Home Buyers

How to Host a Sizzling Summer Open House

According to the National Association of Realtors®, more than 40 percent of all homes sold last year were between the months of May and August. There are so many reasons why summer may be the perfect time to put your home on the market – families are trying to settle into a new place before the school year starts and buyers have their tax refunds firmly in hand. But with so many others reaching the same conclusion, how do you make your home stand out?

A well planned open house allows potential buyers to picture how life in this home would be, and in the summer people tend to be more relaxed; it’s the time of vacations and lazy days. So making your home’s open house a haven from the heat is the best way to help them visualize that this is the house is where they’ll want to spend all of their summers.

Here are a few tips to help your home’s open house stand out this summer.

Pump the A/C. It’s easy for a house to become stuffy and warm during the summer, especially with exterior doors frequently opening and closing, so make sure that you have the air conditioning running whenever you’re hosting potential buyers.  Just make sure to keep the temperature cool and inviting, not set to a deep freeze!

Curb Appeal. Your home’s curb appeal is its first impression, and the summer months can be harsh on your home’s front lawn. Unlike in winter, where fresh snow in the front yard can appear romantic and enticing to buyers, there is nothing attractive about the dry, dead lawns of summer. Water frequently or update your home’s landscaping to something grass-free.

Outdoor Living. If your home has a pool, a large deck or an outdoor kitchen, the summer months are the perfect time to highlight them.  Put some lemonade out for buyers to enjoy on the patio and keep the pool crystal clean.  Remember, however, that summer means kids are out of school, and they may be joining their parents on open house tours, so make sure that pool gates are kept locked tight for safety.

Embrace the Season. Potential buyers may be hot and thirsty when they arrive, so prepare for it. Have a cooler with ice-cold bottled water ready and waiting for them the moment they walk in the house, and have refreshing snacks, like watermelon or popsicles, available in the kitchen or on the patio. This will help home buyers picture your home as their oasis in the heat.

Following a few easy open house tips can help you quickly find the right buyer this summer.  If you are interested in selling or buying a home this summer, contact a local Realtor®.

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Louisville Area Home Sales Up 13.6% Year-to-Date

The Greater Louisville Association of Realtors® (GLAR) reported February 2016 sales up 22.3% with 1,062 homes and condos sold versus 868 last February. Year-to-date, compared with January-February 2015, home sales were up 13.6%. The median price for all areas in February 2016 was up 6.7% compared to last February, and the average price was up 13%. In Jefferson County, the average price in February 2016 was $205,126 and the median was $139,900. For all MLS areas, the inventory of available properties was 23.6% lower than at the same time last year.

GLAR President Greg Taylor commented that, “Our Realtor® members saw a continuation of a sellers market with inventory down over 23% compared to this time last year. The lack of inventory was the driving factor in the median price increase of 6-7% compared to last year.”

At the national level, Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors® commented that existing sales kicked off 2016 on solid footing, rising slightly to the strongest pace since July 2015. “The housing market has shown promising resilience in recent months, but home prices are still rising too fast (in many areas) because of ongoing supply constraints,” he said. “Despite the global economic slowdown, the housing sector continues to recover and will likely help the U.S. economy avoid a recession.”

February 2016 Statistics Release

Oct. 2015 Housing in Greater Louisville

The Greater Louisville Association of Realtors® (GLAR) reported year-to-date sales up 12.2% with 13,896 homes and condos sold versus 12,383 at the same time last year. Sales were up 5.1% in October 2015 (1,416 units) compared to October 2014 (1,347 units). The median price for all areas in October 2015 was up 6.3% compared to October 2014, and the year-to-date statistics continue to show a 5.8% increase in values. In Jefferson County, the average price was $189,428 and the median was $155,000. For all MLS areas, the inventory of available properties was 17.3% lower than at the same time last year.

GLAR President Greg Taylor commented that, “Continued low inventory in Louisville means that accurately priced, move-in ready homes are selling quickly.” At the national level, Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors® commented that despite persistently low mortgage rates and a healthier job market, the first-time homebuyer rate remains suppressed. In the recent survey of Home Buyers & Sellers, debt was cited as the primary reason for the delay in home ownership. However, 64% of first time buyers said their primary reason to purchase a home was a “desire to own,” compared to a figure of 53% last year, which could be a positive indicator heading into 2016.

Click here for October 2015 Stats

Young Buyers Prefer Walkable Communities, Says REALTOR Survey

Most potential homebuyers are not only looking for the perfect home, they are also looking for the perfect neighborhood. According to the National Association of Realtors® 2015 National Community and Transportation Preference Survey, when Americans think of their dream neighborhood they often think of a mixed-used, walkable community.

Realtors® are community builders and understand the complexities that go into creating a strong and successful community. “While there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all neighborhood, more and more Americans, especially younger ones, are being drawn to mixed-use communities with a combination of homes and business and walkable areas.

Walkability is defined as a measure of how friendly an area is to walking. Can someone go grocery shopping on foot? Are there shops and restaurants within walking distance? Are there plenty of sidewalks, and are they well maintained? These are all factors taken into account when determining an area’s walkability.

According to the survey, millennials, those aged 18 to 34, prefer walking as a method of transportation by 12 percentage points over driving. Millennials are also the generation most likely to make sacrifices to purchase a home in these types of communities, such as buying a smaller home or buying a house without a backyard.

Younger buyers are looking for communities where they can walk to a restaurant and don’t have to drive to pick up their weekly groceries. However, it is not only millennials who are hoping to move into walkable neighborhoods; these preferences are seen across generations.

Based on the survey, women of all generations are more likely than men to show a preference for walkability, with 61 percent saying that the availability of sidewalks in a community with stores and restaurants to walk to is very important to them. And 48 percent of all respondents answered that they would prefer to live in communities containing houses with small yards but within easy walking distance of the community’s amenities rather than living in communities with houses that have large yards but are driving distance to all amenities.

