Northern Virginia Real Estate and Community News

June 22, 2017

Buying Is Now 33.1% Cheaper Than Renting in the US

Buying Is Now 33.1% Cheaper Than Renting in the US | MyKCM

The results of the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia show that homeownership remains cheaper than renting with a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage in the 100 largest metro areas in the United States.

The updated numbers actually show that the range is an average of 3.5% less expensive in San Jose (CA), all the way up to 50.1% less expensive in Baton Rouge (LA), and 33.1% nationwide!

Other interesting findings in the report include:

  • Interest rates have remained low and, even though home prices have appreciated around the country, they haven’t greatly outpaced rental appreciation.
  • With rents & home values moving in tandem, shifts in the ‘rent vs. buy’ decision are largely driven by changes in mortgage interest rates.
  • Nationally, rates would have to reach 9.1%, a 128% increase over today’s average of 4.0%, for renting to be cheaper than buying. Rates haven’t been that high since January of 1995, according to Freddie Mac.

Bottom Line

Buying a home makes sense socially and financially. If you are one of the many renters out there who would like to evaluate your ability to buy this year, let's get together to find your dream home.

Posted in Buying a Home
June 15, 2017

Summer Home Safety Tips

Summer is the time for fun and relaxation whether it's a big trip or a stay-cation. But, it's also when many injuries occur. Here are some tips we've pulled together for summer safety around the home.

Beware of Poison Ivy- The old saying "leaves of 3 let them be" is important when working out in the yard and clearing weeds. Wearing long sleeves and garden gloves are step one in preventing poison ivy but also be sure to always wash up well and even consider showering after working in the yard to get any leftover weed remnants off. 

Sunburn- Need we say it? Wear sunscreen! Even on cloudy days, the sun can get through and still cause a burn. Most people forget to put sunscreen on the back of their neck and the tips of their ears so make sure to get those covered. A hat or even some of the newer sun blocking clothing can also be helpful. And, speaking of the sun, protect your eyes with some good, dark sunglasses.

Pools- While pools offer the most summer fun you can have in your yard, they are also potentially dangerous. Make sure that no one ever swims alone. Be sure to remind people not to run or dive where they shouldn't. Be certain that a cell phone is nearby in case of emergency. And, if you own the pool, it would be in your best interest to take some safety and CPR classes from the local Red Cross or YMCA. While swimming, also be sure to keep an eye on that sunburn. See above for more on that. 

Backing Out of your driveway- Summertime is when kids seem to run rampant in the neighborhood and not all of them are well-supervised or trained on safety. When backing out of your driveway or garage, be sure to take extra precaution to look around the vehicle to know what is going on in your surroundings. Don't just count on mirrors and video to do the job for you. 

Grills/firepits- Nothing says "summer" like an amazing burger on the grill or some marshmallows roasted over the fire pit. Be sure to keep these things far enough away from the house so as not to catch your eaves on fire. Also, beware of dry grasses underneath or dry leaves above. As with the pool, it's a good idea to keep a cell phone handy when fire is part of the fun. Also, a fire extinguisher would be handy to keep around.

Bug bites/ticks- Summer sun brings all sorts out for the fun, including mosquitoes and ticks. Using either a natural or store bought bug repellent will help keep them at bay. If it's not too hot, thin long sleeves and pants are also helpful. Upon going back indoors, be sure to do a quick "tick check" on yourself, your kids and your furry friends.

Fence closed- Though it seems a little odd to bring it up, be sure to remind older kids to keep your gate closed if you have a fenced in yard. Not only does that help to keep predators and stray animals out of your yard, but it will help keep your smaller children and animals where they belong inside the fence.

All these tips aside, the most important tip to remember in the summer time is to have fun. This is the time that many of the best home memories are made. Enjoy the season and each other. 

 

 

Posted in Community News
June 8, 2017

69% of N. Virginia Buyers are Wrong About Down Payment Needs

69% of Buyers are Wrong About Down Payment Needs | MyKCM

 

According to a recent survey conducted by Genworth Financial Inc. at the Annual Mortgage Bankers’ Association Secondary Market Conference, 69% of mortgage professionals say that first-time buyers still believe a 20% down payment is necessary to buy in today’s market.

Nearly 40% of mortgage industry professionals surveyed believe that a lack of knowledge about the home-buying process is keeping potential buyers on the sidelines. Saving for a down payment is often cited as a huge barrier for first-time homebuyers to make the leap into homeownership.

If homeowners believe that they need a 20% down payment to enter the market, they also believe that they will have to wait years (in some markets) to come up with the necessary funds to buy their dream homes.

