1. Thanks for the ladder!
Call me a social climber if you will, but I did discover a ladder in your back yard. Thank you for leaving it where I could lean it against your home and easily reach a second-story window. I really love it when upper story openings aren’t wired to a home security system!
So, if you want to keep me out, store your ladder in the basement or a locked garage. And call your security company to wire upper-story windows into your alarm system.
A rising star
2. Loved your trash
Can’t tell you how much fun I have driving around neighborhoods on trash day (especially after big gift holidays) when the empty boxes on the curb reveal what wonderful new toys you have. Your thoughtfulness made it possible for me to land a new laptop and a flat-screen television in one easy trip to your home!
Next time, break down the boxes and conceal them in the recycling or trash bins.
3. Dear Can’t-Get-Around-To-It
Recently, I noticed you hadn’t trimmed trees and shrubs around your home, so I knew I’d have a wonderful place to hide while I worked to break into your home. I really can’t thank you enough for all the great new things I grabbed.
Next time, trim back bushes and trees near windows and doors. Make sure entry points to your home are easily visible from the street — I much prefer to work in private! While you’re at it, install motion-sensor lighting. I’m scared of bright lights!
The Tree Lover
4. Su casa es mi casa!
I was sincerely relieved to find your back door was a plain wood-panel door. I had no trouble kicking it in (my knees appreciate how easy that was!) Imagine how silly I felt when I discovered that your windows weren’t locked anyway.
You may want to take a cue from your neighbor and install steel-wrapped exterior doors with deadbolts on all your entries. And be sure your windows are locked when you’re away.
All the best,
5. Bad reflection on you
You’d be surprised how many home owners position a mirror in their entry hall so I can see from a window if the alarm system is armed. (Yours wasn’t, but I’m guessing you know that by now!) Thanks for taking a lot of pressure off of me.
A little free advice: Relocate the mirror so your alarm system isn’t visible if someone else would peer through a window.
6. The telltale grass
Wow, isn’t it amazing how fast the grass grows these days? I swung by now and then and noticed your lawn was uncut, newspapers were piling up on the front steps, and your shades were always closed. To me, that’s an open invitation.
Next time, hire someone you trust to mow regularly, pick up around the doorstep, open and close various window shades, and turn different lights on and off (or put a few on timers). One more thing: Lock any car you leave in the driveway, or I can use your garage door opener to get in quickly.
Your Trip Advisor
7. Getting carried away
Many thanks for putting your valuables into an easy-to-carry safe that I could carry right out your back door. (Nice jewelry, and thank you for the cash!)
You may want to invest in a wall safe, which I rarely attempt to open. Or, rent a lock box at your bank.
Mr. Safe and Not-So-Sound
8. Dear BFF
Thanks for alerting a professional acquaintance of mine via your social network that you were away for the week in Puerto Vallarta, having the time of your life. Me? I enjoyed a very relaxing visit to your home with no pressure of being caught.
If only you had known that posting comments and photos of your trip on social networks is fine — but do that after you return so you won’t broadcast your absence!
9. Tag, you’re it!
Where are you? When you use popular geo-tracking apps, such as FourSquare and Glympse, I might know if you’re not home. Web sites such as www.pleaserobme.com help me keep track of your whereabouts.
If you prefer that I not visit your home, be careful about geo-tagging. But, otherwise, thank you for the loot!
— Just Tagging Along
10. Thanks for the appointment
Thanks for inviting me into your home to view the laptop you wanted to sell. I do apologize for the scare I gave you when I took it (and your purse).
Did you know that some large U.S. cities are averaging one so-called “robbery by appointment” per day? If you want to sell high-ticket items to strangers, I suggest you arrange to meet at the parking lot of your local police station. I definitely won’t show up, and you’ll still have your valuables (and your purse!)
Tuesday, July 31 2012
Successful burglars have lots in common — home owners who unwittingly give invitations to robbery. Here’s how thieves thank you for your generosity.
You come home to an open front door, a ransacked house, and missing valuables. How did a burglar know you’d be gone? How did they get in?
