Greater Louisville Real Estate Blog

Upcoming Spring Season Set To Be Most Competitive Housing Market Since Recession, Says Expert

According to the National Association of Realtors® Existing Home Sales Report, existing home sales declined for two straight months in December and January. So, whereas winter might have been on the slower side for home sales, that's about to change come spring.

Spring is always a hot time for real estate, but according to experts, this spring is going to be one for the record books. "It's probably the most competitive spring housing season we've seen since right before the housing crisis," said Tendayi Kapfidze, chief economist at LendingTree, in a recent Realtor.com article.

The Takeaway

If you've been thinking about selling your home, now is the time to do it. A market like the one experts are predicting for this spring will create competition for property, thus driving up prices for your home.

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Less Than 5% of Homes In The US Have Negative Equity, Making It An Ideal Time To Sell For Most Homeowners

After the housing crisis of 2008, many homeowners found themselves "upside down" on their properties, with their mortgage balances significantly higher than the value of their home. According to Zillow, negative equity in the US peaked 31.4% in Q1 of 2012, meaning nearly one-third of all mortgage holders in the US owed more on their homes than it was valued.

But luckily, the housing market has rebounded from the housing crisis, and homeowners have almost completely regained equity in their homes. According to CoreLogic's most recent Home Equity Insights report, in Q4 of 2017 only 4.9% of all mortgaged properties had negative equity, with the number of homes with negative equity dropping 21% year-over-year (from 3.2 million homes to 2.5 million homes).

The Takeaway

If you've been thinking about selling but were waiting for your home to recover its value, now is the time to make a move. The dramatic decrease in negative equity, combined with the current inventory shortage, make it an ideal time to sell and to get the most value for your home.

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The Lifespan of 20 Essential Household Items

Has your air conditioner ever failed on a hot summer day? It's a struggle no homeowner wants to deal with. When you own a home it's important to budget annually for repairs that might be needed and anticipate when things might need to be replaced.

If you take care of your home, your appliances and fixtures should last longer. This means keeping them clean, performing regular maintenance and preventing unnecessary wear. Even the most well-kept homes will need repairs at some point and it helps to know how long you should expect your items to last. We've put together a list of how long certain household fixtures and appliances should hold up.

Check out each of the rooms below, or click here to see the full infographic.

Exterior:

Fixtures outside your home can suffer the most wear and tear of anything you own because they are constantly exposed to the elements. However, they are usually some of the most sturdy and are typically built to last. These are the items you will likely have to pay more for but luckily not as often.

  • Window Unit Air Conditioner: 10 Years

The typical window unit air conditioner can last anywhere from 8–12 years depending on how much it's used and how well it's taken care of. Be sure to turn the unit off when it's not needed and clean the air filter often.

  • Garage Door: 12 Years

You can expect 10–15 years of reliable service from a garage door depending on how often it's used. To prolong its...

Total Housing Inventory Rises 4.1% From December

It's been a tough market out there for buyers. According to the recent Housing Shortage Report from Realtor.com, the United States is in the midst of its worst housing inventory shortage in over two decades.

But it looks like that might be changing.

According to the National Association of Realtors most recent Existing Home Sales Report, total housing inventory rose 4.1% from December to January, with 1.52 million homes for sale across the country. This is still lower inventory than January of last year, but it's a positive sign that the end of the housing shortage may be in sight.

Most experts predict mid-to-late 2018 should see major changes in the number of homes on the market. According to a recent article from Realtor.com's economics team, the second half of the year will see a major increase in inventory flooding the market thanks to new construction—which is great news for buyers.

The Takeaway

The low inventory markets across the country have been experiencing has been a real challenge for buyers. But thankfully, it looks like the coming year is going to be a much friendlier environment for buyers looking to purchase a home.

