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February 14,2016

Prepare Your Home for Winter Weather

  • Listen to weather forecasts.
  • Check your emergency supplies.
  • Have your chimney or flue inspected each year.
  • Install a smoke detector and a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector. Test the batteries each month and replace them twice a year.
  • Weatherproof your home.
  • Bring your pets indoors during the winter.

Prepare for extremely cold weather every winter—it’s always a possibility. There are steps you can take in advance for greater wintertime safety in your home.

Prepare Your Home for Winter

Front of Home After SnowfallAlthough periods of extreme cold cannot always be predicted far in advance, weather forecasts can sometimes provide you with several days’ notice. Listen to weather forecasts regularly and check your emergency supplies whenever a period of extreme cold is predicted.

If you plan to use a fireplace or wood stove for emergency heating, have your chimney or flue inspected each year. Ask your local fire department to recommend an inspector or find one in the yellow pages of your telephone directory under "chimney cleaning."

Also, if you’ll be using a fireplace, wood stove, or kerosene heater, install a smoke detector and a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector near the area to be heated. Test them monthly and replace batteries twice a year. All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside.

Your ability to feel a change in temperature decreases with age. Older people are more susceptible to health problems caused by cold. If you are over 65 years old, place an easy-to-read thermometer in an indoor location where you will see it frequently. Check the temperature of your home often during the winter months.

Insulate any water lines that run along exterior walls so your water supply will be less likely to freeze. To the extent possible, weatherproof your home by adding weather-stripping, insulation, insulated doors, and storm windows or thermal-pane windows.

If you have pets, bring them indoors. If you cannot bring them inside, provide adequate shelter to keep them warm and make sure they have access to unfrozen water.


  • Insulate walls and attic.
  • Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows.
  • Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside.
  • Insulate any water lines that run along outer walls. This will make water less likely to freeze.
  • Service snow-removal equipment.
  • Have chimney and flue inspected.
  • Install easy-to-read outdoor thermometer.
  • Repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on your home or other structure during a storm.






Don’t Let the Holidays Scare Off Sellers

Daily Real Estate News | Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Some home owners may be tempted to delay putting their home on the market until after the holidays. But there’s plenty of reasons why they shouldn’t wait and use the holidays to their advantage and start the new year with a “sold” sign on the front lawn.

Here are a four reasons why selling during the holidays may offer them a better chance than right after the new year:

1. Buyers relocating for job purposes may be in a hurry to get settled into a new home before the new year, particularly if they have school-age children.

2. Buyers who are looking for a home during the holidays tend to be more serious and in a hurry to buy.

3. Some stagers argue that homes show better when they’re decorated for the holidays and welcome buyers in. (Read more: Add Some Holiday Charm to Your Listings)

4. Sellers will likely have less competition against other home sellers during the holidays. The supply of listings tends to increase after the holidays and new-home construction likely will pick up then so home sellers will compete against more homes for-sale.

Source: “Waiting Until After the Holidays Isn’t a Smart Decision,” Keeping Current Matters (Nov. 5, 2015)




Consider Calling Lake Homes Realty for your area real estate needs.

Connie Beery specializing in Candlewood Lake
Cell - 419-571-0786         Home Office - 419-946-7355
Gene Wells specializing in North Central Ohio
Cell - 614-565-2645              Home Office - 419-946-1377  









Real Estate Advisor: June 2015

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Budget Friendly Curb Appeal Ideas Done in a Day

88 percent of homebuyers begin the process online, looking at pictures on the listing site. Good photos and real curb appeal help entice buyers to check out your house in person. You want to make a great first impression, so don't feel scared to make a statement -- you want buyers to fall in love with your house. The fixes below are minor and budget friendly enhancements that can be done in a day to help make your house more inviting and appealing, and help get potential buyers to schedule a showing!

Glammer for the Front Door

The entry is a huge focal point for potential buyers, especially when it's one of the first things they see. Create appeal by cleaning the front door -- wipe it down, remove dirt, update the color with some paint. The front door should play off a home's interior: add a kick plate, swag or a seasonal wreath to reflect the interior style of the house.

Create Symmetry

It is known that humans find symmetry beautiful – symmetry is attractive to the human eye, especially in nature. Symmetry is also appreciated in the design world for its familiarity, balance and it works with every style. Using symmetry to entice potential buyers is a quick and cost-friendly tool to the home seller: compose light fixtures, plants and front-door accents based on symmetry to create welcoming and inviting entryways and boost the house's curb appeal.

Makeover the Mailbox

If you have a mailbox, it can be a great way to accent your house and add a little touch of personality. If you're going to replace the box, pick one that mimics the style and trim of the house. You also have the option of dressing up a mail box by painting the post to match the house's exterior color, or you can surround it with flowers or other plants.

Add Outdoor Lighting

A quick, easy, and budget friendly way of adding appeal to the outside of your house is to add outdoor lighting. Outdoor lighting adds a little something extra, and it can also provide safety and security. Homeowners have many options for lighting, from wired to solar, and lights can be purchased at many retailers and hardware stores. Install landscape lighting along paths and trees.

Patch Up the Grass

Pets, animals, weather and other events at your house can take a toll on your yard's grass, and most buyers will notice a lawn that looks like it's on its last leg. Cut out any dead spots and replace with sod, or, if you have time, replant with seed. If you live in a non-drought area, turn on the sprinklers: a lawn needs at least 1" to 1 ½" of water per week and should be watered deeply 2-3 times per week.

Install Window Boxes

Window boxes can be a really budget friendly way to liven up the outside of a house. They help play up windows, and they can add a pop of color by way of plants or flowers. For a traditional look, choose boxes made of copper or iron, and pick painted wood for more of a cottage feel. Use a window box to play with flowers that will suit the lighting in the yard and the color scheme of the outside.

Renew Planters and Beds

Poorly maintained planters and flower beds can be a big letdown to potential buyers – especially when many view poor upkeep as an indication of what a house may look like inside. Be sure to prune overgrowth, pull weeds, plant extra flowers and add new mulch to restore life and color depleted by the sun and harsh weather. Adding a border around flower beds or along paths can be a great addition, and budget friendly. If your yard already has a border, clean and restore pieces that are worn or upgrade the stone altogether.

Another budget friendly fix you can do in less than a day is pressure washing any dirty siding, decks, patios, driveway or sidewalks. A pressure washer can be rented at any home improvement store for a small amount, and freshly washed pavement and siding can help make a home look revitalized. If you're limited on outdoor space or have no yard, add some color by creating a container garden. These small gardens are easy to maintain and can easily be transported to your new residence once the sale is finalized. As a seller your top priority is getting the most out of your house -- concentrating on small and easy fixes that are budget friendly can really help give your house that pop so many buyers look for.

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18 June 2015

5 Ways to Help Your Client Prepare for an Open House


Preparing for an open house is a true team effort. Your encouragement and guidance are essential for the client to understand the scope of what needs to be done, but the actual preparations are in the client’s hands. Both of you will benefit from an open house that presents the home at its very best.

