Should I Update My House Before I Sell It?

Should I Update My House Before I Sell It? [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • If you’re deciding whether you should make updates before you sell your house, lean on your agent to be your guide.
  • If the market is flooded with houses for sale, updates may be necessary for your house to stand out. In our current sellers’ market, the added expenses might not be worth it.
  • Let’s connect so you have expert advice on which updates are important in today’s market.

Gift Guide for the New Homeowner

As Christmas time and the holidays approach, many of us have started shopping for gifts for friends and family and even watching the hot sales for ourselves. Whether you are searching for others or yourself, here are ten of the hottest gift items, in a range of prices, for new homeowners.

10. Salt & Pepper Mills


We have had this exact salt and pepper mill set for over a year and love it! It is beautiful, functional and unique; we receive many compliments on it from guests. It has an adjustable rotor allowing you to decide the coarseness of your salt, pepper or other spice. The set is under $15 making it an affordable, thoughtful gift.

9. 5’ Faux Fiddle Leaf Tree


I just ordered this 5’ faux fiddle leaf tree for my master bathroom and can’t wait for it to arrive; the reviews and price are wonderful. There are so many places I could use this in my home and I’m sure many feel the same way making it a great gifting option. 

8. Touchscreen Air Fryer


Air fryers have become increasingly popular these last few years and the new Beautiful by Drew Barrymore line at Walmart is stunning. It comes in multiple gorgeous colors and is priced affordably. In addition to the air fryers, this line includes toasters, coffee pots, electric kettles, toaster ovens, knife block sets, cookware sets, touchscreen blenders, Dutch ovens and more.

7. Leopard Throw Blanket


My favorite blanket! I have it in two colors. It’s super soft, beautiful, and just the right weight. A great addition to any living room or bedroom; a gift that any new homeowner is sure to love.

6. Capri Blue Jar Candle


Candles are always a great choice. I love candles but don’t necessarily buy them much for myself making them such a treat when others gift them to me! This line from Nordstrom has been popular for years and is widely known for how beautiful their jars are.

5. Decorative Tray


Decorative trays can be used in so many ways throughout the home; both as decor and functionally. This one comes in multiple color options.

4. Dried Floral Bouquet


Flowers have been a popular gifting choice for years, However, most of the time they don’t last very long. Pampas grass arrangements have been trending this year; a new twist on a classic favorite bouquet and they are a permanent decor item that does not die or require any care.

3. Silicone Kitchen Utensils Set


I actually received this silicone kitchen utensil set as a gift myself from my brother last year and it has held up well. It comes in quite a few color options and is a set that I love displaying on my countertops due to its aesthetically appealing design.

2. Stemless Wine Glasses


Wine glasses are always a great gift idea but stemless wine glasses are a bit less common making it a safer choice to give to a friend or family member when not knowing what they currently already own.

1. Personalized Wooden Family Name Sign


When moving into a new home it’s always fun to personalize it and make it fit your family best. I found this custom name sign on Amazon and it’s the perfect gift to warm the heart of a new homeowner!

Which item is your favorite? Do you own any of them? Which will you gift to friends and family? We would love to hear your thoughts!

Salt and Pepper Set

Faux Fiddle Leaf Tree

Air Fryer

Leopard Throw Blanket

Capri Blue Jar Candle

Decorative Tray

Dried Floral Arrangement

Silicone Utensil Set

Stemless Wine Glasses

Personalized Sign




Two Graphs That Show Why You Shouldn’t Be Upset About 3% Mortgage Rates

Two Graphs That Show Why You Shouldn’t Be Upset About 3% Mortgage Rates | MyKCM

With the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate from Freddie Mac climbing above 3%, rising rates are one of the topics dominating the discussion in the housing market today. And since experts project rates will rise further in the coming months, that conversation isn’t going away any time soon.

But as a homebuyer, what do rates above 3% really mean?

Today’s Average Mortgage Rate Still Presents Buyers with a Great Opportunity

Two Graphs That Show Why You Shouldn’t Be Upset About 3% Mortgage Rates | MyKCM

Buyers don’t want mortgage rates to rise, as any upward movement increases your monthly mortgage payment. But it’s important to put today’s average mortgage rate into perspective. The graph below shows today’s rate in comparison to average rates over the last five years:As the graph shows, even though today’s rate is above 3%, it’s still incredibly competitive.

