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May
12

What You Need To Know About Selling in a Sellers' Market

What You Need To Know About Selling in a Sellers' Market | MyKCM

Even if you haven't been following real estate news, you've likely heard about the current sellers' market. That's because there's a lot of talk about how strong market conditions are for people who want to sell their houses. But if you're thinking about listing your house, you probably want to know: what does being in a sellers' market really mean?

What Is a Sellers' Market?

The latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows housing supply is still very low. There's a 2-month supply of homes at the current sales pace.

Historically, a 6-month supply is necessary for a normal or neutral market where there are enough homes available for active buyers. That puts today deep in sellers' market territory (see graph below):

What You Need To Know About Selling in a Sellers' Market | MyKCM

What Does This Mean for You When You Sell?

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. That creates increased competition among purchasers which can lead to more bidding wars. And if buyers know they may be entering a bidding war, they're going to do their best to submit a very attractive offer upfront. This could drive the final price of your house up.

And because mortgage rates and home prices are climbing, serious buyers are motivated to make their purchase soon, before those two things rise further. That means, if you put your house on the market while supply is still low, it will likely get a lot of attention from competitive buyers.

Bottom Line

The current real estate market has incredible opportunities for homeowners looking to make a move. Listing your house this season means you'll be in front of serious buyers who are ready to buy. Let's connect so you can jumpstart the selling process.

May
11

Are There More Homes Coming to the Market?

Are There More Homes Coming to the Market? | MyKCM

According to a recent survey from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), one of the top challenges buyers face in today's housing market is finding a home that meets their needs. That's largely because the inventory of homes for sale is so low today.

If you're looking to buy a home, you may have noticed this yourself. But there is good news. Recent data shows more sellers are listing their houses this season, which may give you more options for your home search.

Early Signs Inventory May Be Growing

The latest data from realtor.com shows the number of listings coming onto the market, known in the industry as "new listings," has increased since the start of the year (see graph below):

Are There More Homes Coming to the Market? | MyKCM

This indicates more sellers are listing their homes for sale each month this year. And according to realtor.com, this growth is expected to continue. Their research finds the majority of potential sellers plan to list their homes over the next six months. Realtor.com says:

". . . markets may see a noticeable bump in the number of homes for sale as we move through spring and into summer. A majority of homeowners planning to sell this year indicated that they aim to list in the next six months, with almost 10% having already placed their properties on the market."

Homes Are Still Selling Quickly

But while new listings are increasing, it's important to know they're also selling quickly. The latest Realtors Confidence Index from NAR shows the median days on market for recently sold homes since the beginning of the year (see chart below). The time on market has decreased month-over-month. That means homes are selling even faster than they did the previous month.

Are There More Homes Coming to the Market? | MyKCM

What That Means for You

While a low-inventory market is difficult to navigate as a buyer, there is hope. The growing number of new listings and the expectation more sellers will list their homes in the coming months is great news if you've had a hard time finding a home that fits your needs. Just remember, those new listings are going fast. That means you'll want to keep your foot on the gas and be ready to act if you find a home you love this season.

Your agent can help you stay on top of the latest listings in your area so you can find the home that's right for you and submit your strongest offer as quickly as possible.

Bottom Line

If you've been having a hard time finding your dream home, stick with your search. More options are coming to market and your ideal home could be one of them. Let's connect so you can stay up to date on the latest listings in our market, so you can be ready to move fast when you find the one that's right for you.

May
10

Will Home Prices Fall This Year? Here's What Experts Say.

Will Home Prices Fall This Year? Here's What Experts Say | MyKCM

Many people are wondering: will home prices fall this year? Whether you're a potential homebuyerseller, or both, the answer to this question matters for you. Let's break down what's happening with home prices, where experts say they're headed, and how this impacts your homeownership goals.

What's Happening with Home Prices? 

Home prices have seen 121 consecutive months of year-over-year increases. CoreLogic says:

"Price appreciation averaged 15% for the full year of 2021, up from the 2020 full year average of 6%."

So why are prices climbing so much? It's because there are more buyers than there are homes for sale. This imbalance is expected to maintain that upward pressure on home prices because homes for sale are a hot commodity in today's low-inventory housing market.

Where Do Experts Say Prices Will Go from Here?

Experts say the housing market isn't set up for a price decline due to that ongoing imbalance between supply and demand. In the latest home price forecasts for 2022, they're calling for ongoing appreciation throughout the year (see graph below):

Will Home Prices Fall This Year? Here's What Experts Say | MyKCM

While the experts are forecasting more moderate price appreciation, the 2022 projections show price gains will remain strong throughout this year. First American explains it like this:

"While house price growth is expected to moderate from the rapid pace of 2021, strong home buyer demand against a backdrop of historically tight inventory of homes for sale will likely keep appreciation positive in the coming year."

What Does That Mean for You?

The biggest takeaway is that none of the experts are projecting depreciation. If you're a homeowner thinking about selling, the higher price appreciation over the last two years has been great for your home's value, but it's also something you should factor in when planning your next steps. If you'll also be buying a home after selling your current house, you shouldn't wait for prices to fall. Waiting will only cost you more in the long run because climbing mortgage rates and rising home prices will have an impact on your next home purchase. Freddie Mac says:

"If you're thinking about waiting until next year and that maybe rates are higher, but you'll get a deal on prices – well that's risky. It may be more advantageous to purchase this year relative to waiting until 2023 at this time."

Bottom Line

If you're thinking of selling to move up, you shouldn't wait for prices to fall. Experts say prices will continue to appreciate this year. That means, if you're ready, buying your next home before prices climb further may make the most financial sense. Let's connect to begin the process of selling your current home and looking for your next one before prices rise higher.

May
9

How Today's Mortgage Rates Impact Your Home Purchase

How Today's Mortgage Rates Impact Your Home Purchase | MyKCM

If you're planning to buy a home, it's critical to understand the relationship between mortgage rates and your purchasing power. Purchasing power is the amount of home you can afford to buy that's within your financial reach. Mortgage rates directly impact the monthly payment you'll have on the home you purchase. So, when rates rise, so does the monthly payment you're able to lock in on your home loan. In a rising-rate environment like we're in today, that could limit your future purchasing power.

Today, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate is above 5%, and in the near term, experts say that'll likely go up in the months ahead. You have the opportunity to get ahead of that increase if you buy now before that impacts your purchasing power.

Mortgage Rates Play a Large Role in Your Home Search

The chart below can help you understand the general relationship between mortgage rates and a typical monthly mortgage payment within a range of loan amounts. Let's say your budget allows for a monthly mortgage payment in the $2,100-$2,200 range. The green in the chart indicates a payment within that range, while the red is a payment that exceeds it (see chart below):

How Today's Mortgage Rates Impact Your Home Purchase | MyKCM

As the chart shows, you're more likely to exceed your target payment range as mortgage rates increase unless you pursue a lower home loan amount. If you're ready to buy a home, use this as your motivation to purchase now so you can get ahead of rising rates before you have to make the decision to decrease what you borrow in order to stay comfortably within your budget.

Work with Trusted Advisors To Know Your Budget and Make a Plan

It's critical to keep your budget top of mind as you're searching for a home. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, puts it best, advising that buyers should:

"Get preapproved with where rates are today, but also consider what would happen if rates were to go up, say another quarter of a point, . . . Know what that would do to your monthly costs and how comfortable you are with that, so that if rates do move higher, you already know how you need to adjust in response."

No matter what, the best strategy is to work with your real estate advisor and a trusted lender to create a plan that takes rising mortgage rates into consideration. Together, you can look at your budget based on where rates are today and craft a strategy so you're ready to adjust as rates change.

Bottom Line

Even small increases in mortgage rates can impact your purchasing power. If you're in the process of buying a home, it's more important than ever to have a strong plan. Let's connect so you have a trusted real estate advisor and a lender on your side who can help you strategize to achieve your dream of homeownership this season.

May
6

2022 Housing Market Forecast [INFOGRAPHIC]

2022 Housing Market Forecast [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

May
5

Three Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

Three Tips for First-Time Homebuyers | MyKCM

Buying your first home is a major decision and an exciting milestone. Even though it can feel daunting at times, it has the power to change your life for the better. If you're looking to purchase your first home, you may be wondering what's happening in the housing market today, how much you need to save, and where to start.

Here are three things that can help give you the information you need to confidently pursue your dream of homeownership.

1. Consider All Options When the Number of Homes for Sale Is Low

Today, there are far more buyers in the market than there are homes available for sale. When that happens, it's a good idea to do what you can to increase your pool of options. That could mean expanding your search to include additional housing types. For first-time buyers, considering condominiums (condos) and townhomes can be an excellent way to increase your choices. According to Bankrate:

"Townhomes often cost less than single-family homes of a similar size in the same location."

In another article, Bankrate also says:

"Buying a condo can be a great way to dive into homeownership without worrying about the upkeep that comes with single-family homes and townhouses."

Condos and townhomes are both great entryways into homeownership. When you buy either one, you can start building equity which increases your net worth and can fuel a future move.

2. Know Your Down Payment Could Be More Within Reach Than You Think

Saving for a down payment can feel like one of the biggest obstacles for homebuyers, but that doesn't have to be the case. As the National Association of Realtors (NAR) says:

"One of the biggest misconceptions among housing consumers is what the typical down payment is and what amount is needed to enter homeownership."

Data from NAR shows the median down payment hasn't been over 20% since 2005. The graph below breaks down the median down payment by age group for recent homebuyers according to the 2022 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report from NAR (see graph below):

Three Tips for First-Time Homebuyers | MyKCM

Based on the data above, the median down payment for all homebuyers is only 13%. That's well below the common misconception of 20%, and it's even lower for younger buyers. This could mean you may not need to save as much for a down payment as you initially thought.

There are also down payment assistance programs available for many buyers. Not to mention, some loan options require as little as 3.5% (or even 0%) down for buyers who qualify. While there are advantages to putting 20% down, especially in today's competitive market, know that you have options.  To get more information on how much you may need to save and the help that's available, talk with a professional.

3. Work with a Trusted Real Estate Advisor Throughout the Process

Finally, no matter where you're at in your homeownership journey, the best way to make sure you're set up for success is to work with a real estate professional.

If you're just starting out, they can help you with the initial steps, like educating you on the process and connecting you with a trusted lender to get pre-approved. Once you're ready to begin your search, a real estate professional can help you understand your local market and search for available homes. And when it's time to make an offer, they'll be an expert advisor and negotiator to help your offer stand out above the rest.

Bottom Line

Knowledge is key to succeeding on your homebuying journey. Knowing market trends, what you need for a down payment, and what options you have as a buyer today can give you the confidence you need to buy a home. Let's connect so you have an expert on your side who can help you navigate the homebuying process.

April
27

The Dream of Homeownership Is Worth the Effort

The Dream of Homeownership Is Worth the Effort | MyKCM

If you're in the market to buy a home this season, stick with it. Homebuyers face challenges in any market, and today's is no exception. But if you persevere, your decision to purchase a home will be worth the effort in the end. In fact, a recent survey from Bankrate shows homeownership is so powerful that:

"Nearly three in four homeowners say they would still buy their current home if they had it to do [sic] all over again."

That means the results – owning a home and the benefits that come with it – outweigh the effort needed to achieve their goal. If you're a homebuyer, let that provide you with the confidence to know the work you're putting in today will pay off for years to come. Here are a few reasons to stick with your search and focus on the outcome.

Homeownership Contributes Significantly to Your Financial Well-Being

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) lists several motivations to consider if you're thinking about buying a home. One of the top financial reasons is the equity you build. As NAR says:

"Money paid for rent is money that you'll never see again, but mortgage payments let you build equity . . . Building equity in your home is a ready-made savings plan."

Your equity is a powerful tool you can leverage in a number of ways. And with recent home price appreciation, homeowners are seeing record levels of equity today. That may be one reason why so many people view owning a home as a great investment and a top indicator of financial well-being. As the survey from Bankrate mentioned above shows:

". . . Americans place a higher value on homeownership than on any other indicator of economic stability, . . ."

Owning a home ranks above other major accomplishments like retirement, having a successful career, and getting a college degree. That indicates just how impactful the financial benefits of homeownership truly are.

The Emotional Benefits of Owning a Home Are Powerful

Of course, homeownership is more than an investment. In their list of top reasons to buy a home, NAR also highlights some of the powerful, non-financial aspects of homeownership. Among them is the opportunity to customize your home to reflect your personality and needs. As they say:

"The home is yours. You can decorate any way you want and choose the types of upgrades and new amenities that appeal to your lifestyle."

Another benefit homeowners enjoy is the stability it provides. Homeowners typically stay put longer than renters. According to NAR, when you remain in one place longer than a few years, you can grow closer to your community. And that can enhance your sense of pride and lead to better relationships.

What Does That Mean for You?

The benefits of homeownership are powerful, as Leslie Rouda Smith, President of NAR, says:

"From building personal wealth and fostering communities, to strengthening social stability and driving the national economy, the value of homeownership is indisputable."

Even if you face challenges in today's market, the payoff when you succeed and purchase a home will be worth it.

Bottom Line

If you're planning to buy a home this year, there are incredible benefits waiting for you at the end of your journey. Let's connect to discuss everything homeownership has to offer.

April
21

Why This Housing Market Is Not a Bubble Ready To Pop

Why This Housing Market Is Not a Bubble Ready To Pop | MyKCM

Homeownership has become a major element in achieving the American Dream. A recent report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) finds that over 86% of buyers agree homeownership is still the American Dream.

Prior to the 1950s, less than half of the country owned their own home. However, after World War II, many returning veterans used the benefits afforded by the GI Bill to purchase a home. Since then, the percentage of homeowners throughout the country has increased to the current rate of 65.5%. That strong desire for homeownership has kept home values appreciating ever since. The graph below tracks home price appreciation since the end of World War II:

Why This Housing Market Is Not a Bubble Ready To Pop | MyKCM

The graph shows the only time home values dropped significantly was during the housing boom and bust of 2006-2008. If you look at how prices spiked prior to 2006, it looks a bit like the current spike in prices over the past two years. That may lead some people to be concerned we're about to see a similar fall in home values as we did when the bubble burst. To help alleviate those worries, let's look at what happened last time and what's happening today.

What Caused the Housing Crash 15 Years Ago?

Back in 2006, foreclosures flooded the market. That drove down home values dramatically. The two main reasons for the flood of foreclosures were:

1. Many purchasers were not truly qualified for the mortgage they obtained, which led to more homes turning into foreclosures.
2. A number of homeowners cashed in the equity on their homes. When prices dropped, they found themselves in an underwater situation (where the home was worth less than the mortgage on the house). Many of these homeowners walked away from their homes, leading to more foreclosures. This lowered neighboring home values even more.

This cycle continued for years.

Why Today's Real Estate Market Is Different

Here are two reasons today's market is nothing like the one we experienced 15 years ago.

1. Today, Demand for Homeownership Is Real (Not Artificially Generated)

Running up to 2006, banks were creating artificial demand by lowering lending standards and making it easy for just about anyone to qualify for a home loan or refinance their current home. Today, purchasers and those refinancing a home face much higher standards from mortgage companies.

Data from the Urban Institute shows the amount of risk banks were willing to take on then as compared to now.

Why This Housing Market Is Not a Bubble Ready To Pop | MyKCM

There's always risk when a bank loans money. However, leading up to the housing crash 15 years ago, lending institutions took on much greater risks in both the person and the mortgage product offered. That led to mass defaults, foreclosures, and falling prices.

Today, the demand for homeownership is real. It's generated by a re-evaluation of the importance of home due to a worldwide pandemic. Additionally, lending standards are much stricter in the current lending environment. Purchasers can afford the mortgage they're taking on, so there's little concern about possible defaults.

And if you're worried about the number of people still in forbearance, you should know there's no risk of that causing an upheaval in the housing market today. There won't be a flood of foreclosures.

2. People Are Not Using Their Homes as ATMs Like They Did in the Early 2000s

As mentioned above, when prices were rapidly escalating in the early 2000s, many thought it would never end. They started to borrow against the equity in their homes to finance new cars, boats, and vacations. When prices started to fall, many of these homeowners were underwater, leading some to abandon their homes. This increased the number of foreclosures.

Homeowners didn't forget the lessons of the crash as prices skyrocketed over the last few years. Black Knight reports that tappable equity (the amount of equity available for homeowners to access before hitting a maximum 80% loan-to-value ratio, or LTV) has more than doubled compared to 2006 ($4.6 trillion to $9.9 trillion).

The latest Homeowner Equity Insights report from CoreLogic reveals that the average homeowner gained $55,300 in home equity over the past year alone. Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, reports:

"Homeowners in Q4 2021 had an average of $307,000 in equity - a historic high."

ATTOM Data Services also reveals that 41.9% of all mortgaged homes have at least 50% equity. These homeowners will not face an underwater situation even if prices dip slightly. Today, homeowners are much more cautious.

Bottom Line

The major reason for the housing crash 15 years ago was a tsunami of foreclosures. With much stricter mortgage standards and a historic level of homeowner equity, the fear of massive foreclosures impacting today's market is not realistic.

April
18

Is It Time To Buy a Smaller Home?

Is It Time To Buy a Smaller Home? | MyKCM

Life events can have a major impact on what you need from your home, and retirement is one of the biggest changes many of us face. This period of your life can mean doing more of the things you enjoy, like traveling, visiting with loved ones, or taking on new hobbies. But what does that mean for your home?

If you're looking for ways to focus more on the important things in your life, the answer could be downsizing. A recent article from The Balance talks about why it could be a great option, saying:

"There are many reasons to buy a smaller home—or to downsize from your present home—but sometimes, the idea that "less is more" is what propels homeowners to buy a smaller home."

You Can Find the Right Home for Your Needs

The 2022 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) provides more information on why people of retirement age choose to move. It shows the need for a smaller home, the desire to be closer to loved ones, and retirement itself as three of the top reasons homebuyers over the age of 55 make a move.

If you're in this group, changing priorities may be top of mind for you today, and that could be driving your decision to downsize. After all, as your lifestyle changes, what you need in your home likely changes, too.

Plus, as The Balance notes, moving into a smaller home can open your schedule up even more. When you downsize, you can spend less time maintaining your home and more time with the people you love or exploring newfound hobbies. That's a recipe that can lead to less stress and increased happiness.

Your Equity Can Make a Big Impact When You Downsize

Home equity plays a big role when you sell your existing house and move. It could be a great tool to use to help you downsize. According to the latest Homeowner Equity Insights report from CoreLogic, the average homeowner gained about $55,300 in equity over the past 12 months. Dr. Frank Nothaft, Chief Economist at CoreLogic, explains how important price appreciation and equity gains are for existing homeowners:

"Home prices rose 18% during 2021 in the CoreLogic Home Price Index, the largest annual gain recorded in its 45-year history, generating a big increase in home equity wealth, . . . For low- and moderate-income homeowners, home equity has historically been a major source of wealth."

As home prices rise, your equity does, too. So, you may have more equity than you realize because of the record levels of home price appreciation over the past year. Those equity gains could allow you to make a larger down payment on your next home. And putting more money down can lead to a smaller monthly mortgage payment, which can give you greater financial freedom. It can also be a significant help in navigating today's competitive housing market, since offering more money up front could help your offer stand out.

Whatever your homeownership goals are, a trusted real estate advisor can help you to find the best option for your situation. They'll help you sell your current home and guide you as you buy your next one and enter this new phase of life.

Bottom Line

If you've recently retired or plan to soon, your needs are likely changing. That means now may be the perfect time to downsize. Let's connect so we can work together to find a home that matches your situation.

April
13

Where Are Mortgage Rates Headed?

Mortgage Rates

There's never been a truer statement regarding forecasting mortgage rates than the one offered last year by Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American:

"You know, the fallacy of economic forecasting is: Don't ever try and forecast interest rates and or, more specifically, if you're a real estate economist mortgage rates, because you will always invariably be wrong."

Coming into this year, most experts projected mortgage rates would gradually increase and end 2022 in the high three-percent range. It's only April, and rates have already blown past those numbers. Freddie Mac announced last week that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is already at 4.72%.

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, tweeted on March 31:

"Continuing on the recent trajectory, would have mortgage rates hitting 5% within a matter of weeks. . . ."

Just five days later, on April 5, the Mortgage News Daily quoted a rate of 5.02%.

No one knows how swiftly mortgage rates will rise moving forward. However, at least to this point, they haven't significantly impacted purchaser demand. Ali Wolf, Chief Economist at Zondaexplains:

"Mortgage rates jumped much quicker and much higher than even the most aggressive forecasts called for at the end of last year, and yet housing demand appears to be holding steady."

Through February, home prices, the number of showings, and the number of homes receiving multiple offers all saw a substantial increase. However, much of the spike in mortgage rates occurred in March. We will not know the true impact of the increase in mortgage rates until the March housing numbers become available in early May.

Rick Sharga, EVP of Market Intelligence at ATTOM Datarecently put rising rates into context:

"Historically low mortgage rates and higher wages helped offset rising home prices over the past few years, but as home prices continue to soar and interest rates approach five percent on a 30-year fixed rate loan, more consumers are going to struggle to find a property they can comfortably afford."

While no one knows exactly where rates are headed, experts do think they'll continue to rise in the months ahead. In the meantime, if you're looking to buy a home, know that rising rates do have an impact. As rates rise, it'll cost you more when you purchase a house. If you're ready to buy, it may make sense to do so sooner rather than later.

