Category Archives: Buying

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 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/

 

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.

Real Estate Online: The Problem With Too Much Information

Real Estate on the InternetThe Internet has drastically changed the world of real estate. Buyers can access listing information with the click of a button. They can take virtual tours through homes and study every detail of photos without having to step foot out of their own door. There is no longer a need to wait until the morning to inquire about a home, or play phone tag with a listing agent for days just to get more information. The Internet enables sellers to spark a greater amount of interest in their homes at a much faster rate. Their listing is accessible to anyone, from anywhere, at any time. Furthermore, real estate agents can stay better connected with their customers and potential clients, and utilize many tools that lead to better and faster transactions. The power and convenience the Internet has brought to the real estate industry seems like a dream come true. But don’t be fooled, there is no such thing as a perfect world. Just like anything else, when it comes to real estate, the Internet has its ups and downs. Having too much information, for example, can prove to be a great disadvantage.

Everyone has heard the saying, “You can’t believe everything you read of the Internet”. This is exceptionally true for real estate. The amount of information that is accessible online is endless, and consumers enjoy how easy it is to find it. However, posting content of the Web is just as easy as finding information on the Web. Consumers do not know exactly where information is coming from or how credible or relative it is to what they are looking for. For example, a popular real estate question consumers want answered is, “How is the market doing?” or “Is it a good time to buy or sell?” The Internet has encouraged people to find this answer out on their own, and no longer turn to the trusted professionals who can give them a quality answer. Countless amounts of online articles can be found surrounding this sort of topic, but could easily be written by someone who knows nothing about it. Good writers can fool many people into believing they are the expert on any given subject. Furthermore, most online articles relate to the big picture and not necessarily pertain to a specific market. For example, a person in Louisville may read an article about how the market is looking grim, when in actuality the Louisville real estate market may actually be picking up quite a bit. This could discourage that person to sell, when it is an excellent time to do so! Real estate agents that work in a certain market are the best resource for getting expert advice and insight regarding a specific real estate environment.

Consumers are also all too quick to believe any information they find online about a home for sale. The problem with the various websites dedicated to home searching is how up-to-date and accurate listing information actually is. Automated data feeds that pull from a number of different sources are used to populate many sites. In the process, certain details can be lost, incorrect, or not reflect changes in the listing, such as price.

The Internet is an exceptional tool to use during the home buying or home selling process that provides many benefits to buyers, sellers, and professionals. However, it is important to remember to be cautious and be sure the information you are getting is the right information.

 

Getting a Home Inspection

Home Inspector

The home buying process can seem like a lengthy one, but each step of the journey is important and should not be bypassed in effort of saving a little time or money. Sometimes it may seem as if a home inspection isn’t necessary, especially if a property appears to be in excellent condition. However, what you see in a house can be very deceiving. Buyers see a crack in a ceiling, immediately assume it is a big problem and get scared off, but a home inspector might say it is just cosmetic and can easily be covered up. A newly renovated home can seem flawless, so buyers opt out of getting a home inspection only to find out after closing that the home has major—meaning expensive—electrical or plumbing problems. Examples like these prove that home inspections are crucial to the home buying process.

A home inspector’s job consists of three main points:

  1. Evaluate a property’s physical and structural condition
  2. Identify items in need of repair or replacement
  3. Assess the remaining useful life of major systems

It is a good idea for you, or your real estate agent, to be present during the inspection. This allows you to ask questions, better understand the reasons or causes of certain issues, and learn what you need to do to fix them. The inspector can also point out areas of potential trouble and offer maintenance tips that can be very useful in the future. You can expect an inspection to take 2-5 hours, or a little longer for an older home, and to cost $200-$500 depending on size.

The inspection process enables buyers to discover any issues with the property before closing. Sometimes the results of provide reason for the buyer to back out of the purchase, but many detected problems do not necessarily have to be a deal breaker. Buyers can use the information reported to identify and prioritize items that need to be done, either immediately or in the future. In some cases, buyers can request the seller to make repairs or negotiate the sales price a bit more.

