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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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May Stats Show Home Sales Up 11.5%, Inventory Down

The Greater Louisville Association of Realtors® (GLAR) reported May 2016 sales up 4.1% with 1,573 homes and condos sold versus 1,510 last May. Year-to-date, compared with January-May 2015, home sales were up 11.5%. The median price for all areas in January-May 2016 was up 3.3% compared last year, and the average price was up 0.7% versus last year. In Jefferson County, the average price in May 2016 was $208,469 and the median was $169,000. For all MLS areas, the inventory of available properties was 23.6% lower than at the same time last year. In Jefferson County, the decreased inventory of homes and condos for sale was even more pronounced at 27.6% lower than May 2015.

GLAR President Greg Taylor commented that, “The limited inventory of homes for sale is not just limited to Jefferson County. Bullitt and Oldham County inventory is also down 21% and 25% respectively. Continued low mortgage rates are keeping affordability intact; however, our members are seeing rising prices in neighborhoods that attract first-time buyers due to the low inventory.”

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors® commented that, “Except for the West, where supply shortages and stark price growth are hampering buyers the most, sales are meaningfully higher than a year ago in much of the country.” He continued by saying, “Looking ahead, with demand holding steady and supply levels still far from sufficient, the market for entry-level and mid-priced homes will likely continue to be the most competitive heading into the summer months.”

May 2016 Stat Report

Louisville Home Sales Up 12.9%

The Greater Louisville Association of Realtors® (GLAR) reported April 2016 sales up 4.9% with 1,437 homes and condos sold versus 1,370 last April. Year-to-date, compared with January-April 2015, home sales were up 12.9%. The median price for all areas in January-April 2016 was up 3.4% compared last year, and the average price was consistent with last year. In Jefferson County, the average price in April 2016 was $186,887 and the median was $151,500. For all MLS areas, the inventory of available properties was 21.8% lower than at the same time last year. In Jefferson County, the decreased inventory of homes and condos for sale was even more pronounced at 25.6% lower than April 2015.

GLAR President Greg Taylor commented that, “The strong sellers’ market is continuing in Louisville with inventory down over 25% in Jefferson county compared to this time last year. Sellers whose homes are in move-in condition typically receive multiple offers. The median price year-to-date has advanced 3-4% with both low inventory and low mortgage rates.”

The national existing homes sales report for April 2016 is not yet available, but Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors® commented that March’s pending sales increase signaled a solid beginning to the spring buying season. “Despite supply deficiencies in plenty of areas, contract activity was fairly strong in a majority of markets in March,” he said. “This spring’s surprisingly low mortgage rates are easing some of the affordability pressures potential buyers are experiencing.”

April 2016 Stat Release

Louisville Area Home Sales Up 15.1%

The Greater Louisville Association of Realtors® (GLAR) reported March 2016 sales up 14% with 1,346 homes and condos sold versus 1,180 last March. Year-to-date, compared with January-March 2015, home sales were up 15.1%. The median price for all areas in January-March 2016 was up 4.3% compared to last year, and the average price was up 1.1%. In Jefferson County, the average price in March 2016 was $175,630 and the median was $149,000. For all MLS areas, the inventory of available properties was 20% lower than at the same time last year. In Jefferson County, the decreased inventory of homes and condos for sale was even more pronounced at 24.7% lower than March 2015.

GLAR President Greg Taylor commented that, “The sellers’ market is continuing in Louisville with inventory down in some areas over 20% compared to last year. This has also led to some fluctuations in the month to month statistics, but in general our members are seeing steady single digit appreciation gains versus last year.”

The national existing homes sales report for March 2016 is not yet available, but Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors commented that, “February sales took a considerable step back in most of the country last month, and especially in the Northeast and Midwest. The lull in contract signings in January from the large East Coast blizzard, along with the slump in the stock market, may have played a role in February’s lack of closings. However, the main issue continues to be a supply and affordability problem. Finding the right property at an affordable price is burdening many potential buyers.”  This is in contrast to the Louisville local market where affordability is greater and February sales did not drop off.

Click here for March 2016 Stats Release

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.

Drones taking real estate marketing to new heights

Real estate agents across the country have been waiting for the Federal Aviation Administration to release guidelines permitting the use of drones for commercial purposes, such as marketing real estate. Last month, the FAA released its proposed rules, which would allow realty professionals to use drones to aid their clients in marketing and selling properties.

Unmanned aerial vehicles, more commonly known as drones, are aircrafts without a human pilot aboard. The applications for this new technology are varied and numerous. Property managers are interested in drones’ property inspection applications while real estate agents hope to use drones to capture videos and pictures that help visualize and market clients’ residential and commercial properties.

