Melissa Maltese

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July
25

Better Together: Where to Go for Wine and Cheese in Stark County

Wine and Cheese Day - Stark County, OH - DeHOFF REALTORS®

Has there ever been a more perfect pair than wine and cheese? Our real estate agents don't think so. North Canton's lush fields and semi-rural layout make it one of the best areas for growing grapes in Ohio, and many top-tier wineries have sprung up in response to these conditions. Get your wine and cheese fix at any of these five spots around North Canton and experience a treat you'll never forget. 

  • Maize Valley Winery – 6193 Edison Street NE (St. Rt. 619), Hartville, OH 44632
    Maize Valley Winery is located near our Hartville homes for sale and has been owned and operated by the same family since the 1960s. The establishment produces a wide variety of delectable red and white wines and a few fruit wines made from apples, berries, and other less conventional ingredients. These wines pair perfectly with the Amish meats and cheeses available at their on-site deli.

    If you'd prefer to sample your cheese at their full-service restaurant, you can order their Artichoke Asiago Dip alongside a glass of wine. You can also get your cheese fix from cheese-heavy sandwiches like the Maize Valley Melt, a mouthwatering sandwich made from grilled sourdough bread piled high with ham and provolone.

  • 1875 Winery & Restaurant – 109 State Route 44 Hartville, OH 44632
    Named for the year in which the barn that houses the business was built, the 1875 Winery & Restaurant prides itself on handcrafted, small-batch wines. From the High and Tight dry rose to the Down N Dirty sweet red, there's a wine here to suit everyone's tastes. 

    Sip your wine in their restaurant alongside one of their charcuterie boards, delightful creations made from an assortment of cheese, sausage, crackers, and bruschetta. Boards can be made gluten-free upon request. More adventurous diners can also try the Fried Cheese Skewers, deliciously savory nuggets served with spicy aioli sauce for dipping. 

  • Forever Craft Urban Winery – 2640 Easton Street NE, Canton, OH 44721
    The Forever Craft Urban Winery is proof that you don't need acres of land to make excellent wine. This small establishment offers everything from a classic dry red merlot to Summer Picnic, a sweet strawberry watermelon white shiraz, all made in-house in small batches. Take a seat at the bar and try one or two of their lovingly crafted creations.

    When you're ready to eat, you can order a mouthwatering charcuterie board to nibble on. These boards come in different sizes to serve anywhere from two to 10 people, so you can enjoy yours with a group if you like. Each board comes brimming with an assortment of meats, cheese, fruits, crackers, nuts, and even chocolates for your snacking pleasure.

  • The Crush House at Gervasi Vineyard – 1700 55th Street NE, Canton, OH 44721
    The Gervasi Vineyard is a 55-acre estate near our Canton homes for sale serving red and white wines made from grapes harvested right there in the fields. Each of their fresh, crisp wines is carefully crafted to bring out the rich flavors of these delicate fruits.

    At the vineyard's restaurant, The Crush House, you can sample some of these wines while enjoying a premium Italian Meat and Cheese Plate. Those in the mood for something lighter might enjoy their Whipped Lemon Feta Spread on gourmet crackers. For a special treat, try their Provolone Carrozza, an indulgent fried cheese sandwich considered one of the restaurant's specialties. 

  • Dragonfly Winery – 215 Market Street W, Canal Fulton, OH 44614
    The Dragonfly Winery is a quaint establishment near our Canal Fulton homes for sale, serving various handcrafted drinks and aperitifs. Their selection of artisan wines includes boldly named options like Rivers' Edge, Sunflower Sunset Peach Apricot, and Twisted Teacup. 

    You can choose from several cheese-based dishes for the cheese part of your wine-and-cheese treat. In addition to their Cheese and Cracker Plates and Meat and Cheese Plates, the restaurant also serves delectable cheese dips that are perfect for savoring. Choose from the Blueberry and Goat Cheese Dip, the Honey Apricot Goat Cheese Spread, or the Caramel Apple Cream Cheese Spread, and enjoy every bite. 

North Canton's delicious wine and cheese options aren't the only thing to love about this place. Contact us today for more information on our North Canton homes for sale and learn how easy it is to settle down in this scenic Ohio area.

December
6

How a Kitchen Island Can Be a Game Changer!

Kitchen Island - Home Improvement - DeHOFF REALTORS®

Whether you're fixing a light snack, preparing dinner for a group of friends, or simply grabbing a drink out of the fridge, your home's kitchen gets used multiple times every single day. This is why homeowners put such a heavy focus on creating the perfect balance between appearance and functionality — and that's exactly why kitchen islands are all the rage. Let's look at a few kitchen island basics and which type of island our real estate agents believe could be right for you.

Proper Kitchen Size for an Island

If you've ever seen a kitchen island in the home of a friend or while checking out North Canton homes for sale or Akron homes for sale, then you already know that they take up a good amount of room. Even a small island will be at least 2 by 4 feet, but you also need enough room for people to walk around them comfortably. As a general rule, your kitchen should be a minimum of 8 feet deep and 12 feet long, with 40 inches by 40 inches of open space.

What Type of Kitchen Island to Install

Once you install a kitchen island, your home will never be the same again. There are several different features that you can choose from depending on your specific needs, but it typically boils down to five popular types, each of which will be an amazing addition:

  • Galley Kitchen Island – While this might not be the most exciting kitchen island, its simplicity and straightforward nature have made it a big hit with homeowners. Galley kitchen islands are especially popular because, despite their smaller size, they can still accommodate bar-style seating. And as long as the island isn't too narrow, you can add items like appliances and a sink.

  • L-Shaped Kitchen Island – While L-shaped kitchen islands look fantastic, they also take up a lot of kitchen space. You should only consider installing this type if you have a large kitchen and won't have to sacrifice the open space. What you'll get in exchange is a whole host of options such as bar-style seating at the smaller end, a lot more counter space, and plenty of room for a stove/oven/sink and appliances.

  • U-Shaped Kitchen Island – Okay, now it's time to discuss the big one: the U-shaped kitchen island. Many homeowners consider this the crème de la crème, but they're also quite large. These are typically reserved for homes where the space between the kitchen and dining area or living room is entirely open and empty. As for options and conveniences, think "L-shaped kitchen island" and then dial it up to an 11… or maybe even a 15.

  • Rolling Kitchen Island – If you have a small kitchen but can't stand the idea of not having a kitchen island of your very own, this might be the perfect solution. Rolling kitchen islands come in various shapes and sizes, allowing you to customize one to your precise needs. Whenever you entertain guests or need to prepare a big meal, simply roll it out and get to work. Just keep in mind that you'll also need to store it somewhere.

  • Peninsula – Installing a peninsula is another great alternative to a full-sized kitchen island. These are attached to the outside of your counter to extend the available space. They also provide seating and additional storage, which will increase the functionality of your kitchen. 

Find Your Dream Home

Whether you're looking for a new home with the perfect kitchen island, backyard, or family room, we can help you find it. Contact us today to learn more. 

June
22

Is Now a Good Time to Buy or Sell Real Estate?

Is Now a Good Time to Buy or Sell Real Estate?

 

 

Traditionally, spring is one of the busiest times of the year for real estate. However, the coronavirus outbreak—and subsequent stay-at-home orders—led many buyers and sellers to put their moving plans on hold. In April, new listings fell nearly 45%, and sales volume fell 15% compared to last year.1

 

Fortunately, as restrictions have eased, we've seen an uptick in market activity. And economists at Realtor.com expect a rebound in July, August, and September, as fears about the pandemic subside, and buyers return to the market with pent-up demand from a lost spring season.2

 

But given safety concerns and the current economic climate, is it prudent to jump back into the real estate market?

 

Before you decide, it's important to consider where the housing market is headed, how it could impact your timeline and ability to buy a home, and your own individual needs and circumstances.

 

 

WHAT'S AHEAD FOR THE HOUSING MARKET?

 

The economic aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak has been severe. We've seen record  unemployment numbers, and economists believe the country is headed toward a recession. But people still need a place to live. So what effect will these factors have on the housing market?

 

Home Values Projected to Remain Stable

 

Many Americans recall our last recession and assume we will see another drop in home values. But the 2008 real estate market crash was the cause—not the result—of that downturn. In fact, ATTOM Data Solutions analyzed real estate prices during the last five recessions and found that home prices actually went up in most cases. Only twice (in 1990 and 2008) did prices fall, and in 1990 it was by less than one percent.3

 

Many economists expect home values to remain relatively steady this time around. And so far, that's been the case. As of mid-May, the median listing price in the U.S. was up 1.4% from the same period last year.4

 

 

Demand for Homes Will Exceed Available Supply

 

There's been a shortage of affordable homes on the market for years, and the pandemic has further hindered supply. In addition to sellers pulling back, new home starts fell 22% in March.5 In fact, Fannie Mae doesn't foresee a return to pre-pandemic construction levels before the end of 2021.6

 

This supply shortage is expected to prop up home prices, despite recessionary pressures. Fannie Mae and the National Association of Realtors predict housing prices will rise slightly this year7, while Zillow expects them to fall between 2-3%.8 Still, that would be a far cry from the double-digit declines that occurred during the last recession.9

 

 

Government Intervention Will Help Stabilize the Market

 

Policymakers have been quick to pass legislation aimed at preventing a surge in foreclosures like we saw in 2008. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by Congress gives government-backed mortgage holders who were impacted by the pandemic up to a year of reduced or delayed payments.10

 

The Federal Reserve has also taken measures to help stabilize the housing market, lower borrowing costs, and inject liquidity into the mortgage industry. These steps have led to record-low mortgage rates that should help drive buyer demand and make homeownership more affordable for millions of Americans.11

 

 

HOW HAS THE REAL ESTATE PROCESS CHANGED?

 

As the pandemic hit, real estate and mortgage professionals across the country revised their processes to adapt to shifting safety standards and economic realities. While these new ways of conducting business may seem strange at first, keep in mind, military clients, international buyers, and others have utilized many of these methods to buy and sell homes for years.

 

New Safety Procedures

 

The safety of our clients and our team members is our top priority. That's why we've developed a process for buyers and sellers that utilizes technology to minimize personal contact.

 

For our listings, we're holding online open houses, offering virtual viewings, and conducting walk-through video tours. We're also using video chat to qualify interested buyers before we book in-person showings. This enables us to promote your property to a broad audience while limiting physical foot traffic to only serious buyers.

 

Likewise, our buyer clients can view properties online and take virtual video tours to minimize the number of homes they step inside. Ready to visit a property in person? We can decrease surface contact by asking the seller to turn on all the lights and open doors and cabinets before your scheduled showing.

 

The majority of our "paperwork" is also digital. In fact, many of the legal and financial documents involved in buying and selling a home went online years ago. You can safely view and eSign contracts from your smartphone or computer.

 

 

Longer Timelines and Higher Mortgage Standards

 

The real estate process is taking a little longer these days. Both buyers and sellers are more cautious when it comes to viewing and showing homes. And with fewer house hunters and less available inventory, it can take more time to match a buyer with the right property.

 

In a recent survey, 67% of Realtors also reported delays in the closing process. The top reasons were financing and buyer job loss, but appraisals and home inspections are also taking more time due to shifting safety protocol.12

 

Securing a mortgage may take longer, too. With forbearance requests rising, lenders are getting increasingly conservative when it comes to issuing new loans. Many are raising their standards—requiring higher credit scores and larger down payments. Prepare for greater scrutiny, and build in some extra time to shop around.13

 

 

IS IT THE RIGHT TIME FOR ME TO MAKE A MOVE?

 

The reality is, there's no "one size fits all" answer as to whether it's a good time to buy or sell a home because everyone's circumstances are unique. But now that you know the state of the market and what you can expect as you shop for real estate, consider the following questions:

 

Why do you want or need to move?

 

It's important to consider why you want to move and if your needs may shift over the next year. For example, if you need a larger home for your growing family, your space constraints aren't likely to go away. In fact, they could be amplified as you spend more time at home.

 

However, if you're planning a move to be closer to your office, consider whether your commute could change. Some companies are rethinking their office dynamics and may encourage their employees to work remotely on a permanent basis.

 

 

How urgently do you need to complete your move?

 

If you have a new baby on the way or want to be settled before schools open in the fall, we recommend that you begin aggressively searching as soon as possible. With fewer homes on the market and a lengthier closing process, it's taking longer than usual for clients to find and purchase a home.

 

However, if your timeline is flexible, you may be well-positioned to score a deal. We're seeing more highly-incentivized sellers who are willing to negotiate on terms and price. Talk to us about setting up a search so we can keep an eye out for any bargains that pop up. And get pre-qualified for a mortgage now so you'll be ready to act quickly.

 

If you're eager to sell this year, now is the time to begin prepping your home for the market. A second wave of infections is predicted for the winter, which could mean another lockdown.14 If you wait, you might miss your window of opportunity.

 

 

How long do you plan to stay in your new home?

 

The U.S. real estate market has enjoyed steady appreciation since 2012, which made it fairly easy for owners and investors to buy and sell properties for a profit in a short period of time. However, with home values expected to remain relatively flat over the next year, your best bet is to buy a home you can envision yourself keeping for several years. Fortunately, at today's rock-bottom mortgage rates, you can lock in a low interest rate and start building equity right away.

 

 

Can you meet today's higher standards for securing a mortgage?

 

Mortgage lenders are tightening their standards in response to the growing number of mortgage forbearance requests. Many have raised their minimum credit score and downpayment requirements for applicants. Even if you've been pre-qualified in the past, you should contact your lender to find out if you meet their new, more stringent standards.

 

 

Is your income stable?

 

If there's a good chance you could lose your job, you may be better off waiting to buy a home. The exception would be if you're planning to downsize. Moving to a less expensive home could allow you to tap into your home equity or cut down on your monthly expenses.

 

 

WHEN YOU'RE READY TO MOVE—WE'RE READY TO HELP

 

While uncertain market conditions may give pause to some buyers and sellers, they can actually present an opportunity for those who are willing, able, and motivated to make a move.

 

Your average spring season would be flooded with real estate activity. But right now, only motivated players are out in the market. That means that if you're looking to buy, you're in a better position to negotiate a great price. And today's record-low mortgage rates could give a big boost to your purchasing power. In fact, if you've been priced out of the market before, this may be the perfect time to look.

 

If you're hoping to sell this year, you'll have fewer listings to compete against in your neighborhood and price range. But you'll want to act quickly. Economists expect a surge of eager buyers to enter the market in July—so you should start prepping your home now. And keep in mind, a second wave of coronavirus cases could be coming in this winter. Ask yourself how you will feel if you have to face another lockdown in your current home.

 

Let's schedule a free virtual consultation to discuss your individual needs and circumstances. We can help you assess your options and create a plan that makes you feel both comfortable and confident during these unprecedented times.

 

 

The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be financial advice. Consult a financial professional for advice regarding your individual needs.

 

 

Sources:

  1. Forbes - https://www.forbes.com/sites/ellenparis/2020/05/08/latest-housing-market-update-from-realtorcom/#20bf7829113e
  2. HousingWire -
    https://www.housingwire.com/articles/realtor-com-housing-market-will-bounce-back-this-year-but-the-rebound-will-be-short-lived/
  3. Curbed -
    https://www.curbed.com/2019/1/10/18139601/recession-impact-housing-market-interest-rates
  4. com -
    https://www.realtor.com/research/weekly-housing-trends-view-data-week-may-9-2020/
  5. com -
    https://money.com/coronavirus-real-estate-home-prices/
  6. Fannie Mae -
    https://www.fanniemae.com/resources/file/research/emma/pdf/Housing_Forecast_051320.pdf
  7. HousingWire -
    https://www.housingwire.com/articles/pending-home-sales-tumble-on-covid-19-shock/
  8. HousingWire -
    https://www.housingwire.com/articles/zillow-predicts-small-home-price-drop-through-rest-of-2020/
  9. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis -
    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CSUSHPINSA
  10. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau -
    https://www.consumerfinance.gov/coronavirus/cares-act-mortgage-forbearance-what-you-need-know/
  11. Bankrate -
    https://www.bankrate.com/mortgages/federal-reserve-and-mortgage-rates
  12. National Association of Realtors -
    https://www.nar.realtor/sites/default/files/documents/2020-05-11-nar-flash-survey-economic-pulse-05-14-2020.pdf
  13. Forbes -
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/alyyale/2020/04/17/buying-a-home-during-the-pandemic-dont-expect-your-everyday-home-purchase/#fadad3d33b0c
  14. Washington Post -
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/04/21/coronavirus-secondwave-cdcdirector/
March
31

#StayHome: How to Create Functional Spaces in Your Home During the Coronavirus Outbreak

 

Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), many of us are spending a lot more time at home. We're all being called upon to avoid public spaces and practice social distancing to help slow the spread of this infectious disease. While it can be understandably challenging, there are ways you can modify your home and your lifestyle to make the best of this difficult situation.

 

Here are a few tips for creating comfortable and functional spaces within your home for work, school, and fitness. We also share some of our favorite ways to stay connected as a community, because we're all in this together … and no one should face these trying times alone.

 

 

Begin with the Basics

 

A basic home emergency preparedness kit is a great addition to any home, even under normal circumstances. It should include items like water, non-perishable food, a flashlight, first aid kit, and other essentials you would need should you temporarily lose access to food, water, or electricity.

 

Fortunately, authorities don't anticipate any serious interruptions to utilities or the food supply during this outbreak. However, it may be a good time to start gathering your emergency basics in a designated location, so you'll be prepared now-—and in the future—should your family ever need them.

 

Ready to start building an emergency kit for your home? Contact us for a free copy of our Home Emergency Preparation Checklist!

 

 

Working From Home

 

Many employees are being asked to work remotely. If you're transitioning to a home office for the first time, it's important to create a designated space for work … so it doesn't creep into your home life, and vice versa. If you live in a small condominium or apartment, this may feel impossible. But try to find a quiet corner where you can set up a desk and comfortable chair. The simple act of separating your home and work spaces can help you focus during work hours and "turn off" at the end of the day.

 

Of course, if you have children who are home with you all day (given many schools and daycares are now closed), separating your home and work life will be more difficult. Unless you have a partner who can serve as the primary caregiver, you will need to help manage the needs of your children while juggling work and virtual meetings.

 

If both parents are working from home, try alternating shifts, so you each have a designated time to work and to parent. If that's not an option, experts recommend creating a schedule for your children, so they know when you're available to play, and when you need to work.1 A red stop sign on the door can help remind them when you shouldn't be disturbed. And for young children, blocking off a specific time each day for them to nap or have independent screen time can give you a window to schedule conference calls or work uninterrupted.

 

 

Homeschooling Your Children

 

Many parents with school-aged children will be taking on a new challenge: homeschooling. Similar to a home office, designating a space for learning activities can help your child transition between play and school. If you're working from home, the homeschooling area would ideally be located near your workspace, so you can offer assistance and answer questions, as needed.

 

If possible, dedicate a desk or table where your child's work can be spread out—and left out when they break for meals and snacks. Position supplies and materials nearby so they are independently accessible, and place a trash can and recycling bin within reach for easy cleanup. A washable, plastic tablecloth can help transition an academic space into an arts and crafts area.

 

 If the weather is nice, try studying outside! A porch swing is a perfect spot for reading, and gardening in the backyard is a great addition to any science curriculum.

 

In addition to creating an academic learning environment, find age-appropriate opportunities for your children to help with household chores and meal preparation. Homeschooling advocates emphasize the importance of developing life skills alongside academic ones.2 And with more meals and activities taking place at home, there will be ample opportunity for every family member to pitch in and help.

 

 

Staying Fit

 

With gyms closed and team sports canceled, it can be tempting to sit on the sofa and binge Netflix. However, maintaining the physical health and mental wellness of you and your family is crucial right now. Implementing a regular exercise routine at home can help with both.

 

If you live in a community where you can safely exercise outdoors while maintaining the recommended distance between you and other residents, try to get out as much as possible. If the weather is nice, go for family walks, jogs, or bike rides.

 

Can't get outside? Fortunately, you don't need a home gym or fancy exercise equipment to stay fit. Look for a suitable space in your home, garage, or basement where you can comfortably move—you'll probably need at least a 6' x 6' area for each person. Many cardio and strength training exercises require little (or no) equipment, including jumping jacks, lunges, and pushups.

 

And if you prefer a guided workout, search for free exercise videos on YouTube—there are even options specifically geared towards kids—or try one of the many fitness apps available.

 

 

Socializing From a Distance

 

Even though we're all being called upon to practice "social distancing" right now, there are still ways to stay safely connected to our communities and our extended families. Picking up the phone is a great place to start. Make an effort to reach out to neighbors and loved ones who live alone and may be feeling particularly isolated right now.

 

And while parties and playdates may be prohibited, modern technology offers countless ways to organize networked gatherings with family and friends. Try using group video conferencing tools like Google Hangouts and Zoom to facilitate a virtual happy hour or book club. Host a Netflix Party to watch (and chat about) movies with friends. Or plan a virtual game night and challenge your pals to a round of Psych or Yahtzee.

