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Buying Rather Than Building - Haring Realty

To build or buy? That's one of the first questions every homebuyer asks themselves before making a decision. Both choices offer plenty of benefits and plenty of challenges. Our REALTORS® know it's a difficult choice, but we also know that in most cases, buying a home is the better choice that offers far more advantages than drawbacks. As you consider your options, there are five key advantages every homebuyer should consider.

  1. Existing Homes Are Move-In Ready
    The vast majority of existing homes are sold in move-in-ready condition. In most cases, the work that needs to be done is more of a "want" than a "need." For instance, you may want to repaint a room or change the flooring, but you don't need to do it immediately. This gives you time to thoroughly consider your options, find a contractor to perform the work, etc.

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Avoiding Buyer Burnout - Haring Realty

Even in a buyer's market with plenty of affordable houses with little competition, buying a home is a stressful endeavor. This stress is amplified in today's market, where prices remain high and scant inventory leads to bidding wars. You can quickly become emotionally drained between finding a home that suits your needs and navigating a grueling loan approval process. Our REALTORS® can take some of the strain off your shoulders, but it's just as important to arm yourself with information to avoid buyer burnout.

Read on for some tips and tricks on navigating what can be both a stressful and joyful journey.

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Financing in 2022 - Homebuyers - Haring Realty

Our REALTORS® have been getting many questions about what to expect from the housing market in the coming year. No matter whether you're interested in Mansfield or Ashland homes for sale, there are plenty of opportunities.

The big question on everyone's mind is how financing will change in 2022.

Over the last year, many places in the country have seen home prices skyrocket. Homeowners have had the chance to attract abundant attention, with many homes receiving competitive bids from multiple buyers at once. As a result, quite a few homes have sold for well over asking price.

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Buyer Closing Costs - Haring Realty

Buying a home is one of the most significant purchases most people will ever make. And, just like when you go shopping at the store, the sticker price is not the home's total price. This can come as a shock to many first-time home sellers and first-time homebuyers alike, which is why our REALTORS® want you to know everything about closing costs and how they affect the final price you pay for your new dream home.

  • Fees and Commissions
    You will also need to factor in real estate agent fees and commissions. These can be around 6%, but they vary depending on the agent. The seller is the party that typically pays the agent fees and commissions. The seller also pays for title insurance and any pro-rated property taxes on the property. It is also the seller's responsibility to pay any HOA fees, attorney fees, and escrow money owed to the buyer. To help ink the deal, some contracts allow the seller and buyer to split, or have the buyer pay 100 percent of, the owner's title fees on cash deals.

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Buy a Home - Improve Credit Score - Haring Realty

Before looking at Mansfield or Ashland homes for sale, many would-be buyers take time to improve their credit scores. As a general rule, the better your credit is, the easier it is to access home loans on favorable terms. That usually means better interest rates and saving thousands over a mortgage's life.

Our REALTORS® have helped many clients understand how to tackle this process. We have spoken to many people who have put off their plans to buy a home due to their low credit score, even when they have substantial current income.

Luckily, you can improve your credit score in 2021 no matter where you start from!

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Buying a Flipped House - Haring Realty

The housing market is pretty hot nowadays, and investors are flipping like it's 2006 again. If you've been browsing homes for a while, you've probably come across flipped houses. But, buying a flipped house can be risky business.  Our REALTORS® are more than happy to guide you through the process and ensure you avoid any pitfalls.

If you're looking to buy a house in this marketfor instance, these Mansfield and Ashland homes for sale  knowledge is the best tool you have at your disposal. So, here's a guide to help you figure out whether a flipped house is worth it.

Buying A Flipped House: What You Need To Know

House flipping occurs when a real estate investor buys a house, makes some upgrades, and sells it at a profit. House flippers do it to make money. That's not to say you should discount these houses. You can get a great deal on the house, considering you don't have to dig further into your pocket to make renovations.

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Sanity-Saving Moving Tips - Haring Realty

In a perfect world, you'd have several months to fully prepare for a move. But in the real world, you often learn you need to move at the last minute. Maybe your house sold faster than you ever dreamed it would, or perhaps you stumbled upon the house of your dreams and bought it quickly. Regardless of why you need to move in a hurry, Our REALTORS® have some tips to help you out.