1. Thanks for the ladder!
Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/home-security/how-to-prevent-burglaries/#ixzz21jzxsdEr
Friday, July 27 2012
Home prices and market activity held strong during June according to themonthly Indiana Real Estate MarketsReport today released by the state’s REALTORS®.
Highlightsfrom the report include:
• The median sale price of homes statewide is in its seventh consecutivemonth of year-over-year increases and back to a level not seen since 2007.
“Forthe third month in a row, the statewide housing market has made very goodnews,” said Karl Berron, Chief Executive Officer of the Indiana Association ofREALTORS®. “Home prices and market activity were strong during June which is a resultof pent-up demand and continued low interest rates. It’s also because homesacross Indiana have historically held value, so real estate here has long beenviewed as a wise investment.
“Thedemand will only be sustained if Hoosiers are working and confident in theirlong-term employment,” continued Berron. “So we are listening for economicdevelopment plans and watching jobs numbers closely.”
Gettingback to the traditional year-over-year comparisons of the Indiana Real Estate Markets Report, statewide, when comparing June2012 to June 2011:
• The number of closed home sales increased 11 percent to 6,750;
Anyonelooking to buy or invest should start with the sortable county tables of this reportand then talk to a local REALTOR® who can give the most insight into what’shappening in a neighborhood, city or school district.
Thursday, July 26 2012
You change your car's oil every 3,000 miles or so, get your teeth cleaned regularly, and rebalance your investments once a year. So why wouldn't you undertake similar preventive maintenance on your house?
Having to replace just one of its hardest-working surfaces -- from roofing to exterior paint, hardwood floors to lawn -- would cost you thousands. But you can stave off that pain with simple, often-overlooked upkeep procedures and slight tweaks to the way you already approach routine chores.
Exterior paint: The biggest controllable threat to the paint on your house is the landscaping around it, says architect Karen Sweeney, director of facilities for two Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in Chicago.
Overgrown foundation plantings rub away paint -- and bring moisture and bugs onto the finish.
The fix: Prune bushes to keep them at least a foot away from the house; a landscaper might do it for $200 if he's already there.
Roofing: You can't stop nature from damaging your roof, but you can address the harm coming from within by adding ventilation to your attic. Without proper airflow, that space can get 35° to 55°F hotter than the outside temperature, roasting the roof from below.
The fix: Have a contractor add airflow by installing high and low attic vents; they can go in the walls or the roof itself, depending on the situation ($500 to $1,000).
Hardwood floors: Every grimy boot and dragged chair brings you closer to the day when you'll have to refinish the floors. "But sanding floorboards makes them a little thinner, bouncier, and creakier," says Sweeney. "And after three times there's nothing left to sand."
The fix: Hire a floor guy to "
But in the North, grass shorter than 2½ to 3½ inches is less drought resistant and invites insects and weeds (in the South, one inch is fine).
The fix: Set the mower higher and never remove more than a third of the grass height at a time. Says Stier: "Think of mowing as a trim, not a crewcut."
," or sand away most of the old finish -- without touching the wood -- and apply new polyurethane ($1,000 to $1,500 for a typical first floor, half the cost of refinishing).
Lawns: Many DIYers and pros do the grass serious harm when they mow.
"People like the look of a close-cropped lawn," says University of Tennessee agriculture professor John Stier, a consultant to Major League Baseball grounds crews.
Wednesday, July 25 2012
Moving.com identified the top metro areas for 18- to 29-year olds, factoring in affordable housing and rental costs, low unemployment, and education and entertainment opportunities. The areas emerging at the top of its list are located mostly near large cities and are considered “affordable” by big-city standards. The metro areas also offer some of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation, below 7 percent.
The top seven cities for millennials, according to Moving.com’s list are:
1. Athens, Ga.
2. Chapel Hill, N.C.
3. Corvallis, Ore.
5. Ithaca, N.Y.
6. Oklahoma City, Okla.
7. Pittsburgh, Pa.
Source: “The Top 10 Best Cities for Millennials,” 24/7 Wall St. (July 9, 2012)
Tuesday, July 24 2012
Your Evansville home is in perfect shape – all set to go on the market. You’ve enlisted an experienced real estate agent with a solid track record. Now all that’s left is…what?
