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April
18

Patio Plants - Homeowners - Haring Realty

There are many reasons to concentrate your gardening efforts on creating a colorful, cool, and intriguing patio with container plants. Maybe you're lacking room in the yard to landscape it satisfactorily. Or, you spend a lot of time on the patio entertaining guests or just relaxing.

Whether it's trees for shade or height, shrubs for privacy, or vibrant annuals for your color fix, container gardening on your patio is a big winner in our climate. After all, we can protect those plants over the winter and enjoy them in spring in any of these Mansfield and Ashland homes for sale.

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March
21

New Puppy - Homeowners - Haring Realty

As you search through Mansfield and Ashland homes for sale, you may notice they're the perfect place to start a family and that includes a furry family, too! If you've been thinking of heading down to a local shelter and giving a puppy its "forever home," you'll need to prepare your property for its arrival. In honor of National Puppy Day on March 23rd, our REALTORS® have put together some quick tips to get it ready.

  • Secure the Trash
    As everyone knows, dogs have an amazing sense of smell. Add to that a puppy's curiosity, and it's a recipe for disaster—or the very least, a recipe for a big mess for you to clean up. Not only that, but a puppy may eat something toxic or a discarded item that can get lodged in its throat or cause internal damage. Always be sure that your trash cans are properly sealed and secured.

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February
14

Family Baking on Valentine's Day - Haring Realty

Remember when Valentine's Day meant a class party with lots of homemade cookies and a carton of milk? Times have changed and most schools don't allow such activities anymore, but that doesn't mean kids of today need to miss out. Our own kitchens are great party venues. Our REALTORS® would like to share a few tips with you to help bring those parties home! For easier clean-up after the fact, line the counters with waxed paper before you begin. 

  • Classic Sugar Cookies
    Hands down the most popular valentine's cookie of all time, sugar cookies are simple to make, inexpensive, and versatile enough for the youngest children to participate in the process.  Traditionally decorated with a buttercream frosting tinted pink, you don't need to feel tied to that.  There are plenty of options for toppings or add-ins. Toddlers are delighted to spread colored sugar sprinkles on top to bring them to life. Bonus: to let children decorate cookies without making them from scratch, you can always purchase pre-made dough and count on perfect results every time. Add a can of pre-made frosting and some writing icing in a tube and inexperienced bakers can look like pros.

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December
6

Choosing a Christmas Tree - Homeowners - Haring Realty

Is it beginning to feel a lot like Christmas? Whether you're still looking at Mansfield and Ashland homes for sale or you've already closed the deal, spending Christmas in a new home has to be very exciting. Our REALTORS® want to remind those who celebrate the holiday that they have one more decision to make very soon: What kind of Christmas tree should grace your home?

  • What are your options?
    At first blush, you might think you must choose between real and artificial. But some folks find that with a little bit of imagination, they can create an alternative to traditional trees that can fill the house with the spirit of the season with minimal cost in either money or time. That could be very helpful if your budget was stretched to the limit to buy the house. If that's the case, don't hesitate to wrap the front door like the perfect present that it is!

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August
30

Installing a Water Softener - Home Improvements- Haring Realty

Homeowners are constantly hit with a barrage of sales pitches for home improvements that will boost its value, from solar panels to water softeners. But how do you know whether an investment is truly worth it in terms of ongoing benefits and return on investment? Our REALTORS® felt that you should have some facts at your disposal in order to make an informed decision about water softeners. 

  • Initial Cost
    According to Home Advisor, on average, a water softener, including installation, will cost between $1,000 and $2,800. A smart filtration system in a larger home may cost up to $6,000. Some systems can be self-installed for as little as $500.

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May
24

Trees That Increase Property Value - Haring Realty

Our community has been blessed with many exquisite mature trees, some of which have gracefully shaded our towns for more than a hundred years. Many of the most beautiful Mansfield and Ashland homes for sale boast the majestic beauty of giant white ash trees or red oaks. As you seek to add value to your property, investing in trees is a wise option. But before you buy, there are some important options to consider, from what you plant to where you plant it. This handy guide may help you begin:

  • Northern Red Oak
    These magnificent beauties will grow at least 2 feet each year for at least 10 years. At their full maturity, they will reach a height of at least 60 feet offering a canopy of shade about 45 feet in diameter. It should reach a height of about 20 feet in 10 years. It loves direct sunlight and tolerates drought, although it thrives in moist, well-drained soil. Since its roots will readily tolerate compacted earth, it is often the choice for newly constructed homes. Blue jays and squirrels may put up a fight over the tastiest acorns.