 

There are safe ways to connect offline, too. Rediscover the lost art of letter writing. Drop off groceries on an elderly neighbor's porch. Or organize a neighborhood "chalk walk," where children use sidewalk chalk to decorate their driveways and then head out for a stroll to view their friends' artwork.

 

Of course, there's one group of people who you can still socialize with freely—those who reside in your home. Family dinners are back, siblings are reconnecting, and many of us have been given the gift of time, with commutes, activities, and obligations eliminated. In fact, some families are finding that this crisis has brought them closer than ever.

 

 

YOU ARE NOT ALONE

 

Even with all of the tools and technology available to keep us connected, many of us are still feeling stressed, scared, and isolated. However, you can rest assured that you are not alone. We're not only here to help you buy and sell real estate. We want to be a resource to our clients and community through good times and bad. If you and your family are in need of assistance, please reach out and let us know how we can help.

 

 

 

Sources:

  1. CNBC -
    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/16/how-to-work-from-home-with-your-kids-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.html

TheHomeSchoolMom.com -
https://www.thehomeschoolmom.com/benefits-of-homeschooling-2/

February
7

2020 Outlook: Real Estate Market Forecast

We're in the midst of the longest economic expansion in U.S. history, and economists think there's still room to grow. A recent survey by the National Association for Business Economics found that experts believe the U.S. economy will remain positive throughout 2020.1

 

Still, given that recessions are a natural (and necessary) part of a business cycle, we know this period of growth will inevitably end. So you may be wondering … how will an eventual recession impact the real estate market?

 

Many Americans assume a recession would lead to a decline in housing prices like we saw during the Great Recession of 2008. But the real estate market crash we experienced wasn't typical. In fact, the last recession wasn't typical at all. It was the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

 

ATTOM Data Solutions analyzed real estate prices during the last five recessions and found that, in the majority of cases, home prices actually went up. Only twice (in 1990 and 2008) did prices decline, and in 1990 it was by less than one percent.2

 

So what can historical precedent—combined with today's data—tell us about the future of real estate? Here's where experts predict the housing market is headed in 2020 and beyond.

 

 

HOME PRICES WILL KEEP RISING

 

Economists predict U.S. housing prices will continue to rise, regardless of a recession. In fact, property data firm CoreLogic forecasts a faster rate of growth for home prices in 2020 than we saw in 2019, with the biggest gains at the lower end of the market.3

 

Arch MI Chief Economist Ralph DeFranco expects entry-level home prices to increase faster than incomes this year, making it even more difficult for many first-time buyers to afford to enter the market.4

 

"Low interest rates and a shortage of starter homes will continue to push up prices," predicts DeFranco. "This is especially the case for lower price points, since builders have tended to focus on more expensive, higher-profit houses and less on replenishing low inventories of entry-level homes."4

 

"Real estate is on firm ground with little chance of price declines," said National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. "However, in order for the market to be healthier, more supply is needed to assure home prices as well as rents do not consistently outgrow income gains."5

 

What does it mean for you? If you have the ability and desire to buy a home now, don't let a fear of recession or falling prices hold you in limbo. Economists expect home values, as well as rent prices, to continue rising. So you'll likely pay more the longer you wait.

 

 

INVENTORY CONSTRAINTS WILL CONTINUE

 

According to Redfin, Americans are staying in their homes longer. In 2019, the average homeowner had resided in their home for 13 years, up from just eight years in 2010. That means there are fewer homes available today for those who want to buy.6

 

It's possible that an increase in new construction could offer some relief. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) expects single-family housing starts to total one million this year, the highest level since 2007. And NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun predicts the average price of new construction will decline slightly as builders shift to building smaller, more affordable homes.7

 

However, these efforts may not be enough to meet current demand. "Despite improvements to new construction and short waves of sellers, next year will once again fail to bring a solution to the inventory shortage," predicts Realtor.com Senior Economist George Ratiu. "In 2020, we expect inventory to struggle to grow and could instead reach a historic low level."8

 

What does it mean for you? If you're looking to buy a starter home, be prepared to compete for the best listings. Start your search early, and if you're up against a deadline (like a new baby), build in plenty of time to find the right home. We can help you assess your options, including new construction and up-and-coming developments.

 

 

MORTGAGE RATES WILL REMAIN LOW

 

Mortgage rates have declined more than a full percentage point since November 2018, when they hit a recent peak of 4.94%.9 The Mortgage Bankers Association predicts rates will remain low, at around 3.7%, through mid-2021.10

 

While it may not seem significant, on a $200,000 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, that lower rate means buyers could save around $145 on their monthly payment and more than $52,000 over the life of their mortgage. Lower mortgage rates make homeownership more accessible and affordable for buyers.

 

Although economists expect mortgage rates to stay low, they caution against waiting to act. Economic factors, shifts in supply and demand, or unforeseen impacts of the November election could cause rates to rise unexpectedly. "We recommend borrowers with long-term plans of staying in their homes to lock in a low rate now because there's no telling how long these low rates will last," warns Preetam Purohit, a capital markets trader at Embrace Home Loans.11

 

What does it mean for you? If you're looking to buy a home, act soon to lock in a historically low mortgage rate. It will minimize your monthly payment and could save you a bundle over the long term. And if you plan to stay in your current home for a while, consider whether it makes sense to refinance your mortgage at today's lower rates.

 

 

MILLENNIALS WILL DRIVE THE MARKET

 

Millennials are expected to account for more than half of all mortgages this year, outnumbering Generation X and Baby Boomers combined. It's not surprising, considering their age and stage of life. In 2020, the largest cohort of millennials will turn 30, and the oldest millennials will turn 39.8

 

"Family changes tend to drive home-buying decisions," explains Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale. "Millennials are going to be active in the housing market not just because they're just at the age when they're thinking about becoming first-time home buyers, but they're also in the age range when they're having kids."12

 

Younger millennials flocked to urban centers that offered easy access to work, shopping, and restaurants. But high prices, lack of square footage, and subpar schools are driving millennials out to the suburbs as they begin to marry and expand their families.

 

In response, a new model for suburban living has emerged. "Hipsturbias," or mixed-use communities that bring the live/work/play concept to the suburbs, were recently named one of the top real estate trends for 2020 by the Urban Land Institute.4

 

What does it mean for you? If you're a millennial who has been priced out of urban living or is looking for more space for your growing family, a number of suburbs in our area have a lot to offer. We can point you towards the communities that will best meet your needs. And if you're a homeowner with plans to sell, give us a call. We know how to market your home to millennials … and can help you sell quickly for top dollar by appealing to this leading market segment!

 

 

WE'RE HERE TO GUIDE YOU

 

While national real estate numbers can provide a "big picture" outlook, real estate is local. As local market experts, we can guide you through the ins and outs of our market and the issues most likely to impact sales and home values in your particular neighborhood.

 

If you're considering buying or selling a home in 2020, contact us now to schedule a free consultation. We'll work with you to develop an action plan to meet your real estate goals this year.

 

START PREPARING TODAY


If you plan to BUY this year:

 

  1. Get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you plan to finance part of your home purchase, getting pre-approved for a mortgage will give you a jump-start on the paperwork and provide an advantage over other buyers in a competitive market. The added bonus: you will find out how much you can afford to borrow and budget accordingly.
  2. Create your wish list. How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need? How far are you willing to commute to work? What's most important to you in a home? We can set up a customized search that meets your criteria to help you find the perfect home for you.
  3. Come to our office. The buying process can be tricky. We'd love to guide you through it. We can help you find a home that fits your needs and budget, all at no cost to you. Give us a call to schedule an appointment today!

 

If you plan to SELL this year:

 

  1. Call us for a FREE Comparative Market Analysis. A CMA not only gives you the current market value of your home, it will also show how your home compares to others in the area. This will help us determine which repairs and upgrades may be required to get top dollar for your property, and it will help us price your home correctly once you're ready to list.
  2. Prep your home for the market. Most buyers want a home they can move into right away, without having to make extensive repairs and upgrades. We can help you determine which ones are worth the time and expense to deliver maximum results.
  3. Start decluttering. Help your buyers see themselves in your home by packing up personal items and things you don't use regularly and storing them in an attic or storage locker. This will make your home appear larger, make it easier to stage ... and get you one step closer to moving when the time comes!

 

Sources:

  1. NBC News -
    https://www.nbcnews.com/business/economy/what-impending-recession-new-survey-shows-most-people-think-they-n1098511
  2. Curbed -
    https://www.curbed.com/2019/1/10/18139601/recession-impact-housing-market-interest-rates
  3. HousingWire -
    https://www.housingwire.com/articles/corelogic-expects-home-prices-to-do-this-in-the-next-12-months/
  4. Forbes -
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/alyyale/2019/11/15/2020-housing-outlook-expert-predictions-for-mortgage-rates-home-prices-tech-and-more/#343ea4522935
  5. National Association of Realtors -
    https://www.nar.realtor/newsroom/expect-continued-economic-growth-slower-real-estate-price-gains-and-small-chance-for-recession-in
  6. Redfin -
    https://www.redfin.com/blog/homeowners-staying-in-their-homes-longer/
  7. HousingWire -
    https://www.housingwire.com/articles/builders-are-coming-to-the-housing-markets-rescue/
  8. com -
    https://www.realtor.com/research/2020-national-housing-forecast/
  9. YCharts -
    https://ycharts.com/indicators/30_year_mortgage_rate
  10. MBA Mortgage Market Forecast November 2019 -
    https://www.mba.org/news-research-and-resources/research-and-economics/forecasts-and-commentary
  11. Dallas Morning News -
    https://www.dallasnews.com/sponsored/real-estate/2019/11/23/experts-predict-where-mortgage-interest-rates-land-in-2020/

Realtor.com -
https://www.realtor.com/news/trends/biggest-changes-coming-in-2020-real-estate-and-tips-for-buyers-and-sellers/

December
16

Gifts and Gadgets for Every Room in the House

Are you searching for new and innovative gift ideas this holiday season? If so, check out our list of the hottest home technology offerings. We've selected a few of our favorites for every room in the house.

 

These smart systems and devices add comfort, convenience, and a "cool factor" that will delight your friends and family.  So think about who you know that loves the latest gadgets … or add a few of these to your own wish list!

 

 

ENTRYWAY

Ensure the safety of your loved ones with these smart security upgrades.

 

Smart Lighting

Ring, a company best known for its video doorbells, has added smart lights to its series of integrated devices. The Ring Smart Light System includes motion sensors, pathlights, spotlights, and even step lights, which can be turned on and off using voice commands when paired with an Amazon Alexa device. Users may opt to receive a notification when motion is detected on the premises, and—if integrated with Ring security cameras—access a live video stream for an added layer of security. Systems start at $69.99.

 

Video Doorbell

Video doorbells have become an increasingly popular security enhancement for homes, and for a good reason. Homeowners can detect activity at their front door while away, view visitors via video stream, and communicate without opening the door. Since Ring released its first smart doorbell in 2013, a number of competitors have entered the market. The Nest Hello Video Doorbell has some unique features—like facial recognition, package detection, and pre-recorded quick responses—that place it near the top of the pack. Retails for $229.

 

Smart Lock

Smart locks are a great way to ensure your friends and family are never left out in the cold, and the August Smart Lock Pro+ Connect is among the most highly rated. It's one of the easiest models to install because it pairs with an existing deadbolt. The Smart Lock Pro enables a user to lock and unlock their door remotely with an app on their phone. And with the auto-lock/unlock feature, it can be set to open automatically upon approach and relock after entry. Retails for $279.

 

 

 

LIVING ROOM

These fun and functional gifts are perfect for anyone who is big on style—but short on time.

 

Automated Planter

Caring for household plants is easier than ever with the latest advancements in technology. Perfect for frequent travelers or forgetful friends, the Dewplanter uses moisture in the air to water plants without manual intervention. Now nature lovers can enjoy the beauty and health benefits of houseplants without the hassle. Plus, for each unit sold, the company pledges to plant a tree somewhere it's needed. Retails for $69.50.

 

Smart Art

Instead of buying your favorite art lover a single painting, why not give him or her 30,000? With the Meural Canvas, you can access an extensive collection of artwork from around the world to display digitally in your own home. Meural utilizes proprietary technology to deliver an anti-glare matte display that automatically adjusts to the lighting in the room. Personal artwork and photographs can be showcased, as well. Retails for $445 with annual membership.

 

Motorized Shades

Motorized window coverings aren't new, but a lower price point and enhanced features have helped to boost their popularity. The latest Motorized Shades from Somfy can be preprogrammed to raise or lower at certain times of day or controlled on-demand via a remote, smartphone app, or voice command when paired with Amazon Alexa or Google Home. They can also be set to operate automatically in response to the amount of sunlight or temperature of the room. Contact a dealer for pricing.

 

 

KITCHEN

These kitchen gadgets make life a little easier and a lot more enjoyable. They're perfect for your busiest friends and family members!

 

Pressure Cooker

Have you jumped on the multi-cooker bandwagon yet? If so, you know how fast and simple these multifunctional appliances make meal preparation. The InstantPot Duo is a pressure cooker, sauté pan, steamer, slow cooker, rice cooker, food warmer, and yogurt maker all-in-one. It reduces cooking time and lowers energy consumption. Who wouldn't love one of these versatile tools? With numerous cookbooks and blogs devoted to InstantPot recipes, the meal options are virtually endless. Retails for $99.95.

 

Cocktail Machine

Cocktail connoisseurs will appreciate the ease and convenience of the Bartesian Premium Cocktail Machine. Listed among "Oprah's Favorite Things" for 2019, the Bartesian mixes drinks with the touch of a button. Simply fill the canisters with base spirits, choose a cocktail capsule, and the machine does the rest. Now you can mix a margarita, whiskey sour, cosmopolitan, and other favorites as easily as you brew a cup of coffee. Retails for $349.

 

Smart Refrigerator

Kitchens are often called the "heart of the home," and a new refrigerator from Samsung aims to be the hub. The Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator helps busy families stay organized. Grocery shopping becomes a breeze with built-in cameras that allow owners to peek inside their fridge from anywhere. The interactive touchscreen displays pictures, notes, and reminders for family members. And the integrated SmartThings app enables users to control smart devices and appliances from a central point. Base model starts at $3,099.

 

 

BEDROOM

Almost nothing beats a good night's sleep. Help your loved ones wake up refreshed with these smart devices for the bedroom.

 

Baby Sleep Soother

As any parent knows, when your baby isn't getting sleep, neither are you. Help everyone in the family catch some z's with a Bubzi Co Soothing Owl. This cuddly creature plays lullabies while projecting a starry scene on the bedroom wall to calm young children and help them drift off to sleep. And for every purchase, Bubzi Co makes a donation to Postpartum Support International. Retails for $30.95.

 

Sunrise Alarm Clock

Know someone who hates getting up in the morning? Alarm clocks that utilize light instead of a noisy alarm can provide a more peaceful transition in and out of sleep. The Philips SmartSleep Connected Sleep and Wake-Up Light includes customizable sunrise and sunset simulation, guided breathing exercises, and sensors that track room conditions, like temperature, humidity, noise, and light. Retails for $199.95.

 

Smart Thermostat

Temperature fluctuations during the night can disrupt sleep. The Nest Learning Thermostat uses smart technology to track a user's preferences and build a schedule around them. Homeowners can place one of its integrated sensors in their bedroom to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the night. And Nest thermostats cut energy consumption, so they'll rest easier knowing they're saving the planet and money on utility bills . Retails for $249.

 

 

BATHROOM

Bathrooms don't have to be boring. Technology can add flair to the daily routine.

 

Waterproof Speaker

Music enthusiasts and podcast fans will enjoy streaming their favorites in the shower with a wireless waterproof speaker. The Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 is a mid-priced and versatile option that can go from the bath to the beach. It packs an impressive 13-hour battery life in a small, portable case that's waterproof, dust-proof, and floatable. Retails for $99.99.

 

Digital Smart Scale

A scale isn't an appropriate gift for everyone, but diet and fitness enthusiasts may appreciate the high-tech features available with the Withings Body+. It tracks weight, body water, and fat, muscle, and bone mass for up to eight users. It can also be set to display local weather and the previous day's step count. Customized pregnancy and baby modes make this a suitable choice for a growing family, as well. Retails for $99.95.

 

Vanity TV Mirror

For a truly luxe bathroom addition, consider an integrated vanity television mirror. The Seura TV Mirror seamlessly incorporates video into a bathroom vanity. It's vanishing glass technology makes it possible to view the television through a mirror. When turned off, the screen completely disappears. Add lighting or a custom frame to complete the look. Starts at $3,099 for a 19" display.

 

 

OUR GIFT TO YOU

Are you considering a permanent technology upgrade for your own home? Give us a call first! Buyer expectations and preferences vary depending on price point, architectural style, and neighborhood. We can help you determine how the enhancement will impact the value of your home before you make the investment.

November
26

5 Steps to Finding Your Next Home

5 Steps to Finding Your Next Home

Whether you're a first-time buyer or a seasoned homeowner, shopping for a new home can feel daunting. In fact, 56% of buyers said that "finding the right property" was the most difficult step in the home buying process.1

Buying a home is a significant commitment of both time and money. And a home purchase has the power to improve both your current quality of life and your future financial security, so the stakes are high.

Follow these five steps—and complete the corresponding worksheet offered below—to assess your priorities, streamline your search, and choose your next home with confidence.

STEP 1: Set Your Goals and Priorities

The first step to finding your ideal home is determining WHY you want to move. Do you need more space? Access to better schools? Less maintenance? Or are you tired of throwing money away on rent when you could be building equity? Pinpointing the reasons why you want to move can help you assess your priorities for your home search. 

Don't forget to think about how your circumstances might change over the next few years. Do you expect to switch jobs? Have more children? Get a pet? A good rule of thumb is to choose a house that will meet your family's needs for at least the next five to seven years.Be sure to set your goals accordingly.

 

STEP 2: Determine Your Budget

Many financial professionals recommend following the "28/36 Rule" to determine how much you can afford to spend on a home. The rule states that you should spend no more than 28% of your gross monthly income on housing expenses (e.g., mortgage, taxes, insurance) and a maximum of 36% of your gross monthly income on your total debt obligations (i.e., housing expenses PLUS any other debt obligations, like car loans, student loans, credit card debt, etc.).3

Of course, the 28/36 rule only provides a rough guideline. Getting pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage BEFORE you begin shopping for homes will give you a much more accurate idea of how much you can borrow. Add your pre-approved mortgage amount to your downpayment to find out your maximum purchasing potential.

STEP 3: Choose a Location

When it comes to real estate, WHERE you choose to buy is just as important as WHAT you choose to buy.

Do you prefer a rural, urban, or suburban setting? How long of a commute are you willing to make? Which neighborhoods feed into your favorite schools? These decisions will impact your day-to-day life while you live in the home.

Another important factor to consider is how the area is likely to appreciate over time. Choosing the right neighborhood can raise the profit potential of your home when it comes time to sell. Look for communities that are well maintained with high home-ownership rates, low crime rates, and access to good schools, desired retail establishments, and top employers.4

 

STEP 4: Decide Which Features You Need (and Want) in a Home

Start with the basics, like your ideal number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and square footage. Do you prefer a one-story or two-story layout? Do you want a swimming pool?

Keep in mind, you may not find a home with all of your "wants," or even all of your "needs" … at least not at a price you can afford. The reality is, most of us have to make a few compromises when it comes to buying a home.

Some buyers will opt for a longer commute to get a larger, newer home in the suburbs. Others will sacrifice hardwood floors or an updated kitchen so that their kids can attend their desired school. 

If you're faced with a tough choice about how or what to compromise in your home search, return to STEP 1. What were your original goals and motivations for moving? Reminding yourself of your true priorities can often provide the clarity that you need.

 

STEP 5: Meet with a Real Estate Agent

A good real estate agent can remove much of the stress and uncertainty from the home search process. From setting goals to securing a loan to selecting the best neighborhood to meet your needs, we will be there to assist you every step of the way.

And no one has more access to home listings, past sales data, or market statistics than a professional agent. We can set up a customized search that alerts you as soon as a new listing you might like goes live. Better yet, we get notified about many of the hottest homes even BEFORE they hit the market.

You might guess that the VIP service we provide is very expensive. Well, the good news is, we can represent you throughout the entire home buying process at NO COST to you. It's true; the home seller pays a buyer agent's fee at closing. So you can benefit from our time, experience, and expertise without paying a dime. It's no wonder 87% of buyers choose to purchase their home with the help of an agent.1

And although we've listed it here as STEP 5, the reality is, it's never too early (or too late) to contact an agent about buying a home. Whether you plan to buy today, next month, or next year, there are steps you can (and should) be taking to prepare for your purchase.

Call us today to schedule a free consultation!

 

The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only.  It is not intended to be financial advice. Consult a financial professional for advice regarding your individual needs.

