The RE/MAX Associates Louisville Real Estate Blog

Monthly Home Sales Through October 2012

     In October 793 homes were sold in October. This is a 24.3% increase compared to last year when only 683  homes were sold. Upon that only 551 homes were sold in October for 2010. These numbers are only for Jefferson county single-family homes and condos, not multi-family homes.

     It's still the same story, homes prices are rising as well as the sale of homes. interest rates are still incredibly low which means it's a great time to buy a house even for those who are renting.

     It should be noted though that home inventory is on the decline, which allows home sellers to have the advantage over home buyers. The home's condition is still a key factor for home buyers, so if you are interested in selling your Louisville home, make sure that all needed repairs are made and stage the home to show its beauty. Once you do this, your chances of selling your home quickly have just increased.


WHo Pays for Damage in a HOA

     In common walls, damage can happen under a variety of reasons. There can be roof leaks, water supply pipe leaks, toilet/bathtub overflows, and washer house ruptures Who is actually responsible for these damages, the owner or or HOA?

     First determine the cause of the damage, then find out if either party was negligent in their maintenance. Next look over the governing documents to determine the guidance there may be for maintenance and repairs. Pay special attention to the definitions of words like: unit, common element, limited common element, maintenance of responsibilities of owners and the homeowner association, insurance responsibilities of the owners and the homeowner  association and enforcement of procedures. The difference often lies within each HOA.

     Normally homeowners are usually responsible for everything that lies underneath the roof, but the HOA is responsible for maintaining the common elements and limited elements. However, limited common elements are usually allocated to the exclusive use of a unit owner, and they may be responsible for repairs. One important principle to remember is that the obligation to maintaining a particular component doesn't really mean there is an obligation to repair it.

     Say the water heater in unit A fails and damages another unit B. From most governing documents unit A bears the expense for repairing the water heater and unit  A. There is no obligation for the damage to cover Unit B. If it was known that unit A was leaking slowly, and they let it leak long enough to damage unit B, the owner would be negligent. On the other hand if unit A erupted spontaneously and damaged unit B, there would be no negligence.

     Bearing negligence each unit owner bears the repairs to his own unit. The same thing applies if there is a leaky roof which is maintained by the HOA. It is...

Buying Your First Louisville Home- Know How It's Yours

     There is no perfect home. Too many clients say "I wish I could take this home and put it on that one's lot". There are plenty of Louisville homes. With the size of Louisville, homes are not difficult to find. Currently there are 5,800 single family homes and 1,000 condos. This doesn't even count the vacant lots, multi-family homes, farms. Do yourself a favor and read about the Louisville real estate market and get informed.

     There are not-so-good neighborhoods, houses with structural damage, and you need to become aware of these factors. However, there isn't one thing you cannot read about; and that is the moment when you realize after countless hours of search, you've found the right house. It is the feeling of finding home.

     As a first time home buyer, you may get discouraged after all the searching, but don't get down. It may take awhile before you find the right place to call home, and you may feel that it was all wasted effort. Many clients find the point of frustration right before they find the right home. Louisville adds 20-50 listings every day. So the numbers are out there, just find the right home design that inspires you.

     You will know when a home is right for you when you feel it. You can just walk in and image your furniture in it. You can imagine mowing the grass and everything fits in perfectly and all the small imperfections don't really matter. Your real estate agent will want you to be happy with your purchase, so it is crucial that you communicate effectively to them stating the criteria desired. They will need a feel for what you want and then show you what is available. A good agent will never give up until you find the place that you've wanted from the beginning. 


Top 10 Home Tools

     Not every home owner is supposed to be the master handyman. But most home repairs are simple and should be easy enough that everyone can do them. Here is a list of the top 10 tools homeowners should have and know how to use.

     Number one is the screwdriver. Invest in both the Philips head and flat head. You can tighten drawers, cabinets, and all the countless children's toys laying around the house. Next you will need a hammer. How to use this is pretty self-explanatory, but they're also useful in removing small nails here and there.

     Get yourself an electronic drill. I prefer battery operated ones vs. ones with the cord. Countless home projects can be solved with a drill. Pliers are a really handy tool. You will find ways to use them everyday if you try. Tightening and loosing bolts are a prime example of how they're used.

     Get a tape measures. Measuring things left and right is always useful. Next get yourself a shop vac. These machines can clean anything everywhere. They're good for removing standing water, cob webs in hard to reach places, and anywhere holding dirt in a crevasse.

     Exacto blades are an awesome tool. Opening boxes, cutting perfect angles, cutting roof shingles, etc. The list can never end with this tool. Get one! Chop saws might intimidate some home owners, but they're great for cutting trim, moulding, and even decks. Finally use a level to hang the perfect frame. Sometimes our eyes deceive us, so get a level and make it perfect.

     All these tools can be used by anyone, male or female. They are great for simple home projects and hold a lifetime value. They will be good for hundreds of repairs. You'll save money doing things yourself and have a sense of pride that you did it yourself.


