Do you know why buying a home is cheaper than renting?

by Team Member 4. March 2014 12:45

Anywhere in the U.S., buying is cheaper

Buying costs less than renting in all 100 large U.S. metros, according to the Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia (TRLA).

Rising mortgage rates and home prices have narrowed the gap between renting and buying, though rates have recently dropped and price gains are slowing.

Low mortgage rates have kept homeownership from becoming more expensive than renting. In some markets, like San Francisco and Seattle, rents have risen sharply; rising rents hurt affordability relative to incomes, but rising rents make buying look cheaper in comparison.

Trulia says that at a 30-year fixed rate of 4.5%, buying is 38% cheaper than renting nationally, versus being 44% cheaper at the start of 2013.



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Do you know why buying a home is cheaper than renting?

by Team Member 4. March 2014 12:45

Anywhere in the U.S., buying is cheaper

Buying costs less than renting in all 100 large U.S. metros, according to the Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia (TRLA).

Rising mortgage rates and home prices have narrowed the gap between renting and buying, though rates have recently dropped and price gains are slowing.

Low mortgage rates have kept homeownership from becoming more expensive than renting. In some markets, like San Francisco and Seattle, rents have risen sharply; rising rents hurt affordability relative to incomes, but rising rents make buying look cheaper in comparison.

Trulia says that at a 30-year fixed rate of 4.5%, buying is 38% cheaper than renting nationally, versus being 44% cheaper at the start of 2013.



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Area Housing Market Saw a Healthy January

by masspa 25. February 2014 13:26

Read more here:


General | Research

HUD Training Every Monday Morning

by Team Member 19. February 2014 11:29

We do HUD training every Monday morning at our office @ 10am, Address: 7820 Conser Place, Overland Park Ks 66204.

This is by reservation only, so please contact us at if you'd like to attend.



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February Checklist for a Smooth-Running Home

by Team Member 13. February 2014 11:23
February means the thick of snow and cold across most of the country — but that doesn’t mean we can’t dream of spring. Spruce up your home this month by giving your bedroom a feng shui makeover in honor of Valentine’s Day, plus take stock of cleaning supplies, keep road salt out of the house and refresh walls with paint (and maybe some new art, too). These 10 to-dos can help you keep your home in top shape, even if the weather outside is still frightful.

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Home Maintenance

Peyton Manning is the Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread

by Team Member 10. February 2014 11:19

It is amazing to me that the talking heads have thought Peyton Manning is the greatest thing since sliced bread. . . or at least the greatest quarterback of all time, and now after the Super Bowl they want to rant and rave about how he lost the Super Bowl. It is as though the roster of the Denver Broncos is composed of only one person. Hard to believe that he needs to take the responsibility for the mistakes on the special teams and the defense. Oh well, there will be another season and we can hear about Peyton not being able to win the "Big One" as he is handling the regular season. I am hoping that Denver does get some defense for next year.

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Energy Efficiency at Home Part 2: Utility and Appliance Tips

by Team Member 7. February 2014 13:11


In this second installation of our three-part series on energy efficiency tips, we take a look at ways to use and choose your appliances to reduce water and electricity use. As mentioned in our previous article on heating and cooling tips, you will save the most money on utility bills if you take the “whole house approach.” While each tip will save you money individually, the more you implement the more you will save. A house is a system, with each part connected and often dependent on the others. The most efficient water heater, for instance, can’t save as much energy if you waste the hot water that comes from it. Combine that same water heater with other water-saving features and measures, and you will notice the difference in your utility bills.


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Home Maintenance

Energy Efficiency at Home: Heating & Cooling Tips to Save Money

by Team Member 5. February 2014 13:07


Considering that the typical American household spends more than $1,500 on electricity alone (with other utilities such as gas and water bringing the total yearly utility cost to over $2,000 a year) any increase in your home’s energy efficiency will save you money. Not only that, but it also makes the world a better place in which to live. Less fuel consumption leads to less pollution, greater protection of resources, and even more comfortable living.

Best of all, many energy saving measures take but a few minutes and cost little or nothing to perform. 

