The RE/MAX Associates Louisville Real Estate Blog

Shortage of Labor for Developers

Roughly 66% of contractors are having a difficult time finding quality labor that finishes jobs on time. There is simply not enough skilled craftsmen to go around. More than a third of contractors are having to decline job offers, all while increasing their prices. USG Corp. and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce took a survey and found that 3/4 of the contractors they surveyed are lacking skilled labor so bad, they are just asking their employees to work harder. Pretty much they are asking them to work harder in order to cope with the lack of skill available. 

The survey that took place was part of the development of new economic indicator launched in early June.  It was designed to measure trends like backlogs, revenue projections, access to financing, and labor issues.  

Of the contractors surveyed, 2/3 of them predicted more labor help would come in the next several months, but 61% of them said skilled labor like concrete masons, electrical, plumbing, etc. were terribly hard to find or book. There just isn’t enough qualified talent. 

Industry leaders are a bit worried for the future. The Trump administration has promised it will spend $1 trillion on new infrastructure, and industry workers can barely keep up with the work they have now. To spend that much on new work could surely make the situation even more dire. 

A big part of the shortage of labor is due to the amount of construction projects in the near future. From January tip April of this year construction spending amounted to $359.5 billion, which is 5.8% more than the same time of 2016. 

It didn’t help that thousands of skilled laborers left the market when the economic crisis hit. On top of that, even before the crisis, the labor market was aging. It was essentially like a large chunk of the labor market retired around the financial crisis. 

What will happen for the future? We will just have to wait and see.


9 Ways to Sell Your Home Fast

No matter where you were selling your home the process can always be stressful. There are mountains of paperwork, weeks of showings and all the prepping in between. Having pets and children multipliers the stress because they only seem to make the matter 10 times harder. It's best to hit the ground running and sell your home before it grows still on the market. The secret to selling a home quickly is it has to show well, be marketed well, and priced precisely. If you are looking to sell your home fast you'll want to read these tips.

  1. Get a storage unit

Fight the urge to shove all your clutter in a closet, because anyone who comes to your open house can and will look at your storage spaces. Then they will see the disorganization, the overstuffed closets and believe you are a slob who doesn't take care of your things. What you should do is buy yourself a storage unit for a few months. Put a third of your belongings in there while your house is on the market so your clutter won't scare off buyers. 

  1. Have a professional stage and photograph your home

A professional home stager views your home from the buyers point of view. They will see how to highlight your strengths and hide your flaws. The first thing a buyer will see are the listing photos. These are proven to help sell a home quicker. Staging your home is necessary because it markets it in a way that is neutral to whoever walks in, allowing them to see the home as they may one day wish it to be. 

  1. Find the right real estate agent

Hiring the right real estate agent is crucial when selling your home. They need to have a strong track record of sales that proves they know what they are doing. Are they familiar with the...

Home Prices Slow for April

There is new data for the month of April regarding home sales. The home-price growth slowed for the first time in months, and if the trend continues it may mean markets are beginning to lose steam.

The S&P, according to CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices, rose 5.5% on the year, which ends in April. It was also down from a revised 5.6% year-over-year increase which was reported in March.

Back in September home prices were setting records, and the pace of their gross continue to rise at a healthy rate.

Across the 10 city indexed, there were chains of 4.9% throughout the year, but was still down 5.2% since March. Meanwhile, the 20 city index Rose 5.7% but still down 5.9% from the prior month. 

Economists from the wall street journal were expecting a rise of 6% in April, which is quite a bit different from what they had planned. The high demand in the market has pushed the accelerated gains to new heights, all of which is fueled by rising wages and young people looking to buy homes. The one problem economists fear is that Price growth that continues to outpace income growth will not sustain itself.

They are worried if home price gains gently slow, or if they crash and take the Eckman bony down with them. They are not expecting a disastrous crash.

The price of homes are still growing quickly but are slowing nonetheless, and growing faster than incomes. The good news is that home price growth is still less than half of what it was during the pre-crisis in 2005, at 14%. 

On the other hand there are several markets that are beginning to see double-digit (or near double-digit) growth. The markets are Seattle, Portland, Dallas, and Denver. 

Of the top 20 cities, seven reported greater year over year price increases for April.

Month over month, US index saw a chain of 0.9% in April which was not seasonally adjusted. The tin city rose 0.8%, and the 20 city index saw a decrease of 0.9% from March to April....

Mortgage Rates & What's Next

The federal reserve raise the rates for the third time in seven months. Is this the end of our low mortgage rates? Let's see how it will impact your home buying adventures, and refinancing plans. 

