Follow up to local market post

Keep in mind that markets can vary tremendously, even just in the Columbus market. Be sure you're getting the best advice possible, and specifically on your area alone. Following national and local statistics will give you a general idea, but the difference between what's going on in your particular neighborhood and generally across the U.S. will be huge! Just something to keep in mind when you see that the housing market slump has hit rock bottom. That's just not the case for most of us in Central Ohio. In fact, most of us are seeing a positive upswing already!

Local homes sales faring better than national stats

(October 18, 2007) Although home sales are down nationally, central Ohio home sales are not showing such dramatic decreases and are still above figures before the housing boom. Home sales in August were down 12.8 percent nationwide, but only off by 7.4 percent locally. Pending sales at the end of August were down 21.5 percent nationally, but only down 5.7 percent in central Ohio according to the Columbus Board of REALTORS®.
“We keep saying that sales are pretty good and they are,” says Brad Bennett, President of the Columbus Board of REALTORS®. “Thus far, this year’s home sales are trailing last year by about 5.5 percent but still well above where we were before the housing boom. We expected the market to take a breather while correcting itself, and we’re seeing that happen this year.”
The average price of a home sold, January through September, in central Ohio is $173,940. This is down 1.2 percent from the average home sale price last year. And, although homes sold in September only took about 4 extra days to sell, year to date days on market is averaging about 107 days versus the 95 it took to sell a home last year. “We’re seeing record numbers of homes put on the market for sale in the area which lends itself to a reduced sale price and longer selling period,” continues Bennett. “The flip side is, of course, that buyers should be really excited about the selection they have to choose from. And with interest rates and prices so competitive, this really is a great time to buy a home!"

Courtesy of Columbus Board of Realtors



1300 Eagleview Dr., 43228
3 beds
1 1/2 baths
2 car garage
Built in 1992
Southwestern City Schools
Most everything in this house is new!!
White doors/trim
Freshly painted neutral
Black/stainless kitchen appliances
Brushed nickel fixtures throughout
Private backyard backs to Big Run Park
realtor4columbus@yahoo.com to schedule your private showing!
Presented by Larry Coolidge Realtors


Industry tidbits from the Columbus Dispatch 9/30/07

The ARM mess that the nation is in has yet to peak! In March of 2008, $110 billion in ARM will reset, and will hopefully decline pretty steeply in the months following.

How the local home builders rate, resulting from a survey by JD Powers & Ass. To be eligible to be a part of the study, the builder had to close at least 150 homes in 2006 in Franklin & surrounding counties. Overall, Centex Homes was the winner in the categories of design, customer service & quality. M/I Homes came in 2nd in customer service, followed by Dominion Homes, Lifestyle Communities, Epcon Communities, Beazer Homes, Village Communities, Rockford Homes & Maronda Homes. Dominion Homes ranked 2nd in quality, followed by Maronda Homes, Epcon, Beazer, Village, M/I, Lifestyle & Rockford. M/I came in 2nd in design, followed by Beazer, Dominion, Rockford, Epcon, Village, Lifestyle & Maronda. The results are based on a survey of 720 local homeowners who have lived in their home from four to 18 months.

In August of this year, 1 in every 281 homes were in foreclosure in Ohio. Surprisingly, according to bankrate.com, 34% of homeowners have no idea what type of mortgage they have. I have a feeling these two statistics are very closely related to one another...

New home sales fell the most in August for the first time in seven years.


Guideline for what to expect when selling your home

The first step to successfully selling your home is finding a Realtor that's familiar with your area to help you get your home staged and ready to show. Many Realtors will assess your home for you and provide you with a list of things to do so it shows better, at no additional cost. Basically, if it's not something you use on a regular basis, pack it up and take it to a storage facility. There are professional "stagers" out there who do this for a fee, but many Realtors are trained in this area and are happy to help. If your home is an older home, or if you have lived in your home for longer than ten years, it may be worth it for you to get a home inspection before listing it. There may be problems you aren't even aware of that might break a deal down the line. These are the kinds of things that the home inspector will find, and you can adjust your price accordingly, or fix them before they're an issue with your buyer's home inspector. Keep in mind, you must disclose known defects on the "residential property disclosure form" that your Realtor will have you fill out prior to listing.

