12 December 2017

Before You Make an Offer Perfect Northern Ohio Home, Here Are 4 Tips for Success!

Before You Make an Offer, Here Are 4 Tips for Success! | MyKCM
So, you’ve been searching for that perfect house to call a ‘home,’ and you finally found it! The price is right, and in such a competitive market, you want to make sure that you make a good offer so that you can guarantee that your dream of making this house yours comes true!
Freddie Mac covered “4 Tips for Making an Offer” in their Executive Perspective.Here are the 4 tips they covered along with some additional information for your consideration:

1. Understand How Much You Can Afford

“While it’s not nearly as fun as house hunting, fully understanding your finances is critical in making an offer.”
This ‘tip’ or ‘step’ should really take place before you start your home search process.
Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and will allow you to make your offer with the confidence of knowing that you have already been approved for a mortgage for that amount. You will also need to know if you are prepared to make any repairs that may need to be made to the house (ex: new roof, new furnace).

2. Act Fast

“Even though there are fewer investors, the inventory of homes for sale is also low and competition for housing continues to heat up in many parts of the country.” 
The inventory of homes listed for sale has remained well below the 6-month supply that is needed for a ‘normal’ market. Buyer demand has continued to outpace the supply of homes for sale, causing buyers to compete with each other for their dream homes.
Make sure that as soon as you decide that you want to make an offer, you work with your agent to present it as soon as possible.

3. Make a Solid Offer

Freddie Mac offers this advice to help make your offer the strongest it can be:
“Your strongest offer will be comparable with other sales and listings in the neighborhood. A licensed real estate agent active in the neighborhoods you are considering will be instrumental in helping you put in a solid offer based on their experience and other key considerations such as recent sales of similar homes, the condition of the house and what you can afford.”
Talk with your agent to find out if there are any ways that you can make your offer stand out in this competitive market!

4. Be Prepared to Negotiate

“It’s likely that you’ll get at least one counteroffer from the sellers so be prepared. The two things most likely to be negotiated are the selling price and closing date. Given that, you’ll be glad you did your homework first to understand how much you can afford.
Your agent will also be key in the negotiation process, giving you guidance on the counteroffer and making sure that the agreed-to contract terms are met.”
If your offer is approved, Freddie Mac urges you to “always get an independent home inspection, so you know the true condition of the home.” If the inspectoruncovers undisclosed problems or issues, you can discuss any repairs that may need to be made with the seller, or cancel the contract.

Bottom Line 

Whether buying your first home or your fifth, having your Hisey Group real estate professional who is an expert in their market on your side is your best bet to make sure the process goes smoothly. Let’s talk about how we can make your dreams of homeownership a reality.  Contact us today at 440-315-6000.  Let's start the process to achieving your dream!

29 November 2017

Increased Max Conformiing Loan Limit - Avoid that Jumbo Loan!

Good news for some buyers - 

The 2018 maximum conforming loan limit will now be $453,100, an increase from $424,100. This means better rates for your buyers who are in that price range and they will no longer need to seek out a jumbo loan.

Just 2 years ago, the maximum conforming loan limit was $417,000. So anything over that was considered jumbo loan territory. Then the jump last year to $424,100, and now to $453,100.

Need to talk to someone about getting pre-approval?  Contact me today and lets get the ball rolling!
Don't start looking until you know where you stand.   Call me today at 440-315-6000 or email me at LeeHisey@howardhanna.com.

21 November 2017

16 November 2017

09 November 2017

Howard Hanna Kicks Off 20th Annual Coats for Kids Campaign

A fantastic program.  Helping kids stay warm in our cold Northern Ohio winters.

Drop off your coats at the Howard Hanna Avon office - 2100 Center Rd, Avon on State Route 83 just south of Detroit Rd on the west side of the street.

