Why do I need a home inspection?

Considering that buying a home might be the biggest investments you’ll ever make, wouldn’t you like to be assured that this home is THE RIGHT ONE! Having a home inspection can set your mind at ease by knowing the “ins and outs” of a house, construction methods, operation and maintenance with longevity in mind. There are many home inspectors to chose from.

During a home inspection it is important to let the inspector do their job. While it sounds important and cool to follow the inspector around asking questions and learning, it can be better to save that until the end. You can request for additional time at the end of the inspection for questions/explanations if you would like to have more thorough information. The inspection will begin with the exterior and continue to the inside. The crawl space or basement will be towards the end. An inspector will check electrical, structural, insulation levels, plumbing, mechanics (furnace, a/c, hot water heater, etc), and many more items. They will give you a complete report which will show the age and condition of everything checked. The end of the report will show the minor repairs which normally consist of smaller items that are more informational to watch or fix if you desire. The major repairs are in need of a closer look as these could be expensive to repair. You will need to negotiate with the seller to either repair or give a concession to repair after closing. It is advisable to request that a licensed contractor repair the major items.

While purchasing a home can be over-whelming, finding a trustworthy inspector is one step to take that lessens the stress of this important event! Let us help you out!

Why Buy?

9 Reasons to Buy Versus Rent your Home!

1. Pride in Owning: Most people buy homes to have control over where they live. Although investment features are important, the psychological reasons for buying–the satisfaction of owning and freedom from paying rent–are at least as important.

In a survey done by the National Association of Realtors of 6,000 homeowners and 2,000 renters–perhaps the largest survey ever of attitudes toward home ownership–it was shown that 76% of owners and 66% of renters considered pride of ownership an important reason for buying.

2. Dislike paying Rent: Close to 7 in 10 of almost equal portions of owners and renters expressed a dislike of paying rent as an important reason to buy. Renting offers a lifestyle that’s nearly maintenance-free. That may appeal to you, but consider that renting offers you no equity, no tax benefit, and no protection against regular rent increases. Writing a rent check is just like watching your hard-earned money sail away!

3. Settling Down: More than 6 in 10 renters said “settling down” was an important reason to by.

4. Good Investment: 76% of owners and 69% of renters said that the investment aspect of ownership was important.

5. Tax Advantage: Property taxes and qualified home interests are deductible on Schedule A, for itemized deductions.

6.Long-Term Appreciation: People consider homeownership a good investment because they view it as a long-term venture. Historically, home prices have risen at relatively steady rates. Existing home prices rose an average of 4% per year between 1980 and 1992.

7. Leverage Investments: People borrow a great deal to buy homes, yet they receive the full benifits of price appreciation. In the long run, investments in homes far out pace inflation rates.

8. Source of Savings: Homeownership always has been and continues to comprise the singel largest source of savings for American households. Howeowners build equity and can borrow against it.

9. Sacrifices Are Worth It: Almost 7 in 10 renters in the National Association of Realtors homeownership survey said that they planned to buy a home in the future. More than three-quarters of these people said they were willing to sacrifice to do that.

The Fire Drill—And Other Tips For Showing Your Home Successfully!

So, you might be a bit overwhelmed by the plethora of information available out there about selling a house; tips, tricks, and every piece of advice under the sun. To make it simpler, here is a list of “Seller Reminder Points” that are extremely simple, to the point, and helpful. They aren’t intended to be every bit of information you’ll need during the selling process, rather, they are meant to be an aid in the “showing” process.

Seller Reminder Points

1. Don’t “sell” your home. Let the agent do his/her job. The agent will show the benefits based on the Buyer’s needs, wants and perceptions.

2. “Fire Drill” time is: Opening blinds, turning on lights, turning the television off, put soft music on.

3. Agent drive bys/drop ins. Say “I’ll be happy to allow you to show the home. Can you give me 3 minutes?” Then it’s Fire Drill time!

4. Greet your Buyer and agents at the door (if you are at home) and direct them to listing information book about your home. Then please leave the home to allow the buyers to look in leisure.

5. Say “If you have any questions, I’ll be in the back/front yard” and leave the house at this time.

6. Keep track of how long the buyers are in the house. If any buyers are in the home more than 25 minutes, they may be very interested.

7. If asked an uncomfortable question, i.e. lower price, modifications the buyers may want, types of people that live in the neighborhood, etc., simply say “I think it is something my agent would be happy to talk with you about.”

8. Remember “real” buyers want to touch, smell and explore. Have your kitchen drawers, closets and garage organized.

9. Never apologize for the present condition of the home. If it is unclean, or toys are out, don’t mention why.

10. Most agents may not arrive on time when showing property. Many will be ahead of or behind schedule, or may not even show up at all.

“The Fire Drill”, along with these other reminders, is a great plan to have in place in order to be ready to open your door to prospective buyers with only a few minute’s notice and still Wow them from their first step inside!

Buyer Notification System!

The Buyer Notification System is a great tool we use to help you find the RIGHT Home for you!

What It Does…

~Searches for Properties that match your criteria.

~Gives Notification by mail or e-mail.

~Offers a Systematized buyer process to save you time.

