Posted by Bob Sokoler on Wednesday, October 11, 2017 at 1:40 PMBy Bob Sokoler / October 11, 2017Comment
The best way to keep a home looking great is to keep it clean. A great way to do this is to design your home in a way that will make it easy to keep tidy with minimal effort. If you are designing a space it is a great idea to think about what it will take to maintain it. After all when you have just remodeled, re-styled, or built your perfect space you want to keep it looking perfect.
Here are some design ideas for an easy to clean low-maintenance home.
A smooth surface is much easier to get clean than a porous one, or a textured one. Keep this in mind when selecting kitchen and bathroom counters and flooring where there is a significant amount of moisture and a larger potential for spills. Solid stone and laminate counters are easier to care for than porous materials such as marble. Tile is a great durable surface, but it might not be the best choice for a counter because of the porous grout.
All white rooms are trending right now. One thing to remember is, though white rooms look bright and airy, they won’t look this way all the time unless you are constantly wiping them down. On some surfaces, black can have the same effect of showing everything. There are other great neutral colors to consider that will show less dirt such as shades of brown and gray. Patterns are also a great way to camouflage minor dirt build up.
Posted by Bob Sokoler on Sunday, August 13, 2017 at 12:09 PMBy Bob Sokoler / August 13, 2017Comment
Louisville's average sale price is up almost 3%, the areas average median sale price is up more than 1.5%, but the problem felt by anyone looking for a home in the $50,000-$300,000 price range is just finding a home. The number of Louisville homes on the market has dropped 15% from a year ago. The reason it's a bigger problem now is that there are more people in that price range looking for a home than ever before. In addition to Millennial's looking for a home, you have boomerang buyers (people who have had credit problems and whose homes went into foreclosure or short sale between 2008 and 2014), now able to look for homes, move-up buyers and individuals who are downsizing.
Additionally, Home builders are trying to build homes as fast as they can. But because many of the trades got out of the industry during 2008 to 2013, finding plumbers, electricians and woodworkers are harder than ever. So construction of new homes is slower than it should be.
We're seeing more buyers continuing to look for homes here in August than in years past. That's an indication that there are still plenty of buyers looking for that perfect home. In fact, the most recent numbers from the Greater Louisville Association of Realtors (G.L.A.R) shows that the number of homes sold in July 2017 was down just .1% when compared to the same month in 2016. That's a clear sign that buyers are getting concerns they may not find their perfect dream home and are buying homes that they hope to turn into that dream home. Interestingly enough the number of pending homes was up 7.9% during the same time...
Posted by Bob Sokoler on Thursday, August 03, 2017 at 10:19 AMBy Bob Sokoler / August 3, 2017Comment
The role of the listing agent; the real estate broker that actually has the contract with the seller, not the buyer. This is the licensed agent or broker the has the authority to list, market and facilitate a transaction or sale between the buyer and the seller. Many people that think that they can sell the house themselves try to known for a while and eventually use a listing agent. A lot of people think they will save money by selling it themselves rather than paying a commission to the listing agent, but by the time they actually do sell, they probably drop the price lower than where would've sold in the beginning with an agent. They really haven't saved the money.
But what is a listing agent supposed to do?
A listing agent is not necessarily the same agent that will bring the buyer. When you decide to sell your house the listing agent will write up a contract and in that contrac, it will state how much commission the agent(s) will receive from the actual sale of the property. A typical commission is about 6%. When there are two agents involved, both the buyer's agent and the listing agent, that is typically split down the middle. If the same agent that lists the property also brings the buyer, that listing agent could receive the full 6% commission or it can be negotiated, but once it's in the contract, it is set in stone. Sellers could write in a negotiation to the commission. Let's so that if there is a buyers agent and the listing agent, the total commission would be 6% but if the listing agent also brings the buyer can reduce that to about 5% or less.
Everything is negotiable once it's in writing, it usually can't be changed without prior agreement.
Posted by Bob Sokoler on Tuesday, June 20, 2017 at 1:17 PMBy Bob Sokoler / June 20, 2017Comment
10 Questions You Should be Asking Your Real Estate Agent
...and probably aren't
If you are buying real estate and especially if this is your first time buying real estate or you just haven't purchased property in several years, things may have changed and you may just not be familiar with the process. In any case, there are questions about the property and even your real estate agent that are important to know before making a final decision. Here are some questions you should be asking a real estate agent that you probably don't even think about.
