Category Archives: Buying Real Estate in New Albany

Real Estate Terms….What They Really Mean!

Real estate has a language all of its own! While realtors can read between the lines, many home buyers are confused by the unfamiliar phrases they see on property descriptions. Understanding what these real estate terms really mean will help you know what to expect before walking through the front door.  Here are a few of the most frequently used real estate terms you might come across:

 

Sold As-Is – The seller won’t do any repairs; what you see is what you get.

Cozy or Charming – Think very small; the home may be cute or have character, but it is not spacious.

Hidden Gem – A diamond in the rough; a great opportunity for a buyer willing to do minor updating or repairs before moving in.

Investor Special – The property needs extensive repairs and updates in order to be livable.

Lives Large – The actual square footage may be small but the floorplan maximizes the space and makes it feel larger than it is.

Location, Location, Location – Home is within a desirable neighborhood, likely in close proximity to popular amenities, major roadways, parks, or schools.

Lovingly maintained – This usually means the home has a long time owner who kept the home in good condition, although it probably needs updated.

Mature Landscaping – Shrubs and trees need pruning or possibly replaced.

Motivated Seller – Signals that the owner wants to sell their house quickly or has received no offers and may be flexible on their list price.

Move-In Ready – Neutral décor, updated, no additional work is necessary for the house to be habitable.

Open Plan – Typically means that the great room and kitchen are adjacent and not separated by any walls.

Priced to Sell – Seller has initially priced the house low and is likely not willing to negotiate much off their list price.

  

Hope this helps you to decipher the language of real estate!  If you want to see a home after reading the description, reach out to me or any of the other great agents on our Thomas & Company team! 

 

Until next time,

 

  

       

6 Simple Holiday Decorating Ideas for Your Home

What really makes your home warm and merry this holiday season is the people you welcome into it. Sometimes we get so consumed with the details – cleaning, decorating, shopping, cooking – that we forget to stop and take the time to enjoy the best part of the holidays – spending time and making memories with our loved ones. So here are some super simple holiday decorating ideas to help make your home more festive and leave you plenty of time and energy left to enjoy what matters most.

  1. Fill a glass vase (or other unique container) with colorful glass balls. This adds color and cheer to any room, and allows you to showcase your crystal vase or glass bowl that rarely come out of storage and make use of those “extra” ornaments.
  2. Fill a fireplace (that you are not planning to use, of course) with several poinsettia plants. This can really brighten up a room and add a cheery focal point. Finish the look by draping some garland over the mantel for a framing effect.
  3. Highlight a large light fixture with a little garland and/or a sprig of mistletoe. This is a great way to add some decorations to a room without taking up any table or floor space, which can be limited, especially if you are entertaining.
  4. Cover empty boxes in various sizes with shiny, colorful holiday wrapping paper. You can arrange tiny boxes on a serving platter and use as a centerpiece, and fill empty corners or display shelves with larger boxes.
  5. Hang a single, small to mid-size wreath in a feature window.
  6. Tie a swag or two on your mailbox. Add some ribbon for an added pop of color.

We Can Assist With Your Holiday Real Estate Needs

Are you buying your next home or selling your current home during the holidays? We are here to help with anything you need. Call us at 614.939.8944.

What Is Home Equity?

Home equity seems to be a very simple calculation — the total amount of mortgages owed subtracted from the current market value of a home. Here is a simple example:

  • A New Albany home with equityCurrent Home Market Value: $325,000
  • Existing Mortgage: $225,000
  • Homeowner Equity: $100,000

One side of the equation is well defined, and it is found on the monthly mortgage statement, the loan balance. The other side is less obvious — the current market value of the property.

As a homeowner, your down payment purchases your initial equity, and your monthly (or additional) principal payments increase your equity. In strong real estate markets and in-demand locations, equity can increase quite rapidly as the property value increases, but the inverse can also happen — too much available inventory and market down-cycles can lead to falling home values and a reduction in homeowner equity.

It can be difficult to put an accurate value on something that you have emotional and monetary vesting in. It is safe to say that most people think their home is worth more than it is.