~A Team of Trained Professionals who Work For and With You!

Once we have Your Criteria, we search the Multiple Listing Service daily to find properties that match that criteria. Once a match is found, we send the data sheets for that property to you, either by e-mail or postal mail. This allows you to look at properties on Your time and to review all of the details of each property. We are available via our Web Site, so you can easily send us an e-mail if you have any questions or would like to make an appointment to see a specific property with your Buyer Representative.

This is just one more step towards finding the Right Home for You!

Getting your house ready for Sale!

So, you’ve begun the process of listing your home for sale. There are a few things you need to know in order to make this as smooth a process as possible. Let’s take a look at these important steps one at a time.

The most important step in preparing your home for sale is “Presentation”. Prospective buyers want to be greeted by cleanliness and spaciousness, inside and out.

What is the first thing a prospective buyer sees as they drive by/stop in to look at your home?

“Curb Appeal”

Be sure to keep your yard well manicured and clean. Rake away leaves and trim hedges. Even if you can’t afford a professional these minor maintenance steps can make a world of difference. Check the front entryway and make sure it is free of clutter and inviting. Clear away cobwebs and sweep the walkway. If the front door has sun damage or scuffs, throw a coat of paint on it for a fresh new look.

With these simple steps, prospective buyers will be dying to get a look at the inside of your home!

Remember, first impressions can make the difference between a “Sold” sign in the front yard and a long haul.

Real Estate Appears to be Leveling Out

Real estate appears to be stabilizing across the Country

A recent report shows improvement in real estate across the country.  The well known S&P/Case-Schiller index shows that the 10 city index and the 20 city index a marked improvement in real estate in the majority of cities that it tracks.  What the reports displays are small improvements or minimal devaluation in home values.  Home values are up anywhere from .1% to 3.4% in ten cities. In other areas real estate values have remained flat and in harder hit areas home values are decreasing at significantly lower rates.

While the news is certainly not staggering it is encouraging because it indicates that real estate markets across the Country are leveling out.  Home values are falling less sharply and people are being drawn back into the real estate market.  It is no surprise what is stimulating the market.  Low home values, low interest rates and the First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit have combined to create an ideal buyer’s market.

For more information on the latest info click here for a report from Yahoo real estate.

Or Call Me Kevin Duffy at 513-602-6000 for more information!

Does It Really Matter if We’ve Hit Bottom?

Global financial crisis concept
Whether real estate has hit bottom yet or not, there is no mistake that it is a buyer's market

The biggest question hovering around these days is, have we hit bottom?  Whether this question be a general question regarding the recession or the real estate market, we have to ask does it matter?  Whether we hit bottom a couple of months ago or are going to hit it a couple of months from now, we can all agree that we have had better times and better times are in our future.  Whether we have hit bottom or not there is no mistake that it is a buyer’s market when it comes to real estate.

That being said, if we haven’t hit bottom then the bottom must be close.  Wouldn’t it be better to buy near the bottom than miss it entirely?  Across the Country there are markets that are on their way down, markets that have stabilized and markets that are on their way back up.  Whether the market hit bottom a couple of months ago, is at the bottom now, or will hit the bottom in a couple of months, the top of the market is far away.

It is a buyer’s market out there.  Whether you are looking for a primary residence or a second home it is a great time to invest in real estate.  Property values are lower than they have been in years, interest rates are still hovering at 30 year lows and some tax incentives make buying real estate today more affordable than it has been in years.  For all we know the real estate market might be more affordable today than it will be for many years to come.

If you need more explanation call me, Kevin DuffyReMax Unlimited at  513-602-6000 for any of your Cincinnati Real Estate needs

Breaking Down the First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit

There is no doubt that the first time home buyer tax credit is a great thing but there are a few things to know before you assume that you qualify for the full $8,000.  The tax credit breaks down as follows:
Who qualifies? First time home buyers and people (or spouses) who have not owned a home for the previous 3 years.  You must purchase your home between January 1, 2009 and December 1, 2009.

  • What qualifies for the first time home buyer’s tax credit? Only a primary house qualifies.  It does not matter if it is a single family home, duplex, townhome, condo, apartment or co-op, if it is a primary residence it will apply.
  • What is the amount of the first time home buyer’s tax credit? $8,000 is the maximum amount of the credit.  There are 2 factors at play when it comes to getting the credit: The cost of the home and the income of the person or married couple purchasing the home.  The credit can be 10% of the closing price up to $8,000 or a person making $75,000 or less or a married couple making $150,000 or less are eligible for the full $8,000.
  • Do you qualify for the first time home buyer’s tax credit if your income is higher? Yes and no.  If you make more than the $75,000/$150,000 limit you get less of a credit.  The maximum income is $95,000 for singles or $170,000 for couples.  If you make more than the maximum income you are not eligible for the tax credit.

The tax credit is a real boon for first time home buyers and does not have to be repaid.  If you qualify for the tax credit and have been considering purchasing a new home there could not be a better time.  Low interest rates, low home values and the first time home buyer tax credit all add up to the right time to call an experienced local Realtor.

Resource and for more information: Realtor.org