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May
13

The Home Seller's Survival Guide

There's no doubt that you're going to be busy while you work to sell your home, but focusing your energy in the right places will make your life much easier. Better yet, a bit of focused prep can make your home more appealing to potential buyers and ultimately makes it easier to find the right match as quickly as possible. Use this "survival guide" for selling your home to get started.

  1. Your Real Estate Agent – Working with a real estate agent that you trust really does make a huge difference when selling a house. Ask for referrals, potential interview choices, and choose the agent that best matches your needs.

  2. Consider Cost – Choosing the right price is one area where your real estate agent can be a big help because they have done the market research to understand trends in local real estate prices. Setting a fair price goes a long way toward enticing curious shoppers to take that first look and enticing interested buyers to make a real offer.

  3. Keep It Clean – Showings (and open houses) are simply part of the home-selling process, and you'll need to keep a clean, neat home if you want to make a positive impression. Make sure that floors, walls, corners, kitchen surfaces, appliances, and everything else look its absolute best. It also helps to put together a cleaning prep checklist for days when you'll be showing your home.

  4. Clutter-Free – This is huge, and it's an easy step to miss if you'll be living in the home until you sell it. The less clutter – furniture included – the better. You want shoppers to be able to envision their own lives in your home. Consider renting a storage unit to safely store non-essential items until you are ready to move into your next home.

  5. Maintenance and Repairs – DIY repairs are a great way to save some money if you have the experience necessary to do the job. For bigger maintenance tasks, it simply makes more sense to hire a contractor. Putting off repairs now just means more headaches and costs later when it's time for inspection.

  6. Landscaping – The outside of your house is where shoppers form their first impression, so be sure that your landscaping is looking its best. Keep up with outdoor maintenance, including cutting the lawn, for as long as you'll be showing your home. You might even consider adding some new landscaping features for increased curb appeal.

  7. A Welcoming Gesture – On days when you'll be showing, it's a good idea to make or buy some light refreshments for your visitors. Some fresh cookies, fruit, and coffee/tea will make shoppers feel right at home. Your real estate agent will help get the word out about your open house and can walk you through the process so you'll be ready to go.

Your real estate agent will help make sure that people show up, so the most important thing you can do when selling a house is to make sure that your home is always ready to show. That part becomes significantly easier to maintain after you get the initial work out of the way, as long as you keep up with it consistently. With a little teamwork, you'll find the right buyer in no time.

May
6

2022 Housing Market Forecast [INFOGRAPHIC]

2022 Housing Market Forecast [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

May
4

Your House Could Be Closer to List-Ready Than You Think

Your House Could Be Closer to List-Ready Than You Think | MyKCM

One of the biggest concerns for a homeowner looking to sell is the time they'll have to put in before listing their house. If that's the case for you, you should know – your home might be closer to list-ready than you think in today's housing market. A survey of recent sellers from realtor.com finds that many were able to get their house ready in less than a month. It says:

"With many homeowners expecting a quick sale, and in many cases a lack of contingencies, the preparation process took less than a month for over 50% of home sellers this past year, with 20% completing it in less than two weeks."

Those sellers expecting to sell quickly are following recent buyer trends. With mortgage rates and home prices rising, buyers in today's market are serious about finding a home quickly. But with the limited number of homes for sale, there are very few options for those buyers to choose from. That means many may be willing to take on projects after they purchase.

Because of this, you may be able to focus on less time-consuming tasks before putting your house on the market. According to the survey mentioned above, some of the top things recent sellers completed before listing over the past year include landscaping, making minor cosmetic updates, and touching-up paint (see image below):

Your House Could Be Closer to List-Ready Than You Think | MyKCM

A Real Estate Advisor Will Help Streamline the Process and Keep You Focused

Of course, each situation is different, and knowing what repairs or updates your house needs to stand out in your local area is critical. That's where a trusted real estate professional comes in. In a recent article, NextAdvisor explains:

". . . Real estate can be hyper-local, and demand can vary from one neighborhood to the next. It's a good idea to work with a local real estate professional to determine an ideal listing price and if any improvements or repairs need to be completed before putting your home on the market."

Your trusted real estate advisor knows the ins and outs of the market in your specific area. They'll help you identify the places where you should and shouldn't spend your time and money – and that can enable you to list quickly.

Bottom Line

If you're ready to take advantage of the incredible conditions for sellers in today's real estate market but are worried about the time it'll take to get your home ready, you might be closer than you think. Let's connect so you can see what you need to do before listing your house today.

May
3

Things That Could Help You Win a Bidding War on a Home

Things That Could Help You Win a Bidding War on a Home | MyKCM

With a limited number of homes for sale today and so many buyers looking to make a purchase before mortgage rates rise further, bidding wars are common. According to the latest report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), nationwide, homes are getting an average of 4.8 offers per sale. Here's a look at how that breaks down state-by-state (see map below):

Things That Could Help You Win a Bidding War on a Home | MyKCM

The same report from NAR shows the average buyer made two offers before getting their third offer accepted. In this type of competitive housing market, it's important to know what levers you can pull to help you beat the competition. While a real estate professional is your ultimate guide to presenting a strong offer, here are a few things you could consider.

Offering over Asking Price

When you think of sweetening the deal for sellers, the first thought you likely have is around the price of the home. In today's housing market, it's true more homes are selling for over asking price because there are more buyers than there are homes for sale. You just want to make sure your offer is still within your budget and realistic for the market value in your area – that's where a local real estate professional can help you through the process. Bankrate says:

"Simply put, being willing to pay more money than other buyers is one of the best ways to get your offer accepted. You may not have to increase it by a lot — it'll depend on the area and other factors — so look to your real estate agent for guidance."

Putting Down a Bigger Earnest Money Deposit

You could also consider putting down a larger deposit up front. An earnest money deposit is a check you write to go along with your offer. If your offer is accepted, this deposit is credited toward your home purchase. NerdWallet explains how it works:

"A typical earnest money deposit is 1% to 2% of the home's purchase price, but the amount varies by location. A higher earnest money deposit may catch a seller's attention in a hot housing market."

That's because it shows the seller you're seriously interested in their house and have already set aside money that you're ready to put toward the purchase. Talk to a professional to see if this is something you can do in your area. 

Making a Higher Down Payment 

Another option is increasing how much of a down payment you're going to make. The benefit of a higher down payment is you won't have to finance as much. This helps the seller feel like there's less risk of the deal or the financing falling through. And if other buyers put less down, it could be what helps your offer stand out from the crowd.

Non-Financial Options To Make a Strong Offer

Realtor.com points out that while increasing these financial portions of the deal can help, they're not your only options:

". . . Price is not the only factor sellers weigh when they look at offers. The buyer's terms and contingencies are also taken into account, as well as pre-approval letters, appraisal requirements, and the closing time the buyer is asking for."

When it's time to make an offer, partner with a trusted professional. They have insight into what sellers are looking for in your local market and can give you expert advice on what levers you may or may not want to pull when it's time to write an offer.

From a non-financial perspective, this can include things like flexible move-in dates or minimal contingencies (conditions you set that the seller must meet for the purchase to be finalized). For example, you could make an offer that's not contingent on the sale of your current home. Just remember, there are certain contingencies you don't want to forego, like your home inspection. Ultimately, the options you have can vary state-to-state, so it's best to lean on an expert real estate professional for guidance.

Bottom Line

In today's hot housing market, you need a partner who can serve as your guide, especially when it comes to making a strong offer. Let's connect so you have a trusted resource and coach on how to make the strongest offer possible for your specific situation.

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
23

4 Spring Home Problems (and How to Avoid Them)

Spring brings beautiful blooms and long-awaited sunshine, but for your home, spring can bring unexpected problems if you are not prepared. This season, don't let home issues ruin your fun. Some simple preparation can ensure that your home is ready for all that spring has to offer. Be sure to avoid these four spring home problems.

Unexpected Pests
Spring's weather brings bugs and small critters out of hibernation. While the flurry of scurrying animals may be cute to witness on your next hike, you don't want uninvited guests in your home. Avoid critters coming indoors by sealing any holes or potential entrances. Caulk and seal small access points to keep insects outside. Finally, ensure that you are keeping your home crumb-free to ensure that sugar-seeking ants don't make themselves at home in your kitchen or pantry.

Spring Flooding
Flooding can occur during any season, but certain areas are more prone to spring flooding. Since water damage can easily go undetected, even minimal flooding can wreak havoc on your home. Be prepared for a flood if you live in a low-lying area near a body of water–even a stream. Avoid issues caused by spring floods by waterproofing your basements, clearing debris away from your gutters and downspouts to divert water from your home's foundation, and installing a water alarm to alert you to accumulating dampness in less-trafficked areas.

Strain on Your HVAC
The shifting of seasons can cause undue strain on your HVAC system if you aren't properly prepared. Change your filters and have your system inspected to ensure that as the spring rays turn your home hotter, that you are not facing a damaged system when you need the cool air.

Lack of Curb Appeal
Spring is the perfect season to tackle your home's lack of curb appeal. Winter storms can cause dirt to accumulate on your home's exterior, sidewalks and driveway. Winds and rain can cause debris like leaves and twigs to clutter up your lawn and garden. A good power wash can do wonders for your outdoor surfaces, and a simple clean-up can ensure that your yard looks fresh. Once you have solved the problem of grunge and disarray, focus on the final touches by adding new foliage and blooms that spring can 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
15

Put a Little Spring in Your Step

Many states across the U.S. deal with long, cold winters, after which most people are counting down the days to spring. Sunshine and warm temperatures bring to mind parks, picnics, baseball—and buying a new home.

Spring is the busiest time of the year for home sales, and after a busy holiday season and a cold winter, prospective buyers are anxious to discover their options. Home sellers can take advantage of spring fever by getting in the spirit of the season with these tips.

Complete your spring cleaning. Obviously, a home that's for sale needs to always be clean, but spring is a time to take things up a notch.

Windows are always the focal point of a room, and even more so during the spring. Be sure to clean your windows, not just the glass, but also the blinds and window sills. Take a good look at your curtains to see if they should be washed. Then, open your curtains to let the sunshine in and let natural light shine through your room. That light will also emphasize details such as the condition of your floors and dusty tables, walls and ceilings, so clean rooms thoroughly.

Let the air in. Opening windows during the springtime is the perfect way to let fresh air into your home. It can help set a comfortable temperature and also make the house smell nice. Be sure that screens are installed in windows and doors, and that they are clean. And keep track of the day; spring days can lead to cool nights, so close the doors if your house starts to get chilly.

Decorate for spring. There are a lot of touches that can bring the springtime feeling indoors. One is to decorate with flowers: lilies and tulips are springtime classics. Other decorative and pleasant-smelling flowers for spring are lilacs, crocus, daffodils and daisies. Be sure to freshen flowers as needed.

Other decorations can add that spring feeling, as well. Vases decorated with flowers, along with wreaths, centerpieces and even colorful books to place on a coffee table, can liven things up. Consider new pillows and pastel Easter decorations, such as decorative eggs. Place a spring-like cloth on the kitchen or dining room table.

Impact the senses. If you have candles in your house, switch from fall and winter scents, like pumpkin spice and pine, to citrus and fresh linen scents. And refreshments are always a nice touch; prepare iced tea or lemonade and pair it with a colorful cake or flower-shaped cookies.

April
14

On the Fence of Whether or Not To Move This Spring? Consider This.

Beautiful House in Savannah Georgia

If you're thinking of selling your house, it may be because you've heard prices are rising, listings are going fast, and sellers are getting multiple offers on their homes. But why are conditions so good for sellers today? And what can you expect when you move? To help answer both of those questions, let's turn to the data.

Today, there are far more buyers looking for homes than sellers listing their houses. Here are the maps of the latest buyer and seller traffic from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to help paint the picture of what this looks like:

Buyer Traffic & Seller Traffic Map

Notice how much darker the blues are on the left. This shows buyer traffic is strong today. In contrast, the much lighter blues on the right indicate weak or very weak seller traffic. In a nutshell, the demand for homes is significantly greater than what's available to purchase.

What That Means for You

You have an incredible advantage when you sell your house under these conditions. Since buyer demand is so high at a time when seller traffic is so low, there's a good chance buyers will be competing for your house.

According to NAR, in February, the average home sold got 4.8 offersWhen buyers have to compete with one another like this, they'll do everything they can to make their offer stand out. This could play to your favor and mean you'll see things like waived contingencies, offers over asking price, earnest money deposits, and more. Selling when demand is high and supply is low sets you up for a big win.

If you're also looking to buy a house, you may be tempted to focus more on just the seller traffic map and wonder if it means you'll have trouble finding your next home. But remember this: perspective is key. As Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.comsays:

"The limited number of homes for sale is a lesson in perspective. This same stat that frustrates would-be homebuyers also means that today's home sellers enjoy more limited competition than last year's home sellers."

If you look at the big picture, the opportunity you have as a seller today is unprecedented. Last year was a hot sellers' market. This year, inventory is even lower, and that means an even bigger opportunity for you. Even though finding your next home in a market with low inventory can be challenging, is that concern worth passing on some of the best conditions sellers have ever seen?

As added peace of mind, remember real estate professionals have been juggling this imbalance of supply and demand for nearly two years, and they know how to help both buyers and sellers find success when they move. A skilled agent can help you capitalize on the great opportunity you have as a seller today and guide you through the buying process until you find the perfect place to call your next home.

Bottom Line

If you're ready to move, you have an incredible opportunity in front of you today. Trust the experts. Let's connect so you have expertise on your side that can help you win when you sell and when you buy.

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
6

Remote Work Trends Mean Flexibility for First-Time Homebuyers

Working Remotely

Today's low inventory can be challenging for homebuyers, especially if you're looking to purchase your first home. But if you're one of many people who work remotely, you may have a great opportunity to use the flexibility you have at work to achieve your homebuying goals this year.

In a recent report, Arch Capital Services explains how the ongoing trend of remote work can open up more options for homebuyers:

". . . This will enable those who are able to work from home on a part-time or hybrid basis to move slightly farther away from job centers. . . . For workers who secure full-time remote jobs, their place of residence will be determined by affordability and personal preferences."

Basically, working from home is great news if you're a first-time buyer trying to find a home that meets your needs and budget. Here's a deeper look at how it could benefit you.

Extra Flexibility in Your Career Means Extra Flexibility in Your Home Search

If your job is 100% remote, you don't have to be tied to a specific location or office. So, if you've been having a hard time finding what you want in your local area, it may be time to expand your search.

One option you could consider is moving to a place where you've always wanted to live, like the mountains, beach, or closer to loved ones. When you broaden your search radius to include those locations, it'll give you additional homes to consider.

It could also allow you to search for a more affordable location where you have more options in your price range. This can help you achieve two goals – saving money and finding additional features that meet your needs. To truly highlight this benefit, a recent First American article discusses the great ways remote work can really help you with your homebuying goals. Ksenia Potapov, Economist at First American, says:

"For potential first-time home buyers, leveraging their house-buying power in more affordable markets can also help them buy more attractive homes – more square footage and rooms, more options for different home styles and neighborhood amenities – increasing the opportunity to find a home that suits their preferences."

That means you can use your work flexibility to search for homes with the amenities you need at a lower price point.

Bottom Line

Remote work doesn't just give you expanded flexibility for your career. If you're no longer tied to a location because of your office, you have a great opportunity to expand your housing search. Let's connect to explore how this can open up your options.

April
4

Balancing Your Wants and Needs as a Homebuyer Today

Beautiful Home

Since the number of homes for sale is low today, it can feel challenging to find one that checks all your boxes. But if you know which features are absolutely essential in your next home and which ones are just nice bonuses, you can land a home that fits your needs.

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for realtor.com, explains it like this:

"Focus on the goal you set out for yourself, like your list of must-haves and nice-to-haves and your budget, . . . Stick to that. Be persistent."

So how do you go about creating your list of desired features? The first step is to get pre-approved for your mortgage. Pre-approval helps you better understand your budget, and that plays an important role in how you'll craft your list. After all, you don't want to fall in love with a home that's too far out of reach.

Once you have a good grasp of your budget, you can begin to list all the features of a home you would like. Here's a great way to think about them before you begin:

  • Must-Haves – If a house doesn't have these features, it won't work for you and your lifestyle (examples: distance from work or loved ones, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, etc.).
  • Nice-To-Haves – These are features that you'd love to have but can live without. Nice-To-Haves aren't dealbreakers, but if you find a home that hits all the must-haves and some of the these, it's a contender (examples: a second home office, garage, etc.).
  • Dream State– This is where you can really think big. Again, these aren't features you'll need, but if you find a home in your budget that has all the must-haves, most of the nice-to-haves, and any of these, it's a clear winner (examples: farmhouse sink, multiple walk-in closets, etc.).

Finally, once you've created your list and categorized it in a way that works for you, discuss it with your real estate advisor. They'll be able to help you refine the list further, coach you through the best way to stick to it, and find a home in your area that meets your needs.

Bottom Line

Crafting your home search checklist may seem like a small task, but it can save you time and money. It's also one of the keys to being successful in today's competitive market. Let's connect so we can work together to find a home that fits your wants and needs.

April
2

Seller Regrets: Are You Making These Mistakes?

Home Seller Mistakes to Avoid

Hindsight is 20/20, especially when it comes to selling your home. There is a lot of pressure involved in a home sale, and it's very common for sellers to look back and wish they did things a bit differently. Every stage of the selling process plays a large role in determining your final sale price, and simple mistakes can ultimately cost you thousands in the end. 

The good news is most real estate agents have extensive experience working through the challenges of a home sale and can help you avoid costly errors. If you're planning to sell your home this year and want to get the best return, be careful to avoid these mistakes:

  • Not Preparing The Property
    In the months and weeks leading up to listing your home, taking the time to prepare your property for the upcoming sale makes all the difference. Small repairs, painting, and decluttering are all important pieces. You'll also need to work closely with your real estate agent in order to effectively stage the property. Remember, the most you can make buyers fall in love with your property, the more likely you are to achieve a good sale price.

  • Pricing Too High
    In a hot market, it can be especially tempting to set the bar high as a starting point. However, even if sellers are desperate many will be reluctant to pay far more than the appraised value. Starting out at a high selling point may ultimately put you in a position where you need to lower your asking price, which may lead buyers to wonder if there is a problem with the property.

  • Making Things Perfect
    Small repairs, painting, and cleaning are all important, but it's important not to spend all of your energy making things absolutely perfect. Things just need to be good enough to impress the buyer. While investing in upgrades and new appliances can help boost your sale price, it is possible to reach a point of diminishing returns. Your real estate agent should be able to guide you through the appropriate improvements.

  • Taking Poor Listing Photos
    Your property's online listing is the key to garnering buyer attention. Almost every buyer starts the shopping process online, so your listing photos are your best shot at making a good first impression. Work with your agent to take attractive listing photos after your home has been properly staged. The better your photos, the more foot traffic your listing is likely to see.

  • Not Using An Agent
    Most seller's agents make around 3% of the overall sale price in commission, so some sellers think they can save a great deal by selling their homes independently. While it is possible to do, it's not recommended unless you have a great deal of experience. Real estate agents perform numerous tasks that help to attract buyers and to generate the highest possible sale price. While you may save on commission, there's a good chance you won't maximize your sale price without an agent's help.

It's easy to make mistakes when selling a house, but by doing your homework ahead of time, you can avoid these common pitfalls.

March
28

A Key To Building Wealth Is Homeownership

A Key To Building Wealth Is Homeownership | MyKCM

The link between financial security and homeownership is especially important today as inflation rises.  But many people may not realize just how much owning a home contributes to your overall net worth. As Leslie Rouda Smith, President of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:

"Homeownership is rewarding in so many ways and can serve as a vital component in achieving financial stability."

Here are just a few reasons why, if you're looking to increase your financial stability, homeownership is a worthwhile goal.

Owning a Home Is a Building Block for Financial Success

A recent NAR report details several homeownership trends and statistics, including the difference in net worth between homeowners and renters. It finds:

". . . the net worth of a homeowner was about $300,000 while that of a renter's was $8,000 in 2021."

To put that into perspective, the average homeowner's net worth is roughly 40 times that of a renter (see visual below):

A Key To Building Wealth Is Homeownership | MyKCM

The results from this report show that owning a home is a key piece to the puzzle when building your overall net worth.

Equity Gains Can Substantially Boost a Homeowner's Net Worth

The net worth gap between owners and renters exists in large part because homeowners build equity. As a homeowner, your equity grows as your home appreciates in value and you make your mortgage payments each month.

In other words, when you own your home, you have the benefit of your mortgage payment acting as a contribution to a forced savings account. And when you sell, any equity you've built up comes back to you. As a renter, you'll never see a return on the money you pay out in rent every month.

To sum it up, NAR says it simply:

"Homeownership has always been an important way to build wealth."

Bottom Line

The gap between a homeowner's net worth and a renter's shows how truly foundational homeownership is to wealth-building. If you're ready to start on your journey to homeownership, let's connect today.

March
26

Sellers: Prioritize These Kitchen Improvements

A bigger and brighter kitchen is always on the list of top home features buyers are willing to move for. For those who love to cook and entertain guests, a nice kitchen is a must-have. As a seller, this means investing a little time and effort into sprucing up your kitchen can be well worth the time and energy.

Because the kitchen is such an important selling feature, we often recommend our clients invest in some upgrades and repairs before listing. While a full remodel may not make sense financially, here are some upgrades you might want to consider this year:

  • Enhance Your Lighting
    Everybody wants a bright kitchen, so if you're lighting fixtures aren't getting the job done, it might be time for an upgrade. Consider adding new fixtures over your kitchen table, island, or sink. We also love the look of dimmable under cabinet lighting. You can also line your backsplash with string lights to create a nice look.

  • Update Your Countertops
    If your countertops are in poor condition or have an unflattering color, upgrading them can be well worth the investment. While traditional granite countertops have been popular for decades, buyers prefer quartz these days. Not only are quartz countertops nice and sturdy, but they come in a wide range of colors and designs.

