Monday, December 5, 2022

TOP TIPS TO SAVE MONEY WHEN MOVING


Moving can be an expensive ordeal. Costs can add up fast and cause stress when money gets tight. Start preparing early. Before you begin, make a moving checklist that you can follow and adjust as needed while planning your move. Learn to move more affordably with some of these budget-conscious guidelines, even if you are going a distance.

Declutter

Make it a family project, or get friends to help you sort through small and big items. Decide what to discard, donate, or sell. Garage sales, online apps, and social media are some avenues to merchandise your unwanted wares. Otherwise, you can arrange for pick up or take items to your township’s disposal system. You may also contact a charitable organization that can use your items.

Use Household Items as Packing Materials

Why buy expensive bubble wrap when you can use everyday items around the house? Old newspapers, kitchen towels, socks, blankets, or suitcases can protect your fragile items without any cost. Save boxes by breaking them down and then retaping them when ready to pack for the move.

Measure Furniture

Make sure you know the dimensions of large items before you move so that you know what you can carry with you and what you can’t take. That may save you money with a mover and any hassles of not being able to get a couch or other item through the front door of your new home.

Don’t Overspend

There is a tendency to want to spend money to decorate your new abode before settling in. Buy only the articles you need, so you have less to move. Once you get there, shop for cable and satellite provider deals.

Check on Tax Deductible Expenses and Reimbursement

Your moving expenses may be deductible if you’re in the military. If moving out of state for a job, ask your company if they will pay for moving costs or if they offer compensation for relocation.

Moving Service vs. DIY

If you are going a distance, have much to move, or your belongings are heavy and valuable, you’ll probably want to pay a professional mover. However, if you can save money by having capable friends help with the transport, that would be a better choice.

Avoid Moving During a Peak Season

Movers generally cost more and can get quickly booked up in the warmer months. It’s easier to schedule a mover during the off-season and the week.

Pack a Necessities Box

Pack a box of commonly used items you need quickly or in an emergency to avoid buying them again in case you don’t have easy access to a packed away box.

Reviews and Compare Costs of Movers

Ask for a fixed rate, so you are not charged per hour in case the duration of the move is lengthy. Understand how a mover charges and avoid extra fees if possible. Don’t hire overly cheap services lest you get what you pay for.

Buying a home and all the transactional costs that go along with it is a huge financial investment. If you can curtail your moving expenses, that will allow your wallet some relief. It may also allow you some wiggle room in your budget to invest in new furnishings and d├ęcor for your new residence. In preparing for a move, always take the time to plan by lightening your load, being practical, and thinking economically without sacrificing the quality of your moving services. These tips should help you do just that.

If you are planning on buying or selling rural property, give the Rural KC Team-Keller Williams Partners a call.  It's all we do!  913-837-0760 or 913-837-0411.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

YOUR HOUSE COULD BE THE #1 ITEM ON A HOMEBUYER'S WISH LIST FOR THE HOLIDAYS

 


Each year, homeowners planning to make a move are faced with a decision: sell their house during the holidays or wait. And others who have already listed their homes may think about removing their listings and waiting until the new year to go back on the market.

The truth is many buyers want to purchase a home for the holidays, and your house might be just what they’re looking for. Here are five great reasons you shouldn’t wait to sell your house.

1. While the supply of homes for sale has increased this year, there still aren’t enough homes on the market to keep up with buyer demand. As Nadia Evangelou, Senior Economist & Director of Forecasting at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explains:

“There’s still this gap between demand and supply because we were underbuilding for many years. . . . So now we see demand is slowing, but it still outpaces supply.”

2. Serious homebuyers are out looking right now. Millennials are driving homebuying demand today, and many are eager to make a purchase. Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, explains:

“While not the frenzy of 2021, the largest living generation, the Millennials, will continue to age into their prime home-buying years, creating a demographic tailwind for the housing market.”

3. The desire to own a home doesn’t stop during the holidays. In fact, homes decorated for the holidays appeal to many buyers. Plus, purchasers who look for homes during the holidays are ready to buy.

4. You can restrict the showings in your house to days and times that are most convenient for you. That can help you minimize disruptions, which is especially important this time of year.

