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Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Real Estate Blog

Should I Buy A Geothermal Heat Pump For My Home?

should I buyer a geothermal heating and cooling system for my home

Should I Buy A Geothermal Heating & Cooling System For My Home?

Geothermal Heating & Cooling Systems or geothermal heat pumps are heating and cooling systems for your home that utilize the stable temperature found below the surface of the earth.  Below the surface of the earth temperatures remain relatively stable as compared to the surrounding air temperature.  Depending on the location the temperature below the ground stays at a consistent 50 – 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

How Do Geothermal Systems Work?

Geothermal systems use pumps to cycle water into pipes that have been buried in a home’s yard.  During the warmer months the temperature below the surface of the earth is cooler that the surrounding air thus allowing the cooler temperatures to pumped in to cool a home and in the colder months the temperature below the surface is warmer than the surrounding air allowing warmth to be pumped in to heat homes.  Depending on the air temperature during the colder seasons and the overall efficiency of the home, back up heat sources such as natural gas or electric heat may be needed to supplement a geothermal system.

Geothermal systems allow for savings on energy bills since the natural temperature variations between heat pump diagram the surface below and the outdoor air can be efficiently utilized for heating or cooling purposes depending on the season.  There currently are tax credits and power company rebates offered for geothermal heat pumps that may be available to homeowners who install a geothermal system. ...

When Is The Best Time Of Year To Sell My Home?

when is the best time of year to sell my home?

When Is The Best Time Of Year To Sell My Home?

Home sellers often wonder when is the best time to sell their home?  While there are many who will say now or anytime is the best time to sell one’s home there are times where homebuyers are out in full force looking to actively move.  For Greater Cincinnati home sellers, the best time to sell a home is during the early to mid-spring time period.  Every state and real estate location is different though and this also depends on the type of area the home is located in. 

Why Some Markets Have Different Peak Seasons

A home located in a retirement community is definitely going to have a different peak buyer time as compared to a home located in a neighborhood where local schools are one of the big draws.  Those parents wanting to move into a new home before the new school year starts will want to buy a home in spring or early summer in order to make sure they settle in prior to the start of school.  Those looking to move into a retirement community may be looking to move before the weather gets cold.  Again this will entirely depend on where the communities are located.  Retirement communities in Florida will be different than retirement communities in the Greater Cincinnati area due to different climates.

For those markets where schools are the primary motivator for people to move in, then spring time can be peak shopping time where the most home buyers are out looking for a home.  Home sellers can back to school written on chalk board for purposes of selling a home with timing as a consideration...

Should I Have Aerial Photos Or Videos Taken Of My Home For Sale?

should I have aerial photos taken of my home for sale?

Should I Have Aerial Photos Or Videos Taken Of My Home For Sale?

The latest and greatest real estate marketing techniques include virtual reality video, 3D video, high definition photography and aerial photographs and videos.  Aerial photographs and videos can present an overhead view of homes and the surrounding features.  Aerial pictures of a home are not necessary for every home and in some cases should be the last thing home sellers should pay extra for since it adds very little to the marketing of the home.

What Kinds Of Homes Would Benefit From Drone (aerial) Photos and Videos?

Homes with a few accessory features in and around the home are great to show off from above so buyers know where the pool is in relation to the main home or where the basketball court is in relation to the garage.  An overhead view will also let buyers know how much land is available with a particular home.  Luxury homes with plenty of land and outdoor recreation amenities are great to show off from the air. 

Aerial photos are not just for luxury homes but often times luxury homes have features that luxury buyers will be better able to appreciated when seen from above.  Aerial photos/videos of non-luxury homes with great yards, landscaping and recreation amenities may also present well in a marketing package when done correctly.  For example a water front home will show off great from above where the surrounding body of water is a sight to behold.  So don’t think just because a home is not a luxury home that aerial videos are not needed.

What Kinds of Homes Should You Skip Drone (aerial) Photos...

Smart Tips For Buying A Luxury Home

smart tips for buying a luxury home

Smart Tips For Buying A Luxury Home

When buying a luxury home, buyers will want to take the path of least resistance in order to make the process easier to deal with.  The last thing luxury home buyers will want to do will be to rush through a purchase and find out the home they bought is more trouble than it is worth.  Luxury homebuyers can ensure their purchase of a luxury home is a sound and smooth decision by using the tips below.

