Four Tips for Your Next Move

By Andrea Robinson
March 19, 2019 Category: General

You just bought a house! Now, are you packed yet? Many people will start packing their belongings as soon as they know they are ready to sell their homes, but whether youre ahead of the game or are just starting to prepare your belongings for the big move, there are plenty of time-tested packing tricks to help make sure your move goes smoothly. Here are our four packing tips to help you get ready to move into your new home! Dont Pack These Essentials Its easy to get a little packing-happy when youre ready to move, but there are a few items that you should never package up with the rest of your belongings. Make sure youre setting these essential items aside, so you have easy access when you need them. 1. Toiletries and Medication 2. Important Documents (i.e. social security card or financial information) 3. Cleaning Supplies 4. Bathroom Essentials (i.e. a shower curtain and toilet seat) 5. Phone and Laptop Chargers 6. Pet Toys and Bedding 7. Wine Make a For Sale Pile While

How to Write a Winning Home Listing in Cleveland, OH

By Andrea Robinson
March 12, 2019 Category: General

There are around five million homes sold each year in the United States since 2014. Thats a lot of competition for home sellers who want to put their property on the market. With so much competition and a hot housing market going into 2019, its more important than ever to create listings that stand out to homebuyers. For the more successful listings in the greater Cleveland, OH area, check out these three tips for creating impactful property descriptions. Be Exact and Honest The first step to writing a successful listing is being as specific as possible without too many embellishments. You dont need to get too creative to write with impact! Make sure youve included key details like square footage and room count, and dont feel the need to exaggerate. Heres an example Dont write, a cozy house thats great for young buyers. Stunning front yard and great curb appeal!! Write instead, a charming, 900 square foot home with one bedroom and one bath. Lovely small garden out front

Four Tips to Improve Your Credit Score Before Applying for a Mortgage

By Andrea Robinson
March 05, 2019 Category: General

You probably know that credit history is one of the key deciding factors for getting a good mortgage. Building good credit takes time and good habits, and nothing will improve your credit score like careful financial management over time. However, if youre looking to bump you score by a few points before applying for a mortgage this year, there are a few steps you can take to improve your credit to try and get a better rate or bigger dollar amount. While theres no substitute for good financial habits, here are a few tips to bump up your credit score quickly: Look for Credit Mistakes Credit reports arent always correct, and its a good idea to review your credit report to see if theres any incorrect information. Some reports have estimated that nearly 20 percent of Americans have some error in their credit history, and five percent of consumers have credit errors that resulted in unfavorable loans. Run a free credit check from a major credit bureau like Experian or Equifax at least

Commercial vs. Residential Title Insurance

By Andrea Robinson
February 19, 2019 Category: General

From everyday homebuying to commercial real estate, every property transaction should have title insurance. However, commercial transactions have a slightly different focus than residential properties. While home title insurance will focus primarily on liens and outstanding debts, storefronts usually deal with larger amounts of money and ensure compliance with various aspects of business ownership. Below are a few key differences between commercial and residential title history and insurance: UCC Liens Weve often discussed how liens can stand in the way of finalizing a home sale. Similarly, a Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) lien can halt a commercial property purchase or investment if a business has failed to pay a debt, didnt pay taxes or files for bankruptcy. Essentially, a business that has a UCC lien on a property borrowed money for a property or piece of equipment that it could not pay for. Many standard title insurance policies will not cover the cost of a UCC lien, so its important

5 Secrets to Selling a Home Faster in Northeast Ohio

By Andrea Robinson
February 12, 2019 Category: General

Getting ready to sell your home can be daunting. Sure, a well-kept home will probably sell faster, but do you ever feel like youre forgetting some critical bit of maintenance? Do you know what price point you should list at? Whats more important curb appeal or staging? While there is no exact science to making your home sell in record time every time, there are a few key steps you can focus on to make your best sale happen on your time. Here are 5 secrets to selling your home faster in Northeast Ohio. Get the Price Right The first step to setting the right price is getting an accurate home valuation. While it is best to contact your Realtor for an in-depth quote, many homebuyers will be using tools like Zillows Zestimate feature to gauge how competitive your home is. However, Zillows Zestimate tool is not always very accurate. We suggest allowing your Realtor to do this legwork for you to understand your homes actual value. From there, you may want to think about setting your

