The Keiths Blog

Like most things in real estate, neighborhoods are constantly changing in value. In some cases they can improve rapidly and decline gradually, but more often than not they change slowly, over time.

Ideally, you want to buy property in neighborhoods as they’re appreciating. You certainly don’t want to pay top dollar in a neighborhood which is in decline. So how can you tell which direction things are heading?

Home values over time are one way to tell, but they tend to lag behind the trends. Values reflect what the current situation is… they don’t predict the future.

While you definitely want to observe a neighborhood first-hand at different times of day and night, here are some other indicators of neighborhood value trends:

Positive indicators:

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All sellers want their home to sell for the highest possible price. This is one reason it’s why it’s so easy for agents to “buy” listings. If you’re not familiar with the concept, “buying” a listing is when an agent (unscrupulously) tells a client their home is worth far more than the market value in order to win the listing.

Sellers are susceptible to this tactic because they want to believe, however irrationally, that their home is for some reason or another worth more than comparable homes on the market. Sometimes, though, sellers believe high home pricing is either an acceptable risk or even a benefit. Here’s what they say, and why it’s a problem:

1. “I can always come down in price later if I have to.” (and you will, it's just a matter of time)

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The #1 Reason to Buy Right Now – THE MONEY!!

People often ask whether they should buy a home now or wait.  Recently released data suggests that waiting may not make sense as prices seem to again be on the rise. Let’s take a look at some of the data and commentary on the subject:

Ed Stansfield, chief property economist at Capital Economics:

“The current tightness of supply conditions would normally be consistent with much faster price growth. The continued steady growth in home sales that we expect this year will only add to this upward pressure on prices.”

Case Shiller Home Price Index

“The S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, covering all nine U.S. census divisions, recorded a 4.1% annual gain in March 2015 … with a 0.8%

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Whether your home is two years old or a classic concrete block ranch from 1950, you can help your house hold its value and scream curb appeal with a few simple fair weather cleaning projects. Keeping a home in shape in a little like good dental hygiene… routine attention prevents major renovation!

With the sun shining, here are the top projects you should schedule before settling into vacation mode. Stay on top of these at least once a year and you’ll not only help your home shine, but you’ll fend off the threat of more costly repairs and replacements in the future:

1. Power wash. Blast off mold, oxidized stains, kicked up mud, and the grim insect life which can build up over the course of a year. This is good not only for your exterior walls, but

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Is your pooch pawing your petunias? Here’s how to keep your dog out of your garden and away from your precious plants.

We want our dogs to eat well, but we don’t want them snacking on our heirloom vegetables and prized perennials. Nor do we want them digging up the daffodils.

How can you keep dogs from wrecking your garden?

Spray Nasty Odors


Your vegetable garden is a salad bar for your dog. To keep him away, spray plants with pungent white vinegar or apple bitter. Or plant marigolds between vegetable rows, which repel dogs and other backyard pests, such as Mexican bean beetles, aphids, squash bugs, and whiteflies.

However, don’t apply rabbit or deer repellents that contain coyote urine. Dogs love the smell of urine and will either roll in your

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When you’re home hunting, information is power. The more you know before you make an offer, the better. Usually when two homes are equally appealing, digging into the details can make a difference. Here’s a list of “bonus information” that most buyers overlook or forget to ask about while they’re shopping for a house:

Homeowner’s association rules: Certain neighborhood covenants may be a deal maker or breaker for you, so if there’s a set of guidelines you’ll be required to adhere to, get them up front. They can cover everything from paint schemes to lawn design and beyond.

Utility bills: Most sellers won’t balk at sharing with you what utilities cost annually. Water, power, gas, and even telecommunication or cable service provider bills can help you

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Before you put your home up for sale, understand how the right comparable sales help you and your agent find the perfect price.

Knowing how much homes similar to yours, called comparable sales (or in real estate lingo, comps), sold for gives you the best idea of the current estimated value of your home. The trick is finding sales that closely match yours.

What makes a good comparable sale?

Your best comparable sale is the same model as your house in the same subdivision--and it closed last week. If you can't find that, here are other factors that count:

Location: The closer to your house the better, but don't just use any comparable sale within a mile radius. A good comparable sale is a house in your neighborhood, your subdivision, on the same

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Okay, first-time buyers… it’s time to turn the dream into the dirt you can stand on. Your very own home. I’m sure you have questions. In fact, I’m sure your questions are like most first-time buyers. Which is why I’ve put together this down-and-dirty answer guide for the most common questions home buyers have.

 1. What kind of credit score do I need to have?

Generally, 630 or above is what you’ll want to have. The better your score, the better the terms will be on your loan. Some lenders may give you wiggle room on this, but it all depends on the circumstances. A loan professional can help you navigate this as you go.

 2. How much of a down payment is required?

There are loans which will let you in for as low as 3% - 5% of the value of the

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Agent with clientsA second pair of eyes on an important document often helps spot mistakes or awkward phrasing we might miss on our own. Therapists help guide countless people through difficult situations with an outsider’s viewpoint. The same is true with selling a home: Buyers can see what’s holding your house back.

Naturally, some buyers believe complaints will help them lower the price when negotiation time comes around, but more often than not buyer feedback offers valuable insight. As the owner, you are frequently too familiar with your home to see it (and smell it!) with a buyer’s point of view.

Common buyer complaints include:
- Foul or off-putting odors from animals, cigarette smoke, mildew, or a “closed up” house.
- Poor lighting or a “dark” feel to the rooms

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