Cheap Home Improvements That Make A Big Difference

If you own a home, it is likely that you have looked into remodeling but the cost of it just makes you sick! A major living room, bathroom or kitchen remodel can be around $60,000. Not many people have that kind of money laying around. However, there are small improvements that you can make that can help transform your place and add some value to your home. Here are a few of the tips and tricks below:

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Crown Molding: At around $3 a foot, crown molding is an inexpensive feature that adds a dramatic impact and helps draw your eye up making the ceiling look higher, also making it look clean.

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Front Door: Adding a pop of color to your front door can really make the house stand out and it really adds a “cute-factor”. A small can of paint is all you really need, which ends up being around $20.

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Modern Light: Upgrading older light fixtures can really make your home look modern and add a nice clean look. You can find some nice fixtures for a good deal.

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Switch Plate Upgrade: You can find decorative plate covers for pretty cheap in stores. However, if you can’t find one you really like, you can decorate your own with a fabric or wallpaper that you love. This adds a nice look rather then plain white or brass.

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Kitchen Faucet: Adding a nice metal or upgraded faucet can really make the kitchen look updated. Paying for a new faucet is also way less expensive then paying for new counters or cabinets.

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Cabinet Hardware: Updating knobs on your cabinets can also make your home look updated. Brass was all the rage years ago, but now it just dates the home. Putting some new ones on will really make the home look nice.

 

Simple changes can really make a difference if you do not have a large budget for it.

Posted on January 6, 2017 at 1:43 pm
Marni Jimenez | Category: Uncategorized

The #1 Reason to Sell Now… Not Next Spring

The #1 Reason to Sell Now… Not Next Spring | MyKCM

The price of any item (including residential real estate) is determined by ‘supply and demand’. If many people are looking to buy an item and the supply of that item is limited, the price of that item increases.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the supply of homes for sale dramatically increases every spring. As an example, here is what happened to housing inventory at the beginning of 2016:

The #1 Reason to Sell Now… Not Next Spring | MyKCM

Putting your home on the market now instead of waiting for increased competition in the spring might make a lot of sense.

Bottom Line

Buyers in the market during the winter months are truly motivated purchasers. They want to buy now. With limited inventory currently available in most markets, sellers are in a great position to negotiate.

Posted on December 16, 2016 at 12:29 pm
Marni Jimenez | Category: selling, Uncategorized

5 Reasons Why Homeownership Is a Good Financial Investment

5 Reasons Why Homeownership Is a Good Financial Investment | MyKCM

According to a recent report by Trulia, “buying is cheaper than renting in 100 of the largest metro areas by an average of 37.7%.” That may have some thinking about buying a home instead of signing another lease extension, but does that make sense from a financial perspective?

In the report, Ralph McLaughlin, Trulia’s Chief Economist explains:

“Owning a home is one of the most common ways households build long-term wealth, as it acts like a forced savings account. Instead of paying your landlord, you can pay yourself in the long run through paying down a mortgage on a house.”

The report listed five reasons why owning a home makes financial sense:

  1. Mortgage payments can be fixed while rents go up.
  2. Equity in your home can be a financial resource later.
  3. You can build wealth without paying capital gains.
  4. A mortgage can act as a forced savings account.
  5. Overall, homeowners can enjoy greater wealth growth than renters.

Bottom Line

Before you sign another lease, let’s get together and discuss all your options.

Posted on December 13, 2016 at 11:51 am
Marni Jimenez | Category: Buying, Uncategorized

Buying a Home Can Be Scary… Know the Facts

Buying a Home Can Be Scary... Know the Facts [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • 36% of Americans think they need a 20% down payment to buy a home.
  • 44% of Millennials who purchased a home this year have put down less than 10%.
  • 71.8% of loan applications were approved last month.
  • The average credit score of approved loans was 731 in September.
Posted on October 28, 2016 at 1:00 pm
Marni Jimenez | Category: Uncategorized

Starting to Look for a Home? Know What You WANT vs. What You NEED

Starting to Look for a Home? Know What You WANT vs. What You NEED | MyKCM

In this day and age of being able to shop for anything anywhere, it is really important to know what you’re looking for when you start your home search.

If you’ve been thinking about buying a home of your own for some time now, you’ve probably come up with a list of things that you’d LOVE to have in your new home. Many new homebuyers fantasize about the amenities that they see on television or Pinterest, and start looking at the countless homes listed for sale with rose-colored glasses.

Do you really need that farmhouse sink in the kitchen in order to be happy with your home choice? Would a two-car garage be a convenience or a necessity? Could the man cave of your dreams be a future renovation project instead of a make or break now?

The first step in your home buying process should be to get pre-approved for your mortgage. This allows you to know your budget before you fall in love with a home that is way outside of it.

The next step is to list all the features of a home that you would like, and to qualify them as follows:

  • ‘Must Haves’ – if this property does not have these items, then it shouldn’t even be considered. (ex: distance from work or family, number of bedrooms/bathrooms)
  • ‘Should Haves’ – if the property hits all of the must haves and some of the should haves, it stays in contention, but does not need to have all of these features.
  • ‘Absolute Wish List’ – if we find a property in our budget that has all of the ‘must haves,’ most of the ‘should haves,’ and ANY of these, it’s the winner!

