Top 4 Renovations for the Greatest Return on Investment

Top 4 Renovations for the Greatest Return on Investment! [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • If you are planning on listing your house for sale this year, these four home improvement projects will net you the most Return on Investment (ROI).
  • Minor renovations can go a long way toward improving the quality of your everyday life and/or impressing potential buyers.
  • Whether you plan to stay in your house for a long time or just a few years, it’s smart to know which home renovations add the most value.

Posted on June 16, 2019 at 9:42 am
Kara Brem | Posted in Uncategorized |

Minimize and simplify your living space

Have you considered what it would feel like to let go of the “stuff” in your life and downsize?  To remove all the excess items you’ve acquired over the years and really minimize?

I recently did just that and I will tell you…it feels better than I ever imagined.  Everything I own now fits in my recently purchased 800 sq ft one bedroom La Costa condo and 1 car garage…including my car!

Living a minimalist lifestyle is not for everyone.  It’s certainly a case-by-case scenario and if you still have little ones in the house there are other versions of minimalism or simplifying that can also be rewarding, without limiting your living space to an extreme degree.

In my situation, my independent daughter is 25 and has been out of the house for years.  She’s not coming home to live with mom anytime soon.   When she does come for a visit, I splurge and get her an airbnb right down the street.  She has her space and I have mine.  It’s perfect!


 

 

When I bought my little condo, people thought I was a tad off my rocker.  Some thought I must be experiencing financial difficulties.  WHY would I ever want to do such a thing and why live in a small space?

 

 

Well here you have it.  These are  the benefits I’ve experienced thus far in my minimizing adventure:

  • I know exactly where EVERYTHING I own is.  No more searching through boxes or cabinets looking for that one item.
  •  I’m organized beyond belief.  You have to be in a small space!
  • Instead of buying a home that was MORE than I needed, I now have money to travel, explore, and enjoy life when I have the time off work.  I’m not a slave to my mortgage.
  • My manageable mortgage payment allows me to start on my next life goal…purchasing investment properties to create future financial comfort and stability for my “later years”.
  • I don’t waste my money on anything I don’t need because it just doesn’t fit!  If I want to purchase something, something else has to go first.

Letting go and giving away my excess “stuff” allowed me to share things I did not need with those that did.  Smiles for days.  This activity was enough to make me want to give away more and so I did!  People are so appreciative and many needed these things much more than I did.

So, if this sounds like a way of life you’d like to explore and if you’re ready to downsize, let’s get started looking for your new home. It’s a great time to start a new, simple lifestyle and it starts with your home base.  I’m happy to help and I’m so excited about this new way of life I just want everyone to experience it.

 


Posted on June 6, 2019 at 12:05 pm
Kara Brem | Posted in Uncategorized |

Renting vs. buying. What’s best for you?

The debate about whether it makes more financial sense to rent or buy has been raging for decades. Advocates of buying argue that when you pay rent you’re paying for someone else’s mortgage. When you buy, you are making an investment, which can significantly increase in value every year you live in the home.

Supporters of renting say that the extra costs associated with owning a home, such as interest payments, taxes, maintenance, can add up. They add that there’s no guarantee that those expenses will be recouped when the house is sold. Instead of investing in a home, you may be better off investing your savings in stocks, bonds, and other financial securities that hold less risk.

Matthew Gardner, our Chief Economist, forecasts, that we will not break 5% for 30-year fixed Mortgage rates for 2019, and likely won’t break it next year.

This means that getting a mortgage is relatively cheap, raising the question, ‘Is it really worth it to keep renting?’

Even if interest rates stay low, whether to rent or buy has a lot to do with each person’s specific situation. Here are a few considerations to make as you decide.

 

What’s the real estate situation in your city?

Industry groups put out reports every quarter stating the average national sales price for a home, and the average monthly payment for a U.S. rental. These reports are typically based on an average of all the cities in the U.S. But what really matters is what the numbers show when you dig into them on a local level.

Investigate the local sales and rental markets, and you’ll see there are some cities that fall well below that average, and some that rise far above it. When comparing housing costs, be sure to base your evaluation on what’s happening in your city and neighborhood, not the nationwide averages.

 

How long do you expect to live there?

If you don’t plan to be living in the same place for at least five years, renting is probably your best bet financially. But if you think you’re ready to settle down for as long as 7 to 10 years, chances are very good that any home you purchase will appreciate during that time even if the economy runs into some bumps along the way.

 

What’s the mortgage rate?

One of the other key factors to consider is the cost of your loan (the interest you’ll pay the lender). Fortunately, our Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner, does not expect interest rates to hit or break 5 percent, meaning money is relatively cheap.

Your mortgage rate will depend on how much money you have saved, your credit score, and other factors, so make sure to talk to a loan officer before you start looking for a home. Being pre-approved for a mortgage narrows down your price range and helps strengthen your offer when it comes time to compete for your new home.

 

Can you pay a bit more?

It can be advantageous to work a lower monthly payment to the bank so that you can pay a little more than the payment.

