The RE/MAX Associates Louisville Real Estate Blog

Letting Go During a Move

     Whenever you are moving from one house to another, you have to let go of something. Let go of them house itself, let go of the neighborhood, the neighbors, etc. We hold onto a  lot of baggage during our lifetime. Some of it is emotional baggage, while most of it is physical. We become attached to things both valuable and worthless.Moving is the time to let go of some of your belongings.

     This nation is made up of pack rats. My step-mom being one of the worst, put all of her boxes of priceless magazines in my room until I moved out. She, like the rest of the country likes to hold on to any gift, souvenir, anything they receive, even items that don't have any value or use anymore.

     Holding on to belongings keeps you living in your past, and can stiffen your new home. Living in the past can make moving forward a very difficult task when it doesn't need to be. You should fully embrace the new life, instead of pining away at the old. This becomes increasingly hard for those letting go of things that once belonged to loved ones who have passed on. 

     Moving is a time when we go through everything we have and decide if it is worth bringing to the new house. If you decide it isn't worthy of being packed up, sell it or donate it. If you're worried that getting rid of these items will cause you to lose your memories, you're wrong. Items do not hold memories, your head and your heart do, and they will be with you always.

     First decide if the object was a gift or a heirloom. If it was a gift, does this item clutter your home or create value? If it was a heirloom, does it still hold a place in your heart and take up a good space in your house? If not, then it is time to give this item to a family member or sell it to someone who will actually appreciate it.

     Moving can be an emotional time,...

How to Afford a Down Payment

Saving for the down payment of your house is an expensive commitment. Sometimes you are required to have as much as 20% down in order to get the loan. If you want to buy a home that costs $200,000 then you would need $40,000 to purchase it. Here are some helpful tips on how to come up with the cash.

1. Reduce your living expenses: eat out less and eat at home more often. Try to rent movies instead of going to the theatre, but if you must gosee a brand new film avoid the snacks because that's where they empty your wallet. Make your own coffee instead of going to Starbucks. If you spent $5 less a week, then you would have an extra $260 a year! In four years that's more than $1,000! If you can get around without a car do it. You wont have to pay for gas and insurance, and you'll gain cash with the sale.

2. Bank it: Try putting your savings into a different account that you'll only touch for the down payment. Figure up a percent of you paycheck to add to that account.

3. Look for Federal/State Assistance: There are federal and state assistance programs to help with the first purchase of your home. Go to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for more information. HUD can also pair you up with a counselor who can give you advice on how to handle your debt and save for the down payment.

4. Put Away the Credit Card: Do your best to pay cash for your purcahses. If you don't have the card with you when you shop, then you won't buy items you can't afford and ones that you don't need in the first place.

5. Move in with Mom & Dad: Quit paying rent and move in with a relative or a friend. You'll save a great chunk of change without paying rent to a landlord.

6. Clip Coupons: You will only save less than a dollar on each purchase, but those pennies will add up.

7. Look for Extra Cash:...

Curb Appeal in the Fall & Winter

Driving up to a house and seeing the home from the street is known as its curb appeal, which also translates into its sex appeal. If you look at it in terms of attracting a new boyfriend or girlfirend, you have to look on the outside before you get to know the inside. Your home's exterior has to potential to attract or detract, and when you're selling you better doll your home up and be the prettiest one on the block. Here are some helpful tips to do so:

 pressure wash the sidewalk and driveway

 wash windows

 paint where it's needed

 trim your bushes

 plant flowers for the season

 have a freshly cut lawn

 don't over decorate for the season

 rake away leaves for the season and snow removed at the end of the season

You're hardwork should and will payoff

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Hidden Costs You Should Know About When Selling

Walking away from selling your house with less than you expected is one of the worst feelings in the world. Every nickel counts of that sale to go towards your next home. To make sure you don't face any hidden surprises on closing day is to ask your real estate agent for an estimated net sheet prior to accepting an offer. It won't be 100% accurate, but it will give you a decently fair picture of what you should expect. Here are some items that you should pay special attention to:

1.Commissions

     It is required for your real estate agent to disclose their fees in writing, but if you have negotiated a lower rate or some unexpected expenses come up, this amount could rise. Be sure to carefully look at the commissions amount for any erros at the end of the sale.

2. Property Taxes

     If you are closing your transaction around the time that property taxes are usually paid, it would be helpeful to bring a receipt to the escrow officer so you don't pay the same tax twice. You would surely receive a refund, but the proocess might take months.

3. Title Insurance

     If you have refinanced your home in the past two years, you may well be qualified for a discount on your title insurance premium. If you are being charged for full price, be sure to ask for a re-issue rate.

4. Buyer Closing Costs

      If you have agreed to pay for the buyer's closing costs, be sure to place a limit on how much you will pay. Without a cap this can take the form of a blank check allowing the lender to charge fees they normally would have waived if the buyer was paying the costs.

5. Transfer Fees

     In many states a transfer tax is charged when a home sells. Be sure to be clear of the amount being charged.

