Home Staging Richmond VA

Home Staging Richmond VA

Home staging is a part of our complimentary concierge services we offer at Tina Morris Co, and we consider it to be one of the most important steps in marketing your home. When we team up with our Professional Staging Team to create a plan for our clients, our main goal is to create a warm and inviting environment, focusing on the best architectural features and selling points. We want to help potential buyers visualize the property as their future dream home.

Let’s look at some statistics on why home staging is so crucial in the real estate market.

1. Homes Sell Faster

According to the National Association of Realtors, staged homes typically sell 88% faster than non-staged homes. This statistic alone highlights the impact that staging can have on the speed of a home sale.

2. Increased Sale Price

Staged homes also tend to fetch a higher sale price. The Real Estate Staging Association reports that staged homes can sell for up to 20% more than non-staged homes. This significant increase in sale price is a compelling reason to invest in staging.

3. Enhanced Buyer Appeal

Staging helps potential buyers envision themselves living in the space. By creating a welcoming and attractive environment, staging can make a property more appealing to a wider range of buyers, increasing the likelihood of a successful sale.

40% of home buyers are more willing to visit a staged home they saw online.

Staging helps 81% of buyers find it easier to visualize a staged property as a future home. This means that staging can significantly impact how potential buyers perceive a property and envision themselves living in it.

Additionally, staging prompts 27% of buyers to overlook property faults. By highlighting the positive aspects of a home through staging, potential buyers may be more willing to overlook minor imperfections or issues.

Buyers also tend to linger in staged homes an average of 40 minutes—compared to just 6 minutes overall. This extended time spent in a staged home indicates that buyers are more engaged and interested in properties that have been professionally staged.

4. Competitive Edge

In a competitive real estate market, staging can give sellers a crucial edge over other properties. Staged homes stand out in listings and showings, making them more memorable to potential buyers and increasing the chances of receiving offers.

5. Positive First Impression

First impressions are key in real estate. Staging a home ensures that it makes a positive impact on buyers from the moment they walk through the door. This initial impression can set the tone for the rest of the viewing and influence a buyer’s decision-making process.

Tina Morris is a top real estate agent in Richmond, VA. Together, we can create a customized plan for selling and marketing your home, including the staging process.

Let’s look at some of our recent staging projects!

Ask us about our complementary staging services at Tina Morris Co!

man reading about today's foreclosure numbers

Today’s Foreclosure Numbers: What’s the Truth, Richmond?

 

You’ve likely seen headlines about the number of foreclosures climbing in today’s housing market. That may leave you with a few questions, especially if you’re thinking about buying a house in the Richmond or Midlothian area. Understanding what today’s foreclosure numbers really mean is mission-critical if you want to know the truth about what’s happening today.

According to a recent report from ATTOM, a property data provider, National foreclosure filings are up 6% compared to the previous quarter and 22% since one year ago. As media headlines call attention to this increase, reporting on just the number could actually generate worry and may even make you think twice about buying a home in Richmond for fear that prices could crash. The reality is, while increasing, the data shows a foreclosure crisis is not where the market is headed.

Let’s look at the latest information with context so we can see how this compares to previous years.

It Isn’t the Dramatic Increase Headlines Would Have You Believe

In recent years, the number of foreclosures has been down to record lows. That’s because, in 2020 and 2021, the forbearance program and other relief options for homeowners helped millions of homeowners stay in their homes, allowing them to get back on their feet during a very challenging period. And with home values rising at the same time, many homeowners who may have found themselves facing foreclosure under other circumstances were able to leverage their equity and sell their houses rather than face foreclosure. Moving forward, equity will continue to be a factor that can help keep people from going into foreclosure. In Greater Richmond, especially, home equity is strong.

As the government’s moratorium came to an end, there was an expected rise in foreclosures. But just because foreclosures are up doesn’t mean the general or Richmond housing market is in trouble. As Clare Trapasso, Executive News Editor at Realtor.com, says:

There’s no reason to panic, at least not yet. Foreclosure filings began ticking up . . . after the federal foreclosure moratorium ended. The moratorium was enacted in the early days of COVID-19, when millions of Americans lost their jobs, to prevent a tsunami of homeowners losing their properties. So some of these proceedings would have taken place during the pandemic but got delayed due to the moratorium. This is a bit of a catch-up.”

