Omaha, NE Real Estate

Decluttering your home fast!

A cluttered home implies a few things, and none of them are positive in the eyes of a potential buyer:

  • The house is too small.
  • There must not be enough storage in the house.
  • The rooms look unkempt. Maybe the rest of the house has been poorly maintained.

A potential buyer should be able to tour your house and easily imagine their own furniture and possessions in the space. A cluttered atmosphere stymies their imagination and creates an immediate negative impression in their minds.

One of the reasons realtors suggest that you remove personal items like family photographs is for that exact reason. The buyers need to be able to envision themselves living in the rooms they're checking out. If anything, there should be less "stuff" around than you might be comfortable with. Tidy rooms that aren't overcrowded with furniture and clutter are appealing and inviting.

The same is true of a cluttered yard or basement. Put things in storage, donate items you're no longer using, and discard things that have outlived their usefulness. You'll find that it's easier to keep the house clean and dusted with less to clean around.

Closets and cupboards shouldn't be overstuffed either, since it again implies a lack of adequate storage in the home. Clean, organized closets and cupboards imply the opposite -- that there's plenty of room to store everything you need to live comfortably here!

Price your home reasonably, keep it clean and clutter-free inside and out, and you'll sell your home in record time. For now, live by the minimalist's motto: "Less is more."...

4 Tips on How to find a mortgage lender in Omaha

You have spent the last 10 years saving up for the deposit on your dream house. After finally finding what you believe to be the perfect property in a prime location you are now bogged down with the task of finding a mortgage lender in your area. Without the excess funds needed for the cost of the house, finding a mortgage lender is imperative to extend you the credit required to purchase your new home.  

Before seeking out financing elsewhere, it is always good to first contact your financial institution and weigh their mortgage options. This should be your initial search for a lender. If your financial institution is not able to provide you with an ideal finance option for your mortgage needs then you may continue to look further. It is good to shop around to compare the rates and fees each bank charges. 

There are large national banks here in Omaha but a good option is to check with local lenders as well, they have less restrictions which may be a better option for you. Here are a few tips that may assist you in your search:

  1. Utilize Internet Search Engines - This is a very technology driven era and when in doubt, resort to doing internet searches on Google, Bing, Yahoo or any other search engine. A sample search can be 'mortgage lender in Omaha' and from here the source will populate with given websites that fit your keywords.
  2. Consult Real Estate Professional(s) - The industry of real estate is a team effort with many counterparts including attorneys, title clerks, real estate agents and etc. Contacting any of the local aforementioned professionals should be a benefit to your search. In my opinion this should be your fist step. Realtors deal with lenders on a daily basis and know who to use and not to use.  
  3. Contact...

Increase Your Home's Value With a Home Improvements

Everybody naturally wants to get the best price possible when thinking about selling their home; but just the fact that it is your home can make you think it's worth more than it actually is. Keeping it well-maintained is a good idea and when updating it's important to weigh your return on investment. In other words, knowing which home improvement projects are going to give you the best return on investment is important. Here's a breakdown of the best home improvements:

1. Bathroom Remodel

For every dollar you spend spiffing up your bathroom, you'll get back all the money you put in, plus 2% for a 102% rate of return. Simple fixes include repainting, re-caulking the tub, removing and replacing old shower doors, and replacing old faucets with newer, more up-to-date models.

2. Landscaping

You'll get a 100% return on any landscaping you do, plus you'll increase curb appeal, helping your home to sell faster. A splash of color in the front of the house is eye-catching. Use all one color for maximum impact and vary the height to the plants. A focal point such as an arbor or a flagstone walkway, adds great curb appeal.

3. Kitchen Remodel

Making minor update to your kitchen will earn you a 98.5% return on your investment. Do simple things like changing out moldings, replacing window treatments, installing recessed lights under cabinets, and refacing or sanding and painting your existing cabinets. If the appliances are fine, leave them. If not, replace...

Four ways for a beginner to invest in real estate

It's easy to get caught up on all of the glamorous house-flipping and renovation shows on the cable channels. The shows always portray things as incredibly easy, and it seems like the investors always earn a profit. This is not always the case in real life. Fortunately, there are many ways to invest in real estate. If you're just getting started you may want to consider some of the following options.