What Is A Luxury Home?

Just because a home has a “luxury” price while it is on the market does not necessarily mean the home is a true luxury home.  A small house that may look great and be considered luxury in a densely populated city may instead be considered a luxurious tiny home in another area where land is plentiful and therefore homes are expected to have plenty of square footage in addition to other luxury features.  The small luxurious house in an area with large luxury homes would not be able to get the same price as large luxury homes since home buyers in those areas want the extra space and that is the primary reason for them shopping for homes in an area with plenty of land available.

Generally luxury homes are located where other luxury homes are situated and as a result the prices of those homes have a tendency to support other luxury homes close by. Luxury homes have extra refinements that put them into a category of their own. Luxury features such as premium brand appliances, premium cabinetry, carpet, and flooring are often found in these homes.  These premium features usually have better build quality associated with them in addition to longevity.

While bedroom counts may be the same in some non-luxury homes...

Should I Install Solar Panels On My House?

should I install solar panels on my house?

Should I Install Solar Panels On My House?

With energy prices and energy consumption trending higher many homeowners think about the idea of installing solar panels on the roof of their home in order to save money on energy bills and possibly boost the value.  Like real estate solar is also location dependent and those homeowners in states with higher average annual sunshine will see a quicker return on investment than those with lower average sunshine or in areas where the sun may be blocked by trees or other geographical features.  The type of solar energy system installed can also dictate whether a homeowner will realize a boost in home value in addition to the savings on the energy bill.

Types Of Solar Systems

While there are water solar heating systems available for sale, when homeowners think about solar panels on a home they think about the kind that can generate electricity.  Whereas solar electric generation systems can heat/cool a home, allow the use of appliances, and even warm water through an electrical water heater a solar water heater generally does only one thing and that is heat water.  Multiuse solar electrical generation systems as a result are more preferred in order to maximize the use of the solar generated electricity.

The two different types of solar electrical generation systems available are grid tied and off grid systems.  With a grid tied system there is still electricity being provided by the local power company for backup purposes.  During cloudy days or on days where demand in the home exceeds the...

What Are Luxury Homebuyers Looking For In A Home

what are luxury home buyers looking for in a home?

What Are Luxury Homebuyers Looking For In A Home

When luxury homebuyers are shopping for a home they come to expect certain features and amenities to be present in the luxury home.  While the lack of these features might not be a deal killer it certainly will paint a picture in luxury homebuyer’s mind that a particular home may be outdated and as a result could also be overpriced.  Newer modern features and amenities are what luxury homebuyers are looking for when they consider a home for their own living needs.  If you are a home seller looking to boost the appeal of your luxury home to buyers then be sure to know about these features and amenities homebuyers want to see in a luxury home.

Modern Floor Plans

Modern floor plans are one of the main desires for luxury homebuyers.  Modern floor plans represent large open spaces with high ceilings and plenty of large windows to allow natural light to illuminate the home.  Rather than a home with multiple square or rectangular rooms interconnected with one or two doors only an open floor plan has wide entry ways and a flowing nature to the home that usually allows more than one way in or out of a room.

With the high ceilings found in modern floor plans, recessed lights are usually preferred due to their ability to light up large rooms and to be controlled in different sections as lighting needs to be adjusted.  High ceilings also usually call for lighter colors in order to not darken the rooms thus making them feel smaller.   Decorative LED based lighting may also be found throughout luxury homes that are used open luxury floor plan...

What To Expect When Listing Your Home For Sale With A Realtor

what to expect when listing your home for sale with a realtor

What To Expect When Listing Your Home For Sale With A Realtor

New home sellers or those who have not sold a home in a while may be wondering what the process is for selling a home with a Realtor.  While each Realtor may have a different process for the most part Realtors will visit a seller’s home for a listing appointment where they will provide a listing presentation, do a walkthrough of the home.  If the home and seller are ready to go the Realtor can start the process of getting a home listed for sale.  Once the listing agreement is signed the Realtor will take measurements of important rooms in the home, gather other facts about the home and either take pictures/videos of the home or arrange for a photographer to come out and take the pictures and videos. 

