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!

Pop Quiz: Can You Define These Key Terms in Today’s Housing Market? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Pop Quiz: Can You Define These Key Terms in Today’s Housing Market? [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • The language of buying and selling a home may sound scary at first, but knowing how key terms relate to today’s market can help you. For example, current low mortgage rates and higher wages positively impact affordability for buyers, while home price appreciation continues to grow home equity, which sellers can use to fuel a move up.
  • Terms like appraisal (what lenders rely on to validate a home’s value) and contingencies (which buyers can minimize to make their offer stand out) directly impact the transaction.
  • You don’t need to be fluent in the language of the market to buy or sell. Instead, let’s connect today so that we can translate the process together.

Today’s Real Estate Market Explained Through 4 Key Trends

Today’s Real Estate Market Explained Through 4 Key Trends | MyKCM

As we move into the second half of the year, one thing is clear: the current real estate market is one for the record books. The exact mix of conditions we have today creates opportunities for both buyers and sellers. Here’s a look at four key components that are shaping this unprecedented market.

A Shortage of Homes for Sale

Earlier this year, the number of homes available for sale fell to an all-time low. In recent months, however, inventory levels are starting to trend up. The latest Monthly Housing Market Trends Report from realtor.com says:

“In June, newly listed homes grew by 5.5% on a year-over-year basis, and by 10.9% on a month-over-month basis. Typically, fewer newly listed homes appear on the market in the month of June compared to May. This year, growth in new listings is continuing later into the summer season, a welcome sign for a tight housing market.”

This is good news for buyers who crave more options. But even though we’re experiencing small gains in the number of available homes for sale, inventory remains a challenge in most states. That’s why it’s still a sellers’ market, giving homeowners immense leverage when they decide to make a move.

Buyer Competition and Bidding Wars

Today’s ongoing low supply, coupled with high demand, creates a market characterized by high buyer competition and bidding wars. Buyers are going above and beyond to make sure their offer stands out from the crowd by offering over the asking price, all cash, or waiving some contingencies. The number of offers on the average house for sale broke records this year – and that’s great news for sellers.

Today’s Real Estate Market Explained Through 4 Key Trends | MyKCM

The latest Confidence Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) says the average home for sale receives five offers (see graph below):For buyers, the best way to put a compelling offer together is by working with a local real estate professional. That agent can act as your trusted advisor on what terms are best for you and what’s most appealing to the seller.

Home Price Appreciation

The competition among buyers is driving prices up. Over the past year, we’ve seen home price appreciation rise across the country. According to the most recent Home Price Index (HPI) from CoreLogic, national home prices increased 15.4% year-over-year in May:

“The May 2021 HPI gain was up from the May 2020 gain of 4.2% and was the highest year-over-year gain since November 2005. Low mortgage rates and low for-sale inventory drove the increase in home prices.”

Rising home values are a big part of why real estate remains one of the top sought-after investments for Americans. For potential sellers, it also means it’s a great time to list your house to maximize the return on your investment.

A Rise in Home Values and Equity

The equity in a home doesn’t just grow when a homeowner pays their mortgage – it also grows as the home’s value appreciates. Thanks to the jump in price appreciation, homeowners across the country are seeing record-breaking gains in home equity. CoreLogic recently reported:

“…homeowners with mortgages (which account for roughly 62% of all properties) have seen their equity increase by 19.6% year over year, representing a collective equity gain of over $1.9 trillion, and an average gain of $33,400 per borrower, since the first quarter of 2020.”

That’s a major perk for households to leverage. Homeowners can use that equity to accomplish major life goals or move into their dream homes.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about buying or selling, there’s no time like the present. Let’s connect to talk about how you can take advantage of the conditions we’re seeing today to meet your homeownership goals.

Jobs are coming to Hampton Roads’ offshore wind industry. Who will fill them?

Workers on Windmills

This is such great news for Hampton! Exciting new and green industries coming to our area.

Read more with the link below to the Daily Press article.

Jobs are coming to Hampton Roads’ offshore wind industry. Who will fill them? https://www.dailypress.com/business/vp-bz-offshore-wind-workforce-20210717-h7aarod63ne3holfnizilg5ygm-story.html

5 Steps Towards Getting a Profitable Asset When Buying Your First Investment Property

[Image Source: Unsplash]

(This article was written and submitted by Katie Conroy of the website, advicemine.com.)

Are you thinking of purchasing an investment property? Buying a real estate asset could potentially be one of the most lucrative decisions you make; however, it could also be one of your biggest financial mistakes if you purchase the wrong property. This article covers some basic things you need to know about property investment, including how to pick the right location, what options you have when it comes to paying, and how to prepare the house for the new tenants.

