Top 10 features in new homes March 25th, 2013
New construction is hot in Lincoln. People looking for new construction typically have some features in mind that they want in a new house. Here are the top 10:
- An open floor plan. Most people just seem to love going into a new house and seeing the living room and the kitchen as one big area. Most seem to want the ability to be in the kitchen and visit with someone in the great room at the same time.
- A large kitchen with a walk-in pantry and granite countertops. The kitchen is often the focal point of the entire house and new home buyers want their kitchen to stand out. Granite countertops are wildly popular as they make kitchens look richer. A walk-in pantry provides sufficient space for items that won’t fit in the kitchen cabinets.
- A mud room. Most new construction homes are built with a mud room. Typically this is the first room you enter when walking into the home through the garage. Also called a “drop zone,” it is a great place to leave coats, shoes and other items carried into the house. Most have cubby holes or lockers for coats or at least coat hooks. That makes it easy to grab your coat and run when you leave the house. Many times this room also doubles as the laundry room.
- A master suite. This consists of a large master bedroom with a master bath that includes a walk-in tiled shower, a jetted or soaker tub and a double sink vanity. The walk-in master closet can either be off the bedroom itself or the bathroom.
- A large rec-room in the finished basement. A finished rec-room gives a family double the living space and serves as a place to kick back and relax. It’s a great place for a large flat screen television and casual and comfy furniture.
- Plenty of storage. Let’s face it – people have “stuff” and they need places to put it. Much new construction today leaves large unfinished spaces – usually where the furnace and water heater are – for storage.
- Great floors – wood, tile – anything but vinyl. Wood flooring in the kitchen and dining area is fairly standard today in most new construction. Many people are even eschewing carpet in the great room in favor of wood floors. Wood colors range from light to dark and all provide a look of richness. Tile is demanded in bathrooms, laundry rooms and entry ways where wood is not present.
- Well-placed laundry rooms. Laundry rooms no longer are relegated to the basement. In newer homes, they are expected to be on the main level or even on the upper level by the bedrooms in two-story houses. It’s a convenience thing – people just don’t want to carry laundry to and from the basement anymore.
- Three-car (and even bigger) garages. You will notice that the majority of newly-built homes today have three car garages. Builders understand that families have multiple cars today and single and double garages just aren’t big enough.
- Covered deck. Who doesn’t like a deck in their back yard – even more so when it has a roof over it. A covered deck gives people a great outdoor living space.
Posted by Lori Black
Woods Bros Mobile App just got better January 25th, 2013
The Woods Bros Realty mobile app just got a major upgrade! Here are some of the new features in this version:
- Much faster map searching
- Text / Keyword Searches (refine map or criteria search).
- 3D Property icons with the list price
- Favorite or recommended agent
- Live statistics on every screen. You always know the lowest, highest and average list & sale price.
- App Touring: tap and hold (for a few seconds) the compass icon on the lower right. The app now updates your location and nearby properties every 5 seconds. This is ideal for property tours, open houses and market surveys.
If you’ve already downloaded our app to your device, simply update it. If you haven’t yet downloaded it, you can do that here:
Posted by Woods Bros Realty
Coming year should be strong for real estate January 8th, 2013
The past couple of years there has been a response to the national economic indicators with a general insecurity about spending money in general. This year that seemed to lighten up, and we continued as Realtors to stress that all markets are local. Lincoln has very strong economic indicators, with very low unemployment and community investment in several new projects.
The local market saw a distinct jump in a positive direction. Most impressive is that year-end residential sales closings were up 18 percent from both 2010 and 2011. New construction permits were up, and lot sales were brisk.
There was an odd sense of “watch and wait” through the election time and through the “Fiscal Cliff” deliberations. Our clients wanting to discuss their plans for Spring of 2013 have started calling early this year, and with interest rates still at such low rates, the coming year should be a strong one for real estate buying and selling.
The future is especially bright for the millennium buyers who are hoping to experience their first-time home buying process. The first-time home buyer programs do not offer tax credits anymore, but there are a lot of future homeowners realizing that they can qualify for affordable home mortgages with some very good loan programs.
Posted by Susan Ferris
Search for properties with our new mobile app June 22nd, 2012
Woods Bros Realty is pleased to offer a fast, powerful local real estate application for Android and Apple mobile devices.
Home buyers can search for listings and open houses via criteria, maps or current location (GPS required), or even draw a search area to find the most properties in any mobile real estate app. Flip through additional photos; turn the screen sideways for full screen viewing. Quickly save interesting properties for comparison or contact an agent. Share properties via message, e-mail or Twitter, and easily look up office and agent information.
