Press & Media

For Buyers
Savings Strategies Every First-Time Homebuyer Needs To Know
June 11, 2024 KCM Crew
If homeownership is on your goal sheet for your future, you’re probably working on your savings. And a big priority is making sure you’ve got a plan in place for things like your closing costs, down payment, and more. Here are a few strategies that can help speed up that process. Budget and Track Your Expenses: To start, create a detailed budget that tracks the money you’ve got coming in and the money going out. This’ll give you a better look at your finances as a whole. Cut Down on Unnecessary Spending: Now that you have your budget sheet done and you know how you’re spending your money, look for any line items that aren’t absolutely essential. If you cut down on those, you can re-allocate that cash toward buying a home. Even the little things can add up. As the National Association of Realtors (NAR) says:“The majority of first-time buyers did make financial sacrifices to purchase a home. For those who did, the most common sacrifices buyers reported were cutting spending on luxury goods, entertainment, and clothes.”Automate Your Savings: Once you know how much you want to set aside for your homebuying budget, look for ways to make it easy. If you have to transfer money manually, you may forget to do it. But getting some automatic transfers set up helps drive consistency and removes the temptation to spend it elsewhere. Realtor.com explains:“If you’re struggling to put enough money away because of the constant temptations to blow your paycheck, consider automating the process. Ask your employer if you can have your paycheck deposited into multiple accounts—if so, instruct it to send a certain percentage of your salary directly into your savings account. Or go through your bank . . .”Lean into Any Side Hustles You Have: Do you have a gig you do (or have done before) to net some extra cash? Taking on part-time work, freelance jobs, or picking up a side hustle can help give your savings a boost. Put any Unexpected Cash To Good Use: If you get any sudden windfalls, like a tax refund, bonus, inheritance, or cash gift from family, put it toward your house fund. By using these strategies and focusing on your savings over time, you can make sure you’re well on the path to having what you need to buy your first home. As Ramsey Solutions says:“Budgeting shows your money who’s in charge (that’s you). It gives you the power to tell your money where to go instead of having to wonder where it went. It’s how you make any money goals happen—like saving for a down payment.”Bottom LineIf you need more strategies for getting ready to buy, connect with a local real estate professional.
For Sellers
Selling Smart: Why a Real Estate Agent Makes All the Difference
June 10, 2024 KCM Crew
If you’re considering selling your house on your own as a “For Sale by Owner” (FSBO), you want to think about if it’s really worth the extra stress. Going this route means shouldering a lot of responsibilities by yourself – and, if you’re not an expert, that opens the door for mistakes to happen and can quickly become overwhelming.A report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows two key areas where people who sold their own house struggled the most: pricing and paperwork.Here are just a few of the ways an agent makes those tasks a whole lot easier.Getting the Price RightSetting the right price for your house is important. And, if you’re selling your house on your own, two common issues can happen. You might ask for too much money (overpricing). Or you might not ask for enough (underpricing). Either can make it hard to sell your house. According to NerdWallet:“When selling a home, first impressions matter. Your house’s market debut is your first chance to attract a buyer and it’s important to get the pricing right. If your home is overpriced, you run the risk of buyers not seeing the listing. . . . But price your house too low and you could end up leaving some serious money on the table. A bargain-basement price could also turn some buyers away, as they may wonder if there are any underlying problems with the house.”To avoid these problems, team up with a real estate agent. Agents know how to figure out the perfect price because they have a deep understanding of the local housing market. And they’ll use that expertise to set a price that matches what buyers are willing to pay, giving your house the best chance to impress from the start.Understanding and Performing PaperworkSelling a house involves a bunch of paperwork and legal documentation that has to be just right. There are a lot of rules and regulations to follow, and that makes it a bit tricky for homeowners to manage everything on their own. Without a pro by your side, you could end up facing liability risks and legal complications.Real estate agents are experts in all the contracts and paperwork needed for selling a house. They know the rules and can guide you through it all, reducing the chance of mistakes that might lead to legal problems or delays. As an article from First American explains:“To buy or sell a home you need to accurately complete a lot of forms, disclosures, and legal documents. A real estate agent ensures you cross every ‘t’ and dot every ‘i’ to help you avoid having a transaction fall through and/or prevent a costly mistake.”So, instead of dealing with the growing pile of documents on your own, team up with an agent who can be your advisor, helping you avoid any legal bumps in the road.Bottom LineSelling a house on your own can cost you a lot of time and stress. Connect with a local real estate agent so you have help with all the finer details, including setting the right price, handling all the paperwork, and so much more. That way you can take that stress off of your plate.