Homeowners can make savvy assessments about their home’s current market value by following the sales of similar properties in the neighborhood, but should stay away from websites such as Zillow and Trulia, which provide inaccurate and outdated estimates. The most accurate measurement requires a comparative market analysis from a real estate professional or having the home professionally appraised. But, the bottom line — your home is worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it.

Creating Value is in Your Hands

Maintaining the condition of a home is vitally important to retaining and increasing value. Homes are judged against their peers: how they compare to similar homes in the neighborhood. Another way to retain value is to not over upgrade, since it is rare to ever recoup the money spent if you exceed neighborhood value. Keep up the landscaping and do the little things to add curb appeal.

Putting Home Equity to Work

Discussion with a real estate agent at the officeHome equity represents the largest single asset of millions of people, and because it represents so much of an individual’s net worth, it must be treated with respect. Home equity is not a liquid asset until a property is sold, or it is borrowed against.

There are two types of loans that tap into homeowner equity as collateral.

Home Equity Loans

Many home equity plans set a fixed period during which the person can borrow money, such as 10 years. At the end of this “draw period,” the person may be allowed to renew the credit line. If the plan does not allow renewals, the homeowner will not be able to borrow additional money once the period has ended. Some plans may call for payment in full of any outstanding balance at the end of the period. Others may allow repayment over a fixed period, for example, of 10 years.

A home equity loan, sometimes called a second mortgage, usually has a fixed rate and a set time to pay it back, generally with equal monthly payments.

Home Equity Line of Credit

A home equity line of credit is similar to a credit card. The lender sets a maximum amount you can borrow, and you can draw money as you need it, though many home equity lines of credit require an initial draw. The interest rate varies daily, and is usually prime plus a set number, but the required payment is usually interest only. Once the loan has been paid down, the payment is reduced, and it can be paid off and initiated as many times as a homeowner requires.

How Much Equity can be Accessed?

Since the financial institution is lending money and using a home as collateral, they will not lend 100% of the home’s equity. The bank does not want to take the risk that if the house price drops, they would be carrying a loan for more than its market value. Therefore, most banks will allow a qualified homeowner to borrow approximately 80% of their equity.

It’s Important to Use Your Home Equity Wisely

contractor making improvements to a homeBecause it is likely the biggest asset most people have, losing your home equity is hard to overcome. It must be used in prudent ways, and the payments against the loan must be affordable. Using equity money to make the loan payment is only acceptable for a short-term solution.

There are number of good reasons to use money from a home equity loan… and some really bad ones. First, let’s cover smart uses.

1. Invest in Your Home

The best way to use the money is create more equity in the home. Among the very best returns on your investment (ROI) include kitchen and bathroom remodels, adding square footage or an extra bath, enhancing curb appeal and repairing/keeping the existing structure sound. Making prudent investments in your home is a wonderful win-win: you enjoy the upgrades and the repairs can add value to the home.

2. Invest in your Children’s Education

Using your home equity to finance a child’s higher education may be the greatest payoff of all. Not only is the rate much lower than a student loan, it is an investment in the child’s future.

3. Supplement Retirement Needs

Older homeowners spent their working lives paying down their mortgage. At retirement, when monthly income is reduced, a home equity loan could pay for a dream vacation or an unexpected major expense.

4. Augment the Impending Sale of a Home

If you’re planning to sell soon, a home equity line of credit may be the best way to finance improvements, and you can pay it off entirely when you sell. Investing wisely on upgrades and repairs may even reap a profit on your investment.

Here are some examples of some not very wise choices.

  • Adding luxury amenities like a swimming pool, a hot spa, lavish landscaping, expensive appliances and exotic counter tops and flooring rarely pay off.
  • Purchasing a car or boat or most any personal luxury items is a poor use of the funds, since these items quickly depreciate in value.
  • Also stay away from using money on risk-heavy investments. Financing stock purchases, start-up businesses and paying routine bills is not financially smart. If you cannot afford to purchase those items with available funds, using equity from your home means they should not be in your budget.

You should treat a home equity loan as an investment and not as extra cash when making financial decisions. If your intended use of the money doesn’t pay you back in some way, it’s not the best use of your valuable equity.

We Are Happy to Assist You

If you would like an assessment of the market value of your home and the current equity you can access, give us a call for a comparative market analysis.