Bottom Line

Mark Fleming got it right. Forecasting mortgage rates is an impossible task. However, it's probably safe to assume the days of attaining a 3% mortgage rate are over. The question is whether that will soon be true for 4% rates as well.

April
12

Why a Real Estate Professional Is Key When Selling Your House

Working with a Real Estate Agent

With today's real estate market moving as fast as it is, working with a real estate professional is more essential than ever. They have the skills, experience, and expertise it takes to navigate the highly detailed and involved process of selling a home. That may be why the percentage of people who list their houses on their own, known as a FSBO or For Sale By Owner, has reached its lowest point since 1985 (see graph below):

FSBO Homes at Record Low

Here are five reasons why selling with a real estate professional makes more sense, even in today's hot market:

1. They Know What Buyers Want To See

Before you decide which projects and repairs to take on, connect with a real estate professional. They have first-hand experience with today's buyers, what they expect, and what you need to do to make sure your house shows well.

If you don't lean on their expertise, you may spend your time and money on something that isn't essential. That's because, in today's low-inventory market, buyers are willing to take on more of the renovation work themselves. A survey from Freddie Mac finds that:

". . . nearly two-in-five potential homebuyers would consider purchasing a home requiring renovations." 

A professional can help you decide what you need to tackle. It's not canned advice you could find online – it's recommendations specific to your house and your area.

2. They Help Maximize Your Buyer Pool

Today, the average home is getting 4.8 offers per sale according to recent data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), and that competition is pushing prices up. While that's promising for you as a seller, it's important to understand your agent's role in bringing buyers in.

Real estate professionals have an assortment of tools at their disposal, such as social media followers, agency resources, and the MLS to ensure your house is viewed by the most buyers. According to realtor.com:

"Only licensed real estate agents can list homes on the MLS, which is a one-stop online shop of sorts for getting a house seen by thousands of agents and home buyers. . . . This is certainly one of many good reasons why the majority of home sellers decide to employ the services of a listing agent rather than going it alone."

Without access to these tools, your buyer pool is limited. And you want more buyers to view your house since buyer competition can drive your final sales price higher.

3. They Understand the Fine Print

Today, more disclosures and regulations are mandatory when selling a house. That means the number of legal documents you'll need to juggle is growing. That's why Investopedia says:

"One of the biggest risks of FSBO is not having the experience or expertise to navigate all of the legal and regulatory requirements that come with selling a home."

A real estate professional knows exactly what needs to happen, what all the paperwork means, and how to work through it efficiently. They'll help you review the documents and avoid any costly missteps that could occur if you try to handle them on your own.

4. They're Trained Negotiators

If you sell without a professional, you'll also be solely responsible for all the negotiations. That means you'll have to coordinate with:

  • The buyer, who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer's agent, who will use their expertise to advocate for the buyer
  • The inspection company, which works for the buyer and will almost always find concerns with the house
  • The appraiser, who assesses the property's value to protect the lender

Instead of going toe-to-toe with all these parties alone, lean on an expert. They'll know what levers to pull, how to address everyone's concerns, and when you may want to get a second opinion.

5. They Know How To Set the Right Price for Your House

If you sell your house on your own, you may over or undershoot your asking price. That could mean you'll leave money on the table because you priced it too low or your house will sit on the market because you priced it too high. Pricing a house requires expertise. Investopedia explains it like this:

". . . There is no easy or universal way to determine market value for real estate."

Real estate professionals know the ins and outs of how to price your house accurately and competitively. To do so, they compare your house to recently sold homes in your area and factor in the current condition of your house. These factors are key to making sure it's priced to move quickly while still getting you the highest possible final sale price.

Bottom Line

There's a lot that goes into selling your house. Instead of tackling it alone, let's connect so you have an expert on your side throughout the entire process.

April
10

Do You Know How Much Equity You Have in Your Home? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Do You Know How Much Equity You Have in Your Home?

Some Highlights

April
8

Questions Sellers Are Afraid To Ask Agents

Thinking About Questions to Ask When Selling Your Home

Selling a home is filled with complexities that can be difficult to navigate, especially when going through the process for the first time. As a seller, you should always remember no question is stupid. Asking as many questions as possible can help you avoid costly mistakes, and your real estate agent is there to help educate you about the process.

To help put clients at ease, here is a quick list of common real estate questions sellers are often too afraid to ask:

  • How Are Real Estate Agents Paid?
    Your real estate agent will do a lot of work upfront to help you sell your home and maximize your sale price. However, real estate agents are not paid upfront or hourly. They also do not receive a salary. A real estate agent is only paid when your home sells, and they receive a percentage of the home sale as a commission.

    Typically, the buyer's agent and the seller's agent both receive 3% of the sale price, and that commission is usually paid by the seller. Many times, real estate agents then split a portion of their commission with their broker as well.

  • Do I Have To Relocate My Pets While My Home Is On The Market?
    Pets come with so much joy, but they can occasionally make the selling process a bit inconvenient. While many people love cats and dogs, some people do not. While relocating your pets may not be feasible, you should make every attempt to eliminate pet odors and put away toys or accessories. You don't want visitors tripping over dog bowls when touring your listing!

  • Do I Need Listing Photos?
    Staging your home and taking listing photos can be a bit inconvenient at times for sellers. It can be difficult to live in a staged home, and keeping things pristine at all times can be a lot of work. However, listing photos are essential for attracting buyers to your property. Most home shoppers browse listings online, so listing photos have never been more important. The manner in which you stage your home combined with your listing photos can have a major impact on your sale price.

  • Can I Leave Something Out Of The Sale?
    While buyers typically don't expect sellers to leave furniture, they do expect buyers to leave most appliances. As a seller, it's your right to exclude anything you'd like from the home sale, but you must disclose what's not included upfront. Your real estate agent will usually add notes to the MLS listing. Just keep in mind excluding major appliances, lighting fixtures, or anything else can negatively impact your listing and sale price.

  • Can I Decorate For The Holidays?
    While agents usually advise clients to keep decorations to a minimum, decorating for the holidays is perfectly acceptable. Just do so tastefully and don't go overboard. Too many lights or decorations can be distracting.

Selling your home can be a fast-paced, complicated process, and you're sure to have tons of questions along the way. Even if something might seem obvious, don't hesitate to double-check with your agent. Your agent's job is to make your home sale as smooth as possible. If you're looking to sell a home, let's connect!

April
1

It's Still a Sellers' Market [INFOGRAPHIC]

It's Still a Sellers' Market [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some Highlights

March
30

What's Happening with Mortgage Rates, and Where Will They Go from Here?

Mortgage Rates

Based on the Primary Mortgage Market Survey from Freddie Mac, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has increased by 1.2% (3.22% to 4.42%) since January of this year. The rate jumped by more than a quarter of a point from just a week ago. Here's a visual to show how mortgage rate movement throughout 2021 was steady compared to the rapid increase in mortgage rates this year:

Freddie Mac 30 Year Fixed Mortgage Rate Average

Just a few months ago, Freddie Mac projected mortgage rates would average 3.6% in 2022. Earlier this month, Fannie Mae forecast mortgage rates would average 3.8% in 2022. As the chart above shows, rates have already surpassed those projections.

Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac, explained in a press release last week:

"This week, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased by more than a quarter of a percent as mortgage rates across all loan types continued to move up. Rising inflation, escalating geopolitical uncertainty and the Federal Reserve's actions are driving rates higher and weakening consumers' purchasing power."

Where Are Mortgage Rates Going from Here?

In a recent article by Bankrate, several industry experts weighed in on where rates might be headed going forward. Here are some of their forecasts:

Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst, Bankrate:

"With inflation figures continuing to surprise to the upside, mortgage rates will remain above 4.0% on the 30-year fixed."

Nadia Evangelou, Senior Economist and Director of Forecasting, National Association of Realtors (NAR):

"While higher short-term interest rates will push up mortgage rates, I expect some of this impact to be mitigated eventually through lower inflation. Thus, I expect the 30-year fixed mortgage rate to continue to rise, although we aren't likely to see the big jumps that occurred over the past few weeks."

Len Kiefer, Deputy Chief Economist, Freddie Mac:

"Mortgage rates are likely to continue to move higher throughout the balance of 2022, although the pace of rate increases is likely to moderate."

In a recent realtor.com article, another expert adds to the conversation:

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist, realtor.com:

". . . As markets digest the Fed's updated economic projections, I anticipate a continued increase in mortgage rates over the next several months. . . ."

What Does This Mean for You if You're Looking To Buy a Home?

With both mortgage rates and home values expected to increase throughout the year, it would be better to buy sooner rather than later if you're able. That's because it'll cost you more the longer you wait. But, there is a possible silver lining to buying a home right now. While you'll be paying a higher price and a higher mortgage rate than you would have last year, rising prices do have a long-term benefit once you buy.

If you purchase a home today valued at $400,000 and put 10% down, you would be taking out a $360,000 mortgage. According to mortgagecalculator.net, at a 4.42% fixed mortgage rate, your mortgage payment would be $1,807 a month (this does not include insurance, taxes, and other fees because those vary by location).

Now, let's put that mortgage payment into a new perspective based on the substantial growth in equity that comes with the escalation in home prices. Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts about their expectations for future home prices in the United States. Last week, Pulsenomics released their latest Home Price Expectation Survey. The survey reveals that the average of the experts' forecasts calls for a 9% increase in home values in 2022.

Based on those projections, a $400,000 house you buy today could be valued at $436,000 by this time next year. If you break that down, that means the equity in your home would increase by $3,000 a month over that period. That's greater than the estimated monthly payment above. Granted, the increase in your net worth is tied to the home, but it is one way to put the home price appreciation to use in a way that benefits you.

Bottom Line

Paying a higher price for a home and a higher mortgage rate can be a difficult pill to swallow. However, waiting will just cost you more. If you're ready, willing, and able to buy a home, now will be a better time than a year, or even six months from now. Let's connect to begin the process today.

March
18

Did Your Dream Home Just Come on the Market?

Did Your Dream Home Just Come on the Market? | MyKCM

For the first time in a long time, the number of newly listed homes is beginning to rise. In their latest monthly releaserealtor.com reveals the number of existing homes entering the market has increased for two months in a row (this comes after six months of declines). Here's a graph showing the monthly new listings going back to January of last year. The green bars indicate the first gains since June.

Did Your Dream Home Just Come on the Market? | MyKCM

However, buying demand is still outpacing housing supply.

Though the increase in homes coming to the market is great news for prospective homebuyers, the number of buyers is still outpacing the number of homes available for sale. As realtor.com explains in their latest report:

"During the final two weeks of the month, more new sellers entered the market than during the same time last year. . . . However, with 5.8 million new homes missing from the market and millions of millennials at first-time buying ages, housing supply faces a long road to catching up with demand."

In fact, according to the latest ShowingTime Showing Indexwhich tracks the average number of appointments received on active listings during the month, buyer demand was greater this January than any other January in the last five years (see graph below):

Did Your Dream Home Just Come on the Market? | MyKCM

This prompted ShowingTime to say:

"The latest data from ShowingTime . . . shows a surge in home buyer demand in January. . . . This enormous activity occurred in a month when buyer activity typically slows and followed a historic 2021, where buyer demand across the country was extraordinarily strong."

What does that mean for you?

Basically, as homes come to the market, they are quickly being purchased by eagerly awaiting buyers. So even though the number of newly listed homes is increasing, the number of active listings is still shrinking every month because buyers are purchasing homes almost as soon as they come up for sale. That means listings are coming on and off the market so fast that they don't carry over to be counted in the active listing numbers the following month. Here's a graph showing the number of active listings each month since last January using data released by realtor.com:

Did Your Dream Home Just Come on the Market? | MyKCM

This graph shows that the number of active listings has decreased for each of the last five months even though the number of newly listed homes has increased over the last two months.

Bottom Line

Whether you're looking to upgrade to a home that will better suit your lifestyle or looking to purchase your first house, let's connect so you can stay updated on what's happening in your area. And be prepared to move immediately if a home fitting your needs hits the market. Your dream home may be one of those new listings that just became available, but if you don't act quickly, it could be gone tomorrow.

March
16

Are You Wondering if This Is the Year To Buy a Home?

Are You Wondering if This Is the Year To Buy a Home? | MyKCM

Every year, many renters ask themselves the same question: Should I continue renting, or is it time to buy a home? If you're a renter, chances are you've asked yourself that question at least once, and it's likely because you've faced an increase in your monthly housing costs over time. After all, according to Census data, rents have risen consistently for decades.

To make an informed and powerful decision, the first step is understanding what's happening in today's housing market so you can determine which option is the better long-term financial decision for you.

Rents Are Going Up Again This Year

Rents are skyrocketing right now. Data from realtor.com shows just how much rental prices are surging throughout the country. The graph below highlights rental unit price increases over the past year:

Are You Wondering if This Is the Year To Buy a Home? | MyKCM

If you're a renter and plan on signing a new lease, your monthly costs are likely to go up when you do. Those rising costs can have a big impact on your financial goals, including any plans you're making to save for a home purchase.

Homeownership Offers Stable Monthly Costs

Of course, one of the key benefits of owning your home is that you're able to lock in and stabilize your payments for the duration of your loan. That's not the case when you rent.

While rents are already on the rise, there's a good chance many people will see their rental costs increase even more this year. As Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, says:

"With rents already at a high and expected to keep going up, rental affordability will increasingly challenge many Americans in 2022. For those thinking about making the transition from renting to buying their first home, rising rents will remain a motivating factor. . . ."

So, if you're ready to become a homeowner, waiting any longer may not make financial sense. Instead, escape the cycle of rising rents and enjoy the many benefits that come with homeownership today.

Bottom Line

Starting your journey towards homeownership can pay off significantly this year. If you're financially ready today, let's connect so we can discuss your options.

March
15

Don't Get Caught Off Guard by Closing Costs

Don't Get Caught Off Guard by Closing Costs | MyKCM

As a homebuyer, it's important to plan and budget for the expenses you'll encounter when you purchase a home. While most people understand the need to save for a down payment, a recent survey found 41% of homebuyers were surprised by their closing costs. Here's some information to help you get started so you're not caught off guard when it's time to close on your home.

What Are Closing Costs?

One possible reason some people are surprised by closing costs may be because they don't know what they are or what they cover. According to U.S. News and World Report:

"Closing costs encompass a variety of expenses above your property's purchase price. They include things like lender fees, title insurance, government processing fees, upfront tax payments and homeowners insurance."

In other words, your closing costs are a collection of fees and payments made to a variety of individuals and organizations who are involved with your transaction. According to Freddie Mac, while they can vary by location and situation, closing costs typically include:

  • Government recording costs
  • Appraisal fees
  • Credit report fees
  • Lender origination fees
  • Title services
  • Tax service fees
  • Survey fees
  • Attorney fees
  • Underwriting Fees

How Much Will You Need To Budget for Closing Costs?

Understanding what closing costs include is important, but knowing what you'll need to budget to cover them is critical to achieving your homebuying goals. According to the Freddie Mac article mentioned above, the costs to close are typically between 2% and 5% of the total purchase price of your home. With that in mind, here's how you can get an idea of what you'll need to cover your closing costs.

Let's say you find a home you want to purchase for the median price of $350,300. Based on the 2-5% Freddie Mac estimate, your closing fees could be between roughly $7,000 and $17,500.

Keep in mind, if you're in the market for a home above or below this price range, your closing costs will be higher or lower.

What's the Best Way To Make Sure You're Prepared At Closing Time?

Freddie Mac provides great advice for homebuyers, saying:

"As you start your homebuying journey, take the time to get a sense of all costs involved – from your down payment to closing costs."

The best way to understand what you'll need at the closing table is to work with a team of trusted real estate professionals. An agent can help connect you with a lender, and together they can provide you with answers to the questions you might have.

Bottom Line

In today's real estate market, it's more important than ever to make sure your budget includes any fees and payments due at closing. Let's connect so you have the knowledge you need to be confident going into the homebuying process.

March
13

Which Season Is The Best For Selling?

It's a well-known fact that the real estate market cools off in the fall and winter and picks up in the spring, but what is really the best season to sell your property? The answer ultimately depends on your situation and location. The reality is each season comes with its own unique advantages and challenges. To help you determine the best season for selling, we'll break down the top advantage and challenge of each season below:

Selling In The Spring

Many people believe spring is the best time to sell your home, but that really depends on where you live. While spring is often the most popular time to shop, some southern states experience intense weather in late spring. Competition is also at its peak. Here are some of the benefits

  • Advantages: Warmer weather in most areas and tax refund checks mean more buyers are hitting the market.
  • Disadvantages: More buyers also means more sellers, so the competition begins to really pick up. Kids are also still in school, so moving is more difficult.

Selling In The Summer

Statistics show that late June has the highest number of closings, indicating summer is an ideal time to sell. It's also the most popular time to move, especially because school is out. However, extreme heat in some areas of the country coupled with vacation times can drag out the closing process.

  • Advantages: Longer days and warm weather means more buyers are hunting. Many buyers are also motivated to find a home before school starts.
  • Disadvantages: Weather, vacations, and busy schedules may delay closings. Plus, competition is likely still very high.

Selling In The Fall

Once school starts, there is a noticeable decline in real estate activity, but that doesn't mean fall is a bad time to sell. There are still many buyers on the market that couldn't secure a home in the spring or summer. Selling in late September / or early October has both pros and cons:

  • Advantages: Fewer listings mean less competition, and many buyers are extra motivated to close before winter. It's also easier to find home repair professionals.
  • Disadvantages: Cooler weather might keep buyers away. Those who are shopping may be more demanding due to less competition. Curb appeal also generally declines in the fall as landscaping begins to deteriorate. 

Selling In The Winter

December is often considered to be the slowest month for real estate closings. Cold weather means fewer shoppers in most of the country, but competition is probably at its lowest point of the year. If you live in Florida, Arizona, or Southern California, winter is likely a great time to sell.

  • Advantages: There is less competition, and buyers are likely highly motivated. 
  • Disadvantage: There are fewer shoppers, especially around the holidays. Depending on location, it can be a difficult time to make renovations. Many buyers are looking for a deal.

It's certainly possible to sell your home any time of the year, and so often the right season depends on your property, location, and situation. Your real estate agent is a great resource to help you assess the market and determine the best time to list your home. When you are ready to list your home, let's connect!

March
7

Why It's Critical To Price Your House Right

Why It's Critical To Price Your House Right | MyKCM

When you make a move, you want to sell your house for the highest price possible. That might be why many homeowners are eager to list in today's sellers' market. After all, with record-low inventory and high buyer demand, many homes are selling for more than asking price. Data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows 46% of homes are selling above list price today.

But even in a market like we have now, working with an agent to set the right asking price is critical, as pricing it too high or too low could have a negative impact on your final sale. Here's why.

Pricing Your House Right Is Crucial Even in a Sellers' Market

The price you set for your house sends a message to potential buyers. Price it too low and you might raise questions about your home's condition or lead buyers to assume something is wrong with the property. Not to mention, you could leave money on the table, which decreases your future buying power if you undervalue your house.

On the other hand, price it too high and you run the risk of deterring buyers. When that happens, you may have to do a price drop to try to re-ignite interest in your house when it sits on the market for a while. But be aware that a price drop can be seen as a red flag for some buyers who will wonder why the price was reduced and what that means about the home.

In other words, think of pricing your home as a target. Your goal is to aim directly for the center – not too high, not too low, but right at market value. Pricing your house fairly based on market conditions increases the chance you'll have more buyers who are interested in purchasing it. That makes it more likely you'll see a bidding war, too. And when a bidding war happens, you'll likely get an even higher final sale price. Plus, when homes are priced right, they tend to sell quickly.

To get a look into the potential downsides of over or underpricing your house and the perks that come with pricing it at market value, see the chart below:

Why It's Critical To Price Your House Right | MyKCM

Lean on a Professional's Expertise To Price Your House Right

There are several factors that go into pricing your house and balancing them is the key. That's why it's important to lean on an expert real estate advisor when you're ready to move. A local real estate advisor is knowledgeable about:

  • The value of homes in your neighborhood
  • The current demand for houses in today's market
  • The condition of your house and how it affects the value

A real estate professional will balance these factors to make sure the price of your house makes the best first impression and gives you the greatest return on your investment in the end.

Bottom Line

Even in a sellers' market, pricing your house right is critical. Don't rely on guesswork. Let's connect to make sure your house is perfectly priced.

March
1

The Difference Between Renting and Owning [INFOGRAPHIC]

The Difference Between Renting and Owning [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • If you're deciding whether to rent or buy, consider the many financial benefits that come with owning a home.
  • As a renter, you build your landlord's wealth and face rising costs. As a homeowner, you build your own net worth and can lock in your monthly payments for the length of your loan.
  • If you're weighing your options, remember that owning a home is a decision that has considerable financial perks. If you want to learn more, let's connect to talk about the perks of homeownership.
February
16

The Biggest Myths Of Selling A Home

Selling a home is a relatively rare life event for most people, so it's normal not to know what to expect. When seeking advice from neighbors, friends, or family, it might seem like everyone thinks they're an expert on real estate transactions. It's also common to hear myths and tall tales about the market or the selling process. 

As a first-time seller, don't believe everything you hear. Getting caught up in real estate myths can lead to bad decisions that ultimately cost you money in the long run. If you're planning on selling your home soon, be cognizant of these five myths of selling a home:

  • Renovations And Staging Aren't Important
    One of the biggest myths we hear in a hot seller's market is that staging and renovations aren't necessary because buyers are so eager to make an offer. This is simply untrue. Even though the market is incredibly competitive, a home in bad shape is still going to be unattractive to buyers.  Making renovations and staging your home is still your best bet for generating the best return. Just because the market isn't hot doesn't mean sellers should be lazy or skip the important parts.