 

Sources:

  1. NAR 2019 Home Buyers & Sellers Generational Trends Report – https://www.nar.realtor/sites/default/files/documents/2019-home-buyers-and-sellers-generational-trends-report-08-16-2019.pdf
  2. Architectural Digest – https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/this-is-how-long-you-should-live-in-your-house-before-selling-it
  3. Investopedia – https://www.investopedia.com/terms/t/twenty-eight-thirty-six-rule.asp
  4. Money Talks News – https://www.moneytalksnews.com/20-clues-youre-buying-home-the-right-neighborhood/

 

November
26

DEHOFF REALTORS® Welcomes Laura Lewis

DEHOFF REALTORS® Welcomes Laura Lewis

 

North Canton, Ohio – DEHOFF REALTORS® welcomes Laura Lewis to its team of real estate professionals.  As an entrepreneur and business owner, she is similar to a one-woman show complete with sales experience and management leadership skills.  Lewis specializes in customer service, interpersonal and communication skills, as well as multi-tasking while remaining organized and detail oriented. 

 

"I believe that a successful realtor has the ability to build personal relationships while truly understanding what a client desires in a home.  I've learned to listen to my clients in order to fully grasp their wants and needs and deliver results," says Lewis.

 

Lewis earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business from The University of Akron.  She is a licensed esthetician and has owned Canterbury Spa in North Canton since 2011.  Lewis enjoys health and fitness activities, including yoga, biking, and walking trails.

 

Choose a REALTOR® who does it all and delivers results.  Contact Lewis at 330-844-5447 or llewis@dehoff.com.

 

DEHOFF REALTORS® has been serving the real estate needs of the greater Akron-Canton region since 1962.  DEHOFF REALTORS® is founded on the principles of uncompromising ethics and a dedication to serving each client, customer, employee and sales professional with high quality, ethical service that exceeds expectations.  DEHOFF REALTORS® full-time real estate professionals have received numerous awards both nationally and locally.  The DEHOFF REALTORS® corporate office is located at 821 South Main Street in North Canton.  To contact a real estate professional, call 330-499-8153.

October
2

National Snapshot: How's the Real Estate Market?

The U.S. unemployment rate is at a 50-year low, and consumer confidence remains high. In fact, the University of Michigan's latest Surveys of Consumers found that Americans have their most positive personal finance outlook since 2003.1

 

However, if you follow national news, you've probably heard speculation that we could be headed toward a recession. Global trade tensions and a slow down in the GDP growth rate have sparked volatility in the stock market, leading to economic uncertainty.

 

Given these differing signals, you may be wondering: How has the U.S. housing market been impacted? Where is it headed? And more importantly … what does it mean for me?

 

 

MORTGAGE RATES ARE NEAR HISTORIC LOWS

 

In August, Freddie Mac reported that the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate hit its lowest level since November 2016, falling to 3.6%, down a full percentage point from a year earlier.2 Variable mortgage rates also fell when the Federal Reserve cut interest rates at the end of July for the first time since 2008.3

 

This was welcome news for many in the real estate industry. Freddie Mac predicts that low interest rates and a robust job market will help the housing market remain strong despite the threat of recession.

 

"There is a tug of war in the financial markets between weaker business sentiment and consumer sentiment," said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac's chief economist. "Business sentiment is declining on negative trade and manufacturing headlines, but consumer sentiment remains buoyed by a strong labor market and low rates that will continue to drive home sales into the fall."2

 

What does it mean for you? If you're looking to buy a home, now is a great time to lock in a low mortgage rate. It will shrink your monthly payment and could save you a bundle over the long term. Or if you plan to stay in your current home for a while, consider whether it makes sense to refinance your mortgage at today's lower rates.

 

 

PRICES CONTINUE TO RISE AT A MODEST PACE

 

According to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices, housing prices continue to rise. But the rate at which prices are rising is slowing down. For May 2019, the National Home Price Index rose by 3.4%, down from 3.5% the previous month.4

 

Of course, national averages often don't present the whole picture. Some markets have seen modest declines, while other areas are witnessing double-digit increases. The key differentiating factor in most cases? Housing affordability.5

 

Since 2012, home prices have increased at about three times the pace of wages, according to National Association of Realtors chief economist Lawrence Yun.

 

"Housing unaffordability will hinder sales irrespective of the local job market conditions," said Yun. "This is evident in the very expensive markets as home prices are either topping off or slightly falling."5

 

But what about all this talk of a recession? Will we see housing values plummet like they did in 2008? Economists say no.

 

If we look at history, the real estate crash experienced during the Great Recession isn't typical.

 

The recent Housing and Mortgage Market Review report from Arch Mortgage Insurance provides data to support this. "What we found is that the next recession is likely to be far less severe on the housing market than the last one. It's not that this time is different; it's that last time was really different from historic norms."6

 

"A large decline in national home prices is unlikely in the next recession," Arch economists write. "A persistent housing shortage should help cushion home price declines."6

 

What does it mean for you? If you have the ability and desire to buy a home now, don't let the threat of a recession hold you in limbo. The market is cyclical, and it will experience ups and downs. But over the long term, real estate has consistently proven to be a good investment.

 

 

STARTER INVENTORY REMAINS TIGHT WHILE LUXURY MARKET SOFTENS

 

As we've seen in the past, it's become a tale of two sectors.

 

The low-end of the market remains highly competitive as buyers compete for affordable housing. A lack of new construction during the last recession led to an undersupply of starter homes. This trend continues—despite growing demand—due to a lack of skilled workers, rising land and material costs, and a slow permitting process in many areas.7

 

The result? There's a shortage of homes for sale that Americans can actually afford to buy.

 

The luxury market, on the other hand, has softened. Economic uncertainty, changes to tax laws, and rising prices have slowed demand. Plus, to recoup their higher costs, builders flocked to this segment—causing an overabundance of supply in some areas.

 

"If you're selling an entry level home, you're probably still looking at a pretty competitive market in most places," according to Danielle Hale, chief economist at Realtor.com. "But if you're selling a more expensive home you probably have to adjust your expectations."8

 

What does it mean for you? Move-up buyers, you're in luck! If you're ready to trade in your starter home for something more luxurious, you may get the best of both sectors. We're still witnessing strong demand for entry-level homes, giving sellers the upper hand. At the same time, buyers of high-end homes are finding a greater selection (and more negotiating power) than they've had in years.

 

 

INVESTORS ARE BUYING HOMES AT RECORD LEVELS

 

There's one group that hasn't been slowed down by lack of affordability or economic uncertainty: investors.

 

According to CoreLogic, investors are purchasing homes at a record pace. In 2018, the share of U.S. homes bought by investors reached 11.3%—the highest level since the company began tracking nearly 20 years ago.9

 

Notably, this increased activity wasn't led by institutional investors, but instead by small and individual investors focused on the starter-home segment.7 Declining interest rates and an uncertain stock market have led investors to flock to real estate as they seek out greater stability and higher returns.

 

"With declining mortgage rates … they're searching for a better return for their money," said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.10

 

What does it mean for you? If you're looking for a way to "recession proof" your money, you might want to consider investing in real estate. People will always need a place to live, and (unlike the stock market) a rental property can provide a steady source of cash flow during uncertain economic times.

 

 

WE'RE HERE TO GUIDE YOU

 

While national real estate numbers can provide a "big picture" outlook, real estate is local. As local market experts, we can guide you through the ins and outs of our market and the issues most likely to impact sales and home values in your particular neighborhood.

 

If you have specific questions or would like more information about how market changes could affect you, contact us to schedule a free consultation. We're here to help you navigate this shifting real estate landscape.

 

Sources:

  1. University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers -
    http://www.sca.isr.umich.edu/
  2. Freddie Mac -
    https://freddiemac.gcs-web.com/news-releases/news-release-details/mortgage-rates-drop-significantly?_ga=2.29332539.689041222.1565464527-928629548.1565464527
  3. CNN -
    https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/31/business/fed-rate-cut-july-meeting/index.html
  4. S&P Dow Jones Indices -
    https://us.spindices.com/documents/indexnews/announcements/20190730-965771/965771_cshomeprice-release-0730.pdf?force_download=true
  5. National Association of Realtors -
    https://www.nar.realtor/newsroom/metro-home-prices-increase-in-91-of-metro-areas-in-second-quarter-of-2019
  6. Forbes -
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/alyyale/2019/04/18/with-a-recession-looming-is-now-the-time-to-sell-your-home/#7d3a21665bce
  7. CNN -
    https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/09/economy/mortgages-home-buyers/index.html
  8. Forbes -
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/carolinefeeney/2019/07/01/halfway-into-2019-how-is-the-housing-market-holding-up/#7e656e3ec5d8
  9. CoreLogic -
    https://www.corelogic.com/blog/2019/06/special-report-investor-home-buying.aspx

Fox Business -
https://www.foxbusiness.com/economy/investors-snapping-up-homes-at-record-levels

September
19

DEHOFF REALTORS® Welcomes Andrey Legkiy

North Canton, Ohio – DEHOFF REALTORS® welcomes Andrey Legkiy to its team of real estate professionals.  Prior to his career in real estate, Legkiy worked in construction for 5 years.  In addition, he is a licensed CDL-A truck driver.  As a result of this experience, he developed skills in communication, customer service, good judgment, and time management, and learned how to excel in a deadline driven environment.  Legkiy specializes in commercial real estate.

 

"I love to expand my horizons and challenge myself," says Legkiy.  "My experience in construction and transportation logistics prepared me to thrive in the current fast-paced real estate market," he continues.

 

Legkiy is a graduate of Lake Local District Schools and studied at Stark State College.  He is actively involved with his church, enjoys going to the gym, and traveling. 

 

Choose a REALTOR® ready to rise to the challenge.  Contact Legkiy at 330-819-4915 or alegkiy@dehoff.com.

 

DEHOFF REALTORS® has been serving the real estate needs of the greater Akron-Canton region since 1962.  DEHOFF REALTORS® is founded on the principles of uncompromising ethics and a dedication to serving each client, customer, employee and sales professional with high quality, ethical service that exceeds expectations.  DEHOFF REALTORS® full-time real estate professionals have received numerous awards both nationally and locally.  The DEHOFF REALTORS® corporate office is located at 821 South Main Street in North Canton.  To contact a real estate professional, call 330-499-8153.

September
3

DEHOFF REALTORS® Welcomes Jennifer Nofer

North Canton, Ohio – DEHOFF REALTORS® welcomes Jennifer Nofer to its team of real estate professionals.  As a licensed REALTOR® working with both buyers and sellers, she earned the distinction of "million dollar producer" for the past several years in a row.  Prior to her career in real estate, Nofer gained sales experience working for her family-owned business for 12 years.

 

"I believe it is my duty to guide people through the buying and selling process with honesty and integrity," says Nofer.  "Building a lifelong relationship with clients is important to me," she continues.

 

Nofer earned her Real Estate Sales Certification from Hondros College of Business.  She is actively involved with First Christian Church in Canton, and volunteers with Plain Local Schools.  Nofer enjoys biking, reading, and traveling.  She cherishes time spent with her husband, Scott, her son, Brian, her daughter, Madelyne, and her son-in-law, Austen.

 

Choose an experienced REALTOR® who delivers results.  Contact Nofer at 330-268-2080 or jnofer@dehoff.com.

 

DEHOFF REALTORS® has been serving the real estate needs of the greater Akron-Canton region since 1962.  DEHOFF REALTORS® is founded on the principles of uncompromising ethics and a dedication to serving each client, customer, employee and sales professional with high quality, ethical service that exceeds expectations.  DEHOFF REALTORS® full-time real estate professionals have received numerous awards both nationally and locally.  The DEHOFF REALTORS® corporate office is located at 821 South Main Street in North Canton.  To contact a real estate professional, call 330-499-8153.

September
3

5 Step Strategy for Downsizing Your Home

In our "bigger is better" culture, there's an expectation that each home should be larger and grander than the last. But life changes like divorce, kids leaving for college, or even the simple act of growing older can prompt us to find a smaller home that better suits our shifting needs and lifestyle.

 

In fact, the advantages of downsizing are being increasingly recognized. A "tiny house movement" has gained passionate advocates who appreciate the benefits of living simply at any age and stage of life. Not only does a smaller home typically cost less, it also takes less time and effort to maintain.1

 

Whatever your reasons are for downsizing, the process can seem overwhelming. That's why we've outlined five steps to guide you on your journey. And in the end, we hope you'll find that less is more … more comfort, more security, and more time and energy to spend on the activities and the people that you love.  

 

 

5 STEPS TO DOWNSIZING SUCCESS

 

  1. Determine Your Goals and Limitations

The first step is to figure out your goals for your new living environment. Do you want to live closer to family? Are you hoping to cut down on home maintenance? Are you looking for a community with certain amenities?

 

You should also consider any limitations that will impact the home you choose. For example, are stairs an issue? Do you need access to medical care? In the case of divorce, are there child-custody issues you need to take into account?

 

Estimate how long you plan to stay in your new home. Do you expect your needs to change during that time?

 

Make a "wish list" of features and prioritize them from most to least important. If you'd like any assistance with this process, give us a call! We'd be happy to sit down with you for a free consultation. We can also help you assess the value of your current home so you can set a realistic budget for your new one.

 

  1. Find the Perfect New Home

Once you've established your "wish list," we can begin the search for your new home. As local market experts, we know the ins and outs of all the top communities in our area. We can help you determine the neighborhood and type of home that will best fit your wants and needs.

 

From family neighborhoods to retirement communities, we serve clients in all stages of life. If you or a loved one are in need of extended support, we can also share our knowledge of the assisted living facilities in town and help you identify those that offer the optimal level of care.

 

Are you planning to relocate out of town? We can refer you to a trusted real estate professional in your target area who can help you with your search.

 

  1. Sell Your Current Home

If you're ready to sell your current home, we'll begin the process of preparing to list it as we search for your new one.

 

We have a special interest in helping homeowners who are facing major life transitions, and we offer a full-service real estate experience that aims to remove as much of the stress and hassle of selling your home as possible. We also understand that many of our clients choose to downsize for financial reasons, so we employ tactics and strategies to maximize the potential sales revenue of your home.

 

We do this by employing our proven three-part approach, which focuses on optimum preparation, pricing, and promotion. As part of that plan, we invest in an aggressive marketing strategy that utilizes online and social media platforms to connect with consumers and offline channels to connect with local real estate agents. This ensures your property gets maximum exposure to prospective buyers.

 

  1. Sort and Pack Your Belongings

Even before you find your new home, you can begin preparing for your move. A smaller home means less space for your furniture and other possessions, so you will need to decide what to keep and what to sell or donate. Sorting through an entire house full of belongings will take time, so begin as early as possible.

 

Parting with personal possessions can be an extremely emotional process. Start with a small, unemotional space like a laundry or powder room and work your way up to larger rooms. Focus on eliminating duplicates and anything you don't regularly use. If you have sentimental pieces, family heirlooms, or just useful items you no longer need, think about who in your life would benefit from having them. For large collections, consider keeping one or two favorite pieces and photographing the rest to put in an album.2

 

Make sure the items you keep help you achieve the goals you outlined in Step 1. For example, if you want a home that's easier to clean, cut down on knickknacks that require frequent dusting. If you're moving to be closer to your grandchildren, choose the shatterproof plates over the antique china.

 

Allow yourself time to take breaks if you start to feel overwhelmed. If you're helping a loved one with a move, try to be a patient listener if they want to stop and share stories about particular items or memories throughout the process.3 This can be therapeutic for them and an opportunity for you to learn family history that may otherwise have been forgotten.

 

  1. Get Help When You Need It

Moving is stressful in any situation. But if you're downsizing due to health issues or a major life change, it can be an especially tough transition. Don't be afraid to ask for help.

 

Seek out friends and family members who can assist with packing and decluttering. If that's not an option, or if you need additional help, consider hiring a home organizer, full-service moving company, or even a senior move manager, which is a professional who assists older adults and their families with the physical and emotional aspects of relocation.4 You can find one accredited by the National Association of Senior Move Managers at https://www.nasmm.org/find/index.cfm.

 

If financial constraints are holding back, let us know. We can help you explore the possibility of tapping into the equity in your current home now. That way you can afford to get the assistance you need to make your transition as smooth as possible.

 

 

ARE YOU LIVING YOUR BEST LIFE?

If your current home no longer suits your needs, maybe it's time to consider a change. We would love to help you explore your options. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

 

 

Sources:

  1. The Tiny Life -
    https://thetinylife.com/what-is-the-tiny-house-movement/
  2. My Move -
    https://www.mymove.com/moving/senior-guide-downsizing/
  3. Daily Caring -
    https://dailycaring.com/5-tips-to-downsizing-for-seniors-keepsakes-mementos/
  4. National Association of Senior Move Managers -
    https://www.nasmm.org
July
17

Will Your Remodel Pay Off? The Best (and Worst) Ways to Spend Your Budget

Most new homeowners have something about their property that they want to change. And as family needs and design trends shift over time, many will eventually choose to remodel. Some homeowners make updates to their property before listing it to maximize their potential sales revenue.

 

Whatever your reasons are for taking on a home improvement project, it's wise to consider how the money you invest will impact your home's value.

 

We've taken a look at six popular home renovations and identified those that—on average—have the best and worst returns on investment. So before you lift a hammer or hire a contractor, take a look at this list and see if your remodeling efforts will reward you when it comes time to sell.

 

 

RENOVATIONS THAT PAY OFF

 

These three common home improvement projects not only add function and style to your home, but they also offer a strong return on investment. Making strategic upgrades to your property will help you increase its value over time.

 

Minor Kitchen Remodel

The kitchen is often referred to as the "heart of the home," and for good reason. Traditionally used for preparing food, it has morphed into so much more. Many of us now eat our family meals in the kitchen, it serves as a favorite spot for homework and kids' art projects, and it's the place guests tend to gather when we host events.

 

Because we spend so much time in our kitchens, it's natural that we will eventually want to make updates and upgrades to better suit our needs and changing style preferences.

 

Luckily, a minor kitchen remodel is one of the best investments you can make in your home. According to Remodeling Magazine's annual Cost vs. Value Report, it has an average 80.5% return on investment.1

 

The key to making a kitchen remodel pay off is to keep it modest in scale. Spend too much on custom or high-end selections, and you are less likely to recoup your investment. Instead, make an effort to keep your existing layout if it works for you and your family. Paint or reface cabinets instead of replacing them. Update countertops with low-maintenance quartz and swap out old light fixtures with modern alternatives. Replace outdated appliances with energy-efficient models. The average cost for a minor kitchen remodel is $22,500, and it's likely to recoup more than $18,000 at resale.1

 

Wood Deck Addition

A deck addition is a popular way to extend and enhance the use of your outdoor space. It's the perfect spot for grilling, dining alfresco, and entertaining. In fact, 81% of surveyed homeowners said they have a greater desire to be home since completing a deck addition.2

 

For a 16 x 20-foot wood deck, you can expect to spend around $13,000. Fortunately, the money you invest offers an average return of 76%.1

 

Decks made of composite material are a popular alternative these days, as they don't require the regular sanding and staining that wood decks need. However, at an average cost of $19,000 for a 16 x 20-foot composite deck, they are significantly more expensive. Plus, the expected return on investment is only 69%.1 Still, if you plan to hire someone to provide regular maintenance to a wood deck, then a composite deck may offer cost savings over time.

 

 

Siding Replacement

Everyone knows good curb appeal is important when selling your home. And while it may not be the most exciting way to spend your remodeling budget, new siding can make a big impression on buyers … and your selling price.

 

Your home's exterior is one of the first things buyers see when they view your home. It sets the tone for what they are going to see inside. It also gives an impression of how well the property has been maintained. Worn, peeling, or rotted siding can be a major red flag for buyers.

 

Replacing 1,250 square feet of siding costs around $16,000 and will net you an average of 76% at resale.1

 

For an even greater impact, consider replacing a portion of your siding with manufactured stone veneer. It can have a dramatic effect on the visual appeal of your home. A 300 square foot area will run you around $8,900, but you can expect to see a nearly 95% return when it comes time to sell.1

 

 

RENOVATIONS WITH WEAK RETURNS

 

These three popular remodeling projects are homeowner favorites. However, don't expect to see a high rate of return at resale. Instead, consider them an investment in your current quality of life. Just make sure you'll be living in the home long enough to make them worthwhile.

 

Major Kitchen Remodel

If there's one room the majority of homeowners dream about making over, it's their kitchen. From custom cabinetry to high-end appliances, the possibilities are endless. But those dreams can come at a cost.

 

An upscale kitchen remodel with high-end cabinetry and countertops, commercial-grade appliances, and designer features can cost upwards of $130,000. And unfortunately, you'll only get back around 60% at resale. Even a mid-range kitchen remodel that includes new semi-custom wood cabinets, laminate countertops, and energy-efficient appliances could run you around $66,000 and net you a mere 62% at resale.1

 

Of course, an outdated or non-functional kitchen could turn buyers off from your home completely …  and keep you from enjoying it yourself! So if your kitchen needs a major remodel, you shouldn't necessarily scrap your plans. Just go in with the realization that you may only get back a fraction of what you invest. Then you can decide which upgrades are worth the splurge.

 

In-ground Pool         

Few additions deliver more entertainment or enjoyment than an in-ground pool. It brings families and friends together, provides a break from the summer heat, and offers a fun and convenient way to stay fit. Plus, you'll be the envy of your neighbors! But before you dive into a pool addition, consider whether the benefits outweigh the (substantial) costs.

