calverton home 2

How to Avoid Paying Too Much for Your Dream Home

When it comes to buying a home in New Albany, it’s important to learn whether you are paying too much. But before you turn to Zillow to see what your dream home is actually worth, we wanted to explain the different ways of determining New Albany home values.

An Appraisal vs. Market Analysis

An appraisal and a comparative market analysis (also called a CMA) are two ways of learning how much a home is worth. But there is a major difference between how both resources are used.

Home SellingThe bank uses an appraisal, where a licensed appraiser inspects the home to determine its value, so that it knows whether the amount for the loan it will give you is higher than the actual value of the property.

Your real estate agent uses a comparative market analysis — which involves looking at prices of similar homes that recently sold, real estate trends in the area, and any upgrades for the home — to determine a competitive listing price for the property. (A neighborhood sold report can help you learn what homes have recently sold for and whether homes in your dream community are in high demand.)

What about Zillow Home Values?

Like we explained in our blog post last week, Zillow value estimates for New Albany homes vary from the actual sales price by about 10% (or, as we noticed, 20% for homes over $500,000). That small error amounts to thousands of dollars!

It is always a good idea to rely on a Realtor’s evaluation of the property so that you will never have to worry whether you are paying too much for your dream home.

Trust the New Albany, Ohio Real Estate Experts

person holding keys to dream home in new albany, ohioWe have been living in New Albany and buying and selling real estate in this community for years, and our dedicated team members work tirelessly to make sure that you are informed about the home buying process every step of the way. As your New Albany buying resource, we put you first, no matter what.

Contact us today and let’s talk about your dream home.

5 Ways to Host the Perfect, Mess-Free Super Bowl Party

If you are hosting a big party to celebrate Super Bowl 50, you probably want it to be an event that you and your guests remember for years to come.

But Super Bowl parties can be messy: Crumbs and dirt from your guests’ shoes can embed themselves in your carpet, drinking glasses and plates can pile up, and the late-night messes can leave you feeling frustrated. But not to worry, we have a few Super Bowl party ideas that can help you minimize the mess.

Game-Changing Super Bowl Preparations

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Before you place the perfect decorations and put the snacks out on the table, prepare for game night with these helpful tips.

1. Buy Disposable Table Covers

Protect your coffee table from scuffs and crumbs by covering it with a disposable cover, whether it’s a plastic tablecloth or a roll of brown paper. For extra security, you can tape the edges to the underside of the table, and all you have to do is scoop up whatever’s left — including broken chips, bits of salsa, and water rings — and toss it out.

2. Put Everything in Easy Reach

Every second counts during the Super Bowl, both during the game and during the commercials, and no one wants to miss any of the action while heading to the kitchen to grab another drink or handful of chips.

Let your guests stay glued to the TV by keeping the food within easy reach on a large table in front of the couch. (The disposable table covers will definitely come in handy here.)

bite-sized pizza, fries, and dipping sauce 3. Go Bite-Size with the Snacks

Keep the mess to a minimum and select the best snacks that are bite-sized. You can stick toothpicks into your appetizers, too, to add an element of style to your snack selections.

Check out these recipes for bite-size snacks on the Food Network or these appetizer recipes from Better Homes and Gardens for great bite-sized snack ideas.

4. Prepare Your Stain Removers

It’s always helpful to prepare for spills, and having carpet cleaner on hand can help you prevent stains from forming on your carpet or on your sofa.

A little bit of dishwashing detergent can go a long way to clean up soft drinks, wine, and beer. Visit Good Housekeeping for easy cleaning solutions for just about any kind of stain, including beverages.

5. Stick with Disposable Plates

Avoid any mishaps and broken dishes by buying disposable plates, bowls, cups, and silverware before game day, and have your guests personalize their glasses with a permanent marker to prevent any misplacing. Then, instead of having to wash dishes, you can toss everything into the trash bag and stick it in the garbage.

Preparing to Sell Your Home? We Have Your Covered!

clean and decluttered living room ready for a home saleThe home selling preparations don’t stop even during the Super Bowl. We hope these mess-free party preparations can help you stay on track and avoid having to clean massive messes, and we can recommend other helpful tips for cleaning and decluttering your home that can save you time and money.

We’re available to talk if you need any advice, resources, or real estate information, and we can help you sell your home for top dollar and in a short time. Just give us a call today and let’s talk about your goals.