  • You Can Save Money By Selling Your Home Yourself
    While it's certainly possible to sell a home on your own, you'll likely need to have experience, skills, and a lot of time on your hands in order to pull it off. While it may save you from paying an agent commission, there is also a good chance you'll leave money on the table.

    Real estate agents perform a number of tasks that provide tremendous value by helping you achieve a higher sale price. Staging, marketing, and negotiating are all important pieces. Without an expert in your corner, you might not get the best return.

  • Setting A High Price Leaves Room For Negotiation
    Many sellers think setting the bar high will leave more room for negotiation, but the truth is, many buyers won't even consider a home priced well above its value. By setting a high asking price, you're ultimately putting yourself in a position where you'll likely have to reduce the price after a few weeks, which may lead to buyer suspicions about potential problems.

  • Open Houses Don't Sell Homes
    Open houses have been a home selling tactic for decades, and they didn't disappear during the pandemic. While many people assume real estate agents hold open houses to drum up new business, they can actually be a very effective sales tactic. Open houses are likely to generate quick exposure to the market and can attract a higher number of interested buyers in a short period of time.

  • The Market Will Continue To Rise
    With the exception of two recent economic downturns, home values have consistently been on the rise for many years.  However, these recent recessions have proven that real estate is not a risk-free investment. The myth that home values will continue to rise year after year may influence a seller's decision to list their home. However, the truth is home values can and do fall, and they will fall again.

Selling a home isn't always easy, so arming yourself with the most accurate information is the best way to make decisions that lead to a good return. Of course, experienced real estate agents are often the best source of reliable information about the market. Let's connect when you are ready to learn more about today's market!

February
15

Rent-Back Agreements Explained

Buying and selling a home at the same time can be an intimidating experience. Lining up a buyer and a new home within a short timeframe requires tons of planning and a bit of luck. However, selling your home before closing on a new one doesn't mean you have to be left without a place to live. Sellers usually have a few different options to explore, including a rent-back agreement.

A rent-back agreement is a good way to buy yourself some extra time after a home sale. However, like most real estate negotiations, they come with benefits and risks. Below we'll explain everything you need to know about how these agreements work and why you might consider one:

What Is A Rent-Back Agreement?

A rent-back agreement is an arrangement that allows the seller to continue to live at a property as a tenant after the closing date. During this period, the buyer assumes the responsibility of a landlord. The purpose of a rent-back agreement is to give the seller extra time to find a place to live following the home sale.

The details of a rent-back agreement can be negotiated during the closing process. You'll need to work with the buyer to determine monthly payment, security deposit, agreement length, and utility responsibilities. The buyer's home insurance should cover the rent-back period. It's important to always consult with your real estate agent, lender, and attorney when negotiating the terms.

Rent-Back Agreements Can Have Many Benefits

Depending on the terms and situation, sellers can benefit from a rent-back agreement in a number of ways. For one, it can give you the flexibility to accept a strong offer before having a new home lined up. It can also give you more time to find your dream home as opposed to simply settling for a property out of necessity. 

Rent-back agreements can also be helpful if you have kids in school and would like them to finish out the school year before moving or changing districts. 

Rent-back agreements have obvious benefits for buyers too — as they can provide supplemental income that can help offset a small bit of the cost of the new home.

Disadvantages Of Rent-Back Agreements

Rent-back agreements are generally short, as most lenders only allow a rent-back period of 60 days. While the added time can be a huge benefit, it's not a long-term solution. During the rent-back period, sellers will need to abide by the lease terms set forth by the buyer.

The buyer will also need to assume the responsibility of the landlord. The arrangement may also be less appealing to buyers who are eager to move in quickly after closing.

The major risk of a rent-back agreement comes in the form of determining liability. Determining who has liability for damage or unforeseen circumstances is often part of the negotiation. Usually, the buyer's homeowners policy should cover the rent-back period; however, the seller may want to explore a short-term rental insurance policy to cover personal property.

Rent-back agreements are a common way for sellers to buy more time, but the true benefits will ultimately depend on your unique situation. Not all buyers will offer them, but sellers often have the leverage to ask for them in a hot market.

February
11

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Bay Street Realty Group is excited to announce the hiring of veteran Realtor, Lisa Evans. In this role, she will continue her passion for helping others buy and sell real estate in the Beaufort area. Evans has been a licensed real estate agent in South Carolina since 2004. The Habersham community has always been her place of focus, but the entire Lowcountry is special to her. Prior to working in real estate, she worked as an independent sales representative for various companies in both North and South Carolina. Originally from Columbia, she graduated from Columbia College. She now lives in downtown Beaufort on the intracoastal waterway. In her free time, she loves walking downtown, enjoying great restaurants, shopping, gardening and spending time with family, friends and her pets. Bay Street Realty Group is excited for Lisa Evans to join their sales team in South Carolina, and to continue sharing her love for this region.

February
10

Want Top Dollar for Your House? Now's the Time To List It.

Want Top Dollar for Your House? Now's the Time To List It. | MyKCM

When you're selling any item, you usually want to sell it for the greatest profit possible. That happens when there's a strong demand and a limited supply for that item. In the real estate market, that time is right now. If you're thinking of selling your house this year, here are two reasons why now's the time to list.

1. Demand Is Very Strong This Winter

A recent article in Inman News explains:

"Spring, the hottest time of year for homebuyers and sellers, has started early, according to economists. . . . 'Home shopping season appears to already be in full swing!'"

And they aren't the only ones saying buyers are already out in full force. That claim is backed up with data released last week by ShowingTime. The ShowingTime Showing Index tracks the average number of monthly buyer showings on active residential properties, which is a highly reliable leading indicator of current and future trends for buyer demand. The latest index reveals this December was the most active December in five years (see graph below):

Want Top Dollar for Your House? Now's the Time To List It. | MyKCM

As the data indicates, buyers are very active this winter. Last December saw even more showings than December of 2020, which was already a stronger-than-usual winter. And remember – you want to sell something when there's a strong demand for that item. That time is now.

2. Housing Supply Is Extremely Low

Each month, realtor.com releases data on the number of active residential real estate listings (listings currently for sale). Their most recent report reveals the latest monthly number is the lowest we've seen in any January since 2017 (see graph below):

Want Top Dollar for Your House? Now's the Time To List It. | MyKCM

And don't forget, the best time to sell an item is when there's a limited supply of it available. This graph clearly shows how extremely low housing supply is today.

Even Though Supply Is at a Historic Low, Home Sales Are at a 15-Year High

According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), existing-home sales totaled 6.12 million in 2021 – the highest annual level since 2006. This means the market is hot and homeowners are in a great place to sell now while sales are so strong.

NAR also reports available listings by calculating the current months' supply of inventory. They explain:

"Months' supply refers to the number of months it would take for the current inventory of homes on the market to sell given the current sales pace."

The current 1.8-months' supply is the lowest ever reported. Here are the December numbers over the last five years (see graph below):

Want Top Dollar for Your House? Now's the Time To List It. | MyKCM

The ratio of buyers to sellers favors homeowners right now to a greater degree than at any other time in history. Buyer demand is high, and supply is low. That gives sellers like you an incredible opportunity.

Bottom Line

If you agree the best time to sell anything is when demand is high and supply is low, let's connect to begin discussing the process of listing your house today.

February
4

How Remote Work Impacts Your Home Search [INFOGRAPHIC]

How Remote Work Impacts Your Home Search [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

January
31

Little Things That Can Have A Big Impact On Your Sale

Preparing your home for a listing can be a lot of work — from cleaning to staging, you always want to position your home in a way that impresses potential buyers. However, when it comes to home sales, it's the little things that tend to often have the biggest impact. A lot of minor issues that may not give you a second thought may cause a buyer to hesitate before moving forward.

If you're getting ready to list your home, don't sweat major renovations. Instead, your time may be better spent focusing on the little things that can make a big difference. Here are some examples:

  • Clutter 
    Too many personal items, overflowing closets, and junk lying around can all be off-putting to a buyer. Clutter can ruin a buyer's perception in two ways: it can make your home appear small, stuffy, and cramped, which can give off the impression that the home is too small. When a buyer is surrounded by someone else's clutter can also make it difficult for them to picture themselves living in the home. Decluttering is one of the most important things you can do before listing your home.

  • A Shaky Railing
    You don't want to surprise your buyers with a shaky banister when they grab hold of your railing on their way up
    the stairs. This not only may be a surprise, but it also could be dangerous. Make sure your railing or banister is sturdy and all screws are secure before opening up the home for tours.

  • Bold Paint Colors
    Loud, bright colors may be your style, but it can be a turn-off to many buyers who don't share your same taste in color. If your paint colors consist of bold tones, you may want to consider painting over them with some nice neutral shade. Give your buyers a blank slate to work with.

  • Odd Odors
    Many sellers become nose blind to certain smells and weird odors over time, but buyers will be quick to pick up on the scent of pets, mold, clothes. Even if your home has a bit of a musty smell, you can bet the buyers will notice. Make an effort to eliminate any source of foul odors before listing your home. If you're going to use any candles or scents, be sure they're not too strong.

  • Poor Patching And Touch-Ups
    If patching holes and paint touch-ups are not your specialties, it might be best to leave these to a professional. A poor attempt at filling holes in the wall or touching-up paint can create quite an eyesore. Instead, call a professional painter or carpenter to come in and freshen up the space.

  • Bad Flooring
    Cracked tiles or loose and squeaky floorboards can give buyers the impression that your home is in disrepair. It's also one of the very first things buyers will notice when touring the home. Spend a bit of time fixing-up flooring before listing your home on the market.

  • Dead Light Bulbs
    Don't leave your buyers in the dark. Flipping a non-functioning light switch when touring a home can leave a bad impression. Make sure all bulbs are working and your light switches are functioning, so buyers can truly get a sense of each room.

Major upgrades and renovations may not be necessary before listing your home. Instead, focus on the small, inexpensive repairs that can have a major impact on the outcome of your home sale.

January
27

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Bay Street Realty Group is excited to announce the hiring of Justin Kennedy as Realtor. He recently began his career in real estate, and looks forward to guiding home buyers and sellers through the process, advising clients and staying on top of market trends. Kennedy holds a Bachelor's degree in Pre-Sports Medicine. Originally from Richmond Hill, he has a passion for the region. He most recently worked in management for a local landscaping company and is excited to share with others why the Lowcountry is the most beautiful place to call home. Bay Street Realty Group is excited to add Kennedy to their Georgia sales team.

For more information, visit www.baystreetrealtygroup.com.

January
20

Buyers Want To Know: Why Is Housing Supply Still So Low?

Buyers Want To Know: Why Is Housing Supply Still So Low? | MyKCM

One key question that's top of mind for homebuyers this year is: why is it so hard to find a house to buy? The truth is, we're in the ultimate sellers' market, so real estate is ultra-competitive for buyers right now. The number of buyers searching for a home greatly outweighs how many homes are available for sale.

While low inventory in the housing market isn't new, it's a challenge that continues to grow over time. Here's a look at two reasons why today's housing supply is low and what that means for you.

1. New Home Construction Fell Behind for Several Years

The graph below shows new home construction for single-family homes over the past five decades, including the long-term average for housing units completed. Builders exceeded that average during the housing bubble (shown in red on the graph). The result was an oversupply of homes on the market, so home values declined. That was one of the factors that led to the housing crash back in 2008.

Since then, the level of new home construction has fallen off. For the last 13 straight years, builders haven't been able to construct enough homes to meet the historical average (as illustrated in green on the graph). That underbuilding left us with a multi-year inventory deficit going into the pandemic.

Buyers Want To Know: Why Is Housing Supply Still So Low? | MyKCM

2. The Pandemic's Impact on the Housing Market

Then, when the pandemic hit, it fueled a renewed appreciation and focus on the meaning of home. Having a safe space to live, work, school, and exercise became even more important for Americans throughout the country. So, as mortgage rates dropped to at or below 3%, buyers eagerly entered the market looking to capitalize on those low rates to secure a home that would fulfill their changing needs. At the same time, sellers hesitated to put their houses on the market as concerns about the pandemic mounted.

The result? The number of homes available for sale dropped even further. A recent article from realtor.com explains:

"Last month, the number of home listings dropped 26.8% compared with the same time a year earlier. This meant there were about 177,000 fewer homes listed in what's already typically a slower month due to the holidays and colder weather. . . ."

What Does All of This Mean for You?

For a buyer, low inventory can be a challenge. You want to find the home of your dreams, and you don't want to settle. But what if there just aren't that many homes to choose from?

There is some good news. Experts are projecting more homes will soon become available thanks to sellers re-entering the market. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, shares this hope, but offers perspective:

"We expect that we'll start to see a turnaround and inventory will stabilize and start to go up a little bit in 2022. . . . But that means we're looking at inventory levels of roughly half of what we saw before the pandemic. For buyers, the market is likely to continue to move fast. If you see a home you like, you want to jump on it right away."

Basically, inventory is still low, even though more homes are coming. But you shouldn't put your plans on hold because you're waiting for those additional houses to hit the market.  Instead, stick with your search and persevere through today's low inventory. You can find your next home if you're patient and focused.

Remember your goals and why finding a home is so important. Those things should be the driving force behind your search. Share them with your agent and be clear about your priorities. Your trusted advisor is your greatest support as you navigate today's low housing supply to find the home of your dreams.

Bottom Line 

If you're planning to buy this year, the key to success will be patience given today's low inventory. Let's connect to discuss what's happening in our area, what homes are available, and why it's still worthwhile to prioritize your home search today.

January
14

When Is the Right Time To Sell? [INFOGRAPHIC]

When Is the Right Time To Sell [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • If you're trying to decide when to list your house, the time is now. There are plenty of buyers eagerly waiting for your home to hit the market.
  • The latest data indicates home showings are rising. There are more buyers than homes for sale right now. That means you'll likely receive multiple offers, and your home won't be on the market long.
  • Today's market favors sellers. If you're ready to move, let's meet to discuss the benefits you can expect when you sell this season.
December
13

Tis The Season!

We're so thankful to have a great group of agents and staff working under the Bay Street Realty Group umbrella. We celebrated in style this year at our two office holiday parties, one in Savannah and one in Beaufort. With great food and even better spirits, we're all excited to see what 2022 will bring! 

December
10

Two Reasons Why Waiting To Buy a Home Will Cost You

Two Reasons Why Waiting To Buy a Home Will Cost You | MyKCM

If you're a homeowner who's decided your current house no longer fits your needs, or a renter with a strong desire to become a homeowner, you may be hoping that waiting until next year could mean better market conditions to purchase a home.

To determine whether you should buy now or wait another year, you can ask yourself two simple questions:

  1. Where will home prices be a year from now?
  2. Where will mortgage rates be a year from now?

Let's shed some light on the answers to both of these questions.

Where Will Home Prices Be a Year from Now?

Three major housing industry entities are projecting ongoing home price appreciation in 2022. Here are their forecasts:

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median price of a home today is $353,900. Using an average of the three price projections above (6.5%), a home that sold for $353,900 today would be valued at $376,904 at the end of next year. As a prospective buyer, you would therefore pay an additional $23,004 by waiting.

Where Will Mortgage Rates Be a Year from Now?

Today, Freddie Mac announced their 30-year fixed mortgage rate was at 3.1%. However, most experts believe mortgage rates will rise as the economy recovers. Here are the forecasts for the fourth quarter of 2022 by the three major entities mentioned above:

That averages out to 3.7% if you include all three forecasts. Any increase in mortgage rates will increase your costs.

What Does It Mean for You if Home Values and Mortgage Rates Increase?

If both variables increase, you'll pay a lot more in mortgage payments each month. Let's assume you purchase a $353,900 home today with a 30-year fixed-rate loan at 3.1% (the current rate from Freddie Mac) after making a 10% down payment. According to mortgagecalculator.net, your monthly mortgage payment would be approximately $1,360 (this does not include insurance, taxes, and other fees because those vary by location).

That same home one year from now could cost $376,904, and the mortgage rate could be 3.7% (based on the industry forecasts mentioned above). Your monthly mortgage payment after putting down 10%, would be approximately $1,561.Two Reasons Why Waiting To Buy a Home Will Cost You | MyKCMThe difference in your monthly mortgage payment would be $201. That's $2,412 more per year and $72,360 over the life of the loan.

Add to that the approximately $23,004 a house with a similar value would build in home equity this year due to home price appreciation, and the total net worth increase you could gain by buying this year is over $95,364 (the $72,360 mortgage savings plus the $23,004 potential gain in equity if you buy now).

Bottom Line

When asking if you should buy a home, you may think of the non-financial benefits of homeownership. When asking when to buy, the financial benefits make it clear that doing so now is much more advantageous than waiting until next year. Let's connect!

November
15

BEAUFORT, SC -- Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Bay Street Realty Group is excited to announce the hiring of Realtor Angela Thomas-Jackson. In this role, she will assist her clients in purchasing and selling properties. She will advise them on market conditions, conduct walkthroughs, and guide them through the real estate process. 

Angela is no stranger to real estate, she joins Bay Street Realty Group with more than six years of experience as a Realtor in Tennessee. In addition, she is organized and committed to bettering other businesses each and everyday, as she serves as the owner of ATJ Business Services. Her business is responsible for full charge bookkeeping and providing small business consulting services. Prior to that, Angela worked as the Director of Finance and Operations for Polaris Tech Charter School in Ridgeland, South Carolina. Originally from Nashville, Tennessee, Angela attended Nashville State Community College, where she studied Accounting. She has also served as the Accounting and Operations Manager for the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce and prior to that she was the business owner of Jackson Insurance Group, in Ashland City, Tennessee. 

In her free time, you can find her cheering her children on at their sporting events and school activities. Bay Street Realty Group is honored to have her organizational expertise and business experience, and they're excited to have her share her love for this region with prospective buyers and sellers. 

For more information, visit www.baystreetrealtygroup.com. To contact Angela Thomas - Jackson directly, call 615-969-2272 or email angela@baystreetrealtygroup.com

November
12

BEAUFORT, SC -- Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Bay Street Realty Group is excited to announce the hiring of Gabrielle Horry as Realtor. She is beginning her career in real estate as an assistant to Denise Horry, with a focus on homesales for Forino Homes. She will guide home buyers and sellers through the process, advise clients and stay on top of market trends.

Gabrielle has a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from College of Charleston. Prior to real estate, she served as a role model and 4th grade educator in Charleston, South Carolina.  Her years in education brought out her thoughtfulness, innovative spirit and dedication to her work, which we are thrilled to have her bring to the Bay Street Realty Group team. 

Gabrielle now resides in Ridgeland, South Carolina, where she grew up. Bay Street Realty Group is excited for her to share her love of the area with so many potential buyers and sellers.

For more information, visit www.baystreetrealtygroup.com.

October
27

7 Critical Steps to Safeguard your Business and Help Avoid Potentially Devastating Financial Loss From Occurring to Clients

Heightened Discipline for Wire Fraud - North Carolina Bar Association

About two years ago, a respected industry attorney and cybercrime expert released a video, giving real estate professionals the one "100% surefire way" to protect your computer against cybercrime:

  • Close all programs.
  • Power off and unplug said computer.
  • Carry said computer to your backyard, dig a hole and pitch computer into the hole.
  • Follow by pouring gasoline on the computer and setting it on fire.

"This," the lawyer quipped, "is how you secure your computer 100% from cybercrime."

Of course there is no 100% surefire way to eliminate the risk of cybercrime.

In fact, 2020 was a record year for cybercrime with nearly $4.2 billion in reported losses, up from 2019's $3.5 billion, according to the FBI's 2020 Internet Crime Report.

The pandemic has certainly played into the hands of the cybercriminals with more people working from home and systems going remote. One-third of all cybercrime over the last five years occurred in 2020, including $213 million in real estate-related crime losses.

Why Hackers Love Targeting Real Estate Professionals

Real estate fraud is particularly pervasive for a number of reasons: Cybercriminals love targeting small- to mid-sized companies, such as brokerages. Real estate agents handle large sums of money; work off multiple devices; deal with sensitive financial data; and interact with multiple players during the transaction, including buyers, sellers, agents, escrow agents, lawyers, mortgage brokers and banks — all of which makes them the perfect target.

The nature of our industry's remote work makes agents and transaction coordinators particularly vulnerable.

Moreover, the average real estate customer doesn't experience a real estate transaction frequently and, therefore, can be more susceptible to fraud.

So what can real estate professionals do to protect themselves and their customers? They can help to prevent cybercrime before it occurs and results in devastating consequences. Here's how.

How Real Estate Agents Can Help Prevent Wire Fraud

In 2020, NAR data revealed that 13,638 people fell prey to real estate wire fraud, representing a 17% increase over 2019.

Even more alarming, title insurance professionals reported cybercriminals attempted to trick employees into wiring funds to a fraudulent account in one-third of all real estate and mortgage transactions, according to ALTA's 2021 Wire Fraud and Cyber Crime Survey. Fortunately, the thieves were only successful in a little over 8% of these attempts, thanks to proper training and education.

Typically, a cybercriminal targeting a real estate transaction will assume the identity of the title, real estate agent or closing attorney. Just before the deal closes, they will forge an email, which is then sent to the unwitting buyer with new wire instructions. Before anyone has detected what happened, the cybercriminal diverts the buyer's funds into their bank account.

