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.



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courtesy of NAR