What to Expect from Your Home Inspection

What to Expect from Your Home Inspection | MyKCM

You made an offer and it was accepted. Your next task is to have the home inspected prior to closing. Agents often recommend you make your offer contingent upon a clean home inspection.

This contingency allows you to renegotiate the price you offered for the home, ask the sellers to cover repairs, or in some cases, walk away if challenges arise. Your agent can advise you on the best course of action once the report is filed.

How to Choose an Inspector

Your agent will most likely have a short list of inspectors they’ve worked with in the past to recommend to you. HGTV suggests you consider the following five areas when choosing the right home inspector for you:

1. Qualifications – Find out what’s included in your inspection and if the age or location of your home may warrant specific certifications or specialties.

2. Sample Reports – Ask for a sample inspection report so you can review how thoroughly they will be inspecting your dream home. In most cases, the more detailed the report,
the better.

3. References – Do your homework. Ask for phone numbers and names of past clients who you can call to discuss their experiences.

4. Memberships – Not all inspectors belong to a national or state association of home inspectors, and membership in one of these groups should not be the only way to evaluate your choice. Membership in one of these organizations does, however, often mean continued training and education are required.

5. Errors and Omission Insurance – Find out what the liability of the inspector or inspection company is once the inspection is over. The inspector is only human, after all, and it is possible they might miss something they should see.

Ask your inspector if it’s okay for you to tag along during the inspection, so they can point out anything that should be addressed or fixed.

Don’t be surprised to see your inspector climbing on the roof or crawling around in the attic and on the floors. The job of the inspector is to protect your investment and find any issues with the home, including but not limited to: the roof, plumbing, electrical components, appliances, heating and air conditioning systems, ventilation, windows, fireplace and chimney, foundation, and so much more.

Bottom Line

They say, ‘ignorance is bliss,’ but not when investing your hard-earned money into a home of your own. Work with a professional you can trust to give you the most information possible, so you can make the most educated decision about your purchase.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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How Does the Supply of Homes for Sale Impact Buyer Demand?

How Does the Supply of Homes for Sale Impact Buyer Demand? | MyKCM

The price of any item is determined by supply, as well as the market’s demand for the item. The National Association of REALTORS (NAR) surveys “over 50,000 real estate practitioners about their expectations for home sales, prices and market conditions” for their monthly REALTORS Confidence Index.

Their latest edition sheds some light on the relationship between seller traffic (supply) and buyer traffic (demand).

Buyer Demand

The map below was created after asking the question: “How would you rate buyer traffic in your area?”How Does the Supply of Homes for Sale Impact Buyer Demand? | MyKCMThe darker the blue, the stronger the demand for homes is in that area. The survey shows that in 3 of the 50 U.S. states, buyer demand is now very strong; only 2 of the 50 states have a ‘weak’ demand. Overall, buyer demand is slightly lower than this time last year but remains strong.

Seller Supply 

The index also asked: “How would you rate seller traffic in your area?”How Does the Supply of Homes for Sale Impact Buyer Demand? | MyKCMAs the map below shows, 18 states reported ‘weak’ seller traffic, 29 states and Washington, D.C. reported ‘stable’ seller traffic, and 3 states reported ‘strong’ seller traffic. This means there are far fewer homes on the market than what is needed to satisfy the buyers who are looking for homes.

Bottom Line

Looking at the maps above, it is not hard to see why prices are appreciating in many areas of the country. Until the supply of homes for sale starts to meet buyer demand, prices will continue to increase. If you are debating listing your home for sale, let’s get together to help you capitalize on the demand in our market now.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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Are You Ready for the ‘Black Friday’ of Real Estate?

Are You Ready for the ‘Black Friday’ of Real Estate? | MyKCM

Every year, ‘Black Friday’ is a highly anticipated event for eager shoppers. Some people prepare for weeks, crafting and refining a strategic shopping agenda, determining exactly when to arrive at each store, and capturing a wish list of discounted must-have items to purchase. But what about buying a home? Is there a ‘Black Friday’ for the home-buying process? Believe it or not, there is.

According to a new study from realtor.comthe week of September 22 is the best time of year to buy a home, making it ‘Black Friday’ for homebuyers.

After evaluating housing data in 53 metros from 2016 to 2018, realtor.com determined that the first week of fall is when buyers “tend to find less competition, more inventory, and the biggest reductions on list price.

The report explains,

“During the first week of fall, buyers tend to face 26% less competition from other buyers, and they are likely to see 6.1% more homes available on the market compared to other weeks of the year…nearly 6% of homes on the market will also see price reductions, averaging 2.4% less than their peak.”

What’s so different about the first week of fall?

George Ratiu, Senior Economist with realtor.com says,

“As summer winds down and kids return to school, many families hit pause on their home search and wait until the next season to start again…as seasonal inventory builds up and restores itself to more buyer-friendly levels, fall buyers will be in a better position to take advantage of today’s low mortgage rates and increased purchasing power.”

Learn more about how prices, listings, and buyer competition stack up during the first week of fall in your metro area.

Bottom Line

If you want to take advantage of the ‘Black Friday’ of home buying, let’s get together to discuss the benefits of making your next move this fall.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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Should You Fix Your House Up or Sell Now?