Here are five starting points for building teamwork for a win-win outcome:

1. Educate sellers about the importance of first impressions

People selling their homes typically aren’t marketing professionals and are in need of guidance. Sit down with your client beforehand and educate them about the importance of first impressions. In many cases, people hardly even use their front door and may not know what it is like to walk through that entrance.

Potential buyers form emotional reactions almost immediately, and these reactions are at the core of purchasing decisions. Homesellers need to remember that trivial details, such as a dying houseplant or a burnt-out light bulb, can discourage a potential homebuyer on a subconscious level.

2. Encourage clients to rent a storage unit

In most cases, good home staging requires the removal of furniture. In order to create spaces that feel open, rooms should not be crowded and walls should be free of family photos and excessive artwork. Closets, basements and garage areas should be partly emptied so that they give off the impression of ample storage room.

Present this suggestion to clients as a way of getting a head start on packing, and point out that a storage unit will relieve the anxiety of trying to make a crowded home look appealing.

3. Provide an objective walk-through

Everyone becomes accustomed to their own clutter, and after a while, stray objects simply blend in with the background. Clients may have every intention of cleaning up their homes, but they may be blind to the garden hose looping across the driveway or the dog toys scattered in the backyard. A conscientious agent can walk through and provide objective feedback, pointing out problem areas and providing supportive encouragement to the client as they tidy up.

4. Discuss the ROI of hiring professionals

Busy homeowners may already feel so overwhelmed with the logistics of financing and moving that they throw up their hands when it comes to tasks such as washing a dirty roof or pruning unkempt shrubs. They’re already removing their emotional investment in the home as they prepare to leave it and may resist the idea of pouring hours of labor into sprucing it up.

Drawing on your experience with conducting open houses of all kinds, you can point out the positive financial return on paying for professional help. You can even print articles like this one from on the ROI of staging. Encourage overwhelmed clients to hire a house-cleaning team or a professional landscaper, and reassure them that it will be money well invested. You can even offer a list of respected local vendors so your client doesn’t have to search for them on their own.

5. Gently insist that clients and pets stay elsewhere

It’s surprising how often clients believe they should be present as guides to their open house. They feel responsible for pointing out all the wonderful things about a property. Do they want potential buyers to know about the rare birds who frequent the bird feeder or the exotic tulips that bloom every spring?

Make a list together of these extra-special features, or even ask your client to create a small photo album to illustrate the benefits that may not be obvious. Once the seller has provided every important detail about the house, help them plan an outing that includes their pets. All pet dishes and toys should also be removed for the day. Open house visitors should not be reminded that animals have been living in the home, because it may lead them to assume the presence of allergens or extra wear and tear.

Real estate professionals face a delicate task when it comes to helping clients prepare for open houses. Sellers can easily feel overwhelmed or judged. The home-staging process involves making the house look better, while also removing evidence of the seller’s own personality.

Sensitive and successful agents must provide clients with encouraging reminders of how great their home is while making the changes necessary for the open house. At the end of the day, if you can explain the very real financial benefits they will enjoy from a beautiful presentation, they will most often comply.



REALTORS® Upbeat on Housing Outlook

Daily Real Estate News | Tuesday, May 26, 2015

REALTORS® remain mostly confident in the next six months of the real estate market, thanks to 30-year fixed rates still below 4 percent, continued job growth, and recent measures that have made credit more accessible and cheaper, according to the April 2015 REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey, which is based on responses from more than 1,000 REALTORS® about their latest transactions.

Read more: Economists Revise Housing Forecasts

Across all property types (single family, townhomes, and condos), the number of respondents indicating the market as "strong" outnumbered those who viewed the market as "weak."

With stronger buyer demand and tight supplies, homes continue to sell relatively quickly, typically within 39 days in April, according to the survey. Also, REALTORS® increased their price expectations last month. Those surveyed expect prices to increase at a faster pace in the next 12 months with the median expected price growth to be 3.9 percent (up from 3.5 percent expectation in March's survey). REALTORS® in Colorado were the most upbeat about price increases in the U.S., with median expected price growth at 6 percent, followed by the District of Columbia at 5 percent.


REALTORS® also cited recent measures to open the credit box as having a profound impact on the housing market, such as with the Federal Housing Administration to lower its mortgage insurance premiums and the re-introduction from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to back 3 percent down payment loans.

REALTORS® are the most upbeat about the overall housing market in states like North Dakota, Texas, Oklahoma, California, Oregon, Washington, Florida, New York, and Massachusetts, according to the survey. Also, REALTORS® outlook over the townhome and condo markets remained highest in Colorado.

For-sale inventories remain tight in many states but seller traffic was reported as improving in many areas, particularly Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota, Texas, Missouri, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, and New Hampshire.

While real estate professionals remain generally optimistic about housing's outlook for the next six months, real estate professionals' continued to have the following concerns about the market:  

  • Tight inventory in most states especially for move-in ready and "affordable" units;

  • Financing issues, such as qualifying for a mortgage still remains tough and the underwriting process is slow, leading to delayed closings;

  • Appraisal valuation concerns and delays due to "questionable" comps, particularly for FHA/VA loans, use of "out-of-town appraisers", and second appraisal requirements;

  • Impact of the new mortgage procedures (RESPA-TILA) on closings;

  • Negative impact of low oil prices in states with oil/gas production;

  • Slowing demand from international buyers (e.g., Canadians) due to strong US dollar;

  • Uncertainties associated with flood insurance rates;

  • Impact of upcoming interest rate increase on demand.

    Source: REALTORS® Confidence Index April 2015 Survey



Even 'Stale' Listings Are Finding Buyers

A limited number of homes for-sale has been plaguing housing markets for months. And despite recent gains, for-sale inventories remain a big concern, particularly when you "take the quality of the inventory into account," according to a new report by the real estate brokerage Redfin.

The number of both fresh and dated listings remains low, painting a bleak picture for buyers in many cities.

As of March 31, nearly 70 percent of the homes on the market were considered "stale"– homes that have sat on the market unsold for more than a month.

"A home that’s been sitting for 30 days is more likely to be overpriced, in need of renovation, or have other problems that prevent it from selling," according to Redfin.

"It’s normal for stale listings to make up the bulk of inventory, but now two things are happening. In some places, both fresh and stale listings are dwindling. And in a handful of cities, fresh listings are becoming a bigger share of inventory as high prices and competition lead would-be home owners to lower their expectations. That means even hard-to-love homes are finding buyers, who are chipping away at inventory."

The total number of unsold homes rose 5.3 percent in March to 2 million – reaching a 4.6-month supply pace, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. In Redfin's analysis of 50 markets, about 30 percent of the unsold homes were considered fresh listings.

"Buyers tend to become 'inventory blind' and tune out old listings, but that could be changing as desirable properties get fewer and further between," Redfin’s report notes.

