Another Indicator of No Housing Bubble

Are Lending Standards Too Loose…or Too Tight?

Are Lending Standards Too Loose…or Too Tight? | MyKCM

With home values appreciating at record rates, some are concerned that we may be heading for another housing bubble like the one we experienced a decade ago. One of the major culprits of that housing boom and bust was the loosening of standards for mortgage credit.

In a study done at the University of North Carolina immediately after the crisis, it was revealed that:

“Lenders began originating large numbers of high risk mortgages from around 2004 to 2007, and loans from those vintage years exhibited higher default rates than loans made either before or after.”

A study by John V Duca, John Muellbauer, and Anthony Murphy concluded that those risky mortgages caused the housing crisis:

“Our findings indicate that swings in credit standards played a major, if not the major, role in driving the recent boom and bust in US house prices.”

How do today’s mortgage standards compare to those from 2004 to 2007?

The Mortgage Bankers’ Association tracts mortgage standards in their Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI). A decline in the MCAI indicates that lending standards are tightening, while increases in the index are indicative of loosening credit. While the chart below shows the index going back to that period between 2004 and 2007 when loose standards caused the housing bubble, we can see that, though the index has risen slightly over the last several years, we are nowhere near the standards that precipitated the housing crisis.

Are Lending Standards Too Loose…or Too Tight? | MyKCM

Bottom Line

If anything, standards today are too tight and are preventing some qualified buyers from getting the mortgage credit they deserve.

Posted on June 14, 2018 at 6:40 AM
Mike Gant | Category: Uncategorized

6 DIY Fire Pits That’ll Make You Feel Oh-So-Warm

Not to mention, get you a nice ROI on your home’s value.

Don’t spend the whole summer planning your dream fire pit or there could be frost on the ground before it’s ready to roar. Start your DIY now and you won’t miss a single day of prime bonfire season.

Plus, there’s this: A pro-built fire pit costs about $4,500 with a return of about $3,500, according to the “Remodeling Impact Report” from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

Now think of your return if you DIY it instead. (Here’s how to do it the money-saving way.)

Some ideas to motivate you:

#1 Old-Timey Rock Fire Pit

A rock fire pit with flame

Image: Greco Design Company

#2 Koi Pond Turned Fire Pit

A koi pond converted into a backyard fire pit

Image: Lucy’s Lampshade

If you’ve decided the koi are more trouble than they’re worth, re-home them and turn the fish pond into a fire pit. Drain it, fill it with sand, and top with a layer of lava rock (or azure fire glass if you want to keep the look of water).

Use the money you save on fish food, algae killer, and chlorine remover to buy firewood and marshmallows.

#3 Easy-Peasy Tree Ring Pit

A clay-colored tree ring fire pit with flame

Image: By permission of Dewey Lindstrom

Want to DIY a fire pit, but would rather read software user agreements than spend a weekend stacking and mortaring?

Pick up some concrete tree rings, and you can make a fire pit in about an hour.

Stack the rings into an inner and outer wall. Use rings with a scalloped top so you can turn the top rings upside down and lock them with the bottom ones, Lego-stylePut landscaping rocks between them to make the fire pit sturdier.

And the genius hack: Use a small, round charcoal grill as a liner. Let the bonfire begin.

#4 A Great Big Seat By the Fire

A white sofa bench surrounding a DIY paver fire pit

Image: DIY fire pit sofa bench made by Keeping It Simple

If you’ve got a gaggle of friends, build modular wooden seating so there’s room for everybody around the fire. You’ll need to be handy with math and power tools to build this bench, but the fire pit’s a cinch: It’s made of dry-stack retaining wall blocks. That’s it.

If building benches with angled edges is above your pay grade, just buy some regular benches and arrange in a circle. You made the fire pit. That’s plenty.

#5 A Room with a View

A gravel patio with fire pit, flagstone path, comfy chairs

Image: Monika Davis

Why stop at a fire pit? Go for a full-on outdoor room in a cozy corner of the yard, with a gravel patio flagstone path, comfy chairs, and side tables.  For a gravel patio that’s easy on the feet, use decomposed granite or pea pebbles. Larger rocks are harder to walk on, and the kinds with sharp edges aren’t foot-friendly.

This fire pit is super simple: a hole lined with sand and ringed with dry stack pavers.

#6 New Fire Pit, Old Materials

A gray paver patio with fire pit

Image: Project done by Lehman Lane

Why buy new stuff when you may be able to scavenge perfectly good ones from your yard?

