Jan. 19, 2023

Design Trends for 2023 More is Everything In Connecticut

Design Trends for 2023 - More is Everything In Connecticut

A common regret around taking down the holiday decorations is how bare the home looks suddenly. Fortunately for anyone ready to upgrade their design in 2023. new trends are offering more comfort and coziness than we've seen lately.

For the past few years home designers have created a blend of minimalism and simplicity in their home styles. This style involves removing anything from the space that is not necessary for function or lifestyle. The common phrase "does it spark joy" is a new mantra for homeowners hoping to eliminate clutter from their homes.

As the new year pproaches, this mindset has been thrown out the window. Maximalism is the new theme. Color and patterns textures, and the excess have replaced the sleek lines and neutral colors of minimalist design. Home décor trends now invite the consumer to play with bold colors and contrasting patterns and shapes. Almost anything goes.

It's important to note that this is not an invitation for clutter. A perusal of home magazines and design books emphasizing the latest "boho" style, clearly shows a method to design. The furnishings are functional and comfortable. Color palettes are curated for harmony and mood. While this is a great time to experiment to avoid creating a hodge-podge of design, thought is more important than ever.

2023 is almost here and with it a fresh approach to décor. Forget the minimalist style of the past and embrace maximalism; with all the print. color. and excitement it brings to the home. 

Jan. 18, 2023

How To Maximize Space in a Small Gar

How To Maximize Space in a Small Garage In Connecticut

If it seems that new homes these days have included garages better suited for a tonka truck than a real one, it's not your imagination. With land at a premium, home builders can maximize the living space square footage by skimping on the garage size. As a result many homeowners are lucky to fit one car in their two-car garage. But there are ways to make the most of the space you have by employing a few simple tips.

Maximize the Space Garage

Use the wall space by adding brackets, hooks or shelves.

-Add overhead storage racks. One nice change from the older garages is taller ceilings

- Organize sports equipment like balls, bats, workout equipment and other items that take up space because they are dropped in random locations.

- Buy a tool tower and keep those yard tools with long handles from falling or cluttering the garage.

-Line the walls with pegboards. It's an inexpensive way to keep small tools organized.

-Keep it clean half the battle with garages is the ever expanding stuff. Create a routine to do a deep clean/tidy on a regular basis.

-If room permits, add an outdoor shed or storage structure to a side yard to store bulky items such as holiday decrations.

A small garage does not mean that you must park your cars on the street. Keep the space clean and tidy with these tips and make the most of the available room while keeping things easy to find when you need them.

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Jan. 17, 2023

Confused About What's Going on in the Housing Market? Lean on a Professional In Connecticut

Confused About What’s Going on in the Housing Market? Lean on a Professional In Connecticut

Confused About What’s Going on in the Housing Market? Lean on a Professional. | MyKCM

If you’re thinking about buying or selling a home, you probably want to know what’s really happening with home prices, mortgage rates, housing supply, and more. That’s not an easy task considering how sensationalized headlines are today. Jay Thompson, Real Estate Industry Consultant, explains:

“Housing market headlines are everywhere. Many are quite sensational, ending with exclamation points or predicting impending doom for the industry. Clickbait, the sensationalizing of headlines and content, has been an issue since the dawn of the internet, and housing news is not immune to it.

Unfortunately, when information in the media isn’t clear, it can generate a lot of fear and uncertainty in the market. As Jason Lewris, Cofounder and Chief Data Officer at Parclsays:

In the absence of trustworthy, up-to-date information, real estate decisions are increasingly being driven by fear, uncertainty, and doubt.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Buying or selling a home is a big decision, and it should be one you feel confident making. To help you separate fact from fiction and get the answers you need, lean on a local real estate advisor.

A trusted expert is your best resource to understand what’s happening at the national and local levels. They’ll be able to debunk the headlines using data you can trust. And using their in-depth knowledge of the industry, they’ll provide context so you know how current trends compare to the normal ebbs and flows in the industry, historical data and more.

Then, to make sure you have the full picture, they’ll tell you if your local area is following the national trend or if they’re seeing something different in your market. Together, you’ll use all of that information to make the best possible decision for you.

After all, making a move is a potentially life-changing milestone. It should be something you feel ready for and excited about. And that’s where an agent comes in.

Bottom Line

If you have questions about the headlines or what’s happening in the housing market today, let’s connect so you have expert insights and advice on your side.

Jan. 16, 2023

Financial Fundamentals for First-Time Homebuyers In Connecticut

Financial Fundamentals for First-Time Homebuyers

Financial Fundamentals for First-Time Homebuyers | MyKCM

Are you prepping to buy your first home? If so, one of the steps you should take early on is making sure you’re financially ready for your purchase. Here are just a few of the financial fundamentals you’ll need to focus on as you set out to buy a home.

