Real Estate Professionals Are Experts at Keeping You Safe When You Sell

Real Estate Professionals Are Experts at Keeping You Safe When You Sell | MyKCM

If you’re on the fence about whether or not you want to sell your house this year, there’s good news. For nearly two years, real estate professionals have worked tirelessly to ensure the safety of buyers and sellers during the pandemic.

Today, they’re seasoned experts, not just in the art of buying and selling homes, but also in how to keep you safe throughout the process. Real estate professionals have learned new technologies plus safety and sanitation measures. As new variants emerge, those lessons continue to be key ways agents add value.

Real Estate Advisors Stay Current on Guidance for In-Person Showings

Agents don’t leave your health up to chance. They follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to ensure in-person showings are safe. NAR maintains industry-specific resources to ensure agents are informed on the latest recommendations and best practices.

Guidance from the CDC also equips real estate professionals with the know-how to employ sanitization and disinfectant measures during the health crisis, so they’re safe for you and your potential buyers.

Digital Tools Can Enhance Your Home Sale

In addition, agents are also well versed in using technology and digital tools to sell your home efficiently. In their guidance for realtors, NAR says:

“The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting members in unprecedented ways, and raises numerous unique and novel issues for the real estate industry.”

Real estate advisors have responded by reimagining the tech and tools they use. For instance, serving clients at a distance and limiting exposure to others is more important now than ever. That’s because restricting the number of people you need to interact with during the sales process is one of the best ways to keep everyone safe.

To accomplish this, agents now use a variety of methods to serve their clients, including:

  • Virtual Open Houses, Tours, and Listing Appointments
  • High-Quality Photos for Websites and Social Media
  • eSignature
  • Video Conferencing

Bottom Line

The health challenges we face today have fundamentally changed the way real estate professionals conduct business for the better. Let’s connect today so you have the latest tools on your side to feel safe and confident when you sell your house this year.

December Market Stats

Residential Review: Metro Portland, Oregon
December 2021
Residential Highlights

New listings (1,599) decreased 8.1% from the 1,740 listed in December 2020, and decreased 28.3% from the 2,229 listed in November 2021.

Pending sales (1,942) decreased 3.0% from the 2,003 offers accepted in December 2020, and decreased 27.0% from the 2,660 offers accepted in November 2021.

Closed sales (2,582) decreased 7.4% from the 2,789 closings in December 2020, and decreased 8.8% from the 2,832 closings in November 2021.

Inventory and Total Market Time Inventory decreased to 0.6 months in December. Total market time increased to 32 days.

Year-To-Date Summary Comparing the twelve months of 2021 to the same period in 2020, new listings (40,531) increased 5.4%, pending sales (35,405) increased 7.8%, and closed sales (35,182) increased 9.8%.

Average and Median Sale Prices Comparing 2021 to 2020 through December, the average sale price has increased 15.8% from $494,000 to $571,900. In the same comparison, the median sale price has increased 15.7% from $440,000 to $509,000.

The Difference Between a REALTOR and a Real Estate Agent

Do you know the biggest thing that differentiates a REALTOR® from a real estate agent? One of the most important things is THIS piece of paper and everything it stands for.

My most recent Ethics class certification.

A real estate agent is just someone that passed a couple of tests – a state law and knowledge test and a national law and knowledge test. It’s really not hard. I passed the tests a long time ago and have to keep my knowledge growing and updated with new technology, laws, conditions, and policies. To keep my real estate license, I must take a minimum of thirty hours of classes every two years. Three hours of those must be about the law and changes thereof.

A real estate agent is not required to be a REALTOR®.

A REALTOR® is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® (the largest trade association in the US) at the very least. I have to also be a member of the Oregon Association of REALTORS® and the Portland Metropolitan Association of REALTORS®. What do those groups do? They are business associations that offer insight and opinions to our local, state, and national governments and keep watch on the real estate business on many levels. They work to promote homeownership and the interests of REALTORS® nationwide. Personally, I call them The REALTOR® Mafia and/or “The Union” (even though it’s not). A member of The National REALTOR Association are called (guess?) REALTORS®. According to NAR, about half of the agents in the US are REALTORS®.