  • Upgrade Your Appliances
    New appliances can be a big investment, but you can see a nice ROI. Buyers are immediately drawn to brand new stainless steel appliances. If your refrigerator or dishwasher are dated or in bad shape, an upgrade can do you good and wow your buyers at the same time.

  • Add Or Replace Your Backsplash
    It doesn't take long for kitchen backsplashes to become dirty and dated, and don't underestimate the power of a makeover. The great thing about backsplashes is you can install a wide range of colors or patterns. Of course, classic white subway tile always works well too.

  • Refresh Your Cabinets
    Brand new cabinets can come with a hefty price tag, so if you're not feeling this upgrade, there are easier and less expensive ways to refresh your cabinets. Adding a new coat of paint is the easiest and fastest way to give them a fresh look. You can also replace any doorknobs or drawer pulls.

  • Stage The Room
    Once you've completed your kitchen upgrades, take some time to stage the room. You can really make your kitchen appear larger by putting away countertop appliances and getting rid of clutter. Open up your blinds or window treatments to maximize natural light and remove any personal items (including photos and magnets from the refrigerator). Sometimes keeping things simple is the best way to stage a room.

The kitchen is often considered one of the most important rooms of the house when it comes to selling a home. It serves as a gathering place where food is prepared and guests are entertained. Looking at your kitchen through the eyes of a potential buyer will definitely help your home sale.

March
25

How an Energy Efficient Home Can Be a Bright Idea [INFOGRAPHIC]

How an Energy Efficient Home Can Be a Bright Idea [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • With inflation driving up the cost of everyday items, seeking out an energy-efficient home can be a great way to decrease the expenses you can control.
  • Energy efficiency can help lower your utility bills and possibly even save you money on your taxesOptions to look for include efficient appliances, windows, and solar panels.
  • If you're planning to buy a home this year, consider energy efficiency in your search. Let's connect so you can better understand features that can save you money for years to come.
March
24

What You Can Expect from the Spring Housing Market

What You Can Expect from the Spring Housing Market | MyKCM

As the spring housing market kicks off, you likely want to know what you can expect this season when it comes to buying or selling a house. While there are multiple factors causing some uncertainty, including the conflict overseas, rising inflation, and the first rate increase from the Federal Reserve in over three years — the housing market seems to be relatively immune.

Here's a look at what experts say you can expect this spring.

1. Mortgage Rates Will Climb

Freddie Mac reports the 30-year fixed mortgage rate has increased by more than a full point in the past six months. And despite some mild fluctuation in recent weeks, experts believe rates will continue to edge up over the next 90 days. As Freddie Mac says:

"The Federal Reserve raising short-term rates and signaling further increases means mortgage rates should continue to rise over the course of the year."

If you're a first-time buyer or a seller thinking of moving to a home that better fits your needs, realize that waiting will likely mean you'll pay a higher mortgage rate on your purchase. And that higher rate drives up your monthly payment and can really add up over the life of your loan.

2. Housing Inventory Will Increase

There may be some relief coming for buyers searching for a home to purchase. Realtor.com recently reported that the number of newly listed homes has grown for each of the last two months. Also, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) just announced the months' supply of inventory increased for the first time in eight months. The inventory of existing homes usually grows every spring, and it seems, based on recent activity, the next 90 days could bring more listings to the market.

If you're a buyer who has been frustrated with the limited supply of homes available for sale, it looks like you could find some relief this spring. However, be prepared to act quickly if you find the right home.

If you're a seller, listing now instead of waiting for this additional competition to hit the market makes sense. Your leverage in any negotiation during the sale will be impacted as additional homes come to market.

3. Home Prices Will Rise

Prices are always determined by supply and demand. Though the number of homes entering the market is increasing, buyer demand remains very strong. As realtor.com explains in their most recent Housing 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."

What does that mean for you? With the demand for housing still outpacing supply, home prices will continue to appreciate. Many experts believe the level of appreciation will decelerate from the high double-digit levels we've seen over the last two years. That means prices will continue to climb, just at a more moderate pace. Most experts are predicting home prices will not depreciate.

Won't Increasing Mortgage Rates Cause Home Prices To Fall?

While some people may believe a 1% increase in mortgage rates will impact demand so dramatically that home prices will have to fall, experts say otherwise. Doug Duncan, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist at Fannie Mae, says:

"What I will caution against is making the inference that interest rates have a direct impact on house prices. That is not true."

Freddie Mac studied the impact that mortgage rates increasing by at least 1% has had on home prices in the past. Here are the results of that study:

What You Can Expect from the Spring Housing Market | MyKCM

As the chart shows, mortgage rates jumped by at least 1% six times in the last thirty years. In each case, home values increased.

So again, if you're a first-time buyer or a repeat buyer, waiting to buy likely means you'll pay more for a home later in the year (as compared to its current value).

Bottom Line

There are three things that seem certain going into the spring housing market:

  1. Mortgage rates will continue to rise
  2. The selection of homes available for sale will modestly improve
  3. Home prices will continue to appreciate, just at a slightly slower pace

If you're thinking of buying, act now before mortgage rates and home prices increase further. If you're thinking of selling, your best bet may be to sell soon so you can beat the increase in competition that's about to come to market. Let's connect!

March
22

The Many Benefits of Homeownership

The Many Benefits of Homeownership | MyKCM

The past two years have taught us the true value of homeownership, especially the stability and the feeling of accomplishment it can provide. But homeownership has so much more to offer. Here's a look at a few of the non-financial and financial benefits of owning a home. If you're looking to buy a home today, think about all the ways homeownership can impact your life.

Homeownership Has Impactful Personal and Emotional Benefits

Owning your home gives you a significant sense of pride because it's a space that is truly yours. And as a homeowner, you can customize your home to your heart's desire. Having a space you've put your stamp on enhances the pride and sense of ownership you may feel.

And that sense of ownership can extend beyond your shelter to help create social, community, and civic benefits as well. That's because the average homeowner stays in their home for longer than just a few years. That means you'll naturally feel a stronger connection to the community around you the longer you live there. This can help you experience a greater sense of belonging and a greater stake in your community as a whole. As the National Association of Realtors (NAR) says:

"Living in one place for a longer amount of time creates an obvious sense of community pride, which may lead to more investment in said community."

Owning a Home Is a Significant Step Toward Financial Stability

In a financial sense, homeowners benefit from home price appreciation, equity gains, and having a shield against some of the effects of inflation. These benefits can have a big impact on your life. As you gain equity through home price appreciation and paying down your mortgage, you build your net worth. And in times of inflation, your 30-year fixed-rate mortgage can help you stabilize one of your largest monthly expenses for the duration of your loan.

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for NAR, explains how you can start to see these lasting effects of homeownership as soon as you make your purchase:

"Owning a home continues to be a proven method for building long-term wealth. . . . Home values generally grow over time, so homeowners begin the wealth-building process as soon as they make a down payment and move to pay down their mortgage."

Knowing you've made a good investment soon after your purchase is powerful. And that may give you confidence in your decision to buy a home.

Bottom Line

The benefits of owning a home are foundational. As a homeowner, you can feel proud of the space you call home and know you've made a sound financial investment. To learn how homeownership can help you, let's connect to start the conversation today.

March
19

Spring Cleaning Checklist for Sellers [INFOGRAPHIC]

Spring Cleaning Checklist for Sellers [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • If you're thinking about selling your house this spring, here are some things you'll want to tackle before you list.
  • Spend your time on tasks that make it feel inviting, show it's cared for, and boost your curb appeal.
  • To determine the full list of things you'll want to tackle for your home, you need the opinion of a trusted expert. Let's connect to help make sure your house shows well this season.
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
14

This Spring Presents Sellers with a Golden Opportunity

This Spring Presents Sellers with a Golden Opportunity | MyKCM

If you're thinking of selling your house this year, timing is crucial. After all, you'll want to balance getting the most out of the sale of your current home and making the best investment when you buy your next one.

If that's the case, you should know – you may be able to get the best of both worlds today. Here are four reasons why this spring may be your golden window of opportunity.

1. The Number of Homes on the Market Is Still Low

Today's limited supply of houses for sale is putting sellers in the driver's seat. There are far more buyers in the market today than there are homes available. That means purchasers are eagerly waiting for your house.

Listing your house now makes it the center of attention. And if you work with a real estate professional to price your house correctly, you can expect it to sell quickly and likely get multiple strong offers this season.

2. Your Equity Is Growing in Record Amounts

According to the most recent Homeowner Equity Insight report from CoreLogic, homeowners are sitting on record amounts of equity thanks to recent home price appreciation. The report finds that the average homeowner has gained $55,300 in equity over the past year.

That much equity can open doors for you to make a move. If you've been holding off on selling because you're worried about how rising prices will impact your next home search, rest assured your equity can help fuel your move. It may be just what you need to cover a large portion – if not all – of the down payment on your next home.

3. Mortgage Rates Are Increasing

While it's true mortgage rates have already been climbing this year, current mortgage rates are still below what they've been in recent decades. In the 2000s, the average mortgage rate was 6.27%. In the 1990s, the average rate was 8.12%.

For context, the current average 30-year fixed mortgage rate, according to Freddie Mac, is 3.85%. And while recent global uncertainty caused rates to dip slightly in the near-term, experts project rates will rise in the months ahead. Doug Duncan, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist at Fannie Maesays:

"For homebuyers, we believe that borrowing costs will likely rise with the increase in mortgage rates...."

When that happens, it'll cost you more to purchase your next home. That's why it's important to act now if you're ready to sell. Work with a trusted advisor to kickstart the process so you can take key steps to making your next purchase before rates climb further.

4. Home Prices Are Climbing Too

Home prices have been skyrocketing in recent years because of the imbalance of supply and demand. And as long as that imbalance continues, so will the rise in home values.

What does that mean for you? If you're selling so you can move into the home of your dreams or downsize into something that better suits your current needs, you have an opportunity to get ahead of the curve by leveraging your growing equity and purchasing your next home before prices climb higher.

And, once you make your purchase, you can find peace of mind in knowing ongoing home price appreciation is growing the value of your new investment.

Bottom Line

If you want to win when you sell and when you buy, this spring could be your golden opportunity. Let's connect so you have the insights you need to take advantage of today's incredible sellers' market.

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!

February
23

How Supply and Demand Can Impact Your Buying and Selling Goals

How Supply and Demand Can Impact Your Buying and Selling Goals | MyKCM

In today's housing market, there are far more buyers looking for homes than sellers listing their houses. Based on the concept of supply and demand, this means home prices will naturally rise. Why is that? When there are more people trying to buy an item than there are making that item available for sale, that drives prices up. And that's exactly the case in today's housing market. So, knowing what's happening with the inventory of homes for sale and the demand for housing is crucial for today's buyers and sellers.

Nationally, Demand Is High and Supply Is Very Low

The latest buyer and seller activity data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) indicates buyer traffic heavily outweighs seller traffic today, as shown in the maps below. There are far darker blues (strong buyer activity) on the left and much lighter blues (weak seller activity) on the right. In other words, this shows how the demand for homes is significantly greater than what's available to purchase.

How Supply and Demand Can Impact Your Buying and Selling Goals | MyKCM

What Does This Mean if You're a Seller?

Supply is struggling to keep pace with demand. In fact, the inventory of homes for sale recently hit an all-time low. That gives you an incredible advantage when you sell your house. With so few listings, it's likely more potential buyers will view your house – especially if you work with an agent to price it right. That means there's a high chance you'll receive multiple offers or buyers will enter a bidding war for your house. And that dynamic can drive the sale price of your home up.

What Does This Mean if You're a Buyer?

As a buyer with fewer options available, you're likely to see more competition, so you need to be strategic to win. First, make sure you have a trusted professional on your side. Your real estate agent will help you understand your local market and work with you to act quickly when the time is right. Even when it's challenging to find a home, you can still succeed as a buyer today if you have a trusted advisor on your side every step of the way.

Bottom Line

Whether you're a homebuyer, seller, or both, knowledge truly is power. Let's connect today so you can better understand what's happening in our local market and achieve your homebuying and selling goals this year.

February
22

The Perks of Owning More Than One Home

The Perks of Owning More Than One Home | MyKCM

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

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

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

Enjoy a Change in Scenery (or Weather)

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

Build Your Wealth Faster

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

Be Closer to Loved Ones

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

Lock in Your Expenses

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

Bottom Line

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

February
21

Real Estate Voted the Best Investment Eight Years in a Row

Real Estate Voted the Best Investment Eight Years in a Row | MyKCM

In an annual Gallup poll, Americans chose real estate as the best long-term investment. And it's not the first time it's topped the list, either. Real estate has been on a winning streak for the past eight years, consistently gaining traction as the best long-term investment (see graph below):

Real Estate Voted the Best Investment Eight Years in a Row | MyKCMIf you're thinking about purchasing a home this year, this poll should reassure you. Even when inflation is rising like it is today, Americans agree an investment like real estate truly shines.

Why Is Real Estate a Great Investment During Times of High Inflation?

With inflation reaching its highest level in 40 years, it's more important than ever to understand the financial benefits of homeownership. Rising inflation means prices are increasing across the board. That includes goods, services, housing costs, and more. But when you purchase your home, you lock in your monthly housing payments, effectively shielding yourself from increasing housing payments. James Royal, Senior Wealth Management Reporter at Bankrate, explains it like this:

"A fixed-rate mortgage allows you to maintain the biggest portion of housing expenses at the same payment. Sure, property taxes will rise and other expenses may creep up, but your monthly housing payment remains the same."

If you're a renter, you don't have that same benefit, and you aren't protected from increases in your housing costs, especially rising rents.

History Shows During Inflationary Periods, Home Prices Rise as Well

As a homeowner, your house is an asset that typically increases in value over time, even during inflation. That's because, as prices rise, the value of your home does, too. And that makes buying a home a great hedge during periods of high inflation. Natalie Campisi, Advisor Staff for Forbes, notes:

"Tangible assets like real estate get more valuable over time, which makes buying a home a good way to spend your money during inflationary times."

Bottom Line

Housing truly is a strong investment, especially when inflation is high. When you lock in a mortgage payment, you're shielded from housing cost increases, and you own an asset that typically gains value with time. If you want to better understand how buying a home could be a great investment for you, let's connect today.

February
17

3 Things New Homeowners Don't Know

Becoming a new homeowner is an exciting milestone. It can also be an overwhelming process full of decision-making, seemingly endless paperwork and new responsibilities. When the dust settles and you officially sign for your new home, your work doesn't end there. Many new homeowners don't realize these important things. Don't be caught unaware, be sure you understand these important tips.

Your Insurance Needs to Be Updated
Your home loan likely will require you to have adequate insurance on your house itself. This guarantees that in the event of an unpredictable situation, your lender will be protected. After all, if your house burns in a fire and is uninsured, the owner is unlikely to pay off the loan. 

However, this is not all you need. If you and a partner purchased the home together, you will need to look into an updated life insurance policy. In the event of a death, the other person must be able to continue house payments, and the correct life insurance policy can help make that possible. Consult a financial advisor to see how you can best prepare for the unexpected.

You Should Hone Your Handyman Skills
Between maintenance tasks, small updates, and routine fixes, you will likely spend a lot of cash if you don't learn how to DIY a few projects as a homeowner. Be sure you know your way around basic tools, and make certain you understand what annual maintenance needs to be completed to keep your home in its top form.

Shadow a friend or family member as they complete odd jobs around their home. Be willing to help them and you may learn some skills and get a worker the next time you need assistance. If this isn't an option, or you have a specific task you need to learn, consider signing up for a class at your local hardware store.

You Should Keep Your Renovation Receipts
While general repairs do not count, update and renovation costs to increase your home's basis. This means if you keep the receipts for any improvements to your home, you could find yourself saving some funds when you go to sell your home. This is because money spent on capital improvements can help lower your tax bill when you sell your home. Consult a tax professional to navigate this process. A higher cost basis reduces your total profit (or capital gain) and will result in paying fewer taxes at the time the seller purchases. For this reason, you will want to be sure to keep those receipts and save!

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
14

How to Fall in Love With a New Neighborhood

Falling in love with a neighborhood can be equally as important as the house when you're home searching. Whether you're looking to socialize with neighbors or you prefer to keep to yourself, selecting a neighborhood you love is essential to your overall contentment. Read on to determine the factors to consider as you search for a new home in a new neighborhood.

Commute Time
Suppose you regularly commute to your place of employment—this distance and time matters. Whether you drive or take the train, knowing the average daily commute time is an essential factor to consider. If you drive, calculate how long the drive will take, and if you take the train, make sure that the local train stop offers express trains.

Recreational Activities
Whether it's a country club, golf club, fitness center or pool, living near the amenities you use regularly is essential. It will result in less commuting time, less stress and afford you more time to engage in the recreational activities you love.

School Ratings
Regardless of if you have school-aged children or not, living near a highly-rated school should be an essential part of the home searching process. In addition to how the schools are rated on sites such as greatschools.org, you can review the school's state test scores, school programming options such as Advanced Placement (AP) classes, extracurricular activities, athletic programs and the Parent Teacher Association.

Access to Nature
If having access to nature is important to you, research the nearby parks, walking trails and hiking areas that are close to the neighborhood. If you enjoy taking long walks closer to home, ensuring the area has sidewalks or walking trails may be necessary.

Quantity and Age of the Trees
Tree-lined streets are an important part of a neighborhood to many home buyers. They signify a more established area and offer a certain charm that newer communities lack. They also provide health benefits, as they clean the air.

Neighborhood Amenities and HOA
Depending on your stance on homeowner's associations (HOA's), they may entice or deter you. For example, if you're looking for a neighborhood with a community feel and amenities such as a pool, clubhouse and other shared spaces, it likely means the neighborhood will have an HOA. On the other hand, an HOA's regulations may be too restrictive. Review the neighborhood's HOA bylaws before making an offer to ensure you're comfortable with the requirements that are in place.

Walkability
If you're someone who enjoys an early morning walk to get your coffee, making sure the local coffee shop is a quick walk away is one of the minor aspects that add up to your overall quality of life. Likewise, suppose you want the ability to walk into town to grab lunch, go shopping or for your hair appointment. In that case, ensuring your neighborhood is close to the town's central business district is an essential factor to add to your list.

Ultimately, the elements of a great neighborhood are the most important factors to you. Whether it's having a short commute time, highly rated schools or tree-lined streets, your requirements are all part of your unique home buying process.

February
7

Consumers Agree: It's a Good Time To Sell

Consumers Agree: It's a Good Time To Sell | MyKCM

In today's sellers' market, many homeowners are weighing their options and trying to decide if they should sell their house. If you're in that group, you may be balancing things like the ongoing health crisis, rising mortgage rates, and your own changing needs to determine your best time to make a move.

However, recent data shows that time may already be here. According to the latest Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) by Fannie Mae76% of consumers believe now is a good time to sell.

Looking back over the past few years, its clear consumers are incredibly optimistic today. The graph below shows the percent of survey respondents who say it's a good time to sell a house, and their positive outlook is on the rise. The big dip near the middle of the chart indicates how consumer sentiment about selling dropped at the beginning of the pandemic as uncertainty about the health crisis and its impact grew. The good news is, the trend today shows a continued, drastic improvement, and people are feeling more and more confident with time about selling a home.

In fact, survey respondents think it's an even better time to sell a house today than they did in the lead-up to the health crisis. The latest survey results indicate we're at one of the strongest peaks in seller sentiment since March of 2019, hitting highs when 77% of people thought it was a good time to sell only twice before in June and October of 2021.

Consumers Agree: It's a Good Time To Sell | MyKCM

Why Are Consumers So Optimistic About Today's Housing Market?

From record-high equity gains to record-low housing supply and significant buyer demand, homeowners have more motivation than ever to sell. There are more buyers in today's market than there are homes for sale, and that's driving home prices up, making it a great time to sell your house.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the current supply of homes for sale today is at a 1.8-month supply, which is an all-time low. When the supply of homes for sale is low, sellers will likely see more offers, which is exactly what's happening right now. As NAR notes:

"The average home for sale is receiving 3.8 offers today, up from 3.3 offers just one year ago."

Bottom Line

With the inventory of houses for sale so low today pushing home prices in an upward direction, it's no wonder consumers think it's a good time to sell. If you're ready to take advantage of today's favorable sellers' market, let's connect today.

February
6

Replacing Light Fixtures Can Help You Sell Your Home

When you're planning to put your home on the market, you have to look at it through the eyes of potential buyers. Things that don't bother you, or things that used to bother you, but you got used to, can be immediate turn offs for buyers. Replacing light fixtures can make your house more appealing.

Replace Fixtures That are Broken or Outdated
Buyers will notice light fixtures that don't work and may come away with a negative impression of your house as a whole. A broken light fixture can be more than an inconvenience; in some cases, it can be a symptom of a serious electrical problem. Buyers may wonder if the house has other maintenance issues that were overlooked.

Sometimes light fixtures work fine, but they're relics of a bygone era. Lighting that was stylish when it was installed may now make your house look dated. If that's the case, replacing those fixtures with more modern or timeless ones can make your home more attractive to prospective buyers. 

Think About Energy Efficiency
Buyers aren't just interested in a house's purchase price. They're also thinking about how much utilities and other expenses will cost them each month. If your house has light fixtures that aren't energy efficient, replace them with new, more efficient lighting that will save the future owners money on their electricity bills. 

Consider Increasing the Amount of Interior Lighting
Go through each room in your house, see how bright it is when all of the lights are on, and look for any areas that need additional lighting. It may be a good idea to add lighting in areas where you prepare food in the kitchen, in the bathroom above the sink, in closets or in places where people read, work and play. 

Evaluate the Exterior Lighting
When it comes to outdoor lighting, preventing accidents should be a top priority. Medical bills can be expensive. If a guest gets injured on the property, the homeowner may have to file an insurance claim and pay a deductible, as well as higher premiums later on. 

