Monday, February 25, 2013

2013 Housing Market off to a Strong Start in Indiana

The states housing market continues to grow according to statistics released today by the Indiana Association of Realtors, through their monthly, Indiana Real Estate Markets Report.  The state reports a 22.9% increase in closed sales when comparing January 2012 to January 2013.  The median sales price of those homes rose 5.9% to $108,000; the average sales price increase 5.7% to $129,409.  And existing inventory dropped 8.6%.

Taking a look locally; Elkhart County boosted a 24.4% increase in the median sales price to $100,000 and a 13.2% increase in closed sales.  St. Joseph County experienced a 15.6% drop in the median sales price and a 2.2% increase in closed sales.  Both Lagrange and Koscuisko counties saw drops in the median sales price at the same time demonstrating gains in closed sales.  Koscuisko county nearly doubled the number of closed sales over January of last year.

This good news is part of a larger trend; January 2013 marked the following consecutive year-over-year gains in home prices and market activity for the state of Indiana:

• The number of closed home sales has increased year-over-year for 19 consecutive months,
• The median sale price of homes has increased for 14 consecutive months,
• The average sale price has increased for 13 consecutive months,
• Sellers received a greater share of their original list price for the 11
th consecutive month, and
• The number of pending home sales has increased for 16 consecutive months.

Tight inventory combined with strong buyer demand is causing home values to increase - great news for sellers and potential sellers.  But, borrowing costs are still low and and affordability remains extremely atractive - great news for buyers as well.

More about Your Home Spot Blog
The Canarecci Group with Coldwell Banker Roth Wehrly Graber, established this blog in January 2009 with the intent of bringing its readers news and information, commentary and helpful information for homeowners and want-to-be homeowners.

With over 23 years of combined real estate experience, serving Elkhart, Mishawaka, Goshen, South Bend, Middlebury, Granger and the surrounding communities.   Tom and Katrina with The Canarecci Group are here for all you real estate needs. 

Tom joined Coldwell Banker in 1997, and now serves as the Managing Broker of the Elkhart County office.  Tom specializes in properties ranging from acreage, estates, waterfront, golf course,  and new construction including single family, town-homes and villa style living.

As an active member of the Elkhart County Association of Realtors, Katrina brings to the profession extensive experience in residential real estate.  Licensed since 2004, Katrina moved to Coldwell Banker in 2008 to be part of a national network of professionals, which dates back to 1906.  Katrina specializes in buyer representation and is an Accredited Staging Professional (ASP®).

Tom & Katrina take great pride in developing and improving their real estate business together. They made the decision that they could best serve their clients as a team.  They are two unique professionals with different styles and perspectives, working together for you.  


Thursday, February 7, 2013

  • Don't-Miss Home Tax Breaks

    From the mortgage interest deduction to energy tax credits, here are the tax tips you need to get a jump on your returns. Read

Visit for more articles like this.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Why Declutter Your House?

Article From

By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon
Published: January 07, 2013

When you declutter your house, are you choking off your life energy or soothing your soul?
Garage filled with home owner clutter

When it comes to decluttering your house, do you ever want to just throw in the towel (preferably on the floor) and stop trying so hard? Maybe a little clutter is a good thing.

After all, is life really better when we sort, color-code, and neatly stack everything in clearly labeled plastic bins? Or is an uncluttered life not worth living -- antiseptic, alienated, a Stepford home that feels like nobody really lives there?

Clearly, mounting clutter stresses some folks. A UCLA study ( shows that cortisol (stress hormone) levels in women rise in sync with the amount of clutter in their homes.

Yet some people love their clutter and think a full house is akin to a full heart and an active brain. Lifestyle coach Jolanda Molenaar ( says that if you love the items around you, and you don't feel overwhelmed, then clutter is a nonissue.

Teenagers, we know, seem happiest when sweaters and dirty dishes litter their bedroom floors. And when parents pick their battles, the clutter hill is not one many moms choose to die on.

Some adults hate clutter, but seem helpless to corral it. They turn to $150/hour professional organizers who crack the whip and force them to toss old photo albums and even the trophies that junior got for merely showing up to the pee-wee championship soccer tournament.