Basically, there’s not a sudden flood of foreclosures coming. Instead, some of the increase is due to the delayed activity explained above while more is from economic conditions. As Rob Barber, CEO of ATTOM, explains:

This unfortunate trend can be attributed to a variety of factors, such as rising unemployment rates, foreclosure filings making their way through the pipeline after two years of government intervention, and other ongoing economic challenges. However, with many homeowners still having significant home equity, that may help in keeping increased levels of foreclosure activity at bay.”

To further paint the picture of just how different the situation is now compared to the housing crash, take a look at the graph below. It shows foreclosure activity has been lower since the crash by looking at properties with a foreclosure filing going all the way back to 2005.

While foreclosures are climbing, it’s clear foreclosure activity now is nothing like it was during the housing crisis. In addition to all of the factors mentioned above, that’s also largely because buyers today are more qualified and less likely to default on their loans.

Today, foreclosures are far below the record-high number that was reported when the housing market crashed.

Bottom Line

Right now, putting the today’s foreclosure numbers into context is more important than ever. While the housing market is experiencing an expected rise in foreclosures, it’s nowhere near the crisis levels seen when the housing bubble burst, and that won’t lead to a crash in home prices.  If you would like to discuss further or talk about selling and/or buying in the Richmond area or Midlothian, we’d love to help!

How To Make Your Dream of Homeownership a Reality

You may be closer than you think to making your dream of homeownership a reality.

According to a recent Harris Poll survey, 8 in 10 Americans say buying a home is a priority, and 28 million Americans actually plan to buy within the next 12 months. Homeownership provides many financial and non-financial benefits, so that interest is understandable.  Especially interest in a desirable market like Midlothian, VA, which has made the Money Magazine Best Places to Live list two different times.

However, it’s unlikely all 28 million Americans will accomplish that goal in the coming year. Experts project a total of around five million homes will be sold in 2023. Why is there such a big difference? It’s partly because there can be challenges to buying a home.

In the same survey, when asked, “Which of the following are preventing you from pursuing homeownership at this time?”:

  • 34% answered, “I don’t have enough saved for a down payment
  • 30% answered, “My credit score

If you’re aiming to buy a Richmond or Midlothian home, here’s what you need to know to accomplish that goal.

Save for Your Down Payment

Your down payment is a big chunk of what you pay up front for your home. For most home purchases, buyers put down some amount of cash up front (a down payment) and then take out a loan (a mortgage) to pay for the rest.

It’s a longstanding myth that you need to pay 20% of the purchase price for your down payment. In reality, 20% down isn’t always required. In fact, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), today’s median down payment is 14% for the average buyer and just 6% for a first-time buyer.  That’s great news for Midlothian home buyers.

Regardless of how much money you can save for your down payment, know there’s help available. A local Midlothian lender can show you options to help you get closer to your down payment goal. Plus, there are even loan types, like FHA loans, with down payments as low as 3.5% for some buyers, as well as options like VA loans and USDA loans with no down payment requirements for qualified applicants.

Beyond assistance programs and different loan types, here are a few other tips to help you as you save for your down payment:

  • Remember to factor in closing costs. In addition to your down payment, closing costs are usually 2-5% of the home’s purchase price.
  • Maintain your savings. Your down payment shouldn’t deplete all your savings. It’s important to still have some money set aside for homeownership expenses after you move in.
  • Explore your options and lean on your trusted advisor for expert guidance. Do your research, ask questions, and look into the resources available for buyers like you.

Improve Your Credit Score

Your credit score is a number that indicates how financially reliable you are to lenders. A higher credit score usually means you’ll be able to borrow more money at a better interest rate. If your credit score is preventing you from getting an affordable mortgage, there are steps you can take to improve it. Here are two:

  • Pay your bills on time. When you pay your bills on time, your credit score improves. When you’re late, it takes a hit. One way to make paying your bills on time easier? Set up automatic payments when and where you can.
  • Mix it up. From auto loans, to credit cards, to mortgages – there are several different types of credit. And having a mix of them improves your credit score.

