lake county real estate. and then some…

selling homes…a family tradition


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More buyers are able to afford buying a home, simply because there are loans out there that don’t require 10%+ down.

Number of Buyers Putting Down Less Than 10% Hits 7-Year High

Number of Buyers Putting Down Less Than 10% Hits 7-Year High | MyKCM

According to Black Knight Financial Service’s Mortgage Monitor Report, 1.5 million Americans have purchased a home with down payments under than 10% over the last 12 months. This is great news for buyers as this marks a 7-year high.

Many mortgage programs offered by agencies like Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae allow buyers to put down as low as 3% to purchase their dream homes. The strength of the housing market has aided buyers who used low-down-payment programs to buy. As a recent CNBC article points out,

“Defaults on recent low down payment loans, so far, are slow, but that is as much a factor of the good credit quality as it is the strength of the housing market. Home prices are rising incredibly fast, meaning those borrowers are gaining equity in their homes quickly.”

Low down payments aren’t just great for first-time homebuyers. These programs have allowed homeowners who want to capitalize on the equity they have in their homes to use the profit from their sale to pay off high-interest credit cards, fund education or even start a business.

According to a new Census Report, the Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs, home equity was used to start 7.3% of all businesses in the United States, which equates to over 284,000! The industries that saw the most growth from home equity are accommodation & food services, manufacturing and, retail trade.

Bottom Line

Gone are the days of ‘20% down or no mortgage.’ What could you build with the equity in your house? Let’s get together today to evaluate your ability to achieve your dreams today!


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Each year, homeowners transition to “empty nesters.” Many face the decision on whether to remodel, or move. Depending how how you answer these questions, one may clearly be a better option than the other…

Empty Nesters: Best to Remodel or Time to Sell?

Empty Nesters: Best to Remodel or Time to Sell? | MyKCM

Your children have finally moved out and you and your spouse now live alone in a four-bedroom colonial (or a similar type of house). You have two choices to make:

  1. Remodel your house to fit your current lifestyle and needs
  2. Sell your house and purchase the perfect home

Based on the record of dollars spent on remodeling and renovations, it appears that many homeowners are deciding on number one. But, is that the best long-term solution?

If you currently live in a 3-4-bedroom home, you probably bought it at a time when your children were the major consideration in determining family housing needs. Along with a large home, you more than likely also considered school district, the size of the property and the makeup of other families living in the neighborhood (example: you wanted a block with other kids your children could play with and a backyard large enough to accommodate that).

Remodeling your home to meet your current needs might mean combining two bedrooms to make one beautiful master suite and changing another bedroom into the massive walk-in closet you always wanted. However, if you live in a neighborhood that historically attracts young families, you may be dramatically undermining the value of your house by cutting down the number of bedrooms and making it less desirable to the typical family moving onto your block.

And, according to a recent study, you will recoup only 64.4% of a remodeling project’s investment dollars if you sell in the future.

Your home is probably at its highest value as it stands right now. Instead of remodeling your house, it may make better financial sense to sell your current home and purchase a home that was built specifically to meet your current lifestyle and desires.

In many cases, this well-designed home will give you exactly what you want in less square footage (read less real estate taxes!) than your current home.

Bottom Line

If you are living in a house that no longer fits your needs, at least consider checking out other homes in your area that would meet your lifestyle needs before taking on the cost and hassle of remodeling your current house.


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Yes, the higher your credit score the easier time you may have securing a mortgage. However, more than half of today’s loans are approved for buyers with a FICO score below 750…

Don’t Disqualify Yourself… 52% of Approved Loans Have A FICO® Score Under 750

Don’t Disqualify Yourself… 52% of Approved Loans Have A FICO® Score Under 750 | MyKCM

The results of countless studies have shown that potential home buyers, and even current homeowners, have an inflated view of what is really required to qualify for a mortgage in today’s market.

One such study by the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania revealed that many millennials have not yet considered purchasing homes simply because they don’t believe they can qualify for a mortgage.

A recent article about millennials by Realtor.com explained that:

About 72% of aspiring millennial buyers said they’re waiting because they can’t afford to buy…

The article also explained that 29% of millennials believe their credit scores are too low to buy.The problem here is the fact that they think they will be denied a mortgage is keeping them from even attempting to apply.