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April
19

FICO Score Importance - Buy a Home - Haring Realty

At Haring Realty, our REALTORS® know that some aspects of the home-buying process can be confusing.

Even buyers who have been through it all before don't know everything. And it can be even more worrisome for first-time buyers, who wonder about all the things they aren't familiar with yet. That can put a damper on the fun of looking at Mansfield or Ashland homes for sale.

One subject comes up again and again: Financing. Where to find a mortgage and how to get the best deal.

Choosing the best mortgage for you can save you thousands of dollars across the life of your mortgage. But buyers often go into the process knowing little about one of the most important factors that can influence your mortgage terms: your FICO score.

Click Here to Read More...

July
21

 

Richland County has a lot to offer.

The county's rich environments include the rolling countryside of Clear Fork and Lucas as well as the historic downtown Carrousel District of Mansfield. Locals also enjoy choices for higher education in Ontario, beautiful parks, and numerous attractions like Kingwood Center, the Renaissance theater, Snow Trails and the Ohio State Reformatory (just to name a few).

For all of the opportunities we might enjoy this summer, it's also important to remember to give back to our community.

Volunteering is one way to help those in need and make the community stronger. It is also incredibly rewarding. Below, we've listed just a few reasons we believe volunteering is worth your while, as well as some suggestions for places to get started.

 

1. Meet New People

Whether you're new to the area and looking to make friends or you've lived here for years, volunteering is an easy way to meet people. The people you meet volunteering may be people you would never have met otherwise, yet they might become cherished friends or even valuable business contacts.

If you're looking for a social experience, you may consider joining a service-based club or organization. Richland County is home to a Kiwanis chapter, five Lions International chapters (Bellville, Butler, Crestline, Lucas and Madison), and RSVP of Mid Ohio, a club for retirees and seniors dedicated to serving the community. There are also two divisions of Lions International for teenagers, the Leo Alpha Club in Lexington and the Leo Alpha Club in Lucas.

 

2. Give Back

Think of someone who has had a positive impact on your life. Where would you be without them? How would your life be different?

There are plenty of opportunities to be a positive, perhaps even life-changing presence in another person's life. Whether that means being a mentor dad or mom through the Richland Pregnancy Center, helping out your local library, or being a smiling face that makes that visit to the hospital a little easier, there's a way for everyone to pass kindness on to another.

 

3. Pursue Your Passion

Volunteer positions aren't one-size-fits-it-all. There are nonprofits and organizations dedicated to a variety of interests and causes.

Do you love the arts? Consider helping out at the Mansfield Art Center or selling tickets at the Renaissance.

Are you passionate about fitness? Become a sports or aerobics instructor at the YMCA.

If you enjoy gardening, there's a place for you at Kingwood Center Gardens or the Ohio Bird Sanctuary.

If you're skilled at home repair or auto maintenance, you can provide aid to an elderly widow or widower through Samaritans for Seniors.

 

4. Learn a New Skill 

Volunteering can be an outlet for your current skills, but it can also be a way to learn something new. You'll see what it's like behind the scenes at a hospital, food pantry or after-school program and possibly be trained in a task you didn't know how to do before.

Junior Achievement of North Central Ohio prepares volunteers to teach economics and personal finance classes to young students.

If you give time at a local hospital, you may learn to assist physical and occupational therapists. 

OSU Extension trains master gardeners and certified volunteer naturalists so they can pass on their knowledge to children, the elderly and other gardening enthusiasts.

Many organizations just need someone with practical office skills, and will be happy to show you the ropes.

 

5. Find a Career Boost 

Volunteering can be especially beneficial to job seekers. The search for employment can be draining, but the chance to do something productive and meaningful a few hours a week can improve your mentality and your mood.

Volunteering has been shown to contribute to a positive mindset and give volunteers a sense of purpose. It can also help you land a job—volunteering helps build connections and looks great on a résumé. Your giving of your free time shows a potential employer that you are compassionate and driven. Volunteers are also likely to work well in groups—a valuable attribute for any employee.

