Frigid temps lead to a frozen real estate market.

I don’t know about you – however, I am certainly ready for spring.  With record snowfall amounts and blistering cold temperatures, real estate activity in the region has been at almost a standstill.   If you are like most of my clients and friends, the last thing you were interested in doing was traipsing around the city finding new office space, a new home or a new investment (and don’t even mention standing outside at an auction). 

The only thing that most of us were concentrated on was getting to work without getting our damn car stuck and then getting home to clear our driveways before nightfall fell upon us.    Once I finally got inside, got my coat off, removed by rubber shoe covers (which I am sick of wearing) – I was ready for a cocktail or 2 glasses of wine!

With the warmth of last week and the promise of spring starting to enter our thoughts… we have begun to see a flurry of activity in the market that I have not seen since I put up my Christmas tree.   This sentiment I believe is being felt throughout the entire industry including my friends in banking, title insurance and new construction.

Like a racehorse waiting behind the gate in anticipation for the buzzer to sound … the real estate market is just as ready to explode into what I believe will be an active spring with strong demand in the market place. 

- Brandon


Get ahead of your estate planning

As estate auctioneers, we can't stress enough the importance of estate planning. Tips to get ahead of your estate planning: 

What you need to know about estate planning, including why you may need a will and assigning a power of attorney.

1. No matter your net worth, it's important to have a basic estate plan in place.
Such a plan ensures that your family and financial goals are met after you die.
2. An estate plan has several elements.
They include: a will; assignment of power of attorney; and aliving will or health-care proxy (medical power of attorney). For some people, a trust may also make sense. When putting together a plan, you must be mindful of both federal and state laws governing estates.
3. Taking inventory of your assets is a good place to start.
Your assets include your investments, retirement savings, insurance policies, and real estate or business interests. Ask yourself three questions: Whom do you want to inherit your assets? Whom do you want handling your financial affairs if you're ever incapacitated? Whom do you want making medical decisions for you if you become unable to make them for yourself?
4. Everybody needs a will.
A will tells the world exactly where you want your assets distributed when you die. It's also the best place to name guardians for your children. Dying without a will -- also known as dying "intestate" -- can be costly to your heirs and leaves you no say over who gets your assets. Even if you have a trust, you still need a will to take care of any holdings outside of that trust when you die.
5. Trusts aren't just for the wealthy.
Trusts are legal mechanisms that let you put conditions on how and when your assets will be distributed upon your death. They also allow you to reduce your estate and gift taxes and to distribute assets to your heirs without the cost, delay and publicity of probate court, which administers wills. Some also offer greater protection of your assets from creditors and lawsuits.
6. Discussing your estate plans with your heirs may prevent disputes or confusion.
Inheritance can be a loaded issue. By being clear about your intentions, you help dispel potential conflicts after you're gone.
7. The federal estate tax exemption -- the amount you may leave to heirs free of federal tax -- is now set permanently at $5 million indexed for inflation.
In 2013, estates under $5.25 million are exempt from the tax. Amounts above that are taxed up to a top rate of 40%.
8. You may leave an unlimited amount of money to your spouse tax-free, but this isn't always the best tactic.
By leaving all your assets to your spouse, you don't use your estate tax exemption and instead increase your surviving spouse's taxable estate. That means your children are likely to pay more in estate taxes if your spouse leaves them the money when he or she dies. Plus, it defers the tough decisions about the distribution of your assets until your spouse's death.
9. There are two easy ways to give gifts tax-free and reduce your estate.
You may give up to $14,000 a year to an individual (or $28,000 if you're married and giving the gift with your spouse). You may also pay an unlimited amount of medical and education bills for someone if you pay the expenses directly to the institutions where they were incurred.
10. There are ways to give charitable gifts that keep on giving.
If you donate to a charitable gift fund or community foundation, your investment grows tax-free and you can select the charities to which contributions are given both before and after you die.
Steffen Group - Premier Estate Auctioneers
Premier Estate Auctioneers    

If you have questions about Estate Auctions, or would like to speak with an Auctioneer or Estate Specialist, contact Steffen Group today at 260-426-0633, or information@steffengrp.com.
(Source: http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/money101/lesson21/)


DeKalb County Land Sells for Record Price at Auction

Ashley, In
- On Saturday, The Steffen Group Inc., the region’s premier real estate auction marketing firm, sold at auction 174 acres of northern DeKalb County Indiana Farmland.  

The farms were offered in 8 individual tracts and in any combination.   A large crowd of over 100 people were in attendance, with over 50 registered bidders.  The property sold to 2 different buyers for $1,073,000.00. 168.72 acres of tillable and wooded land sold to one individual for $960,000.00; a 5 acre tract with home and farm buildings sold to a separate bidder for $113,000.00. 

Brandon Steffen, President of The Steffen Group, said this auction set record prices for northern DeKalb County Farmland. As we approach the spring planting season, the Midwest continues to see strong demand for quality farmland; creating strong prices as the local farmers compete for the land against institutions and large real estate investors.  

The Steffen Group, based out of Fort Wayne, Indiana, handles the sale of Millions of Dollars in Real Estate and Assets annually. For additional information please visit their website at www.steffengrp.com or contact them at 260-426-0633.


168.72 Acre DeKalb County Land Auction - April 20, 2013

168.72 Acres Offered in 7 Tracts - Ashley, IN

Tract #1 - 12+/- Acres with road frontage on Co Rd 10 and Co Rd 19.
Tract #2 - 16+/- Acres with road frontage on Co Rd 19 - combine tracts 1 and 2 for an excellent small tract of land.
Tract #3 - 74.97 +/- Acres of productive farmland with road frontage on Co Rd 19.
Tract #4 - 30.5 +/- Acres of productive farmland with road frontage on Co Rd 19 and Co Rd 14.
Tract #5 - 7.25 +/- Acres (swing tract) - Excellent all wooded tract. Combine with an adjoining tract for excellent hunting site.
Tract #6 - 18.0 +/- Acres of productive farmland with road frontage on Co Rd 14
Tract #7 - 10.0 +/- Acres This is an excellent recreational tract of land with rolling woodland.

Tract #8 - 5.32 +/- Acres - 3 Bedroom Home w/ Outbuildings - Click Here for Complete Information

Inspections:  Sunday, April 14th from 2:00 to 4:00 PM & Thursday, April 18th from 5:00 to 7:00 PM. Meet a Steffen Group representative at Tract 8 - 1844 Co Rd 8, Ashley, IN.

Auction Location: The auction will be held at the Fairfield Community Center located at 1351 Co. Rd. 12, Corruna, Indiana.

Seller: A&A Ltd


Announcing the birth of our future auctioneer!

Introducing to the world, Adahleen Louise Lewis! This is the baby girl of Josh and his wife, Alicia. Baby Addie was born February 28, 2013 and measured 8 lb, 12 oz and 21 inches. 

Addie loved her first Easter! As you can see, she was too sleepy to hunt for Easter eggs... maybe next year!