Home Buying

Millennial Home-Buying Myths: What Is the Truth About Generation Y?

Millennial Home Buyers Now Outpace all Other GroupsThere's a new generation in town, and not all you've heard about these younger buyers in true. Millennials, also known as Generation Y, were born during the last two decades of the 20th Century. Generally, they came of age in the new century, and their interests and attitudes have been shaped by the internet, technology and world events.

In some ways, Millennials are a new breed, full of confidence and new ideas, and exploring new paths. Aged 18 to 35, some are beginning to find their way in a work environment and culture not of their own design, while others are just now exploring options and opening their eyes to a world that is rapidly changing.

Most might be the first to tell everyone that they have little in common with their parents. But those who are now entering their mid-thirties are, in some ways, becoming more like their parents with every passing year.

Millennials Dominate the Real Estate Market

In March of 2018, Millennials represented the largest share of the home-buying market, for the fifth consecutive year. Less than a decade ago that some analysts predicted this would be a generation of perennial renters. That assessment, it turns...

Parents Say Kids' Opinions Matter Big When Buying a Home

Parents Say Kids’ Opinions Matter Big When Buying a Home | MyKCM

A recent survey conducted by Harris Poll and released by SunTrust Mortgage found that “55% of homeowners with a child under the age of 18 at the time when they purchased their home said that the opinion of their offspring played a major role in their home buying decision.”

When the results were broken down by the parent’s age, millennials (those 18-36) led the way with 74% of homeowners saying that their child’s opinion was a factor in choosing which home to buy. Eighty-three percent of renters believe that their child’s opinion would be a deciding factor when looking to purchase a home.

So what features in a home are most important to kids?

Parents Say Kids’ Opinions Matter Big When Buying a Home | MyKCM...

Days on The Market Drops to New Low in April

Days on The Market Drops to New Low in April | MyKCM

According to recently released data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median number of days that a home spent on the market hit a new low of 26 days in April, as 57% of homes were on the market for under a month.

NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun, had this to say,

“What is available for sale is going under contract at a rapid pace. Since NAR began tracking this data in May 2011, the median days a listing was on the market was at an all-time low in April, and the share of homes sold in less than a month was at an all-time high.”

Strong buyer demand, a good economy, and a low inventory of new and existing homes for sale created the perfect storm to accelerate the time between listing and signing a contract.

The chart below shows the median days on the market from April 2017 to April 2018:

Days on The Market Drops to New Low in April | MyKCM...

The Cost of Renting vs. Buying [INFOGRAPHIC]

The Cost of Renting vs. Buying [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • Historically, the choice between renting or buying a home has been a tough decision.
  • Looking at the percentage of income needed to rent a median-priced home today (28.8%) vs. the percentage needed to buy a median-priced home (17.1%), the choice becomes obvious.
  • Every market is different. Before you renew your lease again, find out if you can put your housing costs to work by buying this year!

Contact the Gold Country Modern Team, your Amador County real estate connection, for assistance buying or selling a home in the Gold Country.

...

Moving Up to Your Dream Home? Don't Wait!

Moving Up to Your Dream Home? Don’t Wait! | MyKCM

Mortgage interest rates have risen by more than half of a point since the beginning of the year, and many assume that if mortgage rates rise, home values will fall. History, however, has shown this not to be true.

Where are home values today compared to the beginning of the year?

While rates have been rising, so have home values. Here are the most recent monthly price increases reported in the Home Price Insights Report from CoreLogic:

  • January: Prices were up 0.5% over the month before.
  • February: Prices were up 1% over the month before.
  • March: Prices were up 1.4% over the month before.

Not only did prices continue to appreciate, the level of appreciation accelerated over the first quarter. CoreLogic believes that home prices will increase by 5.2% over the next twelve months.

How can prices rise while mortgage rates increase?

Freddie Mac explained in a recent Insight Report:

“In the current housing market, the driving force behind the increase in prices is a low supply of both new and existing homes combined with historically low rates....

Real Estate Tops Best Investment Poll for 5th Year Running

Real Estate Tops Best Investment Poll for 5th Year Running | MyKCM

Every year, Gallup surveys Americans to determine their choice for the best long-term investment. Respondents are given a choice between real estate, stocks/mutual funds, gold, savings accounts/CDs, or bonds.

For the fifth year in a row, real estate has come out on top as the best long-term investment!

This year’s results showed that 34% of Americans chose real estate, followed by stocks at 26%. The full results are shown in the chart below.

Real Estate Tops Best Investment Poll for 5th Year Running | MyKCM

The study makes it a point to draw attention to the contrast in the sentiment over the last five years compared to that of 2011-2012, when gold took the top slot with 34% of the votes. Real estate and stocks took second and third place, respectively, while still in recovery from the Great Recession.