Find a Real Estate Agent

When looking for an investment property, the first thing to do is to find a realtor you can trust and who can help you navigate the complicated and fast-paced purchasing process. Perhaps it would help if you think it like this: working with a real estate agent is like hiring an employee. This professional will work on your behalf to find properties, arrange visits, and negotiate prices; thus, you’ll want to find someone with an impeccable reputation, excellent skills, and an eye for detail. If you’re looking for investment properties in Virginia, Christopher Garguilo can guide you through the hunting and buying process, making things easier for you.

Pick the Right Location

When you purchase an investment property, you need to know that location is everything. This is especially true if you plan on selling the place later on; however, if you’re looking to rent your investment property, the best pick would be a place that has year-round tourism. For instance, look for properties in ski towns, summer retreat zones, and areas close to popular attractions. An investment property doesn’t just have to cater to tourists and vacationers, though. For example, suppose you can accurately estimate the rent for the place you’re interested in. In that case, you can calculate whether it would be a lucrative investment: a basic rule used by numerous investors is that you should aim to get at least one percent of your purchase price in monthly profits.

Obtain the Funds

Depending on where you buy your investment property from (e.g., auction, through an agency, etc.), you should arrange to pay either cash or by taking on a mortgage. For instance, you may have to pay in cash if you buy the house at an auction during foreclosure or a short sale. On the other hand, if you choose to get a home loan, the most common approach is to apply for a conventional mortgage. However, keep in mind that the federal government does not insure this loan type; private lenders support it, which means it’s best to buy homeowners insurance to secure the funds.

Close the Deal

​Once you have the funds, you need to hire a professional to get on with the inspection and appraisal process and then bring the negotiations to an end. Closing can end up being expensive, so it’s best to prepare yourself for additional costs like title insurance, local fees, and so on.

Prepare the House

After you get the house in your name, you’ll enter the preparation phase when you analyze the property thoroughly and upgrade it to make it appealing to potential tenants. However, don’t go overboard with the renovations because renters will probably not care about whether a wall makes the living room look smaller or whether the lighting fixture isn’t bright enough. Some improvements you can make include repainting the walls, refreshing the furniture, adding some LEDs in the backyard, or putting up a fence for more privacy.

For projects like the latter, consider hiring local contractors as they are likely aware of the regulations and utility lines in the area. With a simple ‘local fencing companies near me‘ online search, you can find plenty of professionals who can help you make the property more appealing. Before proceeding with the hiring, keep in mind to browse the company’s website to get a quote, check its reviews and licenses. Overall, expect the fencing to cost $4,500 – more or less – but keep in mind that the final price will depend on what materials you want to use for the fence, its size, and where you want it.

Bottom Line

An investment property is an intelligent way to make some extra money and even achieve financial independence. However, if you’re doing this for the first time, you need to look up as many resources as possible and ask as many professionals as you can about what the investment requires so you don’t waste your money.

If you’re looking for a place to buy in Virginia, consider working with Christopher Garguilo. He is a skilled real estate agent who can help you navigate the process efficiently and find the best property for you. Call or text Christopher anytime at 757-876-7443 or browse the website for more information.

Remote Work Has Changed Our Home Needs. Is It Time for Your Home To Change, Too?

Remote Work Has Changed Our Home Needs. Is It Time for Your Home To Change, Too?

Remote Work Has Changed Our Home Needs. Is It Time for Your Home To Change, Too? | MyKCM

Over the past year, many homeowners realized what they need in a home is changing, especially with the rise in remote work. If you’re longing for a dedicated home office or a change in scenery, now may be the time to find the home that addresses your evolving needs.

Working from Home Isn’t a Passing Fad

Before the pandemic, only 21% of individuals worked from home. However, if you’ve recently discovered remote work is your new normal, you’re not alone.

Remote Work Has Changed Our Home Needs. Is It Time for Your Home To Change, Too? | MyKCM

survey of hiring managers conducted by Statista and Upwork projects 37.5% of U.S. workers will work remotely in some capacity over the next 5 years (see chart below):

Working from Home Gives You More Flexibility and More Options

If you fall in that category, working from home may provide you with opportunities you didn’t realize you had. The ongoing rise in remote work means a portion of the workforce no longer needs to be tied to a specific area for their job. Instead, it gives those workers more flexibility when it comes to where they can live.