6. Notary &...

Home Fire Prevention

House fires are a concern for every home owner. Each year more than 3,500 are killed in house fires and another 18,000 are seriously injured. Some fires are started inside the home while others come from the outside like wildfires. Many of these fires can be prevented, so let us take a look into how to prevent inside the house fires.

Surprisingly enough the leading cause of fire-related deaths is smoking. It's not California wildfires or faulty electrical work. Cigarette fires kill 1,000 Americans a year, and injure another 4,000. Also cigarettes start a quarter of all fires each year.

USA Today reports that in the past 30 years cigarette fires have been the leading causee for tens of thousands of deaths.

The best way to reduce these type of fires is to simply not smoke, but if you are a smoker keep your butts in one spot. Don't litter them around the yard or the community. Don't throw them in areas that could easily be hazardous, like a trashcan.

Another leading cause of fires are children. Children playing with fire is a very likely way to get a good fire started. It's a good idea to have a serious sit-down with your kids explaining to them the dangers of starting fires. It takes less than 30 seconds for a small flame to erupt into a major flame, and most kids that start the fire are often swallowed by the fire.

Be responsible and create no fire zones around your home.

  • Never leave a fire,cigarette, or candle unattended.
  • Have smoke detectors on every level of your home. 
  • Always have a home fire extinguisher, and a garden hose.
  • Never burn brush near your home, or when it's windy and dry.
  • Remove dead leaves from your gutters and roof.
  • If you live in a hill know that fires travel uphill rather quickly. Stone and brick walls help deflect the flames

FEMA gives homeowners some valuable tips about 30 foot safe zones to help guard their homes during wildfires. This...

5 Things To Look For When Buying A Home

Because the first time home buyers tax credit, many home buyers have come back to the market. Low interest rates, tax credits, and low property values make this a good time to buy a home, but only if you can afford it. Even with the added number of foreclosures, the homes currently for sale have a greater range of physical conditions. If you are a first-time home buyer this process can be overwhelming, but here are 5 simple tips to help you out.

1. Don't let pretty wall colors fool you.

     Try envisioning the house painted white, and focus on the age of the major appliances, condition of the floors, and any signs of mold or structural damages.

2. Look at the age of the furnace.

     Out dated heating and cooling systems can cost you thousands if you have to replace them right away. It should also impact the price you are willing to bid on the house.

3. How old are the windows?

     If they are new, this is good because it will help you with heating and cooling bills.

4. Look at the roof.

     Is the roof caving in? Or is it pretty new? A caving in roof could mean water damage and that's one huge expense you don't want to ahve to pay for.

5. Check for water damage.

     A good indication of water damage is mold. Usually water from outside is leaking in and mold begins to appear. It is usually found along basement walls, so walk along outside to see where this might be happening. It is important to check for this to see how much repairs would cost you up front.

A good rule to remember is that you should always buy a house based on structural integrity rather than its decor and paint colors. A house with ugly walls and ugly carpet is much easier to fix than a cracked foundation. You also need the right realtor!

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Why you should, or shouldn't buy a foreclosed home

Homeowners are able to get great deals on foreclosed homes, but it is a risky process and you should be aware of those risks. There are pros and cons to buying foreclosed homes. To begin with there are several types of properties that are generally known as foreclosures. The first is pre-foreclosed homes which are in danger of becoming foreclosed, but still owned by tyhe home owner. A foreclosure is a property that is sold or repossessed by a creditor or lendor to recover the amount lost.

While pre-foreclosures are trying to be sold quickly by the homeowner, foreclosures are usually sold at auction by the bank.

Pros of buying a foreclosure

     Because you may be able to buy a home at great discount, you're winning the deal to begin with. Also if the home is in the pre-foreclosure the homeowner is trying to sell it quickly to avoid going into foreclosure. Because these homes are sold in a hurry, it gives the buyer major advantages.

Most banks are often willing to sell at discounts because the longer they hold these properties the more expensive they become in terms of taxes, maintenance, etc.

Foreclosures can be found at all price points like small starter homes to gigantic luxary homes, and sometimes only need some minor repairs.

With some sweat equity, and some hard work to repair and upgrades a homeowner can turn a distressed home into one with some appreciation and increased value.

Cons of buying a foreclosure

     Since a number foreclosures are sold at auction, you may have some steep competition when bidding on property. You may also have to pay cash that day for the home and may not even get to inspect the house before you buy it.

Foreclosures aren't always sold with a discount. Some of the time thepre-foreclosure sellers price them higher than they're worth to try and pay a little more on their mortgage and/or taxes. Banks are...

Refinancing Basic

Imagine a world that the only cost when borrowing money was interest. that world would be a lot simpler. There would be no application fees, title insurance premiums or points to consider, and when rates fell you would run out a refinance.

Unfortuantly life is not that easy and there are plentiful mortgage products that didn't exist a generation ago. A reduced rate is awesome, but if it locks you in it will cost you $4,000 dollars is it really worth it? If not what is a better rate worth to you?

The list of one-times costs are countable and you should have a decent understanding of each one.

     Title insurance- title companies charge this to gaurentee your title is free of liens encrumbrances.