 

The average expense to install a standard 18 x 36-foot in-ground pool is $57,500. And the estimated return at resale is only or 43%.2 In addition to the installation cost, plan to spend money each year on maintenance, repairs, and additional insurance.

 

However, 92% of surveyed homeowners said they "have a greater desire to be home" since installing a pool, and 83% have "an increased sense of enjoyment when they are at home." For you and your family, the perks of a pool may be priceless.2

 

Master Suite Addition

If you own a house built before the 1980s, there's a good chance it lacks a master suite, which is a feature that has become commonplace in most newly constructed homes.3

 

Master bedrooms have evolved from a simple place to sleep into a homeowner's retreat—often featuring a sitting area, his-and-hers walk-in closets, and an attached bathroom with double vanities, a soaking tub, and a walk-in shower.

 

And master suite additions have become increasingly popular—both in homes that lack one as well as those with aging owners who can no longer accommodate stairs to an upper-level bedroom.

 

But what's the typical return at resale? Unfortunately, a master suite addition offers one of the lowest returns of any remodeling project. With a median cost of $125,000, most sellers will only recoup around 52% of their investment. Nevertheless, in a survey of homeowners, the majority were satisfied with their decision to add a master suite, giving it a "Joy Score" of 10 out of 10.4

 

 

WEIGHING COST VS. BENEFIT

 

It's always wise to enter into a remodeling project with knowledge of how it will impact your home's value. In most cases, upscale or highly-customized upgrades are less likely to offer a high rate of return. That said, home renovations that improve your quality of life and enhance your enjoyment may be worthwhile no matter the cost.

 

 

GET A CUSTOMIZED ANALYSIS OF YOUR PROJECT

 

We've been talking averages. But the truth is, the actual return you can expect on a home improvement project will vary depending on your particular home and neighborhood. If you have plans to remodel, call or send us the details. We'd be happy to conduct a free analysis to determine how the renovations will impact the value of your home!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

  1. 2019 Cost vs. Value Report -https://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2019/
  2. NAR' Remodeling Impact Report - https://www.nar.realtor/sites/default/files/documents/2018-05-remodeling-impact-outdoor-features-05-23-2018.pdf
  3. Zillow -https://www.zillow.com/blog/evolution-of-the-master-bedroom-48286/
  4. House Logic -https://www.houselogic.com/by-room/bedroom-closet/master-suite-addition-return-investment/
June
24

Top 6 Home Organization Upgrades that "Spark Joy" for Buyers

Thanks to Marie Kondo and her hit Netflix series "Tidying Up," home organization is a hot topic right now. Marie encourages her viewers to minimize their possessions and keep only those items that "spark joy."

With spring in full bloom, now is the perfect time to do some spring cleaning and add organizational systems to your own home. Not only will you clear out clutter, your efforts can actually increase the value of your home.

Ready to give it a try? Here are six home organization ideas that will "spark joy" for you and your property value.
 

Boost Bathroom Storage Capacity

When was the last time you cleaned out your bathroom cupboards? If it's been awhile, remove everything and take a look at each item. Toss any old or expired products—keep only what you actually use.

If your vanity has drawers, add drawer organizers, so you have a dedicated space for smaller items, like makeup and jewelry. For deep cabinets, install roll-out shelves or baskets to maximize the use of space.

And don't forget about the walls! Mount open shelves to store towels. If you're short on storage space, a cabinet over the toilet can offer additional room for supplies. These inexpensive additions can make your morning routine a little easier while giving your bathroom a more custom feel. And on average, minor bathroom remodeling projects like these see a 102% return at resale.1


Upgrade Your Laundry Room

Sort through the items in your laundry room and throw away or donate anything you no longer need or use. If you've been holding onto a collection of old washcloths and single socks, it's time to say goodbye. Then give your laundry room an upgrade with some customized organizational features.

A mix of open cubbies and cabinets with doors will give you plenty of options for storing detergents and supplies. If you have space, a divided hamper or set of laundry baskets can provide a place to sort your clothes before washing. Install a hanging rod or drying rack for delicates and a flat work surface for ironing and folding clothes. With a few simple tweaks, you can turn this chore into a score!


Fully Utilize Your Basement or Attic

Basements and attics can easily become a dumping ground for clutter. If that's the case in your home, you know what to do!

Once you've conducted a thorough clean out, think about how you can better utilize the space to meet your family's needs. Install cabinets and a table so you can use the area as a craft room. Or you could turn it into a game room with a media center and ping-pong table. Investing in your basement will not only add function for your family, but also the average basement remodel can see up to a 70% return on investment when it's time to sell.2

If you have an attic, consider adding a cedar closet to store your off-season clothing. The cedar lining will keep your clothes free from moths and smelling fresh year round.3 Turning your attic into a more usable space will pay off down the road, too. A finished attic sees an estimated 60% return on investment.2
 

Customize Your Closets

Cleaning out the closet is a chore most of us dread, but by now, you're a pro! Get rid the clothes and shoes that don't fit you, are uncomfortable to wear, or that no longer "spark joy."

Then it's organizing time. So where do you start? You'll want to create a designated space for each type of clothing: high hanging rods for dresses and long jackets, lower rods for skirts and shirts, and shelves for folded items like jeans. And accessories need a place to go, too. Add racks for your shoes, drawers for jewelry, hooks for hats, and shelves or racks for handbags.

A well-equipped closet can be a major draw for buyers—the average return on a closet remodel is 57%.4 But more importantly, it'll improve your day-to-day life. Surveyed homeowners gave their closet remodel a "Joy Score" of 10 out of 10, higher than kitchen or bath upgrades.5


Install Built-in Bookcases and Cabinets

Built-in furniture adds functionality and storage to a room while giving your home a high-end look. Built-in bookcases can turn an empty room into an office. Custom cabinets can be used in a living room to display media equipment while providing hidden storage for DVDs, board games, and family albums.

When designing any built-in feature, remember not to go too custom. A design that only fits your tastes or belongings could turn off future buyers. Instead, select standard sizes and classic finishes to appeal to a broad range of buyers when it comes time to sell.

Equip Your Garage

If you can no longer fit your car in your garage, it may be time for a clean out. Similar to an attic or basement, the garage can quickly become overrun with clutter. A thorough cleaning will help you assess which items are worth keeping.

When adding organizational systems your garage, start with a small rack to store yard tools and larger racks for bikes and sports equipment. Overhead racks are a great place to put seasonal items and bulky luggage. A workbench against a wall lined with pegboard and hooks creates a dedicated space to use and store tools. If you have children or pets, add a cabinet with a lock. This will give you a place to securely store harsh chemicals and sharp tools. With a little effort, you'll be pulling in your car (and buyers) in no time!


SPRING INTO ACTION

If you're searching for service providers to help with your spring cleaning or home organization efforts, let us know! We can connect you with our trusted network of local home improvement professionals. We can also help you determine which organizational upgrades will add the most value to your home. Call us today, and let us know how we can help!

Sources:

  1. HGTV -
    https://www.hgtv.com/design/real-estate/top-home-updates-that-pay-off-pictures
  2. Nationwide -
    https://blog.nationwide.com/valuable-home-improvements/
  3. HGTV -
    https://www.hgtv.com/remodel/interior-remodel/maximum-home-value-storage-projects--attic
  4. The Closet Doctor - https://www.closet-doctor.com/news/what-is-the-return-on-investment-on-closet-organizers
  5. NAR Remodeling Impact Survey -
    https://www.nar.realtor/sites/default/files/documents/2017-remodeling-impact-09-28-2017.pdf
April
23

Top 10 Myths That Trip Up First-Time Home Buyers

 

If you're thinking about buying a home, you've probably received your share of advice from family and friends. Add to that the constant stream of TV shows, news segments, and social media posts that over-simplify the home buying process for easy entertainment.

 

With so much information to sift through, it can be tough to distinguish fact from fiction. That's why we're revealing the truth behind some of the most common home buyer myths and misconceptions.

 

Buying a home is a big decision, but it doesn't have to be a scary one. If you arm yourself with knowledge and a qualified team of support professionals, you'll be well equipped to make the right choices for your family and financial future.

 

 

DON'T FALL FOR THESE COMMON HOME BUYER MYTHS

 

Myth #1: You need a 20% down payment.

Plenty of buyers are purchasing homes with down payments that are much less than 20% of the total cost of the property. Today, you can buy a home with as little as 3-5% down.

 

There are multiple programs out there that allow you to have a lower down payment, and a lender or mortgage broker can talk you through which option is the best for you. Since you're putting less money down, you're a riskier borrower to your lender than people who put down a full 20%. Because of this, you will most likely need to pay mortgage insurance as part of your monthly payment.

 

Myth #2: Real estate agents are expensive.

Your agent is with you every step of the way throughout your home buying journey, and he or she spends countless hours working on your behalf. It sounds like having an agent is expensive, right? Well, not for you. Buyers usually don't pay a real estate agent's commission. Your agent's fee is paid for at closing by the seller of the home you're buying.1 The seller knows to factor this cost into the property's total purchase price.

 

Myth #3: Don't call a real estate agent until you're ready to buy.

The earlier you bring in an agent to help with the purchasing process, the better. Even if you're in the very early stages of casually browsing Zillow, a real estate professional can be a huge help.

 

They can create a search for you in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), so you get notifications for every house that meets your criteria as soon as it hits the market. The MLS is typically more up-to-date than popular home search sites like Zillow and Trulia. Setting up a search a few months before you're considering buying gives you a good idea of what's out there in your town that's in your budget. Reviewing the MLS and speaking with an agent as soon as possible can help you set realistic expectations for when you actually start the house hunting process.


Myth #4: Fixer-uppers are more budget friendly.

We've all watched the shows on HGTV that encourage people to go after fixer-uppers because they're more affordable and allow buyers to eventually renovate the home to include everything on their wishlist. But, this isn't always the case.

 

Sometimes, homes that need a lot of work also require a lot of money. Big renovations, like add-ons, a total kitchen remodel, or installing a pool, take a lot longer than it looks on TV. If you're really interested in a fixer-upper, ask your agent to show you a mix of newer homes and older homes. If you fall in love with an older home that needs a lot of work, get some quotes from contractors before you buy so you know the real cost of the renovations and see if you can work them into your budget.

 

Myth #5: Your only upfront cost is your down payment.

Your down payment is big, but it isn't the only money you'll spend during the home buying process. At closing, you'll pay your down payment, but you'll also bring closing costs to the table. Closing costs are typically anywhere from 2-4% of the total purchase price of the home.2 This amount includes the cost for items like homeowners insurance, title fees, and more.

 

You'll also need to pay for an inspection before closing, which usually costs a few hundred dollars. This price will be higher or lower based on the size of your new property. Your lender will also require an appraisal. An appraiser will come in and inspect the home to determine how much it's worth. Depending on your lender, you may have to pay this when the appraisal is conducted or it might be rolled into your closing costs.

 

Myth #6: You need a high credit score to buy a house.

You don't need perfect credit to buy the perfect home. There are loans out there that buyers with lower credit scores can qualify for. These are good options for people who have had credit issues in the past, but some of them come with additional fees you will need to pay. Speak to a few local lenders or mortgage brokers to talk through which options might be best for you.


Myth #7: You can't qualify for a mortgage if you're still paying off student loans.

While some buyers may feel more comfortable paying off their existing debts before taking the leap into homeownership, it's not a requirement. When you're applying for a mortgage, the lender takes a close look at your debt-to-income ratio.3 If you want to calculate this on your own, add up all of your monthly debt payments and divide those by your monthly income. When you're lender does this, they're trying to make sure that you will be able to afford your monthly mortgage payments along with your other existing payments. If your income is high enough to allow you to make all of these payments each month, having a student loan will most likely not stop you from getting a mortgage.

 

Myth #8: You should base your budget on what your lender approves.

How much house you qualify for and how much you can afford are two totally different numbers. When you prequalify for a mortgage, your lender will look at your income, debt, assets, credit score, and financial history to determine how much money you might qualify for.4 For some people, this number might be much higher than you thought because lenders tend to approve for the highest amount they think you can afford. But that doesn't mean that's how much you should borrow.

 

Instead, figure out how much house you can actually afford. An online mortgage calculator can be a good first step in determining this number. We recommend thinking about what you want your monthly payment to be as a starting point. And remember to include your principal, interest, taxes, and, insurance. You should also think about ownership expenses that aren't part of your monthly payment, like HOA dues and maintenance.


Myth #9: It's all about location.

You've heard the phrase. Location, location, location is basically the real estate industry's motto, but we'll let you in on a little known secret: It's not always true. Yes, location is great to consider when it comes to school districts and commute times, but you also need to think about how the home will function for you and/or your family's lifestyle. If a family of five is choosing between a one bedroom condo in the bustling city center and a 4-bedroom home out in the suburbs, the latter is probably the best, most functional choice for them. Also, by buying in a less sought after neighborhood, your property taxes will most likely be much lower!

 

Obviously, you might still want to choose an area with great resale potential, and this is something that your agent can speak to you about. They're an expert in your city and are constantly monitoring buying and selling trends.

 

Myth #10: If you look hard enough, you'll find a home that checks every box on your wishlist.

You've seen that famous house hunting show. And while we have our suspicions about how real it is, the one thing they get right is that almost every buyer needs to compromise on something. Yes, the perfect house that meets every item on your wishlist is probably out there, but it's also probably double or triple your budget.

 

A long wishlist can be a great starting point for figuring out what you want and don't want, but we recommend narrowing that wishlist down to the top five things that are important to you in order of priority. We also recommend noting on your wishlist what your absolute deal breakers are, like "must have a yard for our dog," and noting what you can live without, like "heated bathroom floors."

 

This is a great list to discuss when you first start talking to an agent. A good real estate agent will be able to look at your list and find properties that might work for you. By coming to that first meeting with realistic expectations and knowledge about home buying rather than a bunch of myths heard here and there, you'll be able to start the process off on the right foot and be in your new house in no time.

 

 

WE'RE HERE TO HELP

 

Whether you're a first-time buyer or a seasoned homeowner, there's no reason to go through the home buying process without an advocate on your side. We're here to answer your questions and do the hard work for you, so you can spend your time dreaming about your new home. Call us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

 

 

Sources:

  1. Realtor.com -

https://www.realtor.com/advice/finance/realtor-fees-closing-costs/

  1. The Balance -
    https://www.thebalance.com/buyer-s-closing-costs-1798422
  2. StudentLoanHero -

https://studentloanhero.com/featured/student-loans-buying-house/

  1. Zillow -

https://www.zillow.com/mortgage-learning/pre-qualification-vs-pre-approval/

March
18

What's Your Home Actually Worth?

It's easy to look up how much money you have in your savings account or the real-time value of your stock investments. But determining the dollar value of a home is trickier.

 

As a seller, knowing your home's worth helps you price it correctly when you put it up for sale. If you price it too high, it may sit on the market. But price it too low and you may be losing out on a good chunk of money (nobody wants that!). For buyers, it's important to know a home's worth before you make an offer. You want your offer to be competitive, but you don't want to overpay for the property.

 

Even if you're not a buyer or seller right now, as a current homeowner you might just be curious about the value of your home. Keeping track of your home's worth year over year helps you understand the trends in your market. So when you are ready to sell, you can take advantage of a good window of opportunity.

 

The good news is, a trained real estate agent—who understands the nuances of your particular neighborhood—can determine the true market value of your property … and at no cost to you!

 

 

THE THREE TYPES OF HOME VALUES

 

When you start the process of buying or selling a home, you'll frequently hear the words appraised value, assessed value, and true market value. It's important to know the difference between each one so you can make better, informed decisions.

 

Appraised Value

A professional appraiser is in charge of determining the appraised value of a home. These appraisals are typically required by a lender when a buyer is financing the property. And while the lender is the one requiring this information, the appraiser does not work for the lender.1 Your appraiser should be an objective, licensed professional who doesn't have allegiance to the buyer, seller, or lender—no matter who is paying their fee.

 

The number the appraiser comes up with (the appraised value) assures the lender that the buyer is not overpaying for the property. For example, imagine a seller lists a home for $400,000. They reach a deal with the buyer to sell the home for $375,000. However, if an appraiser evaluates the property and determines that the appraised value is actually $325,000, then the lender will not lend for an amount higher than that appraised value of $325,000.2

 

When figuring out this number, an appraiser will compare the property to similar homes in your neighborhood, and they'll evaluate factors such as location, square footage, appliances, upgrades, improvements, and the interior and exterior of the home. 

 

Assessed Value

The assessed value of a home is determined by your local municipal property assessor. This value matters when your county calculates property taxes each year. The lower your assessed value, the less property tax you'll pay.3

 

To come up with this value, your assessor will evaluate what comparable homes in the neighborhood have sold for, the size of your home, age, overall condition, and any improvements or upgrades that have been made. However, most assessors don't have full access to your home, so their information is limited.

 

Assessments are done annually to determine how much property tax you owe. Many counties use a multiplier (typically between 60%-80%) to calculate the final assessed value. So, if the assessor determines that the value of the home is $300,000, but the county uses a 70% multiplier, the assessed value of the home would be $210,000 for tax purposes.4

 

If your assessed value isn't as high as you envisioned, don't sweat it. Many homeowners appeal their assessment in favor of a lower valuation so that they can save money on property taxes. If you're interested in appealing your property tax assessment, let us know. We offer complimentary assistance and would be happy to help you build your case.

 

True Market Value

True market value is established by your real estate agent. It basically refers to the value that a buyer is willing to pay for the property. A good real estate agent is an expert in determining true market value because they have hands-on experience buying and selling properties. They understand the mindsets of buyers in your market and know what they'll pay for a desirable house, townhouse, or condo.

 

As a seller, knowing your true market value is important because it helps you choose how much to list your property for. It can also help you decide if you want to make any improvements to your home before putting it on the market. Your agent can help you figure out which updates and upgrades will have the biggest impact on your true market value.

 

 

WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH ONLINE CALCULATORS?

 

When figuring out your home's value, you might be tempted to see what popular real estate sites like Zillow, Redfin, and Trulia have to say. When you use an online calculator to determine your home's value on these sites, it is just an estimate. It's not an actual appraisal or the "true market value." These sites all have their own algorithms for coming up with their estimates. For example, Zillow comes up with their "Zestimates" by calculating "public and user-submitted data, taking into account special features, location, and market conditions." 5

 

These online estimates can be a great starting point for opening up the conversation with your real estate agent about your home's worth. But even Zillow recommends that you use a real estate agent for coming up with the actual market value of your home. The site says that once you get your "Zestimate," you should still get "a comparative market analysis from a real estate agent."

 

Having an agent involved in this process is essential because they understand the market better than a computer ever could. They're showing property in your city every single day, and they know the particular preferences of buyers and sellers in the area. Young professionals, large families, empty nesters, and other groups are all looking for different things in a home. A local agent has most likely worked with all of them, so they understand what every segment in your market is specifically looking for.

 

 

HOW AN AGENT FINDS YOUR HOME'S TRUE MARKET VALUE

 

So, how does an actual real estate agent determine true market value? They'll start by doing a comparative market analysis (CMA). This means they'll compare your home's features to similar properties in your area. For the CMA, the agent looks at the below factors to influence their assessment of your home's worth:6

 

  • Neighborhood sales - Your agent will look at similar, recently sold homes in your neighborhood to see what they sold for and what they have in common with your house.
  • The exterior - What does your home look like from the outside? Your agent will factor in curb appeal, the style of the house, the front and backyard, and anything else that impacts how the house looks to everyone walking and driving by.
  • The interior - This is everything inside the walls of the house. Square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, appliances, and more all influence the overall market value.
  • Age of the home - Whether you have a newer or older home affects the number your agent comes up with as part of their assessment.
  • Style of the home - The style of your home is important because buyers in different markets have different tastes. If buyers prefer ranch-style homes and you have one, then your home may sell for a premium (aka more money!).
  • Market trends - Because a local agent has so much experience in your market, they have their finger on the pulse of your area's trends and know what buyers are willing to pay for a property like yours.
  • Location, location, location - This one's probably the most obvious. Your agent will think about how popular the area is, how safe it is, and what schools are like.

 

A computer algorithm simply can't take all of these factors into account when calculating the value of your home. The reality is, nothing beats the accuracy of a real estate agent or professional appraiser when it comes to determining a home's true market value.

 

 

YOUR AGENT IS THERE EVERY STEP OF THE WAY

 

Determining a home's true market value is a real estate agent's forte. If you're a seller, your agent will help you find your home's market value so you can list it at the right price.

 

For buyers, your agent will help you determine the value so you can come up with a fair offer. Your agent can also set up a personalized home search on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for you so you'll receive emails of listings that meet your criteria. This will help you see what's out there in your city and how properties are being priced.

 

Get a Complimentary Report With Your Home's True Market Value

Curious about your home's true market value? Call us to request a free, no-obligation Comparative Market Analysis to find out exactly how much your home is worth!

