Archives: February 2016

sold sign in front of a house

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.

Are You Taking Advantage of These Homeowner Tax Breaks?

a stack of coins gradually increasing in heightThere are many benefits to owning a home: A home is an investment that can earn equity, is often cheaper to buy than to rent, and is your own place that you can fill with wonderful memories.

But another great benefit about owning a home is the financial benefits that you can take advantage of during tax season.

Major Tax Breaks for Homeowners

Owning a home, and eventually selling it, can offer you opportunities for deductions on your taxes, and we wanted to outline the major tax breaks for homeowners today. Are you taking advantage of these tax benefits?

Deduction for Mortgage Interest

In many cases, you can fully deduct the amount of your mortgage interest on your taxes. The IRS has a chart you can use to help determine if your mortgage interest is fully deductible.

mortgage interest credit is available for lower income homeowners for part of the home mortgage interest that they pay.

Credit for Energy-Efficient Home Improvements

Available until the end of this year, homeowners who have installed solar hot water heaters, solar electric systems, wind turbines, or qualifying energy-efficient home improvements can take a tax credit as part of the Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit.

The credit is for 30% of the cost for these energy-efficient home improvements.

Deduction for Property Taxes

In addition to deducting your mortgage interest, you can also deduct the annual taxes you pay on your home’s value, called real estate taxes.

Deduction for Capital Gains

calculator and financial worksheet for taxesIf you have used your home as your primary residence when you sell, you can exclude up to $250,000 in capital gains from the home sale on your taxes (or $500,000 if you are married filing jointly).

To learn what other tax benefits you may take advantage of, visit the Credits and Deductions page on the IRS website or read this MarketWatch article about other tax breaks for homeowners.

Let Us Help You Find the Perfect Home

If you have been considering buying a home and are ready to start your search, we can help you find the perfect home that falls within your budget and provide you with helpful real estate resources to make the journey to homeownership as smooth and enjoyable as possible.

Contact us today and let’s talk about your goals for owning a home.

front exterior of a house in new albany ohio

Important Considerations When Buying a Home in New Albany

If you are buying a home in New Albany, knowing how much you can afford is key to a simpler home search. And if you are a first-time home buyer, this information is crucial to helping you experience a smooth and enjoyable home buying process.

Learning What Size Mortgage You Can Qualify For

two business people discussing real estateWhen you talk with a mortgage lender during the preapproval process — which involves a deeper look into your financial history than a mortgage prequalification — you will will receive the amount of financing that you can qualify for. Unlike a prequalification, there is no estimation on your loan amount.

If you want to read more about why preapproval is a valuable tool to you as a home buyer, read this article on a previous blog post.

Other Financing Considerations

It is a good idea to speak with a mortgage lender to learn how much financing you can qualify for. But it’s also a good idea to understand how much you can truly afford for a mortgage. Home buyers often find that they are preapproved for more than they want to spend.

Monthly Mortgage Payments

calculator on a financial budget sheetMake a budget and find out exactly how much you can afford to make monthly for your mortgage payments, and use our helpful mortgage calculator to determine your monthly payment amounts, taking into account your interest rate, loan amount, and annual tax and insurance amounts.

The Down Payment

Depending on which type of mortgage you apply for in New Albany, you may end up having to put a 20% down payment on your home. On a home that is $500,000 that ends up being $100,000.

Other Closing Costs

In New Albany, common closing costs include the down payment, points, inspection fees, and notary fees. Read our article about the closing process to find other fees that may apply.

We Can Help You Find the Perfect Home

house keychain on the key to a new houseThere are significant costs associated with buying a home, but homeownership is a rewarding experience.

If you are considering buying a home in New Albany, we can help you take the step toward homeownership, including finding the best home that is within your price range and helping you decide which mortgage plan is best for you.

We are the real estate experts in New Albany. Contact us today at 614.939.1234 and let’s start working together to find your dream home.

4225 Gunsten Hall home for sale in New Albany OH

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.