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August
29

Buying Rather Than Building - Haring Realty

To build or buy? That's one of the first questions every homebuyer asks themselves before making a decision. Both choices offer plenty of benefits and plenty of challenges. Our REALTORS® know it's a difficult choice, but we also know that in most cases, buying a home is the better choice that offers far more advantages than drawbacks. As you consider your options, there are five key advantages every homebuyer should consider.

  1. Existing Homes Are Move-In Ready
    The vast majority of existing homes are sold in move-in-ready condition. In most cases, the work that needs to be done is more of a "want" than a "need." For instance, you may want to repaint a room or change the flooring, but you don't need to do it immediately. This gives you time to thoroughly consider your options, find a contractor to perform the work, etc.

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July
25

Down Payment Amounts - Buy a Home - Haring Realty

When looking for Mansfield or Ashland homes for sale, many buyers feel intimidated by the idea of the down payment. As in other kinds of loans, the down payment is the cash amount you'll "put down" to secure the transaction and get the financing you need.

Our REALTORS® know this is a potentially confusing issue. Advice about down payments has changed in recent years. Whenever the housing market takes a big swing, it's important to double-check all of your assumptions. A qualified real estate agent is the best person to ask.

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June
13

Downsizing Tips - Buy a Home - Haring Realty

Aging brings many changes in lifestyle and personal needs that can have a significant impact on finances. While some seniors choose to remain in their homes and age in place, others choose to downsize and move to smaller homes. If you're considering a move, our REALTORS® have some tips to make downsizing to a new home a smoother transition.

If you're considering moving to Mansfield and Ashland homes for sale, finding a home with the right amenities is essential for your senior years. Take a look at five home features that are important to your safety, health, lifestyle, and finances in your senior years.

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May
31

Avoiding Buyer Burnout - Haring Realty

Even in a buyer's market with plenty of affordable houses with little competition, buying a home is a stressful endeavor. This stress is amplified in today's market, where prices remain high and scant inventory leads to bidding wars. You can quickly become emotionally drained between finding a home that suits your needs and navigating a grueling loan approval process. Our REALTORS® can take some of the strain off your shoulders, but it's just as important to arm yourself with information to avoid buyer burnout.

Read on for some tips and tricks on navigating what can be both a stressful and joyful journey.

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December
13

Buyer Closing Costs - Haring Realty

Buying a home is one of the most significant purchases most people will ever make. And, just like when you go shopping at the store, the sticker price is not the home's total price. This can come as a shock to many first-time home sellers and first-time homebuyers alike, which is why our REALTORS® want you to know everything about closing costs and how they affect the final price you pay for your new dream home.

  • Fees and Commissions
    You will also need to factor in real estate agent fees and commissions. These can be around 6%, but they vary depending on the agent. The seller is the party that typically pays the agent fees and commissions. The seller also pays for title insurance and any pro-rated property taxes on the property. It is also the seller's responsibility to pay any HOA fees, attorney fees, and escrow money owed to the buyer. To help ink the deal, some contracts allow the seller and buyer to split, or have the buyer pay 100 percent of, the owner's title fees on cash deals.

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November
8

VA Loans in 2021 - Haring Realty

Our REALTORS® know that no matter what your homebuying goals are, the process of getting a loan can seem intimidating. Whether you're looking at Mansfield or Ashland homes for sale, the question of financing looms large for most buyers.

If you're a U.S. military veteran, the Veterans Administration loan program may be a good fit for you.

Known popularly as the "VA home loan," it's one of the biggest benefits offered to America's veterans. It grants a wide range of perks compared to conventional loans, including no down payment and attractive rates. There are many other advantages that you might qualify for.

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September
20

Buy a Home - Improve Credit Score - Haring Realty

Before looking at Mansfield or Ashland homes for sale, many would-be buyers take time to improve their credit scores. As a general rule, the better your credit is, the easier it is to access home loans on favorable terms. That usually means better interest rates and saving thousands over a mortgage's life.

Our REALTORS® have helped many clients understand how to tackle this process. We have spoken to many people who have put off their plans to buy a home due to their low credit score, even when they have substantial current income.

Luckily, you can improve your credit score in 2021 no matter where you start from!

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September
13

Buying a Flipped House - Haring Realty

The housing market is pretty hot nowadays, and investors are flipping like it's 2006 again. If you've been browsing homes for a while, you've probably come across flipped houses. But, buying a flipped house can be risky business.  Our REALTORS® are more than happy to guide you through the process and ensure you avoid any pitfalls.

If you're looking to buy a house in this marketfor instance, these Mansfield and Ashland homes for sale  knowledge is the best tool you have at your disposal. So, here's a guide to help you figure out whether a flipped house is worth it.

Buying A Flipped House: What You Need To Know

House flipping occurs when a real estate investor buys a house, makes some upgrades, and sells it at a profit. House flippers do it to make money. That's not to say you should discount these houses. You can get a great deal on the house, considering you don't have to dig further into your pocket to make renovations.

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September
7

Sanity-Saving Moving Tips - Haring Realty

In a perfect world, you'd have several months to fully prepare for a move. But in the real world, you often learn you need to move at the last minute. Maybe your house sold faster than you ever dreamed it would, or perhaps you stumbled upon the house of your dreams and bought it quickly. Regardless of why you need to move in a hurry, Our REALTORS® have some tips to help you out.

  1. Hire Movers ASAP
    The good moving companies book up quickly! As soon as you know you need to move and have a reasonable idea when you need to move, start getting estimates from moving companies. The earlier you book, the more flexible the movers can be. Once you have arrangements with a moving company, you can schedule everything else around their services.