  1. Hire Movers ASAP
    The good moving companies book up quickly! As soon as you know you need to move and have a reasonable idea when you need to move, start getting estimates from moving companies. The earlier you book, the more flexible the movers can be. Once you have arrangements with a moving company, you can schedule everything else around their services.

    If you plan on renting a moving truck and moving yourself, the same advice applies. Book the moving truck ASAP so you can get the right size truck from a company you trust.

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From Apartment to First Home - Haring Realty

Moving from an apartment into your first home is exciting. But, it's also a bit nerve-wracking as you ponder plans for all the additional space you now have at your disposal. Our REALTORS® understand how you feel, and there are plenty of things you can do to keep your mind focused on the tasks ahead. The following tips will help you tie a bow on all the details so that you can enjoy settling into your new home.

  • Take care of the apartment first. Make sure to reread your lease and notify your landlord of your intention to move within the specified timeframe. You will want to confirm your responsibilities, when you'll get your deposit back, etc. You should also take care of any final rent payments, utility bills, and don't forget to file a change-of-address form with the post office.

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Consider the Garage - Buy a Home - Haring Realty

While most homebuyers consider a garage a necessary or important home feature, many buyers overlook potential problems that may be lurking in the space. If you're looking around at Ohio homes for sale, our REALTORS® at Haring Realty can help you find a beautiful home with a two-car garage that's in great shape.

A garage is an asset to any home because it can serve many purposes. As a utilitarian space, its primary purpose is storage and protection for your car, which is a big expense. However, a garage can also provide a large amount of storage space for a washer and dryer, lawn care equipment, tools, household items, and clothing. Most homeowners with a two-car attached garage use the space for much more than storing vehicles.

Although your garage is separated from your living spaces in Mansfield or Ashland homes for sale, it's still space with structural components that need attention. Your garage can reveal telltale signs of damage that can have a significant impact on a home's investment. To avoid problems and expensive repairs, pay attention to your garage.

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Early Offer - Buy a House - Haring Realty

You've been browsing Mansfield and Ashland homes for sale for quite some time now and have finally found something perfect for you and your family's needs. You're ready to take the plunge and put in an offer on the house. But how long should you wait ?There's really no conventional answer to that question. But in a seller's market, when inventory is low and demand is high, you may have to go above and beyond to make sure you submit an early offer and that it stands out from the competition. Here's what you should know about making early offers along with strategies for making a winning one.

Potential Problems with Early Offers

Making an offer isn't as simple as knocking on the door and informing the seller you'll take the house. Your intentions trigger the start of an intricate process between you and the seller. Don't expect the seller to accept your offer just because it came in first. Sellers usually think they've priced their home too low when an offer comes in fast. So, they want the house to have the longest exposure possible on the open market and get bids from a large number of buyers. An early offer would need to be mighty attractive for the seller to accept it instead of waiting too long for better offers.

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Competitive Housing Market - Buy a Home - Haring Realty

Real estate markets across the country are red hot. It is not uncommon for sellers to receive numerous offers within days of listing their property. Time and time again, our REALTORS® have seen homes sell for well above their listing price. If you have your eye on the perfect property for your next home, we recommend taking the time to get prepared before you jump into the pool of buyers eager to get their hands on your dream home.

  • Preapproval
    Start by getting preapproved for a loan. This is more rigorous than a prequalification process and shows you precisely where you stand and how much the lender will loan for your purchase. There are multiple advantages to this when searching for Mansfield or Ashland homes for sale. It helps narrow down your search to only those properties within your price range. This speeds up the process considerably. It also shows you how high you can go if a bidding war breaks out. Equally important, when multiple offers are submitted, sellers are more likely to accept offers from preapproved buyers than those who are merely pre-qualified.

    In fact, be prepared to pay more than the listing price. This is especially true for well-maintained homes in desirable locations. It's not unheard of for homes to sell for 100-110% or more of the asking price. As you search, factor this into your calculations and search for homes that are 95% or less of your preapproval.

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FICO Score Importance - Buy a Home - Haring Realty

At Haring Realty, our REALTORS® know that some aspects of the home-buying process can be confusing.

Even buyers who have been through it all before don't know everything. And it can be even more worrisome for first-time buyers, who wonder about all the things they aren't familiar with yet. That can put a damper on the fun of looking at Mansfield or Ashland homes for sale.

One subject comes up again and again: Financing. Where to find a mortgage and how to get the best deal.