 

 

Sources:

 

  1. Chicago Tribune -

https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/chi-ugc-article-what-is-the-difference-between-market-value-a-2013-09-30-story.html

  1. SFGATE -

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/market-value-vs-appraised-value-1206.html

  1. ValuePenguin -

https://www.valuepenguin.com/mortgages/what-is-the-assessed-value-of-a-house

  1. Movoto -

https://www.movoto.com/blog/homeownership/assessed-value-vs-market-value/

  1. Zillow -

https://www.zillow.com/how-much-is-my-home-worth/

  1. com -

https://www.realtor.com/advice/sell/assessed-value-vs-market-value-difference/

March
18

DEHOFF REALTORS® Welcomes Lloyd Morton

North Canton, Ohio – DEHOFF REALTORS® welcomes seasoned realtor, Lloyd Morton, to its team of real estate professionals.  Morton has been involved in more than 6,000 local transactions during his career in the real estate industry which spans over 30 years.  He specializes in new construction and working with "empty nester" buyers and sellers.

 

"Real estate is about more than just buying and selling homes.  Every real estate transaction is as unique as the individual," explains Morton.  "I look at the whole transaction, not just the house.  I want my clients to look back in five years and say 'we did it right!'" he continues.    

 

When not involved in a real estate transaction, Morton follows the real estate industry closely monitoring trends and current topics of interest, always working to expand his knowledge.  He enjoys reading, as well as the outdoors, and tries to get outside every day.  He follows all local sports teams from the high school level on up to professional sports.  His greatest joy is spending time with his family, especially with his grandchildren.

 

Choose a seasoned REALTOR® with 30 years and 6,000 local transactions worth of experience.  Contact Morton at 330-495-0623 or lmorton@dehoff.com.

 

DEHOFF REALTORS® has been serving the real estate needs of the greater Akron-Canton region since 1962.  DEHOFF REALTORS® is founded on the principles of uncompromising ethics and a dedication to serving each client, customer, employee and sales professional with high quality, ethical service that exceeds expectations.  DEHOFF REALTORS® full-time real estate professionals have received numerous awards both nationally and locally.  The DEHOFF REALTORS® corporate office is located at 821 South Main Street in North Canton.  To contact a real estate professional, call 330-499-8153.

February
19

Top 8 Home Design and Remodeling Trends for 2019

Top 8 Home Design and Remodeling Trends for 2019

 

 

If you're a current homeowner, or in the market to buy, you're probably curious about the latest trends in home design.

 

Sellers who make strategic updates before listing a property can generate increased interest from buyers and, in some cases, a premium selling price. And buyers should consider which features of a home will need updating immediately (or in the near future) so they can factor renovation costs into their overall budget.

 

Even if you have no immediate plans to buy or sell, we advise our clients to be thoughtful about the colors, materials, and finishes they select when planning a remodel. Making over-personalized or unpopular design choices could hurt a home's value when it does come time to sell. And selecting out-of-style or overly-trendy elements could cause your renovation to feel dated quickly.


To help, we've rounded up eight of the hottest home design trends for 2019. Keep in mind, not all trends will work well in every house. If you plan to buy, list, or renovate a property, consult a professional who can help you realize your vision and maximize the impact of your investment.

 

  1. WARMER PAINT COLORS


White and grey aren't going anywhere, but expect to see warmer tones and more earthy neutrals popping up in 2019. Cold whites are being replaced by warmer, softer whites. And warmer tones of grey have become a popular alternative to the cooler grays we were seeing earlier in the decade. Dove grey—with a lilac undertone—is a particular favorite with designers this year.

 

Sherwin Williams chose Cavern Clay, a warm terracotta, as its 2019 color of the year, while Behr selected Blueprint, a mid-tone blue. Benjamin Moore's selection is Metropolitan, a sophisticated grey.

 

If you're preparing to sell your home, consider a light, neutral paint color. Neutral colors provide a blank canvas upon which a buyer can envision placing their belongings, and lighter colors make a room appear larger and brighter.

 

 

 
 
 
2.)MIXED METALS

 

Don't feel limited to using one metallic finish throughout your home—or even throughout a single room. Designers are mixing metals in 2019, and their favorites include copper, brass, pewter, gunmetal, and matte black.

 

Experts suggest picking one metal hue to dominate your color palette and a contrasting tone to complement it. If your room has a warm color palette, choose a warm-hued primary metal, such as brass or copper. For cool palettes, choose a cool-toned metal, like pewter or stainless steel. You can also experiment with mixing finishes, such as polished and hammered copper.

 

From faucets to cabinet pulls to accent pieces, swapping out your old or dated fixtures is an easy—and relatively inexpensive—way to modernize your decor. Mixing metals adds depth and gives your room a more curated look.

 

3.)OUTDOOR ELEMENTS

 

Bringing outdoor elements into the home can help warm up a sterile space. And natural materials can soften a modern design esthetic.

 

Homeowners are increasingly looking for ways to incorporate these materials throughout their home. Especially popular right now: stone, copper, concrete, and wood. From concrete showers to agate stone tiles, designers are finding unexpected ways to bring the outside in.

 

One notable exception: granite countertops. Engineered quartz—a combination of ground quartz and resin—overtook natural granite stone as the most popular countertop material in 2018. This durable, low-maintenance, highly-customizable product has won over homeowners and designers alike.

 

 
4.)ALTERNATIVE APPLIANCES

 

Stainless steel has been the industry standard for years, but the market is trending toward variety and fresh alternatives. Homeowners have more options available than ever to personalize their kitchens with vibrant colors, black stainless, or modern white appliances. Another favorite? Integrated appliances that blend seamlessly into cabinetry. Built-in column refrigerators, which allow you to customize the design and size of your freezer and refrigerator, are becoming a "must-have" in high-end homes.

 

Advancements in technology have also brought a new wave of appliances to the market. Induction cooktops are replacing commercial gas ranges as a gourmet favorite. And french door ovens and steam ovens are also gaining in popularity—especially ones with smart features you can control from an app on your smartphone.

 

5.)COLORFUL KITCHENS

 

White will always be a classic choice, but color is finally coming back to kitchens. More homeowners are choosing cabinets in alternative neutrals like black, cream, and grey, along with colorful options like green and blue. Also popular? Wood cabinets in stains like warm chestnut and fruitwood.

 

Two-tone kitchen cabinets remain a homeowner favorite, as well. To incorporate this trend, try pairing darker lower cabinets with lighter upper cabinets or a colorful kitchen island with neutral-colored perimeter cabinets.
 
 
6.)OPEN SHELVING

 

Swapping upper kitchen cabinets for open shelves continues to be a popular choice in 2019. It's a cost-effective update that can make a kitchen feel larger and brighter. However, it's not a practical option for everyone. Before you commit, test it out by removing your cabinet doors for a few weeks. See how it feels to have your glasses and dishware on display.

 

Not ready to give up all your upper cabinet storage space? Replace just one or two upper cabinets with open shelves for a lower-commitment but still-updated look.

 

7.)STATEMENT TILE

The ubiquitous white subway tile is finally fading in popularity. In 2019, homeowners are gravitating toward more colorful choices, creative textures and finishes, and alternative shapes. Especially hot right now: hexagons, arabesques, diamonds, and Moroccan fish scales.

 

Natural stone remains a favorite, including marble, quartzite and river rock. But advancements in porcelain tile that mimics stone, and even concrete, has made it an attractive, affordable, and low-maintenance alternative.
 
8.)SHOWCASE CEILINGS

 

Once an afterthought, ceilings are taking center stage. While 2018 was all about statement walls, statement ceilings are shaping up to be the darling of 2019. Designers are using bold paint colors, wallpaper, intricate moldings, fabric, and other materials to transform a ceiling into something truly special.

 

Want to incorporate this trend without going too bold? Choose a classic design, like coffered or wooden beams. Or stick with wood paneling or tin tiles for a more timeless look. Even something as simple as painting a ceiling the same color as the walls can make your space feel more modern.

 

 

DESIGNED TO SELL

 

Are you contemplating a remodel? Want to find out how upgrades could impact the value of your home? Give us a call for a free consultation!

 

Buyer preferences can vary greatly by neighborhood and price range. We can share the insights we've gathered from working with buyers in this market … and offer tips on how to maximize the return on your remodeling investment. And if you're in the market to sell, we can run a Comparative Market Analysis on your home to find out how it compares to others in the area.

 

 

Want to learn more about how to stage your home to sell? Contact us here to request a free copy of our report: 10 Staging Secrets From the Pros for a Quick Sale at Top Dollar!

 

 

 

Sources:

  1. Decor Mag –
    https://www.decoraid.com/blog/home-design-trends-2019
  2. Gates Interior Design –
    https://gatesinteriordesign.com/hottest-new-kitchen-and-bath-trends-for-2019/
  3. House Beautiful –
    https://www.housebeautiful.com/home-remodeling/interior-designers/a24844028/home-trends-for-2019/
  4. Houzz –
    https://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/114552119/list/32-home-design-trends-that-will-rule-in-2019
  5. Invaluable –
    https://www.invaluable.com/blog/mixing-metals/
  6. Real Simple –
    https://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/decorating/decorating-tips-techniques/design-trends-2019-according-to-designers
  7. Sebring –
    https://sebringdesignbuild.com/top-trends-in-kitchen-design/
November
9

DEHOFF REALTORS® Welcomes Becky and Greg Wolfe

DEHOFF REALTORS® Welcomes Becky and Greg Wolfe

 

North Canton, Ohio – DEHOFF REALTORS® welcomes Becky and Greg Wolfe to its team of real estate professionals.  The husband and wife duo are successful real estate investors and property managers, and have joined forces to provide their clients with exceptional service.  The Wolfe's knowledge of the industry and hands on experience cultivated over the last 6 years are valuable tools to assist buyers find a home to fit their specific needs and to help sellers make their home stand out in the competitive market.

 

Both of the Wolfes care passionately about serving the local community.  Greg has served as a zoning commissioner for Plain Township since 2014.  In addition, he is the Vice President and President Elect of the Board of Trustees for Refuge of Hope, an organization located in downtown Canton which provides hot meals to men, women and children in a family-style setting, and offers homeless men a safe and clean dormitory-style shelter.  Greg will begin his term as President of the Board beginning in 2019.  Becky serves on the Board of Trustees for Tiqvah Hands of Hope, an organization which offers mentoring, tutoring, enrichment classes, and character development, as well as family style meals and a clothing boutique to underprivileged students in the city of Canton.

 

Greg graduated from Kent State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Arts and Sciences, and Becky earned her Master's degree in Physician Assistant Studies.  Becky and Greg both enjoy traveling and spending time with their family.  Becky also writes and blogs at simplyintentionallife.com, and loves to cook and read in her spare time while Greg likes to hit the lanes of the bowling alley.

 

If you're looking for a REALTOR® duo with years of industry knowledge and practical, hands on experience, contact Becky and Greg Wolfe at 330-705-8303, or bwolfe@dehoff.com and gwolfe@dehoff.com.

 

DEHOFF REALTORS® has been serving the real estate needs of the greater Akron-Canton region since 1962.  DEHOFF REALTORS® is founded on the principles of uncompromising ethics and a dedication to serving each client, customer, employee and sales professional with high quality, ethical service that exceeds expectations.  DEHOFF REALTORS® full-time real estate professionals have received numerous awards both nationally and locally.  The DEHOFF REALTORS® corporate office is located at 821 South Main Street in North Canton.  To contact a real estate professional, call 330-499-8153

November
5

"How's the Market?" What's Ahead for Real Estate

"How's the Market?"
What's Ahead for Real Estate

 

While no one can predict the future with certainty, most experts expect to see modest growth in the U.S. housing market for the remainder of this year and next. Inventory will remain tight, mortgage rates will continue to creep up, and affordability will remain a major issue in many parts of the country.

 

So what does that mean for home buyers and sellers? To answer that question, we take a closer look at some of the top indicators.

 

 

CONTINUED GROWTH IN HOUSING MARKET

 

There's good news for homebuyers! In many markets across the country, prices have begun to stabilize after a period of rapid appreciation. Nationwide, home sales experienced a slight decline of 1.6 percent in the second quarter, primarily due to higher mortgage rates and housing prices combined with limited inventory.

 

However, buyers who have been waiting on the sidelines in anticipation of a big price drop may be disappointed. Demand remains strong across the sector and prices continue to rise. The Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index reported a 6.2 percent annual gain in June, a healthy but sustainable rate of appreciation.1

 

In its latest Outlook Report, Freddie Mac forecasts continued growth in the housing market due to a strong economy and low unemployment rate, which dropped to 3.9 percent in July.

 

"The housing market hit some speed bumps this summer, with many prospective homebuyers slowed by not enough moderately-priced homes for sale and higher home prices and mortgage rates," according to Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac. "The good news is, the economy and labor market are very healthy right now, and mortgage rates, after surging earlier this year, have stabilized in recent months. These factors should continue to create solid buyer demand, and ultimately an uptick in sales, in most parts of the country in the months ahead."3

 

 

INVENTORY TO REMAIN TIGHT, NEW CONSTRUCTION MAY HELP

 

Experts predict that demand for housing will continue to outpace available supply, especially in the entry-level price range.

 

"Today, even as mortgage rates begin to increase and home sales decline in some markets, the most significant challenges facing the housing market stem from insufficient inventory accompanying unsustainable home-price increase," said National Association of Realtors (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun in a recent release.

 

"The answer is to encourage builders to increase supply, and there is a good probability for solid home sales growth once the supply issue is addressed," said Yun. Additional inventory will also help contain rapid home price growth and open up the market to prospective homebuyers who are consequently—and increasingly—being priced out. In the end, slower price growth is healthier price growth."4

 

With so much demand, why aren't more builders bringing inventory to the market? According to the National Association of Home Builders, a crackdown on immigration and tariffs on imported lumber have made home construction more difficult and expensive. Those factors—combined with the rising cost of land and increased zoning requirements—have put a damper on the industry overall.5

 

Still, there's evidence that a modest rise in the rate of new building projects may be on the way. Freddie Mac predicts new housing construction will increase slightly after a stall last quarter.2 And a recent report by Freedonia Focus Reports forecasts an annual increase in housing starts of 2.4 percent through 2022, led by an uptick in single-family homes.6 The boost in inventory should help drive sales growth and relieve some of the pent-up demand in tight markets.

 

While the current lack of inventory is generally preferred by sellers because it means less competition, a combination of high prices and rising interest rates has narrowed the pool of potential buyers who can afford to enter the market. Sellers should seek out real estate agents who utilize technologically-advanced marketing tactics to reach qualified buyers in their area.

 

 

AFFORDABILITY REACHES LOWEST LEVEL IN A DECADE

 

According to a recent report by Morgan Stanley, Americans are paying the most in monthly mortgage payments relative to their incomes since 2008.7 And prices aren't expected to come down any time soon.

 

"We believe that the current supply and demand environment will continue to push home prices higher, just at a decelerating pace," said John Egan, Morgan Stanley's Co-Head of U.S. Housing Strategy.

 

Fortunately, economists aren't concerned about affordability levels triggering another housing crisis, as lending standards are much higher today than they were during the run-up before the recession. According to credit reporting agency TransUnion, the share of homeowners who made mortgage payments more than 60-days past due fell in the second quarter to 1.7 percent, the lowest level since the market crash.7

 

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun agreed with this assessment in a recent statement. "Over the past 10 years, prudent policy reforms and consumer protections have strengthened lending standards and eliminated loose credit, as evidenced by the higher than normal credit scores of those who are able to obtain a mortgage and near record-low defaults and foreclosures, which contributed to the last recession."4

 

 

MORTGAGE RATES EXPECTED TO CONTINUE RISING

 

The Federal Reserve has taken measures to help keep the housing market—and the overall economy—from overheating. It has raised interest rates twice this year so far, causing mortgage rates to surge in the first half of the year.

 

Economists predict that the rise in mortgage rates will continue at a more gradual rate through this year and next. The U.S. weekly average mortgage rate rose from 3.99 percent in the first week of January to as high as 4.66 percent in May. Freddy Mac forecasts an average rate of 4.6 percent for 2018 and 5.1 percent in 2019.2

 

The good news is, mortgage rates still remain near historic lows and a whopping 14 points below the recorded high of 18.63 percent in the early 1980s.8 Buyers who have been on the fence may want to act soon to lock in an affordable interest rate ... before rates climb higher.

 

"Some consumers may be thinking that because mortgage rates are higher than they were a year ago, maybe I should just wait until rates fall down again," said NAR's Chief Economist Lawrence Yun in a recent speech. "Well, they will be waiting forever."9

 

 

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN FOR ME?

 

If you've been waiting to buy a home, you may want to act now. A shortage of available homes on the market means prices are likely to keep going up. And a lack of affordable rental inventory means rents are expected to rise, as well.

 

If you buy now, you will benefit from appreciating property values while locking in an historically-low interest rate on your mortgage. Waiting to buy could mean paying more for your home as prices increase and paying higher interest on your mortgage as rates continue to rise.

 

And if you're in the market to sell your home, there's no need to wait any longer. Prices have begun to stabilize, and rising interest rates could decrease the number of available buyers for your home. Act now to take advantage of this strong seller's market.

 

 

LET'S GET MOVING

 

While national real estate numbers and predictions can provide a "big picture" outlook, real estate is local. As local market experts, we can guide you through the ins and outs of our market and the issues most likely to impact sales and home values in your particular neighborhood.

 

If you have specific questions or would like more information about where we see real estate headed in our area, let us know! We're here to help you navigate this changing real estate landscape.

 

 

Sources:

  1. S&P Dow Jones Indices Press Release -
    https://www.spice-indices.com/idpfiles/spice-assets/resources/public/documents/766551_cshomeprice-release-0828.pdf?force_download=true
  2. Freddie Mac Outlook Report -
    http://www.freddiemac.com/research/forecast/20180827_strong_economic_growth.html
  3. DSNews -
    https://dsnews.com/daily-dose/08-28-2018/freddie-weighs-in-on-housing-market
  4. PR Newswire -
    https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/realtors-chief-economist-reflects-on-past-recession-whats-ahead-for-housing-300702632.html
  5. CNN Money -
    https://www.keyt.com/lifestyle/where-is-the-us-housing-market-headed-4-things-you-need-to-know/787471572
  6. PR Newswire -
    https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/us-housing-starts-to-rise-2-4-yearly-to-2022--300711989.html
  7. Business Insider -
    https://www.businessinsider.com/housing-affordability-slowing-market-sales-2018-8
  8. Value Penguin -
    https://www.valuepenguin.com/mortgages/historical-mortgage-rates

Times Free Press -
https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/business/aroundregion/story/2018/aug/14/despite-prospects-higher-mortgage-rateshousin/476979/

October
22

Karen Webster Joins DEHOFF REALTORS

North Canton, Ohio – DEHOFF REALTORS® announced today the addition of Karen Webster to its team of real estate professionals.  Before earning her real estate license, she harnessed customer service and sales skills through several positions in retail sales and management, and as a medical secretary.  Her role as a nanny and personal assistant for nearly a decade highlights her strong verbal and personal communication skills, a high level of energy, attention to detail, flexibility and trustworthiness; all skills highly valued in the real estate industry.  In addition, her professional photography background and training offer her clients an advantage when marketing a home for sale.

 

Webster is dedicated to serving the local community, and volunteers with the Stark County Hunger Task Force and Stark County Humane Society.  She is also an outspoken advocate for the Global Down Syndrome Foundation. 

 

In her free time, Webster enjoys spending time with her family, including her husband, 2 daughters, 2 step-daughters, and especially her 6 grandchildren.  She loves photography, gardening, cooking, exercising, and reading, as well as many outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, horseback riding and ziplining.

 

Choose your REALTOR® wisely, and select Webster as your professional home matchmaker.  Contact her today at 330-437-9255 or kwebster@dehoff.com.

 

DEHOFF REALTORS® has been serving the real estate needs of the greater Akron-Canton region since 1962.  DEHOFF REALTORS® is founded on the principles of uncompromising ethics and a dedication to serving each client, customer, employee and sales professional with high quality, ethical service that exceeds expectations.  DEHOFF REALTORS® full-time real estate professionals have received numerous awards both nationally and locally.  The DEHOFF REALTORS® corporate office is located at 821 South Main Street in North Canton.  To contact a real estate professional, call 330-499-8153.

October
5

Free Real Estate Career Opportunities Seminar

 

To be held Tuesday, October 23rd at DEHOFF REALTORS®

 

North Canton, Ohio – "Today's Opportunities in Real Estate", a free, one hour, in-depth seminar covering career opportunities in the real estate industry will be presented by DEHOFF REALTORS® on Tuesday, October 23rd at 6:00-7:00 P.M. at the agency's corporate office located at 821 South Main Street in North Canton.

 

The session, which will feature Dave Maltese, General Sales Manager, and Linda DeHoff, President, will cover the ins and outs of the business, how it has changed during the past few years, and current opportunities within the industry.

 

The session will also focus on the real estate outlook for Stark and Summit Counties, as well as the training and the benefits that are available to real estate sales associates.

 

The free seminar is sponsored by DEHOFF REALTORS®, a firm that has been specializing in residential and commercial real estate for over fifty years.

 

Reservation necessary and limited seats are available.  Contact the agency's Career Advisor at

(330) 305-5202, (330) 305-5203, ldehoff@dehoff.com or dmaltese@dehoff.com to reserve a seat.