The walkway leading to the front door should be well lit so that family members and visitors don't trip and fall. Other outdoor areas, such as the driveway and patio, should have adequate lighting.

Look at your current outdoor lighting with security in mind. There should be enough lighting to deter burglars. If you don't already have motion-activated lights, consider installing some so that the future owner will know if anyone approaches the house at night. 

Ask Your Real Estate Agent for Advice
You may not be sure if you should replace specific light fixtures or add more lighting to a particular area. Your real estate agent understands what buyers are looking for and has seen many other houses in your area that are currently on the market. Your agent can advise you on whether you should install new light fixtures and may recommend specific styles or features.  

February
4

How Remote Work Impacts Your Home Search [INFOGRAPHIC]

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

Some Highlights

February
3

Millions of Americans Have Discovered the Benefits of Multigenerational Households

Millions of Americans Have Discovered the Benefits of Multigenerational Households | MyKCM

If your needs are changing, you may be thinking about sharing a home with additional loved ones, such as grandparents, adult children, or other extended family members. Whether it's for financial or health-related circumstances, or simply because you've reached a new phase of life, you might be wondering if living with multiple generations under the same roof is a good move for you. Many people have found themselves in a similar situation and they've already made the choice to live in a multigenerational home.

What Is a Multigenerational Home?

The Pew Research Center defines a multigenerational household as a home with two or more adult generations. They include households with grandparents and grandchildren under the age of 25. As you weigh your options and decide if multigenerational living is right for you, here's some helpful information highlighted by other homeowners living with additional loved ones.

The Benefits of Multigenerational Living

A recent report from Generations United surveyed individuals living in a multigenerational setting and asked them about the key benefits of this housing arrangement. It says:

"Nearly all Americans who live in a multigenerational household (98%) feel their household functions successfully, citing various aspects of home design, family relationships and interactions, and supports and services influencing their success."

The study identifies some of the top benefits of this lifestyle as an improved financial situation, better mental and physical health, strengthened bonds with loved ones, and more (see chart below):

Millions of Americans Have Discovered the Benefits of Multigenerational Households | MyKCM

Those are just some of the reasons why most people who decide to live in this situation find it worthwhile. As Donna Butts, Executive Director at Generations United, says:

"Families may come together from need, but they are staying together by choice. Indeed, more than 7 in 10 (72 percent) of those currently living in a multigenerational household plan to continue doing so long-term."

With More Adults Living Under One Roof, You May Need More Space

If you decide to look for a multigenerational home, it's important to understand what everyone will need to make the arrangement work to its fullest. Something that often makes the top of the list for homeowners living with multiple generations is additional space for privacy. This could mean more bedrooms and bathrooms or features like an in-law suite or a basement.

If you're realizing your current house doesn't provide the room you need for multigenerational living, an expert real estate advisor can help you navigate the process to find the right home that works for you and your loved ones.

Bottom Line

Living in a multigenerational household has real and impactful benefits. If you're interested in learning more about these options in our local area, let's connect so you can find a home that fits your changing needs.

January
18

2022 Home Design Trends

If you're feeling inspired to give your home a refresh in the new year but aren't sure where to start, familiarize yourself with the most anticipated trends for the upcoming year. Whether you incorporate a few or many, these must-have home design trends will keep your home feeling fresh and relevant. Read on to find out the top home design trends for 2022.

Enclosed Spaces
Open concept spaces began waning in popularity over the last several years. With people working, learning and entertaining at home more, there is a greater need for more quiet, private spaces. This shift embraces returning to a more traditional home layout, which was more prevalent before the popularity of open-concept spaces.

Homework Rooms
In 2020 and 2021, the focus was on home offices. Looking into 2022, homework rooms reign supreme. With remote learning, school closures and quarantining still in effect, giving your child a dedicated space to stay focused on schoolwork helps provide them with a space to succeed. Equipping the room with high-speed wi-fi, plenty of outlets and smart boards, will let your child comfortably focus on learning. This space can transition into a second home office, library or craft room one day.

Curved Furniture
Furniture with curved lines brings softness to a space. For example, curved back sofas, arched cabinets or rounded dining chairs soften the angular lines that have been so prevalent during recent years. As a result, curved pieces can create a more welcoming and inviting feel in a room.

Nature-Inspired Colors
The 2022 colors of the year chosen by the major paint retailers are in various shades of green and have a unifying theme: grounding, calming and optimistic. Benjamin Moore October Mist is a gently shaded sage. The silver-green color evokes creativity and can quietly anchor a space while encouraging individuality. Sherwin-Williams Evergreen Fog is also a soft shade of green. It's a beautiful, mid-tone, green-gray hue with a slight blue undertone. It is a gentle yet sophisticated color that can be subtle and make a statement. Behr's Breezeway, another silvery-green shade with cool undertones. 

Vintage Furniture
Between continued shipping delays and a focus on sustainability, selecting vintage furniture pieces is an excellent way to avoid long lead times and be environmentally conscious with your purchase. Additionally, vintage pieces have a warmth, interest and depth that new furniture often lacks.

Natural Materials
The past few years have resulted in spending more time outside. Because of this reconnection with nature, natural interior materials will be at the forefront of many design plans. Examples of materials include marble, terracotta, travertine and stoneware, soft, organic materials and warmer tones. Bringing these organic materials indoors adds depth and visual interest to a space and creates a calming atmosphere.

Elevated Outdoor Furniture
Investing in outdoor furniture is a wise investment, as outdoor living spaces will continue to be an extension of the interior. Outdoor furniture that is intentionally selected, stylish, comfortable and long-lasting is important as entertaining outdoors continues to be an ongoing theme. Designing this outdoor space like you'd create an indoor living room can help you quickly expand your living and entertaining area.

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.
January
12

9 Home Items to Get Rid of for the New Year

The new year can bring new beginnings. Unfortunately, without the proper planning, you will feel like you are already behind on day one. If you truly want to start the new year off on the right foot, you'll need to do some prep work before the day arrives. Getting your home and your mind ready for your New Year's goals can require letting some things go. Here are some items in your home that you can easily get rid of for the new year to bring more organization to your home and mind.

- In Your Living Spaces:

Outdated Books 
Book lovers may want to keep their favorite tomes, but even they can agree that a dated atlas or textbook doesn't serve the reader well.

Broken Trinkets
That glass item you had on display broke months ago, and you've still been meaning to fix it. If you won't repair it or take it to be repaired right now, it's time to let it go. 

Inherited Memorabilia
Your great aunt's favorite collection may have made its way onto your shelf, but do you enjoy the real estate it takes up? If not, pass it along to another person who will. Keep one or two favorites and donate the rest to family or a charity.

- In the Kitchen:

Expired Spices
Spices lose their pizzazz over time. Keep your food tasting its best by discarding anything too old.

Chipped Dishes
Chipped or cracked dishes are liable to break unexpectedly when heated or cooled. Discard them to ensure that you don't have a mess on your hands in the future.

Specialty Cooking Tools 
Holiday cooking items and one-off cooking tools can take up a lot of usable space in your kitchen. Be honest about what you have the space, time and skillset to cook or bake in your current space.

- In Kids' Rooms or Play Spaces:

Incomplete Games or Puzzles
No one wants to spend time on a puzzle only to leave it unfinished due to missing pieces. Save everyone the frustration and avoid the donation pile, toss this item straight in the recycling bin.

Age-Specific Toys
Donate toys that are too young for your child. If you do plan to have another, most items can be bought gently used later. 

Party Favor Toys
Low-quality toys are not fun long-term, but still make a big mess. Do yourself a favor and toss or recycle the tiny and cheap items. Your child likely will never notice.

January
11

Hook Buyers With A Home Office Space

With so many people working from home these days, it's no surprise that a home office has become a popular selling point. In fact, it's now a "must-have" feature for many buyers. By advertising a home office in your listing, you stand to increase your sale price by as much as 4%. The good news is it's fairly easy to add an office to your home. However, it's important to stage it the right way. By following these tips, you can generate buyer attention with the perfect office setup:

  • Choose The Right Spot
    An extra room is usually the best place to stage a home office, but if your home doesn't have an extra room, don't fret! Consider any unused space in the home. You'd be surprised at how many areas can serve as a home office, but you might need to get creative. Do you have space under the stairway? Is there an unused section of your basement or game room? Does your living room have an extra nook sectioned off from the rest of the room? If you don't have a dedicated room, search for opportunities throughout the rest of the home.

  • Stage Your Furniture
    A home office setup is actually fairly simple because, at a minimum, you only need a nice desk and a chair. However, if you have some space to work, you should attempt to maximize it. Consider adding a nice lamp as a desk piece. Visitor seating is always a good idea, or you could create a reading nook in the corner of the room by adding a comfortable chair and a floor lamp. A small filing cabinet that easily fits underneath the desk is also a great accessory.

  • Emphasize The Light
    Lighting is an important feature of a home office. If the room receives lots of natural light, be sure to open the blinds or remove the window treatments for staging photos and home tours. If the room is lacking natural light, try to create a well-balanced source or ambient light by adding some floor lamps.

  • Avoid Any Personalization
    While no home office is complete without family photos, bobbleheads, and knick-knacks, you should strive to avoid personalizing the office space. Remember, your goal isn't to show off your own office, it's to create a space where buyers can envision themselves working. Your own personal decor can be distracting or a turnoff to a buyer.

  • Eliminate Clutter
    If you're actively using your office space, it's important to keep it clean and clutter-free. Keep all office supplies stored away inside a drawer or cabinet. Make sure the surface of the desk is completely clear. If you're struggling to declutter, consider using some office organizers to neatly group and store items on your shelf space or in a nearby closet.

Home offices have never been more important. By not having one, you run the risk of excluding many potential buyers who work from home. Your listing agent can help you find the best way to add and show off a new home office space to hook buyers today.

January
10

How To Hit Your Homebuying Goals This Year [INFOGRAPHIC]

How To Hit Your Homebuying Goals This Year [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • If you're looking to buy a home, you may want to put these items on your to-do list to ensure you hit your goals.
  • It's important to start working on your credit and saving for a down payment early. When you're ready to begin your search, work with a real estate professional and get pre-approved so you know how much you can borrow.
  • Let's connect so you have the guidance you need to achieve your homebuying goals this year.
December
31

5 Money Moves to Make Before the End of the Year

As we close in on the end of the year, it's natural to be thinking about the holiday season and all the travel, parties and family fun that comes with it. But it's also the time to take stock of your finances, decide what's working and what is not, and what you can do to get 2022 off to a good financial start. Here are five strategic money moves you should be making now.

Review and Update Your Goals – What's gone well financially in the past year? What has gone less well than you'd hoped? How have your life and priorities changed, and what money decisions need to change with them? If setting sound financial strategies is new to you—or even they aren't—start reading and learning now.

Maximize Your Opportunities – Saving for retirement and for financial independence is critical. If you have a 401(k), you have until Dec. 31 to contribute to the maximum allowed. If you have an IRA, you have until April 15 of next year to make your maximum contribution—but you should plan now to revisit your decision about whether a traditional or a Roth IRA will work best for you next year. Review your health savings account (HSA) or consider starting one, and if you are self-employed and don't have one, look into opening a retirement account through your business.

Optimize Employee Benefits – The end of the year is open enrollment season. Carefully review the packet of information sent to you by your employer so you can make the most of financial opportunities regarding savings and insurance, as well as legal services and other perks that may be available.

Use Any Remaining FSA Funds – Most FSA funds assert that any money still in your account at the end of the year is no longer available to you. Use the last weeks of 2021 to get those new glasses or visit the dentist before those funds run out.

Make a Holiday Plan – The holidays can be a huge money drain. To help you stay on top of your financial goals, budget now for holiday travel, gift-giving and entertainment, and resolve to stick with your plan.

December
30

Your Blueprint for Celebrating a Relaxing New Year's Eve at Home

The holidays are magical, festive, and exhausting. After a season of year-end deadlines, holiday parties, school events and extended time with the in-laws, celebrating New Year's Eve in anything other than a cashmere jumpsuit on the Cloud Sofa can feel daunting. So, whether you spend the evening in solitude, with your significant other, or with an intimate group of friends, here are a few ways to make the evening feel extra special yet cozy.

Dress the Part
The best part about spending a cozy NYE at home is being able to dress comfortably. So, whether you wear head-to-toe cashmere or you step it up by pairing your faux leather leggings with an oversized button-down, keep comfort top-of-mind. And, let the high heels sit out this NYE in exchange for a pair of faux-fur lined Birdies.

Create the Ambiance
Whether it's relaxing, soft and cozy, or energetic and lively, decide the vibe you want your NYE to have, considering the following ambient elements:

  • Create a playlist that reflects this vibe (or find an already curated list on Spotify).
  • Select a scent, whether it's an energizing citrus blend, or a relaxing lavender aroma.
  • Layer the lighting, dim the recessed lighting and let the layers of task lighting and candlelight illuminate the room.
  • Display seasonal florals and greenery, such as evergreens, amaryllis and camellias.

Set the Bar
Create an entirely self-serve beverage station. Consider serving a signature cocktail to reduce the number of open bottles, uncork the wine and have all barware and garnishes available for easy self-service. Don't forget a mocktail option if you're looking to start New Year's resolutions early.

Indulge in the Best
Whether you're serving home-cooked surf and turf, or you're ordering takeout from your favorite local restaurant, an evening spent celebrating the past year and welcoming in the new one is the perfect occasion to bring out the lovely china. Serve the wine family style, so you can sit and enjoy a leisurely meal.

Layer the Textiles
After an indulgent meal, gathering around the fire to watch a movie, play a game or enjoy conversation and laughs can feel like a true luxury. Wool carpet or rugs underfoot, a stack of cashmere blankets, oversized faux fur throw pillows and sheepskin throws can provide unparalleled comfort during an evening spent at home.

Take in the Fresh Air
Ring in the new year under the stars, whether you live in a warm climate or you fire up the outdoor heaters. Brew up a batch of hot toddies, light up the outdoor fireplace, pile on the fur blankets and countdown to the new year in the fresh air.

Plan for the Year Ahead
If planning is your key for relaxation, get ahead of your new year's resolutions by setting your intentions for the year ahead and thinking about your upcoming goals and ambitions. Then, when you wake up on the first of the year, you will already feel like you have a jump start on a fresh start.

December
24

4 Quick and Easy DIY Holiday Centerpieces

With the holidays right around the corner, many people are diving into their basements, attics and garages, pulling out their holiday decor. And though you may resume your tree ornaments, lights and wall hangings, changing up some of your decor can truly get you—and your guests—into the holiday spirit. Centerpieces make great DIY projects, bringing joy and creativity to your dinner table. Here are four simple DIY holiday centerpiece ideas you can try this season!

Pine Cones in Vases
Whether you buy them from a store or simply take a walk into your own backyard, pine cones are a great addition to holiday decor. For your new centerpiece, bring the outdoors inside. Spray paint some pinecones silver, white or gold—or add sparkles for an added touch of glamour—and place them in a wide-mouth vase. You can even use vases of different heights to create some visual interest. Dress up the base of the vases with some holiday colored ribbon or twine, and voila! 

Stacks of Mini Presents
Get yourself a package of mini boxes, or make them yourself from old cardboard boxes. Leave them plain white or wrap them in your favorite holiday wrapping paper. Then, simply stack them on top of a cake stand for a festive centerpiece. Add ribbon to each box, creating a look of gifts under the tree, or even add numbers to each box and use them as a countdown. Each day, a box can be opened, filled with surprises leading up to the ultimate gift-giving day!

Upcycled Candle Lanterns
Do you have an old candle lantern that you've been meaning to get rid of? Before you donate it, use it for this year's holiday centerpiece! If you plan to put a candle inside, create a decorative scene on the outside or around it to highlight the candlelight. Use pine cones, greenery, berries and even fake snow around the base and on the edges and top of the lantern. Or, ditch the candle and fill it with these same items, or holiday-themed knick-knacks to showcase on your table. 

Ornaments Galore
If you have extra ornaments left over after decorating your tree, there are many ways you can still use them! For example, set up a long tray in the center of your table, place three to five candles on the tray (depending on the size of the tray) and place your ornaments around the candles on the tray. Or, whip out that old cupcake stand and place an ornament in each cupcake slot to create a truly eye-catching piece of decor. You can even glue together ornaments to create a wreath, but instead of hanging it on your front door, place it on the table with a few candles in the center!

No matter what your style or crafty abilities, you can create a simple and quick DIY holiday centerpiece in no time. Look through the decorations you already have, or take a trip to the dollar store! With a little bit of creativity and a dash of holiday spirit, you can dress up your table with a centerpiece in no time, and no or low cost!

December
23

When a House Becomes a Home

When a House Becomes a Home | MyKCM

It's clear that owning a home makes financial sense. But lately, the emotional side of what drives homeownership is becoming increasingly important.

No matter the living space, the feeling of a home means different things to different people. Whether it's a familiar scent or a favorite chair, the feel-good connections to our own homes can be more important to us than the financial ones. Here are some of the reasons why.

1. Owning your home is an accomplishment worth celebrating

You've put in a lot of work to achieve the dream of homeownership, and whether it's your first home or your fifth, congratulations are in order for this milestone. You've earned it.

2. There's no place like home

Owning your own home offers not only safety and security but also a comfortable place where you can simply relax and unwind after a long day. Sometimes that's just what we need to feel recharged and truly content.

3. You can find more space to meet your needs

Whether you want more room for your changing lifestyle (think: working from home, dedicated space for a hobby, or a personal gym) or you simply prefer to have a large backyard for entertaining, you can invest in a home that truly works for your evolving needs.

4. You have control over renovations, updates, and your style

Looking to try one of those decorative wall treatments you saw on Pinterest? Tired of paying an additional pet deposit for your apartment building? Maybe you want to create an entire in-home yoga studio. You can do all of these things in your own home.

Bottom Line

Whether you're a first-time homebuyer or a repeat buyer who's ready to start a new chapter in your life, now is a great time to reflect on the non-financial factors that turn a house into a happy home. Let's connect!

December
7

6 Popular Home Wellness Trends

Incorporating wellness features into the home design process is not only becoming more mainstream, it's becoming more expected in homes, especially in the luxury market. The foundation of health and wellness begins at home, so it's no wonder that these features are becoming more conventional. Below are the home wellness design trends expected to become increasingly more prevalent in the coming year.

Home Air Purifiers
As the country continues to return to a more normal way of living, having proper ventilation and pure indoor air quality is more important than over. An indoor air purifier can lessen air contaminants, bacteria and viruses. Air purification systems can be installed into HVAC systems and take the form of stand-alone units.

Indoor Gardening
Bringing the outdoors in can offer a host of health benefits, from physical to mental. Greenery can be visually calming, air purifying and can contribute to an immunity-boosting diet. Building an indoor garden can deliver all these benefits. Whether you create a stand-alone greenhouse or a more undersized garden stand, you can have fresh fruit and vegetables readily available and the live plants can aid in purifying your air.

Touchless Appliances
Touchless appliances can help curb the spread of germs throughout your home. From motion-activated toilets, kitchen faucets, bathroom faucets, light switches, locks or garage door openers, simply waving your hand to activate these high-touch surfaces can help stop germs from spreading.

At-Home Fitness 
Creating a fitness space beyond the Peloton and treadmill makes a well-rounded fitness and wellness routine at home. A heated yoga studio or meditation room facilitates a mind-body wellness routine from the comfort and safety of home. For additional wellness benefits, adding a massage studio lets your masseuse come to you.

Embracing Minimalism
A clutter-free home creates a stress-free oasis that is so important for mental clarity and health. Devising a decluttering system that works for you can be therapeutic and result in long-term psychological and physical health benefits. Aspects of this system may include a more sophisticated custom storage system or hiring a professional organizer. In addition, a lighter physical space can often create a lighter headspace.

Enhanced Outdoor Living
Outdoor living and entertaining increased over the pandemic and don't show any signs of slowing down. From full outdoor kitchens to enhanced lounging areas to additional protection from the elements, equipping your home with the features to host and live comfortably outdoors is essential.

By prioritizing health at home, you're more likely to integrate it into every aspect of your life.

December
6

A Checklist for Selling Your House This Winter [INFOGRAPHIC]

A Checklist for Selling Your House This Winter [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • If you're planning to sell your house this winter, you'll want it to look its best inside and out.
  • Take the time and focus on tasks that make it inviting, show it's cared for, and boost your curb appeal.
  • Let's connect so you have an expert opinion on what to focus on, so it shows well and catches a buyer's eye.
December
3

Home Is Where the Heart Is More than Ever This Year

Home Is Where the Heart Is More than Ever This Year | MyKCM

There's no denying the financial benefits of homeownership, but what's often overlooked are the feelings of gratitude, security, pride, and comfort we get from owning a home. This year, those emotions are stronger than ever. We've lived through a time that has truly changed our needs and who we are, and as a result, homeownership has a whole new meaning for many of us.

According to the 2021 State of the American Homeowner report by Unison:

"Last year, staying home became a necessity and that caused many homeowners to have renewed gratitude for the roof over their head."

As a nation, we continue to work through the challenges of a pandemic that's pushed us all to new limits. Over the past year and a half, we've spent more time than ever at home: working, eating, schooling, exercising, and more. The world around us changed almost overnight, and our homes were redefined. Our needs shifted, and our shelters became a place that protected us on a whole new level. The same study from Unison notes:

  • 91% of homeowners say they feel secure, stable, or successful owning a home
  • 64% of American homeowners say living through a pandemic has made their home more important to them than ever
  • 83% of homeowners say their home has kept them safe during the COVID-19 pandemic

It's no surprise this study also reveals that homeowners are now more emotionally attached to their homes as well:Home Is Where the Heart Is More than Ever This Year | MyKCMAs we've learned throughout this health crisis, homeownership can provide the safety and security we crave in a time of uncertainty. That sense of connection and emotional stability genuinely reaches beyond just the financial aspect of owning a home. As JD Esajian, President of CT Homes, LLC, says:

"Aside from the financial factors, there are several social benefits of homeownership and stable housing to consider. It has long been thought that buying a home contributes to a sense of accomplishment. Still, most individuals fail to realize that homeownership can benefit your mental health and the community around you."