5. Rents have skyrocketed in recent years. And, many buyers are looking to escape rising rents and avoid falling into the rental trap for another year. As an article from Zillow says:

“Over the next 12 months, rents are expected to grow more than inflation, the stock market and home values.”

Your home could be their ticket to leaving renting behind for good.

Bottom Line

There are still many reasons it makes sense to list your house during the holiday season. Reach out to a local real estate professional to determine if selling now is your best move.  Give the Rural KC Team-Keller Williams Partners a call at 913-837-0760 or 913-837-0411.

Monday, November 21, 2022

MORTGAGE RATES WILL COME DOWN, IT'S JUST A MATTER OF TIME


 This past year, rising mortgage rates have slowed the red-hot housing market. Over the past nine months, we’ve seen fewer homes sold than the previous month as home price growth has slowed. All of this is due to the fact that the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate has doubled this year, severely limiting homebuying power for consumers. And, this month, the average rate for financing a home briefly rose over 7% before coming back down into the high 6% range. But we’re starting to see a hint of what mortgage interest rates could look like next year.

Inflation Is the Enemy of Long-Term Interest Rates

As long as inflation is high, we’ll see higher mortgage rates. Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen indications that inflation may be cooling, giving us a glimpse into what may happen in the future. The mortgage market is eagerly awaiting positive news on inflation. As Ali Wolf, Chief Economist at Zonda, says:

The housing market is expected to face continued uncertainty heading into 2023 as consumers, financial markets, and policymakers work through their respective challenges in today’s economy. . . . we are watching for any additional stability in the MBS market, signs of cooling inflation, and/or less aggressive Federal Reserve action to give us confidence that mortgage rates are past their peak.”

What Does This Mean for the Future of Mortgage Rates?

As we get through the inflation battle and start to see that coming down, we should expect mortgage rates to follow. We’ve seen nods of this over the past couple of weeks. As the Federal Reserve works to bring inflation down, mortgage rates will come down as well. Bill McBride from Calculated Risk says:

My current view is inflation will ease quicker than the Fed currently expects.”

As we look toward next year, we certainly hope he’s right.

Bottom Line

Mortgage rates will come down – it’s just a matter of time. The hope is we continue to see more positive news on inflation, and that’ll bring mortgage rates down. This will give prospective homebuyers more buying power and lead to more homeowners throughout the country.


If you have any questions or are in the market to either buy or sell rural property, give the Rural KC Team-Keller Williams Partners a call.  We can help.  913-837-0760 or 913-837-0411.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022



If you do not live in a warm, tropical climate, the fall months are the best time to get your home ready for freezing temperatures, snowstorms, and icy conditions that lie ahead in the wintertime. Without the proper care and adherence to a maintenance routine, your living space and appliances are prone to damage that can lead to considerable costs for repair and high energy bills.

Protect your home and property by reserving some autumn weekends to check the interior and exterior space for proper drainage, protection from winds, and insulation from the cold. You also want to ascertain that all your heating appliances are in tip-top shape. Here is a checklist to help you get through your maintenance schedule in time for the onset of old man winter.

INSULATE PIPES. Pipes that run along unheated areas can freeze and burst when temperatures drop to 32F and below. Protect them with foam or blown-in insulation you can purchase at a hardware store.

CLEAN OUT GUTTERS. Avoid clogs that can damage your shingles or roof. Use a strong ladder or get a handyman to help. Use work gloves to scoop out leaves and other debris that can block proper drainage. You can also purchase gutters with leaf guards to keep maintenance minimal.

DRAIN SPRINKLERS, UNHOOK HOSING, AND TURN OFF EXTERIOR FAUCETS. Like pipes, these can expand and crack when frozen. Remove any residual water or get help from a contractor who can blow out the water with compressed air.

INSTALL INSULATION. Block drafts by stripping around windows and door frames. Silicone caulk is best for exterior use because it is impervious to the elements. For baseboards, use paintable caulking.

GET YOUR FURNACE CHECKED. Hire an HVAC Contractor to inspect all parts and replace the filter with one that will easily trap particles. Ensure it is operating efficiently and that there is no carbon monoxide leakage.