 

DEHOFF REALTORS® has been serving the real estate needs of the greater Akron-Canton region since 1962.  DEHOFF REALTORS® is founded on the principles of uncompromising ethics and a dedication to serving each client, customer, employee and sales professional with high quality, ethical service that exceeds expectations.  DEHOFF REALTORS® full-time real estate professionals have received numerous awards both nationally and locally.  The DEHOFF REALTORS® corporate office is located at 821 South Main Street in North Canton.  To contact a real estate professional, call 330-499-8153.

September
10

Mary Haupt Joins DEHOFF REALTORS

North Canton, Ohio – DEHOFF REALTORS® announced today the addition of Mary Haupt to its team of real estate professionals.  Those who work with her describe her as a hard-working team player who excels in fast-paced, deadline-driven environments.  Her experience in customer service and as an office support staff member helped her develop keen time management and communication skills, as well as instilled a dependable work ethic offering her clients an advantage during a real estate transaction.

 

"Buying or selling a home is a life changing decision with many emotional aspects," says Haupt.  "My job is to help clients navigate the process so they can focus on the positive parts of the experience while also providing the best possible outcome." 

 

Haupt is an alumna of Central Catholic High School, and graduated from Miami University with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology.  She earned her Real Estate Sales Certification from Hondros College of Business.  A self-proclaimed dog lover, she volunteers for the Stark County Human Society.  When not closing a real estate transaction or supporting the local arts, Haupt enjoys hiking, yoga, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

 

Choose a dependable REALTOR® who delivers results.  Contact Haupt at 330-323-5046 or mhaupt@dehoff.com.

 

DEHOFF REALTORS® has been serving the real estate needs of the greater Akron-Canton region since 1962.  DEHOFF REALTORS® is founded on the principles of uncompromising ethics and a dedication to serving each client, customer, employee and sales professional with high quality, ethical service that exceeds expectations.  DEHOFF REALTORS® full-time real estate professionals have received numerous awards both nationally and locally.  The DEHOFF REALTORS® corporate office is located at 821 South Main Street in North Canton.  To contact a real estate professional, call 330-499-8153.

August
21

Real Estate Relocation Guide: 7 Steps to a Seamless Move

Whatever your reasons are for relocating to a new area, the process can feel overwhelming.

Whether you're moving across across town or across the country, you'll be changing more than your address. Besides a new house, you may also be searching for new jobs, schools, doctors, restaurants, stores, service providers and more.

 

Of course you'll need to pack, make moving arrangements, and possibly sell your old home. With so much to do, you may be wondering: Where do I start?

 

In this guide, we outline seven steps to help you get prepared, get organized, and get settled in your new community. Our hope is to alleviate the hassle of relocating—so you can focus on the exciting adventure ahead!

 

 

  1. Gather Information

 

If you're unfamiliar with your new area, start by doing some research.1 Look for data on average housing prices, demographics, school rankings and crime statistics. Search for maps that illustrate local geography, landmarks, public transportation routes and major interstates. If you're moving across the country, research climate and seasonal weather patterns.

 

Check out local newspapers and blogs for information on political issues and developments that could impact your new community. You may also want to search for online forums and Facebook Groups relevant to your new area. These can be a great place to find information, ask questions and just observe local attitudes and outlooks.

 

If you're relocating for a job, find out if your new employer offers any relocation assistance. Many large corporations have a designated human resources professional to assist employees with relocation efforts, while others may contract this service out to a third party. Some employers will also cover all or a portion of your relocation and moving costs.

 

By gathering this information up front, you'll be better prepared to make informed decisions down the road.

 

Let us know if you'd like assistance with your information gathering process. We have a wealth of knowledge about this area, and we keep a number of reports and statistics on file in our office. We would be happy to share information and answer any questions you may have.

 

 

  1. Identify Your Ideal Neighborhoods

 

Once you've sufficiently researched your new area, you can start to identify your ideal neighborhoods.

 

The first step is to prioritize your "needs" and "wants." Consider factors such as budget; commute time; quality of schools; crime rate; walkability; access to public transportation; proximity to restaurants, shopping, and place of worship; and neighborhood vibe.

 

If possible, visit the area in person to get a feel for the community. If you're comfortable, strike up conversations with local residents and ask about their experiences living in the area.

 

Still not sure which neighborhood is the best fit for you and your family? Contact a local real estate agent for expert assistance. It's usually the most efficient and effective way to narrow down your options.

 

We provide neighborhood assessments and advice as a free service if you're relocating to our area. Or, if you're moving out of town, we can refer you to a local agent who can help.

 

 

  1. Find Your New Home (and Sell Your Old One)

 

Once you've narrowed down your list of preferred neighborhoods, it's time to start looking for a home. If you haven't already contacted a real estate agent, now is the time. They can search for current property listings that meet your needs, typically at no cost to you.

 

Create another list of "needs" and "wants," but this time for your new home. Include your basic requirements for square footage, bedrooms and bathrooms, but also think about what other factors are important to you and your family. An updated kitchen? A large backyard? Double sinks in the master bathroom?

 

Narrow your list down to your top 10 and prioritize them in order of importance.2 This will give you a good starting point to begin your home search. Unless you have an unlimited budget, don't expect to find a home with everything on your list. But having a prioritized list can help you (and your agent) understand which home features are the most important, and which ones you may be willing to sacrifice.

 

If you already own a home, you'll also need to start the process of selling it or renting it out. A real estate agent can help you evaluate your options based on current market conditions. He or she can also give you an idea of how much equity you have in your current home so you know how much you can afford to spend on your new one.

 

Your agent can also advise you on how to time your sale and purchase. While some buyers are able to qualify for and cover the costs of two concurrent mortgages, many are not. There are a number of options available, and a skilled agent can help you determine the best course given your circumstances.

 

We would love to assist you if you have plans to buy or sell a home in our area. Please contact us to schedule a free consultation so we can discuss your unique needs and devise a custom plan to make your relocation as seamless as possible. If you're relocating outside of our area, we can help you find a trusted agent in your new city.

 

 

  1. Prepare for Your Departure

 

While everyone considers packing a fundamental part of moving, we often overlook the emotional preparation that needs to take place. If you have children, this can be especially important. Communicate the move in an age-appropriate way, and if possible take them on a tour of your new home and neighborhood. This can alleviate some of the mystery and apprehension around the move.4

 

Allow yourself plenty of time to pack up your belongings. Before you start, gather supplies, including boxes, tape, tissue paper and bubble wrap. Begin with non-essentials—such as off-season clothes or holiday decorations—and sort items into four categories: take, trash, sell and donate/give away.5

 

To make the unpacking process easier, be sure to label the top and sides of boxes with helpful information, including contents, room, and any special instructions. Keep a master inventory list so you can refer back to it if something goes missing.

 

If you will be using a moving company, start researching and pricing your options. To ensure an accurate estimate of your final cost, it's best to have them conduct an in-person walkthrough. Make sure you're working with a reputable company, and avoid paying a large deposit before your belongings are delivered.6

 

If you plan to drive to your new home, map out the route. And, if necessary, make arrangements for overnight accommodations along the way. If driving is not a good option, you may need to have your vehicles transported and make travel arrangements for you, your family and your pets.

 

Lastly, if you will be leaving friends or family behind, schedule final get-togethers before your departure. The last days before moving can be incredibly hectic, so make sure you block off some time in advance for proper goodbyes.

 

Looking for a reputable moving company? We are happy to provide referrals, as well as recommendations on where to procure packing supplies in our area.

 

 

  1. Prepare for Your Arrival

 

To make your transition go smoothly, prepare for your arrival well before moving day. Depending on how long your belongings will take to arrive, you may need to arrange for temporary hotel accommodations. If you plan to move in directly, pack an "essentials box" with everything you'll need for the first couple of nights in your new home, such as toiletries, toilet paper, towels, linens, pajamas, cell phone chargers, snacks, pet food and a change of clothes.7 This will keep you from searching through boxes after an exhausting day of moving.

 

Arrange in advance for your utilities to be turned on, especially essentials like water, electricity and gas. (And while you're at it, schedule a shut-off date for your current utilities.) Update your address on all accounts and subscriptions and arrange to have your mail forwarded through the postal service. If you have children, register them for their new school or daycare and arrange for the transfer of any necessary records.

 

You may want to have the house professionally cleaned before moving in. And if you plan to remodel, paint or install new flooring, it's easier to have it done before you bring in all of your belongings.8 However, it's not always feasible without someone you trust locally who can supervise. Another option is to keep a portion of your things in storage while you complete some of these projects. 

 

If there are no window treatments, you may need to install some (or at least put up temporary privacy film), especially in bedrooms and bathrooms. And if appliances are missing, consider purchasing them ahead of time and arranging for delivery and installation shortly after you arrive. Just be sure to check measurements and installation instructions carefully so you aren't stuck with an appliance that doesn't fit or that requires costly modifications to your new home.

 

If you own a car, check the requirements for a driver's license and vehicle registration in your new area and contact your insurance company to update your policy.8 If you will rely on public transportation, research options and schedules.

 

If you're relocating to our area, we can help! We offer "VIP Relocation Assistance" to all of our buyer clients. Contact us for a list of preferred hotels, utility providers, housekeepers, contractors and more!

 

 

  1. Get Settled In Your New Home

 

While staring at an endless pile of boxes can feel daunting, you should take advantage of this opportunity to make a fresh start. By creating a plan ahead of time, you can ensure your new house is thoughtfully laid out and well organized.

 

If you followed our suggestion to pack an "essentials box" (see Step 5), you should have easy access to everything you'll need to get you through the first couple of nights in your new home. This will allow you some breathing room to unpack your remaining items in a deliberate manner, instead of rushing through the process.7

 

If you have young children, consider unpacking their rooms first. Seeing their familiar items can help them establish a sense of comfort and normalcy during a confusing time. Then move on to any items you use on a daily basis.10

 

Pets can also get overwhelmed by a new, unfamiliar space. Let them adjust to a single room first, which should include their favorite toys, treats, food and water bowl, and a litter box for cats. Once they seem comfortable, you can gradually introduce them to other rooms in the home.11

 

As you unpack, make a list of items that need to be purchased so you're not making multiple trips to the store. Also, start a list of needed repairs and installations. If you have a home warranty, find out what's covered and the process for filing a service order.

 

Although you may be eager to get everything unpacked, it's important to take occasional breaks. Have some fun, relax and explore your new hometown!

 

Need help with unpacking, organizing or decorating your new home? Contact us for a list of recommended professionals in our area. And when you're ready to start exploring local "hot spots," we'd love to fill you in on our favorite restaurants, stores, parks and other attractions!

 

 

  1. Get Involved In Your New Community

 

Studies show that moving can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression. People who have recently moved tend to be isolated socially, more stressed, and less likely to participate in exercise and hobbies. However, there are ways to combat these negative effects.12

 

First, get out and explore. In a 2016 study, recent movers were shown to spend less time on physical activities and more time on their computers, which has been proven to lead to feelings of depression and loneliness. Instead, get out of your house and investigate your new area. And if you travel by foot, you'll gain the advantages of fresh air and exercise.12

 

Combat feelings of isolation by making an effort to meet people in your new community. Find a local interest group, take a class, join a place of worship or volunteer for a cause. Don't wait for friends to come knocking on your door. Instead, go out and find them.

 

Finally, be a good neighbor. Make an effort to introduce yourself to your new neighbors, invite them over for coffee or dinner, and offer assistance when they need it. Once you've developed friendships and a support system within your new neighborhood, it will truly start to feel like home.

 

Want more ideas on how to get involved in your community? Contact us for a free copy of our report, "Welcome Home: 10 Tips to Turn Your Neighborhood Into a Hometown Haven."

 

 

LET'S GET MOVING

 

While moving is never easy, these seven steps offer an action plan to get you started on your new adventure. To avoid getting overwhelmed, focus on one step at a time. And don't hesitate to ask for help!

 

In a 2015 study, 61 percent of participants ranked moving at the top of their stress list, above divorce and starting a new job.13 But with a little preparation—and the right team of professionals to assist you—it is possible to have a positive relocation experience.

 

We specialize in assisting home buyers and sellers with a seamless and "less-stress" relocation. Along with our referral network of movers, handymen, housekeepers, decorators, contractors and other service providers, we can help take the hassle and headache out of your upcoming move. Give us a call or message us to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation!

 

 

 

Sources:

  1. You Move Me -
    https://www.youmoveme.com/us/blog/105-tips-for-a-successful-relocation
  2. com -
    https://www.houselogic.com/buy/house-hunting/must-have-items/
  3. Livestrong -
    https://www.livestrong.com/article/436651-the-effects-of-sunlight-fresh-air-on-the-body/
  4. Parents Magazine -
    https://www.parents.com/parenting/money/buy-a-house/make-moving-easier-on-you-and-your-kids/
  5. The Spruce -
    https://www.thespruce.com/starting-to-pack-for-your-move-2436470
  6. com -
    https://www.moving.com/tips/hiring-quality-movers/
  7. The Spruce -
    https://www.thespruce.com/unpack-your-entire-home-2435815
  8. com -
    https://www.houselogic.com/buy/moving-in/before-you-move/
  9. HGTV -
    https://www.hgtv.com/design/real-estate/moving-checklist
  10. com -
    https://www.moving.com/tips/how-to-unpack-and-organize-your-house/
  11. ASPCA -
    https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/moving-your-pet
August
17

Free Real Estate Career Opportunities Seminar

North Canton, Ohio – "Today's Opportunities in Real Estate", a free, one hour, in-depth seminar covering career opportunities in the real estate industry will be presented by DEHOFF REALTORS® on Tuesday, August 21st at 6:00-7:00 P.M. at the agency's corporate office located at 821 South Main Street in North Canton.

 

The session, which will feature Dave Maltese, General Sales Manager, and Linda DeHoff, President, will cover the ins and outs of the business, how it has changed during the past few years, and current opportunities within the industry.

 

The session will also focus on the real estate outlook for Stark and Summit Counties, as well as the training and the benefits that are available to real estate sales associates.

 

The free seminar is sponsored by DEHOFF REALTORS®, a firm that has been specializing in residential and commercial real estate for over fifty years.

 

Reservation necessary and limited seats are available.  Contact the agency's Career Advisor at

(330) 305-5202, (330) 305-5203, ldehoff@dehoff.com or dmaltese@dehoff.com to reserve a seat.

 

DEHOFF REALTORS® has been serving the real estate needs of the greater Akron-Canton region since 1962.  DEHOFF REALTORS® is founded on the principles of uncompromising ethics and a dedication to serving each client, customer, employee and sales professional with high quality, ethical service that exceeds expectations.  DEHOFF REALTORS® full-time real estate professionals have received numerous awards both nationally and locally.  The DEHOFF REALTORS® corporate office is located at 821 South Main Street in North Canton.  To contact a real estate professional, call 330-499-8153.

August
13

DEHOFF REALTORS® Welcomes Gabriela Porter

 

North Canton, Ohio – DEHOFF REALTORS® welcomes Gabriela Porter to its team of real estate professionals.  She brings a wealth of experience in management, sales, marketing, and customer service specializing in staging, interior decorating and landscape design.  This allows Porter to offer her clients a creative and artistic perspective when it comes to buying or selling a home.

 

As a 25 year resident of Stark County, becoming a licensed Realtor was a dream come true for Porter.

 

"I want to help my clients realize their dream of home ownership," she explains.  "I believe in building relationships for life so working with my clients is a personal experience.  I approach each client like they are the only one.  Confidence, integrity and respect are not just a business strategy, it's my philosophy."    

 

Porter earned a degree in Early Childhood Education from Studium Pedagogiczne in Wroclaw, Poland, and has taught both in Poland and the United States.  She is an active volunteer for the American Red Cross, and enjoys spending time with her family traveling throughout the United States and Europe.

 

Choose a REALTOR® who brings confidence, integrity and respect to each real estate transaction.  Contact Porter at 330-313-0955 or gporter@dehoff.com.

 

DEHOFF REALTORS® has been serving the real estate needs of the greater Akron-Canton region since 1962.  DEHOFF REALTORS® is founded on the principles of uncompromising ethics and a dedication to serving each client, customer, employee and sales professional with high quality, ethical service that exceeds expectations.  DEHOFF REALTORS® full-time real estate professionals have received numerous awards both nationally and locally.  The DEHOFF REALTORS® corporate office is located at 821 South Main Street in North Canton.  To contact a real estate professional, call 330-499-8153.

June
15

Nick Remark Joins DEHOFF REALTORS®

North Canton, Ohio – DEHOFF REALTORS® announced today the addition of Nick Remark to its team of real estate professionals.  He brings a combined 8 years of banking experience ranging from retail to government banking.  He specializes in working with first time home buyers.

 

"I pride myself on being a people person," says Remark.  "My mother taught me from a young age to listen twice as much as I speak.  Behind the scenes, I am very thorough and pay close attention to detail.  My goal is to make the home buying and selling process as stress free as possible for every client," he continues. 

 

Remark graduated from Massillon Washington High School, and studied Business Management at Kent State University.  In addition to his career in real estate, he owns and operates Nicks Wicks Candle Co, a candle company he founded in 2015, and is a Sunday School Teacher at Rivertree Christian Church in Massillon. 

 

Remark has been married to his wife, Kayla, for 8 years and has 2 beautiful children, Carter and Evelyn.  He enjoys spending time outdoors with his family, camping and wakeboarding.  He is an avid volleyball player and plays in numerous local volleyball leagues throughout the year.

 

Choose a REALTOR® who listens and handles all the details. Contact Remark at 330-933-6646 or nremark@dehoff.com.

 

DEHOFF REALTORS® has been serving the real estate needs of the greater Akron-Canton region since 1962.  DEHOFF REALTORS® is founded on the principles of uncompromising ethics and a dedication to serving each client, customer, employee and sales professional with high quality, ethical service that exceeds expectations.  DEHOFF REALTORS® full-time real estate professionals have received numerous awards both nationally and locally.  The DEHOFF REALTORS® corporate office is located at 821 South Main Street in North Canton.  To contact a real estate professional, call 330-499-8153.

June
7

DEHOFF REALTORS® Welcomes Machael Norris

North Canton, Ohio – DEHOFF REALTORS® welcomes Machael Norris to its team of real estate professionals.  She brings almost 20 years of sales and business experience.  She also has a strong background in social media marketing and advertising.

 

"I believe that working hard at something you are passionate about, with great people, is one of the greatest experiences in life!  I love helping customers find a house that can become their dream home," says Norris.

 

Norris graduated from Indian Valley High School in Tuscarawas County, and studied Business Management at Kent State University.  She is dedicated to serving her local community, and has held several board positions, including the Tuscarawas County Chamber of Commerce, past President of the Tuscora Chapter of SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management), former Area Director for The Ohio SHRM State Council, and Dover Band Boosters Trustee.

 

When not involved in a real estate transaction, Norris enjoys spending time with her four sons, family and friends.  She loves touring local wineries and breweries, attending concerts, Cleveland Cavs and Indians games, as well as many outdoor activities.

 

Choose a REALTOR® whose passion for real estate yields results, and contact Norris at 330-354-5643 or mnorris@dehoff.com.

 

DEHOFF REALTORS® has been serving the real estate needs of the greater Akron-Canton region since 1962.  DEHOFF REALTORS® is founded on the principles of uncompromising ethics and a dedication to serving each client, customer, employee and sales professional with high quality, ethical service that exceeds expectations.  DEHOFF REALTORS® full-time real estate professionals have received numerous awards both nationally and locally.  The DEHOFF REALTORS® corporate office is located at 821 South Main Street in North Canton.  To contact a real estate professional, call 330-499-8153.

June
5

Sarah Nitzsche Joins DEHOFF REALTORS®

North Canton, Ohio – DEHOFF REALTORS® announced today the addition of Sarah Nitzsche to its team of real estate professionals.  Those who work with her describe her as a hard-working team player who excels in fast-paced, deadline-driven environments.  Her experience in management, customer service and sales offer her clients an advantage during a real estate transaction.

 

"I'm client-focused and demonstrate quick and effective decision making, while maintaining excellent customer service throughout the real estate sales process," says Nitzsche. 

 

Nitzsche is an alumna of Perry High School, and studied Marketing and Sales Management at Stark State College.  She enjoys getting outdoors, hiking and hammocking, and is a dog lover.

 

Choose a REALTOR® who is client-focused and hard-working, and contact Nitzsche at 330-844-5123 or snitzsche@dehoff.com.

 

DEHOFF REALTORS® has been serving the real estate needs of the greater Akron-Canton region since 1962.  DEHOFF REALTORS® is founded on the principles of uncompromising ethics and a dedication to serving each client, customer, employee and sales professional with high quality, ethical service that exceeds expectations.  DEHOFF REALTORS® full-time real estate professionals have received numerous awards both nationally and locally.  The DEHOFF REALTORS® corporate office is located at 821 South Main Street in North Canton.  To contact a real estate professional, call 330-499-8153.

