Woods Bros Realty welcomes associates March 31st, 2010
In addition, the York office welcomes experienced agent Gayle Coffin. All of these professionals have undergone extensive training and are well-qualified to help their clients in every aspect of real estate.
Woods Bros Realty, an affiliate of HomeServices of America, is a full-service company offering 121 years of expertise in real estate as well as experience in mortgage, title, closing, and insurance services. Providing an easier way to buy and sell, nearly 300 sales associates work with clients in Lincoln, Seward, Beatrice, York, Grand Island, and southeast and northeast Nebraska. For more information about Woods Bros Realty, visit www.WoodsBros.com.
Posted by Woods Bros Realty
2010 Market Update March 26th, 2010
Well it hasn’t been quite the beginning of the year I’d hoped for. Anyone who tells you making money in real estate is easy has probably been doing it long enough to have a very solid client base and steady stream of new business and referrals. Last year was my best year in the business. I won the Lincolnshire Sales Office’s Sales Achievement award for the second year in a row. Granted my 2007 was abysmal, and 2008 was more about gaining momentum and catching up with the pack. 2009 was stellar. I closed $3.68M and had more fun doing it than I can remember in all of my ten years so far. I met a lot of great people and was fortunate to have been prepared when opportunity presented itself.
The market has shifted slightly this year. Most notably has been a decline in the sense of urgency that first-time homebuyers had before November 30. The tax credit extension and enhancement haven’t had that much of an effect according to the sources I observe. What I’m seeing now is the result of the foreclosure sell-off of 2009, a slight increase in values, but conversely the “quality” factor of the homes in the first-time buyer range isn’t what you’d expect based on last year’s inventory. There are also a lot of homes for sale around Lincoln under $130,000 that should be selling but just aren’t for one reason or another. I’m seeing a lot of homes that have deferred maintenance, water problems, and the compounding effects of neglect and apathy. There are a lot of vacant homes on the market and this Winter has been especially hard on the inventory.
The good news about anyone wanting to list their home this year is that the competition is very well defined and it’s easy to tell someone where they stand with regards to price and condition. Homebuyers nowadays are very aware of the Cardinal Rules of buying a home: Condition, Location and Price. I can’t tell you how important it is to keep up with regular maintenance and not be afraid to do one or two projects per year that protect and increase the value of your home. Today’s market is very competitive and sellers can no longer get away with clean, neat and organized homes. Sellers today have to be up-to-date with fresh paint, floor coverings and kitchens and baths. Vinyl flooring from the 70’s and 80’s is a deal breaker for a lot of buyers, and since the home selection is improving, sellers without the means to update their homes will end up losing the price battle and paying more to sell their homes in the long run.
Lincoln is unique. If you’ve followed any of the National media concerning quality of life and best places to live and all that, then you’re aware that Lincoln scores high marks in a lot of the categories people look to when consideration a relocation for one reason or another. Lincoln is also unique because of the soil type and maintenance issues that are caused by Type III Soil, which is heavy in clay and causes buckling in foundation walls due to poor percolation and drainage. This time of year is when we find out how well our basement walls have held up to record snow falls over the Winter and surely to be followed by substantial rain. Since I have an older home, I’m very aware of foundation problems and the steps that need to be taken to keep my basement dry during this time of year.
Last year I had the unfortunate experience of a failed footing along the Southwest corner of my foundation. My neighbor to the South had excavated their driveway to pour a new slab. In doing so, the soil compaction around that side of my house was disturbed and the ground shifted. The result is a settling crack that’s as wide as 3/4″ in some places. I still haven’t decided how to fix the basement wall but the immediate solution to keeping the water out was to add soil around the foundation and improve the drainage. A couple wheel barrows of dirt was all it took to keep things dry the rest of the year. This year I hope to have the wall fixed before the rest of my door jambs and windows start to show signs of a failed footing. The minor drywall cracks have been spreading and the weak points in the structure are becoming clearly evident now that the house seems to have stopped settling. I’m lucky to say that none of the selling clients I represent have structural problems or latent defects. I just need their homes to sell so they can move forward with their next round of life changes.
2010 may not be starting out the way I wanted, but things could be worse. I could be unemployed or in jail or in foreclosure. I owe the IRS more money than I’d like to admit, but that only means I had a good year last year. And if things continue to improve the way they did last year than I’ll probably be just fine as the year progresses. Keep me in mind if you know anyone looking to buy or sell real estate.