Here in Portland, an agent must be a REALTOR® to access the Regional Multiple Listing Service.

The NAR Code of Ethics was adopted in 1913 and is actually the first of any trade association to require an ethics code for its members. It was originally written to assure customers that their agents are well trained, have spotless reputations, and are held accountable by the organization for infringements. It did, and still does, ensure that REALTORS® best serve their clients by cooperating with each other.

What makes a REALTOR® different is a three-hour class I have to take every three years on Ethics.  It’s mandatory for members of the National Association of REALTORS and I can be kicked out of NAR if I don’t go. In fact, if I don’t attend, I would lose my RMLS access and my real estate key!

It isn’t just an “Ethics” moral code, it’s an enforceable reputation and standard of care for our clients, strict adherence to law and statute, the way we treat each other and the public, and even the manner in which we speak. The enforcement of the Code of Ethics is carried out by the local boards and may involve anything from a nastygram to fines to official censure to being removed from the Association.

A link to both the official Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice that we all agree to abide by.

I won’t post the whole thing here because I trust that my readers are both smart and have the means to click a link. (And it isn’t that exciting, trust me.)

The entire gist of the eight-page, 8pt., double-column document as it applies to clients, buyers, sellers, and other agents can easily be summed up with Wheaton’s Law: Don’t Be A Dick.

‘The Fed might have to really stop on the brakes’: Mortgage rates surge to highest level in over a year

Last Updated: Jan. 8, 2022 at 9:29 a.m. ETFirst Published: Jan. 6, 2022 at 10:51 a.m. ETBy Jacob Passy

The latest uptick in mortgage rates could be the start of a prolonged increase

Mortgage rates rose markedly in the first week of 2022 — potentially setting the tone for a year in which economist expect interest rates to move steadily higher.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.22% for the week ending Jan. 6, up 11 basis points from the previous week, Freddie Mac FMCC reported Thursday. This is the highest level for the benchmark mortgage rate since May 2020, Freddie Mac chief economist Sam Khater noted in the report.

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, meanwhile, rose 10 basis points to an average of 2.43%. The 5-year Treasury-indexed adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 2.41%, unchanged from the previous week.

Right now, most signs point to interest rates continuing to climb higher in the year to come. In particular, the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic remains strong. There are around 11 million job openings nationwide now, providing ample runway for the job market, which should bring the unemployment rate down. Supply-chain issues remain, but have shown some signs of abating.

High levels of inflation, meanwhile, mean that the Federal Reserve looks set to take decisive action more quickly than previously expected. “With economic momentum gaining, the Federal Reserve’s recently-released minutes point to a faster pace of balance sheet reduction in the months ahead,” said George Ratiu, manager of economic research at, adding that this pushed the 10-year Treasury note’s yield BX:TMUBMUSD10Y to the highest level since last May.

Typically, mortgage rates generally follow the direction of long-term bond yields, including that of the 10-year Treasury. “This also indicates that rising mortgage rates are on the horizon,” Ratiu said.

‘This inflation picture we’re talking about — if it doesn’t cool off, the Fed might have to really stop on the brakes as opposed to gently tapping them.’— Michael Frantantoni, chief economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association

Economists generally expect mortgage rates to rise higher this year. The question is: How high? Michael Frantantoni, chief economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association, said his team predicts mortgage rates will end the year around 4%. And he said that an even more pronounced increase in rates was more likely, as of now, than a decrease in interest rates.

“This inflation picture we’re talking about — if it doesn’t cool off, the Fed might have to really stop on the brakes as opposed to gently tapping them, and we could see the rate path move even higher even faster than we have in our baseline forecast,” he said during a Barron’s Live webcast on Wednesday.

“Honestly, I wouldn’t even have talked about the higher rate path much last year, so the fact that I bring it up [indicates] there is probably a higher probability than another drop in rates,” he added.

This isn’t to say another drop in rates isn’t possible, as Fratantoni pointed to two factor that could bring rates down again. For starters, he said that another, more severe coronavirus variant could cause economic upheaval in the future if it were to gain traction as the latest omicron variant has done.

