Real Estate Information Archive


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Over 23% Thinking of Selling. Why the Hesitation?

by The Jana Caudill Team

Last month, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that housing inventory was down 4.7% from the same time last year and that the month’s inventory of homes for sale stood at 4.8 - far below the six months necessary for a normal housing market. Why is there such a shortage of inventory?

A recently released Homeowner Sentiment Survey found that homeowners may not be fully aware of the opportunities that exist in the current real estate market. The survey, conducted by Edelman Berland for HSF Affiliates, also reports that many homeowners would be placing their home up for sale if they were better informed about today’s market.

Why the hesitation?

The survey shows that 55% of the 23% contemplating selling “would be more likely to put their homes on the market if given more information about the process”. What information do they need?

Here are a few of the challenges that potential sellers perceive to exist according to the survey along with what is actually happening in today’s market:
1. More than half (53%) don’t realize that “the number of homes for sale on the market is lower, giving buyers fewer choices”. As a matter of fact, only 6% of potential sellers believe that listing inventory has recently decreased.

In reality, as we mentioned before, inventory is down from last year.
2. 80% think credit scores make it difficult to get a loan.

In reality, though other studies have shown that many Americans believe that you need a credit score of at least 780 to get a loan when the actual median scores on closed loans are demonstratively lower than that.
3. 76% believe stricter lending requirements make it more difficult to get a mortgage.

In reality, the Mortgage Credit Availability Index shows lending standards have been consistently easing over the last year.
4. 68% think that current homeowners are trapped into their mortgages and are unable to sell their current homes.

In reality, a recent Fannie Mae study revealed that 32% of Americans are dramatically underestimating the current equity in their homes. Many more can afford to make the move they desire.

How can you tell if the time is right to sell?

By talking to a qualified real estate agent. The Jana Caudill Team can help you take an informed look at the NWI real estate market, your home value vs equity, and your current finiancial position to give you what you need to make the best decision for you and your family.

Interesting Real Estate Related Articles 2

by The Jana Caudill Team

As we said last time, we believe the best way to come to an informed opinion on any topic is to rely on multiple, reputable resources for the information upon which you ultimately base your views.  Here are three more timely articles for our friends and neighbors in Crown Point, Hobart, and Cedar Lake from the end of last year to help shed a little light on the Real Estate landscape for 2014:


Next year will mark the end of the refinance boom and the start of a market dominated by purchase money lending, the first purchase-dominated market in 14 years, according to Freddie Mac.

By: World Property Channel Staff, November 20, 2013 | To read the article in full, please visit: big shift article


Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced changes to their Servicing Guides Monday aimed at helping more borrowers avoid foreclosure through short sales and deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure (DILs).

By: Carrie Bay, DSNews, November 25, 2013 | To read the article in full, please visit: gses update article


Purchases of foreclosed homes at auctions jumped last month as banks benefited from surging prices and shunned approvals of sales by homeowners dumping their dwellings at a loss.

By Kathleen M. Howley, Bloomberg, November 26, 2013 | To read the article in full, please visit: foreclosed sales article

Interesting Real Estate Related Articles 1

by The Jana Caudill Team

We believe the best way to come to an informed opinion on any topic is to rely on multiple, reputable resources for the information upon which you ultimately will base your views.  Below we’ve listed four interesting articles from the end of 2013, all from reputable resources, to help shed a little light on the Real Estate landscape of 2014.  Whether you’ll be buying or selling a home in Crown Point, Hobart, or Cedar Creek, or not, we invite you to check out the links for the full articles.


U.S. borrowers are increasingly missing payments on home equity lines of credit they took out during the housing bubble, a trend that could deal another blow to the country's biggest banks.

By: Peter Rudegeair, Reuters, November 26, 2013 | To read the article in full, please visit: insight article


Sometimes, when you cover your ears to escape all the chatter about real estate crowdfunding, you may ask yourself, “What is the big deal?”

By: Teke Wiggin, Inman News, November 25, 2013 | To read the article in full, please visit: crowdfunding article


More applications for home construction were issued in October than at any time in the past five years, a sign the U.S. residential real-estate market is gaining momentum heading into 2014.

By Victoria Stilwell, Bloomberg, November, 26, 2013 | To read the article in full, please visit: building permits article


Residential property sales, including single-family homes, condominiums and townhomes, continue to rise, increasing to an estimated annualized pace of 5.649 million in October, a 2% hike from a month ago and an increase of 13% from October 2012, the latest RealtyTrac Residential and Foreclosure Sales Report revealed.

By: Brena Swanson, HousingWire, November 26, 2013 | To read the article in full, please visit: residential home sales article

First Time Home Seller (Part 2)

by The Jana Caudill Team

More tips for first time Crown Point, Chesterton, and Valparaiso home sellers:

De-clutter.  If you want to stand out among the competition you have to create a lasting impression with buyers who tour your home.  The house was too busy; the rooms were too small; I couldn’t even tell you what color the counter tops were.  Those are all the wrong kind of lasting impression.  Get rid of clutter – in bedrooms, in the kitchen, in the garage – everywhere.  Getting rid of clutter doesn’t change the size of a room.  What it does do is help make a room feel more spacious and inviting.  Now is the perfect time to throw out, recycle, and sell (as in a garage sale).

