The Top 5 Home Features That Save Time and Money

Everyone wants to save money on energy bills every month. But did you know that having today’s popular energy-efficient features in your home can also save you time and stress when you sell your home?

two home buyers surrounded by moving boxesMore and more first-time home buyers are searching for homes in the area, so there is more of a demand for move-in ready homes or homes with certain features.

As Millennial Magazine notes, what buyers are looking for in a home include open floor plans, homes with great cell service, and energy-efficient features.

Having the best energy-efficient home features now means you won’t need to upgrade your home later when you sell. Plus, these features may also add value to your home.

5. Programmable Thermostats

Programmable thermostats let you control when you want the heat and air conditioning to be running in your home, saving you money on your monthly energy bills. Some thermostats, such as Nest Learning Thermostats, even let you control the temperature remotely on your phone, an appealing feature for today’s home buyers.

upgraded kitchen with bright spring flowers4. Energy-Efficient Appliances

There are plenty of cost-saving options for the appliances throughout your home. Energy Star offers many appliances and equipment from kitchen appliances to water heaters that are popular energy-efficient home features.

3. Green Home Construction

Materials involved in home construction can be also be energy-efficient. Different types of insulation and energy-efficient windows, such as low-emissivity (low E), can be installed to reduce your heating and cooling costs.

2. Low-Flow Plumbing Fixtures

A way to save money on your water bill is to replace your toilet, faucet, or shower head with a low-flow toilet and water-conserving features.

LED light bulb on a white surface1. LED Lightbulbs

A simple switch from incandescent lighbulbs to LED bulbs will not only brighten your home but save you money on your energy bill.

Using these bulbs can also help you as you’re selling your home, too; brighter rooms are more appealing to buyers who are scrolling through online listing photos and viewing homes.

Today’s Buyers are Searching for Your Home

Not all home buyers are searching for new construction homes in the area. In fact, the National Association of Home Builders found that less than 9% of Millennials and only 12% of older home buyers bought a new home.

Today’s home buyers may be searching for a home that is similar to yours, and if you have the energy-efficient home features they are looking for, they may value your home more.

But Before You Upgrade Your Home…

person using an iphoneAs the real estate experts in this area, we know what features home buyers are looking for. So before you completely upgrade your home with these features or other home improvements, talk to us about whether you need to spend the time and money installing them.

All your home may need is expert marketing to attract buyers.

We’d be happy to talk with you about the best energy-efficient home features and what today’s buyers are searching for. Just give us a call.

Checklist with pen isolated on white

How to Prepare to Sell Your Home in New Albany

It takes a lot of time and preparation before you list your home on the market, and the selling process can often seem overwhelming. But we hope that by simplifying the steps you need to take, selling your home in New Albany will not be as stressful. Here are our essential tips to prepare to sell your home in New Albany.

Make a List of What Needs to be Cleaned or Repaired

Before you tackle the often overwhelming task of decluttering your home, take note of what needs to be cleaned, repaired, or replaced. This includes both the outside of your home as well as the inside.

Declutter the Inside of Your Home

Buyers want to see how space is used in a home. That means that any furniture, clothing, and household items you do not use and have stored in closets or the garage should be cleaned out. Donate or discard any items that you no longer want, and put the rest in storage out of sight.

living room in a new albany home that has been properly prepared to sell

This home’s living room has been carefully decluttered, showcasing every inch of space. Listing courtesy of Thomas & Company.

Neutralize the Inside of Your Home

In order to make your home more attractive to potential buyers, you want to help them easily picture themselves living in your home. Remove any distractions, such as personal photos and heirlooms, and give your home more neutral wall colors and décor.

new albany home for sale with neutral decor

This bathroom has been decluttered and given neutral wall colors.

Make Necessary Home Repairs

Does your roof need replacing or is a faucet leaking? It’s time to make the repairs now before you list your home. New Albany buyers tend to think repairs cost more than they do, and could choose a home from another seller. But if you list your home with all the repairs taken care of, buyers will have a great first impression of your home.

Remember, don’t start any major renovations, since it is unlikely you will receive a return when you sell. Make sure to consult with your trusted Realtor if you have any questions.