Build Your Credit

Your credit is one element that helps determine which home loan you’ll qualify for. It also impacts your mortgage interest rate. While there are many factors that go into your mortgage application, a higher credit score could lead to a lower monthly payment in the long run.

So how do you make sure your credit is in the best shape possible when it’s time to buy? A recent article from NerdWallet lists a few tips you can use as you work to build and strengthen your credit. They include:

  • Tracking your credit and disputing any errors that show up on your reports.
  • Paying your bills on time. This includes making loan payments and paying down any open lines of credit.
  • Keeping your credit card balances low. Paying more than your minimum monthly balance when you’re able can help.

Automate Your Savings for Your House Fund

You might also be wondering how you can achieve your down payment savings goals. Bankrate provides buyers with a number of tips to help you save, including searching for down payment assistance programs and ways you can save more, faster. As the article says:

“One of the best ways to save for anything — including a down payment — is to set it and forget it. If you receive a regular paycheck, ask your employer to direct a portion of that payment into a savings account. If you’re a freelance worker or independent contractor, set up a recurring transfer from a checking account to a savings account to establish the routine.”

Get Pre-Approved

As you prepare for your purchase, you’ll also need to have a good grasp on your budget and how much you’ll be able to borrow for your home loan. That’s where the pre-approval process comes in.

Pre-approval from a lender lets you know how much money you can borrow for your home loan. And having that knowledge, plus an understanding of your savings, can help you decide on your target price range for a house.

From there, you can start browsing for houses online and see what’s available in your area in that general price point. This can help you really understand your options so you can start to picture your future home.

For Customized Advice, Build a Team of Professionals

Finally, the best way to make you’re prepared for your purchase is to connect with trusted real estate professionals. Having expert advisors in the industry will help you make strong decisions throughout the homebuying process based on your specific goals, finances, and situation. They know the market and can guide you toward the home of your dreams.

Bottom Line

If you’re ready to get the homebuying process started, let’s connect so you can begin to build your team of professionals today.

Jan. 13, 2023

It's Still a Great Time To Sell In Connecticut

It's Still Great Time To Sell In Connecticut

Sellers all over the country are confused and worried they may have missed the best time to sell their home. Prices are dropping, mortgage rates are rising and pace has slowed but the impact on any individual seller is unclear.

While the days of any home selling for any price are behind us the current housing market market is still strong. The biggest hurdle for sellers is to avoid the feeling that they missed their chance to get top dollar. Yet many times the seller intends to buy again also; so while they may sell their home a little lower, they will also buy the new home a little lower as well.

ABC of Success

The ABC's to a successful sale are not complicated. They are the basics of home selling but if followed it will ensure a timely and profitable home sale.

A) Appreciation - When sellers hear this term, they normally think of the value of the home. During a challenging market, this kind of appreciation is to appreciate every buyer who wants to come by and every offer you receive takes them seriously.

B) Give in, Don't Dig in - Along with appreciation for offers view all the terms in the light of where you can give in or compromise. Be easy to work with and be reasonable.

C) Stop Comparing the House Next Door - Try not to be discouraged or angry if other homes are selling faster. You don't really know the reason; try to stay patient.

Buyers are excited about the slower market. This means that buyers are still buying. Sellers who get back to the basic ABCs can be successful and achieve their selling goals.

Jan. 12, 2023

What Makes a House A Home In Connecticut

What Makes a House a Home In Connecticut

What Makes a House a Home? | MyKCM

There’s no denying the long-term financial benefits of owning a home, but today’s housing market may have you wondering if now’s still the time to buy. While the financial aspects of buying a home are important, the non-financial and emotional reasons are too.

Home means something different to all of us. Whether it’s sharing memories with loved ones at the kitchen table or settling in to read a book in a favorite chair, the emotional connections to our homes can be just as important as the financial ones. Here are some of the things that make a house a home.

1. You Can Be Proud of Your Accomplishment

Buying a home is a major life milestone. Whether you’re setting out to buy your first home or your fifth, congratulations will be in order when you’ve achieved your goal. The sense of accomplishment you’ll feel at the end of your journey will truly make your home feel like a special place.

2. You Have Your Own Designated Happy Place

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

3. You Can Find the Space To Meet Your Needs

Whether you want more room for your changing lifestyle (like retirement, 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 Can Customize Your Surroundings

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

Bottom Line

Whether you’re planning to purchase your first home or you’re ready to buy a different home to meet your needs, consider the emotional benefits that can turn a house into a happy home. When you’re ready to make a move, let’s connect.