April
23

HOUSE CARE CALENDAR:

A Seasonal Guide to Maintaining Your Home

 

 

From summer vacations to winter holidays, it seems each season offers the perfect excuse to put off our to-do list. But be careful, homeowners: neglecting your home's maintenance could put your personal safety—and one of your largest financial investments—at serious risk.

 

In no time at all, small problems can lead to extensive and expensive repairs. And even if you avoid a catastrophe, those minor issues can still have a big impact. Properties that are not well maintained can lose 10 percent (or more) of their appraised value.1


The good news is, by dedicating a few hours each season to properly maintaining your home, you can ensure a safe living environment for you and your family ... and actually increase the value of your home by one percent annually!1 You just need to know where and how to spend your time.

Use the following checklist as a guide to maintaining your home and lawn throughout the year. It's applicable for all climates, so please share it with friends and family members who you think could benefit, no matter where their home is located.

 

 

 Spring

 

After a long, cold winter, many of us look forward to a fresh start in the spring. Wash away the winter grime, open the windows, and prepare your home for warmer weather and backyard barbecues.

 

Inside

 

  • Conduct Annual Spring Cleaning
    Be sure to tackle those areas that may have gone neglected—such as your blinds, baseboards and fan blades—as well as appliances, including your refrigerator, dishwasher, oven and range hood. Clear out clutter and clothes you no longer wear, and toss old and expired food and medications.

 

  • Shut Down Heating System
    Depending on the type of heating system you have, you may need to shut your system down when not in use. Check the manufacturer's instructions for proper procedures.

 

  • Tune Up A/C
    If your home has central air conditioning, schedule an annual tune-up with your HVAC technician. If you have a portable or window unit, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper maintenance.2

 

  • Check Plumbing
    It's a good idea to periodically check your plumbing to spot any leaks or maintenance issues. Look for evidence of leaks—such as water stains on the ceiling—and check for dripping faucets or running toilets that need to be addressed. Inspect your hot water heater for sediment build up. Check your sump pump (if you have one) to ensure it's working properly.3

 

  • Inspect Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
    Check that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are functioning properly. Batteries should be replaced every six months, so change them now and again in the fall. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to test your individual devices. And even properly functioning devices should be replaced at least every 10 years, or per the manufacturer's recommendation.4

 

Outside

 

  • Inspect Perimeter of Home
    Walk around your house and look for any signs of damage or wear and tear that should be addressed. Are there cracks in the foundation? Peeling paint? Loose or missing roof shingles? Make a plan to make needed repairs yourself or hire a contractor.

 

  • Clean Home's Exterior
    Wash windows and clean and replace screens if they were removed during the winter months. For the home's facade, it's generally advisable to use the gentlest method that is effective. A simple garden hose will work in most cases.5

 

  • Clean Gutters and Downspouts
    Gutters and downspouts should be cleaned at least twice a year. Neglected gutters can cause water damage to a home, so make sure yours are clean and free of debris. If your gutters have screens, you may be able to decrease the frequency of cleanings, but they should still be checked periodically.6

 

  • Rake Leaves
    Gently rake your lawn to remove leaves and debris. Too many leaves can cause an excessive layer of thatch, which can damage the roots of your lawn. They can also harbor disease-causing organisms and insects.7 However, take care because overly vigorous raking can damage new grass shoots.
  • Seed or Sod Lawn
    If you have bare spots, spring is a good time to seed or lay new sod so you can enjoy a beautiful lawn throughout the remainder of the year. The peak summer heat can be too harsh for a new lawn. If you miss this window, early fall is another good time to plant.8

 

  • Apply a Pre-Emergent Herbicide
    While a healthy lawn is the best deterrent for weeds, some homeowners choose to use a pre-emergent herbicide in the spring to minimize weeds. When applied at the right time, it can be effective in preventing weeds from germinating. However, a pre-emergent herbicide will also prevent grass seeds from germinating, so only use it if you don't plan to seed or sod in the spring.

 

  • Plant Flowers
    After a long winter, planting annuals and spring perennials is a great way to brighten up your garden. It's also a good time to prune existing flowers and shrubs and remove and compost any dead plants.
  • Mulch Beds
    A layer of fresh mulch helps to suppress weeds, retain moisture and moderate soil temperature. However, be sure to strip away old mulch at least every three years to prevent excessive buildup.9
  • Fertilize Lawn
    Depending on your grass type, an application of fertilizer in the spring may help promote new leaf and root growth, keep your lawn healthy, and reduce weeds.10

 

  • Tune Up Lawn Mower
    Send your lawn mower out for a professional tune-up and to have the blades sharpened before the mowing season starts.11
  • Inspect Sprinkler System
    If you have a sprinkler system, check that it's working properly and make repairs as needed.

 

  • Check the Deck
    If you have a deck or patio, inspect it for signs of damage or deterioration that may have occurred over the winter. Then clean it thoroughly and apply a fresh coat of stain if needed.

 

  • Prepare Pool
    If you own a pool, warmer weather signals the start of pool season. Be sure to follow best practices for your particular pool to ensure proper maintenance and safety.

 

 

Summer

 

Summer is generally the time to relax and enjoy your home, but a little time devoted to maintenance will help ensure it looks great and runs efficiently throughout the season.

 

Inside

 

  • Adjust Ceiling Fans
    Make sure they are set to run counter-clockwise in the summer to push air down and create a cooling breeze. Utilizing fans instead of your air conditioner, when possible, will help minimize your utility bills.

 

  • Clean A/C Filters
    Be sure to clean or replace your filters monthly, particularly if you're running your air conditioner often.

 

  • Clear Dryer Vent
    Help cut down on summer utility bills by cleaning your laundry dryer vent at least once a year. Not only will it help cut down on drying times, a neglected dryer poses a serious fire hazard.

 

  • Check Weather Stripping
    If you're running your air conditioner in the summer, you'll want to keep the cold air inside and hot air outside. Check weather stripping around doors and windows to ensure a good seal.

 

Outside

 

  • Mow Lawn Regularly
    Your lawn will probably need regular mowing in the summer. Adjust your mower height to the highest setting, as taller grass helps shade the soil to prevent drought and weeds.

 

  • Water Early in the Morning
    Ensure your lawn and garden get plenty of water during the hot summer months. Experts generally recommend watering in the early morning to minimize evaporation, but be mindful of any watering restrictions in your area, which may limit the time and/or days you are allowed to water.

 

  • Weed Weekly
    To prevent weeds from taking over your garden and ruining your home's valuable curb appeal, make a habit of pulling weeds at least once per week.

 

  • Exterminate Pests
    Remove any standing water and piles of leaves and debris. Inspect your lawn and perimeter of your home for signs of an invasion. If necessary, call a professional exterminator for assistance.

 

 

Fall

 

Fall ushers in another busy season of home maintenance as you prepare your home for the winter weather ahead.

 

Inside

 

  • Have Heater Serviced
    To ensure safety and efficiency, it's a good idea to have your heating system serviced and inspected before you run it for the first time.

 

  • Shut Down A/C for the Winter
    If you have central air conditioning, you can have it serviced at the same time as your furnace. If you have a portable or window unit, ensure it's properly sealed or remove it and store it for the winter.

 

  • Inspect Chimney
    Fire safety experts recommend that you have your chimney inspected annually and cleaned periodically. Complete this task before you start using your fireplace or furnace.

 

  • Seal Windows and Doors
    Check windows and doors for drafts and caulk or add weatherstripping where necessary.

 

  • Check Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
    If you checked your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the spring, they are due for another inspection. Batteries should be replaced every six months, so it's time to replace them again. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to test your individual devices. And even properly functioning devices should be replaced at least every 10 years, or per the manufacturer's recommendation.3

 

Outside

  • Plant Fall Flowers, Grass and Shrubs
    Fall is a great time to plant perennials, trees, shrubs, cool-season vegetables and bulbs that will bloom in the spring.12 It's also a good time to reseed or sod your lawn.

 

  • Rake or Mow Leaves
    Once the leaves start falling, it's time to pull out your rake. A thick layer of leaves left on your grass can lead to an unhealthy lawn. Or, rather than raking, use a mulching mower to create a natural fertilizer for your lawn.

 

  • Apply Fall Fertilizer
    If you choose not to use a mulching mower, a fall fertilizer is usually recommended. For best results, aerate your lawn before applying the fertilizer.13

 

  • Inspect Gutters and Roof
    Inspect your gutters and downspouts and make needed repairs. Check the roof for any broken or loose tiles. Remove fallen leaves and debris.

 

  • Shut Down Sprinkler System
    If you have a sprinkler system, drain any remaining water and shut it down to prevent damage from freezing temperatures over the winter.

 

  • Close Pool
    If you have a pool, it's time to clean and close it up before the winter.

 

 

Winter

 

While it can be tempting to ignore home maintenance issues in the winter, snow and freezing temperatures can do major damage if left untreated. Follow these steps to ensure your house survives the winter months.

 

Inside

 

  • Maintain Heating System
    Check and change filters on your heating system, per the manufacturer's instructions. If you have a boiler, monitor the water level.

 

  • Tune Up Generator
    If you own a portable generator, follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper maintenance. Make sure it's working before you need it, and stock up on supplies like fuel, oil and filters.

 

  • Prevent Frozen Pipes
    Make sure pipes are well insulated, and keep your heat set to a minimum of 55 degrees when you're away. If pipes are prone to freezing, leave faucets dripping slightly overnight or when away from home. You may also want to open cabinet doors beneath sinks to let in heat.

 

Outside

 

  • Drain and Shut Off Outdoor Faucets
    Before the first freeze, drain and shut off outdoor faucets. Place an insulated cover over exposed faucets, and store hoses for the winter.

 

  • Remove Window Screens
    Removing screens from your windows allows more light in to brighten and warm your home during the dark, cold winter months. Snow can also get trapped between screens and windows, causing damage to window frames and sills.

 

  • Service Snowblower
    Don't wait until the first snowstorm of the season to make sure your snowblower is in good working order. Check the manufacturer's instructions for maintenance or have it serviced by a professional.

 

  • Stock Up on Ice Melt
    Keep plenty of ice melt, or rock salt, on hand in preparation for winter weather. Look for brands that will keep kids and pets safe without doing damage to your walkway or yard.

 

  • Watch Out for Ice Dams
    Ice dams are thick ridges of solid ice that can build up along the eaves of your house. They can do major damage to gutters, shingles and siding. Heated cables installed prior to the first winter storm can help.14

 

  • Check for Snow Buildup on Trees
    Snow can cause tree limbs to break, which can be especially dangerous if they are near your home. Use a broom to periodically remove excess snow.15

 

 

While this checklist should not be considered a complete list of your home's maintenance needs, it can serve as a general seasonal guide. Systems, structures and fixtures will need to be repaired and replaced from time-to-time, as well. The good news is, the investment you make in maintaining your home now will pay off dividends over time.

 

Keep a record of all your maintenance, repairs and upgrades for future reference, along with receipts. Not only will it help jog your memory, it can make a big impact on buyers when it comes time to sell your home … and potentially result in a higher selling price.

 

Are you looking for help with home maintenance or repairs? We have an extensive network of trusted contractors and service providers and are happy to provide referrals! Call or email us, and we can connect you with one of our preferred vendors.

 

 

 

Sources:

  1. com –
    https://www.houselogic.com/organize-maintain/home-maintenance-tips/value-home-maintenance/
  2. Home Advisor –
    https://www.homeadvisor.com/r/servicing-your-air-conditioner/
  3. Keyes & Sons Plumbing and Heating –
    http://keyes-plumbing.com/things-to-check-in-spring/
  4. Allstate Insurance Blog –
    https://blog.allstate.com/test-smoke-detectors/
  5. Houzz –
    https://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/17268616/list/how-to-wash-your-house
  6. Angie's List –
    https://www.angieslist.com/articles/why-gutter-cleaning-so-important.htm
  7. Angie's List –
    https://www.angieslist.com/articles/what-thatch-and-how-does-it-impact-my-lawn.htm
  8. HGTV –
    http://www.hgtv.com/design/outdoor-design/landscaping-and-hardscaping/lawns/top-spring-lawn-care-tips-pictures
  9. This Old House –
    https://www.thisoldhouse.com/more/may-mulching
  10. Lowes –
    https://www.lowes.com/projects/lawn-and-garden/fertilize-your-lawn/project
  11. The New York Times –
    https://www.nytimes.com/guides/realestate/home-maintenance-checklist
  12. Better Homes and Gardens Magazine –
    https://www.bhg.com/gardening/yard/garden-care/what-to-plant-in-the-fall/
  13. The Spruce –
    https://www.thespruce.com/late-fall-fertilizing-2152976
  14. This Old House –
    https://www.thisoldhouse.com/how-to/how-to-get-rid-ice-dams
  15. Houzz –
    https://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/55572864/list/your-winter-home-maintenance-checklist

 

March
20

The Home Buyer's Guide to Getting Mortgage Ready

 

Don't wait until you're ready to move to start preparing financially to buy a home.

 

If you're like the vast majority of home buyers, you will choose to finance your purchase with a mortgage loan. By preparing in advance, you can avoid the common delays and roadblocks many buyers face when applying for a mortgage.

 

The requirements to secure a mortgage may seem overwhelming, especially if you're a first-time buyer. But we've outlined three simple steps to get you started on your path to homeownership.

 

Even if you're a current homeowner, it's a good idea to prepare in advance so you don't encounter any surprises along the way. Lending requirements have become more rigorous in recent years, and changes to your credit history, debt levels, job type and other factors could impact your chances of approval.

 

It's never too early to start preparing to buy a home. Follow these three steps to begin laying the foundation for your future home purchase today!

 

 

STEP 1: CHECK YOUR CREDIT SCORE

 

Your credit score is one of the first things a lender will check to see if you qualify for a loan. It's a good idea to review your credit report and score yourself before you're ready to apply for a mortgage. If you have a low score, you will need time to raise it. And sometimes fraudulent activity or erroneous information will appear on your report, which can take months to correct.

 

The credit score most lenders use is your FICO score, a weighted score developed by the Fair Isaac Corporation that takes into account your payment history (35%), amounts owed (30%), length of credit history (15%), new credit (10%), and credit mix (10%).1

 

Source: myFico.com

 

 

Base FICO scores range from 300 to 850. A higher FICO score will help you qualify for a lower mortgage interest rate, which will save you money.2

 

By federal law, you are entitled to one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and Transunion). Request your free credit report at https://www.annualcreditreport.com.

 

Minimum Score Requirements

 

To qualify for the lowest interest rates available, you will usually need a FICO score of 760 or higher. Most lenders require a score of at least 620 to qualify for a conventional mortgage.3

 

If your FICO score is less than 620, you may be able to qualify for a non-conventional mortgage. However, you should expect to pay higher interest rates and fees. For example, you may be able to secure an FHA loan (one issued by a private lender but insured by the Federal Housing Administration) with a credit score as low as 580 if you can make a 3.5 percent down payment. And FHA loans are available to applicants with credit scores as low as 500 with a 10 percent down payment.4

 

Increase Your Credit Score

 

There's no quick fix for a low credit score, but the following steps will help you increase it over time.5

 

  1. Make Payments on Time

At 35 percent, your payment history accounts for the largest portion of your credit score. Therefore, it's crucial to get caught up on any late payments and make all of your future payments on time.

 

If you have trouble remembering to pay your bills on time, set up payment reminders through your online banking platform, a free money management tool like Mint, or an app like BillMinder.

 

  1. Avoid Applying for New Credit You Don't Need

New accounts will lower your average account age, which could negatively impact your length of credit history. Also, each time you apply for credit, it can result in a small decrease in your credit score.

 

The exception to this rule? If you don't have any credit cards—or any credit accounts at all—you should open an account to establish a credit history. Just be sure to use it responsibly and pay it off in full each month.

 

If you need to shop for a new credit account, for example, a car loan, be sure to complete your loan applications within a short period of time. FICO attempts to distinguish between a search for a single loan and applications to open several new lines of credit by the window of time during which inquiries occur.

 

  1. Pay Down Credit Cards

When you pay off your credit cards and other revolving credit, you lower your amounts owed, or credit utilization ratio (ratio of account balances to credit limits). Some experts recommend starting with your highest-interest debt and paying it off first. Others suggest paying off your lowest balance first and then rolling that payment into your next-lowest balance to create momentum.

 

Whichever method you choose, the first step is to make a list of all of your credit card balances and then start tackling them one by one. Make the minimum payments on all of your cards except one. Pay as much as possible on that card until it's paid in full, then cross it off your list and move on to the next card.

 

Debt

Interest Rate

Total Payoff

Minimum Payment

Credit Card 1

12.5%

$460

$18.40

Credit Card 2

18.9%

$1,012

$40.48

Credit Card 3

3.11%

$6,300

$252

 

 

  1. Avoid Closing Old Accounts

Closing an old account will not remove it from your credit report. In fact, it can hurt your score, as it can raise your credit utilization ratio—since you'll have less available credit—and decrease your average length of credit history.

 

Similarly, paying off a collection account will not remove it from your report. It remains on your credit report for seven years, however, the negative impact on your score will decrease over time.

 

  1. Correct Errors on Your Report

Mistakes or fraudulent activity can negatively impact your credit score. That's why it's a good idea to check your credit report at least once per year. The Federal Trade Commission has instructions on their website for disputing errors on your report.

 

While it may seem like a lot of effort to raise your credit score, your hard work will pay off in the long run. Not only will it help you qualify for a mortgage, a high credit score can help you secure a lower interest rate on car loans and credit cards, as well. You may even qualify for lower rates on insurance premiums.6

 

 

STEP 2: SAVE UP FOR A DOWN PAYMENT AND CLOSING COSTS

 

The next step in preparing for your home purchase is to save up for a down payment and closing costs.

 

Down Payment

 

When you purchase a home, you typically pay for a portion of it in cash (down payment) and take out a loan to cover the remaining balance (mortgage). 

 

Many first-time buyers wonder: How much do I need to save for a down payment? The answer is … it depends.

 

Generally speaking, the higher your down payment, the more money you will save on interest and fees. For example, you will qualify for a lower interest rate and avoid paying for mortgage insurance if your down payment is at least 20 percent of the property's purchase price. But what if you can't afford to put down 20 percent?

 

On a conventional loan, you will be required to purchase private mortgage insurance (PMI) if your down payment is less than 20 percent. PMI is insurance that compensates your lender if you default on your loan.7

 

PMI will cost you between 0.3 to 1.5 percent of the overall mortgage amount each year.8 So, on a $100,000 loan, you can expect to pay between $300 and $1500 per year for PMI until your mortgage balance falls below 80 percent of the appraised value.9 For a conventional mortgage with PMI, most lenders will accept a minimum down payment of five percent of the purchase price.7

 

If a five-percent down payment is still too high, an FHA-insured loan may be an option for you. Because they are guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration, FHA loans only require a 3.5 percent down payment if your credit score is 580 or higher.7

 

The downside of getting an FHA loan? You'll be required to pay an upfront mortgage insurance premium (MIP) of 1.75 percent of the total loan amount, as well as an annual MIP of between 0.80 and 1.05 percent of your loan balance on a 30-year note. There are also certain limitations on the types of loans and properties that qualify.10

 

There are a variety of other government-sponsored programs created to assist home buyers, as well. For example, veterans and current members of the Armed Forces may qualify for a VA-backed loan requiring a $0 down payment.7 Consult a mortgage lender about what options are available to you.

 

TYPE

MINIMUM DOWN

ADDITIONAL FEES

Conventional Loan

20%

Qualify for the best rates and no mortgage insurance required

Conventional Loan

5%

Must purchase private mortgage insurance costing 0.3 - 1.5% of mortgage annually

FHA Loan

3.5%

Upfront mortgage insurance premium of 1.75% of loan amount and annual fee of 0.8 - 1.05%

 

 

Current Homeowners

If you're a current homeowner, you may have equity in your home that you can use toward your down payment on a new home. We can help you estimate your expected return after you sell your current home and pay back your existing mortgage. Contact us for a free evaluation!

 

Closing Costs

 

Closing costs should also be factored into your savings plan. These may include loan origination fees, discount points, appraisal fees, title searches, title insurance, surveys and other fees associated with the purchase of your home. Closing costs vary but typically range between two to five percent of the purchase price.11

 

If you don't have the funds to pay these outright at closing, you can often add them to your mortgage balance and pay them over time. However, this means you'll have a higher monthly payment and pay more over the long term because you'll pay interest on the fees.

 

 

STEP 3: ESTIMATE YOUR HOME PURCHASING POWER

 

Once you have the required credit score, savings for a down payment and a list of all your outstanding debt obligations via your credit report, you can assess whether you are ready and able to purchase a home.

 

It's important to have a sense of how much you can reasonably afford—and how much you'll be able to borrow—to see if homeownership is within reach.

 

Your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is one of the main factors mortgage companies use to determine how much they are willing to lend you, and it can help you gauge whether or not your home purchasing goals are realistic given your current financial situation.