"There’s a lot of fighting for that fresh inventory," adds Michael Alderfer, a Redfin real estate sales associate in Washington, D.C. "When new buyers find out they're going to have to beat other offers on the newer stuff, they adjust and start looking for things on the market 21-plus days."

Source: "Homes For Sale or Homes Gone Stale?" Redfin Research Center (April 23, 2015)



Owners More Upbeat Than Appraisers

Home owners are valuing their homes higher than appraisers for the first time since August 2013, according to Quicken Loans’ Home Value Index.

Appraisers valued homes 0.13 percent lower than home owners’ estimates in February, according to the index. In January, appraiser opinions were 0.18 percent higher than home owners’ estimates. The difference is only slight, but it does show the first divergence between owners’ price opinions than appraisers in more than a year. Despite the overall drop, appraiser opinions remain higher than home owner estimates in 18 of the 27 metros analyzed.

“While it’s significant that appraiser opinions are now lower than home owners’ nationally, this minimal difference is unlikely to derail a refinance or cause headaches for the home owner,” says Bob Walters, Quicken Loans chief economist. “The dip in the [index] is likely caused by a delay of home owner perceptions. As the economy recovered, home owners hadn’t realized property values had improved. With the headlines of growing home prices, home owners are catching up, but are now a bit overzealous in their estimates.”

Source: “Appraiser Home Value Opinions Fall Below Home Owner Estimates for First Time in 18 Months,” Quicken Loans (March 10, 2015)



Mortgage Rates Kick Off 2015 at 20-Month Low

Borrowing costs moved even lower this week, with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaging 3.73 percent, its lowest average since May 2013. 

"Mortgage rates fell to begin the year as 10-year Treasury yields slid beneath 2 percent for the first time in three months,” says Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “Meanwhile, the Fed minutes indicated ongoing discussion regarding the timing of the first rate hike.” Many housing economists have predicted that mortgage rates will rise sometime this year, with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage likely reaching the upper 4 percent or 5 percent range by the end of the year.

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending Jan. 8:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.73 percent this week, with an average 0.6 point, dropping from last week’s 3.87 percent average. The 30-year rate has not averaged this low since May 23, 2013, when it was 3.59 percent. A year ago at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.51 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.05 percent, with an average 0.5 point, dropping from last week’s 3.15 percent average. Last year at this time, 15-year rates averaged 3.56 percent.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 2.98 percent, with an average 0.5 point, dropping from last week’s 3.01 percent average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.15 percent.
  • 1-year ARMs: averaged 2.39 percent, with an average 0.4 point, falling from a 2.40 percent average the previous week. Last year at this time, 1-year ARMs averaged 2.56 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac



December 8, 2014

 How Do I Know What My Home is Really Worth?

  The Price You Paid Is Irrelevant

The market value of your home will be an important consideration in several decisions you might make, including refinancing, borrowing against the home's accumulated equity, putting the home up for sale, estimating homeowner's insurance, estimating annual property taxes, estimating the return from remodeling jobs, estate planning, and so forth. Remember, how much was paid for the home when it was first purchased is irrelevant to its current market value.

It's a good idea to use several different sources for information-gathering to allow you to make fair comparisons. Here are five suggestions:

1. Contact a real estate agent. You might not be ready to sell immediately, but most agents will do a comparable market analysis for you now so that they can obtain your business when you do decide to sell. The analysis will show the prices of both sold and still for sale comparable, local homes. A seasoned agent can give you a good approximation of what your home would be worth in current local market conditions and in consideration to its condition and size.

2. Pay for an appraisal. A professional appraisal won't likely be free of charge. In fact, it's likely to cost a couple hundred dollars. That said, it could worth it when you consider how many decisions are based upon the value of your home. The appraiser uses the information he/she obtains from physically inspecting your home and other data he/or she obtains from the market to issue an appraiser's report. The report will include what criteria was used to arrive at the appraised value and a full description of your home.

3. Visit open houses in your neighborhood. You'll get the opportunity to see for yourself how comparable homes compare. You may also learn some valuable information as you inevitably chat with attending local real estate professionals. You should, however, be mindful that the listing price doesn't necessarily reflect a real market value. This is because many people find it hard to be objective about their own homes' value and will price them how they personally value them, even against their real estate agent's advice, instead of how they should be priced in relation to the market.

4. Research home valuation online. There are an array of Web sites offering either free or for-fee information on home valuation.

5. Price-per-square-foot is a common real estate valuation tool, especially online. However, don't forget that there are plenty of other factors that contribute to a home's value aside from square footage, as tiny, costly apartments in New York can attest. In other words, be sure to consider factors like whether the home is move-in-ready, recent updated, where it's located, and other non-personal factors. Another consideration is how the square footage is calculated -- with or without detached buildings, garages, and other typically non-living spaces. 


Contact: Lake Homes Realty 419-946-1377 Office; Connie Beery 419-571-0786 Cell or Gene Wells 614-565-2645 Cell




Fannie, Freddie to Loosen Up on Lending

The regulator of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is reportedly working on a deal with the financing entities that will loosen up lending standards and make mortgages more affordable for those with less-than-perfect credit. The move is expected to expand home buyers’ access to financing, as tight credit the last few years has kept many sidelined. 

The new rules reportedly will include a lower minimum down payment requirement (from 5 percent to 3 percent), in order for lenders to qualify to sell a loan to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. That would bring down payment in sync with the Federal Housing Administration, which insures loans made to lower-income borrowers and first-time buyers. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guarantee about 59 percent of all mortgages written.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates Fannie and Freddie, reportedly will include more safety measures to help lenders protect themselves from making bad loans. Lenders have faced numerous high-dollar settlements after issuing loans that later defaulted. The new agreement would give greater confidence to lenders so they won’t be penalized years after a loan is made, The Wall Street Journal reports. 

The potential agreement “would allow credit to flow more freely to lower- and middle-income households,” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, told The Wall Street Journal. “That’s vital to getting the housing recovery moving forward.”

During the financial crisis, the financing giants faced steep losses as home loans defaulted. The spike was blamed on poor underwriting by lenders in ensuring that borrowers could afford their mortgages. In response, the companies, which were seized by the government in 2008, have had banks tighten their credit standards, which some critics say has gone too far and prevented many home buyers from qualifying for a home loan. 

The Urban Institute has estimated that 1.2 million more mortgages would have been issued in 2012 alone if lending standards that were commonly used in 2001 were still in place. 

"Understandably, after the [financial] crisis the pendulum of mortgage credit standards swung to a far extreme” Paul Leonard, California director of the Center for Responsible Lending, told the Los Angeles Times. “It's now working its way back to a more moderate position.”

The FHFA is expected to formally announce the plans later this week. 

