Real Estate Information Archive


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How to Save the Most When You're the Holiday Host...

by The Cathy Russell Team


From our friends at Home Warranty of America...

Celebrating your first holiday season in your new home is a special milestone. We hope that this year is exceptionally memorable. However, all the necessary tasks such as cooking, baking, heating, lighting, and cleaning can run up your bills faster than Black Friday shopping. That's why HWA is dishing up several of the best ways to conserve your home's energy this holiday season.

1. Kill two birds with one oven. As we all know, holiday season centers around delicious, home-cooked food. Try cooking as many dishes in the oven at once - reheating and readjusting the oven zaps energy.

2. Be the dishwasher. Make the post holiday meal a time to bond over the sink. You'll save water and the energy it takes to heat it by filling sink basins with soapy water and washing and drying them yourself. If you do decide to use the dishwasher, make sure it's completely full before running so you can cut down on the number of loads you must do.

3. Manage your fireplace. The hearth is the ultimate energy saver. Make it count by turning down the thermostat to 60 degrees or lower and closing the door to that room. Just don't forget to close the flue when you're done!

4. Decorate with candles. Adorn your home and walkway with luminaries for a beautiful yuletide glow that won't run up energy bills. To ensure your luminaries are safe, be sure to weigh bags down with sand or use a battery-operated, flameless candle.

5. Appreciate the small things. Miniature holiday lights will twinkle just as long and brightly - while using about 70% less energy than the larger bulbs.

6. Speaking of lights...standard incandescent lights consume thousands of gigawatt hours each year. Avoid these energy hogs and switch to LED holiday lights, which will save you about one-fourth of that in just one season.

7. Cool it. Setting your water heater to "normal", or 120 degrees Fahrenheit, could save you over 10% in water heating costs.

8. Stay in control. Invest in a programmable thermostat, which will help moderate the temperature in your home while you're out on a shopping marathon or visiting Grandma's house. It is estimated that programmable thermostats can save you almost $200 in energy costs every year.

9. Follow the Star. Take advantage of Energy Star's "Home Energy Yardstick", where you can assess your current energy use and receive tips on how to enhance your home's energy efficiency, lower utility bills, and increase comfort. Learn more about how HWA supports eco-friendly Energy Star products here.

10. Go with the flow. A dirty air filter can slow air flow, putting more of a burden on your entire system. Replace your filter every month to save between 5 -10% on annual energy costs.

Indiana Real Estate Market Numbers

by Brian Russell

This just in! The latest numbers for the Indiana Real Estate Market....

A summary: Sales up, prices up! New listings down. This is good news for sellers/homeowners because things are turning the corner. However if you're a buyer, this is a sign that if you are able, you should be pulling the trigger and buying NOW!

From Indiana Association of Realtors:

The good news made last month is part of a trend that proves local residential real estate markets across the state continue to strengthen from the worst of the recession. September 2012 marks the following consecutive year-over-year gains in home prices and market activity:

• The number of closed home sales has increased year-over-year for 15 consecutive months,
• The median sale price of homes has increased for 10 consecutive months,
• The average sale price has increased for nine consecutive months,
• The number of pending home sales has increased for 12 consecutive months, and
• Sellers received a greater share of their original list price for the seventh consecutive month.

This isn't a one time event, we are trending this way everyone! Here's to the recovery!


This is a SWEET graphic posted by the good folks over at Moving Authorities...check 'em out!    

The housing market recovery is on the way.

by brian
The good news: the housing market recovery is on the way... The bad news: it's probably 2 years away... The problem:the large number of distressed properties that were being held up in the banks by the courts from hitting the market. These properties are referred to as the 'shadow inventory'. Now, this shadow inventory is beginning to be released into the market as state courts allow the banks to continue the sale process, which was being investigated. This will cause the market to be "flooded" with distressed properties which will a) attract buyers away from non-distressed properties and b) lower comparable home values that assessors use. How does this translate into a housing recovery? Homeowners aren't behind on their payment in as high numbers so the shadow inventory isn't growing as quickly. So, once these homes get in the market and get sold, the market can come back down to normal inventory levels; recovery. What's this got to do with me? If you're thinking of selling, get your house on the market NOW! Once the market is hit with all these home, your sale price will likely drop significantly. Otherwise, consider call us in 24 month :) Cheers, Brian


Paying attention to how your home will appear to others will help you sell your home

If you are trying to sell a home in today’s market there are a few things to keep in mind that will help your home stand apart from the pack.  Prioritize and analyze what will fit in your budget and take the steps necessary to make your home show well and appeal to prospective buyers.

  • Fresh & Clean: Inspect your home inside and out. Does it need a coat of paint? A fresh coat of paint will always be recouped in the sale of a home and is well woth the cost.  Does it look clean and tight?  Pack up the mess, the more clutter free a home the better it will show.  Likewise an empty house shows better.
  • Curb appeal: Pay attention to your home as if you were a potential buyer.  Is it inviting?  Clean?  Shore up your landscaping, make sure that your lawn is green and well-kept, that your flower beds are weeded and mulched, and that the exterior of your house is clean and respectable.
  • Inspection: There will be a home inspection completed by the buyer be prudent and do one yourself.  Attend to items that could possibly hold up the sales process.
  • Best areas of a home to update and remodel? The Master Bathroom and the Kitchen.  Don’t spend the money to gut and redo your entire home but remodeling the master bath and kitchen areas of your home will make your home more appealing and grab a buyer’s eye.
  • Evaluate: Are the remodel/updates going to net you more than you are putting into them?  It is very important in the ned to pay attention to your local market and make the improvements that will help you not hurt you.  If you are not going to get the money back that you are intending to put into your home don’t do the changes.  Do the low-cost improvements and make do by making your home clean in its appearance.