Choosing the best mortgage for you can save you thousands of dollars across the life of your mortgage. But buyers often go into the process knowing little about one of the most important factors that can influence your mortgage terms: your FICO score.

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Downsizing your home? - Glynnis Cox Real Estate Expert In Las Vegas and  Henderson NV

Have you been thinking of downsizing? You are not alone. Statistics show that almost half of baby boomers are considering downsizing. Many people who downsizing have been thinking about moving out of their large home to a smaller home, condo or apartment for some time. Common factors in making this decision may be a recent retirement, children moving out of the home, financial issues, divorce or inability to continue to care for a larger home and/or yard. I am one of those people. Having had this experience myself, I wanted to write this blog which, I hope, will help you as you downsize.

  1. Emotional
    Downsizing brings up a lot of emotions. You will be looking at physical items which will bring up good and bad feelings from the past. Your Mom's favorite china may remind you about wonderful Christmas dinners. On the other hand, an old picture may remind you of a sad time in your life. Take time to process these emotions by talking to a friend or a professional so you can move forward in a positive way.

  2. Professional
    Early in the process I suggest that you start looking at your options for a home while you are deciding what to do with your possessions. Being a real estate agent myself, I know a professional agent will be invaluable in helping you find your new home. The agent will ask you questions about what you can afford, where you want to live, what type of home, e.g. one story or two story, will work best for you, etc. Based on your needs the agent will help you search for and locate a home that is just right for you.

  3. Stuff
    One of the biggest and sometimes the most overwhelming aspects of downsizing is what to do with all your "stuff". We all have accumulated a lot of furniture and household goods over the years. I knew I wanted my family members to have the opportunity to have family heirlooms. So I texted everyone and explained I was downsizing and asked them to contact me if they wanted any family "treasures". Don't be surprised or hurt if you don't hear anything and/or they don't want something that is important to you. Lifestyles of younger people often don't allow for them to take a large dining room set or 12 piece china set they will never use or collection of salt and pepper shakers.

  4. Decide
    Take time to sort through your possessions and decide what to keep, sell, donate or discard.

  5. Expectations
    Be realistic about the size of your next home when you decide what to keep. Going from a 2,000 square foot home to a 1,000 square foot condo obviously makes a big difference in terms of what you can actually keep. Start by going through your home and picking out the items you really love. It might be you Grandmother's antique chest of drawers or a special plate. Take that precious possession with you but your decisions should focus on the philosophy that less is more.

  6. Sell
    Pick a reliable auctioneer or estate professional to handle the possessions you want to sell. Nowadays many sales are online. A professional can evaluate each item, photograph each item or group of items, advertise your sale, make arrangements for buyers to pick up their purchases, and collect proceeds.

  7. Documents
    This is an opportunity to sort through and organize your paperwork. Inexpensive banker's boxes can hold those papers you must keep, e.g. birth certificates, passports, recent tax returns, transcripts, resumes, etc. Be ruthless and throw the rest out.

  8. Photos
    Photographs are important reminders of the past; however, if you and no one else knows who is in the picture, you may want to sell them to someone who is interested in that time in history or give them to a local historical society. However, if there is no way to identify them and no one wants them, you may have to discard them. While you are looking through them and want to keep them, take a minute and put a note on the back with the names of the people in the picture. I wish my ancestors had labeled so many pictures I found and couldn't identify. I have a friend who has scanned family pictures rather than keeping the hard copies. There is an electronic photo album with these family pictures that now sits on the mantel in his home.

  9. Donate
    There are many organizations that would be delighted to have the items you don't want or need, e.g. St. Vincent DePaul Society, Goodwill, etc. Some may even come to your home to pick up your donations. Set aside a space for items that are broken, dirty or not suitable for donation. For things that can't be donated or kept, I recommend you call a garbage company and have a dumpster placed at your home so you can throw stuff out immediately. You can save money by throwing out unwanted items each week with your trash. Note: some items, e.g. cans of paint may have to be disposed of in a specific way rather than in the trash.

