Your Tax Refund and Stimulus Savings May Help You Achieve Homeownership This Year

Your Tax Refund and Stimulus Savings May Help You Achieve Homeownership This Year | MyKCM

If you’re planning to buy a home this year, saving for a down payment is one of the most important steps in the process. One of the best ways to jumpstart your savings is by starting with the help of your tax refund.

Your Tax Refund and Stimulus Savings May Help You Achieve Homeownership This Year | MyKCM

Using data from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), it’s estimated that Americans can expect an average refund of $2,925 when filing their taxes this year. The map below shows the average anticipated tax refund by state:Thanks to programs from the Federal Housing Authority, Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae, many first-time buyers can purchase a home with as little as 3% down. In addition, Veterans Affairs Loans allow many veterans to put 0% down. You may have heard the common myth that you need to put 20% down when you buy a home, but thankfully for most homebuyers, a 20% down payment isn’t actually required. It’s important to work with your real estate professional and your lender to understand all of your options.

How can your tax refund help?

If you’re a first-time buyer, your tax refund may cover more of a down payment than you realize.

Your Tax Refund and Stimulus Savings May Help You Achieve Homeownership This Year | MyKCM

If you take into account the median home sale price by state, the map below shows the percentage of a 3% down payment that’s covered by the average anticipated tax refund:The darker the blue, the closer your tax refund gets you to homeownership when you qualify for one of the low down payment programs. Maybe this is the year to plan ahead and put your tax refund toward the down payment on a home.

Not enough money from your tax return? 

A recent paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that, of the households that received a stimulus check last year, “One third report that they primarily saved the stimulus money.” If you had the opportunity to save your Economic Impact Payments, you may consider putting that money toward your down payment or closing costs as well. Your trusted real estate professional can also advise you on the down payment assistance programs available in your area.

Bottom Line

Saving for a down payment can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. This year, your tax refund and your stimulus savings could add up big when it comes to reaching your homeownership goals.

What It Means To Be in a Sellers’ Market

What It Means To Be in a Sellers’ Market

What It Means To Be in a Sellers’ Market | MyKCM

If you’ve given even a casual thought to selling your house in the near future, this is the time to really think seriously about making a move. Here’s why this season is the ultimate sellers’ market and the optimal time to make sure your house is available for buyers who are looking for homes to purchase.

The latest Existing Home Sales Report from The National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows the inventory of houses for sale is still astonishingly low, sitting at just a 2-month supply at the current sales pace.

What It Means To Be in a Sellers’ Market | MyKCM

Historically, a 6-month supply is necessary for a ‘normal’ or ‘neutral’ market in which there are enough homes available for active buyers (See graph below):When the supply of houses for sale is as low as it is right now, it’s much harder for buyers to find homes to purchase. As a result, competition among purchasers rises and more bidding wars take place, making it essential for buyers to submit very attractive offers.

As this happens, home prices rise and sellers are in the best position to negotiate deals that meet their ideal terms. If you put your house on the market while so few homes are available to buy, it will likely get a lot of attention from hopeful buyers.

Today, there are many buyers who are ready, willing, and able to purchase a home. Low mortgage rates and a year filled with unique changes have prompted buyers to think differently about where they live – and they’re taking action. The supply of homes for sale is not keeping up with this high demand, making now the optimal time to sell your house.

Bottom Line

Home prices are appreciating in today’s sellers’ market. Making your home available over the coming weeks will give you the most exposure to buyers who will actively compete against each other to purchase it.

Should We Fear the Surge in Cash-Out Refinances?

Should We Fear the Surge in Cash-Out Refinances? | MyKCM

Freddie Mac recently released their Quarterly Refinance Statistics report which covers refinances through 2020. The report explains that the dollar amount of cash-out refinances was greater in 2020 than in recent years. A cash-out refinance, as defined by Investopia, is:

“a mortgage refinancing option in which an old mortgage is replaced for a new one with a larger amount than owed on the previously existing loan, helping borrowers use their home mortgage to get some cash.”

The Freddie Mac report led to articles like the one published by The Real Deal titled, House or ATM? Cash-Out Refinances Spiked in 2020, which reports:

“Americans treated their homes like ATMs last year, withdrawing $152.7 billion amid a cash-out refinancing spree not seen since before the 2008 financial crisis.”