 

6. Strengthen Your Community 

A strong community is one where everyone contributes. And there are several local organizations whose daily work is achieving a better community. 

Volunteers at the Culliver Reading Center invest in the next generation with homework help and afterschool programs.

Harmony House volunteers help the homeless and unemployed get back on their feet with mentorships and life skills training, child care, transportation to job interviews and much more.

 

7. Watch a Little Become A Lot

Most people want to make a difference. You don't have to solve world hunger or donate millions of dollars to make a positive impact. Just a little bit of time and effort can generate a better life for someone else.

Every dollar raised at Relay for Life means hope for a cure.

One toy from Toy Time can brighten a child's Christmas.

Being a mentor through Big Brothers Big Sisters takes one hour a week, but it's been shown to boost a child's confidence as well as reduce risk-taking behaviors.

 

If you are considering giving your time, go for it! There are so many great reasons to get involved. For a list of local organizations in need of volunteers, click here

 

"We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give."  — Winston Churchill

July
28

Riding a horse is great exerciseit strengthens the core, improves balance and coordination and may even get your heart pumping. Here in north central Ohio, riding a horse also means the chance to soak in the serene natural beauty of family farms and ancient forests. Whether you've never sat in a saddle or are looking for a place to ride and train your own horse, there are plenty of options nearby.

Photo courtesy of Malabar Farms

1. Pleasant Valley Lake Park & Malabar Farm, Perrysville/Lucas

Both Pleasant Valley and Malabar Farm contain riding trails; there is also a trail that connects the two parks. These trails are free to use year-round. Riders can stage their horses from either park. The horseman's ground at Malabar is free to use. The staging area inside Pleasant Hill Park (located off State Route 95) requires a $5 parking fee for non-campers.

If you want to take your horse camping, Pleasant Hill's equine campground has 37 lots, each with its own campfire ring and picnic table and restrooms nearby.

 

Photo courtesy of Mohican Lodge and Conference Center 

2. Mohican State Park and Memorial State Forest Trails, Loudonville

The Mohican Forest is filled with history. Once the hunting grounds of the Delaware tribe, it later became pioneer territory when Native Americans were driven out during the War of 1812. Later, John Chapman (or as he is more commonly known, Johnny Appleseed) planted trees in the area. Today, you can ride through this historic forest on 22 miles of public bridle trails. Two staging areas are available off of State Route 97 on the western side of the Memorial State Forest. They are free to use.

Photo courtesy of Equestrian Valley Farm

3. Equestrian Valley Farm, Mansfield

Founded in 1815, Equestrian Valley Farm is made up of 200 acres of rolling hills, open pastures and pristine Mohican Forest. Trail rides allow you to see it all from atop your horse as you ride up and down the hills and through the woods. You don't need to own a horse to ride at Equestrian Valley -- the farm's herd includes a Quarter Horse, Tennessee Walker, Haflinger, Mustang and Percheron. Rides last about 75 minutes and are suitable for newbie and veteran riders alike.

Photo courtesy of Raemelton Therapeutic Equestrian Center

4. Raemelton Therapeutic Equestrian Center, Mansfield

In 1918, Frank Black founded his estate and named it Raemelton Farm after the Irish town where his father was born. In 1995, the estate was converted into a therapeutic riding center with an outdoor riding arena, indoor riding arena, two barns and beautiful pasture. Today it serves more than 100 students each week.

Raemelton's programs are specially designed for riders with physical handicaps, impaired mobility, intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, and/or psychological and emotional disabilities. It also offers a non-mounted class for at-risk youth that explores goal-setting and emotional development. Active, inactive or retired military members and their families can access these programs for free through the Hooves for Heroes program.

 

Photo courtesy of All Hoofed Up Ranch

5. All Hoofed Up Ranch, Crestline

All Hoofed Up is a great choice for kids and beginners as well as skilled riders. The ranch's one- and two-hour trail rides begin with a brief lesson before venturing through the fields, into the woods, and maybe through a creek or two! Take in the breathtaking natural views while you ride a calm Paint horse, Draft mix or gaited Tennessee Walker.

