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Using Checklists For When Selling Or Buying A Home

using checklists for buying or selling a home

Using Checklists For When Selling OR Buying A Home

Whether you are selling a home or buying a home, going into the process organized is key in order to make sure things are done right and in order.  Getting a pre-approval after making an offer on a home is a surefire way to failure as the homebuyer does not know whether they can afford the home they are making an offer on or whether they will be approved for a mortgage with the lender they apply with.  Similar with sellers is a home seller who does not prepare their home first hand and instead decides to list as is the chances of them getting a good price for their home is greatly reduced.  Instead both homebuyers and home sellers will be better off by keeping a checklist of things they need to do and the order in which to do them in order to ensure a successful sale or purchase.

What Should Be Covered In A Home Sellers Checklist?

Home sellers should have a pre-listing checklist which covers the preparation of the home prior to putting it on the market as well as a checklist to cover what is done to the home prior to showings while the home is on the market.  By having a home properly prepared home sellers can help ensure homebuyers are not distracted by readily apparent flaws in the home like uncleanliness, clutter, pet smells or more.  Home showings are just as important as pre-sale preparation since during the actual showings homeowners will learn if buyers are actually interested in their home.

Any pre-sale checklist should include items like painting the house (indoors and outdoors), update/refresh landscaping, tune up mechanicals of home (like HVAC, garage door openers, plumbing, windows,...

How Should I Price My Luxury Home For Sale?

how to price luxury home for sale

How Should I Price My Luxury Home For Sale?

Real estate pricing is one of those areas where it is not an exact science whereby a homeowner can point to certain aspects that a home has and then on that basis determine an accurate price.  For instance a luxury home that has five bedrooms with each bedroom having its own bathroom, a four car garage, two kitchens, a pool, sauna and more could very well be priced lower than a three bedroom, two full bathroom home that is located in a downtown area of a large urban city.  Due to space limitations and location exclusivity a smaller living space in New York could very well be priced higher than a larger more spacious home in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Location is critical in pricing a luxury home as well as the features and amenities of the luxury home.  This article explores some different pricing strategies luxury homeowners may face when listing their home for sale.

Overpricing A Luxury Home As A Strategy

Some homeowners and real estate agents believe that by overpricing their home for sale they are leaving themselves room to negotiate down towards the asking price.  In fact this rarely is the case and often times by overpricing a home homeowners are preventing buyers who can afford the home from discovering it and coming to visit.  Homebuyers search for home prices based on a number of criteria.  The primary criteria for homebuyers are location, price, bedroom and bathroom count usually in that order.  If location is not as big of a concern then price is still always one of the top search criteria for homebuyers.

A majority of ...

7 Smarts Things To Do Prior To Buying A Home

7 smart things to do prior to buying a home

7 Smarts Things To Do Prior To Buying A Home

Owning a home is a long term commitment that takes proper planning and preparation in order to make sure homeownership is successful over the long term.  The preparation period prior to purchasing a home is not short.  Instead the preparation time can be many months or more in order to ensure that homebuyers are in the best situation possible to apply for a mortgage to buy a home.  The tips in this article will help homebuyers navigate through the preparation phase so that they can get the best possible mortgage now and not worry about having to seek better terms or better interest rates later on down the line.

1.  Pay Down Debt

Paying down debt is something everyone should be doing regardless of whether or not they want to buy a home.  More importantly though future homebuyers can greatly benefit by paying down debt by being able to get better interest rates as well as better terms for mortgages.  If a homebuyer has too high of a debt to income ratio then the amount the homebuyer will be pre-approved for will be lower than if they had fewer or no debts.  At a certain point of debt to income ratio the homebuyer may not be able to qualify for a mortgage at all.

Best strategies to pay down debt is to either pick the account with the smallest balance and pay that down first and then move onto the next account or to pay down the debt with the highest interest rate.  Some psychologists suggest there may be a psychological benefit to paying off the smallest account first since...

July 2017 Greater Cincinnati Luxury Real Estate Market Report

July 2017 Greater Cincinnati Luxury Real Estate Market Report

With interest rates slowly coming down there has been a slight uptick in mortgage applications but there still remains a shortage of available housing.  Jumbo mortgage interest rates have also reduced somewhat from the recent highs.  Record high pricing in homes is forcing some buyers to the sideline and with there is a new sentiment creeping up that is not as keen on housing as some in the past may have been.  Overall still a good time to sell a home if the homeowner is ready.  Luxury real estate statistics for July 2017 are in the below graphic and be sure to check out some insightful links below.

july 2017 cincinnati luxury market report

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What To Know About Real Estate Deeds

what to know about real estate deed

Real Estate Deeds Explored

When a homebuyer purchases a home they have a deed registered in their name which specifies how the property is owned.  If the homebuyers are married the deed will usually be “titled” or written to show that both homebuyer spouses own the property as a whole together.  There are other ways to title a deed and this article explores the different ways and the benefits and drawbacks of each of those ways.