These emails can look quite convincing and indeed appear identical to those sent from one of the trusted players in the transaction. However, real estate agents can take action to help prevent this type of wire fraud from occurring:

STEP 1 - Send Earnest Money Digitally

Emailing sensitive data like banking accounts and social security numbers can leave clients vulnerable to identity theft and loss of large sums of money. However, there's an easier, more convenient alternative to mailing checks and wire transfers, both of which can result in fraud.

Earnnest provides another option to buyers who opt to pay their deposit directly to the escrow holder via a digital transfer using dotloop's safe, secure Earnnest integration. Unlike the manual means of depositing a paper check or a wire transfer, Earnnest processes the funds using a bank-level encrypted transfer, the same high-level security implemented by banks.

Here are the three key steps to how an Earnnest digital transfer works:

1. SELECT ESCROW HOLDER

The real estate agent selects their escrow holder with Earnnest. If the escrow holder is not in Earnnest's network, the agent can invite them to enroll.

2. REQUEST EARNEST MONEY

When it's time for the buyer to pay their earnest money, the agent sends the client a request for earnest money via dotloop, which auto-completes the buyer information to kick off the process.

3. COMPLETE THE DIGITAL TRANSFER

The buyer receives the request, pays the earnest deposit through Earnnest digitally, and the agent and buyer receive a payment receipt email when it's complete.

Unlike wire transfers, digital transfers through Earnnest allow agents and buyers to request and pay earnest deposits from anywhere while protecting their sensitive information. The system automates receipts, provides payment tracking and verifies funds, ensuring a swift delivery and speedy transaction process.

Earnnest takes several steps to ensure the security of all parties. First, the portal fully verifies the identification of the buyer and verifies funds. Also, Earnnest never stores banking information, so the buyer's sensitive data is never visible to anyone other than the bank and the escrow office where it's sent.

The entire process occurs within a matter of seconds, and it's free to real estate agents, costing the buyer only $15.

STEP 2 - Confirm by Phone

Most agents know this, but it bears repeating: Always advise clients to confirm wire instructions by phone using the contact information shared verbally, not via email. Hackers can spoof signature blocks in emails so convincingly, there have been some cases in which clients have called fictitious numbers to verify the wiring instructions only to unwittingly surrender their sensitive bank data to the hackers on the other line.

The best approach is to give the client the phone number of the escrow or title officer at the beginning of the transaction and verbally communicate any changes to the points of contact before any funds are transferred.

Agents should warn all parties involved in a transaction to remain suspicious and vigilant regarding any information exchanged via email, and clearly post these warnings in listing agreements and other visible means of communication.

STEP 3 - Use Secure Wi-Fi

Always use a secure Wi-Fi connection — not a public, unsecured Wi-Fi connection that hackers can easily breach. While it can be tempting to do business over a cup of coffee at the local coffee shop, Wi-Fi connections in public places are favorite targets of hackers.

STEP 4 - Don't Overshare on Social Media

Cybercriminals are notorious for gleaning key information from agents' social media accounts that they, in turn, use to forge a convincing email or identify their next potential victim.

As Chris DeRosa, NAR's member information and eCommerce product lead, points out, "Realtors® are very public people and social media makes it easy for hackers to learn about you. With the right logos and branding, information on listings and clients, photos and domain names that are very close [to your real one], someone could easily convince the target user that the communication and request is legitimate."

Be conscious of what you post on your social media channels and ask yourself, "Is this information a hacker could use to forge an email in my name?"

STEP 5 - Practice Safe Email Habits

Agents and clients can further protect their emails by enabling two factor authentication and, if using Gmail, clicking on the Details link at the bottom of the page in the inbox to show any recent activity, such as from a foreign country. If your email provider offers alerts of any unusual activity, make sure to set these notifications to "on."

As a general rule, always think before clicking on a link. Agents should particularly pay attention to referral emails, which might look like they're from a colleague or a client in another state.

Avoid sending personal information in emails or texts, such as social security numbers and bank account numbers, and regularly purge unwanted email.

Most importantly, avoid and caution clients to avoid clicking on any embedded links and attachments within emails if not from a verbally confirmed, valid source. Hackers often use an infected link or attachment to install malware that can devastate personal finances or wipe out a business's entire operation.

STEP 6 - Update Computer Security Often

It's important to ensure your computer is protected with the latest security updates. On Macs, updates can be installed using the Mac App Store or by choosing System Preferences and then Software Update from the Apple menu. On Windows 10, updates can be found in Settings. Select Update & Security and then Check for Updates.

You'll also want to install and frequently update virus protection as well as make sure your system firewall is enabled.

STEP 7 - Practice Good Password Hygiene

Keeping up with passwords can be a royal pain with the number of apps and devices the average user interacts with daily. However, it's critical that real estate professionals make sure they're not using passwords that can be easily hacked. Avoid using obvious password phrases and the same password for all your systems. Some experts recommend using long phrases of 20 characters or more. Also, consider using an encrypted password vault that stores and encrypts your passwords.

If You Suspect Fraud, Take the Following Steps:

  • Notify the FBI at https://www.ic3.gov/. There's a critical 72 hour window after a breach, in which victims need to notify the authorities to optimize their chances of recovering diverted funds.
  • Notify all parties involved in the transaction to stop any further spread of fraudulent activity.
  • Change all usernames and passwords.
  • Review your insurance policy and contact your insurance company immediately.

Blog post sourced from dotloop.

October
23

Homebuyer Tips for Finding the One [INFOGRAPHIC]

Homebuyer Tips for Finding the One [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • The best advice carries across multiple areas of life. When it comes to homebuying, a few simple tips can help you stay on track.
  • Because of increased demand, you'll need to be patient and embrace compromises during your search. Then, once you've fallen in love, commit by putting your best offer forward.
  • If you're looking to buy a home this year, let's connect so you have a dedicated partner and teammate to help you find the one.
October
13

What's Causing Today's Competitive Real Estate Market? [INFOGRAPHIC]

What's Causing Today's Competitive Real Estate Market? [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

October
1

Don't Tackle Selling Your Home on Your Own – an Agent Can Help

Don't Tackle Selling Your Home on Your Own - an Agent Can Help | MyKCM

If you're looking to maximize your sale and minimize your effort, you need to work with a real estate professional. In a sellers' market like today's, it can be tempting to list your house on your own – known as For Sale By Owner (FSBO). But the truth is, a real estate professional can save you time and money by managing every step of the process, from pricing your home to reviewing documents and handling negotiations.

Before you decide to sell your house on your own, here are five reasons why working with an agent is your best bet to maximize the sale of your home.

1. First impressions are everything – and an agent knows how to make a great one.

Prepping a house for sale requires a significant amount of time and effort, even though it may seem simple at first glance. Doing it right so it stands out takes expertise and an understanding of what buyers are looking for. An agent considers things like:

  • Should you take down any personal art or pictures?
  • How much landscaping should you invest in to boost your house's curb appeal?
  • What wall colors are most appealing to buyers?

An expert real estate advisor relies on their experience to answer these questions and more so you don't invest in the wrong things. Your time and money are important – you shouldn't waste either.

2. Agents have tools to maximize the number of views your home gets.

Put plainly, the more buyers that view your house, the better your return will be. In our current market, homes are receiving 3.8 offers on average per sale, according to recent data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). While that's promising for the sale of your home, it's important to understand your agent's role in bringing buyers in.

Agents have multiple tools at their disposal – from social media to agency resources – to ensure your home is viewed by more prospective buyers. Leveraging the tools available to your agent and your agent's expertise may help boost your sale price as well.

3. An agent won't miss anything in the fine print.

Your agent can also save you time by taking any guesswork out of navigating the required documentation. Today, more disclosures and regulations are mandatory, meaning the number of legal documents you need to juggle is growing.

Because there's so much to take care of, it can be hard to truly understand all of the requirements and the fine print. That's where an expert advisor can truly shine. They've been through the process before and can be your guide to avoid any costly missteps.

4. Expert advisors know the market and how to price your home.

Another way your agent maximizes the sale of your home is by making sure it's priced right. Real estate professionals have the experience to compare your house to recently sold homes in your area. They also understand the market at large and can factor in any upgrades you've completed to your home. Combining these factors is the key to making sure your home is priced to move quickly – and at a competitive price.

When you FSBO, you're operating without this expertise. Even with your own research, you may not find the most up-to-date information and could risk setting a price that's inaccurate or unrealistic. If you price your house too high, you could turn buyers away before they're even in the front door. This could also cause problems when it's time for the appraisal.

5. Your agent will be an expert negotiator.

In addition to their experience navigating sales, real estate professionals understand how to negotiate every aspect of a deal. They also know all the parties that will be involved with the sale, including:

  • The buyer, who wants the best deal possible.
  • The buyer's agent, who will use their expertise to advocate for the buyer.
  • The inspection company, which works for the buyer and will almost always find concerns with the house.
  • The appraiser, who assesses the property's value to protect the lender.

An agent relies on their experience and training to make the right moves during the negotiation. They'll know what levers to pull, how to address each individual's concerns, and when you may want to get a second opinion. Selling your house as a FSBO means you'll need to be prepared to have these conversations on your own.

Bottom Line

Selling a house takes time, effort, and expertise – don't go at it alone. Let's connect to make sure you have an expert on your side to make the most of your sale

September
24

It's Still a Sellers' Market [INFOGRAPHIC]

It's Still a Sellers' Market [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

August
25

Should You Ever Buy a House Sight Unseen?

A buyer who is interested in a property typically visits it in person to inspect its layout, features and condition. It's also possible to buy a house without seeing it in person. A buyer can make a decision based on photos and videos, and possibly also the observations and opinions of a real estate agent or another person who visits the property on the buyer's behalf.

When Might It Make Sense to Buy a Property Without Seeing It in Person?

If you're planning to move a long distance, it may not be possible for you to travel to another state to see a house yourself. In that case, you may decide to purchase a home sight unseen, especially if you need to move soon.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way people buy and sell homes. Strong demand has caused properties to be snapped up quickly. In addition, concerns about the spread of the coronavirus have made buyers more willing to purchase a property without first seeing it in person.

With properties currently receiving multiple offers in a matter of hours, interested buyers have to act quickly. If you find a property that appeals to you, you may decide to place an offer without seeing the house in person so you can avoid a bidding war. 

How Can You Protect Yourself When Buying a Property Sight Unseen?

Pictures and videos can provide valuable information about a home, but they can't tell the whole story. The listing photos and videos may not cover the entire house. Defects may not be apparent in the images that are provided. Other negative features, such as an unpleasant odor, will only be detectable during an in-person visit.

Even if you can't go to a house yourself before you place an offer, another individual can act on your behalf to help you make an informed decision. Your real estate agent or a family member or friend who lives in the area can visit a property that you're interested in buying and give you information on any issues of concern. If you have questions, let's connect!

Before buying any house, you should have it inspected so you know if it has major problems, such as a cracked foundation or a leaky roof. A home inspection is even more critical when buying a property sight unseen. 

Include an inspection contingency in your offer. That will allow you to have the house inspected and will give you the right to request repairs or a price reduction, or to back out of the deal if the home inspector finds serious problems. 

August
20

Options for First-Time Homebuyers [INFOGRAPHIC]

Options for First-Time Homebuyers [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

August
18

BEAUFORT, SC -- Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Bay Street Realty Group is thrilled to announce the hiring of Hays McDaniel as Associate Broker for their South Carolina offices. In this role, he will connect home buyers and sellers, maintain property data, and review and evaluate real estate transactions for quality control and accuracy.

Hays recently graduated from The University of South Carolina, with a Bachelors of Science degree in Business Administration and is a Beaufort native. Real Estate is in his blood, as his father, Todd McDaniel, has been a top ranked Realtor in the region since 1993. Hays learned a lot about the industry, his work ethic and his dedication to clients from his dad.

Bay Street Realty Group is excited about Hays joining their team and looks forward to all of his success in the years to come. 

For more information, visit www.baystreetrealtygroup.com.

August
18

Real Estate: It's Still a Lack of Supply, Not a Lack of Demand

Real Estate: It's Still a Lack of Supply, Not a Lack of Demand | MyKCM

One of the major questions real estate experts are asking today is whether prospective homebuyers still believe purchasing a home makes sense. Some claim rapidly rising home prices are impacting demand and, by extension, leading to the recent slowdown in sales activity.

However, demand isn't the real issue. Instead, it's the lack of supply (homes available for sale). An article from the Wall Street Journal shows this is true for new home construction:

"Home builders have sold more homes than they can build. Now they are limiting their sales in an effort to catch up."

The article quotes David Auld, CEO of D.R. Horton Inc. (the largest homebuilder by volume in the United States since 2002), explaining how they don't have enough homes for the number of buyers coming into their models:

"Through our history, to have somebody walk into our models and to tell them, 'We don't have a house for you to buy today', is something that is foreign to us."

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for realtor.com, also explains that, in the existing home sale market, the slowdown in sales was a supply challenge, not a lack of demand. Responding to a recent uptick in listings coming to market, she notes:

". . . if these changing inventory dynamics continue, we could see a wave of real estate activity heading into the latter part of the year."

Again, the buyers are there. We just need houses to sell to them.

If the slowdown in sales was the result of demand waning, we would start to see home prices beginning to moderate – but this isn't the case. As Mark Fleming, Chief Economist for First American, explains:

"There's a lot of conversation around rising prices and falling quantity in the housing market, and there's this concept, or this idea, that it's a demand-side problem . . . . But, if demand were falling dramatically, we would actually see less price pressure, less home price growth."

Instead, we're seeing price appreciation accelerate throughout this year, as evidenced by the year-over-year percentage increases reported by CoreLogic:

  • January: 10%
  • February: 10.4%
  • March: 11.3%
  • April: 13%
  • May: 15.4%
  • June: 17.2%

(July numbers are not yet available)

There's a shortage of listings, not buyers, and there are three very good reasons for purchasers to still be interested in buying a home this year.

1. Affordability isn't the challenge some are claiming it to be.

Though home prices have risen dramatically over the last 18 months, mortgage rates remain near historic lows. Because of these near-record rates, monthly mortgage payments are affordable for most buyers.

While homes are less affordable than they were last year, when we adjust for inflation, we can see they're also more affordable than they were in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and much of the 2000s.

2. Owning is a better long-term decision than renting.

A recent study shows renting a home takes up a higher percentage of a household's income than owning one. According to the analysis, here's the percentage of income homebuyers and renters should expect to pay now versus at the end of the year.

Real Estate: It's Still a Lack of Supply, Not a Lack of Demand | MyKCM

While the principal and interest of a monthly mortgage payment remain the same over the lifetime of the loan, rents increase almost every year.

3. Owners build their wealth. Renters build their landlord's wealth.

Whether you're a homeowner or an investor, real estate builds wealth through growing equity year-over-year. If you own, your household is gaining the benefit of that wealth accumulation. Fleming says:

"The major financial advantage of homeownership is the accumulation of equity in the form of house price appreciation . . . . We have to take into account the fact that the shelter that you're owning is an equity-generating or wealth-generating asset."

Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, elaborates in a recent article:

". . . once the home is purchased, appreciation helps build equity in the home, and becomes a benefit rather than a cost. When accounting for the appreciation benefit in our rent versus own analysis, it was cheaper to own in every one of the top 50 markets, including the two most expensive rental markets, San Francisco and San Jose, Calif."

Today, that equity buildup is substantial. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports:

"The median sales price of single-family existing homes rose in 99% of measured metro areas in the second quarter of 2021 compared to one year ago, with double-digit price gains in 94% of markets."

In 94% of markets, there was a greater than 10% increase in median price. That means if you bought a $400,000 home in one of those markets, your net worth increased by at least $40,000. If you rented, the landlord was the recipient of the wealth increase.

Bottom Line

For many reasons, housing demand is still extremely strong. What we need is more supply (house listings) to meet that demand.

August
13

Sellers Are in a Sweet Spot [INFOGRAPHIC]

Sellers Are in a Sweet Spot [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • In today's sellers' market, you're set up to win big when you list your house.
  • That's because homes are selling fast, receiving 4.4 offers on average and often selling above the asking price. Then, when you buy your next home, you'll also win by addressing your changing needs and taking advantage of near historic-low mortgage rates.
  • If you're ready to make a move, let's connect so you can capitalize on today's market and find your next dream home.
August
2

SAVANNAH, GA -- Miles Robertson recently joined the Berkshire Hathaway Homeservices Bay Street Realty Group Cora Bett Thomas Realty Commercial Division. In this role as a commercial agent, he will work as an intermediary between owners and tenants on rental properties. He will also oversee property transactions between buyers and sellers, and assist clients with business development and investment opportunities. 

A Savannah native, Robertson has detailed knowledge of the region. Not only by land, but by water as well, he has been a Charter Boat Captain and fishing guide for years. Prior to that, he served as a Pricing Analyst for Great Dane here in Savannah. He's a graduate of Savannah's Armstrong State University with a major in Economics and a minor in Accounting. 

Bay Street Realty Group is thrilled to have him on the Commercial team and looks forward to all of his continued successes around Savannah.

For more information, visit www.baystreetrealtygroup.com.

July
26

3 Hot Topics in the Housing Market Right Now

3 Hot Topics in the Housing Market Right Now | MyKCM

If you're a prospective buyer or seller, it's important to understand the current real estate market conditions and how they affect you. The Counselors of Real Estate (CRE) just released its Top Ten Issues Affecting Real Estate report. Here are three hot topics from the list and how they impact today's housing market.

Technology Acceleration and Innovation

The past year ushered in many changes to the real estate industry, especially when it comes to technology. The CRE report elaborates on this:

"Lockdown-driven changes in our work, in the economy, in social structures, and in our personal behavior have pushed our reluctance aside. The acceleration and adoption of technology during the pandemic has impacted everything, and real estate is no exception."

For real estate, innovations like digital documentation, virtual tours, and video chat enable agents to connect with clients no matter their location. These options are ideal for prospective buyers and sellers who aren't local to the area or those that need the added flexibility signing documents online or doing virtual tours provide. That's why many trusted real estate advisors will continue to use these technologies moving forward to best serve their clients.

Remote Work and Mobility

Working from home became the reality for many individuals during the pandemic, and the latest list from the CRE identified remote work and mobility as an important influence on the real estate market. As the report notes:

"the pandemic universally caused a movement away from urban cores, particularly for those with higher incomes who could afford to move and for lower-income individuals seeking lower costs of living. Most of these relocations remained within their original region—84%—and, while some are returning, it is unknown as to the permanence of these movements or whether they represent a true urban exodus."

With the added mobility remote work offers, where people are moving and where they can ultimately purchase a home is less dependent on a physical office location. This newfound flexibility is giving remote workers the opportunity to move to more affordable areas and buy more home for their money.

Housing Supply and Affordability

Finally, the limited supply of houses for sale and the related affordability challenges also makes CRE's list of key factors this year:

"According to the National Association of Realtors®, the state of America's housing inventory is dire, with a chronic shortage of affordable and available homes needed to support the nation's population."

There is good news. Homes are still more affordable than they have been historically thanks to today's low mortgage rates. And while housing supply is still low, we're seeing steady increases in the number of homes coming to market, which gives hope to homebuyers. As the supply of homes for sale improves, buyers will have more options.

Bottom Line

New technology, remote work, housing supply, and home affordability are key factors in the housing market right now for both buyers and sellers. If you want to better understand how these topics can impact you, let's connect today.

July
12

4 Major Incentives To Sell This Summer

4 Major Incentives To Sell This Summer | MyKCM

While the housing market forecast for the second half of the year remains positive, there may not be a better time to sell than right now. Here are four things to consider if you're trying to decide if now's the right time to make a move.

1. Your House Will Likely Sell Quickly

According to the most recent Realtors Confidence Index released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), homes continue to sell quickly. The report notes homes are selling in an average of just 17 days.

Average days on market is a strong indicator of buyer competition, and homes selling quickly is a great sign for sellers. It's one of several factors that indicate buyers are motivated to do what it takes to purchase the home of their dreams.

2. Buyers Are Willing To Compete for Your House

In addition to selling fast, homes are receiving multiple offers. NAR reports sellers are seeing an average of 5 offers, and these offers are competitive ones. Shawn Telford, Chief Appraiser at CoreLogic, said in a recent interview:

"The frequency of buyers being willing to pay more than the market data supports is increasing."

This confirms buyers are ready and willing to enter bidding wars for your home. Receiving several offers on your house means you can select the one that makes the most sense for your situation and financial well-being.

3. When Supply Is Low, Your House Is in the Spotlight

One of the most significant challenges for motivated buyers is the current inventory of homes for sale, which while improving, remains at near-record lows. As NAR details:

"Total housing inventory at the end of May amounted to 1.23 million units, up 7.0% from April's inventory and down 20.6% from one year ago (1.55 million). Unsold inventory sits at a 2.5-month supply at the present sales pace, marginally up from April's 2.4-month supply but down from 4.6-months in May 2020."

There are signs, however, that more homes are coming to market. Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, notes:

"It looks like existing inventory is starting to inch up, which is good news for a housing market parched for more supply."

If you're looking to take advantage of buyer demand and get the most attention for your house, selling now before more listings come to the market might be your best option.

4. If You're Thinking of Moving Up, Now May Be the Time

Over the past 12 months, homeowners have gained a significant amount of wealth through growing equity. In that same period, homeowners have also spent a considerable amount of time in their homes, and many have decided their house doesn't meet their needs.

If you're not happy with your current home, you can leverage that equity to power your move now. Your equity, plus current low mortgage rates, can help you maximize your purchasing power.

