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Although national statistics continue to show a decrease in real estates sales, Trimble County property remains sought after.
Jerry Smith of Century 21 Smith Realty and Vicky Cayton of Carrollton’s Century 21 Cayton Realty routinely assist property owners preparing to place small and large homes, building lots and agricultural acreage on the market. Although they agree there are fewer large homes selling in Trimble County than in the surrounding areas, they say that has nothing to do with the national downward trend.
“There just aren’t as many of the larger, higher priced homes in Trimble County as there are, say, in Oldham County,” Smith said in a phone interview last week from his LaGrange office. “Overall, larger homes and homes in the higher price range take longer because there are fewer buyers interested. But what we see most of in Trimble County are the moderately priced homes that the majority of buyers are looking for.”
Cayton said a property in the immediate area might remain on the market a bit longer than it would have a year ago, but she contributes that to the mortgage industry.
“Overall, houses around here are taking a little longer [to sell]. I think it has something to do with the bleak picture the media paints of the market, but primarily it is harder to borrow money now. Mortgage companies and banks are more cautious.”
Both brokers agree that homes priced in the $100,000 range in Trimble and surrounding counties are the most sought after and typically are selling with few owner incentives.
“We’re seeing some people reduce prices one-half percent or so, and some sellers are offering incentives like paying part of the closing costs or providing a home warranty. But houses priced around $100,000 are hot right now,” Cayton said, adding that a 30 year mortgage at six percent interest results in a monthly payment below $635. “Most people just don’t want a $1,000 house payment, so they don’t look for higher priced homes.”
Cayton and Smith agree the key to selling a home quickly is to advertise a fair price.
“A property needs to be priced accurately and needs to be presentable and look good. But the number one thing is to have it priced correctly,” Smith said.
“Curb appeal is still very important regardless of price,” Cayton added. “You have to make a house look nice on the outside to spur interest and get people to look inside. Reducing clutter and depersonalizing a home can also help sellers.”
Smith said Trimble County’s proximity to Indianapolis, Lexington, Louisville and Cincinnati, combined with low unemployment rates in the surrounding area and low interest rates offered by mortgage companies have contributed to the successful local market.
“We have been very busy and there is a lot going on. This is a good time for investors, as quite a few properties are available. And it is a good time for first-time homebuyers,” he said.
“People need to realize that real estate is local. Just because Ohio, Florida and California are seeing a lot of downturn in the market, does not mean similar things are happening in this area,” Cayton said. “Just last week we sold one property and had contracts signed on two building lots. It’s a good time to be a buyer or a seller.”