18174 Baldwin Drive – An Entertainer’s Dream

by Nick Molnar on March 26, 2014

Pictures don’t do justice to this breathtaking, custom home on Gilmore Lake in desirable Bradford Shores. With approximately 6,000 finished square feet, a grand entrance with curved mahogany door, soaring ceilings with eleven and twelve foot heights, open floor plan and great water views, this home surpasses expectations.

Great room with significant hearth and large glass doors that look over the water and open to a wraparound deck.
Entertainer’s dream kitchen is open to the dining and living areas, and offers granite counters including an island with bar seating for six, walk in pantry, ample cabinetry and high end appliances including two built in ovens, six burner cooktop and integrated but hidden microwave.

Four bedrooms include two spacious master suites with separated tubs and tile shower enclosures. Two secondary bedrooms on the main floor share a full bath with dual sink vanity. Main floor master suite offers direct access to the deck and a walk-in closet with organization system.

The main floor is finished with a den / office with a custom detail ceiling, a guest’s powder room, large mudroom off the garage and laundry room with cabinetry.

The lower level walks out to a patio with water views and is finished to the same high standards as the main floor. It offers a bar, game room / second living room, home theater, cigar/poker room, and ample storage.
Paver drive, 3-car garage that is large enough for everything yet avoids becoming the focal point from the street, wraparound deck, paver patio and with an integrated seating and firepit.

Offered at $580,000. Contact Nick Molnar at 574-309-3758 / nick@realst8.com for more information.



Sugar Camp Horse Ride

by Nick Molnar on March 20, 2014

Realst8.com is relaunching a weekly series of photos from around the South Bend – Mishawaka – Granger and surrounding area.

Our first is of the Sugar Camp Days at Bendix Woods County Park.

Sugar Camp Horse Ride


January 2014 Sales

by Nick Molnar on February 18, 2014

After a long delay, the Realst8.com blog is active again.

Since our last posts on market conditions, the systems used by area Realtors have changed. Moving forward, I’ll post on sales in St Joseph County, Indiana, and not those posted in the “Greater South Bend – Mishawaka MLS” It’s a subtle but significant difference. So I’m not posting the long term graph this month. But I will work to recreate it based on this new criteria in the future.

Here are the January 2014 sales that hit the MLS. Click the icon for a larger image.

Real estate sales for St. Joseph County Indiana in January 2014
Real estate sales for St. Joseph County Indiana in January 2014


And if you’re making decisions on real estate in South Bend, Mishawaka, Granger, or Notre Dame, Indiana, and want professional guidance and answers to your questions, hit our contact page.



We are halfway through 2013.  And sales are “up” compared with recent years. But whether you’re a buyer waiting for lower prices or a seller hoping for a return to 2006, don’t break out the champagne just yet. Long term trends aren’t clear and it will likely be a bumpy ride for some time yet: interest rates have spiked,  investors-banks-government agencies-and-the media are distorting markets, and many homeowners still owe more on property than they could clear if they had to sell today. My advice is unchanged: Be smart, do your homework, understand the niche market and plan for multiple potentialities.

Here are the figures from the Greater South Bend-Mishawaka Area MLS:

  • March: 251 closed sales, volume of ~ $24.9 million
  • April: 279 closed sales, volume of ~$32.6 million (edited from previously reported numbers due to late input of some closed sales)
  • May: 334 closed sales, volume of ~$43.8 million
  • June: 319 closed sales, volume of ~$45.3 million


Real estate sales volume by month

January 2001 – June 30, 2013



Only January 2010 – June 30, 2013










Every sale recorded in the Greater South Bend – Mishawaka MLS for March, April, May and June 2013:


Sales at all prices


All real estate sales March, Arpil, May, June 2013 - South Bebnd, Granger, Notre Dame, Mishawaka and surrounding areas


Sales up to $300k
(this includes greater than 95% of closed sales)

All real estate sales to $300k, March, Arpil, May, June 2013 - South Bebnd, Granger, Notre Dame, Mishawaka and surrounding areas







These are useful statistics to get an idea of the overall market in and near South Bend. But before you buy be sure you drill down to a tighter data set.