What’s that next step?
In fact, the next step can be all-important: creating alocal listing that does more than just describe the number of beds and baths. It has to stand out among all the competing listings that will be seen alongside it. That listing is the keystone of the marketing campaign that will ultimately fetch a new owner: its job is to get buyers and agents to take a closer look. To get that job done, it has to be special!
When I sit down to work up an effective listing, I try to pay attention to what creative writers from other forms of advertising advise: first discover what is unique, appealing, attention-getting, then present it with language that captures readers’ imaginations. Formulas are out, since following a set group of mechanical rules can only produce a dull, repetitious result. Even so, there are some useful tips that can help spark an effective listing:
* Keep the context in mind. The job of any Evansville listing is to communicate many essential details in a limited amount of space – but there will be photographic information there, too. Highlight features that can’t be told through either its photos or specifications. For example, if a house offers a spectacular view of the sunset from its veranda, the listing should highlight it. Grandeur can be told nowhere else.
* Listing language should be upbeat and tailored to sell, while at the same time, filled with accurate and useful information. It’s a balancing act, and going overboard in either direction can be off-putting. Specific details help bring in readers and build believability (high quality brand names like Sub-Zero or Wolf are good examples). Details build credibility that bolsters less concrete descriptions. I leave out unsupportable claims altogether. It can be tempting to fall in love with flowery language that sails off into its own reality -- but accurate information builds trust for the lead-up to a sale.
* Setting the right tone is another important factor. It’s another balancing act. Listings should be upbeat without exaggeration…accommodating without sounding desperate. The right tone can help bring in prospects, just as the wrong one will drive them off or raise suspicions that something is wrong.
A successfullocal agent has demonstrated the knowhow and experience to bring these and other elements together to produce powerful, effective home listings. If you are considering selling your own home in our area, I hope you will give me a call so we can create a dynamic marketing plan to sell your property! You can reach me on my cell phone 812-499-9234.
Monday, July 23 2012
July tends to be a busy month in most Evansville homes. If you have kids who are out of school, it’s up to you to dream up new ways to keep them out of trouble (and away from non-stop video gaming). Even if kids are not at homes, you probably have to get twice as much done anyway – you want to be ahead at work and around the house so you can relax and enjoy your vacation. Or recover from it.
And then there is the likelihood that in the back of your mind is the knowledge that you’ve been putting off what should be an annual maintenance once-over. All homes have areas that need looking after, and July and August are the best time to get at them. On dry days that aren’t too blisteringly hot to work, it’s prime time to fix areas that the year’s wear and tear may be turning into future problems.
Warm weather is perfect for conducting a timely energy audit. Any gaps or cracks around doors or windows - the likely culprits if heat leakage raised last winter’s energy bills - can most easily be filled in warm weather. Other possible spots where heat can leak is the junction between different materials, and around fireplace dampers. If you’re a dedicated DIYer, grab some caulk or other professional-grade material and get filling. If you’re less handy, the energy audit may suggest a call to an appropriate professional. A review of the year’s energy bills will tell you whether that makes dollars and sense.
This is the time to pay attention to the big one: the foundation. It’s prudent in all homes to clean visible concrete surfaces. Sidewalks and steps can be cleaned very effectively with the same pressure washer you use to clean your car. When it comes to the foundation, be sure to check for cracks, water or mold.. If mold or water is present, a trusted contractor or structural engineer will be able to recommend a solution that prevents real trouble later.
Summer is also a good time to take a look at your home’s deck or patios. Standing water rots wood. The solution can be as simple as slipping planter "feet" beneath outdoor flower pots. As long as water is able to flow around or under stationary objects, the underlying wood will benefit.
These are only a few examples of what you can make part of your summer home maintenance checklist. Call me anytime with home and maintenance-related questions, if you need a recommendation for a reliable local contractor or service provider, or if you want to check on the status of the Evansville homes market in your neighborhood. You can reach me on my cell phone at 812-499-9234.
Friday, July 20 2012
A national vacation magazine is recognizing a Holiday World and Splashin' Safari thrill ride. The park's "Mammoth" water coaster has been named one of Travel + Leisure's "World's Craziest Waterslides."