Should You Fix Your House Up or Sell Now? | MyKCM

With the fall season upon us, change is in the air. For many families, children are growing up and moving out of the house, maybe leaving for college or taking a jump into the working world. Parents are finding themselves as empty nesters for the first time. The question inevitably arises: is it finally time to downsize?

If you’re pondering that thought, you may also be wondering if you should fix-up your house before you sell it, or go straight to the market as-is, allowing a potential buyer to do the updates and remodeling. If you’re one of the many homeowners this camp, here are a few tips to help you decide which way to go.

1. Analyze Your Market

A real estate professional can help you to understand your market and the potential level of buyer interest and demand for your home. Are you in a seller’s market or a buyer’s market? This can change based on the price range of your home, too. A professional can also give you some insight on what you can change or remodel, and how to declutter your house to make it attractive to buyers in your area.

2. Get an Inspector

Right now, the average length of time a family stays in a home is between 9-10 years. That’s a little longer than the historical average, so if you’ve been living in your home for a while, it might be time to make some significant improvements. Think: electrical system, HVAC units, roof, siding, etc. An inspector can give you a better idea of the condition of your home, if it is up to current code standards, and recommendations on how to have your house ready before you put it on the market.

3. Decide If You Need to Remodel

You may also be thinking about driving buyer appeal with something like a kitchen or a bathroom remodel. If so, first dig into the market value of your home, and compare it to the actual cost of the remodel. A local real estate professional can help you determine your home’s market value, and you’ll want to get a few quotes from contractors on the potential remodel pricing as well. Once you have those two factors narrowed down, you can to decide if a remodel will give you a return on your investment when you sell. Oftentimes, it is actually more advantageous to price your house to sell, list it competitively, and then let the buyer pick the colors they want for their bathroom tiles and the type of countertop they prefer. The 2019 Cost vs. Value Report in Remodeling Magazine compares the average cost for remodeling projects with the value those projects typically retain at resale.

Bottom Line

Nationwide, inventory is low, meaning there is less than the 6-month housing supply needed for a normal market. This drives buyer demand, creating a perfect time to sell. If you’re considering selling your house, let’s get together to help you confidently determine what will be the best choice for you and your family.
– Kathleen Wheeler –

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Things to Avoid After Applying for a Mortgage

Things to Avoid After Applying for a Mortgage | MyKCM

Congratulations! You’ve found a home to buy and have applied for a mortgage! You’re undoubtedly excited about the opportunity to decorate your new home, but before you make any large purchases, move your money around, or make any big-time life changes, consult your loan officer – someone who will be able to tell you how your decisions will impact your home loan.

Below is a list of Things You Shouldn’t Do After Applying for a Mortgage. Some may seem obvious, but some may not.

1. Don’t Change Jobs or the Way You Are Paid at Your Job. Your loan officer must be able to track the source and amount of your annual income. If possible, you’ll want to avoid changing from salary to commission or becoming self-employed during this time as well.

2. Don’t Deposit Cash into Your Bank Accounts. Lenders need to source your money, and cash is not really traceable. Before you deposit any amount of cash into your accounts, discuss the proper way to document your transactions with your loan officer.

3. Don’t Make Any Large Purchases Like a New Car or Furniture for Your New Home. New debt comes with it, including new monthly obligations. New obligations create new qualifications. People with new debt have higher debt to income ratios…higher ratios make for riskier loans…and sometimes qualified borrowers no longer qualify.

4. Don’t Co-Sign Other Loans for Anyone. When you co-sign, you are obligated. As we mentioned, with that obligation comes higher ratios as well. Even if you swear you will not be the one making the payments, your lender will have to count the payments against you.

5. Don’t Change Bank Accounts. Remember, lenders need to source and track assets. That task is significantly easier when there is consistency among your accounts. Before you even transfer any money, talk to your loan officer.

6. Don’t Apply for New Credit. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a new credit card or a new car. When you have your credit report run by organizations in multiple financial channels (mortgage, credit card, auto, etc.), your FICO® score will be affected. Lower credit scores can determine your interest rate and maybe even your eligibility for approval.

7. Don’t Close Any Credit Accounts. Many clients erroneously believe that having less available credit makes them less risky and more likely to be approved. Wrong. A major component of your score is your length and depth of credit history (as opposed to just your payment history) and your total usage of credit as a percentage of available credit. Closing accounts has a negative impact on both of those determinants in your score.

Bottom Line

Any blip in income, assets, or credit should be reviewed and executed in a way that ensures your home loan can still be approved. The best advice is to fully disclose and discuss your plans with your loan officer before you do anything financial in nature. They are there to guide you through the process.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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August 2019

Saginaw Home Sales Update August 2019

At first glance sales appeared to be unchanged from the most recent previous months, but a closer analysis shows a slower, more balanced sales market than earlier in the year.  Twenty-nine preowned homes were sold through the multiple listening service in Saginaw in August of 2019.  The least expensive home was $145,000 and the most expensive was $353,900. The average sold price for a home was $220,328.

The average time on the market in August was 32 days, but ten homes sold in less than two weeks.  The four homes listed for $180,000 or less sold in less than two weeks. These were built in the 1970’s and 1980’s.  Only one home that was listed for more than $220,000 sold in less than two weeks.  This special property was on a cul-de-sac and offered an inground swimming pool.

