Charleston Metro Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

May 15, 2019

Four Tips for Making a Competitive Offer

 

4 Tips for Making a Competitive Offer | MyKCM

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

Below are 4 steps provided by Freddie Mac to help buyers make offers, along with some additional information for your consideration:

1. Determine Your Price

“You’ve found the perfect home and you’re ready to buy. Now what? Your real estate agent will be by your side, helping you determine an offer price that is fair.”

Based on your agent’s experience and key considerations (like similar homes recently sold in the same neighborhood or the condition of the house and what you can afford), your agent will help you to determine the offer that you are going to present.

Getting pre-approved will not only show home-sellers that you are serious about buying, but it will also allow you to make your offer with confidence because you’ll know that you have already been approved for a mortgage in that amount.

2. Submit an Offer

“Once you’ve determined your price, your agent will draw up an offer, or purchase agreement, to submit to the seller’s real estate agent. This offer will include the purchase price and terms and conditions of the purchase.”

Talk with your agent to find out if there are any ways in which you can make your offer stand out in this competitive market! A licensed real estate agent who is active in the neighborhoods you are considering will be instrumental in helping you put in a solid offer.

3. Negotiate the Offer

“Oftentimes, the seller will counter the offer, typically asking for a higher purchase price or to adjust the closing date. In these cases, the seller’s agent will submit a counteroffer to your agent, detailing their desired changes, at this time, you can either accept the offer or decide if you want to counter.

Each time changes are made through a counteroffer, you or the seller have the option to accept, reject or counter it again. The contract is considered final when both parties sign the written offer.”

If your offer is approved, Freddie Mac urges you to “always get an independent home inspection, so you know the true condition of the home.” If the inspector uncovers undisclosed problems or issues, you can discuss any repairs that may need to be made with the seller or even cancel the contract altogether.

4. Act Fast

The inventory of homes listed for sale has remained well below the 6-month supply that is needed for a ‘normal’ market. Buyer demand has continued to outpace the supply of homes for sale, causing buyers to compete with each other for their dream homes.

Make sure that as soon as you decide that you want to make an offer, you work with your agent to present it as quickly as possible.

Bottom Line

Whether buying your first home or your fifth, having a local real estate professional who is an expert in his or her market on your side is your best bet in making sure the process goes smoothly. Let’s talk about how we can make your dream of homeownership a reality!

Posted in Market Updates
May 10, 2019

Luxury Housing Market Cooling

 

A Tale of Two Markets [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • An emerging trend for some time now has been the difference between available inventory and demand in the premium and luxury markets and that in the starter and trade-up markets and what those differences are doing to prices!
  • Inventory continues to rise in the luxury and premium home markets which is causing prices to cool.
  • Demand continues to rise with lower-than-normal inventory levels in the starter and trade-up home markets, causing prices to rise on a year-over-year basis for 85 consecutive months.
Posted in Market Updates
May 9, 2019

Concerns About Economic News Reduced

Mainstream Concerns about an Economic Slowdown Revisited | MyKCM

Recently, we reported that many believe a recession could happen within the next two years. We explained that 70% of economists and market analysts surveyed last year believe that a recession will occur in 2019 or 2020 and that 42% of consumers currently looking to purchase a home also agree that a recession will occur this year or next.

However, the U.S. economy has performed well in the first quarter of 2019 and that has caused some experts to change their thinking on an impending economic slowdown.

Here are a few notable examples:

Anthony Chan, Chief Economist at JPMorgan Chase

“I feel really comfortable that the economy is slowing down this year, but not going into a recession… It doesn’t look, to me, like the odds of a recession in 2020 are there.”

Dean Baker, Senior Economist at the Center for Economic & Policy Research

 “To sum up the general picture, the U.S. economy is definitely weakening… However, with wages growing at a respectable pace, and job growth remaining healthy, we should see enough consumption demand to keep the economy moving forward. That means slower growth, but no recession.”

Lisa Shalett, Chief Investment Officer, Wealth Management at Morgan Stanley

“I’m not convinced a recession is coming soon... I see an improving housing market (low rates help), a rebound in bank lending, a tight labor market, higher oil prices and well-behaved credit markets. All these point to a stable U.S. economic outlook.”

Bottom Line

We are seeing a stronger economy than many had predicted. That has caused some experts to push off the possibility of a recession further into the horizon.

