Community Information

How important are schools when choosing a home in Lincoln?

Moving homes brings up a lot of questions that go much farther than, “Is there a walk-in closet?” or “What are the HOA fees?” If you have children, you’ll also be considering the schools that your potential new neighborhood is assigned to.
According to some sources, regardless of which part of Lincoln you choose for your home, you’re in good hands. In 2015 Lincoln Public Schools (LPS) reports “Lincoln Public Schools has been bestowed with the award of District of Distinction, prestigious national recognition from the District Administration magazine.”
The honor is “a national recognition program created by District Administration magazine to honor school districts that are leading the way with new and innovative ideas that work – yielding quantifiable benefits and that could be replicated by other districts. The winners were selected by a team of editors based on the success of their results, as well as replicability to inspire other school systems.”
But as Lincoln continues to grow rapidly, so does our school district. This map represents the preliminary elementary school changes and their correlating neighborhood school districts for 2016-2017. For all maps, visit the LPS website.
Lincoln Elementary school boundaries
A Lincoln Realtor reports that of all out-of-town buyers choosing Lincoln as their next home for reasons other than job transfers or other family members residing here, quality of life is one of the biggest reasons to choose Lincoln. Low crime and great schools heavily sway their decision. The Realtor says that by the time an out-of-town buyer gets to Lincoln, they’ve already done their homework, and LPS is what they want. This is because our public school district fits in nicely with the “quality of life” they’re looking for.
Of course there are plenty of options in Lincoln besides the public school system, including a number of private and parochial schools. That’s exactly what makes Lincoln so great. Excellent schools regardless of your education preferences.
But if you’re curious about the LPS expansions, and what the new schools mean for you and your neighborhood, or potential new neighborhood, here is an easy break down of the new schools and which neighborhoods will be attending:

  • Marilyn Moore Middle School, which will be built near 84th Street and Yankee Hill Road. Lincoln Public Schools bought the land from the city with proceeds from a voter-approved $153 million bond issue. The $38.4 million school is scheduled to open in fall 2017.
  • Sally Wysong Elementary School, which will be built near 56th and Yankee Hill at 61st Street and Blanchard Boulevard. Also paid for with bond proceeds, the $18.6 million school is set to open in fall 2016.
  • The Bill Nuernberger Center for middle school children with serious behavioral problems is scheduled to open in fall 2016 at the former Bryan Community School, 1801 S. 40th St. The district has set aside about $4 million for renovation of the building, which used to house the district’s alternative high school.

(Information provided via the Lincoln Journal Star)

In short, Lincolnites are proud of our education systems, and we welcome the expansions. If you are partial to a particular school district, keep this info handy when doing your home search!

General Real Estate

The low down on real estate fees and commissions

hand-giving-money-for-housing-webHave you ever spent months with a Realtor, perusing house after house, only later deciding that it wasn’t the right time for you to buy a home? Maybe curiosity got the best of you, and you wondered who paid that agent to walk you through all those homes? Quite simply, no one did.
The real estate industry is unique in that agents do not receive any compensation until an actual transaction takes place. It makes no difference how much time they spend with you, how many houses you see, how many Sundays they smile at the front door of your home at an open house; Realtors do not get paid until your needs are met. This all begs the question, when the transaction does happen, when you do close on a home, who is paying your Realtor?
The basic answer, is that the seller pays the commission. The fees are subtracted from the proceeds of the home sale and then split between the brokerages involved in the sale. It then splits again when buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent receive their portions from their brokerage.
According to the National Association of Realtors’ 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, just 8 percent of homeowners in 2015 opted to sell their home without the services of a real estate professional. In short, it means that both buyers and sellers value the knowledge and expertise of a licensed real estate agent. And they’re willing to pay for it.
So what, exactly are you paying for?
You are paying for a professional. For the licensing and education your agent receives on a yearly basis. You pay for their knowledge of the daily changing market, and for their negotiating power and expertise. As explains, “Buying or selling real estate is a costly financial transaction, and the commission is just one part of that. Negotiating a real estate commission may pale in comparison to the extra money you’ll pay over the lifetime of a mortgage if your credit isn’t excellent.” So there are more factors to think about when you consider saving a buck when buying or selling a home.
When considering a lower fee company or negotiating commissions (which is acceptable), consider this: if an agent is quick to accept a lower commission to work for you, is that the kind of negotiator you need rooting for you when your home is at stake?
It’s true that you get what you pay for. And with Realtors, you get what you pay for and then some. It’s true that Realtors are monetarily invested in making your transaction work, but because of the amount of time they spend with you to make your dreams a reality they are emotionally invested as well. Invest well in a professional Realtor, and in turn, they will invest well in you.