The ride features a six-person raft that races down hills and a number of tunnels.
The national attention keeps mounting for Holiday world.
Sunday, "The Voyage" roller coaster was featured on the Travel Channel's "Insane Coaster Wars."
Source: Travel + Leisure Magazine
Thursday, July 19 2012
Home owners beware: “Your homeowner’s insurance now probably covers less while costing more,” The Wall Street Journal reports.
Home owner deductibles have been rising the last few years, as home owners who may have once seen $250 to $500 a claim soar to $1,000 to $2,500 a claim in recent years.
There’s been a move by the industry to go to percentage-based deductibles, which have caused prices to rise. For example, home owners may have once had a $500 to $1,000 deductible but now have a form of a deductible of 2 percent of the insured value of a home for items like wind and hail damage. That could mean that insurance may only cover half the cost of a roof replacement.
What’s more, more insurance companies are issuing more limits on what all they will pay for in replacing a home.
Texas home owners pay the highest insurance premiums in the country, but a consumer group in the state found that newer policies are covering less, like limiting coverage on plumbing leaks or damage to foundations.
With insurance policies squeezing more home owners’ budgets, housing experts say home owners need to take an active role in reviewing their policy to find out what all is covered. Also, they say that home owners need to think twice before making several claims.
“One large claim will affect you less than multiple small ones,” The Wall Street Journal article notes. “Of course, you buy insurance to be covered, so you are always free to file a claim. But you should know that insurers keep close track of claims and will penalize you for making too many, even if you just happen to hit a string of bad luck.”
Source: “Insurance Deductibles Soar,” The Wall Street Journal (July 13, 2012)
Wednesday, July 18 2012
As usual, the first week of July brought the usual report cards on home sales and other real estate data: the “second quarter stats.” The start of summer signals the beginning of what journalists call the slow news season (in Washington, the ‘silly season’) – a slowdown in the drumbeat of nonstop crises and turbulence in world and national affairs. Sometimes I think the most welcome result is the relief that comes from realizing that we don’t even need to glance at newspapers and TV news. Nothing new is happening. Thank goodness! That’s a mini-vacation all by itself.
One side effect it that it is much more likely that you may have missed some good news that could affect Evansville homes sales. And possibly a subtle change in the way that news is beginning to be presented.
Reports from the National Association of Realtors, the Census Bureau and others have been looking up for a while, but reports in the national media have emphasized the caution signals. Lately there seems to be a shift in emphasis, if not content. The New York Times reported on the 19.8% increase in home sales in the last 12 months – and for once, the Grey Lady spent more ink on the ‘upswing’ than on the lagging recovery. “…Real estate was far down the list [of categories] investors had to worry about,” said the Times. Coming from that source, it was the journalistic equivalent of a ticker tape parade.
USA Today headlined “HOUSING PRICES RISE IN MOST U.S. CITIES,” and went on to quote economist Maury Harris stressing the importance of positive headlines. “It’s a confidence builder at a time when Americans really need something good happening.” He has a point: in the past, Evansville home sales, like those everywhere else, tend to reflect the national temper even though real estate is a very local phenomenon.
The Christian Science Monitor reported on the “lift to the long-suffering housing market” provided by the record lows in mortgage rates. They pointed out that previously occupied home sales contract signings matched the “fastest pace in two years,” with prices “rising in most markets.”
The Wall Street Journal sounded a bit more encouraging, as well. “Generally speaking,” they reported, “home prices are rising again in most markets because demand is up strongly from one and two years ago, which the number of homes for sale is down sharply.”
Of course, every neighborhood in Evansville is unique -- and getting accurate home sales information for properties that are similar to yours is a necessary step when you go about evaluating your own family’s home buying or selling plans. For accurate and up-to-date information, feel free to contact me anytime for a consultation.