FIREPLACE CLEANING AND INSPECTION. Gas fireplaces should be inspected every three years. However, wood-burning fireplaces require annual cleaning by a certified Chimney Sweep to prevent the ignition of soot build-up.

TEST YOUR SUMP PUMP. Slowly pour several gallons of water to check that it will turn one, especially during a previous dry season or before rainfall.

INSPECT YOUR ROOF. Check for damaged, loose, or missing shingles that could cause a leak from melting snow and storms. Hire a handyman for small repairs or a roofer for larger sections.

PREPARE FOR SNOW AND POWER OUTAGES. Be ready for an emergency and proper snow clearance. Restock rock salt and check that your snow removal tools are operational and in good condition. Have a generator handy in case you need a backup of power.

MAINTAIN OUTDOOR PLANTS AND TREES. Trim dead branches that could fall and cause major damage. Add mulch to insulate plant roots from low temperatures. Cut back perennials to eliminate harmful insects that may hibernate and resurface to impede spring growth.

Fall is fun for pumpkin carving, farm festivals, and comfortable, cool-weather hikes. Set some time to enjoy activities and appreciate nature. However, don’t put off the tasks needed to prepare and protect your greatest asset, your home. The fall months fly by, and before you know it, you are faced with the unforgiving harshness of mother nature. Be ready and armed with that first snowflake, a gust of wind, and a dangling icicle until you can let your guard down again in the spring.

Please feel free to contact the Rural KC Team-Keller Williams Partners for any questions you might have or if you are interested in buying or selling rural property.  We would love to help! 913-837-0760 or 913-837-0411.

 

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

MARRY THE HOUSE-DATE THE RATE

 



Today's Blog focuses on one of the Rural KC Team-Keller Williams Partners' preferred lenders, Chad Taylor with Inlanta Mortgage.  Chad has been in the mortgage business for over five years.  He is with Inlanta Mortgage and is ready to help you finance your home.  

Chad and Inlanta Mortgage have so much to offer.  They have more than 25 years of mortgage expertise that includes working with every type of client with every kind of unique financial situation. They are experts in what they do and are well-versed in the wide array of products and programs that they offer.  Let's take a look at some of those programs.

GOVERNMENT LOANS

 USDA

  • No down payment required
  • Closing costs can be financed into the loan
  • 30-year loan at a fixed rate
  • Must buy a home in USDA eligible area
  • Flexible credit history requirements
  • First-time homebuyers eligible
  • Income limits apply
VA

  • No down payment
  • No private mortgage insurance
  • Cash reserves are not required
  • Closing costs and prepaid expenses may be paid by the seller
  • Streamline refinancing available
FHA

  • Cash investment from the borrower as low as 3.5%
  • Gift funds allowable
  • Cash reserves may not be required
  • Flexible debt-to-income ratios
  • Streamline refinance available
  • Closing costs can be paid by the seller


LOCK & SHOP

     LOCK YOUR INTEREST RATE WHILE YOU SHOP FOR         YOUR DREAM HOME! (MARRY THE HOUSE-DATE THE      RATE)

  • No property address is needed at the time of lock
  • Fixed purchase mortgage only
  • Minimum FICO 620
  • 72-day lock period*extension limits apply
  • One-time-only rate renegotiation when the property is selected
LOCK IT IN

Building a new home is such an exciting experience.  One of the only obstacles with new construction is patience, but luckily time is on your side-you can now lock in your rate for up to 360 days!

  • 360-Day Rate Lock
  • Interest rate is protected from rate hikes
  • Option to adjust your rate if rates drop below your lock number prior to closing
  • While your home is being built, you have extra flexibility if there are unexpected delays

RENOVATION LOAN OPTIONS

  • Helps clients gain equity
  • Helps buyers who previously could not buy a home
  • Sell any residential property in any condition
  • Increase real estate values

$0 APPRAISAL FEES FOR HOMETOWN HEROES

  • Firefighters
  • Police Officers
  • School District Employees
  • Veterans
This is an amazing deal.  This saves hundreds of dollars in the process of buying a home.  Our priority is delivering a simple and seamless process with personalized service every step of the way while making your home-buying experience as affordable as possible.