Select the Right Realtor

a home seller discussing her goals with her trusted Realtor in New AlbanyLast but not least, as you prepare to sell your home, selecting the right Realtor is crucial. It is important to find not only a reputable and successful professional, but a Realtor you feel comfortable working with.

The Realtors at Thomas & Company have been helping New Albany residents sell homes for over 30 years combined, helping sellers receive top dollar for their homes due to their in-depth market knowledge and their personal touch.

If you are considering listing your home, we can help you beyond these basic home preparation tips, advising you about creating curb appeal, staging your home, and pricing your home to appeal to buyers when you place your home on the market.

Just call us at 614.939.1234 and we can talk about selling your home in New Albany.

people talking about new albany

Learn What Makes New Albany Great Before You Relocate

When you are relocating to New Albany, Ohio, the largest challenge you face is knowing very little about the community. Where are the best restaurants? What are the best neighborhoods? What are the average home values? What is the weather like?

But you don’t have to do all of this research by yourself. Here are five helpful resources about relocating to and living in New Albany.

1. The Essential Relocation Checklist

Before you start to consider neighborhoods or even your favorite homes in New Albany, it’s helpful to make a list of all the things that you require in your new neighborhood.

checklist with pen isolated on whiteHere is a checklist to help you get started.

  • Proximity to shopping centers and entertainment
  • Proximity to recreational activities
  • Proximity to schools
  • Proximity to major roads

Moving with kids or moving with pets? Here are the steps that you can take to ease the transition for everyone.

2. A List of the Best Places to Live in New Albany

From New Albany’s country clubs to new construction communities off of Central College Road, there are dozens of neighborhoods and subdivisions that top the list of best places to live in New Albany. Explore the best neighborhoods here to find price ranges, a list of common home features, and available homes for sale. You will be the expert in no time.

3. See Who’s Involved in the Community

What makes New Albany a great place to live is not just the beautiful homes. Community members such as Fire Chief John Hoovler and organizations such as Cooking With Friends are all dedicated to keeping this community a welcoming place to live.

Spend some time learning about New Albany’s hard-working community members by watching videos in the “Around New Albany” series.

4. Know About All the Schools in New Albany

apple on stack of school textbooksThe New Albany-Plain Local School District is an exceptional public school district. All of its schools have earned the prestigious distinction of National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. You can find details about New Albany public schools here, including a list of distinctions, contact information, and their academic performance.

There are also a variety of private school options for New Albany residents. See the full list of schools in the area in this New Albany private school directory.

You can also find a full list of pre-schools in the New Albany area, including contact information and ages served, on the New Albany pre-school directory. Now, relocating to New Albany, Ohio is much easier.

5. Get Insider Information on the Real Estate Market

Want to be the expert on New Albany before you relocate to the area? Now you don’t have to spend hours researching the real estate market conditions.

Keep up with the housing market on the New Albany, Ohio real estate blog, view featured listings to see what’s available for sale, and impress New Albany residents with your knowledge of which homes have recently sold.

We Want to Make Your Relocation Enjoyable

Relocating to New Albany does not have to be a stressful process. We want to make sure that it’s an enjoyable experience for you!

home buyer receiving key to new homeAs the New Albany, Ohio real estate experts, and residents of this excellent community for over 20 years, we know everything about living in New Albany. Our website has all of the resources you need to make a smooth transition to your new home in this community.

Are you ready to find your next home in New Albany? Let’s view an available property you have been considering; just call us at 614.939.1234.

Is Renting Truly Cheaper Than Buying a Home?

Owning a home is a dream for many people. You have the opportunity to invest in a place of your own and build equity, not to mention carve out a space that reflects who you are and what you love.

However, worries about down payments, property taxes, maintenance, and insurance (and student loans) can make buying a home seem like wishful thinking, which is why you may prefer to rent a home or apartment.

But is renting cheaper than buying a home? There are more than just financial costs to consider. Let’s discuss the advantages and disadvantages of renting.

a person holding a wad of cashYou Receive No Return When You Rent a Property

As a renter, you’re paying hundreds of dollars a month to live in your community, and if you want to move, it’s much easier. But renting a home doesn’t offer you investment opportunities.

