Terry Brown Recommends This Article f You Were Selling Today, Would You Have the Home That Buyers Want?

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If You Were Selling Today, Would You Have the Home That Buyers Want?

Knowing what appeals to today’s homebuyers, and considering those trends when you remodel, can pay off years from now when you sell your home. Read

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Penny Kice Found This Great Article for You

Please enjoy this article that Penny Kice found for you on www.keepcurrentmatters.com

5 Reasons to Sell Before Spring

Many sellers feel that the spring is the best time to place their home on the market as buyer demand increases at that time of year. However, the fall and winter have their own advantages. Here are five reasons to sell now.

Only Serious Buyers Are Out

At this time of year, only those purchasers who are serious about buying a home will be in the marketplace. You and your family will not be bothered and inconvenienced by mere ‘lookers’. The lookers are at the mall or online doing their holiday shopping.

There Is Far Less Competition

Housing supply always shrinks dramatically at this time of year. The choices for buyers will be limited. Don’t wait until the spring when all the other potential sellers in your market will put their homes up for sale.

The Process Will Be Quicker

One of the biggest challenges of the 2013 housing market has been the length of time it takes from contract to closing. Banks have been inundated with both purchase and refinancing loan requests. Both of these will slow in the winter cutting timelines and the frustration these delays cause both buyers and sellers. <<MORE>>

Penny Kice Welles Bowen Realtors2460 N Reynolds Rd Toledo, OH43615

Phone: 419-535-0011 Cell: 419-466-4034 Fax: 419-535-7571  Send me an email   Visit my website

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Welles Bowen Welcomes Michelle Falk to Our Toledo Office

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 Specializing is residential real estate




To make buying or selling a home a more pleasant experience, also to work hard to meet your expectations. Make sure you get the best price possible, and to treat my clients with integrity, honesty and be there every step of the way.

Trudy Wachtmann Shared Home Prices Rise, Market Challenged by Tight Inventory

Home Prices Rise, Market Challenged by Tight Inventory

By: Dona DeZube Published: February 21, 2014

Logo of the National Association of Realtors.

Home prices are rising in many U.S. markets, but headwinds from winter storms, tight inventory, tough credit standards, and rising mortgage interest rates continue to hold back sales.

A lack of houses for sale continued to lift home prices in much of the country, but also pushed down the number of existing homes sold in January, data from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® shows.

The weather wasn’t helping either. “Disruptive and prolonged winter weather patterns across the country are impacting a wide range of economic activity, and housing is no exception,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Some housing activity will be delayed until spring.”

He also blamed slower home sales on headwinds created by tight credit, limited inventory, rising home prices, and higher mortgage interest rates. “These issues will hinder home sales activity until the positive factors of job growth and new supply from higher housing starts begin to make an impact,” Yun said.

The median existing-home price in January was $188,900, up 10.7% over the past year. The median home price is the point at which half of homes sold for more and half sold for less.

The number of existing single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops sold in January dropped 5.1% from a year ago. Last month’s level of activity was the slowest since July 2012.

Flood Insurance Woes

NAR President Steve Brown said that in addition to disruptive weather, higher flood insurance rates are affecting the market in areas designated as flood zones, which account for roughly 8%-9% of all markets.

“Thirty percent of transactions in flood zones were canceled or delayed in January as a result of sharply higher flood insurance rates,” he said. “Since going into effect on Oct. 1, 2013, about 40,000 home sales were either delayed or canceled because of increases and confusion over significantly higher flood insurance rates. The volume could accelerate as the market picks up this spring.”

Congress is considering legislation to halt new flood insurance rates so the FEMA can complete an affordability study and determine the full impact of the law.

Related: Should You Buy Flood Insurance?
Fewer Foreclosed Homes for Sale

One factor that’s helping boost prices is a decline in the number of distressed homes — foreclosures and short sales — on the market. Distressed homes typically sell at a discount.