If you’re one of the nearly 23% of workers who will remain 100% remote, you have the option to move to a lower cost-of-living area or to the location of your dreams. If you search for a home in a more affordable area, you’ll be able to get more house for your money, freeing up more options for your dedicated office space and more breathing room. You could also move to an area you’ve always dreamed of vacationing in – somewhere near the beach, the mountains, or simply an area that features better weather and community amenities. Without your job tying you to a specific location, you’re bound to find your ideal spot.

If you’re one of the almost 15% of individuals who will have a partially remote or hybrid schedule, relocating within your local area to a home that’s further away from your office could be a great choice. Since you won’t be going into work every day, a slightly longer commute from a more suburban or rural area could be a worthy trade-off for a home with more features, space, or comforts. After all, if you’ll still be at home part-time, why not find a home that better suits your needs?

According to the latest Top Ten Issues Affecting Real Estate from The Counselors of Real Estate (CRE), many homebuyers are already taking advantage of their newfound flexibility:

“. . . after years of apparent but variant trends towards urbanization, the pandemic universally caused a movement away from urban cores, particularly for those with higher incomes who could afford to move and for lower-income individuals seeking lower costs of living.”

Bottom Line

If you’ve found what you’re looking for in a home has changed due to remote work, it may be time to make a move. Let’s connect today to start prioritizing your home needs.

3 Charts That Show This Isn’t a Housing Bubble

3 Charts That Show This Isn’t a Housing Bubble | MyKCM

With home prices continuing to deliver double-digit increases, some are concerned we’re in a housing bubble like the one in 2006. However, a closer look at the market data indicates this is nothing like 2006 for three major reasons.

1. The housing market isn’t driven by risky mortgage loans.

3 Charts That Show This Isn’t a Housing Bubble | MyKCM

Back in 2006, nearly everyone could qualify for a loan. The Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI) from the Mortgage Bankers’ Association is an indicator of the availability of mortgage money. The higher the index, the easier it is to obtain a mortgage. The MCAI more than doubled from 2004 (378) to 2006 (869). Today, the index stands at 130. As an example of the difference between today and 2006, let’s look at the volume of mortgages that originated when a buyer had less than a 620 credit score.Dr. Frank Nothaft, Chief Economist for CoreLogic, reiterates this point:

“There are marked differences in today’s run up in prices compared to 2005, which was a bubble fueled by risky loans and lenient underwriting. Today, loans with high-risk features are absent and mortgage underwriting is prudent.”

2. Homeowners aren’t using their homes as ATMs this time.

During the housing bubble, as prices skyrocketed, people were refinancing their homes and pulling out large sums of cash. As prices began to fall, that caused many to spiral into a negative equity situation (where their mortgage was higher than the value of the house).

Today, homeowners are letting their equity build. Tappable equity is the amount available for homeowners to access before hitting a maximum 80% combined loan-to-value ratio (thus still leaving them with at least 20% equity). In 2006, that number was $4.6 billion. Today, that number stands at over $8 billion.

3 Charts That Show This Isn’t a Housing Bubble | MyKCM

Yet, the percentage of cash-out refinances (where the homeowner takes out at least 5% more than their original mortgage amount) is half of what it was in 2006.

3. This time, it’s simply a matter of supply and demand.

FOMO (the Fear Of Missing Out) dominated the housing market leading up to the 2006 housing bubble and drove up buyer demand. Back then, housing supply more than kept up as many homeowners put their houses on the market, as evidenced by the over seven months’ supply of existing housing inventory available for sale in 2006. Today, that number is barely two months.

Builders also overbuilt during the bubble but pulled back significantly over the next decade. Sam Khater, VP and Chief Economist, Economic & Housing Research at Freddie Macexplains that pullback is the major factor in the lack of available inventory today:

“The main driver of the housing shortfall has been the long-term decline in the construction of single-family homes.”

3 Charts That Show This Isn’t a Housing Bubble | MyKCM

Here’s a chart that quantifies Khater’s remarks:Today, there are simply not enough homes to keep up with current demand.

Bottom Line

This market is nothing like the run-up to 2006. Bill McBride, the author of the prestigious Calculated Risk blog, predicted the last housing bubble and crash. This is what he has to say about today’s housing market:

“It’s not clear at all to me that things are going to slow down significantly in the near future. In 2005, I had a strong sense that the hot market would turn and that, when it turned, things would get very ugly. Today, I don’t have that sense at all, because all of the fundamentals are there. Demand will be high for a while because Millennials need houses. Prices will keep rising for a while because inventory is so low.”