...

What to Know About Sustainable Home Construction Options

The Many Paths to a Sustainable HomeThe interest in sustainability continues to grow and a there are a number of potential homebuyers interested in learning more about sustainable home construction. Construction companies can build using new materials and passive design, as well as help homeowners retrofit a traditional home. Homeowners and homebuyers may have more opportunities to affordably incorporate sustainable design and materials into a current or future home. What should individuals know about sustainable home construction and how it may benefit them and the environment?

Get more information on sustainable home construction and its many benefits today.

Sell Your Home for More

In some areas, it appears that potential homebuyers are shopping around for a green home. They will often pay more for such homes when they understand the long-term benefits in terms of reduced energy costs, as well as a smaller carbon footprint. One joint study was able to demonstrate that homeowners with green homes sold their property for an additional 9 percent when compared with comps without sustainable features. There are communities in which sustainable home construction is of great interest.

However, those looking to sell or market a sustainable home need to work with an agent experienced with marketing such homes to potential buyers. Not...

House Prices: Simply a Matter of Supply & Demand

House Prices: Simply a Matter of Supply & Demand | MyKCM

Why are home prices still rising? It is a simple answer. There are more purchasers in the market right now than there are available homes for them to buy. This is an example of the theory of “supply and demand” which is defined as:

“the amount of a commodity, product, or service available and the desire of buyers for it, considered as factors regulating its price.”

When demand exceeds supply, prices go up. This is currently happening in the residential real estate market.

Here are the numbers for supply and demand as compared to last year for the last three months (March numbers are not yet available):

House Prices: Simply a Matter of Supply & Demand | MyKCM

In each of the last three months, demand (buyer traffic) has increased as compared to last year while supply (...

The Best in New Building Technology

How New Building Technology Can Lower the Cost of a HomeNew building technology is not only speeding up the pace of construction, it's also making homes safer and less expensive to purchase. Home building is somewhat late to the table when it comes to getting a high-tech upgrade, but there's still been plenty of progress in the field. While certain neighborhoods (and buyers) will adopt the new breakthroughs faster than others, all home buyers should be aware of emerging methodologies so they can make an informed decision before moving forward when building a new construction home.

Drones

One of the most common technologies in building today, drones have the ability to scout out the best locations when it comes to where to build. They can also be used to monitor the construction process as a whole. This not only cuts down on time, it also provides an opportunity for investors and construction leaders alike to get an accurate overview of exactly what's being done as it's being done. The enhanced visibility gives leaders a chance to spot inefficiencies wherever they happen to be so they can be corrected immediately.

3D Lasers

A 3D laser scanner can be used in conjunction with a drone to give information about each building site. A drone will show if a stockpile is present on the property or site, but a 3D scanner can give precise measurements (within 2 millimeters) of the height and width of each object. So if there was a row of bushes or trees that were blocking...

4 Major Types of Real Estate Investment

What You Need to Know About Different Types of Real Estate InvestmentDespite ups and downs in the real estate market over the past decade, as well as recent changes to tax laws, real estate investments can still be every bit as profitable as promised for the right investor. Even as megacorporations and billionaire investors snatch up skyscrapers and vacant beach plots, there are still ways for an investor to get their start even without the luxury of endless capital. Before beginning negotiations, though, it helps to learn more about each type of real estate along before determining which property makes the most sense for an investor's budget and lifestyle.

Basic Definitions

The lingo for real estate can be somewhat confusing, with certain terms being swapped out for others depending on the circumstances. For a general overview though, here are a few basic definitions:

  • Residential real estate: single-family homes duplexes, condos, and townhomes (regardless of when they happened to be built.)
  • Co-ops: a type of real estate investment where a corporation buys a multi-unit building or development. Instead of having buyers flat-out buy their unit, they instead invest in shares in the corporation equivalent to what their unit costs.
  • Commercial real estate: buildings used for business purposes, whether it's an office, storefront, or apartment building.
  • Vacant land: refers to buying a plot of land that has not yet been developed in any way.

Rental Properties

With a rental...

A New Housing Bubble Forming...Not Before 2024!

A New Housing Bubble Forming…Not Before 2024! | MyKCM

A recent report by CoreLogic revealed that U.S. home values appreciated by more than 37% over the last five years. Some are concerned that this is evidence we may be on the verge of another housing “boom & bust” like the one we experienced from 2006-2008.

Recently, several housing experts weighed in on the subject to alleviate these fears.

Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac Chief Economist

“The evidence indicates there currently is no house price bubble in the U.S., despite the rapid increase of house prices over the last five years.”