  10. Move
    Make arrangements to move. There are some good options to consider: moving yourself by renting a moving truck, packing your possessions and putting them in a " pod" where a company can move them to a new location, or hiring a moving company to do everything for you. Check with others to find the best moving company if you want someone else to move you. I used two of the above options-moving myself and hiring a moving company. I gathered up boxes from the grocery store, put items I wanted to move in the boxes, marked the boxes and moved some of them, like my clothes, myself. I had initially thought I would rent a truck and move everything myself. When I learned how economical the moving company I chose was, I used them to move me. They packed the boxes I had not moved in their their truck along with my furniture. When we got to my new home, they carefully placed my furniture and boxes in the the right rooms immediately and I was settled much more quickly.

  11. Enjoy
    Remember to enjoy the next stage of your life. It's a wonderful new adventure!

Connie Ament, Realtor, Haring Realty Cincinnati


New Homeowners: Countdown to Moving Day

You've scouted Mansfield homes for sale, found the perfect match, and closed the deal. Now it's time to plan for moving day! There are so many details to cover when preparing for a move, so having a detailed plan will help you reduce stress while making sure that you cover every key step. Our REALTORS® have you covered, with our countdown of the final 30 days before moving day.

One Month Before Moving

  • Create a Supply List and Gather Moving Supplies
    Packing is so much easier when you have all the necessary supplies. You'll need shipping tape, scissors, plenty of labels, permanent markers, packing materials, and of course a ton of cardboard boxes.

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Real Estate Agent Help - Haring Realty

Real estate agents have experience and knowledge that can make buying a home easier and help you avoid costly mistakes. They can help you with many aspects of the home buying process, including several you may not have thought of.

The following are just a few of the things our REALTORS® can help you with when you're looking at Mansfield homes for sale:

  • Spotting problems you may not notice
    Real estate agents have looked at enough homes to be able to spot problems that you may not notice. For example, he or she may be able to see signs of insect issues, problems with the roof, or leaks in the home. These may be expensive problems to fix, and if your real estate agent notices them, you may end up saving a lot of money or avoiding a headache.

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Mortgage Loan Pre-Approval - Haring Realty

When it comes to applying for a mortgage, getting pre-approved for financing and starting the credit application process should begin as early as possible. The sooner you get a jump on the process, the fewer problems you'll have when it's time to close and sign on the dotted line.  

But is it possible to apply too early? Our REALTORS® know the answers, and we've put together some of our expertise to help you apply for your mortgage financing at an optimal time for your home purchase.  

How Long Does Pre-Approval Take?

Before you decide how early to apply for a mortgage, we should help you understand how long the pre-approval process takes. 

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Securing a VA Loan - Haring Realty

If you've spent even a tiny amount of time shopping around for a mortgage, then you know it's not exactly a picnic. Our REALTORS® understand that securing a home loan is easily the least fun part of the home buying process, but it's an unavoidable one. 

That said, many homebuyers have a loan option they may not have considered: VA Loans. For those who qualify, a VA loan is an amazing resource, arguably much better than a conventional mortgage. So if you're looking at Mansfield homes for sale, be sure to carefully consider all your loan options. 

What is a VA Loan?

VA Loans are backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and are designed to provide a simple and affordable route to homeownership for military, veterans and their families. Since VA Loans were first offered under the Servicemen's Readjustment Act in 1944, they have helped countless current and former service members finance their homes. 

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Commute Time - Haring Realty

It's true that location matters when it comes to buying a home. A top location can offer a great school district, great amenities, convenient access to shopping, and a low crime rate. However, your commute time to work is another important factor to consider when looking for Mansfield homes for sale. It can be tempting to ignore a long commute if it would mean foregoing what is an otherwise perfect home. But will the time and cost of a long commute be worth it?

The Costs of a Long Commute

The average American commutes for approximately 25.4 minutes each way. But those in larger metropolitan areas are subject to an extremely long commute of up to 1.5 hours each way. Extreme commuters spend at least 15 hours a week on the road without getting paid for it. As the time adds up, so do your travel expenses, especially gas and car maintenance. In most cases, the savings realized by purchasing a home in a suburban area result in a higher cost overall. Adding a distant commute to your housing expenses can exceed 30% of your gross monthly income.

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Multigenerational Home Buying

Our REALTORS® at Haring Realty are excited to present an outstanding collection of Mansfield homes for sale this season. Our team is here to help clients achieve their goals in the real estate market – we help you every step of the way.

One trend that's become important here in Mansfield is the multigenerational home.

Economic shifts of the last few years have made it much more difficult for young people to buy a home. Job market fluctuations have left many in their 20s and 30s challenged to reach the kind of career they want. At the same time, elders are seeking stability in retirement and beyond.