Ready to Get a Mortgage? Here are 4 Things You Should Know Before Applying

By Andrea Robinson
February 04, 2019 Category: General

Most homebuyers will need to get approved for a mortgage loan to afford a home. In 2017, over $1.75 trillion of mortgages were originated in the United States, and that number is expected to be higher for 2018. As the housing market continues to grow, you may be considering purchasing home too. That means applying for various rates and shopping around for the best option. But, before you even begin applying, there are a few key things you should review about your finances. Here are 4 key insights to consider before applying for mortgages in 2019. Review Delinquent Accounts It happens you miss payments on a loan or installment bill and get sent to collections. Many are aware if they are delinquent on a loan or credit card, but sometimes something small like an unpaid parking ticket can cause issues on your credit history. Make sure to do a deep dive into your credit accounts and any other debts that you may owe before looking into mortgage applications. Large or small, you may find

We're Moving!

By Andrea Robinson
January 22, 2019 Category: General

We have some BIG NEWS to share! Were Moving! Ohio First Land Title is expanding to Cuyahoga County on February 11th! Well soon be calling 22649 Lorain Road in Fairview Park home. But dont worry... Were still serving all of Ohio! Our signings will always take place at a location of your convenience. We are so excited about this change and will see you around the neighborhood!

Home Improvement Projects That Can Increase Home Value

By Andrea Robinson
January 14, 2019 Category: General

Every homeowner hopes that their house will gain value over time. Historically, purchasing a home is a good long-term investment with decent returns for well-kept properties. While simply keeping up with house cleaning and maintenance is a good way for your house to gain value over time, there are still more ways to increase your home value through home improvement projects. Here are a few go-to, DIY home improvement projects that can add value to your home. Landscaping While most homeowners will probably spend the majority of their at-home time indoors, having unique or attractive outdoor features can improve the value of your home. Plus, this is a great way to enjoy getting creative with landscaping! Here are some simple, yet impactful, ways to add interest outside: Add an attractive walkway leading to the front door Replace your front porch steps Planting a small tree or new bushes Adding some outdoor lighting to your propertys electrical Re-level your front yard and

Financial Fraud Kill Chain — Know How to Respond to Fraud

By Andrea Robinson
January 08, 2019 Category: General

In 2018, homebuyers were the most common target for wire fraud. Sadly, this will probably remain true for years to come. Its not difficult for a fraudster to fool any homebuyer, lender, or escrow company with an authentic looking email that provides instructions on how to transfer money to a fake account, usually internationally. It happens more often than you think, and thats why its very important that victims know they have a way to fight back: The Financial Fraud Kill Chain (FFKC). Heres what you need to know about this tool for Americans who are victim to international wire fraud. What is the Financial Fraud Kill Chain? The Financial Fraud Kill Chain (FFKC) is an FBI initiative designed to help any victim of international fraud activity through email scams like wire fraud in real estate get their money back! The following must be true to initiate an FFKC action: The transfer is $50,000.00 or more The money was sent internationally A SWIFT recall notice was initiated

Winter Home Buying — 4 Reasons Why It’s Okay to Start Shopping Now

By Andrea Robinson
January 02, 2019 Category: General

Have you ever been to an open house in the Spring? Something feels right about visiting a home you want to buy when the sky is a vibrant blue and you can see grass growing in the backyard. Then again, buying a home during the busiest real estate season comes with its own obstacles, like more competition and exhausted agents. Trying to move a couch in the middle of a blizzard is definitely a no go, but with 2019 promising to be another hot year for real estate, there may be a few good reasons to consider purchasing a home while the weather is still chilly. Here are 4 reasons to consider buying a home this winter season. Less Competition Not every homebuyer wants to get bundled up to look at a home. If youre willing to trek through winter weather for an open house, youre probably going to have less competition. Thats a good thing. While summer months promise a wider selection of homes, greater competition means that you can get priced out of more deals. So, put on those Northeast Ohio