Edward Golding, a Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center

...

5 Things You Need to Know About Home Insurance

A Short Guide to Home InsuranceHome insurance tends to be just one more box to check off on an extremely long to-do list when buying a home. After being bombarded with down payments, closing costs, and fees when buying a home, new homeowners have a tendency to opt for the lowest possible premium. But there are a few things to know about homeowner's insurance before going this route, and thankfully they don't have anything to do with that 100-page policy full of technical jargon and subclauses.

Homeowners May Cover Certain Repairs

Expenses for homeowners may go far beyond the standard $1,000 deductible. There are certain major catastrophes where homeowners are expected to pay a certain percentage of the fees before their insurance will step in. The more dangerous of an area the homeowner lives in, the higher the percentage will be. For example, hurricane-prone Florida insurance companies expect homeowners to pay up to 10% of the home's total insured value first. So if the home is insured for $100,000 and the damage is $20,000, a homeowner will need to pay half of the total damages or $10,000.

The Claims Process Matters

Some insurance companies are known to have very stringent requirements in terms of when they will pay out on damage, whether that means they will delay the process or deny claims that don't meet their criteria. It's extremely important to sign up with a company who has a...

Calm Down! The Real Estate Market is NOT Falling Apart

Calm Down! The Real Estate Market is NOT Falling Apart | MyKCM

There has been tremendous volatility in certain markets over the last few weeks (for example, the stock and currency markets). When this happens, some tend to lump all of their investments together and create an almost ‘Armageddon’ scenario where everything loses value quickly and dramatically. Real estate is an investment that can get caught up in this hysteria. Does the concern about the current housing market have merit?

Financial advisors have been warning us for months that the stock market was ripe for a “correction.”

Experts have been questioning the value of alternative currencies for over a year.

In contrast, here are the opinions of three major players in the residential housing market:

Ralph DeFranco, Chief Economist, Arch Capital Services Inc.

“It’s premature to worry about a housing bubble. The typical warning signs – excessive debt levels, poor quality loans, exponentially increasing home prices, rising vacancy rates and/or poor affordability compared to the past, and a high number of internet searches on house flipping – are not present.”

Liu-Down, Genworth Chief Economist

“My thoughts on many recent discussions of ‘housing bubble’ – the bar for a housing bubble is...

What You Need to Know About Home-Buying Contingencies

How Home Buying Contingencies Can Affect YouThere are multiple steps in any real estate transaction that have to be completed before the sale can complete. There are showings, inspections, financing requirements, and so much more, all of which is often written into the purchase contract as a home-buying contingency to ensure that everything goes smoothly and that there's recourse should one party fall through on an agreement. Home-buying contingencies are clauses in the home buying contract that allow the buyer to cancel the purchase or renegotiate the contract under certain circumstances. In a typical contract, there are three standard contingencies that are likely to appear. Familiarizing yourself with these contingencies can help guide you through the home buying process.

Inspection Contingency

The inspection contingency allows a home owner to renegotiate the price of the home or cancel the purchase of the home depending on the findings from the home inspection.

One of the first things a home buyer does after entering into the escrow period is schedule a home inspection for the Fairfax home. The inspector goes through the house thoroughly and uncovers the problems that exist with major systems like the roof, plumbing, electrical system and so on. The inspector writes a report to be reviewed by the home buyer, who then must decide what...

Millionaire to Millennials: Don't Rent a Home... Buy!

In a CNBC article, self-made millionaire David Bach explained that: The biggest mistake millennials are making is not buying their first home.” He goes on to say that, “If you want to build real financial security, real wealth for your lifetime, then you need to buy a home.

Bach went on to explain:

“Homeowners are worth 40 times more than renters. Now, that first home doesn’t need to be a dream home, it can be a very small home. You might literally have to buy a small studio apartment, but that’s how you get started.”

Then he explains the secret in order to buy that home!

Don’t do a 30-year mortgage. You want to take that 30-year mortgage and instead pay it...

Buying a Home? Know the Warning Signs of Foundation Damage

Warning Signs of Foundation ProblemsFoundation damage can be a serious problem for a house. If you're a home buyer, knowing the signs of foundation damage can help you decide whether your Bolinas home is in need of repair.

Cracks in the Foundation

Cracks in the foundation can be one of the most obvious signs of foundation damage. The worst cracks are usually stair-step shaped cracks in the mortar and deep, horizontal cracks in the foundation. Horizontal cracks are an indication that the soil outside the house has pushed on the foundation, causing it to break. This can happen when wet soil freezes and expands. Some types of soil are known to expand when wet and shrink when dry, which can also cause problems for the home's foundation.