What You Should Do Before Interest Rates Rise

What You Should Do Before Interest Rates Rise | MyKCM

In today’s real estate market, mortgage interest rates are near record lows. If you’ve been in your current home for several years and haven’t refinanced lately, there’s a good chance you have a mortgage with an interest rate higher than today’s average. Here are some options you should consider if you want to take advantage of today’s current low rates before they rise.

Sell and Move Up (or Downsize)

Many of today’s homeowners are rethinking what they need in a home and redefining what their dream home means. For some, continued remote work is bringing about the need for additional space. For others, moving to a lower cost-of-living area or downsizing may be great options. If you’re considering either of these, there may not be a better time to move. Here’s why.

What You Should Do Before Interest Rates Rise | MyKCM

The chart below shows average mortgage rates by decade compared to where they are today:Today’s rates are below 3%, but experts forecast rates to rise over the next few years.

If the interest rate on your current mortgage is higher than today’s average, take advantage of this opportunity by making a move and securing a lower rate. Lower rates mean you may be able to get more house for your money and still have a lower monthly mortgage payment than you might expect.

What You Should Do Before Interest Rates Rise | MyKCM

Waiting, however, might mean you miss out on this historic opportunity. Below is a chart showing how your monthly payment will change if you buy a home as mortgage rates increase:

Breaking It All Down:

Using the chart above, let’s look at the breakdown of a $300,000 mortgage:

  • When mortgage rates rise, so does the monthly payment you can secure.
  • Even the smallest increase in rates can make a difference in your monthly mortgage payment.
  • As interest rates rise, you’ll need to look at a lower-priced home to try and keep the same target monthly payment, meaning you may end up with less home for your money.

No matter what, whether you’re looking to make a move up or downsize to a home that better suits your needs, now is the time. Even a small change in interest rates can have a big impact on your purchasing power.

Refinance

If making a move right now still doesn’t feel right for you, consider refinancing. With the current low mortgage rates, refinancing is a great option if you’re looking to lower your monthly payments and stay in your current home.

Bottom Line

Take advantage of today’s low rates before they begin to rise. Whether you’re thinking about moving up, downsizing, or refinancing, let’s connect today to discuss which option is best for you.

Experts Agree: Options Are Improving for Buyers [INFOGRAPHIC]

Experts Agree: Options Are Improving for Buyers [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • Buyers hoping for more homes to choose from may be in luck as housing inventory begins to rise. Many experts agree – new sellers listing their homes is great news for buyers and the overall market.
  • Although the supply increases are modest, more homes means more options for buyers. A rise in inventory may also help slow the price gains we’ve seen recently and could be a sign of good things to come.
  • If you’re searching for a home, rising inventory is welcome news. Let’s connect today to discuss new listings in our area.

Diving Deep into Today’s Biggest Buyer Concerns

Diving Deep into Today’s Biggest Buyer Concerns | MyKCM

Last week, Fannie Mae released their Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI). Though the survey showed 77% of respondents believe it’s a “good time to sell,” it also confirms what many are sensing: an increasing number of Americans believe it’s a “bad time to buy” a home. The percentage of those surveyed saying it’s a “bad time to buy” hit 64%, up from 56% last month and 38% last July.

The latest HPSI explains:

“Consumers also continued to cite high home prices as the predominant reason for their ongoing and significant divergence in sentiment toward homebuying and home-selling conditions. While all surveyed segments have expressed greater negativity toward homebuying over the last few months, renters who say they are planning to buy a home in the next few years have demonstrated an even steeper decline in homebuying sentiment than homeowners. It’s likely that affordability concerns are more greatly affecting those who aspire to be first-time homeowners than other consumer segments.”

Let’s look closely at the market conditions that impact home affordability.

A mortgage payment is determined by the price of the home and the mortgage rate on the loan used to purchase it. Lately, monthly mortgage payments have gone up for buyers for two key reasons:

  1. Mortgage rates have increased from 2.65% this past January to 2.9%.
  2. Home prices have increased by 15.4% over the last 12 months.

Based on these rising factors, a home may be less affordable today, but it doesn’t mean it’s not affordable.

Three weeks ago, ATTOM Data released their second-quarter 2021 U.S. Home Affordability Report which explained that the major ownership costs on the typical home as a percent of the average national wage had increased from 22.2% in the second quarter of 2020 to 25.2% in the second quarter of this year. They also went on to explain:

“Still, the latest level is within the 28 percent standard lenders prefer for how much homeowners should spend on mortgage payments, home insurance and property taxes.

In the same report, Todd Teta, Chief Product Officer with ATTOM, confirms:

Average workers across the country can still manage the major expenses of owning a home, based on lender standards.”