Source: “Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Reach Deal to Ease Mortgage Lending,” Los Angeles Times (Oct. 17, 2014) and “Mortgage Giants Set to Loosen Lending,” The Wall Street Journal (Oct. 17, 2014)


Boomerang Buyers Head Back Into the Market

Those who lost a home to a foreclosure or short sale between 2007 and 2013 are projected to make about 10 percent of all U.S. home purchases this year, according to John Burns Real Estate Consulting. That percentage is expected to rise in 2015 and 2016 as more of these so-called "boomerang buyers" become eligible for new loans, the firm estimates.

Some former home owners are finding they can buy again in as little as a year following a foreclosure or bankruptcy. For example, the FHA’s Back to Work loan program, introduced in 2013, helps individuals who lost their home in a foreclosure or bankruptcy to apply for a new loan in as little as 12 months. Eligible borrowers must prove their foreclosure or bankruptcy was due to a hardship, showing their income dropped by 20 percent or more due to a job loss or reduction in salary. They must also meet other requirements and agree to take housing counseling before a new loan will be approved.

“The borrowers need to be able to document the reason for the foreclosure or short sale and show that they’ve been responsible with their credit before and after they lost their home,” says George Beylouny, branch manager of Silverton Mortgage Vinings in Atlanta. “A drop in credit score is okay as long as they can show they had good credit before the crisis.”

Former home owners will have to explore options with a mortgage broker to see what they qualify for, but with rising rents across the country, the incentive to do so is increasing.

“FHA loans are easier to get after a short sale,” says Steve Cohen, a senior mortgage banker with Talmer Bank and Trust in Rockville, Md. “In fact, some borrowers don’t have to wait at all if they never had any late payments on their mortgage. Borrowers who were in default on their loan have to wait three years to qualify for an FHA loan.”

Borrowers who underwent a foreclosure who are trying to qualify for a VA loan—which requires no down payment—may only have a two-year waiting period to qualify for a new mortgage, says Hope Morgan, branch manager of Mortgage Network in Salisbury, Md.

Conventional loans often require a two-year wait for short sellers who can make a 20 percent down payment, a four-year wait with a 10 percent down payment, or a seven-year wait with 5 percent down, lenders say. Borrowers who lost a home in foreclosure and defaulted on their mortgage often have the longest waits of up to seven years before they can qualify for a new conventional loan.

“All of these waiting periods can be shortened with extenuating circumstances, such as a job loss, a divorce, a serious illness or the death of the person who was the primary wage earner,” Cohen says.

Source: “After Losing Their Homes in the Foreclosure Crisis, Boomerang Buyers Are Back,” The Washington Post (Aug. 21, 2014)



What Will Get Home Buyers Moving?

What's finally getting some home buyers off the sidelines? A recent poll of more than 1,000 prospective home buyers conducted by Discover Home Loans asked what changed to finally move them into the home buying process.

Here were their top 10 most common responses:

  • "I needed a bigger home": 25%
  • "I want to live in a better neighborhood": 24%
  • "My family circumstances changed so that I really needed a new home": 22%
  • "I achieved enough financial stability to make it possible": 22%
  • The homes for sale on the market became more affordable: 20%
  • "I improved my credit sore to qualify for a better mortgage": 20%
  • Mortgage rates and lending options became more affordable: 18%
  • "I achieved enough savings for a down payment": 17%
  • More homes became available for sale on the market: 16%
  • "Mortgage rates started rising, so I wanted to catch them while they were still low": 13%

Source: Discover











You Just Moved In…. Now What?

6 Immediate Yard Care To-Do's

Posted in Curb Appeal, by on June 16, 2014

Home owners will be off to a good start with their new yards by following these important "move-in" steps. First and foremost, members of The Professional Landcare Network (PLANET), the national landscape industry association, recommend making safety a priority for your yard by doing the following:

1. Do a walk-thru of the yard and check for any dangers. Inspect the trees and evaluate the health of mature ones. One of the greatest assets in a yard are mature trees — they not only provide beauty but also shade and significant cooling to the home. Make note of any trees that don't look healthy, may be diseased, leaning or are too close to the house. Consult with a licensed arborist to assess the health of your trees.

2. Evaluate the hardscape. Make sure any hardscape areas – stone or retaining walls, concrete or brick patios, tile paths, or wooden decks — are not heaving or creating tripping hazards.

3. Inspect the drainage around the house. The drainage should not cause any water to stand near or next to the foundation, which will prevent saturation of the soil and affect the foundation.

4. Make a plan to perform routine maintenance and clean up. Clean up any brush or debris in the yard. Weeding and mulching is an inexpensive way to make a yard look great; it also provides health benefits to the plants. Consider planting annuals to add some color and impact to the yard. Learn about your plants and shrubs and how to best take care of them.

5. Check the soil. The soil is the foundation of everything in the yard — grass, plants and trees depend on healthy, well-balanced soil to flourish. Composting will improve the soil. Your lawn care professional or a DIY soil kit available at home improvement and lawn/garden centers can test the soil's condition.

6. Study the PLAT map. The PLAT is a map, drawn to scale, showing the divisions of the piece of land; this is helpful for any restrictions that could prevent home additions.



You Don't Need That Much of a Down Payment

Many consumers are overestimating  the down payment they need in order to purchase a home, according to Christina Boyle, vice president and head of single-family sales at Freddie Mac.

Consumers believe they need 11 percent to 15 percent in order for lenders to approve them for a loan, according to a survey of renters and non-home-owners conducted by Zelman & Associates in New York. Thirty-nine percent say they need at least 15 percent of the purchase price in order to qualify for financing. Only 28 percent of respondents say they would even qualify for a mortgage.

But in reality, home buyers often can qualify for a conforming, conventional mortgage with a down payment of as little as 5 percent — and sometimes even 3 percent — Boyle writes. Between 2009 and 2013, Freddie Mac's purchases of mortgages with down payments of less than 10 percent more than quadrupled. So far in 2014, more than one in five borrowers who took out conforming, conventional mortgages put down 10 percent or less.

"Letting more consumers know how down payments are determined could bring more qualified borrowers off the sidelines," Boyle writes. "Depending on their credit history and other factors, many borrowers can expect to make a down payment of about 5 percent or 10 percent." However, Boyle notes that any borrower who puts down less than 20 percent will be required to buy mortgage insurance.

Boyle says that buyers should also be encouraged by the abundant down-payment assistance programs that exist to help break into home ownership. Every state in the U.S., as well as many cities and counties, offer down-payment assistance programs for qualified borrowers, such as the American Dream Downpayment Initiative and HOME Investment Partnerships Program.

Source: "Down Payments: Today's Most Persistent Misconception About Mortgages," Freddie Mac (June 16, 2014)




Mortgage Rates Rise for Second Straight Week


Mortgage rates inched up this week, with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaging 4.20 percent, Freddie Mac reports in its weekly mortgage market survey. It marked the second consecutive week that mortgage rates rose, after previously reaching yearly lows.