Don’t Rely on Zestimates to Determine a Home’s Value

beautiful living room at 3540 Eyre Hall Pass in New Albany

The spring real estate market is in sight and a popular question is “Are Zestimates accurate?” Many potential sellers rely on Zillow to provide a “Zestimate” of their home’s value. Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff is quoted as saying that the Zestimates are “a good starting point,” but that nationwide Zestimates have a “median error rate” of about 8%. In our opinion, 8% is a big variance. It equals $40,000 on a $500,000 home!

In a non-scientific study of local New Albany home prices vs. their Zillow Zestimates, we found that homes priced under $500,000 had, on average, a 10% variance from their actual sales price, while the New Albany homes that sold above $500,000 had an astonishing 20% discrepency (on average) from their actual sales price.* Those numbers are troubling, and are one of the reasons we don’t ever recommend using Zillow to price your home or to determine a fair price to pay for a home.

The LA Times recently published an article about Zillow Zestimates. You can read the entire article here. http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/la-fi-harney-20150208-story.html

To summarize, Zillow can be a decent place to start when determining a home’s value, but homeowners and home buyers should look to a qualified Realtor for a more accurate valuation. Kate & Tony and Thomas & Company have specialized in residential home sales in New Albany for 19 years. We are happy to assist you with determining a home’s true value as you consider possible moves in 2016! Reach out to us anytime at 614-939-1234 or www.NewAlbanyOhio.com.

radishes and fresh produce at winter farmers market

Are You Going to the Indoor Farmers Market in February?

The first Saturdays of the month are all about getting together with your friends and stopping by the New Albany Farmers Market for fresh foods from your neighbors. And between October and February each year, the community fun moves indoors to the Philip Heit Center for Healthy New Albany.

February 6th is the Last Indoor Market Day

Date: Saturday, February 6th | Time: 9 AM – Noon

Location: 150 W. Main Street, New Albany, OH 43054

mixed salad made from fresh produceThe last day of the indoor farmers market is February 6th, 2016, and you do not want to miss it. The center will be bustling with activity as your New Albany neighbors and friends buy fresh produce, baked goods, locally produced honey and cheeses, and much more.

The New Albany Farmers Market is the perfect place to shop for fresh local ingredients for dinner, meet your new neighbors, and support the wonderful people in your community.

About the Philip Heit Center for Healthy New Albany

The Heit Center is a new health and wellness facility in our community that sponsors activities and events designed to bring neighbors together and promote healthy lifestyles. The indoor and outdoor New Albany Farmers Market, the New Albany Walking Classic, and the New Albany Community Garden are all popular programs that the center is associated with.

Find Your Lifestyle in New Albany, Ohio

With a community that promotes healthy lifestyles and plenty of activities you can do with your friends and neighbors, it is no wonder that New Albany is a fantastic place to live. We are the New Albany real estate experts and can help you find your dream home in this area, give you a peek around New Albany at the organizations that make it such a great place to live, and provide you with all the resources you need to relocate and buy a home.

Contact us today to learn more about the real estate market and about living in this welcoming community.

Are You Making These Home Staging Mistakes?

properly staged kitchen in New Albany house free of clutterNow that you are selling your New Albany home, you’re making sure that you’re doing whatever is necessary to make it presentable to potential home buyers. You’ve given your floors a vacuuming, dusted the ceiling fans, scrubbed the kitchen counters clean, and even painted your front door a different color.

That’s it, right?

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Staging Your New Albany Home

If you want to sell your home for top dollar, home staging is absolutely essential, especially in the competitive New Albany real estate market. Since over 75% of all home buyers use the Internet to search for a home and rely on images to see what your home looks like, decluttering and depersonalizing are key to getting buyers to want to see your home in person.

Are they going to want to live in your home or want to see someone else’s? Here are five mistakes to avoid when staging your home to sell.

1. Not Creating Any Curb Appeal

First impressions are everything when you are selling your New Albany home. If buyers are not impressed with the outside of your home, they will not even make it to the front door.

New Albany Fenway home with great curb appealMake your home look its best by:

  • powerwashing the driveway
  • cleaning the gutters
  • trimming the bushes
  • polishing the front doorknob

Make sure you take a look at our article “Creating Curb Appeal” on our website for more helpful tips.

2. Keeping Your Personal Photos on the Walls

Buyers want to envision themselves living in your home. They don’t want to feel like intruders. Remove any personal items, including family photos, from your rooms while your home is for sale so that buyers can easily picture themselves living in your home.

3. Ignoring the Minor Repairs

Finger-smudged light switches, weeds in the flower beds, and small nail holes in the walls might not seem like issues to you, but they can be huge turn-offs for a home buyer. Give your home the best first impression by taking care of all the little things. Ask a friend to act like a potential buyer and inspect your home for any minor cosmetic issues, and then fix them.