Whenever you combine the terms “spiked,” “homes like ATMs,” and “financial crisis,” it conjures up memories of the housing crash we experienced in 2008.

However, that comparison is invalid for three reasons:

1. Americans are sitting on much more home equity today.

Mortgage data giant Black Knight just issued information on the amount of tappable equity U.S. homeowners with a mortgage have. Tappable equity is the amount of equity available for homeowners to use and still have 20% equity in their home. Here’s a graph showing the findings from their report:In 2006, directly before the crash, tappable home equity in the U.S. topped out at $4.6 trillion. Today, that number is $7.3 trillion.

As Black Knight explains:

“At year’s end, some 46 million homeowners held a total $7.3 trillion in tappable equity, the largest amount ever recorded…That’s an increase of more than $1.1 trillion (+18%) since the end of 2019, the largest percentage gain since 2013 and – you guessed it – the largest dollar value gain in history, to boot. All in all, it works out to roughly $158,000 on average per homeowner with tappable equity, up nearly $19,000 from the end of 2019.”

2. Homeowners cashed-out a much smaller amount this time.

In 2006, Americans cashed-out a total of $321 billion. In 2020, that number was less than half, totaling $153 billion. The $321 billion made up 7% of the total tappable equity in the country in 2006. On the other hand, the $153 billion made up only 2% of the total tappable equity last year.

3. Fewer homeowners tapped their equity in 2020 than in 2006.

Freddie Mac reports that 89% of refinances in 2006 were cash-out refinances. Last year, that number was less than half at 33%. As a percentage of those who refinanced, many more Americans lowered their equity position fifteen years ago as compared to last year.

Bottom Line

It’s true that many Americans liquidated a portion of the equity in their homes last year for various reasons. However, less than half of them tapped their equity compared to 2006, and they cashed-out less than one-third of that available equity. Today’s cash-out refinance situation bears no resemblance to the situation that preceded the housing crash.

How Upset Should You Be about 3% Mortgage Rates?

How Upset Should You Be about 3% Mortgage Rates?

How Upset Should You Be about 3% Mortgage Rates? | MyKCM

Last Thursday, Freddie Mac announced that their 30-year fixed mortgage rate was over 3% (3.02%) for the first time since last July. That news dominated real estate headlines that day and the next. Articles talked about the “negative impact” it may have on the housing market. However, we should realize two things:

1. The bump-up in rate should not have surprised anyone. Many had already projected that rates would rise slightly as we proceeded through the year.

2. Freddie Mac’s comments about the rate increase were not alarming:

“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.”

A “muted” rise in rates will not sink the real estate market, and most experts agree that it will be a strong spring sales season.”

What does this mean for you?

Obviously, any buyer would rather mortgage rates not rise at all, as any upward movement increases their monthly mortgage payment. However, let’s put a 3.02% rate into perspective. Here are the Freddie Mac annual mortgage rates for the last five years:

  • 2016: 3.65%
  • 2017: 3.99%
  • 2018: 4.54%
  • 2019: 3.94%
  • 2020: 3.11%

Though 3.02% is not as great as the sub-3% rates we saw over the previous seven weeks, it’s still very close to the all-time low (2.66% in December 2020).

And, if we expand our look at mortgage rates to consider the last 50 years, we can see that today’s rate is truly outstanding. Here are the rates over the last five decades:

  • 1970s: 8.86%
  • 1980s: 12.7%
  • 1990s: 8.12%
  • 2000s: 6.29%
  • 2010s: 4.09%

Being upset that you missed the “best mortgage rate ever” is understandable. However, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Buying now still makes more sense than waiting, especially if rates continue to bump up this year.

Bottom Line

It’s true that you may not get the same rate you would have five weeks ago. However, you will get a better rate than what was possible at almost any other point in history. Let’s connect today so you can lock in a great rate while they stay this low.

5 Reasons to Sell Your House This Spring

5 Reasons to Sell Your House This Spring

5 Reasons to Sell Your House This Spring | MyKCM

When selling a house, most homeowners hope for a quick and profitable transaction that puts them in a position to make a great move. If you’re waiting for the best time to win as a seller, the market is calling your name this spring. Here are five reasons why this is the perfect time to sell your house if you’re ready.