Unlike paying off your home loan and building equity, the money you pay when you rent goes straight to the property owner or manager.

You Don’t Build Credit When You Rent

As this recent Forbes article explains, your credit score often does not factor in your on-time monthly rent payments, so renting a property is not a great way to build credit.

Additionally, renting doesn’t provide you with any tax benefits. If you own a home, however, you can deduct mortgage insurance and property taxes, and exclude capital gains when you sell.

You Cannot Customize Your Living Space

upgraded kitchen with bright spring flowersNot all costs are financial. There are opportunity costs of renting a home instead of buying a home, and customization is one of them.

There may be rules and regulations in your rental community that prevent you from changing your space to fit your style, such as painting the walls or upgrading the kitchen. These rules may also prevent you from living with a pet.

Owning a home means you can create your own space (with your choice of countertops and kitchen cabinets), you can invest in home improvements, and you can live with your furry companion.

You Have a Harder Time Connecting with Your Community

Forming deep connections with your neighbors is likely not high on your priority list if you’re a renter, especially when you consider that you will only be living in the community for a short time. If you desire to get to know your neighbors, homeownership is a better option.

buyer holding house keys to new homeRenting vs. Buying: The Bottom Line

Renting gives you flexibility and little maintenance to worry about. Buying a home is a long-term investment that gives you a space you can customize, helps you build credit and equity, and connects you with your community.

We want to help you make the best decision, and we have important real estate market resources that you can use to help you decide if renting is cheaper for you than buying a home. Just give us a call and we can talk about your plans.

the decluttered master suite in 4267 Vaux Link for sale in New Albany

4 Essential New Albany Home Selling Strategies

When you are selling your home, it takes more than a coat of fresh paint and a newly mowed lawn to attract New Albany home buyers. With a majority of home buyers finding homes for sale online, every detail matters, from the way your home looks on the outside to the way your room looks in a listing photo.

Here are our essential home selling tips, which will help you sell quickly and for more money this spring.

1. Create the Best First Impression

front exterior and curb appeal of 4267 Vaux Link home for sale in New Albany OH

4267 Vaux Link in New Albany. Listing courtesy of Thomas & Company.

How your home looks from the outside can make or break a sale, since buyers tend to think that how your home looks on the outside reflects what it looks like on the inside. The more curb appeal your home has, the more likely it is to sell quickly and garner a higher selling price.

To increase your home’s curb appeal, try:

  • mowing the lawn and edging the yard
  • cleaning the gutters
  • painting the front door
  • setting flowers on either side of the door or walkway

2. Set the Stage for Showings

a decluttered entryway in a New Albany home for sale

This New Albany home features neutral wall colors and furnishings, a crucial aspect of home staging.

The first impression from curb appeal needs to continue when buyers enter your home. Make sure that your home is clean and clutter-free, smells fresh, and looks like new.

Don’t forget to neutralize the interior — home staging is all about eliminating distractions to allow buyers to picture themselves living in your home. You can find more about home staging on our article about preparing your New Albany home to sell.

3. Attract Buyers with Quality Listing Photos

a luxury kitchen in 4267 Vaux Link for sale in New Albany

Home buyers appreciate high-quality photographs when searching for homes online.

Once your home has excellent curb appeal and has been staged well, it’s time to take pictures. With over 75% of home buyers looking at listings online first, it’s not enough to take a picture with your phone. You need to show them every perfect detail with a high-quality photograph.

4. Effectively Market Your Home Online

It’s no longer enough to put a “For Sale” sign in your yard. New Albany home buyers are searching online for homes, and home marketing has shifted to include social media marketing.

If you want to see examples of these homes selling strategies in action, visit the featured listings page.

Real Estate Experience Gets Results

As long-time residents and real estate experts in New Albany, we have earned a reputation for our marketing performance and have created a network of trusted professionals and home buyers to help you get your home sold and looking its best. Let us help you sell your New Albany home for the right price and on your timeline. Contact us today and let’s talk about listing your home.

7 Best Strategies for House Hunting

Spring is almost here! The warmer weather, beautiful flowers, and longer days are perfect for viewing homes in person, and it’s no wonder that the spring season is a popular time for home buyers to start looking at homes and neighborhoods.