Bottom Line

Having this list flushed out before starting your search will save you time and frustration, while also letting your agent know what features are most important to you before starting to show you houses in your desired area.

Posted on October 25, 2016 at 1:52 pm
Marni Jimenez | Category: Buying, Uncategorized

Preparing Your Home for Photos

 

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  • 1. Clean!
    • This is the biggest step to help get your photos looking their best. Cameras pick up everything we can and cannot see.
    • The biggest thing that gets forgotten is windows. Having clean windows can bring more light into your home, making the pictures even better.
    • Clean the floors, especially if you have hardwood. The camera will pick up dust on the floor.
    • Have all trashcans put away.
    • If you have any pets, it is best to not have them in your pictures (even if they are really cute).

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  • 2. Staging the home
    • The key to remember is that “less is more”. Eliminate all the clutter. (The best place to “hide” all your items would be in a closet or a garage that is not being photographed)
    • All bedrooms should have beds neatly made and nothing on the floor.
    • Counter tops should all be cleared off, especially in the kitchen. (Leaving a nice stainless steel appliance such as a coffee maker or toaster is fine).
    • Cleaning supplies, magazines, personal effects, bathroom items should all be out away where they will not be photographed.
    • All items in the shower, tub, and vanities should be put away as well as bath mats and small area rugs.
    • A small flower arrangement can be a nice touch, but it must be small. You do not want it to block the view of the camera.
    • If possible, remove some furniture (such as a large desk or dresser) out of the way if your space is small. This will create the image of the room being larger.
    • Remove all pet bowls, litter boxes, crates, etc.
    • Remember: you are selling the house, the counters,  the walls, the floors, etc. Not your personal items.

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  • 3. Curb appeal
    • Your front yard and the front of the home are going to be the first things that potential buyers will see. Some might not even take the time to look inside if they do not like the front.
    • Remove your cars away from the driveway and down the street a little before the photographer arrives. It is also a good idea to move trash cans out of the way.
    • Have your grass mowed a few days before, that way you will not be able to see tracks from the mower, yet it will still look nice.
    • Fresh mulch in flower beds can also make a great difference.
    • Make sure you weed all the planters, trim overgrown shrubs and cut low hanging branches. (You may want to hire a landscaper for these tasks)

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  • 4. Your backyard/ Pool
    • All children’s toys, pet items and yard equipment should be put away where they cannot be seen.
    • If you have patio furniture, arrange it in an inviting manner. Also make sure they are clean and dust free.
    • If you have a pool, have it cleaned before and have all toys and floats put away. If you have a pool guy, have them come before and service it, making sure all the lights and different parts are in working order.

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  • 5. Home lighting
    • Make sure all the light bulbs and fixtures are working and on BEFORE the photographer arrives. These will help the photos turn out much  nicer.
    • Also having clean  light fixtures will help bring out better light.

 

  • 6. Remember: the photographer knows what they are doing, and they are trying to make your home look the best it can be.
    • Do not be offended  if they ask you to remove something, or put something away. They are trying to get you  the most  money!
Posted on October 10, 2016 at 11:34 am
Marni Jimenez | Category: Uncategorized

Preparing Your Home For Appraisal

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Selling your home takes quite a few steps such as listing photos, open houses, home inspections and one of the most important, the appraisal.  Now if the appraisal doesn’t go that well, your selling price can go down considerably. The best way to understand all of this, is to understand the process and key items that can help it go well.

 

The Appraisal:

 

The mortgage lender will be ordering the appraisal through an appraisal  management company. The company will then select an individual appraiser to visit your home. The average appraisal is usually about 20-45 minutes (not too bad). They will be examining the quality, condition, size, etc. of your home and assessing the value.

 

There are 3 major parts of the appraisal. These would be the inspection,  comparables, and the final appraisal report. The inspection is pretty self – explanatory, this is when the appraiser visits your home and assess everything. The comparables, or “comps” as your agent will call it, are homes that have recently sold in your area and that are similar to yours. This will help them determine the market value of your home. The final appraisal report is what is going to make it or break it for you. This will determine the value of your home after the inspection and comparables.

Now there are some tips that will help your appraisal go the best it can be.

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The outside of your home :

You want to prepare the outside just as you would for your pictures. Mowing the lawn, trimming the bushes and shrubs, putting away all tools and equipment. Getting rid of dead plants and weeds is a great idea too. One of the items that gets called out most is peeling paint on the outside of your home. Even little flakes here and there can make a big difference. Repainting certain areas, or the whole house can really help you! Another thing that is easily forgotten is damaged gutters or siding. Fixing these will go a long way. You want the outside to look AMAZING!

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The inside of your home:

The best thing to before you start getting the inside, is to walk through it like you are a stranger (a really picky and critical one). Any clutter or broken items will reflect on the price, even though it is not attached to the home. This is all about appearance and the appraiser wants to see that you keep everything up to high standards.

 

Another nice little tip is to keep their comfort in mind. Keeping a pleasant temperature, putting away a jumping dog, or keeping your running toddler at grandmas will help make the appraisal go smoothly.