Additionally, he suggested that geopolitical unrest could cause investors to seek safety in bonds, which would bring rates down. Examples of this include a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine or an escalation in tensions between China and Taiwan, he said.

“I often tell people that this job keeps you humble because rates can move for any number of reasons and in directions that really will surprise most of us,” Fratantoni said. “So could rates go down? Absolutely. I don’t think it’s the most likely outcome, but it could happen.”

How To Hit Your Homebuying Goals This Year [INFOGRAPHIC]

How To Hit Your Homebuying Goals This Year [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • If you’re looking to buy a home, you may want to put these items on your to-do list to ensure you hit your goals.
  • It’s important to start working on your credit and saving for a down payment early. When you’re ready to begin your search, work with a real estate professional and get pre-approved so you know how much you can borrow.
  • Connect with a real estate advisor so you have the guidance you need to achieve your homebuying goals this year.

There Won’t Be a Wave of Foreclosures in the Housing Market

There Won’t Be a Wave of Foreclosures in the Housing Market | MyKCM

When mortgage forbearance plans were first announced and the pandemic surged through the country in early 2020, many homeowners were allowed to pause their mortgage payments. Some analysts were concerned that once the forbearance program ended, the housing market would experience a wave of foreclosures like what happened after the housing bubble 15 years ago.

Here’s a look at why that isn’t the case.

1. There Are Fewer Homeowners in Trouble This Time

After the last housing crash, over nine million households lost their homes to a foreclosure, short sale, or because they gave it back to the bank. Many believed millions of homeowners would face the same fate again this time.

However, today’s data shows that most homeowners exited their forbearance plan either fully caught up on payments or with a plan from the bank that restructured their loan in a way that allowed them to start making payments again. The latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) studies how people exited the forbearance program from June 2020 to November 2021.

Here are those findings:

38.6% left the program paid in full
  • 19.9% made their monthly payments during the forbearance period
  • 11.8% made up all past-due payments
  • 6.9% paid off the loan in full
44% negotiated work-out repayment plans
  • 29.1% received a loan deferral
  • 14.1% received a loan modification
  • 0.8% arranged a different repayment plan
0.6% sold as a short sale or did a deed-in-lieu
16.8% left the program still in trouble and without a loss mitigation plan in place

2. Those Left in the Program Can Still Negotiate a Repayment Plan

As of last Friday, the total number of mortgages still in forbearance stood at 890,000. Those who remain in forbearance still have the chance to work out a suitable plan with the servicing company that represents their lender. And the servicing companies are under pressure to do just that by both federal and state agencies.

Rick Sharga, Executive Vice President at RealtyTrac, says in a recent tweet:

“The [Consumer Financial Protection Bureau] and state [Attorneys General] look like they’re adopting a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to mortgage servicing enforcement. Likely that this will limit #foreclosure activity for a good part of 2022, while servicers explore all possible loss [mitigation] options.”

For more information, read the warning issued by the Attorney General of New York State.

3. Most Homeowners Have More Than Enough Equity To Sell Their Homes

For those who can’t negotiate a solution and the 16.8% who left the forbearance program without a work-out, many will have enough equity to sell their homes and leave the closing with cash instead of facing foreclosures.

Due to rapidly rising home prices over the last two years, the average homeowner has gained record amounts of equity in their home. As Frank Martell, President & CEO of CoreLogic, explains:

“Not only have equity gains helped homeowners more seamlessly transition out of forbearance and avoid a distressed sale, but they’ve also enabled many to continue building their wealth.”

4. There Have Been Far Fewer Foreclosures Over the Last Two Years

One of the seldom-reported benefits of the forbearance program was that it allowed households experiencing financial difficulties prior to the pandemic to enter the program. It gave those homeowners an extra two years to get their finances in order and work out a plan with their lender. That prevented over 400,000 foreclosures that normally would have come to the market had the new forbearance program not been available. Otherwise, the real estate market would have had to absorb those foreclosures. Here’s a graph depicting this data:

There Won’t Be a Wave of Foreclosures in the Housing Market | MyKCM

5. The Current Market Can Easily Absorb Over a Million New Listings

When foreclosures hit the market in 2008, they added to the oversupply of houses that were already for sale. That resulted in over a nine-month supply of listings, and anything over a six-month supply can cause prices to depreciate.