Bottom Line

If you want to purchase a home this year, let’s connect so we can start preparing.  We are a leading Midlothian Realtor® team and rank in the Top 1# in Greater Richmond and #7 in all of Virginia.  We’d love to help you.

lower mortgage rates

What do lower mortgage rates mean for buyers?

Lower Mortgage Rates Are Bringing Buyers Back to the Market

As mortgage rates rose last year, activity in the housing market slowed down. And as a result, homes started seeing fewer offers and stayed on the market longer. That meant some homeowners decided to press pause on selling.

Now, however, rates are beginning to come down—and buyers are starting to reenter the market. In fact, the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) shows mortgage applications increased last week by 7% compared to the week before.

So, if you’ve been planning to sell your house but you’re unsure if there will be anyone to buy it, this shift in the market could be your chance. Here’s what experts are saying about buyers returning to the market as we approach spring.

Mike Fratantoni, SVP and Chief Economist, MBA:

Mortgage rates are now at their lowest level since September 2022, and about a percentage point below the peak mortgage rate last fall. As we enter the beginning of the spring buying season, lower mortgage rates and more homes on the market will help affordability for first-time homebuyers.”

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist, National Association of Realtors (NAR):

The upcoming months should see a return of buyers, as mortgage rates appear to have already peaked and have been coming down since mid-November.”

Thomas LaSalvia, Senior Economist, Moody’s Analytics:

“We expect the labor market to remain robust, wages to continue to rise—maybe not at the pace that they did during the pandemic, but that will open up some opportunity for folks to enter homeownership as interest rates stabilize a bit.”

Sam Khater, Chief Economist, Freddie Mac:

“Homebuyers are waiting for rates to decrease more significantly, and when they do, a strong job market and a large demographic tailwind of Millennial renters will provide support to the purchase market.”

Bottom Line

If you’ve been thinking about making a move, now’s the time to get your house ready to sell. Let’s connect so you can learn about buyer demand in our area the best time to put your house on the market.

how much to save for a down payment

How Much Do You Need to Save for a Down Payment?

Wondering How Much You Need To Save for a Down Payment?

Wondering How Much You Need To Save for a Down Payment? | MyKCM

If you’re getting ready to buy your first home, you’re likely focused on saving up for everything that purchase involves. You may be wondering how much you need to save for a down payment. But don’t let a common misconception make the process harder than it could be.

Understand 20% Isn’t Always the Typical Down Payment

Freddie Mac explains:

“. . . nearly a third of prospective homebuyers think they need a down payment of 20% or more to buy a home. This myth remains one of the largest perceived barriers to achieving homeownership.

Unless specified by your loan type or lender, it’s typically not required to put 20% down. This means you could be closer to your home buying dream than you realize. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median down payment hasn’t been over 20% since 2005. In fact, the median down payment today is only 14%. And it’s even lower for first-time homebuyers at just 6% (see graph below):

Wondering How Much You Need To Save for a Down Payment? | MyKCM

Learn About Options That Can Help You Toward Your Goal

If saving for a down payment still feels like a challenge, know that there’s help available. A real estate professional and trusted lender can show you options that could help you get closer to your down payment goal. According to latest Homeownership Program Index from Down Payment Resource, there are over 2,000 homebuyer assistance programs in the U.S., and the majority are intended to help with down payments.

Plus there are even loan types, like FHA loans, with down payments as low as 3.5%, as well as options like VA loans and USDA loans with no down payment requirements for qualified applicants.

To understand your options, be sure to do your homework. If you’re interested in learning more about down payment assistance programs, information is available through sites like Down Payment Resource. Then, partner with a trusted lender to learn what you qualify for on your home buying journey.  We know some great ones who we are happy to connect you with.

Bottom Line

Remember, a 20% down payment isn’t always required. If you want to purchase a home this year, let’s connect. You’ll also want to make sure you have a trusted lender so you can explore your down payment options.

Planning to retire soon? It may be time to make a move.

Planning to Retire Soon?

If you are planning to retire soon it could be time for you to consider making a move.

