Louisville Real Estate Blog by Ernest Fernandez, Realtor®

A Surprising Shift to the ‘Burbs May Be on the Rise

A Surprising Shift to the ‘Burbs May Be on the Rise | MyKCM

While many people across the U.S. have traditionally enjoyed the perks of an urban lifestyle, some who live in more populated city limits today are beginning to rethink their current neighborhoods. Being in close proximity to everything from the grocery store to local entertainment is definitely a perk, especially if you can also walk to some of these hot spots and have a short commute to work. The trade-off, however, is that highly populated cities can lack access to open space, a yard, and other desirable features. These are the kinds of things you may miss when spending a lot of time at home. When it comes to social distancing, as we’ve experienced recently, the newest trend seems to be around re-evaluating a once-desired city lifestyle and trading it for suburban or rural living.

George Ratiu, Senior Economist at realtor.com notes:

“With the re-opening of the economy scheduled to be cautious, the impact on consumer preferences will likely shift buying...

5 Gardening Tips for Beginners

Will This Economic Crisis Have a V, U, or L-Shaped Recovery?

Will This Economic Crisis Have a V, U, or L-Shaped Recovery? | MyKCM

Many American businesses have been put on hold as the country deals with the worst pandemic in over one hundred years. As the states are deciding on the best strategy to slowly and safely reopen, the big question is: how long will it take the economy to fully recover? 

Let’s look at the possibilities. Here are the three types of recoveries that follow most economic slowdowns (the definitions are from the financial glossary at Market Business News):

  • V-shaped recovery: an economic period in which the economy experiences a sharp decline. However, it is also a brief period of decline. There is a clear bottom (called a trough by economists) which does not last long. Then there is a strong recovery.
  • U-shaped recovery: when the decline is more gradual, i.e., less severe. The recovery that follows starts off moderately and then picks up speed. The recovery could last 12-24 months.
  • L-shaped recovery: a steep economic decline followed by a long period with no growth. When an economy is in an L-shaped recovery, getting back to where it was before the decline will take years.

...

How Technology is Helping Buyers Navigate the Home Search Process

How Technology is Helping Buyers Navigate the Home Search Process [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • A recent realtor.com survey revealed that buyers are still considering moving forward with the home buying process, even if they can’t see the home in-person.
  • While they still prefer to physically see a home, virtual home tours and accurate listing information top the list of tech specs buyers find most helpful in today’s process.
  • Let’s connect today to determine how technology can help power your home search.
...

Today’s Homebuyers Want Lower Prices. Sellers Disagree.

Today’s Homebuyers Want Lower Prices. Sellers Disagree. | MyKCM

The uncertainty the world faces today due to the COVID-19 pandemic is causing so many things to change. The way we interact, the way we do business, even the way we buy and sell real estate is changing. This is a moment in time that’s even sparking some buyers to search for a better deal on a home. Sellers, however, aren’t offering a discount these days; they’re holding steady on price.

According to the most recent NAR Flash Survey (a survey of real estate agents from across the country), agents were asked the following two questions:

1. “Have any of your sellers recently reduced their price to attract buyers?”

Their answer: 72% said their sellers have not lowered prices to attract buyers during this health crisis. 

2. “Are home buyers expecting lower prices now?”

Their answer:...

Think This Is a Housing Crisis? Think Again.

Think This Is a Housing Crisis? Think Again. | MyKCM

With all of the unanswered questions caused by COVID-19 and the economic slowdown we’re experiencing across the country today, many are asking if the housing market is in trouble. For those who remember 2008, it's logical to ask that question.

Many of us experienced financial hardships, lost homes, and were out of work during the Great Recession – the recession that started with a housing and mortgage crisis. Today, we face a very different challenge: an external health crisis that has caused a pause in much of the economy and a major shutdown of many parts of the country.

Let’s look at five things we know about today’s housing market that was different in 2008.

1. Appreciation

When we look at appreciation in the visual below, there’s a big difference between the 6 years prior to the housing crash and the most recent 6-year period of time. Leading up to the crash, we had much higher appreciation in this country than we see today. In fact, the highest level of appreciation most recently is below the lowest level we saw leading up to the crash. Prices have been rising lately, but not at the rate they were climbing back when we had runaway appreciation.

