To Renovate or Not To Renovate Before Selling Your Home

Selling Your Home? Things to Consider Before You Renovate

To Renovate or Not To Renovate Before You Sell | MyKCM

When thinking about selling, homeowners often feel they need to get their house ready with some remodeling to make it more appealing to buyers. However, with so many buyers competing for available homes right now, renovations may not be as vital as they would be in a more normal market. Here are two things to keep in mind if you’re thinking of selling your home this season.

1. There aren’t enough homes for sale right now.

A normal market has a 6-month supply of houses for sale, but today’s housing inventory sits far below that benchmark. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), there’s only a 1.9-month supply of homes available today. As a result, buyer competition is high and homes are only on the market for about 21 days, during which time many receive multiple offers from hopeful buyers.

In a competitive market that’s moving so quickly, it makes sense to sell your house when buyers are scooping homes up as fast as they’re being listed. Spending costly time and money on renovations before you sell might just mean you’ll miss your key window of opportunity. While certain repairs on your house may be important, your best move right now is to work with a real estate advisor to determine which improvements are truly necessary, and which ones are not likely to be deal-breakers for buyers.

Today, many buyers are more willing to take on home improvement projects themselves in order to get the home they’re after, even if it means putting in a little extra work. Home Advisor explains:

When it comes to the number of home improvement projects completed, Gen Z homeowners are leading the pack, completing an average of 3.5 projects. Millennials closely follow Gen Z, taking on an average of 3.3 projects, followed by Gen X at 2.8 projects. Boomers completed an average of 2 projects, and the Silent Generation completed the fewest projects, on average, at 1.8 per household. Compared to 2019, millennials are spending 60% more on home improvement and doing on average 30% more projects.”

In this market, it may be wise to let future homeowners remodel the bathroom or the kitchen to make design decisions that are best for their specific taste and lifestyle. As a seller, your dollars and time might be better spent working on small cosmetic updates, like refreshing some paint and power washing the exterior. Instead of over-investing in your home with upgrades that the buyers may change anyway, work with a real estate professional to determine the key projects that will maximize your listing, without overdoing it.

2. Focus on getting a good return on your investment.

When planning any bigger projects to tackle, you and your real estate agent will want to discuss the potential return on your investment and if those projects are worth the cost. Some homes do need a kitchen or bathroom renovation, roof repairs, or other major work, but definitely not all of them. You might be surprised by how well your house could fair in today’s sellers’ market. Hanley Wood states:

“The 2020 Cost vs. Value report shows a predictable increase in costs for all 22 remodeling projects but a consistent dip in the perceived value of those projects at the time of home sale, as estimated by real-estate professionals in more than 100 metro areas across the U.S. This results in a slight downturn on the return on investment for nearly all projects relative to the trends we saw in last year’s report.”

Ideally, homeowners getting ready to move should try to avoid over-investing in big renovations if they won’t make that money back when they sell their house. According to the 2020 State of Home Spending report from Home Advisor:

The average household spending on home services rose to $13,138, an increase over last year’s survey results, where homeowners who did projects spent $9,081 on average in 2019.”

Before you renovate, contact a local real estate professional to see if it’s the best course of action. You may find out that putting your house on the market as-is will help you sell quickly, and it may result in the best return on your investment. Every home is different, but a conversation with your agent is mission-critical to make sure you make the right moves when selling your home this season.

Bottom Line

We’re in a strong sellers’ market, and that means you have the leverage to sell your house on your terms. Let’s connect today to determine if renovating is really the best way to spend your time and money before you sell.

Will the Housing Market Bloom this Spring?

Industry Experts Weigh In on What Buyers and Sellers Can Expect this Season

Will the Housing Market Bloom This Spring? | MyKCM

Spring is almost here, and many are wondering what it will bring for the housing market. Even though the pandemic continues on, it’s certain to be very different from the spring we experienced at this time last year. Here’s what a few industry experts have to say about the housing market and how it will bloom this season.

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist, realtor.com:

“Despite early weakness, we expect to see new listings grow in March and April as they traditionally do heading into spring, and last year’s extraordinarily low new listings comparison point will mean year over year gains. One other potential bright spot for would-be homebuyers, new construction, which has risen at a year over year pace of 20% or more for the last few months, will provide additional for-sale inventory relief.”

Ali Wolf, Chief Economist, Zonda:

“Some people will feel comfortable listing their home during the first half of 2021. Others will want to wait until the vaccines are widely distributed. This suggests more inventory will be for sale in late 2021 and into the spring selling season in 2022.”