The multigenerational family home is the solution that can serve both these needs.

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Married & Buying a House

At Haring Realty, our REALTORS® know house hunting has its share of ups and downs.

If you're buying a house as a couple, it's important to understand your needs and expectations so you can come to a choice as a couple. Some compromise is expected, but choosing a home over one partner's objections can lead to problems down the line.

On the other hand, a home you both love will only make your bond stronger.

Here's how you can do it:

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Ohio Home Fireplace Tips
Winter in Ohio is in full bloom. There is nothing quite as cozy as a crackling fire in the fireplace of your Mansfield home.  However, the last thing any homeowner wants is for disaster to strike, potentially damaging their home and putting loved ones in danger. Understanding and practicing fireplace safety is crucial in ensuring that your house and family are safe. Our REALTORS® offer these eight tips to keep your fireplace in tip-top shape and protect our family.

  1. Get Your Fireplace Ready
    Before you light the first fire of the season, have your chimney and fireplace inspected and cleaned by a professional. Flues should be intact, and the dampers are operating correctly. Any buildup of dangerous residues including soot, creosote and glaze should be removed as they can seriously increase the risk of a chimney fire.

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Mansfield Ohio Buy Home Holidays
If you've been searching for a new home, you probably know that the residential real estate market slows down this time of year. That doesn't mean you have to postpone your search. The year-end holiday season offers the best opportunities to visit Mansfield homes for sale and seal the deal on your new home. 

Our REALTORS® keep informed about regional marketing data. Their research shows that buying a home during the holidays makes sense, especially when you're a serious buyer. They share five good reasons why you should step up your home search during the holidays. 

  1. Serious Sellers
    When a homeowner keeps a For Sale sign posted when the market slows for the season, they're serious about selling. They may have a job transfer deadline, a new home purchase pending, or an urgent need to downsize. Whatever their reason, sellers who keep their listings active during the holidays, are hoping a buyer will make a reasonable offer before the year's end. Their desire to sell paves the way for you to make your best deal.

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Mansfield Home Buying Contingent Listings
If you've been browsing online listings of Mansfield homes for sale, you've probably come across some that are listed as "contingent." Some buyers shy away from contingent listings because they don't really know what that means, or because they assume it means that the home isn't available. That can be a big mistake.  

So let's take a moment to go over contingent home listings, and the different types of contingencies you may come across on your home search. 

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Buy House Seller's Market

Insider Help for Buying a House in a Seller's Market

Buying a house can be more challenging in a seller's market.  It may feel as if you keep hitting roadblocks and dead ends and only the sellers are in control. In this market, there are more potential buyers, able and willing to make a purchase, than there are Mansfield homes for sale. The low inventory means that the existing homes are priced higher, but still sell relatively quickly.

This does not mean that you can't buy a home in Mansfield, Ohio for a good price even--it just means you may need a little help and advice from real estate insiders. Here are three ways to buy your dream home even in today's market.

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What is PMI

What is Private Mortgage Insurance?

We all know that buying a house has its challenges, and the terminology alone is enough to make your head swim. One of the terms our REALTORS® often get asked about is PMI—Private Mortgage Insurance. What is it? How does it work? What does it cost? Do I really need it? Is it tax deductible? We're here to answer all your questions for you.

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Buy a House in Ashland Ohio

Buying a new home is always a big deal, but buying your first home is an extra special occasion. It can, however, be also be filled with missteps if you go into it blindly and without the right information. If you're starting to feel overwhelmed by all the dos and don'ts of the home-buying process, our REALTORS® can make it easier with our five-step plan for buying a home in Ashland. 

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Buy a Home with New Job

Even if you're new to a job, you can still fulfill your dream of owning a home. When you search for Mansfield homes for sale, you're destined to find the perfect residence in a neighborhood that fits your lifestyle. While your new job may present financing challenges, some mortgage companies will find ways to work around the obstacles.

Our REALTORS® believe that the path to homeownership is easier when you know what to expect. That's why we created a "First-Time Buyers Guide: Buying a Home With a New Job" with information to help you through your home-buying process.

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Home Buying Tips for Millennials
As the economy grows, Millennials are taking a second look at the housing market. Let's review ten tips that will smooth the path to your first house, no matter what your goals are. 

