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Four Zillow Alternatives for Homebuyers in Northeast Ohio

By Andrea Robinson
October 22, 2019 Category: , General

Shopping for a new home? Zillow.com and Realtor.com offer simple and effective resources to help you find listings near you, but in a hot housing market like the one in Northeast Ohio, by the time you find a property on one of these listing networks, its usually too late. But dont worry There are plenty of alternatives to find listings and schedule open houses. While youre checking out properties around Cleveland, OH, be sure to try one of the Zillow alternatives below. Use Search Engines Assuming you already have the Zillow app on your phone, you dont have to limit yourself to what you can find on listing platforms to find a house. There are still plenty of sellers out there who dont use Zillow, Realtor.com or Trulia. However, to uncover these hidden listing gems, youll need to do a little digging. Start by searching homes for sale near me and hunt for realtors names and websites in the results. Often times, websites that are directly managed by a realtor are easier

Three Simple Fall Décor Ideas for Homes in Northeast Ohio

By Andrea Robinson
October 08, 2019 Category: General

In case you missed it, Fall has officially arrived! With the cooler temperatures and changing leaves all around, there are lots of ways to bring the themes of the season into your home. That doesnt mean everything needs to be pumpkin-themed, though! There are plenty of tasteful ways to reflect the fall season and bring a warm, cozy feeling into every room of your home. From vintage pillows to textured fabrics, here are three ways to welcome Autumn into your home in 2019. Oversized Blankets Do you have a giant, plaid blanket stowed away in your closet? Its time to put it on display! Repurposing cozy plaid or tartan blankets into tablecloths and furniture covers can transform any space into a more warm and inviting place. Pro tip: even if you dont plan to put your fuzzy blankets on display, consider keeping them neatly folded in your living space as the temperatures drop. Autumn is a pretty mild season in Northeast Ohio, so you can wait to turn on the heat and snuggle up with

Home Insurance vs. Home Warranty: What’s the Difference?

By Andrea Robinson
September 24, 2019 Category: General

Home ownership comes with a lot of unknowns Will my 15-year-old furnace keep working? Could a freak hailstorm wreck my roof? When you start thinking about all the what ifs, the list can get long. Its impossible to plan for all the things that could go wrong with a house, and when something does happen, home insurance can cover the cost of most incidents to protect your home investment and bank account. But home insurance doesnt cover everything. While insurance can cover the cost of repairing a roof in a freak hailstorm, it doesnt cover the cost of normal wear and tear inside or outside your house. For example, if your A/C stops working because of a super-hot summer season, you cant make an insurance claim for heat failure. You have to replace or repair the system yourself. Thats where a home warranty can fill the gap. What is a Home Warranty? Home warranties are contracts that cover the inner-workings of your home. That means components like your HVAC system or refrigerator stop

What to Do After a Home Inspection in Northeast Ohio

By Andrea Robinson
September 17, 2019 Category: General

When youre buying a home, home inspection day can be one of the most exciting and the most nerve wracking. Its exciting because youre one step closer to owning a house youre really interested in, but if something goes really wrong here, the entire deal can fall through. For better or worse, youll have to decide next steps. Will you negotiate repairs? When should you walk away? What if nothing comes up? If youre wondering what to do next after youve received the results of your home inspection, here are a few tips to help you get started. Negotiating Repairs More often than not, a home inspection will uncover something that needs fixed in the home. This can be large or small, and in the end, someone has to pay real money to make it right. But, when should the seller cover the cost? While you want your home to be perfect when you move in, you shouldnt necessarily use a home inspection as a way to renegotiate the sale. If the repairs are small, DIY projects you can tackle

Offer Letter Template for Homebuyers in Northeast Ohio

By Andrea Robinson
September 03, 2019 Category: General

Its no secret that the housing market is still hot right now, and in most neighborhoods, its a true sellers market especially if youre close to Cleveland, OH! That means if youre shopping for a home this year, you may very well find yourself in a bidding war where multiple buyers want the same perfect house. One way you can stand out in a bidding war is to submit a personal, well-written offer letter. Most realtors will be able to write an offer-letter for you, but adding a personal touch could make or break a deal when things get heated. Start by talking to your realtor to see if writing your own letter makes sense, and if it does, they should be able to guide you as you write a winning offer. Offer Letter Dos and Donts Do express genuine emotion. Describe what unique features drew you to the home that you really like. Is it a location close to the perfect school for your kids? Did you fall in love with the neighborhood? Do include some compliments about the property. Be

