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Aardvark Home Inspectors Spring Madness Special


Flood Insurance-Changes To Be Aware Of


The National Flood Insurance Program has changed their program in an attempt to try to charge premiums that they feel will more accurately reflect the flooding risk of the property.  FEMA is currently over 30 billion dollars in debt which may be the major cause of the changes. The changes will have a huge impact on any homes that are on the market and needing flood insurance

 Prior to October 2013 there were two main rating plans


Pre Firm- here in Fort Wayne, homes built before 1985

Prior to October, these homes could easily be rated by an agent in order to give you an estimate of what your buyer could expect the flood insurance to cost. This was the plan most Fort Wayne homes fell into

No elevation certificate was required


Post Firm- homes built after 1985 here in Fort Wayne

These homes have always needed an elevation certificate as the program felt homes built in the flood zone after flooding zones were established need to be elevated or pay a much higher rate/ a home could be rated at the highest rates if no elevation certificate was available

 With the flood insurance program changes, a home buyer can no longer get any type of a flood insurance estimate without an elevation certificate ON ANY PROPERTY… no matter what year the home was built!  Even with the elevation certificate, agents are sometimes being told by the rating sites that they need to submit the quote for rating. As an agent you will not be able to provide an estimate on what the existing homeowner pays as those rates are no longer available. Many rates are more than doubling. Even people who are not selling their homes will eventually need to get an elevation certificate as many existing policies are simply not renewing without the certificates or seeing a large premium increases until the elevation certificate is provided


Bottom line

 Homes in flood zones will become more and more difficult to sell or purchase as the cost of flood insurance rises

 Clients attempting to sell their home that is in a flood zone will most likely need to get an elevation certificate to provide to interested buyers so that an accurate flood insurance estimate can be obtained

 On the insurance agents side of things, the quoting process as well the application process has gotten much more complicated and difficult. Working with FEMA has never been easy but with this change, many insurance agents have decided that they will no longer take part in the National Flood Insurance Program or write any type of flood insurance.


Low interest rates!!

With interest rates where they are now, why would you wait to buy?  I'd much prefer to help you today instead of 5-10 years from now when you're saying, "Why didn't I buy in 2012!"  I can help you through the painless process of getting pre-qualified for a mortgage, and we can start looking at houses this weekend!  I'm ready, willing and able to help you!

Embrace Life. Wear your seat belt.

Beautiful seat belt commercial

No words - HUGE message.

This is the new "wear your seatbelt" ad the UK is doing - started by some guy not hired to do it, but because the cause is important to him. He came up with this idea, and now it's being hailed across the world as a "beautiful" commercial. The video has become so popular with the general public that people are forwarding it to friends/family on their own so quickly that it has spread all over the world in a very short time.

See Commercial:

Some crazy selling incentives, but it's still all about the price...


Incentives Attract Buyers, But Do They Close Deals?

"We're in a price war and a beauty contest," says Tony Vehon, broker and owner of Weichert Realtors -- Lake Realty in Gold Canyon, Ariz. "Every home has to be priced right and look perfect. After that, a special incentive might drive traffic, especially if you offer something that grabs attention, something a little beyond the norm."

Over-The-Top Incentives

Vehon says one of his agents worked with a seller of a high-end house in a vacation home area.

"The client decided to make the home move-in ready, selling it with brand-new furniture, linens and kitchen gadgets and even a car in the garage," Vehon says. "The house sold, but the people who bought it didn't actually want the car. They asked for a credit on the price instead."

Orhan Tolu, broker for Century 21 Realty Alliance in San Francisco and San Mateo, Calif., says in high-end homes, buying new furniture for the listing or giving buyers a gift card for $2,000 or $3,000 at an interior design studio can attract attention.

"In order to create some news, the sellers sometimes throw in a Mercedes or a boat if the home sits on waterfront property," Tolu says.

Martha Thorn, a sales agent with The Thorn Collection at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage near Tampa, Fla., says sellers in her area have offered personal watercraft along with a property, and one offered a custom-made fishing cart to buyers.

"The house was a $4.9 million mansion on a bluff overlooking the water, and the homeowner had someone make an electric cart that looked a bit like a cross between a wheelbarrow and a lawn mower that made it easy to get fishing equipment from the house to the water," Thorn says.

Not all incentives go along with high-end property. Thorn says one seller included season tickets to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' football games on a home priced at less than $200,000.

"The buyers were thrilled with the tickets, but that certainly wasn't the reason they bought the house," says Thorn. "The most important thing is always the price."

Linda O'Koniewski, broker/owner of Re/Max Heritage in Melrose, Mass., says she has heard of sellers offering a cat or a dog along with their home.

"The sellers see it as an enticement, but I've never actually seen someone successfully pass on their pet to a buyer," says O'Koniewski.

Seller Incentives That Work

O'Koniewski says besides having a home priced to sell and perfectly staged, cash is usually the most effective seller incentive.

"An offer to pay condo fees for a year or so will definitely create some buzz, and at least get a buyer to take a second look at a property," O'Koniewski says.

Tolu says offering a bonus, such as an additional 1% or 2% commission, to real estate agents will encourage them to show a property, which can help it stand out in a crowded market.