    If you plan on renting a moving truck and moving yourself, the same advice applies. Book the moving truck ASAP so you can get the right size truck from a company you trust.

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August
16

From Apartment to First Home - Haring Realty

Moving from an apartment into your first home is exciting. But, it's also a bit nerve-wracking as you ponder plans for all the additional space you now have at your disposal. Our REALTORS® understand how you feel, and there are plenty of things you can do to keep your mind focused on the tasks ahead. The following tips will help you tie a bow on all the details so that you can enjoy settling into your new home.

  • Take care of the apartment first. Make sure to reread your lease and notify your landlord of your intention to move within the specified timeframe. You will want to confirm your responsibilities, when you'll get your deposit back, etc. You should also take care of any final rent payments, utility bills, and don't forget to file a change-of-address form with the post office.

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July
19

Buying an Older Home - Haring Realty

When that fabulous old house on the hill looms large in your thoughts, it's easy to get swept up in the nostalgia of the past. Whether it's memories of your youth or a longing for the days of yore, it's important to know what you could be getting into. While old houses most certainly have their charms, our REALTORS® know that it's important to look for warts, as well. That said, owning an older home is most certainly rewarding if you are willing to put in the work and resources required to maintain it.

  • Buying Older Homes in the Region
    There are many Mansfield and Ashland homes for sale that date back to the late 1800s. These old homes were built with hand tools, solid wood, and stone. They were built to last, and many have made their way into the present day.

    As the years have passed, styles evolved, materials advanced, and lifestyles changed. This means when you buy an older home, you're likely to find many different eras represented within the rooms and behind the walls. You may find solid wood floors from the 1900s covered by linoleum from the 1950s. Sometimes, these are pleasant surprises that, with a little TLC and creativity, can significantly boost the ambiance and appearance of the home.

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July
5

Consider the Garage - Buy a Home - Haring Realty

While most homebuyers consider a garage a necessary or important home feature, many buyers overlook potential problems that may be lurking in the space. If you're looking around at Ohio homes for sale, our REALTORS® at Haring Realty can help you find a beautiful home with a two-car garage that's in great shape.

A garage is an asset to any home because it can serve many purposes. As a utilitarian space, its primary purpose is storage and protection for your car, which is a big expense. However, a garage can also provide a large amount of storage space for a washer and dryer, lawn care equipment, tools, household items, and clothing. Most homeowners with a two-car attached garage use the space for much more than storing vehicles.

Although your garage is separated from your living spaces in Mansfield or Ashland homes for sale, it's still space with structural components that need attention. Your garage can reveal telltale signs of damage that can have a significant impact on a home's investment. To avoid problems and expensive repairs, pay attention to your garage.

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June
28

Early Offer - Buy a House - Haring Realty

You've been browsing Mansfield and Ashland homes for sale for quite some time now and have finally found something perfect for you and your family's needs. You're ready to take the plunge and put in an offer on the house. But how long should you wait ?There's really no conventional answer to that question. But in a seller's market, when inventory is low and demand is high, you may have to go above and beyond to make sure you submit an early offer and that it stands out from the competition. Here's what you should know about making early offers along with strategies for making a winning one.

Potential Problems with Early Offers

Making an offer isn't as simple as knocking on the door and informing the seller you'll take the house. Your intentions trigger the start of an intricate process between you and the seller. Don't expect the seller to accept your offer just because it came in first. Sellers usually think they've priced their home too low when an offer comes in fast. So, they want the house to have the longest exposure possible on the open market and get bids from a large number of buyers. An early offer would need to be mighty attractive for the seller to accept it instead of waiting too long for better offers.

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June
7

Competitive Housing Market - Buy a Home - Haring Realty

Real estate markets across the country are red hot. It is not uncommon for sellers to receive numerous offers within days of listing their property. Time and time again, our REALTORS® have seen homes sell for well above their listing price. If you have your eye on the perfect property for your next home, we recommend taking the time to get prepared before you jump into the pool of buyers eager to get their hands on your dream home.

  • Preapproval
    Start by getting preapproved for a loan. This is more rigorous than a prequalification process and shows you precisely where you stand and how much the lender will loan for your purchase. There are multiple advantages to this when searching for Mansfield or Ashland homes for sale. It helps narrow down your search to only those properties within your price range. This speeds up the process considerably. It also shows you how high you can go if a bidding war breaks out. Equally important, when multiple offers are submitted, sellers are more likely to accept offers from preapproved buyers than those who are merely pre-qualified.

    In fact, be prepared to pay more than the listing price. This is especially true for well-maintained homes in desirable locations. It's not unheard of for homes to sell for 100-110% or more of the asking price. As you search, factor this into your calculations and search for homes that are 95% or less of your preapproval.

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February
15

Pre-Approval Process - Buy a Home - Haring Realty

Our REALTORS® at Haring Realty strive to make homebuying easier. When looking at Mansfield and Ashland homes for sale, clients often have lots of questions. It's no surprise concerns around financing are common. That's not just true for first-time homebuyers, either: Whether they're buying a first place or a place to retire, everyone wants the best deal.

But the process of getting a mortgage can be complex. It's easy to get confused, which is one reason why the right real estate pro is such a valuable ally. One question that often doesn't get asked – because buyers don't have all the information at first – is this: "How does pre-approval affect my home search?"

Pre-approval can have a positive impact on your finances and the whole buying process.

Here's what to know.

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July
27

New Homeowners: Countdown to Moving Day

You've scouted Mansfield homes for sale, found the perfect match, and closed the deal. Now it's time to plan for moving day! There are so many details to cover when preparing for a move, so having a detailed plan will help you reduce stress while making sure that you cover every key step. Our REALTORS® have you covered, with our countdown of the final 30 days before moving day.