 

A rule of thumb for the appraisal is to go by increments of $500. They will often measure the value in a $500 incriminate, so even a minor repair can hurt you if they begin to add up.

 

Making sure all lights, doors, windows, ceiling fans, and connected appliances work is one of the best things you can do! They will be checking all of this and if something doesn’t work it can bring down the price, or even worse, it can bring your comparable level to older homes which can lower the price significantly.

 

Pointing out some recent repairs or updates you have done could potentially help you too. Taking it a step further, you could have a list typed out and ready to hand to the appraiser during the inspection.

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Final Thoughts:

You want to make your home, inside and out, as appealing as possible to the appraiser. However, they are highly trained and careful in what they do. So don’t stress to much!

You are one step closer to getting your home sold!

 

Posted on September 28, 2016 at 11:39 am
Marni Jimenez | Category: Uncategorized

Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Using an Agent When Selling Your Home

Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Using an Agent When Selling Your Home | MyKCM

When a homeowner decides to sell their house, they obviously want the best possible price with the least amount of hassles. However, for the vast majority of sellers, the most important result is to actually get the home 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. For the past three years, 92% of all buyers have used the internet in their home search according to the National Association of Realtors’ most recent Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers.

However, the report also revealed that 95% percent of buyers that used the internet when searching for a home purchased their home through either a real estate agent/broker or from a builder or builder’s agent. Only 2% purchased their home 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 actual home they will buy (53%), to negotiate the terms of the sale & price (48%), or to help understand the process (60%).

The plethora of information now available has resulted in an increase in the percentage of buyers that reach out to real estate professionals to “connect the dots.” This is obvious, as the percentage of overall buyers who used an agent to buy their home 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.

Posted on September 26, 2016 at 10:50 am
Marni Jimenez | Category: Uncategorized

The Cost of NOT Owning Your Home

The Cost of NOT Owning Your Home | Simplifying The Market

Owning a home has great financial benefits. Because of this, more and more experts are growing concerned about the ramifications of a falling homeownership rate. Today, let’s look at the financial reasons why owning a home of your own has been a part of the American Dream for as long as America has existed.

The outcomes of a falling homeownership rate can be devastating. As explained by ApartmentList.com:

“Our research indicates that not owning a home has a sizable financial cost, as renters miss out on low mortgage rates and are hit by higher rents.

This phenomenon may exacerbate inequality in our society, as those wealthy enough to invest in real estate benefit from lower interest rates, whereas minorities and younger Americans, hit by rising rents and student debt, risk being locked out of homeownership.”

What proof exists that owning is financially better than renting?

1. A study published by the Joint Center of Housing Studies at Harvard University shows the financial benefits of homeownership. The study mentions five major financial benefits:

  • Housing is typically the one leveraged investment available
  • You’re paying for housing whether you own or rent
  • Owning is usually a form of “forced savings”
  • There are substantial tax benefits to owning
  • Owning is a hedge against inflation

2. Studies have shown that homeowners have a net worth that is 45X greater than that of a renter.

3. Just last month, we explained that a family buying an average priced home this past January could build more than $46,000 in family wealth over the next five years. 

4. Some argue that renting eliminates the cost of taxes and home repairs. Every potential renter must realize that all the expenses the landlord incurs are baked into the rent payment already – along with a profit margin!!

Bottom Line

Owning a home has always been, and will always be better from a financial standpoint than renting.

Posted on September 15, 2016 at 11:47 am
Marni Jimenez | Category: Uncategorized

5 Reasons to Sell This Summer

5 Reasons to Sell This Summer

5 Reasons to Sell This Summer | MyKCM

As the temperature rises, buyers are coming out ready to purchase their dream homes. The summer is a great time to list your home for sale. Here are five reasons why:

1. Demand Is Strong

The latest Buyer Traffic Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains very strong throughout the vast majority of the country. These buyers are ready, willing and able to purchase… and are in the market right now!

Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

2. There Is Less Competition Now

According to NAR’s latest Existing Home Sales Report, the supply of homes for sale is still under the 6-month supply that is needed for a normal housing market at 4.7-months.

This means, in most areas, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in that market. This is good news for home prices. However, additional inventory is about to come to market.

There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move, as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners are now seeing a return to positive equity as real estate values have increased over the last two years. Many of these homes will be coming to the market this summer.

Also, as builders regain confidence in the market, new construction of single-family homes is projected to continue to increase over the next two years, reaching historic levels by 2017.

The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don’t wait until all this other inventory of homes comes to market before you sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

Fannie Mae just announced that they anticipate an acceleration in home sales that will surpass 2007's pace by late summer. As the market heats up, banks will be inundated with loan inquiries causing closing-time lines to lengthen. Selling now will make the process quicker & simpler.

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move Up

If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by 5.3% over the next year, according to CoreLogic. If you are moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait.

You can also lock-in your 30-year housing expense with an interest rate below 4% right now. Rates are projected to increase by nearly a full percentage point in the next 12 months.

5. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

That is what is truly important.

Posted on July 13, 2016 at 11:03 am
Marni Jimenez | Category: Uncategorized