Got a paved path you don’t want? A patio that’s too big or in the wrong place? Pick up the stones and use them to make the fire pit you’re craving.

Nearly all of the materials in this fire pit and patio came from other hardscape features in the yard. Those benches? Salvaged wood beams from a razed building.

Scour Craigslist and other marketplaces for used pavers, flagstone, or salvaged wood you can use for a fire pit. Other people’s old stuff works, too.

Posted on February 15, 2018 at 11:18 AM
Mike Gant | Category: Uncategorized

Paint or Replace Kitchen Cabinets

A painting pro gives advice on when and how to repaint your kitchen cabinets

January 21, 2018

Have your kitchen cabinets gone from new to vintage to what you consider an eyesore? Does it feel like you should be wearing bell bottoms and a butterfly collar when you’re reaching for a plate? If you said yes, perhaps it’s time to admit your cabinets need a refresh. Getting a new look doesn’t have to set you back thousands of dollars. Instead, consider how paint could transform your kitchen cabinets.

Let’s take a look at when paint works, what colors of paint to use on your cabinets and how to paint your kitchen cabinets yourself.

Posted on February 1, 2018 at 7:40 AM
Mike Gant | Category: Uncategorized

How to DIY Your Taxes – and Not Miss a Single Deduction

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.

Copyright 2018 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

Posted on January 13, 2018 at 10:54 AM
Mike Gant | Category: Uncategorized

4 Reasons to Buy a Home This Fall!

4 Reasons to Buy a Home This Fall! | MyKCM

Here are four great reasons to consider buying a home today, instead of waiting.

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index reports that home prices have appreciated by 6.7% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 5.0% over the next year.

The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have hovered around 4%. Most experts predict that rates will rise over the next 12 months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors are in unison, projecting that rates will increase by this time next year.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, your housing expense will increase if a mortgage is necessary to buy your next home.

3. Either Way, You Are Paying a Mortgage 

There are some renters who have not yet purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s.

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to have equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person with that equity.

Are you ready to put your housing cost to work for you?

4. It’s Time to Move on With Your Life

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.

But what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide if it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe now is the time to buy.

If purchasing a home for you and your family is the right thing for you to do this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

Posted on September 11, 2017 at 7:27 AM
Mike Gant | Category: Uncategorized

America Needs Your House!!

America Needs Your House!! | MyKCM

The biggest challenge in today’s real estate market is a lack of housing inventory. How big of a challenge is the housing shortage? Here are what four industry economists are saying on the issue (emphases added):

Mark Fleming, First American’s Chief Economist

“The underlying fundamental issue is an overwhelming lack of supply… The supply of newly constructed homes is also sagging, adding to the supply challenges. Over the last eight years, housing demand has increased by 5.9 million, but the net new number of housing units has only increased by 3.5 million.”

Svenja Gudell, Zillow’s Chief Economist

“Everyone has been talking about tight inventory but I think we are OK calling it a straight up inventory crisis at this point. We just don’t have enough homes.”

Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist

“House prices today are higher than they were at the peak in the summer of 2006, near-record-low mortgage rates have boosted housing demand, and sales volume is robust. The spoiler is the lean inventory of houses for sale.”

Lawrence Yun, National Association of Realtors’ Chief Economist

“Listings in the affordable price range continue to be scooped up rapidly, but the severe housing shortages inflicting many markets are keeping a large segment of would-be buyers on the sidelines.”

Bottom Line

If you are considering selling your house soon, now may be the time to get it on the market. The lack of competition could lead to a faster sale at a higher price.

Posted on September 7, 2017 at 8:13 AM
Mike Gant | Category: Uncategorized

Rising Home Prices Mean Great News for Homeowners

Rising Home Prices Mean Great News for Homeowners | MyKCM

Recently there has been a lot of talk about home prices and if they are accelerating too quickly. As we mentioned before, in some areas of the country, seller supply (homes for sale) cannot keep up with the number of buyers who are out looking for homes, which has caused prices to rise.

The great news about rising prices, however, is that according to CoreLogic’s Homeowner Equity Report, the average American household gained over $14,000 in equity over the course of the last year, largely due to home value increases.

The map below was created using the same report from CoreLogic and shows the average equity gain per mortgaged home during the 1st quarter of 2017 (the latest data available).