Ellie Mae’s Vice President Jonas Moe encouraged buyers to know their options before assuming that they won’t qualify for a mortgage:

“Many potential home buyers are ‘disqualifying’ themselves. You don’t need a 750 FICO® Score and a 20% down payment to buy.”

So, what credit score is necessary?

Below is a breakdown of the FICO® Score distribution of all closed (approved) loans in July from Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Report.

Don’t Disqualify Yourself… 52% of Approved Loans Have A FICO® Score Under 750 | MyKCM

Over 52% of all approved loans had a FICO® Score under 750. Many potential home buyers believe that they need a score over 780 to qualify.

Bottom Line

If owning a home of your own has always been your dream and you are ready and willing to buy, or if you are a homeowner who wants to move up, find out if you are able to! Let’s get together to determine if your dreams can become a reality sooner than you thought!


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Most homeowners who attempt to sell their homes, do so to try to save commission. But do they?

Study: FSBOs Don’t Save Real Estate Commission

Study: FSBOs Don’t Save Real Estate Commission | MyKCM

One of the main reasons why For Sale By Owners (FSBOs) don’t use a real estate agent is because they believe they will save the commission an agent charges for getting their house on the market and selling it. A new study by Collateral Analytics, however, reveals that FSBOs don’t actually save anything, and in some cases may be costing themselves more, by not listing with an agent.

In the study, they analyzed home sales in a variety of markets in 2016 and the first half of 2017. The data showed that:

“FSBOs tend to sell for lower prices than comparable home sales, and in many cases below the average differential represented by the prevailing commission rate.” (emphasis added)

Why would FSBOs net less money than if they used an agent?

The study makes several suggestions:

  • “There could be systematic bias on the buyer side as well. FSBO sales might attract more strategic buyers than MLS sales, particularly buyers who rationalize lower-priced bids on with the logic that the seller is “saving” a traditional commission. Such buyers might specifically search for and target sellers who are not getting representational assistance from agents.” In other words, ‘bargain lookers’ might shop FSBOs more often.
  • “Experienced agents are experts at ‘staging’ homes for sale” which could bring more money for the home.
  • “Properties listed with a broker that is a member of the local MLS will be listed online with all other participating broker websites, marketing the home to a much larger buyer population. And those MLS properties generally offer compensation to agents who represent buyers, incentivizing them to show and sell the property and again potentially enlarging the buyer pool.” If more buyers see a home, the greater the chances are that there could be a bidding war for the property.

Three conclusions from the study:

  1. FSBOs achieve prices significantly lower than those from similar properties sold by Realtors using the MLS.
  2. The differential in selling prices for FSBOs when compared to MLS sales of similar properties is about 5.5%.
  3. The sales in 2017 suggest the average price was near 6% lower for FSBO sales of similar properties.

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of selling, FSBOing may end up costing you money instead of saving you money.


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Have you always wanted to upgrade to a luxury home? Right now, the luxury housing market is in a buyer’s market, while lower priced housing tends to lean more towards being a seller’s market. It’s a great combo for an upgrading buyer!

Want to Keep up with the Joneses? Now’s the Time

Want to Keep Up with the Joneses? Now’s the Time | MyKCM

Does your current house fit your needs? Does it seem like everyone else is moving up and moving on to more luxurious surroundings? Are you wondering what it would take to start living your dream life?

Market conditions around the country have presented an opportunity like no other for those who are looking to make the jump to a premium or luxury home.

The National Association of Realtors reports that national inventory levels are now at a 4.3-month supply. A normal market, where prices appreciate with inflation, has 6-7-months inventory. The national market has echoed the conditions felt in the starter and trade-up markets as inventory has declined year-over-year for 25 consecutive months.

The chart below shows the relationship between the inventory of homes for sale and prices.

Want to Keep Up with the Joneses? Now’s the Time | MyKCM

According to Trulia’s latest Inventory Report, the inventory of homes for sale in the two lower priced markets has dropped by double digit percentages over the last 12 months (16% for starter and 13% for trade-up homes). While the inventory of homes in the premium home category has dropped by only 4%.

This has created a seller’s market in the lower-priced markets, as 54% of homes were on the market for less than a month in the last Realtors Confidence Index, and a buyer’s market in the luxury market, where homes were on the market for an average of 160 days according to the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing.

Bottom Line

If you are even thinking of listing your home and moving up to a luxury home, let’s get together to evaluate your ability to do so. Homeowners across the country are upgrading their homes, why can’t you? Your dream home is waiting!