For Sellers
Your Equity Could Make a Move Possible
June 6, 2024 KCM Crew
Many homeowners looking to sell feel like they’re stuck between a rock and a hard place right now. Today’s mortgage rates are higher than the one they currently have on their home, and that’s making it harder to want to sell and make a move. Maybe you’re in the same boat.But what if there was a way to offset these higher borrowing costs? There is. And the money you need probably already exists in your current home in the form of equity. What Is Equity?Think of equity as a simple math equation. Freddie Mac explains:“. . . your home’s equity is the difference between how much your home is worth and how much you owe on your mortgage.”Your equity grows as you pay down your loan over time and as home prices climb. And thanks to the rapid home price appreciation we saw in recent years, you probably have a whole lot more of it than you realize.The latest from the Census and ATTOM shows more than two out of three homeowners have either completely paid off their mortgages (shown in green in the chart below) or have at least 50% equity (shown in blue in the chart below):That means the majority of homeowners have a game-changing amount of equity right now.How Your Equity Can Help Fuel Your MoveAfter you sell your house, that equity can help you move without worrying as much about today’s mortgage rates. As Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for Realtor.com says:“A consideration today's homeowners should review is what their home equity picture looks like. With the typical home listing price up 40% from just five years ago, many home sellers are sitting on a healthy equity cushion. This means they are likely to walk away from a home sale with proceeds that they can use to offset the amount of borrowing needed for their next home purchase.”To give you some examples, here are a few ways you can use equity to buy your next home:Be an all-cash buyer: If you’ve been living in your current home for a long time, you might have enough equity to buy your next home without having to take out a loan. If that’s the case, you won’t need to borrow any money or worry about mortgage rates. Make a larger down payment: Your equity could also be used toward your next down payment. It might even be enough to let you put a larger amount down, so you won’t have to borrow as much at today’s rates. The First Step: Determine How Much Equity You Have in Your Home Want to find out how much equity you have? To do that, you’ll need two things:The current mortgage balance on your homeThe current value of your homeYou can probably find the mortgage balance on your monthly mortgage statement. To understand the current market value of your house, you can pay hundreds of dollars for an appraisal, or you can contact a local real estate agent who will be able to present to you, at no charge, a professional equity assessment report (PEAR).Once you’ve connected with a trusted local agent and run the numbers, you’re one step closer to making a move you may not have thought was realistic – all thanks to your equity.Bottom LineIf you want to find out how much equity you have and talk more about how it can make your next move possible, connect with a local real estate professional.