Freddie Mac:

“Since reaching a low point in January, mortgage rates have risen by more than 30 basis points… However, the rise in mortgage rates over the next couple of months is likely to be more muted in comparison to the last few weeks, and we expect a strong spring sales season.”

Mark Fleming, Chief Economist, First American:

“As the housing market heads into the spring home buying season, the ongoing supply and demand imbalance all but assures more house price growth…Many find it hard to believe, but housing is actually undervalued in most markets and the gap between house-buying power and sale prices indicates there’s room for further house price growth in the months to come.”

Bottom Line

The experts are very optimistic about the housing market right now. If you pressed pause on your real estate plans over the winter, let’s chat to determine how you can re-engage in the homebuying process this spring.

NextHome Ranked the No. 1 Franchise in the Country!

NextHome was recently named No. 1 on Franchise Business Review’s list of the Top Franchises for 2021!

NextHome gains recognition for being chosen as the top franchise on Franchise Business Review's list of the Top Franchises for 2021.

Founded in 2014, this independently owned, national franchise brand focuses on changing the way consumers work with local agents and shop for real estate online. NextHome ranks at the top of over 300 franchise brands in critical areas that include training and support, operations, franchisor/franchisee relations, and financial opportunity. NextHome was also identified as having the highest levels of satisfaction and performance among its franchisees – proving to be among the best of the best!

These practices and NextHome’s Humans Over Houses philosophy have undoubtedly served as the catalyst for the company’s tremendous growth. NextHome SunRaye Realty is proud to have partnered with this incredible organization!

Interested in being a part of the NextHome Real Estate Franchise? Contact VP of Sales Charis Moreno at Charis@NextHome.com.

Home Buyers: How Much Home Can You Afford to Purchase?

47% of New Home Buyers Surprised by How Affordable Homes Are Today

47% of New Buyers Surprised by How Affordable Homes Are Today | MyKCM

Headlines matter. Right now, it’s hard to read about real estate without seeing a headline that suggests homes have become unaffordable for most Americans. In reality, there’s hard evidence that shows how owning a home is more affordable than renting in most parts of the country, as record-low interest rates are keeping monthly mortgage payments about 23% lower than the typical payment of 20 years ago. Despite the facts, misleading headlines persist, and they impact how hopeful home buyers perceive the market.

In a recent survey by realtor.com, home shoppers indicated they were surprised by what they could actually afford when buying their first home. In fact, 47% discovered their budget was larger than they expected. George Ratiu, Senior Economist at realtor.com, explains:

“For first-time buyers, especially, the drop in the 30-year mortgage rate…has provided unexpected leverage. Lower rates allowed many buyers to stretch and buy more expensive homes while keeping their monthly budget the same.”

So why do these negative headlines that cast doubt on affordability continue to exist?

Most analysts only look at two of the three elements that make up the affordability equation: price and income. It’s true that incomes haven’t kept up with the price of houses. However, affordability is about the cost of the home, not just the price. For that reason, mortgage rates, the third element of the affordability equation, are important to consider.

For example, here’s the typical mortgage payment for assorted dates going back to 2000, as calculated by CoreLogic:47% of New Buyers Surprised by How Affordable Homes Are Today | MyKCMOutside of the housing crash (when short sales and foreclosures drove prices down), it’s more affordable to buy a home today when you consider all three elements of the affordability equation: price, income, and mortgage rate.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a move-up buyer, don’t let the headlines scare you away from your dream of homeownership. Instead, connect with mortgage and real estate professionals to determine what you can afford and what’s available at that price. Like almost half of the buyers in the survey, you may be pleasantly surprised.

Will Forbearance Plans Lead to a Tsunami of Foreclosures?

How can a future wave of foreclosures be avoided?

Woman sitting on sofa with question marks on wall.

At the onset of the economic disruptions caused by the COVID pandemic, the government quickly put into place forbearance plans to allow homeowners to remain in their homes without making their monthly mortgage payments. Today, almost three million households are actively in a forbearance plan. Though 29.4% of those in forbearance have continued to stay current on their payments, many have not.

Yanling Mayer, Principal Economist at CoreLogic, recently revealed:

“A distributional analysis of forborne loans’ payment status reveals that more than one third (39.1%) of all forborne loans are now 150+ days behind payment, while as many as 1-in-4 (25.5%) are 180+ days past due.”

These homeowners have been given permission to not make their payments, but the question now is: how many of them will be able to catch up after their forbearance plan ends? There’s speculation that a forthcoming wave of foreclosures could be the result, and that could lead to another crash in home values like we saw a decade ago.

However, today’s situation is different than the 2006-2008 housing crisis as many homeowners have tremendous amounts of equity in their homes.

What are the experts saying?

Over the last 30 days, several industry experts have weighed in on this subject.