Q. Is the property in a flood zone?
Just because you don't see any water around doesn't mean that the home is not zoned in a flood zone. It's important to know this because you will need additional homeowners insurance.
Q. Is the home close to an airport, freeway or train tracks?
These may not seem obvious when you tour the home so it's important to ask, especially if it's going to be an issue for you. Is the home in a flight path or are there night trains that go by that will keep you awake or drive you crazy?
Most people don't think of reselling a home before they've even purchased it but it's important to know this if you plan on selling anytime down the road. Even if you don't think you are going to sell, you never know what may come up so it's important to buy a home that has resell value.
Posted by Bob Sokoler on Thursday, April 27, 2017 at 3:06 PMBy Bob Sokoler / April 27, 2017Comment
Take a walk thru 11311 Oakhurst Road - Luxury Living and Entertaining in Lake Forest! Ranch Style With An Additional Bonus Level, Updates, Open, Spacious, 3 Master Bedrooms and Circular Drive. There are also 2 other rooms for office or craft space that are currently used as bedrooms. This custom-built home with Golf Course Views is nestled between the 11th and 12th holes in Lake Forest.
Posted by Bob Sokoler on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at 7:21 AMBy Bob Sokoler / March 22, 2017Comment
It is no great real estate secret that a home in the most popular location or inside the boundaries of the best school district are going to sell for a higher price. Location is a huge facter in what sells homes for premium prices. So what location factors can bring down the value of a home? What is it is about a neighborhood that causes homes to sell for less money?
Realtor.com has put together a list of neighborhood features that bring down property value. Along with the list, they also provided a percentage of just how much each feature negatively effects the value of a home. They came up with this number by looking at home prices next to facilities known to bring down home value and compared them to the median home price for that city. They polled the 100 largest metropolitan areas across the country.
Young families looking for homes are going to look for homes zoned for the best schools. Homes zoned for schools with low ratings are not highly sought after. Living inside the boundaries of a poorly performing school brings down property value more than other factors. The median home price of homes inside zip codes with schools rated 1 to 3 out of 10 according to great schools is $155,000.
Brings Down Value 14.7%
This one seems to be expected on this list. Very few people would want to live near an adult themed club, especially a young family. Places like these usually have loud music blaring and...
Posted by Bob Sokoler on Wednesday, March 08, 2017 at 11:43 AMBy Bob Sokoler / March 8, 2017Comment
It wasn’t the weather, home prices, lack of buyers or Interest rates that slowed Louisville home sales in February 2017. Plain and simple it was a lack of inventory that caused sales to drop by 6% last month compared to February 2016. Buyers are having trouble finding homes especially in the $100,000 to $349,000 price ranges (see our absorption rate chart below).
Actually, the drop in home sales could have been a lot worse considering there were 20.6% fewer homes on the market last month compared to a year before. That 20.6% drop equates to approximately 1000 homes and when the inventory only totals 3652 homes, a drop of approximately 1000 homes represents a large chunk of potential homes to buyers. Remember, buyers are desperately trying to find a home before interest rates go up again.
There are several reason homes in the $100,000 to $349,000 price range are in short supply:
Boomerang buyers (people who had their home foreclosed on or had to short sale their home between 2007 and 2014 are back in the market looking for homes.
Home builders effected by the recession closed their doors or slowed production to survive. Those home builders are regaining confidence in the economy but many of their suppliers and trades (electricians, plumbers and carpenters) either retired during the recession or found other jobs.
Posted by Bob Sokoler on Wednesday, February 22, 2017 at 2:29 PMBy Bob Sokoler / February 22, 2017Comment
Buying an Older House and the Things to Look For
They just don’t make them like they used to. Our parents have said it, our grandparents have said it and most of us have said it about something at some point in our lifetime. Whether it be about the continually breaking washing machine, our vehicle that is always in need of maintenance, the lawnmower that doesn’t seem to cut grass, you name it, quite often it seems like the quality of “newer” things isn’t up to par. Sometimes older truly is better and this is especially true in older homes. A home with good bones has unlimited potential. While there are many different things that you should keep your eyes peeled for when buying an older home, you will find that most of the time you will be incredibly pleased with the bones of your “new” old home.