At the first meeting with your Realtor, they will provide you with the "residential property disclosure form" to fill out at your leisure. This form will be available at the property during showings for potential buyers, and will be a part of the contract. The second form they will provide you with is the "agency disclosure" form, which is just that, a disclosure, stating that all parties understand who will be represented by who, when a contract arises. This in no way binds you to this Realtor, but is a mandated form that your Realtor must present to you. The final form is the actual "exclusive right to sell" form. This will go over all the specifics of the listing agreement; the list price, showings instructions, length of listing & the Realtor's commission you agree to pay. You will get copies of all of these documents that you sign.

Before you list, make sure you know how much you owe (if anything) on your mortgage (don't forget your home equity line or 2nd mortgage, if applicable) when gathering your information.
Contact your servicer for this information; the figure on your statement may not be accurate. This will help your Realtor come up with the figures for a seller's estimated net sheet. The "net" will vary depending on the date of closing, how much in closing costs you'll be paying for your buyer, etc., but with the current payoffs, they will be able to give you an "estimate".

Take your Realtor's staging and pricing suggestions to heart. If your home doesn't sell, nobody wins, so it's in everyone's best interest if your house is priced right from day 1. Your Realtor will suggest a price, or a price range, along with comps so you can come up with the best asking price. The first 30 days your home is on the market are the most important. After that, your showings will go down, and potential buyers may wonder why it's still on the market. That's why it's so important to price it right from the beginning instead of lowering the price.

On a side note, everything that is physically attached to your home will stay with the home, as well as all landscaping, window treatments and light fixtures. If there are any of these items you won't be conveying with the home, remove them prior to listing your home. This way, there will be no confusion.

More than likely, a buyer will ask you to pay for a 1 year home warranty for them, usually no more than $400, which will be taken out of your proceeds at closing. If you put this in place now, it offers protection to you during the listing period as well.

Be as flexible as possible when the showings begin. If you have pets, have arrangements in place for them during showings. Most Realtors try to give at least 24 hours notice to show (though it's not always possible), so you should have ample time to do whatever is necessary.

When you get an offer, keep in mind that this is just a starting point. Most of the time buyers know this, and will fully expect a counter offer. There may be several counter offers, and it can get frustrating, but it is a very typical part of the process, so hang in there! The potential buyers may ask you to pay some of their closing costs, as well as the $400 home warranty, as mentioned above & a gas line warranty (if applicable) which is no more than $100. You'll want to note also how much "earnest monies" the buyer is willing to put down. If the buyer decides to walk away from the deal for no apparent reason, they will not get this money back. If they can't perform per contract due to an inability to get financed, they will get this back. The final thing to note, is the proposed closing date and possession. 99% of the time possession will be at closing, unless extenuating circumstances call for other arrangements. After everyone has agreed on all terms, you'll want to prepare for the upcoming inspections. Most buyers will try to have all inspections done at once, so they're only troubling you one time. The inspections usually happen within the first two to seven days after entering into the contract. After the inspection period of seven days, there is typically another seven day period that the buyer has to come to you with a "request to remedy unsatisfactory conditions", and we must come to terms on this within those seven days, unless a written extension is agreed upon by all parties. The majority of the time, you will be presented with a "request to remedy", unless you're living in a home that's less than three years old. This should consist mainly of safety & code issues. At this point, you can agree to remedy all of the items requested, some of the items, or none of the items. Instead of either of those options, the buyer may be satisfied with a mere reduction of the agreed upon purchase price instead of you making the repairs.

You'll want to begin contacting your utility companies (gas, electric, phone, cable, water, etc.) to get final readings about one week prior to the closing date; depending on how your homeowner's association is set up, you may have a final amount due with them as well. Be careful when moving your belongings out of the home. The contract states that the home is to be delivered to the buyer on the day of closing in the same condition it was in at the time of the first showing. The buyers are able to do a final walk-through of the home within 48 hours of closing. At this time, they'll also go over the items that were agreed upon on the "request to remedy" (if there were any) to make sure they're complete as well.