I had such a good time speaking with Chad and going over all of these great options that Inlanta Mortgage offers.  The Rural KC Team-Keller Williams Partners strive to be on the cutting edge of every opportunity when it comes to purchasing your dream home.  Chad and Inlanta Morgage's values align perfectly with ours.  It is our mission to treat every person that considers using us as family.  We are committed to honesty, integrity, and ethics.  When you work with us you can expect no surprises.  

In closing, please feel free to reach out to the Rural KC Team-Keller Williams Partners or Chad Taylor with Inlanta Morgage with any questions you might have on any of these great programs.  

Have a great day!








Tuesday, November 1, 2022

PREPARING YOUR RURAL PROPERTY FOR WINTER






If you live on a farm, it’s time to start thinking about preparing for winter. Here are some great tips on how to winterize your hobby farm for the coming winter season.

As winter is quickly approaching, it’s time to prepare and winterize your hobby farm. By completing a few tasks, you’ll have everything organized, safe, and secure. 

This type of preparation work does take some time, so it is advised that you start as early as possible. Getting ahead of blustery winter conditions can provide you and your farm with a sense of ease.

From putting the garden to bed to cleaning up around the farm, here you’ll find a few helpful to-dos to get you started.

#1 Winterize Livestock Living Spaces

Spend some time checking ventilation.

Fresh air should move through living spaces, but no bad or heavy drafts. Hang heavy-duty clear tarps over chicken runs to allow sunlight in and prevent harsh winter winds. Large plastic strip curtains can be hung on openings, such as doors and windows, to help keep your animals comfortable and warm. This is especially important for cold-sensitive livestock such as pigs, goats, and chickens.

Prep water buckets with insulated bucket cover to prevent water from freezing. Store feed in rodent-proof metal containers, as mice and rats can easily chew through feed bags or plastic storage containers. Old refrigerators and chest freezers are excellent for storing feed bags. They can help to prevent moisture, which can often cause the feed to mold.

Clean stalls, coops, and pens to prepare for new bedding. Lay thick rubber mats on barn floors to give warmth and comfort while your animals spend more time in their stalls. Add clean hay or shavings for extra warm bedding. 

Check all pens and fences for any issues. Winter is a time for high predator activity. Ensure all enclosures are secure, patched, and ready to protect your livestock from unwanted and hungry visitors.



#2 Clean, Sharpen, and Store Tools and Farm Equipment

As outdoor tasks change with the coming winter season, so will the tools and equipment required to keep up your farm. Clean all gardening tools and store them in a dry location to prevent rusting. Sharpen and prepare any equipment you plan to use during the winter, such as chainsaws, log splitters, and axes.

Organize your storage space so that unneeded tools are at the back. Place all equipment you plan to use during the winter near the shed door for easy access. 

Also, stock up on fuel for gas-powered equipment. Make sure to test all equipment to ensure they start and run well. Service the family vehicle, tractors, mowers, and ATVs or UTVs before parking them for an extended period. Clean any horse or livestock trailers, and cover them with a thick tarp.


#3 Clean Up Around the Farm

Spend a day or two picking up any trash, tools, and toys laying around the farm. Clean out the barn, storage buildings, and greenhouses of any items you no longer use or need. Take all trash to the dump.

Check and winterize water sources that are outdoors. Unhook and bring in any hoses. Replace them with expandable hoses, as they are easier to bring in and out of the house on cold and blustery days. Expandable hoses can be stored, coiled up, in 5-gallon buckets when not in use.

Deep clean stalls, coop floors, and nesting boxes. Replace bedding and fill nesting boxes with clean shavings. Clean food and water buckets, storing plastic waterers until springtime.

This is also an excellent time to remove any temporary electric livestock wire, as it is no longer needed in grazing areas. It is important to ensure the wire is dry before storing, as the wet wire will quickly rust.

#4 Put the Garden to Bed

Winter is a season for rest, especially as it applies to the garden. Harvest and preserve remaining crops before putting your garden to bed ---- a term that refers to cleaning up and winterizing the garden.