  1. Think About a Starter Home
    You don't have to go straight into a lavish home. If you start with a smaller home or fixer-upper, you'll often be able to get even better mortgage terms in the future-thanks to your established history with your first property.

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Home buying questions to ask
One of the first challenges when buying a house is that there's simply so much information to sort through as you make your decision. Whether you're building a budget, searching for the right neighborhood, or thinking about how to make an appealing offer, asking the right questions will ultimately help you reach informed decisions. And you don't have to do it alone! Our REALTORS® are here to help, with a guide to the five key questions to ask when buying a house.

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Home Buying Facts
Congratulations!  You're ready to buy your first home.  If you are like most newbies, you might be likely to ask family and friends for advice.  A word to the wise ... be careful.  Folks with even the best intentions can get the line between fact and fiction confused when it comes to real estate transactions.  That is why it is best to save your questions for a professional.

Our team of REALTORS® has compiled this list of the most common home-buying myths to set the record straight when it comes to buying a house. 

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The price of any item is determined by the supply of that item, as well as the market demand. 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?"

Buyer Demand Is Outpacing the Supply of Homes for Sale | MyKCM

The darker the blue, the stronger the demand for homes in that area. Only six states had a weak demand level.

Seller Supply

The Index also asked: "How would you rate seller traffic in your area?"

As you can see from the map below, the majority of the country has weak Seller Traffic, meaning there are far fewer homes on the market than what is needed to satisfy the buyers who are out looking for their dream homes.

Buyer Demand Is Outpacing the Supply of Homes for Sale | MyKCM

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 the 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 the market now!


Thinking of Making an Offer? 4 Tips for Success | MyKCM

So you've been searching for that perfect house to call a 'home,' and you finally found one! The price is right, and in such a competitive market that you want to make sure you make a good offer so that you can guarantee your dream of making this house yours comes true!

Freddie Mac covered "4 Tips for Making an Offer" in their latest Executive Perspective. Here are the 4 Tips they covered along with some additional information for your consideration:

1. Understand How Much You Can Afford

"While it's not nearly as fun as house hunting, fully understanding your finances is critical in making an offer."

This 'tip' or 'step' really should take place before you start your home search process.

As we've mentioned before, getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and will allow you to make your offer with the confidence of knowing that you have already been approved for a mortgage for that amount. You will also need to know if you are prepared to make any repairs that may need to be made to the house (ex: new roof, new furnace).

2. Act Fast

"Even though there are fewer investors, the inventory of homes for sale is also low and competition for housing continues to heat up in many parts of the country."

According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report, the inventory of homes for sale is currently at a 3.6-month supply; This is well below the 6-month supply that is needed for a 'normal' market. Buyer demand has continued to outpace the supply of homes for sale, causing buyers to compete with each other for their dream homes.

Make sure that as soon as you decide that you want to make an offer, you work with your agent to present it as soon as possible.

3. Make a Solid Offer

Freddie Mac offers this advice to help make your offer the strongest it can be:

"Your strongest offer will be comparable with other sales and listings in the neighborhood. A licensed real estate agent active in the neighborhoods you are considering will be instrumental in helping you put in a solid offer based on their experience and other key considerations such as recent sales of similar homes, the condition of the house and what you can afford."

Consider ways of making your offer stand out! Many buyers write a personal letter to the seller letting them know how much they would love to be the new homeowners. Your agent will be able to help you figure out if there are any other ways your offer could stand out above the rest.

4. Be Prepared to Negotiate

"It's likely that you'll get at least one counteroffer from the sellers so be prepared. The two things most likely to be negotiated are the selling price and closing date. Given that, you'll be glad you did your homework first to understand how much you can afford.

Your agent will also be key in the negotiation process, giving you guidance on the counteroffer and making sure that the agreed-to contract terms are met."

If your offer is approved, Freddie Mac urges you to "always get an independent home inspection, so you know the true condition of the home." If the inspection uncovers undisclosed problems or issues, you can discuss any repairs that may need to be made, with the seller, or cancel the contract.

Bottom Line 

Whether buying your first home or your fifth, having a local professional on your side who is an expert in their market is your best bet to make sure the process goes smoothly. Happy House Hunting!


How Historically Low Interest Rates Increase Your Purchasing Power | MyKCM

According to Freddie Mac's latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage are currently at 3.47%. Rates have remained at or below 3.5% each of the last 16 weeks, marking a historic low.

