Date Archives: June 2017

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June
30

Existing Home Sales Surge into Summer [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • Existing Home Sales reached their third highest mark this year in May.
  • Inventory of homes for sale has dropped 8.4% since last year, marking the 24th consecutive month of year-over-year declines.
  • NAR's Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun had this to say: "Those able to close on a home last month are probably feeling both happy and relieved. Listings in the affordable price range are scarce, homes are coming off the market at an extremely fast pace and the prevalence of multiple offers in some markets are pushing prices higher."
June
30

Exercise—we all know we need it. Why not enjoy it? From gorgeous flower gardens to woodland paths to 5K runs, there are plenty of places nearby to take in the beauty of the outdoors during your next workout.

1. Gorman Nature Center, Mansfield

Mansfield's 150-acre nature park includes over five miles of free public trails that are open from dawn to dusk, all year round. Hike, run or walk at your own pace through deciduous forests and grassland prairies while taking in the surrounding ponds, streams and wildlife. The trails are not paved; however, there are no major inclines and the paths are not considered strenuous for the average hiker. Dogs on short leashes (no longer than six feet) are permitted to hike with their owners; plastic baggies for clean-up are available at the beginning of each trail. Bikes and motorized vehicles (with the exception of electric wheelchairs and mobility scooters) are not permitted.

 

Photo courtesy of Destination Mansfield—Richland County.

2. Richland B&O Bike Trail

Originally a railroad track, this scenic stretch was converted into a public trail in the late 1980s. The 18-mile trail begins at North Lake Park in Mansfield and winds it way south through Lexington, Bellville and Butler. The B&O trail is a paved blacktop and goes through sunny spots, shaded wooded areas and across historic bridges. It's level surface is great for walking, jogging, running, roller skating, rollerblading or riding a bicycle. Dogs with short leashes are permitted. Motorized vehicles (with the exception of electric wheelchairs and mobility scooters) are not permitted. Parking is available in various spots along the trail. This trail is free to use.

 

Photo courtesy of Kingwood Center Gardens.

3. Kingwood Center Gardens, Mansfield

The history and beauty of Kingwood Center makes it one of Mansfield's most unique attractions. The former estate of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Kelley King opened to the public in 1953, a year after Mr. King's death. Since then, the 47-acre estate has been meticulously maintained. Brick paths through the gardens as well as the pebble foot trails through the woods create an easy network of paths that's great for all ages. There are also a few grass paths. Pets are not permitted in the park. Admission is $5 or $2 for pedestrians or bicyclists.

 

Photo courtesy of Malabar Farm.

4. Malabar Farm, Lucas

This historic farm contains four moderate-level trails as well as short path to the Mt. Jeez overlook. Butternut Trail forms a loop through the forest to a small cave. The Doris Duke Woods Trail circles through the woods. The Jungle Book Trail meanders through lowland areas teeming with undisturbed plants and wildlife. The fourth and longest trail, the Pleasant Valley Bridle Trail, is the only one open to horses as well as foot travelers. This trail features over five miles of scenic views, winding streams and stunning rock formations. Pets are allowed but must be on a leash. Cross country running is permitted. Parking and admission are free.

 

Photo courtesy of Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

5. Mohican State Park & Memorial State Forest, Loudonville

Roaming through the beautifully preserved Mohican forests is a great way to spend a summer afternoon. The State Park and State Forest offer one- and two-mile hiking trails with varying levels of difficulty. The Discovery Forest Trail is a two-mile educational trail that's wonderful for kids. Use of the trails is free.

 

Photo courtesy of The City of Mansfield.

6. Clear Fork Reservoir, Mansfield & Reservoir No. 3, Shelby

The trails at the Clear Fork Reservoir are one of the lesser-known hiking options in the area. Dirt paths along the north side of the lake offer approximately 15 miles of trails through the woods. Dogs on leashes are permitted and there is no entrance fee. 

Shelby Reservoir No. 3 offers two public trails: a 3-mile wooded nature trail and a 1.25-mile paved surface surrounding the reservoir.

