Thursday, May 14, 2009

Historic Houses: Real Estate Market, Curb Appeal

Today is certainly a tough real estate market. While areas like Cincinnati are largely unaffected, nearby cities like Indianapolis, have had "Dead Markets' for the last 24 months. It is not at all unusual for a house over 250K to sit on the market for 2 yrs or more for buyer. There aren't a lot of 'second tier' home buyers right now. Those moving "up" from their first of second home or empty nester moving to a smaller home with great amenities. At the higher end, million dollar plus homes, there is 70 month supply.
After months of slowdown it looks like historic real estate is on the move once again in Indy. The foreclosure 'glut' is gone and we are getting back to a normal inventory of homes in our price range A home near ours in Lockerbie just sold for over 700K. People seem to be getting over condos and are looking for real homes with real yards to buy once again. It is still a very competitive market and people are looking for quality restoration and luxury amenities at a great price.

Most people. believe it or not, decide on a house in the first 15-30 seconds as they walk up to it. "Curb Appeal" is your first and maybe only chance to make an impression. Your front door says much about the 'experience' of a home. Your front porch is more than your porch is is a welcome sign to the interior. Many shop via the Internet and if your realtor is lacking in photo skills you may want to have friend who is a photo buff take your pictures so you get professional results.

Our house here in Indy was built in 1915 and is in the Craftsman style. the home has had a top to bottom professional restoration and has been featured on HGTV "Rate my space" as a "Inspiration home" for one of there makeovers. Priced at 259,900 out house is competitively prices with homes with less features priced 100-150K more. We have priced it a a good pricepoint an it far exceeds other homes in eth neighborhood in terms of amentites for the price. We expect we may actually find a buyer this summer as people test the waters again. We could have had it sold several times but is was always a 'subject to" sale meaning subject to the buyer selling their home. With a spike in sales we hope to attract a buyer who is looking to move up from their starter home who wants to be downtown minutes from work, shopping and nightlife. Yet wants to live in a real neighborhood.

So the last few days we have been sprucing up the landscaping, nothing major just minor weeding and of course we replanted all our flower boxes. Flower boxes add a great touch to a home and can set it apart from others. You want to invoke a feeling of well kept home and flower boxes add that extra special touch that may set your home apart from the dozens of others in your neighborhood. One thing we advise it to always go for low maintenance landscaping. Not all people are gardeners and you want to plant things that will come up every year in your yard and not require much maintenance.
Many Urban Homes now have what is known as the "No Lawn Look" the entire lot is planted with flowers and mulched beds and this gives the home buyer the ability to spend their free time actually enjoying their weekend rather than spend hours cutting grass, pulling dandelions and such. This type of yard is more "Green friendly" as the plants take less water than a lawn does
Your back yard should be just as inviting as the front. Urban dwellers love a 'retreat' at the end of busy work day and we hope our rear yard with a generous deck, hot tub, pergola, awning and fire pit will attract a buyer who really wants to vacation at home.
In a future blog we will talk about Interior staging your home to sell

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