Category Archives: Real Estate 101

7 Pitfalls of Selling Without a REALTOR®

In today’s market, with homes selling quickly and prices rising some homeowners might consider trying to sell their home on their own. In the industry, this is referred to as a For Sale by Owner, or “FSBO”. While being a FSBO might seem to have its advantages, there are reasons why nearly 9 of every 10 homes are still sold with the help of a REALTOR®.For Sale By Owner

If you are thinking of selling your home on your own, first consider these challenges you will face by not using a REALTOR.

1. Setting the right price
Overpriced homes don’t sell. On the other hand, no seller wants to risk underpricing their home. FSBOs frequently misjudge the value of their home, basing their pricing decisions on inaccurate information they find online or the common misconceptions about the current state of home prices and the overall real estate market. REALTORS® have the expertise, knowledge, and resources to help sellers choose the best price for their home.

2. Being available for showings
Are you going to be available on short notice to show your home to prospective buyers? Your job, family, and personal life can make for a very busy schedule. This makes it very unrealistic for many of us to simply drop what we are doing and rush home to meet buyers for a showing. One of the roles of a REALTOR is to take the demands away from sellers and be there to represent your house any time a buyer wants to see it.

3. There’s more to negotiating than you may think
Negotiation is a normal part of any real estate transaction, but many FSBOs do not consider all the different people they must be prepared to negotiate with, including:

  • The buyer who wants the best deal possible for themselves.
  • The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interest of the buyer.
  • The home inspector(s) who works for the buyer, not the seller, and will almost always find some problems with the property.
  • The appraiser if there is a question of home’s value.

4. Exposure to prospective buyers
The days of considering a good marketing plan to be a sign in the front yard and some flyers are long gone. Studies have shown that out of 10 buyers 9 use the Internet to search for homes while just 2 are looking at print newspaper ads. Most real estate agents have an internet strategy to promote the sale of your home. Do you?

5. Results come from the Internet
How do we know the Internet is an effective marketing tool? Because it generates real results! A recent study from the National Association of Realtors showed 43% of buyers found the home they actually purchased on the Internet. That is in comparison to only 9% from a yard sign and 1% from a newspaper. Having a strong Internet strategy when selling your home is crucial.

6. FSBOing is not what it used to be, the process today is difficult and complex
Over the years more and more requirements have been set in place and the paperwork involved in selling and buying a home has increased dramatically as industry disclosures and procedures have become mandatory. This has made the process of real estate transactions a complex one, giving reason for why we have seen a drop in FSBOs from 19% to 9% in the past two decades. If you are thinking of not using a REALTOR to sell your home, ask yourself, how familiar are you with reviewing contracts and negotiating contingencies?

7. Using an agent will net you more money
Many homeowners are drawn to try selling on their own because they believe they will save the real estate commission. However what they don’t realize is that the main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe they can save the real estate agent’s commission. In reality, the seller and buyer can’t both save the commission.

Studies have shown that the typical FBSO home sells for $208,000 while the typical house sold by an agent sells for $235,000. FSBOs are more common in lower price point markets so this doesn’t mean that an agent can get $27,000 more for your home. However, it does show that selling on your own might not make sense.

Before making the decision to try selling your home on your own, contact a REALTOR in your area and see what they have to offer.

Source: The KCM Crew. http://www.keepingcurrentmatters.com/2015/06/02/5-reasons-you-shouldnt-for-sale-by-owner-5/

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There’s More Than Just Semonin on Semonin.com

Semonin.comSemonin.com is a top local real estate website in our region. Now it has more features than ever to help you find a home. Many people think that Semonin.com only features properties that are listed with a Semonin agent. This is a big misconception. In addition to homes for sale by Semonin Realtors®, you will also find thousands of properties on the market from other real estate brokers across Louisville and its surrounding counties, Southern Indiana, and Elizabethtown.

When someone puts up their home for sale with the help of a Realtor, the broker enters the listing information into the local Multiple Listing System, or MLS. This way Realtors can share and market their listings with other local Realtors outside of their office or company.

So how do all the listings get to Semonin.com? In 2000, the National Association of Realtors® adopted the Internet Data Exchange policy, or more commonly referred to as IDX. IDX technology Listings on Semonin.compowers the data in the MLS to feed into Semonin.com. When you conduct a search on Semonin.com each listing will display a small icon. If this icon is the Semonin Realtors® logo, it is listed by a Semonin agent. If there is an IDX icon next to the property that means it is listed with an agent who is not affiliated with Semonin Realtors®. So, whether a home has a Semonin “For Sale” sign in the front yard, or a sign from another real estate firm that participates with the local MLS, you can find details about the home on Semonin.com.

We are proud to provide a site to home buyers and sellers that offers the most accurate and up-to-date information. When searching for a new home in Louisville, Southern Indiana, or Elizabethtown Semonin.com is the only local source you will need to use.

