Popular Landscaping Trends for 2021

Backyard vegetable garden

Landscaping Trends

The COVID-19 pandemic kept so many people home for most of 2020. And while things are finally starting to look up, many people are still spending more time at home in 2021. This time at home has many of us looking around and doing some home renovations, including landscaping.

So, what are the new trends that homeowners are using for their landscaping? 

A recent video from realtor.com has outlined some of the most popular landscaping trends so far in 2021, including:

Vegetable gardens: The pandemic saw many people start their own vegetable gardens, as a way to stay busy, to stay sane, and a way to avoid as many unnecessary trips to the supermarket as possible. With spring planting pretty much already here, vegetable gardening is, once again, proving to be one of the year’s biggest landscaping trends.

Views from the inside: Obviously, you would like your landscaping to look great while you’re outside. But as many people have been forced to spend more time at home, it’s becoming increasingly important for your landscaping to also look great from the inside. As the pandemic continues on into 2021, this trend of landscaping with interior views in mind is expected to stretch right along with it.

Backyard playgrounds: Most playgrounds across America were completely shut down and taped off. Kids had nowhere else to play but in their own home and yard. Even though many of the public parks have opened up, lots of parents are uncomfortable taking their children there to play. As a result, creating an inviting play space in the backyard has been a huge landscaping trend since the pandemic hit—and with summer coming up, that trend will just continue to gain popularity.

Front yard social area: With people craving interaction, they are starting to take advantage of the space in the front of the home and are creating inviting areas to get together with neighbors and friends. Whether it is your front porch, entryway stairs, or your driveway, people are taking advantage of the space to catch up with others in the fresh air.

If you have any questions about the home buying or selling process, reach out to any of our knowledgeable NextHome TriState Realty agents. 712-224-6398

Sellers Are Capitalizing On High Prices For Homes

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All Time High Home Prices

Are you a seller looking to get the absolute highest price for your home? Now may be the best time ever for you to capitalize on the high home priced market conditions.

According to recent data from realtor.com, the median home listing price in the United States has now hit $370,000 this March. That is a 15.6% increase from March 2020 and the highest median home listing price on record since realtor.com started tracking prices in 2012.

So, what is one of the major causes of increasing home prices? It is the lack of inventory! According to realtor.com’s data, the number of homes on the market is down 52% than this time last year, and each month, 117,000 fewer homes are hitting the market than in the previous years. Is your mind blown yet? And not only is the lack of inventory driving up the prices, but it is also causing the homes to sell faster. In today’s market, the typical home is selling in 54 days. This is a full week faster than it was last year.

So, what does this mean for you? Low inventory is driving up home prices throughout the country. So if you are thinking about selling your home and want to sell it quickly, now is a really good time to sell while the inventory is low, with little competition and strong buyer demand.

If you have any questions about the home buying or selling process, reach out to any of our knowledgeable NextHome TriState Realty agents. 712-224-6398

Spring is here! Ready to Sell Your Home?

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Spring is here! Ready to Sell Your Home?

Spring is in the air and if you thought there were lots of homebuyers looking for homes before, just wait, they are coming out of hibernation. Once the weather starts to warm up, that is when it is considered a hot time in the housing market. So, if you have been thinking about selling your home, here is why you should start moving forward with those plans.

Warm Weather = More Active Buyers

With the holidays and cold weather (some) sellers tend to put a pause on listing their homes. But when spring comes, people are anxious to get rid of the cabin fever and they start touring homes. With the longer days and vacations set for summer, spring is the perfect time for buyers to start house hunting. Also, many buyers start their search in the spring in the hopes to close before summer. This way they have some time to get used to their new area and if you have children, things can settle down before the school year starts.

This Is A Sellers Market

Even though the interest rates have slightly risen, they are still in the lower 3% range for a 30 year fixed rate (as of 3/22/2021). This has many buyers out there trying to take advantage of these low rates and searching for their “NextHome”. With so many buyers looking and with the low single-family housing inventory this creates an environment where lots of buyers are fighting to compete for what is available on the market, thus creating multiple offer scenarios. Good for sellers… not so good for buyers.

Get A Head Start

So if you are even thinking about selling you home, you need to get started getting your house ready to be shown. Now is the time to call one of our knowledgeable agents and have them come and look through your home and make suggestions on how to put your home’s best face forward. They will also walk you through the process so you can be prepared and know what to expect.