Marc and Lisa Sleeckx also provide horseback riding lessons year round and a kids' summer day camp in June and July.

 

Courtesy of Triple M Riding Rescue Ranch

6. Triple M Riding Rescue Ranch, Loudonville

Triple M is a non-profit horse rescue that gives riding lessons and guided trail rides. The 3rd generation family-owned ranch consists of 200 acres of some of Ohio's most beautiful forests. Trail rides are led by capable guides in groups of 6 or less for a more intimate, personal experience.

 

Photo courtesy of Arnold Show Horses

7. Arnold Show Horses, Ashland

Chris and Debbie Arnold have been in the equine business for over 30 years. They offer numerous services including coaching, lessons and a youth equestrian team for junior and senior high students. The Arnolds love coaching riders of all ages and help them train their horses.

 

 

8. McCartney Stables, Mansfield

Mike McCartney has over 30 years of experience training horses. He designs lessons based on customers' needs with a focus on safety, horsemanship and establishing a connection between the horse and its rider. In addition to training, McCartney Stables offers trail rides and riding lessons.

Fun Fact: Morgan Freeman boarded his horse at McCartney Stables during the Shawshank Redemption. 

 

Photo courtesy of Berry Valley Ranch

9. Berry Valley Ranch, Mansfield

If you need a place to board your horse, check out Berry Valley ranch. Berry Valley has over 120 acres of pasture and riding trails and facilities including a riding arena, tack room and  12X12 stalls with windows. Boarding options range from full care to stall only.

July
28

Photo courtesy of Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District

Imagine a perfect day on the lake - a gentle breeze blows as the waves playfully crash against the side of the boat. The sun beats down on the water, which sprays up in drops of crystal as you whiz by. Or perhaps you'd rather be sitting in a canoe, watching the water, a fishing pole in hand. Either way, the perfect summer day is easier to come by than you think! North central Ohio's abundant freshwater supply means a lake or river may not be far away.

Note: This blog post discusses places to fish, water ski and operate jet skis and motor boats. For information on kayaking and canoeing in north central Ohio, click here.

 

Photo courtesy of Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District

1. Pleasant Hill, Perrysville

With 850 acres of water surface and no horsepower limit, Pleasant Hill is a no-brainer for boating, fishing, water-skiing and jet-skiing enthusiasts. Fish species include largemouth and smallmouth bass, bluegill, crappie, yellow perch and more. A valid Ohio fishing license is required to fish at Pleasant Hill.

Pleasant Hill Marina offers seasonal docking as well as a public launch ramp. The full-service marina also rents fishing, pontoon and cruise boats as well as waverunners, jet skis, kayaks and paddleboards. Multi-day and season passes are available for some boats.

 

Photo courtesy of Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District

2. Charles Mill, Loudonville

Charles Mill is located just 6 miles east of Mansfield and is easily accessible via US 30 and I-71. It has a surface area of 1350 acres and a maximum depth of 24 feet. The 10 horsepower limit ensures a more relaxed atmosphere ideal for exploring in a kayak or on a paddle board. Pontoon, fishing and house boats are also popular on the lake. You can rent boats in the full-service marina or launch your own from the public ramp off St. Rt. 430.

The lake is home to channel catfish, flatheads, batfish bullheads, white bass, largemouth bass, hybrid striped bass, crappies, bluegills and saugeye. State licenses are required for boating, fishing and hunting.

Charles Mill also has a swimming beach, a nature trail and a full-service campground.

 

Photo courtesy of Destination Mansfield Richland County.

3. Reservoir No. 3, Shelby

Shelby Reservoir 3 has a concrete boat ramp open to boats of any size. Rowboats, canoes paddle boats and electric-motor watercraft are welcome. Boats with gasoline motors are prohibited.

Bluegill, yellow perch, walleye, channel catfish and rainbow trout live in the stocked reservoir. Controlled fishing is allowed between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.

 Photo courtesy of Destination Mansfield Richland County.

4. Clear Fork Reservoir, Mansfield

The Clear Fork Reservoir contains 997 surface acres of water and 14 miles of shoreline. The public launch ramp on the south side is free to use. The speed limit is 8 mph and while there is no horsepower limit, a no wake policy is enforced. Boat rentals are available at the marina.