It’s true that monthly mortgage payments are greater than they were last year (as the ATTOM data shows), but they’re not unaffordable when compared to the last 30 years. While payments have increased dramatically during that several-decade span, if we adjust for inflation, today’s mortgage payments are 10.7% lower than they were in 1990.

What’s that mean for you? While you may not get the homebuying deal someone you know got last year, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still buy a home. Here are your alternatives to buying and the trade-offs you’ll have with each.

Alternative 1: I’ll rent instead.

Some may consider renting as the better option. However, the monthly cost of renting a home is skyrocketing. According to the July National Rent Report from Apartment List:

“…So far in 2021, rental prices have grown a staggering 9.2%. To put that in context, in previous years growth from January to June is usually just 2 to 3%. After this month’s spike, rents have been pushed well above our expectations of where they would have been had the pandemic not disrupted the market.”

If you continue to rent, chances are your rent will keep increasing at a fast pace. That means you could end up spending significantly more of your income on your rental as time goes on, which could make it even harder to save for a home.

Alternative 2: I’ll wait it out.

Others may consider waiting for another year and hoping that purchasing a home will be less expensive then. Let’s look at that possibility.

We’ve already established that a monthly mortgage payment is determined by the price of the home and the mortgage rate. A lower monthly payment would require one of those two elements to decrease over the next year. However, experts are forecasting the exact opposite:

  • The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) projects mortgage rates will be at 4.2% by the end of next year.
  • The Home Price Expectation Survey (HPES), a survey of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts, calls for home prices to increase by 5.12% in 2022.
Diving Deep into Today’s Biggest Buyer Concerns | MyKCM

Based on these projections, let’s see the possible impact on a monthly mortgage payment:By waiting until next year, you’d potentially pay more for the home, need a larger down payment, pay a higher mortgage rate, and pay an additional $3,696 each year over the life of the mortgage.

Bottom Line

While you may have missed the absolute best time to buy a home, waiting any longer may not make sense. Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First Americansays it best:

“Affordability is likely to worsen before it improves, so try to buy it now, if you can find it.”

Housing Supply Is Rising. What Does That Mean for You?

Housing Supply Is Rising. What Does That Mean for You? | MyKCM

An important factor in today’s market is the number of homes for sale. While inventory levels continue to sit near historic lows, there are indications we may have hit the lowest point we’ll see. Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, recently said of our supply challenges:

It looks like inventory may have hit a bottom (we’ve seen this in the higher frequency data as well). Unsold inventory in May was at 2.5 months supply, up from 2.4.

Housing Supply Is Rising. What Does That Mean for You? | MyKCM

To put it into perspective, the graph below shows levels of inventory rising since the beginning of the year:We’re still not close to a balanced market, which would be a 6 months’ supply of homes for sale. However, we are seeing a slow but steady increase in homes coming up for sale. And that leaves many buyers and sellers wondering the same thing: what does that mean for me?

Buyers: More Options Are Arriving, so It’s Time To Act

If you’re a buyer, more inventory coming to market is a welcome sight. More supply means more options and less competition, which could mean fewer bidding wars.

According to the latest Monthly Housing Market Trends Report, supply levels are continuing to increase, which is different from the typical summer market:

“In June, newly listed homes grew by 5.5% on a year-over-year basis, and by 10.9% on a month-over-month basis. Typically, fewer newly listed homes appear on the market in the month of June compared to May. This year, growth in new listings is continuing later into the summer season, a welcome sign for a tight housing market.

If you’re having trouble finding your next home, this news should give you the hope and motivation to keep your buying process moving forward. Experts project mortgage rates will begin increasing, which will make purchasing a home less affordable as time passes. You can still capitalize on today’s low interest rates, so stick with your search as more homes come to market.

Sellers: Our Supply Challenges Aren’t Over Yet, so Now Is the Time To Sell

If you’ve been putting off selling your house, you shouldn’t wait much longer. The year’s month-over-month gains in homes for sale have helped buyers, but we’re still very much in a sellers’ market.

Housing Supply Is Rising. What Does That Mean for You? | MyKCM

As the graph below shows, even with the number of homes for sale rising, we’re still well below the supply levels we’ve seen historically:Of course, more homes are coming to market now, and more are expected in the coming months. Selling your house this summer gives you the chance to get ahead of the competition and maximize your sales potential before more homes are put up for sale in your neighborhood.

Bottom Line

More homes for sale means more options for buyers and more competition for sellers. Whether you’re looking to buy or sell, let’s connect today to discuss your options and why it’s still a good time to make your move.