When buying a home, be smart, be cautious and never go without having a home inspected. If an inspector reports the home is in perfect condition and no issues need to be addressed, don’t consider the inspection to have been a waste of time and money, the peace of mind you will get makes it all worthwhile.

The 2014 Housing Market

It is always hard to predict the future in real estate, as you can never be absolutely sure what the housing market will do. However, based on past activity and current trends there are a few things believed to happen during 2014:

Interest Rates Will Rise

Throughout the year of 2013 we saw interest rates rise steadily. During the first quarter of the year, rates hovered around 3%, but as we closed out 2013 rates were just under 5%. It is believed that this trend will only continue on its upward slope throughout 2014, and interest rates on mortgage loans will begin to approach the mid-5% to 6% range.

Home Sales Will Increase

The numbers have shown the strength of the housing market is only getting better. More people are becoming increasingly optimistic about buying a home. Furthermore, Generation Y—the largest generation since the Baby Boomers—is moving into the “ready stage” when it comes to making an investment in real estate. With interest rates rising at a steady rate, many people are looking to buy sooner rather than later.

Demand Will Exceed Supply

The surge of homes sales will likely cause a shortage of inventory, similar, if not worse, to what we saw in 2013. To satisfy the demands of all the home buyers, it is probable that 2014 will bring excellent opportunity for builders and real estate professionals.

Happy New Year

Source: Keeping Current Matters: “KCM’s Housing Predictions for 2014”

Get Pre-Approved For a Mortgage Loan Before You Shop

Financing Your New Home

So, you’ve made your decision to buy a home! How exciting! Let’s start looking! …Not so fast. Now is the time to ask the most important question: How much can you afford?

Many people get caught up in the excitement of shopping for a house and bypass this step of the home buying process, thinking they will just come back to it once they’ve found the property they want to purchase. But making this the step of the process an early one is vital when it comes to minimizing the potential of problems that could happen later in the journey. Suppose you find the home of your dreams, but the price exceeds what you expected to qualify for, or an issue on your credit report keeps you from a loan approval, or the lending process takes longer than you anticipated and by the time you set up your financing the house has sold to someone else! Now you are back to square one.

Prior to shopping for homes, contact a mortgage lender and get pre-approved. Mortgage consultants evaluate your finances and work with you to define parameters that will allow you to find a home that compliments the needs of your lifestyle and your wallet comfortably. This helps you go into your home search with a definitive price range and avoid falling in love with a property you can’t afford. When the time comes to make an offer on a house you’ve found, your pre-approval will allow you move forward quickly and confidently, as well as make you more appealing to sellers.

Remember, buying a home is one of the biggest investments you will make in your lifetime, so while it is important not to postpone this step, it is also important not to rush it. Make sure you take the time to shop around to compare interest rates and financing options offered by different lenders. This will better lead you to a loan that best fits your real estate needs.

Renting vs. Buying: Making the Decision That is Right for YOU!

Buy or Rent?When deciding to rent or buy your next home, you can research all you want when it comes to which is the better choice. Everyone has their opinions about which is the sensible decision when it comes to finances or convenience, however it ultimately comes down to which is the right choice for you. When comparing renting versus buying, there are a few important factors you should consider.

1.  The first consideration of upmost importance is obviously money. Owning your own home is an investment in which you can develop equity, increase its net worth, and eventually resell it for profit. Renting on the other hand, offers no potential for return. Buying a home seems like a logical choice if you are thinking about the future. However, the future depends on your present. Home buying requires more financial stability and responsibility than renting. Some think that simply comparing monthly rent payments with mortgage payments is a good way to measure affordability. But owning a home can incur more unexpected expenses such as repairs, insurance, taxes, maintenance, and more. Being fully prepared for financial responsibility of owning a home is critical. If you feel that you are in a good place to make this investment, it is also important to analyze the current mortgage loan rates. If rates are high, renting for a few more years may make more sense, but if rates are lower than usual it may be a better time to buy.