The fed funds rate is an overnight bank-to-bank lending rate.  This isn't the rate for the every day home shoppers, it's the rate the Federal Reserve uses to influence the economic rates. 

When there's been a slow down in the market, feds usually lower rates to help boost the economy. During the financial crisis of 2008, the Fed lowered rates all the way down to .25% and it basically stayed in that area until the end of 2015. 

After 2000After 2015, rates were increased in installments of .25% and have been raised four times since then. 

Currently the fed funds rate is 1.25%, but mortgage rates for Americans have not risen much and are actually looking at some of the lowest points of 2017. 

OneOne product that isOne product that is affected by Lee's fit hikes is the Home Equity Line of Credit, HELOC. 

These rates are based on two things, a set base rate is called a margin, plus a fluctuating right called an index.

HELOC's index is the Prime Rate, and the prime rate is what is directly effected by the Fed Funds. The prime rate is the fed funds rate plus an additional 3%.

Given the fed funds rate is 1.25%, this makes the prime rate at 4.25%.

So anyone with a HELOC has a rate of 4.25% plus their margin.  Margins are usually between zero and 3%, plus prime, and your margin is factored by your credit quality and wet you're borrowing relative to the price of your home.

For example, if HELOC rates rose 1%, your monthly interest cost on a $100,000 HELOC is rising by $83 per month. 

Traditional mortgages are staying low

Traditional mortgage rates are linked to trading in mortgage bonds, not the fed...

The Right Way to Do Art at Home

Empty walls can be quite the bore in a beautiful home. You'll want to show off your personality when you move in to a new home, and the way to do that is through art. He really special piece of art can transform a room in ways you cannot imagine. It expresses who you are and your personal interests. 

Jumping into the art culture can be scary when you really know nothing about it, but here are a few tips to know from art that you can remember for life!

Stay within your budget

Chances are if you have to look at the price tag of art you cannot afford the real stuff. So go check out your local flea market’s where Art is made locally and it's everywhere. You can find some great stuff there for not a lot of money.

Know your own goals

Do you need to ask yourselfDo you need to ask yourself a couple questions. Do you want to decorate the entire house, or just a few rooms? Or are you wanting to invest in art and hope one day original pieces become worth something significant? These questions will determine what kind of money you want to spend on art. If you only have $1500 then you may be only able to afford one piece. If you're looking to decorate portions of your house you may need to buy several and expensive pieces of art which will serve its intended purpose. 

Check out theCheck out the art circuits

Checking outChecking out the local art galleries can help you determine your own it taste, and make you more confident in knowing which art you fancy. Also you are able to meet local artists whose careers you may be interested in the following. 

ConsiderConsider auctions

No matter your budget art auctions are open to everyone. You were able to...

Saving Money In Summer

Well summer is officially here and you know what that means, high electric bills to keep your house cool. If you're worried about the money you're shelling out over energy bills, just relax. Here's a list of ways to reduce your monthly energy bills. 

Stop running appliances during the day

Instead of running your appliances like the dishwasher and washing machine during the day, run them at night so the heat they generate won't be noticed. You can also ask your utility companies if there are certain times to use your appliances that can earn you discounts.

Have your ceiling fan moving in the right direction

Ceiling fans help circulate Coulier throughout your home, but only if they are to turning counterclockwise. All it takes is the flip of a switch or simply flipping over the blades.

Cool your lights

Change out your incandescent lightbulbs which emit heat with cooler compact fluorescent lightbulbs.

Lower your water heater temperature to 120°. 

When your water heater is set to the regular 140° there's a large amount of waste that can range from $30-$60. Once you tweak it you won't even notice the temperature change. 

Clean your AC

Clean your air conditioner unit by removing all the dead leaves around it and the encroaching shrubs by your unit. Turn it off completely and spray the coils with the hose. Take a vacuum and clear out the vents and make sure none of them are blocked. If you have window units simply just them inside and out and replace them if they are older than 10 years. 

Replace your filters...

Signs You Are Renting From A Slumlord

Before committing to a lease, keep on the lookout for these possible problems from my landlord. The location and layout might be the most important factors to your renting hunt, but don't overlook the landlord most importantly. Since they run the show, having a bad landlord experience can become a nightmare. Pay attention to these warning signs before you sign any lease.

Slumlord signs

  1. Common areas of a building are in bad shape

Having a smelly home, cracks throughout, and a nasty laundry room are perfect warning signs of what is happening throughout the whole house. If the public places of a building or not maintain, the individual rooms won't be either.