Whether your home is 30 years old or hundreds of years old, there are always things to look for before you make your purchase and dive head first into your new house. Here are a few things to keep in mind when viewing and touring houses you may soon call home:
Lead Paint: Most of us have heard about the problems that are associated with lead paint at some point in our life, however it might not click to ask about it when touring homes. Generally, any home built before 1978 should be inspected for lead paint, homes build after 1978 should be in the clear. Many houses that were built before 1978 (when lead paint was banned) may not contain it as many people had already realized this paint was deadly. Contrary to public belief, lead...
Posted by Bob Sokoler on Monday, January 09, 2017 at 2:14 PMBy Bob Sokoler / January 9, 2017Comment
Moving with Children
Studies say constantly relocating to new homes can have a long lasting negative impact on a child’s development. This makes transitioning into a new home quite a daunting task that requires proper prior planning. According to Dr Shegeiro Oishi a renowned psychology professor at the University Virginia, relocating to a new house is not always bad for kids provided parents take time to make their kids comfortable with the idea of moving and make arrangements to involve children in the house hunting process. This article details some of the challenges that children face when it comes to relocating to a new home and gives effective tips that come in handy in making moving a seamless and painless experience people with kids.
Challenges Children Face When Moving To A New Home
Losing friends and peer groups - Young kids can be attached to their friends and there is no doubt many tweens and teenagers are emotionally attached to their peer groups. Relocating to a new home means abandoning relationships that they care about to start new ones in an absolutely new environment which is a very scary and nerve wrecking concept. This is particularly tough for introverted kids.
Academics suffer - If moving involves changing schools then it can detrimentally affect children’s academic performance. If moving will require changing schools then this may affect the kids’ academic work as they will have to acclimatize with the new teachers and new classmates.
Posted by Bob Sokoler on Monday, January 02, 2017 at 7:58 AMBy Bob Sokoler / January 2, 2017Comment
Finding the Perfect Neighborhood in the Lousivlle KY Area
When searching for a new home often one of the main deciding factors is where the home is located. Staying within school districts, ensuring you have a short commute, staying close to your favorite shops and restaurants, the list is endless. With so many things to keep in mind it is certainly an import step to ensure your new home fits into your desired neighborhood. If you are starting your search in the Louisville area you are in luck! There are more than 15 small neighboring areas that are available for you to browse. Each offers it’s own unique features making sure that you are guaranteed to find the home of your dreams in the perfect location. We will be diving into 5 of these neighborhoods to help break down some of the main highlights each has to offer. This will help you find that special new place to call home in that perfect spot on the map.
Springhurst: With shopping close by, Springhurst is the perfect place to gather with friends and family. Springhurst offers a great school district and is perfect for all of the adventure your family desires with it’s many outdoor activities.
Polo Fields: If you are looking for an upscale luxurious home, this is the place for you! Featuring an 18...
Posted by Bob Sokoler on Friday, November 11, 2016 at 12:30 PMBy Bob Sokoler / November 11, 2016Comment
There may be less buyers out there shopping for a home during the winter months, but that does not mean it is impossible to sell your home during the holidays. Staging is a long used trick of real estate agents, flippers, investors, etc. to help sell homes. If you want to sell your home more quickly great staging has defiantly been proven to help. Buyers want to see themselves living in a home and staging helps them to see the potential of making a space great. Staging during the holidays by adding a few festive touches helps to sell the cozy and homey vibe of a property.
Here are some tips for decorating your home without putting a ton of effort or money into it. Because let’s face it; less is more when selling a home and who wants to clean a bunch of decorations up and pack them when the home sells?
This one may seem obvious and for those tree naturalists out there not frugal or easy. I am going to go out on a limb here (did you catch that tree pun) and tell you to invest in a fake tree even if its just a small one. Why? Because Christmas just doesn't feel like Christmas without the tree and a fake tree is very low maintenance. It doesn’t have to be a big high quality tree. You can get a perfectly respectable one on sale at Target, a craft store or some other box store. They are usually on sale for great prices at these stores before black Friday. With shabby chic and hipster influences being so popular you can easily decorate with rustic or homemade decorations you don't need to worry about being broken. Just stick to a simple color scheme to keep it chic.
