The Lowcountry Real Estate News

 

Nov. 22, 2022

Should You Buy Now or Wait for a Dip?

If you’ve been waiting out the market to buy, you might want to reconsider.

 

Should you wait for the market to go down to buy a new house? It's important to remember that many factors go into deciding an offer price, like interest rates, the state of the economy, the season of the year, etc. It's more than just about predicting when a market will soften.

 

First, some industry experts say that fluctuations in prices really depend on the needs and goals of a particular area. Of course, it's not just the area. It's also individuals as far as buyers and sellers. It's all about time and money. 

 

Second, the market changes quickly. As you can see, from 2020 to 2022, we had wild ups and downs in the market with pricing, and it has been tough to keep up. The market changes quickly. Many are convinced that you buy when the timing is right for you and your family. 

"It's more than just about predicting when a market will soften."

 

Third, when speaking with my lender partners, they say it's important to keep a pulse on the market. Right now, what I'm hearing from many of them is that interest rates are expected to drop to about 5%. That's what they're going to trend toward within the next 18 months.

 

Now, that being said, if you want to buy now, there are different programs out there and different strategies that we can consider, like a 2-1 buydown. If you're not familiar with that program, get with your agent. Call me or email me; I’d love to explain how they work and discuss your situation. 

Posted in Market Updates
Nov. 2, 2022

4 Tips for Living in Your For-Sale Home

Four ways to help make selling your home simpler and more efficient.

 

How can you continue to live in your house once you put it on the market? Your home has always been your sanctuary, your one true personal space, but now it’s listed for sale and will soon get a ton of foot traffic. This can get very stressful and make it difficult to continue living your normal life in your house, especially if you have young children. So here are four tips to help you continue living your life in your for-sale home and keep things a bit less hectic:

 

1. Start packing now. Packing and storing boxes in the basement or garage is completely acceptable. We want to open up as much space as possible; we’re emphasizing floor space and square footage, so the larger it feels, the more money you’ll get. 


2. Sell, donate, or throw it away. While you’re packing, try to get rid of things you don’t need. Sometimes, you have to be a little brutal; let’s face it—most of us have stuff laying around we don’t really use anymore. My recommendation is if you haven’t touched an item in a year and it’s not an heirloom or memory, it’s time to part with it. Try to at least donate items that are still in decent condition.

"Packing and storing boxes in the basement or garage is completely acceptable. "

 

3. Get squeaky clean. A clean, cared-for house can net you $5,000 to $10,000 more for your sale. Shoot for five-star hotel perfection when cleaning, and focus particularly on bathrooms, the kitchen, windows, and floors. If you don’t like to clean or simply don’t have the time, we have some fantastic cleaning companies we’d love to put you in touch with. Just reach out to us for more information. 

 

4. Maintain privacy and safety. Buyers are going to be looking through closets and other areas people wouldn’t typically see. Ensure there’s nothing valuable or personal anywhere that they could find. If you’re unsure about an item, be on the safe side and lock it away somewhere secure (this includes medications).

 

If you’d like to dig deeper into the tips above or have any questions about real estate in general, please shoot me an email or give me a call. I would love to help in any way I can.

Posted in Selling your home
Sept. 21, 2022

So Your Appraisal Came in Low—What Now?

Don’t let a low home appraisal disrupt your sale. You have options.

 

Despite rising interest rates shrinking your potential pool of buyers, now is still a great time to sell your home. Home prices continue to increase, just not as quickly as they did over the last couple of years. Still, keep in mind that rising home values can also present a challenge for sellers.

 

Most buyers in today’s market are financing their home purchases with a mortgage. To be approved for a loan, lenders require buyers to have an appraiser come out to the property. This is the bank’s way of verifying the home’s value so that they know it is secure to lend the buyer money. In a rising market, the appraised value of your home could come in lower than your asking price. This doesn’t happen very often—around 8% of the time, according to a 2018 Fannie Mae report—but if it happens to you, what can you do?


First, confer with your real estate agent to make sure your home isn’t overpriced for the market. If it is, you’ll need to adjust your price to align with the current market conditions since most buyers won’t want to shell out thousands of dollars to cover the difference between the appraised value and the asking price.

 

If that’s not the issue, look over the comparable sales in your area. The appraiser already bases their value on comparable home sales nearby, but you might be able to find better comps to justify your asking price.

"It won’t be as difficult as it was in the past to find a buyer willing to bridge the gap."

 

Otherwise, you could ask your potential buyer to make up the difference. Many buyers don’t want to do this, but you have the upper hand in a seller’s market like the one we’re in now. Some may even agree to an appraisal gap guarantee, which ensures they’ll pay the difference if your appraisal is low.

 

If you’re motivated to sell your home, and getting more than your asking price isn’t your top priority, you could also simply lower your asking price to match the appraised value. That could entice your buyer to increase their earnest money deposit, depending on how you negotiate.