The Whole House Approach

When it comes to saving energy, every little change you make in your house has an impact. However, you’ll see the greatest difference if you take the “whole house approach.” Think of your home as a small ecosystem. No matter how efficient your heating or cooling system, or how low you set your thermostat in the winter, or how good your insulation, if your ducts leak or you have drafty windows and other air leaks, you’re fighting a losing battle to heat or cool your home efficiently.

That’s just one example. The point is, while every little bit of improvement in your energy efficiency helps, approaching your house as an ecosystem where each part is dependent on the others will bring you best results. According to the Department of Energy, it’s possible to reduce your utility bills by 25 percent with diligent changes to your practices along with other changes.

This article is the first in a three-part series aimed at guiding you through energy-saving, bill-lowering tips that, for the most part, you can DIY. You may be able to implement some of these tips immediately while others can be worked on as your budget or time permits.

Efficient Heating and Cooling

  • Change or clean HVAC filters regularly. Fresh filters ensure your HVAC system breathes properly, boosting energy efficiency, and ensure better indoor air quality.
  • Block or allow direct sunlight on your windows according to the season. In the winter the sun helps warm your home, but in the summer it makes your home hotter, causing your air conditioner to work harder. Consider trees for shading during the summer or even window film that blocks the solar rays on the hottest sides of your home.
  • Use fans in the summer to keep your house comfortable. Moving air feels cooler, allowing you to set your thermostat higher.
  • Consider your window curtains, shades or blinds carefully. Insulated drapes help block heat and cold, for instance, while sheers allow air to flow right through. Dark colors absorb heat while light colors don’t. Choose your window coverings with your needs in mind.
  • Run humidifiers or dehumidifiers. Raising the humidity in the air during winter makes it seem warmer, and likewise, dehumidifiers help a space feel cooler in the summer. Plus, removing humidity relieves strain on your air conditioner. Note: Check your humidity level before running a humidifier to ensure you aren’t simply creating a steam bath environment that encourages mold, mildew and rot. Also avoid making the environment too dry.
  • Open your windows and use the night air to cool your home in the fall or spring. A box fan set in the window will draw in air and help limit your use of the air conditioner.
  • Watch your thermostat temperature settings. In the summer, aim for between 74 and 80 degrees for greater energy savings. Under 70 degrees is ideal in winter. Keep the thermostat far from drafts, heat sources or other conditions that alter the proper temperature reading.
  • Install a programmable thermostat. The ability to set your air conditioner to a warmer temperature or your heater to a cooler setting when you plan to be away from the home for long periods saves energy and money. Keep in mind that extreme temperature fluctuations may be self-defeating; In other words, it can take more energy to heat the home back to a livable temperature if it gets too cold while you are away. Setting your thermostat just a few degrees lower during your workday will reflect in your energy bill.
  • Seal your ductwork. If the ducts leak, you’re spilling air to the outside of your home. Take the time and a few dollars to seal your ducts.
  •  Use your appliances with weather conditions in mind for better energy savings. Running the washer, dryer, dishwasher and oven during cooler times of day will help keep your house from overheating. In the winter, on the other hand, the stove can help to heat your home.
  •  Get HVAC “tune-ups.” Just as your car motor needs regular maintenance, having a qualified HVAC professional service your system annually before each heating and cooling season will ensure optimal performance and help prevent costly repair or replacement bills.
  • Close the fireplace damper when not in use. Consider replacing it with a more efficient heat source and blocking it off if desired.
  • If your air conditioner or furnace has seen better days, replace it with an ENERGY STAR® model. The higher the SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) rating for an air conditioner, the more energy efficient it is. With furnaces, an AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) rating of at least 90 percent is best. Not only will these tips help save on your bill each month, but in some situations, you may even be able to claim a tax credit for your new appliance. Do your homework before buying any new system. Consumers have many newer, efficient options to choose from, such as heat pumps and biofuel stoves.
  • Ensure your HVAC system is properly sized. Undersized units run more in an effort to keep up, leading to higher bills, increased energy use, and strain that leads to more repair and quicker replacement. On the other hand, oversized units short cycle. Especially with air conditioners, short cycling can mean humidity isn’t removed, the house stays uncomfortable, and more energy is used. Again, it will also require more repairs and quicker replacement. Have a professional size your system using the Manual J, or at least calculate the proper size using a calculator that takes various factors into consideration.
  • Close doors and avoid heating or cooling unused rooms. If you use central heating and air, never close off more than a couple of vents, however, to prevent a buildup of pressure that could damage the ducts or appliance. Ensure return air vents can draw air freely to prevent smothering the appliance and lowering the HVAC efficiency.
  • Use space heaters to spot-heat areas when the outdoor temperatures don’t merit turning on the furnace. An efficient space heater can also boost the warmth in a given area, such as a child’s room, while keeping the temperature lower in the rest of the home. Choose space heaters carefully, looking for efficiency and a safe operating design.
  • Keep air conditioners – both central and window units – in the shade. Trim down grass and remove debris that may smother it. Both tips will help the air conditioners operate more efficiently.
  • Buy a snake, monkey, or similar animal. Not a real one – a draft-stopping one to set in front of your entry door. It will prevent warm or cool air from leaking to the outside.


