You are probably familiar with websites that have emerged in recent years that attempt to estimate what your home is worth. If you have used any of these tools you may have wondered where the number comes from, or why the price one website gave you is different from what another one gave you. So how are these online guesstimates configured?
Websites use computer programs designed to make home value estimates, or averages. These are known as Automation Valuation Models (AVM). The estimates these models configure are usually based on public records like you might find from your local Property Value Administration, or “PVA”, department. The problem with these types of models is the automated estimates calculated do not figure in important factors like the condition or uniqueness of a home. So, for example, if you have owned your home for 10 years and spent lots of time and money making upgrades and renovations, you have added value to your home, however that extra value is not always reflected in the estimates generated by AVMs.
Not every website uses the same model, which is why various sites rarely agree on the price your home is worth. This creates problems during negotiations since the seller will want to believe the most accurate website is the one that gave the higher estimate, however, the buyer will fight that the site that gave the lower estimate is the correct one. So which one is right? The truth is, home value estimates or “guesstimates” that you can get on various websites are helpful when you want to get ball park figures and an overall feel for the market, but when you go to list your home for sale, pricing decisions should never be based on a website’s generic analysis.
The responsibility of Realtors is to make sure you have as much information as possible to base your decisions on. An AVM estimate can give you an idea of your home’s value, but a comparative market analysis or CMA will best determine this number. Realtors have the experience, knowledge, and tools to provide you with a more comprehensive estimate based upon a visit to your home where no automation model can go.
We offer home value tools on our website at www.semonin.com/home-values.aspx. What makes our tools different from others is the engine. The home value automation tools we offer on Semonin.com are powered by Collateral Analytics. Collateral Analytics is the top rated automated valuation model for bank grade information. Banks rate them the best in the country for giving them information so they can make wise investment information.
We offer consumers two tiers of AVMs. The first we refer to as the Consumer AVM (CAVM) which pulls public records on a frequent basis to estimate a home’s value. The CAVM allows you to enter your address, or any residential address in the country, and instantly find loads of information right at your fingertips. You will find a range and an estimate of what a property is worth as well as comparative data for other homes nearby.
The second tier of home value automation available on our website is called an Interactive AVM, or I-AVM. The I-AVM takes home value estimation one step further and uses information from a variety of sources. This model combines public PVA records, local MLS data, and predictive economic modeling to provide what is called a “Bank Grade” automated value which is what lenders use in determining mortgage loans. To access the Interactive AVM visit www.semonin.com/home-values.aspx and click on the “Get Report Used by Lenders” link.
The main reason most buyers look to real estate agents is because they want help in finding the right home. Throughout this process of finding the right home to purchase, buyers often find that working with a real estate agent also has a number of other benefits as well.
In a 2014 survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors, buyers indicated that helping them understand the process of purchasing a home was the most important benefit of using a agent. Following that, over half of all buyers said their agent was also beneficial because they pointed out features or faults with a property that they had not or would not have noticed.
Overall the benefits that buyers mentioned in the survey have to do with the wide array of valuable information agents provide, including insight on certain areas and neighborhoods and trusted service providers that are needed during the buying journey.
Semonin Realtors has just launched a brand new real estate mobile app that is available for your iPhone, iPad, or Android. This home search app is one-of-a-kind in our market and has a number of powerful features that enables you to access virtually every listing in Kentuckiana. You are able to calculate commute times, save your favorite listings and share them with friends and family, and locate current homes for sale near you using your phone or tablet’s GPS capability. One of the coolest tools is known as SemVision. When SemVision is turned on, you can move your phone or tablet around to scan your surroundings. Listings will appear on your screen indicating the direction of where a home is for sale within of a mile of your current location. For more information about the new Semonin Realtors mobile app CLICK HERE.
To download the app go to app.semonin.com. Desktops users will be asked to enter their cell phone number so that a text can be sent with a link to download it!
Winter has officially left us and we are entering real estate peak season. Buyers are ready and eager to get out and start shopping for their next home, but there is just one problem…there aren’t enough homes for sale. When the number of buyers exceeds the number of homes for sale, it is seller’s market. Right now in this kind of market, sellers are getting 100% of their asking price or more, and many are receiving multiple offers forcing buyers into a bidding war which ultimately drives the sales price up. Not only are sellers getting the money they want for their property, but they are also selling extremely fast. Homes are literally flying of the market, some selling within days or even hours of being listed. Realtors around the area are claiming that a home will sell before they even get a chance to schedule a showing for their buyers. It cannot be stressed enough that if you have been considering the idea of selling your home, NOW is the time because the market is literally starving for inventory!
The term “Months of Inventory” considers the number of homes on the market and the pace at which they are selling. The number basically means that if existing homes were to continue selling at the same rate as the most recent month of data, the current inventory of homes would be sold by that many months. Housing experts consider a market to be ‘normal’ or balanced when months of inventory is around 6. A number higher than 6 would mean there is too much inventory and we would be in buyer’s market. The Market Watch chart on the right shows that in March the months of inventory took a dip in the Greater Louisville market, reaching less than 4.5. Many of real estate professionals in our region who have been in the business for years have never seen inventory this low.
While sellers may reap the benefits of a low inventory market, buyers experience frustration with not being able to find the right house, or finding the right house and the seller accepts another offer. Many homeowners are hesitant to list their home right now in fear of not being able to find another one, however receiving a higher sales price in ample amount of time and little effort makes selling very appealing in this type of market.