One Month Before Moving

  • Create a Supply List and Gather Moving Supplies
    Packing is so much easier when you have all the necessary supplies. You'll need shipping tape, scissors, plenty of labels, permanent markers, packing materials, and of course a ton of cardboard boxes.

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February
10

Overcoming Homebuying Obstacles - Haring Realty

It's a competitive real estate market. For first-time homebuyers, the goal of homeownership can appear difficult to achieve. While it's true that there are obstacles in the path, it's not impossible to overcome them and beat the odds. Our REALTORS® know how to help first-time homebuyers position themselves in the market to purchase the home they desire. 

Overcoming the Obstacles to Homeownership

  • Strict Lending Requirements
    This is often the most daunting obstacle first-time homebuyers need to tackle. Overcoming it requires a multi-prong approach that starts with trimming the budget. Eliminating unnecessary spending, paying off credit card debt, and consolidating existing loan obligations at a lower interest rate are essential steps. It pays big dividends. It will help first-time homebuyers save money for the down payment, and it reduces the debt-to-income ratio. It also helps boost the credit score a few points, which allows buyers to qualify for a lower interest rate.

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January
13

Real Estate Agent Help - Haring Realty

Real estate agents have experience and knowledge that can make buying a home easier and help you avoid costly mistakes. They can help you with many aspects of the home buying process, including several you may not have thought of.

The following are just a few of the things our REALTORS® can help you with when you're looking at Mansfield homes for sale:

  • Spotting problems you may not notice
    Real estate agents have looked at enough homes to be able to spot problems that you may not notice. For example, he or she may be able to see signs of insect issues, problems with the roof, or leaks in the home. These may be expensive problems to fix, and if your real estate agent notices them, you may end up saving a lot of money or avoiding a headache.

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December
9

Mortgage Loan Pre-Approval - Haring Realty

When it comes to applying for a mortgage, getting pre-approved for financing and starting the credit application process should begin as early as possible. The sooner you get a jump on the process, the fewer problems you'll have when it's time to close and sign on the dotted line.  

But is it possible to apply too early? Our REALTORS® know the answers, and we've put together some of our expertise to help you apply for your mortgage financing at an optimal time for your home purchase.  

How Long Does Pre-Approval Take?

Before you decide how early to apply for a mortgage, we should help you understand how long the pre-approval process takes. 

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November
25

Securing a VA Loan - Haring Realty

If you've spent even a tiny amount of time shopping around for a mortgage, then you know it's not exactly a picnic. Our REALTORS® understand that securing a home loan is easily the least fun part of the home buying process, but it's an unavoidable one. 

That said, many homebuyers have a loan option they may not have considered: VA Loans. For those who qualify, a VA loan is an amazing resource, arguably much better than a conventional mortgage. So if you're looking at Mansfield homes for sale, be sure to carefully consider all your loan options. 

What is a VA Loan?

VA Loans are backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and are designed to provide a simple and affordable route to homeownership for military, veterans and their families. Since VA Loans were first offered under the Servicemen's Readjustment Act in 1944, they have helped countless current and former service members finance their homes. 

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November
11

Commute Time - Haring Realty

It's true that location matters when it comes to buying a home. A top location can offer a great school district, great amenities, convenient access to shopping, and a low crime rate. However, your commute time to work is another important factor to consider when looking for Mansfield homes for sale. It can be tempting to ignore a long commute if it would mean foregoing what is an otherwise perfect home. But will the time and cost of a long commute be worth it?

The Costs of a Long Commute

The average American commutes for approximately 25.4 minutes each way. But those in larger metropolitan areas are subject to an extremely long commute of up to 1.5 hours each way. Extreme commuters spend at least 15 hours a week on the road without getting paid for it. As the time adds up, so do your travel expenses, especially gas and car maintenance. In most cases, the savings realized by purchasing a home in a suburban area result in a higher cost overall. Adding a distant commute to your housing expenses can exceed 30% of your gross monthly income.

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October
21

Historic Homeownership - Haring Realty

Old homes are filled with charming details and touches that give them a fascinating appeal. Older Mansfield homes for sale conjure images of strong communities and simpler times. Each home is a reflection of the builder's interests and the style of the era. While purchasing an older home can give you a truly distinctive property, it can also come with unique challenges that you can't ignore.    

Historic Charm in Every Room

From the intricacies of the crown molding above an ornate fireplace to the antique door handles and solid oak floors, older homes are filled with fine details that will win your heart over. These finishing touches reflect the trends of the time the house was built and may also include trends from periods when the home underwent renovation or the addition of new rooms. In Ohio, it is not uncommon to find a Victorian-era home with Georgian, Spanish, or Mid-Century Modern accents sprinkled in over the years.

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April
22

Multigenerational Home Buying

Our REALTORS® at Haring Realty are excited to present an outstanding collection of Mansfield homes for sale this season. Our team is here to help clients achieve their goals in the real estate market – we help you every step of the way.

One trend that's become important here in Mansfield is the multigenerational home.

Economic shifts of the last few years have made it much more difficult for young people to buy a home. Job market fluctuations have left many in their 20s and 30s challenged to reach the kind of career they want. At the same time, elders are seeking stability in retirement and beyond.

The multigenerational family home is the solution that can serve both these needs.

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March
25

Married & Buying a House

At Haring Realty, our REALTORS® know house hunting has its share of ups and downs.

If you're buying a house as a couple, it's important to understand your needs and expectations so you can come to a choice as a couple. Some compromise is expected, but choosing a home over one partner's objections can lead to problems down the line.