But I find that the more chaotic my insides, the more I must simplify and organize my outsides. Unfortunately, my clutter bug ( husband is the opposite; when he's most stressed, clutter soothes him, like a security blanket of stuff.

If I get him to organize the garage (, is that a fair compromise?

How about you? Are you a neat-freak or a clutter aficionado?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Housing market in Elkhart County is encouraging for buyers and sellers

Housing market in Elkhart County is encouraging for buyers and sellers

The local housing market continues its fragile recovery across the state of Indiana.  Elkhart County had a 33.3% increase in closed sales in June when compared to June 2011, and has a 16.0% increase in closed sales YTD.  St. Joseph County had a 5.7% increase over June 2011 and a YTD increase of 22.3%.

Even closer to home for me, the Elkhart office of Coldwell Banker Roth Wehrly Graber is up an astounding 58.87% in volume in the 1st half of 2012, compared to the same period last year.  The company continues to provide its agents with the most cutting edge marketing to get our clients homes sold faster and for top-dollar.  We recently introduced our searchable 24/7 on-line television program for all our new listings.  Visit to check it out!

For more information about the housing market, or advice on buying or selling your home, contact Tom or Katrina of The Canarecci Group with Coldwell Banker Roth Wehrly Graber.  Discover what FULL SERVICE real estate truely is!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Eight Eco-Friendly Home Tips Make Going Green Easy

Incorporating eco-friendly measures in homes has moved beyond installing energy efficient appliances and swapping out incandescent light bulbs for compact fluorescents – going green is giving home sellers a competitive advantage. With luxury condos touting eco-friendly features like rain water recycling, and home builders incorporating energy saving features into new homes, it’s no wonder real estate professionals say more and more home buyers are asking about “green homes.” In the end, small changes to a home can help the environment and help a property stand out among the competition. 

It makes sense on a number of levels to incorporate green principles into a home and many consumers are surprised at just how easy it is to do so.  Not only is it great for the environment. but homeowners are looking at ‘going green’ as an opportunity to have their home stand out from the crowd.

The following are eight tips outline how to make homes sustainable, energy- and cost-efficient now, and appealing to eco-conscious homebuyers:

1. A Ray of Light:  South-facing windows provide more natural daylight making a home more bright and cheery. But, more importantly, natural daylight can help keep the indoor climate comfortable during the winter months, allowing a homeowner to set the thermostat a bit lower. Alternatively, drawing shades during key daylight hours during the summer can help cut down on air conditioning needs.

2. Green Gardening: Sustainable landscaping is becoming all the rage to eco-conscious homeowners.  Planting native plants, vegetation and shade trees strategically around a yard can keep a home cool during the summer and block cold winds during the winter.  And native vegetation will thrive in its preferred environment without requiring excess water.

3. Switch to Green Power: The use of renewable energy in a home, such as solar, wind, water or geothermal, greatly helps reduce pollution. However, installing solar panels or wind generators property can be cost-prohibitive for some. Fortunately, many utility companies in the United States offer options to purchase a form of renewable energy that is cost efficient for the homeowner. 

4. Dial it Back: Lowering the settings on water heaters, refrigerators, dishwashers and laundry machines reduces the amount of energy required to maintain the temperature. Installing low-flow sink faucets and shower heads also lessens water consumption.

5. Reuse Rain: Recycling rain water for gardening is another great way to conserve. For example, a water collection system under drains can catch the water and then reuse it for watering landscapes.

6. Less Lawn does More: Eliminate as much of the lawn as possible and plant native bushes, flowers, etc. Depending upon a number of factors (including the climate of the region), homeowners can simply cut back on the amount of space that they have to mow to promote energy conservation in lawn care.

7. Turn Old into New: Refurbish the home's existing materials when remodeling instead of buying new ones (cabinets, tiles, flooring). If brand new appliances are required, homeowners should make sure they are energy-efficient, and should consider donating their old appliances to be recycled or reused.