Fishing from boats is allowed, provided boats stay at least 500 feet from the dam. Shore fishing is also allowed on the south and west shores. Fish in the Clear Fork Reservoir include largemouth bass, black crappie, bluegill, white bass and more!

The Clear Fork Reservoir also offers hiking trails and picnic areas.

5. Mohican and Clear Fork Rivers, Loudonville and Bellville

Ready for some fly fishing? If you're angling for some brown trout, you may get lucky in the Clear Fork and Mohican rivers, which are stocked annually. Much of the Clear Fork runs through private property, but the stretch the runs along Gatton Rock Road is a popular spot for fishing. According to Mohican Fly Fishers of Ohio, the best place to fish in the Mohican is in the park, between the Pleasant Hill dam and State Route 3.

July
7

Looking for a high speed, heart-pumping adrenaline rush? Our list of "outdoor thrills" is sure to help. Below you'll find adventures suited for all ages, all within an hour of Mansfield, OH.

Photo courtesy of Mohican Adventures.

1. Aerial Park at Mohican Adventures, Loudonville

Just south of Richland County, Mohican Adventure Park offers numerous outdoor activities, including its newer aerial park. Six courses range from beginner to advanced level so even younger children can participate. Participants can climb up the "spider web" and cargo net, cross the rope bridges and cheese wall, and soar on the lily pad swings. More advanced courses include zip lines and a free fall jump (don't worry, there's a harness!) The green and blue courses, which are 12 and 22 feet high, are most suitable for children under 11. Ultimate thrill seekers will love the black course, situated 42 feet in the air. This exciting activity is great for groups and families.

 Photo courtesy of Battle Zone Paintball Park.

2. Battle Zone Paintball Park III, Mansfield

Paintball is a great way to get some exercise and experience the ultimate adrenaline rush. Battle Zone Park has 5 battlefields including a woodsball fort course, a speedball field with a castle, a village urban-assault course, a full military field and a minefield. All equipment is provided; however, you are permitted to bring their own. Groups must register a week in advance and may customize their own military simulation and objective-based missions. Guests can come without a group or reservation during the park's "free play" hours each weekend (Friday 3 to 7 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

The park also has monthly tournaments, which you can register for on its website.

 

   
Photos courtesy of The Infield.

3. The Infield, Lexington

The Mid-Ohio Sports Cars Course draws a lot of visitors to Richland County every year, but you don't have to be a professional to zoom around a racetrack. The Infield's go-cart courses are well-suited for thrill seekers of all ages. Adults and children ages 10 and up can zoom around the ¼ mile track--one of the longest go-cart tracks in Ohio. Children ages four and older can ride with an adult driver or head over to the kiddy course for a five-minute drive. See the Infield's website for height safety requirements.

 

4. Mountain Biking Trails at Mohican State Forest, Loudonville

These exciting trails are not for beginners. The short, six mile loop begins at the staging area across from the main campground on State Route 3. This "moderately difficult" path winds through the hillside and past the campgrounds. For a more challenging ride, try the 25-mile, one directional trail. Filled with gradual climbs and steep descents, this rollercoaster-like trail takes you past breathtaking Mohican scenery, so you can enjoy the pristine woodland and stunning lake views as you zip by.

 

Photo courtesy of Tree Frog Canopy Tours.

5. Tree Frog Canopy Tours, Glenmont

Located about 15 minutes south of Loudonville along the Mohican River, Tree Frog's zipline tour is worth the drive. Soar through the forest on a 2 1/2 hour tour with seven ziplines, two sky bridges and two rappels. With more than 4,000 feet of zipline cable, a peak point of 120 feet and a highest recorded speed of 51 MPH, Tree Frog is the longest, highest and fastest canopy tour in the state. Professional guides lead the way, so no prior experience is needed. 

July
14

School may be out for the summer, but who says the learning should stop? Whether you've got curious kids or simply love exploring the great outdoors, Richland County and the surrounding area offers a wealth of parks and nature ed programs worth exploring!

1. Gorman Nature Center, Mansfield

Hiking through the nature trails is just one way to observe local wildlife and natural habitats. The park also has a visitor center that's open Monday thru Saturday from 9 to 4. Inside the center, there are educational displays as well as staff naturalists and volunteers who can introduce you and your family to the center's resident wildlife. All of the animals at the center are native to the state of Ohio, including different species of frogs, snakes, turtles, salamanders and owls.