Planning to Retire? It Could Be Time To Make a Move. | MyKCM

If you’re thinking about retirement or have already retired this year, you may be planning your next steps. One of your goals could be selling your Richmond-area house and finding a home that more closely fits your needs.

Fortunately, you may be in a better position to make a move than you realize. Here are a few things to think about when making that decision.

Consider How Long You’ve Been in Your Richmond or Midlothian Home

From 1985 to 2008, the average length of time homeowners typically stayed in their homes was only six years. But according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), that number is rising today, meaning many homeowners are living in their houses even longer (see graph below):

Planning to Retire? It Could Be Time To Make a Move. | MyKCM

When you live in a home for a significant period of time, it’s natural for you to experience a number of changes in your life while you’re in that house. As those life changes and milestones happen, your needs may change. And if your current Richmond area home no longer meets them, you may have better options waiting for you.

Consider the Equity You’ve Gained

Additionally, if you’ve been in your home for more than a few years, you’ve likely built up significant equity that can fuel your next move. That’s because the longer you’ve been in your home, the more likely it’s grown in value due to home price appreciation. Data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) illustrates that point (see graph below):

Planning to Retire? It Could Be Time To Make a Move. | MyKCM

While home price growth varies by state and local area, the national average shows the typical homeowner who’s been in their house for five years saw it increase in value by over 50%. And the average homeowner who’s owned their home for 30 years saw it almost triple in value over that time.  We here in Richmond and Midlothian have definitely seen healthy appreciation as of late.

Consider Your Retirement Goals

Whether you’re looking to downsize, relocate to a dream destination, or move so you live closer to loved ones, that equity can help you achieve your homeownership goals. NAR shares that for recent home sellers, the primary reason to move was to be closer to loved ones. Plus, retirement played a large role for those moving greater distances.

Whatever your home goals are, we can work with you to find the best option. We’ll help you sell your current Richmond or Midlothian house and guide you as you buy the home that’s right for you and your lifestyle today.

Bottom Line

Retirement can bring about major changes in your life, including what you need from your home. Let’s connect to explore your opportunities in Richmond or beyond.

update your house

Should You Update Your House Before You Sell?

Before you update your house for listing, call us for our professional advice.

Should You Update Your House Before You Sell? Ask a Real Estate Professional. [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • You may be wondering what needs to be renovated before you sell your house. In today’s shifting market, making your house appealing is more important than ever.
  • That’s why it’s essential to lean on a real estate professional who has in-depth knowledge of today’s housing market. They know what buyers are looking for and how to highlight any upgrades you make.
  • Let’s connect so you know where to focus your efforts so your house will stand out in a today’s market.
sell before the holidays

3 Reasons to Sell Before the Holidays

1. Get One Step Ahead of Other Sellers

Typically, in the residential real estate market, homeowners are less likely to list their houses toward the end of the year. That’s because people get busy around the holidays and deprioritize selling their house until the start of the new year when their schedules and social calendars calm down.

Selling now, while other homeowners may hold off until after the holidays, can help your house stand out. Start the process with a real estate professional today so you can get your house on the market and get ahead of your competition.

2. Get in Front of Serious Buyers This Season

Even though housing supply has increased this year as buyer demand has moderated, it’s still low overall. That means there aren’t enough homes on the market today, especially as the millennial generation reaches their peak home-buying years. As Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, says:

“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.”

Serious buyers will still be looking this winter and your house may be exactly what they’re searching for. If you work with us to list your house now, you’ll be able to get in front of the eager buyers who are hoping to make a move before the year ends.

3. Seize a Great Chance To Move Up

Don’t forget, today’s homeowners have record amounts of equity. According to CoreLogic, the average amount of equity per mortgage holder has climbed to almost $300,000. That’s an all-time high. That means the equity you have in your house right now could cover some, if not all, of a down payment on the home of your dreams.

And as you weigh the reasons to sell before winter, don’t lose sight of why you’re thinking about moving in the first place. Maybe it’s time to buy a house that’s in a better location for you, has the space you and your loved ones have been craving, or simply gives you that sense of home. We, as experienced real estate advisors, can help you determine how much home equity you have and how you can use it to achieve your goal of making a move.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about selling your house so you can find a home that better suits your needs, don’t delay your plans. Call us today to accomplish your goals before winter.