2.  The second factor to consider is your timeline. Do you see yourself living in your current city for a long time, or is it just temporary? If things in your life have the potential to change in the near future that will affect where you live, such as having kids or a change in your career, renting a home may be better for you. Buying a home and having to quickly resell can be a burden and not give you the time to develop the amount of equity that would make the purchase worthwhile.

3.  Next, consider your overall lifestyle, flexibility and readiness. Do you travel a lot? Do you work—or perhaps play—for long hours, and your home is simply a place to sleep? Is there a chance you could get transferred or even lose your job? Owning a home requires a lot of time. If you do not have the time or energy it takes to maintain a home, it may make more sense to rent a place where the upkeep, maintenance and costly repairs are someone else’s responsibility. Neglecting a home you own could decrease the property’s net worth causing you to lose money rather than profit.

 If you are not ready for home ownership, don’t get in over your head. There is no shame in renting. Both buying and renting have their advantages and disadvantages, but the choice that will be most beneficial is the one that fits your needs.

To Buy or Not To Buy? That Is the Question

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There are a number of reasons you might be thinking about buying a new home. Perhaps you need more space, or looking to downsize. Or maybe you are tired of renting and ready to invest your money in something you can call your own. You could be facing a change in your job that calls for a change in your location. Or you are just simply bored with your current place and looking for something different.  Whatever the reason may be, buying a home is a big decision that should be carefully thought through.

Purchasing a home is a huge investment that will not only affect your finances, but also your lifestyle. Even if you are a billionaire or have loads of cash lying around somewhere, impulsively buying a property is not usually recommended, especially if your real estate knowledge and experience in less than proficient. You should approach the decision delicately through thorough evaluation. An evaluation of what, you ask? Everything. As a starting point, focus your decision around this simple question: Is the time right?

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Take a look at your financial position; are you able to make a solid down payment? Is your income steady and stable? How much are you comfortable in spending? When asking yourself these questions it is imperative to remember that the purchase price of a home is not the only thing to consider. Owning a home requires a number of additional expenses you need to include in your evaluation—property taxes, utility expenses, homeowners insurance, maintenance expenses, etc.

Next, take a look at external elements; what are the current mortgage rates? How is the market doing? Is there a lot of inventory to choose from? Are homes selling above or below their market value? You need to evaluate what your money is able to get you and if the investment is worth making. The real estate market is a constant wave of change, so studying your area’s current performance is essential to determine your best option, whether that be to buy now or wait for conditions to improve.

Special tip: To make a more informed and confident decision, your most valuable resource is the personal advice of a real estate expert in your local area. No one understands the current local market like those professionals who deal with it on a daily basis. They can walk you through this evaluation, answer your questions, and offer recommendations based on your individual situation.

3 Reasons to Sell Your Home Now!

Been tossing around the idea of selling your home but just been waiting for the “right” time? Stop hesitating because that right time is right now! ­ Here are 3 reasons why it is a great time to sell your house.

1. Inventory is extremely low

Buyer demand is high, but inventory supply is low. It’s Economics 101. And it is happening nationwide. Homes are selling fast as buyers are competing to snatch up what they can get before someone else does.

2. Prices are on the rise

supply_demand

In this low inventory market, the fight is buyers versus buyers and it’s the homes for sale that are the prize to be won. Home buyers are facing multiple offer situations which in turn create bidding wars. Buyers are trying to outbid the other offers, ultimately driving up home prices.

3. Mortgage rates are low, but on the rise

Rates

Mortgage rates have been staying near record lows, hovering around 3%, but we knew it was only a matter of time before that can change. Interest rates have shown a steady increase over the past few weeks, reaching 4.125% just yesterday. If a new home is anywhere in your near future, you may want to lock in one of these lower rates sooner rather than later.

Click Here to see today’s current interest rates.

In this current market sellers have the advantage. This is a low-risk time to sell your home, offering benefits that won’t last forever—don’t let it pass you by!

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