But these near-historic low rates won't last forever. Experts forecast interest rates will increase in the coming months. Nadia Evangelou, Senior Economist and Director of Forecasting at NAR, says:

"Nevertheless, as the economic outlook for the United States looks brighter for the rest of the year, mortgage rates are expected to rise in the following months."

As interest rates rise, even modestly, it could influence buyer demand and your purchasing power. If you've been waiting for the best time to sell to fuel your move up, you likely won't find more favorable conditions than those we're seeing today.

Bottom Line

With supply challenges, low mortgage rates, and extremely motivated buyers, sellers are well-positioned to take advantage of current market conditions right now. If you're thinking about selling, let's connect today to discuss why it makes sense to list your home sooner rather than later.

July
6

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Bay Street Realty Group is thrilled to announce the hiring of Brooke Coyne as a real estate agent. As a Realtor®, she will provide guidance and assist sellers and buyers in marketing and purchasing properties.

A caring nature with an empathetic heart and a detail-oriented mindset, Coyne most recently worked as a Nurse Practitioner in Beaufort and Bluffton, South Carolina. She will continue to work on a PRN basis doing home visits within the community, but Coyne has always had an interest in real estate, as both her father and brother are involved in construction. She's always enjoyed seeing the transformation of properties, as people modify a house to make it their home, and feels as though this is the time to dive right in. Coyne says, "Our homes are the place in this world in which we have the most control of our surrounding environment. I am passionate about helping people identify what 'home' means for them, and helping them find and obtain that place within our own community." 

Coyne received her Master of Science in Nursing from Vanderbilt University, and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Francis Marion University. She has also served The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control providing public health in Beaufort, Jasper, Hampton, and Charleston counties. 

For more information, visit www.brookecoyne.com.

July
4

July
3

Save Time and Effort by Selling with an Agent

Save Time and Effort by Selling with an Agent | MyKCM

Selling a house is a time-consuming process – especially if you decide to do it on your own, known as a For Sale By Owner (FSBO). From conducting market research to reviewing legal documents, handling negotiations, and more, it's an involved and highly detailed process that requires a lot of expertise to navigate effectively. That's one of the reasons why the percentage of people selling their own house has declined from 19% to 8% (See graph below):

Save Time and Effort by Selling with an Agent | MyKCMTo help you understand just how much time and effort it takes to sell on your own, here's a look at a few of the things you need to think about before putting that "For Sale" sign up in your yard.

1. Making a Good First Impression

While it may sound simple, there are a lot of proven best practices to consider when prepping a house for sale.

  • Do you need to take down your personal art?
  • What's the right amount of landscaping to boost your curb appeal?
  • What wall colors are most appealing to buyers?

If you do this work on your own, you may invest capital and many hours into the wrong thingsYour time is money – don't waste it. An agent can help steer you in the right direction based on current market conditions to save you time and effort. Since we're in a hot sellers' market, you don't want to delay listing your house by focusing on things that won't change your bottom line. These market conditions may not last, so lean on an agent to capitalize on today's low inventory while you can.

2. Pricing It Right

Real estate professionals have mission-critical information on what sells and how to maximize your profit. They're experienced when it comes to looking at recent comparable homes that have sold in your area and understanding what price is right for your neighborhood. They use that data to price your house appropriately, maximizing your return.

In a FSBO, you're operating without this expertise, so you'll have to do your own homework on how to set a price that's appropriate for your area and the condition of your home. Even with your own research, you may not find the most up-to-date information and could risk setting a price that's inaccurate or unrealistic. If you price your house too high, you could turn buyers away before they're even in the front door, or run into problems when it comes time for the appraisal.

3. Maximizing Your Buyer Pool (and Profit)

Contrary to popular belief, FSBOs may actually net less profit than sellers who use an agent. One of the factors that can drive profit up is effective exposure. Simply put, real estate professionals can get your house in front of more buyers via their social media followers, agency resources, and proven sales strategies. The more buyers that view a home, the more likely a bidding war becomes. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the average house for sale today gets 5 offers. Using an agent to boost your exposure may help boost your sale price too.

4. Navigating Negotiations

When it comes to selling your house as a FSBO, you'll have to handle all of the negotiations. Here are just a few of the people you'll work with:

  • The buyer, who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer's agent, who will use their expertise to advocate for the buyer
  • The inspection company, which works for the buyer and will almost always find concerns with the house
  • The appraiser, who assesses the property's value to protect the lender

As part of their training, agents are taught how to negotiate every aspect of the real estate transaction and how to mediate potential snags that may pop up. When appraisals come in low and in countless other situations, they know what levers to pull, how to address the buyer and seller emotions that come with it, and when to ask for second opinions. Navigating all of this on your own takes time –a lot of it.

5. Juggling Legal Documentation

Speaking of time, consider how much free time you have to review the fine print. Just in terms of documentation, more disclosures and regulations are now mandatory. That means the stack of legal documents you need to handle as the seller is growing. It can be hard to know and truly understand all the terms and requirements. Instead of going at it alone, use an agent as your shield and advisor to help you avoid potential legal missteps.

Bottom Line

Selling your house on your own is a lot of responsibility. It's time consuming and requires an immense amount of effort and expertise. Before you decide to sell your house yourself, let's discuss your options so we can make sure you get the most out of the sale.

June
30

John Southerland.jpeg

SAVANNAH, GA -- John Southerland recently joined the Berkshire Hathaway Homeservices Bay Street Realty Group Cora Bett Thomas Realty Commercial Division. As a commercial agent, he will assist in the leasing, management and selling of properties; and will also advise clients on investment opportunities. 

Well rounded in his real estate knowledge, Southerland has appraised commercial and residential properties for the past 20 years, built and/or renovated over a dozen homes and now he's proud to be buying and selling real estate in Savannah. Southerland obtained his real estate license less than a year ago, and has already sold eight homes. A Savannah native, he says he's excited to serve the Savannah real estate community in a new way but will retain his license and continue to work as a commercial real estate appraiser with DeWitt, Cook & Associates.  

Southerland is a finance graduate of Valdosta State University. Prior to real estate, he worked in hospital finance at Candler Hospital and Northside Hospital. Southerland is married with two teenage children. He's an avid golfer, an animal lover and a family man. 

June
28

Parker Simmons.jpeg

BEAUFORT, SC -- Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Bay Street Realty Group is excited to announce the hiring of Parker Simmons as Real Estate Salesperson. In this new role, she will guide buyers and sellers through the lengthy real estate process, keeping her clients in the know about current market conditions.

A recent graduate of Clemson University, Simmons holds a Bachelors of Science in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology. After college, she served as a Greenhouse Manager at Jasper Feed & Seed in Ridgeland, SC; responsible for upkeep of landscape inventory and customer service. She's excited to use her experience in client relations as she builds her career in real estate. 

Originally from Anderson, South Carolina, Simmons enjoys giving back to the communities that have given so much to her. Bay Street Realty Group is excited to have her join their growing team. 

June
24

June 22, 2021 - Berkshire Hathaway Homeservices Bay Street Realty Group recently added real estate veteran Gretchen Becker as Realtor®. In addition to serving clients throughout all of Beaufort County, she will also be an on-site Sales Consultant at Hearthstone Lakes, selling new homes.

Becker comes to Bay Street Realty Group with years of real estate experience and knowledge. She most recently worked as an agent for the Beaufort Realty Consultants, prior to that she sold real estate in Glenwood Springs, Colorado and Naples, Florida. While in Naples, Becker sold homes onsite for a national builder, and received several new home sales awards. She also has a great understanding of the mortgage industry, as she served as a mortgage loan originator in Beaufort for 6 years.

Well traveled, Becker grew up in Bonn, Germany and California. She holds a Bachelor's of Arts in Liberal Arts from St. Mary's College of California. She's a long-time volunteer at the American Red Cross. Bay Street Realty group is excited to welcome her enthusiasm and in-depth understanding for real estate to their team.

February
1

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Bay Street Realty Group and Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Cora Bett Thomas Realty Add Marjory Mitchell to the Team as Realtor®

Marjory Mitchell.jpg

BEAUFORT, SC – Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Bay Street Realty Group recently welcomed Realtor® Marjory McMillan Mitchell as a new agent. In this role, Mitchell will provide guidance and assist sellers and buyers in the process of marketing and/or purchasing property for the right price under the best terms.

Although new to real estate, Mitchell is no stranger to the Low Country. Having lived on Fripp Island for most of her life, she's an expert and loves every aspect of life on the coast. 

A salesperson at heart, she has over 31 years experience working as a Military Sales Representative with The Jim Terry Group, selling military souvenir items to Army and Air Force Exchanges in the Southeast; as well as selling to the Navy Exchanges worldwide. 

She also enjoys volunteering her services to the Bft area with her 31 yrs with The Beaufort Charities organization. We are lucky to have her join our team of real estate experts.

October
26

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Bay Street Realty Group recently welcomed Realtor Amy Brooks to the team as a new agent. As a Buyer Specialist, Brooks's new role within the company will focus on purchasers' interests and will represent Bay Street Realty Group.

Brooks has 16 years of experience as a Real Estate Broker and most recently held a position as a Broker at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Starck Real Estate in Chicago, IL. She now holds a Georgia Real Estate license and continues to find interest in architecture and home design.

August
12

Savannah, Ga. – Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Cora Bett Thomas Realty recently welcomed new agent Cynthia Fitzpatrick to the team as a Realtor/Associate Broker. Fitzpatrick's role within the company will cover residential real estate and executive leasing. 

She began her work as a Realtor with Prudential in 1997 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She currently holds a license with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in Georgia and North Carolina and is currently working on receiving her license with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in New York. 

 

About Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Bay Street Realty Group and Cora Bett Thomas Realty Realty:


Bay Street Realty Group and Cora Bett Thomas Realty is the largest full-service real estate agency in the Coastal Georgia and South Carolina Lowcountry with combined sales of over $291 million in 2019 and offices located in downtown Beaufort, SC, Harbor Island, Fripp Island, Historic Savannah, and Skidaway Island. Bay Street Realty Group has over 150 years of combined lifestyle-based community home sales and development experience and has more than 100 agents. For more information, visit www.baystreetrealtygroup.com.

February
27

How Trusted Professionals Make Homebuying Easier to Understand | MyKCM

In the spring, many excited buyers get ready to enter the housing market. Others continue dreaming about the homes they'd like to buy. The truth is, many potential buyers continue to dream longer than they need to, simply because they're confused about the homebuying process. Thankfully, working with a trusted real estate advisor can help ease those concerns and make the process to homeownership much easier to understand.

A recent survey conducted by Ipson and Freddie Mac reveals the confidence level of Gen Z and Millennial buyers regarding the homebuying process. The graph below shows the breakdown of the top results, clearly indicating there's a significant portion of younger buyers who are not yet confident with some of the steps in the homebuying process. How Trusted Professionals Make Homebuying Easier to Understand | MyKCM

But the trepidation in buying a home is not always limited to the younger generations. Between the homebuying process and the mortgage process, there are 230 possible steps in the transaction. With trusted Cora Bett Thomas Realty advisor on your side, you certainly don't have to know them all to have a successful experience.

There are many reasons why these steps can change as you move through each one. Depending on your personal circumstances, the term or your mortgage, and the type of loan you use, the path you take may need to vary. That's why guidance and support from the experts is key.

In addition to the process itself, respondents in the survey definitely expressed concerns about understanding the types of loans available. Here are just a few of the basic loans to consider. Be sure to speak with your lender about the specifics of what will work best for you:

  • FHA: Loans guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration for first-time buyers. They generally enable qualified borrowers to enter the housing market with a lower down payment.
  • Conventional: Loans that usually require a larger down payment. Repeat buyers usually use these types of loans since they have an established credit history as well as more money from the sale of their previous home (called equity) for a bigger down payment.
  • VA: Loans available for Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces and their spouses. They are guaranteed by the Department of Veteran Affairs.
  • USDA: Loans for those living in rural and suburban areas. A qualified lender can issue a USDA home loan, and they are guaranteed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Interest rates also popped up as a common area of confusion among Gen Z and Millennial respondents in the survey. With today's rates hovering at near historic lows, it's a fantastic time for buyers to get more house for their money in the current market. Why? When mortgage rates are this low and wages are increasing as they are today, overall affordability increases, enabling home buyers to stretch their mortgage dollars further. It's just another area where a trusted professional can help simplify the process and give guidance along the way.

Bottom Line

There are many possible steps in a real estate transaction, but they don't have to be confusing. To understand your best course of action, let's get together today to ensure you have a trusted advisor who will help you feel confident and informed at every turn.

July
16

The Cora Bett Thomas Realty & associates team announces Lisa Snipes advancement to sales associate. Previously, Snipes worked for the company in an administrative role, organizing client and agent interactions. In this new role, Snipes will guide buyers through the lengthy process, and provide homeowners a well-planned process when selling their home.

Snipes has been involved in personal corporate relocations, dealt with the buying and selling of more than a dozen of her own homes. With a huge sense of community and love for people, Snipes is excited about this new opportunity. 

Snipes believes that empathy plays a major role in her day-to-day career with Cora Bett Thomas Realty. She enjoys figuring out what buyers are searching for and understands the stressful process, so she works to relieve the majority of stress for buyers or sellers.

July
12

Whether you are selling your home, just purchased your first home or are a homeowner planning to stay put for a while, there is value in knowing which home improvement projects will net you the most Return On Investment (ROI). Here are our top 4 Home Improvements For Max ROI. 

 


 

#1 Minor Bathroom Remodel

It costs about $10,500 to replace the tub, tile surround, floor, toilet, sink, vanity and fixtures. All manageable projects that update the new look of a dated bathroom. You'll get back an average of $10,700 at resale, a recoup rate of 102 percent.

Cost to Complete: $10,500 | Return on Investment: $10,700 or 102%

#2 Upgraded Landscaping

A splash of color at the front of the house is an eye-catching plus. Not sure where to start? Local garden centers often offer free design services, or ask the neighbors what works for them. A charming focal point like a walkway and fountain adds major value to your property.

Cost to Complete: $5,000 | Return on Investment: $5,000 or 100%

#3 Minor Kitchen Remodel

If your kitchen's floor plan is good but requires a new look, refacing cabinets, adding a tile backsplash. changing the countertop, or adding under cabinet lighting is a great place to start. Add professional detail without the cost by changing drapes, fixtures and window molding.

Cost to Complete: $15,000 | Return on Investment: $14,913 or 98.5%

#4 Exterior Improvements

Outdoor spaces add curb appeal and a place to enjoy the aforementioned landscaping improvements. Consider repainting your house or investing in vinyl siding. For an updated look, remove old awnings from windows and doors. A new front door will add a welcoming feel .

Cost to Complete: $7,000 | Return on Investment: $6,700

Source: HGTV

 

July
11

Beaufort Water Festival

Keep the summertime fun going strong after the July 4th holiday by checking out the 64th Annual Beaufort Water Festival. This festival spans 10 days is held in scenic Beaufort, South Carolina. Beaufort's beautiful Waterfront Park is the hub of the festival. Most of the events that make up the festival will be either in the Waterfront Park, or on the river itself. 

The Beaufort Water Festival begins on Friday, July 12th. The opening ceremonies will feature live music by The Parris Island Marine Band and fireworks. The Festival Arts & Crafts Market will also open on this Friday. The Arts and Crafts Market will be open for the duration of the festival. 

Throughout the week, the festival will host a variety of events. Sporting events include a bocce ball tournament and a badminton tournament. In addition to nightly concerts and The Commodore's Ball, the festival will also host a Teen Dance and a Lowcountry Supper. Other entertainment includes a Ski Show and Shrimp Boat Tours. The festival culminates with the Blessing of the Fleet and Parade of Boats on Sunday, July 21st. 

The Beaufort Water Festival celebrates the spirit of community that makes Beaufort one of the best places to live in the Southeast. Whether you're looking just to visit, or considering a stay that lasts a bit longer, the Beaufort Water Festival is a great way to immerse yourself in the heart and soul of this quintessential Lowcountry town. 

July
2

Vast Connections & Exceptional Experience

CBT Commercial

When we think of real estate, often times we direct our thoughts towards homes and residential property, but there's a lot more than meets the eye. Commercial real estate takes the cake when it comes to complexity: from the longer contracts and higher price tags, to the complicated terminology that the ordinary person might not understand.

But… That's where CBT Commercial comes in! Our boutique firm makes the intricate buying, selling, and leasing process easy and profitable for you. Commercial real estate is simply defined as property used solely for business purposes and intended for profit. This could range from retail properties, office buildings, shopping centers, hotels, warehouses, manufacturing facilities, apartment complexes, and even vacant land.

CBT Commercial utilizes its vast local connections and relationships to broker the best deals for buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants. The Commercial side of Cora Bett Thomas Realty has been around since 1995, and covers coastal Georgia and South Carolina.

Graham Sadler, a commercial real estate expert on the team says, "Our local knowledge, strong local connections, high level of service, and thoroughly experienced team make us trusted and loved in the community." Graham is just one of the many dedicated professionals that cares deeply about the relationships created.

Our expert agents have decades of extensive real estate experience in commercial investment, development, brokerage, negotiation, and management.

CBT Commercial

A very well known, standout property the team has dealt with is 25 Chatham Center South. This 5,000 square footage office space is located within The Woodlands at Chatham Center and is one of Savannah's most beautiful office parks. There are a total of eleven buildings, each uniquely designed with abundant parking and easy access. Some of the professional tenants include: WTOC, SouthCoast Health, and U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

The building that houses the famous Soho South Cafe on Liberty Street, and the one that's home to the delicious East End End Provisions on Broughton Street, are both well-known restaurants that CBT Commercial has helped foster transactions.

Big or small, apartment complex or office space, buying, selling, or leasing… No matter the case, the CBT Commercial team has the connections and knowledge you need to make the process rewarding.

Get to Know Our Agents Today!

June
28

 

Buying a Home is a Big Deal

It's a life event, and it's an important decision. If you're looking to buy, you'll want to find the right neighborhood, right mortgage, and perfect home. If you're looking to sell you'll want to find the right price and the right time to put your home on the market. But this important step is often overlooked … Searching for the perfect agent for yourself.

This person should be someone compatible with you (and your family), but also someone who has the experience to make the process enjoyable. Cora Bett Thomas suggests that you interview your agent, asking them these 5 key questions for finding the perfect agent:

What do you do differently than anybody else?

Find out what sets them apart. What type of Brokerage to do they work for? How are they going to go above and beyond for you and the service you need?

What experience do you have?

Have them tell you about the most interesting listing or sale they've ever made. How long have they been in the business in your area? If they are new to the market they may still be learning the area. Have they helped sell your type of property before? Have they helped a buyer in your situation? All real estate transactions are different, so you want to make sure your agent knows how to guide you through the process, or has the resources behind them to support your needs.

How do you communicate?

Communication is a big deal. Some people prefer phone calls, others a text or an email. The frequency of communication is also a deal breaker. You should have your choice of how you like to be communicated with, but no matter the case they should be communicating with you very often and very clearly.

How active are you as an agent?

Are they actively soliciting listings and going out and finding customers? That is the key. This is not a 9-5 job, this is a smart job. Your agent needs to know more than just the transaction at hand. Are they caught up on the national market as well as your local market? Be sure to ask about community involvement. An agent who has relationships around your town will help get you connected.

How are you going to market my property?

There's more to it than just putting the For Sale sign in the yard. Your agent should be explaining what your property offers to a wide audience. They should be using videos, digital marketing, Instagram, Facebook, and all social media platforms to help sell your home.

Ready to Sell or Buy a Home?

You want the home buying and selling process to be just as important to your agent as it is to you. Come see us at Cora Bett Thomas Realty, because we have the right agent for you!

June
26

The Grey Market

Downtown Savannah has been in desperate need of a "little shop to grab a few things." Most of us who were born and raised in the South might equate this with a grocery store or a five and dime. But, there is a more accurate term for what has been missing in the ever-expanding Downtown Historic District: a bodega. A bodega is, at its simplest, part neighborhood diner and part convenience store. The Grey Market is Savannah's bodega.

The Grey Market 

The Grey Market is the second and latest offering from Johno and Chef Mashama, the geniuses behind Savannah's The Grey. Johno and Mashama, recently awarded a James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Southeast, have taken their love of New York bodegas and created The Grey Market. The Grey Market is located on Jefferson Street and is open Monday-Saturday from 8am to 8pm, and on Sundays from 9am to 5pm. Better still, it's open 30 minutes early for coffee and pastries, which is ideal for those of us who work downtown and want a tasty treat. Besides outdoor seating, a few high top tables are scattered indoors, as well as prime spots at the diner counter. 

The Grey Market offers a bevy of baked goods, courtesy of beloved local baker Natasha Gatskill. The bakery case is filled with sweet and savory croissants, the biscuit of the day, and sweet rolls. Some of our favorites include the blueberry and cream cheese croissant and the pimento cheese biscuit. If you're looking for something  a little more substantial to start off your day, try The NYC or The Smoky Pig. The NYC is a classic breakfast sandwich on a kaiser roll. The Smoky Pig offers the same, but with pulled pork and pickle relish. The Miami is also a great breakfast option if you're looking to fuel up for the day without overdoing it. It is chicken, egg whites, and spinach wrapped on roti bread. 

