School District Report Cards

The new report cards are out, and I don’t mean the ones your student brings home every quarter. I’m talking about the reports for Ohio local school districts.

Just last week the Ohio Department of Education released their list of the top schools, and it was ilrc-topbanner-logo-smallnice to see that 3 Cincinnati schools made the top 10.

Are you thinking about moving or want to know where you’re school district falls on the list? You can check out the website yourself and do a school district search here at the Ohio Report Card page.

Now, if you don’t have children why is knowing how well the local schools are performing so important? That’s simple. Good schools with a high graduation and test score rate keep students in the community. What neighborhood doesn’t want bright students working and growing in their area?

This is so important for the local environment. As grades and school culture improve, then the community as a whole will thrive.

If you’re planning on buying this could be one of the most important things you research.

House Hunting Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make

Buying a home will probably be the largest purchase most people will ever make. Because it’s so important to do it right, a real estate agent is almost a necessity.bainbridge-roofs-120513

With that being said, there are some mistakes that you’ll want to avoid whether you have a professional at the helm, or you’re battling the housing high seas on your own. has a great article on the Top 8 House-Hunting Mistakes. In this article, they list some obvious and not so obvious mistakes that anyone can make when it comes to searching for that perfect home. Here is a quick rundown of the list:

  1. Falling in Love: know your boundaries before falling for a house. If you can’t make it work, then move on to the next one. Don’t get your heart broken.
  2. Being Inflexible: be prepared to give and take on amenities. You’ll find that as you search something that was important starting out may not end up to be that important.
  3. Getting Desperate: take your time and don’t settle.
  4. Ignore Flaws: potentially costly defects may mean big bucks to repair.
  5. Playing Handyman: if you’re not a real handyman, then don’t forget to add repair costs to something you can’t fix.
  6. Making a Premature Offer: sometimes it’s best to sleep on the decision rather than sign and regret.
  7. Waiting Too Long: but don’t wait too long or the house may not be there.
  8. Offering Too Much: even in a hot market, listen to your agent. You don’t want to go it offering too much when less would be best.

Have you experienced any of these house-hunting mistakes?

Does Your Home Have Sellable Quality

We have all heard people say The most important thing in real estate is


And it’s true. That is the #1 thing that drives the cost of a property. Where it’s located, what’s around it? But after LOCATION, what comes next?

This question is different for everyone. For some, it will be amenities; for others it will be school district. And yet others will like walkability. says that after location, more than 60% of buyers think school district is the most important aspect of their new purchase.

Check out this article from entitled 10 Things That Make A Home A Good Home. In it they list some of the most popular buying points for properties. If you’re thinking of buying a property and plan on selling it in the future, these are great things to keep in mind.

No matter what is important to you, remember that your new home’s most important characteristic is the family that lives inside. If you ever need help navigating the other aspects of homebuying then a real estate professional can help you with that.

So I’d like to know, which one on Forbes’ list is the most important to you?

Discussion #2: I’m Selling. Why Do I Need a Lender?

If you’re in the market for a new home and you plan on gaining financing, then chances are you have already talked with a lender. Maybe even before you’ve contacted a real estate professional you have obtained a handy little note saying you are approved for financing. And in the event that you find a new home can immediately put down an offer.

Sounds great. For buying the process couldn’t be more simple, but what if you’re on the selling endcottage of the transaction. Should you talk with a lender before putting out that FOR SALE sign?

Here is the situation. Almost 70% of Americans have a mortgage. You plan on selling your home, whether to downsize, upsize, job transfer, whatever the reason. Your goal could be to buy a new home while closing proceedings are happening with your old home.

Sounds pretty straight forward. You’re really just transferring one loan for another. It should be no big deal.

Or that’s what you think.

The reality is that it is a very big deal and every seller with a current mortgage should consult a lender. The reasoning is that you can pay on your current monthly mortgage but still have bad credit, or still be swamped with bills or have employment problems.

When the time comes to close on your old home, the last thing you want is to find out that you don’t qualify for a new loan. That dream home you were hoping to get could turn into a rental where you have to stay until your situation improves.

This is a sad situation, but it happens to a lot of people. Don’t let it happen to you!

So the big question is: when should you talk with a lender? You can do it one of two times:

1. Before you talk with a real estate agent. That way you know before you get the selling-ball rolling. If it takes credit repair or more down payment you can start working on those things before moving the process forward.