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending June 12:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.20 percent, with an average 0.6 point, rising from last week's 4.14 percent. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.98 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.31 percent, with an average 0.5 point, rising from last week's 3.23 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.10 percent.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.05 percent, with an average 0.4 point, rising from last week's 2.93 percent average. Last year at this time, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.79 percent.
  • 1-year ARMs: averaged 2.40 percent, with an average 0.4 point, holding the same as last week. A year ago, 1-year ARMs averaged 2.58 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac


Real Estate Advisor: March 2014      

10 Tips for a home that's Safe and Sound


Check your doors, windows and all locks: Have adequate lighting:Create limited entries with a perimeter and gate:Be a friendly and observant neighbor: Be discreet: Put on a good show: Get a dog:Get a security system:

    Using a home safe to secure valuables, guns and ammunition is an excellent idea. Consider using it to store important paperwork, like deeds, wills, other legal documents, social security cards, passports, as well as computer backups and photos. While safes are often quite heavy, ensure that they are bolted down so they might not be easily stolen in their entirety. Safes can also provide critical "delay time" - enabling police to arrive before the contents are looted.

Having an eye for security can be like a game. The winning move is to create a home that provides you with a real feeling of security because you have addressed the issues. It isn't paranoid to "think like a criminal" and imagine that your home is full of valuables. Take the time to follow these tips, and you can deter, detect, and delay crime in your home.




February 2, 2014  

Strategies to Consider Picking

the Perfect Time to Sell


Smart sellers spend a whole lot of time and energy strategizing about how to sell their homes for top dollar. They factor in buyer demand, the competition, the job market, the mortgage market and their agent's track record. That doesn't even account for all the time spent understanding recent home sales in the area as an indicator of how local buyers will react to this listing.

Many a smart seller will also try to time their listing just right. And most often this looks like waiting until they feel buyers are sufficiently ready, willing, and able to pay a good price for the property. One timing consideration that sometimes gets underestimated is this: the calendar.

There's a season for everything, as you might have heard. Recently experts data has revealed some powerful geographically-specific seasonal trends in search activity for homes, adding proof to what agents have long known – the calendar causes various shifts in buyer activity, which sellers need to note. If you're gearing up to list your home for sale, you should definitely consider talking with your local Realtor to discuss your specific market trends how these shifts play out in your area, and how you might want to factor that into your home sale action plan.

But there are also a number of calendar-based factors you should just be thoughtful about as you put your plan for selling together. Here are a handful of calendars that you should be aware of on every home seller's radar screen:

1. The Academic Calendar. Families with school-aged children often find it less disruptive to house hunt in the late Spring/early Summer, with the aim of moving in before school starts. Of course, we all know what they say about the best laid plans, so don't let this stop you from listing your home at another time of year. Just know that demand for homes with convenient proximity to strong schools can increase during the summer school break and around other times of year when kids are not in school.

2. The Tax Calendar. There always a number of relatively unmotivated buyers who got all of sudden got intense motivation from a massive, looming tax bill. Many new professionals will seek to close escrow on homes between the time they graduate and the end of that same year, in an effort to deduct their closing costs and mortgage interest from their newly large incomes and avoid a big tax bill the following April. Similarly, just after tax time in April, a flood of newly motivated buyers come into the market, advised by their CPAs that the mortgage interest deduction is their best bet for not having to write as big a check to the IRS next year.

Fortunately for sellers, more buyers and more motivation means more demand and – all other things being equal – can translate into a faster sale at a higher price than at other times of the year.

3. The Weather Calendar. Many sellers who live in cold-weather climates are aware that wintry weather conditions can dramatically cut down on the numbers of buyers who are out viewing properties. This is why buyer searches for homes peak earliest, in January, in warm-weather states like Hawaii and Florida – and not until after the Spring-thaws in the Midwest, the South, the northeast and most of the West.

But what's not as obvious is that the combination of what's happening on the weather calendar and the specific features of your home can interact to impact your home's prospects for sale – and its ultimate sale price. Behavioral researchers have found that homes with swimming pools sell for more in the summertime than they do in the winter. It has been said, when it is sweltering outside, a swimming pool just looks attractive. There's an emotional connection because it reminds us of fun times we have in the summer.

So, if you're selling a home with ski slope access in the summer, you might want to paint the picture of a cozy, fun-filled winter by staging the place with ski gear and other items that help prospective buyers visualize how much fun they'll have when winter comes. And vice versa -if you're selling a lake front house in the winter, consider making sure it is steamy and heated and summertime activities are dispayed, if it has those features. Stage it with lounges, towels, lights – anything that showcases the lake activities to offset cold-weather buyer's psychological tendency to appeal to a waterfront property in the winter.

4. The Holiday Calendar. During the holidays, many buyers simply prefer to spend their downtime celebrating with family and friends vs. house hunting, especially in locales where the winters are wet or cold. Our listing data backs this up: nationwide, December is the slowest month of the year for home searches, and November is the second-slowest.

Does this mean the holidays are a bad time to have your house on the market? Not necessarily: some homes just show beautifully when all lit up and tastefully dressed up for the holidays. And the truth is that there is a hardy contingent of buyers motivated to close by year's end for tax purposes, every year in every market. While buyers might be fewer in number, those who will brave rain, sleet and snow and forego holiday parties to house hunt can be some of the most motivated buyers of all.

5. The regular old January through December calendar. A survey from a well-known investment company just revealed that 54% of Americans said they typically consider setting New Year's Resolutions related to their personal finances. This year, 26 percent of respondents said they are in a better financial situation today than last year (only 19 percent said so in 2012) and 28 percent say they are less in debt (vs. 25 percent in 2012).

Home buying tends to be a popular resolution among those with money on their minds at this time of year – and also among people looking forward to career promotions, developing their love and family relationships or relocating to a new home town. Make sure your home is well-represented on real estate sites at the beginning of the year, like now! This is the time when these individuals of life and financial change visionaries start searching the web for their next investment.

Consider Calling Lake Homes Realty for your area real estate needs.

Connie Beery specializing in Candlewood Lake
Cell - 419-571-0786                                                                      Home Office - 419-946-7355
Gene Wells specializing in North Central Ohio
Cell - 614-565-2645                                                                       Home Office - 419-946-1377  




 Advice for First-Time Home Buyers

Movoto Real Estate, an online real estate brokerage based in San Mateo, Calif., asked its agents for advice that they would give clients looking to purchase a home for the first time. These tips can help guide your clients through every step of the process.

Starting the Search

  • There is no such thing as the perfect home, but there is a home that is perfect for you.
  • Take the time to search for a home that suits you and meets your personal/financial needs.
  • The market is shifting, so you have to be aggressive with your home search because properties are selling quicker with multiple offers.

Money Matters

  • Figure out your personal budget to determine how much you can truly afford, then get pre-qualified and compare the amounts. Use the lowest of the two.
  • When considering your price point, start with the amount of rent you are paying now, not necessarily what the bank/mortgage company says they will loan you.
  • Do not look for a home for the amount you are qualified to buy with your mortgage agent. Ask him to tell you how much you can buy based on the mortgage amount you are comfortable paying every month.