The greatest source of confusion cited in the survey results centered around down payments. The results are broken down in the chart below:

Rohit Gupta, CEO of Genworth Mortgage Insurance had this to say,

"While first-time homebuyers continue to drive the purchase market, we believe many are staying on the sidelines due to the misconception that a 20 percent down payment is required to secure a mortgage.

There are various low down payment options available today that allow prospective homebuyers to reach their dreams of homeownership sooner. It is crucial that, as an industry, we proactively educate eligible borrowers about solutions that will enable them to buy a home when they're ready."

Bottom Line

Don’t let a lack of understanding of the home-buying process keep you and your family out of the housing market. Let’s get together to discuss your options!

Posted in Buying a Home
June 1, 2017

Selling Your Home? Is Your Northern Virginia Home Listing Pet Friendly?

ROBIN Is Your ListingPet Friendly-.png

Last week, we talked about how homes are actually being built and decorated around their pets.  One of the many benefits of owning your own Northern Virginia home is the freedom to find your ‘furever’ friend. By pointing out the aspects of your home that make it ‘pet-friendly’ in your listing, you’ll attract these buyers rather than alienate the 61% of American households that have a pet!

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

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

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

This should come as no surprise as $66.75 billion was spent on pets in the U.S in 2016, with $70 billion projected for 2017. NAR’s President William E. Brown shed some light on the impact of pet owners and their home search,

“In 2016, 61 percent of U.S. households either have a pet or plan to get one in the future, so it is important to understand the unique needs and wants of animal owners when it comes to homeownership.  

REALTORS® understand that when someone buys a home, they are buying it with the needs of their whole family in mind; ask pet owners, and they will enthusiastically agree that their animals are part of their family.”

The Power of Pets When Choosing the Right Home

  • 89% of pet owners say they would not give up their pet due to a housing restriction

  • 81% of Americans say their pets play a role in their housing situation

  • 31% of animal owners have refused to put in an offer on a home because it wasn’t a good fit for their animals

  • 19% of Americans say they would consider moving for their pet

  • 12% percent have moved for their pet

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

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

  • Fully fenced in backyard – (91% of pet owners ranked this as the most important feature of a home to accommodate their pet)

  • Locations of dog parks/walking paths/pet-friendly beaches in the area (71% ranked this as the top feature of any neighborhood they would consider)

  • Proximity to veterinarians/groomers/pet supply stores (31%)

Bottom Line

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

 

 

May 25, 2017

The Market is HOT! Here's Why.

There are several reasons that a real estate market can heat up. Take a moment to watch my video and find out what is causing the current surge!

Market Update N VA

If you have any questions or need real estate assistance, feel free to contact me.

 

Posted in Real Estate News
May 18, 2017

Home is Where Someone Runs to Greet You

Does your family consist of more than just the humans in the bunch? Dogs, cats, fish, reptiles. . . our furry and scaly friends are just as much “family” as the people are. So much so, that homes are now being built and redecorated with those members in mind.

 

Let’s take a look at some of the fun trends that are PAWSitively adorable! 

Built in Kennels

Built in kennels are a great way to crate train your dog or house a cat while not having to have an ugly metal crate in your home. Though typically built into furniture or counter space, (below)  you’ll also see some creative ideas for building a home in that space under the stairs. (link to photo below) A quick Google search will give you a great collection of ideas. I particularly enjoy seeing the photos of old furniture that is up-cycled into a home for Fluffy.

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Doggy Baths in the Laundry Room

A simple search online will give you an endless supply of fabulous photos of doggy baths. This one from Houzz shows both the built in kennel idea and the dog bath in the laundry room. Many people have their homes laid out to where the laundry room is also a mud room near an entryway. By adding a doggy bath, this is a great way to easily get the furballs into the house after a romp in a nearby creek without ruining your carpet or furniture.

 dog laundry.PNG

Outdoor Run Access

If you are gone a lot or just generally trusting of your animal, you may consider a built-in access to the outdoors. From cute doggy doors to windows/doors to outdoor runs, there are a plethora of creative ideas available. Not to leave out the kitties, check out this cute catwalk we found online.

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Luxurious Dog Houses

One of the fun new trends we are seeing is to create luxurious outside dog houses- some look better than people homes! Check out some of our favorites on Pinterest. We even found one with a “pool" and an amazing front porch.





What are YOU doing to make your family pet feel at home? Feel free to show us in the comments below. And, as always, if I can help you with any real estate questions, you are welcome to contact me.