Whether you're thinking of buying your first home, moving up to your dream home, or downsizing to something that better fits your changing lifestyle, take a moment to reflect on what Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, notes:

"Buying a home is not just a financial decision. It's also a lifestyle decision."

Bottom Line

If you're considering buying a home, it's not entirely about the dollars and cents. Let's connect so I can help you when it comes to weighing the non-financial benefits that may truly change your life when you need them most. 

November
19

Seller Regrets: Are You Making These Mistakes?

Hindsight is 20/20, especially when it comes to selling your home. There is a lot of pressure involved in a home sale, and it's very common for sellers to look back and wish they did things a bit differently. Every stage of the selling process plays a large role in determining your final sale price, and simple mistakes can ultimately cost you thousands in the end. 

The good news is most real estate agents have extensive experience working through the challenges of a home sale and can help you avoid costly errors. If you're planning to sell your home this year and want to get the best return, be careful to avoid these mistakes:

  • Not Preparing The Property
    In the months and weeks leading up to listing your home, taking the time to prepare your property for the upcoming sale makes all the difference. Small repairs, painting, and decluttering are all important pieces. You'll also need to work closely with your real estate agent in order to effectively stage the property. Remember, the most you can make buyers fall in love with your property, the more likely you are to achieve a good sale price.

  • Pricing Too High
    In a hot market, it can be especially tempting to set the bar high as a starting point. However, even if sellers are desperate many will be reluctant to pay far more than the appraised value. Starting out at a high selling point may ultimately put you in a position where you need to lower your asking price, which may lead buyers to wonder if there is a problem with the property.

  • Making Things Perfect
    Small repairs, painting, and cleaning are all important, but it's important not to spend all of your energy making things absolutely perfect. Things just need to be good enough to impress the buyer. While investing in upgrades and new appliances can help boost your sale price, it is possible to reach a point of diminishing returns. Your real estate agent should be able to guide you through the appropriate improvements.

  • Taking Poor Listing Photos
    Your property's online listing is the key to garnering buyer attention. Almost every buyer starts the shopping process online, so your listing photos are your best shot at making a good first impression. Work with your agent to take attractive listing photos after your home has been properly staged. The better your photos, the more foot traffic your listing is likely to see.

  • Not Using An Agent
    Most seller's agents make around 3% of the overall sale price in commission, so some sellers think they can save a great deal by selling their homes independently. While it is possible to do, it's not recommended unless you have a great deal of experience. Real estate agents perform numerous tasks that help to attract buyers and to generate the highest possible sale price. While you may save on commission, there's a good chance you won't maximize your sale price without an agent's help.

It's easy to make mistakes when selling a house, but by doing your homework ahead of time, you can avoid these common pitfalls. If you are ready to sell your home, let's connect to ensure you don't make these common mistakes!

November
15

4 Things Every Renter Needs To Consider

4 Things Every Renter Needs To Consider | MyKCM

As a renter, you're constantly faced with the same dilemma: keep renting for another year or purchase a home? Your answer depends on your current situation and future plans, but there are a number of benefits to homeownership every renter needs to consider.

Here are a few things you should think about before you settle on renting for another year.

1. Rents Are Rising Quickly

Rent increasing each year isn't new. Looking back at Census data confirms rental prices have gone up consistently for decades (see graph below):4 Things Every Renter Needs To Consider | MyKCMIf you're a renter, you're faced with payments that continue to climb each year. Realtor.com recently shared the September Rental Report, and it shows price increases accelerating from August to September (see graph below):4 Things Every Renter Needs To Consider | MyKCMAs the graph shows, rents are still on the rise. It's important to keep this in mind when the time comes for you to sign a new lease, as your monthly rental payment may increase substantially when you do.

2. Renters Miss Out on Equity Gains

One of the most significant advantages of buying a home is the wealth you build through equity. This year alone, homeowners gained a substantial amount of equity, which, in turn, grew their net worth. As a renter, you miss out on this wealth-building tool that can be used to fund your retirement, buy a bigger home, downsize, or even achieve personal goals like paying for an education or starting a new business.

3. Homeowners Can Customize to Their Heart's Content

This is a big decision-making point if you want to be able to paint, renovate, and make home upgrades. In many cases, your property owner determines these selections and prefers you don't alter them as a renter. As a homeowner, you have the freedom to decorate and personalize your home to truly make it your own.

4. Owning a Home May Provide Greater Mobility than You Think

You may choose to rent because you feel it provides greater flexibility if you need to move for any reason. While it's true that selling a home may take more time than finding a new rental, it's important to note how quickly houses are selling in today's market. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the average home is only on the market for 17 days. That means you may have more flexibility than you think if you need to relocate as a homeowner.

Bottom Line

Deciding if it's the right time for you to buy is a personal decision, and the timing is different for everyone. However, if you'd like to learn more about the benefits of homeownership, let's connect so you can make a confident, informed decision and have a trusted advisor along the way.

November
12

Tips and Tricks Every Homeowner Should Know

Becoming a homeowner doesn't equip you with the basics of household know-how, although time and experience will likely teach you how to tighten up a leaky faucet. But technicians say that up to 30 percent of their service calls require nothing more than the flip of a switch or the push of a button to 'repair' the stated problem.

To save you from such an embarrassing experience—not to mention the cost of a service call—Readers Digest offers tips to help every homeowner recognize and 'fix' common issues:

  • The fridge is warm. Check to see that nobody messed with the temperature dial. Turn it up if need be, and be sure no food containers are blocking the fridge and freezer compartment vents, which supply the flow of cold air.
  • The bathroom lights don't work. Sometimes all the bathroom outlets or several exterior lights are powered through a single GFCI (the red button in the middle of some outlets located in one bathroom). If there's an outage, push the reset button on the GFCI, and you could be back in business.
  • A kitchen appliance won't turn on. When a light goes out in one room or a switch doesn't turn on the coffeepot, check the main electrical panel for a tripped circuit breaker. Look for a switch that's not in line with the others. Flip it fully to the off position, and then back on.
  • The toilet is running. The most common cause is a worn flapper that no longer seals properly. The flapper is easy to replace without calling a plumber. Your nearest home store can sell you the part and tell you what you need to know.
  • The paint needs a touchup. Mimic the texture a paint roller leaves on the wall without calling the painter. Dip an old washcloth in the paint, dab it on the spot, and toss it away.
  • The garage is stuffed. Before you call a carpenter to add more shelving, mount a section of wire shelving to the undersides of the beams to give you a row of neat storage nooks. Unlike solid shelving, wire lets you see what's up there. Then pick up a pack of S-hooks at a home center, and turn a length of wire shelving into a rack for holding garden and/or cleaning gear.
November
11

10 Tips for Selling Your Home During the Holidays

Attract homebuyers during the holidays with these tips.

When most people think about the holidays, they think about family gatherings, turkey dinners, and gift-giving.  Selling their home during the holidays isn't something they usually imagine.  No one sells their home during this time of the year ... Right?  Wrong!

In fact, selling your home during the holidays has its advantages. Since fewer homes are on the market, there is less competition.  And home buyers are usually more serious and ready to buy.

How do you make the most of this selling season?  Here are ten tips to get you started.

  1. Deck the Halls
    When selling your home during the holidays, you absolutely should deck the halls to help your home feel festive. However, avoid any religious decorations and be careful to not go overboard. A few classic pieces can go a long way towards bringing the holiday spirit to your home.
  2. Look for Motivated Buyers 
    If someone is trying to move during the holidays, it is very likely that they have a big reason for doing so. Look for buyers on a deadline, such as someone relocating for a job, as they will be more motivated to buy quickly.
  3. Host a Holiday Open House
    At the open house, bring a few holiday touches to the event. Serve freshly baked cookies alongside hot cider and cocoa. Play holiday ambient music to set the mood.
  4. Price to Sell
    Negotiations can take a lot of time. Instead of pricing your home high and gradually making small price reductions, during the holiday season it is better to price your home to sell.
  5. Prioritize Online Marketing
    When the weather outside is frightful, potential buyers rely on online home listings more than ever. Make sure your listings are filled with high-quality pictures and an online video tour to pique their interest.
  6. Clean Up the Exterior
    Bare tree branches give potential buyers a much clearer view of your home's exterior. Pay attention to every detail so the exterior looks perfect. Clean the leaves out of the yard and gutters. Touch up paint on the siding, doors, and trim. Keep the walkways clear of ice and snow.
  7. Keep Your Schedule Open
    You never know when an interested buyer might want to come to look at your home. While you should set aside time to spend with your family on Thanksgiving and Christmas, try to keep as many days clear on your calendar as possible to make scheduling showings easier.
  8. Tidy the Inside Again and Again
    Tracking in mud and snow can make a clean house look dirty in seconds. Vacuum, sweep, and mop regularly to keep the house looking spotless for any impromptu showings that may come up.
  9. Make Your Home Cozy
    When stepping inside from the frigid cold, you want potential buyers to immediately feel cozy and "at home". Turn up the heat to keep them warm. Turn on the lights to make the house bright and cheery.
  10. Hire a Dependable Real Estate Agent
    The right real estate agent to help you with selling your home is important at any time of the year. But during the holiday season, you really want someone who is dependable and will be present when you need them the most. When you are ready to sell, let's connect!

Although selling a house during the holiday season will definitely keep you busy, don't forget to take the time to enjoy the season too.

November
3

Five Ways to Recharge at Home This Autumn

The change of seasons is a perfect time to take a moment to pause, reflect and recharge. In addition to updating your decor and bringing out cooler weather clothing, giving yourself a seasonal refresh is a perfect way to greet a new season. Prepare for the season ahead by taking some for yourself by recharging from the comfort of home. Consider the below activities, so you can head into autumn with a clearer head and lighter heart.

At-Home Spa Day
Bring the spa to you by hiring a team who can come to your home and treat you to a full spa menu. Whether you indulge in a massage, facial, manicure, pedicure or all of the above, a spa day in the comfort of your own home is a guaranteed way to unplug so you feel rejuvenated to face the more hectic pace of fall and the upcoming holiday season. In addition, keeping a massage table in your home gym will make it easier and more compelling to make this at-home service a regular indulgence.

At-Home Chef
Take the night off from cooking by bringing a home chef into your house for the evening. You can benefit from a home-cooked, gourmet meal while relaxing in your most comfortable loungewear. You can enjoy the experience of a night out without having to worry about making a reservation or selecting the perfect outfit.

Sumptuous Fabrics
Drape yourself and furniture in an indulgent fabric, such as cashmere. Make sure your sitting areas have ample amounts of cashmere blankets to wrap yourself in while you unwind on the sofa. Invest in a cashmere robe or loungewear so you can spend an evening feeling like you're enveloped in a hug while you settle in with a good book or show.

Unplug for the Weekend
Spend a technology-free weekend to recharge your mind. Whether you spend your time enjoying spa services, exercising, baking or gardening, aim to engage in activities that calm your mind, rather than mindlessly scrolling through your social media feeds or incessantly checking your email. When Monday arrives, you will be able to kick off the week with a refreshing level of motivation.

At-Home Yoga Session
Bring a yoga instructor to your home to reap the mind and body benefits of yoga without commuting to a yoga studio. Whether you breathe in the fresh air in your private backyard or breathe deeply inside your home gym, an at-home yoga session should leave you with a clear head, a limber body and feeling rejuvenated.

The daily grind can take a toll on your headspace and body, so taking the time to check in with yourself and press the reset button is not only important to how you will feel in the moment but is also essential for long-term health benefits. 

November
1

Unique Kitchen Island Configurations

Whether you're hosting family and friends, or it's just your immediate family, the kitchen island is inevitably the place where people end up gathering. A kitchen island ends up being a communal spot to enjoy coffee, hors d'oeuvres, a glass of wine and tell stories. A traditional kitchen island layout will work in nearly any kitchen design. Expanding an island to offer more space for sitting, lounging and prepping food will bring additional comfort to your leisurely mornings or long nights gathered around the kitchen island. Here are some unique kitchen island configurations to choose from.

Built-In Table at the End of the Island
If you find your family spending many meals at the kitchen island instead of the dining table, consider building a kitchen table directly into the end of the island. Whether you build a round dining table at the end of the island or a square dining table, remember to account for ample seating. Don't shy away from going oversized to accommodate everyone comfortably and to make a design statement.

Double Island
A double island can be invaluable if you frequently host gatherings. One island can be for cooking and prep work, and the other can remain the hub for gathering around. Depending on your kitchen's layout and space, the two islands can be next to each other or back to back.

U-Shaped Island
A truly custom look, this layout is meant for kitchens with ample space. An oversized u-shaped kitchen island offers enough room in the middle for a built-in banquette and dining table. This layout can take the place of a breakfast nook. A u-shaped island invites friends and family to meet around the table for meals, snacks, cocktail hour and game nights while still being in the middle of the kitchen island action.

Built-In Banquette
Building a banquette directly into the island is both a functional game-changer and a conversation starter. For example, adding a long banquette to the length of the island can be paired with a dining table as a place to gather around for meals. Or, a shorter banquette added to the end of the island can be paired with a smaller table, such as a tulip or pedestal table, for a more intimate space to enjoy your morning coffee.

Two-Tiered Island
If you don't have the space for two kitchen islands, but you want to have a separate food prep area and food serving area, a two-tiered island will let you use the top tier for preparing food and the bottom level to set out hors-d'oeuvres and for guests to set down their drinks and plates. In addition, using different counter materials, such as marble on the top and wood on the bottom, will add visual interest.

October
29

Does Your House Have What Buyers Want?

Does Your House Have What Buyers Want? | MyKCM

The rise in remote work is changing what many Americans want in their homes. Many companies are choosing to delay reopening or go remote full-time, and today's buyers are looking for homes with more space to support their work needs.

As a seller, if you no longer need the extra room you have in your home, rest assured there are buyers who do.

Remote Work Is Here To Stay

Remote work remains a reality for many Americans. A recent poll from Garter, Inc. shows many organizations have not yet returned their offices:

". . . 66% of organizations are delaying reopening their offices due to new COVID-19 variants."

And it's not just companies that are choosing to remain remote for the time being – workers are seeking more flexibility. According to research from PricewaterhouseCoopers, nearly one-fifth of employees want to be fully remote in the future. The study also finds that many people are leaving jobs to seek out remote work opportunities:

"Among employees looking for new jobs, almost one in ten say it's because they moved away from the office while working remotely and don't want to go back on-site."

More Remote Work Means a Greater Need for Home Offices

That's leading today's buyers to prioritize finding homes with more space so they can comfortably work from home. The 2021 Home Design Trends Survey from the American Institute of Architects finds that 69% of surveyed individuals still want at least one office at home. However, it also shows that more people are looking for multiple spaces in their home for remote work and virtual meetings (see graph below):Does Your House Have What Buyers Want? | MyKCM

What Does This Mean for You?

If your house has extra space that you no longer need, buyers are interested, and now may be the perfect time to sell.

Your trusted real estate advisor can help you highlight many of the most sought-after features in your listing, including home offices. On the other hand, if you have extra room without a purpose, consider staging it as an area where remote work can happen. Your agent can help you with this as well by evaluating and preparing your space for potential buyers. They'll make recommendations for how to stage the room, where to draw the eye, and what other sellers are doing to make their houses stand out.

Bottom Line

With the continued rise in remote work, more buyers are looking for homes that can support multiple home offices. If you have extra room you're no longer using, consider selling. Let's connect today to discuss the unique features in your house and how you can capitalize on any extra space to appeal to today's buyers.

October
22

Celebrate Fall With Family Fun Activities

Autumn is sometimes that overlooked period between the last of summer's outdoor activities and hectic preparations for the holidays. But fall offers its own opportunities for rewarding family fun. Check out these leisurely ways to make some happy autumn memories.  

  • Check Out the Foliage In most areas of the country, you are no more than a couple hours drive away from some vibrant fall foliage. If you need ideas, get online to find out where you can best view the best of fall's amazing colors. Pack a picnic and head out for an afternoon of splashing about the falling leaves.
  • Pick Pumpkins …but not from the local market. Look for a fall festival or farmer's market where you can get your fill of fun activities and head home with the best of autumn's harvest, including the perfect pumpkins.
  • Go Apple Picking Apple picking season usually starts in August and peaks through September, but there's still time to squeeze in a trip to a nearby apple orchard during the first half of October. You can take photos, pick apples, eat cider doughnuts and stock up on homemade apple cider.
  • Enjoy Oktoberfest Somewhere in your area, you can probably find a commercial or sponsored Oktoberfest celebration, featuring authentic German foods, a beer and/or cider garden, guides in German folk dress and a variety of games and shopping opportunities the whole family can enjoy.
  • Take a Haunted Road Trip For a good, friendly scare, find a haunted house to explore during the month of October. If all else fails, tour a cemetery at night and make up your own ghost tales.
  • Make Costumes Forget the commercially-made costumes at the store and brainstorm some ideas of your own. Find the fabrics and accessories you need and spend some happy family hours making your costume wishes come true.
  • Get Cooking Spend some time in the kitchen together making pumpkin spice muffins, pumpkin pies or even some pumpkin-based soup. You'll be making memories your kids will remember all while enjoying the fruits of your labor.
October
20

The Big Question: Should You Renovate or Move?

The Big Question: Should You Renovate or Move? | MyKCM

The last 18 months changed what many buyers are looking for in a home. Recently, the American Institute of Architects released their AIA Home Design Trends Survey results for Q3 2021. The survey reveals the following:

  • 70% of respondents want more outdoor living space
  • 69% of respondents want a home office (48% wanted multiple offices)
  • 46% of respondents want a multi-function room/flexible space
  • 42% of respondents want an au pair/in-law suite
  • 39% of respondents want an exercise room/yoga space

If you're a homeowner who wants to add any of the above, you have two options: renovate your current house or buy a home that already has the spaces you desire. The decision you make could be determined by factors like:

  1. A possible desire to relocate
  2. The difference in the cost of a renovation versus a purchase
  3. Finding an existing home or designing a new home that has exactly what you want (versus trying to restructure the layout of your current house)

In either case, you'll need access to capital: the funds for the renovation or the down payment your next home would require. The great news is that the money you need probably already exists in your current home in the form of equity.

Home Equity Is Skyrocketing

The record-setting increases in home prices over the last two years dramatically improved homeowners' equity. The graph below uses data from CoreLogic to show the average home equity gain in the first quarter of the last nine years:The Big Question: Should You Renovate or Move? | MyKCMOdeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, quantifies the amount of equity homeowners gained recently:

"Remember U.S. households own nearly $35 trillion in owner-occupied real estate, just over $11 trillion in debt, and the remaining ~$24 trillion in equity. In inflation adjusted terms, homeowners in Q2 had an average of $280,000 in equity- a historic high."

As a homeowner, the money you need to purchase the perfect home or renovate your current house may be right at your fingertips. However, waiting to make your decision may increase the cost of tapping that equity.

If you decide to renovate, you'll need to refinance (or take out an equity loan) to access the equity. If you decide to move instead and use your equity as a down payment, you'll still need to mortgage the remaining difference between the down payment and the cost of your next home.

Mortgage rates are forecast to increase over the next year. Waiting to leverage your equity will probably mean you'll pay more to do so. According to the latest data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), almost 57% of current mortgage holders have a mortgage rate of 4% or below. If you're one of those homeowners, you can keep your mortgage rate under 4% by doing it now. If you're one of the 43% of homeowners with a mortgage rate over 4%, you may be able to do a cash-out refinance or buy a more expensive home without significantly increasing your monthly payment.

First Step: Determine the Amount of Equity in Your Home

If you're ready to either redesign your current house or find an existing or newly constructed home that has everything you want, the first thing you need to do is determine how much equity you have in your current home. To do that, you'll need two things:

  1. The current mortgage balance on your home
  2. The current value of your home

You can probably find the mortgage balance on your monthly mortgage statement. To find the current market value of your house, you can pay several hundreds of dollars for an appraisal, or you can contact a local real estate professional who will be able to present to you, at no charge, a professional equity assessment report.

Bottom Line

If the past 18 months have refocused your thoughts on what you want from your house, now may be the time to either renovate or make a move to the perfect home. If you decide making a move is right for you, let's connect!

October
15

Fall Paint Color Guide

A paint refresh is the easiest way to transform a space without committing to a complete design overhaul. If you're craving a deeper, more decadent atmosphere, adorning your room with fall hues will create a luxe, seasonal space. Whether you want a deep pecan hue, a rich, burgundy color, or the gleaming color of golden hour, a fresh application of paint can bring these hues into your home. The below paint colors are a curated selection to bring cozy fall tones into your own home—and can also make a statement all year round.

Benjamin Moore – Bear Creek 1470
A deep, gray-brown color, Bear Creek is a rich tone that is a beautiful contrast to creams and creamy whites. In addition, Bear Creek brings in tones of winter woods and adds a layer of coziness to your living areas. This deep tone pairs well with a warm white or cream color for the trim and ceiling or can be continued on the trim, but a different sheen, like semi-gloss, is recommended for trim.

→ Where to Use It: A living room or great room

Benjamin Moore – Sequoia 1245
This reddish-brown color is both a neutral tone and also brings drama. Sequoia is softer than a burgundy but is deep enough to create a moody space. In addition, Sequoia's dustiness is neutral enough to pair well with many complementary colors. For a trim pairing, Sequoia looks stunning with an off-white or warm white paint selection.

→ Where to Use It: A library or study

Benjamin Moore – Metallic Gold 2163-40
This shimmery, soft brown has pink undertones, which brings a glowing ambiance to any space. Earthy yet elegant, Metallic Gold makes a room look effortless and inviting.

→ Where to Use It: A dining room

Farrow & Ball – Hague Blue
This dramatic, intense blue is a timeless color with green undertones. In addition, Hague Blue's deep, pigmented hue makes a dark room feel intentionally cozy and moody.