The interest rate you secure when buying a home not only greatly impacts your monthly housing costs, but also impacts your purchasing power.

Purchasing power, simply put, is the amount of home you can afford buy for the budget you have available to spend. As rates increase, the price of the house you can afford will decrease if you plan to stay within a certain monthly housing budget.

The chart below shows what impact rising interest rates would have if you planned to purchase a home within the national median price range, and planned to keep your principal and interest payments at or about $1,100 a month.

How Historically Low Interest Rates Increase Your Purchasing Power | MyKCM

With each quarter of a percent increase in interest rate, the value of the home you can afford decreases by 2.5%, (in this example, $6,250). Experts predict that mortgage rates will be closer to 4% by this time next year.

Act now to get the most house for your hard earned money.



Don't Disqualify Yourself… Over Half of All Loans Approved Have a FICO Score Under 750 | MyKCM

The results of countless studies have shown that potential home buyers, and even current homeowners, have an inflated view of what is really required to qualify for a mortgage in today's market.

One such study by the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, revealed that many Millennials have not yet considered purchasing a home, simply because they don't believe they can qualify for a mortgage.

The article quoted Jessica Lautz, the National Association of RealtorsManaging Director of Survey Research, as saying that there is a significant population that does not think they will be approved for a mortgage and doesn't even try. The article also quoted Fannie Mae CEO Tim Mayopoulos: 

"I do think that there's a sense out there in the marketplace among borrowers that credit may not be available, especially for people with lower credit scores."

Ellie Mae's Vice President, Jonas Moe recently encouraged buyers to know their options before assuming that they do not qualify for a mortgage:

"Many potential home buyers are 'disqualifying' themselves. You don't need a 750 FICO Score and a 20% down payment to buy."

So what credit score is necessary?

Below is a breakdown of the FICO Score Distribution of all closed (approved) loans in August from Ellie Mae's latest Origination Report.

Don't Disqualify Yourself… Over Half of All Loans Approved Have a FICO Score Under 750 | MyKCM

Over 50% of all approved loans had a FICO Score under 750. Many potential home buyers believe that they need a score over 780 to qualify.

Bottom Line

If owning a home of your own has always been a dream of yours and you are ready and willing to buy, find out if you are able to! Let's get together to determine if your dreams can become a reality sooner than you thought!


Why We Need More Newly Constructed Homes | MyKCM

The number of new home sales is far off historic norms. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) just reported that the percentage of all house sales that were newly constructed homes has fallen to the lowest numbers in forty years. Here is a graph showing the percentages:

Why We Need More Newly Constructed Homes | MyKCM

This should come as no surprise as the number of new housing starts has fallen dramatically over the last several years:

Why We Need More Newly Constructed Homes | MyKCM

Bottom Line

We need more new construction for two reasons:

  1. It will relieve some of the pent-up buying demand that is causing price appreciation to continue to increase well above historic norms.
  2. It will give better opportunities to many current homeowners who want to sell but can't find an adequate home to move in to.


Have You Put Aside Enough for Closing Costs? | MyKCM

There are many potential homebuyers, and even sellers, who believe that you need at least a 20% down payment in order to buy a home, or move on to their next home. Time after time, we have dispelled this myth by showing that there are many loan programs that allow you to put down as little as 3% (or 0% with a VA loan).

If you have saved up your down payment and are ready to start your home search, one other piece of the puzzle is to make sure that you have saved enough for your closing costs.

Freddie Mac defines closing costs as:

"Closing costs, also called settlement fees, will need to be paid when you obtain a mortgage.  These are fees charged by people representing your purchase, including your lender, real estate agent, and other third parties involved in the transaction. Closing costs are typically between 2 and 5% of your purchase price."

We've recently heard from many first-time homebuyers that they wished that someone had let them know that closing costs could be so high. If you think about it, with a low down payment program, your closing costs could equal the amount that you saved for your down payment.

Here is a list of just some of the fees/costs that may be included in your closing costs, depending on where the home you wish to purchase is located:

  • Government recording costs
  • Appraisal fees
  • Credit report fees
  • Lender origination fees
  • Title services (insurance, search fees)
  • Tax service fees
  • Survey fees
  • Attorney fees
  • Underwriting fees

Is there any way to avoid paying closing costs?