The length of time of the entire process of getting a home onto the market depends when the Realtor is first called to the home and the level of readiness the home is in.  If a home is not ready due to need of repair and/or other work to get it ready the Realtor will offer advice on how best to repair and stage a home.  This process can take a couple of weeks depending on the speed and motivation with which the seller is able to work on what is needed to get ready  If a home is ready to go onto the market then a Realtor can have a home listed for sale on Internet websites within 1-2 days.

What Is A Listing Presentation?

When a Realtor comes to the sellers’ home the first time they will usually bring with them a booklet with their listing information or will show a listing presentation on a digital device.  The presentation...

6 Reasons Why Your Home Did Not Sell

6 reasons why your home did not sell graphic

6 Reasons Why Your Home Expired Without An Offer

When a home listed for sale expires off of the market without so much as an offer there are a number of common reasons as to why that happened.  Some of the causes of having an unsold home are the responsibility of the real estate agent if there is one involved.  Other aspects of selling a home are done in coordination with the real estate agent but is the primary responsibility of the home seller (setting the listing price for example).  If a home seller still has in mind the goal of selling their home this list of six common reasons why a home does not sell will help home sellers get back on track and get their home sold.

1.  Pricing

Overpricing is one of the main reasons a house will not sell.  Homebuyers are looking to get the best value for their money when buying a home and go in fully informed with regards to home prices and features.  Regardless of how many upgrades, add-on features a home has if the price is not in line with other homes in the neighborhood it will not sell.

Many neighborhoods have a tendency to have similar houses, similar quality and design.  If one house in the neighborhood has been upgraded that does not necessarily mean it will be able get a premium price for that neighborhood.  The upgraded home may be sold for a little more money than other non-upgraded homes in the neighborhood but it will not be that much more.  The average price of a home in the neighborhood becomes a point where any home priced higher must show the true value through upgrades in order to entice a buyer to make an offer. ...

3 Smart Tips For Improving Your Credit Score Prior To Applying For A Home Mortgage

3 smart tips for improving your credit score prior to applying for a home mortgage

3 Smart Tips For Improving Your Credit Score Prior To Applying For A Home Mortgage

Not everyone buys a home very often and in fact many might only own one to three homes over their life time.  As a result when buying a home, buyers should make sure they get the best pre-approval amount they can so that when they do buy they are getting the best home that meets their budget at the time.  By striving for the best home you can afford now and will suit your needs for some time to come there will be less need to upgrade to another home because your current home was only a “starter home”.

There is a caveat with that in just because a mortgage lender approves a mortgage for the highest amount of money that can be had that does not necessarily mean homebuyers should buy at the top of that range.  Homebuyers need to analyze their current and future financial situation to make sure they can afford the home they buy today.  If in the future the homeowner plans on having a larger family, wishes to change careers, or something else that effects their lifestyle then that should be part of the consideration when buying a home today.  Homebuyers should not end up in a house poor situation where they cannot afford to pay for the home as well as the upkeep resulting in a loss of home value over time.  Always consider how much home you can afford today as well as in the future as part of your home shopping process.

Credit Score and Mortgage Amount

There are a number of factors that...

Buying A Home With Pets In Mind

buying a home with pets in mind

Buying A Home With Pets In Mind

Pets are an everyday part of life for their human companions.  Pets like humans also have individual needs that every house may or may not meet.  When buying a home with pets in mind knowing what one should be looking for and what considerations should be made for our furry friends is on the top of many home buyers list.  This article takes a look at the different considerations pet owners should take into mind when buying a home.

Type Of Pet

The type of pet a homebuyer has will dictate some of the needs for a home.  Bird and reptile owners who keep their pets indoors a majority of the time may not have as many requirements for a home as those would dog or cat owners who may let their pets outdoors unsupervised or who have free roam of the house.  The health and age of a pet also play into home needs as an older pet who cannot walk around as much as they could may need fewer stairs and a flat yard in order to best accommodate their needs.