The Richland County Parks Department sponsors weekly education programs for the public as well as private programs for schools, youth groups, garden clubs, senior citizens and service organizations. Public program topics include naturalist-led guided hikes, field trips, lectures, workshops and night sky programs. 

Photo courtesy of Ohio Bird Sanctuary.

2. Ohio Bird Sanctuary, Mansfield

The Ohio Bird Sanctuary is a nature preserve, rehabilitation center for injured birds and a "living museum" with 60 permanent residents--rehabilitated animals whose injuries would prevent them from flourishing in the wild. The 90-acre preserve is open to the public year round and free-of-charge. Live bird displays include species such as Baltimore Orioles, Great Horned Owls, Peregrine Falcons and Bald Eagles. The aviary boardwalk wanders through grasslands where songbirds living in their natural habitat. If you stop by the Visitor Center to purchase special feed, you may get to see Blue Jays and doves eat right from your hand!

In addition to free visits, the sanctuary offers nature-themed summer camps, a junior naturalist program and programming designed specifically for homeschoolers and large groups.

Photo courtesy of Kingwood Center Gardens.

3. Kingwood Center Gardens, Mansfield

Everyone knows Kingwood is the place to go to see thousands of beautiful flowers, but the center also has educational opportunities for children and adults. The Peacock Playhouse is a horticultural education center designed for children ages 2-14. It is open daily and offers craft time, painting spaces and displays on birds, plant growth and composting. The newest features of the Peacock Playhouse include a monarch butterfly display, worm and ant farms, and a sensory garden. Kingwood also has one-hour Cultivation Education sessions every Tuesday, where children learn about birds, bugs, planting and the environment. Adult activities vary by season and may include yoga, meditation and cooking classes. For a full list of activities, visit Kingwood's event page 

4. Mohican State Park, Loudonville
Mohican offers numerous educational programs and themed hikes lead by a staff naturalist. Guests can meet some of the snakes and turtles native to Ohio or learn about raccoons and frogs at the Critter Open House. Head into the woods to hunt amphibians, help clean the park, or learn which plants are safe to eat during the Forest Foraging Hike. Additional hikes include the Butterfly Hunt, Night Hike and Owl Hike. These hikes and programs are a great opportunity for hands-on learning and typically last between an hour and an hour and a half. All programs are open to the public. To view the calendar, please click this link and select Mohican State Park.

 

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.

August
4

Mini golf courses have been around for over 100 years, but they're still as beloved as ever. Whether you're a first timer or a seasoned pro, these courses are a great place to put your skills (and your luck) to the test.

Photo courtesy of Kelly's Dairy Bar and Mini Golf

1. Kelly's Dairy Bar and Mini Golf, Mansfield

Nothing says summer like mini golf and an ice cream cone. Putt your way through the 18-hole course, complete with trees, a pond and a creek, then head to the patio to enjoy a cool, creamy ice cream cone. Kelly's serves 22 hard dip flavors and 40 soft serve flavors, including classic chocolate and vanilla as well as unique options like cheesecake and Jamaican rum. 

 

Logo courtesy of Roselawn Miniature Golf

2. Roselawn Miniature Golf, Shelby

Located in downtown Shelby, this family-run, 18-hole miniature golf course offers lots of surprises, including putt putt staples like the windmill and loop-d-loop. You can also enjoy a game of pinball in the arcade and satisfy your sweet tooth at the candy counter.

 

Photos courtesy of The Infield

3. The Infield, Lexington

An 18-hole putt putt course is just one of the family-friendly activities you'll find at the Infield. Adult and child-size go-karts, a video arcade, batting cages and a playground mean hours of summer fun.

 

Photo courtesy of Mohican Adventures

4. Mohican Adventures, Loudonville

Mini golf is just one of the summertime activities you can enjoy at Mohican Adventures. The park offers three courses, including the challenging Grist Mill, the rock and stream-filled Adventure Course and a Level Skills Course.

 

Photo courtesy of Bellville Der Dutchman

5. Der Dutchman, Bellville

Der Dutchman is known for its delicious, Amish-style fare and wonder-filled Carlisle gift shop, but it also offers an 18 hole mini golf course that's great for all ages!

