Welcome to Christopher Garguilo’s Blog.

Welcome to my new blog.  I always wanted to have a professional looking blog, and have given this a lot of thought.  The template is called the “Hemingway Rewritten”, and I figured I always wanted to write and have lots of characteristics of this great American writer like a round belly and white beard.  But seriously, the header photo has a beautiful country image, a site that I enjoy seeing now living in Virginia.  But my roots are from Brooklyn, New York, and grew up in a land of concrete front lawns and the smell of asphalt on a hot summer morning.  And on that hot summer day, you cooled down by not going to a beach a few minutes from your house (I am right by Buckroe Beach), but by opening up a fire hydrant, (aka Johnny pump) and using a seared open tin soda can to jettison the water on your friends and oncoming cars.

I will always love Brooklyn, and do miss it (I spent 49 years there), but Hampton is now my home.  I’ve grown accustomed to say hello to strangers I pass on the street, enjoy having the beach 3 minutes away, enjoy a bit slower pace (but really not that much slower) and love not having to spend 45 minutes looking for a parking space.

After teaching for over 21 years in Brooklyn, my main profession now is Real Estate, (however, I was also a Real Estate Agent there as well) and my blog will be focused mostly on those matters. Sure I will talk about new listings, mortgage rates and new construction. But real estate is much more than that.  It is about what concerts, shows, and exhibits that are happening in the area as well as sporting events.  It is about new stores and restaurants and the local economy.  And that is what I am going to accomplish in my new blog.

But those who know me as friends, clients, students and social media friends, you know that I love comedy as well, so you will see some funny posts as well.

On my sidebar, I have listed centers of music, arts, plays, performers, etc.  The list will increase as I add more to my blog.  For me, the area to which you reside has to be fun, and entertaining.  I hope you agree.

I hope you enjoy, I hope you come back, often!

What Buyers Need To Know About the Inventory of Homes Available for Sale

What Buyers Need To Know About the Inventory of Homes Available for Sale | MyKCM

If you’re thinking about buying a home, you’re likely trying to juggle your needs, current mortgage rates, home prices, your schedule, and more to try to decide if you want to jump into the market.

If this sounds like you, here’s one key factor that could help you with your decision: there are more homes for sale today than there were at this time last year. According to Calculated Risk, for the week ending in November 18th, there were 47.7% more homes available for sale than there were at the same time in 2021. And having more options for your home search may be exactly what you need to feel confident about making a move.

Here’s a look at where the increased housing supply is coming from so you can get a better sense of what’s happening in the market today and what it means for you.

What Caused the Growth in Housing Inventory This Year?

The increase we’ve seen in housing supply this year isn’t from the source you think it is. Rather than an influx of recent homeowners listing their houses for sale (known as new listings), the primary reason the supply has grown is because homes are staying on the market a bit longer (known as active listings).

That’s happening because higher mortgage rates and home prices have helped moderate the peak frenzy of buyer demand, which has slowed down the pace of sales. And, as the pace of sales has eased, inventory has grown as a result.

The graph below uses data from realtor.com to show that it’s active listings, not new listings, that have driven the growth we’ve seen over the past few months:

What Buyers Need To Know About the Inventory of Homes Available for Sale | MyKCM

And while overall inventory gains may slow down this winter due to typical housing market seasonality, you still have a chance to capitalize on the current supply.

What This Means for Your Home Search

Regardless of the source, the increase in available housing supply is good for buyers. More homes available for sale means you have more options to choose from as you search for your next home, and you may even have more time to consider them.

So, if you tried to buy a home last year and lost out in a bidding war or just couldn’t find something you liked, this may be the news you’ve been waiting for. If you start your search today, those additional options should make it less difficult to find a home you love, especially as some other buyers pause their search this holiday season.

Just remember, housing supply is still low overall, so it won’t suddenly be easy – it’ll just be less challenging than it was at this time last year. As a recent article from realtor.com says:

“Despite this improvement in the number of homes actively for sale, active listings still lag their pre-pandemic levels.”

The increase in housing supply helps put you in a great position to kick off the new year in your dream home. And who better to help you find it than a trusted, local real estate professional?

Bottom Line

If you’re ready to jump into the housing market and see what’s available in our local area, let’s connect.

What Homeowners Want To Know About Selling in Today’s Market

What Homeowners Want To Know About Selling in Today’s Market | MyKCM

If you’re thinking about selling your house, you’re likely hearing about the cooling housing market and wondering what that means for you. While it’s not the peak intensity we saw during the pandemic, we’re still in a sellers’ market. That means you haven’t missed your window. Realtor.com explains:

“. . . while prospective home sellers may lament that they missed their prime window, in reality, this is still a terrific time to sell. In fact, according to a recent Realtor.com® home seller survey, 95% of sellers who sold their home in the past year got more than they paid for it.