 

If you’ve thought about selling your home and would like to know what yours is worth, visit my website to use our online calculator. If you have any other questions about selling your home or the market in general, don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email. I’d love to speak with you.

Posted in Market Updates
Sept. 14, 2022

Which Projects Help You Sell Your Home?

Getting Your House Ready To Sell? Work with an Agent for Expert Advice

Getting Your House Ready To Sell? Work with an Agent for Expert Advice | MyKCM

In a market that’s shifting as fast as it is today, many homeowners wonder what, if anything, needs to be renovated before they sell their house. That’s where a trusted real estate professional comes in. They can help you think through today’s market conditions and how they impact what you should – and shouldn’t – do before selling your house.

Here are some considerations a professional will guide you through.

What You Need To Know About Your Local Market

Since the supply of homes for sale has increased so much this year, today’s buyers have more options than they had last year. That may mean you’re not able to ignore some of those repairs or cosmetic updates you could have skipped in previous months. As a recent article from realtor.com says:

“To stand out in the market, sellers should make their home attractive to buyers, which usually means some selective updates.”

The key word here is selective. Since it’s still a sellers’ market, focusing on a few key areas may be enough to make your house stand out from other options. And since inventory is still low overall, it’s also possible buyers may be willing to handle the renovations themselves once they move in. It all depends on buyer demand and the available inventory in your local area. For advice on what’s happening in your market and what to do to make your house show well, lean on a professional.

Not All Renovation Projects Are Equal

In addition to making sure your house makes a good first impression, you’ll also want to consider the return on your investment (ROI) for any renovations. According to the 2022 Remodeling Impact Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), here are the projects that could net you the best return when you sell your house (see visual below):

Getting Your House Ready To Sell? Work with an Agent for Expert Advice | MyKCM

Again, your real estate advisor is your best resource. When your agent comes to your house for a walk-thru and consultation, they’ll use their expertise to offer any insight into what you may need to repair, replace, or refinish. They also know what other sellers are doing before listing their homes and how buyers are reacting to those upgrades to help steer you in the right direction. As Dr. Jessica Lautz, Vice President of Demographics and Behavioral Insights for NAR, explains:

“This year, the winner was hardwood flooring. Hardwood floor refinishing and putting in new wood flooring had the most significant value, . . .”

How To Draw Buyer Attention to the Upgrades You’ve Made

For any projects you’ve already completed or for those you plan to do before listing, make sure your real estate professional knows. They’re not just an advisor to help you decide where to focus your efforts, they’re also skilled at highlighting any upgrades in your listing. That way, potential buyers know about the features that may help sell them on the house.

No matter what, contact a local real estate professional for expert advice on what work needs to be done and how to make it as appealing as possible to future buyers. Every home is different, so a conversation with your agent is mission-critical to make sure you make the right moves when selling this season.

Bottom Line

In today’s shifting market, it’s important to spend your time and money wisely when you’re getting ready to move. Let’s connect to find out where to focus your efforts before you sell.

Posted in Selling your home
Sept. 9, 2022

Housing Experts Chime In- How Does The Rest of 2022 Look?

Here's What Housing Experts Forecast for the Rest of 2022

Nationally, home prices are forecast to appreciate, just at a more moderate pace than last year. Let's connect if you plan to buy or sell a home this year so you have a trusted advisor on your side.

Watch Now

Posted in News
Aug. 29, 2022

What To Know About HOAs, POAs, and Regimes

Explaining the differences between HOAs, POAs, and regimes in Low Country.

 

In the Low Country, what’s the difference between a homeowner association (HOA), a property owner association (POA), and a regime? Many people are confused by these terms, so today I’ll explain how they’re different. 

 

In our area, HOAs mean you have a home on land you own, while POAs mean you either own a home or some land. Some people only own land in our area because they belong to communities that have many amenities, but they don’t necessarily want to keep a home. These landowners may be billed with a different rate and don’t have to pay the entire POAs fee. 

 

"Taxes are typically 2.8 times more expensive for secondary homeowners than primary ones."

 

 

Regimes, on the other hand, are commonly called condo management fees, and can vary from property to property. They can include amenities, securities, insurance, etc. It’s critical to ask your agent what the true cost of ownership is because that tends to change often.

 

Another thing worth mentioning, especially if you’re an investor who wants to rent out the property, is the tax rate. In South Carolina, we have primary and secondary tax rates. The former is for people who have lived here for over six months, and the latter is for people who have lived here for less time than that. Taxes are typically 2.8 times more expensive for secondary homeowners than primary ones. 

 

If you need more information about this topic or have any real estate questions, call or email me. I’m here to help!

Posted in News
Aug. 12, 2022

How Buyers Can Survive Rising Interest Rates

Here are three easy methods to deal with rising interest rates.