CLICK HERE for market information updated every Tuesday afternoon.
Semonin Realtors held our annual “Bowling to Build” fundraiser yesterday at King Pin Lanes in J-Town. Through the attendance of Semonin agents, staff, and guests and their generous donations we raised over $2,300 for our next Habitat for Humanity home, and we had a GREAT time doing it! We are gearing up to build our 18th Habitat home in the fall, and it is so great to have such an enthusiastic and supportive team at Semonin Realtors. We would like to thank everyone who came out and hit the lanes yesterday, those who donated all the fantastic door prizes, and 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty for sponsoring this event.
To see the full photo album visit our Facebook Page!
No one ever wants to think about something bad happening to their home, such as being destroyed in a fire or severely damaged by another catastrophe. However, such things do happen whether you are expecting them or not. Many homeowners take comfort in their homeowner’s insurance policy, but the truth is that insurance policy may not be as protective as you might think if you don’t know or can’t remember everything that was destroyed in your home. Think about this for a moment. Without looking, can you list every kitchen utensil or cookware item you have in your drawers and cabinets? How about every cleaning product under the sinks or in closets? Do you know the brand and model of your appliances and electronics? To receive the proper amount of money from your insurance company after a fire or other disaster, you will need to answer each of these questions and many, many more. You may think, “Oh, that will never happen to me”, but we guarantee that neighbor or friend, or family you know from church or school, thought the exact same thing before it did happen to them. Creating a detailed home inventory is a responsibility that every homeowner should take the time to do.
To start creating your home inventory, go around your house and make a list of each major item, including as much detailed information as possible. For appliances and electronics be sure to make note of the brand, manufacturer, model and serial number, when you purchased it and the price you paid. For other big ticket items such as collectibles, art, and jewelry, try to keep sales receipts or appraisals together and even scan them for further safe keeping. It may take some time, but it is important to go through this process diligently, making sure no valuables, such as silverware, china, or even tools, are overlooked. Create a spreadsheet on your computer by using a program like Microsoft Excel or downloading a template or app from the Internet to create and save this information in an organized spreadsheet.
After larger items are documented, go from room to room and take pictures of the rest of your belongings on your camera or smart phone. Open up drawers, closets, and cabinets and take snapshots to quickly capture everything that is in your home. Store these photos, as well as your spreadsheet and any scanned documents, on jump drives and store them in multiple places other than your home, such as in a drawer at the office or in a safe deposit box at the bank.
Keeping a thorough inventory of your belongings can be invaluable if you are ever faced with a disaster and have to file a claim. It will also enable you to ensure your insurance coverage is sufficient enough to protect all of your family’s belongings. Supplying these documentations of lists and photos to your insurance provider can help you receive a settlement fast and avoid any insurance nightmares.
HomeServices Kentuckiana Insurance is a part of Semonin’s family of services. Contact a representative today to learn more about your homeowners insurance policy!
It is cold outside and it is about to get even colder with wind chills estimated to drop in the negatives. When prepping your home for the freezing temps, don’t forget these 3 P’s – Pipes, Pets, and Power.
1. Help Keep Pipes from Freezing.
Drip water in kitchen and bath faucets and open sink-cabinet doors to let warm air in. Be sure to remove any under the sink cleaning supplies and keep out of reach of children and pets. Also disconnect any outdoor hoses and wrap exposed pipes for insulation. If freezing does occur and causes a pipe to burst make sure you know where the water shut-off valve is located so you can quickly turn it off.
2. Keep Pets Inside.
While you may sometimes envy your pet for their lush, warm fur coat, freezing temperatures are dangerous for your furry friend. During the frigid weather, accompany your pets on potty breaks and make sure they have proper shelter at all times until temperatures go back up.
3. Prepare for Power Outages.
Winter weather can be harsh on power lines, and the last thing you want in -10 degree temperatures is for the power to go out and leave your home with no heat. Unfortunately power outages do happen so make sure you are prepared. Have an emergency kit handy with working batteries, flashlights, and a radio. If you have a working fireplace have some extra firewood stocked up or enough fuel for a generator to maintain heat in your home. Stock up on extra blankets, food and water.
Our annual awards ceremony is a time of celebration. On the morning of Wednesday, January 28th, 2014, the Semonin family gathered together and took the time to recognize and congratulate our agents on their many successes in 2014 as well as celebrate the kick off to our 100 year celebration. As we looked back at the last year, everyone left the ceremony excited and motivated to do our very best throughout 2015. It is the hard work and dedication of our Semonin agents and staff that has kept us going for 100 years and the #1 real estate company of the Greater Louisville area.
Visit our Facebook page for the full photo album!
Congratulations to our top agents in 2014!
2014 Top Producer Award Recipients
|Ackles/Williams Real Estate
Garrett Ackles & Sean Williams
Bill Clark & Brian Clark
|Jerry & Linda Grasch
Susan Hatton & Margo Dixon
Donna Jones & Melissa Jones
Louisville Home Solutions
Steve Shuff, Rob St. John, Landon Arza, Scott DeHart, Michelle Kurland, Caleb Thompson
Teresa Morgan & Greg Morgan
MOVE Real Estate Group
Kristy Dugan, Lisa Estep & Will Hoagland
Pete & Betty Sheltz
Joyce St. Clair