Interest rates to drop below 5%??

It may happen soon! The Treasury Dept. has been asked to consider a plan that would drive interest rates on 30 year fixed loans down to 4.5%! Details could be released as early as next week! Great news for you buyers that have been on the fence! If you've got job security, good credit and at least 3% down, there really is no better time to buy a home! Rates are currently hovering around between 5.5% & 5.75%. This interest rate drop would also affect refinancing. I'll post more details if/when they become available!


Average Sales Price Stats for 10/08

Here are some of the lastest stats from the Columbus Board of Realtors.

Areas showing an INCREASE in sales price:

The downtown area of Columbus; $261,987 last year to $312,940, almost a 20% increase!

The area loosely located north of Bethel Rd., west of 315, east of Riverside & south of Powell; over 5%, from $184,358 to $194,252.

The area located south of Bethel Rd. to include parts of Grandview & the Lane Ave. area east of 315; $149,169 to $158,525, over 6% increase.

Canal Winchester; a slight increase of 1.73%, up to $175,610.

Dublin; up 3.5% from $319,035 to $330,220.

Hilliard; an increase (but still not a decrease) of less than 1%, at $204,031.

Plain City; up almost 10% to $183,761.

Areas showing a DECREASE:

Columbus, just north of 670, including the Short North, Victorian Village & Italian Village; down 10.5%, to $137,129.

Columbus, east of downtown, to include Olde Towne East; down over 20% to $68,022.

Columbus, south of downtown including German Village; down 31% to $127,690.

East Columbus, south of I-70, and east of Brice Rd.; down 11.37% to $109,600.

West Columbus, east of 270; down almost 25% to $50,144.

Northwest Delaware County; down 14% to $181,243.

Northeast Delaware County; down over 12% to $186,631.

Lancaster; down slightly more than 10% to $101,673.

Pickerington; down 9% to $190,084.

Grandview Heights; down almost 14% to $232,180.

Newark & Granville; down 16.5% to $261,638.

Lockbourne; down almost 18% to $64,693.

Upper Arlington; down almost 7% to $312,570.

Whitehall; down over 40% to $50,230.

Worthington; down 10% to $228,167.

For areas not listed, e-mail me for more details! realtor4columbus@yahoo.com


Before & After

I sold this home to friends of mine a few years ago, and they lost some siding in the windstorms we had this past summer. They did an amazing transformation! Here are the before & after pics! Great job on boosting your curb appeal (one of things potential buyers will be looking for most)!


Don't have 3% cash to put down?

You may still be able to purchase a home; a brand NEW home that is! Some builders in our area are once again offering work equity programs. If you can paint and pick up a hammer (contact me for specifics), then this program will cover your 3% downpayment!


For what it's worth....

After watching the happenings in the local real estate market for quite some time now, I have to question whether or not the media is really painting an accuate picture of the local housing market . You may agree with me, disagree with me, or agree to disagree with me, but here are my thoughts and opinions on the current LOCAL real estate market that we find ourselves in.

1. Condos have been hit especially hard. They've become extremely difficult to move in this market (partly because condos are competing with single family REO homes in the same price range).

2. Newer neighborhoods (including upscale neighborhoods, prices from $325K and up), built after 2002 or so, have also been hit especially hard.

3. Most of the areas that I work in (Powell, Dublin, Worthington, NW Cols) are still selling ok, with home values only down slightly from this same time last year, usually only 1 - 2%.

4. If your home looks the best it possibly can, and is reasonably priced (the sellers aren't trying to make profits that they could have 2 years ago), your home will sell. Homes in my neighborhood are still selling for close to asking price, in 90 days, give or take!

Not all together bad news! Happy house selling!


Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac trying to curb foreclosures


Essentially, these two giants are going to try to speed up the loan modification process, in hopes that this will cut back on the number of loans that actually go into foreclosure. Citigroup, Bank of America & J.P. Morgan Chase have recently announced similar programs. Too little too late? Who knows....

Another informative website I just came across!

I wanted to share this with all of you, in hopes that the resources available here might help you or someone you know!



New Listing... on YouTube!


I'm so proud of myself for figuring out how to do this all on my own! :)

Housing Market Stats

Home sales are strong, according to the Columbus Board of Realtors. Sales for September were only down 1.5% from September '07, and the average sales price is only down 1.7% from last September to just over $160K. To add to the already stabilizing market, there were fewer homes added to the market, making September the month with the lowest inventory in six months! The average number of days on market is going down to, to just around 100 days. These are all great signs that the Columbus market is on the upswing!