The average seller’s sold price was 99.43% percentage of the list price.  The lowest percentage of the list price accepted by a seller was 95.56%. These numbers reflect two realities, a healthy market where sellers are still receiving good prices for homes and a trend toward a more balanced market.  A careful analysis of the multiple listing records revealed that ten homes had price reductions before the final list price.  Homes sold for more than $230,000 particularly required price reductions before they sold.  The ten houses that originally were listed too high to sell required an average of 72 days on the market.   The second new reality is sellers paying buyers’ closing costs.  Eleven sellers paid closing costs ranging from $600 to $10,000 for buyers.  When sellers agree to pay the buyer’s closing costs, qualified buyers with less cash can buy homes, allowing new buyer opportunities not available in the hot sellers’ market in the recent past.

If you would like more information about the value of your home, the home buying and selling process, the real estate market in our area or neighboring communities, or my services, please contact me by text, e-mail or phone.  I look forward to serving you!

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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How Property Taxes Can Impact Your Mortgage Payment

How Property Taxes Can Impact Your Mortgage Payment | MyKCM

When buying a home, taxes are one of the expenses that can make a significant difference in your monthly payment. Do you know how much you might pay for property taxes in your state or local area?

When applying for a mortgage, you’ll see one of two acronyms in your paperwork – P&I or PITI – depending on how you’re including your taxes in your mortgage payment.

P&I stands for Principal and Interest, and both are parts of your monthly mortgage payment that go toward paying off the loan you borrow. PITI stands for Principal, Interest, Taxes, and Insurance, and they’re all important factors to calculate when you want to determine exactly what the cost of your new home will be.

TaxRates.org defines property taxes as,

“A municipal tax levied by counties, cities, or special tax districts on most types of real estate – including homes, businesses, and parcels of land. The amount of property tax owed depends on the appraised fair market value of the property, as determined by the property tax assessor.”

This organization also provides a map showing annual property taxes by state (including the District of Columbia), from lowest to highest, as a percentage of median home value.How Property Taxes Can Impact Your Mortgage Payment | MyKCMThe top 5 states with the highest median property taxes are New Jersey, New Hampshire, Texas, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. The states with the lowest median property taxes are Louisiana, Hawaii, Alabama, and Delaware, followed by the District of Columbia.

Bottom Line

Depending on where you live, property taxes can have a big impact on your monthly payment. To make sure your estimated taxes will fall within your desired budget, let’s get together today to determine how the neighborhood or area you choose can make a difference in your overall costs when buying a home.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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What’s the Latest on Interest Rates?

What’s the Latest on Interest Rates? | MyKCM

Mortgage rates have fallen by over a full percentage point since Q4 of 2018, settling at near-historic lows. This is big news for buyers looking to get more for their money in the current housing market.What’s the Latest on Interest Rates? | MyKCMAccording to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey,

the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) rate averaged 3.60 percent, the lowest it has been since November 2016.

Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac, notes how this is great news for homebuyers. He states,

“…consumer sentiment remains buoyed by a strong labor market and low rates that will continue to drive home sales into the fall.”

As a potential buyer, the best thing you can do is work with a trusted advisor who can help you keep a close eye on how the market is changing. Relying on current expert advice is more important than ever when it comes to making a confident and informed decision for you and your family.

Bottom Line

Even a small increase (or decrease) in interest rates can impact your monthly housing cost. If buying a home is on your short list of goals to achieve, let’s get together to determine your best move.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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5 Real Estate Reality TV Myths Explained

 

5 Real Estate Reality TV Myths Explained | MyKCM

Have you ever been flipping through the channels, only to find yourself glued to the couch in an HGTV binge session? We’ve all been there, watching entire seasons of shows like “Property Brothers,” “Fixer Upper,” and “Love It or List It,” all in one sitting.When you’re in the middle of your real estate-themed TV show marathon, you might start to think everything you see on the screen must be how it works in real life. However, you may need a reality check.

Reality TV Show Myths vs. Real Life:

Myth #1: Buyers look at 3 homes and decide to purchase one of them.
Truth: There may be buyers who fall in love and buy the first home they see, but according to the National Association of Realtors, the average homebuyer tours 10 homes as a part of their search.  

Myth #2: The houses the buyers are touring are still for sale.
Truth: Everything is staged for TV. Many of the homes shown are already sold and are off the market. 

Myth #3: The buyers haven’t made a purchase decision yet.
Truth: Since there is no way to show the entire buying process in a 30-minute show, TV producers often choose buyers who are further along in the process and have already chosen a home to buy. 

Myth #4: If you list your home for sale, it will ALWAYS sell at the open house.
Truth: Of course, this would be great! Open houses are important to guarantee the most exposure to buyers in your area, but they are only one piece of the overall marketing of your home. Keep in mind, many homes are sold during regular showing appointments as well. 

Myth #5: Homeowners decide to sell their homes after a 5-minute conversation.
Truth: Similar to the buyers portrayed on the shows, many of the sellers have already spent hours deliberating the decision to list their homes and move on with their lives and goals.