Knowing that sales are up in the South Bend area is not enough to be an informed player in the market. You need to know what has happened within a half a mile, on the next block, and in the house two doors down. And you should know the trends and why that part of the larger market is performing well or poorly. Then you can make smart decisions. Call me if you want a more specific analysis.




64 reasons your house may not be selling

by Nick Molnar on March 20, 2013

64 Reasons Your Home May Not Be Selling

  1. It smells like cat
  2. It smells like dog
  3. It’s overpriced
  4. It isn’t in the MLS
  5. You have no photos
  6. You have only one exterior photo
  7. Your photos is from another season – a snowy photo in June advertising
  8. Your exterior front photo shows one big tree with a hint of house behind it
  9. Your bathroom photo shows a corner of sink and the toilet
  10. Your bathroom photo has the toilet seat up
  11. Your photos are pixelated
  12. The basement is dank
  13. The house is dirty
  14. Your agent doesn’t respond to showing requests
  15. You don’t accommodate showings
  16. You don’t clean or prepare for showings
  17. You stay at the house during showings
  18. You leave an aggressive pet in the house during showings
  19. The house is overfull of furniture, toys, clothes, and “stuff” and potential buyers can’t see the house
  20. Bad luck
  21. Your school district has low test scores
  22. You don’t have central air
  23. You don’t have a dishwasher
  24. Your kitchen is closed off from the living space
  25. You’re selling a condo in a failed and half-built project
  26. You’re selling a spec house in a failed and mostly-empty subdivision
  27. Your house lacks curb appeal
  28. You’re at a price point that excludes most potential buyers in your city
  29. It was a meth house
  30. It’s falling down
  31. The neighbor’s house is falling down
  32. The neighbor’s yard has junked cars and trash everywhere
  33. The neighbor has frightening dogs
  34. The taxes and HOA/condo fees are high
  35. It smells like smoke
  36. You’re a day-sleeper and have painted all the windows black
  37. Frequent gunshots are heard during showings
  38. It has a “spooky dungeon-like” basement
  39. Obvious fire damage
  40. Mushrooms growing in basement
  41. Crazy neighbors harass potential buyers
  42. Your homemade indoor shooting range isn’t to code
  43. Your collection of 300 decorative Elvis plates distracts buyers from home’s best features
  44. No for sale sign
  45. 2×4 appears to be propping up joists in basement
  46. Built-in microwave in bathroom puzzles buyers
  47. Your house costs twice what anything similar has sold for recently
  48. Your valuing your $30k sunroom at your cost
  49. Wallpaper
  50. The fusebox is the most recent update in the house
  51. Fleas
  52. Your floors bounce
  53. Your floors slope
  54. Raccoons in the attic
  55. Carpet in the bathrooms
  56. You don’t negotiate
  57. Newer development is pulling away your buyers
  58. No yard
  59. Ugly yard
  60. Backs to industrial lot
  61. Next to Wal Mart
  62. Errors in property info – “0” square feet, incorrect bedroom count, etc.
  63. Your agent has a reputation that makes other agents prefer to not work with her
  64. Road noise

That’s a long list, and that’s off the top of my head. But if you categorized them, you’d quickly find there are really just a few groups:

  • Price: self explanatory
  • Presentation: Can buyer’s find the house is for sale and does it look great online?
  • Preparation: Is the house clean, de-cluttered and free of the “ick factor?” Does it smell good? Does it appear to be taken care and give a good impression when you walk up to and into the house?

The most effective way to sell a house is to

  • get a whole house inspection and fix the problems it uncovers
  • hire a stager and act on their advice
  • obtain an appraisal and price it at or below the appraised value
  • hire a real estate agent who sells in your area
  • use a professional photographer

Those five people will help you avoid ending up unsold and on a list like this. But it many cases it’s not practical or possible. In those cases, be sure you’re addressing the same concepts of price, preparation and presentation. If you have to pick just one professional to help you, go with a real estate agent, but only if it’s one who you are confident can reasonably stand in for the others.