Other seller costs associated with the closing:
Since taxes are paid in arrears, you will credit the buyer at closing the taxes due from the beginning of the year through the date of closing.
Title charges will be at least $1000 (but will vary), depending on the title company's fees, the cost of the title insurance that you provide for the buyer, and other recording fees.
The Realtor's commissions, usually 6% total, 3% to your agent, and 3% to the buyer's agent.

You probably won't know an exact amount that you're netting from the sale until the day before, or even early on the day of closing. If you're fortunate enough to find out two or more days prior to closing, fantastic! At the closing table, your part as a seller is very short and sweet (usually under ten documents to sign)! The closing will take about an hour, give or take. Most of the time, you do have the option to pre-sign, leaving the house keys and garage door openers with the title company, which they will turn them over to the buyer at the end of the closing.



Average Days On the Market in Central Ohio...

...is up 15%, with the average days on market now being 106. Certain areas of Columbus are much, much slower, others are much faster!

Sales statistics in/around the Columbus area.

The latest statistics available as of now, are thru the end of May 2007, and are in comparison to last year at this same time.

The area of Columbus/Dublin/Worthington north of Bethel Rd. showed a decrease of 7.1%, bringing the average selling price to $181,432.

The southwestern Delaware Co. quadrant showed an INCREASE of 4.0%, bringing the average selling price to $388,985.

Bexley showed an INCREASE of 7.6%, with the average selling price being $310,988.

Delaware proper showed a decrease of 3.3%, with the average selling price being $150,481.

Dublin proper showed a decrease of 4.7%, with the average selling price being $318,340.

Gahanna showed an INCREASE of 6.3%, with the average selling price being $211,683.

Grandview Heights showed a decrease of 10.1%, with the average selling price being $224,354.

Grove City showed an INCREASE of 4.7%, with the average selling price being $161,877.

Hilliard showed a decrease of 6.4%, with the average selling price being $205,893.

Marysville showed an INCREASE of 9.9%, with the average selling price being $174,216.

New Albany showed a decrease of 7.3%, with the average selling price being $619,195.

Pickerington showed an INCREASE of 3.6%, with the average selling price being $210,834.

Powell showed a decrease of .9%, with the average selling price being $336,156.

Upper Arlington showed an INCREASE of .8%, with the average selling price being $322,735.

Westerville showed a decrease of 1.6%, with the average selling price being $196,807.

Worthington proper showed an INCREASE of 12.7%, with the average selling price being $266,379.

Statistics courtesy of the Columbus Board of Realtors.


Better news for sellers!

Ok, the past few months have proven to me something that I believe to have been true all along! If your home is priced right, and staged to sell, you will sell your home! It's definitely not the time to be greedy, but your home WILL sell under these conditions. A fresh coat of neutral paint, and new carpeting throughout are the two best things you can do to help your home show the best that it can! A listing of mine sold for full purchase price in 35 days, after 26 showings! Traffic is good, and buyers are still out there if you follow the suggestions of your Realtor! All of these factors are, of course, dependent on neighborhood & school district too, so it's not a catch all... Good luck!

Find Weekly Open Houses!



Spec Homes in the Columbus area

Sponsored by the local BIA, you can search many central Ohio home builder's spec/inventory homes!


Sellers in little pocket of N suburb are selling!!

Within the past 3 months, the overwhelming majority of new listings have sold in under 40 days, and for top dollar! The area in question is east of Smoky Row Rd., north of Hard Rd., and just south of the Delaware/Franklin Co. border! These neighborhoods boast Worthington schools, Columbus taxes, steady appreciation, and are historically in high demand!

Columbus is only city in Ohio to make the cut!

Columbus was recently named one of RelocateAmerica.com's annual list of top 100 places to live in 2007! Check out the entire list: http://top100.relocate-america.com/.


Village Green Ampitheater Concerts in Powell

August 5, featuring Big Daddy Blue (Jimmy Buffett inspired). Show starts at 6, and make sure to bring lawnchairs and/or blankets! Admission is FREE!!

Good news on the housing market!

