Budget for Repairs

by Nick Molnar on November 16, 2016

This is the kitchen sink of our 1966 built home. It started draining slowly a week ago. Tonight, after trying several fixes on our own, we had a reputable drain cleaning service to the house. They used a high power snake, but it failed at 30 feet and they suggest rerouting the kitchen drain line through an unfinished portion of the basement. It’s an expensive fix, but cheaper than it would be if the basement wasn’t accessible and we had to dig up and repair the drain line in the yard.  The takeaway – with any house, budget for capital repairs and routine maintenance. Owning real estate has many benefits, but it also comes with unanticipated bills. Plan accordingly.

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“Web Appeal is the new Curb Appeal”

by Nick Molnar on November 11, 2016

We spent an hour to prop stage a house with an airbed, art and effects this morning to be ready for professional photos tomorrow. Photos are the first impression most people will have of the house you are selling – it’s worth the effort to get them right!

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Staging effects for an upcoming Realst8.com listing

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New Condo Sales Near Notre Dame: Where and How Much?

by Nick Molnar on August 12, 2016

Multi-family development hasn’t slowed in the cities near Notre Dame,  but it has evolved. Five years ago, it was easy to count off handfuls of announced and in-progress condo communities near Notre Dame. They were mostly full of for-sale condos. Today, there are at least eight multi-family building projects in some stage of planning or construction in South Bend and four in Mishawaka – and they are almost all for rent apartment communities.  There are developers still working on condos, but the environment has changed.

That shift from build-to-sell towards build-to-rent marks the end of a ten year Notre Dame area condo boom, and makes it a great time to review the new condo market. We’ll write much more on the nuances of the various communities, the tax implications, and the resale market. But a good first step is to assess the simple size of the market, which many people underestimate.

This burst of condo development in South Bend started with Dublin Village in 2006. But it gained momentum with the projects at Wexford Place, Stadium Village, Ivy Quad and Irish Crossings and hit full stride with the Eddy Street Commons communities of Champions Way, Legends Row, Victory View and Triumph Court.

These eight communities are now the core of the newer condo market near Notre Dame. They have about 350 individual properties and around 1,050 bedrooms. Despite those large numbers, they aren’t yet individually well known. Many sold directly from builders to owners who don’t live in South Bend. Because of that, these sales aren’t as often included in Realtors’ statistics, and they aren’t often discussed like local neighborhoods full of long term residents. But with hundreds of sales and a median price over $400k, these condos are a significant piece of the South Bend real estate market.

Here is the most basic info on these condos at a glance: where they are and their sales prices.
Click the thumbnails below for a larger image. Comment, call or e-mail to learn more.

Where?

How Much?

 

0.4 – 0.7 miles from the
football stadium’s 50 yard line


$222,260 – $1,221,685
median price: $410,000

Condo Sales Prices Near Notre Dame 2007-2016

 

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How Accurate Are St Joseph County Tax Assessments?

by Nick Molnar on March 8, 2016

If you own a home in St. Joseph County, there’s about a 15% chance you could cut your property tax bill in half by appealing the assessed value of your home.

Everyday, I see homes for sale at prices dramatically different from the tax assessed value. I’ve often had buyers tell me about the great deal they are getting and sellers tell me about the great price they are offering because a sales price is lower than the assessed value of a home. Please don’t ever buy a South Bend area house because you can get it for less than the assessed value. You can do that almost anytime and you might still overpay for the property. There are  20 homes for sale now for less than half of their assessed value.

Obviously there are bad assessments. But to get beyond anecdotal reports and figure out percentages, we need a larger sample of homes. And to get useful information, we need to compare the assessed value to the price at which the homes actually sell (market value). 3,852 homes sold with Realtor involvement in St. Joseph County in 2015. On those homes, 1,626 Realtors included the assessed value in their MLS listing.  Looking at the values of those 1,626 homes,

  • 48.95% sold below the assessed value
  • 51.05% sold at or above the assessed value
  • 56.70% were assessed at 75-125% of their sales price (my self-invented threshold for a fair assessment)
  • 2.28% were assessed at 50% or less than their sales price (severely under assessed)
  • 15.19% were assessed at 200% or greater than their sales price (severely over assessed)

Here is the complete dataset. If these percentages hold for the greater pool of homes in the county, there’s about a 30% chance you are over-assessed at 125%+ of market value. And there’s a 15.19% chance you are severely over-assessed at 200%+ of market value, at which point the relatively inexpensive but very slow process of appealing your assessed value is probably worth your time.

 

 

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1429 Honan Drive | Erskine Manor | South Bend

by Nick Molnar on April 3, 2015

Realst8.com has just listed one of South Bend’s best homes for sale: 1429 Honan Drive in South Bend’s Erskine Manor neighborhood. It’s a modern home in a classic neighborhood with mature trees, architecturally significant homes and a history that includes South Bend’s most famous company. Let this traditional home with modern updates and its convenient and historic location become the setting for your future plans.

photos and details: http://bit.ly/1429Honan
call 574-309-3758 or e-mail nick@realst8.com

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photos and details: http://bit.ly/1429Honan
call 574-309-3758 or e-mail nick@realst8.com

 

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