Extra Costs of Buying a House: What First Time Homebuyers Can Expect Before Closing

By Andrea Robinson
August 27, 2019 Category: General

Mortgage calculators and Zillow.com offer great insights for home shoppers to understand the cost of purchasing a home, but theres a lot more than a mortgage and property tax that go into the real cost of buying a home. For many first-time homebuyers, extra costs like appraisal fees and title insurance arent on the radar until after meeting with a real estate agent. A good realtor will address these costs in your first meeting, but before you even start seriously looking for a house, you should know that theres a long list of additional fees that go into a real estate transaction. If youve never bought a house before or havent been in the market for a while, heres a list of extra expenses and fees youll encounter before closing. Home Inspections Home inspections are a must for home buyers many lenders may even require them before the appraisal. Whether your home inspection is optional or required by the bank, it will always be an extra expense. Depending on how thorough

Homebuying 201: What is Mortgage Underwriting?

By Andrea Robinson
August 13, 2019 Category: General

In 2018, the total amount of mortgage debt in the U.S. totaled around $15.42 million. Thats a pretty big chunk of the U.S. economy, which will put out around $20 trillion dollars GDP in 2019. As the economy continues to expand in the U.S., the mortgage market should continue to grow, too, as more Americans can afford to purchase houses. A mortgage is the most common way to purchase a home in the world, and theres an in-depth and sometimes lengthy process for a bank to approve a loan to purchase a home. This approval process is called underwriting, and if youre new to homebuying, heres what you can expect next when youve been pre-approved for a loan! What is Underwriting? underwriting | noun The process through which an individual or institution (a bank) takes on financial risk for a fee. Whenever a bank issues a mortgage, there is always some risk that the borrower may not be able to pay. Determining this level of risk takes some time a lot longer than it takes to pre-approve

Homebuying 101: What Happens After the Seller Accepts Your Offer?

By Andrea Robinson
August 06, 2019 Category: General

Whether youve been searching for months or fell in love in just a week, the homebuying process doesnt end when youve found a house you love. In fact, youre really just getting started! Even after the seller accepts your offer, there are several steps before you officially get to move in. These steps can get a bit drawn out and confusing especially if youre a first-time homebuyer. If youre wondering what happens after the seller accepts your offer, here are the seven next steps to remember before you get the keys to your new home in Northeast Ohio! Step 1: Accept the Contract When you agree on a price with the seller, you will enter a formal contract that outlines all the next steps for your home purchase. When a buyer, seller and their agents sign the agreement, they are officially under contract. This contract outlines all the next steps the buyer must complete in order to close the deal. This can include securing a mortgage, purchasing home insurance and ordering a

Moving to a New State: Five Tips for Trans-State Transplants

By Andrea Robinson
July 23, 2019 Category: General

Each year, its estimated that over 10 percent of US households move to a new home. Of the people that move, at least a third will move to a new state. Relocating anywhere comes with complications, and relocating to another state adds new moving parts like learning tax codes and planning for a different cost of living not to mention some of the emotional stress that comes with leaving behind a familiar place. Dont worry, though. Migrating to a new state can and should be a positive and exciting experience. If youre moving to the Northeast Ohio region from another part of the country, or youre getting ready to venture out of the greater Cleveland area for the first time, here are some tips to help you have a smooth transition into your new life and home! Find a New Doctor Do you know where youre going to go if you get sick or injured? Are local doctors offices in your companys insurance network? Nobody plans for a big injury or virus to hit when theyre first moving into

Best Metroparks for Getting Outdoors This Summer in Northeast Ohio

By Andrea Robinson
July 16, 2019 Category: General

Summer 2019 is in full swing, but how are you going to get out in the sun this year? While the Greater Cleveland area is well known for some rough winters and grey skies in the colder months, our region is also rich with beautiful outdoor spaces for residents to connect with nature, visit the beach or even go exploring. From Metroparks to waterfronts, theres no reason why you shouldnt get outdoors after work or over the weekend! If youre feeling restless at home in your living room, here are three of the top public metroparks and outdoor events in Northeast Ohio you should check out this summer. Edgewater State Park Stretched across the shores of Lake Erie, Edgewater Parks beaches and trails are known for scenic views of Clevelands skyline and fun events for the family. People from Parma to Lakewood to Willoughby and all over Northeast Ohio will visit throughout the summer to cool down at the beach, ride bikes near the waterfront or even to join in on a drum circle. With

