Getting Pre-Approved Should Always Be Your First Step

Shopping for a home is always an exciting experience. And, with todays technology it’s never been easier or more enjoyable. No matter where in the world you are you can shop for a home in a new area. You can find a new home and never leave your old comfy couch. The access to available homes is as easy as it is exciting.

However, the ease of access does not come without some dangers. Shopping for a home is easy- but buying a home can be hard in today’s marketplace. If you’re considering buying a home with a mortgage don’t make the mistake of submitting an offer without being pre approved or pre qualified.

In many markets across the country, the number of buyers searching for their dream homes greatly outnumbers the number of homes for sale. This has led to a competitive marketplace where buyers often need to stand out. One way to show you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search.

Even if you are in a market that is not as competitive, understanding your budget will give you the confidence of knowing if your dream home is within your reach.

Freddie Mac lays 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.”

One of the many advantages of working with a local real estate professional like myself is that I have relationships with lenders who will be able to help you with this process. Depending on your needs and situation I can refer the right lender.

Once you have selected a lender, you will 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 describes the ‘4 Cs’ that help determine the amount you will be qualified to borrow:

Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and it often helps speed up the process once your offer has been accepted.

Pre approval and how it affects your OFFER

The importance of being pre approved can’t be over emphasized. In a competitive marketplace where there are more buyers than homes finding a home and submitting an offer WITHOUT a pre approval letter is likely a huge waste of time. The seller is going to discount the value of your offer in terms of your ability to close. The seller will NOT take your offer seriously in comparison to the other offers in consideration. Why should a seller take your offer seriously if you’ve not done the work to obtain pre approval. Submitting your offer with a pre approval or pre qualified letter enhances the value of the offer and shows the seller your serious. It removes one of the sellers greatest worries- do you have the money to close?

Bottom Line

Many potential home buyers overestimate the down payment and credit scores needed to qualify for a mortgage today. Getting a referral to a lender that helps you get qualified is an important early step in the home purchase process. Without pre approval you’ll have a very frustrating experience.
On the other hand, if you are ready and willing to buy, you may be pleasantly surprised at your ability to do so. And, you’ll know your offer is received and given full consideration because you’ve done the proper work ahead of time.

Thinking of Selling? Now is the Perfect Time

It is common knowledge that a great number of homes sell during the spring-buying season. For that reason, many homeowners hold off on putting their homes on the market until then. The question is whether or not that will be a good strategy this year.

The other listings that do come out in the spring will represent increased competition to any seller. Do a greater number of homes actually come to the market in the spring as compared to the rest of the year? The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently revealed the months in which most people listed their homes for sale in 2017. Here is a graphic showing the results:


The three months in the second quarter of the year (represented in red) are consistently the most popular months for sellers to list their homes on the market. Last year, the number of homes available for sale in January was 1,680,000.

That number spiked to 1,970,000 by May!


What does this mean to you?

With the national job situation improving, and mortgage interest rates projected to rise later in the year, buyers are not waiting until the spring; they are out looking for homes right now. If you are looking to sell this year, waiting until the spring to list your home means you will have the greatest competition amongst buyers.

Bottom Line

It may make sense to beat the rush of housing inventory that will enter the market in the spring and list your home today.


Ready to get started?

Call us at (850) 420-7200 or contact us if you’re ready to explore the possibility of owning your home and we’ll evaluate your situation to determine the best fit for you.

The #1 Reason to List Your House Today!

Many people believe that selling their house during “the spring buyers’ market” is the best thing to do. Their reasoning is that there will be more buyers than there are during the winter months and, therefore, their house will sell quicker and for a higher price.

Historically, this made sense. However, today’s real estate market is not following the rules of the past.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) measures buyer “foot traffic” each month. It receives data on the number of properties shown to a prospective purchaser by a Realtor® (based on the number of lockboxes used). The data reveals the number of buyers out actively looking for a home, not just window shopping on the internet. NAR explains:

“Foot traffic has a strong correlation with future contracts and home sales, so it can be viewed as a peek ahead at sales trends two to three months into the future.”

According to the latest Foot Traffic Report, buyer traffic is greater now than it was during this year’s spring market and there are more buyers out now than at any other time in the last five years (March of 2012).

The chart below shows that buyer activity over the last three months (blue bars) was greater than it was during this past spring market (green bars).

The #1 Reason to List Your House Today! | MyKCM

Bottom Line

If you are waiting for next spring to list your home because you think that’s when the buyers will be out in force, perhaps you should reconsider. Buyers are out right now!

The Cost of NOT Owning Your Home

Owning a home has great financial benefits, yet many continue to rent! Today, let’s look at the financial reasons why owning a home of your own has been a part of the American Dream for as long as America has existed.

Zillow recently reported that:

“In reality, buying or renting a home is an intensely personal decision, with emotional and even financial considerations that go beyond whether to invest in this one (admittedly large) asset. Looking strictly at housing market numbers, there is a concrete point at which buying a home makes more financial sense than renting it.”

What proof exists that owning is financially better than renting?

1. We recently highlighted the top 5 financial benefits of homeownership:

2. Studies have shown that a homeowner’s net worth is 44x greater than that of a renter.

3. Just a few months ago, we explained that a family that purchased an average-priced home at the beginning of 2017 could build more than $48,000 in family wealth over the next five years.