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96% of home buyers purchase their home through a Realtor. That is an important statistic to be a part of, if you are selling your home.

Why Is It Important to Use a Professional to Sell Your Home?

Why Is It Important to Use a Professional to Sell Your Home? | MyKCM

When a homeowner decides to sell their house, they obviously want the best possible price for it with the least amount of hassles along the way. However, for the vast majority of sellers, the most important result is actually getting their homes sold.

In order to accomplish all three goals, a seller should realize the importance of using a real estate professional. We realize that technology has changed the purchaser’s behavior during the home buying process. According to the National Association of Realtors’ 2016 Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, the first step that “…44% of recent buyers took in the home buying process was to look online at properties for sale.

However, the report also revealed that 96% of buyers who used the internet when searching for homes purchased their homes through either a real estate agent/broker or from a builder or builder’s agent. Only 2% purchased their homes directly from a seller whom the buyer didn’t know.

Buyers search for a home online but then depend on an agent to find the home they will buy (50%), to negotiate the terms of the sale (47%) & price (36%), or to help understand the process (61%).

The plethora of information now available has resulted in an increase in the percentage of buyers who reach out to real estate professionals to “connect the dots.” This is obvious, as the percentage of overall buyers who have used agents to buy their homes has steadily increased from 69% in 2001.

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of selling your home, don’t underestimate the role a real estate professional can play in the process.


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Buy a home and start building your net worth.

Homeowner’s Net Worth Is Still Greater Than a Renter’s

Homeowner’s Net Worth Is Still Greater Than a Renter’s | MyKCM

Every three years, the Federal Reserve conducts their Survey of Consumer Finances in which they collect data across all economic and social groups. The latest survey, which includes data from 2010-2013, reports that a homeowner’s net worth is 36 times greater than that of a renter ($194,500 vs. $5,400).

The latest survey data, covering 2014-2016 will be released later this year. In the meantime, Lawrence Yun, the National Association of Realtors’ Chief Economist estimates that the gap has widened even further, to 45 times greater ($225,000 vs. $5,000)!

Put Your Housing Cost to Work for You

As we’ve said before, simply put, homeownership is a form of ‘forced savings.’ Every time you pay your mortgage, you are contributing to your net worth. Every time you pay your rent, you are contributing to your landlord’s net worth.

The latest National Housing Pulse Survey from NAR reveals that 84% of consumers believe that purchasing a home is a good financial decision. William E. Brown comments:

“Despite the growing concern over affordable housing, this survey makes it clear that a strong majority still believe in homeownership and aspire to own a home of their own. Building equity, wanting a stable and safe environment, and having the freedom to choose their neighborhood remain the top reasons to own a home.”

Bottom Line

If you are interested in finding out if you could put your housing cost to work for you by purchasing a home, let’s get together and evaluate your ability to buy today!


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Are you a Millennial homeowner? Have you been in your home for several years? You may have built up enough money to sell your current home, and upgrade to something a little larger.

Hey, Millennial Homeowners!! It May Be Time to Sell

Hey, Millennial Homeowners!! It May Be Time to Sell | MyKCM

Contrary to what many believe, Millennials are not the ‘renter’ generation. Millennials purchased a larger percentage (34%) of homes in the U.S. than any other age group in 2017 and the most recent Census Bureau report shows that the homeownership rate among Millennials is finally on the rise.

Many Millennials took advantage of post housing crash prices and the First-Time Homebuyers’ Tax Credit and jumped into homeownership in 2010. If you are one of these buyers, now may be the time to sell for many reasons. Here are a few:

1. Equity Build-Up

Home prices have been on the rise since the beginning of 2012 and your house may have appreciated by more than you think. ATTOM Data Solutions, in their Q2 2017 U.S. Home Sales Report revealed that:

“…homeowners who sold in the second quarter realized an average price gain of $51,000 since purchase — the highest average price gain for home sellers since Q2 2007, when it was $57,000.

The average home seller price gain of $51,000 in Q2 2017 represented an average return of 26 percent on the previous purchase price of the home, the highest average home seller return since Q3 2007, when it was 27 percent.”

2. Projected Home Price Increases

If you just got married or just found out you are about to become a parent, you may have plans to move up a bigger home or perhaps move to a different area. Waiting to buy a more expensive home in this market probably doesn’t make sense. The experts contacted for the Home Price Expectation Survey are projecting home prices to increase by nearly 5% over the next year. Yes, your house’s price will increase but not as much as a home currently valued higher than yours.