Tuesday, July 17 2012
We are halfway through 2012 and I think it is a good time to see where we are this year and compare 2012 to 2011. For the first six months of 2012 our Broker Listing Cooperative, (we used to call this our MLS) has sold almost $260 million of real estate up just over 4% from the preceding year. Homes sold this year have exceeded last year in 5 of the first 6 months and are up almost 5% from last year. In addition the list price to sale price ratio, which is the percentage of list price compared to the asking price has improved slightly and is over 95% so far this year. Days on market (how long a house is listed before it sells) is at 123 days this year. Although I would like for this number to be lower is down from almost 140 days last year at this time. Finally our inventory levels are better than they have been for several years. We have had less than 7 months supply of homes on the market for 3 of the past 4 months. We never had less than 7 months supply in 2011 and we averaged 8.7 months for the entire year. This is a significant improvement and 2012 will the best year we have had since 2006 for inventory levels.
All of the figures in the preceding paragraph were from our BLC. I am proud that F.C. Tucker Emge Realtors has substantially outperformed the market for the first 6 months of the year. My company increased sales 14.9% over this time frame and in fact if you remove Tucker’s increase the rest of our BLC was down .4% over the same time period. Although I always work hard for my clients I know one reason our company has performed much better than the market is because both our FCTuckeremge.com website and our Tuckermobile.com websites are superior to those of all of our local competitors. Virtually all buyers start their home search on the web and we want to make sure that buyers continue to go to our site first. It helps our buying clients find what they are looking for and is the best exposure available for our sellers.
Kathy and I are here for all of your real estate needs. Please contact either of us if you have any questions or concerns. You can reach me on my cell phone at 812-499-9234.
Monday, July 16 2012
We all know that many Evansville property searchers are looking for homes with more modern, high tech-compatible features. But something that is also interesting is evidence that the trend has broadened to include retirees who are in a downsizing, property-searching frame of mind.
From wireless availability to health monitoring systems, technology is one of the key hot buttons in the senior housing industry. "Many people are trading older houses for new [properties] that offer energy efficiency, great rooms, open floor plans,” according to Jane O'Connor, a specialist who studies trends in the 55-plus population.
Although earlier studies found that most baby boomers preferred to stay in their current home as long as possible, those times are a-changin’. That attitude may have been typical for most of the last 50 or 60 years, but perhaps due to skyrocketing energy prices over the past few years, willingness to downsize and move is growing among retirement aged advocates.
As the publisher of Mature Living Choices magazine, O’Connor suggests other contributing reasons. “Boomers…were the first generation to question authority. They changed everything they touched, from the creation of suburbs to mini-mansions.” Today’s retirees are also strong entrants into the virtual communities that the social networking explosion has created. They are using e-book readers, tablets, and other digital technology -- including online services like Skype and other video chat enablers. A decade ago, members of the senior sector were generally considered to be interested in (but in need of instruction regarding) the latest electronic communication devices. No longer. Especially given how particularly useful the new gizmos are for keeping in touch with children and relatives in other states, more tech-savvy seniors consider strong cable and internet access absolute necessities.
It seems like just yesterday when it was principally the 20-somethings who were wired. The senior population today can be nearly as high-tech as their offspring, and – when the time arrives to begin a Evansville property search at the start of retirement - they expect to continue. It’s no wonder that assisted living facilities, retirement communities and nursing homes are also being required to have all the amenities of today’s connected world.
Whether you are one of the retiree generation setting out on your own property search, or a homeowner preparing to sell into this changing market, I’m here to assist in your plans. Give me a call anytime! You can reach me on my cell phone at 812-499-9234.
Friday, July 13 2012
Every homeowner can have all sorts of reasons for selling their Evansville house. Those in the boomer generation can be in one of the traditional phases of retirement (planning, transitioning, initiating) or perhaps in one of the newly-popular phases (postponing, rejecting).
For them and everyone else, the decision about whether to sell the house falls into one of two categories: those triggered by economic pressures -- or all the other reasons. In all cases, being in control of the timing of your house sale will put you in control of the process. That pays off.
Even if the money factor doesn’t rule, it’s vital to first do some hard-nosed dollars-and-cents calculations before putting your house on the market. Find out what a realistic listing price range will be. I or anotherexperienced real estate professional can be a major asset in establishing this: you can count on a complimentary consultation that will offer comparable current values for our area’s house sales.
