights on the latest trends in the housing market and what they mean for you, let’s connect.

Aug. 6, 2022

Buying a Home May Make More Financial Sense Than Renting One

Buying a Home May Make More Financial Sense Than Renting One

Buying a Home May Make More Financial Sense Than Renting One | MyKCM

If rising home prices leave you wondering if it makes more sense to rent or buy a home in today’s housing market, consider this. It’s not just home prices that have risen in recent years – rental prices have skyrocketed as well. As a recent article from realtor.com says:

“The median rent across the 50 largest US metropolitan areas reached $1,876 in June, a new record level for Realtor.com data for the 16th consecutive month.”

That means rising prices will likely impact your housing plans either way. But there are a few key differences that could make buying a home a more worthwhile option for you.

If You Need More Space, Buying a Home May Be More Affordable

What you may not realize is that, according to the latest data from realtor.com and the National Association of Realtors (NAR), it may actually be more affordable to buy than rent depending on how many bedrooms you need. The graph below uses the median rental payment and median mortgage payment across the country to show why.

Buying a Home May Make More Financial Sense Than Renting One | MyKCM

As the graph conveys, if you need two or more bedrooms, it may actually be more affordable to buy a home even as prices rise. While this doesn’t take into consideration the interest deduction or other financial advantages that come with owning a home, it does help paint the picture that it may be more affordable to buy then rent for that unit size based on nationwide averages. So, if one of the factors motivating you to move is a desire for more space, this could be the added encouragement you need to consider homeownership.

Homeownership Also Provides Stability and a Chance To Grow Your Wealth

In addition to being more affordable depending on how many bedrooms you need, buying has two other key benefits: payment stability and equity.

When you buy a home, you lock in your monthly payment with your fixed-rate mortgage. And that’s especially important in today’s inflationary economy. With inflation, prices rise across the board for things like gas, groceries, and more. Locking in your housing payment, which is likely your largest monthly expense, can provide greater long-term stability and help shield you from those rising expenses moving forward. Renting doesn’t provide that same predictability. A recent article from CNET explains it like this:

“...if you buy a house and secure a fixed-rate mortgage, that means that no matter how much prices or interest rates go up, your fixed payment will stay the same every month. That's an advantage over renting since there's a good chance your landlord will raise your rent to counter inflationary pressures.” 

Not to mention, when you buy, you have the chance to build equity, which in turn grows your net worth. It works like this. As you pay down your home loan over time and as home values continue to appreciate, so does your equity. And that equity can make it easier to fuel a move into a future home if you decide you need a bigger home later on. Again, the CNET article mentioned above helps explain:

Homeownership is still considered one of the most reliable ways to build wealth. When you make monthly mortgage payments, you're building equity in your home that you can tap into later on. When you rent, you aren't investing in your financial future the same way you are when you're paying off a mortgage.”

Bottom Line

If you’re trying to decide whether to keep renting or buy a home, let’s connect to explore your options. With home equity and a shield against inflation on the line, it may make more sense to buy a home if you’re able to.

Aug. 1, 2022

Spotlight on Waco at Guess BBQ

Posted in Spotlight on Waco
July 18, 2022

Housing Experts Say This Isn’t a Bubble

With so much talk about an economic slowdown, some people are asking if the housing market is heading for a crash like the one in 2008. To really understand what’s happening with real estate today, it’s important to lean on the experts for reliable information.

Here’s why economists and industry experts say the housing market is not a bubble ready to pop.

Today Is Nothing Like 2008

The 2008 housing crash is still fresh in the minds of many homebuyers and sellers. But today’s market is different. Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, says:

“This is not the same market of 2008. . . . It’s no secret the housing market played a central role in the Great Recession, but this market is just fundamentally different in so many ways.”

Natalie Campisi, Advisor Staff for Forbesexplains how today’s lending standards are different than those during the lead-up to the housing market crash:

“Among the differences between today’s housing market and that of the 2008 housing crash is that lending standards are tighter due to lessons learned and new regulations enacted after the last crisis. Essentially, that means those approved for a mortgage nowadays are less likely to default than those who were approved in the pre-crisis lending period.”

Another reason today’s housing market is nothing like 2008 is that the number of people looking to buy a home still outweighs the supply of homes for sale. As realtor.com notes:

. . . experts don’t believe the market is in a bubble or a crash is in the cards, like during the Great Recession. The nation is still suffering from a housing shortage that has reached crisis proportions at a time when many millennials are reaching the age when they start to consider homeownership. That’s likely to keep prices high.”

Bottom Line

Experts say the housing market isn’t a bubble, and we’re not heading for a crash. Let’s connect so you can have a full picture of today’s housing market in our local area.

Posted in Real Estate News
June 30, 2022

A Key Opportunity for Homebuyers

There’s no denying the housing market has delivered a fair share of challenges to homebuyers over the past two years. Two of the biggest hurdles homebuyers faced during the pandemic were the limited number of homes for sale and the intensity and frequency of bidding wars. But those two things have reached a turning point.

As you may have already heard, the number of homes for sale has increased this year, and even more so this spring. As Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for realtor.comexplains:

New listings–a measure of sellers putting homes up for sale–were up 6% above one year ago. Home sellers in many markets across the country continue to benefit from rising home prices and fast-selling homes. That’s prompted a growing number of homeowners to sell homes this year compared to last, giving home shoppers much needed options.”

This is encouraging news. More homes coming onto the market give you a greater chance of finding one that checks all your boxes.