FROM YOUR DEVICE, click the link below to download. OR, scan the QR code from your device. You can also search for the company names in your device’s application store. iPad users? Be sure to check out the iPad app.
Posted by Woods Bros Realty
Special offer on Williamsburg home June 14th, 2012
For a limited time only, the Seller of this spectacular Williamsburg home at 3801 Old Dominion Ct in Lincoln, NE, will seriously consider all formal offers with a purchase price of $470,000 or higher. This stunning property is currently priced at $499,000 and is well worth the price – the home was recently assessed at $517,900!
Located in one of Lincoln’s most prestigious developments, this stunning home is better than new and features a fabulous open floor plan, gourmet kitchen with granite counters, double ovens, custom cherry cabinetry and a large walk-in pantry. In addition, you’ll find a spacious master suite, 3 additional large bedrooms, an office or study space and a beautifully finished basement and amazing landscaping.
Public Open Houses will be held on:
Saturday, June 16, 2012 1:00 to 3:00pm
Sunday, June 17, 2012 3:00 to 5:00pm
Posted by Bruce Hahn
New Enhancements to WoodsBros.com May 2nd, 2012
Early this morning we rolled out a new build of our website that adds some really cool new features to keep us at the leading edge with our online presence. Here’s what’s new!
Facebook, Twitter, and Google + sharing on the mobile site
Our mobile traffic, and mobile traffic across the industry continues to grow exponentially. We’ve been focusing a LOT on the mobile site since launching the first local real estate mobile site two years ago – so I’m very happy to announce this feature. Now you can share a listing to the “big three” social networks instantly from anywhere on any device. Check it out by visiting m.woodsbros.com from your smartphone today!
Printable Listing Brochure
You can now click “Print Brochure” on any listing and will be presented with a new layout that’s much more clean and includes some really nice features. We’ve included a ruled area at the top for notes, and a new revised map at the bottom that allows you to map from your address to the property while also including agent-entered driving directions.
Saved Search notifications via Text Message
We’re all-in on the mobile device shift, and to continue to adapt we’ve added text notifications. Now when a property receives a price change, open house, or other update and you have enabled these notifications – you will immediately get a text message! This is only the beginning – and it works very well. To make the change, log in to www.WoodsBros.com, click on “Profile Settings,” and add your Mobile Phone Number and Carrier. Then under “Notification Preferences” select “Text Message.”
In every text message we include an unsubscribe link to allow you to easily unsubscribe at your discretion. Nothing complicated, just a simple click of a link!
Enhanced Search Experience
We continue to enhance our property search to cater both to tablets and to usability. Buttons and headings continue to get larger and more colorful – allowing much easier clicking on iPads and other tablets, as well as drawing attention to them. We’ve also recently updated the “Your Selections” area at the top to allow you to easily see the search criteria you’ve entered. And this is only the beginning — stay tuned!
Show All Photos on Mobile Search Results
We’ve added usability to the mobile site by jumping straight to a page with all of a listing’s photos if the photo count below the primary listing photo is clicked.
That’s all we have for this go-around but much more is coming this year!
Posted by Woods Bros Realty
Woods Bros Realty offers online document access to clients, agents February 24th, 2012
Woods Bros Realty is pleased to announce the completion of a project to make a paperless real estate transaction possible.
Utilizing Doc Central from Real Estate Digital, our online technology partner and industry leader, we now have the ability to instantly give agents and clients online access to transaction documents from anywhere in the world.
Furthermore, we entered in an agreement with the online signature leader, DocuSign, to provide the full product to our agents at a substantial discount. This is just another step in Woods Bros Realty’s commitment to our clients and agents to simplify the real estate transaction. For more information, contact a Woods agent.
Posted by Woods Bros Realty
The PRICE Is the Same, But the COST Is Less November 16th, 2011
There is more and more research coming out showing that it makes great financial sense to purchase a home today . Whether it be rent vs. buy ratios, income-to-price ratios or income-to-mortgage payment ratios, purchasing a home right now is a bargain compared to historic norms. Now we want to look at the COST of a home today compared to pre-peak prices.
According to the most recent S&P Case Shiller price index, residential real estate values have returned to 2003 1Q PRICEs. That, in itself, says something. However, when you factor in mortgage rates, the case for buying a home today becomes even more compelling.
In 2003, 30 year mortgage rates stood at 5.88%. Today, they are 4%. How does that impact the actual COST of a home? On a home purchased for $250,000, here is the difference in monthly cost:
That means you save $285.30 a month, $3,423.60 a year and $102,708 over the life of a 30 year mortgage! You buy the home for the same PRICE but the COST is over $100,000 less.
