General Real Estate Market Information

Will they or won't they?

Everyone in the real estate community is hanging on the news coming out of Washington regarding whether or not the proposal to extend the tax credit for first time home buyers will pass or be dropped. The extension is tied to proposal to extend unemployment benefits for 14 weeks in all 50 states with additional time for jobless in states hardest hit by unemployment, but additional amendments have stalled the bill and a vote for cloture will not guarantee the bill’s passage.
At issue is a tax credit that experts in the real estate community say is driving the economic recovery that has taken place since Spring, citing in particular the record home sales figures for the month of September. A dropoff in home sales since September is being blamed on the impending November 30 deadline for closing a transaction on a home in order to qualify for the tax credit.
Varied reports in the media have called the extension everything from “dead in the water” to “a done deal,” but there is no official word yet on whether the bill is even approved for debate. This article from the Washington Independent helps clarify the process of proposal to cloture to debate and how long the nation can expect to wait before anything concrete is decided.
The bottom line? Don’t assume anything! We’re guardedly optimistic, but continue stressing that the best time to buy or sell a home is right now. We’ll keep you updated as information becomes available.

General Real Estate

Are you a represented buyer?

Many people start looking for a home rather haphazardly. They don’t really understand how buyer agency works, and they incorrectly assume that if they have a real estate agent working for them, it will probably cost extra. Often, a buyer will just call the agent on the sign of each home they are interested in. Although this does accomplish the intended outcome, I’d like to point out a few of the pitfalls.This buyer is what is referred to as being unrepresented. No one is protecting his interests, or working on her behalf. Yes, this person can make an appointment to see a home and even write up an offer, but the agent on the sign is representing the seller.
This buyer is missing out on the benefits of working with a Realtor as a buyer’s agent. By taking the time to develop a relationship with one buyer’s agent, that agent develops a strong perception of what the buyer is looking for. Then, the agent gathers the information, does the research on various properties, sifts through all options for potential matches, and then arranges for the showings. This saves the buyer time.
The buyer’s agent can also check on the history of the property: what it sold for in the past, what the tax assessment is, how long it’s been on the market, and the sales price of similar homes in the area. This information can be used to help determine value. This aids the buyer in determining how much to offer. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an unbiased opinion when determining the offer price?
The buyer’s agent also helps protect the buyer through the inspection process. After the inspections are done, agents negotiate to have the repairs done. Again, a buyer’s agent is working for the buyer, another advantage to buyer’s agency.
In an ordinary transaction, the listing agent represents the seller; the selling agent represents the buyer. Both are necessary. Can they be the same person? Yes and no. If both are to be “represented by” the same agent, a dual agency is necessary. If the agent is only representing the seller, but is writing the offer for the buyer, then the buyer is unrepresented. Though this is completely legal, it is to the disadvantage of the buyer. You have the right to be represented, and it doesn’t cost extra.
You may be wondering how this is possible. It’s because agents are only paid when a sale is accomplished. Agents get paid either when they have a listing sell or by finding a buyer. Traditionally, the commission is paid by the seller, but it is split between all parties involved: the listing company and its agent & the selling company and its agent.
From the buyer’s perspective, it would be prudent to have an agent working on your behalf. It is in your best interest to be represented, either through a dual agency agreement, or through buyer’s agency. Having someone working for your best interest not only helps make the transaction go smoothly, but it gives you the assurance you need in making one of the largest purchases in your lifetime.

Market Information

Record number of homes placed under contract in September

According to Midlands MLS residential statistics, more homes were placed under contract in September than any other time in history.
A total of 404 single-family residential listings were placed under contract, a 40 percent increase over the same time in 2008. Of those homes, 52 percent of them were priced $80,000 – $159,999, which could be a result of first-time home buyers trying to get their transactions closed in time to take advantage of the $8,000 tax stimulus.

Sales Associates

September Award Winners

Congratulations to HOME Real Estate’s top agents for September 2009:
Pioneer Greens
Closed Volume  – Terry Kraft
Sales Written – Rhonda Dodson
Listings Taken – Kathy Dixon
Pine Lake
Closed Volume  – John Ankerson
Sales Written – Ellen Walsh High
Listing Taken – Doug Hanna
Closed Volume – John Fink
Sales Written – John Fink
Listing Taken – Katie Bugbee
Closed Volume – Robin Samson
Sales Written – Merle Jahde
Listing Taken – Roger Harre
Total Closed Volume Award – Couple – Al & Ann Underwood (Pine Lake)
Total Closed Volume Award – Team – Searcy Team (Cotner)

Sales Associates

HOME Real Estate welcomes associates

HOME Real Estate is proud to announce that the following experienced Realtors have recently joined the company: Tom Luebbe and Bob Wayne join the Pine Lake office, while Julie Cook and Kathy Steinke join the Cotner office.