Clean house.  See above.  The saying goes something like “A house is only a home when it’s lived in.”  That’s great, and kind of touching.  Here’s another one for home sellers: “A house for sale is only a sold home when it’s clean.”  A dirty house gives the wrong impression, and can even keep potential buyers from seeing the true benefits and features of the home.  What it says of the sellers is, I don’t really care about my house, and it invites buyers’ train of thought to take the next step, “If it’s this dirty what else could be wrong with it?”  Clean, clean, clean.

Make the home as turnkey as possible.  Think repair or replace.  Patch holes in walls, paint, replace carpet.  Trim back hedges and keep up on outdoor up keep.  If you’re a first time home seller chances are your home is smaller, maybe less expensive, and will otherwise appeal to first time home buyers or older buyers who are downsizing.  The last thing a growing family or an elderly couple want is a fixer upper.  Anything that can be fixed should be fixed.  Help buyers see just how easy it is to move right in and get on with their lives without having to adopt your incomplete repair projects.

First Time Home Seller (Part 1)

by The Jana Caudill Team

Buying a Crown Point, Chesterton, or Hobart home for the very first time can be a nerve-wracking experience.  There’s shopping and qualifying for a loan, saving for the down payment, finding the right house, and the brand new set of responsibilities that come along with home ownership.  This list is a condensed version of realty for sure, but I challenge you to compare it to the flip side, the downright intimidating list of to do’s for the first time home seller.

As a first time home seller the first thing you should do is contact a Realtor.  Just so we’re clear, yes, if you didn’t already know, I’m a Realtor and I’d love the opportunity to earn your business.  This is a plug, just not the shameless self-promotional kind; you need to work with a good Realtor even if it’s not me.  My suggestion is to call multiple Realtors, interview them to find out how they would market your property for sale.  You want to make sure you work with someone you are comfortable with, and who you trust.  The first benefit of working with a Realtor is they can help you price your home competitively right from the get go by showing you comparative properties for sale on the market today.  More importantly, they can show you what homes in your neighborhood are actually selling for (which is more crucial than the price sellers are asking for).  A Realtor will help you navigate all the necessary pieces to a successful real estate transaction including the contract to purchase, disclosures, showings, closing paperwork, inspections, and on, and on…I believe with all my heart, and all my professional experience, if you want to sell your home for the most money in the least amount of time with the fewest hassles you need to work with a good Realtor.  There, I said it.  Here are 10 great questions to ask any Realtor you are considering for the job.

To piggyback on the first point, price your home right in the beginning.  The economy is dictating a buyer’s market.  There are more folks selling homes than there are buying right now, which translates to higher supply, lower demand and thus lower prices.  That doesn’t mean you’re going to give the house away, it simply means you need to price your home competitively right from the beginning keeping in mind that the vast majority of showings will take place then too, in the beginning.

So, for starters:
1. Contact and work with a Realtor you trust
2. Price your home competitively from the beginning

Tune in next blog for Part 2 on tips for first time home sellers.

Summertime Curb Appeal

by The Jana Caudill Team

There are many standard do’s and don’ts when staging your Crown Point, St. John, or Valparaiso home for sale.  De-clutter, have a garage sale, clean-up, fix-up.  You name it.  Here are a few tips to keep in mind specific to showing your home during the summer months.

  1. Curb appeal.  I know, I know, your home’s curb appeal is important year round.  I agree.  The reason curb appeal is especially important during spring and summer is home buyers are more likely to pay extra attention to more than just the exterior of the physical house.  They’re looking at how well manicured the lawn is.  They’re looking at blooming flowers and trees…or the lack thereof; lush lawns or bald patches of earth.  Ask yourself is your yard well taken care of or does it appear somewhat neglected?  If the buyer sees the outside of the home as neglected, can you blame them for assuming the same thing about the inside even before they see it?
  2. Backyard appeal is very similar to curb appeal.  Backyard’s go hand in hand with summer, and you want potential buyers to picture themselves enjoying a backyard barbeque while watching their children and the family dog playing within the secure confines of a fenced in area.  Tidy up the patio and clean lawn furniture.  Get rid of that old coffee can you have always kept out back for smokers’ cigarette butts.  Be vigilant about clearing the lawn of doggie landmines before showings.  Think about the sights and scents in your backyard.  Enhance the good ones, and banish the bad ones.
  3. Invite the outside in.  Open drapes and let in as much natural light as possible and open windows to allow fresh air in.  If hot summer temperatures require air conditioning, be sure the temperature is set at a comfortable level.  A home that is too cold is just as uncomfortable as one that is too warm.

