Finding The Right Home

Finding the Right Home

The search for your dream home begins in your present home. By asking yourself key questions about what you like, you’ll save time in the house-hunting process.
* What style of home do you like – two story, ranch, split-level, something else?

* What size of home do you need – number of bedrooms, baths?

* What are your priorities in home features – garage, gourmet kitchen, fireplace, first-floor family room, formal dining room or other features?

* Does the home have additional space that could be finished such as an attic or basement?

* What natural features outside the home are most significant to you – woods, hills, streams, lakes, others?

Information provided by Semonin Realtors.

Investor Helpful Links

Helpful Links


How To Write A Rental Ad

Restoring Historic Homes

Top 10 mistakes of DIYers

Repairing Plaster

The Kentuckiana Real Estate
Investors Association

Online Programs

Drywall Estimator

Paint Estimator

Ceramic Tile Estimator

Questions To Ask A Home Inspector

Before you make your final buying or selling decision, you should have the home inspected by a professional. An inspection can alert you to potential problems with a property and allow you to make an informed decision. Ask these questions to prospective home inspectors:

1. Will your inspection meet recognized standards? Ask whether the inspection and the inspection report will meet all state requirements and comply with a well-recognized standard of practice and code of ethics, such as the one adopted by the American Society of Home Inspectors or the National Association of Home Inspectors. Customers can view each group’s standards of practice and code of ethics online at or .
2. Do you belong to a professional home inspector association? There are many state and national associations for home inspectors, including the two groups mentioned in No. 1. Unfortunately, some groups confer questionable credentials or certifications in return for nothing more than a fee. Insist on members of reputable, nonprofit trade organizations; request to see a membership ID.

3. How experienced are you? Ask how long inspectors have been in the profession and how many inspections they’ve completed. They should provide customer referrals on request. New inspectors also may be highly qualified, but they should describe their training and let you know whether they plan to work with a more experienced partner.
4. How do you keep your expertise up to date? Inspectors commitment to continuing education is a good measure of their professionalism and service. Advanced knowledge is especially important in cases in which a home is older or includes unique elements requiring additional or updated training.

5. Do you focus on residential inspection? Make sure the inspector has training and experience in the unique discipline of home inspection, which is very different from inspecting commercial buildings or a construction site. If your customers are buying a unique property, such as a historic home, they may want to ask whether the inspector has experience with that type of property in particular.

6. Will you offer to do repairs or improvements? Some state laws and trade associations allow the inspector to provide repair work on problems uncovered during the inspection. However, other states and associations forbid it as a conflict of interest. Contact your local ASHI chapter to learn about the rules in your state.
7. How long will the inspection take? On average, an inspector working alone inspects a typical single-family house in two to three hours; anything significantly less may not be thorough. If your customers are purchasing an especially large property, they may want to ask whether additional inspectors will be brought in.
8. What’s the cost? Costs can vary dramatically, depending on your region, the size and age of the house, and the scope of services. The national average for single-family homes is about $320, but customers with large homes can expect to pay more. Customers should be wary of deals that seem too good to be true.

9. What type of inspection report do you provide? Ask to see samples to determine whether you will understand the inspector’s reporting style. Also, most inspectors provide their full report within 24 hours of the inspection.
10. Will I be able to attend the inspection? The answer should be yes. A home inspection is a valuable educational opportunity for the buyer. An inspector’s refusal to let the buyer attend should raise a red flag.

Source: Rob Paterkiewicz, executive director, American Society of Home Inspectors, Des Plaines, Ill.,

Should You Sell Your Own Home?

Should You Sell Your Own Home?

Consider the following steps you must take to get the BEST price for your home:

* Inspect your home and make any repairs or improvements before you put it on the market

* Investigate properties recently sold or for sale in your area

* Determine financing for your prospective buyers

* Purchase weather-proof “For Sale” signs

* Advertise and hold an “Open House

* Write and design an advertisement that will attract the right buyers to your property

* Make sure you are available to show your home anytime

* Separate “lookers” from qualified buyers

* Negotiate with buyers- remember you want the BEST price

* Home inspection preparation-Research what takes place and what to expect

* Obtain all forms necessary for the legal sale of your property

* While marketing your current property, locate and negotiate your next purchase.

Information provided by Semonin Realtors.

Pricing Your Property

Pricing Your Property

Pricing your property right can sell your home faster.

Don’t be tempted to over-inflate the value of your property. The first days of the listing period are when the greatest activity occurs while selling your home. Overpricing may discourage prospective buyers from ever looking at your property.

Information provided by Semonin Realtors.

Showing Your Home

Preparing and Showing Your Home

You don’t get a second chance to make a good impression! A home that stands out among similarly priced houses is the one that sells. The following suggestions for preparing your home to sell are worth the special attention:
*Lawn carefully mowed, edged, fertilized and watered.