2. After an introductory meeting with a real estate professional. They can give you an estimate on what the market value of your home is worth or for how much it’s likely to sell. That could be very useful information for lender.

The important thing is to be prepared. Don’t wait until the last minute to talk with a mortgage company. Even if you are selling and planning on buying, it is one of the first steps you need to take.

What Is Roof Flashing and Why Should You Care?

One of the most dangerous things that can happen to your home is water damage. It can cause the ceiling to cave in and it can cause mold and mildew.

No one wants to walk around buckets in the living room during a storm!

That’s why Roof Flashing is so important. images

What is roof flashing? you ask. The short answer is that its metal sheeting installed on your roof wherever there are breaks or edges. You can see this in the picture here. When the roof butts up to a chimney or to a section of siding, you have flashing to keep the water from seeping into the house.

In other words, it’s very important! How can you tell if your roof is prepared for the coming fall and winter seasons? Check out this blog I found at Homeowner’s and Trades Resource Center. The article is Getting the details right: 4 biggest roof flashing errors to avoid.

The article can be a little construction technical, but there are diagrams and pictures to help out. The important things is to educate ourselves on these things. If you’re ever buying a new home this a must area to inspect.


A Month of Personal Reflections

The last month has been a busy one for me. For the first time since I started as a real estate agent, I experienced the feeling of having multiple closings in one week and it definitely kept me on my toes!images

I have had closings before. These were not my first two properties that I’ve helped clients buy, but it is the first time that they happened in the same week. It was an exciting time for me as an agent. I had the opportunity to help one client own her own home and one young couple purchase their first home.

What an exciting time for them!

For me, I was so glad I could help them all find homes they would be happy in for years to come. What I was unprepared for was the pre-closing activities.

I knew going into a closing there are things I needed to take care of and monitor, lender paperwork, appraisals, title documents. What initially caught me off guard was juggling two entirely different processes.

There were two different title agencies, two different lenders, and I had to always keep them both straight. For me, this is a good problem to have. It means that I’m able to help find properties that meet my client’s expectations.

This month has been a great learning experience. I have developed systems to help me in the future differentiate between client transactions. I’m excited to keep working and assisting clients, and I hope to do it much more in the weeks and months ahead.

Small Lake Homes You Won’t Believe!

Location and size. Those two things are so important when buying a home or building. It seems that everyone wants to go bigger when they’re buying and for most that works out great.F4EED99075679B691B4BFE20F275CB

Bigger family, new job, more parties. Whatever the reason, most people enjoy bigger homes.

Yet not everyone needs one. Check out this photo gallery from MSN on 10 Tiny Lakehouses.

These are perfect for spending a little time on the lake. You could even say the entire outdoors is the house and the people just so happen to have a cozy, little nook in which to sleep.

My favorite is the greenhouse-style house set on a wooded lake. What’s your favorite tiny home? Or better yet could you live in a super-small house?


Discussion #1: Who Pays My Agent?

There are some very prevalent myths and misconceptions about real estate agents and the real estate industry in general. Before I became an agent I believed some of them myself.

One of the biggest misunderstood concepts for new home-buyers and seasoned buyers alike is:affiliate-commissions

How does the agent get paid?

I wanted to take just a few moments to clear this up because in recent weeks I’ve met a number of people who do not want to use an agent to buy a house. Their reason:

They do not want to pay for them.

On the surface it’s an honest question. No one works for free (unless you’re an intern). Obviously someone has to pay for an real estate agent’s assistance. The thought being that since they’re helping me buy a home, I must be the one forking over their commission.

Here is the truth: buyers do not pay for their agents commission.

And here is why. When an individual wants to sell their home, they hire an agent to sell the property. That selling agent/brokerage will charge a percentage of the home price for commission for all parties involved in the transaction. Here is my example:

A home selling for $100,000 is on the market. An agent helps sell the property and says the broker charges a 6% commission rate. When a friendly buyer comes along with their buying agent that commission is split between the two brokerages. It could be split any way they want. In our example lets say they split it in half. The selling broker gets 3% and the buying broker gets 3%.

And that’s how it happens. Buying agents only get paid when a property sells because it comes from the cost of the home.

So why would you not want an agent to help you buy a property? Please share this post with your friends and family and help me debunk the myth that buyers pay for their agents.

Did you find this topic helpful? Let me know if the comments below!