  • In January, only 15% of sales were distressed. At this point last year, 24% of sales were distressed.
  • Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 16% below market value in January, while short sales were discounted 13%.

Related: Foreclosure FAQs
How Long Does It Take to Sell?

Even though the number of homes for sale rose a slight 2.2% in January, there’s still only a 4.9-month supply of homes for sale nationally at the current sales pace. A supply of 6.0 to 6.5 months represents a rough balance between buyers and sellers.

Median time on market:

  • All homes: 67 days in January, down from 72 days in December, and 71 days on market in December 2013
  • Foreclosures:  58 days
  • Non-distressed homes: 66 days

Thirty-one percent of homes sold in January were on the market for less than a month.

Who’s Buying Homes?

NAR noted some important changes among the population of homebuyers:

1.  First-time buyers accounted for 26% of purchases in January. That’s the lowest market share for first-time buyers since NAR began monthly measurement in October 2008. In the past, about 40% of home sales involved first-time buyers.

2.  One-third of sales were to cash buyers.

3.  Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 20% of homes in January, compared with 21% in December and 19% in January 2013. Seven out of 10 investors paid cash in January.

Other data from the NAR’s existing home sales survey showed:


Up or Down


Jan. 2014 Median Price

Median Price Compared

with Jan. 2013

Single-family home sales Down 5.8% $188,900 Up 10.4%
Condo and co-op sales Up 1.8% $188,700 Up 13.0%
Northeast home sales Down 3.1% $241,100 Up 6.6%
Midwest home sales Down 7.1% $140,300 Up 7.6%
South home sales Down 3.5% $161,500 Up 9.4%
West home sales Down 7.3% $273,500 Up 14.6%
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Nancy and Tom Kabat Shared This Article Find the Best Agent to Sell Your House

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By: G. M. Filisko

Published: March 11, 2010

Ask detailed questions about their experience and skills to help you find the right agent for your home sale.

1. How long have you been selling homes?

Mastering real estate requires on-the-job experience. The more experience agents have, the more likely they’ll be able to handle any curveballs thrown during your home sale.

2. What designations do you hold?

Designations like GRI (Graduate REALTOR® Institute) and CRS® (Certified Residential Specialist), which require that agents complete additional real estate training, show they’re constantly learning. Ask if agents have designations and, if not, why not?

3. How many homes did you sell last year?

Agents may tout their company’s success. An equally important question is how many homes they’ve personally sold in the past year; it’s an indicator of how active and aggressive they are.

4. How many days on average did it take you to sell homes?

Ask agents to show you this data along with stats from their local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) so you can see how many days, on average, their listings were on the market compared to the average for all properties in the MLS.

5. How close were the asking and sales prices of the homes you sold?

Sometimes sellers choose their agent because the agent’s suggested listing price is higher than those suggested by other agents. A better factor is the difference between listing prices and the amount homes actually sold for. That can help you judge agents’ skill at accurately pricing homes and marketing to the right buyers. It can also help you weed out agents trying to dazzle you with a lofty sales price just to get your listing.

6. How will you market my home?

The days of agents putting a For Sale sign in the yard and hoping for the best are long gone. Look for an agent who does aggressive and innovative marketing, especially on the Internet.

7. Will you represent me exclusively?

In most states, agents can represent the seller, the buyer, or both in a home sale. If your agent will also represent buyers, understand and consent to that dual representation.

8. How will you keep me informed?

If you want weekly updates by email, don’t choose an agent who plans to contact you only if there’s an offer.

9. Can you provide references?

Ask to talk to the last three customers the agent assisted. Call and ask if they’d work with the agent again and if the agent did anything that didn’t sit well with them.

10. Are you a REALTOR®?

Ask whether agents are REALTORS®, which means they’re members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR). NAR has been an advocate of agent professionalism and a champion of homeownership rights for more than a century.

Other web resources

More on choosing an agent

G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who’s worked with many real estate agents in the past 20 years. A frequent contributor to many national publications including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.