Posted in Real Estate News
May 11, 2017

5 Financial Reasons to Buy

 

If you'd like to talk about your options in buying or selling a home, feel free to contact me. 

Posted in Buying a Home
May 4, 2017

How Fast Can You Save for a Down Payment?

Saving for a down payment is often the biggest hurdle for a first-time homebuyer. Depending on where you live, median income, median rents, and home prices all vary. So, we set out to find out how long it would take you to save for a down payment in each state.

 

Using data from the United States Census Bureau and Zillow, we determined how long it would take, nationwide, for a first-time buyer to save enough money for a down payment on their dream home.

 

There is a long-standing ‘rule’ that a household should not pay more than 28% of their income on their monthly housing expense.

By determining the percentage of income spent renting a 2-bedroom apartment in each state, and the amount needed for a 10% down payment, we were able to establish how long (in years) it would take for an average resident to save enough money to buy a home of their own.

According to the data, residents in Iowa can save for a down payment the quickest in just under 2 years (1.99). Below is a map created using the data for each state:

How Fast Can You Save for a Down Payment? | MyKCM

What if you only needed to save 3%?

What if you were able to take advantage of one of Freddie Mac’s or Fannie Mae’s 3% down programs? Suddenly, saving for a down payment no longer takes 5 or 10 years, but becomes attainable in a year or two in many states as shown in the map below.

How Fast Can You Save for a Down Payment? | MyKCM

Bottom Line

Whether you have just started to save for a down payment, or have been saving for years, you may be closer to your dream home than you think! Let's meet up so I can help you evaluate your ability to buy today.

Posted in Buying a Home
April 27, 2017

3 Charts That Shout, ‘List Your Northern Virginia Home Now!’

3 Charts That Shout, ‘List Your Home Today!’ | MyKCM

 

In school, we all learned the theory of supply and demand. When the demand for an item is greater than the supply of that item, the price will surely rise.

 

SUPPLY

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently reported that the inventory of homes for sale stands at a 3.8-month supply. This is considerably lower than the 6-month supply necessary for a normal market.

 

3 Charts That Shout, ‘List Your Home Today!’ | MyKCM

DEMAND

Every month NAR reports on the number of buyers out in the market looking for homes, which is also known as buyer traffic. As seen on the map below, buyer demand in March was strong or very strong in 45 out of 50 states nationwide, and Washington, DC.

 

3 Charts That Shout, ‘List Your Home Today!’ | MyKCM

 

Many buyers are being confronted with a very competitive market in which they must compete with other buyers for their dream homes (if they are even able to find a home they wish to purchase).

Listing your house for sale now will allow you to capitalize on the shortage of homes for sale in the market, which will translate into a better pricing situation.

 

HOME EQUITY

Many homeowners underestimate the amount of equity they currently have in their homes. According to a recent Fannie Mae study, 37% of homeowners believe that they have more than 20% equity in their homes. In reality, CoreLogic’s latest Equity Report tells us that 78.9% actually do!

3 Charts That Shout, ‘List Your Home Today!’ | MyKCM

Many homeowners who are undervaluing the equity they have in their homes may feel trapped, which may be contributing to the lack of inventory in the market.

 

Bottom Line


If you are debating selling your Northern Virginia home this year, let's meet up to evaluate the equity you have in your home, as well as the opportunities available in your market. As always, if you need any real estate assistance, feel free to contact me.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Selling Your Home
April 20, 2017

Low Down Payment Programs A Hit With Millennials

 

A recent report released by Down Payment Resource shows that 65% of first-time homebuyers purchased their homes with a down payment of 6% or less in the month of January.

 

The trend continued through all buyers with a mortgage, as 62% made a down payment of less than 20%, which is consistent with findings from December.

 

An article by DS News points to the new wave of millennial homebuyers:

 

“It seems that the long-awaited influx of millennial home buyers is beginning. Ellie Mae reported that mortgages to millennial borrowers for new home purchases continued their ascent in January, accounting for

84 percent of closed loans.”

 

Among millennials who purchased homes in January, FHA loans remained popular, making up 35% of all loans closed. Ellie Mae’s Executive Vice President of Corporate Strategy Joe Tyrrell gave some insight into why:

 

“It is not surprising to see Millennial borrowers leverage FHA loans because they typically offer lower down payments and lower average FICO score requirements than conventional loans. Across the board, we're continuing to see strong interest in homeownership from this younger generation.”

 

Bottom Line


If you are one of the many millennials who is debating a home purchase this year, let's get together to help you understand your options and set you on the path to preapproval. Contact me today with any questions you might have.