Bottom Line

Having an experienced professional on your side while navigating the real estate market is the best way to guarantee you can make the home of your dreams a true reality.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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The Benefits of Growing Equity in Your Home

The Benefits of Growing Equity in Your Home | MyKCM

Over the last couple of years, we’ve heard quite a bit about rising home prices. Today, expert projections still forecast continued growth, just at a slower pace. One of the often-overlooked benefits of rising home prices is the positive impact they have on home equity. Let’s break down three ways this is a win for homeowners.

1. Move-Up Opportunity

With the rise in prices, homeowners naturally experience an increase in home equity. According to the Homeowner Equity Insights from CoreLogic,

“In the first quarter of 2019, the average homeowner gained approximately $6,400 in equity during the past year.”

This increase in profit means if homeowners decide to sell, they’ll be able to put their equity to work for them as they make plans to move up into their next home.

2. Gain in Seller’s Profit

ATTOM Data Solutions recently released their Q2 2019 Home Sales Report, indicating the seller’s profit jumped at one of the fastest rates since 2015. They said:

“A look at the national numbers showed that U.S. homeowners who sold in the second quarter of 2019 realized an average home price gain since the original purchase of $67,500…the average home seller gain of $67,500 in Q2 2019 represented an average 33.9 percent return as a percentage of the original purchase price.”

Looking at the amount paid when they bought their homes, and then the amount they received after selling, we can see that some homeowners were able to walk away with a significant gain.

3. Out of a Negative Equity Situation

Negative equity occurs when there is a decline in home value, an increase in mortgage debt, or both. Many families experienced these challenges over the last decade. According to the same report from CoreLogic,

“U.S. homeowners with mortgages (roughly 63% of all properties) have seen their equity increase by a total of nearly $485.7 billion since the first quarter 2018, an increase of 5.6%, year over year.

In the first quarter of 2019, the total number of mortgaged residential properties with negative equity decreased…to 2.2 million homes, or 4.1% of all mortgaged properties.”

The good news is, many families have moved beyond a negative equity situation, and no longer owe more on their mortgage than the value of their home.

Bottom Line

If you’re a current homeowner, you may have more equity than you realize. Your equity can open the door to future opportunities, such as moving up to your dream home. Let’s get together to discuss your options and start to put your equity to work for you.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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July 2018

Saginaw Residential Real Estate Update

Owners sold forty-five homes through the NTREIS Multiple Listing Service in July in Saginaw, Texas.  The average sold price was $224,029 and the median price was $215,000, which demonstrates that home prices have been quite stable for the last few months in Saginaw. Houses continued to sell at nearly their list prices, and less expensive homes sold quickly.

Let’s look at the sales prices for July.  The least expensive home sold for $154,000.  It was fixer-upper in Willowstone Estates built in 2001.  This sale was a surprise because typically, the least expensive homes are in older neighborhoods, such as Saginaw North or Rancho North. Four homes sold in Saginaw North with sold prices between $170,000 and $180,000.  Parkwest had five sales ranging from $208,000 to $225,000, and Highland Station added four from $193,000 to $240,000.  Four Saginaw homes sold for more than $300,000.  Two of these had swimming pools, and three had over-sized lots.  These homes were in the following subdivisions: Saginaw Springs, the Dominion, the Courts of Willow Creek, and Creekwood.

The statistics show that Saginaw homes sold for 99.96% of the original list price.  Eight homes sold for more than their list price.  These great numbers might reflect a few multiple offer situations with buyers competing for homes, but more often the higher prices show that the buyers were rolling seller paid closing costs into their contract prices.

Twenty-five homes sold in two weeks or less.  Usually the less expensive homes sold more quickly. The houses listed for more than $234,500 were on the market about a month.  I believe the time on the mark reflects the greater number of homes for sale at higher prices, including all the new construction in our area.

Now is a fine time to buy or sell a Saginaw home.  Homes are selling relatively quickly with an average time on the market of only twenty-two days, and sellers continue to receive full price offers on many homes, especially if the home is priced right.  The market is also good for buyers because buyers will find more homes for sale and less competition from other buyers than in the recent past.  Sellers seem more willing to give buyers concessions, such as help with closing costs.

If you are interested in buying or selling, please give me a call, send me an e-mail or text me, and let’s plan to meet.  I will give you specific information about the market and Saginaw neighborhoods and how I can be of help to you.  I look forward to serving you.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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June 2019

Sales for Saginaw, Texas, June 2019

June is traditionally one of the best months of the year for home sales, and this month’s sales followed the trend with robust sales, short times on the market, sold prices near list prices, and a sustained high average price for homes sold by individuals.

Thirty- six homes sold in June.  They ranged in size from 1241 to 3245 square feet with sold prices ranging from $158,350 to $407.500.  The average size of 2044 square feet is larger than homes that have sold some months. This size preference in June probably reflects the fact that this is the time of the year when families with school age children traditionally purchase homes. The smallest, least expensive home was in Rancho North and the largest, most expensive home was in Creekwood.  The houses that sold were built from 1962 until 2017.  The average year built was 1997.

Twenty-four of the homes sold in less than two weeks, the average time to sell was 19 days, and the longest time on the market was 77 days for these homes selling in June.  The average time on the market for the current active listings is 52 days.  These statistics mean that desirable homes in good condition which are priced correctly are selling quickly, but homes that are too expensive, need repairs, have a poor floor plan or present a special challenge could be for sale of months.