Good news on getting financed!

Well, it seems that things might not be as grim after all for those of you trying to obtain financing! If you have a credit score in the upper 600's, and a minimum of 3% (going up to 3.5% in January) down, you should still be able to obtain a mortgage! Contact me if you need contact names & numbers of lenders that may be able to help!


What's your home worth?

I'm setting aside this week and next to run comps for you! If you're interested, let me know, and I'll get you my findings within 48 hours!


Alternative financing options

Have you found the perfect home but are having troubles getting financing? Check out this article for some great alternatives!


Up until a few days ago, Ohio had a great program (OHFA http://www.ohiohome.org/) that offered downpayment assistance programs, but due to the economic times, has been temporarily discontinued.


The first step is so important these days!

Before you start looking at properties, contact a lender to get an idea as to how much you'll qualify for, and how much money down you'll need. The days of 0 down are long gone, so plan on putting at least 3-5% down, if not 10-20%, depending on credit, etc. Start saving now! There are many great deals to be had, but you will need money down. There are a few special programs out there, depending on what you do for a living (see older posts below) that may save you a few $$! When you've gotten this important first step taken care of, contact me at realtor4columbus at yahoo dot com, and I'll help you find that perfect property!


Financial Crisis Survey Results

Thanks to everyone who participated! I appreciate and value your thoughts and opinions!

1. Has the condition of the current housing/financial market made you put your home buying/selling plans on hold?
Yes - 20% of you said that yes, it has made you put your home buying/selling plans on hold, temporarily.
No - 60% of you said that this current situation has not made you change home buying/selling plans (either you've just recently purchased a home, or the situation has made you start saving more rapidly for a down payment).
Maybe - 20% of you are uncertain as to whether or not you'll change your plans.

2. Do you think the government should have been responsible for bailing out large financial institutions that are in trouble?
Yes - 0%
No - 84%
Maybe - 16%

3. Do you think the situation would have corrected itself if the government hadn't stepped in?
Yes - 34% of you thought that though it would've taken some time, the situation would eventually correct itself
No - 16%
Maybe - 50% of you were unsure as to whether or not the situation would correct itself without the government stepping in, or thought that yes, it would've, but the government's measures would lessen the effects and expedite the recovery.
"I think the pain and suffering needed to resolve this financial crisis will be less with government intervention than it would have been without it. The markets would have corrected themselves, but it might have taken many years and been very painful in terms of job and home loss. Also, the bail out will not save us from any all the pain, there certainly is/will be some."

4. Who do you think is responsible for the current financial institution crisis?
Buyers & Lenders - 60% of you thought that buyers AND lenders should share the responsibility
Buyers - 20% of you thought the buyers should accept sole responsibility.
Buyers, Lenders, Appraisers, etc (anyone/everyone involved in a transaction) - 20% thought that everyone involved should accept some of the responsibility.

5. Could it have been avoided?
Yes - 100% of you thought it could've been avoided.

6. Who do you think is responsible for the decline in the housing market?
No one - 20% of you thought that the market traditionally has ups and downs.
All involved / the general public - 60%
Lenders / Buyers - 20%
Most of the replies to this question were the same as question #4.

7. When do you see it turning around?
1-2 years - 34% of you thought it would be at least a year or 2 (some thought it'll depend on who gets elected as our next president).
2+ years - 50%
Don't know - 16% of you weren't sure.

8. How has the current housing market situation directly affected you?
There were many variations of a few specific answers, so I'll just post a few:
The market hasn't affected me.
Can't sell current property.
Homes selling for less than market value.
Property values dropping.
We got a great deal on our purchase.

9. Feel free to add any other related comments/questions!
"For people who are NOT in a bad situation from bad ideas, I wonder how easy it would be to purchase homes and rent them, or is the rental market flooded too?? I wish I had a bit of expendable cash to take advantage of the low costs to buy!"

I would be that this would be a great option right now, IF you had the expendable cash! :)


Stuck in a mortgage that no longer meets your needs?

OHFA (Ohio Housing Finance Agency) now offers an "opportunity loan refinance program" to help homeowners who currently have interest-only or ARM's into a 30 year fixed rate mortgage. Click below for more details.