It’s exactly the opposite today. The latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reveals:

“Total housing inventory at the end of November amounted to 1.11 million units, down 9.8% from October and down 13.3% from one year ago (1.28 million). Unsold inventory sits at a 2.1-month supply at the current sales pace, a decline from both the prior month and from one year ago.”

A balanced market would have approximately a six-month supply of inventory. At 2.1 months, the market is severely understocked. Even if one million homes enter the market, there still won’t be enough inventory to meet the current demand.

Bottom Line

The end of the forbearance plan will not cause any upheaval in the housing market. Sharga puts it best:

“The fact that foreclosure starts declined despite hundreds of thousands of borrowers exiting the CARES Act mortgage forbearance program over the last few months is very encouraging. It suggests that the ‘forbearance equals foreclosure’ narrative was incorrect. . . .”

FHFA hikes fees for high-balance and second-home loans

New fees seen as first step toward holistic review of GSE pricing

January 5, 2022, 12:24 pm By Georgia Kromrei

The Federal Housing Finance Agency introduced new upfront fees on Wednesday for some high-balance and second-home loans sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Upfront fees for high balance loans will increase between 0.25% and 0.75%, tiered by loan-to-value ratio. For second home loans, the upfront fees will increase between 1.125% and 3.875%, also tiered by loan-to-value ratio. 

The new pricing framework will take effect April 1, 2022, to “minimize market and pipeline disruption,” the agency said in a press release.

Loans in some affordable programs — including HomeReady, Home Possible, HFA Preferred and HFA Advantage — will not be subject to the new fees. First-time homebuyers in high-cost areas whose incomes below 100% of the area median income will also be exempt from the new high-balance upfront fees, although only a small number of those borrowers seek second homes and high-balance loans.

In a statement, FHFA Acting Director Sandra Thompson said the fee increases are another step FHFA is taking to both strengthen the government-sponsored enterprises’ safety and soundness, and ensure access to credit for first-time homebuyers and low- and moderate-income borrowers.

“These targeted pricing changes will allow the enterprises to better achieve their mission of facilitating equitable and sustainable access to homeownership, while improving their regulatory capital position over time,” said Thompson.

While the new fees on high-balance and second homes will function similarly to the now-suspended limits on investor and second homes, mortgage industry stakeholders welcomed Thompson’s decision.

Mortgage Bankers Association President Bob Broeksmit said he appreciated the delivery date for the new fees is in April, which gives lenders more than 90 days to adjust their rate sheets appropriately.

He also said he expected that this announcement would not be the last word on pricing adjustments, and that it sets the stage for reducing loan-level price adjustments for first-time borrowers, and those facing higher fees due to the loan-to-value ratio or their credit score.

“To the degree they recognize better margins on these loans, we would expect that cross-subsidy would flow to mission-centric borrowers,” said Broeksmit.

In an October interview with National Housing Conference President David Dworkin, Thompson said carrying out a broader review of the GSEs pricing was on her “to-do list.”

“One of the things that we committed to doing was taking a look at pricing, we haven’t done a holistic review of the Fannie and Freddie pricing analysis, g-fees and everything that comprises g-fees and pricing for enterprise loans,” said Thompson.

The FHFA also formally signaled its intent to update the GSEs’ pricing framework in its 2022 Scorecard for Fannie MaeFreddie Mac, and their jointly owned securitization platform, Common Securitization Solutions. The regulator directed the regulated entities to “increase support for core mission borrowers, while fostering capital accumulation, achieving viable returns and ensuring a level playing field for small and large sellers.”

During her tenure so far as FHFA acting director, Thompson has made affordability a top priority. In August, FHFA proposed new affordability benchmarks for the GSEs, setting goals for purchase loans in low-income and minority communities, and substantially increasing the low-income refinance goal.

Those actions have elicited praise from the affordable housing community. But some of the same groups have also argued there is still ample room for improvement. In October, a coalition of twenty affordable housing groups called on the regulator to reject the Duty to Serve plans the GSEs proposed in May for 2022 to 2024.