Rising Home Prices Mean Great News for Homeowners | MyKCM

For those who are worried that we are doomed to repeat 2006 all over again, it is important to note that homeowners are investing their new-found equity in their homes and themselves, not in depreciating assets.

The added equity is helping families put their children through college, invest in starting small businesses, pay off their mortgages sooner and even move up to the home that will better suit their needs now.

Bottom Line

If you are a homeowner looking to take advantage of your home equity by moving up to your dream home, let’s get together to discuss your options!

Posted on July 29, 2017 at 6:44 AM
Mike Gant | Category: Uncategorized

Windermere Foundation Has Donated Nearly $1,000,000 This Year!

 

Posted in Windermere Foundation by Christine Wood 

Thanks to the generosity of Windermere agents and the community, the Windermere Foundation collected over $903,500 in donations through the second quarter of 2017. This is an increase of 10 percent compared to this time last year! Individual contributions and fundraisers accounted for 62 percent of the donations, while 38 percent came from donations through Windermere agent commissions. So far, we have raised a total of $34,009,527 in donations since 1989.

 

Each Windermere office has its own Windermere Foundation fund account that they use to make donations to organizations in their communities. Year to date, a total of $979,486 has been disbursed to non-profit organizations dedicated to providing services to low-income and homeless families throughout the Western U.S.

 

One organization that has been the recipient of Windermere Foundation funds is the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) National Scholarship Fund. LULAC has considered education its number one priority since it was established in 1929. The scholarship fund was established in 1975 to provide scholarships to help Hispanic youth in underserved communities make the dream of college enrollment a reality. Former recipients of LNSF scholarships are now leaders in fields of business, science, government, and education.  A rigorous selection process assures the expectation that future recipients will demonstrate the same level of excellence.

 

Last year, the Windermere office in Salinas, CAsupported LULAC’s scholarship fund with a $1,000 donation, and will be making this donation annually. Christopher Barrera, Realtor and President of LULAC Salinas Council #2055, says “I am proud to be associated with such a great organization like Windermere Valley Properties in Salinas, and it’ll be an honor to present a check to LULAC on behalf of Windermere and the Windermere Foundation.” Each year, the LULAC Salinas Council holds a Black & White Ball to raise money for the scholarship fund. Monies raised are matched by LULAC national. There were 14 scholarships awarded in 2016. Thanks to the $15,000 raised through their event, matching funds from LULAC national, and a donation from the Windermere Foundation, they will be awarding 39 scholarships at a presentation ceremony on July 29 in Old Town Salinas.

 

Generous donations to the Windermere Foundation over the years have enabled Windermere offices to continue to support local non-profits like LULAC. If you’d like to help support programs for low-income and homeless families in your community, please click on the Donate button.

 

To learn more about the Windermere Foundation, visit http://www.windermere.com/foundation.

Posted on July 18, 2017 at 4:51 AM
Mike Gant | Category: Uncategorized

10 Home Projects That Need a Pro

Posted in Houzz.com by Houzz.com 

If you are working on a DIY remodel, deciding whether to call in a specialty contractor to perform a specific task comes down to several areas you’ll need to consider:

Skill. Do you have the necessary skills to build a sound structure, and do it safely?

Scale. Is the size of the project one that you can handle in a reasonable amount of time?

Cost. When factoring in the value of your own time, can the project be completed for less cost by a professional? Do you have the tools you need?

Aesthetics. Can you finish the project attractively enough that you’re not sacrificing resale value? Would a rough grout joint or wallpaper seam bother you?

 

Learn more about the specific problem areas that often require professional help below.

 

Contractor 1: Weber + Studio Architects, original photo on Houzz

 

1. Structural elements. Beams, footers, headers etc. — these are the unglamorous and often hidden parts of a home that are critical to its long-term stability and safety. Don’t take chances with structural components. Everything should be drawn or approved by an engineer, whose specifications should be followed to the letter.

 

Contractor 2: Re:Vision Architecture, original photo on Houzz

 

2. Electrical. Here’s another one where safety and skill intersect. Poor wiring can be a safety hazard — just because you were able to wire something up and it worked, doesn’t mean you haven’t created a safety hazard. If you aren’t confident you have the knowledge to perform the needed work and assess the implications of your work on the rest of the circuit and panel, call in a professional.

 

Contractor 3: Jeffrey Dungan Architects, original photo on Houzz

 

3. Roofing. Here’s a good example of a project where even if you feel you have the skills to perform the task safely and properly, you may not be able to complete the project in a short enough period of time to avoid exposing your home to damage from rain. If you can’t get your roofing project done in a couple days, don’t start it. Even professionals can underestimate the time a project will take to complete, so you may want to double your estimate.