One of the biggest home sellers is curb appeal. Many people have done...
Posted by Bob Sokoler on Friday, November 11, 2016 at 2:13 AMBy Bob Sokoler / November 11, 2016Comment
Election outcome could trigger Louisville Home Buying Frenzy!
Louisville home prices are up, Louisville home Sales are up but inventory remains lower than expected but all bets are off if interest rates start climbing! The news is good for most homeowners but because of the act of inventory homebuyers could be faced with a difficult choice in the near future. What will they do if interest rates start to inch up or down in December 2016 and beyond?
It’s very possible rates could increase because during the last Presidential debate, Donald Trump talked briefly about the government artificially holding down interest rates to help the economy improve. It sounded like he was not in favor of that practice continuing if he was elected.
Yet surprisingly the day after the election mortgage rates slightly dipped. “Mortgage rates are falling because investors are seeing safe yields in U.S. mortgage backed securities, reflecting their confidence in the relative safety of the U.S. housing market,” wrote Trulia chief economist Ralph McLaughlin the day after the election.
If rates move at all buyers on the fence right now may jump off trying to find a home in a traditionally slow buying time of the year. This may set up the perfect reason for sellers thinking about putting their home on the market to explore listing their home. The lack of homes could mean a home selling for more money and faster. It depends on price vs. inventory. This may be the perfect time to call Bob Sokokler at (502) 376-5483 to schedule an appointment to review the process of selling your home.
The graph below shows the absorption rate for homes (see the month supply on the right side). Clearly anything with a less that 5 month supply is a sellers market but homes currently...
Posted by Bob Sokoler on Friday, November 11, 2016 at 1:34 AMBy Bob Sokoler / November 11, 2016Comment
Before he became a Louisville realtor at RE/MAX Properties East, Bob was a News Anchor and Reporter for TV stations around the country. Here's an interesting interview Bob did when he worked for WHAS TV in Louisville in 1999.
Posted by Bob Sokoler on Wednesday, October 19, 2016 at 2:35 PMBy Bob Sokoler / October 19, 2016Comment
Energy efficient homes are a top priority for many people. Who doesn't want to save money on costly energy bills? Making your home more energy efficient to cut some costs can seem like something unattainable to people without large sums of cash. When we think energy efficiency we tend to think expensive items like energy star appliances, and tankless water heaters. There are actually a number of ways to make your home more energy efficient without spending your life savings. These steps are the first actions any home owner should take toward a more energy efficient home.
This may seem like such a simple and minimask, but it is one that comes with huge impact. Replacing air filters makes a huge impact on HVAC systems especially where air conditioning S utilized. It is difficult for your AC to work optimally when air is being pushed through a dirty filter. Clean filters mean rooms reach a desired temperature faster and less work for the AC/heating system saving lots of money.
Posted by Bob Sokoler on Friday, September 23, 2016 at 9:32 AMBy Bob Sokoler / September 23, 2016Comment
Are Millennials Buying for Life and Skipping the Starter Home?
Instead of the typical smallish and modest dwelling just to get your feet wet in home ownership, many of today’s first time home buyers are interested in purchasing something a bit nicer that they plan to live in much longer and possibly their whole life.
Bank of America conducted a poll of over 1,000 adults age 18 and older who are considering home ownership in the future. What they saw from the poll is that more people are waiting to purchase a first home until later in their life. They are waiting longer, which gives them better insight into what they truly need from a home, a home that they can raise a family in and commute to a career from. Homes with lots of square footage, a big backyard, and highly rated school districts.
One other thing that came up in the polling is that many people anticipate buying a home will not be an easy process and prefer to go through that process as few times as possible. The big result showed that about 75% of the people...
Posted by Bob Sokoler on Wednesday, August 10, 2016 at 9:08 AMBy Bob Sokoler / August 10, 2016Comment
Well, kids are back in school and many school districts are well underway. Of course, in today's day and age, all parents and even some students are concerned about the safety in schools. As a parent, it's important to do all we can to keep our kids safe but also have fun and find unique tips, tricks, and shortcuts to make life easier when the kids are in school.