Homes sold for an average of 99.56% of the final list price.  The lowest sale was 88.77% of the list price, and ten homes for more than the list price.  The notes in the Multiple Listing Service identify at least four as having multiple offers.  Three of these homes are in Parkwest.

If you wish to list your home in time to attract families with school aged children, now is the time to call, text or e-mail me to market your home as soon as possible.  Most sales transactions need approximately one month to close.  School will start in August, and families are scrambling to purchase a home and move prior to the first day of school.  If you are a buyer looking for the perfect home, please contact me and I will use all of my local knowledge and experience to make your search easy and successful.  I look forward to serving you!

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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May 2019

Saginaw, Texas, Home Sales  2019

Reluctant sellers in Saginaw finally listed their homes, and forty- three homes sold in May as compared to only twenty- seven sales in April.  The average time on the market was twenty-six days, although twenty-six of the homes sold in two weeks or less.

The average home sales price was $210,536.  The homes that sold last month ranged in price from $144,900 for a home built in 1962 in Rancho North Addition to one in Willow Vista constructed in 2015 selling for $279,000.  Sixteen homes sold for less than $200,000.  The newest was built in 2001, and all had less than 2000 square feet.  Certain neighborhoods had several sales last month, including nine for Highland Station and five each for Heather Ridge and Rancho North.

Sellers received an average of 99.64% of their list price.  This average needs some explanation because some sellers had already lowered their prices when they received their full price offers, and some of the sellers allowed buyers to raise the price to cover buyers closing costs paid by the seller.  There appear to be few multiple offers, but the market continues to be very good for sellers.  Sellers are receiving good prices for their homes, and most homes are selling quickly.

Now is also a good time for buyers.  With an increase in the housing inventory and less competing buyers than in previous years, a qualified buyer has an opportunity to find a home to purchase, and multiple offers have become much rarer. Sellers might even consider paying closing costs for the buyer.

If you are thinking about buying or selling, please call me, text me or send me an e-mail.  This is the best time of the year to buy or sell a home, and I am here to help!

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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2 Things You Need to Know to Properly Price Your Home

In today’s housing market, home prices are increasing at a slower pace (3.7%) than they have over the last eight years (6-7%). However, they are still are above historical norms. Low supply of listed homes and high demand from buyers has pushed prices to rise rapidly.

In the mind of the homeowner, annual home price appreciation over 6% has become the new normal. This becomes a challenge when a homeowner looks to refinance or sell their home, as the expectation of what the homeowner believes the home should be worth does not always line up with the bank’s appraisal.

Every month, the Home Price Perception Index (HPPI) measures the disparity between what a homeowner seeking to refinance their home believes their house is worth and what an appraiser’s evaluation of that same home is.

Over the last five months, the gap between the homeowner’s opinion and the bank’s appraisal has widened to -0.78%. This is important for homeowners to note, as even a 0.78% difference in appraisal can mean thousands of dollars that a buyer or seller would have to come up with at closing (depending on the price of the home).

The chart below illustrates the changes in home price estimates over the last 12 months.

2 Things You Need to Know to Properly Price Your Home | MyKCM

While the appraisal gap widens, another trend is also becoming more common.

According to realtor.com“the share of homes which had their prices cut increased by 2% compared to last year”. Thirty-seven out of the 50 largest US housing markets saw an increase in overall price reductions.

In today’s market, you need an expert agent who can help price your house right from the start. Homeowners who make the mistake of overpricing their homes will eventually have to drop the price. This leaves buyers wondering if the price drop was caused by something wrong with the house. In reality, nothing is wrong- the price was just too high!

Bottom Line

If you are planning on selling your house in today’s market, let’s get together to set your listing price properly from the start!

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Why Pet-Friendly Homes Are in High Demand

Why Pet-Friendly Homes Are in High Demand | MyKCM

One of the many benefits of owning your own home is the freedom to find your ‘furever’ friend. By pointing out the aspects of your home that make it ‘pet-friendly’ in your listing, you’ll attract these buyers, rather than alienating the 68% of American households that have a pet!

If you are one of the many homeowners looking to list your home for sale, how do you stand out to the millions of pet parents searching for their dream home?

Whether a dog person, a cat person, or someone who prefers the company of another pet species, 99% of pet owners say that they consider their animal to be family. When finding a home, 95% of animal owners believe it is important that a housing community allows animals.

study by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed that there are many aspects of the home buying, selling and owning experience that have been greatly impacted by our love for our pets.

This should come as no surprise, as $72 billion was spent on pets in the U.S in 2018. NAR’s President William E. Brown shed some light on the impact of pet owners and their home search.

“It is important to understand the unique needs and wants of animal owners when it comes to homeownership. REALTORS® understand that when someone buys a home, they are buying it with the needs of their whole family in mind; ask pet owners, and they will enthusiastically agree that their animals are part of their family.”