But before you start driving around and visiting open houses, you should follow these important house hunting tips.

a buyer getting preapproved for a mortgage with a lender1. Get Preapproved for a Mortgage

Getting preapproved for a home loan is one of the best tools you have when searching for a home, especially when you have competition.

If you are preapproved, the home seller takes your offer seriously and may end up accepting your offer over another interested home buyer who is not preapproved.

2. Get to Know the Neighborhood

If you have a specific home in mind, it’s best to visit the area more than once, at different times of the day and week.

3. Have a List of Your Wants and Needs

Have a detailed house hunting checklist outlining your wants and needs, and make sure that your list covers the type of home (e.g. house or condo), the location, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and home features that you are looking for.

One mistake that home buyers make during their home search, however, is having a wish list that is too strict. You don’t want to get stuck searching for the perfect home that may not exist.

Hand holding magnifying glass. Plain background4. Don’t Be Afraid to Examine Everything

If you have narrowed your home search and are viewing homes in person, it’s time to examine everything: doorknobs, cabinets, windows, faucets, light switches. Now is the time to find out if there is anything that needs repair, not after closing.

5. Consider the Weather

Relocating from another state or country? When buying a home in a new area, considering weather conditions and seasonal temperature changes is important.

For example, you may value a home that has a covered garage if you move to an area where snow is more common, or you may want to choose a home with a shaded backyard in an area with warmer temperatures.

6. Order the Home Inspection

It’s crucial to have a trained professional examine the home you are interested in buying, even a home that has just been built. This is the best way to identify any major repairs that need to be made.

a home buyer meeting with a trusted real estate agent7. Have the Best Real Estate Agent on Your Side

If you are feeling frustrated and overwhelmed while house hunting and competing with other home buyers, your real estate agent is there to guide you through the process and keep you focused on the next steps.

We want you to be able to find the best home in the best location, and we are here to help. So if you are searching for a home this spring, talk with us about what you are looking for in a home and we can find it together.

well-maintained New Albany, OH home with a mown lawn and clear sidewalks

This New Albany Home for Sale Could Be Yours

Spring is almost here, and that means home buying season is coming on strong. But selling your home in New Albany means more than putting a “for sale” sign in your yard to attract potential buyers driving by.

It requires expert home marketing to place your home in the spotlight so that the buyers who are looking for their dream home — your home — can find exactly what they are looking for. Let’s take this home as an example.

5385 Aldie Mill Drive’s Attractive Features

the two-story great room in 5385 Aldie Mill Drive for sale

The home for sale at 5385 Aldie Mill Drive is a stunning house on a large corner lot in New Albany, with 4 bedrooms, 3 full and 1 half bathrooms, and 3,999 square feet used to its full potential. The entire property conveys a sense of timeless elegance, and no detail is overlooked.

Gourmet Kitchen

beautiful, spacious kitchen in a new albany ohio home for sale

One of this house’s best features is the gourmet kitchen, outfitted with the finest details:

  • granite countertops
  • stainless steel appliances
  • spacious center island
  • double-door pantry
  • sunny eating area

These features make the kitchen an ideal centerpiece in the home for cooking meals and hosting get-togethers with friends and family.

This kitchen opens to the 2-story great room (featuring a wall of windows and beautiful fireplace) to give the area great flow, a key feature in an entertaining space.

Impressive Master Suite

tub, double vanities, shower, and spacious areas in 5385 Aldie Mill Drive's master bathroom

The upstairs master bathroom is another key feature in this New Albany home for sale, with a separate tub and spacious countertops giving it the feeling of a private spa rather than a mere bathroom. The master bedroom is equally impressive, with an enormous dream closet you would have to see to believe.

About the Tidewater Neighborhood

well-maintained New Albany, OH home with a mown lawn and clear sidewalks

Neighborhoods and nearby schools matter to New Albany buyers. The Tidewater neighborhood, where 5385 Aldie Mill Drive is located, is a new construction community off Central College Road, a growing area in New Albany, and offers buyers an intimate residential community with homes on wooded lots and close to water features.