On the other hand, a home you both love will only make your bond stronger.

Here's how you can do it:

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January
21

Ohio Home Fireplace Tips
Winter in Ohio is in full bloom. There is nothing quite as cozy as a crackling fire in the fireplace of your Mansfield home.  However, the last thing any homeowner wants is for disaster to strike, potentially damaging their home and putting loved ones in danger. Understanding and practicing fireplace safety is crucial in ensuring that your house and family are safe. Our REALTORS® offer these eight tips to keep your fireplace in tip-top shape and protect our family.

  1. Get Your Fireplace Ready
    Before you light the first fire of the season, have your chimney and fireplace inspected and cleaned by a professional. Flues should be intact, and the dampers are operating correctly. Any buildup of dangerous residues including soot, creosote and glaze should be removed as they can seriously increase the risk of a chimney fire.

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January
7

Mansfield Home Buying Budget
Do you dream of buying one of our local Mansfield homes for sale, but think there's no viable way to afford it? Think again! 2019 can be your year to purchase a house! Gathering the right information, taking advantage of multiple resources and making friends with your budget are the critical ingredients for taking that life-changing step. With a bit of planning and effort before you begin searching, buying a home may not be easier than you ever imagined.

  1. Understand What You Can Afford
    Now is the time to create a home buying budget, and in doing so, you'll know what you can afford in relation to where you want to purchase. In addition to the actual mortgage payment, you'll need to plan for the down payment, closing costs, taxes and insurance, and the likelihood of higher energy and maintenance expenses. That being said, in many cities, monthly rental rates are at or above what you will pay for a mortgage payment. One of the best ways to determine your home buying budget is to talk to a lender and get pre-approved for a mortgage. Knowing what you can afford will allow you to build your budget around what you're expecting to spend on your home.

  2. Click Here to Read More...

November
27

Mansfield Ohio Christmas Events

Our REALTORS® are already gearing up for all of Mansfield's Christmas events, and we want you to do the same too. That's why we are making a list (and, yes, we're checking it twice) of the top holiday events in our community you won't want to miss. Tour decorated mansions, see a play, take a sleigh ride, and cut your own Christmas tree right here in Mansfield, Ohio.

  1. Start Your Christmas Shopping at the Carrousel District
    W. 4th St. and N. Main Street, Mansfield, Ohio 44902

    The Carrousel District has over 50 shops and eateries located in our Downtown. Perfect for crossing off a few names from your list, you'll find everything from antique and retro shops to chocolatiers and cigar stores.

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November
6

Mansfield Ohio Buy Home Holidays
If you've been searching for a new home, you probably know that the residential real estate market slows down this time of year. That doesn't mean you have to postpone your search. The year-end holiday season offers the best opportunities to visit Mansfield homes for sale and seal the deal on your new home. 

Our REALTORS® keep informed about regional marketing data. Their research shows that buying a home during the holidays makes sense, especially when you're a serious buyer. They share five good reasons why you should step up your home search during the holidays. 

  1. Serious Sellers
    When a homeowner keeps a For Sale sign posted when the market slows for the season, they're serious about selling. They may have a job transfer deadline, a new home purchase pending, or an urgent need to downsize. Whatever their reason, sellers who keep their listings active during the holidays, are hoping a buyer will make a reasonable offer before the year's end. Their desire to sell paves the way for you to make your best deal.

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October
30

Buy a House - Negotiate Price

When you're shopping for Mansfield homes for sale, finding a house that you'd love to call your own is just one step in a lengthy process. Negotiating a price for that home is one of the most critical steps in the process, while also ranking as one of the most intimidating for both new and experienced home buyers. Our REALTORS® know what it takes to succeed at the negotiating table, and we've put together six tips to help you negotiate a price when buying a house.

  1. Find the Right Real Estate Agent
    Whether you have extensive experience or you're negotiating the price of a home for the first time, working with the right real estate agent will make life much easier. An experienced agent has been at the negotiating table many times before, so they're the perfect person to provide guidance. Don't be afraid to interview more than one buyer's agent to find someone you're confident working with as you buy a home.

  2. Click Here to Read More...

October
17

Mansfield real estate
If you are a current or aspiring Ohio resident, then you should know that Mansfield homes for sale are worth looking into. Mansfield represents The Heart of Ohio, with a beautiful city skyline framed by lush forest woodlands. Arts-friendly and well known for its racing scene, Mansfield also prides itself on its thriving economy, whether you're looking to be a part of the local businesses or a large corporation.

Our REALTORS® at Haring Realty are always proud to introduce a client to the possibilities Mansfield has to offer, from the charm of the city itself to its amazing real estate opportunities. There's nothing quite like helping a new couple or transitioning Ohio family find a home that is just perfect for their needs - especially if it's their first home. Many people are looking to escape from the endless cycle of renting instead of owning. If you're not sure why here are just a few key reasons:

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August
28

Mansfield Home Buying Contingent Listings
If you've been browsing online listings of Mansfield homes for sale, you've probably come across some that are listed as "contingent." Some buyers shy away from contingent listings because they don't really know what that means, or because they assume it means that the home isn't available. That can be a big mistake.  

So let's take a moment to go over contingent home listings, and the different types of contingencies you may come across on your home search. 

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July
24

Buy House Seller's Market

Insider Help for Buying a House in a Seller's Market

Buying a house can be more challenging in a seller's market.  It may feel as if you keep hitting roadblocks and dead ends and only the sellers are in control. In this market, there are more potential buyers, able and willing to make a purchase, than there are Mansfield homes for sale. The low inventory means that the existing homes are priced higher, but still sell relatively quickly.