Two Graphs That Show Why You Shouldn’t Be Upset About 3% Mortgage Rates | MyKCM

But today’s rate isn’t just low when compared to the most recent years. To truly put today into perspective, let’s look at the last 50 years (see graph below):When we look back even further, we can see that today’s rate is truly outstanding by comparison.

What Does That Mean for You?

Being upset that you missed out on sub-3% mortgage rates is understandable. But it’s important to realize, buying now still makes sense as experts project rates will continue to rise. And as rates rise, it will cost more to purchase a home.

As Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First Americanexplains:

“Rising mortgage rates, all else equal, will diminish house-buying power, meaning it will cost more per month for a borrower to buy ‘their same home.’”

In other words, the longer you wait, the more it will cost you.

Bottom Line

While it’s true today’s average mortgage rate is higher than just a few months ago, 3% mortgage rates shouldn’t deter you from your homebuying goals. Historically, today’s rate is still low. And since rates are expected to continue rising, buying now could save you money in the long run. Let’s connect so you can lock in a great rate now.

Does Your House Have What Buyers Want?

Does Your House Have What Buyers Want? | MyKCM

The rise in remote work is changing what many Americans want in their homes. Many companies are choosing to delay reopening or go remote full-time, and today’s buyers are looking for homes with more space to support their work needs.

As a seller, if you no longer need the extra room you have in your home, rest assured there are buyers who do.

Remote Work Is Here To Stay

Remote work remains a reality for many Americans. A recent poll from Garter, Inc. shows many organizations have not yet returned their offices:

“. . . 66% of organizations are delaying reopening their offices due to new COVID-19 variants.”

And it’s not just companies that are choosing to remain remote for the time being – workers are seeking more flexibility. According to research from PricewaterhouseCoopers, nearly one-fifth of employees want to be fully remote in the future. The study also finds that many people are leaving jobs to seek out remote work opportunities:

“Among employees looking for new jobs, almost one in ten say it’s because they moved away from the office while working remotely and don’t want to go back on-site.”

More Remote Work Means a Greater Need for Home Offices

Does Your House Have What Buyers Want? | MyKCM

That’s leading today’s buyers to prioritize finding homes with more space so they can comfortably work from home. The 2021 Home Design Trends Survey from the American Institute of Architects finds that 69% of surveyed individuals still want at least one office at home. However, it also shows that more people are looking for multiple spaces in their home for remote work and virtual meetings (see graph below):

What Does This Mean for You?

If your house has extra space that you no longer need, buyers are interested, and now may be the perfect time to sell.

Your trusted real estate advisor can help you highlight many of the most sought-after features in your listing, including home offices. On the other hand, if you have extra room without a purpose, consider staging it as an area where remote work can happen. Your agent can help you with this as well by evaluating and preparing your space for potential buyers. They’ll make recommendations for how to stage the room, where to draw the eye, and what other sellers are doing to make their houses stand out.

Bottom Line

With the continued rise in remote work, more buyers are looking for homes that can support multiple home offices. If you have extra room you’re no longer using, consider selling. Let’s connect today to discuss the unique features in your house and how you can capitalize on any extra space to appeal to today’s buyers.

New Kitchen Countertops on a Budget

We recently purchased a new to us home, and although there are many things we love about the home, the kitchen wasn’t quite our style. In addition to that, the kitchen color scheme didn’t flow well with the rest of the home. The previous owners had painted most of the interior white and light gray, very light and airy colors, while the kitchen remained very dark and mostly brown.  When we put in our offer, my husband and I had right away talked about changing the kitchen and upon moving in had a company over to discuss replacing the countertops. Having built a few custom homes we had an idea on what the price would be for our space and after being given a quote and determining other changes we wanted to make throughout our home, we decided it wasn’t an area we wanted to allocate that much money to at the moment. I came across multiple video reviews on TikTok and Instagram of others in a similar position that were using a countertop marble kit to change their countertops for a small fraction of the cost of replacing. At this point I knew we would be replacing within the next few years anyway so figured we had nothing to lose, and potentially a whole lot to gain, by trying it. Picture

After plenty of research and reading every review I could find, we decided to go for it! This is the kit I used. It was about $170 and I ordered it on Amazon. Due to the amount of space we were covering and that our previous counters were very dark, I ended up ordering another can of the first step “#1” (about $30) to ensure full coverage.