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Tracy Kime Shares Hallways From Hell: How to Revive or Eliminate Them

Hallways From Hell: How to Revive or Eliminate Them

By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon

Published: December 16, 2013

If you’re hallway-challenged, we’ll show you how to make those odd spaces work harder and look brighter.

In fact, Cofield designed my four-bedroom house with nary a hallway to be found.

He placed two bedrooms (including the master suite) on the main floor at the end of the dining and living rooms. He put two bedrooms on the second level at the head of the stairs, so the landing is the only mini-hallway in the house.

The flow is fantastic because it wastes not — just what we wanted.

Related: Do You Need an Architect for Your Remodeling Project?

Dream Up New Space

Even though you may be stuck with hallways, your hallways don’t have to be stuck in the narrow, dark past. A little rethinking can make those passages work a lot harder and look a lot better.

If you still have books: Install floor-to-ceiling bookcases with a rolling ladder in hallways that are at least 4 feet wide. You can build them between studs or mount them on the drywall. Oak shelves are strong but expensive (5-shelf bookcase: $135); particleboard is a better value (5-shelf: $59) though you’ll sacrifice some strength.

If you’re an art lover:
Hall walls are perfect spots for family photos and third-grade artwork lit by recessed lights. To display and appreciate large art, you’ll need a hallway that’s at least 5 feet wide. If you have a blank wall at the end of the hallway, hang artwork there; it’ll draw the eye down the hall, making the trek down that runway less boring.

If you have hallway linen closets: Convert them into:

  • Study space: Free-up desktop space by installing a recessed or puck light.
  • Liquor and wine storage: Wine racks can line the wall or top a base cabinet (that locks!) for storing the hard stuff.
  • School staging area: Install hooks and base cubbies for backpacks and jackets.

Add Light

More is better, and combining different types of lights is better still:

  • Pendants set at different heights break up a long, dull hallway.
  • Sconces brighten walls and make them look wider.
  • Skylights bring in natural light and perk up the space.
  • Solar tubes funnel light into the space if your hallways don’t have direct access to the sky; some have add-on electric lights.
  • Runway lights at the baseboard create a cool effect and add visual interest.

Borrow Light

Another way to bring in light is to widen doorways and replace wood doors with full or partial glass doors. This works best with doors to laundry rooms, dens, bathrooms, and other non-bedroom spaces.

Used etched glass or frosted glass, which adds a visual punch while protecting privacy and letting light shine through.

Do Away with Walls

In some instances, you may be able to eliminate hallway walls. For example, eliminate the wall between a hallway and a kitchen and you can annex the space to your kitchen.

You can replace load-bearing walls with support beams hidden within a chase or with posts hidden within columns. Make sure you consult a structural engineer or architect who will determine the best way to open space and keep your house from caving in.

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Meet Our Agent Michelle Meyer

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    Ed Yoder Suggested This Article If You Were Selling Today, Would You Have the Home That Buyers Want?

    If You Were Selling Today, Would You Have the Home That Buyers Want?

    By: Dona DeZube Published: November 8, 2013

    Knowing what appeals to today’s
    homebuyers, and considering those trends when you remodel, can pay off
    years from now when you sell your home.

    English: Energy efficient light fixture locate...

    Two new surveys about what homebuyers want have me feeling pretty smug about my own home choices. Maybe you’ll feel the same.

    Privacy from neighbors remains at the top of the most-wanted list
    (important to 86% of buyers), according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF
    REALTORS’® “2013 Community Preference Survey.” Privacy is no doubt the
    best feature of my mid-century ranch home, since I can only see one
    neighbor’s house and it’s a couple hundred feet down my driveway.

    It may not be practical to move your neighbors farther away (although
    I’m sure many people wish they had that superpower), but you can
    increase your home’s privacy (and therefore its resale value) by
    planting a living privacy screen of trees and shrubs or by physically screening off your patio.

