NextHome Named No. 1 Real Estate Franchise in the U.S. (RIS Media)

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NextHome was named the No. 3 top franchise in owner satisfaction by Franchise Business Review, out of 307 of the country’s top franchise brands across all sectors. In the real estate category, NextHome ranked No. 1, a notable accomplishment for the six-year-old franchise.

The franchise came in at the No. 4 spot for 2019, the first year it entered the survey. NextHome was also ranked a Top Franchise for Women and a Top Franchise for Veterans that same year.

Improving upon this milestone in only 12 months is a significant step forward, according to NextHome. Since its inception, NextHome has been committed to providing exceptional service to the people involved in the real estate transaction, aiming to transform what can be a stressful process into a much smoother experience for the clients and the agents. The NextHome difference lies in its “humans over houses” mindset, modern branding and technology, and continued support of its members and their success.

NextHome was among 307 franchise brands, representing more than 27,500 franchise owners, that participated in Franchise Business Review’s research. NextHome’s franchisees were surveyed on 33 benchmark questions about their experience and satisfaction regarding critical areas of their franchise systems, including training and support, operations, franchisor/franchisee relations, and financial opportunity.

“There are thousands of successful franchise companies operating in North America, but many of those companies do not offer a solid investment opportunity for the actual franchise owners,” says Eric Stites, CEO of Franchise Business Review. “As an independent research firm, we rate the franchise companies in the marketplace today and identify those that have the highest levels of satisfaction and performance among their franchisees in order to help entrepreneurs choose which franchise to invest in. This year’s Franchisee Satisfaction Award winners truly are the best-of-the-best.”

The Franchise Business Review ranking follows NextHome earning the No. 1897 spot on the Inc. 5000 list of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies, as well as being named No. 95 on Entrepreneur magazine’s annual Franchise 500 list.

“A franchise is only as strong as its members. We’re incredibly grateful to have built a franchise that attracts those who want to make a difference in the real estate industry,” says James Dwiggins, CEO of NextHome. “Thank you to the NextHome members across the country for making this recognition possible.”

For more information, please visit www.nexthome.com.

NextHome named top US Real Estate Franchise (Inman)

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NextHome snagged first place from Keller Williams, which didn’t make the cut in this year’s annual Franchise Business Review list

NextHome, the real estate franchise with a flexible spending model, has been named the top real estate franchise by Franchise Business Review for 2020 and snagged third place overall, as announced at the International Franchise Association Convention on February 9.

Franchise Business Review is a market research firm in the franchising industry that studies satisfaction and performance of franchisees.

The accolade is (potentially) a reversal of sorts, with NextHome snagging first place from Keller Williams, which was named the top real estate franchise in 2019. However, a spokesperson from Keller Williams informed Inman that he did not believe the real estate company made the deadline to participate in Franchise Business Review’s survey this past year, but was unable to confirm before publishing.

Franchise Business Review informed Inman it could not disclose participating company names.

“Of all the awards we’ve received, this is truly the one I’m most proud of,” NextHome CEO James Dwiggins told Inman in an email. “To be ranked the no. 3 overall franchise in the country, and no. 1 in the category of real estate based upon honest member feedback, means we’re providing incredible value to our brokers and agents. We launched NextHome in January of 2015, so this is just the beginning for us.”

Franchise Business Review

James Dwiggins | NextHome

While Sotheby’s, Weichert and Better Homes and Gardens all increased their standing in 2020 in the real estate category, Weichert made the most significant jump from no. 8 in 2019 to no. 3 this year.

Other notable real estate companies that were not included in Franchise Business Review’s list this year include Coldwell Banker, Coldwell Banker Commercial and Epcon Communities.

A spokesperson from Coldwell Banker confirmed to Inman that Coldwell Banker and Coldwell Banker Commercial did not participate in the program this year, but requests made for information about Epcon Communities’ participation were not immediately returned.

NextHome also landed the no. 3 spot this year for Franchise Business Review’s Overall Top 50 franchise list, making it only one of three real estate companies to make the Overall Top 50 list, along with Sotheby’s International Realty and Weichert Real Estate.

Kona Ice earned the top spot on the Overall Top 50 list for 2020 and MaidPro earned second place.