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5 Tips To Get Your Home Ready For Warmer Weather

Spring is in full swing, and you know what that means: the days are getting longer, the temperatures are rising, and in just a few short weeks we'll be heading into the warmer months of summer. Summer is one of the best times of year; children are out of school, it's the perfect time to explore the great outdoors, and of course, everyone's favorite: good ol' summer vacation. After the freezing temperatures of winter and the unpredictability of spring, you and your family are probably more than ready for the warm, summer weather. But the question is: is your home? Here are 5 tips to get your home ready for warmer weather:

1. Get your A/C checked

Get AC Checked

The summer heat is great for beach days and splashing in the pool. But when you're done enjoying the sunshine, you'll want to open the door to a nice, cool interior. But if your air conditioner isn't working properly, you can quickly find yourself with no escape from the rising temperatures. The best time to get your air conditioning in working order is before summer hits. Start by changing out the filters. Dirty filters make it harder for your A/C unit to do its job, lower the efficiency of your air conditioning system and waste energy. After you replace the filters, let your air conditioning system run for an hour or so to see how its cooling; a test run will give you insight into any potential problems you need to have serviced. You should have an HVAC professional service your air conditioning system once a year. Even if you don't notice any obvious problems, servicing your A/C annually will keep it running better for longer. Spring is the best time of year to get your A/C service; once summer hits, most HVAC companies are booked solid through the summer months, and the last thing you...

9 Ways Home Flipping Shows Mislead Viewers

We all know the premise of home-flipping shows: An investor buys a veritable dump and then, with the help of a team of ready-and-willing contractors and landscapers, transforms it into the best-looking home on the block. Next, that intrepid buyer turns around and sells it for a hefty profit. Sounds like a straightforward formula for financial success, right? Well, not quite. What makes for entertaining television doesn't always translate into a win beyond the high definition flat screen. The following are nine ways home-flipping shows mislead viewers. So, if you're considering turning this into your next career or even a side gig, you may want to separate fact from fiction first.

1. Tight turnarounds aren't always realistic

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In order to realize as large a profit as possible, it's important to flip the property as quickly as you can, otherwise paying the mortgage, taxes, and insurance quickly chips away at your bottom line. While sales tend to happen quickly on TV, the reality is that even if you have a willing buyer, getting pre-approved and securing the financing doesn't happen overnight. For anxious sellers, that ticking clock is a constant reminder that every passing day means a little less money in their pockets.

2. Finding a dedicated team isn't easy

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As far too many homeowners know, not all contractors are...

Millennials Made Up Largest Share Of Homebuyers In 2017

Thanks to the timing of the 2008 financial crisis, millennials have a reputation as a generation that's laden with financial struggle. And while it definitely took some time for this younger generation (millennials are considered anyone 36 years or younger) to recover, if you're judging by the real estate data, it's safe to say that in 2018, millennials are doing just fine. According to the National Association of Realtors® Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report, in 2017, millennials made up the largest share of homebuyers on the market at 34%, putting them well ahead of Gen Xers (28%) and Baby Boomers (Younger Boomers, aged 52 to 61, came in at 16%, while Older Boomers, aged 62 to 70, made up 14%). Out of that 34% of millennial buyers, 66% were buying a home for the first time, meaning more millennials are making the transition from the outrageously expensive rental market to a more long-term investment of owning a home. What's the reason for so many millennial buyers flooding the market? For one, renting has become so expensive, buying a home is often times the more affordable choice (according to a recent report from Zillow, renting is more expensive than owning in the majority of the US' major metro areas). And with a variety of non-traditional lending options on the market that require little or no down payment, buying a home is becoming more and more accessible for younger buyers.

The Takeaway

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12 House Fails That Could Ruin A Sale

House Fails

When you're looking for a home, you probably have a couple of lists in your head: the must-haves, the nice-to-haves, and the absolute deal-breakers. Unfortunately, most of the places on this list fall into that third category, unless, of course, you're handy or have a big budget for repairs. Check out these strange but hilarious home fails that would definitely have you looking elsewhere.

1. A tree grows in... the driveway

Mortgage Rates Predicted To Rise In 2018. If You Want To Buy, Now Is The Time

Buying a home is about to get a lot more expensive.