Home Buyer Courses

MORPC (Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission) offers courses covering a variety of topics for homebuyers. I've included the link to their latest schedule!




What does this bail-out that is currently being concocted mean for us? I certainly don't have the answers, and not really sure that anyone does. I think it's a wait and see situation, and everyone hanging on for dear lives in the meantime. What I do know is that even thought it's a buyer's market, with so many great deals out there, it's becoming harder and harder to get a mortgage, even with money down, good credit and a good income. If you're thinking in that direction, seek out a lender NOW and see what your options are before you start looking at homes.

New website to search for open houses....


Just found this and wanted to pass it along!


Local market update

According to the Ohio Association of Realtors, the statistics seen currently in the market are on par with statistics from pre-2003 (2003 - 2007 was the never seen before real estate "boom"). That's great news, and shows us that the market is starting to stabilize somewhat!


Selling a vacant home?

Did you know that if your home is vacant (you've already purchased & moved into a new home), it may not be covered from damage, destruction, arson, etc...? Call your homeowners insurance agent today to make sure you're covered!


National average on return of investments

I don't know how accurate these figures are (locally), but should at least give you an idea as to which projects typically help increase the value of your home! Spending money to update/improve kitchens & baths will generally offer the best return on dollars spent.


Market Trends

Well, the good news is that some homes that have been on the market for months (or even years) are beginning to sell. The bad news is there are 200+ new listings in the central Ohio area each week! That means even more competition than ever, so if you're looking to sell, your home must be in the best possible showing condition. It's not impossible in all areas to sell right now, but obviously some areas have been affected worse than others!



2008 Home Improvement Challenge

It's here! The 2008 Home Improvement Challenge sponsored by Better Homes & Gardens. Categories include:
  • additions
  • bath
  • decorating
  • exterior face-lifts
  • green improvements
  • kitchen
  • outdoor improvements
  • projects less than $5,000
  • renovation

Visit www.bhg.com/challenge for more information! Entries are accepted through 1/31.


Housing and Economic Recovery Act

What does it mean to homeowners? Here are the basics of the tax credit being offered:
  • a $7500 maximum (you can claim up to 10% of the purchase price) tax credit to either first time homebuyers OR if you haven't owned a home in the past three years
  • if your AGI (adjusted gross income) exceeds $75,000 for an individual or $150,000 as a couple, the amount you're eligible for begins to decrease
  • you must close by 6/30/09 on the home
  • the amount credited must be paid back over a period of 15 years
  • if you sell the home before the 15 year period (and you have no gain on the sale) you won't be expected to pay the credit back
  • http://www.federalhousingtaxcredit.com/ for more information

The bill also contains a provision to help homeowners with subprime loans refinance into a 30 year fixed FHA mortgage.

Below are a few articles I've come across that may help make sense of it all!







Your home not selling?

There are only a few reasons that your home may not be selling. First of all, how is the market in your neighborhood? Are homes selling? If so, then it has to be either location, price or condition. If your property sits in a desirable location in the subdivision, then look at the other possibilities. Have your agent pull comps weekly to make sure your home is still priced competitively, and make adjustments if necessary. This is even more important now with all the bank owned homes selling around us. If non of these things apply, then it MUST be the condition of the home. This could be just about anything, from odors to outdated finishes, mismatched carpeting, odd paint color choices, etc. The most important thing you can do to avoid the condition of your home being a factor, is to enlist the help of a few friends/family members/co-workers who will give you an honest opinion of your home. Things that potential buyers will notice are things that you probably won't because you're used to them (pet odors, messy paint job, etc.). I see it more now than in the past, but these are real problems that need to be addressed! An acquaintance of mine has a home on the market that just happened to fall into the criteria of a new buyer that I'm working with, so I showed it last week. The cat urine odor as soon as we walked in the door was horrid (the other disagreeable characteristics of the house don't even matter at this point). When I gave my feedback, she was in disbelief because no one else had told her this before. The house has been sitting empty, on the market for close to a year now............ Coincidence? I don't think so!


Behind on your mortgage?