Four Things That Help Determine Your Mortgage Rate

Are you considering buying a home in the Richmond area?

Whether you are relocating to Richmond, looking to upsize or downsize from your current Richmond home, or thinking about hanging up your “renter” hat to finally become a Richmond home buyer, you will most likely need to consider interest rates and monthly payments.  Here are four things that help determine your mortgage rate.

Four Things That Help Determine Your Mortgage Rate | MyKCM

If you’re looking to buy a home, you probably want to secure the lowest interest rate possible for your home loan. Over the last couple of years, that was easier to do as the housing market saw record-low mortgage rates, but this year rates have risen dramatically.

If you’re looking for ways to combat today’s higher rates and lock in the lowest one you can, here are a few factors to focus on. Since approval opportunities can vary, connect with a trusted lender for customized advice.

Your Credit Score

Credit scores can play a big role in your mortgage rate. Freddie Mac explains:

When you build and maintain strong credit, mortgage lenders have greater confidence when qualifying you for a mortgage because they see that you’ve paid back your loans as agreed and used your credit wisely. Strong credit also means your lender is more apt to approve you for a mortgage that has more favorable terms and a lower interest rate.”

That’s why it’s important to maintain a good credit score. If you want to focus on improving your score, your trusted advisor can give you expert advice to help.

Your Loan Type

There are many types of loans, each offering different terms for qualified buyers. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) says:

There are several broad categories of mortgage loans, such as conventional, FHA, USDA, and VA loans. Lenders decide which products to offer, and loan types have different eligibility requirements. Rates can be significantly different depending on what loan type you choose.”

When working with your real estate advisor, make sure you find out what’s available in your area and which types of loans you may qualify for.

Your Loan Term

Another factor to consider is the term of your loan. Just like with location and loan types, you have options. Freddie Mac says:

When choosing the right home loan for you, it’s important to consider the loan term, which is the length of time it will take you to repay your loan before you fully own your home. Your loan term will affect your interest rate, monthly payment, and the total amount of interest you will pay over the life of the loan.”

Depending on your situation, the length of your loan can also change your mortgage rate.

Your Down Payment

If you’re a current homeowner looking to sell and make a move, you can use the home equity you’ve built over time toward the down payment on your next home. The CFPB explains:

In general, a larger down payment means a lower interest rate, because lenders see a lower level of risk when you have more stake in the property. So if you can comfortably put 20 percent or more down, do it—you’ll usually get a lower interest rate.”

To learn more, connect with a lender to find out the difference a higher down payment can make for your new mortgage.

Bottom Line

These are just few factors that can help determine your mortgage rate if you’re buying a home. The best thing you can do is have a team of professionals on your side. Connect with us and a trusted lender so you have the expert advice you need in each step of the process.

Why Buying a Richmond Home Makes More Sense Than Renting

If you are renting or thinking of renting a home or apartment in Richmond, VA, you need to read this.

In the last year alone, Richmond area rents rose a whopping 36% on average.  That’s the 8th highest of all markets in the country. Here’s why buying a Richmond home could be a sound financial move.

For those who think they have no choice but to rent because they can’t afford to buy, we promise that there are alternatives to high down-payments.  And even though mortgage rates are higher than you may be used to, they are still far below averages over the past several decades.  Keep in mind that rent is a 100% interest rate and you are building no equity at all.  If buying a Richmond home, experts anticipate that you will continue to build equity on that purchase and you can always refinance if rates go down in the future.

If you are already renting and have roommates, consider buying and becoming a landlord yourself!  Rent those extra bedrooms out to friends and they can help you pay down that mortgage.

Check out this fantastic infographic.  It really puts all the numbers in perspective.  We’d love to help you run your own numbers to put your life-changing move into motion!

Why Buying a Home May Make More Sense Than Renting [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • If you’re trying to decide whether to rent or buy a home, consider the advantages homeownership offers.
  • Buying a home can help you escape the cycle of rising rents, it’s a powerful wealth-building tool, and it’s typically considered a good hedge against inflation.
  • If you’re ready to take advantage of the benefits of homeownership, let’s connect to explore your options.
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