Understanding Wire Fraud in Real Estate

By Andrea Robinson
December 17, 2018 Category: General

It happens more often than you think a homebuyer sends an entire down payment to a fake escrow account. There is no way to get that money back. In the digital age, it can be difficult to recognize the difference between an authentic communication from an escrow officer or title agency and a fraudulent one. This means that many homebuyers are falling victim to wire fraud initiated via electronic channels like email. As real estate fraud becomes harder to detect, its important to understand and recognize the signs to protect your money! How Wire Fraud Starts In real estate transactions, wire fraud often starts with title agencies. Hackers will target title agencies databases to find upcoming transactions the pricier the better. Then, after theyve identified a target, the fraudster will use a compromised email address, assuming the identity of either a title agency employee or closing agent. With the hijacked email address and in-depth understanding of your transaction, its pretty

The Housing Shortage — What to Expect in 2019 and Beyond

By Andrea Robinson
December 11, 2018 Category: General

According to a recent report from Freddie Mac, the number of new houses being in the United States this year is about 370,000 homes short of the level required for long-term housing demand. That means there are more homebuyers than houses, which is good and bad. While this may make finding a buyer easier right now, in the long run, this shortage is driving up the cost of homes in a way that may make owning a home more difficult for younger families. While there are some short-term benefits to the shortage for those selling on the market today, here are some long-term impacts and projections that impact how people may buy and sell homes in the future. Home Appreciation to Slow in 2019 There are a lot of factors that drive positive home equity, and housing supply is certainly one of them. If theres high demand for homes and not too many on the market, your house becomes a valuable commodity. Even with the housing shortage contributing to the increased value of homes, this appreciation

December Events in Lorain County

By Andrea Robinson
December 04, 2018 Category: General

Winter 2018 has arrived in Lorain County! Its hard to believe how quickly the year has flown by, but theres still a lot to do in Lorain County before Christmas and New Years. Whether its a family outing or just fun with friends, theres a little something for everyone to enjoy. Here are a few great events and activities to check out this December in Lorain, Ohio! Santa Train Lorain Countys cities are home to many of Ohios most active railways and stations, and this year, Santas leaving his sled in the garage and taking the train! On December 7th and 8th, special holiday-themed train rides will run between 6:00 - 8:00 PM on Friday and 1:00 - 8:00 PM on Saturday, featuring holiday decorated passenger cars, free hot cocoa, and a chance to meet Santa. Head to the LSRA Railway Station to catch your Santa train. Shoreline Treasures Christmas is right around the corner, and theres nothing better than one-of-a-kind gifts under the tree. Lorain County is full of local businesses and shops

Dos and Dont's for Staging a Home

By Andrea Robinson
November 19, 2018 Category: General

When youre getting ready to sell your home, its a good idea to spruce up the place a bit to maximize appeal to potential buyers. Before you have that first showing, its time to start decluttering and improving on some things that may have gone unattended for a while. Staging your home before a sale doesnt mean you need to make a ton of big fixes or renovations, but its important to cover some specific details that buyers are looking at when they tour your place. No matter the season, there are a few key dos and donts to consider when staging your home before selling. Here are a few key dos and donts when youre staging your house for buyers! Do declutter. Its time to pack up or put away the extra kick knacks. Also, make sure theres no clothes, mail, or other personal items lying around. Do clean up. This one may be obvious, but a good deep-clean in each room is very important. This means going beyond a quick vacuum and pulling out the duster, washing windows, de-odoring furniture,

4 Tips for Prepping Your Home for Appraisal

By Andrea Robinson
November 12, 2018 Category: General

Prepping your house for an appraisal can be daunting, especially if youve never had someone look into the value of your home before. Even after you find a buyer for your home, someone has to certify that the price is a fair deal for the buyer and the lender. If your home appraises below your listing price, it can be difficult for the buyer to get a loan to pay you which can halt a deal altogether. While you cannot always cover up serious issues with a property before the final sale, here are a few simple ways you can prep your home to be its best for the appraiser. Do a deep clean This one may seem obvious, but a little extra cleaning can go a long way when making sure the property youre selling is at its best. Think of areas you havent touched in a while both inside and outside the home. When was the last time the carpets were cleaned? Are your gutters empty? Is the bathtub as spotless as it could be? Are there dust bunnies living above the cabinets or on your ceiling

Land Title Monsters — What's Hiding in Your Property's History?