 

“I want to purchase a home, but how can I deal with higher interest rates?” Many clients have reached out to ask me this question recently. In case you don’t know, the Federal Reserve recently raised rates by 75 basis points—the largest increase since 1994. Mortgage rates have already responded, and they’re likely to increase further throughout the year. Rates are still low historically, but there’s no denying that recent increases make it more difficult to purchase a home. If you’re looking to buy, what can you do? 

 

Fortunately, there are tons of creative ways to adjust your strategy and prepare for higher rates, and I want to share three of them with you today:

 

1. Improve your credit. You may think your credit score is already as good as it can be, but there is always room for improvement. Start by paying off your debt little by little. This will lower your debt-to-income ratio, which is what lenders use to determine your creditworthiness. You can also save up for a bigger down payment to improve your credit and lower your rate. The results may seem small, but even a tiny difference can add up to a huge amount over the course of a loan.

 

"The longer you wait, the more expensive homes will become. "

 

 

2. Lock in your mortgage rate when it makes sense. If your lender is offering you a good rate, consider locking it in. Rates are expected to continue rising to combat inflation, but you won’t have to worry about that if your rate is locked in. Just remember that it only makes sense to lock in your rate when you’re almost to closing. Most rates only stay locked in for one to two months. 

 

3. Pay mortgage points at closing. Also known as “discount points,” mortgage points are fees you can pay to lower your interest rate. One point typically costs 1% of your loan, so a point on a $400,000 mortgage would cost $4,000. A nice perk of mortgage points is that they might be tax-deductible. If you can deduct your mortgage interest, chances are you can deduct the cost of your mortgage points as well. 

 

The truth is that it is still a great time to purchase a home. When the last Fed hike this large happened in 1994, rates were close to 8%, so our current ones look great by comparison. However, most experts believe rates will increase throughout 2022. On top of that, nothing indicates that rising mortgage rates will cause home prices to drop since inventory is so scarce. The longer you wait to purchase a home, the more expensive it will be. 

 

If you’d like to take a look at what’s presently available on the market, you can view our multiple listing service here:

 

Click here to see all available homes in your area.

 

There are still plenty of opportunities in our market. If you have any questions about interest rates or purchasing a home, please call or email me. I am always willing to help! 

Posted in Market Updates
Feb. 26, 2022

Perks of Owning a Second Home

The Perks of Owning More Than One Home

The Perks of Owning More Than One Home | MyKCM

Many things have changed over the past couple of years, and real estate is no exception. One impact is an increased desire to own more than one home. According to the recent Luxury Market Report from Luxury Home Marketing:

“As trends such as remote working and flexi-hours took hold in 2021, so too did the flexibility of relocating as well as the growth of second homeownership.”

This may be because the pandemic has altered how we think about our homes. Where we live has become, more than ever, our safe space and our getaway. And with the rise in remote work, more people are reconsidering where they want to live and buying second homes to give them greater flexibility. If you fall in that category, here are just a few of the perks you’ll enjoy, and how owning a second home may be a great decision for your lifestyle and your future.

Enjoy a Change in Scenery (or Weather)

When you have two homes, you can alternate between them as the weather changes or as you crave different scenery. Do you want to live in an area with a particular season? Would alternating between a resort and a suburban setting be ideal? With two homes, you have those options. Being able to move between homes based on which location best suits you at the time gives you added flexibility and variety that can help increase your happiness.

Build Your Wealth Faster

You may have heard that home equity is skyrocketing, thanks to ongoing home price appreciation. CoreLogic reports that the average homeowner gained $56,700 in equity over the last year. With home prices projected to continue rising, if you purchase a second home, you could benefit from rising equity on both properties to build your wealth (and your net worth) even faster.

Be Closer to Loved Ones

The pandemic has also reignited the importance of being near our loved ones. One option worth exploring is whether you want your second home to be near the people who matter most in your life. This makes it easier to see your loved ones but still gives you your own dedicated, private space so you can be nearby for major life events or longer visits.

Lock in Your Expenses

Buying a second home today and locking in your mortgage rate may be a good option if you’re looking to stabilize your housing costs for the long haul. If you’re approaching retirement or are looking to use your second home as your permanent residence in the future, buying that house now with today’s rate and price may be a good financial decision. That way, no matter what happens with rates and prices in years ahead, your monthly payment is locked in for the next 15-30 years.

Bottom Line

Having multiple homes has considerable benefits. If owning a second home is something you’re interested in, let’s connect to explore your options, discuss the benefits, and take the next step to start your home search.

March 12, 2021

Is It a Good Time to Sell My House?

Is It a Good Time to Sell My House?