This is why so many financial advisors are saying that this may be one of the greatest times in history to purchase a home.
Posted by Woods Bros Realty
An Easier Way to Buy and Sell Video November 11th, 2011
Posted by Woods Bros Realty
Top 5 Questions to Ask When Interviewing a Real Estate Agent November 8th, 2011
1. How long have you been in the business?
Clients want to know they’re working with someone who knows how to do their job. Experience counts whether buying your first home or selling an investment portfolio of multiple properties. Buyers and sellers of real estate want to work with experienced agents who know how to manage their transaction from start to finish effectively.
2. What’s the worst case scenario of buying/selling?
Clients want to know the risk factors. Real estate is not perfect and sometimes clients assume risk. Knowing the worst possible outcome of any situation helps a client prepare themselves for battle if necessary.
3. What’s the best case scenario of buying/selling?
Clients want to know the benefits. Just as clients need to anticipate risk, they also need to perceive the benefit of taking action, whether in terms of accomplishing part of The American Dream of owning their first home, or realizing profits from smart investing.
4. Can you get the job done, whether buying or selling?
Clients want results. Rather, clients expect results.
5. How soon can we go to work?
Clients want service now. Today’s real estate client has mulitple tools at their disposal to get information quickly and without contacting an agent directly. Websites, text messaging, email, are tools that agents need to manage efficiently to satisfy the clients’ needs for instant service.
Posted by John Janovy
Picking the right agent is crucial October 5th, 2011
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their Existing Sales Report two weeks ago and in the report they discussed a troubling trend: cancelled contracts are increasing dramatically. NAR defined the issue:
“Contract failures – cancellations caused largely by declined mortgage applications or failures in loan underwriting from appraised values coming in below the negotiated price.”
NAR explained that 18% of all contracts were cancelled in August. This compares to 16% last month and 9% in August of 2011.
The percentage of cancelled contracts has doubled in the past year!!
It is extremely important that both buyers and sellers pick the right real estate professional to assist them with their real estate needs.
Make sure your agent can not only help you find the home of your dreams but also find you professional assistance with all aspects of the transaction (mortgaging, title, etc.)
Realize that your agent must sell the home twice:
- to a qualified buyer
- to the bank (through the appraiser).
The second sale may be more difficult in this market than the first.
It is imperative in this housing market that both buyers and sellers use a true real estate professional to guarantee that the deal will actually reach the closing table.See original article from KCM (Keeping Current Matters) Blog. Find a Woods Bros Realty professional, who can help you with all aspects of a real estate transaction.
Posted by Woods Bros Realty
Discounted Competition About to Enter the Market? September 22nd, 2011
For the past several years, I’ve been hearing about a backlog of homes that were waiting to be released to the market. Most of these homes are banked-owned, and are currently sitting in the banks’ pipelines. The graphic above from The KCM Blog shows you what that situation might look like.
I’ve never been a fan of government interference in the marketplace. Whether it was the $8,000 tax credit or the currently-artificially-low interest rates, the housing market can’t truly recover until Uncle Sam stops trying to ‘fix’ it. In this instance, however, government interference is helping prevent a total market collapse.
Imagine what would happen if the banks were allowed to suddenly flood the market with all those foreclosed homes. Those properties are typically sold at a discount, which works to drive down property values in the surrounding neighborhood. If you were trying to sell your home, and there were two or three similar houses in the area selling for 10-30% less, you would likely have to discount your home’s price in order to get it sold.
I’ve always maintained that we’re extremely blessed here in Lincoln. Our market has slowed, and we haven’t been immune to the recent changes in the housing market, although we haven’t experienced the dramatic drops like some other cities. However, the number of default notices filed in Lancaster County in the past year has risen substantially. I don’t know if there’s a 47-month backlog of homes in our area, but the pipeline is definitely full.
Will the floodgates open anytime soon? I wish I knew! It would surprise me if those properties were all suddenly released to market, simply because current real estate values would plummet. The economy is still fragile, and a sudden influx of foreclosures into the market would be a big push in the wrong direction. Those properties are still there, though, and they’ll need to be sold at some point. The banks won’t hang on to them indefinitely.
If you’re a buyer looking for a good buy in the year ahead, know that there will be opportunities for you. If you’re considering selling, be ready to prepare and price your house to compete, not only with the traditional listings in your area, but also perhaps with some of these bank-owned properties.