    Related: Trees Contribute to Property Value, Energy Savings, and More

    3 More Takeaways for the Next Time You Remodel

    1. More and more generations are living together.
    Another NAR survey, the “2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers,” found
    14% of buyers purchased a home suited to a multigenerational household
    due to children over the age of 18 moving back into the house, cost
    savings, and the health and caretaking of aging parents.

    I did that back when my parents were still alive, and it worked out
    great for everyone. I didn’t have time to let my infant daughter nap on
    my shoulder all afternoon, but my mom did. She couldn’t drive to church
    meetings at night, but I could take her. And neither of us liked
    cleaning the gutters, but my husband didn’t mind that chore.

    Even if you’d rather live in a cardboard box than with your mother, you might want to consider the multigenerational living trend
    when you’re remodeling. For instance, opting for a full bath when
    finishing the basement could offer more convenience for you now and
    boost your home’s resale value by making it more appealing to a
    multigenerational family.

    2.  On average, homeowners live in their home for nine years.
    That’s up from six years in 2007. Since you’ll be in your home for a
    long time, it makes sense to remodel to suit your taste but also with
    long-lasting marketability in mind. After all, you don’t want to have to
    redo stuff. For instance, you can go for trend-defying kitchen features, like white overtones and Shaker-style cabinets, which work with a variety of styles.

    I feel compelled to caution against going so far out of the norm for
    your neighborhood that it’ll turn off potential buyers even nine years
    from now. (It never hurts to get your REALTOR®’s opinion on your
    remodeling plans.)

    Related: Home Upgrades with the Lowest ROI

    3.  Homebuyers love energy efficiency. Heating and
    cooling costs were “somewhat” or “very important” to a whopping 85% of
    buyers. If your home could use an energy-efficiency upgrade, go with
    projects that have a solid return on investment, like sealing your air leaks and adding attic insulation.
    You’ll save money on your utility bills now and when you’re ready to
    sell, your home will appeal to buyers looking for efficiency.

    By the way, to take back your energy bills, you need to do at least four things. One to two fixes won’t cut it, thanks to rising energy costs.

    About two-thirds of survey respondents also thought energy-efficient
    appliances and energy-efficient lighting were important. Tuck away your
    manuals and energy-efficiency information when you buy new appliances
    and lighting. When you’re ready to sell (in nine years) you can pull
    those out and display them where buyers will see them.

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    Featured Agent Fred Krueckeberg Shared Article About How Much Mortgage You Can Afford

    Can I afford a mortgage4 Tips to Determine How Much Mortgage You Can Afford

    By: G. M. Filisko

    Published: March 11, 2010

    By knowing how much mortgage you can handle, you can ensure that home ownership will fit in your budget.

    1. The general rule of mortgage affordability

    As a rule of thumb, you can typically afford a home priced two to three times your gross income. If you earn $100,000, you can typically afford a home between $200,000 and $300,000.

    To understand how that rule applies to your particular financial situation, prepare a family budget and list all the costs of homeownership, like property taxes, insurance, maintenance, utilities, and community association fees, if applicable, as well as costs specific to your family, such as day care costs.

    2. Factor in your downpayment

    How much money do you have for a downpayment? The higher your downpayment, the lower your monthly payments will be. If you put down at least 20% of the home’s cost, you may not have to get private mortgage insurance, which costs hundreds each month. That leaves more money for your mortgage payment.

    The lower your downpayment, the higher the loan amount you’ll need to qualify for and the higher your monthly mortgage payment.

    3. Consider your overall debt

    Lenders generally follow the 28/41 rule. Your monthly mortgage payments covering your home loan principal, interest, taxes, and insurance shouldn’t total more than 28% of your gross annual income. Your overall monthly payments for your mortgage plus all your other bills, like car loans, utilities, and credit cards, shouldn’t exceed 41% of your gross annual income.