Nonetheless, some of the more prominent pandemic trends have changed, so sellers might wish to adjust accordingly to get the best deal possible.”

The key to success today is being realistic and working with a trusted real estate advisor who can help you set your expectations based on where the market is now, not where it was over the past few years.

Here are a few things experts say today’s sellers need to consider.

Be Willing To Negotiate

At the peak of the pandemic frenzy, sellers held all the leverage because inventory was at record lows and buyers were willing to enter bidding wars over homes that were available. This year, the supply of homes for sale has increased as the market cooled. Even though inventory is still low overall, buyers today have more options, and with that comes more negotiation power.

As a seller, that means you may see more buyers getting an inspection, requesting repairs, or asking for help with closing costs today. You need to be prepared to have those conversations. As Ali Wolf, Chief Economist at Zonda, says:

“Today’s market is different than it was just six months ago. . . Sellers that want the contract to move forward should be willing to work with the buyer. . . Consider helping with the closing costs or addressing many of the items on the home inspection list.”

Price Your Home at Market Value

It’s not just that the number of homes for sale has grown this year. Buyer demand has also pulled back in light of higher mortgage rates. As a result, pricing your house appropriately so you can catch the eyes of serious buyers is important. Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst at Bankrate, explains:

Price your home realistically. This isn’t the housing market of April or May, so buyer traffic will be substantially slower, but appropriately priced homes are still selling quickly.”

You don’t want to overreach with your price and deter buyers. At the same time, you don’t want to undervalue your home and leave money on the table. This is another area where an agent’s expertise comes in handy.

Think About Your First Impression on Buyers

Buyers have more options and are more particular about their investment since it costs more to buy a home given today’s mortgage rates. As a result, you need to make sure your house shows well. As an article from realtor.com says:

To stand out in the market, sellers should make their home attractive to buyers, which usually means some selective updates.”

This could include everything from staging the home, to making small cosmetic updates, tackling repairs, or undergoing renovations. A trusted real estate professional will help you assess what may be worthwhile to do compared to other recently sold homes in your area.

Bottom Line

To sum it all up, your house should still sell today and move quickly if you’re realistic about today’s market. As a press release from Zillow puts it:

. . . sellers need to do things right to attract the attention of these buyers — pricing their home competitively and making their listing attractive to online home shoppers.”

For expert advice on how to quickly sell your house in a shifting market, let’s connect.

Mortgage Rates Will Come Down, It’s Just a Matter of Time

Mortgage Rates Will Come Down, It’s Just a Matter of Time | MyKCM

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 Zondasays:

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.

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

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.

More People Are Finding the Benefits of Multigenerational Households Today

More People Are Finding the Benefits of Multigenerational Households Today | MyKCM

If you’re thinking of buying a home and living with siblings, parents, or grandparents, then multigenerational living may be for you. The Pew Research Center defines a multigenerational household as a home with two or more adult generations. And the number of individuals choosing multigenerational living has increased over the past 50 years.

As you consider this option for your own home search, know it could help you on your homeownership journey and provide you with other incredible benefits along the way.

Living with Loved Ones Could Help You Achieve Your Homeownership Goals

There are several reasons people choose to live in a multigenerational household, and for many, the arrangement is a personal one. But according to the Pew Research Center, the top reason people choose to live together today is financial.

recent study from Freddie Mac also finds more people are choosing to buy a home together so they can save money in the homebuying process. As the study says:

“. . . an increasing percentage of young adult first-time homebuyers are relying on support from older generations, including their parents, to buy a home together.

For these individuals, combining their resources can help them achieve their dream of buying and owning a home. By pooling their incomes together to make that purchase, they may be able to afford a home they couldn’t on their own.

Other Key Benefits of Multigenerational Living

Not to mention, living in a home with loved ones can have other benefits too, like giving you more quality time to spend together. Darla Mercado, Certified Financial Planner and Markets Editor for CNBC.comexplains how this living arrangement can help on a personal and financial level:

“Residing with relatives can offer advantages . . . you can pool multiple streams of income, for instance. And in households with young children, grandparents can pitch in with child care.

If this sounds like a great option for you, it’s important to work with a trusted real estate professional to discuss your needs. They can help you navigate the process to find the right home for you and your loved ones.