Top Return on Investment Kitchen Remodels

by The Jana Caudill Team

Anytime we set money aside in an investment, whether it’s a long term retirement account or the family’s rainy day or vacation savings fund, we are concerned with return on investment.  Maybe we’re not as worried about accumulating a great amount of interest on that vacation fund because we’re going to turn around and use it right away in the next six months, but we sure don’t want to lose money on it either.  The same can be said for investing in home remodeling projects whether we’re planning on staying in our house for the long haul, or we’re doing a little updating prior to listing our home for sale.

Studies show the national average home kitchen remodel cost over $58,000 last year with about a 68% return on investment, or another way to look at it is money recouped in resale values.  That was for major kitchen remodels.  For the smaller update or “facelift” kitchen remodels costing under $20,000 over 72% of the cost was recouped in resale values.

According to Remodeling Magazine, here’s what you get with your average $20,000 update kitchen remodel:

  • Replace cabinet and drawer fronts and hardware
  • Replace wall oven and cooktop with energy efficient models
  • Replace laminate countertops
  • New sink and faucet
  • Repaint trim and add wall covering
  • Remove and replace resilient floor covering

So if you’ve got a tight budget and still want to freshen up the kitchen there is a way to do it without breaking the bank.  Visit this site for some great new kitchen looks to inspire your Cedar Lake, Munster, or Valparaiso home remodeling project.

Moving With a Teenager - Tips for Teens

by The Jana Caudill Team

If you’re moving and you have children the bellyaching in your Dyer, Crown Point, or Cedar Lake home has undoubtedly already started.  And if you have teenagers the bellyaches may have morphed into moping, passive aggression, and even outright outbursts.  Here are a few tips to pass directly on to your teens to help them help themselves through the stress of a move.  Parents need read no further.  This is for teens only:

  1. Plan the room you’re moving into.  Get the dimensions from your parents of your new bedroom.  Where is the door, the windows?  Are you going to have the same setup you had in your old room, or are you going to shake things up since you have to move everything around anyway.
  2. Put together an MP3 playlist of favorite songs for the move. Talk your parents into playing it on the drive to the new house.  Tell them that article with moving tips for teens they made you read said it would be therapeutic.
  3. Take pictures along the way.  Use your digital camera or smartphone.  Post them on your Facebook or Myspace or wherever you have an account where you share stuff with your friends.  Post pics of your new school, new room, new backyard, new friends.
  4. Cut your folks some slack.  They love you, and the move is stressful for them too.  They’re trying to do what’s best for the whole family.

Moving With a Teenager - Tips for Parents

by The Jana Caudill Team

Moving is stressful.  The “To do” list of packing boxes, garage sales, turning off utilities, turning on utilities, notifying the post office, the physical job of the move, and unpacking, just to name a fraction of the beehive activity seems a mile long.  There are emotional “Goodbyes,” and first “Hellos.”  Add young children to the mix and your list doubles.  They are counting on you to take care of everything, even when they have no real idea of the totality of what goes into a successful move.

Now consider your teenagers.  What's the move like for children who are a little more mature, and are starting to have a more mature understanding of their world, who are beginning to have more mature relationships?  What about young adult children who have already started to drive, to date?

Here are some tips for parents to help their older children struggling with a move have a more positive transition to a new life in a new Crown Point, Chesterton, or Munster home:

  1. Talk to your teenagers.  The best way to address the issues surrounding a move is meet it head on.  Speak with all your children, especially your teenagers.  Ask them about their concerns.  Offer honest, positive advice.  Listen.
  2. Give them homework, and get them involved.  Have your teenagers research their new city on the internet.  Give them the assignment of locating the gas station, grocery store, movie theater, and McDonalds nearest to their new address.  Make it fun, but don’t forget there is work to be done.  Give them the responsibility of packing certain rooms besides their bedroom like the bathrooms, or the rec-room.  Help them to feel like an important part of this big change for the family.
  3. Give them a going away party with their friends.  Be sure it’s a fun activity with emails and mailing addresses exchanged all around before the night’s over so your teenagers can keep in touch by sharing stories of their new digs with old friends.

Why a Good School District is Still a Priority for Empty Nesters

by The Jana Caudill Team

Invariably one of the top priorities of Northwest Indiana families with children looking to purchase a new home is landing somewhere within the boundaries of a good local school district.  Parents want the best for their kids, and that goes double for a quality education.  We all dream that one day our sons and daughters will get their college education, and the first step in attaining those goals is laying a strong foundation with quality private or public elementary, middle, and high schools.

But what if you are an empty nester or have never had children?  Why should school districts be a concern if you have no school-age, or soon to be school-age children in your household?  The answer is simple.  You may not have kids, but the people who will buy your home five, ten, fifteen years down the road very well may.

Translation: property values.  Homes in good school districts better maintain and increase in property value historically than homes that are not.  Foreclosures are even lower in quality school districts.  Certainly, many factors go into establishing property values.  But with all else being equal you can count on one thing.  A family with children – when it comes time to look for a new home – will make a good school system a top priority when beginning their search.  Neighborhoods with top notch schools will always be in demand, and will help attract more buyers to your Valparaiso, Crown Point, or St. John home when it’s time to sell.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 25