→ Where to Use It: A powder bathroom

Farrow & Ball – Deep Reddish Brown
Both luxurious and soothing, Deep Reddish Brown, is a warm tone with chocolatey undertones. Deep, warm and welcoming, Deep Reddish Brown will add richness and drama to walls, doors and trim.

→ Where to Use It: A stairway

Farrow & Ball – Tanner's Brown
This dramatic hue is a strong dark brown that is almost black in low lighting. However, in a well-lit space, it reads as brown. A rich, warm hue, Tanner's Brown brings drama and warmth to a room.

→ Where to Use It: Interior of a fireplace

Sherwin Williams – Cotton
This warm white will make your space feel effortlessly layered and cozy. It's soothing neutral hue makes any room feel relaxed and inviting. It's the perfect backdrop to layer in neutral or colorful furniture and accessories and to begin your day on a crisp, calm note.

→ Where to Use It: A bedroom or great room

October
14

Very Superstitious: Home Traditions That Are Still Alive Today

Superstitions are often over the top. There's probably nothing magical about a rabbit's foot, and walking under a ladder or breaking a mirror won't lead to doom. But then again, trying to bring a little luck to your house can't hurt.

There are traditions that promise to bring good fortune to your new home. And even though these rituals are just old tales, following a few can give you a sense of peace and comfort. Here are a few:

Hang a horseshoe. There are a lot of theories as to why horseshoes bring good luck, with some sources claiming it dates back to ancient Egypt. There's even debate as to how a horseshoe should be placed on a wall. Some say the shoe should point upward, U-shaped, so that the luck doesn't drain from the shoe, while another theory says pointing it down allows the luck to pour down on people.

Buy a new broom. Legend says your old broom not only cleaned up dust and debris, but also collected your bad experiences, and you don't want to bring those into your new home. This could be a trick by the broom industry, but if you follow it, at least you'll have a nice, new broom.

Pick the right day. Did you know moving on a Friday or Saturday is said to be bad luck? It's an old superstition that may derive from the fact that those are common moving days when it's hard to find a mover. Moving on a rainy day is supposedly risky, while in Chinese culture, the No. 8 is believed to bring good fortune, so planning a move on the eighth might be a good idea. According to Indian culture, Thursday is the best day to relocate.

Bread and salt. These are traditionally given to new homeowners as a gift, with the bread representing all the wonderful food that will be enjoyed in the household while the salt ensures flavor, not just to meals but to life in general.

Ring the bells and shine a light. These are easy ones. First, after moving in, open all your home's windows and ring a bell in each room to ward off old, negative energy. Then complete the cleansing by lighting a candle at night.

Let's connect when you're ready to buy or sell!

October
6

4 Tips To Prep for Your Home Sale This Fall

4 Tips To Prep for Your Home Sale This Fall | MyKCM

Even in a hot sellers' market like today's in which homes are selling so quickly, it's still important to make a good first impression on potential buyers. Taking the time upfront to prep your house appropriately can bring in the greatest return on your investment.

Here are four simple tips to make sure you maximize the sale of your house this fall.

1. Price It Right

One of the first things buyers will notice is the price of your house. That's why it's important to price it right. Your goal in pricing your house is to draw attention from competing buyers and let bidding wars push the final sales price up. Pricing your house too high to begin with could put you at a disadvantage by discouraging buyers from making an offer.

Your trusted real estate advisor can help you find the price for your home that reflects the current market value. Lean on your agent to help you with this crucial first step.

2. Keep It Clean

It may sound simple, but keeping your house clean is key to making sure it gets the attention it deserves. As realtor.com says in the Home Selling Checklist:

"When selling your home, it's important to keep everything tidy for buyers. . . . Remember to take special care with the bathroom, making sure the tile, counters, shower, and floors shine."

Before each buyer visits, assess your space and determine what needs your attention. Wash the dishes, make the beds, and put away any toys. Doing these simple things can reduce any potential distractions for buyers.

3. Make It Easy To Visit

Giving buyers the opportunity to see your house on their schedule can be a true game-changer. Buyers are less likely to make an offer if it's difficult to plan a tour or they can't easily fit it into their schedule. Making your house available as often as possible helps create opportunities for more buyers to fall in love with your house.

Rest assured your trusted real estate advisor will keep your health and safety top of mind when buyers tour your home. Agents use the latest guidance to stay up to date on any protocols and sanitization recommendations.

4. Help Buyers Feel at Home

Finally, it's important for buyers to see all the possible ways they can make your house their next home. As the realtor.com article puts it:

"The goal is to create a blank canvas on which buyers can project their own visions of living there, and loving it."

An easy first step to create this blank canvas is removing personal items – pictures, awards, and sentimental belongings – from your space. If you're unsure what should be packed away and what can stay, consult your trusted real estate advisor. Spending the time on this step can pay off in the long run, as the 2021 Profile of Home Staging from the National Association of Realtors notes:

"Eighteen percent of sellers' agents said home staging increased the dollar value of a residence between 6% and 10%."

Bottom Line

To make the most of today's sellers' market, avoid the temptation to skip over the essential preparation steps. Let's connect today to discuss all the ways you can maximize your home sale.

October
2

4 Tips to Gradually Minimize Clutter

We all know that minimizing clutter can make your home more manageable and more welcoming. A clutter-free home can also help with your mental health. Thankfully, keeping your home clutter-free doesn't require extensive decluttering sessions all the time. These four tips can help you minimize clutter gradually without a lot of effort.

One in, One Out Rule
Your home has a finite amount of space. Use this rule to help yourself remember that. Every time you purchase an item, a like item needs to be tossed, recycled or donated to ensure that you don't clutter your home. This can help you evaluate items based on need and it can even help you spend less money. That new dish towel is a great purchase since it can easily replace the worn and stained one you want to discard, but do you really want a new dress enough to donate one you currently own?

Gift Activities as Presents
A great gift comes from the heart, and time spent together can be far more valuable than a toy that will soon be forgotten. To keep clutter at bay, consider gifting activities instead of physical presents. This is especially great for children who can get overwhelmed with too many toys. Gift a trip to the zoo, movie theater or a theme park instead. For adults, gift a cooking class, tickets to an art museum or go on a trip together.

Read the Room
They say the best defense is a great offense. Instead of trying to declutter constantly, read your room and fully evaluate if you have a spot for an item you want. That souvenir figurine may look beautiful on the shelf at the gift shop, but if you can't think of exactly where you would happily display it at home, it may become cluttered quickly.

Keep an Outbox
Keep an outbox at all times so you can be constantly decluttering items that no longer serve your needs. Did you try on a shirt that you don't like anymore? Toss it in the outbox. Did you find a duplicate kitchen utensil hiding in the drawer? Into the outbox it goes. Keeping an outbox on hand ensures you don't forget about items when it is time to donate them.

September
25

A Guide to Choosing the Right Luxury Kitchen Sink

A kitchen sink can be an overlooked part of the kitchen design process, but being strategic in your selection is essential from both a function and aesthetic standpoint. While typically considered utilitarian, selecting a unique kitchen sink material can make it a focal point and add the drama the space needs. Read on to find out the different types of high-end kitchen sinks to determine which one may be best for your home.

Stone Kitchen Sinks
A stone sink, such as granite, quartz or marble, brings the wow to the workhorse area of the kitchen. A stone sink can add value to your home and has a long lifespan. Since it is a material found in nature, every sink is unique because of its slight variations. However, stone sinks do require sealing maintenance.

Copper Kitchen Sinks
A copper sink is a showstopper and an unexpected element in a kitchen. A copper sink in an apron, also known as farmhouse style, will showcase its unique design; however, it can also be installed as an undermount sink. Copper sinks can come in either a smooth or hammered finish, and the level of patina can vary. The thicker the copper, the more noise it absorbs and will better resist denting. Copper also has antimicrobial properties, which is a significant asset for an area of the house that is a breeding ground for germs.

Cast Iron Kitchen Sinks
Cast iron sinks are one of the oldest types of sinks around, for a good reason. Cast iron sinks are iron and topped with a glossy enamel finish, resisting stains, dings and scratches. A cast iron sink installation can be complicated because it's so heavy. Cast iron sinks also require additional support once installed. However, a cast iron sink can quickly become a focal point of the kitchen since you can select your preferred style and color.

Fireclay Kitchen Sinks
A fireclay kitchen sink is made of ceramic clay, and once dry, is covered with porcelain enamel. The enamel is susceptible to chips, due to regular wear and tear, and the clay can risk cracking. Fireclay sinks are typically installed in an apron sink style, although they can be installed in various ways.

Concrete Kitchen Sinks
A concrete kitchen sink is a completely custom option. This of-the-moment sink material is poured on-site, creating its custom shape, size and look. If you use your sink infrequently, a concrete sink may be for you because the material is prone to staining.

Stainless Steel Kitchen Sinks
While a stainless steel sink is typically a more builder-grade option, there are ways to select an elevated stainless steel sink. Choosing stainless steel with a lower gauge means the sink is thicker, which means higher quality. A stainless steel sink in a satin finish is less likely to show water spots.

September
21

5 Tips for Frugal Urban Living

Urban living is expensive—especially for recent college graduates who are living their dream of getting a good first job in the big city. But successful urban living, financial advisors say, is all about being thoughtful and learning to spend wisely and well.

  • Know the 3 Ns: Necessities, Nest Egg and Non-Essentials – Necessities, like rent, food, clothing and transportation, should take no more than 50% of your income. Aim for a nest egg—savings in an interest-bearing account that includes cash enough for three month's expenses or emergencies, plus a chunk of your monthly income going into a retirement account—and designate no more than 20% of your income for discretionary items such as entertainment, dining out, vacations and other non-essentials.
  • Know the 4 Rs: Reduce, Repair, Reuse, Recycle – Before you buy something, ask yourself: Do I really need it? Can I buy it second-hand or trade for it? Can I recycle or repurpose something I already have? Can I find it on the cheap? Get acquainted with local websites devoted to buying and trading used merchandise.
  • Stick to a List – Resist impulsive buying. Whether it's groceries, clothing, household goods or non-essentials, make a list of what you need and do your best to stick to it when you shop. And a good piece of advice…never do your grocery shopping on an empty stomach!
  • Try Not to Pay Full Price – Clip coupons, download apps and sign up for loyalty programs. Check the internet for books and tips on purchasing almost anything you need at a discount. Facebook Marketplace is a good place to start looking for preowned items at affordable prices.
  • Put People Over Things – Money can't buy relationships. Even casual conversations can lead to friendships, and friends can be your greatest asset. Apart from the emotional support that friends provide, you can live more frugally by cooking together instead of eating out, playing games at home instead of spending on expensive entertainment, and keeping each other on the straight and narrow when it comes to spending wisely.
September
20

Is It Time To Move on to a New Home?

Is It Time To Move on to a New Home? | MyKCM

If you've been in your home for longer than five years, you're not alone. According to recent data from First American, homeowners are staying put much longer than historical averages (see graph below):Is It Time To Move on to a New Home? | MyKCMAs the graph shows, before 2008, homeowners sold their houses after an average of just five years. Today, that number has more than doubled to over 10 years. The housing industry refers to this as your tenure.

To really explore tenure, it's important to understand what drives people to make a move. An article from The Balance explores some of the primary reasons individuals choose to sell their houses. It says:

"People who move for home-related reasons might need a larger home or a house that better fits their needs, . . . Financial reasons for moving include wanting a nicer home, moving to a newer home to avoid making repairs on the old one, or cashing in on existing equity."

If you've been in your home for longer than the norm, chances are you're putting off addressing one, if not several, of the reasons other individuals choose to move. If this sounds like you, here are a few things to consider:

If your needs have changed, it may be time to re-evaluate your home.

As the past year has shown, our needs can change rapidly. That means the longer you've been in your home, the more likely it is your needs have evolved. The Balance notes several personal factors that could lead to your home no longer meeting your needs, including relationship and job changes.

For example, many workers recently found out they'll be working remotely indefinitely. If that's the case for you, you may need more space for a dedicated home office. Other homeowners choose to sell because the number of people living under their roof changes. Now more than ever, we're spending more and more time at home. As you do, consider if your home really delivers on what you need moving forward.

It's often financially beneficial to sell your house and move.

One of the biggest benefits of homeownership is the equity your home builds over time. If you've been in your house for several years, you may not realize how much equity you have. According to the latest Homeowner Equity Report from CoreLogic, homeowners gained an average of $33,400 in equity over the past year.

That equity, plus today's low mortgage rates, can fuel a major upgrade when you sell your home and purchase a new one. Or, if you're looking to downsize, your equity can help provide a larger down payment and lower your monthly payments over the life of your next loan. No matter what, there are significant financial benefits to selling in today's market.

Bottom Line

If you've been in your home for 5-10 years or more, now might be the time to explore your options. Today's low rates and your built-up equity could provide you with the opportunity to address your evolving needs. If you feel it's time to sell, let's connect.

September
2

What To Do with Your Vacation Home as Summer Ends

What To Do with Your Vacation Home as Summer Ends | MyKCM

As summer comes to a close, is it time to think about selling your vacation home? Based on recent data and expert opinions, it's something you may want to consider. According to research from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), vacation home sales are up 57.2% year-over-year for January-April 2021.

If you've taken your last vacation this summer, here are reasons you should consider selling your vacation home this year.

1. Remote work continues to drive demand for vacation homes.

As the report from NAR says, based on continuously evolving work needs, there could be more interest in your second home than you think:

"In 2020, across all nine divisions, the fraction of the workforce that work from home is typically higher in the vacation home counties than in the non-vacation home counties The opportunity to work from home could further raise the demand for vacation homes in future years.

Recent data shows we'll likely see a sustained increase in the rate of remote work over the next five years. That means your vacation home could be highly sought after by certain buyers. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR, puts it best, saying:

"Vacation homes are a hot commodity at the moment . . . . With many businesses and employers still extending an option to work remotely to workers, vacation housing and second homes will remain a popular choice among buyers."

2. Selling could allow you to upgrade your vacation spot – or even your day-to-day scenery.

When demand is high, so is buyer competition. When competition is strong, buyers will do everything they can to make their offer on your vacation home as appealing as possible. This can include things like all-cash offers and more. If you sell now, you'll be able to benefit from high buyer competition and pick the offer with the best possible terms for you. That offer could give you the opportunity to purchase the primary residence of your dreams.

Or, if you find that you'll continue working from home, you could consider taking up more permanent residence in your vacation home and selling your primary residence instead. While this isn't a choice everyone can consider, it could be a great option.

No matter what the situation, you don't have to make the decision on your own. Your trusted real estate advisor can help you determine your best option when you're ready to sell.

Bottom Line

Buyers remain interested in vacation homes this year for a number of reasons. Now that summer is winding down, it's time to think about taking advantage of today's demand for vacation homes. Let's connect today if you're ready to give your second home its day in the sun.

August
31

Your Checklist To Get Ready To Sell [INFOGRAPHIC]

Your Checklist To Get Ready To Sell [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • When it comes to selling your house, you want it to look its best inside and out.
  • It's important to focus on tasks that can make it inviting, show it's cared for, and boost your curb appeal for prospective buyers.
  • Let's connect to make sure your house shows well and catches a buyer's eye.
August
29

6 Ways to Transition Decor From Summer to Fall

If your home is full of breezy linens, light colors and fresh scents, it's time to make a few tweaks and replace these items with their autumn-inspired accessories. Fall interiors are all about rich fabrics, deep colors and bringing natural elements indoors. However, you don't need to do a complete design overhaul to have a fall-friendly space. Instead, find out the tweaks you can make to transition your summer decor to an autumn scheme seamlessly.

Layer With Texture and Pattern
As you pack away breezy summer fabrics make room for fall's rich counterparts. Updating your throw blankets and pillows is an easy way to make a space feel ready for the chillier months ahead. Throws and pillows in heavy, textured fabrics, like wool, cashmere, velvet, faux fur or plaid will invite you to stay for a while. Casually drape a throw blanket across the sofa or pile them in a basket within reach. 

Incorporate Rich Hues
Rich, warm tones and jewel-hued colors are a perfect autumn color palette. Whether it's olive green, burgundy or indigo, incorporating these deeper colors as accents can lend a fall vibe. Alternatively, you can consider a neutral color palette of warm cream, gray and taupe to create a calm, cozy space.

Bring in Natural Elements
If you spend most of your summer outdoors, the idea of being inside for the months ahead can feel stifling. Ease the transition by bringing natural elements indoors. Incorporate in-season flower bouquets, such as hydrangeas, spray roses, mums; extra greenery, like seeded eucalyptus, which has a more organic look and feel; or branches to fill centerpiece vases.

Update the Lighting
As you plan to spend more time inside, take inventory of your existing lighting. With more evenings indoors, you may need additional task lighting, such as floor and table lamps. You can also update the lampshades on your scones and table lamps in fall-inspired prints and colors, such as plaid, animal print or in richer hues.

Upgrade Your Bedding
As the temperatures dip, upgrade your sheets to a set of Egyptian cotton, silk or percale, and add an extra woven blanket layer. Take advantage of the crisp cool nights by cracking open a window, knowing you will have an extra layer of bedding to keep you cozy.

Remember the Details
As you prepare to spend more time inside your home, pay attention to the details that give your home an extra special touch. Infusing your home with fall scents, updating your coffee table books, refreshing your picture frames with summer memories and replacing the bathroom hand soaps will go a long way to creating a cozy fall atmosphere.

As the autumn season approaches, a few decor tweaks will help create an inviting and cozy fall atmosphere that will make you and your guests feel right at home. 

August
28

5 High-End Front Porch Ideas

Whether it's a wraparound, screened-in, a loggia or a veranda, porch designs are endless. A porch can be a place to make a first impression on guests, a location for your morning coffee, a destination for sunset cocktails or even a place to enjoy an evening fire. Read on to learn how to create a well-designed front porch that will be sure to wow guests and become your own luxurious oasis.

Fireplace Focal Point
Incorporating a stone fireplace into your front porch design creates both a stunning visual focal point and is a destination to warm up and unwind. Both practical and beautiful, it can be used year-round and will impress anyone who visits your home. Accentuating the space with ambient lighting, comfortable seating and a cozy rug underneath will make this the most used area of the house.

Indoor-Outdoor Inspired Living
A porch isn't solely a place for guests to enter your home, but it can be an additional living space. Creating an outdoor living room on your porch means bringing in a beautiful rug, sofa and chairs, and filling the area with abundant blooming flowers and lush greenery. Spend your evenings lounging with a crisp beverage while watching the sunset or welcome passing neighbors for an impromptu chat.

Private Sitting Space
Since a porch is typically in the front of the house, it doesn't offer the same level of privacy a backyard does. However, you can create a private sitting area with a wall of wall-placed shrubs to create a natural privacy screen without interrupting the existing porch design.

Front Door Technology
Equipping your front porch with the latest home technology trends will give you insight into who's coming and going, even when you're not around. A video doorbell gives you the luxury of seeing who is at your front door, detects motion and provides two-way audio—all from the convenience of your smartphone. Having a keyless entry keypad on your front door gives you the option of distributing the code for anyone who may need easy access, whether it's a dog walker, cleaning service, etc.

Delivery Drop-Off Station
In a world where nearly everything is available with a few taps on a smartphone, having packages pile up on the front steps can be unsightly. A valet closet, a closet designed to drop off packages, dry cleaning, food delivery, groceries or any other items delivered by delivery personnel, can keep parcels secure until you're able to retrieve them. In addition, installing a keyless entry code on the door will allow delivery personnel to safely leave your items if you're unavailable to receive them directly.

Whether you're building a space to rest or adding additional levels of convenience, your front porch is responsible for your home's first impression.

August
14

The Best Use of Time (and Money) When It Comes to Renovations

The Best Use of Time (and Money) When It Comes to Renovations | MyKCM

In the current sellers' market, many homeowners wonder what, if anything, needs to be remodeled before they list their house. That's where a trusted real estate professional comes in. They can help you think through today's market conditions and how they impact what you should – and shouldn't – renovate before selling.

Here are some considerations a professional will guide you through:

1. With current supply challenges, buyers may be willing to take on projects of their own.

A more balanced market typically sees a 6-month supply of homes for sale. Above that, and we're in a buyers' market. Below that, and we're in a sellers' market. According to a recent report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), our current supply of homes for sale, while rising, still remains solidly in sellers' market territory:

"Unsold inventory sits at a 2.6-month supply at the current sales pace, modestly up from May's 2.5-month supply but down from 3.9 months in June 2020."

So, what's that mean for you? If you're a seller trying to decide whether or not to renovate, this is especially important because it's indicative of buyer behavior. When there aren't enough homes for sale, buyers may be more willing to purchase a home that doesn't meet all their needs and renovate it themselves later.

2. Not all renovation projects are equal.

You don't want to spend time and money on a project that isn't worth the cost or is too niche design-wise for some homebuyers. According to an article by Renofi.com, basing home updates on what's trendy right now can be a costly mistake:

"The last thing you as a homeowner want to do is center your home design around a passing fad - even worse, one thats design quality won't last a good while."

Before making any decisions, talk to your real estate advisor. They have insight into what other sellers are doing before listing their homes and how buyers are reacting to those upgrades. Don't spend the time and money to be trendy – if your buyer wants to upgrade to the newest fad later, they can.

3. If you've already made upgrades this past year, your agent can help spotlight them.

If you have already completed some renovations on your house, you're not alone. The pandemic kept people at home last year, and during that time, many homeowners completed some home improvement projects. HomeAdvisor's 2021 State of Home Spending Report found:

"35% of households that completed an improvement project undertook some type of interior painting, while 31% completed a bathroom remodel and 26% installed new flooring."

Let your real estate professional know if you fall in this category. They can highlight any recent upgrades you've made in your house's listing.

Bottom Line

When it comes to renovations, your return-on-investment should be top of mind. Let's connect today to talk through any upgrades you've already made and to find out what you should prioritize before you sell to maximize your house's potential.

