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By LORRIE KINKADE
The Trimble Banner
Trimble County seems to be bucking the national trend of declining real-estate sales.
Jerry Smith of Century 21 Smith Realty and Vicky Cayton of Carrollton’s Century 21 Cayton Realty say they routinely assist property owners preparing to sell homes, both small and large homes, as well as building lots and agricultural acreage.
They do agree that fewer large homes are selling here than in surrounding counties, but they don't believe it has anything to do with the national 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 La Grange office. “Overall, larger homes and homes in the higher price range take longer [to sell] 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.
“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," she said. "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. A 30-year mortgage at 6 percent interest on a $100,000 house translates to a monthly payment of about $635 or less. “Most people just don’t want a $1,000 house payment, so they don’t look for higher priced homes.”
To sell a home quickly in today's market, advertise a fair price, they advise.
“A property needs to be priced accurately, and needs to be presentable and look good," Smith explained. "But the No. 1 thing is to have it priced correctly."
Cayton, however, still believes in the importance of "curb appeal," regardless of price. “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.”