Four Great Real Estate Podcasts for Homebuyers and Agents

By Andrea Robinson
July 10, 2019 Category: General

Theres a podcast for everything even for homebuying. In fact, there are about 750,000 active podcasts in the world, and that number is growing! So, whether youre an industry professional or just a curious home shopper, here are four top real estate podcasts about mortgages, title insurance, market trends, listings and more. Real Estate Today Radio The radio show about all things real estate, this award winning podcast dives into timely topics around the American dream of home ownership. Topics range from industry news and seller-end advice to tips and tricks around home ownership. Host: Stephen Gasque Audience: Homebuyers and realtors Number of Episodes: 543 Harvard Business Review Ideacast Harvard Business Review is one of the leading business publications in the United States and even the world. Their podcast, Ideacast, ranges in topics from daily business news to in-depth feature stories on specific sectors of the economy like real estate! While the Ideacast isnt

How to Prepare for Flash Flooding in Northeast Ohio

By Andrea Robinson
June 26, 2019 Category: General

Its been a wet Spring in Northeast Ohio, and Summer has brought its fair share of rain showers so far. In fact, Ohios unusually rainy Spring may be the wettest on record in 120 years! While we hope warmer, drier weather is around the corner, it looks like the early weeks of Summer promise even more rain. So, what does that mean for you? Besides being stuck indoors, theres a high risk for flash flooding for many cities in the greater Cleveland area. If youre a homeowner in the region, this is the right time to prepare you home for potential floods this year. Below are four ways you can keep your family, pets and house safe. Elevate Your Electronics Water and electricity do not mix! If you use surge protectors or have a lot of wiring in any space like a family room or game room, try to move electrical items off the ground. When flooding hits a home, keeping electronics elevated can prevent damaged property and reduce the number of hazards around cleanup. Pro tip:

How to Unpack the Right Way

By Andrea Robinson
June 11, 2019 Category: General

Each year, about 40 million Americans will move to a new home thats roughly 14 percent of the population. New homeowners make up around six million of those movers. Thats a lot of moving boxes! According to a recent survey by Duck Brand tape the tape you probably used to seal all those moving boxes it takes most Americans almost 182 days to finish unpacking after a move. Thats more than six months! A lot can happen in six months. Valuables go missing, you may replace something you already own, or you might just decide that last moving box never gets unpacked. It doesnt have to be that way, though. If youve recently moved into a new home, here are some tips to help you get unpacked faster without losing anything. One Room at a Time One of the best ways to ensure you unpack everything is to work one room at a time. Start by putting boxes in the rooms where they belong dishes go to the kitchen, pictures in the living room and so on. When you dont have to constantly

Three Things to Remember When Caught in a Bidding War

By Andrea Robinson
June 04, 2019 Category: General

Imagine this Youve been house hunting for months, and youve finally found the perfect home. However, youre not the only one whos fallen in love with the houses charms, location and price. At least three other buyers are interested in the property. Believe it or not, bidding wars like this are becoming a lot more frequent the Greater Cleveland area, and that means the cost of homes is going up. Thats a great market for sellers in Northeast Ohio, but its not always the best place to be for a homebuyer. As the regions home values continue to rise with demand, you can expect to find yourself facing off with other buyers to get the kind of home you want. But what does this mean for you? You have to come prepared. Below are three key tips you to help give you a competitive advantage if you are caught bidding on a house. Dont Lowball Its natural to want to get a good deal on a home, but coming in with a super-low offer based on the listing price doesnt always mean the seller

Six Easy Photography Tips for Home Listings in Northeast Ohio

By Andrea Robinson
May 21, 2019 Category: , General

When youre browsing houses online, have you ever noticed that only a few listings stick out? Sometimes its just a matter of great curb appeal, but a well-photographed home can be just as appealing as a pretty one. Photography is an art, but there are a few time-tested approaches to home photo shoots that are relatively easy to execute with a phone camera or point-and-shoot. A picture is worth a thousand words, so here are our six easy photography tips to make sure home shoppers stop to read what your listing is saying! Brightness Everybody loves lots of natural sunlight in a home! It makes spaces look cleaner and bigger. When youre taking interior pictures for your listing, try shooting on a day with clear skies and tons of sunlight. Natural light is eye-catching, mood enhancing and can accent the best features of your property. Turn on HDR If youre taking pictures with your smartphone, most have a High Dynamic Range (HDR) setting that automatically improves the details