As their preferences shift from the suburbs to urban centers, homebuyers continue to rely on Realtors® to help them find their dream homes and neighborhoods. Realtors® are the most trusted resource for real estate information and have unparalleled knowledge of local markets and conditions, helping their clients to fulfill their real estate goals.

August 2015 Home Sales up 11.6%

The Greater Louisville Association of Realtors® (“GLAR”) reported year-to-date sales up 11.6% with 10,951 homes and condos sold versus 9,808 at the same time last year. Sales were up 0.9% in August 2015 (1,532 units) compared to August 2014 (1,518 units). Prices in August 2015 were up 3% compared to August 2014, and the year-to-date statistics show a 6.4% increase in values. In Jefferson County, the average price was $200,058 and the median was $158,000. For all MLS areas, the inventory of available properties was 20.5% lower than the same time last year.

GLAR President Paula Colvin commented that, “Inventory shortages are still contributing to a strong seller’s market in some areas inside the Watterson Expressway. Properties located further out, and at higher price points, are selling at a more normal pace.

“At the national level, Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors® commented last week that, “Demand for buying has drastically improved this year and is propelling home sale to a pace not seen since 2007. As local job markets continue to expand, the pool of homebuyers will increase.”

Click here for August 2015 Stats

Tips for Buying a Home with Friends

With housing inventory low and prices going up, some people are making the decision to partner with friends and buy a home together. This scenario allows people who otherwise would not be able to afford a house to share expenses and achieve the dream of becoming homeowners. But how do you know if buying property jointly is the right move for you?

It is important to remember that this is a business transaction, so you and your friends will have to approach it as such. You are going to have to have a very open, very frank conversation with your friends about their finances, their plans for the future, what to do if someone wants to sell, etc.If these are conversations you are uncomfortable having or you are worried about the effect they might have on your friendship, then buying a home with friends is probably not the right choice for you.

However, if you and your friends can come to terms, owning a home while sharing the burden of all the costs can help you build your savings while gaining equity in a home.

Here are some tips on purchasing a home with friends:

Review your friends’ finances. This is most likely the largest financial decision of your life, so now is not the time to hem and haw on questions of finance. You will need to be aware of everyone’s credit scores, income, savings and any other relevant assets. It is important to make sure that you and your friends are financially prepared to become homeowners.

Decide how payments and costs will be split. Questions to consider are how much each person will contribute to the downpayment and if that will affect how you and your friends divide the mortgage payments? Will the utilities be split evenly every month or will you alternate who pays? It is important that these details be worked out and understood by everyone involved before the home is purchased.

Decide on the type of house. Are you planning on buying a single-family home or a multi-family home? Do you see yourself sharing a kitchen and bathroom, or are you looking to buy a place where you will each have your own private residence? You should also decide ahead of time on everyone’s must-haves for the home. Knowing that your friend will only buy a house with a big backyard or that they will not buy a house on a corner lot can save you a lot of time house hunting.

Get everything in writing. It is important that all of the co-purchasers keep written documentation of all of your agreements regarding financial and other responsibilities. So many people think that because they are dealing with friends that there is no need to write up a contract, but it can help you to avoid conflicts and surprises down the road.

Work with a Realtor®. Buying a home is an important decision, and whether you are doing it on your own or with a friend, using a Realtor® is a smart move. A Realtor®, a member of the National Association of Realtors®, can provide counsel, discuss listings, show you homes in person, negotiate on your behalf and help you stay focused on the issues that are most important.

If you enter the arrangement educated and prepared, co-purchasing a home can be a great way to get your foot on the first step of the homeownership ladder.

Tips for Improving Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Your home’s curb appeal is the first chance to impress potential buyers. Whether buyers are wowed by a beautiful and well-maintained yard or are repelled by dirty exterior walls and an overgrown lawn can significantly impact your home’s sales price if you’re thinking of selling it this spring.

When buyers pull up to a house, they want to be able to picture themselves living in and coming home to it. Dead grass and chipped paint can make that all the more difficult to visualize. Making sure your home is prepared, both inside and out, before you put it on the market could help it sell faster and for top dollar.

Here are a few tips to make sure your curb appeal is making the best impression on potential buyers:

•Clean your house.
It’s not only the inside of your home that needs to be kept clean of dirt and grime, the outside of your home should be just as spotless. Clean your outer walls with soapy water and wash your windows inside and out. According to Greater Louisville Association of REALTORS, washing your house can substantially raise the sale price.

•A new coat of paint.
After you’ve cleaned your home’s exterior, the next step is to apply a fresh coat of paint. A new coat of paint is like a face-lift for your home. But don’t try to make a statement with your home’s color. If your home is a wildly different color from the other homes in your neighborhood, it could negatively affect a buyer’s perception of the home’s value.

•A well-manicured yard.
Your front yard creates your home’s first impression to prospective buyers, so make sure that your lawn is green and trimmed and your shrubs and flower beds are well tended. It is important to keep your yard neat, raking any fallen leaves and pulling any weeds. If there is a barren tree in your front yard, cut it down and replace it with grass.

•Repair the roof.
If your roof is damaged, dirty or missing shingles, it can have a negative impact on the value of your home. If your neighbors’ roofs are well maintained or have been recently replaced, it will make yours look especially ragged. Sometimes a good cleaning is all you need to have your roof look like new. However, that isn’t a project you will want to take on yourself without the proper equipment; hire a professional with the right tools and training, who will be able to clean your roof without damaging it.

By making a few simple changes to your home’s exterior, you can increase your home’s value and hopefully help it sell more quickly this spring.