4. Not Paying Attention to the Carpets

Years of stains and treading on your carpets can cause them to look worn. You can either replace your old carpets or have them professionally deep cleaned, and this will instantly improve the look of your home during staging.

5. Not Relying On Experienced Professionals

Your Realtor should be your primary resource when you are staging your home so that you can attract buyers into your home and eventually sell your home to one. Work with them to see how you can make your home look its best on the market, or ask them for recommendations for professional home stagers.

Rely on Thomas & Company to Sell Your New Albany Home

a New Albany house exterior with "SOLD!" on the imageWe hope you found these home staging tips helpful! Make sure you read our articles about common mistakes to avoid when selling and ways to prepare your home for sale.

If you are planning to sell your New Albany home soon and are looking for helpful tips or even the right real estate agents, our team can give you all the resources you need to sell your home for top dollar and in a short time. Give us a call today at 614.939.1234 and let’s talk about your home selling goals.

5 Home Selling Tips for Homeowners Who are Not Selling (Yet)

Selling your home may be an idea you are seriously considering, but that does not mean you are ready to put your home on the market just yet. You may be waiting to pay off your mortgage, you may be waiting for the kids to move out, or you may not be ready yet to part with all the memories you have made in this home.

But that does not mean you don’t have to start preparing to sell.

What to Consider Before Listing Your Home

personal belongings cluttered in a home's attic, a DO NOT home selling tipMany home sellers feel overwhelmed when they are preparing to sell their home for a number of reasons: There is the daunting task of decluttering, the sometimes unexpected repairs that have to be made, and the seemingly endless list of squeaky doors and minor fixes that buyers would notice almost immediately.

And all of this happens in a short time. (Read this Popular Mechanics article about what surprises this first-time home seller experienced to get an idea of what can happen.)

Prepare Now, Feel Less Stressed Later

You are in the perfect position right now to do what many home sellers do not have the chance to — slowly start to get your home in order. Here are ten home selling tips you can try now so you won’t feel overwhelmed when you are selling your home later.

1. Start with the Necessary Repairs

Free yourself from future stress by making any major repairs now, whether that is repairing the HVAC or replacing the hot water heater.

paint roll and paint brushes2. Go for Neutral Colors

If you want to give your walls a fresh coat of paint, opt for more neutral colors. During home showings, neutral colors and décor make it easier for home buyers to picture themselves living in your home, which is your ultimate goal.

3. Start Decluttering Now

Home sellers often find that decluttering is one of the more frustrating and overwhelming tasks, but if you start cleaning the clutter now, you will thank yourself later. A good rule of thumb: If you don’t love something and use it, lose it.

4. Deep Clean Your Home Periodically

small vacuum cleaner on dark floors in a homeSometimes it feels like the little things pile up quickly, don’t they? Try to stay ahead of minor maintenance and cleaning tasks by:

  • cleaning fixtures and light switch covers
  • fixing broken doorbells
  • repairing squeaky doors
  • dusting high and low
  • cleaning floors and windows

Check out our previous blog post for more ways to clean, organize, and declutter your home.

5. Refresh Your Front Entrance

During the home selling process, making a fantastic first impression is the key to getting buyers in the door. Refresh your home’s curb appeal by purchasing a new welcome mat, painting the front door, and polishing or replacing the doorknob.

List Your Home with Us for a Smooth Experience

We hope you found these home selling tips helpful. We know that selling a home can be overwhelming, especially if the unexpected happens. But we want to make sure that you have as painless of a sale as possible, so we will do everything we can to help you sell your home for top dollar and in a short time. So when you do decide to list your home, just give us a call.

4 Home Improvements That are Worth the Investment

People tend to stay in a home for up to 10 years before moving, so how do you make the most of those 10 years in your New Albany home? Do you start with a “move-in ready” home that will require no major updates in the next decade, or do you buy an older home and make the improvements for the future?

Make Upgrades with the Future in Mind

No home is perfect; finding the home in your ideal price range, location, and with modern features is a difficult task.

But as a New Albany home buyer with more modern tastes, you can make several home improvements to an older house to help you make the most of the next 10 years in your new home. And when it comes time to sell your home, these improvements will prove worthy of today’s investment.

a New Albany, Ohio home with updated granite countertops and stainless steel appliances1. The Kitchen: Refitted Counters and New Appliances

Granite countertops are in, laminate countertops are out. But you don’t have to buy a more expensive home with your desired upgrades if you have found an older house as your dream home.