Howard Hanna Kicks Off 20th Annual Coats for Kids Campaign


Cleveland, Ohio (November 3, 2017) – Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, a family-owned and operated real estate leader for 60 years, is excited to be once again partnering with WTAM’s Coats for Kids. From Monday, November 6 until Monday, December 18, 32 Howard Hanna offices will serve as collection sites for the Coats for Kids campaign.
Since its creation in 1981, Coats for Kids has distributed hundreds of thousands of coats in all sizes to children in need throughout Northeast Ohio. Last year, Howard Hanna collected over 6,400 coats for children in need and hopes to collect more than 7,000 this year.
“For the past 20 years, we’ve had the pleasure of working with the wonderful people at WTAM to collect coats for local children. Each year I am amazed at the support we receive from the community and our agents,” said Kristine Burdick, President of Howard Hanna Midwest. “By working together during the campaign, thousands of children throughout Northeast Ohio will have a new or like-new coat this winter.”
“While many things have changed over the past 36 years, one constant is that winter in northeast Ohio is always cold. And thanks to another constant – the support of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services and the annual coat collection efforts of area offices – Coats for Kids has been helping make our cold winters a bit more tolerable for children by providing warm winter coats to those who need one,” said Debbie Martinko, Executive Director, Coats for Kids.
All coats collected and funds raised will benefit school-age children throughout Howard Hanna’s markets in Northeast Ohio. To learn more about the Coats for Kids campaign, please go to: www.coatsforkidscleveland.org
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services is the 3rd largest real estate company in America, the #1 privately owned broker in the nation, and the largest home seller in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York. The family-owned and operated real estate company specializes in residential and commercial brokerage service, mortgages, closing and title insurance, land development, appraisal services, insurance services, corporate relocation and property management. With 259 offices across OH, NY, PA, VA, MI, WV, NC and MD, our more than 9,000 sales associates and staff are guided by a spirit of integrity in all aspects of the real estate process.
To learn more please visit www.howardhanna.com or www.facebook.com/howardhanna

08 November 2017

3 Reasons Why Fall or Winter Is the Best Time to Buy Your Northern Ohio Dream Home


House hunting is a marathon, not a sprint. Sometimes the competition to win the house of your dreams can be quite stiff. Whether you’re a first-time buyer, an empty nester looking to right-size, or searching for more space for your growing family, you may not want to wait until the new year. Instead, you may want to start to make your move this fall.
Here are three reasons why you may want to change your real estate timetable to the fall or even winter months.
Less competition. You may have heard that spring is the best season for buying a home, and while it’s consistently the busiest time of the year, there are far fewer people house hunting in the fall and winter months. Less competition and more inventory mean less likelihood of competing bids and a better chance for you to score a new home for the holidays. Plus, everyone is in a good mood, making the whole buying experience more pleasant!
The possibility of end-of-the-year tax credits. Purchasing a property in the last quarter can unlock some of the biggest tax breaks of the year. The biggest is the ability to deduct interest paid on the mortgage, but a more immediate benefit is that you may also be able to reduce the amount of federal income tax withheld from your paycheck. Who doesn’t like a little extra cash?
Better availability of services. During the busy spring and summer months, many moving companies are booked far in advance, sometimes six weeks or more! During the fall and winter, it’s much easier to hire a moving company on shorter notice. And, if you decide that building a home is better, you may be offered upgrades or small extras to help sell that new home before the end of the year.
The quiet fall and winter months could be just the right time to get you into your new home. If you’re ready to take the plunge, be sure to reach out to one of our professional agents to get started on this exciting process!
How do I start the process? Contact Lee Hisey today at 440-315-6000 or leehisey@howardhanna.com.  He can sit down with you for a totally free consultation.  
  • Start early so you can implement staging tips.
  • Buying another home in the area?  Have your "must haves" and "preferred community/neighborhood" lists ready.
  • Moving out of the area - get a referral for an exceptional agent where your moving.
Leave yourself as much time as possible.  Meet with Lee early to reduce stress through planning and by implementing changes before you place your home on the market.

Portions from:  http://blog.howardhanna.com/posts/3-reasons-fall-best-time-buy-dream-home/

07 November 2017

Here are some tips for improving your credit score. The first step in achieving your goals!

Thinking About Buying in Northern Ohio? Know Your Credit Score

Thinking About Buying? Know Your Credit Score | MyKCM
Knowing your credit score or getting a recent copy of your credit report is one of the first steps that you can take toward knowing how ready you are to start the home buying process.
Make sure all the information listed on your report is accurate and work to correct any mistakes. The higher your credit score, the more likely you will be to receive a better interest rate for your mortgage, which will translate into more ‘home for your money.'
Many potential buyers believe that they need a 750 FICO® Score or higher to be able to purchase a home. The truth is that according to Ellie Mae’s Origination Report, over 53% of loans were approved with a FICO® score under 750 last month!  Here are some tips for improving your credit score:
  • Make payments, including rent, credit cards, and car loans, on time.
  • Keep your spending to no more than 30% of your limit on credit cards.
  • Pay down high-balance credit cards to lower balances, and consider balance transfers to free up credit.
  • Check for errors on your credit report and work toward fixing them.
  • Shop for mortgage rates within a 30-day period — too many spread-out inquiries can lower your score.
  • Work with a credit counselor or a lender to improve your score.
Once you know your score, your next step will be finding a lender and getting pre-approved for a mortgage. Doing this will ensure that you know your budget before you start looking for your dream home.