According to a recent report from Freddie Mac, mortgage interest rates are predicted to rise in 2018. The rate for a 30-yr fixed-rate mortgage was 3.9% in Q4 of 2017, and it is forecasted to jump an entire percentage point to 4.9% by the end of 2018.

A percentage point might not seem like much, but it makes a huge difference in how much you'll pay for your home over the length of your mortgage.

If you took out a $350,000 30-yr fixed rate mortgage, your monthly payment at 3.9% would be $1650.84. At 4.9%, it would be $1857.54 - and you'd pay a whopping $74.413.73 more in interest over the course of the loan. If you're thinking about buying, now is the time to do it. If you push off buying a home until later in the year, you're likely going to face significantly higher mortgage rates - and end up paying tens of thousands (or even hundreds of thousands) of dollars more for your home than you would if you made the purchase today.

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8 Ways to Make Your Real Estate Agent Love You

With Valentine's Day fast-approaching, there's no denying love is in the air. Let's think for a moment about the person who's always there for you, helping to make your dreams come true. We're talking about your real estate agent, of course. Just what does it take to make the agent who's done so much for you swoon? There are plenty of ways to build a harmonious, lasting, and fulfilling relationship that will take you from starter home to happily ever after. Check out this list of things that'll make your agent fall head over heels in love with you.

1. Refer your friends and family

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Talking up your real estate agent to friends and family is the greatest gift you can give. Being a connector is a wonderful way to help your favorite agent build and grow their business. Go ahead, brag about how amazing your agent is; they'll adore you for it.

2. Make sure your open house is pet-free

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Barking dogs, loose hamsters, and roaming lizards are a huge turn-off to potential homebuyers. Securing your pets or taking them off-premises will mean the world to your agent, who probably has better things to do than herd your cats.

3. Get pre-approved...

Millennials Believe Buying A Home Is Out Of Their Reach, But It Turns Out They Might Be Wrong

Millennials, which is the generation comprised of people born from 1980 to 1998, are buying homes at a much lower rate than previous generations in favor of renting or moving back in with their parents after college. And a large reason they're not buying?

Because they believe they can't afford it. According to data from Apartment List, 72% of millennials say they can't afford to buy a home.

One of the major roadblocks millennials believe stands in their way to homeownership is the down payment. But many millennials are operating with incomplete or incorrect information about how to purchase a home. According to a Fannie Mae survey, 73% of millennials surveyed were unaware of lower down payment options (like the ability to pay 3% to 5% of the home's purchase price instead of the traditional 20%).

These lower down payment options are increasingly common in today's market. According to a recent NerdWallet report, 30% of all homebuyers put down 3% or less when purchasing a home.

The Takeaway

If you're a millennial who's holding off on buying a home because you can't save for a 20% down payment, look into lower down payment options. Depending on your financial situation, owning a home may be more economical than renting... and if you go with a lower down payment loan, you...

New Report: 61% of First-time Buyers Made a Down Payment of 6% or Less

  One of the biggest hurdles that potential buyers have to overcome on the road to homeownership is saving for a down payment. Traditionally, you needed a 20% down payment in order to secure a loan and purchase a property. And for many people dreaming of buying property, this large up-front investment put homeownership out of their reach.  

But times have changed. Depending on your creditworthiness, you might not need a 20% down payment to purchase a home. In fact, in some cases you don't even need a 10% down payment. According to the National Association of Realtors' Realtors Confidence® Index, 61% of first-time buyers in 2017 made a down payment of 6% or less. 

Low-down-payment mortgage options, like FHA loans, are making the possibility of homeownership a reality for a new generation of potential homeowners who have the financial means to manage their mortgage payments but don't have the ability to stash away 20% of the total cost before making a purchase. 

If you've been putting off homeownership because you're worried your savings account can't support a hefty down payment, start talking to lenders. Even if you don't have any money to put towards a down payment, the possibility of owning a home is within your reach.

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Owning A Home Is More Affordable Than Renting In Most Markets In The US

According to a recent study by Zillow, owning a home is more affordable than renting in most metro markets across the United States. According to the study, renters pay an average of 29.1% of their household income towards rent, while homeowners only pay an average of 15.4% towards their mortgages. This means renting eats up nearly twice as much of your income as owning a home.