Deeds Explained

There are a number of types of deeds that can be used for the transfer of real estate.  The most common types found are General Warranty Deed, Limited or Special Warranty Deed, Quitclaim Deeds, Trustee Deeds, and Fiduciary Deeds.  Deed types and deed names can vary based on state laws so it is always best to consult with a real estate attorney licensed in the state where the deed is to be recorded if there are any questions as to what type of deed is needed.

A General Warranty Deed is the best possible type of deed to receive from a home seller as it guarantees that the seller has clear title to the property.  The home seller gives a warranty to the homebuyer that the deed is free from claims of others and if a claim would happen to arise the prior owner could be responsible for helping to settle the claim or to reimburse the current owner for any loss suffered as a result of a valid claim.  Even with the General Warranty Deed it is still advisable for the homebuyer to purchase title insurance to protect against any claims as...

Buying A Home With A Septic System

buying a home with a septic system

Buying A Home With A Septic System

Depending on the area where you are looking for a home you may find a home that has a septic system rather than a sewer line connection.  Homes in some neighborhoods where the sewer lines have not been run instead have a septic tank which holds the waste water from the home.  The holding tank has a number of different components but what it does is allow the waste from a home to decompose over time and work its way back into the ground in a harmless state.  Some may say that a septic system is greener than a traditional sewer system since the homes waste goes into the immediate environment where it can be utilized immediately by the vegetation in your yard.  With a sewer system the treatment of the waste happens at one central location which means many miles of piping to send the sewage to the right place.  On the other hand improperly maintained septic systems can lead to backups and contaminated local land that can be costly to cleanup and damaging to the environment. 

Inspecting A Septic System

Most home inspectors do not have the expertise to inspect septic systems.  As a result depending on the age of the septic system and the condition of the land around the septic system it may be wise to have a separate inspection scheduled of the septic system.  Septic systems that are not functioning properly can cause waste water to leak into the surround yard causing flooding issues as well as making the area not pleasant to be around due to bad odors.  Poorly operating septic systems can also result in waste water backing up into the house causing further problems.  Due to the expense associated with septic...

Where Can I Find Homes For Sale In My Market?

where can I find homes for sale in my market?

Where Can I Find Homes For Sale In My Market?

With all the homes available for sale in different markets homebuyers may not be sure where to find the most up to date information on homes available in their market.  Unfortunately there is no one website where homebuyers can find a list of all homes currently available for sale.  Homes listed for sale that have Realtors helping sell the home can be found on local real estate websites (through the local Multiple Listing Service or MLS) as well as on some of the national websites like Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia and more.  Additionally homes will also be found on national real estate brokerage websites like United Real Estate, Coldwell Banker, RE/MAX, and more.  Often times the national brokerage websites will redirect homebuyers to local area websites to make sure homebuyers connect with local agents when shopping for their home.

Homes that are listed For Sale By Owner (FSBO) may be found (though not always) on sites like Realtor.com, Zillow, Craigslist, Ebay, Facebook market place groups, local classifieds, local bulletin boards, Realtor.com, local real estate websites and more.  Some FSBO home sellers may be listed on the local MLS by paying for flat fee service some real estate brokerages provide whereby they will list the home on the MLS but provide no other services to the home seller.  Services like photography, videos, online and offline marketing, lockboxes, screened showings and...

5 Smart Tips For Buying An Investment Property

5 mart tips for buying an investment property

5 Smart Tips For Buying An Investment Property

Whether you want to buy a home that doubles as an investment property where you live in one unit and rent out the others to reduce your mortgage payment or you want to strictly buy a property for investment property to earn income from it, these tips are for you.  Many are realizing the benefits of buying and holding investment properties for their rental income potential.  The tips in this article will help you make sure your investment is a sound purchase that provides you with income for years to come.

1.  Get Pre-Approved Or Have Your Cash Ready Prior To Buying An Investment Property

Buying a multi-family with four or fewer units allows buyers to use conventional mortgage financing, whereas investors wanting to buy buildings with more than four rental units will require the use of commercial financing.  Commercial financing usually comes with more restrictions and less favorable terms compared to conventional financing.  With conventional financing borrowers can get 30 year fixed loans and only need to put at most 25% down for a non-owner occupied property.  With commercial financing borrowers will be required to put 30% or more down and may have loans with a 20 year or shorter term.  Additionally commercial loans will have higher credit requirements, may be stricter with the requirement of showing actual investment management experience and/or offer variable rate loans only. 