Check out for more information and ways to sell your home.

What Exactly is an REO Property?

by admin

REO property is often a bargain for the real estate investor

What is REO property?  REO (real estate owned) is property which has been taken back  by the lender.  REO properties typically sell for less than comparable real estate listings as the lender usually wants to recoup the value of the loan which is traditionally less than the valueof the property.  The differences between REO property and foreclosure or short sale property are:

  • REO has already been acquired by the lender typically after a failed foreclosure sale or foreclosure auction.
  • The REO is owned by the bank (or lending institution) and is listed as an asset on their balance sheet.
  • The original home owner is no longer in the picture and the property is for sale.

The downside of REO property is that an REO property is typically not well-maintained by the financial institution that owns it.  The positive side of an REO is that a real estate investor or buyer can often purchase the property at a distinctively lower price.

For more information on REO property click here.

Real Estate values and sales seem to be on the rise

Clear Capital Report sees home prices rise across the country when analyzing quarterly results.  The report sees home value gains in all regions of the country, averaging out to 5%, with the Midwest gaining the most at 11.2%.  The real estate improvements are linked with summer being a buying season, increased investment opportunity and the previous large drop in home values.

The second quarter of 2009 followed a period of extremely low real estate activity, couple that with tax incentives, low mortgage rates and reduced home values, and the evidence of a true buyer’s market became omnipresent.  Acquiring a mortgage is probably still the most difficult part of the home buying process but money is strating to loosen.  Increased sales volume indicates an improvement in the real estate sector, a welcome sign for a beleaguered economy.

For a complete look at the Clear Capital report click here.

Breaking Down the First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit

by admin

There is no doubt that the first time home buyer tax credit is a great thing but there are a few things to know before you assume that you qualify for the full $8,000.  The tax credit breaks down as follows:
Who qualifies? First time home buyers and people (or spouses) who have not owned a home for the previous 3 years.  You must purchase your home between January 1, 2009 and December 1, 2009.

  • What qualifies for the first time home buyer’s tax credit? Only a primary house qualifies.  It does not matter if it is a single family home, duplex, townhome, condo, apartment or co-op, if it is a primary residence it will apply.
  • What is the amount of the first time home buyer’s tax credit? $8,000 is the maximum amount of the credit.  There are 2 factors at play when it comes to getting the credit: The cost of the home and the income of the person or married couple purchasing the home.  The credit can be 10% of the closing price up to $8,000 or a person making $75,000 or less or a married couple making $150,000 or less are eligible for the full $8,000.
  • Do you qualify for the first time home buyer’s tax credit if your income is higher? Yes and no.  If you make more than the $75,000/$150,000 limit you get less of a credit.  The maximum income is $95,000 for singles or $170,000 for couples.  If you make more than the maximum income you are not eligible for the tax credit.

The tax credit is a real boon for first time home buyers and does not have to be repaid.  If you qualify for the tax credit and have been considering purchasing a new home there could not be a better time.  Low interest rates, low home values and the first time home buyer tax credit all add up to the right time to call an experienced local Realtor.

Resource and for more information:

Trouble Finding A Buyer? Try Seller Financing As we are all too aware, obtaining a mortgage today is much harder than it was just last year. One new concept that is becoming more and more popular is ‘Seller Financing.’

The ‘Seller Financing’ concept can give home sellers an edge over competition as it fully eliminates that large obstacle so many buyers face today, and in turn will help augment your number of potential buyers.

Another benefit to consider with Seller Financing is the steady income you will receive from the mortgage payments.  Right now with all of the market volatility that we are experiencing, this could be your one steady interest earner - in some cases up to 7% or more!

This is a guaranteed return.  If you don’t need the proceeds from the sale of your home immediately, seller financing can be a great investment.  You might also consider partial seller financing. Most buyers will have a cap on their loan allowance, and as the seller you can consider financing the rest at a higher interest rate than normal. Keep in mind that as the seller you would not have to hold on to this mortgage forever, as it can be sold on a secondary market. If you’re worried about buyer default on the loan, you can fall back on reclaiming the home through a legal foreclosure process.

For more information on seller financing go to Financial Web.

Is Refinancing Your Mortgage The Right Thing For You?

Since mortgage rates have decreased and have been hitting record lows lately, many people are considering refinancing their mortgages. This can be a very beneficial thing to do if you have all of the proper information.
For starters, you should always read through your current mortgage to find out if you will have to pay penalties for getting out of that loan early. Another useful piece of information to know, if you are contemplating a refinance, is it generally makes the most sense to refinance when you can lower your interest rate by two points. For example, going from 8 percent on a thirty-year fixed loan to 6 percent on a thirty-year fixed loan.
The other most important consideration is how long will it take for you to recover the refinance fees in monthly savings on your “new” loan. You can
calculate this by dividing the total costs of the refinance by your monthly savings. This number represents how many months you will need to live in the home to cover the costs of the refinance.
Finally, if your refinance is successful and you have lower monthly payments, it might be best to use that money to save, maybe for a rainy day, towards a retirement plan or for a child’s’ college costs.
For more information on refinancing your loan go to “

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 101




Contact Information

Photo of Cathy Russell Real Estate
Cathy Russell
The Russell Company
2522 Covington St.
West Lafayette IN 47906
(765) 426-7000
(765) 335-5588
Fax: (765) 497-1003