The Real Estate Market is Starving for Inventory

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.

Keep a Home Inventory for Insurance Purposes

Taking-pictures-of-roomNo 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, Home-Inventorythought 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 Dishesinformation 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 Jewerly-boxthrough 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!

Introducing the “Real Estate Minute” Video Library

In addition to the launch of the brand new Semonin.com, an assortment of short informative videos are now available for you to watch anytime from our new video library on Semonin.tv! A part of our vision at Semonin Realtors is to teach relentlessly. This new video library, stocked with real estate information and expert advice, is a convenient reference for any homebuyer, seller, or homeowner. Whether you are thinking about remodeling your home, or want to know how you can improve your credit score, Semonin.tv can provide some insight. If you cannot find a video that touches on a topic you are interested in, continue to check back! The inventory of videos will continue to grow throughout the year, so you can continue to revisit the library and see what is new.

CLICK HERE to start watching!

Semonin.tv

Overlooked Advantages of Winter Real Estate

Holiday Real EstateAs the frosty weather and holiday chaos moves in many people choose to stay put. This explains why there is usually a dip in real estate sales during the winter months. It is a common theory that the warmer, more relaxed spring and summer seasons is the best time to sell a home. Temperatures warm, the school year comes to an end, schedules open up, and everything blooms back to life. It is understandable why many buyers plan their home shopping around this time. But that doesn’t mean all of them go into hibernation after Labor Day and are completely dormant until spring.

Here are 3 advantages to buying or selling real estate in the winter:

Reduced Competition

During the winter, many sellers take their home off the market until the spring when buying activity picks up again. As a result, sellers who decide not to follow this trend will experience less competition, given buyers have less inventory to choose from.  The decreased competition may mean more money for sellers because there are less active listings to compare prices to. Yes, there may be fewer people actively shopping for a home during this season, but those who are tend to be serious buyers.

More Motivation

Many buyers and sellers take a break from their real estate journey during the winter, meaning those who remain active typically have a reason for buying or selling a home that cannot be postponed. When time is a key factor, buyers and sellers are looking for a fast sell. This desire to speed up the process can often cause for easier negotiations as both parties have more willingness to compromise. As a result, not only can the process be quicker but both the buyer and the seller could get more of what they want.

The Appeal of Holiday Homes

When buyers are shopping for a home, they want something that feels like a home. While the winter weather is cold and gloomy, homes decorated for the holidays helps create a cheery and cozy welcome. Homebuyers—who often base their decisions on emotion—will appreciate the inviting warmth of tasteful holiday décor. This allows them to picture their own family celebrating future holidays in the space.


Buying or selling a home during the winter may seem out completely overwhelming with all the holiday festivities going on. However, given these advantages it may be the time when real estate transactions are the  most hassle free!

 

The Ranch Makes a Comeback

Ranch Style Home

The ranch home was in its heyday in the 1950s and 60s when it emerged as one of the most popular American styles. As more families moved to the suburbs during these years, the ranch home was appealing because they were affordable and quick to build. In more recent decades, however, the demand for ranch style homes fell as homebuyers gravitated to the grander look of two-story homes. Just as any fashion, housing styles come and go, and the ranch style is now showing signs of a comeback.

A number of factors have contributed to this resurgence of demand for ranch homes. A large portion of home buyers in today’s market are aging baby boomers and first-time buyers. Both the young and the old have recently shown increasing interest in doing all their living on the first floor of the home, and the ranch style offers that. Ranch homes have grabbed the interest of many baby boomers as they are getting older and find the style a good solution for downsizing and avoiding stairs. Many first-time home buyers with young children also like the idea of one-story living to avoid worrying about the safety of stairways. The ranch also offers these young buyers more affordable options that give them more bang for their buck.

Another reason for the ranch revival is the nicer lots many of them were built on in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Unlike the older bungalows and many of the new constructed two-story homes seen in recent neighborhood developments, older ranch homes are often found on larger lots. As more home buyers have been expressing an increased demand for a good yard size and mature trees, the ranch has been getting more attention.

Architecturally, the ranch also has a lot of unique potential. Home owners who like the contemporary style of an open-style floor plan have found that the ranch style can be easily remodeled to convey the open look without compromising structural support. Additionally, if the lot size allows, the ranch is also known to be relatively easy to add on to. Home owners are drawn to the opportunity of increasing their home’s square footage and resale value when their time and money allow.

It is hard to tell if this upward trend will continue to climb, but for now, it is evident that many homebuyers have a newfound appreciation for the ranch.

 

Adapted from article at http://realtormag.realtor.org/

 

Staging Your Home To Sell!