8. Insulation is Key: Insulating cold-water pipes will prevent them from dripping condensation, and insulating hot-water pipes will prevent costly heat loss and save on energy bill.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Entering into the world of real estate can be very exciting, but often times, understanding the terminology can be complicated.  To help consumers better understand real estate terminology, We have prepared a short summary to assist home buyers and sellers in navigating their way through the housing marketplace. The following is a list of 10 common terms or phrases associated with the real estate process.   

1.     Appraisal: A home appraisal is a survey of a home by a licensed professional for his or her opinion of the property‘s value (i.e., what a home will likely sell for on the open market). In most cases, an appraisal is done for a bank when a home buyer is applying for a loan for the home. The home appraisal is a detailed report that looks at such items as the condition of the home, the neighborhood and what similar homes in that neighborhood are selling for. An appraisal is not a home inspection (see #7 below). Appraisers only look for major concerns; they do not examine the home's full condition (i.e., examine the roof, appliances, etc.). An appraisal also differs from a Broker's Price Opinion (BPO) or Competitive Market Analysis (CMA), which provide an estimate of a home’s value by making comparisons to similar properties in the area and what they were listed and sold for.  This is usually done for free by the prospective listing agent.  To learn more about appraisals, visit the consumers section of
2.     Commission:  Commission is the compensation or fee that a real estate agent charges for performing the agreed-upon terms under a brokerage contract.  The commission due for a real estate transaction is negotiable and usually paid from the seller's funds at closing.  The fee is typically calculated as a percentage of the total sales price and commissions vary from market to market.  Commission is shared between the listing agent and the agent who represents the buyer, but the division is not always a 50/50 split. [Also, agents split their commissions with their brokers.]
3.     Closing: Closing, or settlement as it sometimes referred to, is the final step in completing a real estate transaction.  The closing date, set during the negotiation phase, usually takes place several weeks after an offer is formally accepted. At this time, ownership of the property is transferred to the buyer and any costs incurred by either the buyer or the seller beyond the price of the property itself are paid.  These additional expenses are known as closing costs and might include recording fees, attorney fees, title insurance premium, etc. Closing typically takes four weeks to 45 days depending on variables such as delays in obtaining documents, clearing title defects, inspection repairs, etc.  

4.     Existing Home Sales: Existing home sales is an economic indicator of both the number and prices of single-family homes, condos and co-op sales over a one-month period – this figure does not include new construction.  Each month, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) releases statistics on sales and prices of existing single-family homes for the nation and four regions. The existing home sales report, which includes footnotes on how the numbers are derived, is available at  The Canarecci Group also publishes local housing statistics in our monthly newsletter for counties throughout Indiana.  To receive our monthly newsletter, just drop us an email at and put “newsletter” in the subject line.

5.     Home Appreciation: Home appreciation is the increase in value of a property over a period of time.  Short-term increases or decreases in value are triggered by factors such as employment rates, interest rates, housing supply, demand, affordability, crime rate, quality of schools in the area and proximity to a city.  Additional factors such as upgrading a home can also result in home appreciation.  What a home is worth depends on these elements, as they directly impact what a buyer is willing to pay for a particular property. While real estate moves in cycles and home values fluctuate regularly, real estate has consistently appreciated over the long term.  

6.     Home Equity: Home equity is the value of ownership in a home that represents the current market value of the house -- minus any remaining mortgage payments. This growing value is contingent on the property owner paying off the mortgage and the market value of the property appreciating.  When a home is purchased, every dollar put towards the down payment is immediately transferred to the equity in the home.  This is one of the many reasons why saving for a down payment is so important - a significant down payment helps homeowners build equity more quickly.   For example, a home buyer who puts nothing down needs a year of 20 percent appreciation to have as much equity in his property as a buyer who put 20 percent down in a stable market.

7.     Home Inspection:  Home inspection is a visual inspection of the structure and components of a home by a qualified professional to find items that are not performing correctly or items that are unsafe. A home inspector's report will review things, such as the condition of the home's heating and cooling systems, interior plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic, and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; the foundation, basement, and visible structure. While the inspection is not meant to be a tool for re-negotiations, many times it becomes one.  Homebuyers should be sure to make a list of items they think should be addressed and present them to their real estate agent in a timely manner.  Often times, the seller will agree to have the problems repaired before closing or accept a new offer that deducts the cost of repairs.

