Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 23

Daffodils in brown potIf you are in the enviable position right now of looking to buy a home, enjoy the current market: the buyer’s market! Many folks that have to sell their homes right now are happy to start a dialogue with a potential buyer, so arm yourself with any and all information to get the best deal possible!

  • Right now you have more time to look, so you will be better armed with the knowledge of which houses have been sitting on the market for a while. These homeowners might be more likely to negotiate.
  • Consider looking at new construction. Builders sometimes offer incentives and sometimes have very attractive financing programs.
  • In certain areas that have been hit a bit harder by the market downturn, you certainly do have the upper hand whilst negotiating - and can always ask for an upgrade or a major repair before finalizing the deal.
  • Some buyers are asking for a written warranty on appliances and certain structural repairs. Down the road this could be a big money-saver for you.
  • Motivated sellers are more likely to work with your timeline. Don’t be afraid to ask if the closing can be pushed out.
  • Even some lenders are willing to negotiate. You might ask for free private mortgage insurance, a better interest rate or even lower closing costs.

For more information on the current real estate market go to Housing Predictor.

Home interiorThere really is some very good tried and true advice for a seller when they are staging their home for prospective buyers. The following are things that sellers have done mistakenly assuming that it will help them to sell their home, but all it did was cause them to miss their chance to make a great first impression. Never do the following to your home for a showing:

  • Leave your pet in the house, assuming that prospective buyers are probably pet owners as well, and will enjoy meeting your beloved furry friend.
  • Let shrubs get so big that it blocks out light and has the look of an abandoned house.
  • Assume that a buyer will not mind having a list of unfinished jobs to do around the house, if they purchase the home, that is.
  • Throw all of your personal items that are laying about into your closets to make the house look clutter-free. One of the first things a prospective buyer does when they step foot into an entryway is to open that closet door, to see how much space it has…
  • Assume that a prospective buyer is interested in all of the details of your extremely long kitchen renovation - with a photo album detailing each step.
  • Forget to put away your personal papers, such as bills or bank statements.
  • Use sickeningly sweet scented candles. Most buyers consider it an alarm bell for deeper odor issues.

For more information on Home Staging Tips view this website.

Tomatoes in windowThe first impression really does count with potential home buyers. If your home is lacking basic curb appeal or is not sparkling inside, you could lose a potential buyer’s interest immediately - and never get it back! Here are some tips to avoid losing a potential buyer:
  • Flowers, flowers, flowers. Nothing welcomes a potential buyer more to a home than colorful flowers.
  • Keep walkways clear, trimmed and weeded.
  • Patios must be power-washed.
  • Windows should be sparkling.
  • Dust everywhere. Even the baseboards.
  • Since potential buyers look everywhere, make sure underneath your sinks and closets are clean, clutter-free and odor-free.
  • Remove all personal items such as framed photos, awards and collectibles. Buyers need to be able to imagine the space as theirs.
  • Paint any room that is a bright color, a neutral color.
  • Remove any worn or outdated furniture.
  • Repair any chipped or smudged paint, broken fixtures or squeaky doors.
  • Toss worn carpets.
  • Consider replacing dated hardware.
For more information about home staging go to Home Staging Information.

Closing Procedures 101

by admin

Take it, it's yoursIf you are planning to become a first-time home buyer, the following information about what occurs during a closing will keep you in-the-know.

  • When you are ready to make an offer on a home, it is good to make an offer that is 10% less than the asking price. This will give you plenty of room to negotiate with the seller.
  • When you make a formal offer, you must pay 1% of the sale price as “earnest money”. This lets the seller know that you are serious about your offer. 
  • You will have contingencies, such as getting proof of proper financing and a good house inspection.
  •  You will hire a home inspector that will give the home a complete inspection, to catch any possible problems the home may have.
  • When your offer is accepted by the seller, a legal and binding contract is drawn which states sell price, details of buyer’s or seller’s obligations, and date of possession.
  • The required “settlement sheet” provides a list of all monies paid at closing, including commissions and escrow amounts.
  • There will be a mandatory title search, and title insurance and an application for homeowners insurance is required.
  • Various closing costs will be paid such as the appraisal fee, the credit report fee, your taxes and the document preparation fee, to name a few.
  • Utility service and mortgage payment transfers will be arranged.

For more information on the closing process visit Survival Guide To A Real Estate Closing

American condosChoosing the right community is so important, as how you can you really love where you live unless you love the neighborhood? In the frenzy of finding a home and scheduling moving day, many people forget that researching the neighborhood is one of the most important ways to insure happiness at your new destination. Before making your final decision on a home, don’t forget to:
  • “Profile” the neighborhood. Ask yourself these questions: Is the quality of the school system important? Is the commute do-able for you? Do you like to be within walking distance to shops and restaurants? Do you like quiet?
  • Once you zero in on a neighborhood you like you must research all school information, crime statistics, parks and recreation, neighborhood association fees and tourist attractions. Armed with this information it will be easy to make a wise decision for you.
  • Take the time to visit. Don’t downplay your first impression. Take note of the community’s rush hour patterns, it’s social ability factor, it’s streetlights at night. Drive by the schools. Shop in the local grocery store. Try to meet some of your potential neighbors. All of these visual clues can be very revealing.
For more interesting ways to figure out if a neighborhood is right for you click here.