Michael Sklarz, President at Collateral Analytics:

“We may very well see a meaningful increase in the number of homes listed for sale as these borrowers choose to sell at what is arguably an intermediate top in the market and downsize to more affordable homes rather than face foreclosure.”

Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American:

“The foreclosure process is based on two steps. First, the homeowner suffers an adverse economic shock…leading to the homeowner becoming delinquent on their mortgage. However, delinquency by itself is not enough to send a mortgage into foreclosure. With enough equity, a homeowner has the option of selling their home, or tapping into their equity through a refinance, to help weather the economic shock. It is a lack of sufficient equity, the second component of the dual trigger, that causes a serious delinquency to become a foreclosure.”

Don Layton, Senior Industry Fellow at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University:

“With a greater cushion of equity, troubled homeowners have dramatically improved options: a greater ability to access funding (e.g. home equity lines) to keep paying monthly expenses until family finances might recover, improved ability to qualify for and support a loan modification, and, if push comes to shove, the ability to sell the home and monetize their increased net worth while reducing monthly payment obligations. So, what should lenders and servicers expect: a large number of foreclosures or only a modest increase? I believe the latter.”

With today’s positive equity situation, many homeowners will be able to use a loan modification or refinance to stay in their homes. If not, some will go to foreclosure, but most will be able to sell and walk away with their equity.

Won’t the additional homes on the market impact prices?

Distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales) sell at a significant discount. If homeowners sell instead of going into foreclosure, the impact on the housing market will be much less severe.

We must also realize there is currently an unprecedented lack of inventory on the market. Just last week, realtor.com explained:

“Nationally, the number of homes for sale was down 39.6%, amounting to 449,000 fewer homes for sale than last December.”

It’s important to remember that there weren’t enough homes for sale even then, and inventory has only continued to decline.

The market has the potential to absorb half a million homes this year without it causing home values to depreciate.

Bottom Line

The pandemic has led to both personal and economic hardships for many American households. The overall residential real estate market, however, has weathered the storm and will continue to do so in 2021.

Traditional old timber houses in Bryggen, Bergen, Norway

What Does 2021 Have in Store for Home Values?

Home Values in 2021 will be determined by supply and demand

According to the latest CoreLogic Home Price Insights Report, nationwide home values increased by 8.2% over the last twelve months. The dramatic rise was brought about as the inventory of homes for sale reached historic lows at the same time buyer demand was buoyed by record-low mortgage rates. As CoreLogic explained:

“Home price growth remained consistently elevated throughout 2020. Home sales for the year are expected to register above 2019 levels. Meanwhile, the availability of for-sale homes has dwindled as demand increased and coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreaks continued across the country, which delayed some sellers from putting their homes on the market.

While the pandemic left many in positions of financial insecurity, those who maintained employment and income stability are also incentivized to buy given the record-low mortgage rates available; this is increasing buyer demand while for-sale inventory is in short supply.”

Where will home values go in 2021?

Home price appreciation in 2021 will continue to be determined by this imbalance of supply and demand. If supply remains low and demand is high, prices will continue to increase.

Housing Supply

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the current number of single-family homes for sale is 1,080,000. At the same time last year, that number stood at 1,450,000. We are entering 2021 with approximately 370,000 fewer homes for sale than there were one year ago.

However, there is some speculation that the inventory crush will ease somewhat as we move through the new year for two reasons:

1. As the health crisis eases, more homeowners will be comfortable putting their houses on the market.

2. Some households impacted financially by the pandemic will be forced to sell.

Housing Demand

Low mortgage rates have driven buyer demand over the last twelve months. According to Freddie Mac, rates stood at 3.72% at the beginning of 2020. Today, we’re starting 2021 with rates one full percentage point lower than that. Low rates create a great opportunity for homebuyers, which is one reason why demand is expected to remain high throughout the new year.

Taking into consideration these projections on housing supply and demand, real estate analysts forecast homes will continue to appreciate in 2021, but that appreciation may be at a steadier pace than last year. Here are their forecasts:What Does 2021 Have in Store for Home Values? | MyKCM

Bottom Line

There’s still a very limited number of homes for sale for the great number of purchasers looking to buy them. As a result, the concept of “supply and demand” mandates that home values in the country will continue to appreciate.

Couple holding keys to their new house

Florida’s Housing Market: Sales, Median Prices, New Listings Up

Florida Realtor’s data: Single-family home sales are up 22.9% year-over-year, median sales price up 14.1%; condo sales up 30.2%, median price up 16.9%. Chief Economist O’Connor: All of Florida’s metros saw gains in closed sales – but inventory remains far below normal levels.