8.     Housing Market: The housing market refers to the supply and demand for houses in a particular country or region.  Factors that affect the housing market include interest rates, the mortgage industry, economic growth, incomes, unemployment rates and population demographic trends.  More specific definitions of “market” include:

·         Buyer’s Market: A buyer's market occurs when there is a larger inventory of homes available.  In some cases, home appreciation has slowed in the short term, which means that homebuyers have the opportunity to purchase a home at lower prices.

·         Seller’s Market: A seller's market occurs when demand of for homes is great. In a seller’s market, potential sellers have the opportunity to sell their home at a higher price than in the past due to a limited amount of properties available and a large number of potential buyers demanding them at current prices.  Sellers and home owners are also likely to experience higher appreciation in a seller’s market. 

·         Time on Market: The length of time in which a home is listed for sale is known as “time on market.”  On many MLS listing sheets, this is also noted as D.O.M. – Days On Market.

9.     Inventory: Housing inventory is the number of existing homes available for sale each month.  The most closely watched housing inventory measure is a months' supply, which measures the latest housing supply in relation to housing demand.  A decrease in homes for sale is a sign that the housing market is on its way to recovery, while a large supply of homes still available gives potential buyers more options in choosing the home that best fits their specific needs and wants. 

10.  Real Estate Agent:  A real estate agent is a professionally trained and licensed real estate expert who is involved in real estate sales and transactions. Though it is not required to hire an agent when buying or selling a property, the tasks an agent performs can be extremely complex and time-consuming. Therefore, it is in a consumer’s best interest to work with a seasoned real estate professional who can offer invaluable expertise and assistance, as well as insight into the local real estate market and neighborhoods of interest.   

·         A Seller's Agent: An agent who is hired to sell a home is responsible for marketing the home to potential buyers as well as other agents who are working with buyers. The seller’s agent ensures that the property is in proper viewing order and that he/she is familiar with everything about the property.  Some specific responsibilities include:

o    Assisting the seller in pricing the property appropriately

o    Suggesting any necessary repairs to be taken care of prior to listing

o    Exposing the property to a maximum number of buyers; arranging showings and providing feedback from prospective buyers

o    Explaining all the contingencies, helping the seller to remain objective and make informed decisions based on current trends, market data, and individual needs

o    Presenting and negotiating offers on the seller’s behalf

o    Following through on the contingencies all the way to closing (e.g. making sure that the mortgage loan is applied for and granted within a certain timeframe, the home inspection is done according to schedule, and any necessary repairs are made prior to closing).
·         A Buyer's Agent: An agent representing a buyer will need to focus on what the buyer's needs are, establish what amenities the buyer is looking for, what geographical area(s) are being considered, how prepared the potential buyer is to buy and how much he/she is willing to spend. A buyer’s agent must also have a firm grasp of the surrounding area's real estate market so that he/she can recommend alternative properties to the buyer. Once the home buying process begins, a buyer’s agent will be responsible for the following:

o    Providing an honest analysis of each property, including both good and bad points

o    Preparing an offer to purchase the property with terms favorable to the buyer

o    Negotiating with the seller to obtain the property at the best price and terms for the buyer

o    Providing the buyer with an estimate of the costs involved in the transaction and assisting the buyer in contacting the professionals necessary to complete the purchase, including mortgage services, title insurance and escrow companies, and home inspectors  

o    Monitoring performance of all others involved in the transaction to make sure all services are promptly and professionally carried out .  Accompanying the buyer to the closing to verify that all terms and conditions of the purchase agreement are met

The Canarecci Group with Coldwell Banker Roth Wehrly Graber have been representing both buyers and sellers in northern Indiana since 1997. 

Coldwell Banker Roth Wehrly Graber is the 3rd largest real estate Company in Indiana (#1 in NE Indiana) and in the top 1% of real estate companies nationwide. We utilize our experience and success to provide our clients the most extensive real estate services available.