If a buyer is wanting to buy a multi-family home and live in one of the units then the requirements can be even lower than a non-owner occupied mortgage.  Investors who intend to occupy the building...

The Essentials Of Selling A Luxury Home

essentials of selling a luxury home

The Essentials Of Selling A Luxury Home

By applying the same template that applies to all homes for selling a luxury home may result in a sale, but it will also result in extra expenditure of time and effort.  Since luxury homes require slightly different treatment than a non-luxury home the extra time and effort could be put to better use with the right marketing strategy.  When the prices are high the resulting buyer interest is reduced and as a result finding the right buyer becomes a critical task to get the luxury home sold.  The tips in this article take luxury home sellers through some essential areas that should be understood prior to going onto the market.

Home Preparation

Luxury home preparation is one of those areas where what is done for other homes also is applicable here with some exceptions.  Homes need to have clutter reduced, packed up and placed out of sight.  Personalization of the home throughout should be reduced so luxury home buyers can envision themselves in the home and not see the home through memories of the homeowner. Exotic art, collections and more also should be packed away and moved out of the home to avoid further buyer distraction and/or damage to those pieces.

Luxury homes need to be cleaned, repainted and update as time and budget allow in order to get the maximum value out of the home.  Luxury homebuyers today rarely come in looking for a project home unless a steep discount is involved.  As a result updates should be made so that old out of style wallpaper is removed and fresh neutral in color paint is put up in order to boost the appeal of the home.luxury living room properly staged...

June 2017 Greater Cincinnati Luxury Real Estate Market Report

june 2017 greater Cincinnati luxury real estate market update

June 2017 Greater Cincinnati Luxury Real Estate Market Report

The luxury real estate market in Greater Cincinnati is a bit slower than homes that are non-luxury in category.  There are a number of reasons luxury homes (homes $600,000 and up in price) are sitting for longer on the market and requiring steeper price reductions in order to get offers.  Local employers such as Kroger and Macy’s are facing tough competition from online sales (Amazon anyone) and as a result are scaling back growth and hiring.  Consequently less money is being spent locally to hire people in senior level positions and less money being spent to expand or improve existing stores. 

Kroger in particular has decided to slow down expansion across the Greater Cincinnati area.  Due to Amazon.com announcing the purchase of Whole Foods the grocery sector in general will experience a big disruption which will force grocery retailers like Kroger to spend less and be more nimble in adopting services that customers have yet to express an actual demand for.  Less money being spent by Kroger for expansion means less money being distributed across the region, which will slow things down.   Also with the upcoming final movement of Toyota from Northern Kentucky to Fort Worth, Texas means plenty of high-level jobs leaving the region along with those employees selling their homes.  Those Toyota jobs being higher wage earners will put downward pressure on luxury homes. 

The ...

Tips For Buying A Home Sight Unseen

tips for buying a home sight unseen

Tips For Buying A Home Sight Unseen

Whether you are an investor looking to buy investment property in another state or a homebuyer who needs to buy a home in an area where you are moving to but won’t be able to see the home until you move in there are ways for it to be done.  Especially in this digital age where homes can be viewed online and  signatures can be done digitally from the comfort of one’s home or office a home can just as easily be purchased without visiting it in person.  There are some initial steps homebuyers need to take prior to buying a home without seeing it in person and this article will explore those steps in detail.

Work With A Knowledgeable Realtor

If you are buying a luxury home sight unseen then make sure you work with a Realtor who is experienced with buying and selling luxury homes, if you are buying investment property make sure the Realtor you are working with is experienced with investment property.  Whatever the property type the Realtor you are working with should have experience with buying and selling those properties.  Ask questions of the Realtor about their experience with buying and selling the property type you are interested in to make sure you find the best local expert. 

Especially for a Realtor who claims experience in investment property a great question to ask them is if they own any investment property and what types if they do.  While a Realtor does not have to currently own investment property to understand how to help a client buy or sell the property...

How Do I Appeal A Real Estate Appraisal For My Home?

how do I appeal a real estate appraisal for my home

How Do I Appeal A Real Estate Appraisal For A Home I Want To buy?

When buying a home with a mortgage or refinancing an existing mortgage on a home an appraisal is usually required in order to determine the value of the home.  The home value is used as part of financing a home under a mortgage whereby the mortgage lender wants to ensure that the value of the home will cover the mortgage in the event of default.  If the value of the home cannot cover the amount of the loan most mortgage lenders will deny the loan.