Posted by John Janovy
First-time buyers need to be focused, realistic March 25th, 2010
Affordable housing in the Lincoln, NE real estate market is becoming a rare commodity. If you are a first-time buyer in the under $100,000 range who is using FHA/NIFA’s ABC2 program or NeighborWorks First Home program and only need $1,000 to get into a house, here’s the reality of Lincoln’s market: houses that are in good condition and in popular areas are going fairly quickly and we are seeing multiple offers.
There are lots of buyers trying to take advantage of the remaining timeline for the tax credit so keep in mind that you have plenty of competition from your fellow first-time buyers. So, what does this mean? Get focused and get focused fast on what is important.
Don’t be unrealistic in what you can buy for your money, there are no ‘deals’ to be snatched up as so many of those HGTV® shows would have you believe. This is Lincoln, Neb., and our market has remained pretty stable in unstable times. ESPECIALLY in the under $100,000 price range.
Don’t be looking at houses beyond your price range either. Sellers are not going to give away their houses. Once you fall in love with a house outside of your price range, it will be nearly impossible to find one within your price range that will compare. You are just setting yourself up for disappointment. And the seller who had to leave for the showing, well they did so in good faith that you are actually qualified to buy their house–it’s just not right.
Sellers are in the drivers seat in this price range. Don’t think you are going to offer someone $10,000-15,000 less than what a property is listed at and actually think you are going to get your offer accepted.
Be realistic and listen to your real estate professional.
Posted by Wendy Francis
Are we borrowing home sales from later in the year? March 22nd, 2010
Unless you have been stuck in a closet or under a rock for the past several months, you know that the deadline is quickly approaching for both the first time home buyer $8,000 tax credit and the $6,500 tax credit for repeat home buyers.
Anyone wanting to get either of those credits must be in contract by April 30, 2010. These incentives have certainly provided a boost to home sales across the country and in Lincoln. We are likely to see a rush from buyers to find a home and make an offer before the deadline hits. So, what happens after April 30th?
It’s possible some of these home buyers are making the move now instead of waiting until later this year. Perhaps they are getting married in the fall, or expecting a baby later this year, and they know they want to buy a house in 2010 so they have decidded to buy now and get the incentive. Does that mean realtors and home sellers will be sitting idle later this year? Perhaps.
However, I have encountered some buyers who are not going to let the promise of $8,000 force them into making a decision on a house before the right one comes along. Other buyers are betting that home prices are somewhat artificially inflated now because of the incentives and they are expecting home sellers will be more willing to negotiate later this year.
Your thoughts? Let me know.
Posted by Joanne McCoy
Finally the day has come when you and your wife have decided that the family has outgrown your current home. You have had three trips to the doctor in the past year due to tripping over the kids’ toys. When you open the closets you need to wear a helmet to protect your noggin. And the holidays are not pleasant when you try to squeeze 30 people into a 10’ x 10’ space called a dining room.
You should hire a professional, but you watch the Home and Garden Channel reruns at 1:00 am when one of the kids has the flu, and you think you can do it on your own.
So you run to the hardware store on your lunch break and spend $75 on one of those flimsy signs that will sustain a 2 mph wind and one of those nice flyer tubes. When you get home you install them in the front yard and run to the computer to list your house on one of those FREE local internet sites. You make your own flyers on a program that was free with your computer, but your printer is out of ink. So you run to the office supply store and spend $100.00 on two printer cartridges. You go home and install them, but find that you really needed a printer. So you run back out and spend $300 on a new printer. Now you make the nice flyers (estimating the utilities, taxes and size of rooms) and run outside to fill the tube, only to find out that the wind has taken your sign and tube to somewhere in Iowa. Another $75 trip to the hardware store.
You are going to have your first open house. You call the local newspaper and give them the information you want in the ad. Total: $300 for one ad, one day. Ouch!!!
You shove all the stuff back in the closets and duct tape the doors shut. You throw the kids’ toys into the garage behind the mini-van. You light a few candles and wait for the arrival of the new owners. But the only buyers who come are the neighbors–wanting to be nosey and see the inside of your house–and a few very scary looking individuals who saw your ad on the Internet site. When the open house is over, you run around the house blowing out the candles and turning off the lights only to find out that your Rolex watch, flat screen television and your kids’ piggy banks have been stolen. You call the police and they say they are on the way, but it will be a little while as they are busy with more important things. You are hungry and there is nothing in the house to eat. So you decide to run thru the drive-in burger joint down the road to grab a bite. It will only take you a minute or two! You jump in the mini-van and back her up, running over three expensive kids’ bikes, your wife’s golf clubs and your favorite fishing pole. The cost of repair or replacement: PRICELESS.