 

Photo courtesy of Ohio Bird Sanctuary.

7. Ohio Bird Sanctuary, Mansfield

Bird watchers will love strolling through the trails at the Ohio Bird Sanctuary, which is home to 52 species of breeding bird and migrating species. Four miles of foot trails lead through 90 acres of meadows, marshes, forest and waterside terrain. The Wood Duck Trail, one of the most populated bird habitats, has a wheelchair accessible portion. The trails and Sanctuary are free to visit. Dogs on leashes are allowed on the trails but not near bird enclosures or buildings.

 

Photo courtesy of the Shawshank Trail.

8. 5Ks, 7Ks, half and full marathons

Running is a great way to get fit. It's also a great way raise funds for some of Richland County's beloved organizations and landmarks. Annual runs include the Kingwood 5K, the Ohio State Reformatory's Shawshank Hustle 7K, Lexington Blueberry Festival 5K & Glow Run and Ontario's Liberty 5K. All of these runs benefit community organizations, parks and local sports teams. Just outside of Richland County are Galion's Pickle Run 5K and the Mohican Trail Marathon.

June
27

Pre-Approval Should Always Be Your First Step | MyKCM

In many markets across the country, the number of buyers searching for their dream homes greatly outnumbers the amount of homes for sale. This has led to a competitive marketplace where buyers often need to stand out. One way to show you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search.

Even if you are in a market that is not as competitive, knowing your budget will give you the confidence of knowing if your dream home is within your reach.

Freddie Mac lays out the advantages of pre-approval in the My Home section of their website:

"It's highly recommended that you work with your lender to get pre-approved before you begin house hunting. Pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets."

One of the many advantages of working with a local real estate professional is that many have relationships with lenders who will be able to help you with this process. Once you have selected a lender, you will need to fill out their loan application and provide them with important information regarding "your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history." 

Freddie Mac describes the 4 Cs that help determine the amount you will be qualified to borrow:

  1. Capacity: Your current and future ability to make your payments
  2. Capital or cash reserves: The money, savings, and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash
  3. Collateral: The home, or type of home, that you would like to purchase
  4. Credit: Your history of paying bills and other debts on time

Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and it often helps speed up the process once your offer has been accepted.

Bottom Line

Many potential home buyers overestimate the down payment and credit scores needed to qualify for a mortgage today. If you are ready and willing to buy, you may be pleasantly surprised at your ability to do so as well.

June
23

Calling All Campers! You don't have to travel far to fall asleep under the stars, watch the sun set across the lake or roast marshmallows over a campfire. Here are some of the area's best camping destinations:

 Photo courtesy of Mohican Adventures

Photo Courtesy of Mohican Adventures

1. Mohican Adventures, Loudonville

Set in one of Ohio's most notable state parks, Mohican offers campsites for tents, RVs and campers. There are also cabins available.

Surrounded by the scenic Mohican-Memorial State Forest, the park houses more than 800 campsites. The park's numerous activities means your family will never be bored--there's something for everyone! Canoe or kayak down the river, go fishing in the pond or the lake, or head to the indoor swimming pool and hot tub. You can also follow the hiking and biking trails leading into the forest or towards downtown Loudonville. The campground also has a mini golf course, sand volleyball and basketball courts, go-kart track, and three playgrounds.  

Free modern shower houses are available for all campers.

 

Photo courtesy of Muskingham Watershed Conservancy District.

Photo Courtesy of Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District

2. Charles Mill Lake Park, Ashland

Charles Mill is a 2,000 acre park with campsites for tents and RVs. The park offers two campgrounds with scenic wooded and waterfront sites. 

The lake was formed in 1936 when the Charles Mill Dam was built on the Black Fork Creek. It has a surface area of 1350 acres and is great for sailing, boating and fishing. Hunting is permitted in designated areas between Memorial Day and Labor Day. 

