Greater Louisville Real Estate Blog

4 Ways To Rock As A Real Estate Client

Why do you care if your Realtor considers you a good client or not? Because the better client you are, the better results you will have. No, you and your Realtor do not have to be in love with each other, but effort on your part will bring you better results and a more positive transaction. Here are some best practices.

1. Be easy to educate

Most Realtors are teachers at heart, and the more you can learn, the better prepared you will be. Yes, your friends, family and various websites have lots of good information to give, but nobody has a better “boots-on-the-ground” perspective on your local neighborhood and various current trends than your Realtor. Ask all the questions you like and try to absorb as much info as possible. Yes, there is a lot to learn, but you will find that you become educated very quickly.

2. Be easy to communicate with 

If your Realtor must text you five times before you respond, you will eventually miss some important info or even the house of your dreams. Ask your Realtor for communication expectations and let them know if you prefer calls, emails or texts. If there is a time that you do not wish to be contacted at all (say, when you put your kids to bed), make sure your Realtor knows that in advance. They will probably have a “no-contact” time, too. Of course, if your Realtor is constantly difficult to reach, you may want to consider switching to somebody else.

3. Be as available as possible

Of course, you are not expected to take off work to see a home, but see what accommodations can be made in your schedule. This is critical in viewing homes in a hot market. If you are selling a home, please be mindful that after-work and evening showings are highly likely. The more people that see your home, the better and...

New Survey Finds Misconceptions About Down Payments Keeping People From Purchasing Homes

One of the main reasons people aren’t buying homes is they think they can’t afford it—especially the down payment. But, as it turns out, there are plenty of buyers out there who actually can afford to purchase a home, but their misconceptions about affordability are holding them back from making a move.

According to a recent survey from lender Laurel Road, 53% of Americans are concerned about their ability to afford a home. But a lot of that concern is because they don’t know what their options are. 

A solid 58% of Americans surveyed said they planned to put down a 20% payment on a home, but 35% (and 46% of millennials) didn’t think they could afford to save that kind of down payment. But with alternative lending options, you don’t need 20% in order to buy a home! According to the National Association of Realtors, the median down-payment for first-time buyers is at 6%—significantly less than the 20% the majority of Americans believe they need in order to purchase a home.

The Takeaway

Your misconception about how much you need for a down payment could be holding you back from purchasing property. Explore the alternative loan options available to you and make your dream of owning a home a reality!

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Do You Need A Real Estate Agent When Buying New Construction?

Build Home

If you consider buying a new construction home, there’s a good chance you’ll question whether or not you even need to use a real estate agent.

You might even wonder if there’s an advantage to not using a real estate agent…perhaps thinking you can get a lower price, or more upgrades thrown in, if the builder isn’t paying a real estate agent their commission.

Or, you just might not give it any thought whatsoever, and stumble into buying your new construction home, without having your own real estate agent to represent you.

So, do you need to use a real estate agent when buying new construction?

Technically? No.

Should you? Yes.

Beyond Just Signing A Little Paperwork

One reason people question whether an agent is necessary, is because many tend to see it as an agent just signing some paperwork so they can get a commission.

There are certainly agents out there who don’t bring a heck of a lot to the table in terms of expertise and skills. There are ones who literally just want to make sure they are in the room when you do the paperwork, so they can secure their commission.

Unfortunately, they give great agents a bad rap.

Those are not the type of agents you should hire if you are buying new construction. Or any house for that matter.

The purchase of a new construction home really isn’t any different in many ways than purchasing a resale home. The knowledge and skills of a good real estate agent go beyond the “finding” of your home, or doing some paperwork.

The Builder Is Not Your Ally

Not that every builder is evil, and out there trying to take advantage of you. But a builder is certainly going to be looking out for their...

4 Staging Secrets To Get Your House SOLD

When you’re selling your home, one of the keys to successfully finding a buyer – and getting the best price for your home – is effectively staging. Staging refers to setting up your home in a way that maximizes its saleability to potential buyers and can involve everything from minor repairs to a complete overhaul on your home decor.

Staging is an incredibly important part of the selling process, and effective staging is a key to fetching top dollar for your home. If possible, you should consider hiring a professional stager. But, in case you want to DIY and stage your home on your own, here are 4 staging secrets to make sure you get the most out of the staging process:

1. A little paint goes a long way.

Paint your house!

One of the quickest, easiest, and most cost effective ways to update your space and make it more appealing to potential buyers is with a coat of paint. Painting a room can completely change the feel and make the space feel more open and inviting.