Bottom Line

More people are discovering the benefits of multigenerational living. For the best information and help deciding what’s right for your personal situation, let’s connect and start the conversation today.

Top Questions About Selling Your Home This Winter

Top Questions About Selling Your Home This Winter | MyKCM

There’s no denying the housing market is undergoing a shift this season, and that may leave you with some questions about whether it still makes sense to sell your house. Here are three of the top questions you may be asking – and the data that helps answer them – so you can make a confident decision.

1. Should I Wait To Sell?

Even though the supply of homes for sale has increased in 2022, inventory is still low overall. That means it’s still a sellers’ market. The graph below helps put the inventory growth into perspective. Using data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), it shows just how far off we are from flipping to a buyers’ market:

Top Questions About Selling Your Home This Winter | MyKCM

While buyers have regained some negotiation power as inventory has grown, you haven’t missed your window to sell. Your house could still stand out since inventory is low, especially if you list now while other sellers hold off until after the holiday rush and the start of the new year.

2. Are Buyers Still Out There?

If you’re thinking of selling your house but are hesitant because you’re worried buyer demand has disappeared in the face of higher mortgage rates, know that isn’t the case for everyone. While demand has eased this year, millennials are still looking for homes. As an article in Forbes explains:

At about 80 million strong, millennials currently make up the largest share of homebuyers (43%) in the U.S., according to a recent National Association of Realtors (NAR) report. Simply due to their numbers and eagerness to become homeowners, this cohort is quite literally shaping the next frontier of the homebuying process. Once known as the ‘rent generation,’ millennials have proven to be savvy buyers who are quite nimble in their quest to own real estate. In fact, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say they are the key to the overall health and stability of the current housing industry.”

While the millennial generation has been dubbed the renter generation, that namesake may not be appropriate anymore. Millennials, the largest generation, are actually a significant driving force for buyer demand in the housing market today. If you’re wondering if buyers are still out there, know that there are still people who are searching for a home to buy today. And your house may be exactly what they’re looking for.

3. Can I Afford To Buy My Next Home?

If current market conditions have you worried about how you’ll afford your next move, consider this: you may have more equity in your current home than you realize.

Homeowners have gained significant equity over the past few years and that equity can make a big difference in the affordability equation, especially with mortgage rates higher now than they were last year. According to Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American:

“. . . homeowners, in aggregate, have historically high levels of home equity. For some of those equity-rich homeowners, that means moving and taking on a higher mortgage rate isn’t a huge deal—especially if they are moving to a more affordable city.” 

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about selling your house this season, let’s connect so you have the expert insights you need to make the best possible move today.

Why It May Be Time To Add Newly Built Homes to Your Search

Why It May Be Time To Add Newly Built Homes to Your Search | MyKCM

If you put a pause on your home search because you weren’t sure where you’d go once you sold your house, it might be a good time to get back into the market. If you’re willing to work with a trusted agent to consider a newly built home, you may have even more options and incentives than you realize. That may be why the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) says the share of buyers looking for new construction is increasing:

“According to the quarterly Housing Trends Report, the popularity of new construction homes is continuing to rebound . . .”

Here’s a few reasons more buyers may be drawn to newly built homes.

More Options To Choose from and Potential Builder Incentives

When looking for a home, you can choose between existing homes (those that are already built and previously owned) and newly constructed ones. While the inventory of existing homes has increased this year, it’s still below more typical years like 2019. Currently, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), there is a 3.2-month supply at the current sales pace. For reference, a roughly 6-month supply is considered a balanced market, leaving us in a sellers’ market today.

While it’s a smaller segment of the overall inventory of homes for sale, the supply of newly built homes has grown even more. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) explains:

New single-family home inventory remained elevated at a 9.2 months’ supply (of varying stages of construction). A measure near a 6 months’ supply is considered balanced.”

Here’s why this matters for you. While you have more homes to choose from in either category, there’s one extra benefit of newly built homes. Because the inventory of newly built homes has grown so much, builders are motivated to sell their properties before they build more.

Back in the housing crash of 2008, builders were building too many homes, and that oversupply is part of what contributed to the housing bubble bursting. Now, builders don’t want to have a surplus of inventory in their pipeline, and many are offering buyers incentives to help move that inventory along. As Doug Duncan, Chief Economist at Fannie Maeexplains:

“. . . a continual increase in the number of completed homes available for sale is now occurring, with the inventories of such homes now at the highest level since July 2020. . . . This suggests to us that builders may be increasingly willing to offer more aggressive incentives and discounts to maintain sales of completed inventory.”