Then consider current rental rates for a house like yours. Sometimes you will be surprised to find that the most beneficial course would be to rent your house for an interim period, especially in light of some evidence that a market rise is just beginning. When you are penciling out these factors, be sure to include realistic maintenance expenses and, if you are moving out of the area, property management fees. I can help here, too.
If financial pressure is the key motivating factor, make sure you have weighed the alternatives before sealing the decision to sell your house. If you haven’t done so already, find out if refinancing is an option. The first answer isn’t necessarily the final one: check with other financial sources as well as your current mortgage holder. Mortgage rates are lower than ever, and if unmanageable mortgage payments are at issue, this could be the most direct route to reducing that outflow and giving you time to sell on your own timetable.
Being methodical and patient when deciding about any house sale can make a big difference in the bottom line. I’m here to provide current Evansville information and guidance that will help make that possible. You can reach me on my cell phone at 812-499-9234.
Thursday, July 12 2012
Look to the walls! Homeowners preparing Evansville houses for sale can hesitate when they suspect the overall look and feel of the interior has grown dated. With good reason, they may fear that prospective buyers will be drawn to newer, fresher-looking competitors…yet the cost and delay of all-out remodel is unattractive.
One alternative is to ‘look to the walls’ for an easy and budget-friendly alternative to a complete remodel. Few things can date a home the way old wallpaper does. Unfortunately, just painting over it is not a solution that usually works very well. Let’s face it: the old paper has to go!
While many newer types come off with ease, it can be downright difficult to remove old wallpaper. Those paisley daisies can be stubborn! Furthermore, many old homes have several layers, making the process even more daunting. Like any of the other processes involved in prepping houses for sale, this one will go considerably faster if you keep the end goal – the major increase in value – in mind.
If the offending wallpaper is a non-porous material like vinyl, start by making holes in it with a puncturing roller, handsaw blade, or even just rough sand paper. The holes will allow steam or chemicals to get through to the glue – it’s what you are working to neutralize. A wallpaper steamer helps ease wallpaper away by melting the glue that bonds it to the wall. You can usually find this specialty equipment for sale or rent at one of our Evansville hardware stores or home centers.
Another method is to spray or sponge on one of the several chemical solutions that dissolve the old bonding glue. Most of these preparations soak for about 15 minutes before removal. Alternatively, there is the least expensive option -- one that I find is usually just as effective. This is a one-to-one solution of fabric softener and hot water (the ‘hot’ is important). Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle, then spray directly onto the wall. This mixture works best when made in small batches that keep the water hot enough to melt the glue.
Once the bond is loosened, starting in a bottom corner, pull upward, using a putty knife as needed to ease the paper away from the wall surface. After the paper is down, the best cleaning solution is regular dish detergent preceding a water rinse and towel dry. (In case I forgot to mention it, work clothes are a requirement for this project: old work clothes!)
Do-it-yourself projects like this considerably lower the cost of updating Evansville houses for sale…especially when compared with the alternative of hiring a pro. If you’re looking for more ideas on how to modernize and refresh your home before listing it for sale, don’t hesitate to give me a call. Together, we can develop a pre-marketing plan that works for you! You can reach me at 812-499-9234.
Wednesday, July 11 2012
About this time a year ago, I was pointing out that with Evansville mortgage rates at near historic lows, the opportunities for first time home ownership had seldom been better. Although, as always, there is a lot more to a family’s decision than the cash flow dimension, it’s undeniable that those who took advantage of low mortgage rates in 1993 could look forward to spending the next 30 years making the their friends and neighbors feel like they’d missed the boat. When you are paying 6.8% for your home while yournext door neighbor -- who bought just one year later -- is struggling at 9.2% every month, it’s no wonder your car looks a lot newer. And why you’re always jetting off to exotic vacations while they check out the latest “staycation” bargains.
That was what was happening a year ago, but this year is different. I can no longer tell you that mortgage rates are at near historic lows.
That’s because last week, mortgage rates hit absolute historic lows!
According to Freddie Mac’sPrimary Mortgage Market Survey, 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rates (FRM) averaged 3.62%. There were other bottom-scraping stats in the same report, including the average of 0.8 point (with an asterisk that points out that closing costs vary); but the real headline-maker was that further drop in mortgage rates. Down from 4.6% a year ago. That’s an all-time low in Freddie Mac records – and they go back to 1971.