Jan. 11, 2023

What To Expert From the Housing Market in 2023

What To Expect From the Housing Market in 2023 In Connecticut

What To Expect from the Housing Market in 2023 | MyKCM

The 2022 housing market has been defined by two key things: inflation and rapidly rising mortgage rates. And in many ways, it's put the market into a reset position.

As the Federal Reserve (the Fed) made moves this year to try to lower inflation, mortgage rates more than doubled – something that’s never happened before in a calendar year. This had a cascading impact on buyer activity, the balance between supply and demand, and ultimately home prices. And as all those things changed, some buyers and sellers put their plans on hold and decided to wait until the market felt a bit more predictable.

But what does that mean for next year? What everyone really wants is more stability in the market in 2023. For that to happen we’ll need to see the Fed bring inflation down even more and keep it there. Here’s what housing market experts say we can expect next year.

What’s Ahead for Mortgage Rates in 2023?

Moving forward, experts agree it’s still going to be all about inflation. If inflation is high, mortgage rates will be as well. But if inflation continues to fall, mortgage rates will likely respond. While there may be early signs inflation is easing as we round out this year, we’re not out of the woods just yet. Inflation is still something to watch in 2023.

Right now, experts are factoring all of this into their mortgage rate forecasts for next year. And if we average those forecasts together, experts say we can expect rates to stabilize a bit more in 2023. Whether that’s between 5.5% and 6.5%, it’s hard for experts to say exactly where they’ll land. But based on the average of their projections, a more predictable rate is likely ahead (see chart below):

What To Expect from the Housing Market in 2023 | MyKCM

That means, we’ll start the year out about where we are right now. But we could see rates tick down if inflation continues to drop. As Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst at Bankrateexplains:

“. . . mortgage rates could pull back meaningfully next year if inflation pressures ease.

In the meantime, expect some volatility as rates will likely fluctuate in the weeks ahead. If we see inflation come back under control, that would be good news for the housing market.

What Will Happen to Home Prices Next Year?

Homes prices will always be defined by supply and demand. The more buyers and fewer homes there are on the market, the more home prices will rise. And that’s exactly what we saw during the pandemic.

But this year, things changed. We’ve seen home prices moderate and housing supply grow as buyer demand pulled back due to higher mortgage rates. The level of moderation has varied by local area – with the biggest changes happening in overheated markets. But do experts think that will continue?

The graph below shows the latest home price forecasts for 2023. As the different colored bars indicate, some experts are saying home prices will appreciate next year, and others are saying home prices will come down. But again, if we take the average of all the forecasts (shown in green), we can get a feel for what 2023 may hold.

What To Expect from the Housing Market in 2023 | MyKCM

The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. That means nationally, we’ll likely see relatively flat or neutral appreciation in 2023. As Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:

After a big boom over the past two years, there will essentially be no change nationally . . . Half of the country may experience small price gains, while the other half may see slight price declines.”

Bottom Line

The 2023 housing market is going to be defined by mortgage rates, and rates will be determined by what happens with inflation. The best way to keep a pulse on what experts are projecting for next year is to lean on a trusted real estate advisor. Let’s connect.

Jan. 11, 2023

5 Reasons Why People Love Moving To Wolcott, CT

Are you moving to Wolcott, Connecticut, and want to know what makes this town so great? In this episode of CT Life, I’m going to give you the top five reasons people love moving to Wolcott. We’ll talk about everything from lot size to affordability so you can get excited about your move.

 

Space And Location

There's a reason more and more people are moving here to Wolcott, Connecticut. The first reason is space. The average home that sold here in the last year has almost 38,000 square feet of yard. This gives you extra space to spread out away from your neighbors and relax.

Reason number two is the flexibility of getting to the city. You're within 30 miles of New Haven, 25 miles of Hartford, 125 miles of Boston, Massachusetts, and only 97 miles of New York City. This makes you close to everything.

Rural Living And Things To Do

The third reason people love moving to Wolcott is the rural feel. From the annual Wolcott Fair to the small town market’s fresh-cut meat and fresh-baked pastries, it's a throwback to how things used to be. And reason number four is that Wolcott has so much to do.

For example, the Woodtick Rec Center at 201 Nichols Road right off Route 69 is a great place to have fun. You can find a beach to go swimming, and there's a great pavilion to enjoy. There are also some other great things to do in Wolcott, including Farmingbury Hills Golf Course, Shebeen Brewing Company, and the Hillside Equestrian Meadows.