Replace your old countertops with granite, quartz, or other stone options and your kitchen will start to look and feel modern. Take your home improvements one step further and replace older, white appliances with stainless steel appliances. And you can always give your kitchen cabinets a great coat of paint to instantly transform your kitchen.

2. The Bathrooms: New Countertops and Fixtures

Bathrooms are a major selling point in a home, and when you are buying a house that needs upgrading, consider investing in countertops and new fixtures first. Just make sure that the upgrades are more traditional rather than trendy to ensure your investment will not go out of style in 10 years.

3. The Outside: New Roof and Garage Door

The National Association of Realtors reported that replacing garage doors was one home improvement project that is well worth the investment — about an 88.5% payoff. Another improvement you can make to your home is replacing the roof.

These exterior improvements can boost your home’s curb appeal and help you sell your home for more money.

different colored paint swatches4. The Details: Neutral Paint Colors

Today’s modern homes have neutral paint, neutral décor, and neutral carpeting that suits any lifestyle, which is an important step in preparing to sell your home in the future.

We Can Help You Find the Perfect Home

Though modern home features change, these four home improvement ideas are a great investment. And when it comes time to sell your now-current home in New Albany, Ohio, we can help you learn what those buyers are looking for.

With over 30 years of combined real estate experience in New Albany, we can help you buy a home that you will enjoy for more than just 10 years. Call us at 614-939-1234 and let’s talk about what you’re looking for in a dream home.

Home Organization Tips for the New Year

dining area with four chairs and a tableHappy New Year!

Now that 2016 is here and the busyness of the holidays is over, many people are setting New Year’s resolutions — whether personal, professional, or real estate-related. It is the perfect time to set goals and welcome the new year with a fresh start. And what better way to start the new year fresh than by cleaning and organizing your home?

10 Ways to Get Rid of Last Year’s Clutter

“Out with the old, in with the new” as the saying goes. To help you start fresh with a clean and organized home, here are ten tips for kicking out the clutter and keeping it out in the new year.

1. Tackle Holiday Messes First

The busyness of the holidays often brings messes — shredded wrapping paper, loose Christmas tree needles, half-eaten leftovers in the fridge. Cleaning up from the holidays is a great place to start, and HGTV offers a great article about how to clean your home in 45 minutes.

small vacuum cleaner on dark floors in a home2. Vacuum the Floors

Now that the holidays are over and the constant flow of guests has diminished, give your floors a little TLC with a thorough vacuuming. Even this simple cleaning task can make a world of difference in the look and feel of your home.

3. Open the Windows

Freshen up your living spaces by letting in the natural light. Opening the windows helps make your home seem more inviting to both you and your visitors.

4. Refresh and Rearrange

Tired of the layout in your living room or bedrooms? Mix it up for the new year to add flow and a fresh look to your home.

5. Dust in High and Low Places

Give your rooms a thorough dusting to get rid of last year’s grime, starting with the lowest shelf on the bookcase and moving up to the ceiling fans and the hardly seen areas behind your shelves.

6. Replace Light Bulbs and Fix Squeaky Doors

Have a minor fix that you haven’t gotten around to correcting yet? Maybe it’s the burnt-out lightbulb in your bathroom or squeaky door to your closet. Make those tiny repairs now and your home will start to feel new again.

7. Organize and Declutter

We all have that one space we use as a catch-all for our miscellaneous clutter, whether it’s a closet, a chair, or a table. This year, keep the clutter at bay by getting rid of unused items, removing the clutter catch-all, or organizing everything in labeled bins.

8. Donate or Discard Old Clothes

What better way to say “out with the old” than to get rid of any shirts, jackets, pants, or shoes that you no longer wear? Now you’ll have more space in your closets and more room for new clothes.

bathroom clean of grime and clutter9. Deep Clean Your Bathroom

A clean shower door and bathroom wall can do wonders to enhance the overall appearance of your bathroom. DIY Network has several easy cleaning tricks for bathroom sinks, shower heads, and toilets that you can use to get rid of the built-up soap scum and grime.

10. Put Out a New Welcome Mat

What better way to welcome the new year and your guests than with a new, clean welcome mat? You’ll impress your visitors from the moment they walk in, and that curb appeal can do wonders for how even your neighbors perceive your home.

Decluttering Works Well During Home Staging, Too

These home organization tips can work wonders when you sell your home, since the foundation of home staging includes decluttering and cleaning to give buyers the best first impression. If you are selling your home in the new year, we can recommend other home staging tips and resources to help you sell your home quickly and for top dollar.