"Recent economic data releases of less consumer spending and a contraction in the manufacturing industry drove long-term Treasury bond yields lower over the week and allowed fixed mortgage rates to hit new all-time record lows," said Freddie Mac's chief economist, Frank Nothaft, quoted in the July 5 release.
You can bet that Evanville buyers and sellers are listening. If previous talks of a housing recovery haven’t been enough to motivate first-time buyers or investors to jump into the market, mortgage rates like these often do the trick. And if you are on the oppositie side of the home-selling equation, weighing the best time to sell your Evansville home, this might be the signal you’ve been waiting for. Record-breaking low mortgage rates (and corresponding headlines) can help breathe life back into any market, including Evansville home sales. Properties that are properly priced and well-marketed stand the best chance of taking advantage of an invigorated market.
Every market is different, and often vary from neighborhood to neighborhood. Call me if you want to chat about market updates and how they might affect your individual outlook. You can reach me at 812-499-9234.
Tuesday, July 10 2012
As moving time approaches, most internal stress meters start twitching around the time we have to figure out how many cartons it’s going to take. A cross-town move is one thing -- sometimes you can even handle it yourself (with the help of bribable friends and relatives, of course).
But suppose you have just accepted a new job promotion in Evansville area. Of course, you’re immediately excited by the adventurous prospect of the summer’s relocation. But suppose ourtown is located in a new zip code – and maybe even a new state. Your move up the professional ladder could also mean spending a lot more time and money on the move itself…and once here, the demands of your new position will double your need to pay attention to business.
Fear not: yourlocal real estate agent has seen how clients achieve a smooth transition with a minimum of stress. And we are happy to share some of the strategies that work best:
1. Lighten the load. The more belongings you and your movers have to pack, carry, and unpack again, the more costly the move will be. You can significantly lower the cost by getting rid of all the possessions you no longer use on a regular basis (there are probably more than you think!). Hold a yard sale, donate to charity, or just give those items to friends and family. We real estate agents are forever advising clients to de-clutter, but this holds doubly true when you are relocating. When you’re done, you’ll feel like a huge burden has been lifted from your shoulders! Stress meter: down.
2. Plan in advance. Real estate agents and relocation pros will always stress advance planning. As soon as possible, sit down and list the steps you need to take, then put them in order. You will find this gives you more time to make decisions, and more time to shop (and save money). For example, if you are buying anEvansville home and are working under a strict deadline, you could back yourself into a hurried decision instead of allowing time for your agent to expose you to all the additional options. By planning ahead -- meeting with your local real estate agent as far in advance as possible -- you can allot enough time to establish a relationship that allows your agent to introduce the full range of neighborhood options. Stress meter: down.
3. Consider using professionals. Before dismissing the idea of hiring professional movers because of cost, spend a day obtaining estimates from at least two or three companies, then compare with do-it-yourself moving costs. You can often obtain a binding estimate that is valid for about 60 days. Compare those figures with the cost of renting a truck, driving the distance, and hiring moving help on one or both ends. Hiring professionals is a one-time cost that will relieve you of the hassle – not to mention the emotional toll – at a time when your attention should be directed to your profession. Stress meter: way down!
The move to a new town can be anywhere from nerve-jangling to serene. If your future could include relocating to our area, please feel free to contact me for some practical local advice. We have many excellent neighborhoods here in Evansville that I’d love you to see!
Monday, July 09 2012
The housing industry recovery has been underway for a while now, but for the most part, the upward movement has been moving at a snail’s pace. Experts are in broad agreement that the trend is there -- but the turnaround rate has been tepid. For those of us watching from ourEvansville perspective, it’s been a pretty unexciting rebound.
So last week’s good national news on existing home sales was especially welcome, because the report indicated that the 5.9% increase was more than three times greater than economists expected. According to the National Association of Realtors in Washington, the index of pending home resales climbed 5.9% to 101.1. This matches the two-year high reached in March.