Amenities at Charles Mill include a public swimming beach, a full-size basketball court, a swimming pool, a 9 hole Frisbee golf course, a hiking trail, playgrounds, a bocce ball court and a shuffleboard court. 

 

3. Malabar Farm State Park, Lucas

Malabar's fifteen primitive campsites have access to drinking water and handicap-accessible restrooms. The sites also have hitching posts for equestrian campers. If primitive camping isn't your style, reserve a room at the B&B style hostel. 

While smaller than other campsites in the area, Malabar Farm State Park has lots to offer its visitors. The 900-acre farm maintains the charm of its former days as the residence of Louis Bromfield, a Pulitzer-prize winning author and conservationist, who purchased the farm in 1939. Visitors can still tour Bromfield's home and observe the farm in action. The park also features hiking trails, a quaint restaurant, and numerous exhibits the whole family can enjoy. For more information on Malabar Farm, click here.

 

Photo courtesy of Muskingham Watershed Conservancy District.

Photo Courtesy of Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District

4. Pleasant Hill Lake Park, Perrysville

Pleasant Hill is every water lover's paradise. The grounds surround an 850-acre lake perfect for jet-skiing, water-skiing and boating. Primitive, RV and equestrian campsites are available as well as cabins. Campers have access to modern restrooms and hot showers. 

Amenities at Pleasant Hill include the swimming beach, game courts, hiking and equine trails, a playground, picnic shelters, and the Pleasant Hill Marina. Hunting and fishing are permitted in certain areas.

 

Note: All campgrounds listed above include a picnic table and fire ring at each site.

 

Photo Courtesy of Ohio Department of Natural Resources

5. Mohican State Park, Loudonville

Different than Mohican Adventures, Mohican State Park also has primitive campsites, RV hookup sites and camper cabins. There are also two bedroom family cabins and cozy lodge rooms available. Campers at the state park have easy access to the hiking trails, mountain biking trails, basketball and volleyball courts, and swimming pool.

 

June
21

The Supply & Demand Problem Plaguing New Construction | MyKCM

Many real estate economists have called on new home builders to ramp up production to help relieve the shortage of inventory of homes for sale throughout the United States. The added inventory would no doubt aid buyers in their search to secure their dream home, while also helping to ease price increases throughout the country.

Unfortunately for builders, there are many forces that are making it difficult for them to do just that!

Last week at the National Association of Real Estate Editors 51st Annual Conference, CoreLogic's Chief Economist Frank Nothaft broke down the 4 'L's of New Home Construction: Lots, Labor, Lumber, and Lending.

The concept of supply and demand is ripe in the new home construction industry. The four 'L's of new home construction are each suffering a supply problem, and with that comes added costs. Let's break it down!

Lots – There is a shortage of land near metros at an affordable price, causing builders to move farther and farther away from cities to keep costs down. This isn't always an attractive option for those who want to stay close to work.

Labor – The Great Recession forced many skilled construction and trade workers to find other sources of income once their jobs were lost at the time of the crash. Even though the overall housing market has recovered, these workers have not returned. Those who remain are starting to age out and retire, causing even more of a shortage and additional costs.

Lumber – The cost to build a new home is directly tied to the cost of the lot and the cost of the supplies needed to build the home. Lumber costs continue to escalate due to policies restricting the importation of Canadian lumber, making larger luxury homes an attractive option to recoup costs when selling, rather than building smaller single-family homes and making less profit.

Below is a graph showing the increase in cost of 1,000 board feet of framing lumber.

The Supply & Demand Problem Plaguing New Construction | MyKCM

Year-over-year, lumber costs are up 13% after reaching a high of $433 in the second week of April.

Lending – During the Great Recession, many small community banks were forced to close their doors. These banks were a great source of capital and lending for builders looking to borrow money at a low interest rate in the community in which they were building. Tougher lending standards have made borrowing funds more expensive and more difficult for builders.