Bulging Walls

A bulging wall is almost always a sign of a very serious problem. Bulging basement walls are typically an indication that the soil is pushing on the foundation, while bulging walls above the soil line are indications that the foundation has shifted.

Often, bulging walls are accompanied by water problems. Look for water stains, mold, mildew and beads of moisture around the cracks and bulges. This happens because water can intrude at the site of foundation and wall cracks. Sometimes this happens because water itself is the problem. Poor drainage...

The New Tax Bill and Home Ownership

With the passage of the new tax bill, many questions exist regarding what impact the new bill is likely to have on the residential real estate market including exisitng homeowners, home buyers as well as sellers. 

 Below is an outline of three most pressing items (Mortgage Interest Deduction, Property Taxes and State & Local Taxes (SALT) and Exclusion of Gain on Sale of a Principal Residence) that real estate practitioners watched carefully as the bill became law as well as some industry commentary regarding the potential implications of the new tax law on the real estate market.

DISCLAIMER: As you review this summary, please keep in mind that this post is not meant to be a resource for tax advice but instead a resource for basic information regarding aspects of the new tax code and how it may impact the real estate market. We encourage our clients to speak to a tax professional or financial planner regarding their specific situation and how the entire tax code will affect their personal returns.

Here are the 3 Major Concerns of Real Estate Practitioners as it relates to the new tax bill.

1.  Mortgage Interest Deduction

There was concern that the mortgage interest deduction (MID) would be eliminated. That didn’t happen.

However, the bill has made the following changes:

  • Reduces limit on deductible mortgage debt to $750,000 for new loans taken out after 12/14/17 (from the existing $1,000,000). Current loans up to $1 million are grandfathered.
  • Homeowners may refinance mortgage debts existing on 12/14/17 up to $1 million and still deduct the interest, so long as the new loan does not exceed the amount refinanced.
  • Repeals deduction for interest paid on home equity debt through...

The Benefits of Homeownership Go Beyond the Financial

The Benefits of Homeownership Go Beyond the Financial | MyKCM

Homeownership is a major part of the American Dream. As evidence of that, 91% of Americans believe that owning a home is either essential (43%) or important (48%) to achieving that “dream.” In a market where some people may be unsure about the benefits and possibilities of buying a home, it is important that we remember this.

Homeownership is NOT just about the money. In fact, some of the major benefits are non-financial. Here are a few of those benefits as per the National Association of Realtors:

  • Consistent findings show that homeownership does make a significant positive impact on educational achievement.
  • Several researchers have found that homeowners tend to be more involved in their communities than renters.
  • Early studies of homeownership and health outcomes found that homeowners and children of homeowners are generally happier and healthier than non-owners, even after controlling for factors such as income and education levels that are also associated with positive health outcomes and positively correlated with homeownership.

Bottom Line

Homeownership means something more to people and their families than just the financial considerations.

Contact the Marin Modern Team, your Marin County real estate connection, for assistance buying or selling a home in Marin County California....

Before You Make an Offer, Here Are 4 Tips for Success!

Before You Make an Offer, Here Are 4 Tips for Success! | MyKCM

So, you’ve been searching for that perfect house to call a ‘home,’ and you finally found it! The price is right, and in such a competitive market, you want to make sure that you make a good offer so that you can guarantee that your dream of making this house yours comes true!

Freddie Mac covered “4 Tips for Making an Offer” in their Executive Perspective. Here are the 4 tips they covered along with some additional information for your consideration:

1. Understand How Much You Can Afford

“While it’s not nearly as fun as house hunting, fully understanding your finances is critical in making an offer.”

This ‘tip’ or ‘step’ should really take place before you start your home search process.

Getting pre-approved is one of many...

Bubble Alert! Is it Getting Too Easy to Get a Mortgage?

Bubble Alert! Is it Getting Too Easy to Get a Mortgage? | MyKCM

There is little doubt that it is easier to get a home mortgage today than it was last year. The Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI), published by the Mortgage Bankers Association, shows that mortgage credit has become more available in each of the last several years. In fact, in just the last year:

  • More buyers are putting less than 20% down to purchase a home
  • The average credit score on closed mortgages is lower
  • More low-down-payment programs have been introduced

This has some people worrying that we are returning to the lax lending standards which led to the boom and bust that real estate experienced ten years ago. Let’s alleviate some of that concern.

The graph below shows the MCAI going back to the boom years of 2004-2005. The higher the graph line, the easier it was to get a mortgage.

Bubble Alert! Is it Getting Too Easy to Get a Mortgage? | MyKCM

As you can see, lending standards were much more lenient from 2004 to 2007. Though it has gradually become easier to get a mortgage since 2011,...