After close to 12 months of house values not appreciating, or even slightly depreciating, values are on the rise again. That's great news for you sellers out there! If you can hang in there a little while longer, the market is on the upswing! Now is the time to try to capture buyers, just before the new school year starts!


Content on BLOG

This BLOG is a work in progress, so lists may not be all-inclusive. Please be patient, and resources/information will be added weekly!

Record number of homes still on the market...

Last month, almost 5,000 new listings came on the market, leaving us with over 18,500 homes currently on the market!!! If you're trying to sell, price it right from the beginning, and see the tips I have below for increasing curb appeal! Sellers, good luck in this ever tough market, and if you stage your home properly, and make it more appealing than the competition, you'll see a closing soon!


Foreclosures STILL on the rise....

1 out of every 45 households in Ohio will go into foreclosure this year! These statistics are startling, but as I'm sure you've heard, things are going to progressively get worse before they get better!


New ways to improve your credit!

I just went to a seminar yesterday and learned some great new tips on how to raise your credit score! First of all, pay your accounts down to below 30% of the available balance, if not completely off. Don't close accounts even after they've been paid off. Did you know that any derogatory things on your credit report are able to come off after 7 years? If there are derogatory items on your report, write a letter to the credit bureaus asking that they be removed! Pay whatever costs are involved to get unlimited access to your credit report AND credit scores. Monitor your credit closely, and small changed like these can make a big difference in your scores, allowing you to qualify to borrow more money with less money down! Happy credit score raising!!!


Home seller tips - updated!

1. Make sure your home has great curb appeal! This is one way to gain an advantage over competitiors in this tough market!
  • Give your front door has a fresh coat of paint! The entryway is the first impression potential buyers will have of your home!
  • Make sure your exterior coach lights are clean and in good condition. If not, consider replacing them!
  • Clean your windows.
  • Re-seal your driveway, if applicable.
  • Mulch & plant some colorful flowers.

2. Update light fixtures, even just those in the main living areas. Get rid of the brass!!! Any small updates you can do will help your home sell faster!
3. If you have ceramic tile in your home, have the grout cleaned! Again, these small things will make your home show better, and may very well be the difference between someone bringing an offer on your home, or someone else's home!
4. Have carpets professionally cleaned, and keep them swept.
5. Have someone walk through your home that isn't there often, like a friend or family member. Things that need to be tended to may stick out to someone else, but may not to you because you see it everyday!
6. Touch up your walls with paint, where needed.
7. De-personalize your home. When potential buyers are walking through your home, it'll be easier for them to imagine themselves starting a life in the home if there aren't family photos all over!
8. De-clutter. Collect something? Pack them up, put them in boxes, and store. Store most anything that isn't necessary for everyday living for you! A "stager" or your Realtor will be able to assist you in this!
9. Be as flexible as possible with scheduling showings. If someone is out with a buyer for a short time, and they aren't able to get in to your home, more than likely, they'll forget about it, and move on!
10. Trying to sell a vacant home? Have it staged, even if it's only a few key items! Studies show overwhelmingly that a vacant home will sit on the market much longer than a furnished home. Most buyers have a difficult time judging if their furniture will fit, and having furniture in the home will help them compare!
11. Be prepared to negotiate. If you're stuck, and you're really not able to accept much (if any) less than the asking price, make it known, and be creative with negotiating other aspects of the offer!
12. Have a 1 year home warranty in place by a reputable company.
13. Price your home competitively from the get go. The first six weeks your home is on the market are the most important. You'll get most of your traffic then. If your home sits on the market for too long, potential buyers will wonder if there is a problem with the property, and shy away from it.
14. Good luck, be patient, and if all else fails, bury a St. Joseph's statue and pray! :)


Good eating habits!