First Time Real Estate Investment Strategy

     More and more people are living in rental properties today now than ever. This means investing in one can be extremely lucrative. As with any real estate investment, a rental investment has risk. It also requires tedious research, but the risk and rewards can pay off. You need to take into account the considerations before taking the step out on that branch. If you have no prior experience, you need to ask yourself a few key questions.

Money Matters- first look at your financial situation. What kind of down payment can you make, and how much of a monthly mortgage payment can you afford? How much will you need to make in monthly income in order to keep up with the monthly payments? Do you have enough of an emergency fund to handle vacancies in a down period?

     It's not a bad idea to get pre-approved for an investment property loan, and then secure the service of a real estate agent to help you find the type of property you desire.

Location Matters- You obviously don't want to invest in an area where no one wants to live, so find a place where people do want to live. Consider the proximity to transportation, schools, and shopping, as well as the areas crime rate. These are the same considerations you would look at if you were buying a home for yourself. Next decide what kind of property you want to invest in and what interests you. Are you wanting a single, or multi-person dwelling property. Condos? An apartment complex? A vacation destination?

     Once you've decided upon the property type, you will need to look at whether or not you have the financials (and time) to handle a fixer upper. If not, be ready to buy a place that has minimal necessary up-front fixers. You will also need to think about how much rent to charge based on the area and amenities the property offers.

Management Matters- Are you ready to manage...

Construction in Louisville Has a Long Road to be Recovered

     The Louisville Housing market is showing tremendous signs of recovery, but we are not out of the woods yet. One of the healthiest things a market can show is construction. It means people are working, people are investing, buying, and selling. It also shows consumer confidence.

     Tara Brinkmoeller is the Director of Public Affairs and Communication for the Home Builders Association of Louisville. She had an interview recently, and here's what she had to say.

          "We hear things are actually getting better. Our Homearama this year was outstanding, which took place in two sites and most of the Homearama homes sold,and a couple with multiple offers."

     Precise data isn't easy to come by due to the nature of the construction phases. Many homes are sold via contract, but some homes are made to spec, so these homes won't be listed in the MLS or listed in the data.

     For this reason the HBAL gets its permit building data from local governments. So far for 2012 1,079 building permits have been issued, which is up from 1,027 from the entire 2011 year. David Crowe, an economist  for the HBAL predicts that building permits will rise to 4,500-5,000 by 2015. Hopefully he is right, but that's a 350% increase.

     Brinkmoeller also mentioned that she noticed a trend in Louisville, noticing better usage of space with much less waste. They want space that can serve for many purposes. She also pointed out that outdoor living spaces like screened in porches and fire pits are on the rise. They flow with the interior of the home.

      We are on the rise!


Recognize Flawed Foundations at the Start

     One of the leading problems for first time home buyers is being able to assess the condition of homes from the start. It's easy to tell a top conditioned home compared to a lousy home, but first time home buyers have difficult evaluating the properties that are in between. Here is a small blog that will help you identify home conditions from the star, knowing what the real estate agent is talking about. 

Problems start at the bottom

     We start with the floors. Most houses and apartments constructed with a base, called the foundation. This is often just concrete poured in a flat sheet on the ground. The weight bearing system is above that called the sub-floor. The sub-floor is often times a weight bearing system set up with pieces of wood, and smaller pieces of wood connecting them. Then a smaller floor is laid on top of that which usually consists of hardwood, oak, or bamboo planks. The floor that is laid is usually depending on what the room is used for. For example, bathroom floors are usually tile that are laid on top of concrete. This is because wood would not hold up well with exposed water all around it.

Cracked Foundation

     Picture a house like a wedding cake, there are layers upon layers, and the whole cake would be ruined if the bottom layer was ruined. Like buying a house, it is essential to watch for cracked foundations. This can cause major problems in the value, and the upkeep of your home. Construction companies will fix this by lifting your entire house, fixing the crack and lowering it back down again, and this is extremely expensive.

Mismatched Heights

     Another problem that can happen is different floor heights. Either the floor rises, or lowers in different parts of the same room. Pipes may need to run through one room and cause rising floors, which is disastrous....

Fed Vows to Keep Rates Low

     The Federal Reserve has acknowledged Wednesday to keep the interest rates low. They said the economy is beginning to look up, especially in the housing industry. They also claimed they will continue to press forward with the stimulus campaign- which will keep interest rates low- until the economy shows more muscle. 

     At the last meeting, the Fed said they would keep rates incredibly low until about mid 2015. A program known as "QE3", in which the Fed buys $40 billion in mortgage backed debt every month, helps keep the rates incredibly low.

     However, on the flip side, the Fed is a bit concerned. In a statement they made recently, they said, "The committee remains concerned that, without sufficient policy accommodation, economic growth might not be strong enough to generate sustained improvement in labor market conditions."

     Even though the unemployment still remains high at 7.8 percent, the fiscal cliff still looms at the end of the year, the global economy is struggling, and the U.S. GDP grew only by 1.3 percent for the second quarter.