The Power of Pets When Choosing the Right Home

  • 89% of pet owners say they would not give up their pet due to a housing restriction
  • 81% of Americans say their pets play a role in their housing situation
  • 31% of animal owners have refused to put in an offer on a home because it wasn’t a good fit for their animals
  • 19% of Americans say they would consider moving for their pet
  • 12% percent have moved for their pet

New home builders have actually begun installing retractable pet gates that tuck away neatly inside door jams as a highly requested feature in new homes to attract pet-parents.

So, if you are a homeowner looking to sell in today’s pet-friendly environment, point out the features of your home that will attract pet owners:

  • Fully fenced in backyard – (91% of pet owners ranked this as the most important feature of a home to accommodate their pet)
  • Locations of dog parks/walking paths/pet-friendly beaches in the area (71% ranked this as the top feature of any neighborhood they would consider)
  • Proximity to veterinarians/groomers/pet supply stores (31%)

Bottom Line

Americans love their pets and will look for pet-friendly features in the home they wish to buy, so take advantage of this knowledge by pointing out your home’s ability to meet their needs.

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A Lack of Inventory Continues to Impact the Housing Market

A Lack of Inventory Continues to Impact the Housing Market | MyKCM

The housing crisis is finally in the rear-view mirror as the real estate market moves down the road to a complete recovery. Home values are up and distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales) have fallen to their lowest point in years. The market will continue to strengthen in 2019.

However, there is one thing that may cause the industry to tap the brakes: a lack of housing inventory! Buyer demand naturally increases during the summer months, but supply has not kept up.

Here are the thoughts of a few industry experts on the subject:

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at National Association of Realtors

“Further increases in inventory are highly desirable to keep home prices in check, the sustained steady gains in home sales can occur when home price appreciation grows at roughly the same pace as wage growth.”

Jessica Lautz, Vice President of NAR

“There’s a supply-demand mismatch… More inventory is needed at the lower end and a price reduction may be needed at the upper end.”

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist of Realtor.com

“Heading into spring, U.S. prices are expected to continue to rise and inventory is expected to continue to increase, but at a slower pace than we’ve seen the last few months as fewer sellers want to contend with this year’s more challenging conditions… A buyer’s experience will vary notably depending on the market and price point they’re targeting.”

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of selling, now may be the time! Demand for your house will be strong at a time when there is very little competition. That could lead to a quick sale for a really good price!

Please call, text or e-mail me for more information about our local market and how I can help you.  I look forward to serving you!

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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April 2019

Saginaw, Texas, Residential Home Sales for April 2019

Twenty- seven homes sold in April with prices ranging from $168,000 to $348,000.  The average sales price was $227,743.   The average home sold for 99.11% of the list price, but this statistic does not account for seller paid closing costs for the buyer or price reductions.  Sellers are still receiving good prices, but buyers can expect some concessions, too.

The average time on the market was 28 days, but thirteen homes sold in less than two weeks.  Which homes took the longest to sell?  The three homes that are over 3000 square feet took 107 days, 166 days and 31 days to sell.  These numbers reflect the fact that in this market fewer buyers want to purchase a large home.  The trend is for current buyers to be Millennials or Baby Boomers competing for the smaller homes, especially the one stories.

To look at the sales statistics in more detail, let’s divide the Saginaw sold market into two parts using $220,000 as the division price.  This price is very close to the cost of the least expensive new construction in our area.  Homes that sold for less than $220,000 averaged 1595 square feet, were built between 1966 and 2003, and sold in an average of 17 days.  Only two homes sold in the oldest neighborhoods.

The Saginaw homes selling for more than $220,000 ranged in size from 1747 to 3938 square feet with an average of 2523 square feet.  Many of the homes are single story homes of about 2000 square feet.  The largest homes are in Highland Station and Heather Ridge.  The most expensive home sold is in Creekwood and sold for $348,000.  It is 2905 square feet.  These more costly homes were on the market for an average of 38 days as compared to the first group that sold in 17 days.

This is still a good market for both buying and selling.  Homes are selling at historically high prices. Many are selling quickly. Since fewer buyers are looking for homes than in the last couple of years, buyers will like being the only one making an offer and not having to compete with other buyers in a multiple offer situation.  Buyers can now often negotiate for seller concessions, such as closing costs and repairs.  Because of the low inventory, buyers may need to patiently wait for the home of their dreams to come on the market.  Please contact me so that I can set up a free, online search for you for that perfect home.  I can help you find new construction and assist you with the process of buying a home from a builder and assist you in choosing just the right builder for you.  I will facilitate your search for the perfect preexisting home and do everything possible to make the purchase easy for you.  When I list your home for sale, I work to sell your home for the highest price in the shortest time with the least amount of stress for you.   Please call me, text me or e-mail to learn how I can serve you.  There’s no obligation.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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Your Fabulous New Dream Home is Now Available

Your Fabulous New Dream Home is Now Available |MyKCM

Over the last several years, many “baby boomers” have undergone a metamorphosis. Their children have finally moved out and they can now dream about their own future. For many, a change in lifestyle might necessitate a change in the type of home they live in.

That two-story, four-bedroom colonial with three bathrooms no longer fits the bill. Taxes are too high. Utilities are too expensive. Cleaning and repair are too difficult. When they decide to travel to be with friends and family, locking up the house is too time-consuming and worrisome.

