The RE/MAX Associates Louisville Real Estate Blog

Renting with a Four Legged Friend

     It's always nice coming home to  your furry friend, but not all landlords are big fans of your pets. Most landlords will tell you upfront if they accept pets, or the conditions in which they will accept them. Their main concerns is to the extent in which your pet will place wear and tear on the rental property. They're also worried about the aroma the pets shedding leave behind. For these reasons, some landlords forbid pets, or only allow ones within a certain weight limit.

     FI they do allow pets, they will most likely charge an extra deposit, or a non-refundable pet fee which is supposed to cover a heavy cleaning service when you move. These charges are not unusual, and can range anywhere from $300-$500 and maybe more, so don't be surprised if your landlord asks you for these fees.

     There are no set rules landlords abide by when determining the allowance of pets. It is totally within their rights to deny pets, so long as they do it to everyone. Again, some landlords only accept pets within a certain weight limit, so you should check your pets weight before entering the market to look for a place with your buddy.

     When you begin your search for a place, you might start online. If you do start online be sure to include your search criteria for places that allow pets. You should also ask your prior landlords to be a reference to your new landlord, and hopefully they will only tell good things about you. It also wouldn't hurt if you were to show your landlord your pets certification of obedience school, or that they are a well behaved pet.

     Finding a home can be challenging when you have a pet, but if you know your pets weight, have extra cash to put down on the deposit, and are willing to persuade your landlord that your pet is well behaved, then you can find a good place for your four legged friend.

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Moving Tips for Homeowners

Moving is a dreaded process that requires much planning, organizing, and commitment. This process often causes much anxiety even when it is planned out to the T. Here re some helpful tips to make your move as stress-free as possible.

     1. Get Recommendations- Ask around the the names of reputable moving companies from friends, family, and co-workers. Ask about their experiences, and what they liked and did not like. Be sure to ask about prices too. Make sure you check all of your stuff because some movers will steal from you.

     2. Check Background- When considering movers check their background to see if they are a licensed member of the American Moving and Storage Association. Check to see if the moving companies you are considering has any complaints about them.

     3. Seek Estimates- Find the estimates that are "not to exceed" because those cap the price you will pay from movers. Ask for "in-home" estimates because those are more accurate than the ones over the phone. Watch for hidden fees when you receiver you estimate and see what all services you will receive. Some moving companies charge by weight and distance, while others charge by the number of hours it takes to transport your belongings.

General note: the more you own, the more it will cost you. If you ask for them to box your stuff it will cost you extra.

     4. Think Insurance- Take an inventory and dollar amount of of everything you plan on moving and check what kind and how much liability coverage the movers provide.

     Is it enough to cover the value of the belongings. Look up the procedure to submitting a claim with each company if something was to happen. Your homeowners policy may cover some of the damages, so check it out first.

     5. Know the...

How to Hire an Expert Home Inspector

When buying a home, there is a serious step involved of having the home inspected for major and minor defects. Here are a few steps to find a well qualified home inspector who will give you an accurate report.

     Start Early- Buying a home is an important process, so get off on the right foot by knowing which inspector you will employ before you start looking for homes. This way you will have more time to vet professionals.

     Get an Engineer- You will want to hire an inspector who has vast knowledge about a home's inner workings, so you will want to hire an inspector who is also a licensed professional engineer. If a home has structural problems, a PE will know how to handle these.

     Get Recs- Ask your friends, family, business partners about recommendations about skilled home inspectors. Whatever you do, do not get an agent who is associated with the seller's party.

     Do a Background Check- Look into whether or not the inspector you are considering hiring has a ASHI certification. Also find out if your state regulates home inspections, and if they do find out if the agent you are potentially using has had any complaints against him or her. Angie's List would be one place to look.

     Interview- In a formal interview ask the potential inspectors about their experience, expertise, and background. You should also ask them how long they have been in the field, how they conduct their inspections, and what will be included in their report. (Always get a computer written report, not a hand written one). Ask them what they charge for their services. Ask about photos in problematic areas, a checklist for what all they checked, how long an inspection will take (a good one is a few hours), and lastly, how long a completed report will be returned to...