Working With a REALTOR®

  • Choose an agent based on their knowledge, experience, and work ethic. Then allow them to guide you.
  • Make sure that whoever you are working with is someone you can trust and that will put your interests in front of their own. If they care enough, they will ask you lots of questions!
  • Markets vary from one another and a good agent can give you local information based on experience.

Lake Homes Realty
Connie Beery specializing in Candlewood Lake
Cell - 419-571-0786                                                                      Home Office - 419-946-7355
Gene Wells specializing in North Central Ohio
Cell - 614-565-2645                                                                       Home Office - 419-946-1377




November 26, 2013

Waste of Time or Time Well Spent: 4 Open House Truths

Talk to people who have been around the real estate block a time or two, and you'll get surprisingly strong opinions on a seemingly simple topic: Open Houses. Camps are divided pretty neatly between:

  • those who think that Open Houses are a total waste of time, never actually lead to sales and are mostly a way for agents to meet up with brand-new buyers who are too early in the process to be suitable prospective buyers, and
  • those who think that Open Houses are a fundamental building block of fully exposing a property to the market which, in turn, is a must for getting a home sold at top dollar and top speed.

So, which is it: waste of time or time well-spent?

While my personal vote is for time well-spent, here are a handful of truths about Open Houses you can use to make up your own mind:

1. There are different types of Open Houses, and type matters. There are two basic types of Open Houses: Broker's Opens and public Open Houses. Public Open Houses are the traditional Sunday afternoon affairs where local buyers, neighbors and others alike peruse your property.

Over ninety percent of qualified buyers will start their house hunt online, so it's essential to make sure your home is well-marketed, digitally speaking. But over eighty percent of qualified buyers will ultimately work with an agent or broker, so you can't afford to miss them, either!

Broker's Opens are an efficient way to expose your home in its best light to a large number of brokers who are on the lookout for their buyer clients at one moment in time, early in the life of your home's listing. They also create a rich opportunity for local brokers to see your home in close succession to similar, nearby listings - so if your home is well-prepared, well-staged, and well-priced against the competition, Broker's Opens make that very clear.

Verdict: Broker's Open Houses = Time Well Spent

2. The role of the Open House has shifted. As the market warmed, and then heated, up this year, serious buyers had to face a few truths of their own: intense buyer competition, multiple offers and over-asking sale prices, among them. As a result, many learned that to maximize their chances of successfully finding a property that meets their needs, they have to see a lot of houses - and they have to get out and view properties regularly, as soon as possible after they come onto the market.

At the same time, though, buyers live busy lives, and so do their agents, which makes the prospect of making an individual appointment to see every listing that comes on the market daunting, to say the least. If a buyer views 30 or 40 properties before they buy, imagine how many individual appointments that is to wrangle! One strategy many smart buyers and buyer's agents are adopting is this: to keep a standing appointment every Sunday afternoon during the time homes are normally held open, and view as many properties as possible in one fell-swoop.

Open Houses aren't just to help early-stage buyers discover listings anymore, they serve as a convenient way for serious buyers to access and view them, too.

Verdict: Time well-spent.

3. Few homes are actually "sold" at the Open House, but occasionally one is. You can talk to 100 people who have sold their homes, and less than a handful will report back that their home's ultimate buyer was someone who found the place through an Open House. And that precise fact is often trumpeted by folks in the "waste of time" camp. No doubt, Open Houses take a lot of time and energy to prepare for, and it can be anti-climatic to do all that work, have a well-attended Open House and end the week with no offers.

But think about this: you only need to find one buyer, the just-right buyer, for your home. And what if - just what if - you would have been one of those handful of sellers who did sell their home via the Open House? Is the inconvenience of having to clear out for a couple of afternoons worth missing the potential opportunity to find your home's ultimate buyer? 

Most sellers think it's not.

Also, there are loads of other ways Open Houses can indirectly lead to a sale. As you now know, buyers use homes not just to discover new listings but to actually access and view homes they've seen online. And sure, those neighbors you see that might be curious about our home decor choices, but they also might have friends, colleagues or relatives who'd be interested in buying your place. 

Verdict: Could go either way, but the chances the time is well-spent are greater than they seem at first glance.

4.  Prepping for your Open House is time well-spent no matter its outcome. Truth is, the time you'll need to invest in sprucing and primping and cleaning and de-cluttering and de-odorizing and beautifying your home to prepare for an Open House is not necessarily greater than the time you would ideally invest in doing these things to put your home on the market even if you weren't holding it open! 

Setting a time and date for an Open House and marketing it widely is a powerful "forcing factor": it provides both a hard deadline for your property preparation efforts and sets a higher bar for the prepping and staging of your home than you might set otherwise. It's similar to all the housework you find yourself doing in a flurry before you have house guests: the week before they arrive is often the most productive home improvement week of the year!

Verdict: Time well-spent.

Ultimately, if you hold an Open House and it doesn't result in the sale of your home, it might still feel like a waste of time to you. If you are worried about this, talk with your agent to get a good sense for the standard Open House practices and buyer expectations in your area, and to explore the factors weighing for and against holding your home open. Understanding the benefits of holding it open even if it doesn't help a buyer discover your listing and the potential for missed opportunities if you forego having one might just be enough to tip your own personal verdict from waste of time to time well-spent.

Lake Homes Realty
Connie Beery specializing in Candlewood Lake
Home Office - 419-946-7355
Cell - 419-571-0786
Gene Wells specializing in North Central Ohio
Home Office - 419-946-1377 Cell - 614-565-2645




Banks Show Signs of Easing Lending Standards

Daily Real Estate News | Thursday, October 24, 2013

More borrowers may have an easier time qualifying for a mortgage as banks begin to accept lower credit scores and smaller down payments, according to the latest data from mortgage tracker Ellie Mae.

The average FICO score for a borrower who closed on a home loan last month was 732, a drop from 750 last year, Ellie Mae reports. Top FICO scores are 850. Nearly one-third of borrowers who closed on home loans had FICO scores under 700. That compares to 17 percent a year ago. Meanwhile, the average down payment for a home loan was 19 percent compared to 22 percent a year ago. 

"We continue to see things open up ever so slightly month by month," says Ellie Mae President Jonathan Corr.

Many banks are showing these signs. In states that were hit hard by foreclosures, such as Arizona, Florida, and Nevada, JPMorgan Chase reduced down payment requirements on primary home loans from 10 percent to 5 percent. It also dropped its minimum down payment requirement on second homes from 20 percent to 10 percent. JPMorgan Chase says that the markets "have shown strong signs of improvement." 

Still, while some lenders are easing up, mortgage standards remain tight and may even get tighter next year, experts say. A new lending rule that goes into effect in January requires lenders to issue mortgages that meet federal standards or the lenders will face greater liability from borrower lawsuits if the loans default. Learn more about the Qualified Mortgage Rule.