2.Individual units aren't in good shape either

Not maintaining a property is a huge red flag. If you're checking it out and notice a bunch of little things wrong, there's probably a few bigger things wrong too. This should tell you the absolute minimum is used in keeping up the living spaces. 

  1. Can't put your finger on the landlord

If the landlord almost appears more as a magician, by not being able to get a hold of them, there's a good warning sign. It almost cannot get any worse than needing your landlord to fix a maintenance problem and not be around to make the fox happen. 

  1. A confusing lease, or no lease at all

Having a lease that is unquestionably clear is helpful if you want to avoid unmet expectations, and problems down the road. A couple details it should be laid out clearly besides the obvious amount and time rent is due.

You will want to know the terms of the lease termination, occupancy limits, and pet policies...

Transform Your Garage

The new trends today are transforming garages into an extra hangout room. Most Americans store their vehicles in their garages, which is totally normal, but are they being used to the full potential?

Homeowners across the country are converting their garages into a room that can be used by the entire family. If this is something that strikes your interest consider some of these ideas on how to do it right.

Think of the shape and location of your garage

It is a sensual to plan carefully when thinking of renovating your garage. Most garages have vaulted ceilings, strange angles, and tricky corners, which makes it a challenge to find storage space and decorate it eloquently. 

Keep in mind if you live in a place that gets cold you may be sacrificing your car to the outside elements during winter.

Focus on the details

In order for a garage to be comfortable you'll have to make sure the insulation, heating, cooling, and lighting are installed correctly. It won't be comfy if it's too hot or cold. And don't forget about the garage door. It would be ideal to have a separate entrance so the main entry point isn't pulling up and down the garage door all the time. 

For all the items that reside in the garage like a lawnmower, you may want to get yourself an outside shed to place in the backyard.

Use it to replace a room you pay for

You can use this room as a gym, office space, or even a art or music studio. Saving money is always cool, especially when you use your new space to take the place of the office you've been renting, or the gym you've been going to for years. 

All you need is a elliptical, some free weights, and you got yourself your own personal gym where there's never a line to use weights. Be sure to add the...

Important Contingencies

When markets are competitive, a buyer should do their best to make their offer stand out. They may offer significant down payments, strategic offer letters, or leave a fancy bottle of wine on the doorstep. 

Some sellers receive several offers that are similar, but very different in the contingencies field of the contract. It isn't uncommon to waive contingencies, which allows buyers to back out if they need. 

Hold on! Waving a contingency may speed things up and entice the seller even more, but you could find yourself paying for the black mold treatment in the basement, or things of the like. Keep in mind if you write in too many contingencies in your offer it may discourage the seller for potential contract delays, risks, or the cost they could incur.

Some contingencies are needed, like the purchase agreement contingency which protects buyers from unexpected fees. There are also things called two-tier contingencies, which protect the buyer if they want to pull out after finding they cannot paint their house because of the HOA rules. 

Pretty much you want to keep your offer protected from the unpredictable and you can walk away from a deal without losing a penny. However, when the market is competitive, you may want to take out the smaller ones. Below are the four most important contingencies you'll want in your offer.

Inspection contingency

The home inspection contingency is wet any decent real estate agent will recommend. This ensures you get a licensed home inspector to view the property within a week of signing the purchase agreement. After the inspection you may request the seller to make repairs of your choice. At this point the seller may make the repair, or counter offer. If an agreement cannot be reached, the buyer is allowed to back out of their purchase agreement with their deposit back.

Financing contingency...

Pros & Cons of Owning A Home

The generation of baby boomers had a vision for successful homeownership. It began with buying a starter home, which was a small household for a small family.

As their careers and families grew they would move into bigger and better homes. Nowadays, plenty of Americans struggle with coming up with a down payment for their first home. They are torn between buying something now, or waiting and saving more money to buy a more long-term house. They may also buy a starter home and stay in it for quite a while.

At any level, it's a personal and financial choice we must make but let's take a look at the pros and cons before coming to a decision.

Pro: build stability faster

Homeownership teaches a person a lot of new things about life. You're exposed to making decisions you've never seen before. First time homeowners experience wave of accomplishment when they buy their first home they may feel a real sense of community and become more grounded. 

After changing a few things that make a new home their's, they will enjoy it by having friends over, and enjoying their own space.

Con: buying twice is moving twice

If you are planning on upgrading in a few years, you may be better served by saving your money for the larger house, so you can stay longer. 