General Real Estate Sales Associates

How to find the perfect Realtor for you

realtorIt feels a little like online dating. Staring at face after face, headshots, mostly in suits and charismatic smiles beaming back at you. Reading bylines and credentials, years of experience, trying to find the perfect Realtor for your needs.
If you aren’t lucky enough to have a relative, family friend, or great neighbor as a licensed Realtor, you might be overwhelmed by the seemingly endless names to choose from. But here are a few helpful tips to point you in the right direction.
For starters, you’ll want a full-service Realtor. The reasons for this are as endless as your internet search results for an agent. Most importantly, a full-service Realtor means they are in it to win it with you.
A full-service agent isn’t the bargain store find of Realtors, but their worth is found in the time, dedication, expertise and services they offer. Working without a Realtor isn’t as easy as you might think, and working with one who offers the lowest fees can be just as time consuming for you in the end.
You’ll also want to make sure you’re asking the right questions when choosing a Realtor to partner with.

Ask your Realtor about their specialties.

Some agents work primarily with sellers, others have a long list of happy buyers; Realtors can be experienced in commercial property, or an expert in negotiating a short sale transaction, others may focus on being well rounded and equally valuable to a buyer or seller. Consider what your needs are and find an agent who suits them well.

How will your home be marketed?

Your Realtor is your marketing guru. Ask specific questions about how they plan to sell your home. Will they have professional photos taken? How often will you have an open house? Who is your home’s target market and how will your agent reach them?

How will you set the price?

Whether you’re buying, selling, or both, the numbers matter. Ask about comparable sales in your area and how they affect your listing price, or the offer you’re considering making. A licensed agent is nothing short of an expert of your community, they’ll be able to clearly explain your market area and knowingly guide you to the best listing price or offer.

What’s the best form of communication?

Don’t be afraid to ask the best way to reach your Realtor. Can you call them at night after the kids are in bed? Are they text savvy (emojis optional)? Do they check their email once a day or receive incoming messages immediately on their phone?
Choosing a Realtor doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Knowing which questions to ask and understanding the value of the nearly 200 licensed Realtors HOME Real Estate has to offer is the first step in creating the perfect agent/client relationship.

Market Information

Housing Market: 2015 Year in Review and Look Ahead to 2016

As we begin 2016 and reflect on the last 12 months, we would ultimately characterize 2015 as having been a very solid year for housing.  Early year-end numbers indicate that year-over-year sales nationally are up by about 10%, equating to roughly 5.3 to 5.4 million units of inventory (and compared to about 4.9 million in 2014).  The strong spring selling season in 2015 was indicative of the market’s overall strength, even while luxury sales activity appeared to have slowed slightly over the course of the last four months. Furthermore, as has been evident in the wake of the Fed’s December announcement, the long-anticipated interest rate increase is not predicted to have a large impact on home-buying activity in the year to come.
Locally, we saw a nearly flat year. HOME Real Estate closed 2,900 total units, compared with 2,875 in 2014. However, the company’s closed volume is up 13 percent year over year, which bodes favorably for average sales price. The luxury market, defined as homes $400,000 and up in the Lincoln market, was down in 2015 overall.
Lincoln Real Estate Market 2015
Looking ahead, here are some of the trends we’ll be watching:

  • 2016 will be a continuation of the housing market’s recovery: This will not be a “boom” or a “bust” year, but a “normal” one with reasonable expectations.
  • Millennials forming new households: This key segment of the consumer population has largely delayed purchasing homes; however, we are starting to see a shift from rentals to ownership among the demographic … and we expect 2016 to be a “break-out year” for these buyers.
  • Washington recognizes the need for affordability: We are seeing a move toward more normalized credit standards versus more risk-averse standards, essentially giving more qualified buyers the opportunity to own a home.  The banks, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have furthermore seen fewer foreclosures in the recent year, and we expect that trend to continue in 2016.
  • Boomerang buyers bounce back: Homeownership continues to be a very important dream among American consumers. While a number of people weathered the hardships of short-sales or foreclosures in the downturn, over the last five years, we have seen a gradual return of these buyers to the marketplace – another indication that the market has been successfully working through prior challenges.  People who may have been forced into rentals are now re-entering the market with home purchases.
  • By that same token, even with the dollar strengthening against other global economies, the American housing market will maintain its standing as a very safe place to park assets.

All that said, as the recovery continues and the strength of the industry grows, 2016 will be another important year for housing and its steady move toward normalcy.

