Red River Valley Real Estate and Community News

June 25, 2022

Need a New Look For Your Bedroom This Summer? Try One of These Instagram Design Trends

Summer is a great time to refresh and redecorate your space—including your bedroom.

But when it comes to bedroom design and decor, what’s currently timely, trending, and in style?

recent article from outlined some of the most popular summer bedroom styles trending on Instagram, including:

  • Country florals. Florals are a big part of the “cottagecore” design trend that’s all over Instagram—and this summer, the best way to incorporate country florals into your bedroom design? With your bedding. Try adding a country floral quilt and shams to your bed for a peaceful, country-inspired look.
  • Wicker. Another major bedroom design trend this summer is a more relaxed, laid-back, minimalist look. And a great way to add some visual interest and texture to the relaxed aesthetic? Wicker furniture. To embrace the trend without swapping out major pieces (like the bed or dresser), try a bedside table for just the right pop of wicker.
  • Mix-and-match curtains. Want to go with a bolder look for your bedroom design? Mixing curtains with different colors, textures, and patterns is all over Instagram. To make sure the mix-and-match style looks purposeful (and doesn’t clash), look for curtains that share a design element (like a color palette or pattern type)—or buy mix-and-match curtain sets that are designed to go together.
Posted in Real Estate News
June 24, 2022

If Your House Needs Major Updating or Repairs, Now Might Be the Perfect Time to Sell It

Was the last time you updated your bathroom or kitchen a couple of decades ago?

Is the outside of your house in need of new siding, a roof, and gutters?

Is your yard overgrown, or the driveway crumbling?

Got plumbing or electrical issues?

If you answered yes to any (or all) of those questions, you may want to consider selling your house soon…without doing any of the work that needs to be done!

The chances are you’ve gained some incredible equity if you’ve owned your house for some time. In fact, the average homeowner has gained $240,000 in equity in just the past 10 years!

While you could tap into that equity by getting a home equity line of credit, doing a cash-out refinance, or getting a renovation loan to fix it up before selling, mortgage rates have risen quite a bit recently, construction costs are still high, and it’s tough to even find a contractor available to do the work. So doing the work could get costly and take too much time to benefit from the current market conditions. Besides, it’s easy to end up spending more on the repairs and renovations than it will actually increase the value of your house.

But most importantly, the current market conditions won’t last forever, or even that much longer. It’s been a sellers’ market for some time now, and there are signs that it may be cooling off. Yet, according to another REALTOR Magazine article, buyers are still currently looking for fixer-uppers. They’re willing to buy houses that need updating, or even to be torn down and built new, due to the low inventory levels and competition from other buyers. (And they’re still paying a premium for them in many areas due to the lack of inventory and competition.)

But with interest rates rising, houses not selling as quickly, an anticipated increase in inventory, and some buyers leaving the market, you may find that buyers start to become more picky soon. That could translate into having a harder time selling a house that needs work,having to do repairs, offer credits, or simply sell for a lower price in order to get your home sold in the near future.

So before buyers have a change of heart, you may want to capitalize on the current market conditions and sell your house to a buyer who is more than willing to take on the work that needs to be done.

The Takeaway:

If you have a house that needs major renovations or repairs, get while the getting’s good, as they say. Speak with your local real estate agent and see what your house can fetch on the market without doing anything to it. Once you know what you can get as-is, you and your agent can assess whether doing any repairs or renovations are worth doing, or if it makes more sense to put your house on the market as soon as possible and not miss the current window of opportunity.

Posted in Selling Your Home
June 23, 2022

Thinking About Selling Your Home? These Are the Signs It’s Time to Make a Move

Selling your home is a big deal and it can be hard to know when it’s time to make the move and put your home on the market.

So, if you’re thinking about selling your home, the question is—how do you know the right time to make a move?

recent article from outlined key signs that it may be time to sell your home, including:

  • You’re in a seller’s market. In a seller’s market, there’s more demand for homes than there is supply. This translates to homes selling quickly and profitably—so, if you find yourself in these market conditions, it’s a great time to consider putting your home on the market.
  • Local homes are selling for a premium. If you notice homes in your neighborhood are consistently fetching top dollar when they sell, it could be an indicator that your home will do the same—making it a great time to consider making a move and listing your property.
  • You’ve outgrown your current home. Sometimes, no matter how much you love a home, you’ve simply outgrown it. For example, your 2-bedroom condo might have been the perfect spot for you and your partner to start married life—but now that you’ve added three kids and two dogs to your family, you need more space. If you’ve outgrown your current home for whatever reason, it definitely makes sense to consider selling your present property—and searching for something that’s a better fit for your needs.
Posted in Selling Your Home
May 29, 2022

Will Solar Panels Help or Hurt the Sale of Your Home?