New drone technologies can help real estate agents market homes and properties in ways that were cost-prohibitive in the past. Aerial photography and video could someday be an added value that Realtors® provide for all of their clients, creating eye-catching listings that stand out to potential buyers.”

The new rules provide guidance on the various permits and registrations operators will need to obtain, when and where the drones can be used and the requirements for reporting accidents or injuries. It will likely take two years for the rules to be finalized and go into effect.

Some of the requirements included in the proposed rule are:

  • Commercial drones’ flights would be restricted to 500 feet in altitude, 100 miles per hour of speed and daylight hours.
  • All flights would need to be within visual line of sight of the person operating the drone.
  • Operators of commercial drones would be required to pass an aeronautical knowledge test be issued a permit to fly, which must be renewed every two years. This would be different from receiving a pilot’s license. While drones are exciting new technology, until the rules are finalized the Greater Louisville Association of REALTORS reminds sellers that real estate professionals cannot use drones to aid in the selling and marketing of properties. Currently, using drones to market and sell either residential or commercial property can result in heavy fines for agents. But when the rules are finalized, drones will hopefully become an exciting, new tool to help sellers make their property even more attractive to buyers.

For more information and updates, as they become available, please visit www.realtor.org/drones.

Louisville Area Home Sales up 6.3% Year-to-Date with 5.5% Increase in Prices

The Greater Louisville Association of Realtors® (GLAR) reported year-to-date sales up 6.3%, with 1,732 homes and condos sold versus 1,629 at the same point last year. Sales were up 0.5% in February 2015 (848 units) compared to February 2014 (844 units), and the average selling price in all Multiple Listing Service (MLS) areas was up 5.5% compared to the same month last year. The median price in Jefferson County was up 3.7% and the average was up 1.6% due to the specific mix of homes sold. For all MLS areas, the inventory of available properties remains 11% lower than the same month last year. In Jefferson County, inventory is recovering slightly, but is still 6.1% lower than February 2014.

GLAR President Paula Colvin commented that, “members saw strong sales in February with multiple offers on properties in several areas of the market, which is something we would typically see in the spring and summer months.” She also added that, “the inventory of homes available for sale has rebounded from 11% lower to 6% lower, and we anticipate more sellers putting their homes on the market in March.”

All MLS Areas Feb.
2014
Feb. 2015 % Change Jan. 1- Feb. 28, 2014 Jan. 1-Feb. 28, 2015 % Change
Houses Sold 844 848 0.47% 1,629 1,732 6.32%
Averages Selling Price $158,929 $172,540 8.56% $160,375 $169,305 5.57%
Median Selling Price $131,950 $144,000 9.13% $130,000 $139,250 7.12%
# of Active Listings Placed into Pending Status During February 1039 1211 16.55%
Active Listings at February 15 6065 5397 -11.01%
Jefferson County Feb.
2014
Feb. 2015 % Change Jan. 1- Feb. 28, 2014 Jan. 1-Feb. 28, 2015 % Change
Houses Sold 578 594 2.77% 1117 1232 10.30%
Averages Selling Price $162,821 $170,361 4.63% $164,032 $166,637 1.59%
Median Selling Price $132,000 $135,000 2.27% $130,000 $134,900 3.77%
# of Active Listings Placed into Pending Status During February 692 845 22.11%
Active Listings at February 15 3518 3301 -6.17%
Oldham County Feb.
2014
Feb. 2015 % Change Jan. 1- Feb. 28, 2014 Jan. 1-Feb. 28, 2015 % Change
Houses Sold 46 51 10.87% 90 97 7.78%
Averages Selling Price $260,324 $249,701 -4.08% $240,216 $260,550 8.46%
Median Selling Price $225,750 $239,900 6.27% $201,000 $240,287 19.55%
# of Active Listings Placed into Pending Status During February 70 65 -7.14%
Active Listings at February 15 382 322 -15.71%
Bullitt County Feb.
2014
Feb. 2015 % Change Jan. 1- Feb. 28, 2014 Jan. 1-Feb. 28, 2015 % Change
Houses Sold 62 50 -19.35% 102 99 -2.94%
Averages Selling Price $138,705 $165,424 19.26% $148,065 $155,717 5.17%
Median Selling Price $128,200 $143,750 12.13% $130,000 $137,900 6.08%
# of Active Listings Placed into Pending Status During February 74 78 5.41%
Active Listings at February 15 420 323 -23.10%