Bottom Line

Additional costs across all 4 'L's have made building luxury properties more attractive to builders as they are able to make a larger margin with the higher sales price. The move to scale down to starter and trade up homes to help with supply will mean any additional costs are absorbed by the builders unless the supply of the 4 'L's can increase!

June
19

Top Home Renovations for Maximum ROI [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • Whether you are selling your home, just purchased your first home, or are a homeowner planning to stay put for a while, there is value in knowing which home improvement projects will net you the most Return On Investment (ROI).
  • While big projects like adding a bathroom or a complete kitchen remodel are popular ways to increase a home's value, something as simple as updating landscaping and curb appeal can have a quick impact on a home's value.
  • For more information about top renovation projects that net you the most ROI, you can check out the complete list here.
June
19

It's All About Location, Location, Location 

Find the Right Mansfield Neighborhood

Right neighborhood or right house ... Which is more important? When you're searching for homes in Mansfield, the answer to that question can become "complicated."  Our real estate agents have created this list of things to consider when your searching the perfect Mansfield property for you and your family.

Click Here to Read More...

June
9

The Impact Your Interest Rate Makes [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • Interest rates have come a long way in the last 30 years.
  • The interest rate you secure directly impacts your monthly payment and the amount of house that you can afford if you plan to stay within a certain budget.
  • Interest rates are at their lowest in years… RIGHT NOW!
  • If buying your first home, or moving up to the home of your dreams is in your future, now may be the time to act!
June
7

Tips to Get Your Home Ready for Showings

Keep Your Home Showing Ready with Kids
Ready to list your home in Mansfield? Your personal spaces are about to go public in a big way, and it's important to make sure they look ready for guests--and then stay that way until it's sold. If you have kids, it might seem impossible to keep the space picture-perfect as you plan a move, but it could be the most important thing you do as a seller. Before the "for sale" sign goes up, enlist help from every member of your household to keep your home clean and desirable in the weeks ahead. After all, there's no time to waste in real estate, and interested buyers should be able to see your house promptly before they lose interest and move on.

So, how do you make sure your home continues to stand out among other Mansfield and Ashland homes? Start by adopting some of these strategies as a family.

Click Here to Read More...

June
5

5 Reasons You Should Sell This Summer | MyKCM

Here are five reasons listing your home for sale this summer makes sense.

1. Demand Is Strong

The latest Buyer Traffic Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains very strong throughout the vast majority of the country. These buyers are ready, willing and able to purchase… and are in the market right now! More often than not, multiple buyers are competing with each other to buy a home.

Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

2. There Is Less Competition Now

Housing inventory is currently at a 4.2-month supply, well under the 6-months needed for a normal housing market. This means, in the majority of the country, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in that market. This is good news for home prices. However, additional inventory could be coming to the market soon.

There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move, as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners are now seeing a return to positive equity as real estate values have increased over the last two years. Many of these homes will be coming to the market this summer.

Also, builder's confidence in the market has hit its highest mark in over 11 years. Experts are predicting that new construction of single-family homes will ramp up this summer.

The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don't wait until all this other inventory of homes comes to market before you sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

Fannie Mae anticipates an acceleration in home sales that will surpass 2007's pace. As the market continues to strengthen, banks will be inundated with loan inquiries causing closing-time lines to lengthen. Selling now will make the process quicker & simpler. According to Ellie Mae's latest Origination Insights Report, the time to close a loan has dropped to a new low of 42 days, after seeing a 12-month high of 48 days in January.

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move Up

If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by 4.9% over the next year, according to CoreLogic. If you are moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait.

You can also lock in your 30-year housing expense with an interest rate around 4% right now. Rates are projected to increase in the next 12 months.

5. It's Time to Move on with Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

That is what is truly important.

June
2

What Would You Sacrifice to Save For Your Next Home? [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • 95% of first-time homebuyers are willing to sacrifice to make homeownership a reality.
  • The top item that buyers sacrifice is new clothes, at 54%.
  • Even repeat or experienced buyers say they sacrificed taking a vacation or buying a new car to buy their last home.

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