...

Recession? Yes. Housing Crash? No.

Recession? Yes. Housing Crash? No. | MyKCM

With over 90% of Americans now under a shelter-in-place order, many experts are warning that the American economy is heading toward a recession if it’s not in one already. What does that mean to the residential real estate market?

What is a recession? 

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research:

“A recession is a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales.”

COVID-19 hit the pause button on the American economy in the middle of March. Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and Morgan Stanley are all calling for a deep dive into the economy in the second quarter of this year. Though we may not yet be in a recession by the technical definition of the word today, most believe history will show we were in one from April to June.

Does that mean we’re headed for another housing crash?

Many fear a recession will mean a repeat of the housing crash that occurred during the Great Recession of 2006-2008. The past,...

10 Easy Ways to Conserve Water

What You Can Do to Get Your House Ready to Sell

What You Can Do to Get Your House Ready to Sell | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • Believe it or not, there are lots of things you can do to prep your house for a sale without even going to the store.
  • Your real estate plans don’t have to be completely on hold even while we’ve hit the pause button on other parts of daily life.
  • Tackling small projects from cleaning the corners you may normally skip to tidying up your yard are easy and necessary wins if you’re thinking of listing your house and making a move.
...

Why Home Office Space Is More Desirable Than Ever

Why Home Office Space Is More Desirable Than Ever | MyKCM

For years, we’ve all heard about the most desirable home features buyers are looking for, from upgraded kitchens to remodeled bathrooms, master suites, and more. The latest on the hotlist, however, might surprise you: home offices.

In a recent article by George RatiuSenior Economist with realtor.com, he notes how listings with an office are selling quickly:

“As more companies have been embracing remote work, buyers are driving demand for houses with home offices higher. Homes featuring the term ‘office’ are selling 9 days faster than the overall housing inventory.”

Today, more and more people are working remotely, and that’s not just because the current pandemic is prompting businesses to operate virtually. According to the same piece and the most recent data available, the number of employees working at home was fairly steady from 1997 – 2004 but has been climbing ever since (see graph below):...

How Technology Is Enabling the Real Estate Process

How 

How Technology Is Enabling the Real Estate Process | MyKCM

Today’s everyday reality is pretty different than it looked just a few weeks ago. We’re learning how to do a lot of things in new ways, from how we work remotely to how we engage with our friends and neighbors. Almost everything right now is shifting to a virtual format. One of the big changes we’re adapting to is the revisions to the common real estate transaction, which all vary by state and locality. Technology, however, is making it possible for many of us to continue on the quest for homeownership, an essential need for all.

Here’s a look at some of the elements of the process that are changing (at least in the near-term), due to stay-at-home orders and social distancing, and what you may need to know about each one if you’re thinking of buying or selling a home sooner rather than later.

1. Virtual Consultations – Instead of heading into an office, you can meet with real estate and lending professionals through video chat. Whether it’s your first initial needs analysis as a buyer or your listing appointment as a seller, you can still get the process started remotely and create a plan together. Your trusted advisor is still on your side.

...

Looking to the Future: What the Experts Are Saying

Looking to the Future: What the Experts Are Saying | MyKCM

Like our lives, our businesses, and the world we live in change day by day, we’re all left wondering how long this will last. How long will we feel the effects of the coronavirus? How deep will the impact go? The human toll may forever change families, but the economic impact will rebound with a cycle of downturn followed by economic expansion like we’ve seen play out in the U.S. economy many times over.

Here’s a look at what leading experts and current research indicate about the economic impact we’ll likely see as a result of the coronavirus. It starts with a forecast of U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

According to Investopedia:

“Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the total monetary or market value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country's borders in a specific time period. As a broad measure of overall domestic production, it functions as a comprehensive scorecard of the country’s economic health.”

When looking at GDP (the measure of our country’s economic health), a survey of three leading financial institutions shows a projected sharp decline...

Why Pre-Approval Is a Great Step to Take Today

If you’re in the position to buy a home this year, pre-approval is something you can still do right now to get ahead in the homebuying process. Let’s connect to talk about your goals for 2020.