     Appraisals- This cost is to have a professional appraiser value your home.

     Broker Commissions- a broker that helps you find the best rate.

     Credit application fees, loan organization fees, paperwork processing fees, etc.

This next cost is very important, but it is also optional. "Discount points" let you buy down your interest rate to a lower one. A point is normally worth one percent of the loan amount.

Certain costs, if you incur, them are ongoing. Premiums for mortgage insurance, if the lender requires it, could increase your monthly payments by a few percentage pointsfor the entire life of the loan.

The concept of breaking even defines the science of refinancing. An example is how many months will it take you to earn back those $3,600 in fees if your monthly rate is lowered by $100. The answer is 3 years for all you math savy people.

Life would be much simpler if someone just handed you a rate sheet with the bottom line of costs saying $3,600 dollars. But it doesn't work that way, so many costs are percentages based on the amount you intend to borrow.

Typically the break even question is expressed like this:...

How to Dive into a Swimming Pool Addition

     If you are considering adding a swimming pool to your property, you should remember what all it entails. it will add value and enhance your lifestyle, but it will also cost you to keep it looking refreshing, and some extra effort when you decide to sell your home.

     Homebuyers love and hate swimming pools, and the same thing goes for sellers. The pros and cons are many. Swimming pools can be a family oasis during the pool season or a mosquito breeding swamp during the off season. Pools can be a training arena and good work outs for athletes, but can also put little children in danger. Pools will cost you tens of thousands of dollars, and because buyers two way relationship with pools, don't expect to get the maximum return on your investment, especially in areas with harsh winters. If you are thinking about adding a swimming pool, take as much time thinking and planning about it as the contractor will take to build it.

Value Factors

     When talking value, get the opinion of a professional appraiser as to how much value a pool can add to your home. it can be a toss up. If a neighborhood with many pools, adding one can put your home next to the value level of those homes, but in a neighborhood without many pools, adding one can decrease your value because less buyers are interested.

     The neighborhood also comes into play with the value scale. If your neighborhood has excellent schools, few swimming pools, low crime, and is a popular one for new comers, then a pool will surely enchance your value. It's best to talk to a real estate agent familiar with your neighborhood to determine how homes with pools sell. Also talk with home owners with big and large pools to see how they affect value and salability.

     Anyone considering installing a pool needs to consider Design...

Is Your Mortgage Really a Debt?

A lot of people consider a mortgage and debt when they talk about their Louisville's house mortgage. What a mortgage is, is actually a debt with an investment attached to it. Can it really be called a debt when it is an investment as well?

When you are making a budget and you need to list all of your debts, your mortgage is listed as one of your debts. And when it comes time to list your investments it isn't added. This is because it is purely our mindset that makes us think of a mortgage as a debt.

When looking at your assets, you can look at the glass either half empty or half full. You're mortgage is a heavy load to bear, no doubt. But you can look at it like you're struggling every month to make the payments, or you can look at it like the best investment you'll ever make and try to make extra payments to strengthen your investment.

Andrew Carnegie once said, "90% of all millionaires become so through owning real estate."

People who are afraid of going into debt are the reason they're still renting. These people are fine putting low-rate money into savings accounts that don't have the same ROI as the housing industry. Real estate may take a few blows here and there, but it always bounces back once you wait out the storm.

The bottom line is that real estate is an investment. It's not something that can be put on a credit card like a new pair of shoes. The shoes are a debt because it will depreciate over time. Real estate is a tanglible asset that appreciates over time and can possibly lead to big money down the road.

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Is an Auction the Right Move For You?

All across the country, houses are being auctioned off thousands at a time. This is because they are distressed properties, bank owned, tax foreclosures, or the homeowner needs to sell quickly. Watching as hpomes receiver multiple bids from cash buyers can make even the most jaded seller wonder- is an auction the right move for me?

And the answer is- it depends. Auctions typically suit the sellers who are willing to accept a price far below the market price who are looking to sell fast. As for the sellers who do not need to sell fast, they have many advantages; and here are five reasons some sellers prefer auctions.

1. An auction is an event- it can be marketed easily.

2. Urgency for Buyers- the auction date creates a deadline for buyers to take action.

3. Seller Control- Sellers can set a reserve price and still remain in complete control.

4. Few or No Contingencies- There are hardly any if any at all conditions of an auction sale.

5. Fast Closing- Auction sales are typically closed within 30-45 days.

     Real estate auctions are very similar to a regular auction, but there are a few key differences. It begins with a homeowners wanting to sell quickly and at a discounted price. Next, the property is analyzed for its market value, which is a standard appraisal. It can also be done using the county tax value, or a competitive market anaylsis. Once the real price has been established, the seller and the auctioneer agree on a price that will attract buyers. Lastly, the seller and the auctioneer agree on the type of auction that will most fit the sellers needs. Here is a list and brief discription of different styles of auctions used to sell real estate.

Absolute Auction- This auction is sold to the highest qualified bidder. This means that if only one person who bids $100, gets the property.

Auction with Reverse- This auction reserves the right for the seller to decline any or all bids. If a seller...