If you haven’t painted your home in a while, you’ll definitely want to repaint before you start showing your home to potential buyers. You’ll also want to repaint if you have a number of colors on the walls of your home; the purpose of staging is to showcase your home in a way that allows potential buyers to picture themselves purchasing the home and living there. If they don’t agree with your color choices, it can create a roadblock to them being able to see themselves in the home.

When you paint, choose neutral colors, like an off-white or beige. These colors are universally appealing and will also make your rooms appear more open and spacious.

2. You only get to make a first impression once.

Paint...

Good News For Buyers: Listing Inventory Across The Country (Finally) Increasing

Thanks to the historic inventory shortage, it’s been tougher than ever for potential buyers to find a home. And if they do find a home that suits their needs, beating out the other buyers vying for the property has been tough as well.

Up until recently, the hyper-competitive market was starting to discourage potential homebuyers. In fact, in March 2018 the number of buyers requesting home tours dropped 1.4% nationally, and the number of buyers writing offers dropped nearly 2% (according to the Redfin Housing Demand Index). 

However, according to the Demand Index, in April, newly listed homes for sale were up an impressive 6.6% year-over-year. It looks like the tides are (finally) starting to turn for potential homebuyers.

The Takeaway

This increase in inventory should make it a bit easier out there for potential homebuyers. So if you've been thinking about purchasing a home, now is a great time to make a move.

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4 Behind-The-Scenes Ways Your Real Estate Agent Supports Your Home Sale

behind the scenes

When you hire a real estate agent to sell your home, there are obvious things you notice them doing to help your house sell. Things like: hosting open houses, bringing potential buyers on home tours, and marketing your property in multiple ways to make sure it gets enough exposure.

But when it comes to adding value to your home sale, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. A huge percentage of your agent’s job takes place behind-the-scenes, and they’re working around the clock to get your house sold — even when you’re not looking.

Here are 4 behind-the-scenes way your real estate agent is working to get your house sold:

1. Performing market research

via GIPHY

via GIPHY

When it comes to pricing your home, your agent doesn’t just pull a random number out of a hat. Your agent’s recommendation is a result of extensive market research to ensure your home is priced in a way that’s attractive to both buyers and you, the seller.

Agents pull data on comparable properties in your area (from both the MLS and any public databases) for the past 12 to 18 months. They research how each home was priced and how the price correlated to the average time the property sat on the market before coming up with a CMA (comparable market analysis) to determine the market value of your property and suggest a listing price.

All the insights gathered from your agent’s behind-the-scenes...

Shopping For A Home? Here’s The Best Day To Go Looking

It’s Sunday morning. 

You’re scheduled to go out and see houses later on with your real estate agent. But it’s nasty outside. It’s beyond pouring. You can’t even imagine walking from the car into a house. You’d rather just cancel the appointment and hang inside, maybe watch some TV.

You can always go see the house next weekend.

But should you wait for next weekend? 

Should you even wait to go see houses only during the weekend? 

There’s five weekdays you can go see houses. Is there a better day than a Sunday?

What if someone else scoops up the house before you end up getting out to see it? Right?!

Sure. Totally a possibility. And, totally a reason to motivate and go see that house today in the rain.

But that’s not the point of this article. The point is that the best day to see a house is not necessarily Sunday. It’s also not necessarily not Sunday.

The best day to go see a house is when it’s raining. Even better if it’s raining heavily. And it’s best if it’s been raining for a few days straight.

Picture this…

It’s the future. You skipped going to see the house in the rain, but you ended up buying it eventually. Of course you had a home inspection done on the house during the process. But that was a sunny day, and it hadn’t rained in some time.

Then, after you’ve lived in the house for a while, you start to notice a drip in the ceiling. Or some dampness in the basement. Or worse, actual water on the basement floor.

You’d probably be pretty upset. You’d feel like the owner should’ve disclosed it. You feel like there’s no way they didn’t...

10 False Assumptions People Make About Real Estate Agents

Via Bigstock

Let's face it, everyone either knows a real estate agent, or is connected to one through six (probably less) degrees of separation. Between friends and relatives, and the stereotypical representation of real estate agents on television and in pop culture, the general public has adopted some assumptions about agents that are very far from the truth. Here are ten things that people assume about real estate agents that just aren’t true:

1. They make “easy money”

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH. The only people who could ever possibly make the case that being an agent is an easy way to make money are those who have never done it. It’s hard, uncertain work, with many instances of months wasted on a deal that doesn’t ever close. The only thing easy about it is reading the Lighter Side of Real Estate.

2. They are required to show you houses even if you’re not pre-approved

There are definitely agents who will show you houses without a pre-approval (or at minimum a pre-qualification), but an agent is not required to, and most experienced agents probably won’t. The ability to qualify for financing dictates whether or not a deal is even possible, so an agent is simply saving you from disappointment (or worse) by asking you to get pre-approved.