    Here’s how that works. If your gross annual income is $100,000, multiply by 28% and then divide by 12 months to arrive at a monthly mortgage payment of $2,333 or less. Next, check the total of all your monthly bills including your potential mortgage and make sure they don’t top 41%, or $3,416 in our example.

    4. Use your rent as a mortgage guide

    The tax benefits of homeownership generally allow you to afford a mortgage payment—including taxes and insurance—of about one-third more than your current rent payment without changing your lifestyle. So you can multiply your current rent by 1.33 to arrive at a rough estimate of a mortgage payment.

    Here’s an example. If you currently pay $1,500 per month in rent, you should be able to comfortably afford a $2,000 monthly mortgage payment after factoring in the tax benefits of homeownership.

    However, if you’re struggling to keep up with your rent, consider what amount would be comfortable and use that for the calcuation instead.

    Also consider whether or not you’ll itemize your deductions. If you take the standard deduction, you can’t also deduct mortgage interest payments. Talking to a tax adviser, or using a tax software program to do a “what if” tax return, can help you see your tax situation more clearly.

    G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who’s owned her own home for more than 20 years. A frequent contributor to many national publications including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.

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    Chey Call Recommends This Timely Article for Thanksgiving

    How to Clean Up After Thanksgiving in Half the Time

    By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon Published: November 1, 2012

    The Pilgrims were on to something when
    they planned a Thanksgiving potluck; here are other good ideas that’ll
    simplify your T-Day kitchen cleanup.

    English: Oven roasted turkey, common fare for ...

    Plan a potluck: The first Thanksgiving was a potluck; so let your guests share the fun and bring dishes to share. Then make sure they take home their serving bowls and platters, which will cut down on dishes to wash and put away.

    Decide on disposable: Leave Mom’s good dishes in the breakfront and set your table with disposable — and recyclable — place settings. Party stores sell plastic dishware that look like real china (12 dinner plates for about $13). After eating, collect and toss. If you can’t stand to set a table with anything but your best, use disposables for hors d’oeuvres and dessert.

    Triple-duty cookware: Cut down on cleanup by selecting cookware that can go from oven to table to freezer. Or, serve food in edible containers, such as bread bowls or hollowed-out winter squash, which you can either consume or compost.

    Empty fridge: Start your holiday with a clean slate, which will make the inevitable mess less daunting than piling clutter onto clutter. Before beginning Thanksgiving prep, pick up depressing home clutter and clean out your fridge to make room for ingredients and leftovers.

    If possible, designate a shelf for Thanksgiving food, which should be empty when you start your meal, then filled with leftovers when you’re finished. In a week, clean out that shelf again. Make soup from leftover meat and veggies, and then freeze. Compost wilted greens. Toss old dairy products.

    Prepare roasting pans: You won’t have to clean what you don’t get dirty. So line your turkey roasting pans with heavy-duty aluminum foil, or cook the bird in a bag. Pour drippings into a pot to make gravy, then throw away the liner.

    Line garbage cans: Double- or triple-line garbage cans, which saves time when the cleaning campaign begins. After you toss a trash bag, there’s another waiting for action.

    Soaking bin: Soak pots and pans as soon as you transfer food to platters. But instead of filling the sink with soaking pots, designate a small trashcan as the soaking spot. Fill it will soapy water and dirty pots, and hide it under a sink or in a mudroom. That way, your sink is free throughout the evening to clean as you go and rinse dishes on the way to the dishwasher.

    Stop stains: Don’t let stains on carpet or rings on furniture set. While wine stains are still wet, dab with go-to cleaner hydrogen peroxide mixed with a few drops of dish detergent; blot with a clean cloth. Get rid of water stains on wood furniture with a dab of white toothpaste (not gel). Rub in the direction of the grain.

    Pump up the music: Up-tempo music will give you a second wind for cleaning. So turn off the soothing dinner tunes and get rocking with our cleaning playlist.

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