The RE/MAX Associates Louisville Real Estate Blog

Keep Your Energy Bill Low While Selling Your Home

keeping energy costs down in the buying and selling process of a home is desirable for both buyers and sellers. Even though there are many energy-efficient options today, there's plenty of energy-suckers.

It might surprise you how much extra that nice water fountain in the back yard is costing you per month when you run it 24/7 year round. Depending on the wattage needed and where you live, that nice fountain could be costing you an extra $30 per month.

It's not a good feeling when your house is sitting on the market and you're still getting bills. It feels like you're throwing money down the drain. So when the home isn't being used, turn off your water appliances. When you turn off your gas and electric appliances, it isn't enough. These appliances still suck energy even when they're off.

Here's a tip, when you are selling your home, show it off like a model home and leave no electrical chords laying out. By unplugging the toaster, phone charger, blender, hair dryer, etc. you will save money on your electric bills and de-clutter your home. Individually these appliances only use up a little bit of energy, but collectively they make a nice dent in the utility bills.

It's nice to walk into a home and be able to see the floors and counters. This isn't just good for sellers, it's meant to help all of us. By putting away all the chords we normally see, we conserve a bit more and stop the energy bleed.

It's a good diea to get your heating system checked. A buyer's home inspection will reveal issues, and you can start saving on the utilities. When a potential buyer comes around and asks whats the average electric bill for this place, youll be in good place.


5 Negotiation Need-to-Knows

Negotiating is like a chess game. It's all about strategic thinking, talking, and asserting yourself about money matters. You've got to figure out what's in the mind of the person across from you and stay one step ahead of them. Some people enjoy negotiating so much they turn into a whole new person when they save a few bucks, and others cringe at the thought of figuring out what's in the minds of the other.

It seems like every real estate pundit will now use the current market in their negotiation as a tool to get the edge on you. When it comes to buying and selling your home, there are five need-to-knows that will go a long way to protecting your interest.

1. Work from a foundation of sound information.

     It's critical that you find as much information as possible to use in your negotiating. You aren't in any position to negotiate unless you have the basic information about the market, what similar homes have sold for, how much above/below they have sold for, and how long do the homes normally stay on the market.

Your agent will help you understand these numbers, and will reach out to the offeror's agent about what is important to their party. The offeror's agent isn't obligated to divulge information but often will to complete the transaction.

It's super important to know what your own priorities are. You can only assess whether your home sale was successful if the home and the terms of the contract are worth to you. Know how much you will accept and your own priorities before negotiations begin.

2. Approach the Negotiation as a Problem-solving Challenge.

     Toay's negotiations are more like problem solving considering the needs that must be met of both parties. Negotiations are normally a power struggle between buyer and seller and their bargaining leverage. But another factor that really influences the way a deal goes are the banks....

Time to Start Saving for Your New Home

It's very normal whe nthe holidays come around to search your couch for loose change and scrape together every dime you can. Every year is a new one where people like you search for any spare change they have to save up for some luxary they want. Some people are better at finding it than others and here's why.

The money you're looking for just has to be found. These people set in motion a series of events that start with a decision and it takes off from there. Soon enough after enough decisions are made and momentum is on your side your goal is reached.

To begin the process find a large bucket or glass jar. It must be big though! Label it with whatever goal you are saving up for and add your loose change in it every day. This will take time so you must have a high patience level. You also must not get discouraged and break along the way.

Now that you have your goal out in the open you have to work every day to reach that goal by finding more money. the best ways to do this is to earn more money or cut back on expenses. You can surely do this with the right attitude and direction.

The bucket full of change or glass jar isn't just a container full of change, it symbolizes your goal. It symbolizes you time and effort you are taking to achieve what you want. So break it out and with time you'll have some money to put towards your future home.


Carbon Monoxide Alarms are a Must Have

It is a law that every house must have a carbon monoxide detector. In the United States over 1,500 people annually are killed from carbon monoxide poisoning. This significantly high number could be prevented. Everyone wants to keep their loved ones safe, so make sure there is a carbon monoxide detector in each sleeping area in the house.

This law is a relatively newer one so let me clarify. If you have a three bedroom house with the masterbedroom on the first floor, you will need a detector on the main floor. If you have the children's bedrooms or guest bedrooms on the second floor, one needs to be up there as well. Lastly if there's an entertainment center in the basement with a cosy couch, there should be one in the basement too.

Visit a local hardware store and choose which type of carbon monoxide detector you like most. 

Here is a helpful Youtube video, but because the design of this website is crap I cannot copy and paste anything in this space so I'll spell it out for you.

Youtube>Where to install Carbon Monoxide Detectors by Sacramento Appraiser.

Be safe everyone!


Be a Staging Star

It's important to set your home as the prime example of what a selling house is supposed to be. You don't have to wait for a TV crew to come help you make your home into a new one, you can do it yourself with these tips.

1. Remove the Clutter- You need to reduce the clutter in your home to let the buyer's eyes move freely around your home. Clutter won;t allow them to see the true space your home has to offer. Their eyes will be filled with the clutter and dust on your fireplace of the living room.