The Grey Market

For lunch and dinner options, try one of Chef Mashama's take on Southern classics, such as the Blue Plate Special and the Fried Catfish Po'Boy and Fish 'n' Grits. Looking for a little snack? Grab a side of potato wedges and a "pup" of beer. The Grey Market Burger is also a must-try. It made our recently updated list of favorite burgers in Savannah. The lunch and dinner menu features daily specials, including a Melt of the Day.  We have had the Mortadella and it was fantastic. The Grey Market also comes to the rescue for at-home dinner plans. With its Daily Chicken Dinner, you get a rotisserie bird (roasted in-house daily), two sides, bread, and a bottle of red or white wine, all for $39. As stated, it will "feeds two people well."

Thirsty? Besides NYC diner classics such as ice cream floats and egg creams, The Grey Market has a selection of wine, cocktails, and beer. Canned wine and beer are available, too. Grab one to go with one of the fresh deli sandwiches available in the to-go case, and you have yourself a ready-made picnic. The Market also sells baguettes and cheese and meats by the pound. 

Shirts, hats, cookbooks, coffee cups, water bottles, are all available for sale. The Grey Market offers sundries and toiletries for the weary traveler or for the local who might have missed a trip to the store before work. The Grey Market is not one-stop shopping, but regardless of what you need, it's a stop that you definitely need to make. 

The Grey Market

109 Jefferson St, Savannah, GA 31401

 

June
18

Cora Bett Thomas Realty President Heather Booth recently received her broker's license.

Booth, who has served as President of Cora Bett Thomas Realty and Associates since 2006, has helped grow the company steadily over the last 13 years. The company now has over 50 agents  specializing in residential and commercial real estate, luxury vacation rentals and leasing management. 

"This is an exciting new chapter for our office," says Cora Bett  Thomas, CEO and Founder of Cora Bett Thomas Realty and  Associates. "I am thrilled to watch Heather continue to be a  trailblazer in real estate for our clients."   With her broker's license, Booth plans to support Cora Bett  Thomas and agents in any areas they request, and this new  license helps her do so in a larger capacity. 

June
14

Tips for Tree Risk Assessment and Limb Failure.

Tree Risk Assessment

While not a perfect science — given the unpredictability of nature — there are many signs to look for that could indicate the potential for tree failure. Some caused by improper pruning practices, and others occur naturally. In this article we will discuss signs and growth patterns that may indicate a trees potential likelihood for failure, along with how you — as the manager of your own little slice of our urban forest — can be educated when hiring a tree service contractor in hopes of mitigating these potential risks.

It's easy and understandable to be concerned about large trees near or over your home with the annual threat of hurricanes. As long as your house is within striking distance of a tree, there is the potential for impact if such a storm does occur; or, if structural problems with the tree go unnoticed or untreated. The goal of this article is to familiarize you with some common defects so you can be informed and are able to address potential issues. Also knowing how to identify some of these problems and understanding mitigation options will help you weed out potential "tree choppers."  These individuals may feed off of your fear of property damage and make unnecessary recommendations that can cost you significant money and oftentimes be damaging to your trees.

Tree Risk Assessment

First off, check to see if your tree is over or within striking distance to any targets. These include structures, high traffic areas, playgrounds, etc. If it isn't, move on to others. If it is, let's take a closer look:

Does the tree have any large, dead limbs? These are most easily spotted in summer when healthy limbs generally have leaves.

Do you notice a lean in the tree? Has the lean noticeably worsened over time? You could see heaving of the ground/roots on the opposing side of the lean. Are the majority of the limbs (weight) on the side of the lean, or does the canopy balance out the lean?

Now let's look at the larger branches, leads (large tree parts that grow from the truck off of which branches are attached), and trunk. Do you see any decay on these? Binoculars may be helpful. Keep an eye out for cavity dwellers: bees, raccoons, etc.. These are an obvious sign of hollow areas. Look at the "forks" of the large limbs. This is the area where the trunk branches out to smaller sized leads and limbs and often times where limbs break in high wind. The optimal fork will have somewhat of a "U" shape on the top side. Spread your fingers wide, and look at the base where they meet your hand. Notice the small webbing like appearance — that is what we are looking for in an optimal tree fork. This is the strongest growth form. If you instead see a harder, more "V" like connection, often times with swollen or discolored bark — this could be included bark.

Included bark will cause a weakened attachment of the leads predisposing them to possible failure. A supplemental support system (Cables and/or braces) may be necessary to prevent failure.

Moving on, let's look at the trunk and base of the trunk, "root flare" (Root flare is the base of the trunk where the trunk meets the roots)- do you see any cracks, cavities, loose or missing bark, conks or water Stains? Do you see flat areas as opposed to the mostly uniform roundness? Do you see any deep recesses or ridges at the lower portion of the trunk near the root flare? These are often times an indicator that the trunk may be hollow. If you don't spot any of these, let's move on to the roots.

Do you see any mushrooms or other such fruiting bodies? These could indicate root rot issues. Has there been a driveway recently installed, or other such disturbances that may have damaged the anchoring system of the tree? Do you see any lifted areas of soil or roots? Is the area a low spot? Oversaturated soil due to poor drainage could cause a tree to uproot easier in high winds and is also a breeding ground for root rot causing pathogens further weakening roots.

Risk Assessing Multiple Trees on Your Property

Now let's take a broader look at all of the trees on your property that could be a risk. Here is a list of potential hazardous trees and the risks they pose.

  1. Trees left after development. Often densely wooded lots are cleared with the exception of just a few trees. These trees are more likely to fail in high winds, given they previously shared wind load with other trees. They are usually tall with very thin trunks, low live-crown ratio, and lack a root flare. Root flare is swelling at the base of the trunk caused by added structural wood as a result of wind loading and is a desirable structural feature.
  2. Water Oaks and Laurel Oaks. These trees have a short life span and often develop decay and included bark with age. Keep in mind that just because the leaves are green and appear healthy, the trunk may still be largely hollow. Further inspection may be necessary by an ISA Certified Arborist if the tree is in a critical location.
  3. Trees that have previously been topped or lions tailed. We will dive further into this later in this article.
  4. Large limbs that extend well past the crown of the tree.
  5. Trees in low lying areas. Soil may provide poor anchoring, upping the potential for uprooting in high winds.
  6. Trees with excessive leans.
  7. Trees with low live-crown ratio - usually Pines. Live-crown is measured from the lowest limb to the top of the tree. Optimally this just be about ⅔ of the total height of the tree. The more limbs are concentrated above the halfway mark of the tree, a lever arm action is created in high winds.
  8. Bradford Pears. These are the perfect candidate for limb failure given all of the limbs generally grow from the same area on the trunk, resulting in weak attachment.

How Improper Pruning Practices May Result in Tree Hazards

Topping

Topping is the indiscriminate cutting of tree limbs to stubs or to lateral limbs that are not large enough to assume the terminal role. Often times people assume that by shortening a tree they are ensuring it is receiving less wind load or is less of a hazard because it now won't reach the target if it falls. While the immediate result of topping is just that, many more problems arise down the road. Depending on the severity of the hack job, the tree may die shortly after. Remember — trees need leaves to supply food to sustain. If the tree does survive this travesty, it will sprout out numerous shoots all from one area at the end of the nubbed off limbs. These shoots grow to large limbs over a few years and are weakly attached and prone to break much more than before. Compounding this issue is the trees reaction to topping. It will allocate all of its energy to putting out new shoots/leaves and very little energy to the sealing process, leaving the end of these limbs open for decay. The newly grown limbs will be even more prone to failure. Avoid topping trees.

Lions Tailing

Lions Tailing is when all of the inner limbs of a tree are removed, leaving only the foliage near the ends of the large limbs - resembling a lion tail. The misunderstanding is that by doing this the wind will more easily flow through the tree reducing its wind resistance; however there is actually the adverse effect. Now that all of the wind resistance is at the tip of the limb, a lever arm is created and forces are amplified. Instead of removing this interior growth, weight/limbs should be shortened. As an example, try holding a 5-pound weight with your arm fully extended. Now rest the 5-pound weight directly on your bicep. The latter is much easier. Furthermore, the tree will react to lions tailing by exponential sprouting where the limbs were just removed in an effort to replace lost leaf area. You will hire someone to do it all over again and again. Avoid lions tailing limbs.

Making Large Pruning Cuts on Mature Trees

Large limbs/leads of trees over your house or valuables can be nerve wracking. The first thought is often to remove the entire tree part (i.e limb or lead) all the way back to the trunk. This may not be the best choice. It's important to know that every cut is a wound. The larger the wound, the longer it takes to seal - if ever. Open wounds from large cuts are the perfect opportunity for decay causing pathogens to enter the tree. Instead of having large limbs removed, consider removing weight/limbs from the tip to lighten the load.

Hiring a Tree Professional

Now that you are informed, this should be much easier. Avoid "point and cut" companies. These are the ones who know little about arboricultural practices but have a chainsaw and are willing to cut wherever you point. Find an ISA Certified Arborist — preferably with a Tree Risk Assessment Qualification. They have the knowledge to guide you on what is best for both you and your trees. Yes the initial cost may be a little more, but the results will save you far more down the road. My hope is that this brief "do it yourself" tree risk assessment is helpful. Importantly, this is a very watered down version as a guide to help you spot defects and hazards and should not be a substitute for a tree professionals thorough inspection and advice.

By Shem Kendrick
ISA Certified Arborist SO-7151A
Tree Risk Assessment Qualified
TCIA Tree Care Specialist

Coastal Arbor Care

912-272-0175
www.Coastalarbor.biz

June
5

Cora Bett Thomas Realty is a Proud Leading RE Member

When you think of Cora Bett Thomas Realty you think of the 100 mile coast and the Low Country, but did you know the agency has a world-wide connection? Cora Bett Thomas Realty & Associates is the Savannah representative for Leading Real Estate Companies of the World ("Leading RE"). As a member of Leading RE, Cora Bett Thomas Realty & Associates provides global accessibility with a local focus.

Leading RE has a global membership that spans six continents and 70 countries. Each year, Leading RE connects more than 565 firms and 130,000 sales associates who produce over 1.2 million real estate transactions. Membership to Leading RE is by invitation only, so the network of real estate professionals all uphold the highest standards and strive for exceptional experiences for all clients.

As a member of Leading RE, Cora Bett Thomas Realty & Associates provides a quality real estate experience, global marketing reach and access to top real estate professionals in virtually any market worldwide. Listing your home with Cora Bett Thomas Realty & Associates connects your for sale sign to firms all around the world, thanks to Leading RE.

Cora Bett Thomas Realty is a charter member of its Luxury Property division, Luxury Portfolio International. Your home will be featured on the very best websites and get exposure from more than 150 websites, because of this connection. Cora Bett Thomas Realty & Associates has set the standard for marketing, professionalism and growth among luxury brokers in the region.

Contact Cora Bett Thomas Realty Today for more information on what our Membership in Leading RE means for you as a buyer or seller.

May
8

Painting a Picture for Savannah's Future

Cora Bett Thomas Realty welcomed a special guest last week. Robert Morris, Senior Director for Corporate Communications at the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA), took some time to explain the impacts and the future of the port of savannah to our agents.

The ports are Georgia's gateway to the world, and with its growth, right here in Savannah, real estate sees a positive impact.

The Georgia Ports Authority brings 42,500 jobs to Chatham, Bryan, Liberty, and Effingham counties. As you may know, our terminal here in Savannah is a record-setter. It's the single largest and the fastest growing U.S. Container Port. That growth isn't stopping anytime soon, as they are working on an estimated $1.019 billion project to deepen the Savannah River by 5 feet. Right now that project is 50 percent complete.

Robert presented these outstanding numbers to Cora Bett's team through his passion for art. Interestingly enough, Robert studied art at the Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C. and Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. His art has been widely exhibited in major American museums, galleries and libraries. His paintings were displayed throughout his presentation.

From May 22 through January 12, the public will have an opportunity to see his artistic side at the Ships of the Sea Museum. 2019 marks the 200th anniversary of the SS Savannah's groundbreaking trans-Atlantic crossing.

The numbers speak for themselves and truly show the impact that GPA have on our community, but it is Robert's artwork that really paints a beautiful picture and captures the aesthetic impact it has on the port of Savannah.

May
6

41st Annual Mayfest This Weekend!

Bluffton Village Festival  

The days are growing longer and the jasmine is blooming. Nature is announcing the arrival of summer in the Lowcountry. In Bluffton, South Carolina, we welcome summer with the Bluffton Village Festival. The Bluffton Village Festival has been going strong for 41 years and is formerly known as Mayfest. But whatever you choose to call it, this local celebration is fun for the whole family, including four-legged family members. 

The Bluffton Village Festival features over 200 food vendors and artists. This year, the festival will be on May 11, 2019 from 10am to 5pm in Old Town Bluffton. The event is organized by the Rotary Club of Bluffton. In addition to free admission to the festival for all, free parking and free shuttle service are also available.  

[caption id="attachment_2218" align="alignnone" width="640"]Bluffton Village Festival Courtesy Bluffton Village Festival[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2220" align="alignnone" width="640"]Bluffton Village Festival Courtesy Bluffton Village Festival[/caption]

The Bluffton Village Festival includes longtime favorite events such as the Pie-Eating Contest and the Ugliest Dog Competition. A recent, but no less popular addition to the festival is the Kids' Donut Eating Contest. Local bakery The Sugaree provides the tasty treats for both the Pie-Eating and Donut-Eating contests. 

If you're a fan of that Lowcountry staple, shrimp salad, then you'll want to try one of the festival's shrimp salad sandwiches. These sandwiches are so famous that some people attend the festival from hundreds of miles away just to get their hands on one. The shrimp salad sandwiches are made and sold by the ladies of The Church of the Cross. Even though these ladies make more and more sandwiches to keep up with the growing demand, be warned. These sandwiches usually sell out quickly and early.

Local musicians are playing all day at venues all over The Bluffton Village Festival, including The Chiggers, Lyn Avenue, and Snowbird Mike. Students from The Bluffton School of Dance are also performing. 

The Bluffton Village Festival has no shortage of shopping opportunities from a variety of vendors and artists. This year's featured artist is Amos Hummell, who has been connected to Bluffton for over 40 years and is an active supporter of arts in education. 

The Bluffton Village Festival brings the town of Bluffton together to celebrate. This celebration has a laid-back attitude that embodies the community and quirkiness of Bluffton itself. The Bluffton Village Festival is a a great way to kick off summer in the Lowcountry. 

See you there!

April
30

Staging a Home is Key to Presenting Properties

By: Catherine James

When selling a home, there are infinite approaches and scenarios. Some sellers completely move out before putting their home on the market, others live there permanently until they sell it, and then there are those that are a brand new build. Whatever the case may be, the goal is the same: to sell the home.

In order to do so, there is one very important step in the process that sometimes gets overlooked: staging. Staging a home is professionally decorating, furnishing, or rearranging so that the buyers can see the potential in the space. It's the secret ingredient that helps a home sell quickly, and at a potentially higher value.

What's not a secret, though, are the numbers. According to the National Association of Realtors, nearly one third (29%) of selling agents believe staging increases the value of a home by 6% to 20%. They also found that staged homes sold 72% more quickly than empty homes.

People don't realize once they put their home on the market, it's no longer their home, it's a commodity. It's time to declutter, depersonalize, and truly make it easier for an outsider to picture themselves living there

This process can be difficult for some homeowners, as they have to detach from the memories and appeal to a larger audience. The bubblegum pink wall they raised their daughter in, the collage of family photos that covers their living room wall, and excessive furniture that shrinks the space … they all have to go.

A professional stager is hired to help you see everything, from curb appeal to the small details that you may have never noticed! They do the research on the area and the current trends. They help you decide color palette, furniture, and props. They get movers to make it happen and help attract your space to more sellers.

So what is the secret to staging? It's not about covering up the negative… it's truly about highlighting the best features in your home. It's all about painting a picture for the lifestyle of a potential home buyer! Show them that they can kick back, relax, and sip a glass of lemonade or a cocktail on their new screened porch. Portray to them that they can wake up to a cup of coffee at their breakfast bar. Set up the space so that it's spacious and they see that they have room for growth.

Staging isn't a secret, it's a necessity.

Contact Cora Bett Thomas Realty Today for more information on Staging and Selling Your Home. 

April
8

Trina Gecco

Cora Bett Thomas Realty recently announced the hiring of Office Director, Trina Gecco. In this role, she will enter listings, process commission checks, create and distribute e-blasts, and handle internal and external office communications.

Trina has an extensive background in real estate and hospitality, equipping her with the knowledge and skills to fulfill the responsibilities as Office Director. She has an Associate's Degree in Business and Hospitality Management and has spent over 10 years in the real estate industry.

With roots in Upstate New York, Trina is happy to be living out the Lowcountry lifestyle. She currently lives with her family in Bluffton, South Carolina, where she enjoys fishing, boating, and shopping locally. Trina also spends her time volunteering and is actively involved in her son's school.

Trina's sense of teamwork, leadership skills, business acumen, and real estate experience provide her with the expertise to manage office responsibilities at Cora Bett Thomas Realty.

For more information about Cora Bett Thomas Realty and Associates, visit www.CoraBettThomas.com

April
8

Jamie Sumner

Cora Bett Thomas Realty recently welcomed back Savannah native Jamie Sumner, as a Realtor. In this role, she provides guidance to sellers and buyers in marketing and purchasing property, making the process enjoyable and low-stress for her clients. 

Sumner has been working in the real estate business since 2004, and is licensed in both Georgia and Florida. She has been a Top 10 Agent for seven straight years in Savannah and the Listing and Selling Agent of the Month numerous times throughout her career. Sumner attended the Ninja Selling Class in 2010 and was previously a member of the "Distinguished Sales Society." 

During her time in Savannah, Sumner has listed and sold luxury multi-million-dollar waterfront homes, residential homes in the greater Savannah area, and unique properties in the Savannah Historic District and Islands area. 

Before her career in real estate, Sumner received a Bachelor's of Business Administration Degree and a Master's of Business Administration Degree from Georgia Southern University. She later was employed as the Chief Financial Officer of Georgia Heritage Federal Credit Union in Savannah. 

Jamie Sumner, who was born and raised in Savannah, is excited that she, her husband (Randy) and her two children (Olivia and Jett) have moved back to the place she has always considered home. She is also delighted to once again be able to help clients buy and sell real estate in Savannah, an area she knows well. "Savannah is a beautiful city and I am very proud to call it home," said Jamie Sumner. "I am ready to jump back in and represent my clients with the same high-level expertise and knowledge that I have for the past 12 years. I'm very excited to be back in Savannah and back working with the best Broker in town." 

For more information about Cora Bett Thomas Realty and Associates, visit www.CoraBettThomas.com

March
29

Real Estate Virtual Realty

By: Demetri Chrissos

From the alarm clock that wakes you up every morning to the maps that get you from point A to B on time, we are living in a technology-first world. Connectivity is inevitable. Most likely all of these resources can be found in the palm of your hand, on your smartphone.

The same goes for the world of real estate. Highly developed gadgets are improving by the minute, and Cora Bett Thomas has always put a huge emphasis on the importance of technology.

"It's time to embrace this new world of real estate."

Real Estate Virtual Realty

"My goal is to be open to new ideas and be a step ahead of the technologies in the ever-changing world of real estate," says the founder of Cora Bett Thomas Realty, Cora Bett Thomas. "It's time to embrace this new world of real estate."

Technology has truly transformed the way realtors think, operate, and serve their clients. There are now 3rd party websites showcasing properties, and 3-D home tours, right from the luxury of your home. You can feel like your inside another home with the click of a mouse.

Real Estate Virtual Realty

To make it even more real, Cora Bett recently introduced her team to Virtual Reality glasses. They are made by Google and branded with Cora Bett Thomas Realty's logo, costing only a few dollars to produce and compatible with most any smartphone. These VR glasses, paired with the Matterport 3D camera, give users the chance to see and feel a property layout without actually stepping foot inside (as seen in photo).

It can be an incredible tool for agents who want to show a variety of interiors to those who are just starting their search. They don't fully replace the showing of properties (yet) but they add an element of service for clients and customers. It will also grow as a tool for visitors looking to just rent our vacation properties

The DIY cardboard trend in technology can be seen elsewhere. Nintendo recently came out with the Switch, a console designed to be portable and enable players to bring gaming experiences out of the family room and into the world. They've even created cardboard cutouts that can create a steering wheel, a fishing pole, and more. This provides affordable access and the "Do It Yourself" experience for those who otherwise wouldn't get to experience these innovations.

As technology changes, easy and affordable access to it is one of the most important factors. By sharing and introducing Cora Bett Thomas Realty clients and agents to virtual reality, we're contributing to the conversation.

February
27

Our Team Member, Beth Bohmert, Named Beaufort-Jasper County Realtors Association 2018 Realtor® of the Year.

Beth Bohmert

Cora Bett Thomas Realty's Beth Bohmert was recently awarded 2018 REALTOR® the Year. The Realtor of the Year is awarded to an individual who is chosen by her peers. She had been described as someone who is generous with her time and a lifelong mentor. Bohmert is a top producing agent in Beaufort. She began as a Realtor in 2002, making real estate her full-time career while she juggling the responsibilities of raising three children. Bohmert brings her business acumen from her career on Wall Street, as a Commodity Broker & a Foreign Currency Trader, to her real estate business.

In 2013, Bohmert was elected to serve her first 3-year term, as a Director, on the Beaufort County Association for Realtors Board of Directors. She subsequently was elected to a second 3-year term, and in 2018, was nominated and elected to serve as the 2019 Secretary of the Beaufort-Jasper County Realtors Association. During her time as a Director, she served on a Task Force that researched and vetted MLS systems which resulted in the Association upgrading to FLEX MLS system. She was also instrumental in helping expand the MLS system to the South of the Broad & spent many hours helping the MLS staff defining the geographic areas.