Instead, a nice ranch home with 2-3 bedrooms and two baths might better fulfill their new needs and lifestyle. The challenge many “boomers” have faced when trying to downsize to the perfect new home has been a lack of inventory.

The average number of years a family stays in their home has increased by fifty percent since 2008, causing fewer houses to come to the market. During the same time, new home builders were concentrating most of their efforts on large, luxury, expensive houses.

However, that is starting to change.

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau, sales of newly built, single-family homes rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 692,000 units in March. The great news is that more of those homes were sold at the lower end of the price range.

In a press release last week, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) explained that:

“The median sales price was $302,700, with strong gains in homes sold at lower price points. The median price of a new home sale a year earlier was $335,400.”

NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz offered further detail:

“We saw a large gain at lower price points where demand is strong. In March of 2019, 50% of new home sales were priced below $300,000, compared to 39% in March of 2018.”

Bottom Line

If you are a “boomer” thinking of selling your old house in order to buy a new home that better fits your current lifestyle, now may be the perfect time!

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Existing Home Sales Slow to Start Spring

Existing Home Sales Slow to Start Spring [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • Existing Home Sales slowed to an annual pace of 5.21 million home sales in March.
  • Low inventory levels are still impacting home sales! The current month’s supply of homes for sale is 3.9-months.
  • Median home prices were up 3.8% over last March at $259,400. This marked the 85th consecutive month with year-over-year price gains.
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March 2019

March 2019 Saginaw, Texas, Home Sales

Twenty-three homes sold through multiple listing in March.  These statistics do not include new construction.  The median price was $200,000, and the average sales price was $202,720.  These prices are very similar to the sales in January of 2019.  Prices have not fluctuated this year.

The most expensive home sold for $280,000.  Two of the three highest sales prices were for homes in Willow Creek Addition last month.  Rancho North homes were three of the four least expensive, and one was in Saginaw North.  A home built in 1950 sold for $113,500, but all other homes sold for $165,000 or more.

Only eight homes sold in less than two weeks.  The average days on the market was 40 days.  The least expensive new construction in our area starts at about $216,000, and Saginaw homes that took twenty days or more to sell were those listed for more than $220,000.  The competition from new construction appears to directly effects prices and time on the market for these sales.

When sellers list their homes for the right price, they are still receiving nearly full price offers.  Homes sold for an average of 99.04% of list price.  These prices might be slightly deceptive because without multiple offers, some sellers are paying some buyer’s closing costs.  Buyers and sellers are both winning in this market as sellers sell for the high prices reflecting the recent appreciation of their homes, and buyers can purchase homes without the disappointment of many multiple offer situations when even a full priced offer wasn’t enough.

This is a great time to buy or sell!  If you would like more specific information or if I can help you in any way, please contact me.  I look forward to serving you!

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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February 2019

February 2019 Saginaw, Texas, Residential Home Sales

Saginaw homeowners sold 29 homes through the Multiple Listing Service in February of 2019.  Eleven homes sold for less than $200,000, and only one of these was on the market for more than two weeks.  In other words, homes in this price range are coming on the market, but they are selling so fast that a buyer must be aware of all new listings immediately and be ready to make an offer quickly.  Although the least expensive sale was in the Parks Addition for $130,000, all other homes were more than $175,000. The average price of a Saginaw home was $217,959.  The most expensive home was almost 3000 square feet and located in Creekwood. It sold for $315,000.

The average time on the market was 39 days.  I sold a beautiful home in the Dominion that was on the market for 202 days.  My clients lowered the price slightly after the first couple of months on the market, but they held out for the price they really wanted, and eventually the home sold for 97.97% of the list price.  The average home sold for 99.28 % of the list price.  The home selling for $130,000 sold for the lowest percentage of the list price, 92.92%.  Originally it was listed for $139,000.  This home was a gutted investment opportunity which would not qualify for regular FHA, VA or conventional loan.  Only occasionally are such homes that offer real flipping opportunities available in Saginaw.

If you are thinking of selling, now is the time to call, text or e-mail me.  Only fifteen homes are currently actively for sale in Saginaw for less than $250,000.  We have buyers who have been waiting for their dream home to come on the market, and we have new buyers beginning their home search as spring approaches.  If you contact me, I will give you more information about the market as it pertains to your neighborhood and your home, and I will tell you all about the listing and selling process.  With good information, you can make good choices.  I look forward to serving you.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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2 Reports That Say Now Is a Great Time to Sell

2 Reports That Say Now Is a Great Time to Sell | MyKCM

Heading into the spring buying market, there are strong trends starting to emerge.

The inventory of homes for sale has increased on a year-over-year basis for eight months in a row. Home price appreciation has continued to grow, although at a slower rate. The homeownership rate has reached heights last seen in 2014, with millennials and Generation X leading the way!

Let’s dive a little deeper into some of the recent reports that have been released and what they mean for the spring buying season!

1. National Association of Realtor’s Existing Home Sales Report

Sales of existing homes were down for the third consecutive month in January. Some of this can be explained by the natural seasonality that the real estate market experiences every year, and some can be explained even further by a lack of homes available for sale on the market.

Inventory

For the last eight months, the inventory of homes for sale has been higher when compared to the same month the year before. The challenge in the market is the mismatch of the type of home that is available for sale. First-time homebuyers looking for a starter home are often competing with other buyers to stand out, often outbidding each other.