We hope you had a wonderful New Year’s and are looking forward to what 2016 has in store. Let us know if there is any way we can help make the home selling process easier on you in the new year.

2015 Year in Review: The Economy and National Real Estate Market

This time of year, many people like to take a moment and reflect on the year that has passed, whether it’s reflecting on good memories or how the nation is doing financially. Today, we would like to take a moment to reflect on the economy and what this year’s trends meant for real estate.

A Brief Look Back on the US Economy

The economy has done well in 2015 — personal income is increasing, new construction homes are on the rise, and the job market is strong. And looking to the new year, now is the best time to buy a home. Here are three main real estate-related takeaways from the United States’ past economic performance in 2015.

1. Unemployment is Decreasing

laptop at an office workplaceThe job market in the United States is doing much better than in previous years following the Great Recession.

Unemployment this time last year was at 5.6%; the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics states unemployment is at 5.0%. With more jobs and disposable income, home buyers have been able to spend more on their dream home than in past years.

2. Interest Rates May Increase

The Federal Reserve is expected to raise the interest rate tomorrow, December 16th, for the first time in nearly a decade. This is a good sign — the economy is doing well and the job market is strong.

For home buyers, however, these forecasted interest rate increases mean it will soon cost more to finance your home, and that now is the best time to buy the home of your dreams.

3. The Cost of Renting is Increasing

modern rental propertiesThe rental market has been surging, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard, reaching a 20-year high this past year.

New apartment complexes have been built all over the nation to provide more housing, and due to this high demand for rental properties and lower vacancy rates, rent costs have increased.

For former renters looking for a place to call their own, now is a great time to purchase a home.

Now is the Best Time to Buy a Home

With forecasted interest rate increases, current rent cost increases, and a growing economy in 2015, now is the best time to buy a home. As local real estate experts, we can help you find the home of your dreams and direct you to the best home buying resources, including a mortgage calculator, that can help you purchase the home of your dreams with confidence.

Connect with us and let’s talk about your home buying goals for the new year.

3 Benefits of Selling Your Home During the Holidays

evergreen wreath with christmas decorations on a doorAs the holidays are approaching, many people are busy decorating their homes, lighting the tree, and marking their calendars to visit friends and family.

With all the busyness of the season, you might be wondering if now you should even attempt to sell your home. Any potential home buyers are also busy attending get-togethers or traveling out of town, right?

After all, that is how it has been in the past.

Yes, You Can Sell Your Home During the Holidays

The reality is that home buyers today are always looking at properties, including during the holidays.

Smartphones and other mobile devices have made it easier and quicker to search for homes on the go, and home buyers can search anywhere — including at a holiday party. So in light of this modern development, here are three main benefits of selling your home during the holidays.

3. You Have Less Competition

Many home sellers believe that the holidays are not the best time to sell, so they would rather wait until spring when the weather is nicer for home viewings.

This means that there is less competition for sellers who do list their home, so you don’t have to compete with other sellers for a buyer’s attention.

Buyers also have fewer properties to choose from, so you’re less likely to receive multiple offers on your home. For buyers who do find their dream home — your home — they may end up purchasing your property at or above market value.

2. Buyers are Serious

Unlike springtime, when many home sellers decide to put their property on the market, the weather is not as pleasant during the winter holiday season.

That means that potential buyers who are not serious about buying a home will opt for the comforts of their own home over viewing properties in cooler weather. They may also opt to attend a holiday party rather than view a home for sale.

Home buyers who are actively searching and viewing properties are generally more motivated, and may even want to buy their new home before Christmas or the new year rolls around. If a buyer for your home wants to get moving quickly, this can often translate into a quicker home sale.

christmas wreath in a frame on a red wall1. You Can Really Appeal to a Buyers’ Emotions

One of the most important tips about staging your home is that you need to appeal to the buyer’s emotions, and what better time to do that than during the holidays?

Selling your home means that you can leave the heat on, have cookies baking in the oven, and leave your holiday decorations up.

The holidays bring joy and warm feelings, and this seasonal atmosphere is perfect for setting the stage for your property with minimal work on your part.

We Can Help You Sell Your Home

Bottom line, selling your home during the holidays gives you the perfect opportunity to sell your home quickly and for more money. And we can help you make sure that your home sale goes smoothly, even during your busy holiday season.

From offering you a free home evaluation to advising you on further home staging tips, we have all the resources you need to make sure you home sells for more money in less time. Contact us and we can talk about a strategy to sell your property during the holidays.