January
25

A Few of Our Favorite Places for Date Night.

Valentine's Day

Eating is always a good time in Savannah. Most Savannahians will use any special occasion or holiday as an excuse to go out and good meal. Valentine's Day is no exception. Before you know it, Valentine's Day will be here, so it's not too early to start planning. Read on to discover some of our favorite places to enjoy a meal with that special someone on Valentine's Day (or any other day, for that matter). 

The Hot Spots

The Grey 

This beautiful space occupies what was once a Greyhound bus station. The menu, lovingly crafted by beloved chef Mashama Bailey, offers sophisticated dishes such as foie and grits, king mackerel, and smoked collards. These offerings feature the best local meats and produce, and are a nod to Chef Bailey's Southern roots. If you're looking for just a bite and a drink, check out the Diner Bar. The Diner Bar is cozy and nostalgic and offers a pared-down version of The Grey's menu. Whether you decide to go all in and make reservations in the main dining room, or stop in for a quick sip at The Diner Bar, you will definitely enjoy time spent at The Grey

Collins Quarter

Collins Quarter is located in the heart of the Historic District of Downtown Savannah. The menus is simple, and many dishes give a nod to owner Anthony Debreceny's Australian heritage and travels. But, every dish is designed to showcase fresh and local ingredients. A carefully curated wine list and cocktail menu, as well as an invitingly intimate dining space make for a memorable meal. And we challenge you to find a restaurant with more romantic lighting than an evening at CQ.

Husk

The Savannah location of this Charleston-based restaurant group does not disappoint. Husk Savannah is located on Oglethorpe Avenue in a renovated historic mansion. Husk prides itself on working with local farmers and purveyors to get the freshest ingredients and showcase them in dishes that are elevated versions of Southern classics. The Warm Octopus Salad and the Bear Creek Farm Beef with Bone Marrow are 2 of our favorite dishes. Husk's raw bar is also amazing, and you know what they say about oysters ...

The Classics

Noble Fare 

Locally owned and operated by husband and wife team Patrick and Jenny McNamara, this restaurant is ideal if you're looking to get away from the crowds. Noble Fare is in the rapidly-expanding North of Gaston (NOG) neighborhood, and is a favorite spot for locals to grab a meal that is a much more than ordinary. The menu at Noble Fare changes on an almost daily basis, but some of the more popular dishes include Diver Scallops and the Braised Beef Short Rib. 

Elizabeth on 37th

Elizabeth on 37th, located between the Historic District and Ardsley Park, has long set the standard in Savannah for fine dining. The 1900s Southern mansion oozes refinement. And romance. The sense of elegance is echoed in the hospitality and efficient service of the dedicated staff, as well as in the dishes offered in the Southern coastal menu. 

Garibaldi 

One of our personal favorites. Locals go way back with Garibaldi — Cora Bett herself has used the restaurant's busy bar to network on may occasion. It's no surprise that Garibaldi, with its dimly-lit dining room, filled with tufted leather banquettes, is a popular romantic dining spot. The menu at Garibaldi features seafood and pasta dishes. Furthermore, the daily specials really are, well, special. The Diamond-Scored Flounder is always a popular dish, and pasta lovers relish the Lobster Rabini. 

The Non-Traditional

Atlantic 

This popular neighborhood eatery has an extensive wine selection (and a knowledgeable staff), and a menu that never fails to disappoint. Atlantic doesn't take reservations, and it has a laid-back, albeit effortlessly elegant, vibe. If you're looking to enjoy a great meal without the special occasion expectation, Atlantic is the place. Here, every meal is a special occasion, so there is no pressure. 

1540 Room 

Ditch tradition and the idea of "couples only" and grab a group of friends for family dinner. Head over to the 1540 Room (located in The DeSoto) and grab one of their large family tables. An extensive menu of shareable plates and sides make for great evening of tasting and passing plates. Show up early — or stay late — and get a cocktail at the bar at Edgar's Proof and Provisions and have a toast an evening among friends.

And of Course ...

Lulu's Chocolate Bar 

This dessert bar has been a downtown staple for over 10 years. One visit and you'll know why. Lulu's normally doesn't take reservations but makes an exception for Valentine's Day. You cannot go wrong with any one of the homemade desserts, such as the Strawberry Suspension Cake (pictured) or the Triple Chocolate Mousse Tower. Or, keep it simple and opt for Hand-Dipped Chocolate Strawberries. The bar offers a selection of dessert martinis and champagne cocktails for liquid refreshments. Whether you begin here with a cocktail, or end the evening with a coffee and slice of pie, you'll leave feeling satisfied. 

These are only a few of our favorite places to visit for Valentine's Day dining in Downtown Savannah. Each are special in their own way, and each and every one of them are worth visiting, again and again. And, each of them fully embrace the idea of enjoying good food and fun, that spirit which is the heartbeat of Savannah.

January
24

Whether you are thinking of selling your house or buying a home, today's real estate headlines can be confusing – perhaps even concerning. What is actually happening with mortgage rates? Are home values dropping or are they just rising at a slower pace? What impact will the economy have on the housing market?

If you are either a buyer or seller (or both), you need to know what it will mean to your family if you go ahead with the move. You need to understand three things:

1. What is happening in the housing market right now?

Consumers must get past those fear-mongering headlines and gain a deep understanding of what is truly happening. How strong is buyer demand right now? How much competition do listings have today compared to what they will have in the spring? People want to make an educated decision on what is probably their family's greatest financial asset.

2. Why is it happening?

Understanding the individual pieces that impact the sale or purchase of real estate is important. Understanding how those pieces impact each other is critical. How does the amount of a down payment impact the mortgage rate a buyer will be offered? Can you still price your house a 'little ahead' of the market and still be sure it will sell?

3. How do the first two affect your local market?

Basically, you want an understanding of the overall housing market and a simple and effective explanation of how it will impact your personal real estate goals.

Bottom Line

The best way to get all three is to work with a professional at Cora Bett Thomas Realty who understands this shifting real estate market and can expertly guide you on the journey to reach your housing goals. Let's get together to discuss what today's market means for you.

Contact Cora Bett Thomas Realty & Associates today.

From KCM 

January
17

It Needs to Be Considered, But it is Not a Deal Breaker.

Student Loan Debt A Threat to Homeownership

Over the course of the last thirty years, a shift has happened. An entire generation has been raised to believe that a college education is their key to unlocking opportunities that were not available to their parent's or grandparent's generations.

Due to this, student loan debt has soared to $1.5 trillion and represents the largest category of debt, surpassing credit card and auto loan debt in 2010 and never looking back. As more and more Americans continue their education amongst rising tuition costs, this number will no doubt increase.

Many housing experts have blamed student loans for a drop in the homeownership rate for young families, and to an extent, they've been right. Increased debt at the time of graduation has no doubt limited young people from being able to afford a home at the same rate as their parents or grandparents did at the same age.

In a recent Forbes article, the author explained that "in just the class of 2017, the average student has about $40,000 in debt — almost enough for a 20% down payment on a median-priced home."

The Federal Reserve set out to determine exactly how much impact student loan debt has had on the homeownership rate of those 18-34 (millennials). Their results found that,

"Every $1,000 in student loan debt delays homeownership by about 2.5 months, but it doesn't prevent homeownership entirely.

 In fact, by the time college grads reach their 30s, those with student loan debt have a homeownership rate nearly identical to those who didn't take out loans." (emphasis added)

In the Wall Street Journal's coverage of the Fed report, they found that recent graduates prioritize paying off their student loans over saving for a down payment, despite their desire to be a homeowner. Many with debt want to "get that monkey off (their) back (before they) make any new investments."

This has just delayed the wave of young home buyers from hitting the market. But as Danielle Hale, the Chief Economist at realtor.com warns,

"2020 will be peak millennial, the year when the largest number of millennials will turn 30."

 By age 30, those who attained a bachelor's degree right after high school will be one or two years away from paying off their loans and will have been in their career long enough to earn a higher salary.

In the long run, research shows that attaining a bachelor's degree or more actually increases the chances that someone will become a homeowner.

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many millennials who has prioritized paying down your student loans over saving for a down payment, you're not alone. Even if you are a couple years away from paying off your loans, let's get together to help you determine if waiting really is the best decision for you. The best thing you can do is start planning now.

Contact Cora Bett Thomas Realty & Associates today.

From KCM 

January
14

Another year older, another year wiser...

parking

As we jump into 2019, we are all about fresh starts and resolutions. While New Year's resolutions can vary wildly from person to person, we have one that appeals to all Savannahians. This year, let's resolve to make it through with no parking tickets. To some, this seems a simple feat, but local Savannahians, especially those living and/or working in the Historic Downtown District, can attest that this resolution sometimes seems nearly impossible to keep.

In recent years, the City of Savannah's Parking and Mobility Services has expanded the zones covered by parking meters. Parking Services has also extended the hours for paid parking to run from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Note: These are approximate times — check out the links provided for specific hours/zones) And while paying to park feels like a huge hassle, let's face it, paid parking is a pretty common thing in most cities now. 

Lucky for us, Parking Services has made strides in making the process paying to park pretty darn easy. The simplest way is to download the "Park Savannah" app to your phone. The app allows you to pay your meter through your phone and eliminates the need to revisit meters to add more money/time.  

Residential Benefits

Another way to avoid parking tickets as a resident of the Historic District is to have a Residential Parking Decal. Savannah residents living in metered zones can apply for a Residential Parking Decal to be used for on-street parking near their home. These decals are not a pass for free parking in the entire Downtown Savannah area. But, the decals are useful nonetheless. 

Those dealing with on-street parking in the Downtown Savannah area are also familiar with the street sweepers. Check posted signs for sweep times. Then, make sure that you are not parked in a sweep zone during the posted time. Residential Parking Decals do not override sweep zones. Also, tickets received for sweep zone violations cannot be appealed.

When it comes down to it, parking in Downtown Savannah can be easily handled by utilizing the resources that Parking Services has made available. 

Savannah Parking Services

Website

100 E Bryan St. 

Savannah, GA 31402

Office Hours 

Monday - Friday 

8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Meter Information and Maps

For information on Savannah's DOT Downtown Shuttles, click here.

January
9

Kelly Durbin

Cora Bett Thomas Realty recently added of Kelly Durbin to our team. Kelly will be responsible for buying and selling homes in Richmond Hill and the surrounding communities. In this role, she will create targeted marketing strategies, be an expert at negotiating contracts for clients, and have a comprehensive understanding of the market.

Kelly is a strong negotiator and has a passion for real estate. She recently moved to the area from North Canton, Ohio where she served as a realtor for 5 years. While there she received several awards for her dedication to real estate, including the Ohio Association of Realtors President's Sales Club Award of Achievement from 2016-2018.

Kelly received her Real Estate Certificate from Hondros College and also attended Walsh College in North Canton, Ohio. Prior to real estate, she worked for several years as a Medical Coding and Billing Representative.

The beautiful history, proximity to the coast, and unbeatable landscapes, are just a few reasons Kelly  is excited to call Richmond Hill home. She's thrilled to explore everything our area has to offer and looks forward to sharing her love of real estate with so many new clients.

For more information about Cora Bett Thomas Realty and Associates, visit www.CoraBettThomas.com

December
16

Kelly Foley

Cora Bett Thomas Realty has hired real estate agent, Kelly Foley. As Sales Associate, she will guide buyers or sellers through the negotiations, contractual aspects, and lengthy real estate processes.

Foley has an extensive background in customer service, equipping her with strong negotiation skills for home buying. She spent five years in the U.S. Air Force. Following that, she spent over 20 years in the aerospace industry, traveling the world with airline executives and partnered with the Department of Defense, as Director of Operations.

Foley is happy to be back to her roots in the Southeast, where she spent most of her early life. She now lives with her family in Rincon, where she enjoys spending time with husband, Vincent, and son, Liam. Foley also volunteers her time with PACK, a local organization collecting food donations for underprivileged children, helping ensure have meals over the weekend.

Foley's leadership skills, business acumen, and project management experience provide her with skills to assist buyers and sellers through their real estate transactions.

December
12

Cora Bett Thomas Realty Recently Hired Dylan Mckie  as Sales Associate

Cora Bett Thomas Realty Hires Dylan Mckie as Sales Associate.

Cora Bett Thomas Realty recently announced the addition of Dylan Mckie as Sales Associate. In this new role, he will facilitate clients with renting, buying, and selling of residential properties.

In August of 2018 Mckie became a licensed Realtor®. He takes time to study property listings, interview prospective clients, and draw out real estate contracts. He also assists real estate powerhouse, Bradford Moody, with research and the completion of transactions. His background is in construction and home renovation.

New to Savannah, Mckie recently moved from Highland Village, Texas. He now lives near Daffin Park and loves meeting new people there. In his free time, he volunteers with Habitat for Humanity in downtown Savannah.

Although new to the real estate field, he says what he lacks in experience, he gains in enthusiasm and willingness to learn.

December
11

E. Shaver, Bookseller is Savannah's oldest bookstore. The store is located in the heart of the Historic District in Downtown Savannah, off of Madison Square. The shop includes 7 cozy rooms chock full of books. Note: at any point, these rooms may also include a cat. Rest assured, the felines are non-territorial and non-intrusive. E. Shaver's is full of cozy nooks, good lighting, and plump sofas that just beckon to bibliophiles. 

E. Shaver's manages to achieve coziness, without sacrificing cleanliness. It is a store that beckons one to plop into a sofa or beanbag chair, without being concerned that the seat may still have a bit of residue of a white chocolate latte. A tiny corridor leads to a cul-de-sac of delights in the form of stationery, journals, bags, and socks--basically, ideal gifts for bibliophiles. But, these gifts are not books. 

Step farther back, and find books of all kinds (organized, of course, if you are reading the signs), interspersed with non-book items. E. Shaver's leaves no section neglected: sci-fi/fantasy, kids, food/beverage, nonfiction, local authors...everyone gets love at this shop. Better still, if you can't find exactly what you are looking for, the staff will gladly help you order what you want or offer recommendations. 

E. Shaver, Bookseller also shares space with the The Savannah Tea Room. This beloved Savannah staple was once located on Broughton Street, but has found a suitable roommate with E. Shaver. The shop still sells tea by the cup (or pot) during regular business hours, and its space is the perfect retreat to cuddle up with a warm beverage and a good book. The Savannah Tea Room also sells prepackaged teas, as well as handmade mugs, kettles, and gift bundles. 

Whether you have a particular tome in mind, or simply looking to pass some time with the printed word, E. Shaver is the ideal place to stop in for a visit, again and again. 

E. Shaver, Bookseller

326 Bull St, Savannah, GA 31401 

(912) 234-7257

December
5

paint the town red

Cora Bett Thomas Realty is handing out red, reusable bags to help improve our environment. On November 1, 2018, a new Beaufort County ordinance went into effect banning "single-use" plastic bags commonly used for groceries, takeout meals, and clothing.

Cora Bett Thomas Realty wants to help make the transition to the new ordinance hassle-free for residents. We ask that you help us  "Paint the Town Red" this Friday, at Night on the Town, in Downtown Beaufort. Downtown Beaufort businesses will stay open late, with live music and entertainment, Christmas tree lighting, a visit from Santa, and the Cora Bett Thomas Realty team members will be there handing out their reusable bags to those in attendance for our "Paint the Town Red" initiative.

Beaufort's "Night on the Town" Event

WHO: All community members (especially Beaufort County residents)

WHEN: Friday, December 7, 6-9 p.m.

WHERE: Downtown Beaufort

See you There!

November
15

Real Estate Power Couples

It takes two to tango. An idiom often used in a negative connotation, takes on a whole new light for real estate power couple Liz and Bobby Davenport.

The two rely on each other in all aspects of life, from doing the laundry to finalizing a closing. They've been married for 31 years, raised 3 wonderful children together, and now reside in the historic district of downtown Savannah where they both serve as agents for Cora Bett Thomas Realty. From work to play, they consider each other a team. In the 21 years they've worked together, the pair has bought and sold property in 4 different states: Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

So what's the secret to their success? Liz says, "Bobby has always been my best advisor and closest friend. He's my financial consultant but will wash the dishes in a pinch. It's just natural for us." Bobby describes Liz as "the organized one, she remembers the little things that I always forget and puts the finishing touches on everything."

So it seems two is better than one, and it's a huge advantage for their clients too. Their working relationship means more bang for your buck. As investors together, they each focus on different aspects of the business: the big picture guy who thrives in business growth and investing in land; and the welcoming, knowledgeable partner in crime who's all about the flowers and fluff.

Another aspect that makes them such a power couple is the land they cover. From Telfair Plantation in South Carolina, to Sea Pines on Hilton Head Island, and the historic district in downtown Savannah, they really know everything there is to know about the 100 mile coast. The pair is actually able to be in two places at once and serve their clients better.

It was never a question as to if they'd work together, it really just happened naturally. "Our luck and timing have been good to us. It's fun thinking back to all of our clients and how we helped them each take the next step in their lives," Liz says.

While working with your partner in real estate isn't the norm, Cora Bett Thomas Realty has several success stories, and sees this as a growing trend. Take Jan and Tim Corley as another example. Jan, a veteran real estate agent, convinced her newly retired husband to get his license and start working with her. The husband and wife team, now has year one successfully under their belt with several closings and a number of listings.

"He's more disciplined and I'm more relaxed, so we are really able to divide and conquer our duties. Now I couldn't see myself doing it without him," Jan says. She also likes that they can sell all types of real estate and they aren't cornered into one market. Their listing portfolio now ranges from island waterfront to Ardsley Park. They haven't skipped a beat since, and now see real estate as a way of life for them.

As production increases, it's impossible to do everything and do it well. Folks like the Davenports and the Corleys may soon become trendsetters, turning couples into successful business partners.

Contact Cora Bett Thomas Realty & Associates today.

November
14

John Jewell Joins Our Commercial Team

Cora Bett Thomas Realty recently announced the addition of John Jewell to the commercial real estate team. As a commercial broker, he will act as the mediator between buyers and sellers, facilitating transactions in properties such as: large scale multi-family, land for development, multi-tenant strip centers, multi-tenant office buildings, and restaurants.

With over 15 years of experience in commercial real estate, Jewell has completed transactions across both Georgia and Tennessee. In that time, he has worked with some of the largest property owners, completed transactions with national retailers, and secured large government leases. Most recently, he opened and ran his own real estate business in Tennessee. Prior to that he worked as Managing Director for a national commercial office, and before that, began his career with a regional commercial firm.

Jewell received his Bachelor's Degree in Business and Economics from Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. His father, Ken Jewell, sparked his passion for real estate, having practiced commercial real estate in South Carolina for years. Jewell is married to real estate power house Amanda Jewell, together they have 2 children. He and his family enjoy boating or traveling whenever possible.

Jewell has been a multi-million dollar producer every year since 2003. He has a passion for both landlord and tenant representation, and looks forward to new opportunities here in Savannah.

Contact John

November
5

Commercial Real Estate as an Investment

Home Is Where Is the Heart Is, But Is it Where the Investment Is?

By Graham Sadler, Cora Bett Thomas Realty

The term real estate naturally leads one to think of buying and selling homes or even renting out residential property. While there are many advantages to residential investments, commercial properties have even more financial gain.

The term commercial property refers to buildings such as: retail space, offices, warehouses, industrial buildings, land, and even multi-family housing (such as duplexes or apartment buildings). That ranges from a luxury hotel buildings, to your favorite coffee shop.

Owning real estate, in general, can increase your long-term wealth, but why add specifically commercial to your investment portfolio? There are several benefits: higher incomes, less competition, longer leases, professional relationships, and, of course, tax advantages.  

Advantages Commercial Real Estate as an Investment

Let's start with the most distinct advantage: financial reward. Commercial real estate gives you a better return on your investment. It will allow you to avoid stock market volatility and bring in steadier returns.

The commercial field is also less competitive because it seems unattainable. Investing in a shopping center or a warehouse is a major endeavor and a big expense, thus many assume it is out of their purchasing power. The solution: competitive loan programs. This option is available for nearly all investors, and taking out a loan can be an even greater advantage due to the long term gain and relatively low interest rates.

Vacancy, maintenance, and management issues are a lot less common when it comes to commercial properties than residential. Commercial tenants have a vested interest in keeping up their space, because if they don't, it could have a negative impact on their personal business. However when it comes to tenants renting out a home, the only thing at stake is the loss of a security deposit.

Commercial properties typically have much longer leases (some tenants sign on for multiple years) and most have more than one tenant, which means you benefit from consistent cash flow and multiple streams of income.

There are also tax advantages. With commercial real estate you can write off loan interest, property depreciation, and expenses related to operation of the building. The tax benefits differ from investor to investor.

As for me, I want investments that are close to home, and thankfully Savannah has a strong economy. The growth in our area has been steady, very few highs and lows in comparison to other markets, which means real estate values will appreciate. Thanks to tourism and industry, there's also commercial investment money being brought in from outside of Savannah. And truly, there's no place like home to start investing.

So if you're looking to take the first step, think bigger than renting out a single family home. Diversify your investment portfolio to include commercial real estate, your potential for financial reward is that much greater and the hassle is that much smaller.

Graham Sadler, a commercial real estate market leader with over 18 years' experience in the industry, is an Associate Broker at Cora Bett Thomas Commercial. He can be reached at 912-398-0932 or gsadler@cbtcommercial.com.