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s Chief Economist, agrees that the market is still experiencing an inventory shortage.

“In particular, the lower end of the market is experiencing a greater shortage, and more home construction is needed.”

Home Prices

The median home price for homes sold in January was $247,500. This is up 2.8% from January 2018 and marks the 83rd consecutive month of year-over-year gains. The 2.8% growth in home prices represents the smallest year-over-year change since February 2012 but is a welcome change for buyers who had feared being priced out of the market.

Days on the Market

Properties that sold in January were on the market for an average of 49 days with 38% of homes on the market for less than a month.

Yun is positive about how today’s market conditions will help buyers this spring,

 “Existing home sales in January were weak compared to historical norms; however, they are likely to have reached a cyclical low. Moderating home prices combined with gains in household income will boost housing affordability, bringing more buyers to the market in the coming months.”

2. NAR’s Pending Home Sales Report

The national Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) rose 4.6% to 103.2 in January from 98.7 in December. An index score of 100 is considered normal. All four major regions of the country experienced gains in January, with the largest increase coming in the South.

 “The PHSI is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing.”

Increases in the PHSI often predict increases in the level of home sales in the coming months, which is great news for the housing market leading in to spring! Yun had this to say,

“Homebuyers are now returning and taking advantage of lower interest rates, while a boost in inventory is also providing more choices for consumers.”

Bottom Line

The housing market in 2019 will require homeowners to list their house at the right price to attract buyers. If interest rates continue to stay low while wages increase, and more inventory comes to market, 2019 could be one of the best years for home sales in recent history. Do you want to know more about our current market and selling your home? Now is a great time to sell. Please contact me.

– Kathleenwheeler –

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3 Reasons Why We Are Not Heading Toward Another Housing Crash

With home prices softening, some are concerned that we may be headed toward the next housing crash. However, it is important to remember that today’s market is quite different than the bubble market of twelve years ago.

Here are three key metrics that will explain why:
Home Prices
Mortgage Standards
Foreclosure Rates

HOME PRICES
A decade ago, home prices depreciated dramatically, losing about 29% of their value over a four-year period (2008-2011). Today, prices are not depreciating. The level of appreciation is just decelerating.

Home values are no longer appreciating annually at a rate of 6-7%. However, they have still increased by more than 4% over the last year. Of the 100 experts reached for the latest Home Price Expectation Survey, 94 said home values would continue to appreciate through 2019. It will just occur at a lower rate.

MORTGAGE STANDARDS
Many are concerned that lending institutions are again easing standards to a level that helped create the last housing bubble. However, there is proof that today’s standards are nowhere near as lenient as they were leading up to the crash.

The Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center issues a quarterly index which,

“…measures the percentage of home purchase loans that are likely to default—that is, go unpaid for more than 90 days past their due date. A lower HCAI indicates that lenders are unwilling to tolerate defaults and are imposing tighter lending standards, making it harder to get a loan. A higher HCAI indicates that lenders are willing to tolerate defaults and are taking more risks, making it easier to get a loan.”
Last month, their January Housing Credit Availability Index revealed:

“Significant space remains to safely expand the credit box. If the current default risk was doubled across all channels, risk would still be well within the pre-crisis standard of 12.5 percent from 2001 to 2003 for the whole mortgage market.”
FORECLOSURE INVENTORY
Within the last decade, distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales) made up 35% of all home sales. The Mortgage Bankers’ Association revealed just last week that:

“The percentage of loans in the foreclosure process at the end of the fourth quarter was 0.95 percent…This was the lowest foreclosure inventory rate since the first quarter of 1996.”
Bottom Line
After using these three key housing metrics to compare today’s market to that of the last decade, we can see that the two markets are nothing alike.  If you would like more information about our local market and how the national market might affect you, please contact me.  I’m here to help you with all of your real estate needs.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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January 2019

Quiet January Real Estate Market for Saginaw, Texas

Individuals only sold fifteen houses in Saginaw in January.  The least expensive sale was a home on Franklin Street that sold for $125,000 and the most expensive was the one on Commonwealth Drive for $295,000.  The average sales price was $203,117 and the median price was $200,000, which does not represent much change from recent months.  Many of the houses that sold were older this month; the average year built was 1988.  Eight houses were built before 2000, and seven were built after 2000.

The average days on the market for Saginaw homes selling in January increased to 35 days.  Only four homes sold in less than two weeks.  What a radical change from a few months ago when many houses in Saginaw sold within the first two weeks!

Despite the longer time on the market, sellers are still receiving close to their list prices for their homes.  The lowest percentage of the sales price that a seller accepted was 90.20%, and the average sales price as a percentage of the list price was 98.07%.

If you are considering selling, this is a great time to sell with only 24 preowned homes actively for sale in Saginaw.  Buyers are waiting anxiously for more homes to come on the market so that they will have more choices.  My clients check the Multiple Listing Service via my e-mails every day and wait impatiently for the homes they desire.  You can take advantage of this market with so few competing homes for sale.  Please give me a call, text me or e-mail me for more information about the market and how I can serve you.

– Kathleen Wheeler –

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