1. Eat a variety of fresh fruits & veggies! The more colorful your plate, the better health results you'll have!
2. Don't take your food dishes to the table with you. Serve yourselves on the counter, then take your plates to the table to eat. If you have to get up to get a second helping, you're less likely to do so!
3. Eat lots of cheese, and drink plenty of milk! Dairy products are supposed to aid in weight loss!
4. Keep healthy snacks on hand to munch on. Skim milk string cheese, nuts, fruit, etc. We cut up fruit, and put single serving sizes in baggies, so it's quick and easy to grab one and go!
5. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. It keeps you feeling full!
6. For each item you're eating, a healthy portion size is about the size of your fist. You may not feel that this is filling enough, but you'll get used to it, and will avoid over-eating!
We've implemented these habits, and have reaped the rewards from doing so! Happy eating!


Looking to give back to your community?

VolunteerMatch is a site that will match your talents/interests with organizations in need! There are some great, worthwhile causes on here!


Homes finally appreciating again!!

Home values are up 2.3% from last year at this time (the first time we've seen appreciating prices in the past 9 months)! There are still over 17,600 homes on the market in Central Ohio, which is about 10% more than last year! Buyers, you've got a great selection of homes to choose from!

Go Green!!!

The City of Columbus does offer curbside recycling, which makes it much easier than if you have to take your recyclables somewhere!



Moving? Relocating?

Here is a "moving" time-line I came across! Hope it helps!


Tips on getting great credit

Top 7 Habits from People With Great Credit Scores

by Eric Bramlett

People with great credit scores have earned them for a reason - they have always borrowed money, and paid it back on time. There's really no trick to what they've done, and there is no one action that will help you get a great credit score. When someone asks me how to earn a good credit score, I tell them to look at the spending habits of those with great scores, and to develop the same habits. Here are the 7 habits of people with great credit scores.

1. Never Pay Cash
People with great credit scores want every purchase to count. And a purchase doesn't count unless the 3 bureaus know about it! The only way to make sure that the bureaus know how much money you're spending is to put everything on your card(s). Rather than deposit your paycheck and spend, think of your spending as a monetary cycle: Put your paycheck in the bank, spend with your credit cards, and pay off the cards with the funds you've already deposited. It's one extra step that pays off big with the added security and boost to your score that credit cards provide. Credit cards aren't just for larger purchases anymore. Using your credit cards for items like soft drinks and gum has become so common that credit card companies have given a name to them: "Micro-purchases."

2. Never Use a Debit Card
You won't find a debit card in the wallets of people with great credit scores. Debit cards provide you absolutely nothing that a credit card won't, and credit cards will build your credit score! Furthermore, if someone steals your credit card, you're protected against fraudulent purchases, while with a debit card, you're out of luck! People with great credit scores take every opportunity to build their credit - going to the grocery store, buying gas, or renting movies!

3. Pay Off Your Balance(s)
People with great credit scores don't typically carry high credit card balances. The easiest way to emulate this is to make sure that you don't carry ANY balances. You'll obtain the best credit score if you make sure that you're using the smallest portion of your potential limit - which means "Zero." People with great credit scores make sure to use their cards, but pay the balance off every month.

4. Put Yourself on a Bill Payment Schedule
In order for the credit bureaus to reward your good spending habits, you have to pay your bills on time. However, you have a little leeway. While it's not a good idea to pay your bills a few days late because your creditors will charge you late penalties, it won't affect your credit score negatively unless you pay them more than 30 days late. The easiest way to stay on top of your bills is to pick one day out of the month to take care of everything.

5. Consistently Request Higher Credit Card Limits
Because people with great credit scores habitually borrow money and immediately pay it off, the credit card companies are very comfortable consistently raising their spending limits. People with great credit scores consistently request higher limits because it allows them the freedom to borrow and keep a balance, if the need arises, without lowering their scores. You will have the best credit score if you keep the balances of your cards below roughly 35% of the spending limit of each card. People with great credit scores don't habitually spend over 35% of the limit of their cards. Furthermore, if you have high limits, you can take advantage of the promotional offers that the banks offer from time to time. A borrower I know with a great score recently transferred the second mortgage on his home to a 1.99% APR promotional rate on his credit card - the rate is good for the life of the loan!