October
14

Today's Real Estate Market

Interest Rates & Home Inventory

When it comes to buying or selling a home there are many factors you should consider. Where you want to live, why you want to buy or sell, and who will help you along your journey are just some of those factors. When it comes to today's real estate market, though, the top two factors to consider are what's happening with interest rates & inventory.

Interest Rates

Mortgage interest rates have been on the rise and are now over three-quarters of a percentage point higher than they were at the beginning of the year. According to Freddie Mac's latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, rates climbed to 4.72% for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage last week.

The interest rate you secure when buying a home not only greatly impacts your monthly housing costs, but also impacts your purchasing power.

Purchasing power, simply put, is the amount of home you can afford to buy for the budget you have available to spend. As rates increase, the price of the house you can afford to buy will decrease if you plan to stay within a certain monthly housing budget.

The chart below shows the impact that rising interest rates would have if you planned to purchase a $400,000 home while keeping your principal and interest payments between $2,020-$2,050 a month.

Today's Real Estate Market

With each quarter of a percent increase in interest rate, the value of the home you can afford decreases by 2.5% (in this example, $10,000). Experts predict that mortgage rates will be over 5% by this time next year.

Inventory

A 'normal' real estate market requires there to be a 6-month supply of homes for sale in order for prices to increase only with inflation. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), listing inventory is currently at a 4.3-month supply (still well below the 6-months needed), which has put upward pressure on home prices. Home prices have increased year-over-year for the last 78 straight months.

The inventory of homes for sale in the real estate market had been on a steady decline and experienced year-over-year drops for 36 straight months (from July 2015 to May 2018), but we are starting to see a shift in inventory over the last three months.

The chart below shows the change in housing supply over the last 12 months compared to the previous 12 months. As you can see, in June, July, and August, inventory levels have started to increase as compared to the same time last year.

This is a trend to watch as we move further into the fall and winter months. If we continue to see an increase in homes for sale, we could start moving further away from a seller's market and closer to a normal market.

Bottom Line

If you are planning to enter the housing market, either as a buyer or a seller, let's get together to discuss the changes in mortgage interest rates and inventory and what they could mean for you.

From the KCM Crew

October
11

Are We About to Enter a Buyers' Market?

Home sales are below last year's levels, home values are appreciating at a slower pace, and there are reports showing purchasing demand softening. This has some thinking we may be entering a buyers' market after sellers have had the upper hand for the past several years. Is this really happening?

The market has definitely softened. However, according to two chief economists in the industry, we are a long way from a market that totally favors the purchaser:

Dr. Svenja Gudell, Zillow Chief Economist:

"These seller challenges don't indicate we're suddenly in a buyers' market – we don't expect market conditions to shift decidedly in favor of buyers until 2020 or later. But buyers certainly are starting to balk at the rapid rise in prices and home values are starting to grow at a less frenetic pace."

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist of realtor.com:

"The signs are pointing to a market that's shifting toward buyers. But, in most places, we're still a long way from a full reversal."

In addition, Pulsenomics Inc. recently surveyed over one hundred economists, real estate experts, and investment & market strategists and asked this question:

"When do you expect U.S. housing market conditions to shift decidedly in favor of homebuyers?"

Only 5% said the market has already shifted. Here are the rest of the survey results:

Bottom Line

The market is beginning to normalize but that doesn't mean we will quickly shift to a market favoring the buyer. We believe Ivy Zelman, author of the well-respected 'Z' Report, best explained the current confusion:

"With the rate of home price appreciation starting to decelerate alongside the uptick in inventory…we expect significant debate about whether this is a bullish or bearish sign.

In our view, the short-term narrative will probably be confusing, but more sustainable growth and affordability will likely be the end result."

Contact Cora Bett Thomas Realty & Associates today.

From KCM 

October
11

… Should You Wait to Buy?

Should You Wait to Buy?

Mortgage interest rates, as reported by Freddie Mac, have increased by close to a quarter of a percent over the last several weeks. Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, the Mortgage Bankers Association, and the National Association of Realtors are all calling for mortgage rates to rise another quarter of a percent by next year.

In addition to the predictions from the four major reporting agencies mentioned above, the Federal Open Market Committeerecently voted "unanimously to approve a 1/4 percentage point increase in the primary credit rate to 2.75 percent." Historically, an increase in the primary credit rate has translated to an overall jump in mortgage interest rates as well.

This has caused some purchasers to lament the fact that they may no longer be able to get a rate below 4%. However, we must realize that current rates are still at historic lows.

Here is a chart showing the average mortgage interest rate over the last several decades:

Bottom Line

Though you may have missed the lowest mortgage rate ever offered, you can still get a better interest rate than your older brother or sister did ten years ago, a lower rate than your parents did twenty years ago, and a better rate than your grandparents did forty years ago.

Contact Cora Bett Thomas Realty & Associates today.

From KCM 

October
9

Fall Home Maintenance

Fall is here! Well, at least according to the calendar, fall is here. The weather in Savannah may not feel like summer's over, but now is the time to get to work on some colder-weather maintenance for your home. This way, you can have everything ready before the weather changes. Read on for our handy list of home maintenance to-dos for fall home maintenance.

Exterior Fixes

Regularly clean gutters and downspouts.

Fall is when gutters can fill up quickly and we still have a few weeks of hurricane season so keep them clean to protect your property. Make sure all drainage areas are unblocked by leaves and debris. Consider installing gutter guards to make the job a lot easier.

Check for rotting wood.

Check for soft spots, which can indicate rotting wood. Use a screwdriver to probe the wood trim around your windows, doors, railings and deck. Use caulk to fill the holes, or completely replace the wood if it is rotted.

Paint.

Lower humidity and cooler (not yet cold) temperatures make fall a good time to paint the exterior of your home.

Roof.

Inspect your roof, or hire a licensed professional to examine your roof for wear and tear. If the shingles are curling, buckling or crackling, replace them. If you have a lot of damage, it's time to consider replacing  the entire roof.

Garden

Split.

Fall is the perfect time to divide or move perennials. Remove your dead annuals and mulch hardy perennials.

Clean.

Clean your gardening tools before storing for the winter. Better still, make sure your storage area/shed is clean before storing your tools.

Trim.

Cut dead branches out the trees to prevent them from coming down and causing damage in a late tropical storm or future winter storm. Wait until late winter to prune healthy trees and shrubs though.

Fertilize.

Fall is a good time to aerate your lawn; it will allow moisture and nutrients to get into the roots. When you're done, spread fertilizer then grass seed. It's also the right time to fertilize turf grasses, preferably with slow-release, all-natural fertilizer. When given adequate nutrients, turf grasses have the ability to store food in the form of carbohydrates during the winter months. That will mean a better-looking lawn come spring.

Interior

Pest prevention.

Pests love attics because they are full of nice warm insulation for nesting, and they offer easy access to the rest of the house. If you have gable vents that lead into your attic, it is a good idea to install a screen behind them to keep those critters out.

Check the important gadgets.

Each fall, check carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms and put in fresh batteries. These are very important detectors to have in a home and their importance can't be overstated. Check your furnace filters and check for drafts.

fall home maintenance

Clean out your fireplace and chimney.

A wood burning fireplace is a wonderful feature to have in your home. However, unless you are well versed in chimney construction, contact a reputable chimney sweep service to do a check before the cold weather sets in. Items such as bird or animal nests built during the summer, as well as excessive soot deposits from the previous winter, can easily obstruct flues and dampers, thereby increasing the chances of chimney fires. 

Take a few hours here and there for some basic fall home maintenance. It will help you spot developing problems, and, consequently, prevent costly repairs. For best results, use the tasks above as a guide; everyone's home is different and over time you will develop a fall home maintenance routine specific to your property.

August
8

millennial home buying

Many have written about the millennial generation and whether or not they, as a whole, believe in homeownership as a part of attaining their American Dream.

Comparatively speaking, millennials have taken longer to obtain traditional milestones (like getting married, having kids and buying a home) than generations before them, but that does not mean that they do not aspire to still achieve those things.

For older millennials (aged 25-34) who have established themselves in their career and are starting to build their families, homeownership is the next logical choice.

According to the Urban Institute's State of Millennial Housing, the probability of a millennial home buying increases by 17.9% if they are married, and by an additional 6.2% if they have children.

Last year, according to the US Census Bureau, the average age at first marriage was 30 for men and 27 for women, while the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that the average first-time homebuyer was 32 years old.

With most of this generation having yet to age into the 'Responsibility Zone' (the time in their lives when their responsibilities start to dictate their behaviors), there will be a steady wave of buyers for years to come!

Those who are currently out in the market searching for a home are being met with a strong, highly competitive seller's market. NAR's Chief Economist Lawrence Yun recently commented,

"Realtors® throughout the country continue to stress that there's considerable pent-up demand for buying a home among the millennial households in their market.  

Unfortunately, they're just not making meaningful ground, and continue to be held back by too few choices in their price range, and thereby missing out on homeownership and wealth gains."

Bottom Line

Millennial home buying is on the rise. If you are currently renting and thinking about jumping into the real estate market, let's get together to help you navigate our market.

Contact Cora Bett Thomas Realty & Associates today.

From KCM

 

July
6

Be Prepared for Bidding Wars.

Bidding War

Summer is traditionally a busy season for real estate. Buyers come out in force and homeowners list their houses for sale hoping to capitalize on those buyers who are looking to purchase before the new school year. This year will be no different!

Buyers have already been out in force looking for their dream homes and more are on their way. The challenge is that the inventory of homes for sale has not kept up with demand, which has led to A LOT of competition for the homes that are available.

A recent article by the National Association of Realtors touched on the current market conditions:

"Realtors® in areas with strong job markets report that consumer frustration is rising. Home shoppers are increasingly struggling to find an affordable property to buy, and the prevalence of multiple bids is pushing prices further out of reach."

Realtor.com went on to explain why buyers are flocking to the market in such big numbers:

"A booming economy and stable employment in most parts of the country have created a new generation of eager home buyers – and led to fevered price battles spilling over into some unexpected, smaller markets."

Javier Vivas, Director of Economic Research for Realtor.com had this to say about competition:

"Multiple-offer scenarios are no longer reserved to the usual big, fast-moving markets…demand for homes has spilled outward into secondary, smaller markets, and more buyers are gearing up to face fierce competition in more places around the country."

Realtor.com looked at the number of homes that were selling above asking price to determine which markets were heating up. Below are the Top 10:

  • Akron, OH
  • Worcester, MA
  • Lexington, KY
  • Irvine, CA
  • Greensboro, NC
  • Sioux Falls, SD
  • Madison, WI
  • Louisville, KY
  • Tacoma, WA
  • Little Rock, AR

Bottom Line

Contact us to discuss our exact market conditions so that we can help you create a strategy to secure your new home in this competitive atmosphere. We're here to help you get into your dream home. 

Contact Cora Bett Thomas Realty & Associates today.

July
3

Two Cora Bett Thomas Realty Listings Featured on HGTV Ultimate House Hunt. 

HGTV.com editors recently chose not one, but two Cora Bett Thomas Real Estate listings as finalists for its online contest, the Ultimate House Hunt.

The month-long contest, held now through July 17 features 88 homes from around the world in eight different categories. Visitors to the site are asked to vote for their favorite for a chance to win $10,000.

Both listings, one in Savannah and one in Beaufort, are featured in the Homes with History category. Editors selected these homes based on striking photographs of their extraordinary features and inspirational design. Other categories include Amazing Kitchens, Curb Appeal, Extreme Homes, Global Homes, Modern Masterpieces, Urban Digs and Waterfront Homes.

Voters can vote for one house in each category once per day at www.HGTV.com/househunt

"I am so honored the editors at HGTV.com chose both of these beautiful, historic homes," said Cora Bett Thomas. "I am excited for the world to see the beauty and charm of Historic Savannah and the South Carolina Lowcountry and how we preserve nostalgic classic architecture without sacrificing modern conveniences. Please go out and vote for our beautiful homes!"

This is the seventh consecutive year HGTV has aligned exclusively with Cora Bett Thomas Real Estate's global real estate network Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® and its luxury marketing division Luxury Portfolio International® to host the Ultimate House Hunt, which is one of the most popular contests on HGTV.com.

The Savannah finalist is a Federal-style townhome in the desirable Jones Street neighborhood. Built in 1853, the three-story, brick home has housed a number of high-profile individuals, including August Coppola, brother of director Francis Ford Coppola.

The 4,000-square-foot home has several unique features including high ceilings, six fireplaces, exposed brick walls, and stained glass windows, combined with a recently renovated and thoroughly modern kitchen. The first floor, with its own private entrance, can function as additional bedroom space or be rented as an apartment, vacation rental, or business. A second-floor balcony overlooks a private courtyard complete with a fountain and an iron gate that leads to three parking spaces in the rear lane.

The Beaufort finalist is the Robert Smalls House, a National Historic Landmark built in 1843. The house is named for Robert Smalls, an enslaved African American man who commandeered a Confederate ship and delivered its passengers to freedom during the Civil War. Smalls later returned to Beaufort, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and bought the house, which had been owned by his slave master.

The two-story, antebellum home features a wood frame structure, gable roof and two porches. Palmetto and magnolia trees shade sitting areas and brick walkways in the formal front garden. Around the back of the house waits a two-story guest cottage with a full kitchen, one and a half baths and a loft. The 4,264-square-foot house features six fireplaces, hardwood floors, crown molding, built-in bookshelves, a butler's pantry and a recently renovated modern kitchen with a large island, granite counters and a green subway tile backsplash.

About Cora Bett Thomas Realty

Cora Bett Thomas and Associates has more than 35 years of experience helping clients buy and sell, both residential and commercial properties in Savannah and its surrounding areas, Beaufort, Bluffton, Hilton Head Island, Palmetto Bluff and the Lowcountry. 

June
30

Why Millennials Choose to Buy

According to NerdWallet's Millennials & Home Buying Study, the top 5 reasons young renters choose to own are:

5 Reasons Millennials Choose to Buy a Home

The majority of millennials said they consider owning a home more sensible than renting for both financial and lifestyle reasons — including control of living space, flexibility in future decisions, privacy and security, and living in a nice home.

The top reason millennials choose to buy is to have control over their living space, at 93%. Many millennials who rent a home or apartment prior to buying their own homes dream of the day when they will be able to paint the walls whatever color they'd like or renovate an outdated part of their living space.

From KCM 

June
26

Jefe Has Good Taste in Tacos

Bull Street Taco is one of the newest restaurants to open in the Starland District of Savannah. This addition has become one of our favorite places, because, no, you cannot have too many places to grab tacos in Savannah. Better still, Bull Street Taco has a large outdoor patio and is dog-friendly. They even have an Instagram account devoted entirely to their canine customer. The restaurant shares space with a couple other businesses in a renovated warehouse, and has indoor table seating, a bar, and a stand-up taco bar. The atmosphere has a cozy and funky neighborhood feel that is very Savannah with West Coast style. 

Of course, the best thing about Bull Street Taco is the food. The tacos are served on organic masa and flour tortillas made from scratch. The crew uses traditional ingredients and methods to make their food, incorporating their own flair and quirks here and there making for unique and extremely crave-able flavor combinations. Taco varieties include classics such as Carnitas, house-made Chorizo, and Chicken, as well as non-meat options like Roasted Mushroom and one of our favorites, the Red Chile Tempura Roasted Cauliflower. The tempura cauliflower is topped with roasted poblano peppers, chile de arbol salsa, basil crema and sesame seed. The tuna poke tostada has onion, cabbage, lime zest, jalapeño and sesame ginger dressing and is not to be missed. If you're feeling like sharing — or you are simply very hungry — go for the "Taco Party," which features 10 tacos of "Jefe's Choice." Trust us, Jefe has good taste in tacos. 

tacos

If you're feeling like something other than tacos, there is a wide selection of equally delicious non-taco options such as salads, tortas, quesadillas and rice bowls. So far, on several visits, a salad along with a cold drink on the patio has been a wonderful lunch time escape. Classic appetizers of chips and salsa, queso fundido, and street corn do not disappoint. 

If you're feeling thirsty, Bull Street Taco has a variety of beers, as well a selection of craft tequilas and mezcals. If you're feeling especially classic, try one of the specialty cocktails or margaritas, such as the Smoke and Fire Margarita or the Basil Paloma. Spanish wines are also available by the glass and bottle.

Whatever you're looking for, a casual dinner, a snack, or a happy hour drink (or 2 or 3), Bull Street Taco is definitely worth checking out. Your wallet, stomach, and taste buds will all thank you. 

Bull Street Taco

Located at 1608 Bull St.

Bull Street Taco is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday

Photo Credit www.BullStreetTaco.com

 

June
11

Catherine jamesCora Bett Thomas Realty recently announced Catherine James as a new real estate agent.In this role, she will facilitate the buying and selling process for residential clients throughout Savannah.

Originally from Long Island, New York, James left New York to raise her family in warmer weather, and spent the next 25 years soaking up sun in Florida. While in Florida, Catherine's love for coastal living grew stronger, which fueled her passion for specializing in waterfront properties. 

When her daughter moved to New York City, she decided to follow up and go back to her roots in Long Island.  Several years into her return, however, Catherine found herself missing the South. Being familiar with Savannah where her daughter attended college, she decided to move to the Hostess City and couldn't be happier with the decision and she currently resides in Midtown Savannah.

Catherine is licensed in Georgia, Florida, and New York and is a certified home stager.

 
April
20

In many markets across the country, the number of buyers searching for their dream homes greatly outnumbers the number of homes for sale. This has led to a competitive marketplace where buyers often need to stand out. One way to show you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search.

Even if you are in a market that is not as competitive, understanding your budget will give you the confidence of knowing if your dream home is within your reach.

Freddie Mac lays out the advantages of pre-approval in the 'My Home' section of their website:

"It's highly recommended that you work with your lender to get pre-approved before you begin house hunting. Pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets."

One of the many advantages of working with a local real estate professional is that many have relationships with lenders who will be able to help you with this process. Once you have selected a lender, you will need to fill out their loan application and provide them with important information regarding "your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history."

Freddie Mac describes the '4 Cs' that help determine the amount you will be qualified to borrow:

  1. Capacity: Your current and future ability to make your payments
  2. Capital or cash reserves: The money, savings, and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash
  3. Collateral: The home, or type of home, that you would like to purchase
  4. Credit: Your history of paying bills and other debts on time

Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and it often helps speed up the process once your offer has been accepted.

Bottom Line

Many potential home buyers overestimate the down payment and credit scores needed to qualify for a mortgage today. If you are ready and willing to buy, you may be pleasantly surprised at your ability to do so. 

Contact Us Today!

March
15

Choosing Your Home for Retirement

As more and more baby boomers enter retirement age, the question of whether or not to sell their homes and move will become a hot topic. In today's housing market climate, with low available inventory in the starter and trade-up home categories, it makes sense to evaluate your home's ability to adapt to your needs in retirement.

According to the National Association of Exclusive Buyers Agents (NAEBA), there are 7 factors that you should consider when choosing your retirement home.

1. Affordability

"It may be easy enough to purchase your home today but think long-term about your monthly costs. Account for property taxes, insurance, HOA fees, utilities – all the things that will be due whether or not you have a mortgage on the property."

Would moving to a complex with homeowner association fees actually be cheaper than having to hire all the contractors you would need to maintain your home, lawn, etc.? Would your taxes go down significantly if you relocated? What is your monthly income going to be like in retirement?

2. Equity

"If you have equity in your current home, you may be able to apply it to the purchase of your next home. Maintaining a healthy amount of home equity gives you a source of emergency funds to tap, via a home equity loan or reverse mortgage."

The equity you have in your current home may be enough to purchase your retirement home with little to no mortgage. Homeowners in the US gained an average of over $14,000 in equity last year.

3. Maintenance

"As we age, our tolerance for cleaning gutters, raking leaves and shoveling snow can go right out the window. A condominium with low-maintenance needs can be a literal lifesaver, if your health or physical abilities decline."

As we mentioned earlier, would a condo with an HOA fee be worth the added peace of mind of not having to do the maintenance work yourself?

4. Security

"Elderly homeowners can be targets for scams or break-ins. Living in a home with security features, such as a manned gate house, resident-only access and a security system can bring peace of mind."

As scary as that thought may be, any additional security and an extra set of eyes looking out for you always adds to peace of mind.

5. Pets

"Renting won't do if the dog can't come too! The companionship of pets can provide emotional and physical benefits."

Evaluate all of your options when it comes to bringing your 'furever' friend with you to a new home. Will there be necessary additional deposits if you are renting or in a condo? Is the backyard fenced in? How far are you from your favorite veterinarian?

6. Mobility

"No one wants to picture themselves in a wheelchair or a walker, but the home layout must be able to accommodate limited mobility."

Sixty is the new 40, right? People are living longer and are more active in retirement, but that doesn't mean that down the road you won't need your home to be more accessible. Installing handrails and making sure your hallways and doorways are wide enough may be a good reason to look for a home that was built to accommodate these needs.

7. Convenience

"Is the new home close to the golf course, or to shopping and dining? Do you have amenities within easy walking distance? This can add to home value!"

How close are you to your children and grandchildren? Would relocating to a new area make visits with family easier or more frequent? Beyond being close to your favorite stores and restaurants, there are a lot of factors to consider.

Bottom Line

When it comes to your forever home, evaluating your current house for its ability to adapt with you as you age can be the first step to guaranteeing your comfort in retirement. If after considering all these factors you find yourself curious about your options, let's get together to evaluate your ability to sell your house in today's market and get you into your dream retirement home!

Contact Cora Bett Thomas Realty Today!

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