The size of your pet plays into this as well particularly in the case of dogs.  Larger athletic dogs need more room to run around and burn off their energy and a larger yard might be important to owners of large dogs.  For smaller dogs, cats and rabbits that may be allowed to roam free in the yard, having a yard that is open and in an area that does not attract predators like coyotes, bears, raptors and more is important to consider. 

Landscaping Considerations

As noted above the way a yard is setup and situated should be considered when buying a home with pets in mind.  A steep hilly yard may not be good for smaller dogs or dogs who have joint or back problems. ...

Marketing Strategies Expert Realtors Use To Help Sell Your Home

marketing strategies expert realtors use to help sell your home

Marketing Strategies Expert Realtors Use To Help Sell Your Home

Selling a home is not a simple matter of taking a few pictures, putting it up on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and then the home will sell.  It takes much more effort to effectively get a home sold than just taking a few pictures and throwing the information about the home on a few websites.  Expert Realtors know these techniques like the back of their hand and must be continually flexible in their strategies in order to sell any type of home during any time of the year or during any market condition.  While these strategies presented here do represent what expert Realtors will do, only by working with one of these expert Realtors can home sellers realize all the benefits of these time tested marketing strategies.

Every Real Estate Market Is Different

First thing to realize is that every real estate market is different.  Even within the same metropolitan area different locations will require different marketing strategies.  Hot neighborhoods where properly priced homes sell in a matter of days can be right next to neighborhoods where homes take weeks or months to sell.  Realtors who work in the local area understand the local differences between neighborhoods, cities, and localities and know that while some strategies will work in one area a totally different strategy may be needed in the neighborhood next to it.map locations

Home Pricing As A Marketing Strategy

Believe it or not home pricing is an area that is of importance...

Podcast #10: Luxury (Jumbo) Mortgages Explained

podcast #1- jumbo mortgages explained

For this podcast about Jumbo Mortgages for purchasing a luxury home I sat down with Walt Wollet of Summit Funding. During our conversation we discussed the jumbo mortgages, the application process, credit score and down payment requirements and more. This podcast is helpful for those wanting to buy a luxury home through the use of jumbo mortgage financing.

I hope you enjoy the podcast and find it informative.  Please also consider sharing with those who may find it useful.

Listen via YouTube:

You can connect with Walt Wollet on LinkedIn, Facebook, and at SummitFunding.net.

You can connect with me on FacebookPinterestTwitterGoogle+LinkedIn...

What To Clean Up When Preparing Your Home For Sale

what to clean up when preparing your home for sale

What To Clean Up When Preparing Your Home For Sale

Getting a home ready for sale involves many different things in order to present the home in the best possible light to all potential home buyers.  Unless you are selling your home as-is proper presentation ensures buyers look primarily at the features of the house so they can determine whether or not the home will work for them.  Distractions from an unclean house means buyers may decide to look elsewhere under the impression that an unclean house was not well cared for in other ways.  A clean home also looks great with high definition pictures for buyers who are looking on the internet for a new place to call home.  Cleaning ones house prior to putting it up for sale and keeping it clean during the showing process is a critical staging step that all homeowners should do and the following areas are important areas to clean up.

Floors and Carpeting

Starting from the bottom and working up the first thing to clean would be carpet and flooring.  For carpets that are not heavily soiled, stained or torn having the carpets steam cleaned and deodorized will go a long way to freshening up a home.  If carpets have stains, deep odors contributed by pets, smoking that will not come out with steam cleaning or large tears and heavy wear then new carpet should be installed.  New carpet with neutral colors will help improve the look of a home and home buyers will appreciate getting a home with new carpet installed. 

Hardwood flooring with minor wear which still retains its color can be refinished...

Why Home Buyers Need Their Own Representation

why home buyers need their own real estate agent

Why Home Buyers Need Their Own Representation

Buying a home is a complicated process that commits a homebuyer to living in the same place for a number of years and paying a mortgage over a long term while living in that house.  If there are mistakes in purchasing a home then the buyer is not able to simply return the home and get all their money back as if it were a pair of pants that did not fit correctly and can be returned to the store no questions asked.  In the event of some major concealment by a home seller a home buyer may be able to sue the seller and demand that they take the home back.  The buyer may be able to recover money from the home seller assuming they have money to give back to the buyer.  Lawsuits are expensive and time consuming so the desire to sue to undo a home deal is not something that a home buyer will be able to quickly settle and move on.