1. A REIT, or real estate investment trust. The corporation or trust that manages the REIT uses investors' money to buy and manage properties. This is a great way to invest in commercial properties or apartment buildings -- the kind of properties that are usually out of reach for a beginning investor. Plus, the REIT already has a management team in place so you don't have to do all of the hard work yourself. REITs are ideal for stock market investors who want a fairly safe, stable return. 

2. Starter rental properties. Let's face it, there is something nice about having a tangible property in your portfolio. You can drive by it, show it off to your friends, and you are gaining both rental income and (hopefully) appreciation. 

A knowledgable realtor can help you choose a profitable rental property. Most beginning investors start with affordable single-family homes because they are easy to manage and attract long-term tenants. And if you don't want to handle the landlord duties, you can certainly hire a property management team to do it for you.  

Omaha has a very strong demand for rental properties, with a vacancy rate of between 5 and 7 percent. A beginning real estate investor doesn't have to look far to find an affordable house that would make a great rental. 

3. Fix and Flip. Yes, you can still flip houses, but you should have an excellent team in place to do so. You need...

How to Save Your Home From Foreclosure

One out of every 200 homes will be foreclosed upon, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Foreclosure is a traumatic experience that no family should have to experience. It contributes to depression and marital problems, and causes distress among family members. Many homeowners report they even avoided their lenders out of embarrassment during financial struggles. You may not be able to prevent job loss, but there are some things you can do to save your home from foreclosure.

  1.  Call the lender. Let them know that you are having financial trouble before you miss a payment. There are ways they can work with you to avoid foreclosure. They don't want to own your home, but they need you to help yourself so they can help you.
  2. Check your terms to see if you have any coverage for your situation. For example, the Home Affordable Unemployment Program can temporarily reduce or suspend mortgage payments while you seek employment. The FHA Special Forbearance program does the same for FHA qualifying borrowers. 
  3. Speak to the lender about modification programs. These programs can lower your monthly payment by lowering your interest rate, extending your mortgage term, or even by reducing your principal amount.
  4. Apply for any assistance for which you may qualify. It can require swallowing your pride and doing some legwork, but programs such as TANF, SNAP and WIC can help you free up money to put toward your mortgage.
  5. Save three to six months worth of expenses after you get back on your feet. Tighten your budget and put away the cash. It could keep you out of this situation if you face financial disaster in the future.

Make sure you act, doing nothing will only result in your house being foreclosed on. If you need help or advice please reach out to us...

What to Ask When Looking At Potential Homes

Buying a home takes a lot of work. There's the budgeting, the finding a realtor, the searching and the getting of the loan. Not to mention figuring out if the home needs renovations, or how much it's going to cost to actually move in. Sometimes it seems as though the to-do list involved just never ends and the last thing you want is for something unexpected to pop up once you're in your new home.

Ask before you buy. Don't let surprises ruin the joy of owning a home, whether it's your first, second, third or even tenth. Here are five usually forgotten things to ask when you're looking at potential homes.

  1. What are the taxes involved? If you've done your budgeting, than you know how much you can spend on a house payment every month. Don't, however, forget about the taxes on the land. Be sure to ask, as every house has a different tax amount, before you settle, so that you can factor that into your monthly payment.
  2. What are the average utility costs for the summer and winter? Different times of the year will have different utility costs. Heating and air conditioning greatly affect your costs of electricity and gas, and could mess with your set monthly budget. Don't let it be a surprise when your bill comes in during your first cold spell.
  3. Have there been any foundation issues in the past? Foundations are costly things to fix. If there have been foundation problems in the past, even if they have been expertly fixed, it could be a sign that more could be on the way. Be sure to inspect the foundation for any cracks or gaps.
  4. How old is the water heater? Water heaters can last eight to twelve years, but that's no reason to let the age slide. Be sure it's not a surprise if the water heater needs to be replaced within the next year.
  5. When was the last time the chimney was cleaned?...

Enjoy a Meal Downtown

As you're unpacking boxes and arranging furniture, hunger is likely to strike. Since you might not have your refrigerator or pantry stocked full of food quite yet, we thought we would recommend a few great restaurants in Omaha.