...

What Goes Into Your Mortgage Rate? Many Factors

A mortgage rate is like the time displayed on a digital wristwatch: You see a number, but you don’t see the complex calculations concealed beneath. Since August, mortgage rates have lingered near the lowest levels in three years — right around 4% APR, according to NerdWallet’s daily mortgage rate survey. The factors that determine the rates you’ll get are mostly beyond your control. But you have influence over some of the elements that determine your rate.

Mortgage rate factors that you control

Lenders adjust mortgage rates depending on how risky they judge the loan to be. The riskier the loan, the higher the interest rate.

When judging risk, the lender considers how likely you are to fall behind on payments (or stop making payments altogether), and how much money the lender could lose if the loan goes bad. The major factors are the credit score and the loan-to-value ratio.

Credit score

The lowest and best conforming mortgage rates go to borrowers with credit scores of 740 or higher, according to loan pricing documents from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Interest rates tend to be a little higher for borrowers with credit scores of 700 to 739. For borrowers with credit scores from 620 to 699, mortgage rates are even higher. These borrowers might find it difficult or impossible to get high-amount jumbo loans.

...

The ‘Good Enough’ Home May Be Just Perfect

Constructed from aspirational Instagram feeds and reality TV, the dream home floats in the imagination like a castle in the sky but dissolves in the rain of hard numbers.

Chasing the dream can lure buyers to overextend themselves financially. Or the high prices can lead first-time home buyers to delay a home purchase — and the opportunity to start building home equity.

For many homebuyers, buying a “good enough” home can be a sounder strategy, particularly for those most eager to become homeowners.

“I’d rather see people buy a good enough home versus buying a dream home and being cash-strapped over the next 20 years,” says Alyssa Lum, a certified financial planner and founder of Luminate Financial Planning in Herndon, Virginia.

Here’s the beauty of a good enough home.

It has the essentials

A good enough home may not have artisan tile or stainless steel appliances, but it has the essentials.

Look for a home that’s well-maintained, has “good bones” and is in a good location, says Kelly Roth, a real estate agent with Pearson Smith Realty in Ashburn, Virginia. Well-maintained home in a good location will likely increase in value and probably won’t be a money pit.

Buyers tend to home in on cosmetic upgrades, Roth says, but she advises focusing on basics, like windows, the roof, and the heating and air conditioning system. Then you’re less likely to face surprise repairs just to make the house functional.

If you can’t have it all — and most people can’t —...

Set the Tone of Your Home with Aromatherapy

New Homes Coming to the Housing Market This Year

New Homes Coming to the Housing Market This Year | MyKCM

The number of building permits issued for single-family homes is the best indicator of how many newly built homes will begin to come to market over the next few months. According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development Residential Construction Report, the number of building permits issued in January was 1,551,000. This is a 9.2% increase from December.

How will this impact buyers?

New inventory means more options. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explained how this is good news for the housing market – especially for those looking to buy:

“More construction will mean more housing inventory for consumers in the later months of this year…Spring months could still be quite tough for buyers since it takes time to convert housing...

The Best Advice Does Not Mean Perfect Advice

The Best Advice Does Not Mean Perfect Advice | MyKCM

The angst caused by the coronavirus has most people on edge regarding both their health and financial situations. It’s at times like these when we want exact information about anything we’re doing – even the correct protocol for grocery shopping. That information brings knowledge, and this gives us a sense of relief and comfort.

If you’re thinking about buying or selling a home today, the same need for information is very real. But, because it’s such a big step in our lives, that desire for clear information is even greater in the home buying or selling process. Given the current level of overall anxiety, we want that advice to be truly perfect. The challenge is, no one can give you “perfect” advice. Experts can, however, give you the best advice possible.

Let’s say you need an attorney, so you seek out an expert in the type of law required for your case. When you go to her office, she won’t immediately tell you how the case is going to end or how the judge or jury will rule. If she could, that would be perfect advice. What a good attorney can do, however, is to discuss with you the most effective strategies you can take. She may recommend one or two approaches she believes will be best for your case.

She’ll then leave you to make the decision on which option you want to pursue. Once you decide, she...