"We're seeing tweaking of the underwriting standards, but it's not a wholesale loosening," says Guy Cecala, publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance. "The pendulum is still too far toward restrictive."

Source: "Home loans become a little easier to get," USA Today (Oct. 23, 2013)





While Existing-Home Sales Fall, Prices Rise


Daily Real Estate News | Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Existing-home prices are continuing to edge up across the country, but sales aren't keeping pace. Here are five key indicators for the housing market from the National Association of REALTORS®' latest existing-homes report, which reflects September data:


  1. Home prices: The median price nationally for an existing home in September was $199,200, up 11.7 percent from a year ago. Home prices have had 10 consecutive months of double-digit year-over-year increases.
  2. Home sales: Sales of existing single-family homes dropped 1.5 percent in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.68 million. However, sales remain 10.9 percent above year-ago levels. Meanwhile, existing condo and co-op sales dropped 4.7 percent in September but are 8.9 percent above year-ago levels. 
  3. Distressed homes: Foreclosures and short sales accounted for 14 percent of September sales. That's up from 12 percent in August. A year ago, distressed home sales made up 24 percent of the market. "Lower levels in the share of distressed sales account for some of the growth in median prices," NAR notes. In September, foreclosures were sold at an average discount of 16 percent below market value; short sales were being discounted by an average of 12 percent.  
  4. Inventory: Housing inventory in September held steady, with a 5-month supply at the current sales pace. NAR's report shows that 2.21 million existing homes were available for sale in September. For-sale inventory is 1.8 percent higher than a year ago. 
  5. Days on the market: The median time on the market for all homes was 50 days in September, up from 43 days in August but down from 70 days a year ago. Short sales were on the market for a median of 93 days in September; foreclosures were at 43 days. NAR notes that 39 percent of homes sold in less than a month in September. 


— By Melissa Dittmann Tracey





Mortgage rates were on the rise slightly this week, following more than a month of declines after the Federal Reserve announced it would delay tapering its $85 billion per month bond purchasing program. 

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgae rates for the week ending Oct. 10. 

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.23 percent, with an average 0.7 point, rising from last week's 4.22 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.39 percent. 
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.31 percent, with an average 0.7 point, rising from last week's 3.29 percent average. Last year at this time, 15-year rates averaged 2.70 percent. 
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.05 percent, with an average 0.4 point, rising from last week's 3.03 percent average. Last year at this time, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.73 percent. 
  • 1-year ARMs: averaged 2.64 percent, with an average 0.4 point, rising from last week's 2.63 percent average. A year ago, 1-year ARMs averaged 2.59 percent. 

Source: Freddie Mac





September 7, 2013

Tips for Home Sellers

4 Buyer Incentives that Sell Homes

When you find your home struggling to compete against similar listings, selling can seem difficult at best, impossible at worst. You've cleaned, staged, upped the curb appeal and lowered the price. So what else is a seller to do? Offer incentives. Outlandish incentives make headlines, but basic incentives that fill real buyer needs have the most power to get your home sold. Here are four you should consider offering to help you sell:

1. Interest rate buy-down

When a seller offers to "pay points," it means they'll award the buyer a certain number of percentage points of the sales price, which will, in turn, be paid to the buyer's lender as discount points that bring the buyer's interest rate down. This decreases the pressure buyers feel to guess the best day to lock in their interest rate, and sends the message that, if they buy your home, they'll automatically beat the market rate. Seller-paid rate buy-downs also save buyers money on their monthly payment over the lifetime of their loan. Plus, the points are usually tax deductible to the buyer the next time they file taxes.


2. Closing cost credit

Many buyers trying to break into the market are already scraping the bottom of their savings barrel to come up with a down payment. On top of that, they'll have to come up with anywhere from 3 to 6 percent of the loan amount, in cash, to cover closing costs. But some smart sellers will pay a credit of 3, 4, 5 or even 6 percent of the home's sale price at closing, to defray the buyer's closing costs. This credit is a great financial help to buyers and a strong differentiator that can set your home apart from other listings. Your agent can run the numbers to dictate how much you can afford to offer, and plan how to market the perk to prospective buyers.

3. HOA dues credit

If your home is part of a homeowners' association, you likely have monthly or annual dues. It's also likely that you can recall buying that home and being overwhelmed at the prospect yet another housing expense.

To overcome buyer concern about another regular expense and differentiate your unit from other units for sale in your complex, you can offer a credit at closing that covers the HOA dues for 6 months, a year, or even longer. Talk with your agent about how to do this strategically, in a way that will offer the maximum lure for buyers but won't conflict with any seller credit guidelines imposed by the buyer's lender.

4. Broker incentives

Savvy sellers who can't afford to give buyers a portion of the sale proceeds toward closing or other costs take a different route. They offer to pay a bonus percentage point (or more) in incentives to the buyer's broker or agent—on top of the commission—rather than to the buyer themselves. Over 90 percent of buyers today are represented by a broker who may have to sort through hundreds of similar listings to decide which ones to show their client.





These are just a few ideas to increase your chances of selling your home in this competative market.  Give us the opportunitiy to discuss our marketing plan for your home.

Call Us to see if we can assist you in marketing your home. 

Lake Homes Realty
Connie Beery specializing in Candlewood Lake
Home Office - 419-946-7355
Cell - 419-571-0786
Gene Wells specializing in North Central Ohio
Home Office - 419-946-1377 Cell - 614-565-2645



Strengthening Economy Lifts Mortgage Rates


Signs of a stronger economy drove fixed-rate mortgages up near their highs for the year, Freddie Mac reports in its weekly mortgage market survey.

The economy is showing several signs of strengthening, including signs from the housing market. Reports this week noted that the real GDP showed 2.5 percent growth in the second quarter while residential construction spending rose for the ninth consecutive month in July, notes Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac's chief economist. 

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending Sept. 5: 

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.57 percent, with an average 0.7 point, rising from last week's 4.51 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.55 percent. 
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.59 percent, with an average 0.7 point, rising from last week's 3.54 percent average. Last year at this time, 15-year rates averaged 2.86 percent. 
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.28 percent, with an average 0.5 point, rising from last week's 3.24 percent average. Last year at this time, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.75 percent. 
  • 1-year ARMs: averaged 2.71 percent, with an average 0.5 point, rising from last week's 2.64 percent average. A year ago at this time, 1-year ARMs averaged 2.61 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac





October - To - Dos


Clear leaves from gutters
Cleaning gutters is a slimy job, but the task will protect your siding and basement from expensive water damage. Don long rubber gloves, grab a gallon bucket and scoop leaves into the bucket by hand. Trying to use a garden trowel or other device just makes the task more cumbersome and can damage gutters. Blast the scum from the bottom of the gutter with a hose equipped with a pressure nozzle. If it doesn't drain well, feed your running hose up the pipe to knock loose the clog. Dump the contents of the bucket on your compost pile and pat yourself on the back for a dirty job well done.