But these three key features are not the only reasons that 5385 Aldie Mill Drive is a dream home in New Albany. View the property page to find other stunning home features, a gallery full of large photos, and a map of its location — all of which help New Albany home buyers see why they should request an in-person showing.

The New Albany Home Marketing Experts

You have invested your time, money, and energy into your home in New Albany. Doesn’t it deserve to be in the spotlight?

a New Albany, Ohio home recently sold by Thomas & CompanyWhen it comes time to sell your home, you want to display your home’s best features — like the features from 5385 Aldie Mill Drive — for every New Albany home buyer to see, so you will need to rely on the top Realtors and their superior home marketing to broadcast that your home is for sale and that it is every buyer’s dream home.

We want you to earn top dollar on the sale of your home, which is why we will use our expertise in home marketing and every resource at our disposal to get your home sold. Contact us today at 614.939.1234 to talk about how we can market your home.

10 Easy Spring Cleaning Ideas

The month of March brings spring, and with spring comes bright budding flowers, longer days, warmer weather, and spring cleaning. There is no better way to shake off the dreariness of winter than a freshly cleaned home ready to welcome the season. Here are 10 easy ways you can clean your home for spring.

homeowners on a couch in front of open windows1. Open the Windows

There’s nothing like the sun shining through your windows to usher in the feeling of spring.

Throw back the curtains, part the blinds, and open up the windows to let the fresh spring air waft through your home.

2. Organize Your Closets

If you are running out of closet space, you can put away many of your bulky winter clothes to leave room for your spring wardrobe. You can even take a few extra minutes to sort out any clothes you no longer wear to donate, giving you even more room for the upcoming season.

3. Use Detergent as an All-Purpose Cleaner

A little bit of laundry detergent can go a long way. Warm water, laundry detergent, and items that you may have around the house can help you clean:

  • oil spills
  • carpets
  • cabinets
  • stovetops
  • sinks
  • toilets
  • walls
  • countertops
  • bathtubs
  • and more!
a cup full of laundry detergent used in cleaning supplies

These recipes for all-purpose cleaners recommend just 1/4 cup of detergent for 5 gallons of water. Simple and effective.

4. Brighten Rooms with Simple Changes

A simple change of pillows on a sofa or comforters on a bed can make a world of difference. You can rotate these household items seasonally, keeping your décor fresh and rooms feeling like new with very little effort.

5. Reorganize Living Areas

Again, small changes can make a big difference in the look and feel of your home, and rearranging the furniture in main living areas can leave your home feeling fresh and ready for spring.

6. Clean Light Switches and Fixtures

Take a few minutes to wipe fingerprints off light switches, dust your lamps, tighten the screws on any loose door hinges, and replace any incandescent light bulbs with brighter and more energy-efficient bulbs.

clean kitchen with bright spring flowers7. Clean Kitchen Appliances

Give your microwave and fridge a fresh look by cleaning any old food remnants from inside the appliances. An easy way to clean the microwave is by heating a bowl of water — the steam loosens the residue for easy clean-up.

8. Bring Plants Indoors

A few indoor flowers and plants can bring the fresh blooms of spring into your home, brightening living rooms, kitchens, or windowsills with ease.

9. Check Your Cabinets

Look in your kitchen and bathroom cabinets to see if anything has expired, is almost empty, or needs to be thrown away. This is a simple way to declutter your home’s key features without spending a lot of time cleaning.

a new welcome mat in front of a door10. Put Out a New Welcome Mat

What better way to welcome spring than with a new welcome mat outside your front door? This fresh feature not only adds another focal point to your entryway, it makes an excellent first impression for visitors.

Cleaning to Sell Your Home This Spring?

These spring cleaning tips can help you prepare your home to sell. Home buyers love to see homes that are bright, clean, and inviting from the front door, and these easy tips can help you get started. We can also recommend other home staging tips and home selling resources to help you make the largest return on your investment this spring; just contact us and we can talk about selling your home.

Home Selling

How to Make a Winning Offer

After you have found the perfect home, you are ready to make an offer. This important information will help you get on the best possible terms with the home seller so that you can agree on a price, sign the contract, and start moving into your new home.