Posted in Market Updates
May 2, 2019

Your New Dream Home is Now Available

 

Your Fabulous New Dream Home is Now Available |MyKCM

Over the last several years, many “baby boomers” have undergone a metamorphosis. Their children have finally moved out and they can now dream about their own future. For many, a change in lifestyle might necessitate a change in the type of home they live in.

That two-story, four-bedroom colonial with three bathrooms no longer fits the bill. Taxes are too high. Utilities are too expensive. Cleaning and repair are too difficult. When they decide to travel to be with friends and family, locking up the house is too time-consuming and worrisome.

Instead, a nice ranch home with 2-3 bedrooms and two baths might better fulfill their new needs and lifestyle. The challenge many “boomers” have faced when trying to downsize to the perfect new home has been a lack of inventory.

The average number of years a family stays in their home has increased by fifty percent since 2008, causing fewer houses to come to the market. During the same time, new home builders were concentrating most of their efforts on large, luxury, expensive houses.

However, that is starting to change.

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau, sales of newly built, single-family homes rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 692,000 units in March. The great news is that more of those homes were sold at the lower end of the price range.

In a press release last week, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) explained that:

“The median sales price was $302,700, with strong gains in homes sold at lower price points. The median price of a new home sale a year earlier was $335,400.”

NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz offered further detail:

“We saw a large gain at lower price points where demand is strong. In March of 2019, 50% of new home sales were priced below $300,000, compared to 39% in March of 2018.”

Bottom Line

If you are a “boomer” thinking of selling your old house in order to buy a new home that better fits your current lifestyle, now may be the perfect time!

Posted in Market Updates
April 25, 2019

Renters Paying Substantially More While Owning Costs Less

 

Renters Paying Substantially More While Owning Costs Less | MyKCM

In a recent Insights BlogCoreLogic reported that rent prices have skyrocketed since 2005. Meanwhile, the typical mortgage payment has actually decreased.

“CoreLogic’s national rent index was up 36% in December 2018 compared with December 2005, while the typical mortgage payment was down 4% over that period.”

Renters Paying Substantially More While Owning Costs Less | MyKCM

Why the difference between the costs of renting versus owning?

It makes sense that rents have risen. However, how did mortgage payments decrease? CoreLogic explained:

“It’s mainly because mortgage rates back in December 2005 were significantly higher, averaging 6.3% for a fixed-rate 30-year loan, compared with 4.6% in December 2018.

The national median sale price in December 2005 – $190,000 – was lower than the $220,305 median in December 2018, but because of higher mortgage rates in 2005 the typical monthly mortgage payment was slightly higher back then – $941 – compared with $904 in December 2018.”

Additionally, a recent report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) showed that purchasing a home requires less of your monthly paycheck.

According to the Economists’ Outlook Blog, NAR’s February 2019 Housing Affordability Index showed that the “percentage of income needed” to pay the typical mortgage has decreased the last three months.

  • November - 17.3%
  • December - 16.9%
  • January - 16.2%
  • February – 15.9%

Bottom Line

What does this all mean to the current housing market? We think First American said it best in a post last week:

“The mortgage rate-driven affordability surge has arrived just in time… Rising affordability has already benefited home buyers and, if the lower rate environment persists, we’re in for a great spring home-buying season.”

Posted in Market Updates
April 22, 2019

Are Low Interest Rates Here to Stay?

Are Low Interest Rates Here to Stay?

Are Low Interest Rates Here to Stay? | MyKCM

Interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage have been on the decline since November, now reaching lows last seen in January 2018. According to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, rates came in at 4.12% last week!

This is great news for anyone who is planning on buying a home this spring! Freddie Mac had this to say,

“Mortgage interest rates have been steadily declining since the start of 2019. These lower mortgage interest rates combined with a strong labor market should attract prospective homebuyers this spring and could help the housing sector regain its momentum later in the year.”

To put the low rates in perspective, the average for 2018 was 4.6%! The chart below shows the recent drop, and also shows where the experts at Freddie Macbelieve rates will be by the end of 2019.

Are Low Interest Rates Here to Stay? | MyKCMBottom Line

If you plan on buying a home this year, let’s get together to start your home search to ensure you can lock in these historically low rates today!

Posted in Market Updates
April 18, 2019

Top Deductions For Landlords This Tax Season

For many of us – business owners in particular – tax season is not the most wonderful time of the year. It’s often stressful and tedious, and we’ve all experienced that last-minute scramble before April 15, tracking down receipts to send to our accountant or digging through documents to file on our own.

But if you are an independent landlord, it’s worthwhile to shift your mindset about filing your annual tax return. You don’t have to enjoy it, but you can start to appreciate it by taking advantage of the many rental real estate deductions you’re entitled to.