According to a recently published article from Floridarealtors.org, Florida’s housing market reported more closed sales, more new pending sales, higher median prices, and more new listings in November compared to a year ago. This is despite the ongoing pandemic, according to Florida Realtors ® latest housing data. Single-family existing home sales rose 22.9% compared to a year ago.

“Our homes are more important that ever, becoming the hub of our daily lives as we continue to take steps to safeguard our health, our families, and our communities in the face of the ongoing pandemic,” says Florida Realtor’s President Barry Grooms. “With high demand, Florida’s housing market continues to gain momentum and provide support for the state’s economy.”

Realtors are available in every community to help assist buyers navigate the challenging market conditions of high demand and an inventory shortage of homes for sale.

In November, closed sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 26,406, up 22.9% year-over-year, while existing condo-townhouse sales totaled 11,003, up 30.2% over November 2019. Closed sales may occur from 30- to 90-plus days after sales contracts are written.

The statewide median sales prices for both single-family homes and condo-townhouse properties rose year-over-year in November for 107 consecutive months. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes was $305,000, up 14.1% from the previous year, according to data from Florida Realtors Research Department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. Last month’s statewide median price for condo-townhouse units was $228,000, up 16.9% over the year-ago figure. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.

Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. Brad O’Connor noted that November’s closed sales registered the highest percent year-over-year increase of any month this year, except for October’s 26.9% year-over-year rise.

“This growth in sales remained very broad-based in November, with all 22 of Florida’s metro areas seeing positive year-over-year gains,” he said. “The question remains, though, how long can we keep up this pace? Mortgage rates remain at all-time lows and demand will likely remain strong in the coming months, but inventory levels – particularly for single-family homes – remain far below normal levels. As of the end of November, our statewide inventory of single-family homes was down 41.3% compared to a year ago. Even listings of properties north of a million dollars, where we’ve had more inventory, are down by almost 25%.”

This lack of supply continues to keep home prices elevated because of strong competition for the properties that are on the market, O’Connor explained.

“In November, the median price among closed sales of single-family homes was $305,000, which matches October’s figure but still represents a 14.1% year-over-year increase,” he said. “Some of this figure represents a shift in the mix of the types of homes that are selling – we’ve seen a greater share of luxury home sales this year because the inventory shortage hasn’t hit this segment of the market as hard. However, a substantial amount of this increase is entirely due to the lack of supply in the face of strong demand resulting in greater competition among prospective home buyers.”

Meanwhile, inventory hasn’t been quite as much of an issue in the condo/townhouse category, O’Connor said. Still, statewide, that category was down 14.5% year-over-year at the end of November.

New listings statewide increased year-over-year in both property type categories in November, by just 0.3% for single-family existing homes and by 4.2% for condo and townhouse units.

On the supply side of the market, inventory (active listings) remains constrained, particularly in the single-family existing home category, which was at a very limited 2-months’ supply in November. Condo-townhouse inventory was at a 4.7-months’ supply.

According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.77% in November 2020, significantly lower than the 3.70% averaged during the same month a year earlier.

If you are considering to sell your home, now is the time. With inventory low and sales prices up, it is a seller’s market. Contact our St. Petersburg office today at (727) 343-8600 and let’s connect to discuss how we can utilize our tools and expertise to maximize the sale of your home and get you best return on your investment.

Mortgage Delinquencies Level Off, According to CoreLogic Report

According to a  CoreLogic Insights Blog report just posted, loan performance insights highlights for September 2020 include:

  • The nation’s overall delinquency rate was 6.3% in September.
  • All states experienced annual increases in both overall and serious delinquency rates in September.
Source: CoreLogic
Source: CoreLogic

In September 2020, 6.3% of home mortgages were in some stage of delinquency (30 days or more past due, including those in foreclosure), which was a small decline from August 2020, but a 2.5% increase from September 2019.

Mortgages in early-stage delinquencies (30-59 days past due) was 1.5% in September 2020, down sharply from 4.2% in April 2020 and also below the rate from one year ago, which was 1.9%. Mortgages that were 60-89 days past due was 0.7% in September 2020, up from 0.6% in September 2019, but down from 2.8% in May 2020.

The serious delinquency rate, which is identified as 90 days or more past due, including loans in foreclosure, was 4.2% in September, up from 1.3% a year earlier, but down a bit from 4.3% in August 2020. August represented the highest rate since February 2014. The spike in delinquency that began in April has worked its way through the stages of delinquency and is sitting in the 180-days past-due stage, which increased to 1.6% in September, the highest rate since 2014 and more than five times the year ago rate.