Related: Siding Contractors to Get the Job Done

 

4. Plumbing. A clogged drain line and a faucet that needs to be replaced are tasks that you know you can complete. Before you do either yourself, though, think about the true cost.

What is your time worth? Do you have the tools? If you end up renting a drain snake from the home center that doesn’t work when you get it home, and you need to make another trip before you even clear the drain, you may lose much of a precious Saturday.

 

Contractor 4: Buckminster Green LLC, original photo on Houzz

 

5. Insulation. Certain types of insulation, such as spray foam, should be left to the professionals. Many people assume that installing batt insulation like fiberglass is an easy project, but there is a lot of room for error here. If you leave gaps you can create spots that draw heat and moisture into your walls — a bad combination. Even if you do the job well, it’s messy work. Plus, insulation contractors get a much better deal on the material costs than you would, offsetting the labor savings of a DIY project.

6. Carpentry. Even if you have the skills to complete the project, professional carpenters will have the tools and experience to get the job done quickly. If you are trying to complete the project on a part-time basis, remember to factor in setup and cleanup time. Working a full day is often much more efficient than an hour here and there.

 

Contractor 5: Ike Kligerman Barkley, original photo on Houzz

 

7. Masonry. This is one that bridges all four factors — if there is a structural component to the masonry project (and there usually is), safety is a concern. The scale of projects involving stone, brick and concrete can be deceiving. Make sure you know what you’re getting into. Wrestling a heavy stone into place and making it look good takes years to master. When you factor in all of this, the cost of paying for good work can be a bargain.

8. Wallpaper. There isn’t much room for error here. You have to get it right the first time. You’re drawing attention to the wall by dressing it up, so it had better look good. You wouldn’t pay an arm and a leg for a beautiful fabric and then make a sloppy-looking dress, so don’t buy a gorgeous paper and put it up with misaligned seams and bad corners.

 

Contractor 6: Buckminster Green LLC, original photo on Houzz

 

9. Tile. The pace of tile installation is slower than that of wallpaper, and there is a lot of contemplation that goes into a good tile installation. If you aren’t experienced, you may discover something you should have thought about when it’s too late. You also want to prep correctly. Tiles are all different and require different approaches to installation. Your DIY tile floor may look good when it’s done, but can you be sure it will hold up and not crack in a year or two? If you are confident about that, go for it. If not, call a professional.

10. Painting. I know, it sounds ridiculous — if you can’t paint, what DIY project can you do? Keep in mind, I’m not here to stop you from painting your own house. Just consider that a good, lasting paint job takes a lot of prep work. Sometimes this can involve wall repair, scraping paint (which can be a health risk if it’s lead paint), priming and caulking over old finishes with various products. Depending on what you’re working with, you may need someone with more experience to help.

Posted on July 13, 2017 at 11:16 AM
Mike Gant | Category: Uncategorized

Your Opportunity to Achieve the American Dream Keeps Getting Better!

Forbes.com recently released the latest results of their American Dream Index, in which they measure “the prosperity of the middle class, and…examine which states best support the American Dream.”

The monthly index measures several different economic factors, including goods-producing employment, personal and commercial bankruptcies, building permits, startup activity, unemployment insurance claims, labor force participation, and layoffs.

The national index score was rounded out to 100.0 in January as a baseline for comparison and it rose the fourth straight month in a row to 101.8.

Alaska, coming in at 89.4, represented the lowest score on the index due in part to the recent collapse in oil prices. In contrast, Wyoming came in with the highest score at 115.1. The full results can be seen in the map below.

Your Opportunity to Achieve the American Dream Keeps Getting Better! | Simplifying The Market

Forbes Senior Editor Kurt Badenhausen explained why many states saw a boost in the index last month:

“The American Dream Index rose for the fourth straight month to 101.8 propelled by gains in goods-producing jobs and building permits, as well as declines in unemployment claims and mass layoffs.

Goods-producing jobs (manufacturing, mining, construction and agriculture) were up for the ninth straight month in May…Building permits rose for the fourth straight month compared to the prior year.”

Bottom Line

The American Dream, for many, includes being able to own a home of one’s own. With the economy improving in many areas of the country, that dream can finally become a reality.

Posted on July 5, 2017 at 10:01 AM
Mike Gant | Category: Uncategorized