When you're in the Wolcott area, another must-see is Blackie’s Hot Dogs right on the Wolcott border. You have to stop and try one of their awesome hot dogs, a Connecticut tradition since 1928.

Affordable Living In Wolcott

The fifth reason people love moving to Wolcott is that it’s still very affordable. It has one of the lower mill rates in the area, affordably priced houses, and everything else that Wolcott has going for it. It’s easy to see why more and more people are putting Wolcott on the top of their lists for their home search.

Now that you have all the information you need, the last thing you might want is to set up your housing search. If you have any additional questions about Wolcott, please don't hesitate to reach out and ask. I can send you whatever information you are looking for, and my team of agents would be happy to help you to get to know the area.

Don’t forget to subscribe so you never miss an episode of CT Life, my show all about Connecticut living. Stay tuned to see what I feature next!

Jan. 10, 2023

Homeowners Still Have Postive Equity Gains over the Past 12 Months In Connecticut

Homeowners Still Have Positive Equity Gains over the Past 12 Months In Connecticut

Homeowners Still Have Positive Equity Gains over the Past 12 Months | MyKCM

If you’re a homeowner, your net worth got a big boost over the past few years thanks to rapidly rising home prices. Here’s how it happened and what it means for you, even as the market moderates.

Equity is the current value of your home minus what you owe on the loan.

Because there was a significant imbalance between the number of homes available for sale and the number of buyers looking to make a purchase over the past few years, home prices appreciated substantially.

And while home price appreciation has moderated this year, and even depreciated slightly in some overheated markets, that doesn’t mean you’ve lost all the equity you gained during the pandemic frenzy.

To prove you still have equity you can use, the latest Homeowner Equity Insights from CoreLogic finds the average homeowner equity has actually grown by $34,300 over the past 12 months.

That’s right, despite the headlines, the average homeowner still gained positive equity over the last year in just about every market. While the gains aren’t as dramatic as they were in the previous quarter due to home price moderation, they’re still significant. And if you’ve been in your home for longer than a year, chances are you have even more equity than you realize.

While that’s the national number, if you want to know what happened over the past year in your area, look at the map below from CoreLogic:

Homeowners Still Have Positive Equity Gains over the Past 12 Months | MyKCM

Why This Is So Important Right Now

While equity helps increase your overall net worth, it can also help you achieve other goals, like buying your next home. When you sell your current house, the equity you’ve built up comes back to you in the sale, and it may be just what you need to cover a large portion – if not all – of the down payment on your next home.

So, if you’ve been holding off on selling because you weren’t sure what the headlines meant for your bottom line, rest assured you’ve still gained equity in recent years, and it can help fuel your move.

Bottom Line

If you’re planning to make a move, the equity you’ve gained over time can make a big impact. To find out just how much equity you have in your current home and how you can use it to fuel your next purchase, let’s connect.

Jan. 9, 2023

Mortgage Rates Are Dropping. What Does That Mean for You In Connecticut

Mortgage Rates Are Dropping. What Does That Mean for You In Connecticut

Mortgage Rates Are Dropping. What Does That Mean for You? | MyKCM

Mortgage rates have been a hot topic in the housing market over the past 12 months. Compared to the beginning of 2022, rates have risen dramatically. Now they’re dropping, and that has to do with everything happening in the economy.

Nadia Evangelou, Senior Economist and Director of Forecasting at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explains it well by saying:

Mortgage rates dropped even further this week as two main factors affecting today's mortgage market became more favorable. Inflation continued to ease while the Federal Reserve switched to a smaller interest rate hike. As a result, according to Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell to 6.31% from 6.33% the previous week.”

So, what does that mean for your homeownership plans? As mortgage rates fluctuate, they impact your purchasing power by influencing the cost of buying a home. Even a small dip can help boost your purchasing power. Here’s how it works.

The median-priced home according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) is $379,100. So, let’s assume you want to buy a $400,000 home. If you’re trying to shop at that price point and keep your monthly payment about $2,500-2,600 or below, here’s how your purchasing power can change as mortgage rates move up or down (see chart below). The red shows payments above that threshold and the green indicates a payment within your target range.

Mortgage Rates Are Dropping. What Does That Mean for You? | MyKCM

This goes to show, even a small quarter-point change in mortgage rates can impact your monthly mortgage payment. That’s why it’s important to work with a trusted real estate professional who follows what the experts are projecting for mortgage rates for the days, months, and year ahead.

Bottom Line

Mortgage rates are likely to fluctuate depending on what happens with inflation moving forward, but they have dropped slightly in recent weeks. If a 7% rate was too high for you, it may be time to contact a lender to see if the current rate is more in line with your goal for a monthly housing expense.