For example, if you can afford to pay a little extra towards your mortgage bill each month, say $300 more per month, on a 30-year, $300,000 loan, can knock eight years off the life of the loan and reduce your final bill by more than $63,000. That’s savings you would never see if you rented.

 

Will you need to make repairs or improvements?

Buying a fixer-upper may seem like a great way to get a deal on a house, but if the money you spend on the repairs is too great, your profit could be diminished when it comes time to sell. The same is true for remodeling and improvement projects.

Additionally, you can work with your Mortgage lender for a repair loan. This can help you get that lot you want, and help you pay for the repairs.

But ultimately, if you can only afford a home that demands major improvements, and you don’t have the skills to do much of the work yourself, it’s probably better to rent.

 

Do you have other ways to invest?

Many see a home purchase as an easy way to invest—a place where they can generate savings through home equity. But others say you can make more money renting an apartment and investing your savings in stocks, bonds, and other financial securities.

This is where a financial advisor might come in. They’ll be able to break down what you need to do in order to get the best return on your investments. They’ll also be able to see the big picture when it comes to your money.

 

Can you rent part of the house?

Speaking of a diverse portfolio, let your investment work for you. If you buy a house that includes a rental (extra bedroom, mother-in-law unit, etc.), you could be the landlord instead of paying the landlord. With that rental income, you could pay off the mortgage faster and contribute more to your savings. But, of course, you need to be willing to share your home with a tenant and take on the responsibilities of being a landlord or working with a professional property manager to help you with those duties.

 

Making your decision

To make your decision about whether to rent or buy easier, input the key financial facts regarding your situation into this Realtor.com Rent vs. Buy Calculator:  For help making sense of the results and analyzing other factors, contact me to discuss your options.


Posted on May 21, 2019 at 10:58 am
Kara Brem | Posted in Uncategorized |

What’s Holding You Back From Buying?


Posted on May 13, 2019 at 8:57 am
Kara Brem | Posted in Uncategorized |

Slaying the Largest Homebuying Myths Today

Slaying the Largest Homebuying Myths Today [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • The average down payment for first-time homebuyers is only 6%!
  • Mortgage interest rates have been on the decline since November! Hop in now to lock in a low rate!
  • 88% of property managers raised their rents in the last 12 months!
  • The average credit score on approved loans continues to fall across many loan types!

Posted on April 30, 2019 at 10:54 am
Kara Brem | Posted in Uncategorized |

Are Low Interest Rates Here to Stay?

Are Low Interest Rates Here to Stay? | Simplifying The Market

Interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage have been on the decline since November, now reaching lows last seen in January 2018. According to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, rates came in at 4.12% last week!

This is great news for anyone who is planning on buying a home this spring! Freddie Mac had this to say,

“Mortgage interest rates have been steadily declining since the start of 2019. These lower mortgage interest rates combined with a strong labor market should attract prospective homebuyers this spring and could help the housing sector regain its momentum later in the year.”

To put the low rates in perspective, the average for 2018 was 4.6%! The chart below shows the recent drop, and also shows where the experts at Freddie Mac believe rates will be by the end of 2019.

Are Low Interest Rates Here to Stay? | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

If you plan on buying a home this year, let’s get together to start your home search to ensure you can lock in these historically low rates today!


Posted on April 23, 2019 at 9:16 am
Kara Brem | Posted in Real estate | Tagged , , , , ,

3 Graphs that Show What You Need to Know About Today’s Real Estate Market

3 Graphs that Show What You Need to Know About Today's Real Estate Market | MyKCM

The Housing Market has been a hot-topic in the news lately. Depending on which media outlet you watch, it can start to be a bit confusing to understand what’s really going on with interest rates and home prices!

The best way to show what’s really going on in today’s real estate market is to go straight to the data! We put together the following three graphs along with a quote from Chief Economists that have their finger on the pulse of what each graph illustrates.

Interest Rates:

“The real estate market is thawing in response to the sustained decline in mortgage rates and rebound in consumer confidence – two of the most important drivers of home sales. Rising sales demand coupled with more inventory than previous spring seasons suggests that the housing market is in the early stages of regaining momentum.” – Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac

3 Graphs that Show What You Need to Know About Today's Real Estate Market | Keeping Current Matters

Income:

“A powerful combination of lower mortgage rates, more inventory, rising income and higher consumer confidence is driving the sales rebound.” – Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR

3 Graphs that Show What You Need to Know About Today's Real Estate Market | Keeping Current Matters

Home Prices:

“Price growth has been too strong for several years, fueled in part by abnormally low interest rates. A mild deceleration in home sales and Home Price Index growth is actually healthy, because it will calm excessive price growth — which has pushed many markets, particularly in the West, into overvalued territory.” – Ralph DeFranco, Global Chief Economist at Arch Capital Services Inc.

3 Graphs that Show What You Need to Know About Today's Real Estate Market | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

These three graphs indicate good news for the spring housing market! Interest rates are low, income is rising, and home prices have experienced mild deceleration over the last 9 months. If you are considering buying a home or selling your house, let’s get together to chat about our market!