The affordable housing groups said those plans did not meet the “spirit or the letter” of the regulation, because the plans would eliminate programs to purchase manufactured housing loans titled as personal property. The plans would also reduce loan targets for manufactured housing, affordable housing preservation and rural housing.

Some have also questioned whether FHFA’s decision to back mortgage loans of nearly $1 million aligns with the GSEs’ mission, and have asked for more clarity on the government’s role in the housing finance system.

“Whether taxpayer backing of $1 million mortgages is consistent with the GSE charter is a question that legislators and policymakers should address,” said Ed DeMarco, president of the Housing Policy Council and acting director of the FHFA from 2009 to 2014, in a December interview with HousingWire.

Why Waiting To Sell Your House Could Cost You a Small Fortune

Why Waiting To Sell Your House Could Cost You a Small Fortune | MyKCM

Many homeowners who plan to sell in 2022 may think the wise thing to do is to wait for the spring buying market since historically about 40 percent of home sales occur between April and July. However, this year’s expected to be much different than the norm. Here are five reasons to list your house now rather than waiting until the spring.

1. Buyers Are Looking Right Now, and They’re Ready To Purchase

The ShowingTime Showing Index reports data from more than six million property showings scheduled across the country each month. In other words, it’s a gauge of how many buyers are out looking at homes at the current time.

The latest index, which covers November showings, reveals that buyers are still very active in the market. Comparing this November’s numbers to previous years, this graph shows that the index is higher than last year and much higher than the three years prior to the pandemic. Clearly, there’s an influx of buyers searching for your home.

Why Waiting To Sell Your House Could Cost You a Small Fortune | MyKCM

Also, at this time of year, only those purchasers who are serious about buying a home will be in the market. You and your loved ones won’t be inconvenienced by casual searchers. Freddie Mac addresses this in a recent blog:

“The buyers who are willing to house hunt in a winter market, when there are fewer options, are typically more serious. Plus, year-end bonuses and overtime payouts give people more purchasing power.”

And that theory is proving to be true right now based on the number of buyers who have put a home under contract to purchase. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) publishes a monthly Pending Home Sales Index which measures housing contract activity. It’s based on signed real estate contracts for existing single-family homes, condos, and co-ops. The latest index shows:

“…housing demand continues to be high. . . . Homes placed on the market for sale go from ‘listed status’ to ‘under contract’ in approximately 18 days.”

Comparing the index to previous Novembers, while it’s slightly below November 2020 (when sales were pushed to later in the year because of the pandemic), it’s well above the previous three years.

Why Waiting To Sell Your House Could Cost You a Small Fortune | MyKCM

The takeaway for you: There are purchasers in the market, and they’re ready and willing to buy.

2. Other Sellers Plan To List Earlier This Year

The law of supply and demand tells us that if you want the best price possible and to negotiate your ideal contract terms, put your house on the market when there’s strong demand and less competition.

recent study by reveals that, unlike in previous years, sellers plan to list their homes this winter instead of waiting until spring or summer. The study shows that 65% of sellers who plan to sell in 2022 have either already listed their home (19%) or are planning to put it on the market this winter.

Again, if you’re looking for the best price and the ability to best negotiate the other terms of the sale of your house, listing before this competition hits the market makes sense.

3. Newly Constructed Homes Will Be Your Competition in the Spring

In 2020, there were over 979,000 new single-family housing units authorized by building permits. Many of those homes have yet to be built because of labor shortages and supply chain bottlenecks brought on by the pandemic. They will, however, be completed in 2022. That will create additional competition when you sell your house. Beating these newly constructed homes to the market is something you should consider to ensure your house gets as much attention from interested buyers as possible.

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time To Move-Up

If you’re moving into a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by approximately 5% over the next 12 months. That means it will cost you more (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait. You can also lock in your 30-year housing expense with a mortgage rate in the low 3’s right now. If you’re thinking of selling in 2022, you may want to do it now instead of waiting, as mortgage rates are forecast to rise throughout the year.