To do so, begin by removing dead and diseased plants. Removal of tomatoes is recommended, as these plants tend to spread disease if left to decompose in the soil—spread mulch where no crops were planted and sprinkle the garden with wood ashes. Wood ash is great for providing the soil with added potassium. If the ground is bare where perennials were planted, use old hay or leaves to insulate and protect them during the winter.

Empty and clean out plant pots, storing them indoors as the cold can cause them to crack. Give the compost pile another turn before the first freeze. Then walk away and let Mother Nature take over.


#5 Stock Up on Farm Necessities

When harsh winter conditions arrive, getting out to your local feed store can become difficult. Stock up on all of your farm necessities early to ensure you won’t run out. Items such as hay, straw, bedding, and livestock feed are good examples of what you can start stocking up on now.

Also, consider gathering medicines and first aid items. Wound bandages and first aid ointments can be stored in a secure box. Supplements are also great for keeping your livestock healthy. Because animals burn more calories in the winter trying to stay warm, treats such as mealworms and pumpkin seeds add supplemental nutrition to their feed.

If you haven’t already, this is an excellent time to begin stocking up and organizing seed packets. Spend some time looking through seed catalogs, or visit your local co-op to accumulate seeds you’d like to sow for the upcoming planting season. Store in a dry location, safe from mice and rats.

#6 Support Local Wildlife

Not only should you take care of the animals living on your hobby farm, but it’s also a good idea to support the local wildlife in your area. Birds and insects are worth considering during the winter, as they support your farm and garden come springtime.

Leave large logs on the ground to shelter small insects and amphibians. Fill up bird feeders with wild bird seed, and hang birdhouses to provide shelter for the birds. Set out mineral and salt licks for deer to boost their well-being over the winter.

Also, avoid tilling the garden, as many beneficial insects hibernate and take shelter underneath leaves and below the soil. This will help protect them, giving your spring garden a boost from the onset.


#7 Start Planning for Next Year

As you hunker down for the cold months ahead, take some time to plan and prepare for next year. Tasks such as winter sowing and drawing up garden plans will help to jump-start your spring garden.

The winter is also a great time to breed does and ewes for spring kids. On average, the gestation period for these particular livestock animals is around 150 days. Timing is everything on the farm, so be sure to keep track of everyone’s due dates.

And don’t forget to dream a little bit. What are your goals? What animals would you like to introduce on your farm? Would you like to earn money from your hard work? Spend some time journaling and thinking about how you can take your hobby farm to the next level.


#8 Take Time to Rest

Be sure to let your land, animals, and even yourself rest during this season. Of course, there will be chores and tasks to be tended to, but observe this time of rest.

Homesteading is a journey, and each season brings new excitement and challenges. Taking the necessary steps to prepare your farm for a season of rest is crucial to the health and well-being of your soil and livestock. 

Make the most of the coming winter season. Prepare, plan and settle in as you await the warmer growing months ahead. Sure, it takes some work, but the payoff is well worth the effort.


If you are in the market to buy or sell rural property, please give the Rural KC Team-Keller Williams Partners a call at 913-837-0760 or 913-837-0411.  Or go to RURALKC.COM and check out our amazing website.

Monday, October 24, 2022

WHAT IS A DEEP ENERGY RETROFIT?




Owning an older home can be a really amazing experience. Not only do you get to actually live in a slice of history, but you’re also there to make decisions about this building that will stay with its potential for generations to come (no pressure). But it’s not all pink toilets and clawfoot tubs; a lot of the most important calls in older homes are about energy efficiency.

Deep energy retrofits are becoming increasingly common for older homes, helping to turn these structures that can be absolute energy vampires into far more efficient versions of themselves. This is well beyond a little weather stripping and can make a big difference to longer-term performance.

Deep Energy Retrofit Versus Weatherproofing

Weatherproofing is vital for homes of all ages, just to make sure that your home is sealed as best it can be, and that the equipment you have is performing at its best. But weatherproofing usually involves sealing cracks, caulking trim, and making sure everything fits snugly together. Deep energy retrofits can go well beyond that, depending on your home, your goals, and what your experts have to say about it.