July
20

From kayaks and canoes to less traditional options like tubes and stand up paddle boards, Richland County offers numerous destinations for summertime fun on scenic lakes and rivers. 

 

Photos Courtesy of Mohican Adventures

1. Mohican Adventures, Loudonville

Looking for a fun water activity but lacking proper gear? Mohican Adventures has a variety of watercraft available onsite, including canoes, kayaks, rafts and tubes.

Canoe or kayak down the Mohican and Black Fork rivers with the seven- or fifteen-mile trips. Both one and two-person kayaks are available. After you've finished, Mohican offers a free shuttle back to your vehicle. 

For a more relaxed trip, rent a tube and float down the river, taking in the wildlife and natural scenery as you go. Four- to six-person rafts are also available and make a great choice for families and groups. Shuttle service is available. 

 

Photo courtesy of Pleasant Hill Marina

2. Pleasant Hill Lake Park, Perrysville & Charles Mill Lake Park, Mansfield/Mifflin

Pleasant Hill and Charles Mill are great destinations for every skill level. Guests can bring their own boats; however, both the Pleasant Hill and Charles Mill Marina offer various rental options including kayaks, pontoon boats and stand-up paddle boards. Newbies can enroll in free "try-it" sessions or sign up for beginner lessons. Themed kayak tours offer the chance to discover the wildlife and history of the lakes. Fishing from your kayak is permitted with a valid fishing license.

  

Photo courtesy of The City of Mansfield

3. Clear Fork Reservoir, Mansfield 

Bring your own kayak or canoe to the reservoir and take in the natural beauty of the Clear Fork Valley's 997-acre reservoir. Pontoon and fishing boats are available for rent at the marina. The reservoir has no horsepower limit but does have an 8 mph speed limit and no wake policy. 

The surrounding park has spaces for camping, hiking, fishing, hunting and picnicking. Three picnic areas located along State Route 97 are free to the public and include tables, charcoal burners, shelters, restrooms and drinking fountains. Picnic area #2 is handicap accessible. 

Fishing from boats is allowed except within 500 feet of the dam. Shore fishing is allowed on the south and west shores.

 

Photo courtesy of Loudonville Canoe Livery

 4. Loudonville Canoe Livery, Loudonville

One of the oldest canoe leasing companies in Ohio, Loudonville Canoe Livery offers plenty of options for floating down the Mohican river. Choose between eleven canoe trip options that range from a three mile trip to a seven day excursion. Single or double kayaks, tubes and rafts are available for rent.

After your journey down the river, bring a picnic lunch to enjoy in the free, onsite picnic areas or head to the River Room Lounge for pizza or barbecue on the patio. 

 

 Photo courtesy of the City of Shelby

5. Reservoir No. 3, Shelby

Located northeast of Shelby, the reservoir is open to row and paddle boats and boats with electric engines. Boats with gas-powered engines are not permitted. Guests can also stroll along the paved walk path that surrounds the reservoir (1.25 miles) or hike through the wooded nature trail (3 miles). Fishing is permitted in part of the reservoir.

 

 

 

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.

 

February
8

Buyers Are Searching For Your House | MyKCM

The most recent Pending Homes Sales Index from the National Association of Realtors revealed a slight bump in contracts with an increase of 1.6% in December. This news comes as existing home sales are also forecasted to be on pace for 5.54 million in 2017, a 1.7% increase over 2016, which was the best year for sales in a decade.

The Pending Home Sales Index is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed.

According to NAR's Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun,

"Pending sales bounded last month as enough buyers fended off rising mortgage rates and alarmingly low inventory levels to sign a contract."

So, what's the problem?

Buyers are searching for existing homes, but supply is not keeping up with their demand!

Yun went on to explain,

"The main storyline in the early months of 2017 will be if supply can meaningfully increase to keep price growth at a moderate enough level for households to absorb higher borrowing cost. Sales will struggle to build on last year's strong pace if inventory conditions don't improve." (emphasis added)

Bottom Line

Buyers are out in force right now! If you are considering selling your home this year, the early months of 2017 will be your best option. Let's get together to discuss how you can capitalize on current market conditions.

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
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!

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.

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