Find more methods to save on your heating and cooling costs from your local utility company or government agencies at the local, state or federal level. Feel free to share your energy saving tips below!


What's on the Horizon for 2014

by Team Member 3. February 2014 12:45

By Pauline Millard

The past few years in real estate have been unpredictable. Between high foreclosures one year to low inventory in some major markets the next, it’s hard to tell where the market is going to go.

We turned to experts in the field and found a few constants that everyone can agree upon for 2014. A few might be a surprise. If you’re looking to buy a second home or buy a first one without it turning into a bidding war, 2014 may be your year.

1. Dodd-Frank lending changes

Gird your loins if you’re looking to get a mortgage in 2014. The lending changes in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which took effect on January 10th, are an effort to prevent future housing meltdowns, and they have some tight requirements for borrowers seeking what are now called “qualified mortgages.” QMs are designed to cut the odds that borrowers will default, which in the long run is better for both consumers and banks.

One of the biggest changes is that lenders will be taking a closer looking at living expenses as well as your debt-to-income ratio, to make sure a borrower can make payments, especially if the buyer is applying for an adjustable rate mortgage. According to the new rules, borrowers cannot have a debt to income ratio over 43%. Everything from car payments to student loans will factor into this number, which means you may end up qualifying for a smaller loan than you expected.

There will also be fewer interest-only loans available, and it will be more difficult to find a loan that will last longer than 30 years. Paperwork will be key, as lenders will be asking for more of it.

2. Interest rates are most likely going up

No matter who you talk to, most experts agree that mortgage rates are going to go up, as they already have not just in the past year but in the past three months.

New Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen is expected to continue buying blocks of mortgage-backed securities, as her predecessor Ben Bernanke did, in an effort to keep mortgage rates low. The Fed, however, has considered tapering its bond-buying activity as the economy improves, which could lead to a slight increase in interest rates. Lock in your rate early, since rates are expected to surpass 5% this year.

3. Expect turnarounds in a lot of cities

When it puts together its Turnaround Towns Report, crunches a lot of numbers, including nationwide median list prices in a variety of cities as well as the number of days properties for sale stay on the market. Based on this data, they’re frequently seeing signs of strength in areas that were previously hit hard by foreclosures or very high inventory.

Detroit tops the list of cities that are seeing a resurgence, as does the Santa Barbara, California, and Reno, Nevada, areas. The list also frequently highlights alternatives—thanks largely to booming tech cities—if you’re priced out of a large metro area such as San Francisco or Boston.

In that instance, Leslie Piper, who is a consumer housing specialist with and an active realtor in the San Francisco Bay Area, suggests looking across the bay to Oakland, where real estate deals are a bit more accessible and will garner strong appreciation in the years to come. Other cities such as Austin, Denver and Nashville also have growing tech scenes and will be great buys in the long term.

