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

Transferring a Land Title: Basic Terms You Need to Know

By Andrea Robinson
September 17, 2018 Category: General

Whether you are inheriting a property that has been in the family through generations or are preparing to purchase a new home for the first time, transferring ownership of a land title is a key process that ensures your state knows exactly who owns what. Whether youre buying or selling, inheriting or gifting, its good to know the basics of how transferring a land title also known as conveyancing so you can keep track of your assets. Heres some basic terms you need to know if youre getting ready to transfer a land title! Deeds A deed is a document that actually transfers ownership of property from one person to another. There are many types of deeds in a property transaction, but the basic structure is that a deed establishes an official property description, the current owner (grantor), and who the new owner will be (the grantee). Recording the Deed Recording the deed is the final step in transferring a title. This is where the county records who now owns a property at the

Homebuying Toolbox – 4 Great Apps for Homebuyers

By Andrea Robinson
September 04, 2018 Category: General

In 2018, your phone can do a lot, but did you know it can help you move and buy a house? Were not just talking about simply browsing Zillow (though Zillow does make an appearance in our list). These days, you can find info on neighborhoods, set a budget, and even get approved for a mortgage all from your Apple or Android phone or tablet. If youre in the market for a new house, theres an app for that! Here are five great apps that every homebuyer should be using right now: Teleport Choosing the Best City If youre still trying to decide what neighborhood to live in, Teleport is a newer app designed to help homebuyers find the best cities that match their unique lives. Through a series of questions about your work and lifestyle, the app can match you to one of over 200 locations around the world. When youre ready to move, theres even a move-in checklist to make sure youve covered everything! Zillow and Trulia The Big Names Even if you havent started looking for a home, Zillows

5 Fall Festivals in Cleveland You Don't Want to Miss

By Andrea Robinson
August 29, 2018 Category: General

Fall is right around the corner in Cleveland, and with that comes a batch of new Fall festivals! Here are our Top 5 on our do not miss list! 1. Countryside Fall Festival - Avon, OH September 8th 9th at Avons Countryside Antiques! Enjoy a great selection of dealers with fresh ideas for your home, wardrobe, business, and so much more! 2. Fall Harvest Weekends - Amherst, OH If you are looking for a family-friendly weekend activity to celebrate fall, then Hillcrest Orchards is the place! Every weekend until the end of October they celebrate all things fall! A tractor-pulled hayride to the pumpkin patch and the apple trees, a corn-maze, pedal carts for a friendly race around the track, barrel train rides for the little ones, as well, as a straw maze, play area and a giant corn box with a slide! 3. Harvest of the Arts - Wellington, OH Located in Wellingtons gorgeous square, the Harvest of the Arts is sponsored by Friends of the Herrick Memorial Library and serves as the librarys biggest

Roundtable vs. Escrow Closing — What’s the Difference?

By Andrea Robinson
August 28, 2018 Category: General

Its finally here the day when you officially own your home. But, before you get to get to lay back on the couch and kick your feet up on the coffee table (yes, thats all the furniture in your house right now), its time to sign those closing documents! Depending on where you live, there are a couple ways to get this done. If youre moving to Ohio, youll be using an escrow account to hold your funds for a day or two while all the paperwork settles dont put your feet up quite yet! In other parts of the U.S., buyers and sellers get together at a round table meeting to finalize the deal. So, what can you expect at escrow and round table closings? Round Table Closing Like the name suggests, round table closing involves a number of people meeting in-person to close the deal on your new home. This usually involves the buyer, seller, real estate agents, your title agent, and maybe an attorney or two coming together to transfer the homes title to your name and sign mortgage documents, like

How to Choose the Right Title Insurance Agency

By Andrea Robinson
August 21, 2018 Category: General

After months of browsing Zillow, tracking down the right realtor, attending open houses, making offers, mortgage approval, the appraisal, youve made it to the last step towards owning a home finalizing your title and closing the sale. Home buying is a long-term game, with plenty of complex steps and plenty of tedious paperwork throughout. Thats why its oh-so-critical to make sure you have the right people to help you through the endgame, but what should you be looking for when it comes to details like title duties and escrow? Here are some key steps to help you choose the right title agency: Think Local There are probably dozens of title companies in your state along with the handful of national companies that offer title and closing services. Its important to choose a company that has some expertise with how your local laws work. Remember, title companies make sure the closing process is done correctly and provide you with insurance to protect you (the owner) from issues

August Events in Cleveland

By Andrea Robinson
July 31, 2018 Category: General

August in Cleveland is a busy time with lots of events and festivals taking place throughout the entire month. Each event has a variety of activities to partake in, with fun for the whole family. Here are some great events/festivals to consider attending: The Cuyahoga County Fair is being held at the Cuyahoga County Fair Grounds in Berea. This event takes place from August 7th to August 12th. The Fair offers foods, rides, special events and shows, and animals galore. On August 7th there will be BOGO (Buy One Get One) fair admission for all ages. Wednesday and Thursday, they are offering $1 admission before 3pm and half-priced ride stamps before 3pm! Friday is a senior and veteran day with $2 admission until 5pm. Lastly, Saturday is $2 admission between 10am and noon in celebration of family morning at the fair. The Feast of the Assumption is taking place in Clevelands Little Italy neighborhood. This event is taking place from August 15th to August 18th. For this event streets

Why Title Insurance is Important When Buying a Home

By Andrea Robinson
July 30, 2018 Category: General

Title Insurance protects the insured person/people from a financial loss associated with the ownership of a property. When in the process of buying a home, a title company checks the propertys ownership history, to make sure you are receiving a clear title to the home with no legal claims or liens. In the case that a yet-to-be-discovered issue comes up down the line with the homes title, the insured would then use their title insurance to protect against their personal liability. While people are familiar with the idea of automobile insurance, which covers events that have not yet happened, title insurance covers events that previously took place. In the case that unpaid taxes from 30 years ago by a previous owner, or a lawsuit from an heir to someone who previously owned the property comes up, title insurance will cover it. While searches are done by title companies as to the titles history can minimize the risks of a claim being made, they do not guarantee a title issue will