This does not mean that you can't buy a home in Mansfield, Ohio for a good price even--it just means you may need a little help and advice from real estate insiders. Here are three ways to buy your dream home even in today's market.

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June
1

Mansfield Vintage Peddler
Mansfield, Ohio is a hidden gem with lots of exciting things to do. Your whole family will enjoy the Arts Center, the Little Buckeye Children's Museum, and the peacock collection that lives in a tycoon's garden. You can visit the "Shawshank Redemption" movie location featured on Travel Channel's "Ghost Adventures," the Biblewalk Wax Museum, or Westinghouse's first working American robot, built here in 1939.

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May
7

Buy Your First Home - Stop Renting
Buying your first home is a big step, and it's not always easy to know when the time is right to make it. If you're thinking about making the leap from renting to owning, our REALTORS® are here to help. These are the six biggest signs that the time is right to make that leap to homeownership.

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May
14

What is PMI

What is Private Mortgage Insurance?

We all know that buying a house has its challenges, and the terminology alone is enough to make your head swim. One of the terms our REALTORS® often get asked about is PMI—Private Mortgage Insurance. What is it? How does it work? What does it cost? Do I really need it? Is it tax deductible? We're here to answer all your questions for you.

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March
13

Buy a House in Ashland Ohio

Buying a new home is always a big deal, but buying your first home is an extra special occasion. It can, however, be also be filled with missteps if you go into it blindly and without the right information. If you're starting to feel overwhelmed by all the dos and don'ts of the home-buying process, our REALTORS® can make it easier with our five-step plan for buying a home in Ashland. 

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March
6

Buy a Home with New Job

Even if you're new to a job, you can still fulfill your dream of owning a home. When you search for Mansfield homes for sale, you're destined to find the perfect residence in a neighborhood that fits your lifestyle. While your new job may present financing challenges, some mortgage companies will find ways to work around the obstacles.

Our REALTORS® believe that the path to homeownership is easier when you know what to expect. That's why we created a "First-Time Buyers Guide: Buying a Home With a New Job" with information to help you through your home-buying process.

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January
2

Tips to Get Your Home Ready for an Ohio Winter

Ohio Winter Home Preparedness

Winter has only just begun here in Northeast Ohio, and already we've had to deal with our fair share of ice and snow. The next time winter weather threatens, our REALTORS® want to make sure your home is ready for it. Here's how to make sure you and your home are ready for the next big snow storm.

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December
26

Home buying questions to ask
One of the first challenges when buying a house is that there's simply so much information to sort through as you make your decision. Whether you're building a budget, searching for the right neighborhood, or thinking about how to make an appealing offer, asking the right questions will ultimately help you reach informed decisions. And you don't have to do it alone! Our REALTORS® are here to help, with a guide to the five key questions to ask when buying a house.

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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...

February
1

The price of any item is determined by the supply of that item, as well as the market demand. The National Association of REALTORS (NAR) surveys "over 50,000 real estate practitioners about their expectations for home sales, prices and market conditions" for their monthly REALTORS Confidence Index.

Their latest edition sheds some light on the relationship between Seller Traffic (supply) and Buyer Traffic (demand).

Buyer Demand

The map below was created after asking the question: "How would you rate buyer traffic in your area?"

Buyer Demand Is Outpacing the Supply of Homes for Sale | MyKCM

The darker the blue, the stronger the demand for homes in that area. Only six states had a weak demand level.

Seller Supply

The Index also asked: "How would you rate seller traffic in your area?"

As you can see from the map below, the majority of the country has weak Seller Traffic, meaning there are far fewer homes on the market than what is needed to satisfy the buyers who are out looking for their dream homes.

Buyer Demand Is Outpacing the Supply of Homes for Sale | MyKCM

Bottom Line

Looking at the maps above, it is not hard to see why prices are appreciating in many areas of the country. Until the supply of homes for sale starts to meet the buyer demand, prices will continue to increase. If you are debating listing your home for sale, let's get together to help you capitalize on the demand in the market now!

November
8

 

It's Not Always Marriage Before Mortgage | MyKCM

There are many people sitting on the sidelines trying to decide if they should purchase a home or sign a rental lease. Some might wonder if it makes sense to purchase a house before they are married and have a family. Others may think they are too young. And still, others might think their current income would never enable them to qualify for a mortgage.

We want to share what the typical first-time homebuyer actually looks like based on the National Association of REALTORS most recent Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers. Here are some interesting statistics on the first-time buyer:

It's Not Always Marriage Before Mortgage | MyKCM

Unmarried couples jumped up to the third spot, right after their married counterparts and single women. Many couples are buying a home before spending what would be a down payment on a wedding.

Bottom Line

You may not be much different than many people who have already purchased their first home. Let's get together to determine if your dream home is within your grasp.

October
24

Sales of Distressed Properties Hit New Low | MyKCM

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released their latest Existing Home Sales Report revealing that distressed property sales accounted for 4% of sales in September. This is down from 7% in 2015, and is the lowest figure since NAR began tracking distressed sales in October 2008.

Below is a graph that shows just how far the market has come since January 2012 when distressed sales accounted for 35% of all sales.

Sales of Distressed Properties Hit New Low | MyKCM

Existing Home Sales Hit 2nd Highest Figure Since June 

Mortgage interest rates remained well below 4% in September at 3.46%, prompting existing home sales to stay at a healthy annual pace of 5.47 million. Month-over-month sales were up 3.2%.