Is It a Good Time to Sell My House? | MyKCM

Last year, many homeowners thought twice about selling their houses due to the onset of the health crisis. This year, however, homeowners are beginning to regain their confidence when it comes to selling safely. The latest Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) by Fannie Mae shows that 57% of consumers believe now is a good time to sell.

Doug Duncan, Vice President and Chief Economist at Fannie Mae, explains:

“Overall, the index’s monthly increase was driven largely by a substantial jump in the share of consumers reporting that it’s a good time to sell a home, with many citing favorable mortgage rates, high home prices, and low housing inventory as their primary rationale.”

Normally, spring is the busiest season in the housing market – the time when many homeowners decide to list their houses. While this is obviously not a normal year since the pandemic is still very much upon us, experts are optimistic that consumer positivity around selling will lead to more homeowners making moves this year. Duncan continues to say:

“We will pay close attention to see if this newfound optimism develops into a trend.”

What does this mean if you’re thinking of selling your house?

The fact that there are so few houses available for sale today is one driver that’s encouraging consumers to think more positively about selling. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) states:

"Total housing inventory at the end of January amounted to 1.04 million units, down 1.9% from December and down 25.7% from one year ago (1.40 million).”

With so few homes available to buy, your house will be more likely to rise to the top of an eager purchaser’s wish list in this competitive market. Today’s high buyer activity is creating upward pressure on home prices and more multiple-offer scenarios. According to the Realtors Confidence Index Survey from NAR, the average home for sale is receiving 3.7 offers today, up from 2.3 offers just one year ago. This makes selling even more enticing.

In this kind of sellers’ market, you have a huge advantage in the process. And here’s another win – you can also use your equity toward a down payment on a new home when you move.

Wondering where you’ll go if you try to move while it’s so challenging to find a home to buy? Well, in many areas, there are more homes available at the higher end of the market, so finding a move-up home may be less of an issue if you’re ready to search for your dream home this spring.

Bottom Line

If you pressed pause on selling your house last year, now may be the best time to put your plans back into motion while inventory is so low. Let’s connect today to get the process started.

Posted in News
Dec. 1, 2020

Offer strategy for a hot housing market

5 Tips for Homebuyers Who Want to Make a Competitive Offer

5 Tips for Homebuyers Who Want to Make a Competitive Offer | MyKCM

Today’s real estate market has high buyer interest and low housing inventory. With so many buyers competing for a limited number of homes, it’s more important than ever to know the ins and outs of making a confident and competitive offer. Here are five keys to success for this important stage in the homebuying process.

1. Listen to Your Real Estate Agent

A recent article from Freddie Mac offers guidance on making an offer on a home in today’s market. Right off the bat, it points out how emotional this can be for buyers and why trusted professionals can help you stay focused on the most important things:

“Remember to let your homebuying team guide you on your journey, not your emotions. Their support and expertise will keep you from compromising on your must-haves and future financial stability.”

Your real estate professional should be your primary source for answers to the questions you have when you’re ready to make an offer.

2. Understand Your Finances

Having a complete understanding of your budget and how much house you can afford is essential. The best way to know this is to reach out to your lender to get pre-approved for a loan early in the homebuying process. Only 44% of today’s prospective homebuyers are planning to apply for pre-approval, so be sure to take this step so you stand out from the crowd. It shows sellers you’re a serious, qualified buyer and can give you a competitive edge if you enter a bidding war.

3. Be Ready to Move Quickly

According to the Realtors Confidence Index, published monthly by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the average property being sold today is receiving more than three offers and is only on the market for a few weeks. These are both results of today’s competitive market, showing how important it is to stay agile and vigilant in your search. As soon as you find the right home for your needs, be prepared to work with your agent to submit an offer as quickly as possible.

4. Make a Fair Offer

It’s only natural to want the best deal you can get on a home. However, Freddie Mac also warns that submitting an offer that’s too low can lead sellers to doubt how serious you are as a buyer. Don’t submit an offer that will be tossed out as soon as it’s received. The expertise your agent brings to this part of the process will help you stay competitive:

“Your agent will work with you to make an informed offer based on the market value of the home, the condition of the home and recent home sale prices in the area.”

5. Be a Flexible Negotiator

After submitting an offer, the seller may accept it, reject it, or counter it with their own changes. In a competitive market, it’s important to stay nimble throughout the negotiation process. Your position can be strengthened with an offer that includes flexible move-in dates, a higher price, or minimal contingencies (conditions you set that the seller must meet for the purchase to be finalized). There are, however, certain contingencies you don’t want to forego. Freddie Mac explains:

Resist the temptation to waive the inspection contingency, especially in a hot market or if the home is being sold ‘as-is’, which means the seller won’t pay for repairs. Without an inspection contingency, you could be stuck with a contract on a house you can’t afford to fix.”

Bottom Line

Today’s competitive market makes it more important than ever to make a strong offer on a home, and a trusted expert can help you rise to the top along the way.

Posted in News