Picture Picture

We watched the manufacturer’s video tutorial and followed the instructions provided to a T. We had zero DIY experience and found this to be simple with a low level of difficulty. The kit even comes with all of the brushes and tools needed to complete the project.


After one coat⬇️


I will admit after one coat it looked quite scary! We ended up needing four coats to fully cover the dark granite. I think the hardest part was hand drawing on the gray marbling. I first sketched my desired design out on paper to get an idea of how it would flow from one counter spot to the next. The directions provided in the Giani video were very helpful for this as well. If you mess up you can quickly wipe away the marbling lines and start over which made the process much less stressful (though you have to be sure to wipe up your mistakes FAST)!

Picture Picture

We waited the full suggested time before setting anything on top of the counters afterwards to allow it to fully cure, and have had zero issues with it so far. We do plan to do a full replacement and switch them out for quartz down the road but for now we are so happy with the change, and it only cost us about $200! Stay tuned because our next project will be painting the cabinets!



What Does the Future Hold for Home Prices?

What Does the Future Hold for Home Prices? | MyKCM

If you’re looking to buy or sell a house, chances are you’ve heard talk about today’s rising home prices. And while this increase in home values is great news for sellers, you may be wondering what the future holds. Will prices continue to rise with time, or should you expect them to fall?

To answer that question, let’s first understand a few terms you may be hearing right now.

It’s important to note home prices have increased, or appreciated, for 114 straight months. To find out if that trend may continue, look to the experts. Pulsenomics surveyed over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts asking for their five-year projections. In terms of what lies ahead, experts say the market may see some slight deceleration, but not depreciation.

What Does the Future Hold for Home Prices? | MyKCM

Here’s the forecast for the next few years:As the graph above shows, prices are expected to continue to rise, just not at the same pace we’ve seen over the last year. Over 100 experts agree, there is no expectation for price depreciation. As the arrows indicate, each number is an increase, which means prices will rise each year.

Bill McBride, author of the blog Calculated Risk, also expects deceleration, but not depreciation:

“My sense is the Case-Shiller National annual growth rate of 19.7% is probably close to a peak, and that year-over-year price increases will slow later this year.”

Ivy Zelman of Zelman & Associates agrees, saying:

“. . . home price appreciation is on the cusp of flipping to a decelerating trend.”

recent article from indicates you should expect:

“. . . annual price increases will slow to a more normal level, . . .”

What Does This Deceleration Mean for You?

What experts are projecting for the years ahead is more in line with the historical norm for appreciation. According to data from Black Knight, the average annual appreciation from 1995-2020 is 4.1%. As you can see from the chart above, the expert forecasts are closer to that pace, which means you should see appreciation at a level that’s aligned with a more normal year.

If you’re a buyer, don’t expect a sudden or drastic drop in home prices – experts say it won’t happen. Instead, think about your homeownership goals and consider purchasing a home before prices rise further.

If you’re a seller, the continued home price appreciation is good news for the value of your house. Work with an agent to list your house for the right price based on market conditions.

Bottom Line

Experts expect price deceleration, not price depreciation over the coming years. Let’s connect to talk through what’s happening in the housing market today, where things are headed, and what it means for you.

How to Update Your Master Closet on a Budget

We recently bought a new home and after personally designing our previous two closets and seeing how life changing efficient shelving can be, I decided my first home project here would be to reconfigure the closet. We didn’t take out or add any walls, new flooring or anything crazy, just simply painted the walls and installed new shelving. When I say it’s made a world of a difference for us, it really has!


If you have ever looked into a closet system you know how incredibly expensive they can get. Having a closet company come to your home and professionally design the space for you can be in the thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. We were not looking to spend much but wanted to better utilize our space and make it aesthetically more appealing too. Our closet has a wall in the middle spanning across about 80% of the width, separating the “his” and the “hers” side; you’ll see the “hers” side in these transformation photos.


When we first moved in the closet had wire shelving in place and the closet paint color was inconsistent as shown above. I decided to paint all of the walls white to have a consistent slate to start with before installing new shelving.

I also took a moment to change out the closet light switch plate. The rest of the covers throughout our home had already been changed to white but this one must have been forgotten and I wanted a consistent look throughout the house. Plus a white light switch cover looked much better with the white painted walls!

I purchased two of these shoe organizers as well as this closet tower kit. I like how the tower kit includes adjustable shelving; I use these shelves to keep my jewelry, purses and sunglasses organized. 