3. Zillow is more accurate than they are

It would be wonderful if Zillow (and similar websites) were accurate in their home valuations, but if you compared their results to actual appraised values, in most cases you’d burst out laughing. Real estate agents want you to get as much money as possible for your house, but oftentimes reality gets in the way. Trust your realtor to give you a fair market assessment for your house...at least more than...

The Ten Commandments Of Selling A Home (Infographic)

So your home's on the market — are you jazzed about getting it sold? Good. But there are a few things you need to know. More specifically, ten things. They’re called “The Ten Commandments of Selling a Home.”

Read them. Absorb them. Emblazon them to memory, because one tiny mis-step can make your dream of moving on to your next home come crashing down like a sandcastle at high tide.

(See below for text transcription)

The Ten Commandments of Selling a Home

  1. Thou shalt vacate the house for all showings.
  2. Thou shalt assume every day is a showing day. Keep it clean and clutter free, with pets properly secured.
  3. Thou shalt not turn off utilities before closing.
  4. Thou shalt fill out property condition disclosure completely and disclose all known defects.
  5. Thou shalt not stop paying the mortgage.
  6. Thou shalt not rely upon Zillow to determine your sales price (that’s what your agent is for).
  7. Thou shalt make all beds before all showings (which includes NOT being in bed during showings).
  8. Thou shalt send anyone inquiring about the property to your agent.
  9. Thou shalt not call your agent at 11 PM.
  10. Thou shall not cook broccoli.
...

Think Buying A Home Will Be More Affordable In 2019? Think Again

There’s no denying that it’s tough out there for buyers. The inventory shortage has created a market that’s more competitive than normal. As a potential buyer, you might be thinking “I should probably wait until next year to make a move.”

But if you want to get the best deal on a home, you should probably rethink that idea.

According to the most recent US Home Price Insights from CoreLogic, home prices are expected to rise 5.7% year-over-year—meaning a house you might be considering buying today will be 5.7% more expensive if you wait until this time next year to make a purchase.

What does that look like? Let’s say the house you’re considering making an offer on today is priced at $275,000. With a 5.7% increase, at this time next year that same house is projected to be listed at $290,675—$15,675 more than you’d pay today.

Not only are home prices projected to go up, but so are mortgage rates; Freddie Mac predicts that by the end of 2018, mortgage rates will increase an entire percentage point year-over-year—which will only make buying a home more expensive.

The Takeaway

If you’re waiting to buy a home in the hopes it will be affordable next year, do yourself (and your wallet) a favor—stop waiting and make a purchase.

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Misconceptions About Buying A Home Are Blocking Eligible Buyers From Becoming Homeowners

Some potential buyers face roadblocks on the road to homeownership. But according to a recent report from Urban Institute, many of those roadblocks are self-created in the form of misconceptions about what it takes to purchase a home.

According to the report, a whopping 80% of are either unaware of how much is required for a down payment or believe they need to save 5% or more of the total purchase price in order to make a purchase (with 50% believing a lender either expects or requires a 20% down payment in order to approve a mortgage).

This information, of course, is false. There are plenty of lenders out there that will approve loans with either no or an extremely low down payment (in fact, 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.)

With so many potential buyers out there operating with false information, it's no wonder so many renters (53%, according to the Urban Institute Report) consider saving for a down payment a major obstacle on the way to homeownership.

The Takeaway

If you're considering buying a home but holding back because you don't think you can afford a down payment, do some research. Look for no or low interest payment lending options like FHA loans. The reality of owning a home might be closer (and more affordable)...

15 Before & After Photos That Prove the Power of Home Staging

before/after

There's no denying it: Homes that are staged well definitely stand out. Not only does the right amount of decluttering, organizing and accessorizing make your home more attractive, it can actually increase its value.

According to the National Association of Realtors' 2015 Profile of Home Staging Report, 32 percent of buyers' agents believe their clients are willing to offer one percent to five percent more for staged homes. What's more, 81 percent of agents said home staging made it easier for buyers to visualize the property as their future home.

If that's not enough to convince you, take a look at these before-and-after photos to really illustrate how powerful home staging can be.

1. Cool kitchen

Attractive barstools and place settings make you want to sit right down for lunch! The hardware upgrade on the cabinets makes a big difference too.

...

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 life, apply lubricant spray to door...

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 want is to find yourself in the thick...

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

via GIPHY

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

via GIPHY

As far too many homeowners know, not all contractors are created equal. For the most part, the...

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

If you're a millennial...

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