1. There’s high demand from homebuyers.

Buyer demand is strong right now, and buyers are active in the market. ShowingTime, which tracks the average number of buyer showings on residential properties, recently announced that buyer showings are up 51.5% compared to this time last year. Daniil Cherkasskiy, Chief Analytics Officer at ShowingTime, notes:

“As anticipated, demand for real estate remains elevated and continues to be affected by low levels of inventory…On average, each home is getting 50 percent or more requests this year compared to January of last year. As we head into the busy season, it’s likely we’ll push into even more extreme territory until the supply starts catching up with demand.”

When your house is positioned to get a ton of attention from competitive buyers, you’re in the best spot possible as the seller.

2. There aren’t enough houses for sale.

Purchaser demand is so high, the market is running out of available houses for sale. Recently, realtor.com reported:

“Nationally, the inventory of homes for sale in February decreased by 48.6% over the past year, a higher rate of decline compared to the 42.6% drop in January. This amounted to 496,000 fewer homes for sale compared to February of last year.”

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) also reveals that, while home sales are skyrocketing, the inventory of existing homes for sale is continuing to drop dramatically. Houses are essentially selling as fast as they’re hitting the market – in fact, NAR reports that the average house is on the market for only 21 days.

It’s this imbalance between high buyer demand and a low supply of houses for sale that gives sellers such an advantage. A seller will always negotiate the best deal when demand is high and supply is low. That’s exactly what’s happening in the real estate market today.

3. You have a lot of leverage in today’s market.

Clearly, many more people are interested in buying than selling this spring, creating the ultimate sellers’ market. When this happens, homeowners in a position to sell have the upper hand in negotiations.

According to NAR, agents are reporting an average of 3.7 offers per house and an increase in bidding wars. As a seller, this means the ball is in your court – so much so that you can use your leverage to negotiate the best possible contract. Demand is there, and now is the perfect time to sell for the most favorable terms.

4. It’s a great way to use your home equity.

According to the latest data from CoreLogic, as of the third quarter of 2020, the average homeowner gained $17,000 in equity over the past year, and that number continues to grow as home values appreciate. Equity is a type of forced savings that grows during your time as a homeowner and can be put toward bigger goals like buying your next dream home.

Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, notes:

“As homeowners gain equity in their homes, they are more likely to consider using that equity to purchase a larger or more attractive home – the wealth effect of rising equity. In today’s housing market, fast rising demand against the limited supply of homes for sale has resulted in continued house price appreciation.”

5. It’s a chance to find a home that meets your needs.

So much has changed over the past year, including what many of us need in a home. Spending extra time where we currently live is enabling many of us to re-evaluate homeownership and what we find most important in a home.

Whether it’s a house that has the features suited to working remotely, space for virtual or hybrid schooling, a home gym or theater, or something else, selling this spring gives you a chance to make a move and find the home of your dreams.

Bottom Line

Today’s housing market belongs to the sellers. If you’ve considered making a move but have been waiting for the right market conditions, your wait may be over. Let’s connect so you’ll be positioned to win when you sell your house this spring.

Don’t wait until Spring to list your home!

Transform how you live with these tech products

Hottest home trends for Autumn

 


1. OVERSIZED FLORALS

This is a really lovely trend – who doesn’t love flower prints and on a large scale? Look out for big blousy designs that have a pre-Raphaelite style and you’ll find them on cushions, bedding and as murals (shown here). Keep the rest of the look simple, so the florals become the star and pick out key colors to accessorize with.

2. MODERN NETURALS

This is a combination of different elements that creates a beautiful and simple look with the emphasis on natural-looking furniture. As Kate Butler, head of design at Habitat, explains: ‘Here there’s been a focus on stripped timbers, wood grain and a return to simple, natural patinas and materials within furniture.’ Team this with gently patterned crockery, soft grey chairs and a neutral block colored textured rug to complete this calming trend.

3. GOLD

Although we had gold as a trend back in spring/summer, it’s still very much here and you’re going to see even more of it this season! So how about using it in a different form instead of as an accessory? Yes, that’s right – GOLD carpet, and isn’t it fabulous, especially with this Mid-Century modern furniture?