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
4

Kitchen Trends That Are Going Out of Fashion

Most of us spend a lot of time in the kitchen, preparing meals and cleaning up. In many cases, we spend so much time in our familiar kitchen space that we don't pay much attention to what it looks like.

But the trends, they are a-changin'. Today's kitchens are sleek and practical. Design experts list seven kitchen looks that are quickly going out of style:

Short backsplashes. Backsplashes that reach up to six to eight inches above the countertop are sorely outdated. If you're up for a remodel, take the backsplash all the way up to the upper cabinets to make your kitchen feel bigger and cleaner. 

Distressed wood cabinets. Once the darling of country-style kitchens, the clunky distressed wood of yesteryear is giving way to natural wood or white finishes.

Over the stove microwaves. When microwaves came into fashion, homeowners put them over the stove to save counter space. But today's families want necessities accessible for the entire family. Some are redesigning cabinets to move the microwave into an under-counter nook where smaller family members can reach it. 

Top-of-cabinet décor. Gone are the days of filling the space between the tops of your cabinets and the ceiling with dusty accessories like artificial flowers or greenery. Removing them from above the cabinets gives the room a more open feel.

Hanging pots and pans. Once, every kitchen shown in a magazine had a big, beautiful, hanging rack filled with copper or stainless-steel pots and pans. Kitchen designers today are making room for them in drawers or cabinet, trading in that outdated country look for cleaner, minimalist lines. 

Anything but stainless steel. Over the years, kitchen appliances have gone from white to copper to avocado green and back again. But the desired look today is the cool, sleek look of stainless steel.

Kitchen desks. At one point in time, every upscale kitchen featured desk space—a little nook where you could scan the mail, pay bills, etc. But those mess-collectors are now yesterday's news. Moving desk chores to another room can give your kitchen extra space and alternative storage options.

August
2

Is Granite on its Way Out?

According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, granite countertops are in less demand today, while the use of quartz is on the rise.

Why? For one thing, man-made quartz countertops are offered in a far greater range of looks and feels. Reason number two: it's a bit easier to maintain over the long haul, and it's deemed a better environmental choice because it emits lower levels of radon—a potentially cancer-causing agent. To be fair, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains the radioactive materials in granite countertops are far too minuscule to pose a health threat.

So what, exactly, is a quartz countertop? It's made of engineered stone, composed of at least 90% ground-up quartz mixed with a binder (like resin) then molded into a slab. Because pigment is added during the manufacturing process, the sky's the limit when it comes to color. And quartz is non-porous and fairly resistant to stains, mold and bacteria.

Unlike granite countertops, which require periodic resealing to maintain their beauty, quartz is low-maintenance, needing only regular cleanings with soap and water or a mild detergent.

Quartz can be more impervious than granite to cracking or chipping under average conditions, although it is not quite as heat-proof. Most manufacturers recommend using a trivet when placing scalding hot pots or pans on a quartz countertop.

Apart from durability and maintenance, quartz comes in an infinite variety of designs, ranging in look and feel from sleek solid colors to organic-looking variations that resemble real substances found in nature, like veined marble. It can have a smooth and shiny finish or a softer, brushed feel (almost suede-looking). Choose wisely because the design can make a huge difference in the look and feel of a room.

Quartz counters may be a bit more expensive, up to 10 percent higher in cost than their granite counterparts, but shopping around and resealing over the years can mitigate any cost differences.

So, what side are you on? Natural stone mined from the earth or a man-made variation?

August
1

A Beginner's Guide to Painlessly Going Green

You've heard the warnings about global warming, you feel compassion for stranded polar bears and you worry about overwhelming the landfills. As a homeowner, you may not be ready for composting, but there are ways to become an eco-friendlier household.

Ecologists provide simple but useful tips that even the laziest activist can use to do their part in helping the environment:

Cut down on water use. Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth. Drink tap water in reusable containers instead of plastic bottles. Lower the water level when doing small laundry loads and don't run the dishwasher until it's full.

Use less power. Shut off the lights before you leave in the morning, and unplug electrical equipment that you aren't using during the day and while you sleep—especially your work and home computers.

Adjust the thermostat. Set it for a few degrees higher in summer, and a few degrees lower in winter. You likely won't feel much of a difference, and you'll like the decrease in utility bills.

Replace your light bulbs. Sources say if every American household replaced one regular lightbulb with a compact fluorescent bulb, the pollution reduction would be equivalent to removing one million cars from the road.

Change your shower-head. A low flow version will save water while providing just as much pressure.

Save on paper. Keep a digital calendar and notes instead of paper ones. Whenever possible, re-use the back side of old printed sheets for new but less important print jobs. Sign up for paperless billing and pay your bills online.

Use less plastic. Use reusable grocery bags even where they're not required. Re-use empty plastic food containers with tight fitting lids, such as cottage cheese containers, for leftovers and storage purposes—be sure any unwanted plastic goes into the recycle bin.

Eat less meat. If you're not ready to go vegetarian, try committing to a meatless dinner once or twice a week to decrease the resources you use. Producing wheat and even veggies takes far less water than producing beef, and there are plenty of tasty meatless recipes online that families can explore together.

When you are ready to purchase a home, let's connect so I can help you go green!

July
28

Pop Quiz: Can You Define These Key Terms in Today's Housing Market? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Pop Quiz: Can You Define These Key Terms in Today's Housing Market? [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • The language of buying and selling a home may sound scary at first, but knowing how key terms relate to today's market can help you. For example, current low mortgage rates and higher wages positively impact affordability for buyers, while home price appreciation continues to grow home equity, which sellers can use to fuel a move up.
  • Terms like appraisal (what lenders rely on to validate a home's value) and contingencies (which buyers can minimize to make their offer stand out) directly impact the transaction.
  • You don't need to be fluent in the language of the market to buy or sell. Instead, let's connect today so that we can translate the process together.
July
25

Demand for Vacation Homes Is Still Strong

Demand for Vacation Homes Is Still Strong | MyKCM

The pandemic created a tremendous interest in vacation homes across the country. Throughout the last year, many people purchased second homes as a safe getaway from the challenges of the health crisis. With many professionals working from home and many students taking classes remotely, it made sense to see a migration away from cities and into counties with more vacation destinations.

The 2021 Vacation Home Counties Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that this increase in vacation home sales continues in 2021. The report examines sales in counties where "vacant seasonal, occasional, or recreational use housing account for at least 20% of the housing stock" and compares that data to the overall residential market.

Their findings show:

  • Vacation home sales rose by 16.4% to 310,600 in 2020, outpacing the 5.6% growth in total existing-home sales.
  • Vacation home sales are up 57.2% year-over-year during January-April 2021 compared to the 20% year-over-year change in total existing-home sales.
  • Home prices rose more in vacation home counties – the median existing price rose by 14.2% in vacation home counties, compared to 10.1% in non-vacation home counties.

This coincides with data released by Zelman & Associates on the increase in sales of second homes throughout the country last year.

As the data above shows, there is still high demand for second getaway homes in 2021 even as the pandemic winds down. While we may see a rise in second-home sellers as life returns to normal, ongoing low supply and high demand will continue to provide those sellers with a good return on their investment.

Bottom Line

If you're one of the many people who purchased a vacation home during the pandemic, you're likely wondering what this means for you. If you're considering selling that home as life returns to normal, you have options. There are still plenty of buyers in the market. If, on the other hand, you want to keep your second home, enjoy it! Current market conditions show that it's a good ongoing investment.

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
8

Laundry Tips for After Your Vacation

Vacations may mean family fun and lasting memories, but between travel and cleaning, coming home from a vacation can make you more tired than before you left. After some much-needed time off, no one wants to spend days catching up on dirty laundry. Thankfully, a little planning before and during your vacation can make all the difference when you come home. 

Keep a Laundry Bag in Your Suitcase
Avoid the need to wash clothes unnecessarily by keeping a laundry bag in your suitcase. This will ensure you can easily sort through dirty items during your trip, allowing you to keep your hotel space clean while preventing dirty and clean clothes from mixing together. Going on a beach or waterpark trip? Purchase a waterproof bag to ensure that your soggy clothes don't leak on the rest of your items.

Start a Load of Laundry Right When You Come Home
After a long trip, it can be tempting to relax as soon as you arrive home. Resist this urge and immediately start a load of laundry. This will ensure that you're not bogged down by a huge to-do list in the form of dirty clothes, and if you pack your dirty clothes well, starting a load quickly is a simple task that will have a big impact.

Families Designate One Suitcase for Dirty Clothes
If you're traveling with a few family members, particularly if your party includes children,  dedicate one suitcase at the end of your trip to exclusively put all the dirty clothes into. Once you arrive at home, you can have each family member put their respective suitcases and clean items away, while the suitcase with dirty items is placed in your laundry room. This way, you're not going to each family member requesting their dirty items and a load of laundry can be done upon arrival back home.

Wash Swimsuits First
Wet swimwear can get stale or sour if they're not addressed quickly. When you arrive home, be sure to prioritize any wet or soiled items in the first load. If you must leave any loads for the next day, you've already tackled the items that should be taken care of quickly. If you brought along any beach towels, be sure to include these in the wash with your swimsuits.

Wash Clothes as You Go
If you are taking an extended trip, take advantage of your hotel or rental home's laundry amenities. This can prevent the need for loads of laundry once you've arrived at home, and can also help you pack lighter, which could save on luggage costs. 

July
4

July
1

4 Tips for Starting Your Home Search Online

With people shopping online more than ever, it comes as no surprise that this tech platform has become ubiquitous within the real estate industry. From millennials to boomers, homebuyers of all ages and demographics are starting their home search from the comfort of their own computer or mobile devices. Taking into account that more listings than ever offer virtual and 3D home tours, there is so much information available online that buyers depend on. Here are four tips for starting your home search online and finding your perfect home from wherever you are.

Check the Right Websites
House-hunting online wouldn't be possible without websites like ours, BayStreetRealtyGroup.com. With certain research tools available, such as searching by location, price point, number of bedrooms and more, you have the ability to find exactly what you are looking for. Also, with 3D tours, 360-degree room views and aerial drone footage of the property and neighborhood available, it is easier than ever to explore a home's floor plan and imagine what it could be like to furnish and live in a specific space. 

Review Public Records
Head to your town or city county assessor or treasurer office online and enter an address of a home you are interested in. Because tax records are public information, you can see what the current owner, as well as past owners, paid for the property. Here, you can also explore the assessed value, property taxes, construction and remodel permits, property lines, square footage and more. 

Explore the Neighborhood
While you enjoy the ease of searching online, nothing compares to the real thing. If you find a home or property online that you are interested in, and if you are close enough in distance, take a ride to see the home with your own eyes and explore the neighborhood. Or, continue your online journey, enter the address into Google maps and use the street-view to see what is around the home, including different neighborhoods, businesses and school districts.

Hire a Real Estate Agent
Of course, you don't need a real estate agent at the beginning of your online home search. But even if you aren't ready, whether emotionally or financially, a professional can help you especially in your online search. Real estate agents have access to the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) and proprietary databases not available to the masses. These websites are more accurate than the regular home search websites and can offer more accurate information. Hiring an agent can help you take advantage of all of these resources and especially help you move to the next step in finding a new home. 

June
30

5 Lifestyle Trends Embraced by Millennials

Millennials are a driving force in today's luxury real estate market. If you want your house to appeal to this demographic, then it's important to understand how they live and what they look for in a home. Here are a few lifestyle trends that have come to define the real estate preferences of millennials.

Health and Wellness
They've been called the "wellness generation," so it should come as no surprise that millennials enjoy taking good care of themselves. From home gyms and meditation studios to saunas and massage rooms, they pay equal attention to the mind and body when it comes to personal wellbeing. Homes that are designed to accommodate this lifestyle will surely be in high demand among these buyers.

Outdoor Living
Any homeowner can appreciate a luxurious outdoor living space, but for young and affluent buyers, this is frequently the number one priority. This generation has an affinity for spending their free time basking in a private, outdoor oasis equipped with high-end features, such as a resort-like swimming pool, outdoor kitchen and al fresco dining area. 

Convenience
Perhaps more than anything, millennials are defined by how strongly they value convenience. As a generation accustomed to the instant gratification of the digital age, they gravitate toward homes that are optimized for efficiency and provide easy access to nearby amenities. Time is a treasured commodity for millennials, and they want a living space that is designed to protect it.

Socially and Environmentally Conscious
As a generation that came of age just as sustainability became a mainstream issue, millennials have largely embraced the idea of an environmentally friendly lifestyle. They seek to minimize their impact on the planet and, as a result, prefer homes that are designed to lower energy and water consumption. Furthermore, they want to know where their home's materials come from and how they were sourced. Certifications that signify ethical and responsible labor practices are an important part of their desire to live in a socially conscious manner. 

June
1

6 Reasons to Celebrate National Homeownership Month

6 Reasons to Celebrate National Homeownership Month | MyKCM

Our homes are so much more than the houses we live in. For many, they've also become our workplaces, schools for our children, and safe harbors in which we've weathered the toughest moments of a global pandemic. Today, 65.6% of Americans call their homes their own, a rate that has risen to its highest point in 8 years.

As National Homeownership Month kicks off this June, homeowners have every reason to celebrate. A survey by Gallup just ranked real estate as the best investment you can make for the eighth year in a row. However, unlike other investment options, the benefits of owning a home aren't purely financial. Here are the top ways Americans are winning by owning a home.

Non-Financial Benefits:

1. Civic Participation: Owning a home is owning a part of your neighborhood. Homeowners have a stronger connection to their neighborhoods and are more committed to volunteer work and other ways to get involved.

2. Pride of Ownership: Owning a home is having a space that is uniquely yours. You can customize it to your personal liking and make it reflect your personality and values.

3. A Safe Space: Owning a home gives you a sense of security and privacy – two things that have become even more valuable as we've tackled the challenges of the recent health crisis.

Financial Benefits:

1. Forced Savings: Owning a home builds equity. Your equity grows with each payment you make toward your mortgage. This form of forced savings can be used down the road to help you accomplish your biggest financial goals.

2. Appreciation: Owning a home is making an investment that steadily gains value, and experts project home values will continue to rise in the years to come.

3. Stability: Owning a home means having better control over your future housing payments. Over the years, a mortgage stays relatively steady, but rent costs continue to rise.

Bottom Line

If you own your home, take time this June to celebrate the ways homeownership has added value to your life. If you hope to become a homeowner this year, let's connect today to take the first steps toward achieving your goal.

April
19

Home Is Where the Heart Is [INFOGRAPHIC]

Home Is Where the Heart Is [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • There's no doubt about it: homeowners love their homes, and that feeling has become even more important over the past year.
  • The vast majority of homeowners say they're emotionally attached to their home and that it has kept them safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Owning a home provides a sense of safety, security, and accomplishment. Let's connect to move your homeownership goals forward today.
April
13

Make the Most of a Small Bathroom

Unless you're living in a custom designed home, you probably wish your bathroom—or your guest bath—was bigger.

Short of pushing out the walls or totally remodeling, home editors at TheSpruce.com offer eight good tips for making the most of your bathroom space:

Pick the right colors. Save the bright hues for accessories if you like, but paint the walls and choose the flooring to create an illusion of space and serenity. Pale, soft pastel shades are best.

Up the lighting. Adding recessed lighting in the ceiling or opera lights above the vanity are good ways to increase the brightness and create a more spacious feeling.

Try a pedestal sink. A vanity cabinet provides storage under the sink, but it takes up lots of floor space. If you can find storage space in a nearby linen closet, trade the vanity for a low-profile pedestal sink. (Note, however, that if you remove the vanity, you will likely have to repair or change the flooring.)

Cut back what sticks out. Anything that sticks out into the room can make your room seem to shrink. Remove as many hanging shelves, racks, or decorative accessories as you can because they cut into the room and make it look smaller.

Use mirror reflection. Use the largest mirror you can over the bathroom sink. It will reflect all the light in the room, including the pale colors you've chosen.

Get rid of visual obstructions. Trade a frosted-glass bath or shower door for a clear glass one. Or, better yet, eliminate the door and install a shower curtain that can be pushed back to one side when not in use. You'll be able to see all the way to the back wall to maximize the illusion of spaciousness.

Expand the ceiling. You can create the illusion of a raised ceiling if you install crown molding and paint it the same color as the ceiling.

Ditch the clutter. Keep only essentials on the bathroom counter. The less clutter, the more spacious the look and feel.

March
29

How to Fake a Clean Home in 15 Minutes

We've all been there: guests are scheduled to arrive in 15 minutes, but you got caught up, and the house is still a mess. Here are seven ways to fake that clean home, fast:

All hands on deck. If you're lucky enough to have family members or roommates around, ask them to pitch in. Divvy up rooms to declutter and tidy. If you don't have any helping hands, you'll just have to continue to the next steps, solo.

Focus on trafficked areas. Since time is short, make sure to focus on rooms your guests will frequent, like the living room, kitchen and bathroom. The entryway is also important, as it's the first thing your guests will see, so hang the jackets, straighten those shoes and stash that mail stack.

Freshen air. As you begin to clean, throw open the windows to let fresh air in. Too cold for open windows? Light a mildly scented candle or spray odor neutralizer.

Declutter. Run through your high traffic areas and remove clutter. Piles of mail, shoes on the floor, blankets unfolded and errant clothes all need to be stashed. If you don't have time to put things where they belong, do a tornado sweep with a laundry basket, nabbing all out-of-place items to rehome when you have more time. Simply stash your full basket in a hidden area, like a closet or laundry room.

Tidy. Now that the clutter is gone, tidy tables and counters to make your space look open and clean. Stack those magazines in an orderly pile, arrange the remotes, put away those drying dishes and take out the trash.

Wipe down. Head to the kitchen and bathroom with a rag and disinfectant and wipe down counters, mirrors and toilets that your guests might encounter.

Vacuum. Now that your surfaces are fully clean, run a vacuum over the floors (and furniture!) to pick up pet hair and dirt. Nothing says "clean home" like vacuum lines on the carpet, so fake it until you make it.

March
17

5 Quick Ways to Brighten Any Room

Want to brighten up a room, but don't have the time to paint or budget to add a window? Consider the following easy fixes:

Hang a mirror. Hang a mirror (or lean a large one against a wall) to toss light around your room and open it up.

Add metallics. Golds and silver accents will make any space sparkle. Think picture frames, fixtures, lamps and decorative items like vases or candle holders.

Freshen with flowers. A pop of floral can brighten a room, especially when that floral is fresh. Add a bouquet to a table for a bit of vibrancy.

Think yellow or white. While light colors may show dirt and grime, white and yellow accents can brighten an area, fast. Add white and yellow throw pillows, swap out the duvet on your bed, or hang a new set of curtains.

Declutter. Last, but not least, a clutter sweep will help brighten your space up. Stack books, toss old magazines, fold the laundry and nix the knick knacks, and your home will thank you for it.

March
11

Retro Colors Make a Comeback: What's Hot in Decor Right Now

Everything old is new again, and that goes for decorating with color. While the last decade in home décor has largely been defined by white and varying shades of beige and gray, today's designers are harking back to yesteryear with paint colors, furniture and even kitchen appliances.

Part art deco, part '50s suburban and part '60s mod, these awesome retro colors are fresh and refreshed to fit today's tastes, say the color mavens at Sherwin Williams, whose wall color faves this year include shades of pink, aqua and pale or mustard yellows with accents of slate or peppery coral—great ways to set off the stark white of baseboards, crown moldings and door frames.

Big Chill, a retro appliance company launched in 2001, is finding huge success with its growing line of refrigerators, stoves and dishwashers in pink, aqua, yellow and more that bring a spirit of nostalgia to today's kitchens, along with their high-tech efficiency.

Small kitchen appliances from crockpots to mixers and toasters are now available in a wide range of bold and retro colors, and look for pink velvet, pale blue and teal sofas from a variety of furniture design companies as vintage furnishings make a huge comeback.

You might also find bright orange and sage green shantung side chairs, shabby-chic and pastel-colored buffets and bookshelves and other accessories, and don't miss the lighting display in most home stores, where Tiffany lamps and vintage shades are gaining ground in sales.

A roomful of these vintage colors can make you feel a little nostalgic, a little happier and a little more optimistic. What more could anyone ask for?

February
26

How to Decorate Your Home - Real Estate Guides - The New York Times

Add Some Light and Life to Your Rooms

Want to brighten up a room but don't have the time to paint or the budget to add a window?

Consider the following easy fixes:

Hang a mirror. Hang a mirror (or lean a large one against a wall) to toss light around your room and open it up.

Add metallics. Golds and silver accents will make any space sparkle. Think picture frames, fixtures, lamps and decorative items like vases or candle holders.

Freshen with flowers. A floral pop can brighten a room, especially with fresh flowers. Add a bouquet to a table for a bit of vibrancy.

Think yellow or white. While light colors may show dirt and grime, white and yellow accents can brighten an area, fast. Add white and yellow throw pillows, swap out the duvet on your bed or hang a new set of curtains.

Declutter. Last but not least, a clutter sweep will help brighten your space up. Stack books, toss old magazines, fold the laundry, nix the knick-knacks and your home will thank you for it.

February
12

Why It's Easy to Fall in Love with Homeownership [INFOGRAPHIC]

Why It's Easy to Fall in Love with Homeownership [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • Homeownership provides comfort, stability, and security, and it makes you feel more connected to your community.
  • Your home is something to be proud of and is uniquely yours, so you can customize it to your heart's desire.
  • If you're ready to fall in love with a home of your own, let's connect to get you started on the path to homeownership.
February
11

5 Ways to Pick the Perfect Color Scheme

If you're revamping your interior design scheme, you may be considering a new color palette. Should you go with earthy hues? Vibrant jewel tones? Cool blues and grays? Below are five ways to pick a color scheme that will work for you.

Choose from what you have. If you're not revamping with an entirely new furniture set, then you may want to pick a color from what you already have. A boldly patterned sofa or floor rug can serve as a jumping off point.