Most homeowners consider adding solar panels for one (or a combination) of three reasons:

  1. They’re environmentally conscious.
  2. They’re looking to save money.
  3. They think it will add value to their home when they sell it.

Very few people will argue against it being an earth-friendly decision to make if that’s your motivation.

And, theoretically, they should save you money on electricity. But you should do some serious math before signing on the bottom line. They may cost you more to install and upkeep than the savings they will generate, depending upon how long you plan on staying in the home.

However, if you’re doing it with the notion that it’ll add value to your home when you sell, you may want to think twice before signing on the dotted line.

First of all, it’s difficult to quantify how much, if anything, solar panels add to the bottom line when you sell your house. But more importantly, they could limit your pool of buyers considerably for a few reasons:

  • Some buyers just aren’t into how they look on a house… You could argue that it’s awful for a buyer to judge them based upon aesthetics, but buyers turn their noses up at houses for even a paint color they don’t like which they could easily change.
  • It might cost them… If you leased the system, they could be on the hook for the remaining term of the lease, or have to sign a new lease with the company that installed and owns the system.
  • Maintaining them… It’s hard for buyers to fully know how much solar panels will cost to upkeep. Plus, they often wonder if it will have an impact on the roof and potential leaks. Even if it doesn’t, when they do have to replace a roof, they have to consider the added cost of dealing with removal and replacement of the panels.

But the reality is, there’s a good chance you’ll hear a solar salesperson tell you that it will add value to the home. Ask them for the data that backs up the claim, and make sure the data is specific to your area. In all likelihood, anything they can point to will be general and broad strokes. It would be highly unlikely that a solar salesperson would be able to accurately assess exactly how much value it would add to your home.

The Takeaway:

Perhaps someday every home will have solar power, but at this point that isn’t the case.
The demand and appeal for solar panels will vary depending upon where you live, the local market conditions overall, and the mindset of the buyers in your area.

So if you’re concerned about how much solar panels will add or detract from the value or saleability of your home, speak to your local real estate agent (ahem!) before committing to putting them on your house. A local agent can advise you on how well-received solar panels are by buyers in your area, and price range, and help you assess how much it will add to the value of your home, if anything.

Posted in Community News
May 28, 2022

Is It Time to Lower Your Asking Price?


We’re in the midst of a historic seller’s market, when many homes are selling quickly and above asking price.

So, if your home has been on the market for a while and hasn’t sold, you may be scratching your head and wondering what the issue is. And, in some cases, it may be that your asking price is too high.

But how, exactly, do you know when you’ve priced your home too high—and when it’s time to bring that price down?

recent video from outlined scenarios where you should consider lowering your asking price, including:

  • You’ve had lots of showings—but no offers. If you’ve had plenty of potential buyers come and see your property—but none have made an offer—it could be a sign that your home is priced too high. (This is particularly true in today’s market, when most homes sell quickly.)
  • High volume of more affordable properties on the market. If your home is listed significantly higher than other comparable properties in your area, it could deter buyers—and you may want to consider lowering your asking price to be more in line with the going rate in your neighborhood.
  • New construction in your area. If there is new construction in your area that’s priced within range and/or offering incentives to buyers, it could make it harder to generate interest for your home at a high asking price.
Posted in Selling Your Home
May 27, 2022

Selling Soon? Here’s a Home Feature That Will Appeal to Many Buyers


People who are thinking of selling their house often wonder what they can do to increase its appeal to buyers. The goal of doing so is fairly obvious: maximize profit and minimize time on the market.

Many think that updating their kitchen or bathrooms, or even adding an addition, will do the trick. In a sense, they will. If you do a major renovation or addition, it’ll surely increase how much your house will sell for, and there’s a good chance it’ll sell more quickly if you do substantial upgrades before you list. But, it’ll also cost you a good chunk of time, money, and it probably won’t net you more money than the actual cost of the work.

On the other hand, there’s a simple tweak you can do to your house (if you haven’t already) that’ll increase its appeal to a lot of buyers, which is…

Create a dedicated home office space.