4. Some argue that renting eliminates the cost of taxes and home repairs, but every potential renter must realize that all the expenses the landlord incurs are already baked into the rent payment– along with a profit margin!!

Bottom Line

Owning a home has always been, and will always be, better from a financial standpoint than renting.


What does this mean for you?

Call us at (850) 420-7200 or contact us if you're ready to explore the possibility of owning your home and we'll evaluate your situation to determine the best fit for you.

Existing Home Sales Slowed by a Lack of Listings

Some Highlights:

What does this mean for you?

Call us at (850) 420-7200 or contact us, even if you're not quite ready to sell, and we'll share more important info that applies directly to you.

Bubble Alert! Is it Getting Too Easy to Get a Mortgage?

There is little doubt that it is easier to get a home mortgage today than it was last year. The Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI), published by the Mortgage Bankers Association, shows that mortgage credit has become more available in each of the last several years. In fact, in just the last year:

This has some people worrying that we are returning to the lax lending standards which led to the boom and bust that real estate experienced ten years ago. Let’s alleviate some of that concern.

The graph below shows the MCAI going back to the boom years of 2004-2005. The higher the graph line, the easier it was to get a mortgage.

Bubble Alert! Is it Getting Too Easy to Get a Mortgage? | MyKCM

As you can see, lending standards were much more lenient from 2004 to 2007. Though it has gradually become easier to get a mortgage since 2011, we are nowhere near the lenient standards during the boom.

The Urban Institute also publishes a Home Credit Availability Index (HCAI). According to the Institute, the HCAI:

“Measures the percentage of home purchase loans that are likely to default—that is, go unpaid for more than 90 days past their due date. A lower HCAI indicates that lenders are unwilling to tolerate defaults and are imposing tighter lending standards, making it harder to get a loan. A higher HCAI indicates … it is easier to get a loan.”

Here is a graph showing their findings:

Bubble Alert! Is it Getting Too Easy to Get a Mortgage? | MyKCM

Again, today’s lending standards are nowhere near the levels of the boom years. As a matter of fact, they are more stringent than they were even before the boom.

Bottom Line

It is getting easier to gain financing for a home purchase. However, we are not seeing the irresponsible lending that caused the housing crisis.

Want to see how we can help you?

Give us a call and we'll discuss what this development means for you and how you can take advantage of it.

(850) 420-7200

Your Friends Are Crazy Wrong If They're Telling You Not to Buy

The current narrative is that home prices have risen so much so that it is no longer a smart idea to purchase a home. Your family and friends might suggest that buying a home right now (whether a first-time home or a move-up home) makes absolutely no sense from an affordability standpoint. They are wrong!

Homes are more affordable right now than at almost any time in our country’s history except for the foreclosure years (2009-2015) when homes sold at major discounts. As an example, below is a graph from the latest Black Knight Mortgage Monitor showing the percentage of median income needed to buy a medium-priced home in the country today in comparison to prior to the housing bubble and bust.


As we can see, the percentage necessary is less now than in those time periods.

The Mortgage Monitor also explains that home affordability is better today than it was in the late 1990s in 47 of 50 states.


Bottom Line

Your friends and family have your best interests at heart. However, when it comes to buying your first home or selling your current house to buy the home of your dreams, let’s get together to discuss what your best move is, now.

Want to see how we can help you?

Give us a call and we'll discuss what this development means for you and how you can take advantage of it.

(850) 420-7200

I Searched The Whole Country and Picked Destin



I remember the day- it was March 4, 2004.

I remember exactly where I was - The Destin Bridge- Marler Bridge to the locals.

I remember exactly what I felt- excitement and joy!

I remember it all because it was a day that changed my life. Because before March 4, 2004 I had never seen an ocean THAT color blue. Nor, had I ever seen sand THAT white.  The combination of the two colors, fresh breeze and perfect temperature was unlike anything I had ever experienced. The Bahamas are close but the Destin beaches are so much more beautiful and accessible I knew I had found my piece of paradise.

But, I was not searching just for me. I was on a quest for my my family of four. So was my business partner. Our goal was to move from our beautiful California life to the BEST PLACE in America. We searched the whole country. When our quest began we had not even heard of Destin, Florida. By July 4th we had moved into our  home on the bay near Joe's Bayou and Crab Island.

This blog will be all about Destin Living and life on the Gulf Coast. It will be a insiders view of living the good life from Destin to Rosemary Beach. If you follow this blog you'll learn about the greatest restaurants and the best dives. You'll know where the locals go for great food and which places we avoid at all costs. You'll know the best places to play tennis and golf and the best places to relax. If I do things right you'll end up with he ultimate insider guide to the Destin area.

If you follow these pages you'll get the scoop on the real estate market too. But, let me be clear: this blog is about GOOD LIVING and for me that's more about how to live daily life then about publishing pie charts on real estate. I'll publish the facts about sales and trends around the Gulf in a unique and relevant way. If you want to know about investment property ROI,  home appreciation by city, and which properties to avoid at all cost you'll get it right here on a regular basis.

But, I know I can give you much, much more and along the way we'll enjoy the best of Destin of living together.

I have some ideas on what I DO and DON'T want this blog to be about... but right now it's important just to get started. I hope to hear from you and this blog  shortly becomes a dialogue about living the good life.






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