The CARES Act provides relief to mortgage holders and prevented the seriously delinquent mortgages from progressing into foreclosure. The foreclosure inventory rate – the share of mortgages in some stage of the foreclosure process remained low at 0.3% in September 2020, down from 0.4% in September 2019.

Source: CoreLogic
Source: CoreLogic

States with the highest and lowest share of mortgages that are 30 days or more delinquent are shown in the above graph. All states posted annual gains in their overall delinquency rate in September 2020. The states that logged the largest annual increases were Nevada (+4.9 percentage points), Hawaii (+4.7 percentage points), Florida (+4 percentage points) and New Jersey (+3.9 percentage points).

Source: CoreLogic
Source: CoreLogic

The graph above shows the 30-plus-day past-due rate for September 2020 for 10 large metropolitan areas. Miami is in the lead with the highest rate of 11%, San Francisco has the lowest rate at 3.9%, Miami experienced an increase of 6 percentage points from the year prior. Outside of the largest 10, all but two metros recorded an increase in overall delinquency rate. Metro areas that were also hit hard included Lake Charles, Louisiana with the largest spike of 10.7 percentage points, followed by Odessa, Texas (up 10.3 percentage points) and Kahului, Hawaii (up 7.5 percentage points).

 

 

 

How Remote Work Can Power Your Vacation Home Sale

Remote Work is Fueling Demand for Vacation Homes

How Remote Work Can Power Your Vacation Home Sale | MyKCM

This year, the opportunity to work remotely has increased the demand for vacation homes. Gay Cororaton, Senior Economist and Director of Housing and Commercial Research at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), notes:

“Working from home is a positive factor in demand for vacation homes.”

Buyers are taking advantage of the fact that working from home might be someplace other than their primary residence – at the beach, in the mountains, or somewhere in between. NAR explains:

Sales in vacation-home counties increased 48% on average year over year in the third quarter; overall, 81% of vacation-home counties saw a year-over-year sales increase.”

Is it Time to Sell Your Vacation Home?

If you’ve been thinking about selling your vacation home, putting it on the market now while demand is high might be your best move. Here are two reasons why.

1. Vacation Homes Are Selling Quickly

These homes are not staying in the market for very long. NAR also notes:

In September, 68% of vacation homes sold in less than a month. Historically, about 30% sell that quickly…It’s a pretty amazing uptick compared to past years.”

2. Home Prices Are Rising

With an increase in demand, prices go up. NAR continues:

“In the third quarter, prices in vacation-home counties rose by about 32% year over year. Seventy-nine percent of these counties experienced year-over-year price gains. NAR defines a vacation-home county as one in which seasonal housing accounts for at least 20% of stock.”

If your vacation home is sitting idle, maybe not attracting as many renters as you usually see, or if you simply want to sell it so you can trade up or take it off your worry list, now may be the time. Demand is high, so you’re in the ideal spot to get a stronger return on your investment today.

Bottom Line

Demand is on the rise, so let’s discuss your next steps when it comes to selling your vacation home.

Will Mortgage Rates Remain Low Next Year?

Mortgage Rates Continually Hitting Record Lows in  2020 – How Long Will it Last?

Will Mortgage Rates Remain Low Next Year? | MyKCM

In 2020, buyers got a big boost in the housing market as mortgage rates dropped throughout the year. According to Freddie Mac, rates hit all-time lows 12 times this year, dipping below 3% for the first time ever while making buying a home more and more attractive as the year progressed (See graph below):Will Mortgage Rates Remain Low Next Year? | MyKCMWhen you continually hear how rates are hitting record lows, you may be wondering: Are they going to keep falling? Should I wait until they get even lower?

The Challenge with Waiting

The challenge with waiting is that you can easily miss this optimal window of time and then end up paying more in the long run. Last week, mortgage rates ticked up slightly. Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac, explains:

Mortgage rates jumped this week as a result of positive news about a COVID-19 vaccine. Despite this rise, mortgage rates remain about a percentage point below a year ago.”

While rates are still lower today than they were one year ago, as the economy continues to get stronger and the pandemic is resolved, there’s a very good chance interest rates will rise again. Several top institutions in the real estate industry are projecting an increase in mortgage rates over the next four quarters (See chart below): Will Mortgage Rates Remain Low Next Year? | MyKCMIf you’re planning to wait until next year or later, Mike Fratantoni, Chief Economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), forecasts mortgage rates will begin to steadily rise:Will Mortgage Rates Remain Low Next Year? | MyKCMAs a buyer, you need to decide if waiting makes financial sense for you.

Bottom Line

If you’re planning to buy a home and want to take advantage of today’s low rates, now is the time to do so. Don’t assume they’re going to stay this low forever.