Spaghetti Works Restaurant - Located in the center of Old Market, this restaurant offers diners a unique dining experience as it's housed inside a restored warehouse. Its menu offers something for just about everyone with choices such as Cajun Shrimp Alfredo, Eggplant Parmesan, and Lasagna.  This is a place everyone can find something to eat. 

Block 16 - Block 16 is known for its farm to table street food. The owners met in Metropolitan Community College's Culinary program, and each menu item is inspired by their families. According to the restaurant's website, it offers combinations that are risky, a lot of fun, and as fresh as possible.  Menu options include Pulled Pork Rolls, Croque Garcon Burgers, and Block Burgers (vegan option). This is hands down one of the best burger restaurants in Omaha let alone Downtown. Check their hours before you go, and prepare for a decent wait time. 

Twisted Fork Grill & Saloon - Affectionately known as the Fork, it's located in the Old Market District. It's known for serving American comfort food with a "cowboy twist," and diners can enjoy a laid-back atmosphere. Meals include Pitchfork Ranch Meatloaf, Stuffed Chicken Breast, and Apple-Wood Smoked Bacon Burgers. This restuarant has a trendy atmosphere where you could hang out all night.  The food is great and you're sure to leave full...

How to Sell Your Home in a Slow Market

A slow real estate market does not mean your home can't sell quickly. It just means that one needs a different approach. In a booming market, one can list almost any home, in almost any condition, and sell their home quickly, sometimes with multiple offers to choose from. When the market slows and affordability becomes an issue, being informed and strategic is key.

Here is our quick guide on how to sell your home in a slow market.

Repairs: One must prepare their home for market so take time for the little, quick and inexpensive reparis.  If potential buyers see little repairs that have been neglected most likely they are thinking what big repairs need to be done. Consider getting a home inspection before putting your house up for sale. You may find, even if there are no leaks, the roof is at the end of its lifespan. Have your home's furnace or heat pump looked at and updated if needed. If you are not proactive, a buyer will make these deficits an issue later.

Updates: Even if you have done a great job with home maintenance, there are things you can do. You may love your kitchen, but an update will help sell your house. Newly renovated kitchens and bathrooms are big selling points. Paint the walls with neutral colors and white ceilings. You are not selling your home; you are selling a product.

Agent: The right real estate agent will make all the difference. Don't hesitate to interview several to find the right one. Many agents are good at selling themselves, but not much else. The right agent will have a proven track record, will have verifiable knowledge of the market, and will present a marketing strategy.

Price: Many sellers believe the best pricing strategy will be adding 5 to 10 percent above the...

What to Do if a Buyer Has to Sell His/Her Home First?

Are you looking to sell your home? If so, there's a good chance that many of your prospective buyers will actually be in the process of trying to sell their own homes before purchasing a new one; it's just the way the market works. So, just how do you work with a potential buyer who is still waiting to sell his or her own home? We've got a couple tips.

Working With a Contingency Clause

If you receive an offer from a buyer who claims he or she needs to sell an existing home before finalizing a sale on your home, make sure you have what's known as a "contingency clause" in writing. This clause essentially states that any accepted offer is contingent on your buyer selling his or her home and closing within X number of days.

Consider Adding a "Kick-Out" Clause aka "Right of First Refusal"

If you're worried about your buyer not owning up to his or her end of the deal--or if you want to be able to potentially entertain offers from other serious buyers--consider asking the buyer to sign a contract with a "kick-out" clause. This typically stipulates that, in the event that you're presented with another offer, the original buyer will have X amount of time (usually 48 hours) to complete the agreed-upon deal. If he or she fails to complete the deal, you may sell the home to the new buyer.

Selling a home while waiting for a buyer to sell their home can be stressful, but by getting the right terms in writing, you'll be in good shape.

Check out more helpful links to help further confuse you:

Questions You Must Ask Before Hiring a Real Estate Agent

Whether you want to sell your property or you want to buy property. According to the National Association of Realtors, between 82% and 89% of people achieve their real estate goals by working with an agent. The Omaha Area Board of Realtors has a 20 page roster of members. Some of those pages have more than 200 names on them. So how do you choose? How do you make sure you are hiring the agent who is right for you?

The detailed questions depend on whether you are selling or buying, and the sort of property you want to sell or buy. Like all professionals, real estate agents specialize. Some are residential specialists, some mainly work on commercial real estate, and some focus on raw land. On top of that, some work mainly with sellers, some with buyers, and some work successfully with both. Real estate is such a broad subject that knowing what questions to ask will help you choose the right agent, so you achieve all of your goals.