3 Common Types of Mortgages Available in Northeast Ohio

By Andrea Robinson
May 14, 2019 Category: General

Conventional, jumbo, balloon, fixed, ARMs, reverse, combination What does it all mean?! As you begin shopping for a house, youre also going to start shopping around for a mortgage. And, heads up homebuyer, there are many types of mortgage repayment options out there! Different mortgage products are designed to make purchasing a home possible for different types of people. So, whats the best option for you? Youll probably consult with someone at a bank or loan office about what works for your budget and long-term financial plans, but as you begin discussing your mortgage options with various lenders, its a good idea to know the lingo. To help you get started, heres our list of 3 common mortgages available in Northeast Ohio! Conventional Mortgage Conventional mortgages (or fixed-rate mortgages) are one of the safest and most common types of home loans because they offer consistent, unchanging monthly payments. Because you lock in your interest rate at the beginning,

Home Ownership Costs to Consider When Shopping for Your First Home

By Andrea Robinson
May 07, 2019 Category: General

Its common knowledge that theres a lot more to owning a home than paying the mortgage on time. From property taxes to periodic maintenance, there are plenty of additional expenses that go into maintaining a home while you are living in it. While many new home shoppers will draw direct comparisons between monthly mortgage payments and renting, there are plenty of additional costs to consider when you are about to buy your first house. Heres our list of 4 expenses you should be thinking about when youre buying a home. Home Improvement Even a move-in ready home will likely undergo some type of home-improvement project after purchase. It is estimated that 96 percent of Americans embark on some kind of improvement project after becoming homeowners. From adding a new deck to updating appliances, these projects average around $3,000 when completed by a professional. The most common types of home projects? The majority of projects are less exciting than you might think. The

3 Things Every Northeast Ohio Homeowner Should Know About Natural Disasters

By Andrea Robinson
April 16, 2019 Category: General

Northeast Ohio isnt known as a high-risk area for dangerous storms or wildfires. In fact, Cleveland is ranked as the #2 safest city in the country when it comes to natural disasters according to CBS news. That doesnt mean a natural disasters or weather-related events dont happen here, though. Flooding and the occasional tornado have been known to damage homes in Northeast Ohio. Hopefully, youll never have to experience what its like to have your home damaged or destroyed by severe weather. But, if you have ever wondered about how natural disasters can impact homeowners in the region, here are a few things you should know. First Steps If your house is damaged or destroyed by a weather-related event, there are three groups you should contact right away: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA is not just for hurricane survivors. If you need help after a disaster, contact this office to apply for aid. Homeowners Insurance Company. From homeowners policies to flood

How to Get Your 2019 Spring Cleaning Done in Just One Day

By Andrea Robinson
April 09, 2019 Category: General

Thats right. In just one day, you could have all your spring cleaning done. Its ambitious, but youve got this. According to the American Cleaning Institute yes, there is such an institution about 75% of American households participate in some form of Spring Cleaning every year, with most of the remaining 15% doing some form of springtime deep clean every few years. Its true almost everyone does some spring cleaning, but that doesnt mean its any fun! Our recommendation? Dont procrastinate. Heres how you can get it all done in just one day: Gather All Your Supplies First Before you can conquer your spring cleaning, make sure you have the right tools for the job. Few people enjoy the big task of cleaning out their home each year, and interrupting your rhythm to get new supplies can be an excuse to procrastinate. Make sure you have everything you need up front and make an easy-access pile of supplies to ensure you dont have an excuse to quit this marathon! Make

3 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Listing Agent in Northeast Ohio

By Andrea Robinson
April 02, 2019 Category: General

When youre ready to sell you house, one of the first steps is finding the right listing agent. From headshots on yard signs to park benches, youve probably seen real estate agents promoting themselves all over. But, where do you begin? Finding the right partner to sell your home starts with asking the right questions. Heres our list of three key questions to ask a real estate agent to help you have a successful home sale in the Cleveland area and beyond. How long have you been a real estate agent? Obvious question, right? More experience isnt always what youre looking for, though. While an experienced agent may have more connections or a refined pitch, younger agents may have more time to focus on your home sale. If youre considering an agent with less experience, ask them about the courses or seminars theyve completed. If youre satisfied with their training, this is a good time to find out how many clients theyre working with. If the number is low, your sale may mean