Home offices have been a feature buyers have liked for some time, but over the past two years they’ve become all the more appealing due to the pandemic. With the pandemic winding down — hopefully for good — it may seem like home offices won’t be as much of a draw. But that’s not likely. Here are a few reasons why a home office is still something buyers will want to see if you’re selling in the near future:

  • While many companies have started having employees come back into the office, many have not. There are still plenty of companies playing it safe and having their employees work remotely.
  • The pandemic loosened the jar lid, so to say, and now more people are doing whatever possible to continue working from home entirely — or at least in a hybrid fashion — simply because they like the quality of life better.
  • Gas prices fluctuate, and they won’t be high forever, but right now they are, and there’s a good chance they’ll be that way for a while. So if you’re selling soon, working from home to save on the cost of commuting is likely on a lot of buyers’ minds. Even if gas prices do go down, the sting of it will be on their minds for some time.
  • “What if it happens again…” The pandemic is barely in the rear view mirror, and people are sensitive to needing a dedicated home office space if there’s another variant or surge, but they’re also thinking about a future pandemic. It may not have been something buyers would’ve been sensitive to a couple of years ago, but it’ll be a long time before buyers don’t think what living in a house would be like if it happens again in the future.

So if you’re thinking about selling your home in the near future and want to add some appeal, create a dedicated home office space if you don’t already have one.

You don’t need to (and probably shouldn’t) do an addition to add a home office. As mentioned above, the cost of doing so probably wouldn’t make sense. Just repurpose a room, or a section of one, and make it into a home office. Here are a few ideas on how to carve out some space:

  • If you have a spare bedroom, and it won’t take away from the marketability in your area for the likely buyer, just turn it into a home office.
  • If you have a finished basement, turn part of it into an office.
  • If you have an unfinished attic, consider turning that into an office for as little money as possible.
  • Section off a portion of your living room as a home office. It doesn’t need to be huge; buyers just need to see where they could set themselves up to work from home if they lived there.
  • Perhaps use a formal dining room, since many people don’t use them as often as they would use a home office. They can always use it as a dining room if they want to, but show them how it would look as a home office instead.

The Takeaway:

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer of course, but creating a home office is most likely to add appeal to your house if you’re selling in the near future. But before you do, make sure to consult with your go-to real estate agent and get some input on whether it’s the best thing for you to do in your market and for your particular house.

Posted in Selling Your Home
May 26, 2022

Selling a Home in Today’s Market? Don’t Believe Everything You Hear


People say a lot of things about selling a home in today’s market. But unfortunately, some of it isn’t true—and buying into those myths can have a negative impact on your home sale.

So what, exactly, are people saying about selling your home in today’s market that just don’t align with the facts?

recent article from outlined common myths about selling a home in today’s market that simply aren’t true, including:

  • “Buyers will take anything—so there’s no need to renovate or repair.” Many sellers think that low inventory means that buyers will be willing to pay top dollar for any property. But the truth is, many buyers are put off by homes that appear like they need a lot of work. So while there’s no need to completely renovate your home prior to listing, making small, cosmetic repairs (like tidying up the landscaping or repainting the walls) can make a huge difference in how attractive your home is to buyers—and ultimately, how quickly (and profitably!) your home sells.
  • “There’s no need to invest in marketing my home; in this market, homes sell themselves.” It may be a seller’s market—but that doesn’t mean, as a seller, you don’t have to put in any effort to sell your property. Buyers spend a lot of time scouting homes online—so if you want your home to sell, you’ll want to invest time and resources into making your listing as attractive as possible (for example, getting professional photos of your property).
  • “In a bidding war, choosing the highest offer is always the right move.” Bidding wars are a common occurrence in today’s market—and many sellers believe that, if their home inspires a bidding war, they should accept the highest offer. But that’s not always true. There’s a lot more to an offer than just the purchase price—and going with a slightly lower offer with better terms (for example, more flexible closing terms or an all-cash offer) is often a better option than just choosing whichever offer has the highest dollar amount. 


The Takeaway:

So what does this mean for you? If you’re thinking about selling your home, it’s important to arm yourself with the right information about how to navigate the current market—and to avoid buying into myths that could potentially derail your sale.                                                                                                                                                                 


Preparing for your Home for Appraisal? Here are some tips on how to get your home ready for an appraisal :


Posted in Selling Your Home
May 25, 2022

How to Get Your Home Ready for an Appraisal

get your home ready for appraisal

Once you’ve accepted an offer on your home, you may be tempted to celebrate. But not so fast! There are a few steps between the offer and a successful close—and if the buyers are buying the house with a mortgage, one of those steps is an appraisal.

So, as a seller, the question is—what do you need to do to prepare for the appraisal?

recent article from outlined key steps seller’s need to take to get ready for an appraisal, including:

  • Get your home maintenance up to date. You’ll want to take care of any home maintenance tasks before your appraisal; otherwise, it could impact your home’s appraisal value.
  • Give your entire home a deep clean. In order to have the best appraisal process possible, you need to put your home’s best foot forward—and that means doing a thorough cleaning and decluttering of the entire house right before the appraisal.
  • Create a list of home upgrades. If you’ve made any changes or upgrades to the house over the past 10 years, you’ll want to compile them in a list (known as a highlight sheet) to give to the appraiser; that way, they can easily see the value you’ve added to your home—and appraise accordingly.
Posted in Selling Your Home
Feb. 19, 2021

Want to build wealth this year? Buy A Home This Year!