The #1 Misconception in the Homebuying Process

The #1 Misconception in the Homebuying Process | MyKCM

After over a year of moderating home prices, it appears home value appreciation is about to reaccelerate. Skylar Olsen, Director of Economic Research at Zillow, explained in a recent article:

 “A year ago, a combination of a government shutdown, stock market slump and mortgage rate spike caused a long-anticipated inventory rise. That supposed boom turned out to be a short-lived mirage as buyers came back into the market and more than erased the inventory gains. As a natural reaction, the recent slowdown in home values looks like it’s set to reverse back.”

CoreLogic, in their January 2020 Market Pulse Report, agrees with Olsen, projecting home value appreciation in all fifty states this year. Here’s the breakdown:

  • 21 states appreciating 5% or more
  • 26 states appreciating between 3-5%
  • Only 3 states appreciating less than 3%

The Misconception

Many believe when real estate values are increasing, owning a home becomes less affordable. That misconception is not necessarily true.

In most cases, homes are purchased with a mortgage. The current mortgage rate is a major component of the affordability equation. Mortgage rates have fallen by almost a full percentage point since this time last year.

Another major piece of the equation is a buyer’s income. The median family income has risen by 5% over the last year, contributing to the affordability factor.

Black Knight, in their latest Mortgage Monitor, addressed this exact issue:

 “Despite the average home price increasing by nearly $13,000 from just over a year ago, the monthly mortgage payment required to buy that same home has actually dropped by 10% over that same span due to falling interest rates…

Put another way, prospective homebuyers can now purchase a $48K more expensive home than a year ago while still paying the same in principal and interest, a 16% increase in buying power.”

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about purchasing a home, realize that homes are still affordable even though prices are increasing. As the Black Knight report concluded:

“Even with home price growth accelerating, today’s low-interest-rate environment has made home affordability the best it’s been since early 2018.”

How Trusted Professionals Make Homebuying Easier to Understand

How Trusted Professionals Make Homebuying Easier to Understand | MyKCM

In the spring, many excited buyers get ready to enter the housing market. Others continue dreaming about the homes they’d like to buy. The truth is, many potential buyers continue to dream longer than they need to, simply because they’re confused about the homebuying process. Thankfully, working with a trusted real estate professional can help ease those concerns and make the process to homeownership much easier to understand.

A recent survey conducted by Ipson and Freddie Mac reveals the confidence level of Gen Z and Millennial buyers regarding the homebuying process. The graph below shows the breakdown of the top results, clearly indicating there’s a significant portion of younger buyers who are not yet confident with some of the steps in the homebuying process.How Trusted Professionals Make Homebuying Easier to Understand | MyKCMBetween the homebuying process and the mortgage process, there are 230 possible steps in the transaction. With trusted professionals on your side, you certainly don’t have to know them all to have a successful experience.

There are many reasons why these steps can change as you move through each one. Depending on your personal circumstances, the term or your mortgage, and the type of loan you use, the path you take may need to vary. That’s why guidance and support from the experts is key.

In addition to the process itself, respondents in the survey definitely expressed concerns about understanding the types of loans available. Here are just a few of the basic loans to consider. Be sure to speak with your lender about the specifics of what will work best for you:

  • FHA: Loans guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration for first-time buyers. They generally enable qualified borrowers to enter the housing market with a lower down payment.
  • Conventional: Loans that usually require a larger down payment. Repeat buyers usually use these types of loans since they have an established credit history as well as more money from the sale of their previous home (called equity) for a bigger down payment.
  • VA: Loans available for Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces and their spouses. They are guaranteed by the Department of Veteran Affairs.
  • USDA: Loans for those living in rural and suburban areas. A qualified lender can issue a USDA home loan, and they are guaranteed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Interest rates also popped up as a common area of confusion among Gen Z and Millennial respondents in the survey. With today’s rates hovering at near historic lows, it’s a fantastic time for buyers to get more house for their money in the current market. Why? When mortgage rates are this low and wages are increasing as they are today, overall affordability increases, enabling home buyers to stretch their mortgage dollars further. It’s just another area where a trusted professional can help simplify the process and give guidance along the way.

Bottom Line

There are many possible steps in a real estate transaction, but they don’t have to be confusing. To understand your best course of action, let’s get together today to ensure you have a trusted advisor who will help you feel confident and informed at every turn.