Speaking of leaves
Check some other places where accumulated leaves can be a problem. If leaves are piled in the valleys of your roof, they can retain water and initiate leaks. Walk your property with a shovel and clear drainage ditches and culverts of leaf buildup. Also, a moderate amount of leaves on a lawn can provide a natural mulch, but if large amounts are left to soak up winter rains, they will smother the grass beneath them.



Have problem trees trimmed
Now that you've cleaned your gutters, you know which trees are dumping leaves on your roof, shading it enough to encourage moss, and close enough to cause serious damage should they lose a branch in a storm. Trees are dormant this time of the year and can withstand extensive pruning. Decide which ones need cutting back and hire a professional to do the job. This is not a do-it-yourself task if the trees you are looking at are high enough to affect your roof. Trimming large trees is a dangerous job that should be left to an expert.


November home-maintenance checklist

Outside, you'll need to check gutters and problem tree limbs. Indoors, you'll want to tend to your large appliances and tackle overflowing closets.



Maintain large appliances

As the holiday season begins, make sure your appliances are prepared for the demands you will place on them. 

Clean the oven and stove drip pans on your electric range. Clean the surface burner on your gas stove to ensure proper flame level.

De-stench your in-sink garbage disposal by packing it with ice cubes and 1/4 cup of baking soda; then turn it on. After the ice-grinding noise stops, pour a kettle full of boiling water into the sink.

Check the dishwasher strainer and washer arm; clean if necessary.


Clean and maintain closets
Go to your closets and perform these two simple tests: Can you see floor space, and can you easily close the door? If the answer to either one of these questions is no, clean your closet. Cramped closets can provide haven for pests, too-full racks can break free from walls, and sliding doors can be derailed by too much stuff. Add compartments and hanging racks at different levels to make better use of space.



Maintain woodwork
November is a good month to repair and re-glue woodwork, because indoor air is at its driest. If you are regluing wobbly dining room chairs, clamp during drying by wrapping a rope tightly around the perimeter of the legs. Be sure to protect wood surfaces with cardboard before tightening rope. Try using toothpaste on white water stains on wood surfaces. Once the stain is removed, polish with furniture polish. Use paste wax and elbow grease to put a new sheen on wood furniture.


Foreclosures and short sales--which are selling, on average, at a 20 percent discount--continue to hamper the new-home market, making it difficult for builders to compete against the ultra low prices.

While the prices of new homes were on the rise, inventories of new homes continued to shrink, with inventories falling to its lowest level on record (166,000 homes). Economists noted that at the May sales pace, it would take 6.2 months to clear the supply of homes off the market.

Overall, fewer people purchased new homes in May as the new-home sector continues to face one of its worst years, the Commerce Department reported. New-home sals dropped 2.1 percent in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 319,000 homes. That pace remains far below the 700,000 homes a year that economists view as healthy for the new-home sector.

Regionally, sales of new homes were mixed. For example, in the Northeast, sales of new homes dropped nearly 27 percent and 3.5 percent in the West. However, new home sales increased 2.4 percent in the South but remained flat in the Midwest compared to April.

Source: The Associated Press (June 23, 2011)

Lake Homes Realty


Connie Beery specializing in Candlewood Lake

Home Office - 419-946-7355

Cell - 419-571-0786


Gene Wells specializing in North Central Ohio

Home Office - 419-946-1377 Cell - 614-565-2645



Daily Real Estate News  |  May 5, 2011  


Gallup Poll: Americans Say Buy Now

With dropping home values in many markets mixed with interest rates at historical lows, homes are more affordable now than they've been in the last 35 years, reports

The average buyer nowadays can expect to spend about 17 percent of their monthly gross income on a mortgage, which compares to a 25 percent average since 1975, Zillow reports.

With affordability high, Americans seem to be getting the message about the value of home ownership. Nearly 70 percent of Americans say now is a good time to buy a home, according to a recent
Gallup poll.

Men are about 16 percent more likely to say now is a good time to buy a home than women. And Americans living in the West are most favorable toward buying (75 percent), which compares to 64 percent of Americans who live in the South who say now is a good time to buy.

Americans with higher incomes also expressed more of an interest in home ownership, according to the
Gallup poll. Americans who make $75,000 or more a year are 18 percent more likely to say that 2011 is a good time to buy a home than those making $30,000-$75,000.

Source: "Affordability Reaches Generational High," Realty Times (
May 5, 2011) and "Gallup: Time Is Right to Buy," RISMedia (May 5, 2011)


Lake Homes Realty


Connie Beery specializing in Candlewood Lake

Home Office - 419-946-7355

Cell - 419-571-0786


Gene Wells specializing in North Central Ohio

Home Office - 419-946-1377 Cell - 614-565-2645 


Daily Real Estate News  |  April 21, 2011  |  


Has Housing Reached a 'Recovery Path'?

Sales of existing homes rose slightly in March, marking the sixth consecutive monthly rise for existing home sales in the last eight months, the National Association of REALTORS reported Wednesday.

"We're clearly on a recovery path," says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.

Existing home sales rose 3.7 percent in March from February, as distressed sales, such as those in foreclosure, continued to make up a big bulk of home sales (40 percent of all purchases).

"At this point, we're likely to see a steady improvement in sales," says economist Joel Naroff of Naroff Economic Advisors.

So just in time for the spring buying season, here's what economists have to say about who's buying and currently driving the market:

Investors: All-cash deals last month made up a record number of sales, accounting for 35 percent of all resold homes. Investors continue to make up a big part of those cash deals. Investors are buying distressed homes and flipping them for a slight profit or turning them into rentals, says Patrick Newport, economist at IHS Global Insight.

Luxury consumers: Some real estate professionals are reporting a pick up in luxury markets in some cities too. "The confidence is back in the market," says Neil Palmer, CEO at Christie's International Real Estate.

Foreign buyers: Coastal markets, in particular, are seeing a surge of foreign buyers, such as in New York, Palm Beach, Fla., and San Francisco, AOL Real Estate news reports.

Traditional buyers: Traditional buyers are also re-emerging. Mortgage applications to buy homes rose 10 percent over a seven-week period, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's most recent report. "This pickup in demand should show up in improved existing home sales in April and May, unless lending conditions tighten," Newport says.

The market is making "slow, steady progress" and demand in housing is rising even with higher mortgage rates "so that's encouraging," Pierre Ellis, an economist at Decision Economics in New York, told The New York Times.

"It's the new financial psychology," says Jarvis Slade Jr., Christie's managing director for the Americas. "We've had two years of hesitation, the sellers are realistic, the buyers confident and cautious, but Americans are starting to feel better."



 Lake Homes Realty


Connie Beery specializing in Candlewood Lake

Home Office - 419-946-7355

Cell - 419-571-0786


Gene Wells specializing in North Central Ohio

Home Office - 419-946-1377

Cell - 614-565-2645