What you need to know divides into the legal and the practical. The answers you get will help you to ask more detailed questions. But these are the questions you should make sure you ask to begin with.

Legal Questions

  1. How will you represent me?
  2. Can you help me understand the differences between a limited single agent and a limited dual agent?
  3. How do I benefit from the type of agency agreement you and I will have?

These questions help you in two ways. The first is that you will be clear about your agency relationship – your rights and your agent’s responsibilities. The other is that you will know how your agent will treat the other party – the buyers, if you want to sell property or the sellers, if you want to buy property.

Practical Questions

  1. What are your specialties?
  2. What are your main strengths...

Five Things Not to do When Selling Your Home.

If you've ever tried to sell your home, you know it can be a very stressful experience. Between trying to keep the house spotless to impress potential buyers who may show up at any time, and making an effort to leave the home on a moment's notice when your realtor calls to say she's on the way with clients, it may feel as if your life has turned into a circus. While there may be no surefire way of selling a home, there are certainly a few ways to prevent it from selling. Below, we've listed five of the most important things NOT to do when selling your home.

Don't Overprice Your Home

While your home undoubtedly has a great deal of sentimental value to you and your family, you must be realistic in how much the home is actually worth. Your realtor will show you the selling prices and values of similar homes in your neighborhood, also known as "running the comps," and based on these prices, you'll have an idea of what your home is worth. It's up to you if you want to price the home slightly higher or lower than the number you and your realtor come up with and your motivation to sell.

Don't Allow Foul Odors to Scare Away Buyers

Believe it or not, unpleasant odors are among the top reason homes don't sell! Take out the trash, and clean the litter box before interested parties arrive. On the flip side, it's been said that if you do plan on being home while the home is showing, the smell of cookies baking in the oven can make the home seem warm and inviting, and make your home more memorable than others. First impressions are the only impressions you get in real estate. If you have...

Things to do for Halloween in Nebraska

The fall is upon us and that means the leaves are falling, the weather is cooling down and we are getting ready for Halloween.  I'm sure you are like the rest of us and wondering whats going on and what activities we can do for the holidays. We have taken the time to gather the most comprehensive list of websites that provide the best lists of things to do. Take a look at the websites and let us know what you think.  Have a safe Halloween and happy holidays! 


Family Fun Calendar


Four Ways Homeowners Can Save Money on Utility Bills

Congratulations! You've just bought a home. The pictures are hung, the furniture is arranged, and the refrigerator is full of food.

Now that you're organized, it's a good idea to take a minute to learn how you can keep your utility bills as low as possible. Here are four ways new homeowners can save money:

1. Replace Your Air Filters

One of the first things you should do is change the air filter for your air conditioner or furnace. Old filters don’t filter the air very well causing the units to work harder resulting in more energy usage. When the HVAC unit is used on a regular basis, it's recommended that homeowners change the filter once a month. This reduces energy consumption up to fifteen percent.

2. Install a Programmable Thermostat

Installing a programmable thermostat and setting it to automatically lower when you're sleeping or at work is a decent money saver. It's best to program the thermostat at a more consistent temperature because drastically turning it up or down wastes energy.

3. Don't Block Vents

Blocking your home's vents with any object will cause your heating and cooling units to work overtime.

4. Use a Clothes Rack

While energy-efficient dryers help save money, it's a good idea to use a clothes rack for items such as sweaters and coats. By using a clothing rack for twenty percent of your load, you'll reduce your dryer usage by the same amount effectively lowering your utility bill.

We hope these simple tips will help you save money for years to come.

For more energy saving tips check out the links below:


What is a final walk-through? What does it consist of? How long does it take?

The day of closing has arrived. You have found your dream home, inspections are complete, and you have a mortgage loan approval. After signing a large stack of paperwork and ensuring the transfer of all funds, the keys will be yours. There is only one thing left before the final meeting — a final walk-through.

What is a final walk-through? It is an inspection to make sure the house's condition has not negatively changed since making your offer. The best time is within 24 hours of the sale finalization, and the same day if possible. It really should take no more than 30 minutes.