Give Us A Call

Whether you are just starting to think about selling your home or you have already made the decision to list, or, if you know someone who is thinking about buying or selling, give us a call. We love to help all of our clients during the process and beyond! 712-224-6398

Keep moving forward with your dreams

What You Can Do to Keep Your Dream of Homeownership Moving Forward [INFOGRAPHIC]

What You Can Do to Keep Your Dream of Homeownership Moving Forward [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • Don’t put your homeownership plans on hold just because you’re stuck inside.
  • There are several things you can do right now to keep your home search moving forward.
  • Connect with an agent, learn about resource programs for things like down payments, and get pre-approved today.

#thinkingofbuyingahome #thinkingofsellingahome

10 Steps to Buying a Home [INFOGRAPHIC]

10 Steps to Buying a Home [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • If you’re thinking of buying a home and you’re not sure where to start, you’re not alone.
  • Here’s a guide with 10 simple steps to follow in the homebuying process.
  • Be sure to work with a trusted real estate professional to find out the specifics of what to do in your local area.

Is aging in place right for you?

Does “Aging in Place” Make the Most Sense?

Does “Aging in Place” Make the Most Sense? | MyKCM

A desire among many seniors is to “age in place.” According to the Senior Resource Guide, the term means,

“…that you will be remaining in your own home for the later years of your life; not moving into a smaller home, assisted living, or a retirement community etcetera.”

There is no doubt about it – there’s a comfort in staying in a home you’ve lived in for many years instead of moving to a totally new or unfamiliar environment. There is, however, new information that suggests this might not be the best option for everyone. The familiarity of your current home is the pro of aging in place, but the potential financial drawbacks to remodeling or renovating might actually be more costly than the long-term benefits.

A recent report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University (JCHS) titled Housing America’s Older Adults explained,

“Given their high homeownership rates, most older adults live in single-family homes. Of the 24 million homeowners age 65 and over, fully 80 percent lived in detached single-family units…The majority of these homes are now at least 40 years old and therefore may present maintenance challenges for their owners.”

If you’re in this spot, 40 years ago you may have had a growing family. For that reason, you probably purchased a 4-bedroom Colonial on a large piece of property in a child-friendly neighborhood. It was a great choice for your family, and you still love that home.

Today, your kids are likely grown and moved out, so you don’t need all of those bedrooms. Yard upkeep is probably very time consuming, too. You might be thinking about taking some equity out of your house and converting one of your bedrooms into a massive master bathroom, and maybe another room into an open-space reading nook. You might also be thinking about cutting back on lawn maintenance by installing a pool surrounded by beautiful paving stones.

It all sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? For the short term, you may really enjoy the new upgrades, but you’ll still have to climb those stairs, pay to heat and cool a home that’s larger than what you need, and continue fixing all the things that start to go wrong with a 40-year-old home.

Last month, in their Retirement ReportKiplinger addressed the point,

“Renovations are just a part of what you need to make aging in place work for you. While it’s typically less expensive to remain in your home than to pay for assisted living, that doesn’t mean it’s a slam dunk to stay put. You’ll still have a long to-do list. Just one example: You need to plan ahead for how you will manage maintenance and care—for your home, and for yourself.”

So, at some point, the time may come when you decide to sell this house anyway. That can pose a big challenge if you’ve already taken cash value out of your home and used it to do the type of remodeling we mentioned above. Realistically, you may have inadvertently lowered the value of your home by doing things like reducing the number of bedrooms. The family moving into your neighborhood is probably similar to what your family was 40 years ago. They probably have young children, need the extra bedrooms, and may be nervous about the pool.

Bottom Line

Before you spend the money to remodel or renovate your current house so you can age in place, let’s get together to determine if it is truly your best option. Making a move to a smaller home in the neighborhood might make the most sense.

Why do I need to get pre-approved before I start looking for a home?

Three Reasons Why Pre-Approval Is the First Step in the 2020 Homebuying Journey

Three Reasons Why Pre-Approval Is the First Step in the 2020 Homebuying Journey | MyKCM

When the number of buyers in the housing market outnumbers the number of homes for sale, it’s called a “seller’s market.” The advantage tips toward the seller as low inventory heats up the competition among those searching for a place to call their own. This can create multiple offer scenarios and bidding wars, making it tough for buyers to land their dream homes – unless they stand out from the crowd. Here are three reasons why pre-approval should be your first step in the homebuying process.