Posted on April 9, 2019 at 10:20 am
Kara Brem | Posted in Uncategorized |

Dollar-Stretching Ideas for Couples Taking the Next Step

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Article courtesy of:

Natalie Jones

natalie_jones@homeownerbliss.info

 www.homeownerbliss.info

Are you and your partner ready to cohabitate?  Making that decision is often exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time.  Thankfully, keeping a few dollar-stretching strategies in mind means outfitting your new place can add to the fun without adding to your stress.

 

Out with the old

Every household has basics, so most couples discover they have several duplicate items when they move in together.  Take some time to sort through what you both have, decide what you need to acquire, and think about what items are due for an upgrade.  Pay special attention to tablecloths, gadgetry, cookware, and the like.  NBC News points out kitchen items in particular need routine replacement, with non-stick cookware warranting extra consideration, since worn or peeling cookware should be thrown out and replaced.  Make some notes to ensure you have all your basics covered, and develop a shopping list for the items you need or want to purchase together.  You can buy everything from new linens to small appliances from retailers like Kohl’s, and on top of a great selection, Kohl’s promo codes help you make the most of your budget.

 

Color your world

With your essentials in order, addressing aesthetics is a logical next step.  Many couples add a fresh coat of paint to their new digs to give it their personal touch, so sit down together and discuss what shades in which rooms sound appealing.  Elle Decor points out many of the hottest color trends incorporate hues from the great outdoors, such as shades borrowed from woodlands in earthy browns, rich greens, and deep blues.  If you never painted before or haven’t done so as a joint project, brush up on basic how-to instructions, gather your supplies, and do your shopping someplace like Ace Hardware, where you can find everything you need for your project as well as take advantage of great deals.

 

Bedroom basics

Refreshing your bedroom can help you get started on the right foot.  Beyond the walls, consider revamping the color scheme in hues you both like, whether it’s soothing tones of teal and tan, cheerful coral and fuschia, or bold black and red.  Think accents, sheets, and even furniture colors.  And while you’re at it, consider investing in a new mattress and foundation.  It’s the perfect symbol of your decision to share space.  Some experts recommend replacing mattresses every seven to 10 years anyway, so if yours falls into that age range, all the more reason to start anew.  Then select appropriate linens to fit your new bed and colors.  You can shop online for the whole shebang from stores like Overstock, offering everything you need to dress your bedroom in style, just check out their current sales to ensure you snag great prices.

 

Sharing storage

Divvying up your closet space can seem simple at first, but many couples quickly discover making room for two sets of clothes can be a challenge.  There are plenty of ways you can improve the storage you have by adding drawers and shelving, or you can install a closet system.  If you or your partner is pretty handy, Family Handyman points out you can install a DIY closet system in a weekend, which can be a fun project to take on together.  Home Depot offers a wide variety of closet organization solutions, which you can DIY or have installed for you.  Take some measurements, make some sketches, and check Home Depot’s current offers to see what will work well in your space as well as your budget.

 

Combining your lives can be challenging, so make sure putting your home together isn’t a major financial stressor.  Look for smart and economical ways to outfit your home, make decisions together, and add some new things to signify your change.  When you’re taking that next step, it’s a great way to keep things light, positive, and fun.


Posted on March 3, 2019 at 8:40 am
Kara Brem | Posted in Uncategorized |

What are the disadvantages of renting? Survey says…


Posted on February 12, 2019 at 3:09 pm
Kara Brem | Posted in Uncategorized |

You Do Not Need 20% Down to Buy a Home

One More Time... You Do Not Need 20% Down to Buy a Home | MyKCM

The largest obstacle renters face when planning to buy a home is saving for a down payment. This challenge is amplified by rising rents, which has eaten into the amount of money renters have leftover for savings each month after paying expenses.

In combination with higher rents, survey after survey has shown that non-homeowners (renters and those living rent-free with family or friends) believe they need to save upwards of 20% for their down payment!

According to the “Barriers to Accessing Homeownership” study commissioned in partnership between the Urban Institute, Down Payment Resource, and Freddie Mac, 39% of non-homeowners and 30% of those who already own a home believe they need more than a 20% down payment.

The percentage of those who are aware of low down payment programs (those under 5%) is surprisingly low at 12% for non-homeowners and 13% for homeowners.

In a recent Convergys Analytics report, they found that 49% of renters believe they need at least a 20% down payment.

The median down payment on loans approved in 2018 was only 5%! Those waiting until they have over 20% may already have enough saved to buy now!

There are over 45 million millennials (33%) who are mortgage ready right now, meaning their income, debt, and credit scores would all allow them to qualify for a mortgage today!

Bottom Line

If your five-year plan includes buying a home, let’s get together to determine what it will take to make that plan a reality. You may be closer to your dream than you realize!


Posted on February 5, 2019 at 3:23 pm
Kara Brem | Posted in Uncategorized |