“This improvement adds to the recent flow of good news on the housing sector, reinforcing our view that this beleaguered sector is finally on the mend” was what Millan Mulraine, a senior U.S. strategist at TD Securities in New York, wrote to his firm’s clients. Bloomberg News’ 39-economist survey had called for a 1.5% gain in May. Tripling that -- and more -- was wholly unexpected, especially in light of recent reports of weakening consumer sentiment.
Continued low mortgage rates, first-time buyer affordability, and a general sentiment that we have reached the bottom in home sales continue to contribute to the home sales rebound. Additional good news came specifically for developers and builders: a Commerce Department report showed in June that new home sales climbed to 7.6%. New dwellings accounted for almost 7% of the market last year, compared to a high of 15% during the market peak.
So what does such national home sales data mean to home sales here in our area? Good news is good news as far as I’m concerned, but real estate – as we all know – is nothing if not local. If you are considering selling your home and want the latest local information on prices and market activity, contact me to discuss thosetrends and how they are affecting our own Evansville home sales. You can reach me on my cell phone at 812-499-9234.
Tuesday, July 03 2012
Ahhhh! At the end of a busy day, who doesn’t look forward to the surge of well being that comes with closing the door behind you, finally able to relax now that the world is at bay. Whether living in apartments or homes, everyone deserves that feeling of safety and security. Yet, like most everything else, real security has to be earned.
In the area of home security, we’ve come across both good and bad news. The good: the most recent FBI report shows that the number of burglaries is decreasing across the nation. The bad: burglaries are still responsible for 23% of property crimes, and total losses for those were estimated at more than $15,000,000,000. That’s billion. Fortunately, a few very simple actions can reduce the chances that any of our Evansvillehomes will become one of those statistics.
Close and Lock Doors and Windows
This may seem obvious, but the FBI reports that burglars don't use force in about a third of homes hit by burglaries. If a criminal can gain easy access through an open or unlocked window or door -- including the garage door -- his job becomes that much easier…and, from his point of view, that much safer (yes, burglars are safety-conscious!). Since most burglaries take place during the day, Evansville homes will be significantly more secure if their owners remember to check the windows and doors whenever they leave.
Opt For Deadbolt Locks
Most people don’t realize how flimsy most front door locks actually are. While no lock is impenetrable, deadbolts take longer to break. Since burglars look for the easiest way to enter homes, most will give up and find homes with more vulnerable locks. This seems a small detail, but thoughtful protection like this can be a selling point for Evansville homes whenever their owners decide to put them up for sale.
Install a Home Security System
Whether a simple burglar alarm or a complex system with motion sensors, window and door sensors, surveillance cameras and even 24/7 off-site monitoring, burglars who find that they are expected know they will be risking arrest. It’s why statistics show that just having a security sign out front can help deter break-ins. The cost of security systems can be partially offset by a discount (usually 5% - 10%) from your home’s insurer.
An important part of owning homes is protecting them -- and ‘the buck stops’ with you, the owner. I hope you will consider me a trusted resource forEvansville home maintenance and security-related referrals anytime!
Monday, July 02 2012
Real estate practitioners in vacation spots across the country say the market for second homes is picking up steam as buyers grow more confident given signs of growth in small businesses.
The National Association of REALTORS® reports a 7 percent jump in vacation sales to 502,000 last year, accounting for 11 percent of all volume. The median vacation home price was $121,000 last year, down from a peak of $204,100 in 2005, but agents in some locales say prices are beginning to creep up as the distressed inventory is moved out.
Vacation-home buyers are snapping up higher-priced properties, although Jennifer Calenda of Michael Saunders & Co. in Southwest Florida says prices are not necessarily on the rise. With inventory hitting a seven-year low of 4.7 months in Sarasota, Manatee, and Charlotte counties, she says buyers "are saying 'we better hurry up.'"
Inventory is so scarce in some markets that some real estate professionals report multiple offers; and with prices probably at the bottom, Trulia economist Jed Kolko says people ready to make a cash purchase or who can qualify for low mortgage rates should strongly consider buying now.
Source: "Vacation Home Buyers Return, Pick Pricier Properties," Investor's Business Daily