4. JET BLACK

Fans of monochrome will adore this trend. It’s all about the accessories – and they need to be black. But if you’re not a massive fan of large amounts of black you can make this trend work by using small blocks here and there. Like this beautiful beaded pendant, console and shelving unit. Combine this look with tactile pieces and white to balance it out.

5. ALL THE PINKS

Dusty, old fashioned pinks are all the rage for autumn which is a perfect antidote to the usual rusty tones we see, and as it’s such an easy-on-the-eye color it’s simple to apply to our homes. We asked Karen Thomas, head of design at Home at Marks & Spencer to explain this trend: ‘Adding warmth and color to your home, these tones will work especially well alongside metallic, contemporary greys and the new wave of darker neutrals. If you’re feeling bold, go for statement upholstery in vibrant pink velvet or for a more understated look try painterly florals and layer textures and fabrics to add interest.’

5. TACTILE KITCHENS

Kitchens are undergoing a change, no longer are they simply all about one style of units, a worktop and a complementary splash back. This new and exciting trend is all about mixing it up – different textures sat next to each other, contrasting in both color and touch. ‘A sleek quartz work surface with an integrated solid wood chopping board or dark cabinetry against a clean marbled splash back, makes for an eye-catching space, and one that is full of character,’ says Daniela Condo, designer at Life Kitchens.

Discover hidden treasures for a great cause

Join us for the Annual Hall & Hunter Realtors Estate Sale benefiting Habitat for Humanity in partnership with Changing Places Moving Compan

Birmingham, MI — On September 9, 2017 hundreds of buyers and collectors from all over the tri-county area will have their pick of some amazing collectibles, antiques, and quality furniture at the annual Hall & Hunter Realtors Estate Sale.  Now in its 13th year, this annual event benefits Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County and to date, has raised more than $250,000 dollars to help local families achieve their dream of owning their own, affordable home. Held under a giant tent at the Hall & Hunter Realtors office, located at 442 S. Old Woodward Avenue in Birmingham, the event runs from 9am to 4pm and shoppers are encouraged to get there early.

The annual Hall & Hunter Estate Sale has grown to become a full year’s endeavor. Through a unique partnership with Changing Places Moving Company of Waterford, donated items are collected throughout the year from Hall & Hunter clients, agents and many other community friends. The donations are then stored in the Changing Places warehouse and are delivered to the offices of Hall & Hunter in downtown Birmingham just prior to the sale.

For several days prior to the big sale, dozens of Hall & Hunter volunteers roll up their sleeves to help set up and stage the items in our giant white tent. Lori Stefek of Stefek’s Auctioneers & Appraisers generously donates her merchandising expertise to accurately price, stage and prepare for the one-of-a-kind day-long sale. Other major sponsors include Bank of Ann Arbor, Equity Title, and Downtown Publications.

Habitat for Humanity is a grass roots organization dedicated to the elimination of poverty and substandard housing.  Habitat builds or renovates homes in partnership with qualifying families who pay a no-profit mortgage held by Habitat.  Since 1996 Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County has built and renovated homes for more than 200 families.

Hall & Hunter Realtors is an exclusive affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate and has been serving the community for more than 60 years.

For more information contact:  Gillian Lazar (glazar@hallandhunter.com) or Pam Gray (pgray@hallandhunter.com) or call 248-644-3500.

Luxurious European flair at its finest

362 Keswick Road | Bloomfield Hills

Set on almost 2 acres, this European inspired manor home takes full advantage of its peaceful, private setting located in highly sought after Cranbrook Community neighborhood. Bathed in natural light and rich in character, the interior benefits from a thoughtful floor plan that connects to an array of outdoor living spaces. Exquisite details include gleaming marble floors, leaded glass windows, crystal light fixtures and intricate moldings. The main level takes in a 2 story foyer with a sweeping staircase, richly paneled library, gourmet kitchen opening to wonderful entertaining space featuring a large family room with fireplace, beautifully accented formal rooms and luxurious master suite and bath. Ample family accommodations include four additional bedrooms and 3 full baths on the upper level that overlook the spectacular gardens and lush landscape. A very special home! Contact Cindy Kahn for more details.