Inventory of homes for sale remains below the 6-month supply that is necessary for a normal market, as it fell 2.2% to a 4.5-month supply. The shortage in inventory has contributed to the median home price rising an additional 5.6% to $234,200.

NAR's Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun had this to say about the lack of inventory:

"Inventory has been extremely tight all year and is unlikely to improve now that the seasonal decline in listings is about to kick in."

There is good news though, as Yun went on to say:

"There's hope the leap in sales to first-time buyers can stick through the rest of the year and into next spring. The market fundamentals — primarily consistent job gains and affordable mortgage rates — are there for the steady rise in first-timers needed to finally reverse the decline in the homeownership rate."  

Bottom Line

If you are debating putting your home on the market this year, now may be the time. Buyers are still out there looking for their dream home. Let's get together to determine your best plan.

October
18

How Historically Low Interest Rates Increase Your Purchasing Power | MyKCM

According to Freddie Mac's latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage are currently at 3.47%. Rates have remained at or below 3.5% each of the last 16 weeks, marking a historic low.

The interest rate you secure when buying a home not only greatly impacts your monthly housing costs, but also impacts your purchasing power.

Purchasing power, simply put, is the amount of home you can afford buy for the budget you have available to spend. As rates increase, the price of the house you can afford will decrease if you plan to stay within a certain monthly housing budget.

The chart below shows what impact rising interest rates would have if you planned to purchase a home within the national median price range, and planned to keep your principal and interest payments at or about $1,100 a month.

How Historically Low Interest Rates Increase Your Purchasing Power | MyKCM

With each quarter of a percent increase in interest rate, the value of the home you can afford decreases by 2.5%, (in this example, $6,250). Experts predict that mortgage rates will be closer to 4% by this time next year.

Act now to get the most house for your hard earned money.

September
27

US Housing Market Moving Further into 'Buy Territory' | MyKCM

According to the latest Beracha, Hardin & Johnson Buy vs. Rent (BH&J) Index, the U.S. housing market has continued to move deeper into buy territory, supporting the belief that housing markets across the country remain a sound investment.

The BH&J Index is a quarterly report that attempts to answer the question:

In today's housing market, is it better to rent or buy a home?

The index examines the entire US housing market and then isolates 23 major cities for comparison. The researchers "measure the relationship between purchasing property and building wealth through a buildup in equity versus renting a comparable property and investing in a portfolio of stocks and bonds." 

Ken Johnson, Ph.D., Real Estate Economist & Professor at Florida Atlantic University, and one of the index's authors explains that:

"Housing prices, in general, continue to slow and when considered in light of the recent trends in the Buy vs. Rent Index signal that ownership remains an excellent investment for the majority of Americans."

While 15 of the 23 metropolitan markets examined moved further into buy territory since last quarter, Dallas, Denver, and Houston are three of the major cities that are currently deep into rent territory. In these three markets, it is estimated that renting will top homeownership 7 out of 10 times.

Eli Beracha, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the T&S Hollo School of Real Estate at FIU, believes that, in these three markets, the "strong odds in favor of renting to create more wealth should begin to have an impact on the demand for home ownership and from that, impact property prices in these areas."

Simply put, home prices in these areas will begin to return to more normal levels once residents realize that renting may be a better choice, therefore bringing home affordability back as well.

Bottom Line

The majority of the country is strongly in buy territory. Buying a home makes sense socially and financially. Rents are predicted to increase substantially in the next year. Protect yourself from rising rents by locking in your housing cost with a mortgage payment now.

September
7

 

Is the Current Pace of Home Sales Sustainable? | MyKCM

There are some experts questioning whether the current pace of residential home sales is sustainable. Are too many people buying homes like in 2004-2006? Are we headed for another housing crisis? Actually, if we look closely at the numbers, we can see that we are looking at a very healthy real estate market.

Why the concern?

Some are looking at the last three years of home sales and comparing them to the three years just prior to the housing bubble. Looking at the graph below, we can understand that thinking.

Is the Current Pace of Home Sales Sustainable? | MyKCM

However, if we go further back in history, we can see the real picture. After taking out the "boom & bust" years, the pace of sales is growing at a quite natural pace.

Is the Current Pace of Home Sales Sustainable? | MyKCM

And new home sales are way below historic numbers. Trulia's Chief Economist Ralph McLaughlin explains:

"Adjusted for population, [new home sales] are at about 63% of their fifty-year average level—way better than 2011, but nowhere near heated."

August
29

 

Don't Get Caught in the Rental Trap! | MyKCM

There are many benefits to homeownership. One of the top ones is being able to protect yourself from rising rents and lock in your housing cost for the life of your mortgage.

Don't Become Trapped

Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist at realtor.com, reported on what he calls a "Rental Affordability Crisis." He warns that,

"Low rental vacancies and a lack of new rental construction are pushing up rents, and we expect that they'll outpace home price appreciation in the year ahead."

In the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University's 2015 Report on Rental Housing, they reported that 49% of rental households are cost-burdened, meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on housing. These households struggle to save for a rainy day and pay other bills, such as food and healthcare.

It's Cheaper to Buy Than Rent

In Smoke's article, he went on to say,

"Housing is central to the health and well-being of our country and our local communities. In addition, this (rental affordability) crisis threatens the future value of owned housing, as the burdensome level of rents will trap more aspiring owners into a vicious financial cycle in which they cannot save and build a solid credit record to eventually buy a home."

 "While more than 85% of markets have burdensome rents today, it's perplexing that in more than 75% of the counties across the country, it is actually cheaper to buy than rent a home. So why aren't those unhappy renters choosing to buy?"