You stagger back into the kitchen to try to find something in that refrigerator that doesn’t contain mold and as you reach to open the door … there in plain sight … is the refrigerator magnet that Cindy Weiss with Woods Bros Realty sent to you during the holidays. And there is her telephone number too!!! You call her and she brings you the papers to list your house and maybe even dinner.
Posted by Cindy Weiss
Limited time pricing specials from HomeServices Lending March 17th, 2010
Waiting to buy a home?
Our new purchase loan pricing special may get you off the fence
When you work with us, you may benefit from our limited time pricing specials with:
- Lower interest rates on fixed rate purchase mortgages
- Loan amounts up to $729,750(1) in qualified areas
- Varied amortization term options
- Relocation loans eligible
Why wait when you could be taking action?
From historically low interest rates to numerous homes for sale to tax credits for both move-up and first-time buyers(2), we have financing programs to help accommodate a number of budgets and goals.
Contact us for a PriorityBuyer® preapproval
- Pinpoint your home price range, and affirm your ability to get financing.(3)
- Find a HomeServices Lending Home Mortgage Consultant in each Lincoln Woods Bros Realty office, or call (402) 441-3200.
#162907 02/10 – 05/10
Posted by Woods Bros Realty
Agents raise $1,279 with Cookoff for Cancer March 17th, 2010
Woods Bros Realty put the heat on cancer with the first ever Soup or Chili Cook-Off for Cancer. The event was a huge success, raising $1,279 to benefit the American Cancer Society.
Each office selected a representative chef to enter their soup or chili for the tasting. Agents and staff could then buy beans for $1 each to vote for their favorite soup or chili.
Posted by Woods Bros Realty
Am I smarter than a fifth grader? March 16th, 2010
Shortly before Thanksgiving past, I came face to face with the selection of a new cell phone. I was the last hold-out with my kith and kin for same-company benefits of cellular transmission. My heirs were calling each other without minute consumption. And texting was at the speed of ticket sales to a Lady Gaga concert. But, with the reassurance–or was it incessant goading?–from the Other Gens in our familial tree, I entered the treacherous confines of a Baby Boomer’s Hell, a store we’ll call Cell Phone City.
While the 20-somethings at my arm were the kids in the candy store, the beads on my forehead resembled those of me stepping in for a root canal. I was standing on the high board above the pool of Blatant Ignorance, ready for full-body immersion into embarrassment.
But, rationalization to the rescue! Hey, I’m a guy with two Master’s Degrees and teaching experience in six different decades! Am I smarter than a fifth grader or what? I can DO this! Well, I could do this as long as the enforcement team that pushed me through the doors was available …
Thirty minutes and a blazing of the credit card later, I exited the store feeling a tad more techno-savvy. I had the sworn-in-blood promise of my reassuring relatives that it was all just one baby step after another into Blackberry Heaven.
So, this guy who played with two tin cans and a string as my own homemade walkie-talkie in another mid-century era really can navigate the treachery of technology. And the availability of people like my company’s Ben Dinger and Connie Hain don’t hurt my cause.
As for the “smarter than a fifth grader” issue, I’m happy that young learners take on new phases of technology like ducks to water. I’m still occasionally on that high board above the pool of uncertainty. But, I’m getting better with the help of my friends.
Posted by Lance Hall
Local home sale numbers still heading up March 15th, 2010
BY MATT Olberding/Lincoln Journal Star
Tanner Andrews had already put his house on the market before the $6,500 federal tax credit for repeat homebuyers became available in November.
So the tax credit didn’t really have anything to do with his interest in buying a new home.
But it did influence his choice.
Andrews and his wife, Faith, wanted a bigger home with more bathrooms for them and their two children. But they also wanted a house with a privacy fence.
The house they liked the best didn’t have a fence, though, and Andrews said they definitely would have kept looking and may not have bought the house they did without that $6,500 credit as an incentive.
“Putting up a privacy fence is $4,000, and having that tax credit helps tremendously,” said Andrews, who owns Andy’s Appliance repair.
Not only did the Andrewses benefit from the $6,500 tax credit for themselves, but the buyers of their home are taking advantage of the $8,000 federal tax credit for first-time homebuyers. Both sales are scheduled to close later this month.