In addition, HOME Real Estate would like to welcome the following new sales associates: Marla Kraft to the Pine Lake office and Jim Evans to the Pioneer Greens office.

These agents can now offer their clients the service, strength and stability that HOME Real Estate is known for. All HOME agents have undergone licensing through the Nebraska Real Estate Commission, as well as completing an additional training program offered by HOME Real Estate. They are all members of the Realtors Association of Lincoln, Nebraska Realtors Association and the National Association of Realtors.

HOME Real Estate, an affiliate of HomeServices of America, is the area’s leading real estate company serving the Lincoln, Seward, and surrounding areas. The company’s agents are committed to providing clients with exceptional service in all stages of the building, buying, and selling process, including real estate, mortgage, title, and insurance. For more information about HOME Real Estate, visit

Market Information

Industry’s Most Powerful Associations Send Letter to Administration Advocating for Extension of Homebuyer Tax Credit

RISMEDIA, October 20, 2009—The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) along with the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) sent a letter to senior Obama Administration officials yesterday requesting their support for a 12-month extension of the first-time homebuyer tax credit.
The letter, addressed to Treasury Secretary Geithner, HUD Secretary Donovan and National Economic Council Chair Summers, outlines why the three organizations believe that the tax credit has had a stimulative effect on not only the housing market, but on the U.S. economy as a whole.
A copy of the letter is below:

Company Information

Mary Artz named Affiliate of the Year

artzmaryThe Realtors Association of Lincoln (RAL) recently named Mary Poehlman Artz of Capitol Title 2009 Affiliate of the Year.
The award is given to an affiliate member of RAL in recognition of his or her professionalism and outstanding service. Selection is based on organized real estate activity; business conduct and experience; and civic and volunteer activity.
Artz has been the Marketing Coordinator with Capitol Title for 11 years and has worked in the real estate industry in Lincoln for 25 years. She is involved in RAL, most recently chairing the Community Relations Committee, participating in Meals on Wheels, Make a Difference Day, the Lincoln Paint-a-Thon, and Salvation Army Bell Ringing as well as many other activities sponsored by the board. Artz also serves on a committee with the Nebraska Realtors Association and has been active in the Women’s Council of Realtors. Her personal interests include antiques, nature and outdoor activities.
Capitol Title is a wholly owned subsidiary of HomeServices of America, the largest brokerage-owned settlement services (mortgage, title, escrow and insurance) provider in the United States. The company provides title insurance and escrow closing services to the areas of Lincoln, Beatrice, Seward and Wahoo. For more information, visit


What our agents say

Interested in a real estate career?  Take a look at what the HOME Real Estate Pine Lake Office agents have to say about their office!

Market Information

Time is running out for tax credit

Many people have taken advantage of the First-Time Home-Buyer Tax Credit, but the deadline is near for those who are still contemplating purchasing their first home.
Last February, the federal government implemented a tax credit that is equal to 10% of the purchase price, not to exceed $8,000. This money does not need to be paid back, unlike previous incentives. To qualify as a first time home-buyer, you can not have owned property for the past 36 months. You also need to be a U.S. citizen and not be purchasing property from family. The credit is available for single people with an adjusted gross income below $95,000 and for couples with adjusted gross incomes below $170,000.
To qualify for the tax credit, you must be closed and in possession of your new home by Nov. 30, 2009. That means you must be living there as an owner, not as a tenant. Your loan must be closed by that date. In most cases, it takes 30 – 45 days to close a loan. During this time, the buyer has inspections done, the appraisal is written, and the loan goes through the underwriting process. When the loan is fully approved, the buyer meets with the lender and “closes” the loan. At this point, the property is transferred to the new owner, and the buyer can move in, or take possession of, the property. Since this process takes 4-6 weeks, it gives buyers a very narrow window of opportunity to purchase a home before the deadline. Most lenders are suggesting that purchase agreements need to be in by the end of October to be able to make this deadline. HOME Real Estate is adding a first time buyer’s addendum to their contracts, stating that although every effort will be made to close prior to the Nov. 30 deadline, there are factors that may prevent this from happening, and that it does not make the contract null & void.
There have been rumors of an extension, but as of this writing, nothing has been confirmed. It is a great opportunity that may never happen again, so if you are contemplating purchasing a home, there may never be a better time to do so. Interest rates are hovering right around 5%, depending on your credit score. This combined with the reduced home values and a potential tax credit makes it an ideal time to buy. But, you need to hurry, before it’s too late!