Downsizing Tips – Ways to Make the Transition Easier

People choose to downsize or “right-size” their home for a number of reasons – simplify lifestyle, reduce housing costs, relocate to a new climate, the list goes on. Whatever your reason for wanting to make the transition to “smaller living,” considering the following tips to help make the lifestyle shift more manageable and less overwhelming.

downsizing-your-home2-1

Reimagine Where (and How) You Want to Live – If you have not finalized your next step yet, take some time to really think about what you want that next chapter to look like. Having a clear vision of where you are going will remove much of the uncertainty and allow you to focus on what needs to happen next.

Downsize Your “Stuff” – If you are moving to a smaller home, then you will not need as many things to fill it. And a clutter-free home definitely appeals more to buyers and sells faster. Before putting your home on the market, take some time to go through your personal and household items (even furniture) and be very selective about what you take with you. You may even decide that you want to have a whole new style in your new home!

Make Necessary Home Repairs and Improvements – Buyers do not like to work hard to envision themselves in your home. A home that is move-in ready and upgraded properly will always sell faster and for more money than one that requires a lot of work.

Don’t Go It Alone – Hire the Experts – The process of downsizing can feel a bit overwhelming. Take advantage of the amazing local resources available to help walk you through each step:

  • Realtor
  • Professional Organizer
  • Home Stager
  • Estate Sale Professional
  • Financial Consultant
  • Lender/Banker
  • Attorney
  • Mover

Want to learn more about the ins and outs of downsizing? We will cover these topics and more in detail at our free Downsize New Albany seminar on Oct. 19, 2016, at the Heit Center in New Albany. You’ll hear from a panel of local experts and have the opportunity to ask questions and pick up information about housing options and other services available in the area. Reservations are required. RSVP to info@newalbanyohio.com.

Can’t make it to the seminar, but still want to learn more? We would be happy to help! Contact us at 614-939-8944 or tonyt@newalbanyrealty.com, or visit us online at www.NewAlbanyOhio.com.

a Realtor showing a buyer a home

5 Crucial Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Buyer’s Agent

You wouldn’t buy a home without carefully researching the neighborhood, school district, or property values. A home is a major financial investment!

One of the biggest mistakes home buyers make is neglecting to do the same amount of research when choosing their buyer’s agent. Would you entrust your largest investment to a real estate agent with little experience?

You can avoid making this common home buying mistake by asking these important questions.

1. What Can You Tell Me About My Favorite Neighborhood?

homes in New Albany, Ohio's Lansdowne communityYour buyer’s agent should be the local expert. He or she can tell you how the neighborhood has changed over the years, where you can run errands near your home, and whether the local schools are excellent.

We have a wealth of knowledge about New Albany’s communities and the public school district. We even have a local directory of health clubs, childcare, parks, and fun things to do near your desired neighborhood.

2. Tell Me About Your Expertise with the Type of Home I Want.

There are important differences between buying an estate home and buying a patio home. Your buyer’s agent should not only be familiar with the type of home you want, but can also show you similar homes that fit your price and size range.

3. What is Your Negotiation Experience?

two professionals shaking handsNegotiations can be tricky. In such a stressful situation, having an experienced buyer’s agent on your side can bring you peace of mind and an agreeable compromise. The agents at Thomas & Company have unparalleled experience and success negotiating contracts.

4. How Have You Helped People in My Situation?

Whether you are relocating to New Albany or buying a larger home in your neighborhood, the right buyer’s agent has helped people like you through the transition. It’s also important to find a buyer’s agent who listens to your unique needs.

5. What is Your Current Relationship with Past Clients?

a realtor holding a house keyReviews from past clients are helpful when choosing the right buyer’s agent. But the best buyer’s agent keeps in contact with past clients long after closing and move-in day. Ask the Realtor about how he or she keeps in contact with former home buyers.

 Choose Thomas & Company for the Best Home Buying Experience

We are THE New Albany Experts. Our dedicated and experienced buyer’s agents will not only help you find the best home in New Albany, but also enjoy peace of mind about the entire process.

We are more than happy to answer these questions for you. Call us at 614.939.1234 and let’s talk.

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.

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.

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.

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.