With the home buying process being as complex as it is working alone without your own real estate agent means dealing with the complicated paperwork and negotiations without the help of a trained experienced professional.  A YouTube video or blog article while providing some answers is not the same thing as having a local real estate expert with the experience to be able to guide a home buyer through the different situations that can come up.  This article explores some areas where home buyers can benefit from a real estate agent who represents their interests exclusively.

A Buyer's Agent will Represents Your Best Interests

The real estate agent who is the listing agent...

How To Sell A Luxury Home For Sale By Owner (FSBO)

how to sell a luxury home for sale by owner fobs

How To Sell A Luxury Home For Sale By Owner (FSBO)

When it comes to selling a home for sale by owner (FSBO) there is a large amount of work for the homeowner to get right in order to have a successful sale.  Add on top of that the fact a homeowner is trying to sell a luxury home on their own the amount of work then is much greater as well since luxury home buyers are expecting more than what is normally done for a non-luxury home.  If a homeowner were to miss some of the critical steps/procedures required to sell their home FSBO or do something that would not normally be done with a luxury home (like hold an open house), the homeowner runs the risk of not only not selling their home but having to drop the price dramatically in order to attract buyer attention.  With that in mind here are some tips on how best to sell a luxury home FSBO.

Pricing A Luxury Home

Pricing a luxury home is one of the most important aspects of the process.  Price a luxury home too high and buyers will ignore your home since better values can be had elsewhere.  Price a luxury home too low and while a quick sale will result, the homeowner will be walking away from money they could have instead put into their pockets.  Sources like Zillow and their Zestimates are generally not that accurate when it comes for pricing a luxury home for sale.  Zestimates are good for giving an estimated price of...

Tips For Picking Real Estate Professionals When Buying or Selling Your Home

tips for picking real estate professionals when buying or selling your home

Tips For Picking Real Estate Professionals When Buying or Selling Your Home

When buying or selling a home there are a number of different professionals involved in the process.  These professionals are involved in critical parts of the real estate transaction that in order to be successful having the best and brightest is important.  One of the main reasons for bringing in the best professionals possible is that the buying or selling of a home is usually one of the largest transactions a person will have in their lifetimes.  As a result home buyers and sellers would like everything to go perfectly so that their investment in a home can keep itself going over the long haul.  With that in mind the following tips below will help home buyers and sellers choose the best professionals to help make sure the transaction is a successful one.

Picking The Right Home Inspector

Whether you want a home inspection for buying a home or prior to listing your home for sale picking the right home inspector is important.  Your home is a long term investment and therefore you want to make sure the home you are buying is properly evaluated or as a seller you want to make sure the home you are selling is putting its best foot forward when it comes time to sell.  By taking care of home inspection before listing your home for sale you make it less likely you will have to scramble around to find contractors in order to get things done before closing.

If you live in a state where home inspectors are required to be licensed...

What Is A Tiny Home?

information about tiny homes

What Is A Tiny Home?

You may have heard of the Tiny Home movement and been curious about what exactly is a tiny home and why would anyone want one.  A tiny home generally is a home that is generally under 500 square feet.  Tiny homes contain all the features of a regular home including bathroom, kitchen, dining and sleeping areas.  Tiny homes are generally designed to be energy efficient and usually built with green materials.  One of the goal of the tiny home movement is to reduce the environmental impact of housing both in terms of the actual building of the home as well as through reduced energy consumption while the home is in use. 

Not only is money saved through energy efficiency but the total overall cost of the tiny home can be much lower than that of a traditional house.  The average cost of a tiny house can start at $5000.00 and go up to $70,000.00 which is much cheaper than the average suburban home.  At the lower end of the pricing scale many may not even need a mortgage, whereas at the higher end a mortgage may be desired. 