Start with three. If you're feeling overwhelmed with options, choose three colors you love and keep it to there, with one as your main color, another as your secondary and a third for accents. (Four if you count white, which is more of a neutral).

Base with black. If you can tie black into your color scheme, you'll always have something easy (and versatile) to return to. No need to get macabre—think black appliances in the kitchen, black end and coffee tables in the living room, and black cabinetry in the bathroom.

Decorate with 60-30-10. This rule, used by many interior designers, gives you a mathematical breakdown of how much of each color you should use to give your space balance. Go with 60 percent of your main color (like, your walls), 30 percent your secondary (hello, furniture) and 10 percent that pop of accent—light sconces, art, throw pillows, blankets, etc.

Move from dark to light. So, you have your chosen colors—now what? A top designer tip when adding color to your home is to place the darkest colors low, like the carpet, floor or furniture, and then move to medium shades for the walls and art, and the lightest hue on the ceiling.

January
31

How to Make Your Home's Entryway Pop

The entrance of your home says a lot about your character, from interior design to overall aesthetics. Below are some helpful tips for making sure your space wows you and your guests every time.

Kill the clutter. Clutter is a huge no-no in your entryway, as it impacts the entire vibe of your space from the moment you set foot in the door. However, this can be hard, as the entryway is the space you dump your keys, mail, boots and coat. To remedy this, make sure you have designated, tucked away spaces for everything you store at the entrance of your home. Hooks for coats, baskets for mail and a covered bin for shoes can all work wonders.

Add a statement. Placing a beloved piece of art or furniture in the mouth of your home is a great way to appreciate it every time you enter, and can offer a fantastic conversation starter between you and guests.

Have a seat. Whether it's a plush chair or a simple bench, a seat in your entryway is great for roosting as you tie your shoelaces, and makes a perfect place for attractive accent pillows.

Light it right. Good lighting in your entryway is a must. Add an attractive lighting fixture, set up a dimmer for mood and a floor or table lamp for added options.

Personal touches. Placing photos of your family and pets in your entryway can add a nice personal element and warm your heart every time you pass by.

January
29

How to Choose the Right Kitchen Sink

In the wide world of kitchen décor, the sink is rarely a star. Sandwiched between the granite countertops and the kitchen backsplash, it is perhaps the last thing homeowners think about. But considering how often we use it, and the different chores we use it for, the sink deserves a considered choice.

Kitchen design consultants at HGTV provide kitchen sink basics to think about:

Size and Shape 

Classic Farmhouse
A large, single-basin sink, this classic design works well if you plan to use it for multiple chores beyond washing dishes, such as cleaning over-sized pots, pans and baking sheets, or bathing dogs or babies. More common is the double farmhouse sink, with two basins of equal size. 

Traditional Double Sink
With two basins of different size, these allow the user to prep in the smaller size and clean up in the larger one, or separately wash small items you don't want to put in the dishwasher. While the 60/40 split is most common, many models offer two sinks of varied size options.

Three-Basin
This sink features two basins of equal size, with one small one and a garbage disposal in the center. It's a good choice if you want to keep food scraps away from the basins where you prep and clean.

Rounded Sides
Some homeowners consider a curved sink easier to clean than one with square edges, and the sleek, minimalist look is attractive.

Materials

Stainless Steel
This is easy to clean and offers a contemporary look, but metal can scratch. Most manufacturers offer bottom grids—wire trays placed in the bottom of the sink to prevent scratching. If you live in an area with hard water, water spots can be a problem.

Porcelain
This looks authentic in kitchens with a vintage style, and if you love color, the choices are endless. Porcelain sinks can chip, however, and metal pans can leave black scuff marks that are difficult to remove.

Granite Composite
Made of granite particles and polymers, these sinks resist scratches and chips and do not show water spots. Lighter-colored granite composite sinks can stain, however, and some special maintenance may be required.

Natural Stone
Natural stone (soapstone being the most common choice) can exactly match your countertop material. But it's costly, and it can scratch and chip. Special cleaning products may be required.

January
26

5 Financial Tips for First-Time Parents

So a babe is on the way? Congrats! Along with the chaos of, well, everything that is to come, your finances are about to experience an upheaval, as well. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it will cost upwards of $245,000 to raise a child born in 2013 to the age of 18—and this does not include college. Feeling that bank account burn already? Below are five tips for rocking your budget as a new mom or dad.

1. Tweak the budget. Your new little one is going to cost a pretty penny. From hospital costs to diapers and child care, budgetary stress is an added strain on you as a new mom or dad. Look for any unnecessaries you can slash to make room for more baby dollars. The more prepared you are, the better.

2. Track your spending. Don't just make that budget and set it aside. Set a monthly meeting with your spouse to look over your spending, make sure you're on track, and identify any problem areas or potential saving pockets.

3. Learn your tax credits. I bet you didn't see this one coming. Being a parent has some advantages at tax time, so talk to your tax professional about what you may be eligible for.

4. Automate, automate, automate. Not only can automation help you avoid bouncing bills, but by having money withdrawn from your account, you can pad up your savings, too. Figure out how much you can part with every month and automatically squirrel it away into an emergency savings account, a college savings account, or both.

5. Set financial goals. While creating a budget and savings plan is great, setting goals for your family can help you stay on track. Looking to have a set amount in a college account by the time your kid hits 18? Do the math and decide how much you need to save monthly to hit it. Is an annual family vacation a must? Figure out how to stash some cash for that, and then make it happen. Also, stay well informed on real estate market trends if you're looking to buy a home or move up to a larger one.

Above all, don't forget to be realistic, and forgive yourself if it takes some time to get on track. Parenting is a lifelong adventure!

September
9

Picnic in the Park is the first Sunday in October and is held at Savannah's famous Forsyth Park. This year, Picnic in the Park will be on Sunday, October 6th. Live music performances are scheduled throughout the evening at the park's concert bandshell, beginning at 3pm. Musical acts include those from local schools, the U.S. Army Band, 3rd ID, and the Savannah Philharmonic Orchestra. While you can wait until the music begins before you show up, those in the know will tell you that it's better to arrive early, especially if you're looking to secure a prime picnic spot. 

Which leads us to our next tip: don't be fooled by the term "picnic." If it's one thing Savannahians can do, it's have a good time, and they do so with both flair and gusto. Groups of families and friends will gather together under tents with lavishly decorated tables, fresh flowers and chandeliers. Cold cans of craft beer keep company with cans of sparkling wine in metal tubs packed with ice. Silver trays, bedecked with doilies, are topped with tomato sandwiches, wedges of cheese, or bits of summer sausages, and flank chafing dishes of fried chicken fingers and boiled shrimp. Cakes, pies, and cookies are in abundant supply, because no party is complete without a good dessert.

Some will dress in costume according to the theme, which for this year is "Paint Your World with Music." Others will keep it simple and just add a layer of bug spray to their normal attire. Ballgowns, glow necklaces, and flower crowns are a common sight, no matter what the theme of the year may be. One can say that, no matter what the theme of Picnic in the Park is, the event will always be the quirky joy of the simple pleasures. And that is an idea that truly embodies Savannah.

September
9

Few delicacies evoke emotions quite like oysters. These magical mollusks are loved and hated, and are the subject of lore and legend all over the world. We've rounded up some of our favorite tidbits that we've learned about oysters.

 oysters

Oysters have many health benefits

Most people think "health benefits" mean "increased libido." But don't think that the way oysters can benefit your body stops there.  The bivalves pack a wallop of zinc, which is great for making you feel good and for keeping up your energy. Besides boosting your immune system, zinc can also help get rid of acne, ease rashes and build up bone strength. And yes, the increase in energy from the zinc in oysters can also help you with other activities.

There are five species of oysters

I know what you're thinking, "Only five? That number can't be right" But it's true. While there are over 100 varieties of oysters, those varieties are all derived from 5 species. These 5 species include Pacific Oysters (or Japanese Oyster), Kumamoto Oysters, European Flat Oysters, Atlantic Oysters and Olympia Oysters. The differences between these bivalves are the water they grow in, and their shells. The European Flat has a large, straight shell with fine ridges. Kumamotos and Olympias are similar in that they are both smaller than the European Flats, and their shells are rounder and paler. But, Olympias have a slightly smoother shell with a bit of iridescent coloring. Pacific Oysters are smaller with wavy casings. Last, but not least, the Atlantic species looks like a teardrop and tends to be on the larger side.

Oysters are good for the environment

In one day, an oyster filters about 30 to 50 gallons. Not only are oysters delicious, but they are good for the environment, too! And once oysters have been joyfully consumed, they are still useful. The shells are great for helping your garden flourish. The calcium in oyster shells can improve the soil's pH balance, adds nutrients to the plants and strengthens their cell walls, all of which leads to healthy produce and brighter flowers. 

In the Lowcountry, and especially in Savannah, oysters are celebrated as beloved local cuisine and enjoyed in a variety of ways, such as raw, steamed, or fried. Oysters Rockefeller are a popular preparation, and you can rarely go wrong with a fried oyster po'boy or basket. Some of our favorite places places to grab these bodacious bivalves in Savannah include Sorry Charlie's Oyster Bar, Husk, The Grey, and Chive Sea Bar and Lounge. We're also huge fans of the Lady's Island Oysters at Saltus River Grill in Beaufort, South Carolina. 

That "er" myth

The best thing about oysters is that, despite popular belief, you don't have to restrict your oyster consumption to months ending in "-er." Oysters are generally thinner in the summer because they devote their energy to reproducing. However, if the oysters are being farmed, this may not even be an issue. There are many farmed oysters varieties making oysters available year round. Your best bet is to contact purveyors and restaurants serving oysters to determine what kind they have available. So pop out today and find out what place has your favorite mollusk!

 

September
9

Some people operate under the notion that most of the summertime fun is over after Labor Day, In Savannah, we know that is not true. For Savannah, September means that the  Savannah Jazz Festival has arrived. For over 35 years, the Savannah Jazz Festival has been bringing jazz musicians and performers to Savannah. The week-long festival is made up of jazz acts at various venues throughout the city. These venues include Good Times Jazz Club, the Mansion on Forsyth, Rancho Alegre, the Perry Lane Hotel, the DeSoto Hotel, the Ships of the Sea Museum and the Lucas Theatre. While some of these venues may charge a cover, the SJF culminates in a free concert in Forsyth Park that spans 3 days. The Savannah Jazz Festival also includes traditional after-hours jam sessions at venues all over town.

This year, Savannah Jazz Festival's 38th year, the list of performers include jazz musicians and singers from all over the world, as well as local performers. The lineup includes Cynthia Utterbach and Eric Jones Trio, the Robert Louis Quartet, Anat Cohen, Eric Culberson Band, Big Sam's Funky Nation, Dan Wilson, Dolette McDonald, Gino Castillo and the Cuban Cowboys, The Huntertones, LPT, and Sugar Ray Rayford. Performances will also be made by the UNF Jazz Ensemble #1, the GSU Jazz Ensemble, and the Savannah Arts Academy Skylite Jazz Band.

The Savannah Jazz Festival is produced by the Coastal Jazz Association. The CJA is a grassroots non-profit formed in 1981. The Coastal Jazz Association is responsible for the Savannah Jazz Hall of Fame, and provides assistance to jazz performers in need as well as jazz education scholarships.

The Savannah Jazz Festival will be from September 22, 2019 through September 28, 2019. Shows begin as early as 2pm and as late as 10pm. For the Forsyth Park shows, bring a chair or blanket, and refreshments, and keep an eye on the weather. Last year, the last show in Forsyth Park had to be moved indoors due to lightning, but that didn't stop the party. We, along with other festival-goers, packed up and headed over to Rancho Alegre. The final show of the Savannah Jazz Festival was held there, and it led to a late-night jam that had everyone up and out of their chairs dancing. Don't miss it this year!

July
22

It's no secret that Savannah is one of the best places to visit in the South, but to really appreciate all that the Hostess City has to offer, it's important to plan accordingly. Savannah is obviously known for it's history and architecture after being spared destruction in the Civil War, but is also a city that has quirky residents, beautiful marshes, and many late nights. We've put together a list of some of our favorite places in Savannah for eating, imbibing, and taking in the sights. 

Thursday, Settle In

 
 
 
 
 
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Start off your trip by checking into your home away from home in the Historic District. Be sure to stay on Jones Street, named one of the "7 Most Beautiful Streets in America." Cora Bett Thomas Realty and Associates offers Savannah vacation rental properties throughout the Historic District. Many of these properties are located within historic buildings full of charm and amenities. Jones Street is in the heart of the Historic District, so you're within walking distance of plenty of shops, sights, restaurants and late night fun.

Happy Hour 

Savannah has no shortage of rooftop bars, but you're within easy walking distance to Perch Rooftop Bar. Perch is located on the south end of Savannah's famous Forsyth Park. Have a stroll through the park, and then settle in on one of the bar's comfy outdoor loveseats with a cold glass of rose' and watch the setting sun filter through the oak trees. 

Dinner at Local 11Ten

Hungry? Wander downstairs to Local 11Ten. Located under Perch, Local 11Ten is housed in the old Savannah Bank building. The building's renovated interior is one of casual elegance. Local 11Ten's menu showcases the flavors of the Lowcountry with seasonal ingredients. Sit back and enjoy the seafood special of the day while taking the activity surrounding Forsyth Park. 

Late Night

If you're looking to squeeze in a bit more fun on your first night, call a pedicab for an evening ride through the park over to McDonough's Lounge. McDonough's, as it's locally known, doesn't have craft cocktails or a wine list. But if you're looking to truly experience Savannah as the locals do, then this is the place to do it. Order a cold beer, people watch and pick your song for karaoke. 

Friday, Get Out and Explore

Morning Start

Before you head out of the Historic District, swing by the Mate' Factor. This cafe' features drinks made from Yerba Mate and homemade baked goods. An Egg and Cheese Sandwich and an Iced Green Drink will fuel you up for the day ahead. 

Local History 

 
 
 
 
 
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Stroll down the wide avenue flanked by majestic oaks draped in Spanish moss to Wormsloe Historic Site. The tabby ruins of Wormsloe are all that is left of the estate of Noble Jones. This is also the oldest standing structure in Savannah. Wormsloe hosts programs and events at various times throughout the year, and a nature trail is open during the site's regular hours. 

The community of Pin Point is located off the banks of the Moon River, and has been for 100 years. Experience the richness of the Gullah/Geechee culture and community, and check out the Pin Point Heritage Museum in the old A.S. Varn and Sons Oyster and Crab Factory. 

Lunch

It's time for a drink and a bite to eat, so get both at The Wyld Dock Bar. Enjoy a Frozen Pain Killer or homemade sangria at a table overlooking the marsh. If you're hungry, enjoy some scallop corn fritters, crab chowder, or steamed banana leaf fish tacos. Eat and drink, and soak in the tranquility. Or, if you're feeling a sudden burst of energy, join in on one of the corn hole games held out front.

Dinner

After returning from your day exploring, and resting up at your home a bit, enjoy an evening walk through town. Head out for a wander with a to-go cup with your beverage of choice and find a bite. There are plenty of options: Public Kitchen, Six Pence Pub, Chive, Circa 1875, CO, 1790 ... A slice of pizza at Vinnie Van Go Go's in City Market or the famous fried calamari at Olympia Café on River Street, are both classic Savannah choices.

Late Night — A Cocktail At Alley Cat Lounge

If you try to look up Alley Cat's address, Google will tell you that it's located at 207 West Broughton Street; don't fall for that. Instead, head down Barnard Street and duck down the lane right before the First Chatham Bank, and look for the door topped by the black awning — that's the entrance.  From classic cocktails, to beer, and small batch spirits to non alcoholic concoctions, Alley Cat has something for everyone.

Saturday, Wander the City

Morning at the Farmers Market

In the morning, head back over to Forsyth Park for the Forsyth Farmers Market, featuring vendors from all over the Lowcountry selling a variety of produce, meats, dairy, and homemade goods. Sample some cheese from Bootleg Farms or some Sweet and Spicy Pecans from Clark and Sons Organics. Treat yourself to a tasty breakfast at the market: a homemade danish from Gottlieb's and a bottled cold brew from Perc.

Historic District Shopping and Museums

 
 
 
 
 
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After breakfast, spend the morning the walking around Downtown. Do a bit of shopping in the Downtown Design District, not missing Custard Boutique and PW Short General Store. Then head north to Telfair Square. This square is home to two of Savannah's most popular museums. The Jepson Center is home to exhibitions of classic and modern art and is ideal for those looking to set their own pace on a tour. It also offers educational programs and workshops for adults and children.

48 hours in Savannah

The Telfair Academy is a stately two-story mansion, designed by William Jay in the Neoclassical Regency style and built in 1819. It houses nineteenth- and twentieth-century American and European art from the museum's permanent collection including paintings, works on paper, sculpture, and decorative arts. Admission to the Telfair or Jepson is interchangeable and also includes the Owens Thomas House, making it a great bargain.  

Lunch

By now you've probably worked up an appetite, and you're in luck because The Grey Market is just around the corner. This neighborhood bodega is the newest offering the team who brought us the world-famous The Grey. The Grey Market has a full menu as well as an array of snacks and beverages. Enjoy an Egg Cream or an Ice-Cream Float, or, if you're feeling something a little stronger, grab a can of wine from the cooler. 

Dinner

 
 
 
 
 
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For a dining experience enjoyed by locals and visitors alike, reserve a table at The Collins Quarter. This Melbourne, Australia inspired café is in the very heart of the Historic Downtown District and features an Australian-influenced menu. The Collins Quarter has craft beer, wine, cocktails, and a coffee bar. Order up "The Perfect Fit," which pairs well with the Pan-Roasted Barramundi. The desserts and Collins Quarter change often and are outstanding to enjoy in the low-it evening atmosphere of the meticulously renovated historic building. If you are moe interested in sipping  dessert, opt for the CQ White Russian. Trust us when we say it is the best White Russian you'll ever have. On the way home, stop by The Peregrin Rooftop Bar for a nightcap and a bird's-eye view of Downtown Savannah.  

Late Night 

Pinkie Master's is a longtime local favorite of Savannahians. A couple years ago, ownership changed and the bar received a needed facelift and cleaning. Make no mistake, this is still the place to spot locals and all changes were subtle and for the good of the bar and its guests. Get comfortable and talk to some locals. Just bring cash as that is the only payment accepted at Pinkie Master's.

Sundays are for Brunching

Brunch at Hush

 
 
 
 
 
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Before catching your flight home, have brunch at Husk Savannah. In a beautifully renovated historic home-turned-apartment-building shuttered for over a decade, Husk is known for its commitment to ingredient-driven cuisines and the menu captures the essence of Southern cooking with a modern flair. Go for a fully Southern experience and try the White Lily Biscuits with Red Eye Sausage Gravy, or the Husk Hot Fried Chicken with Grits and Shishitos. You'll be heading back home with both a full belly and a full heart. 

July
22

perch

Summer is in full swing, and in Savannah that means endless days of sun and heat. But as any local will tell you, after awhile, you find ways to enjoy yourself outdoors. One of the best ways to take advantage of Savannah's summer breezes is by grabbing drink and a bite alfresco. In Historic Downtown Savannah, there is no shortage of places to sit outside and soak up the sun and fun. Depending on your mood and your proximity, outdoors or rooftop bars are usually a few steps away. 

Perch can be considered a hidden gem for outdoor drinking and dining. It is located on the roof of Savannah favorite Local 11Ten which is on the southern border of Forsyth Park. Perch is accessible any number of ways: walking, pedicab, DOT, or car. Weather permitting, we recommend a walk through the park to get to your destination. It's worth the steps, trust us. 

Perch is accessible through Local11Ten, but is also accessible via a separate outdoor entrance. The patio is open and catches natural breezes as well as those created by the fans dotting the perimeter. This space was created using raw materials such as steel and natural bamboo. The result is an area that is sophisticated and blends seamlessly with the natural surroundings. Perch features seating groups that encourages lingering conversations over drinks. This arrangements is quintessential Savannah.  

We stopped in a few Fridays ago, during a day that was unusually cooler for summer in Savannah (the highs were only in the low 80s). Perch is nestled among majestic oak trees, which provide shade and filter the rays of the setting sun. Perch offers speciality cocktails, craft beer, and wine. I ordered a glass of the house rosé, which was tasty enough but was also the coldest glass of rosé I've been served in a long time. Bliss. Perch offers a limited food menu. Offerings range from fried oysters to cheese boards to confit chicken wings. We decided on a cheese and charcuterie board which featured pepperoni made in-house. We sat on a love seat with an accompanying coffee table, facing the entry. It was perfect for people watching. The crowd was a mix of locals and visitors, and more than one group seemed to be composed of newly-made friends. Perch's atmosphere of relaxed elegance is one that echoes the atmosphere of Savannah itself. Stop in, grab a drink and a snack, and soak in a more relaxed side of Savannah. 

1110 Bull St, Savannah, GA 31401
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. 

June
28

South Carolina Fourth of July Events

July 4th fun abounds in the Lowcountry, and not just in Savannah. From Beaufort to Hilton Head Island, there are plenty of Lowcountry fireworks and fun for the whole family to enjoy.

If you're on Hilton Head Island, Check out Shelter Cove Harbour and Marina for the biggest 4th of July fireworks show. Besides a variety of shopping and dining options in the Harbour Town area, you can enjoy the Harbourfest July 4th Festivities. Start the day off with a parade. Decorate your bicycle, wagon, dog or kids in red, white and blue and join the parade. Meet in the parking lot by the lighthouse at 8:30 a.m. to register and pick up decorating supplies — limited to the first 100 participants. The parade will start at 9:30 a.m. You won't want to miss Shannon Tanner's special patriotic family show at 6:30 & 8pm. There's also plenty for the kids to do, including bouncy houses and train rides. 