"Another option is for the sellers to offer their own financing," Tolu says. "Most sellers cannot offer this, but sometimes someone who is retiring and has a lot of equity in their home will be willing to offer financing because they get a decent return on their money."

Thorn says the seller incentives that work most are those that bring traffic to the home, even if the incentive is given to a charity rather than directly to the buyer.

"We've organized charity events at a home that's on the market, with the sellers donating money to the local charity and raising funds at the event," says Thorn. "The event gets people into the home, which increases the chance that someone will see it and want to buy it."

Price is Key

O'Koniewski says sellers need to realize, "no amount of marketing will make a dent if the price is not right. If you are not competitive on the price, you cannot sell your house."

Beyond price, O'Koniewski says sellers should have great photos online and a truthful description of the property.

Vehon says sellers should focus on identifying the appropriate price for their property first, and then work on curb appeal and staging.

"Sometimes clients won't even get out of the car if the house doesn't look good from the outside," Vehon says. "Buyers need a reason to take the next step and go inside the house."

Once inside, buyers expect to see a home in excellent condition that has been staged to show off its advantages, Vehon says.

"The most important thing to remember is that if a house is priced correctly, it can even get multiple offers," says Thorn.

Read more:

December's Newsletter

My sincere apologies with regard to the verbiage in this month's newsletter.  It appears that it was not proofed, and has a paragraph that does not read well.  Hopefully you can look past the error, and realize the intention with which it was meant.  Mostly, I hope you read it :-)

Sellers Monthly Report Letter


October 2011

I strive to be ahead of the competition in this tough sales market.  My goal is the same as yours:  To obtain the best possible price in the shortest period of time, with the least amount of inconvenience.

Consumers are demanding more information as evidenced by the massive exodus from newspapers to the internet.  Current statistics show over 82% of home buyers desire photos and detailed property descriptions online.  The Douglass Home Team gives them what they want!  Here are a couple of means to advertize your home to those searching for a new home:

I have upgraded my account to allow me to use the enhanced features.  This allows me to showcase your listings with multiple photos, custom headlines, property descriptions, neighborhood information, virtual tours and more. Your listings stand out over other listings when buyers see icons for features such as, more photos, and virtual tours.

My RE/MAX of Indiana site, allows me to capture all leads.  When there is any interest in your home I am alerted and immediately respond.  Your listing is featured on the home page with access to photos and a virtual tour.  The home page also hosts an extensive search engine.

We highly recommend you view your own listing, as well as competitive listings on the above websites.  This will allow you to search the local MLS system and to watch your competition in this current market.

As always, feel free to call/email/text anytime to discuss anything regarding the showings, activity and marketing of your property.



Mary Douglass

The Douglass Home Team

RE/MAX Results

Banks Must Get Back to Business -


(July 2011 by Lawrence Yun)

Bank profits are up, while loan volume has been falling...

You already know from real-world experience that banks are not lending. But now your experience is backed by hard data from the FDIC. The agency found that in the year ending March 2011, bank deposits rose by $300 billion, assets grew by $80 billion, and profits were up by $12 billion. Yet loan volumes fell $260 billion to $7.24 trillion.

The banking industry's old "3-6-3 rule" says that bankers pay 3 percent interest to depositors, make loans to depositors at 6 percent, and be out on the golf course by 3 p.m. That rule now seems to be replaced with a new 0-0-3 rule: Offer nothing to depositors and nothing to those who want to borrow, and earn 3 percent by buying tradable assets like government bonds.

To be sure, profit is not a bad thing. But when banks accumulate profit at the expense of doing what they're in business to do -- make laons -- they put brakes on the economy.

We might already be seeing the consequences of that, with the economic recovery showing signs of sputtering. So it's of little surprise that pending home sales in April took a tumble, falling 11 percent. Rising gas prices and unusually wet weather contributed to the slowdown. Whether home sales in the months ahead will also fall, we'll have to wait and see. But if these overly tight lending conditions worsen, then a price decline in the double-digit range is clearly possible. Strategic defaults and foreclosures will rise, and bank balance sheets will deteriorate. A second recession is possible.

But this is a worst-case scenario. What's more likely is that any additional price contractions will be modest. Home values have already fallen considerably, to historically justifiable levels. And in areas where jobs are strong, prices are solid or heading up. But the lesson is clear: A return to banking the old-fashioned way can speed the housing recovery.

Fort Wayne's #6!


According to MSN's Real Estate link, Fort Wayne is ranked #6 out of the top 15 cities with the most improvement in home prices!

: 411,154

Average home price: $132,382

Year-over-year home price change: +1%

12-month home price forecast: +1%

Jobs are growing in this northeastern Indiana city, particularly in the construction sector. As in many other Midwestern cities, residents of this town never saw a huge boom and bust. Home prices are down just 4% from their peak in the third quarter of 2007 and are inching back up steadily.

Rehab loans


If you happen to find a house that is perfect, needs a new roof, HVAC, appliances, flooring, painting, deck, etc...there is a way to get it done.

Be sure to ask if your lender is aware of the 203k Streamline FHA Loan.
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Contact Us

The Douglass Home Team
260-417-5874 Mary
260-387-0391 Kim
260-705-2364 Nicole
8101 Coldwater Road
Fort Wayne, IN 46825
Office: 260-490-1590