4. Save your pennies, since home affordability will decline

Home affordability isn’t just an issue in major markets like New York City and San Francisco, which are seeing median sales prices in the mid-to-upper six figures. The National Association of Realtors’ Home Affordability Index, which compares home prices with income, found that home affordability dropped to a five-year low in 2013 as increases in home prices outpaced income growth.

Jed Kolko, Trulia’s chief economist and vice president of analytics, recently told CBS MoneyWatch that he thinks the declining rate of homeownership is also due to a large drop-off in first-time buyers.

Unemployment—and underemployment—among 25- to 34-year-olds is high. Kolko says that if this group is considered the future of home buying and they can’t save enough for a down payment, it will be a while before the housing sector fully recovers.

5. Don’t count on finding a foreclosure

Fewer homeowners are losing their homes as the economy improves—and as lending rules tighten—so there aren’t as many foreclosure deals and short sales to be found.

“We’re in the homestretch of getting through the foreclosure crisis,” Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, which monitors the foreclosure market, told Kiplinger’s earlier this month. “But we won’t cross the finish line, with filings back to pre-crisis levels, until early 2015.”


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Working On Your Home This Year?

by Team Member 21. January 2014 09:38

Home Trends to Get Bolder in 2014


What will be “hot” in home interiors in the New Year? Plenty of designers are offering up their predictions, and here’s one outlook from Neil Kelly Co., a remodeling firm based in Portland, Ore.

Neil Kelly Co. offers up some of the following interior design trends for 2014:

Embellished showers: Showers are becoming more popular than tubs, and one feature growing in popularity is the curb-less shower.

U-sockets: These wall plugs have two built-in USB ports to power up devices, such as iPhones, digital cameras, tablets, and more. U-sockets also have a smart sensor that allows it to automatically shut off when the device is fully charged.

Stand-alone bath tubs: For those home owners who still desire a bathtub, the free-standing tub is growing in demand. It takes up less space and also serves as a structural element to dress up a room.

Seeing blue: Bright colors are “in,” particularly cobalt blue. Expect to see it more in the new year, even in the kitchen.

More modest decor: The industrial modern decor look was big in 2013, but Neil Kelly Co. designers expect that style to be more “relaxed, classic, and modest” in 2014. Stone, metal, and wood will continue to be popular, but the designers expect that rounded designs with earth shades and raw metal finishes to become more prevalent in interiors in 2014.

More multigenerational features: More multigenerational features will be incorporated homes to help better accommodate more people living under one roof, such as aging parents and boomerang kids. For example, features like wall mounted sinks for wheelchairs, walk-in bathtubs, and motion sensing faucets are expected to grow in demand.

Eco-friendly cabinets: Earth-friendly cabinets that are chemical-free and do not have added formaldehyde and non-toxic glues, binders, and finishes will likely increase in popularity.


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Positive News From NAR Research

by Team Member 20. January 2014 09:33

With 2013 now over, it is time to take stock of the impact from the strong 2013 housing market. Home price growth was robust in 2013 compared to 2012 and is currently forecast by NAR Research to finish the year 11.3% stronger. This improvement is important for the market as it has created equity for homeowners, boosted buyer confidence, and pulled many underwater homeowners into positive equity positions. 

A borrower who purchased a median priced home[1] in 2004 and held it for nine years, the current median tenure of a homeowner according to NAR’s annual Profile of HomeBuyers and Sellers, would have $28,114 in equity from the combined benefit of price appreciation and paying down the mortgage principle. A borrower who bought a median price home in 2012 would have more than $23,000 in equity.


It is important to note that borrowers who purchased in 2006 and 2007 at the peak of the market and thus those who experienced the sharpest price declines are now nearly in positive equity. A person who purchased in 2006 and owned through 2012 (not pictured) would have been underwater by roughly $28,200, but by 2013 this gap was down to $4,700. Continued price growth in 2014 will help to further ameliorate this gap. Homeowners who purchased since 2007 are in positive equity.

Even through the visitudes of the great recession, for most homeowners housing remains an effective vehicle for building equity and wealth. Read more - #narresearch

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Welcome to Our Blog

by masspa 3. September 2009 18:06
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