To a large degree, the tax credits have helped a rebirth of Lincoln’s sagging home market.
There were 4,041 home sales in 2009 through the local Multiple Listing System, which covers Lancaster and parts of other surrounding counties. That was up 11.4 percent from 2008.
And despite the horrible weather in January, sales for the month were still up more than 3 percent compared with January 2009.
That has local real estate officials looking toward spring with optimism.
“I think you’re going to see quite an uptick in sales this spring,” said Kent Thompson, president of the Realtors Association of Lincoln.
Thompson predicted sales in the first half of the year could be up 10 to 15 percent over last year, as buyers unleash demand stifled by the harsh winter and rush to take advantage of the homebuying tax credits, which are set to expire at the end of April.
Thompson said he thinks things will level off in the second half of the year, after the tax credits go away, but he still expects sales to be up around 10 percent for the year.
“People are feeling a little more stable about where this economy’s at,” Thompson said.
The local economy has fared better than most other places in the country, with unemployment rates that are among the lowest in the nation. That, combined with low interest rates and the tax credits has helped jumpstart home sales.
“We’re hoping that as you look back at it, that ‘08 becomes the bottom and you go up from there,” said Doug Rotthaus, executive vice president of the local Realtors Association.
Sales to first-time homebuyers in 2009 drove exisiting home sales to their second-highest level in history, but even the new-home market – which has been at its lowest level in more than a decade – saw a slight improvement, with its first year-over-year gain in six years.
“Two thousand eight was the worst year we’ve had in a long time,” said Steve Champoux, owner of Prairie Homebuilders. “Two thousand nine was a lot better.”
Champoux said the tax credit really made a difference last year, helping demand for new homes.
Many of those sales were to first-time buyers, a fact that was reflected in prices.
Median prices of new homes dropped 6 percent last year, to their lowest level since 2005.
The median price of existing homes stayed steady at $125,000, which is also the lowest since 2005.
The overall median price dropped more than 2 percent last year, to its lowest level since 2003.
Rotthaus acknowledged that much of the homebuying in 2009 was in the lower price ranges, but he said he’s starting to see an uptick in “move-up” buyers – people selling a home to move to a larger, more expensive one.
“There does seem to at least be a little better activity in the $250,000 range,” he said.
That may be due in large part to the $6,500 tax credit available to people buying a new home who have lived in their current home for at least five years.
Like the Andrewses, Becky Virgillito and her husband, Dan, were looking for a bigger house for themselves and their child.
Virgillito said the availability of the tax credit made a “huge impact” on their decision to go ahead and look for a new house.
“We knew we wanted something bigger, but that (tax credit) was probably the deciding factor,” she said.
The Virgillitos’ house sold in less than a week – to a first-time buyer using the $8,000 credit – and they were able to find a house they liked right away.
They closed last month and have moved into their “dream home,” as Virgillito puts it.
“I encourage anyone who’s even considering it (using the tax credit) to look into it, because it’s well worth it,” she said.
Reach Matt Olberding at 473-2647 or email@example.com.
Posted by Woods Bros Realty
March Market Snapshot March 10th, 2010
Check out our new Market Snapshot, featuring real estate statistics from the Lincoln and Seward, Beatrice, and Grand Island, Nebraska areas. Updated monthly!
Posted by Woods Bros Realty
New radio ads on the tax credit March 9th, 2010
Check out Woods Bros Realty’s new radio ad on the home buyer tax credits!
Posted by Woods Bros Realty
Open House at North Creek Villas to start Sunday March 4th, 2010
Woods Bros Realty and First Choice Homes are pleased to present an ”Open House at North Creek Villas” March 7-14 at the townhome subdivision at North 20th Street and Fletcher in Lincoln, Neb.
Nine brand-new townhomes are for sale in North Creek Villas, and they include two-bedroom ranch plans and two-bedroom two-story plans. All feature two-stall garages and are priced from $118,400 to $144,400. The convenient location offers easy access to I-80 and North 27th Street.
For the event, the homes will be open Sundays from 1-5 p.m. and Monday through Thursday from 4-7 p.m., with no opens scheduled for Friday and Saturday.
First Choice Homes, is offering various incentives through the promotion. In addition, there is still an $8,000 first-time and $6,500 repeat home buyer tax credit available, not to mention already low interest rates.