For Buyers
The Sweet Spot for Buying Luxury Homes
June 5, 2024 KCM Crew
If you’ve been looking for a home at the high end of your market, but haven’t found the right one, you may have put your search on hold. But according to recent data, now may be the time to jump back in. Here’s why. There Are More Luxury Homes To Choose FromWhat’s considered the top-end of the market, or a luxury home, will always vary by location. But generally speaking, they’re homes that are valued in the top 5% of any given market. According to a recent report from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, the selection of luxury homes is increasing (see graph below):As the graph shows, there are considerably more single-family luxury homes available now than there were a year ago. In fact, there are even more than there were just a month ago. This means you should have a wider variety of top-of-the-line homes to choose from, each with unique features and styles.Whether you were searching for the latest design elements, like modern kitchens with chef-grade appliances, a breathtaking view, or integrated smart home technology, more luxury inventory means you should have an easier time finding one that matches your taste and lifestyle.Rising Luxury Home Prices Can Help You Build WealthAnother important factor to consider is that luxury home prices are on the rise. According to HousingWire, luxury home prices have increased by 8.7% over the past year. That’s why:“People with the means to buy high-end homes are jumping in now because they feel confident prices will continue to rise . . . They’re ready to buy with more optimism and less apprehension.”This means buying before prices climb higher – and while more inventory is on the market – may be your sweet spot. Because home prices are rising, owning a home could help you build more generational wealth over time. On the other hand, if you wait to buy, you might end up paying more for the same home later on as luxury prices continue to rise.Bottom LineWith growing inventory and rising prices, you have a greater selection of luxury homes to choose from and an opportunity in front of you. Want to see the higher-end homes that are available in our area? Connect with a local real estate agent today.
For Buyers
What To Expect if You Buy or Sell a Home This June
June 4, 2024 KCM Crew
June is a busy month in the housing market because a lot of people buy and sell this time of year. So, if you’ve got a move on your mind and you’re looking to make it happen this month, here’s a snapshot of what you need to know to make sure you’re ready.If You’re Buying This JuneA lot of homebuyers with children like to move after one school year ends and before the next one begins. That’s one reason why late spring into summer is a popular time for homes to change hands. And whether that’s a motivator for you or not, it’s important to realize more buyers are going to be looking right now – and that means you’ll want to be ready for a bit more competition. But there is a silver lining to a move this time of year. This is also when more sellers will list – so you should find you have more options. As an article from Bankrate says:“Late spring and early summer are the busiest and most competitive time of year for the real estate market. There’s usually more inventory listed for sale than other times of year . . . This is a double-edged sword for a buyer, as you will be met with more opportunities but [also] much more competition.”During this busy season, it’s extra important to work with a trusted real estate agent. Your agent will help you stay on top of the latest listings, share expertise on how to make a strong offer in a competitive market, and give you insight into things like what the home is actually worth so you can make an informed decision when you buy. As Forbes says:“Approaching the market confidently, armed with good information and grounded expectations will take you far. Don't let the hustle of the market convince you to buy something that’s not in your budget, or not right for your lifestyle.”If You’re Selling This JuneBecause there are more buyers this time of year, you’re in a great spot as a seller. Many of those buyers are highly motivated to make their move happen before the next school year kicks off – so they’ll likely put in strong offers to try to make that possible. That means, if your house shows well and is listed at market value, you could see your house sell faster or for a higher price. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR):“Warmer weather and the end of the school year encourage more people to buy and sell, respectively. Buyers are looking to move and settle before the new school year begins, contributing to increased competition and, consequently, higher prices.”You want to be sure you’ve got a great agent on your side to help you with the contingencies on those offers and any negotiations that take place so you can pick the best offer. Make sure you go over closing dates with your agent. Buyers trying to time their move with the school year may need to delay a bit or move faster. This can depend on the school calendar where you live. As U.S. News Real Estate explains:“ . . if your house goes under contract in early summer, the buyer may ask for a delay in closing or move-in until the school year finishes or their current home has sold. Alternatively, a buyer later in summer may be looking to close quickly and move in under a month. Remain flexible to keep the deal running smoothly, and your buyer may be willing to throw in concessions, like covering some of your closing costs or overlooking the old roof.”Bottom LineIf you’re looking to make a move this June, chat with a real estate agent so you know what to expect and how to plan for current market conditions.

Work With Alicia

Connecting with people is a passion for Alicia. Her ability to form close bonds with clients while solving problems is her true calling. Excitement and challenges accompany any move, so her role is to handle everything personally and leverage her network of wonderful partners to facilitate the smoothest, most stress-free transaction.