3. Projected Interest Rate Increases

The Mortgage Bankers’ Association, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and the National Association of Realtors are each projecting mortgage rates to increase over the next year.

Higher PRICES + Higher INTEREST RATES = LARGER MORTGAGE PAYMENTS.

Bottom Line

If you are lucky enough to be one of those Millennials who purchased a house in 2010 (or even later), now might be the perfect time to move up to the home of your dreams!


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It has been almost 10 years since the start of the housing market crash. In that time, we have gone from the bottom of the bottom, to over 90% of homeowners having positive equity in their homes. Not perfect, but better than it was!

93.9% Of Homes in The US Have Positive Equity

93.9% Of Homes in The US Have Positive Equity | MyKCM

CoreLogic’s latest Equity Report revealed that ninety-one thousand residential properties regained equity in Q1 2017. The outlook for 2017 remains positive as well, as an additional 600 thousand properties will regain equity if home prices rise another 5% this year.

The study also revealed that:

  • Roughly 63% of all homeowners have seen their equity increase since Q1 2016
  • The average homeowner gained about $14,000 in equity between Q1 2016 and Q1 2017
  • Only 1.6% of residential properties are near-negative equity

Below is a map showing the percentage of homes with a mortgage, in each state, that have positive equity. (The states in gray have insufficient data to report.)

93.9% Of Homes in The US Have Positive Equity | MyKCM

Significant Equity Is On The Rise

Frank Martell, President & CEO of CoreLogic, believes this is great news for the “long-term health of the U.S. economy.” He went on to say:

“Homeowner equity increased by $766 billion over the last year, the largest increase since Q2 2014. The rising cushion of home equity is one of the main drivers of improved mortgage performance. Since home equity is the largest source of homeowner wealth, the increase in home equity also supports consumer balance sheets, spending and the broader economy.”

Of the 93.9% of homeowners with positive equity in the US, 78.8% have significant equity (defined as more than 20%). This means that nearly three out of four homeowners with a mortgage could use the equity in their current home to purchase a new home, now.

The map below shows the percentage of homes with a mortgage, in each state, that have significant equity. (The states in gray have insufficient data to report.)

93.9% Of Homes in The US Have Positive Equity | MyKCM

Bottom Line 

If you are one of the many homeowners who are unsure of how much equity they have in their homes and are curious about their ability to move, let’s meet up to evaluate your situation.


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Millennials are beginning to buy homes, which is a great boost for the first-time homebuyer market.

Millennial Homeownership Rate Increases

Millennial Homeownership Rate Increases | MyKCM

Recent headlines exclaimed the homeownership rate, as reported by the Census Bureau, rose again in the second quarter of 2017. What didn’t get much attention in the reports is that the homeownership rate for American households under the age of 35 increased a full percentage point from last quarter’s 34.3% to 35.3%. Millennials proved to have the highest increase of any age group.

This came as a surprise to some considering Millennials have come to be known as the “renter” generation. However, a new study by First American, 6 Trends Poised to Reshape Homeownership Demand, revealed reasons why homeownership numbers will continue to increase for Millennials.

Millennials are the most educated generation in the U.S.

Why does that matter? First American explains:

“Our model shows that, all other factors being equal, the likelihood of homeownership increases by 3 percent for those that earn a bachelor’s degree over those with a high school degree. The likelihood of homeownership jumps another 3 percent for those that earn a graduate degree.”

The more educated, the better the likelihood for homeownership. And, as we mentioned: Millennials are the most educated generation in the U.S.

Homes & marriage go together

Marriage is a key determinate in homeownership. According to an analysis by First American, the homeownership rate is 30% higher among married couples compared to non-married households.

Millennials have put off marriage in the pursuit of higher education. As this group ages, more and more will marry and purchase a home.

Parents buy houses

According to the study:

“The homeownership rate is 1.7% higher for households with one or two children compared to households with no children, and it is 5.4 percent higher for households with three or more children.”

The report goes on to say that as Millennials grow older there may be an increase in not just marriage but also in married couples with children. That will probably also create a “corresponding” increase in homeownership demand.

Wages and the economy

The study goes on to explain that recent gains in income growth and a strengthening economy will also help all generations (including Millennials) be more willing and able to purchase a new home.

Bottom Line

We guess the time has come to announce – Here come the Millennials!!