Sales Associates

Welcome HOME to Rhonda Rogers

Rhonda Rogers
Rhonda Rogers

Rhonda Rogers joins the Lincoln HOME Pioneer Greens office. She grew up in Lincoln and attended Northeast high school and University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her hobbies include knitting, crafts and spending time with her son. Rhonda can be reached at 402-525-8470 or

General Real Estate

Three resolutions to sell your home in 2016

2016 houseA potential-rich new year lies ahead and while you declare your resolutions for the next 12 months, consider adding a home sale to the list. Intentions manifest when you not only declare them, but when you put forth the extra effort to accomplish them. There is nothing like selling a property to position you well to purchase a new one, and a new home purchase can make for a fresh start early in the new year.
So take the time to consider these top 3 resolutions to sit at the closing table before the first day of spring in 2016 and to increase your options for spring or summer new home shopping:

Resolution #1: I will prepare my home for a ready-to-sell listing.

Planning ahead for necessary repairs prior to listing can help you to achieve a shorter number of listing days to the offer negotiations, especially if you know this is the year you will sell your home. Once you determine the month you plan to list your home for sale, then utilize this target date to schedule out a pre-listing action plan for needed repairs or improvements. A project plan can help you stay on schedule to meet that ideal listing date.

Resolution #2: I will locate the right buyer.

While statistics may show that home sales are slower over the winter season, your Realtor can verify that those looking are usually serious and pre-qualified buyers. Take advantage of this fact early in the new year and work with your Realtor on precise marketing to reach the ideal buyer. Targeting the right buyer who desires a home in your neighborhood means a shorter listing-to-offer timeframe.

Resolution #3: I will get an offer in my ideal price range.

If this is the year that you want to sell your home, it does not mean you have to accept a low offer to make it happen. There are many factors that go into the ideal listing price, so collaborate with your Realtor to help you consider the nuances involved in the science of pricing. The time invested in effective pricing strategies can lead to a quicker offer in your acceptable range.
Like the typical new year resolutions to reduce morning caffeine or to get in more miles on the treadmill, these declarations are only accomplished when commitment meets effort. So commit to your home-selling resolutions and take the first step to seeing them manifest in a 2016 home sale.

Sales Associates

Welcome HOME to Alycia Tiemann Brady

Alycia Tiemann Brady

Alycia Tiemann Brady joins our Lincoln HOME Cotner office. She grew up in Beatrice, Nebraska moving to Lincoln in 1994. Her hobbies include coaching softball and painting. Alycia can be reached at 402-499-7710 or

General Real Estate

How to know you’re ready to sell your home

Sold HOMEAny number of reasons could get your wheels turning about putting your home on the market. A job, financial change, or simply outgrowing your current house are often driving factors. But a stockpile of moving boxes filled with big dreams is only one step in home selling preparedness. Before you program the moving company on speed dial, consider first if you’ve passed this “Ready to Sell” checklist.

A Strategic Game Plan

A good game plan is all about the numbers. Tell your Realtor about your selling price expectations and ask how they plan to price your home. Knowing how much equity to expect after your home sells is a must in moving forward. Think beyond your own “sold” sign and envision the “sold” sign in a new home that you can feel confident affording.

Check Your Emotions

To truly be ready to let go of your home, you have to do just that, let go. The living room where little feet took their first steps will always tug at your heartstrings, but if every corner of the home has ahold of those same strings, you’ll need to emotionally prepare yourself to accept an offer. Until your house is just “a property” instead of a “home,” not even an asking price, cash offer (with closing costs) will convince you to let go.

Prepare Your Home

Once you’ve made the decision to put your house on the market, those pesky emotions could take over again and push for that “For Sale” sign in the yard today, or preferably, yesterday. But don’t let your excitement rush buyers in the door before the home is ready. Clean, remove clutter, and upgrade that outdated hardware in the kitchen that has been an eyesore for years.
Better yet, get your house pre-inspected by a professional. Not only will you feel like your hard work paid off when you get the stamp of approval, but buyers will have an added sense of security knowing their potential dream home has been through a rigorous pre-inspection.

The Right Realtor

If everything on this list checks out and you’re ready to fill those boxes with more than dreams, then get the right Realtor on board with you for your real estate journey.
Financial guru Dave Ramsey nails it when he said “A qualified real estate agent will give you a clear picture of what it’s like to sell a home and if now is the right time for you, both financially and emotionally.”

Sales Associates

Welcome HOME to Debbie Boosalis

Debbie and Gregg Boosalis
Debbie and Gregg Boosalis

Debbie Boosalis joins the Lincoln HOME Pioneer Greens office. She will be assisting her husband, Gregg at the Pioneer Greens office also. Her hobbies include home decorating, cooking and gardening. Debbie can be reached at 402-423-5952 or

Sales Associates

Welcome HOME to Aaron Wagner

Aaron Wagner
Aaron Wagner

Aaron Wagner joins the Lincoln HOME North office. He has been a lifelong Lincoln resident. He attended Northeast High School and University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His hobbies include playing hockey, video games and going to movies with his wife. Aaron can be reached at 402-416-9917 or