Here are 10 simple tips for a better school year to keep you kid safe and have fun.
#1. Organize the Mornings.
Try to keep things as organized as possible when sending the kids back to school. Depending on when your kids go to school in the morning, set up a foolproof family calendar with the times that kids need to get to the bus stop, when they will get back and a routine that works for everyone in the morning. You want everyone to start the day happy and prepared when leaving the house. Make lunches the night before, organize all of the backpacks, hats, shoes, books and homework in a neat line so they are ready to grab them and go in the morning. This also helps you sleep in just a little bit longer when everything is prepared the night before.
#2. Prepare breakfasts the night before.
It can be very easy to get up late, grab an apple or a banana or even nothing at all and head out the door. But kids need the right mood for learning and by giving them a healthy, protein packed breakfast, they can think better and do better in school. Many middle school and high schoolers have challenging classes first thing in the morning and instead of sleeping through them, send them off with a healthy breakfast of either oatmeal that's made the night before, protein packed muffins or breakfast bars or prepare breakfast sandwiches or burritos that simply need to be heated up in the microwave for a minute or...
Posted by Bob Sokoler on Friday, July 22, 2016 at 1:58 PMBy Bob Sokoler / July 22, 2016Comment
Niche has compiled a list of the best places to live in Kentucky for 2016 based on public schools, cost of living, job opportunity, crime rate, and local amenities. They put together this list of best places to live with data gathered from various different sources including the FBI, BLS, CDC, the U.S. Census and a few other sources not named. This year an astounding 7 out of the top 10 on the list are Louisville neighborhoods.
Here are the Top 10 2016 Best Places To Live in the Niche List
Posted by Bob Sokoler on Monday, June 06, 2016 at 10:42 AMBy Bob Sokoler / June 6, 2016Comment
School's Out - Time to Get the House Sold
The last day of school has come and gone and now the clock is ticking to get the homes sold before school starts again.
This is a very common situation for many homeowners looking to sell during the summer months. The kids are out of school so you don't have to worry about relocating them in the middle of the school year and you know that a lot of people by during the summer as well. This truly is an excellent time to list and sell your property for the highest profit possible but you want to list wisely, price it correctly from the beginning and make sure everything is taken care of so that buyers don't see a laundry list of problems during the inspection. If you're looking to sell quickly for the most profit possible here are some key steps to take right now in order to get the home sold quickly and you and your family can move on to your next home.
First understand the tricky situation of buying and selling at the same time.
This is not an easy thing to do but chances are this is probably what's happening. If you're relocating to a new city it can be even more stressful since you're not at both locations at the same time. But, if you're relocating within the city or just a city or to over, it can be a little bit easier but the key is to have the same real estate agent for both transactions. Your real estate agent will understand what you're doing and try to keep time frames, dates and schedules all coexisting...
Posted by Bob Sokoler on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 at 2:23 PMBy Bob Sokoler / May 11, 2016Comment
Nobody likes to be stressed out with money but often times in our life we go through stages where money gets tight, we lose the job, change our family status or some other tragedy may make it impossible or very difficult to make your mortgage payment. Here are different ways that you can deal with the mortgage payment if you're struggling each month.
The first thing to note is that your mortgage is probably one of the most important payments that you can make. Credit card companies have high turnover and the person on the other end of the phone probably doesn't care if you can make the payment or not. Shelter, food, certain utilities and clothing are the most important items that you need to survive. These are the items that have to come first. If you cannot make a credit card payment in order to buy food that is what you must do. Do not put credit card statement ahead of food and shelter for your family.
The people behind your loan don't want you to neglect making that payment either. They don't want to have to go through all the hassle of foreclosure, short selling a home or evicting anyone. They want to keep you in your home just as much is you do. The very first thing you need to do is to contact your mortgage lender and tell them that you are in a financial crisis. We all go through hardships in our life so make sure you tell them exactly what's happening, be honest about your situation and that you'd like to stay in your home or consider other options that might be available to you.
Speak to your lender about different options that may be immediately available such as a temporary relief to your monthly mortgage payments. At...