Shortage of Homes for Sale Creates Fierce Competition

     The newest problem in the slowly recovering housing market isn't a shortage of buyers, but a shortage of good, quality homes. Potential buyers are packing open houses and making offers on properties before they are even listed. This is causing bidding wars. With the wars created, real estate agents are competing among each other to represent the few sellers that do exist.

     Housing inventory has sunk to levels not seen since the bubble years. In April the homes across the country with a "for Sale" sign hit a record low of 2.5 million since 2006. Buyers are finding that the competition for quality homes is much more intensive than they thought.

      Near rock bottom interest rates and the sharp decline in inventory has helped stabilize some of the hardest hit markets like Las Vegas, Phoenix, Miami, etc. Some agents are worried that the lack of homes will turn off potential buyers, which would stifle the recent recovery in home sales. 

     All the predictions about the upcoming wave of foreclosures that was expected to dump a bunch of homes into the market hasn't come. Less borrowers are entering default, and banks are better managing the properties the have in their books.

      Keep you eyes open for the best homes, and be sure to act fast!

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Homeowners Make it Personal When they Can't Move When Planned

     More than a quarter of Americans plan on staying in their home 20 years or longer than planned, and that's fueling a trend in personalized home improvements. 

     The National Association of Remodeling Industry (NARI) says personalizing spaces is a better plan thanworrying about market conditions that could ruin plans to move. 

     NARI claims that 26% of those surveyed in an online poll said they plan to stay an additional 16-20 yars where they are and another 23% said they would stay 6-10 years because home values have declined in the recent economic downturn.

     This tells quite a bit of what homeowners are expecting as a result of the recession.  Because many homes ahve decreased in value, many people want to stay in one spot much longer than they had originally had intended. However, this market action has caused another unintended reaction of a new remodeling trend. homes that better fit personal lifestyles are more suitable for the long run. 

    Remodeling use to be about fixing a home up to be sold for more than you paid for it, but not anymore. Remodeling has come to only fixing the house up to fit specalized and personal renovations taht suit only the residents needs. 

     This isn't just new fabrics, window covers, and such. Think of brand new kitchens, real work at home head quarters, tech centers, home movie theatres, art rooms, vehicle collection garages, wine cellars and tasting rooms, mini micro breweries, yoga studios, meditation rooms, and much more. If you can think of it, someone out there probably has it. The space is only limited by your imagination. 

     it is important to make your renovations a true reflection of your lifestyle and not just a whimsical, impulsive move to renovate. Make sure that whatever you decide to build is something that you will use, otherwise...

Evaluating and Responding to Different Offers

     Good job- you finally got an offer on your home. Now how do you know if the offer is in your best interest, and your counter offer won't send the potential buyer running for the hills. To begin with, any offer is a good offer. You may not believe this but this is true because it shows that the buyer has chosen your home over the entire competition in the market. Any offer then in this case, no matter how high or low should be taken as a compliment. Now the real question is should you accept this offer?

     You have three choices as a seller. The first is to accept, which is subject to the terms and conditions of the sale, your home is officially sold. The second option is to reject the offer, which kindly tells to buyer no thank you. The third and final option is to make a counter offer. Wise sellers take time to strategically think and plan their counter offer. Do not instinctively reach for a pen to throw out a counter offer number.

      A good portion of sellers consider counter offers a natural part of the selling process. Really all it is is presenting a new offer to the buyer. The only negative part of this is you may lose the buyer. Because of this successful sellers have to ask themselves if it is really worth a counter offer? The simple question should be a measuring stick with which to evaluate every item you plan to ask for from a buyer. In many cases, the risk is not worth the reward, but it is important to remember with great risk comes great reward. 

     If you make a counter offer make sure to use these three tips.

     1. Try to understand the buyer's position- Negotiation is always a two lane road. In order to create a deal both parties must feel they have come out on the winning end. Learn as much about the buyer as you can, like why they made the initial offer they did. By doing so you could possibly...