Contact me today to get the ball rolling.  Let us help you achieve your goals!

Lee Hisey, Realtor & Team Coordinator  440-315-6000

06 November 2017

Commercial Opportunity: Sheffield Township, Ohio (Lorain Mailing Address)

Large property in sheffield township, Lorain County. Formerly a garage facility used for a trucking company. Includes a 40'x121' building with 2 bathrooms and 3 office areas. There is an attached insulated 20' x 121' area. Unlimited potential. Large parking area on over 1 acre of land. Additional property may be negotiated. Includes mineral rights with natural gas on property.


 Contact Lee Hisey today for details at 440-315-6000. 
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services

01 November 2017

Winterizing Your Northern Ohio Home

Homes perform differently in the different seasons, so it is important to make sure yours is ready for the strains of its next few months.   In winter, this means sealing leaks, turning down temperatures, and cleaning chimneys, furnaces, and gutters to keep your home working properly.  Simple small maintenance tasks can help save energy throughout the cold season, especially when it comes to heating your home. 

The following are a variety of the different measures you can take to winterize your home:

·        Clean your gutters.  This will help rain and snow drain properly and prevent water damage to your roof and walls.
·        Block air leaks.  Drafts can account for 5-30% of your home's energy use.  Block spaces around windows and in your basement and attic using caulking or weather stripping.  For bigger gaps under doors, consider purchasing or making a draft snake.  These are long thin tubes covered with fabric to help block air from entering and exiting the home under exterior doors and windows.  Consider having a home energy audit done on your home using a blower door test to help detect leaks.  For more information, visit our topic page on Sealing the Existing Home.
·        Insulate your home.  Insulation is one of the best ways to prevent heat loss and keep your energy bills down.  Make sure your insulation is in good condition by contacting a local contractor.  Insulate your walls and attic with high quality insulation to keep warm air from leaking out hidden places.  To find out how much insulation you need, consult Johns Manville's Insulation Calculator.
·        Check to make sure your furnace is in good, working condition.  Replace the filter and clean the furnace to make sure it can function properly. Have a professional check to see that the burner is working properly and that there are no leaks in the exhaust system.
·        Check duct work for leaks.  Properly sealed ductwork can help prevent air leakage that causes heat loss.  If you find a leak, seal it properly before winter sets in.  For more information, including a do-it-yourself guide, visit Energy Star's page on Duct Sealing.
·        Winterize your windows.  Consider installing storm windows and screens or replacing old ones with new energy-efficient windows.  For a more inexpensive option, purchase a window insulating kit from your local home improvement store.  These include layers of plastic film or sheeting that are attached to windows using double-sided tape and shrunk using a blow-dryer to seal the window. Click here for a video demonstrating how to install a window insulation kit.
·        Clean your chimney.  Clear out old ash and wood pieces yourself using a shovel, small broom, and bucket.  Consider hiring a chimney sweep to make sure your chimney is in good working condition for wintertime fires.
·        Reverse the direction of your fans.  In the summer, fan blades should rotate downward (counterclockwise if looking up at it) to help create a breeze throughout the room.   In the winter, reversing the fan's direction will help force the warm air from the top of a room down into the living space. 
·        Insulate your pipes and water heater. Wrapping your pipes and heater with an insulating blanket will help keep your water hot and avoid reheating.  You can purchase heater blankets at your local home improvement store and in most cases, are easily installed yourself.
·        Turn your hot water heater down to 120 degrees.  Most water heaters are set to 140 degrees by default.  By turning the temperature down by 20 degrees, you can save a significant amount of money and energy on your monthly heating bills.   
·        Turn your thermostat down by 4 degrees or so and put on a sweater.  Keeping your home's temperature at or around 68 degrees will help avoid excess heating costs.  Turn the temperature down a few more degrees while sleeping or out of the house can help minimize costs as well.  Instead of turning the heat up, consider putting on a sweater and socks to warm your body without using energy.  Consider installing a programmable thermostat to automatically regulate your home's temperature based on your schedule.
·        Shut the doors to rooms you don't use.  If you have extra guest rooms or storage rooms that you do not actively use, close their doors to avoid heating empty spaces.  Open them a little while before you plan on using them to warm them up again. 
·        Close your curtains and blinds.  This can help keep the warm air in and the cold air out, especially on the frostier days.  Open them if it warms up and the sun is shining to help heat your home using the passive solar, but keep them closed when temperature drops for maximum energy efficiency.
·        Make sure you have alternative heating fuels and plenty of wood on hand.  This is especially true in cold climates where winter storms could potentially cut off regular heat sources.  Kerosene heaters work as a great alternative in emergencies, but they can be dangerous.  Follow all directions and warnings when using to minimize hazards. Make sure your fireplace or wood burning stove is accessible in case you need it.