Staging to Sell Infographic

Real Estate Recovery is Expected to Continue

Leading up to 2014 real estate experts had very high expectations for the year’s market performance. Throughout the first half of 2014, however, those expectations were not met. Despite the lag in activity in the beginning months, which is likely due to the harsh winter weather and high consumer doubt, over the summer the national housing market has shown a steady increase in activity. HomeServices of America has developed and released a national perspective of the residential housing market, stating “we anticipate a robust second half of 2014” as housing inventories approach healthier levels.

During and after the recession, housing marketing throughout the country had an extremely high amount of distressed properties. It was private equity and investors that primarily drove the real estate market into recovery. This tactic of fueling market recovery, however, was a short-term resurgence. While investors removed a large amount of distressed properties from the market—which helped return property values to where they should be—once they did, recovery depended on the more traditional cycle. Fortunately, consumer confidence is on the rise. This is vital for the real estate market, because if people are fearful about buying and selling homes, than they simply won’t.  According to HomeServices of America along with this increase in consumer confidence, the real estate activity is being led more by homeowners, instead of driven by investors or banks dealing with distressed properties. They have noted that more consumers are buying homes as their own residences and more homeowners are selling their own properties. This trend is a great sign that the real estate market will only continue to thrive.

The housing industry is made up of a number of segments, each of which is experiencing different paths to recovery. For example, luxury properties have displayed a strong sense of recovery, with good sales recorded in many markets nationwide; however, the sales of mid-priced residential properties have not been showing the same enthusiasm. Buy looking at the most recent price-branded reports for the Louisville, Southern Indiana, and Elizabethtown markets shown at the bottom of this post, you see that the majority of homes that sell in the area are in the $125k-$150k range, with less than 3% of homes selling for more than $500k in the Louisville market. This could be why we hear of many other markets undergoing a quicker recovery than we are.

Strong sales of luxury properties is most likely due to a number of factors that affect the buyers and sellers in this market segment. A large portion of this segment are made up of first-time homebuyers who are struggling with getting a loan due to strict credit standards and student loan debts, which has recently shown a dramatic uptick cross the country. The mid-market segment is also facing lower inventory levels which cannot keep up with the demand that is higher than other market segments. Real estate experts are hopeful that these issues will subside, especially as more and more buyers are seeking professional and quality loan officers to assist them through the process of getting a mortgage loan. With the guidance and expertise of such loan officers, more homebuyers are taking the right steps, such as getting pre-qualified for a mortgage prior to shopping for homes.

Americans are beginning to once again become confident and enthusiastic towards real estate.  According to a 2014 survey by Gallup, more Americans consider real estate to be the best long-term investment, ranking above gold and stocks. The fact that consumers are still seeing the value in homeownership is a great indicator that things will continue to improve. While we are still a ways away from achieving full recovery, the signs are pointing in the right direction. Assuming that job creation and the overall economy will continue to grow, the momentum of real estate market is anticipated to continuously pick up speed through the rest of 2014.

ePresPriceBandedGLAR_21Aug14

ePresPriceBandedSIRA_21Aug14

ePresPriceBandedHKAR_21Aug14

 

Buying in a Bidding War: Give Your Offer a Personal Touch

Couple writing a letterIn low-inventory market the number of home shoppers exceeds the number of homes on the market. As a result, a number of properties are receiving multiple offers and homebuyers are finding themselves in a bidding war. In this kind of situation the strongest offer usually wins. To make an offer stronger and more appealing to a seller, the obvious answer would be to simply offer more money and ask for less in return, such as closing costs or allowances for appliances or repairs. Unfortunately, as the buyer, you will only know that there are multiple offers on the table, but you will not know exactly what those offers are. If you have already offered everything you can to best match or exceed the seller’s requests, there is another technique you, as the buyer, can use to appeal to the sellers.

In a multiple-offer situation, many real estate agents will advise their clients to strengthen their offer with a little personal touch by including a letter addressed to the sellers explaining how much they love the property and why they should be the ones chosen to buy it. The personal value this kind of letter can add will make your offer stand out from the others.

Selling a property can be a very emotional process for many sellers. Whatever their reason for selling, they are still having to let go of the home they have built and the memories they have created there. Including a personal letter in your offer is a way to express to the sellers that they will be leaving the house to someone who wishes to create the same kind of memories for themselves, that they have valued so much. The bottom line, the sellers are not just selling a house, they are selling their home. Respect this feeling in your letter by expressing to the sellers how you would be purchasing more than just any other house; you would be purchasing the home where you want to begin the next chapter of your life.

Including a personal letter is not a guaranteed strategy. Sometimes other buyers will simply out bid you. However, the additional value a letter brings can be extremely powerful. You may find that even if another buyer offered a little bit more money, or asked the seller for a little bit less, this personal touch can win over the hearts of the sellers, leading them to consider you as the most deserving new owner.

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