Candles Orient Home DecorSometimes sellers lose sight of what is most important to a buyer. Making that good first impression is so important since you usually only get one chance during that first showing. Remember to focus on the following and you should have an offer in no time:

  • Spruce up that entryway, or change it to appear more welcoming as a buyer enters through the front door, with an attractive bench or chair and a vase of fresh flowers.
  • Houses can lose their appeal to a buyer if there are dirty dishes piled in the sink, piles of laundry or dust. It is hard work to keep your house sparkling at all times for a surprise showing, but very necessary.
  • Kitchens sell a house. If yours looks old, a buyer might ask for up to $10,000 off of the asking price. Specifics to focus on are change the countertops, install new hardware and change to a neutral paint color. Even replacing just one appliance with a stainless steel version makes a difference!
  • Never forget to remove any personal items such as family photos and collections. It makes it harder for a buyer to envision themselves in the space if all they see are dozens and dozens of hummels.
  •  Light is good! Even if you prefer a darkened space, remember that a prospective buyer looks for as much light as possible. Remove drapes if you have to to let in light, or trim back large bushes or trees that are preventing light from entering a space.
  • Empty those closets so that at least half of it is visible. Many sellers find that they have to put things into temporary storage elsewhere, but this effort pays off as a buyer needs to believe that they have a myriad of places to put all of their “stuff”.
  • In this economy try your best to be brave and list your home at 15% to 20% off of its value. This strategy has a track record of creating many buyers with bids, that often end up over the ask price.

For more information about how to properly price your home for sale go to “How Sellers Can Maximize Profit”.

Diamond 05Surveys are showing that many people are not exactly sure what their homeowner insurance policy covers…and does not cover. Here are a few things to be aware of that it does NOT cover:
  • Flood Insurance. You must purchase separate coverage.
  • Cars, motorcycles and boats are not covered.
  • Damages due to a break in the water line on your property.
  • Damages due to a break in the sewer line on your property.
  • Earthquake damage.
  • Mold damage.
  • Termites or other infestation damage.
  • Injured or stolen pets.
Many people surveyed believed these things were covered, and they are not. Experts also recommend that you add coverage if you acquire valuable possessions, or make any major home improvements. If you own a trampoline or pool, you may need to increase your liability coverage. If you have valuable jewelry you may also want to add an additional floater to cover any special items that will not be covered by your basic homeowners policy. For more information about homeowners insurance, see the consumer education website InsureUonline.

Identity Theft: Part III Keep Your Computer Safe

by admin

Keys on ComputerMany people are afraid thieves will somehow get their information off of the computer. This is possible for them to do, but there are ways to protect yourself. Some people find that installing anti-virus, anti-spy ware, firewall protection and hardware firewalls is over-kill. In reality, when protecting your personal information you should always err on the side of caution.


  • When setting up wireless Internet access, educate yourself on wireless security.
  • Store your backed-up data away from your computer.
  • Never open an e-mail from someone you don’t know.
  • Never open attachments unless you know where it is coming from. Make sure you set up Windows to show all file extensions.
  • Make sure you set up your browser to block pop-ups.
  • Never use your credit card on a website that does not direct you to a secure page with a URL starting with https://.
  • Use different passwords for every single site you use that asks for one. Always mix letters and numbers to make up that password.
  • Never keep financial information on your hard drive.

For more information on Computer Safety go to Internet Safety Solutions.

SoldHomeowners having financial difficulties and in fear of losing their homes to foreclosure could be helped by the newest addition to the government’s housing-rescue plan. It entails a standard process and incentives for a short sale. It will simplify the process for borrowers to transfer ownership of their home to the mortgage company through a “deed in lieu” of foreclosure. This will benefit the buyer because they avoid “foreclosure” and it will benefit the lender because they will avoid the high foreclosure expenses and large amount of time it takes to complete the process. This year, short sales have increased to 20% of all home sales. Compared to foreclosure, a short sale is less costly to the lender, but for the buyer it must be approved and can take up to four months to complete. The government plans to pay mortgage-servicing companies up to $1,000 and borrowers up to $1,500 for completed short sales and “deed in lieu” of foreclosure.  These incentives will help make the process go faster. For more information on the government housing-rescue plan see USA Today for common questions.
The Party's OverFrustrated homesellers have begun looking into more and more creative ways to sell their homes. Long gone are the days of simply baking a pie during a showing for the enticing aroma or setting out beautiful bouquets of fresh flowers to interest a buyer. Here’s what some are actually doing to sell their homes more quickly:
  • Throwing an Open House Party. The offerings at these shindigs are wine, catered food, live music and prizes.
  • Consulting a Feng Shui home stager. Their homes are being rearranged to make potential buyers feel more welcome by following the ancient chinese philosophy to improve the home’s “chi”, or energy.
  • Helping buyers with the financing. Many are offering lease-to-own deals, financing it themselves, paying the closing costs, or paying a point to lower the interest rate for the buyer.
  • Burying statues. People are swearing by the fact that shortly after burying a statue of the patron saint of family and household in their yards, they sold their homes.
  • Throwing in BIG extras to seal the deal. Gone are the days of generously offering a big-screen TV. Sellers are now offering cars, vacations, home upgrades, furniture stipends and even a year’s mortgage.
For more interesting ways to consider selling your home faster go to the Fun Times Guide.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 23




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