6. Never Close a Credit Card Account
The credit bureaus take into account the age of your credit lines - and people with great credit scores know this, and exploit it. Many times, people with mediocre or low scores will pay off a card they've abused and close the account because they subconsciously think it was the card's fault they let the balance get as high as it did. This is NOT the correct thing to do in this situation. That card has a great history behind it! You've shown the bureaus that you're willing to borrow a large sum of money and then pay it down to zero. People with great credit scores NEVER close credit card accounts because they want to show that they have a long history of properly using credit.

7. Never Rent
Your home is probably the largest purchase you will ever make in your life, and is the one purchase that can make the biggest impact on your credit score. When you purchase a home, you're showing the bureaus that you can consistently budget yourself to pay a large portion of your income towards an account on a monthly basis. There are a number of reasons people with great credit scores refuse to rent, and the impact of paying a mortgage on their scores is one of them. When a first time homebuyer finally closes on their home and pays the mortgage on time for a few months, they will see their credit score jump around 50 points - and sometimes higher!

People with great credit scores haven't achieved anything too terribly difficult - they've merely adopted some fantastic spending habits. If you would like to earn a great credit score, borrow these habits and watch your score climb. Along with your score, your financial health should benefit, as well!

Useful links

http://www.statelocalgov.net/ – search out zoning rules and municipal issues
http://www.constructionweblinks.com/ – call before you dig information
www.co.delaware.oh.us/auditor/index.html - Delaware county auditor
www.columbus-ohbbb.org/ - Columbus’ Better Business Bureau

Home buyers & sellers

Home Buyers:
Sounds like there’s an echo in here… It’s still a buyer’s market! The number of new listings keeps going up, and homes are beginning to sell, but we’re still left with quite an influx of homes on the market! If you’re using a good Realtor, they will do some research for you, like how much the home was originally listed for, and how many (and when) price reductions have been done. This information will be especially helpful when negotiating the purchase price!

Even if you're looking at purchasing a new home, it's important to have a Realtor representing you, and looking out for your best interests. The sales reps that you come across at a builder's model are being paid by the builder, thus, looking out for the builder's best interests, not yours. I can also assist you in purchasing a FSBO (For Sale By Owner); most will pay the buyer’s agent their 3% commission. Using a Realtor to purchase a home is free of charge to you (the seller always pays), but will bring you much peace of mind, knowing that someone is on your side.

Home Sellers:
Hang in there! The market is slowly evening out, but it’s still going to get a bit worse before it gets better! A lot of people that bought homes 2-5 years ago with by using exotic lending options (ARM’s, Interest Only loanes, etc.), and now those payments are starting to get unmanageable, so the foreclosure rate is going to keep going up! Buyers signed docs without being told, or truly understanding what the exact terms of their loans were! The best advice I can give you as a seller is to make sure that your home has the best curb appeal, and is more inviting than your competition. I have some experience in staging and de-cluttering to make your home show the best, if you’re interested!


Autism Speaks...

Autism Speaks created a music video of the Five for Fighting song, "World", which features images of children with autism and their families. It is a truly moving video and was the work of Bill Shea.
The band (which is actually just one guy) is generously donating $0.49 to Autism Speaks for each time the video is viewed and the winning charity will receive a special prize (there are several others on the site). When you have a moment, please visit the link below to watch the video and pass it along to your friends and family. They are aiming for 10,000 hits, but hopefully we can help them to surpass this goal.



Legal Disclaimer

This blog is provided by myself, Amber, Realtor, to provide information about the Central Ohio housing market to locals, visitors and relocators alike.

I disclaim responsibility for any of the content or opinions expressed on this blog, including, but not limited to content or opinions regarding any products or service mentioned on the blog.

I disclaim liability for any damages or losses, direct or indirect, that may result from use of or reliance on information contained in the blog.

This blog may contain links to other Web sites operated by third parties. These links are provided as a convenience to access the information contained therein. I have not reviewed all of the information on other sites and disclaims any responsibility for the content of any other sites or the products or services that may be offered on or through those sites. Inclusion of a link to another site does not indicate any endorsement or approval of the site or its content.

I reserve the right to edit, remove or deny access to individuals or content that I determine to be unacceptable, including, but not limited to, any abusive, profane, rude, defamatory, or anonymous comments.

courtesy of NAR