The builder, First Choice Homes has built hundreds of homes in the Lincoln area for over 10 years. The company has been awarded an Honorable Mention award from the Better Business Bureau of Nebraska. First Choice Homes has teamed up with Gotcha Covered to select everything you need for your new home from carpet to kitchen cabinets, tile, light fixtures and all your home decorating needs. Their designers work with you for no extra charge.
Posted by Woods Bros Realty
The Top 5 Reasons to Vote for the Lincoln Haymarket Arena March 3rd, 2010
From the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce
1.IT WILL STRENGTHEN OUR ECONOMY
The Lincoln Haymarket Arena will generate $800 million in economic activity in our community during the three-year construction process. After it’s complete, Lincoln will see $260 million in annual economic activity – the equivalent of 65 home Husker football games.
2.IT WILL CREATE GOOD JOBS
The Lincoln Haymarket Arena will create thousands of jobs during the three years the arena is built. These good-paying jobs during construction will be added when we need them the most – during a tough economy. In the future, the Lincoln Haymarket Arena will add more than 1,000 permanent jobs at the arena and in the surrounding retail, office and commercial area. We need to do everything we can to keep and create good paying jobs, while we continue building a bright future in our community.
3.IT WON’T INCREASE PROPERTY TAXES
The ballot measure is clear: It includes language specifically guaranteeing that “APPROVAL OF THIS BOND ISSUE WILL NOT CAUSE ANY INCREASE IN THE PROPERTY TAX LEVY MILLAGE LIMIT OF THE CITY.” In addition, an economic growth analysis predicts that the Lincoln Haymarket Arena project will generate enough revenue to provide an additional $3 million in sales tax receipts to support city services. This helps ensure a stable budget for our city, reducing the likelihood of additional tax increases in the future.
4.IT REFLECTS PUBLIC INPUT AND ENSURES INDEPENDENT OVERSIGHT
The Lincoln Haymarket Arena project is the result of years of public input through community meetings throughout Lincoln. The feedback received resulted in important changes to the Arena plan. The Joint Public Agency that will be responsible for the project provides transparency and oversight of the expenditures for the project. Guaranteed audits will ensure that no funds are transferred from the general fund to the Arena project.
5.WE CAN’T AFFORD TO DO NOTHING
We’ve outgrown Pershing Auditorium. The building is over 50 years old and lacks the capacity, production space and infrastructure to support modern performances, concerts and sporting events. It is obsolete and costs more to keep open than it brings in. Doing nothing means we will forfeit having the Husker basketball team play at the arena and risk losing state high school tournaments – a Lincoln tradition. It also limits the possibility of new youth sports fields and other affordable family-friendly events that bring people together in Lincoln. In these times, doing nothing is not an option. The Lincoln Haymarket Arena is an opportunity we can’t afford to pass up.
Posted by Woods Bros Realty
Francis earns foreclosure certification, service award March 3rd, 2010
Wendy Francis with Woods Bros Realty has earned the nationally recognized Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource certification. The National Association of REALTORS® offers the SFR certification to REALTORS® who want to help both buyers and sellers navigate these complicated transactions, as demand for professional expertise with distressed sales grows.
According to a recent NAR survey, nearly one-third of all existing homes sold recently were either short sales or foreclosures. REALTORS® who have earned the SFR certification know how to help sellers maneuver the complexities of short sales as well as help buyers pursue short sale and foreclosure opportunities.
The certification program includes training on how to qualify sellers for short sales, negotiate with lenders, protect buyers, and limit risk, and provides resources to help REALTORS® stay current on national and state-specific information as the market for these distressed properties evolves. To earn the SFR certification, REALTORS® are required to take one core course and three Webinars. For more information about the SFR certification, visit www.REALTORSFR.org or call 1-877-510-7855.
In addition to the SFR certification, Francis has again been granted the highest level of service achievement in the real estate industry, Quality Service Certified® Platinum. The award is in recognition of earning 100% client service satisfaction in 2009 as measured by Leading Research Corporation (LRC).
A Quality Service Certified (QSC) award status is the only recognition in the real estate industry based on independently validated customer satisfaction survey results. After the conclusion of real estate transactions, clients of QSC agents receive a survey, asking them to rate the agent on various aspects of the service process. The surveys are administered and the results are received and compiled by LRC.
Client feedback from the surveys becomes part of the agent’s credentials. An overall satisfaction rating is displayed on a consumer website (www.QualityService.org) where sellers and buyers have the ability to select a real estate professional based upon each agent’s validated record of service satisfaction.
Posted by Woods Bros Realty