*Trees and shrubs trimmed; flower beds edged, weeded and cultivated.

*Driveways and walks free of snow or grass clippings.

*Exterior house paint in good condition and clean, especially the front door.

*All door locks open properly and easily.

*Roof in good condition.

*Screens and screen doors repaired.

*All exterior lighting in working condition, with fresh bulbs.

*Absence of clutter in yard and driveway.
*Walls clean and unmarked, preferably freshly painted with neutral colors.

*Windows clean inside and out.

*All light fixtures working and fresh bulbs in each.

*Plumbing in good repair.

*No cooking, smoking, pet or other objectionable odors.

*Sinks and tubs stain-free; faucets in good repair.

*Caulking in tubs and showers in good repair.

*All clutter removed from closets, attic, basement, garage and other storage areas.

*Ask your Realtor what should be boxed up to give your home a more spacious look.

Showing Your Home
When your home is to be shown, we will always attempt to make an appointment with you, giving you as much advance notice as possible. To help make the best impression, we suggest you:
During showings
*Open draperies and curtains.

*Turn on enough lights to brighten every corner, day and night.

*Remove dirty dishes.

*Make beds.

*Rooms dusted, vacuumed and clutter-free.

*Kitchens and baths sparkling clean; no clutter on counter-tops.

*Noise is distracting. Be sure TV and radios are turned off, although soft background music is acceptable.

*It’s best to keep pets out of the house. Even the friendliest pets become anxious when strangers appear.

*Put away valuables such as jewelry and cash, or remove completely.

*Never enter into a conversation with a prospect. Let the Realtor who is showing your home answer any questions the prospective buyers may have. It is best for you to leave while the house is being shown.

*If a prospective buyer comes by unexpectedly without a broker, get their name and phone number. FOR YOUR OWN PROTECTION, DO NOT SHOW THE HOME. Have unescorted buyers call your Realtor for an appointment. Your cooperation will be appreciated and will help us close the sale more quickly.

Information provided by Semonin Realtors.

Offers, Contracts and Closing!

Offers, Contracts and Closing!

A buyer makes an offer by submitting a written and signed offer to purchase. This document becomes the sales contract when signed by all parties involved. The selling agent customarily notifies the listing associate of the offer, and the listing associate will then arrange an appointment with the seller to present the offer.
At this point, the seller has three options:
1.Accept the offer as written.

2.Reject the offer if it is totally unacceptable.

3.Counteroffer, changing any unacceptable conditions.

(When the counteroffer goes back to the buyer, the buyer has the option of withdrawing, accepting, or countering the counteroffer.)
When both buyer and seller agree to all terms (including changes made in any counteroffer), and indicate agreement by their signatures, the contract becomes “firm.” With signatures and notification to all parties, a sales contract now exists.

Closing Details

Several professionals may come into the home-selling process after the offer is accepted, including a housing inspector (if hired by the buyer), a termite inspector, and an appraiser.
If the buyer is financing the purchase of your home, the process will typically take 30 to 60 days. On the chance that a buyer’s financing will not be given final approval, you should keep the house in good “showing” condition.
As part of the contract process, you must prove to the buyer that you have a clear title on the house – that you own the property, and that there are no legal claims against it. The attorney representing the buyer and/or financial institution will do a title search and issue an opinion that the title is clear.
Some of the details you will need to handle include:
*Notifying your lender that you will be paying off the mortgage and asking for a statement of what you owe. Your outstanding balance will be subtracted from the amount you receive from the seller.

*Having any fix-up work completed according to the contract, so that final inspections may take place.

*Gathering all warranties and instruction books for your home’s appliances or major systems to give to the buyer.

*Once you have a closing date established, notifying the utility, telephone, water and other services to advise them on your final billing date.
A walk-through inspection prior to the closing allows the buyer to determine if conditions of the contract are satisfied. It is up to the buyer to perform the inspection, and if they should be accompanied by the selling and/or listing agent. The seller may or may not be present, but should make sure that utilities are on so that equipment can be operated.
At the settlement (closing), the home seller should bring all warranties on equipment (or leave them in an obvious place in the house) and instructions on equipment maintenance or operation. Be sure to bring all keys and electric door openers.

Typical costs for the seller include:

The closing attorney will explain the settlement sheets to you.

*State deed transfer tax

*Mortgage balance pay-off

*Interest on the mortgage up to the date the mortgage is paid off

*The real estate commission

*Pro-rated taxes and homeowner’s association dues, if applicable

*Homeowner’s warranty
If property or homeowner’s insurance has been in escrow with your lender, you will receive any money that is accumulated in that escrow account for bills not yet due. Funds will be disbursed at or after settlement.
The seller, the buyer, and the agents receive a copy of the settlement sheets.

Congratulations! Sold and Settled!
Information Provided by Semonin Realtors.