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What Is A Buyer’s Persona and Why Should Home Sellers Care

what is a buyer's persona and why should a home seller care

What Is A Buyer’s Persona and Why Should Home Sellers Care

In marketing speak a persona is a particular set of customers that are grouped together in order to better sell to them.  Home sellers would be wise to understand what type of persona would be interested in buying their home.  For instance if one is selling a luxury home marketing to those who are luxury home buyers makes the most sense and represents the most effective use of marketing dollars versus marketing to everyone and anyone that wants to buy a home.  With luxury homes costing what they do it does not make sense to market to those who are looking for an entry level starter home.  Home sellers need to focus on the right persona in marketing their home and as a result there is greater chance the right buyer will come along ready to make an offer.

How To Target The Right Buyer

Given an unlimited amount of money for marketing purposes home sellers and/or real estate agents can advertise a home for sale all over the world without regard to who is seeing the message.  The reality is there is a limit to the amount that can be spent on marketing and as a result those marketing dollars need to be effectively spent to target the right buyer who would be interested in buying the home.  Therefore it makes sense to figure out who the ideal homebuyer is and where do they go to find information on homes they potentially want to buy.

A majority of buyers (more than 80%) begin their home shopping online.  What that means is in some form or another they are actively looking for homes via their laptop/desktop computer, tablet or mobile phone.  The traditional...

Homeownership Facts To Be Aware Of

homeownership facts to be aware of

Homeownership Facts To Be Aware Of

There is much more to owning a home than just making a mortgage payment.  If homeownership just required the payment of a mortgage payment and nothing else then many more individuals would opt to buy a home.  Those who do own a home should be aware of all the aspects that are involved with homeownership especially since neglecting some of these areas can result in loss of one’s investment in the home.  This article explores a few important areas where homeowners should keep up to date with in order to protect their investment.

Updating A Home

A home will requires updates throughout the time a homeowner is living in it.  Some updates may be cosmetic like fresh paint, updating landscaping, adding new window treatments.  Other updates may be required out of necessity such as replacing outdated HVAC systems that no longer function or function with very poor efficiency.  Replacing the roof on a home also would be required in order to maintain the habitability of a home.  If a roof can’t do its job of protecting a home from the elements the rest of the home will quickly degrade as the weather does its damage.  Other updates like remodeling a home to change the floor plan to something more modern or to remodel a kitchen to change its look and style also are done by some homeowners.

Where updates like replacing an old worn roof, replacing inoperable HVAC systems or water heaters are required in order to keep a home livable other updates like a kitchen update, window treatments, or more are not required as they don’t effect the livability of a home.  Those non-required updates though may be needed in order to maintain...

Preparing Your Home For A Quick Fall Sale

preparing your home for a quick fall sale

Preparing Your Home For A Quick Fall Sale

Whether your home is making its debut for the first time on the market in the fall or maybe needs to be re-listed after having expired with no offer getting the home marketing presentation done right can help ensure success.  A fall time home sale does require somewhat different preparation in order to attract the right buyers.  By ensuring your home is better than every other home out there on the market and primed for a fall sale will result in a quick sale.

Should You Sell Your Home In The Fall?

The first question many homeowners ask is if they should sell their home during the fall.  The fact is homes sell throughout the year.  Depending on one’s location there may be a peak season when the most homebuyers are out shopping for homes and as a result that season has the greatest number of home sales.  For the Greater Cincinnati, Ohio and Northern Kentucky area the peak season for selling homes is during the spring.  During the springtime many families are shopping for homes so they can get moved in prior to the start of the school year in the fall.  Moving during the fall can often be disruptive to children and could potentially force the children to change schools during the school year which most parents want to avoid. 

Seasonality wise with fall and winter being colder and there being greater chances of rain or snow (depending on one’s location) homebuyers may not be as up to buying a home during the colder seasons.  There being fewer buyers out during the fall also may mean in order to get sold lower...

August 2017 Greater Cincinnati Luxury Real Estate Market Report

August 2017 Greater Cincinnati Luxury Real Estate Market Report

Interest rates for conventional and jumbo mortgages are still low and overall home sales are depressed.  The reason for depressed home sales is thought to be low inventory.  There is also a trend of certain buyers opting to remain more mobile by not purchasing and instead renting a place to own.  Since July 2017 the average prices of luxury homes has gone up in the Greater Cincinnati area as well as the inventory has gone done which is somewhat expected as homes sell or are pulled off of the market until Fall or Spring.  In the case of Greater Cincinnati more luxury homes sold during the month of August than did in July.  See below for more statistics and articles of interest.

august 2017 greater Cincinnati luxury real estate market statistics 

 

 

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4 Things That Can Kill Your Home Sale

4 things that can kill your home sale

4 Things That Can Kill Your Home Sale

Just because an offer has been accepted on a home does not mean it is a done deal.  Instead there are many steps that need to be accomplished prior to the actual homebuyer and sellers being able to close on the home and transfer ownership.  Before closing there are a number of issues that can pop up that may not only stall a home sale but can kill the deal completely requiring the home to go back on the market.  This article looks at where issues may pop up and some ways to prevent those issues from causing a deal to fall apart.

Buyer or Seller Cold Feet

While not as common this does happen from time to time where either the buyer or the seller decide they no longer want to buy or sell a home.  If the homebuyer announces their intention ahead of time not to buy the home then sellers may only have lost a few days on the market and can quickly have the home back on the market.  On the other hand if homebuyers declare they don’t want to buy the home at the last minute this can leave the home sellers in a tough situation especially if they have packed everything up and maybe even moved out of the house.  Often these situations can result in a lawsuit to recover money for expenses made in anticipation of selling the home and the buyer could be forced to buy a home if a court ordered them to complete the terms of the contract they agreed to.

In the event the seller decides not to sell the home hopefully they also announce that decision early and not force the buyer to spend money to hire an appraiser, home inspector and more in order to make sure the home is in good condition.  If done early enough then maybe the buyer will walk away...

Do You Need An Open House To Sell A Home?

do you need an open house to sell a home?

Do You Need An Open House To Sell A Home?

In the past when real estate was mainly advertised through the newspaper and listings came in an actual soft cover book published on a weekly basis, open houses were a great tool to get buyers in the door to show off a home.  Generally those listing books included only one picture of the front of the house and had statistics about the house in general (bedroom count, bathroom count, square footage and more).  In order for buyers to get a real feel of the home it had to be visited in person.  What better time to get a bunch of buyers into a home than during an open house.

In the current days of the Internet with high definition photography, videos, 3D tours, virtual reality tours, aerial tours and more buyers are better able to get an overall view of a home and better decide if they want to see it in person.  If a buyer does decide they like a home they are more likely to want to view the home when no one else is around to obstruct views or make them feel rushed in seeing parts of a home.  Where open houses were needed in the past, in this current market their use and effectiveness is not as high.

What Types Of People Come To Open Houses?

To truly understand whether an open house is a good idea it helps to have an understanding of who comes to open houses and what their motivation is.  When one hosts an open house it truly means the house is open to anyone and everyone to walk in and tour to their heart’s content.house with sign for open house...

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, doors and more). ...

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 that is one less bill...

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 even though the General...

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 system repairs it is always...

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 more are instead done by...

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 they buy can only use conventional...

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 the fact that they do will give...

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 a appraisal checklist...

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 any interest payments.  Similar...

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.  If upon offer the seller changes the...

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