Know Your Options

Perhaps you have already saved enough to buy your first home. HousingWire reported that analysts at Nomura believe:

"It's not that Millennials and other potential homebuyers aren't qualified in terms of their credit scores or in how much they have saved for their down payment.

 It's that they think they're not qualified or they think that they don't have a big enough down payment." (emphasis added)

Many first-time homebuyers who believe that they need a large down payment may be holding themselves back from their dream home. As we have reported before, in many areas of the country, a first-time home buyer can save for a 3% down payment in less than two years. You may have already saved enough!

Bottom Line

Don't get caught in the trap so many renters are currently in. If you are ready and willing to buy a home, find out if you are able. Let's get together to determine if you could qualify for a mortgage now!

August
4

 

Thinking of Selling Your House? Pick the Right Agent! | MyKCM

Today, more and more sellers are stepping back, taking a look at the advice real estate professionals give them, and asking themselves whether they can trust that advice. And that is exactly what they should do.

The most important question you can ask when you are choosing a real estate agent is whether you feel you can trust them. You must know that they're giving you great advice, and that they're going to be able to help you accomplish your family's goals. You must trust your listing agent enough to allow them to:

  • Handle the liquidation of possibly the largest asset your family has
  • Help set the market value of that asset (get the price right)
  • Set the timetable for the liquidation of that asset
  • Set a fair fee for the services required to liquidate that asset

All four of these require a tremendous amount of trust. They're going to sell your prized possession, set its value, set a time schedule as to when your family will be able to move, and determine the fee that you're going to pay to get those three things accomplished.

You have to trust your agent enough to allow them to help you and your family reach your dreams.

Whether you're a grandfather up North looking to move to Florida to spend your later years with your grandkids, or a young person who wants to take that job in San Francisco but first has to get your house sold in Chicago, you need an agent you can trust to help you move on with what's important.

 

August
1

Why You Should Hire a Real Estate Professional When Buying A Home! | MyKCM

Many people wonder whether they should hire a real estate professional to assist them in buying their dream home or if they should first try to go it on their own. In today's market: you need an experienced professional!

You Need an Expert Guide if You Are Traveling a Dangerous Path

The field of real estate is loaded with land mines. You need a true expert to guide you through the dangerous pitfalls that currently exist. Finding a home that is priced appropriately and ready for you to move in to can be tricky. An agent listens to your wants and needs, and can sift through the homes that do not fit within the parameters of your "dream home."

A great agent will also have relationships with mortgage professionals and other experts that you will need in securing your dream home. 

You Need a Skilled Negotiator

In today's market, hiring a talented negotiator could save you thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of dollars. Each step of the way – from the original offer, to the possible renegotiation of that offer after a home inspection, to the possible cancellation of the deal based on a troubled appraisal – you need someone who can keep the deal together until it closes.

Realize that when an agent is negotiating their commission with you, they are negotiating their own salary; the salary that keeps a roof over their family's head; the salary that puts food on their family's table. If they are quick to take less when negotiating for themselves and their families, what makes you think they will not act the same way when negotiating for you and your family?

If they were Clark Kent when negotiating with you, they will not turn into Superman when negotiating with the buyer or seller in your deal. 

Bottom Line

Famous sayings become famous because they are true. You get what you pay for. Just like a good accountant or a good attorney, a good agent will save you money…not cost you money.

July
19

A Homeowner's Net Worth is 45x Greater Than a Renter's!

A Homeowner's Net Worth is 45x Greater Than a Renter's! | MyKCM

Every three years, the Federal Reserve conducts a Survey of Consumer Finances in which they collect data across all economic and social groups. The latest survey, which includes data from 2010-2013, reports that a homeowner's net worth is 36 times greater than that of a renter ($194,500 vs. $5,400).

In a Forbes article, the National Association of Realtors' (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun predicts that in 2016 the net worth gap will widen even further to 45 times greater.

The graph below demonstrates the results of the last two Federal Reserve studies and Yun's prediction:

A Homeowner's Net Worth is 45x Greater Than a Renter's! | MyKCM

Put Your Housing Cost to Work for You

Simply put, homeownership is a form of 'forced savings.' Every time you pay your mortgage, you are contributing to your net worth. Every time you pay your rent, you are contributing to your landlord's net worth.

The latest National Housing Pulse Survey from NAR reveals that 85% of consumers believe that purchasing a home is a good financial decision. Yun comments:

"Though there will always be discussion about whether to buy or rent, or whether the stock market offers a bigger return than real estate, the reality is that homeowners steadily build wealth. The simplest math shouldn't be overlooked."

Bottom Line

If you are interested in finding out if you could put your housing cost to work for you by purchasing a home, let's get together to discuss your next steps.

July
5

4 Reasons to Buy This Summer!

4 Reasons to Buy This Summer! | MyKCM

Summer is here! The temperature isn't the only thing heating up right now, so too is the housing market in many areas of the country! Here are four great reasons to consider buying a home today instead of waiting.

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

CoreLogic's latest Home Price Index reports that home prices have appreciated by 6.2% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 5.3% over the next year. The Home Price Expectation Survey polls a distinguished panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts. Their most recent report projects home values to appreciate by more than 3.2% a year for the next 5 years.

The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase 

Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have remained around 4%. Most experts predict that they will begin to rise over the next 12 months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Freddie Mac & the National Association of Realtors are in unison, projecting that rates will be up almost a full percentage point by this time next year.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, your housing expense will increase if a mortgage is necessary to buy your next home. 

3. Either Way You are Paying a Mortgage

As a paper from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains:

"Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return. That's yet another reason owning often does—as Americans intuit—end up making more financial sense than renting."