By Andrea Robinson
October 31, 2018 Category: General

It was a dark and stormy night. Sandra had just finished moving into her new house and was enjoying the evening alone in her living room. She started going through the days mail when she let out gasp. In her hands was an envelope with big red letters reading, FINAL NOTICE: INTENT TO LIEN. Her face turned ghostly white as she read her name at the top of a letter spelling out a lenders intent to collect several thousand dollars from an unpaid mortgage. After a quick google search, she found the company was legitimate. Whats worse, she did not have title insurance! While Title insurance should keep you from worrying about monsters like liens this Halloween, here are a few other title terrors that can be hiding in your propertys history. Forgery and impersonations Forgery occurs when someone lies about a propertys details stored in the public record. Forgers will often attempt to transfer ownership of a land or home away from a legitimate property owner without them knowing. Also,

3 Ways to Prep Your Home for Winter 2018 Right Now

By Andrea Robinson
October 22, 2018 Category: General

Fall is officially here, and if you are from Northeast Ohio, you know that this year promises another harsh, teeth-chattering winter. With a short autumn season and a long winter just around the corner, there is just enough time to start preparing your home for the cold months ahead. It is a good idea to start prepping your home right now; you dont want to be caught winter proofing your home when there is snow on the ground! While it is still warm enough for cider and sweaters, here are a few quick tips for winter-proofing your home right now! Goodbye Screens! Screen windows and doors are lovely for enjoying springtime air or a warm breeze on a humid day, but you do not want to be caught with a flimsy door once freezing temperatures kick in! It is a good idea to replace your screen windows with an extra layer to keep the heat in. Not only will your home be warmer, but trapped moisture can also cause damage. When moisture, ice, or snow gets stuck behind a screen window or door, the

What Does a Title Agency Do Exactly?

By Andrea Robinson
October 17, 2018 Category: General

In any real estate transaction, title agencies play a big role that involves every stakeholders from the buyer, to the seller, to the lender, and even the title insurance agency. So, what does a title agency really do? The job of these companies is a combination of complex research, professional coordination, and total trust. Its important to have a reputable title agency to get this complex job done right! Heres a bit more about what a title agency does when youre in the process of buying a home! Records Search Title agencies must do extensive, tedious research of county records to find any issues, like property liens, that may be attached to your new propertys title. This involves a review of public records relating to real estate that can impact both buyers and sellers. In the end, title agencies usually consolidate this information into a single preliminary report or title insurance agreement. Insurance Title agencies will usually offer title insurance to a buyer. This

Property Liens - What They Are and Why You Should Care

By Andrea Robinson
October 02, 2018 Category: General

When it comes to personal property like a house or a car, a bank or other creditor will attach a notice (or a lien) to the property that tells the world, someone owes me money on this! Usually filed within a countys records, a property lien is a common way for real estate stakeholders to make sure that they are paid in full for a certain piece of property. In the world of homebuying, its very important for buyers and sellers to make sure that a home doesnt have any residual property liens on file with the county. Here are some ways a lien can impact your property How are property liens used? A property lien is usually granted to a bank or creditor as part of repossession of a real estate property. This will be the first step a creditor can take to take back a property if someone isnt paying what they owe. A lien acts as a pre-action notification to the homebuyer/borrower that an action is about to be taken. If a lien goes unaddressed, a levy is put into effect where the property

Welcome to Fall in Lorain County — 5 Local Attractions to Try This Season

By Andrea Robinson
September 24, 2018 Category: General

Welcome to Fall in Lorain County! The days are comfortably cool, theres crisp, fresh air off the shoreline, the leaves are changing colors, and the sun is starting to set early. Just because the days are getting a bit shorter doesnt mean you and your family have to wait around inside for winter, though. Its time to break out the sweaters and dive into some fall fun or maybe just a pile of leaves. Here are some great local Autumn expeditions for you and your family to try in Lorain County! Common Ground Zip Into Autumn Get up-close and personal with Autumn colors! Common Ground Canopy Tours is a state-of-the-art ZipLine experience that takes you into the trees above the beautiful Vermilion River Valley. Take advantage of discount tickets for the rest of the season and catch the areas green forest turning to beautiful shades of red and yellow. Millers Apple Hill Apple Pickin Spree and More Theres nothing more Fall than apple picking and pumpkins. Millers Apple Hill is a great