Despite mortgage rates being historically low, there are still several hefty costs with buying and selling a home. There is title insurance brokerage commissions, loan fees, and inspections etc.

Moving is also quite expensive and exhausting; nobody likes to move. Some people are happy with one home for the rest of their lives, but it's not a bad model to follow if you plan on staying for the foreseeable future.

Pro: building equity

Getting in your first home almost certainly will provide...

How Long Does It Take to Get A Mortgage

In 2017 we live in a world where we have instant information at our fingertips, and are baffled when processes become slow.  We can click and tap to articles, restaurants, sport casts; we even have next day delivery on amazon packages. When it comes to getting a mortgage the process is not as fast. It's much slower than you may have originally thought.

The mortgage process is quite involved, especially concerning the legal documents. There are several moving pieces in the process and just one hangup can slow it down tremendously.

How long does it take to get a mortgage?

The mortgage process takes an average of 45 days, and can be as long as 60. With all the moving parts, it begins with getting pre-approved. Next is a home appraisal, and then obtaining the actual loan.  If you had any financial trouble in the past the lender will mercilessly inspect it and slow you down enough to put you behind schedule.

Start the mortgage process as soon as possible

It is not advised to begin the process once you find your perfect home. The time to begin is the moment you think you want to buy a piece of property.

Most sellers will require the buyer get pre-approved for a mortgage even before they consider their offer. The lender will need to check your credit score, debt to income ratio, and plenty more of your Financial information. Some people have steady income, where others have seasonal, and depending on your situation the process can take anywhere from one week to several months.

When you finally get approved, the lender won't tell you how much of a loan you're getting and then you can begin shopping for a new home.

One important thing to do before you even get started on your pre-approval process, he's figure out which mortgage rates and winters are right for you. Most lenders offer different terms and conditions. 

After you find a home there's a couple more steps. Even after your offer is excepted you...

Selling Fast and For More

Trying to sell your home in a hurry? Your first idea might be to offer a great deal to attract more buyers. However, you could get the better end of the deal if you play your cards right. In a competitive market, pricing your home a tad higher can help you sell faster. 

Here's how and some tips for your listing

All marketers should know that the price of a commodity is only worth what somebody will pay for it. They see the item as having that much value. This is the perceived value. 

Apply this to home sales and realize why similar homes have such different prices. They might have the same square footage, number of bedrooms, etc., but are separated by a price gap. In a competitive market this can lead to homes being bought up fast! Some of the reasons are:

New Buyers

It opens the door for a new segment of buyers, perhaps the people who weren't originally shopping in that price range. 

Confirmation bias

It makes the buyer think about why the home is priced higher (from its similar competition) which forces them to look at it's selling points. The confirmation bias is when buyers presume something about the house, and search for an answer to back up their assumption. 

Higher bids 

First bids are usually higher because they are based on the asking price, which could lead to higher negotiations.

Market time

When I home sits on the market for a little while, the perception of the value begins to diminish. Buyers will wonder if there is something wrong with the home, and automatically dismiss it. 

How to get more for your home

Having a slightly higher asking price can get tires in your home to see if the the perceived value is there. Keep in mind that your asking price needs to match the home inside. If the home doesn't back it up, buyers will think you're overpriced as they walk out the door.


Build Your Credit Right After Graduating

Graduating from college is a big step in your life, but the rest of your future is ahead of you. What should you do now that your an "adult"? Build your credit and get ready for the next big life event; buying a house! Here's what you need to know about building your credit score.

It really does matter

If you want to qualify for a loan, or even rent an apartment, your credit history will be looked at without question. 

Know where you stand

The first thing you want to do is know exactly where you stand. Get a copy of your credit report by visiting your local bank, or one of those credit viewing services. Look over it carefully to make sure the information is correct, because mistakes are very possible. If there is a problem, report it and get it fixed immediately.

Build your credit history

Your credit history is an important factor in determining your credit score. That three digit number has a lot of power in determining you the rates you will pay. 

When you're young it's important to build your credit history because that's when you have plenty of time to do so. Getting a credit card is one of the most common ways to build your credit history, but it comes with a catch. You must be responsible!  Failing to pay your credit card balances will take your score the opposite way you want to go. 

If you choose not to get a credit card, there's no way for financial institutions to track you. It's almost as if you aren't even on the radar, show you appear as a credit risk.

Know your credit card options

With all the credit card offers flooding your mailbox, you may be better off getting one with a credit union. Do your homework and know...