2. Organize- Once the clutter is gone, it's time to organize everything you've left behind. Built-in storage units are a great way to organize everything you decided to keep. Invest in a few plastic tubs to keep all your belongings in so they aren't laying around in plain sight. It also helps to label them.

3. Clean- It's best to have your home looking like it is ready to be moved in when they buyers are ready to seal the deal. Your home needs to look and smell clean. Mop, vacuum, scrub the baseboards, and clean every surface. This is a god time to hire a cleaning service.

4. Refresh the Paint- Walls turn dingy with time, so put on a new coat to freshen the room a little.

5. Room Appropriate- Make sure when buyers are coming in to see your home they see exactly what they were expecting to see. If your house says 3 bedrooms, make sure it's not just 2 bedrooms and an office, or a craft room.

6. Create Ambiance- Ambiance is the way a home makes you feel. Some homes require a specific lighting to give a good vibe, others needs a homey and warm atmosphere. To make a home appeal to buyers you should buy a few vanilla candles, light the fireplace, get a area rugs, and bake a few cookies.

7. Staging Outdoors- Don't forget about the outdoor rooms, because buyers are placing more emphasis on the great outdoors. The way to do this is buy some simple outdoor furniture, pillows, and plants.

8. Leave No Closet Unturned- Buyers will...

Louisville Has Plenty to Offer with Healthy Buisness Climate

Moving a company or manufacturing plan to a different  city is a major decision. The executives weigh a numerous amount of pros and cons before making an executive decision. They consider state tax codes, amount of skilled and non-skilled labor, proximity to strategic partners, and geographic location.

Louisville compares rather decently to other cities for companies choosing Louisville as their headquarters. The talent base in states like New York, California, and Massachusetts have been enough for tech companies to justify those states' anti-corporate tax codes. The good news is the balance has been shifting to smaller cities lately.

The tax foundation has published the tax climate index for 2012 and Kentucky ranks 22nd with an index of 5.20. The higher the index score the more favorable tax system.  Indiana comes in at 11th with a score of 5.99, while Tennessee was ranked 14th and a score of 5.62. Wyoming, South Dakota, and Nevada came in the top three respectively, while California, New York, and New Jersey came in last.

Coming in 22nd is pretty good even when there is room for improvement. It's better than half!!

. The cost of living is also a major factor in a corporation's cost structure. They must consider cost of goods, salaries, energy costs, real estate, etc. All of these factors are weighed by decision makers. Louisville real estate matches up rather nicely to a similar city such as Charlotte, North Carolina.

Louisville's average listing price is $206,000 while Charlotte's is $265,500. The average price per square foot is $94 in Louisville and $175 in Charlotte. The most impressive factor is the average number of sales. Louisville is 962, much greater than Charlottes 752.

Louisvillians pay less for their homes, get more house for their money, and have a higher sale activity.

If a corporation moving from a city like Charlotte to Louisville, they would experience a more business-friendly tax situation,...

The Selling Power of a Simple Closet

Closets are often times overlooked. They seem like an unimportant room, but actually closets are significant. Every family needs storage for clothes, food, cleaning supplies, and old personal items. But a closet can be useful and a real selling item in a house. 

The first thing you want to do with a closet is to get rid of all the clutter in it. Throw away the items you havent used or even seen in the past three years. Ready buyers will be turned off when they see what junk you have stored in there, so as a general rule of thumb, if you havent used it in the past three years just get rid of it. Sell it in a yard sale, donate it, or gifting it to a friend. You'll forget about those items rather quickly and your closet will thank you later. 

Next you want to organize your closet. Color code or group similar items. Store away seasonal clothes, put shoe boxes in one corner and jackets in the other. Tame your shoes with shoe racks beacuse you always want to see the floor of your closet.

Use the same method with your kitchen pantry and bedroom closets. Every closet needs shelving. Go to the inexpensive route if you must, but get some shelves and mount them on the wall. It provides much better organization. If your budget allows, custom built-in units can impress your potential buyer and set you apart from the rest of the houses.

Walk-in closets are huge selling points in a home, so you should maximize space to make them look even bigger and better.

The main key with closets is to organize them by keeping them nice and tidy so buyers can see their true size. Buyers will become turned off if they see your clutter, so instead inspire them with a spacious closet.


Kitchens Sell A House

Kitchens are the hearts of homes, and this holds true across the country. There's a lot of truth in the saying 'the stomach is the way to the heart', because the kitchen is where most time is spent as a family. It's the room everyone wakes up in in the morning, where everyone discusses their days over a snack, and where family meals are made.

Kitchens are the focal piece of many family rooms, and are integral to entertaining in today's age of open floor plans. This is what makes a kitchen such an important room in the buying and selling process.

Buyers want up-to-date kitchens because it's the one room owners see daily and their guests see when they visit. It's considered to be the showcase of the home. 