Want to Build Wealth? Buy a Home This Year!

Want to Build Wealth? Buy a Home This Year. | MyKCM

Every year, households across the country make the decision to rent for another year or take the leap into homeownership. They look at their earnings and savings and then decide what makes the most financial sense. That equation will most likely take into consideration monthly housing costs, tax advantages, and other incremental expenses. Using these measurements, recent studies show that it’s still more affordable to own than rent in most of the country.

There is, however, another financial advantage to owning a home that’s often forgotten in the analysis – the wealth built through equity when you own a home.

Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist for First American, discusses this point in a recent blog post. She explains:

“Once you include the equity benefit of price appreciation, owning made more financial sense than renting in 48 out of the 50 top markets, with the only exceptions being San Francisco and San Jose, Calif.”

What has this equity piece meant to homeowners in the past?

ATTOM Data Solutions, the curator of one of the nation’s premier property databases, just analyzed the typical home-price gain owners nationwide enjoyed when they sold their homes. Here’s a breakdown of their findings:Want to Build Wealth? Buy a Home This Year. | MyKCMThe typical gain in the sale of the home (equity) has increased significantly over the last five years.

CoreLogic, another property data curator, also weighed in on the subject. According to their latest Homeowner Equity Insights Report, the average homeowner gained $17,000 in equity in just the last year alone.

What does the future look like for homeowners when it comes to equity?

Here are the seven major home price appreciation forecasts for 2021:Want to Build Wealth? Buy a Home This Year. | MyKCMThe National Association of Realtors (NAR) just reported that today, the median-priced home in the country sells for $309,800. If homes appreciate by 5% this year (the average of the forecasts), the homeowner will increase their wealth by $15,490 in 2021 through increased equity.

Bottom Line

As you make your plans for the coming year, be sure to consider the equity benefits of home price appreciation as you weigh the financial advantages of buying over renting. When you do, you may find this is the perfect time to jump into homeownership.

Posted in Buying a Home
Feb. 18, 2021

3 Ways Equity Can Have A Major Impact

3 Ways Home Equity Can Have a Major Impact on Your Life

3 Ways Home Equity Can Have a Major Impact on Your Life | MyKCM

There have been a lot of headlines reporting on how homeowner equity (the difference between the current market value of your home and the amount you owe on your mortgage) has dramatically increased over the past few years. CoreLogic indicated that equity increased for the average homeowner by $17,000 in the last year alone. ATTOM Data Solutions, in their latest U.S. Home Equity Report, revealed that 30.2% of the 59 million mortgaged homes in the United States have at least 50% equity. That doesn’t even include the 38% of homes that are owned free and clear, meaning they don’t have a mortgage at all.

How can equity help a household?

Having equity in your home can dramatically impact your life. Equity is like a savings account you can tap into when you need cash. Like any other savings, you should be sensible in how you use it, though. Here are three good reasons to consider using your equity.

1. You’re experiencing financial hardship (job loss, medical expenses, etc.)

Equity gives you options during difficult financial times. With equity, you could refinance your house to get cash which may ease the burden. It also puts you in a better position to talk to the bank about restructuring your home loan until you can get back on your feet.

Today, there are 2.7 million Americans who are currently in a forbearance program because of the pandemic. Ninety percent of those in the program have at least 10% equity. That puts them in a better position to get a loan modification instead of facing foreclosure because many banks will see the equity as a form of collateral in a new deal. If you’re in this position, even if you can’t get a modification, the equity allows you the option to sell your house and walk away with your equity instead of losing the house and your investment in it.

2. You need money to start a new business

We’ve all heard the stories about how many great American companies started in the founder’s garage (i.e., Disney, Hewlett Packard, Apple, Yankee Candle, Keeping Current Matters). What we might not realize, however, is the garage (along with the rest of the home) supplied the start-up money for many of these companies in the form of a refinance.

If you’re passionate about an idea you have for a new product or service, the equity in your home may enable you to make that dream a reality.

3. You want to invest in a loved one’s future

It’s been a long-standing tradition in this country for many households to help pay college expenses for their children. Some have tapped into the equity in their homes to do that.

Additionally, George Ratiu, Senior Economist for, notes:

52% of Americans who bought their first home in 2020 said they got help with their down payment from friends or family. The number one lender? Their parents.

It’s safe to assume a percentage of that down payment money likely came from home equity.

Bottom Line

Savings in any form is a good thing. The forced savings you can earn from making a mortgage payment enables you to build wealth through home equity. That equity can come in handy in both good and more challenging times.