If you rent out one or more rental properties, the IRS allows you to deduct certain expenses from your income tax return. By maximizing your eligible deductions, you can reduce your tax burden and boost your profits for the year. Here are nine of the most beneficial, and sometimes overlooked, deductions for landlords – as well as a few tips that will set you up for tax season success next year.

Pass-Through Tax Deduction

Starting in 2018, a large percentage of independent landlords will qualify for a new income tax deduction for pass-through businesses as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (Section 199A). Pass-through entities, unlike C corporations, are taxed at their owners’ individual tax rates, not at business tax rates. You may be eligible for a deduction of up to 20% of your qualified business income if:

You operate your rental properties through a sole proprietorship, limited liability company, partnership, S corporation, trust or estate, and

You have taxable income below $157,500 if you’re single or $315,000 if you’re filing jointly

The Treasury Department added that owners of rental real estate who spend at least 250 hours each year managing their property and keep detailed records will likely qualify for this deduction.

Repairs And Maintenance

You can deduct any ordinary and necessary expenses to manage, conserve and maintain your rental property. Ordinary expenses are those that are commonly accepted in your business; for example, you need to hire a contractor to fix a hole in the ceiling. Necessary expenses are considered appropriate for your business; for example, you pay for advertising to attract new tenants.

It’s important to understand that improvements made to your property are not included in this category. Improvements that add value or longevity to your property must be capitalized and depreciated over time.

Depreciation

Depreciation is a long-term strategy that spreads the expenses of buying or improving a rental property over the expected life of the property. Rental buildings are depreciated over 27.5 years.

You can depreciate your property if it meets the IRS’ requirements:

You own it

You use it in your business or income-producing activity

It has a determinable useful life

It is expected to last more than one year

Property improvements are depreciated in the same way, although the lifespan for each item will vary. Examples of improvements include:

  • A new roof
  • A remodeled kitchen
  • Upgraded air-conditioning
  • A landscaped backyard
  • Home Office

If you use part of your home to run your rental business, you can take the home office deduction. In general, the amount you deduct is based on the percentage of your home that you devote to business use.

Professional And Legal Services

You’re allowed to deduct the cost of business-related professional services, such as a professional property manager and the accountant who manages your books and files your taxes.

Travel

Keep records and receipts for any travel expenses you run up while managing your rental property. If you use your personal vehicle to buy business supplies, make repairs or show the property to prospective renters, track your mileage for those activities. Compare the percentage of the mileage you use for your business to the total vehicle mileage, and use it to calculate other vehicle expenses like insurance, gas and maintenance.

Interest

If you’ve paid interest on your rental property mortgage – or any other business loans – you can deduct it as a business expense on your tax return.

Employees

Wages you pay employees, whether they are full-time, part-time or contractors, are deductible. Track those expenses, whether you employ a full-time property manager or an occasional fix-it person.

Insurance  

Insuring your rental property is vital to your business, and you can deduct the premiums for most types of policies. Liability, theft, fire and flood insurance policies are obviously eligible, but you may also be able to deduct other premiums, such as health and workers’ compensation for your employees.

Tips For Mastering Tax Season

Find a system that works for you and use it. Use accounting software, a spreadsheet or a simple file folder to track your expenses and deductions. It doesn’t have to be high-tech or complicated, just a process you will consistently maintain.

Split the work into manageable steps. Ease your stress around tax season by breaking payments into monthly or quarterly installments. If you work with an accountant, set reminders to share documents in batches throughout the year.

Think of your future self. As the business owner, you are the person who will ultimately benefit from taking control over your taxes. Take the time to understand your finances and how to benefit from every possible tax deduction. Your future self will thank you.

Source: forbes.com

July 31, 2017

Curious About Local Real Estate?

Receive the Latest Local Market Stats

Curious about local real estate? So are we! Every month we review trends in our real estate market and consider the number of homes on the market in each price tier, the amount of time particular homes have been listed for sale, specific neighborhood trends, the median price and square footage of each home sold and so much more. We’d love to invite you to do the same!

Get Local Market Reports Sent Directly to You

You can sign up here to receive your own market report, delivered as often as you like! It contains current information on pending, active and just sold properties so you can see actual homes in your neighborhood. You can review your area on a larger scale, as well, by refining your search to include properties across the city or county. As you notice price and size trends, please contact us for clarification or to have any questions answered.

We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

Posted in Market Updates