Data Source: Zillow

Thanks to rising rents, homeownership is becoming a more sensible option across the nation, and renters are taking notice. According to the National Association of Realtors' Realtors Confidence® Index, 39% of homebuyers from October 2016 to November 2017 were renting at the time of their purchase, which means that 39% of buyers made the transition from renter to homeowner. And many of them did so without breaking the bank on a down payment. In fact, 61% of first-time buyers made a down payment of 6% or less.

The Takeaway

If you're currently renting, it's time to reevaluate your situation. Why throw away nearly 30% of your income on rent when you can spend almost half as much and have a home to show for it?

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Majority of Americans Believe Now is the Right Time to buy a Home, Making it the Perfect time to sell

According to the National Associations of Realtors Homeownership and Market Experience (HOME) Survey, most Americans believe that now is the perfect time to become a homeowner. According to the survey, 72% of people believe now is a good time to buy.

This could be because of the changing economic situation. 52% of Americans surveyed believe the US economy is improving, and according to a recent Neighborworks survey, 81% of Americans believe owning a home will make them more financially stable.

It could also be because homeownership is still such a deeply ingrained part of the American culture. According to that same Neighborworks survey, a whopping 93% of people believe owning a home is a part of the American dream, with 18% claiming it’s the most important part.

And with so many new buyers flooding the market, it creates the perfect opportunity for sellers. With more people believing now is the time to buy, the market is struggling to keep up with demand. Low inventory, particularly in the starter home sector, creates more competition between buyers and can be a lucrative opportunity for sellers to get the most for their homes.

The Takeaway

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4 Mistakes to Avoid the First Time You Buy or Sell A Home

Need Help

If it's your first time buying or selling real estate, you don't know what you don't know. There are tons of potential pitfalls and challenges along the way that it's hard to anticipate when you don't know what to expect. But luckily for you, most of the missteps taken by first time buyers and sellers are pretty universal, which means you can learn from their mistakes and avoid falling into the same traps. Here are four common real estate mistakes to avoid the first time you buy or sell a home:

1. Thinking you know the right price

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The price of a home - whether you're buying or selling - is one of the most important components of a real estate transaction. But there's a lot more that goes into pricing than what meets the eye. Pricing a home is a kind of science. There are so many factors that come into play - time of year, current market conditions, how quickly homes are selling the neighborhood, the current value of the home. The real estate agent takes all of those factors into consideration when coming up with the right price for a home. Without a real estate background, it's impossible for you to understand all of those conditions and how they affect the price of a home. If you're selling, you're likely to think your home should sell for a higher price because of the value it holds for you. If you're buying, you're likely to think a property should sell for less because that means a better deal on your end. But ignoring your real estate agent's pricing advice because you think you know what the price of a property should be is a mistake. As...

Overused Real Estate Terms We Need to Retire in 2018

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Every industry suffers from it -- overused, industry-specific jargon that everybody’s tired of hearing. You know, words and phrases that sounded cool way back when… but they’ve lost their luster. Here are the 25 most overused terms used in the real estate industry, as nominated by fellow agents.

1. "Will not last"

Credit: Nancy Judovits

Not to burst your bubble, but those 317 days on market are telling a different story, chachie.

2. "Seller says sell"

Credit: Kelly Provost

No way! I thought you had snuck this listing on MLS without their knowledge!

3. “Huge deck for entertaining”

Credit: Michelle Weadbrock

This is just one letter away from a whole heap of embarrassment. If real estate agents insist on using this one, it should be done with extreme caution.

Deck

4. "Bring your pickiest buyers"

Credit/photo: Aggie Sean

It’s not that this is the most horrible statement ever… it’s that it’s usually accompanied by a photo like this:

Pool

5. “Needs TLC”

Credit: Rhonda McMillion White
Thanks to Jeana Brinkerhoff & Mark Hawley for the acronyms

C’mon, you...

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