4. It's Time to Move On with Your Life

The 'cost' of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.

But what if they weren't? Would you wait?

Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide whether it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe now is the time to buy.

If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

July
1

 

Sales at Highest Pace in 9 Years!

Sales at Highest Pace in 9 Years [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • Sales of existing homes reached the highest annual pace in over 9 years at 5.29 million.
  • Inventory remains below the 6-month norm and prices are still on the rise.
  • Interest rates are at a historic low of 3.48%.
April
5

 

Rent or Buy: Either Way You're Paying A Mortgage | Keeping Current Matters

There are some renters that have not yet purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you are living with your parents rent free, you are paying a mortgage - either your mortgage or your landlord's.

As The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains:

"Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return.  

That's yet another reason owning often does—as Americans intuit—end up making more financial sense than renting."

Christina Boyle, a Senior Vice President, Head of Single-Family Sales & Relationship Management at Freddie Mac, explains another benefit of securing a mortgage vs. paying rent:

"With a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, you'll have the certainty & stability of knowing what your mortgage payment will be for the next 30 years – unlike rents which will continue to rise over the next three decades."

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of 'forced savings' that allows you to have equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person with that equity.

The graph below shows the widening gap in net worth between a homeowner and a renter:

Rent or Buy: Either Way You're Paying A Mortgage | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Whether you are looking for a primary residence for the first time or are considering a vacation home on the shore, owning might make more sense than renting with home values and interest rates projected to climb.


March
29

Sales Contracts Hit Highest Level in Months | Keeping Current Matters

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) just announced that the February Pending Home Sales Index reached it's highest reading since July 2015.

What is the Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI)?

NAR's PHSI is "a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings". The higher the Pending Home Sales Index number, the more contracts have been signed by buyers that will soon translate to sales. February's Index rose 3.5% month-over-month to 109.1.

What does this mean for the market?

Lawrence Yun, NAR's Chief Economist explained:

"After some volatility this winter, the latest data is encouraging in that a decent number of buyers signed contracts last month, lured by mortgage rates dipping to their lowest levels in nearly a year and a modest, seasonal uptick in inventory."

"Looking ahead, the key for sustained momentum and more sales than last spring is a continuous stream of new listings quickly replacing what's being scooped up by a growing pool of buyers. Without adequate supply, sales will likely plateau."

So What Does This Mean For Buyers?

There is a lot of competition out there right now for your dream home. Prices are going to continue to climb, act now before you are priced out of your future home.

What Does This Mean For Sellers?

If you are on the fence about listing your home for sale and debating whether now is the time to move on with your plans of relocating… don't wait!

There are more buyers that are ready, willing and able to buy their first, second, third, vacation, or investment property now than there has been in years! The supply of homes for sale is not keeping up with the demand of these buyers.

Listing your home for sale now will give you the most exposure to buyers and the best sales price.

Bottom Line

Whether you are planning on buying or selling a house this year, waiting to act no longer makes sense.

March
23

91.5% of Homes in the US have Positive Equity | Keeping Current Matters

CoreLogic's latest Equity Report revealed that one million borrowers regained equity in their homes in 2015. The outlook for 2016 remains positive as well, as an additional 850,000 properties would regain equity if home prices rose another 5% this year. 

The study also revealed:

  • 95% of homes valued over $200,000 now have a positive equity position
  • 87% of homes valued under $200,000 have entered a positive position
  • The 11.5% growth in home equity in Q4 marked the 13th consecutive quarter of double digit gains

Below is a map showing the percentage of homes with a mortgage, in each state, that have positive equity. (The states in gray have insufficient data to report.)

91.5% of Homes in the US have Positive Equity | Keeping Current Matters

Significant Equity Is On The Rise

Anand Nallathambi, President & CEO of CoreLogic, believes this is great news for the "long-term health of the U.S. economy." He went on to say:

"The number of homeowners with more than 20% equity is rising rapidly. Higher prices driven largely by tight supply are certainly a big reason for the rise, but continued population growth, household formation and ultralow interest rates are also factors."

Of the 91.5% of homeowners with positive equity in the US, 72.6% have significant equity (defined as more than 20%). This means that nearly three out of four homeowners with a mortgage could use the equity in their current home to purchase a new home now.

The map below shows the percentage of homes with a mortgage, in each state, with significant equity.

91.5% of Homes in the US have Positive Equity | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many homeowners who is unsure of how much equity you have in your home and are curious about your ability to move, meet with a local real estate professional who can help evaluate your situation.

March
22

The Importance of Using an Agent To Sell Your House | Keeping Current Matters

When a homeowner decides to sell their house, they obviously want the best possible price with the least amount of hassles. However, for the vast majority of sellers, the most important result is to actually get the home sold.

In order to accomplish all three goals, a seller should realize the importance of using a real estate professional. We realize that technology has changed the purchaser's behavior during the home buying process. For the past three years, 92% of all buyers have used the internet in their home search according to the National Association of Realtors' most recent Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers.

However, the report also revealed that 95% percent of buyers that used the internet when searching for a home purchased their home through either a real estate agent/broker or from a builder or builder's agent. Only 2% purchased their home directly from a seller whom the buyer didn't know.

Buyers search for a home online, but then depend on an agent to find the actual home they will buy (53%), or to negotiate the terms of the sale & price (48%), or to help understand the process (60%).

The plethora of information now available has resulted in an increase in the percentage of buyers that reach out to real estate professionals to "connect the dots". This is obvious, as the percentage of overall buyers who used an agent to buy their home has steadily increased from 69% in 2001.

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of selling your home, don't underestimate the role a real estate professional can play in the process.

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