Saturday, June 2, 2012


When it comes to staging a home for sale, it is important that sellers create a warm and inviting atmosphere that will appeal to as many potential buyers as possible. Today, due to an abundance of low-priced homes to choose from and historically low interest rates, first-time homebuyers account for a greater number of these potential buyers than ever before. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), first-time home buyers constituted for 50% of all home buyers in 2010. But sellers looking to attract this coveted demographic need not do a complete design overhaul. Staging a home for first-time homebuyers is easier than one might think.

Below are seven simple staging tips from Katrina Canarecci of The Canarecci Group with Coldwell Banker Roth Wehrly Graber to help boost a home’s appeal and give owners the competitive edge necessary when selling a home.

·         Stage rooms with one purpose. Extra rooms that have a mishmash of uses can confuse and even deter first-time homebuyers, so staging rooms with one purpose is vital. Keep in mind that these buyers are generally young couples without children, and rooms should be presented as areas equipped to meet their needs. So turn those playrooms and storage dens into a home office or the kids’ bedroom into a guest bedroom.

·         Tackle the easy “do-it-yourself” projects. In a recent Coldwell Banker survey of 300 consumers who purchased their first home in the last year, 87 percent said move-in conditions are very important when searching for a home. To ensure that a home is in tip top shape make sure to replace outdated kitchen and bathroom fixtures, apply a fresh coat of paint to a worn wall and refinish the kitchen cabinets. Providing a sleek and modern look wherever possible can make a huge difference in the eyes of first-time homebuyers. To learn more about what home styles are “in fashion,” ask a local Coldwell Banker agent about the styles seen in homes that are selling in the area, and purchase a current interior design magazine for ideas.

·         Focus on the living areas. A living room is an area in which potential first-time buyers should be able to envision themselves entertaining friends or gathering with their family. With that in mind, homeowners should make the area appear as large and functional as possible by removing any unnecessary furniture and decorations.

·         Make sure the master bedroom appeals to both sexes. The master bedroom of a couple’s first home is often the first bedroom they will share. When staging this room, make sure that it appeals to buyers of both sexes.  Remove any feature that seems too gender-specific and paint the walls a neutral color.

·         Clear the room of family portraits. First-time homebuyers are looking for a home they can picture their family living in, not the previous owner’s. Katrina recommends taking down family portraits, personal collections and knickknacks. Removing these items will also eliminate clutter and ensure that people are looking at the house for sale, not at the photos from the last family vacation.

·         Furnish the home, but don't overdo it. While an empty home looks spacious, it is hard for new buyers to visualize their belongings in a home if they are staring at ceilings, floors and bare walls. Leave the basic components of each room, but make sure there is still plenty of open space.

·         Don’t forget to spruce up the yard. First impressions often play a role in a consumer’s decision making process.  Make sure the home’s exterior is inviting by trimming the bushes, mowing the lawn and painting faded window trim. Couples looking for their first home often have less yard work under their belts and will appreciate the seller’s attention to detail.  

Katrina is among the network of more than 15,000 Real Estate Agents and professional Home Stagers worldwide, who are providing sellers with the knowledge and tools they need to sell their homes faster and/or for more money.  Katrina has completed the Accredited Staging Professional Course provided by, where she received hands-on instruction and was required to and demonstrated techniques by Staging a home that was listed on the market. 

The Accredited Staging Professional Course was created by Barb Schwarz, the Creator of Home Staging, President and CEO of and the International Association of Home Staging Professionals.  Barb developed the concept of Home Staging in the early 1970’s and has since educated more than one-million people on the subject.  She is a nationally known and award-winning speaker, author and trainer and has been featured on ABC’s Good Morning America and 20/20, NBC’s The Today Show, as well as many local news programs.  

Katrina and Tom Canarecci of The Canarecci Group and Coldwell Banker Roth Wehrly Graber have over 22 years of combined real estate experience serving the people of the michiana area.  Coldwell Banker Roth Wehrly Graber is northern Indiana’s #1 real estate company with over 300 agents in 12 offices.