The Overlooked Financial Advantages of Homeownership

The Overlooked Financial Advantages of Homeownership | MyKCM

There are many clear financial benefits to owning a home: increasing equity, building net worth, growing appreciation, and more. If you’re a renter, it’s never too early to make a plan for how homeownership can propel you toward a stronger future. Here’s a dive into three often-overlooked financial benefits of homeownership and how preparing for them now can steer you in the direction of greater stability, savings, and predictability.

1. You Won’t Always Have a Monthly Housing Payment

According to a recent article by the National Association of Realtors (NAR):

“If you’ve been a lifelong renter, this may sound like a foreign concept, but believe it or not, one day you won’t have a monthly housing payment. Unlike renting, you will eventually pay off your mortgage and your monthly payments will be funding other (possibly more fun) things.”

As a homeowner, someday you can eliminate the monthly payment you make on your house. That’s a huge win and a big factor in how homeownership can drive stability and savings in your life. As soon as you buy a home, your monthly housing costs will begin to work for you as forced savings, coming in the form of equity. As you build equity and grow your net worth, you can continue to reinvest those savings into your future, maybe even by buying that next dream home. The possibilities are truly endless.

2. Homeownership Is a Tax Break

One thing people who have never owned a home don’t always think about are the tax advantages of homeownership. The same piece states:

“Both the interest and property tax portion of your mortgage is a tax deduction. As long as the balance of your mortgage is less than the total price of your home, the interest is 100% deductible on your tax return.”

Whether you’re living in your first home or your fifth, it’s a huge financial advantage to have some tax relief tied to the interest you pay each year. It’s one thing you definitely don’t get when you’re renting. Be sure to work with a tax professional to get the best possible benefits on your annual return.

3. Monthly Housing Costs Are Predictable

A third item noted in the article is how monthly costs become more predictable with homeownership:

As a homeowner, your monthly costs are most likely based on a fixed-rate mortgage, which allows you to budget your finances over a long period of time, unlike the unpredictability of renting.”

With a mortgage, you can keep your monthly housing costs steady and predictable. Rental prices have been skyrocketing since 2012, and with today’s low mortgage rates, it’s a great time to get more for your money when purchasing a home. If you want to lock-in your monthly payment at a low rate and have a solid understanding of what you’re going to spend in your mortgage payment each month, buying a home may be your best bet.

Bottom Line

If you’re ready to start feeling the benefits of stability, savings, and predictability that come with owning a home, let’s get together to determine if buying a home sooner rather than later is right for you.

This is Not 2008 All Over Again: The Mortgage Lending Factor

This is Not 2008 All Over Again: The Mortgage Lending Factor | MyKCM

Some are afraid the real estate market may be looking a lot like it did prior to the housing crash in 2008. One of the factors they’re pointing at is the availability of mortgage money. Recent articles about the availability of low-down payment loans and down payment assistance programs are causing concern that we’re returning to the bad habits of a decade ago. Let’s alleviate the fears about the current mortgage market.

The Mortgage Bankers’ Association releases an index several times a year titled: The Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI). According to their website:

“The MCAI provides the only standardized quantitative index that is solely focused on mortgage credit. The MCAI is…a summary measure which indicates the availability of mortgage credit at a point in time.”

Basically, the index determines how easy it is to get a mortgage. The higher the index, the more available the mortgage credit.

Here is a graph of the MCAI dating back to 2004, when the data first became available:This is Not 2008 All Over Again: The Mortgage Lending Factor | MyKCM  As we can see, the index stood at about 400 in 2004. Mortgage credit became more available as the housing market heated up, and then the index passed 850 in 2006. When the real estate market crashed, so did the MCAI (to below 100), as mortgage money became almost impossible to secure.

Thankfully, lending standards have eased since. The index, however, is still below 200, which is half of what it was before things got out of control.

Bottom Line

It is easier to get a mortgage today than it was immediately after the market crash, but it is still difficult. The difference in 2006? At that time, it was difficult not to get a mortgage.

Planning on Buying a Home? Be Sure You Know Your Options.