In a deep energy retrofit, sealing the holes is important, but so is upgrading materials that are fundamental for the energy efficiency of an older home, using materials that make it more on par with newer ones. For example, as part of a deep energy retrofit, you might replace all your windows with triple-pane insulated glass unit windows, and insulate the underside of your roof to help prevent heat penetration into your attic.

You might also upgrade or completely change your HVAC system, for example, going from a boiler to a ductless mini-split system or improving airflow by adding new air intakes throughout your home. The combinations are endless and largely depend on your local climate and your home’s needs.

Problems to Watch for With Deep Energy Retrofits

Although deep energy retrofits can save you a lot of money in the long term, there are some issues with doing the wrong kinds of upgrades to your home. Some houses, for example, use a type of exterior wall structure that isn’t very compatible with spray foam. They actually need the air gap between the walls to help moisture evaporate away from your house.

Other homes might have never been intended to be sealed so tight, so older fixtures like gas stoves and furnaces may require additional ventilation to prevent the build-up of harmful carbon monoxide gasses. Most older homes constantly exchange air with the outside world, which is why they may require significant modification to achieve a safe deep energy retrofit.

Because deep energy retrofits often require a rethinking of how the building envelope functions, they can be very time-consuming and costly to complete. This isn’t a reason to not pursue one, but it is something to keep in mind while you’re planning out your upgrades. After all, it’s hard enough to live with a kitchen in chaos, let alone an entire house turned upside down. A “one section at a time” approach can work well.

Looking for a Deep Energy Expert?

Although most of the work involved in a deep energy retrofit can be easily completed by a brave general contractor or handyman, it’s important to get the right person for the job when it comes to these projects. Not only will your home’s individual needs be taken into consideration, but you’ll also be certain that other, less obvious things (like carbon monoxide buildup) are caught before they become an issue.

Let the Rural KC Team know if you are interested in buying or selling a rural property.  It's all we do!  913-837-0760 or 913-837-0411.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

THE COST OF WAITING FOR MORTGAGE RATES TO GO DOWN


 Mortgage rates have increased significantly in recent weeks. And that may mean you have questions about what this means for you if you’re planning to buy a home. Here’s some information that can help you make an informed decision when you set your homebuying plans.

The Impact of Rising Mortgage Rates

As mortgage rates rise, they impact your purchasing power by raising the cost of buying a home and limiting how much you can comfortably afford. Here’s how it works.

Let’s assume you want to buy a $400,000 home (the median-priced home according to the National Association of Realtors is $389,500). 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 climb (see chart below). The red shows payments above that threshold and the green indicates a payment within your target range.

The Cost of Waiting for Mortgage Rates To Go Down | Keeping Current Matters

As the chart shows, as rates go up, the amount you can afford to borrow decreases and that may mean you have to look at homes at a different price point. That’s why it’s important to work with a real estate advisor to understand how mortgage rates impact your monthly mortgage payment at various home loan amounts.

Are Mortgage Rates Going To Go Down?

The rise in mortgage rates and the resulting decrease in purchasing power may leave you wondering if you should wait for rates to go down before making your purchase. Realtor.com says this about where rates could go from here:

“Many homebuyers likely winced . . . upon hearing that the Federal Reserve yet again boosted its short-term interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point—a move that’s pushing mortgage rates through the roof. And the already high rates are just going to get higher.

So, if you’re waiting for mortgage rates to drop, you may be waiting for a while as the Federal Reserve works to get inflation under control.

And if you’re considering renting as your alternative while you wait it out, remember that’s going to get more expensive with time too. As Nadia Evangelou, Senior Economist and Director of Forecasting at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:

“There is no doubt that these higher rates hurt housing affordability. Nevertheless, apart from borrowing costs, rents additionally rose at their highest pace in nearly four decades.”

Basically, it is true that it costs more to buy a home today than it did last year, but the same is true for renting. This means, either way, you’re going to be paying more. The difference is, with homeownership, you’re also gaining equity over time which will help grow your net worth. The question now becomes: what makes more sense for you?

Bottom Line

Each person’s situation is unique. To make the best decision for you, partner with a real estate advisor to explore your options.  The Rural KC Team is here to help you.  Give us a call with any questions you might have.  913-837-0760 or 913-837-0411.