While specifics will vary by builder and market, some buyers are seeing builders reduce prices and offer incentives. To find out what’s available in your area, lean on a trusted real estate professional.

Lifestyle Benefits of Buying a Newly Built Home

In addition to more supply and the potential for builder incentives, newly built homes have various benefits that may suit your lifestyle. For example, you likely won’t have as many little repairs to tackle, like leaky faucets, shutters to paint, and other odd jobs around the house. That can free up time for you to do other things you’re passionate about.

Another perk of a new home is that nothing in the house is used. It’s brand new and uniquely yours from day one. You’ll have all new appliances, windows, roofing, and more. These things can help lower your energy costs, which can add up to significant savings over time. You may even have the latest and greatest technology features built into your new home.

Builder sums up why some buyers today are turning to newly built homes:

“For some, it’s the lure of something new and modern. For others, it’s the move-in ready experience. And now there’s another factor to consider when making this decision: technology.”

If any of these benefits appeal to you, it’s time to connect with a trusted real estate advisor to learn more.

Bottom Line

If you’re considering a newly built home, let’s connect so you have an expert guide on what’s available in our local market. Together we’ll explore your options and the benefits of an all-new home.

Home Equity: A Source of Strength for Homeowners Today

Home Equity: A Source of Strength for Homeowners Today | MyKCM

Experts agree there’s no chance of a large-scale foreclosure crisis like we saw back in 2008, and that’s good news for the housing market. As Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First Americansays:

“. . . don’t expect a housing bust like the mid-2000s, as lending standards in this housing cycle have been much tighter and homeowners have historically high levels of home equity, so there likely won’t be a surge in foreclosures.”

Data from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) helps tell this story. It shows the overall percentage of homeowners at risk is decreasing significantly with time (see graph below):

Home Equity: A Source of Strength for Homeowners Today | MyKCM

But even though the volume of homeowners at risk is very low, there is still a small percentage of homeowners who may be coming face to face with foreclosure as a possibility today. If you’re facing difficulties yourself, it can help to understand your options. It starts with knowing what foreclosure is. Investopedia defines it like this:

Typically, default is triggered when a borrower misses a specific number of monthly payments . . . Foreclosure is the legal process by which a lender attempts to recover the amount owed on a defaulted loan by taking ownership of and selling the mortgaged property.

The good news is there are alternatives available to help you avoid going through the foreclosure process, including:

  • Reinstatement
  • Loan modification
  • Deed-in-lieu of foreclosure
  • Short sale

But before you go down any of those paths, it’s worth seeing if you have enough equity in your home to sell it and protect your investment.

You May Be Able To Use Your Equity To Sell Your House

Equity is the difference between what you owe on the home and its market value based on factors like price appreciation.

In today’s real estate market, many homeowners have far more equity in their homes than they realize due to the home price appreciation we’ve seen over the past few years. According to CoreLogic:

“The total average equity per borrower has now reached almost $300,000, the highest in the data series.”

So, what does that mean for you? If you’ve lived in your house for at least a few years or more, chances are your home’s value, and your equity, has risen dramatically. In addition, the mortgage payments you’ve made during that time chipped away at the balance of your loan. If your home’s current value is higher than what you still owe on your loan, you may be able to use that increase to your advantage.

Rick Sharga, Executive VP of Market Intelligence at ATTOM Dataexplains how equity can help:

“Very few of the properties entering the foreclosure process have reverted to the lender at the end of the foreclosure. . . We believe that this may be an indication that borrowers are leveraging their equity and selling their homes rather than risking the loss of their equity in a foreclosure auction.”

Lean on Experts To Explore Your Options

To find out how much equity you have, work with a local real estate professional. They can give you an estimate of what your house could sell for based on recent sales of similar homes in your area. You may be able to sell your house to avoid foreclosure.

If you find out you have to pursue other options, your agent can help with that too. They’ll be able to connect you with other professionals in the industry, like housing counselors, who can look into your unique situation and offer advice on next steps if selling isn’t your best alternative.

Bottom Line

If you’re a homeowner facing hardship, let’s connect so you have an expert on your side to explore your options and see if you can sell your house to avoid foreclosure.

VA Loans: Making Homes for the Brave Achievable [INFOGRAPHIC]

VA Loans: Making Homes for the Brave Achievable [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • VA Loans can help make homeownership possible for those who have served our country.
  • These loans offer great benefits for eligible individuals and can help them buy a VA-approved house or condo, build a new home, or make improvements to their house.
  • Homeownership is the American Dream. One way we can honor and thank our veterans is to ensure they have the best information about the benefits of VA home loans.