The downside of kitchens is that they are one of the most expensive rooms to renovate. They require the most labor and time effort when renovating. You cannot simply just hand a new lamp and call it complicated. Kitchens require new tile, counters, flooring, cabinets, and sometimes light fixtures. Because of today's economy most buyers don't want to spend the money on renovating a kitchen and want one that is ready to use the day they move in. 

When buyers are looking for up-to-date kitchens a lot of it depends on the price range your home is in.

The main thing to remember when selling your house is to not over price yourself out of the market. If homes have sold in your neighborhood for $100,000 with an average kitchen, then you shouldn't renovate your kitchen to the top of the line counters. It will be more than difficult to find a buyer.

It's best to scout the competition by going to open houses in your area and look at what their kitchens look like. Do these homes have new solid wood cabinets? Do they have new granite counters in today's 'hip' color? If the answer is yes, then you may want to update your kitchen to put yourself back in the market.

If you are in a higher end neighborhood you should be thinking...

Top 3 Myths about Louisville Real Estate Agents

Myth 1: Louisville real estate agents make a ton of money.

Even though this myth is a widely held opinion, it isn't true. The top performing 5% of agents make 1/3 of all the revenue, while the top 10% make 54.2%. While the average gross income for a Louisville agent in 2011 was $27,364 the mdian income was just below $13,000. Just because a handful of agents are make pretty decent money doesn't mean it's the norm for the entire industry. Keep in mind most agents are only part time.

Myth 2: Agents must do everything their clients ask.

An agent is defined as a business representative. A realtor is a licensed agent who adopts a higher level of service through the Realtor's Code of Ethics. The agent is supposed to protect and promote their clients best interests, and here are three kinds of requests that are not supposed to be asked of by a client.

  1. Any unlawful request, such as the Fair Housing Statutes
  2. Any legal requests, but is'nt in the clients best interest. Agent's training and experience gives them the credentials to know the difference.
  3. Any lawful request that is within the legal limits, but is beyond reasonable service. Just because the client has Wednesday off doesnt mean you should show them 65 houses in one day. 

Common sense is the usual winner here. Agents want to have a good experience with their clients so they are referred to friends, but if the client's requests jeapordize the agent's license there will be problems. This experience is suppose to benefit both parties, and maybe even construct a freindship.

Myth 3: Agents get referral dollars from lenders, appraisers, home inspectors, etc.

By law this myth isn't true. By law the only referral fee an agent can receive money from is their own broker, and that broker is only allowed to get a referral fee from another broker. 

How this works: Agent Q helped the Smith family buy a home several years ago, and now the Smith...

Pending Home Sales Decline

Housing has taken another hit recently with the National Association of Realtors latest pending home sales index report claims contract signings have fallen 4.6%. The good part? The rate is still 6.4% above from last years report.

According to Lawrence Yun, the NAR chief economist, the housing marketing is being excessively constrained. It's a combination of weak consumer confidence and and continuing tight lending criteria has held back home buyers, even though the private sector has added almost 2 million new jobs in the past year.

He also stated America's monetary policy is confusing and contradictory, because America's best financial capacity and best credit scores pay the highest mortgage interest rates. The Federal Reserve has been trying to lower mortgage rates, but more consumers are still taking out huge loans that have the highest interest rates.In order to fix this, Yun says the higher loan limits must be reinstated.

The largest decline was seen in the midwest, but our region is still 12.3% higher than last year. The smallest decline was in the West where rates declined 2.1%. Reduced access to credit and ailing jobs market is continuing the put a strain on the housing market.


Decorating on a Dime

Having a tight budget doesn't mean you can't buy nice things and be restricted to cheap furnite. You just need to know where to shop.

The best way to get great deals is to find the sales. Retail businesses want you business these days, and they offer one-day sales, weekly clearance, and many offer coupons offered online. All it takes is a little research and you can find where the best deals are.

Since you will be decorating on a budget, you will have to compromise on which items you buy. So the $500 flat screen TV at Best Buy will have to wait. Instead try H.H. Gregg, or Wal-Mart, they will have something similar at a cheaper price, but not the exact same TV you originally wanted.

Garage, yard, and estate sales are also good spots to find good decorations. They fit well in someone else's house, so they may fit well in yours. You may find some real winning prize pieces there such as antiques and handmade pieces. Or you may find nothing, but don't ever pass up a good sale if you are looking for good deals.

 It's important not to get sidetracked and buy furniture pieces that don't fit your style. You will end up with more clutter than you planned.

If you're really struggling tis time for plan B. Your friends probably have some cool items they are looking to get rid of, so set up a meeting with them and try to do some trading.

You could also reuse your items. Go into your storage space and find some old items and be creative. See what they could serve, and where they can go and make a new statement.

Also when you're strapped, don't be affraid to do-it-yourself. Most local home improvement stores offer classes and brochures on how to tile, texture paint, and upgrade other areas of your home. You can find other online tutorials on how to build furniture, shelving, and other household items. have confidence in your abilities, and save some money. You can have a great house with awesome room inside with some smart saving.