5. It May Be Time for You To Make a Change

Consider why you’re thinking of selling in the first place and determine whether it’s worth waiting. Is waiting more important than being closer to your loved ones now? Is waiting more important than your health? Is waiting more important than having the space you truly need?

Only you know the answers to those questions. Take time to think about your goals and priorities as we move into 2022 and consider what’s most important to act on now.

Bottom Line

If you’ve been debating whether or not to sell your house and are curious about market conditions in your area, let’s connect so you have expert advice on the best time to put your house on the market.

Avoid the Rental Trap in 2022

Avoid the Rental Trap in 2022 | MyKCM

Are you one of the many renters thinking about where you’ll live the next time your lease is up? Before you decide whether to look for a new house or another apartment, it’s important to understand the true costs of renting in 2022.

As a renter, you should know rents have been rising since 1988 (see graph below):

Avoid the Rental Trap in 2022 | MyKCM

In 2021, rents grew dramatically. According to, since January 2021:

. . . the national median rent has increased by a staggering 17.8 percent. To put that in context, rent growth from January to November averaged just 2.6 percent in the pre-pandemic years from 2017-2019.”

That increase in 2021 was far greater than the typical rent increases we’ve seen in recent years. In other words – rents are rising fast. And the 2022 National Housing Forecast from projects prices for vacant units will continue to increase this year:

“In 2022, we expect this trend will continue and fuel rent growth. At a national level, we forecast rent growth of 7.1% in the next 12 months, somewhat ahead of home price growth . . .”

That means, if you’re planning to move into a different rental this year, you’ll likely pay far more than you have in years past.

Homeownership Provides an Alternative to Rising Rents

If you’re a renter facing rising rental costs, you might wonder what alternatives you have. If so, consider homeownership. One of the many benefits of homeownership is it provides a stable monthly cost you can lock in for the duration of your loan.

As Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:

“. . . fast-rising rents and increasing consumer prices, may have some prospective buyers seeking the protection of a fixed, consistent mortgage payment.”

If you’re planning to make a move this year, locking in your monthly housing costs for 15-30 years can be a major benefit. You’ll avoid wondering if you’ll need to adjust your budget to account for annual increases.

Homeowners also enjoy the added benefit of home equity, which has grown substantially right now. In fact, the latest Homeowner Equity Insight report from CoreLogic shows the average homeowner gained $56,700 in equity over the last 12 months. As a renter, your rent payment only covers the cost of your dwelling. When you pay your mortgage, you grow your wealth through the forced savings that is your home equity.  

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking of renting this year, it’s important to keep in mind the true costs you’ll face. Let’s connect so you can see how you can begin your journey to homeownership today.

How Much Do You Need for Your Down Payment?

How Much Do You Need for Your Down Payment? | MyKCM

As you set out on your homebuying journey, you likely have a plan in place, and you’re working on saving for your purchase. But do you know how much you actually need for your down payment?

If you think you have to put 20% down, you may have set your goal based on a common misconception. Freddie Mac says:

“The most damaging down payment myth—since it stops the homebuying process before it can start—is the belief that 20% is necessary.”

Unless specified by your loan type or lender, it’s typically not required to put 20% down. According to the Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median down payment hasn’t been over 20% since 2005. It may sound surprising, but today, that number is only 13%. And it’s even lower for first-time homebuyers, whose median down payment is only 7% (see graph below):

How Much Do You Need for Your Down Payment? | MyKCM

What Does This Mean for You?

While a down payment of 20% or more does have benefits, the typical buyer is putting far less down. That’s good news for you because it means you could be closer to your homebuying dream than you realize.

If you’re interested in learning more about low down payment options, there are several places to go. There are programs for qualified buyers with down payments as low as 3.5%. There are also options like VA loans and USDA loans with no down payment requirements for qualified applicants.

To understand your options, you need to do your homework. If you’re interested in learning more about down payment assistance programs, information is available through sites like Be sure to also work with a real estate advisor from the start to learn what you may qualify for in the homebuying process.

Bottom Line

Remember: a 20% down payment isn’t always required. If you want to purchase a home this year, let’s connect to start the conversation and explore your down payment options.