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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

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,