Buyer Competition Moderating Helps Inventory Grow Even More

Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First Americansays inventory growth is happening not just because there’s an increase in the number of listings coming onto the market, but also because buyer demand has moderated some in light of higher mortgage rates and other economic factors:

There has been a pickup in the inventory that we’ve seen recently, but it’s not from a big increase in new listings . . . but rather a slowdown in the pace of sales. And remember that months’ supply measures the inventory of sale relative to the pace of sales. Same inventory, fewer sales, means more months’ supply.”

Basically, the market is shifting away from the frenzy of buyer competition seen during the pandemic, and that’s helping available inventory grow. In their latest forecastrealtor.com also mentions the moderation of demand as a key factor and projects the inventory growth should continue:

As rising inflation and mortgage rates bring U.S. housing demand back from the 2021 frenzy, . . . inventory will grow double-digits over 2021 and offer buyers a better-than-expected chance to find a home.”

How This Impacts You

The combination of more homes coming onto the market and a slower pace of home sales means you’ll have more options to choose from as you search for your next home. That’s great news if you’ve been searching for a while with little to no luck. Just remember, there isn’t a sudden surplus of inventory, just more homes to choose from than even a few months ago. So, you’ll still want to be decisive and move fast when you find the right home for you.

And when you do, you may be faced with less competition from other buyers too. If you’ve been waiting to jump into the market because the intensity of the bidding wars was intimidating or if you’ve been outbid on several homes, this moderation could help make the homebuying process a bit smoother. It’s not that it’ll be easy or that bidding wars are a thing of the past – that’s not the case. But it won’t feel nearly as impossible.

Bottom Line

As the housing market begins its shift back toward pre-pandemic levels, you could have a unique opportunity in front of you. With moderating levels of buyer competition and more homes actively for sale, your home search may have gotten a bit less challenging. Let’s connect to begin the process today.

May 22, 2022

The One Thing Every Homeowner Needs To Know About a Recession

A recession does not equal a housing crisis. That’s the one thing that every homeowner today needs to know. Everywhere you look, experts are warning we could be heading toward a recession, and if true, an economic slowdown doesn’t mean homes will lose value.

The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) defines a recession this way:

“A recession is a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, normally visible in production, employment, and other indicators. A recession begins when the economy reaches a peak of economic activity and ends when the economy reaches its trough. Between trough and peak, the economy is in an expansion.”

To help show that home prices don’t fall every time there’s a recession, take a look at the historical data. There have been six recessions in this country over the past four decades. As the graph below shows, looking at the recessions going all the way back to the 1980s, home prices appreciated four times and depreciated only two times. So, historically, there’s proof that when the economy slows down, it doesn’t mean home values will fall or depreciate.

The One Thing Every Homeowner Needs To Know About a Recession | Simplifying The Market

The first occasion on the graph when home values depreciated was in the early 1990s when home prices dropped by less than 2%. It happened again during the housing crisis in 2008 when home values declined by almost 20%. Most people vividly remember the housing crisis in 2008 and think if we were to fall into a recession that we’d repeat what happened then. But this housing market isn’t a bubble that’s about to burst. The fundamentals are very different today than they were in 2008. So, we shouldn’t assume we’re heading down the same path.

Bottom Line

We’re not in a recession in this country, but if one is coming, it doesn’t mean homes will lose value. History proves a recession doesn’t equal a housing crisis.

Posted in Real Estate News
Feb. 1, 2022

Why Right Now Is a Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity for Sellers

Why Right Now Is a Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity for Sellers

Why Right Now Is a Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity for Sellers | MyKCM

If you’re thinking about selling your house in 2022, you truly have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at your fingertips. When selling anything, you always hope for strong demand for the item coupled with a limited supply. That maximizes your leverage when you’re negotiating the sale. Home sellers are in that exact situation right now. Here’s why.

Demand Is Very Strong

According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 6.18 million homes were sold in 2021. This was the largest number of home sales in 15 years. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for NAR, explains:

“Sales for the entire year finished strong, reaching the highest annual level since 2006. . . . With mortgage rates expected to rise in 2022, it's likely that a portion of December buyers were intent on avoiding the inevitable rate increases.”

Demand isn’t expected to weaken this year, either. In addition, the Mortgage Finance Forecast, published last week by the Mortgage Bankers’ Association (MBA), calls for existing-home sales to reach 6.4 million homes this year.

Supply Is Very Limited

The same sales report from NAR also reveals the months’ supply of inventory just hit the lowest number of the century. It notes:

“Total housing inventory at the end of December amounted to 910,000 units, down 18% from November and down 14.2% from one year ago (1.06 million). Unsold inventory sits at a 1.8-month supply at the present sales pace, down from 2.1 months in November and from 1.9 months in December 2020.”

The reality is, inventory decreases every year in December. That’s just how the typical seasonal trend goes in real estate. However, the following graph emphasizes how this December was lower than any other December going all the way back to 1999.

Why Right Now Is a Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity for Sellers | MyKCM

Right Now, Sellers Have Maximum Leverage

As mentioned above, when there’s strong demand for an item and a limited supply of it available, the seller has maximum leverage in the negotiation. In the case of homeowners who are thinking about selling, there may never be a better time than right now. While demand is this high and inventory is this low, you’ll have leverage in all aspects of the sale of your house.

Today’s buyers know they need to be flexible negotiators that make very competitive offers, so here are a few areas that could tip in your favor when your house goes on the market:

  • Competitive sales price
  • Flexible closing date
  • Potential for a leaseback to allow you more time to find a home
  • Minimal offer contingencies

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking of selling your house this year, now is the optimal time to list it. Let’s connect to discuss how you can put your house on the market today.