Posted by Jon Rademacher
What in the world is a QRM … May 19th, 2011
What in the world is a QRM and why does it matter to the typical home buyer?
With the 2010 Dodd – Frank bill the U.S. Congress attempted to establish a vehicle to require mortgage generating banks to retain a portion of the securitized loans (loans that are bundled together and sold to investors) that they generate. Simplistically speaking the theory is that if you require the banks to retain say 5% of the loans that they securitize they will be more diligent in assuring that they originate quality loans to quality borrowers thus reducing the likelihood of default. By Congress’s definition exempt from this 5% “skin in the game” rule are FHA loans and Qualified Residential Mortgages or QRMs the definition of which was left up to the country’s six banking regulators.
Discussion to date suggests that a QRM would be defined as a loan based on 80% loan to value, or 20% down-payment, made to a borrower with a minimum FICO score of 690 whose ratio of income to mortgage payment and overall debt is no more than 28% and 36% respectively. While on the surface one might accept that that does in fact describe a qualified borrower and loan the concern is what such a definition does to the mortgage market as a whole.
Banks that are forced to assume additional risk and maintain additional reserves will do what banks always do and that is they will pass the cost of the risk on to the borrower in the form of higher rates and expenses or will raise the bar for qualifying to the point where the only real options are as a QRM or a FHA borrower. Playing out this scenario one can easily project that FHA down payment and qualification requirements would necessarily be raised to manage an already larger than ever intended market share.
With available statistics suggesting that 80+% of first time home buyers put down less than 20% this scenario does not bode well for maintaining the affordability factor so important in that market segment and as we well know, as goes the first time buyers so goes the market. The National Association of Realtors has and is following these developments very carefully and is advising both the regulatory agencies and Congress itself as to what it is sees as the impact of such actions. We will keep you posted…
Posted by Susan and Paul Vaccaro
Can you guess Lincoln’s hottest subdivision? May 4th, 2011
According to the city Building & Safety office, permits were pulled in 78 Lincoln subdivisions. Twenty-five percent of these subdivisions accounted for 77% of all permits pulled last year. Our mystery area had nearly three times more construction than the second most active area, accounting for 42 of the 370 total permits pulled for new construction. The next most active development had just 15.
This mystery area encompasses more than 500 Acres of residential and 130 acres of commercial properties with plans for parks, trails, premier shopping and more. The development is now moving forward with opening its fourth addition, offering 110 premium home sites. This area touts “Distinctive Living Where Dreams Come Alive.”
If you guessed an area in South Lincoln, you would be right! The Wilderness Hills development is one of Lincoln’s newest and finest additions, nestled in a prime location in South Lincoln, located one-half mile south of S. 27th Street and Yankee Hill Road, close to SouthPointe.
Make plans to see this new development at this year’s Spring Parade of Homes. There are seven featured homes in the Wilderness Hills area, with an opening Celebration for everyone on Sunday, May 8th. The Celebration includes roses for the first 250 moms in attendance along with inflatable games for the kids, a Grand Prize Drawing, LIVE Radio Remote from 2-4pm, prize drawings at the featured homes, and food & beverages.
If you have been considering building a new home in Lincoln, take a look a Wilderness Hills.
Woods Bros Realtor Vladimir Oulianov represents several builders who have constructed the majority of homes built at Wilderness Hills. Each of these builders is Energy Star Certified, meaning they build healthy and efficient homes to reduce impact on the environment as well as save the home owner money on utilities.
To learn more about Wilderness Hills and new energy efficient homes, visit www.NewEfficientHomes.com.
Posted by Vladimir Oulianov
Enter to Win a $300 Prize or a $50 Gift Card February 3rd, 2011
HomeServices of Nebraska is currently conducting an online survey about people’s home buying and selling experiences. Everyone who completes the survey will be automatically entered into a drawing for one of five great prizes! Only one entry will be accepted per person.
One grand-prize winner will select a single prize from a group of prizes that includes an iPod touch (32GB), a Sony Cyber-shot® digital camera, or an LG 32-inch HDTV. Four first-place winners will each receive a $50 Visa gift card.
It will only take 5–10 minutes to complete the survey.
Go to http://homebuyingselling.questionpro.com and complete the survey to be entered to win.
Please pass this e-mail on to friends, family, and coworkers who live in Lincoln, Grand Island, Seward, and Beatrice areas so they can enter for a chance to win. Don’t wait too long to enter; we will be closing the survey on February 21, 2011. Please contact any of our offices if you would like a printable survey.
Thank you and good luck.
Posted by Woods Bros Realty