1. Gain a Competitive Advantage

Low inventory, like we have today, means homebuyers need every advantage they can get to make a strong impression and close the deal. One of the best ways to get one step ahead of other buyers is to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you make an offer. For one, it shows the sellers you’re serious about buying a home, which is always a plus in your corner.

2. Accelerate the Homebuying Process

Pre-approval can also speed up the homebuying process, so you can move faster when you’re ready to make an offer. In a competitive arena like we have today, being ready to put your best foot forward when the time comes may be the leg-up you need to cross the finish line first and land the home of your dreams.

3. Know What You Can Borrow and Afford

Here’s the other thing: if you’re pre-approved, you also have a better sense of your budget, what you can afford, and ultimately how much you’re eligible to borrow for your mortgage. This way, you’re less apt to fall in love with a home that may be out of your reach.

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

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

Local real estate professionals also have relationships with lenders who can help you through this process, so partnering with a trusted advisor will be key for that introduction. Once you select a lender, you’ll need to fill out their loan application and provide them with important information regarding “your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history.”

Freddie Mac also describes the ‘4 Cs’ that help determine the amount you’ll be qualified to borrow:

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

While there are still many additional steps you’ll need to take in the homebuying process, it’s clear why pre-approval is always the best place to begin. It’s your chance to gain the competitive edge you may need if you’re serious about owning a home.

Bottom Line

Getting started with pre-approval is a great way to begin the homebuying journey. Let’s get together today to make sure you’re on the fastest path to homeownership.

Homebuying Checklist

2020 Homebuying Checklist

2020 Homebuying Checklist | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • If you’re thinking of buying a home, plan ahead and stay on the right track, starting with pre-approval.
  • Being proactive about the homebuying process will help set you up for success in each step.
  • Make sure to work with a trusted real estate professional along the way, to help guide you through the homebuying steps specific to your area.

Building wealth

Buying a Home Early Can Significantly Increase Future Wealth

Buying a Home Early Can Significantly Increase Future Wealth | MyKCM

According to an Urban Institute study, homeowners who purchase a house before age 35 are better prepared for retirement at age 60.

The good news is, our younger generations are strong believers in homeownership.

According to a Freddie Mac survey,

“The dream of homeownership is alive and well within “Generation Z,” the demographic cohort following Millennials.

Our survey…finds that Gen Z views homeownership as an important goal. They estimate that they will attain this goal by the time they turn 30 years old, three years younger than the current median homebuying age (33).”

Buying a Home Early Can Significantly Increase Future Wealth | MyKCMIf these aspiring homeowners purchase at an early age, the Urban Institute study shows the impact it can have.

Based on this data, those who purchased their first homes when they were younger than 25 had an average of $10,000 left on their mortgage at age 60. The 50% of buyers who purchased in their mid-20s and early-30s had close to $50,000 left, but traditionally purchased more expensive homes.Buying a Home Early Can Significantly Increase Future Wealth | MyKCMAlthough the vast majority of Gen Zers want to own a home and are somewhat confident in their future, “In terms of financial awareness, 65% of Gen Z respondents report that they are not confident in their knowledge of the mortgage process.”

Bottom Line

As the numbers show, you’re not alone. If you want to buy this year but you’re not sure where to start the process, let’s get together to help you understand the best steps to take from here.

Smaller is popular


Big Demand for Small Homes

Big Demand for Small Homes | MyKCM

Movies, tv shows, and celebrities often have us dreaming of owning large homes, but the reality for most people is quite different.

Since 2015, the square footage of newly built houses has been shrinking, according to Yahoo Finances. This is not projected to change as we continue into the beginning of the year.

“We expect this downsizing trend to continue in 2020, driven by a confluence of economic and demographic trends.”

Why are smaller homes trending now?

As noted in the article, there are a few main reasons for this demand:

  • “Many of today’s younger, millennial home buyers have expressed a preference for denser, more urban homes that are more walkable to shared amenities.”
  • “Today’s older homeowners are expressing a desire for smaller, less maintenance-heavy and more accessible (read: less stairs) homes as they age and move into newer homes.”

With these two demographic groups surging through the market, the demand for this type of home is rising. If you’re a homeowner with a smaller-scale house, now may be a great time to sell, as the demand for this end of the market is surely on the rise.

Bottom Line

The demand for smaller houses will continue to rise throughout 2020. Let’s get together to discuss what the housing inventory looks like in your neighborhood. It might be time for you to take advantage of this trend!