Work with your lender and real estate agent to see if there are any ways to decrease or defer your closing costs. There are no-closing mortgages available, but they end up costing you more in the end with a higher interest rate, or by wrapping the closing costs into the total cost of the mortgage (meaning you'll end up paying interest on your closing costs).

Home buyers can also negotiate with the seller over who pays these fees. Sometimes the seller will agree to assume the buyer's closing fees in order to get the deal finalized.


Home Sales Expected to Increase Nicely in 2017

Home Sales Expected to Increase Nicely in 2017 | MyKCM

The National Association of Realtors, The Mortgage Bankers' Association, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are all projecting that home sales will increase in 2017. Here is a chart showing what each entity is projecting in sales for this year and the next.

Home Sales Expected to Increase Nicely in 2017 | MyKCM

As we can see, each is projecting sizable increases in home sales next year. If you have considered selling your house recently, now may be the time to put it on the market.




Home Values: DEFINITELY NOT in Bubble Range!! | MyKCM

There are some industry pundits claiming that residential home values have risen too quickly and that current levels are on the verge of another housing bubble. It is easy to see how this thinking has taken form if we look at a graph of home prices from 2000 to today.

Home Values: DEFINITELY NOT in Bubble Range!! | MyKCM

The graph definitely looks like a rollercoaster ride. And, as prices begin to reach 2006 levels again, it "seems logical" that the next part of the ride would be downhill. However, this graph includes the anomaly of the price bubble and the correction (the housing crash).

What if the bubble & bust didn't occur?

Let's assume that instead of the rise and fall in home prices that we saw last decade, we just had normal historic appreciation from 2000 to today. According to the 100+ experts that are surveyed for the Home Price Expectation Survey, normal annual appreciation for residential single family homes from 1987 to 1999 was 3.6%.

Starting with the median home price in 2000, we added 3.6% to it each year since then. Here is that graph intermixed with the above graph.

Home Values: DEFINITELY NOT in Bubble Range!! | MyKCM

What this shows us is that, had the bubble and crash not occurred and instead we just had normal annual appreciation over this period, prices would actually be greater than they are today.

Bottom Line

There is no reason for alarm as prices seem to be right in line with where they should be.



Don't Get Caught in the Rental Trap! | MyKCM

There are many benefits to homeownership. One of the top ones is being able to protect yourself from rising rents and lock in your housing cost for the life of your mortgage.

Don't Become Trapped

Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist at, reported on what he calls a "Rental Affordability Crisis." He warns that,

"Low rental vacancies and a lack of new rental construction are pushing up rents, and we expect that they'll outpace home price appreciation in the year ahead."

In the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University's 2015 Report on Rental Housing, they reported that 49% of rental households are cost-burdened, meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on housing. These households struggle to save for a rainy day and pay other bills, such as food and healthcare.

It's Cheaper to Buy Than Rent

In Smoke's article, he went on to say,

"Housing is central to the health and well-being of our country and our local communities. In addition, this (rental affordability) crisis threatens the future value of owned housing, as the burdensome level of rents will trap more aspiring owners into a vicious financial cycle in which they cannot save and build a solid credit record to eventually buy a home."

 "While more than 85% of markets have burdensome rents today, it's perplexing that in more than 75% of the counties across the country, it is actually cheaper to buy than rent a home. So why aren't those unhappy renters choosing to buy?"

Know Your Options

Perhaps you have already saved enough to buy your first home. HousingWire reported that analysts at Nomura believe:

"It's not that Millennials and other potential homebuyers aren't qualified in terms of their credit scores or in how much they have saved for their down payment.

 It's that they think they're not qualified or they think that they don't have a big enough down payment." (emphasis added)

Many first-time homebuyers who believe that they need a large down payment may be holding themselves back from their dream home. As we have reported before, in many areas of the country, a first-time home buyer can save for a 3% down payment in less than two years. You may have already saved enough!

Bottom Line

Don't get caught in the trap so many renters are currently in. If you are ready and willing to buy a home, find out if you are able. Let's get together to determine if you could qualify for a mortgage now!


How Supply & Demand Impacts the Real Estate Market [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • The Concept of Supply & Demand is a simple one. The best time to sell something is when supply of that item is low & demand for that item is high!
  • Anything under a 6-month supply is a Seller's Market!
  • There has not been a 6-months inventory supply since August 2012!
  • Buyer Demand continues to out-pace Seller Supply!

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