However, you don't want to rush the final walk-through. A missed problem can create issues after the sale. You will be happy you took it seriously. Here are some things to check:

  • Repairs: Don't wait for a final walk-through. If the seller agrees to repairs, schedule an initial walk-through a week before closing. This will give enough time to fix things if there is a problem.
  • Damage: You want to know the house is in the same condition or better than when you made your offer. Make sure there are no broken windows, spots from a damaged and leaking roof, or the siding wasn't ripped off during that last big storm.
  • Changes: Maybe one of the reasons you loved the house was the chandelier in the dining room or the brass door knocker on the front door. You want to know the seller didn't decide to take it with them.
  • Appliances: If your sales agreement includes the seller leaving things like window air conditioning units or a washer and dryer set, make sure they are there.
  • Personal Property: Ensure all the seller's personal property is gone. At the end of closing, that house is yours and they should have all their items gone.

If you would like to talk more about a home's final...

What Should I ask a Seller Before Buying a Home?

Are you in the market to buy a home? If so, then certainly this is one of the biggest investments you'll ever make, so of course you want to make the right decision. As you tour potential homes, there are some specific questions you should ask the seller (or the seller's agent, as the case may be) before making an offer.

What Are Your Average Utility Bills?

Utility costs can vary greatly depending on the location of the home, the types of utilities used (electric vs. gas, for example), and the insulation quality of the home. Many sellers will be happy to provide average dollar amounts on various utilities (such as gas, electric, water, etc.) throughout the year, so don't hesitate to ask. You can also contact the utility companies to see what the current home owner is paying. They can also get you on a level payment plan so you will know what they payments will be. 

What Problems Do I Need to Know About?

Sellers are legally required to disclose known issues before selling a home, though laws can vary from one state to the next; luckily in Nebraska sellers are required to disclose any issues they know about. It's never a bad idea to inquire as to the types of problems the sellers have had with the home in the past, and what (if anything) they've done to remedy these issues. 

Why Are You Selling, Anyway?

Okay, so sellers aren't required to answer this question, but you can gain a lot of insight by asking. If they're selling because they grew out of the home or had to relocate due to a job offer, that's one thing. But if they're hesitant to disclose why they're moving, this could be seen as a "red flag" of sorts. Be sure to do your due diligence and get a home inspection so you know the condition of the property. 

How Old Are the Home's Key...

How to sell your home by de-cluttering

Home staging is the act of making a home ready for sale. Real estate professionals agree that a staged home will typically sell faster and for more money, even when the market is slow. Decluttering is not only one of the most effective staging techniques, it is also the least expensive.

Your house is your home, and a lived-in look has a great feel. However, when you place your house on the market, it is no longer your home but a product for sale. Buyers want to imagine themselves in the home and visualize its potential.

Personal possessions, mismatched furniture, excessive wall hangings, and other items can repel home buyers. Clutter is distracting, making it harder to decide if the house is right for them.

Here are our tips for decluttering your home:

  • Take photos of every room to evaluate and prioritize problem areas.
  • Make an honest assessment, and get rid of stuff that you don't really need.
  • Clear kitchen and bathroom counters of items not used regularly.
  • Pack away rarely used food staples and seasonal items like cookie cutters.
  • Consider pre-packing items you will not use over the next few weeks.
  • Remove large collections from the home to make it more spacious.
  • Consider renting storage space for boxes and other items. 
  • Remove mouse and insect traps.
  • Consider the look of each room from the doorway.

Most people, unless one is an avid minimalist, accumulate a lot of stuff living in a home. We have piles of books, tons of toys, a stockpile of appliances, a store of hobby and craft materials, and more. We never notice until it is time to move. 

Our last tip is to ask a friend who you trust to tour your home. Ask them to give an honest criticism of your home, and what to eliminate or remove. Excessive decor can mask the best features...

What mortgage term is better, 15 year or 30 year? What are the Pros and Cons of Each?

Interest rates remain at historic lows and its the greatest time in history to buy a house. With that being said most people are going to use a lender to purchase a home so It’s natural to wonder, “What are the best mortgage options?” 

Overall, a 30-year mortgage is generally better if you want lower monthly payments, but a 15-year mortgage is better if you want to pay off the mortgage sooner. Whether you choose a 15-year fixed rate or a 30-year term, there are a few options to help reduce payments or payoff the loan sooner but check with your lender to see what the best option is for you.