Estimated Cost Savings:

Prepping your home for the cold seasons can help lower your heating bills and keep your home comfortable, even as temperatures drop.  Many winterization steps have small upfront costs, but these are typically minimal ($10-$20) and if done properly, they can provide a return on investment within the winter months.

Federal tax credits are available from the IRS for certain winterization measures.  Click here for more information and to find out how to claim your credits.

Regional Issues:

While it is a good idea to winterize your home regardless of where you live, it is especially important in regions with colder climates.  These areas typically have harsher winds, lower temperatures, and more adverse weather conditions that can cause more issues than in milder regions. 

Installation (Getting It Done):

It is best to begin winterizing your home in early fall (around Labor Day).  Most steps can be done yourself with little or no cost, but a few require the help of certified professionals.  Ask the experts at your local home improvement store for tips and advice on do-it-yourself projects as needed.

Videos on This Topic:

How to Winterize Your Home for Comfort and Energy Efficiency  (3:19) - Contractor Lou Manfredini walks us through several steps to winterization.  Listen as he explains how to clean your furnace, replace your windows with energy-efficient models, adding insulation, and getting a home energy audit to find leaks within your home.

Winterizing Your House (2:56) - CBS - Home expert Danny Lipford gives advice on how to winterize your home, including cleaning gutters, sealing gaps and leaks, and preparing your outdoor plants early for better springtime growth.

Winterizing Tips for Your Home (4:22) - DIY Network - In this video from the Home Maintenance series hosted by Tim Hockenberry, find out how to seal your windows to help prepare your home for the winter season.

More Information on This Topic:

Planet Green - 35 Tips for Winterizing Your Home

Contact us today to list your home?  Searching for a home with "Green" features?
Lee Hisey, Team Coordinator, The Hisey Group LLC with Howard Hanna
440-315-6000  *  LeeHisey@howardhanna.com

27 October 2017

How to Save on a Mortgage Payment in Ohio - Whether Buying or Selling

How to Save on a Mortgage Payment Whether Buying or Selling | MyKCM
In Trulia’s recent reportRent vs. Buy: Roommate Edition, they examined the impact that renting with a roommate has in determining whether it is more expensive to rent or buy. The study explains:
“Since we started keeping track in 2012, it’s been a better deal to buy than rent in America’s largest housing markets – and for much of that time it hasn’t been close.”
It then goes on to ask the question:
“But does the equation change for renters who share their rent with a roommate?”

The report reveals:

“While the standard rent vs. buy analysis reveals buying is cheaper than renting in all of the nation’s 100 largest metros, this doesn’t hold true for those choosing between renting with a roommate and buying a starter home.”
It seems obvious that sharing the cost of renting your living space by taking in a roommate dramatically decreases your housing expense (which is exactly what the report concluded), but it got us thinking.

What if you purchased a home and took in that same roommate?

The savings you would gain by adding a roommate would also occur if you purchased a home. This presents an opportunity for a list of possible purchasers. Here are two examples:
  1. The first-time buyer: As the report explains, many young adults already live with a roommate. If they purchased a new home, perhaps that roommate (or someone else) would be willing to rent a room in their new house. The rent could help offset the mortgage payment.
  2. The empty-nester seller looking to move: Their home may no longer fit their current lifestyle. They may now be looking for something a little smaller with all the bedrooms on the ground level. These families may be able to open a bedroom to an older family member (parents, aunts & uncles, etc.). This would kill two birds with one stone.
A smaller, move-down home is almost impossible to find in the current housing market. If the seller-turned-buyer takes on a tenant, they could buy a more expensive home knowing that the additional monies needed to pay the mortgage would be offset with the additional monies they receive in rent. Secondly, the older couple (ex. parents) could get a housing option that probably far surpasses anything else available to them in the current market.

Bottom Line

Considering the concept of renting a portion of your house to be able to purchase the perfect home may make sense to many families. You will need to decide if it is right for you.  Contact me today at 440-315-6000 or LeeHisey@howardhanna.com.  Let's get started today!