Tiny homes are generally built to last as long as a traditional home would.  Some tiny home owners have built the homes themselves using kits that contain most everything needed to assemble the basic home.  Additionally tiny homes builders and developers are working to put tiny homes on wheels so construction worker building a tiny homethey are more mobile.

Tiny Homes and Zoning

Since tiny homes is a relatively new movement in relation to the current housing market many cities and municipalities...

Luxury Home Buyer's Guide To Getting A Mortgage

luxury home buyer's guide to getting a mortgage

Luxury Home Buyer's Guide To Getting A Mortgage

Purchasing a luxury home requires a slightly different approach than if one were buying a non-luxury home.  Generally a luxury house is considered luxury because the price is higher than $500,000.00 and offers luxury amenities not commonly found in non-luxury homes.   While the $500,000.00 is a general guideline that does not mean that amount applies the same to every area in classifying a home as luxury.  In the Greater Cincinnati, Ohio and Northern Kentucky Real Estate Market homes $500,000.00 and above generally will be considered to be luxury homes.  Other areas may be different based on the real estate market in those locations since real estate is all about location.

Buying A Luxury Home With A Jumbo Mortgage

If you plan on purchasing your luxury home with cash then this may not apply to you.  However with mortgage interest rates as low as they are, borrowing money to purchase your luxury home while at the same time using your cash in different higher rate of return investment may make sense for you.  Additionally you may qualify for the mortgage interest tax deduction which could reduce the amount of taxes you owe each year you pay interest on your mortgage. 

Luxury mortgages are a little different compared to mortgages for non-luxury homes.  When borrowing more than $424,100.00 to purchase your luxury home the mortgage loan product used for those types of loans are called jumbo loans.  Jumbo mortgage loans are called...

A Look Back At Some Of The Great Real Estate Articles From 2016

a look back at some of the great real estate articles from 2016

A Look Back At Some Of The Great Real Estate Articles From 2016

The year 2016 saw many real estate related articles published with the intent of informing readers about various issues in the real estate area.  Some articles while trying to be informative may miss the mark and instead up trying to sell something rather than inform.  Many other articles though succeed in informing readers so that they have the latest and greatest knowledge needed to help them with their real estate.  In this article I highlight some of those great articles from 2016 and hope you enjoy them as much as many others did. 

best articles from 2016 for home sellers

best Articles from 2016 for home sellers

Best Way To Remove Wallpaper 

One of my favorite articles from 2016 was a very helpful post from Bill Gassett, one of the top real estate agents in Southborough Mass. One of the things Realtors are constantly doing for their clients is recommending improvements that can be made that either help the salability of a home or bring more money. One of the features that impacts the sale of a home in a negative way more than any other is wallpaper. Unfortunately, wallpaper dates a home! It is a very personal choice that is almost always a love or hate thing. Far more often, however, people hate wallpaper. A good real estate agent should be able to communicate this effectively...

5 Reasons Why Your Pending Home Sale Can Fall Apart

5 reasons why your home pending sale can fall apart and how to prevent that

5 Reasons Why Your Pending Home Sale Can Fall Apart

5 Reasons Why Your Pending Home Sale CAN Fall Apart And How To Prevent It

Selling a home is not a fast activity like going to a store and buying a new television.  In most cases you go to the store pick out what TV you want and after paying for it you can leave and enjoy the TV.  Selling a home on the other hand is a more involved process.  The instant an offer is accepted by the seller there still is a period of time where the deal to purchase the home can fall apart.  Here are the main areas where a home sale can fall and how to avoid those pitfalls.

Appraisal

Every house that is going to be purchased with the use of a mortgage loan needs to be appraised in order to ensure the amount being lent to buy the home is not more than the actual value of the home itself.  Mortgage lenders are able to lend for long term periods and with low interest rates due to the fact that if the borrower can no longer pay for the mortgage loan the lender can foreclose on the property.  After foreclosing on the property the lender should be able to recover some if not all of the money lent for the purchase of the home. 

The mortgage lender will order an appraisal to be performed by a licensed appraiser.  The appraiser will look at the condition of the home as well as look at the updates and upgrades that have been made.  Through the appraisal process the house is compared with recent sales of homes which are similar to the home being evaluated and provide an opinion of the home’s...

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