For a truly patriotic experience, head over towards Beaufort and enjoy Independence Day at Parris Island. Free and open to the public, this family-friendly event will feature a kid's fun zone and The Parris Island Band. And, of course,  an incredible fireworks celebration. Food and beverages will be available. Patriotic glow sticks, bracelets and headbands also will be available for purchase. Gates open at 5 p.m. The Parris Island Band will perform at 6:30 p.m. Fireworks will start at dark, or around 9:20 p.m.

Lowcountry Fireworks

The 4th of July Celebration & Fireworks at The Sands of Port Royal begins at 5 p.m. Fireworks will begin around 9 p.m.  The Port Royal Independence Day celebration will include food booths, refreshments, vendors, entertainment, face painting, a water slide, bounce houses and more. This event is sponsored by The Port Royal Historic Foundation.

Fourth of July Flyover

Another way to truly embrace the pride in our country is to participate in the Salute from the Shore. Every year on July 4th, hundreds of thousands of people gather on the beaches of South Carolina in patriotic attire to wave the red, white and blue and to demonstrate their gratitude to America's finest for their bravery and commitment. The flyover of military aircraft will start at 1 p.m. in Myrtle Beach. Salute from the Shore encourages participants to share their stories about why they love America and those that protect it by posting their own video and images of the event on social networks to be seen by American Armed Forces deployed throughout the world. For a full schedule of flyover times in the Beaufort area, visit salutefromtheshore.org

Keep the Fun Going

And after the 4th, keep the fun going by visiting the May River Shrimp Festival Sunset Party. This event, held in beautiful Bluffton, South Carolina, features an arts and crafts village, as well as a craft beer garden and wine. The Bluffton Sunset Party is a great way to make the most of summertime fun. Come grab a delicious beverage and enjoy the sunset with friends and neighbors at this beloved community event. 

[caption id="attachment_2305" align="alignnone" width="640"]Bluffton Farmers Market Image Credit: Bluffton Farmers Market[/caption]

As long as you're in the Bluffton area, stop in and check out the Bluffton Farmers Market. The BFM is open every Thursday from 1pm to 6pm. The Bluffton Farmers Market is an ideal stop for grabbing fresh produce and wares from local vendors who are passionate about their goods and love sharing their stories. The BFM also features local entertainment. Stop in, grab some goodies and enjoy the company of friends, family and community at the Bluffton Farmers Market. 

The July fun continues in Beaufort as well with the 64th Annual Beaufort Water Festival. This 10-day event is one of the longest running events in the Lowcountry, and features arts and crafts, live music, air shows, and the Grand Parade. If you want to make the most of your summertime fun in South Carolina, then the Beaufort Water Festival should be on your to-do list. 

Harbourfest at Shelter Cove isn't limited to July 4th fun, either. This event runs throughout the summer until Labor Day. The events of Harbourfest will continue to feature live music, fireworks, and plenty of activities for the kiddos all summer long. Check out the schedule and find out more information at the Harbourfest website.

June
28

As we plunge full speed ahead into summertime here in the Lowcountry, it's time to take a look at some Savannah celebrations and happenings. The most popular summertime holiday is July 4th. Savannah has no shortage of fun events for this holiday. Check out our list of upcoming events for the July 4th holiday weekend. 

By far the most popular July 4th Fun in Savannah is in Rousakis Plaza on River Street. In the heart of Downtown Savannah, River Street is home to shops, bars, restaurants, all of which will be open on July 4th. Rousakis Plaza will also be hosting food vendors as well as live music, and the evening will be capped off with a fireworks show over the river. 

If you're looking to take in the fireworks, but don't want to just stand on River Street watching, check out the July 4th Fireworks Cruise. This 2 1/2 hour cruise is hosted by Savannah Riverboat Tours and sets sail at 9pm. The riverboats have outdoor decks that are perfect for viewing the fireworks. Passengers can also music from the riverboat DJs, as well as food and beverages during the cruise. This is great way to experience Savannah, but from a different view than usual.

Another way to enjoy the show without being on River Street is at the Swingin' Savannah River Independence Day Celebration. This event is at the Westin Harbor Lawn (across the river from River Street) and will feature live music by Savannah favorite The Fabulous Equinox Orchestra. Proceeds from this event go to support Companions for Heroes, which pairs shelter dogs with wounded military veterans, law enforcement, and first responders. This event is a great way to enjoy the July 4th festivities and support a great cause.

We've mentioned The Grove before, as it is one of our favorite rooftop bars in Downtown Savannah. This year, The Grove is hosting a 4th of July Rooftop Picnic, with tickets already available for sale. The event ticket includes access to the BYOB bar — that is a Build Your Own Burger bar. The event ticket also includes 3 drink tickets. Picnickers will enjoy people-watching and fireworks-viewing, plus live music and a DJ on the second floor. 

If you're looking to head to the beach, but still want to enjoy some fireworks on the 4th, then head out to Tybee Island. Tybee will be hosting its own July 4th Fireworks show. The fireworks will begin at dark, but we recommend heading out early to snag a parking spot. This is easily one of Tybee Island's busiest days of the year, so make sure to plan accordingly. The show is staged on the pier, but you can easily enjoy the show from any of the island's eastern beaches. If you get to the Island early check out the Tybee island Bike Parade. And afterward, you can visit the National Association of Women in the Arts (NAOWITA) Jazz Festival. The festival is on Tybee Island July 4th through July 6th and will include local and international vendors. So head out to Tybee Island for a day of fun and support a great cause while celebrating our country.

There you have it, a quick list of places and parties to celebrate summer's best holiday. Wherever you end up, make sure to follow our tips for making the most of your July 4th celebration in Savannah and Tybee Island. 

River Street Celebration

Noon-10 p.m. July 4; River Street; More Info

The most popular July 4th Fun in Savannah. Fireworks show at 9:30 p.m. Free VIP military seating starting at 6 p.m. in Morrell Park.

Swingin' Savannah River

8-9:30 p.m. July 4; The Westin; More Info

The Fabulous Equinox Orchestra offers a patriotic concert with proceeds to support the Sua Sponte Foundation

Fireworks on Tybee

9:15-10 p.m. July 4; Tybee Pier & Pavilion; More Info

Show staged on pier; viewed from any eastern beach.

Tybee Island Bike Parade

11 a.m. July 4; Memorial Park, Tybee Island; More Info

Decorate your bike in red, white and blue for a family-friendly ride.

4th of July Rooftop Picnic

6-10 p.m. July 4; The Grove; More Info

Watch the Savannah Waterfront fireworks from the rooftop while you enjoy dinner & drinks. 

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
5

Savannah Summer Fun

Hot… that's certainly one way to describe summers in Savannah! But you're never too far from the water or a good time to truly enjoy the Hostess City. We've compiled a list of Summer "Hot Spots" perfect for locals to enjoy, or for those just passing through to get a taste of Savannah.

 Savannah Summer Fun

Unwind and Sunshine

What says summer more than a trip to the beach? A 20-minute drive from downtown Savannah gets you to a little slice of paradise, also known as "Savannah's beach", Tybee Island. Feel the ocean breeze, the sand between your toes, and the time slow down just enough. If you're visiting without a car, hop on a shuttle, and it'll get you to and from the beach with ease!

A Grand Slam Experience

Conveniently located and fun for the whole family, a Savannah Bananas Baseball game is a summer must, and you don't even have to like baseball to enjoy it. Their season runs from June through August, but tickets sell out fast! It's truly just a fan-first experience: you'll be dancing and singing, eating and drinking, and truly enjoying every inning… while cheering on the home team.

Savannah Summer Fun

Ice Scream, You Scream, We all Scream for Leopold's

There's no better way to cool off, than with a scoop of your favorite ice cream. Award-winning, homemade ice cream that will melt in your mouth (or on the cone, if you don't eat it fast enough). Located on Broughton Street, Leopold's Ice Cream is a perfect place to take a break from all the shopping and indulge in a sweet treat that's been a Savannah tradition since 1919.

Savannah Summer Fun

Boat Ride with a Porpoise

Soak in Savannah from its historic waterways. Hop on a boat from River Street, venture through the water towards Tybee Island, and don't forget your camera! Dolphin Magic guides guarantee you'll catch a glimpse of our friendly dolphins and leave with a rich history lesson too. What's better than a sunset cruise, dolphins, and entertainment along the way?

Good Eats & Drinks

No matter the season, Savannah has a food scene that's perfect for any palate. Fresh caught seafood, fried chicken with buttermilk biscuits, pasta dishes to die for, fried green tomatoes, and plenty of dining options for that sweet tooth. Locally sourced and locally owned Savannah restaurants are easy to come by and certainly a must. We also suggest that you "rooftop bar hop"! From Peregrin in the historic district to Top Deck right along the Savannah River, and everywhere in between… be sure to catch the Savannah sunset with a drink in hand.

May
31

Based on Rigorous Science

We have previously listed our top 5 burgers in Savannah north of Gaston, but because the dining scene in Savannah is always evolving, we try to update our list accordingly. Some things don't change though. We still realize that the best burgers in Savannah is a pretty hotly contested topic, which is why this isn't some sort of definitive ranking. This is just a new list of our favorite places to get amazing burgers based on a variety of factors such as service, atmosphere, the bun, and, of course, the burgers. Again, this list is in no particular order, so don't fret if your favorite place is near the bottom of the page. 

The People's Champs

We'll start with 3 places that according to many Savannians, arguably have THE best burgers in Savannah. On the weekend — well, just about any day really — you can encounter a lengthy wait depending on the size of your party at  The Crystal Beer Parlor and Green Truck Pub. The list of available beers are both of these local pubs is great and the food quality is excellent and consistent; and in Savannah, consistency matters. Circa 1875 is a French bistro and pub; while the bistro side is lovely, the pub is where we go to get one of our favorite burgers in town. The 1875 Hamburger Au Poivre is a treat — just be sure to order the green peppercorn brandy mustard sauce on the side, and dip your burger into it.  These restaurants have burgers ranging from simple to extraordinary and are always at the top of Savannians' favorite burger lists..

 
 
 
 
 
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Mountain Jam Burger! #localburger #localbeer #southboundbrewery #cbp#eatndrinklocal

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Simply Smashing.

Smashed burgers are some of latest, and in our opinion, greatest burgers to grace food menus. In the interest of providing quality research and informed opinions, we've tried a couple of versions of this diner classic. The Grey Market, which is the latest and greatest from Johno and Mashama of The Grey fame, is Savannah's answer to a neighborhood bodega. Among other tasty offerings, the menu at The Grey Market features The Grey Market Burger. This burger has a smashed beef patty, caramelized onions, and comeback sauce, and is served on a housemade potato bun. Belly up to the counter and order one with potato wedges and a cold beer.

Rhett is one of the newest restaurants in Savannah and is housed in The Alida Hotel off of River Street. The restaurant's sleek retro-diner vibe is echoed in its menu, especially in the Burger American. 2 double smashed-beef patties are served with cheddar cheese, red onion, pickles, and Norfolk sauce. This particular burger is incredibly delicious, but unless you're especially ravenous, I recommend sharing with a friend. 

 
 
 
 
 
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Hey baby, it's me... your favorite burger.

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Winner Winner Burger Dinner.

The Fitzroy, sister restaurant to The Collins Quarter, was recently awarded "Best Burger in Savannah 2019." The Aussie Burger is so popular that it's on both the Brunch and Dinner menus. The patty is an 8 oz. Certified Angus Beef patty. Like The Collins Quarter, The gang at The Fitzroy hand-patties their burgers. The Aussie Burger comes topped with cheddar, arugula, tomato, an over-easy egg, sweet pickled beets, bacon, pineapple, yellow onion and BBQ Sauce.  

 
 
 
 
 
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Did you hear? Our Aussie Burger won the Eat it and Like it best Burger in Savannah award!

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As with The Collins Quarter, The Fitzroy's space has been transformed from its former self. The restaurant is located on Drayton Street. While the space has been home to other bars and restaurants, they were nothing like The Fitzroy in terms of atmosphere. Dark blue walls and turquoise banquettes gives the feel of easy sophistication. The Fitzroy also features live music and an upstairs, rooftop patio. Like its sister restaurant, The Fitzroy is one of those places where if you do have to wait for your food, you don't mind too much because you can't stop admiring the craftsmanship surrounding you.

A Little Different, A Lot Delicious.

Our friends over at Fork & Dagger Eatery have recently expanded and opened a new location. Fork & Dagger Latin Diner is housed in the old Bobbie's Diner, off of Habersham. The menu echoes the visual aesthetic of the diner, but still has that Latin twist that has made Fork & Dagger so popular with locals. The Hamburguesa is a 1/3 pound beef and chorizo patty topped with pepper-jack cheese, grilled onions, Kachina Farm greens and tomato. It also comes dressed with Bravas sauce housemade Sofrito ketchup.  The result is a delightful combination of unusual and yet somehow familiar flavors. Perfect for those times when you're craving something a little out of the ordinary.

 
 
 
 
 
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#forkanddagger #forkanddaggerlatindiner #burger #savannahga #visitsavannah #dinesavannah #bobbiesdiner

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The Bottom Line

So there you have it — as I said earlier, this is by no means a definitive list of the best burgers in Savannah,  and we didn't use a set standard to judge all of the places that we've tried. Instead, we looked for what tasted good, sides offered, bun, price point and the atmosphere in which they were served. Simply put, we wanted to share our favorite places to enjoy one of our favorite foods. But don't take our word for it — get out and try these places for yourself and see what you think. Get out, eat, and decide which place has your favorite burger in Savannah.

Do You Want to Live in Historic Savannah?

Contact Cora Bett Thomas Realty & Associates today.

912.233.6000

May
24

Emporium Kitchen and Wine Market

As we've mentioned before, just because you live in Savannah, doesn't mean that you can't play at being a tourist while being at home. Our favorite way to do this is to stop in at one of the restaurants at the local hotels. Unlike the hotel restaurants of yesteryear, the new kids in the Historic District of Downtown Savannah focus on creative dishes featuring locally sourced ingredients.  

Emporium Kitchen and Wine Market is located in the ground floor of the Perry Lane Hotel. This boutique hotel is located on Drayton Street, in the heart of the Historic District, and is also home the Peregrin Rooftop Bar. The location of  Emporium makes it a hub of the Historic Downtown District. The dining space of the Emporium is usually abuzz with activity, but this makes it no less inviting. Both tables and bar seating are available, and meals can be enjoyed at the bar, too. 

 
 
 
 
 
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Who's been loving our new menu items and weekly specials?! #wesurehave #emporiumsavannah

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The Emporium serves breakfast, lunch and dinner 7 days a week, as well as a weekend brunch. The Emporium also offers a Happy Hour menu Monday-Thursday. The menu at Emporium offers signature classic dishes such as Bouillabaisse and Buttermilk Fried Chicken. More eclectic options like mushrooms from local forager Swampy Appleseed, Duck Liver Mousse, and Grilled Octopus are also available. The menu showcases the seafood of the Lowcountry with dishes like Roast Barbecue Oysters, Smoked Fish Rillettes, Pickled White Shrimp, and the Fruits de Mer Tower.

Besides a full bar and a menu of seasonal craft cocktails, Emporium also features local craft beers and wine selection covering a variety of price points and palates. The wine list at Emporium is carefully selected to pair well with the menu. But many of the wines available can also be purchased by the bottle and enjoyed outside the restaurant. 

Besides a memorable dining experience, Emporium also offers cooking classes and wine tastings. Whatever you're looking for, whether it's brunch with some friends, a glass of wine and a cheese board, people watching or dinner for two, Emporium Kitchen and Wine Market is a place worth checking out. 

254 E Perry Street
Savannah, GA 31401

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

Bonaventure Cemetery

"Looking at these old graves makes me think how generation after generation of the same family are all gathered together. And that makes me think about how life goes on, but not about dying."

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

One of Savannah's must-see places isn't in the Historic District, or even in Downtown Savannah. Bonaventure Cemetery is located in the community of Thunderbolt, between Savannah and Wilmington Island. Bonaventure Cemetery first gained publicity on a worldwide scale when it was featured in John Berendt's Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. But the fact is, Bonaventure has been a part of the fabric of Savannah for as long as anyone can remember. 

Bonaventure Cemetery was originally a private commercial enterprise and was named "Evergreen Cemetery." The cemetery was first established in 1846 on the original Bonaventure Plantation. The cemetery first started out as 70 acres and was created as a result of Savannah's other cemeteries approaching capacity. The Evergreen Cemetery was patterned after the Victorian design of cemeteries, with curving paths, grassy lots, and plenty of shade trees. Evergreen Cemetery was frequented by those who sought solace during times of bereavement. But the cemetery also served as a place for families to meet and gather for picnics.

In 1907, the City of Savannah purchased Evergreen Cemetery, making it the 4th of the 5 cemeteries that the city owns. The City of Savannah had the cemetery redesigned for more efficient maintenance and for more gravesite spaces. Bonaventure Cemetery has also expanded to 103 acres since its purchase. 

Part of what makes Bonaventure Cemetery so special is the natural beauty of the space that it inhabits and that surrounds it. Located on a bluff overlooking the Bull River, Bonaventure Cemetery is home to majestic live oaks draped with Spanish moss and azalea bushes that bloom with riotous color in early spring. 

Trails wind through Bonaventure Cemetery and along the bluff, and benches and seating areas are scattered throughout the cemetery. An entire day can easily be devoted to strolling among the graves and admiring the monuments, some of which are quite ornate and impressive. Bonaventure Cemetery is open year-round, and offers special after-dark tours during the Halloween season. To truly appreciate Savannah's past and present, visit Bonaventure Cemetery.

Bonaventure Cemetery

330 Bonaventure Rd

Thunderbolt, GA 31404

Website

April
22

Visit The Hotel Bars and Restaurants

It's no secret that Savannah is a great place to visit and and an even better place to live. Savannah's boutiques, historic architecture, restaurants and live music shows mean that there is never a dull moment. And when locals want to feel like they're on vacation, they can visit any one of the hotel bars scattered throughout the Historic District of Downtown Savannah. Read on to discover some of our favorite places to visit when we want to play tourist in our home.

Rue de Jean

Rue de Jean is located in the Embassy Suites, off of Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive and West Oglethorpe Avenue. This French cafe' and bar offers its take on a classic French brasserie menu. Rue de Jean is one of our favorite places to enjoy Happy Hour, as they offer some truly great wines on special, as well as a food menu that features mussels for $8 (and with 6 varieties of preparation). The Happy Hour menu also features a burger and short rib sandwich that are both equal of Saturday-night dining acclaim.

 
 
 
 
 
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Order up!

100 Mile Coast, Savannah, Coastal Georgia, Downtown, General News, Historic District, Fun, Restaurants, Savannah Restaurants, Wine
April
22

Wax and Wane Waxing Salon

In Savannah, we believe in a good time and in pampering ourselves. Unfortunately, in today's world, sometimes pampering can take a backseat to everything else. But that's where Wax and Wane Waxing Salon comes to the rescue. At Wax and Wane, pampering feels special, and like something that you absolutely should be doing for yourself. Wax and Wane is located in the Historic District of Savannah, on Bull Street. The salon is in one of Savannah's famed Victorian houses.

When you first walk into Wax and Wane, you are immediately and warmly greeted. These ladies have mastered the art of professionalism without sacrificing any measure of hospitality. Somehow you feel less like you are keeping any kind of appointment and instead have stopped by a friend's house for a chat. The interior is beautifully decorated with painting by owner Jena Berenburg. Even during the cold winter days, every room is warm and cozy, which, in an old Victorian home, is no small feat. And, this salon always smells so good and has the best music playing. And yet, no measure of cleanliness is sacrificed, and only the best products and tools are used for these hair removal services. 

According to Jena, Wax and Wane Waxing Salon is named for the both the moon and the hair removal services that the salon provides. "Wax" refers to both the illuminating phases in the lunar cycle, as well a technique of hair removal that the salon offers. "Wane" refers to the diminishing phases of the lunar cycle, as well as the decrease in unwanted body hair, achieved through the salon's waxing services. 

The estheticians at Wax and Wane Waxing Salon have an abundance of product knowledge.They also have established a variety of techniques. One of the best things about the staff at Wax and Wane is their willingness to both learn and in turn, share that knowledge with clients. No question is too trivial to ask, and the estheticians all work to make certain that their clients are clear on the service from beginning to end, including self-care and maintenance between appointments. 

In addition to products related to hair removal, Wax and Wane also features a shop full of curated home and beauty items. I recommend arriving at least a half hour before an appointment, just so you have the time to look at everything. Jewelry, candles, perfume, and handbags are just a few of the items offered in the shop. Jena and her team work with artisans and small business owners all over the country to carry these items, most of which can't be found anywhere else in Savannah. 

Whatever your concerns may be about hair removal, forget them. Make an appointment at Wax and Wane and discover the pure joy of pampering yourself and supporting a fantastic local business here in Savannah. 

Wax and Wane Waxing Salon

For more information, visit www.waxandwanewaxing.com

April
9

Savannah Rooftop Bars

Spring is arriving in Savannah. This means longer days full of sunshine and warm weather. This also means that drinking outside tops everyone's list. Historic Downtown Savannah has no shortage of  places to enjoy a beverage alfresco. More and more, locals and visitors alike are seeking higher ground for fun. And Savannah has answered the call with rooftop bars. Besides, of course, beverages, these bars offer comfortable seating and views. Some of the bars below offer views of the Savannah River, while others offer a view of the rooftops of the Historic District. Both are equally lovely in their own way. 

Peregrin Rooftop Lounge 

The Peregrin is located atop the luxurious Perry Lane Hotel. The hotel is on Drayton Street, in the heart of the Historic Downtown District. As such, The Peregrin provides a rich view of the cityscape of Savannah. Besides craft beer and bar snacks, the bar offers cocktails, a carefully curated wine list, and frozen beverages. The Peregrin has a dearth of seating, from barstools to comfy couches. 

 
 
 
 
 
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Our favorite color is sunset #rooftopvibes #drinkswithaview #cocktailsonice #weekendvibes #savannahgeorgia #peregrinsavannah

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