Planning on Buying a Home? Be Sure You Know Your Options. | MyKCM

When you’re ready to buy, you’ll need to determine if you prefer the charm of an existing home or the look and feel of a newer build. With limited existing home inventory available today, especially in the starter and middle-level markets, many buyers are considering a new home that’s recently been constructed, or they’re building the home of their dreams.

According to Robert Dietz, Chief Economist at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB),

“The second half of 2019 has seen steady gains in single-family construction, and this is mirrored by the gradual uptick in builder sentiment over the past few months.”

This is great news for homebuyers because it means there is additional inventory coming to the market, giving buyers more choices. The most recent data from NAHB shows,

“The inventory of new homes for sale was 321,000 in September, representing a 5.5 months’ supply. The median sales price was $299,400. The median price of a new home sale a year earlier was $328,300.”

Another added bonus is that builders are very aware of buyer demand in this segment, so they’re now building in a price range where there are more interested buyers ($299,400 instead of $328,300). With a reduced sales price and low-interest rates, today’s buyers have strong purchasing power.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking of buying a home, you may want to consider a new build to meet your family’s needs. Let’s get together to discuss the process and review what’s available in our area.

The #1 Reason to List Your House in the Winter

The #1 Reason to List Your House in the Winter | MyKCM

Many sellers believe spring is the best time to put their homes on the market because buyer demand traditionally increases at that time of year. What they don’t realize is if every homeowner believes the same thing, then that’s when they’ll have the most competition.

So, what’s the #1 reason to list your house in the winter? Less competition.

Housing supply traditionally shrinks at this time of year, so the choices buyers have will be limited. The chart below was created using the months supply of listings from the National Association of Realtors.The #1 Reason to List Your House in the Winter | MyKCMAs you can see, the ‘sweet spot’ to list your house for the most exposure naturally occurs in the late fall and winter months (November – January). 

Temperatures aren’t the only thing that heats up in the spring – so do listings!The #1 Reason to List Your House in the Winter | MyKCMIn 2018, listings increased from December to May. Don’t wait for these listings and the competition that comes with them to come to the market before you decide to list your house.

Added Bonus: Serious Buyers Are Out in the Winter

At this time of year, purchasers who are serious about buying a home will be in the marketplace. You and your family will not be bothered and inconvenienced by mere ‘lookers.’ The lookers are at the mall or online doing their holiday shopping.

 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 get together to determine the best time to list your house.

Home Buyers are Optimistic About Homeownership!

Home Buyers are Optimistic About Homeownership! | Simplifying The Market

When we consider buying an item, we naturally go through a research process prior to making our decision. We ask our friends and family members who have made similar purchases about their experience, we get opinions and insights, and we read reviews online. There’s no difference when considering a home purchase!

Most homebuyers start by listening to the news to hear what is being said about the real estate market. They check with family and friends about their experience. They spend time online reading reviews about their desired neighborhood.

The challenge is that comments from the news and those closest to us can contradict the data and reports. One source says one thing, while another source says something completely different.

There is a group of homebuyers that are not allowing comments about an upcoming recession to interfere with their decision to buy a home. According to a survey by realtor.com®,

Nearly 70 percent of home shoppers this spring think the U.S. will enter a recession in the next three years, but that hasn’t stopped them from trying to close on a home…Despite the fact that they foresee an economic downturn, they generally expressed confidence that a future recession will be better than 2008 for the housing market.”

The report provides more insights from the survey:

  • Nearly 30% of the active home shoppers* surveyed expect the next recession to begin sometime in 2020.
  • 56% of shoppers believe home prices have hit their peak.
  • 41% believe housing will fare better than 2008.
  • 45% of home shoppers feel at least slightly more optimistic about homeownership.
  • 33% reported no impact on their feelings about homeownership.

Homebuyers are aware and making decisions with their eyes wide-open. As the report mentioned,

“The fact that some [36%] home shoppers expect the next recession to be harder on the housing market than the last recession suggests that they are buying homes with eyes wide-open and very sober, if not slightly pessimistic, views of the housing market.

This is a stark contrast to the years leading up to the last recession when ‘irrational exuberance’ was more common and yet another reason to expect that the next downturn will be very different for the housing market than the last.”

Bottom Line

If you are considering buying a home, let’s get together to help you understand our local market and determine if buying a home is the right choice for you now.

*Active home shoppers are those consumers who responded that they plan to purchase their next home in 1 year or less.