We have been very happy with the transformation and the install was simple. A drill and tape measure (plus a step stool!) was all I needed. All of the hardware needed to secure the tower to the wall is included in the kit. I think the closet looks much nicer after the changes and it definitely keep clothing, shoes and accessories much more organized. The cost for the shelving and shoe organizers came to about $200 and the paint was another $20. I would love to eventually add a large white shelf above the top of the rods, spanning the entire width of the closet, for additional storage space.


What do you think? Could your closet use an update? Have you tried something similar that has worked well for you? I’d love to hear about it!

Follow us on Instagram @blankersrealestate and Facebook Jerry Blankers-Muljat Group North

Post compiled by Haley Parker // @haleyparkerstyle

Experts Agree: Homeownership Provides a Path to Long-Term Wealth

Experts Agree: Homeownership Provides a Path to Long-Term Wealth | MyKCM

A recent survey from found there are multiple reasons why Americans would choose to purchase a home instead of renting. Some of the most popular non-financial reasons given include:

  • The flexibility to make the space your own
  • The pride homeownership offers
  • The sense of stability

In the same survey, 41% of respondents say they’d rather own a home than rent because of the unique way homeownership builds wealth over time.

And experts agree – the home you own is an important tool for building your net worth. Here’s what many of those experts have to say about building long-term financial stability through homeownership.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR):

“Homeowners who purchased a typical single-family existing-home 30 years ago at the median sales price of $103,333 with a 10% down payment loan and who sold the property at the median sales price of $357,700 in 2021 Q2 accumulated housing wealth of $349,258, . . .

Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, points out that a home is truly a one-of-a-kind asset. It’s the only asset that’s both an investment and a place for you to call your own.

“The major financial advantage of homeownership is the accumulation of equity in the form of house price appreciation. . . . We won’t always have 17% house price appreciation, but we have to take into account the fact that the shelter that you’re owning is an equity-generating or wealth-generating asset.

Homeowners can leverage the wealth they generate in several ways throughout their life. Tapping into accumulated equity has long been used to pay for the cost of an education, to start a business, or to fund various other expenses. The Joint Center of Housing Studies at Harvard points out:

“. . . by paying down mortgage principal each month and participating in the long-term appreciation of home values, a family can build wealth that can be used for retirement or other needs, including helping the next generation.

Bottom Line

With home prices expected to continue to appreciate in coming years, homebuyers have an opportunity to start the long-term wealth-building process right now. Let’s connect today if you’re ready to begin your journey on the path to becoming a homeowner.

What Do Supply and Demand Tell Us About Today’s Housing Market?

What Do Supply and Demand Tell Us About Today’s Housing Market? | MyKCM

There’s a well-known economic theory – the law of supply and demand – that explains what’s happening with prices in the current real estate market. Put simply, when demand for an item is high, prices rise. When the supply of the item increases, prices fall. Of course, when demand is very high and supply is very low, prices can rise significantly.

Understanding the impact both supply and demand have can provide the answers to a few popular questions about today’s housing market:

  • Why are prices rising?
  • Where are prices headed?
  • What does this mean for homebuyers?

Why Are Prices Rising?

According to the latest Home Price Insights report from CoreLogic, home prices have risen 18.1% since this time last year. But what’s driving the increase?

What Do Supply and Demand Tell Us About Today’s Housing Market? | MyKCM

Recent buyer and seller activity data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) helps answer that question. When we take NAR’s buyer activity data and compare it to the seller traffic during the same timeframe, we can see buyer demand continues to outpace seller activity by a wide margin. In other words, the demand for homes is significantly greater than the current supply that’s available to buy (see maps below):This combination of low supply and high demand is what’s driving home prices up. Bill McBride, author of the Calculated Risk blog, puts it best, saying:

“By some measures, house prices seem high, but the recent price increases make sense from a supply and demand perspective.

Where Are Prices Headed?

The supply of homes for sale will greatly affect where prices head over the coming months. Many experts forecast prices will continue to increase, but they’ll likely appreciate at a slower rate.

Buyers hoping to purchase the home of their dreams may see this as welcome news. In this case, perspective is important: a slight moderation of home prices does not mean prices will depreciate or fall. Price increases may occur at a slower pace, but experts still expect them to rise.

What Do Supply and Demand Tell Us About Today’s Housing Market? | MyKCM

Five major entities that closely follow the real estate market forecast home prices will continue appreciating through 2022 (see graph below):

What Does This Mean for Homebuyers?