There are a few steps to secure a mortgage loan check out this article by the Daily Herald.

Best of both worlds?

Want lower required payments and payoff your house sooner? Well consider this option. You can opt for a 30 year mortgage and put extra funds towards principle at your discression. This option keeps your payments low with the option to pay down the loan faster then scheduled. 

If you're thinking about buying a house its best to get approved by a lender and contact a realtor at Omaha Houses 4 Sale. Knowing what you qualify for can help your realtor negotiate and make a compelling offer on the home you want.

At Omaha Houses 4 Sale, we pride ourselves keeping you informed with the latest news. For more information about the pros and cons of different mortgage options, please contact us. Check out a few helpful links below. 

Helpful Links:

Mortgage Calculator 

Mortgage Calculator

Current Mortgage Rates

Local Lenders...

What Keeps a Home from Selling?

There can be many things that keep a home from selling; however, they usually deal with these 4 critical areas. They are Price, Marketing, Condition and Availability. Let's look at each individually.


The real estate market is like every product or service and has a 'market price'. Ask too much and no one will buy, ask too little and a lot of people will wonder what's wrong with it.

To be sure you really have priced your home properly check these items:-

  • Who priced it, are they professionals, do they know the local real estate market?
  • Do they know what is currently on the market, what has recently gone under contract, what has sold and what was withdrawn from the market without selling?
  • When did they price it? Markets change over time, and prices change with them
  • Did they price it to reflect the competition - similar houses in a similar condition and in the same locale, because that's what your home is competing with
  • Did they add too much "dicker money" or add the cost of maintenance like new paint, a new HVAC, a replaced roof, etc? Some replacements and upgrades are worth money, but not always as much as many people think?


If the potential buyers don't know it's on the market, it won't sell. If they know, but don't like the look it won't sell. With today's technology, buyers have access to a lot of information, for example; video tours, HD photo gallery, detailed descriptions of the home, the neighborhood, the schools, parks, restaurants, etc. 

The "sale before the sale" is now more important than ever. Spending time on prepping your home before the house hits the market is imperitive. 

Realtors know the market, they keep their ears to the ground, they talk with each other, they 'pitch' their listings to each other at meetings....

Things To Do This 4th of July

This has been a crazy few weeks for Omaha and the fun keeps going.  With the College World Series wrapping up with a crazy finish we still have the Olympic Swim trials and the Fourth of July!  This is a great time to eat lots of food, spend time with friends and family, listen to some live music and watch fireworks. We have compiled a list of websites that provide things to do this upcoming weekend. Smile until your cheeks hurt and laugh till you cant breathe, we hope you have a great weekend and next time invite us! Let us know if we missed any evens or if there is another website we should add.

Thank you again for your support! 


What Is My Home Worth? How Accurate Are the Online Tools Like Zillow?

We have all done it. The family down the street just sold their home. So, we go on to Zillow, or other online real estate valuation tool, to see the price. We then click over to our home to get an idea of what it is worth. How accurate are the online tools like Zillow?

Many real estate agents will tell you straight out that a "zestimate," the name Zillow gives to their property valuations, are completely worthless. They will say these online valuation tools are too simplistic. The algorithms used don't consider certain market data only available to real estate agents or information only a human can evaluate.

Computer algorithms calculate the values on sites like Zillow. These calculations use only public and user-submitted information, and the accuracy of the data is questionable at times. They are not a comparative market analysis (CMA) created by real estate agents using both public and nonpublic sales data, nor are they a professional appraisal.

It is both inaccurate information and lack of nonpublic information that cause online valuations to become inaccurate. Real estate agents and professional appraisers actually look at and evaluate the home's condition, and the properties used in comparisons. They know if there really are 2 bathrooms, or if that is erroneous data. They also know if the home down the street sold with a seller assist or other credit.

Nonetheless, many real estate agents acknowledge Zillow's influence on the consciousness of home buyers and sellers. Some will even use them in their own calculations when recommending a listing or offer price.

It is best to look at Zillow as a starting point. It will provide a general idea before one talks to a real estate professional. Properly pricing a home is both an art and a science. Zillow simply cannot replace a real estate agent or appraiser.