Don't fret, there are many resources out there to prevent you from losing your home. Now, more than ever, banks are willing to work with you on late/missed payments. They don't want your home, they just want your money, but you have to ask for help! There are so many other options out there, besides just letting your home go into foreclosure, and your credit won't be hurt nearly as much! Contact your lender at the first sign that you're struggling to make your mortgage payment, and see what they can do to help. Most likely, they won't come to you to see if you need help. YOU NEED TO GO TO THEM! No one wants to admit they're having troubles making their mortgage payments, and we as humans, don't like to ask for help, or admit defeat, but you have the opportunity to seek out options available to you. YOU JUST NEED TO ASK!


First time home buyers -- now's the time!

First time home buyers make up the vast majority of home buyers right now, and why not? Now is still a great time to buy, especially if you don't have a house to sell! Interest rates are still very low, and probably won't be as low for many years to come! The biggest difference between now & in the recent past, is that you'll probably need at least 3-5% down and excellent credit. Real estate continues to be an excellent long term investment, so what are you waiting for? There are many, many homes to choose from, so contact your local Realtor today to see what you've been missing out on!


Selling a home in this market....

Over the past few weeks, it's become ever more evident than ever that the homes on the market that are in great, updated, move-in condition are the ones that are still selling (at least in some areas), and quickly at that! "Good" condition isn't cutting it in this day and age, (one of the best buyer's markets ever seen)! Most buyers these days are very picky (and rightfully so) and are willing to spend an extra $20K to get a home that's ready for them to move right into! If you're concerned as to whether or not your home falls into this category, contact me, or a local stager to make sure your home shows the best that it possibly can! All the little things really do make a difference in this market (dusty light fixtures, cobwebs in corners, dirty/sticky kitchen counters, etc.). With a little money out of pocket, some extra elbow grease and attention to detail, your home can be one of these homes!


HELOC's a thing of the past?

In the midst of the largest mortgage crisis the US has ever seen, some lenders are now pulling in the reins on Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOC). Many lenders are not offering HELOC's at all anymore and are freezing the ones borrowers have already obtained in an effort to prevent borrowers from using more than what their property value can hold.


House deals?

With all the homes on the market that are bank-owned and need some TLC, or are homes that have had long time home owners (empy nesters) in need of some updates, there are many great buying opportunities out there! Do to recent requests, I have started sending out weekly or bi-weekly e-mails containing some of the properties I've found that offer great opportunity! If you'd like to be added to the list, let me know!


Ohio Heroes Program

OHFA is offereing special interest rates on mortgages for those employed full-time in the following professions:

Active Military
Healthcare workers
Military Veterans
Police Officers


Value listed on Auditor's page high?


If you have purchased a home in Franklin County or you have an appraisal from a licensed appraiser that states that your home is worth less than the value listed on the Auditor's page, today is the deadline to file to have your value reviewed.


New Home Buying Seminar

4/10 from 7-9 PM at the Bridgewater Conference Center on Sawmill Pkwy. in Powell. Sponsored by the BIA and CBR, and admission is free! Builders will be on hand to show you what they offer.



Happy Easter!

Spring has finally arrived, so the calendar says, and the home buyers are ready to go! The interest rates are still near record lows, making it a great time to buy! Sellers, stay focused and positive! Buyers are out there, and sooner or later, that perfect buyer will walk through your door!


Free home inspection!!!


At Larry Coolidge Realtors, we will pay for your home inspection. There are many homes out there with not so obvious problems (yes, even new builds), and we want to make sure that you don't fall victim to them! Contact us today for details!



We're FINALLY live!!! We've been working so hard on editing content and such for our website for almost a year now, and it's finally up and open for business!! You can search all the listings in the central Ohio area, use our calculators to figure payments, and search our (rapidly growing) list of useful links! We are confident that you'll find our website so useful and informative, you won't need to go anywhere else to search for homes in the area! Any feedback is greatly appreciated!
www.lcrohio.com (Larry Coolidge Realtors)


Home prices rising!!

Home sale prices in November were 2.1% higher than last November! Along with that, the number of new listings fell in October for the third month in a row. Both of these items mean good news for all of central Ohio! The market is finally showing definite signs of a rebound!

(stats courtesy of CBR)


Is pollution a concern of yours?

If so, check out this website. It helps track the amount and type of pollution in the air, separated by different counties.


Suggestions for paying your mortgage off quicker....

1. Make bi-weekly payments instead of monthly (resulting in an extra payment or two at the end of each year).
2. Make 13 payments each year instead of 12.

Either of these will help you pay your mortgage off faster!