Different types of mortgage loans will have different value requirements for a home.  For instance the traditional mortgage where 80% of the value of the home is lent to the homebuyer the home must appraise for the full purchase price where borrowers need to put down 20% of their own cash in addition to the 80% from the lender.  For example a homebuyer is wanting to buy a home and makes an offer at $500,000.00 dollars where they will borrow $400,000.00 (80% of the value of the home) and put down $100,000.00 (20% of the value of the home) cash from their own savings.  If the home appraises at $500,000.00 or more the loan will be made to the homebuyer.  If the loan appraises at less than $500,000.00 then the lender will deny the loan absent changes to the offer price of the home.

Where the home value is appraised lower than the offer price there are a few options available to both the homebuyer and home seller.  The homebuyer can ask the home seller to accept a lower amount so that mortgage lender meets the 80/20% requirement.  If the home seller does not want to accept...

Alternative Ways To Buy A Home Without A Mortgage

alternative ways to buy a home without a mortgage

Alternative Ways To Buy A Home Without A Mortgage

For some seeking to buy a home the traditional way of purchasing through the use of a mortgage may not be available.  Mortgages are not available to some homebuyers due to credit issues, income issues, work history issues or other reasons.  The lack of a mortgage does not necessarily prevent a person from buying a home as there are other alternatives.  Those alternatives can be somewhat more expensive and more risky to the person wanting to use them.

Use Cash

One of the easiest alternatives to use to buy a home is to pay all cash for the purchase.  Now obviously not everyone has access to enough cash to pay for a home outright but for those few who do a cash purchase of a home represents a good way to buy the home and not have to jump through all the hoops of getting a mortgage.  Setting aside a large amount of cash to buy a home means there is less cash available for other investments or debt payments.  Sometimes there are other investments with better rates of return than homeownership which sometimes can also give negative returns(LINK to behance article) so tying up cash to buy a home may not always be the best move.

Land Contract

As noted above when a buyer currently does not have sufficient credit history to qualify for a loan a home seller may be willing to allow a buyer to purchase their home through the use of a land contract.  Under a land contract the seller is agreeing to finance the buyer’s purchase of their home.  Land contracts are kind of like lease agreements except with a land contract all of the monthly payments are being applied towards the purchase of the home minus...

Anatomy Of A Real Estate Offer

anatomy of a real estate offer

Anatomy Of A Real Estate Offer

Both homebuyers and home sellers need to understand what is involved in an offer to purchase a home.  Contracts to purchase a home contain many different terms and requirements that are binding to both the buyer and the seller.  Even a simple slip in missing a deadline can result in consequences the parties may not fully understand the consequences of.  So not only is a thorough understanding of the terms of the contract to purchase a home necessary understanding the critical timelines is also a must.

This article primarily deals with residential real estate.  While there are some similar concepts in commercial real estate, the buying of commercial real estate is a different type of transaction that does not have all the protections required under law that residential real estate has.  Regardless of the type of transaction, due to the complexities involved it is always advisable to have a professional Realtor or real estate attorney assist buyers or sellers with their real estate transaction.

Basics Of An Offer To Buy Real Estate

All contracts to buy or sell real estate must be in writing.  Generally formal contracts are used and provided by many states and real estate agent boards for use by home buyers and sellers.  The contract to purchase rental real estate must include the subject property information (usually the address), the amount being paid to purchase the property along with any other conditions and/or qualifications of the purchase, as well as the buyer and seller information. 

Both the buyer and the seller must accept the terms as is with no changes in order to have an accepted contract to sell the real estate. ...

What Causes A Home To Appreciate or Depreciate In Value?

what causes a home to appreciate or depreciate in value?

What Causes A Home To Appreciate or Depreciate In Value?

There are many factors that can affect the value of a home.  Some factors can cause a home’s price to increase in value whereas other factors can cause the value to go down.  The factors that affect home value are not always internal to the home, external factors can also have dramatic impacts on a home value just as internal factors can.  By knowing and understand what factors can impact the value of a home, homebuyers and home sellers can better position themselves in the real estate market for success.

External Factors That Can Affect The Value Of A Home

The National and State Level Economy

When the economy at the national and state level are running great the values of homes have a tendency to increase.  With more people employed and with more access to credit there will be more homebuyers ready to move into a home.  As a result this will have an upward effect on home prices.  Now just because the national economy is strong does not mean the state or local economy will be strong as well.  If a large local employer decides to move their operations to another area along with all the employees who work there that will result in many of those employees wanting to sell their home at the same time which can depress the price of homes in the area.

When the national and local economies are down due to recession or some other factors that will put downward pressure on the value of homes.  Lower employment and lower access to credit means fewer people will be able to afford to buy a home or be willing to sell their current home to buy a bigger home. ...

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.  Consult your local tax professional...

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 and Videos For?

Now if the home...

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 the bedrooms in luxury homes are generally...

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 capacity of the solar panels then electricity...

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