If you’re waiting to enter the market because you’re expecting prices to drop, you may end up paying more in the long run. Even if price increases occur at a slower rate next year, prices are still projected to rise. That means the home of your dreams will likely cost even more in 2022.

Bottom Line

The truth is, high demand and low supply are what’s driving up home prices in today’s housing market. And while prices may increase at a slower pace in the coming months, experts still expect them to rise. If you’re a potential homebuyer, let’s connect today to discuss what that could mean for you if you wait even longer to buy.

Tips to Transition Your Home from Summer to Fall

Whether you’re team summer sunshine or team pumpkin spice, one thing is for certain: fall has arrived. The cooler air, earlier sunsets and the busyness of back to school oftentimes have us spending more time indoors at home making it even more important to be comfortable and prepared in your space. There are so many things to think of I thought it would be handy to compile a list of items to check at your home to ensure you are ready for the changing of the seasons! Check Home for Outdoor Maintenance and Repairs Before winter weather arrives, it’s time to check on any areas that may need maintenance or repairs done. Remove dead limbs off of trees and leaves from gutters, fix broken fences and damaged walkways. If you have a trampoline, consider tying it down if heavy winds could be an issue this season.  Prepare for Weather Hazards Check that you have everything you need for the colder weather such as a snow shovel and driveway salt. Make sure you know where your flashlights are (check/change the batteries) and if you have a generator be sure to test it, have gas/propane on hand for it, etc. Picture Replace Your Air Filter(s) It is recommended to change the air filter in your home every 60-90 days and I know how easy it is to forget and let it go longer, especially during the craziness of summer fun. A good rule of thumb is to at least change it seasonally. This is even more important to do frequently if you have pets and/or suffer from allergies. Set reminders in your phone or get yourself on a schedule to change seasonally at the least.  Consider switching out your bedding. Typically fall is the beginning of the cooler season. You may want to consider switching to a thicker sheet, possibly flannel, adding an additional blanket to your bed, or swapping for a thicker comforter set during the cooler months. I personally tend to use the same sheets and comforter but add/switch the blankets I layer over the comforter to a thicker, warmer one in fall colors. In addition to adding in the rich fall colors like burgundy, mustard and orange, adding texture like a chunky knit blanket or faux fur are popular for fall and winter months. Picture Swap throw pillows. This goes for bedroom pillows, living room, outdoor and more! Regardless of the weather where you are located, it’s time to tuck away the items that scream summer and embrace the beauty of fall! Picture Add fall decor to your tables. This can be anything from faux (or real!) pumpkins to displays of candy corn. A little can go a long way. I love placing neutral colored seasonal decor throughout my home tying into each season. Traditionally autumn colors in general are warm and deep; as are Thanksgiving colors but lately neutrals have been increasingly popular as well. If you enjoy decorating for Halloween the most common colors for that are of course orange and black as well as white, purple and bright green. Picture Picture Decorate your front door for fall. Now is the time to take down your summer wreath and replace it with something for fall. Wreaths full of leaves in various fall colors or faux pumpkin wreaths are a lovely choice as are eucalyptus wreaths if you prefer something green. Trending fall front porch decorations include corn stalks, pumpkins and gourds, a fall inspired sign and even fall themed door mats have been a common decor option the last few years. Picture Switch out scented candles. I personally love a good fall scented candle. Spiced pumpkin, warm apple pie, apple cinnamon, farm fresh peach, salted caramel…all fabulous scent choices! Picture Go Through Clothes Depending on where you live, it may be time to pack away the shorts and sundresses (or at least move them away from the front of your closet) and replace them with warmer, thicker clothes. Taking the time to reorganize the closets in your home can go a long way. I’ve noticed in my household at least that it makes our mornings in particular much more relaxed and easier when we can quickly find the pieces we wear frequently this season.

While going through closets, it’s a great time to make sure everyone has what they need for the season. This is especially important if you have kids; we all know they grow so fast and there is a good chance that last year’s fall pieces may not fit this year! Try on rain boots, warm boots, snow boots, rain jackets and coats and make sure you know where items like beanies, gloves and scarves are located. What do you do to prepare for a new season and the changing weather that goes with it? Let us know in the comments if there’s anything we should add!

Follow us on Instagram @blankersrealestate and Facebook Jerry Blankers-Muljat Group North

Post compiled by Haley Parker //