How Much to Offer the Seller

two business people discussing real estateThere are three factors to consider when deciding on how much to offer for the home: the asking price, what you can afford, and the prices for comparable homes in the area.

The asking price on a home is an estimate of what the home seller wants to receive. In a hot market, you may need to offer a little more than asking price; in a cold market, you can offer a little less than asking price.

Knowing why the homeowner is selling his or her home can also determine how much you can offer. If the home has been on the market for a long time or if the homeowner is relocating, you may be able to offer less than asking price so they may have a quicker home sale.

Should You Add Contingencies to Your Offer?

You may want to add contingencies to your sale to give yourself more time to sell your current home, qualify for financing, or receive the findings from the home inspection. However, the more contingencies you have, the less likely the New Albany home seller will accept your offer.

The Negotiation Process

The home seller wants to earn top dollar for his or her home. You want to buy this New Albany property for the lowest possible price. The negotiation process is tricky, and without the expert negotiation skills of a real estate professional, it can be incredibly stressful.

When the Seller Responds with a Counteroffer

When you make an offer on a New Albany home, the seller may respond with a counteroffer, which can include changes to the terms in price, closing date, occupancy date, or inspection time.

You can accept, reject, or counter the counteroffer until both you and the seller can agree. When either you or the seller accept all terms and conditions of an offer or a counteroffer in writing, a contract is written.

Getting Pre-Approved Will Make Your Offer Stand Out

house keychain on the key to a new houseIf you are still in the initial stages of your home search, getting pre-approved for a mortgage is one of the most powerful negotiating tools you have.

Competing with other home buyers for your dream home in New Albany is not an ideal situation for you, but by showing the home seller that you are pre-approved, he or she will take you more seriously, and it will give you an edge over your competitors.

Our Real Estate Experts Have All the Answers

Making an offer on a New Albany home without an expert on your side can leave you feeling frustrated, and in a tough negotiating situation you could even lose your dream home.

As trusted New Albany real estate experts, we have all the answers to your questions about making an offer on a home and are more than happy to use our negotiation skills in your best interest. Contact us today and let’s talk about buying a home and getting pre-approved.

New Albany, Ohio dream home

Different Types of Mortgages for New Albany Home Buyers

Last week we spoke about important financial costs to consider when buying a home in New Albany, and we talked briefly about mortgages.

This week we want to explore the topic of mortgages in depth, and we specifically want to focus on the different types of mortgages available for home buyers.

Discussion with a real estate agent at the officeFixed-Rate Mortgages

This type of loan keeps the interest rate consistent throughout the life of the loan, which may be 10, 15, 20, or 30 years. Fixed monthly mortgage payments make budgeting easier for homeowners.

Adjustable-Rate Mortgages (ARMs)

While the initial interest rates tend to be lower than fixed-rate mortgages, the interest rate fluctuates, with low rates that gradually increase each year. You can learn more about adjustable-rate mortgages in this handbook from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Loans

These type of loans typically only require a 5% down payment as opposed to the conventional 20%. However, FHA loans require mortgage insurance.

Veterans Administration (VA) Loans

All military veterans are eligible for this type of loan, which requires no down payment or mortgage insurance. There is a borrowing limit, however. In Licking and Franklin Counties, where New Albany is located, the borrowing limit is currently $417,000 for a one-unit property.

Two-Step Mortgages

These are 30-year loans that have a fixed rate for either 5 or 7 years before they are changed into a convertible loan (fixed-rate) or nonconvertible (adjustable-rate) loan. These loans are also known as 5/25s or 7/23s.

Balloon Mortgages

These type of loans tend to have lower interest rates, but require that you pay the entire loan in full at the end of the loan period.

Bi-Weekly Mortgage Payments

You can significantly reduce the amount of time you have a loan, and decrease the interest you have to pay, by making two mortgage payments a month.

home buyer receiving key to new homeWhich Mortgage is Right for You?

The right mortgage depends on your individual needs: your monthly income, future expected income, and current debts.

If you need help choosing the best mortgage or would like to speak with a recommended lender, we can provide any information you need to help make your transaction go smoothly so you can receive the keys to your New Albany home in no time. We would be happy to talk with you at any time; just call us at 614.939.1234.