 

Your DTI ratio is essentially a comparison of your housing expenses and other debt versus your income. There are two different DTI ratios that lenders consider:

 

Front-End Ratio

 

Also called the housing ratio, this is the percentage of your income that would go toward housing expenses each month, including your mortgage payment, private mortgage insurance, property taxes, homeowner's insurance and association dues.12

 

To calculate your front-end DTI ratio, a lender will add up your expected housing expenses and divide it by your gross monthly income (income before taxes). The maximum front-end DTI ratio for most mortgages is 28 percent. For an FHA-backed loan, this ratio must not exceed 31 percent.13

 

Back-End Ratio

 

The back-end ratio takes into account all of your monthly debt obligations: your expected housing expenses PLUS credit card bills, car payments, child support or alimony, student loans and any other debt that shows up on your credit report.12

 

To calculate your back-end ratio, a lender will tabulate your expected housing expenses and other monthly debt payments and divide it by your gross monthly income (income before taxes). The maximum back-end DTI ratio for most mortgages is 36 percent. For an FHA-backed loan, this ratio must not exceed 41 percent.13

 

Home Affordability Calculator

 

To get a sense of how much home you can afford, visit the National Association of Realtors' free Home Affordability Calculator at https://www.realtor.com/mortgage/tools/affordability-calculator.

 

This handy tool will help you determine your home purchasing power depending on your location, annual income, monthly debt and down payment. It also offers a monthly mortgage breakdown that projects what you would pay each month in principal and interest, property taxes, and home insurance.

 

The Home Affordability Calculator defaults to a back-end DTI ratio of 36 percent. If the monthly cost estimate at that ratio is significantly higher than what you're currently paying for housing, you need to consider whether or not you can make up the difference each month in your budget.

 

If not, you may want to lower your target purchase price to a more conservative DTI ratio. The tool enables you to scroll through higher and lower price points to see the impact on your monthly payments so you can identify your ideal price point.

 

(Note: This tool only provides an estimate of your purchasing power. You will need to secure pre-approval from a mortgage lender to know your true mortgage approval amount and monthly payment projections.)

 

Can I Afford to Buy My Dream Home?

 

Once you have a sense of your purchasing power, it's time to find out which neighborhoods and types of homes you can afford. The best way to determine this is to contact a licensed real estate agent. We help homeowners like you every day and can send you a comprehensive list of homes within your budget that meet your specific needs.

 

If there are homes within your price range and target neighborhoods that meet your criteria—congratulations! It's time to begin your home search.

 

If not, you may need to continue saving up for a larger down payment … or adjust your search parameters to find homes that do fit within your budget. We can help you determine the right course for you.

 

 

START LAYING YOUR FOUNDATION TODAY

 

It's never too early to start preparing financially for a home purchase. These three steps will set you on the path toward homeownership … and a secure financial future!

 

And if you are ready to buy now but don't have a perfect credit score or a big down payment, don't get discouraged. There are resources and options available that might make it possible for you to buy a home sooner than you think. We can help.

 

Want to find out if you're ready to buy a house? Give us a call! We'll help you review your options, connect you with one of our trusted mortgage lenders, and help you determine the ideal time to begin your new home search.

 

 

 

The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only.  It is not intended to be financial advice. Consult a financial professional for advice regarding your individual needs.

 

 

Sources:

  1. Quicken Loans Blog –
    https://www.quickenloans.com/blog/how-does-your-credit-score-affect-your-mortgage-eligibility
  2. myFICO –
    https://www.myfico.com/credit-education/credit-report-credit-score-articles/
  3. Bankrate –
    https://www.bankrate.com/mortgages/what-is-a-good-credit-score-to-buy-a-house/
  4. Bankrate –
    https://www.bankrate.com/finance/mortgages/7-crucial-facts-about-fha-loans-1.aspx
  5. myFICO –
    https://www.myfico.com/credit-education/improve-your-credit-score/
  6. The Balance –
    https://www.thebalance.com/having-good-credit-score-960528
  7. Bankrate –
    https://www.bankrate.com/mortgages/how-much-is-a-down-payment-on-a-house/
  8. Bankrate –
    https://www.bankrate.com/finance/mortgages/the-basics-of-private-mortgage-insurance-pmi.aspx
  9. Bankrate –
    https://www.bankrate.com/finance/mortgages/removing-private-mortgage-insurance.aspx
  10. The Balance –
    https://www.thebalance.com/fha-home-loan-pitfalls-315673
  11. Investopedia –
    https://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/closingcosts.asp
  12. Bankrate –
    https://www.bankrate.com/finance/mortgages/why-debt-to-income-matters-in-mortgages-1.aspx
  13. The Lenders Network –
    https://thelendersnetwork.com/fha-debt-to-income-ratio/
March
1

Home Design Trends to Watch in 2018

We frequently get questions from clients who are taking on decorating and remodeling projects and want to ensure their dollars are invested wisely.

 

Which looks will last for years to come, and which ones will feel dated quickly? What colors and styles are most popular among buyers in our area? How can I add the most value to my home?

 

So we've rounded up some of the hottest trends in home design to help guide you through the process. Whether you've planned a simple refresh or a full-scale renovation, making smart and informed design choices will help you maximize your return on investment … and minimize the chance of "remodeler's remorse" down the road.

 

 

WHAT'S HOT NOW

 

While 2017 was all about millennial pink, brass fixtures and bright white kitchens, this year we expect to see a move toward warmer, cozier elements throughout the home.

 

  1. Warm Colors

 

A cool color scheme has dominated home design in recent years, but this year warm neutrals like brown and tan are back, along with rich jewel tones. While the pastel craze of last year is still hanging on, expect to see alternative color palettes featuring deep, saturated shades of red, yellow, green and navy. Grey will remain popular, but in warmer tones, often referred to as "greige."

 

 

  1. Cozy Elements

 

Along with warmer colors, we can expect to see a shift from stark, modern design to cozier looks. Velvet upholstery, woven textures and natural elements, like wood and stone, will heat things up this year.

 

  1. Mixed Metals

 

It used to be considered gauche to mix finishes, however the look of mixed metals will be very big in 2018. Brass will continue to trend, along with matte black and classics like polished chrome and brushed nickel.

 

 

  1. Bold Patterns

 

Expect to see a lot of bright, bold patterns in the form of geometric shapes and graphic floral prints. These will be featured on everything from furniture to throw pillows to tile.

 

  1. Natural Elements

 

Look for the use of natural elements throughout the home, including wood, stone, plants, flowers and grass. Botanical patterns will also be seen in prints, wallpaper and upholstery. Concrete accents will complement these additions in an effort to bring the essence of the outdoors inside the home.

 

 

  1. Feature Walls

 

Also called an accent wall, a feature wall is one that exhibits a different color or design than the other walls in the room. Expect to see an increased use of feature walls showcasing rich paint colors, bold patterned wallpaper, and textures brought in through millwork and shiplap.

 

  1. Statement Lighting

 

Lighting will take center stage with distinctive fixtures, including local artisan and vintage pendants and chandeliers. And smart lighting technology will enable homeowners to customize their lighting experience based on time of day, activity and mood.

 

 

  1. Hardwood Floors

 

Hardwood floors will continue to dominate the market. The trend is toward either very dark stains paired with light-colored walls or light stains with darker walls. Greyish tones will remain popular, as will matte finishes, which are easier to maintain than high gloss. Expect to see frequent use of wider and longer wood planks, as well as distressed and wire-brushed finishes, which add texture and dimension.

 

  1. Smart Homes

 

Everything is getting "smarter" in homes, from locks and lights to thermostats and appliances. And with devices like Google Home and Amazon Alexa, you can control many of these with voice activation from a central hub. We will see continued integration of and advancements in smart-home technology in 2018.

 

 

KITCHEN TRENDS

 

While white kitchens will remain popular in 2018, expect to see more color this year in everything from cabinets to tile to appliances.

 

  1. Two-toned Cabinets

 

Two-toned cabinets are quickly overtaking the white-on-white look that has dominated kitchen design for the past few years. While white remains a classic, grey and bleached-wood cabinet variations are surging in popularity, along with darker neutrals like navy and green.

 

 

  1. Quartz Countertops

 

Granite reigned as the top countertop choice for many years, but quartz is now king. It's highly durable, low-maintenance and comes in a wide variety of styles and colors. It's also heat resistant, scratch resistant and non-porous (unlike granite and marble) so it doesn't need to be sealed.

 

  1. Bold Backsplashes

 

After years of dominating backsplash design, the white subway tile is officially on its way out. Expect to see it replaced with more elaborate shapes, patterns, colors and textures. Tile that mimics the appearance of wood, concrete and wallpaper is also gaining in popularity.

 

 

  1. Statement Sinks

 

While stainless steel and white porcelain are always safe bets, the trend is moving toward sinks that make more of a statement. Look for unexpected pops of color and materials like natural stone and copper. Touch-free faucets are expected to gain favor with homeowners this year, too.

 

  1. Brass is (Still) Back

 

Brass fixtures came back in a big way over the past couple of years and will continue to be a popular choice in 2018 along with matte black, black nickel, polished chrome and brushed nickel. Missing from the list? Rose gold, which is decidedly "out" this year.

 

 

  1. Multi-purpose Islands

 

Kitchen islands have evolved from simple prep-stations into the "workhorse" of the kitchen. Many feature sinks, built-in appliances and under-counter storage while also serving as a casual dining area. They have become the focal point of the kitchen, and we expect to see more of them in 2018 and beyond.

 

  1. Black Stainless Steel

 

Black stainless steel is the hot new finish option for appliances, and it's hitting the market in a big way. It offers a cutting-edge look and is easier to keep clean than traditional stainless steel. However, it's harder to match finishes amongst different brands, so it's probably only feasible as part of a complete appliance package.

 

  1. Appliance Garages

 

Appliance garages are counter-level compartments designed to house small appliances like blenders, toasters and stand mixers. They make it convenient to have these items readily accessible, without the look of a cluttered counter.

 

 

 

BATH TRENDS

 

Expect to see many of the same kitchen design preferences carry over into bathrooms this year, including two-tone cabinets, quartz countertops and brass fixtures.

 

  1. Neutral Tones

 

Neutral shades will continue to dominate in the master bathroom as homeowners seek a soothing and relaxing retreat atmosphere. But expect to see more options than just white. Shades of brown, grey, blue, green and tan will help to warm things up.

 

 

  1. Natural Elements

 

Natural materials are particularly hot right now in bathroom design. This includes the use of wood and stone on walls, cabinets, counters and backsplashes, as well as the incorporation of botanical design elements.

 

  1. Large Tiles

 

We expect to see a lot more large and slab-sized tiles in bathrooms, which have less grout so they are easier to clean and maintain. Wood-look porcelain tiles are also a favorite in wet areas, as they offer the warmth and rustic appeal of wood with the durability of tile.

 

 

  1. Stone Sinks

 

Sinks will continue to be an area where homeowners like to exhibit creativity, and hand-carved stone sinks are especially fashionable right now. These may be more suited to powder rooms, where functionality isn't as crucial.

 

  1. Freestanding Tubs

 

There's been a tub resurgence in bathroom design after years of preference for stand-alone showers. Modern tastes are gravitating toward freestanding tubs that serve as a showpiece for the bathroom.

 

 

  1. Smart Features

 

Smart technology has entered the bathroom with the addition of features like wireless shower speakers and high-tech toilets, as well as digital shower controls that automatically adjust to your preferences in temperature and spray intensity.

 

 

OUR ADVICE

 

Style trends come and go, so don't invest in the latest look unless you love it. That said, highly-personalized or outdated style choices can limit the appeal of your property for resale.

 

For major renovation projects, it's always a good idea to stick to neutral colors and classic styles. It will give your remodel longevity and appeal to the greatest number of buyers when it comes time to sell. It will also give you flexibility to update your look in a few years without a total overhaul. Use non-permanent fixtures – like paint, furniture and accent pieces – to personalize the space and incorporate trendier choices.

 

If you'd like advice on a specific remodelling or design project, give us a call! We're happy to offer our insights and suggestions on how to maximize your return on investment and recommend local shops and service providers who may be able to assist you.

 

 

Sources:

  1. Country Living –
    http://www.countryliving.com/home-design/decorating-ideas/g3988/kitchen-trends
  2. Elle Decor –
    http://www.elledecor.com/design-decorate/trends/g14486069/kitchen-trends-2018/
  3. Gates Interior Design –
    https://gatesinteriordesign.com/hottest-interior-design-trends-for-2018/
    https://gatesinteriordesign.com/biggest-kitchen-bath-trends-for-2018/
  4. com –
    http://www.hgtv.com/design/rooms/kitchens/17-top-kitchen-design-trends-pictures
  5. House Beautiful –
    http://www.housebeautiful.com/room-decorating/kitchens/g2664/kitchen-trends/
    http://www.housebeautiful.com/design-inspiration/g13938283/2018-decor-trends/
    http://www.housebeautiful.com/design-inspiration/g13820501/best-and-worst-decor-trends-from-2017/
  6. Houzz –
    https://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/93399913/list/interior-design-trends-expected-to-take-hold-in-2018
  7. Huffington Post – http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/09/25/the-kitchen-and-dining-trends-to-look-out-for-in-2018_a_23222693/
  8. Kitchen and Bath Design News –
    http://www.kitchenbathdesign.com/123995/year-end-look-and-new-trends-for-2018/
  9. com –
    https://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/home-and-garden/12-flooring-trends-for-2018/ss-AAtp7QA
  10. com –
    https://www.realtor.com/advice/home-improvement/interior-design-trends-to-ditch-2018/
    https://www.realtor.com/advice/home-improvement/hottest-interior-design-decor-trends-2018/?is_wp_site=1
  11. Realty Times – http://realtytimes.com/advicefromagents/item/1007993-kitchen-design-trends-in-2018?rtmpage=MattLawler
  12. Sebring Design Build –
    https://sebringdesignbuild.com/top-trends-in-bathroom-design/
  13. The Flooring Girl –
    http://theflooringgirl.com/hardwood-flooring/hardwood-flooring-trends-2018/

Vogue –
https://www.vogue.com/article/interior-design-trends-according-to-expert-designers-decorators

February
5

Real Estate 2018: What to Expect

As we head into a new year, the most common question we receive is, "What's the outlook for real estate in 2018?"

 

It's not just potential buyers and sellers who are curious; homeowners also want reassurance their home's value is going up. The good news is that a strong U.S. economy, coupled with low unemployment rates, is expected to drive continued real estate growth in 2018. However, changes on the horizon could significantly impact you if you plan to buy, sell or refinance this year.

 

 

HOME VALUES WILL CONTINUE TO RISE

 

Get ready for another strong year! U.S. home values and sales volume will continue to rise in 2018.

 

Experts agree that home prices will increase in 2018, but predict a slower rate of appreciation than 2017, which clocked in at nearly 7 percent nationwide. National Association of Realtors (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun predicts a growth rate this year of 5.5 percent,1 while Freddie Mac's September Outlook Report forecasts a rate of 4.9 percent. Either way, all indicators point towards continued growth in 2018.2

 

What does it mean for you? If you're a current homeowner, congratulations! Real estate proves once again to be a solid investment over the long term. And if you're considering selling this year, there's never been a better time. Contact us to request a free Comparative Market Analysis to find out how much you can expect your home to sell for under current market conditions.

 

If you're in the market to buy this year, there's good news for you, too. Although prices continue to rise, the rate of appreciation has slowed. Still, don't wait any longer. Prices will continue to go up, so you'll pay more six months from now than you would today. Call us to setup a free, no-obligation property search and get notified about listings that meet your criteria as soon as (or before) they hit the market.

 

 

NEW CONSTRUCTION WILL MAKE REAL ESTATE MORE ACCESSIBLE


Lack of inventory in the housing market has been a primary impediment to homeownership for many Americans. "Ten years ago, the problem in the housing market was lack of buyers," says Yun. "Today, the problem is lack of sellers. Inventory levels are near historic lows."3

 

Yun also notes, "The lack of inventory has pushed up home prices by 48 percent from the low point in 2011, while wage growth over the same period has been only 15 percent. Despite improving confidence [in 2017] from renters that now is a good time to buy a home, the inability for them to do so is causing them to miss out on the significant wealth gains that homeowners have benefitted from through rising home values."1

 

The good news? Yun expects a 9.4 percentage point increase in single-family new home construction starts.4

 

Economists at Freddie Mac make a similar prediction. "Existing home sales are unlikely to increase much going forward. Limited inventory will remain a consistent problem … Growth in home sales will be primarily driven by new home sales, which should continue to grind higher with single-family construction."2

 

Robert Dietz, chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders, agrees. "The markets that are going to grow are ones where builders can add that entry level product."5


What does it mean for you? If you've been frustrated by lack of inventory in the past, 2018 may bring new opportunities for you to find a budget-friendly home that suits your needs. Give us a call to discuss options for new construction in our area.

 

 

MILLENNIALS WILL MOVE TO THE SUBURBS

 

The new entry-level construction will come with a catch though … it will be located in the suburbs, where the availability of land and fewer zoning requirements make it more cost-effective to build. Economists predict that's where millennials and first-time buyers will flock for the greater variety of homes at affordable prices.6

 

Rising home prices, a sluggish job market, and an increase in student loan debt made homeownership largely unattainable for many millennials in past years. However, there's significant evidence that this trend is turning around. For the fourth year a row, the National Association of Realtors' 2017 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends survey found that millennials were the largest group of homebuyers.7

 

As millennials age, they are settling down and having families, which has prompted an increasing demand for larger but affordable homes. Thus, many are flocking to the suburbs, with 57 percent of millennial buyers opting for a suburban location.

 

What does it mean for you? If you're a millennial who has been priced out of urban living, or is looking for more space for your growing family, a number of suburbs in our area have a lot to offer. We can point you towards the communities that will best meet your needs.

 

And if you're a suburban homeowner with plans to sell, give us a call. We know how to market your home to millennials … and can help you sell quickly for top dollar by appealing to this growing market segment!

 

 

BOOMERANG BUYERS WILL RETURN TO THE MARKET

 

"Boomerang buyers" comprise the nearly 10 million Americans who lost their homes to foreclosure or short sales during the housing recession of 2006 to 2014.

 

According to MyFico.com, a foreclosure remains on a credit report for seven years. It takes many boomerang buyers at least that long to raise their credit score and save up enough cash to qualify for a new mortgage.8

 

With this "seven-year window" in mind, RealtyTrac predicts that the largest wave of boomerang buyers – more than 1.3 million – will be eligible to re-enter the housing market in 2018.9

 

Markets likely to see the highest influx of boomerang buyers are those that had a high percentage of foreclosures AND have remained affordable. The majority of boomerang buyers are middle-class Gen Xers or Baby Boomers. Expect to see even more competition for entry-level homes in those markets.

 

What does it mean for you? If you're a boomerang buyer, we understand your unique circumstances. We can help you navigate the real estate process and write competitive offers that will play to your strengths. Contact us to discuss your options.

 

 

NEW TAX LEGISLATION WILL IMPACT HOMEOWNER DEDUCTIONS

 

The "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act" passed at the end of 2017 nearly doubles the standard deduction, so far fewer Americans are expected to itemize this year. For those who do, however, it could mean less homeowner deductions are available than in the past.

 

Previously, homeowners could deduct interest paid on the first $1 million of mortgage debt, but that threshold has been lowered to $750,000 for new mortgages. (Existing mortgages will not be impacted.)

 

Additionally, taxpayers will no longer be able to fully deduct state and local property taxes plus income or sales taxes. The new legislation restricts this deduction to $10,000. It also eliminates the deduction for moving expenses (except for members of the Armed Forces) and interest on home equity loans unless the proceeds are used to substantially improve the residence.10

 

It's yet to be seen how the tax bill will impact the real estate market overall. While some economists predict a price reduction in certain markets, Republican lawmakers project the bill will increase take-home pay and stimulate the economy overall. According to Realtor.com Senior Economist Joseph Kirchner, "Some house hunters—particularly wealthy buyers—will see an increase in after-tax income, making an already tough housing market even more competitive. This increased demand could drive prices up even higher than they are already."11

 

What does it mean for you? If you're an existing homeowner, be sure to consult a tax professional if you're concerned about the impact the new tax bill could have on you.

 

And if you're planning to buy or sell this year, we can help you determine how the tax bill could affect demand in your current or target neighborhood and price range.

 

 

INTEREST RATES WILL RISE


No one knows exactly what will happen with mortgage rates this year, but the Mortgage Bankers Association anticipates the Federal Reserve will raise rates three times in 2018, with Freddie Mac's 30-year fixed rate mortgage reaching 4.8 percent by the end of Q4, up from around 4 percent at the end of 2017.12

 

Kiplinger.com Economist David Payne also predicts interests rates will rise this year, with short-term rates outpacing long-term rates as the Fed aims to curb inflation in a tightening job market. He predicts the bank prime rate that home equity loans are based on will increase from 4.25 percent to 5 percent by the end of 2018. 13

 

What does it mean for you? If you're in the market to buy, act now. Rising interest rates will decrease your purchasing power, so act quickly before interest rates go up. Give us a call today to get your home search started.

 

And if you're a current homeowner who is considering refinancing or a home equity loan, don't wait. We can help you estimate your property's fair market value so you'll be prepared before contacting a lender.

 

 

2018 ACTION PLAN


If you plan to BUY this year:

 

  1. Get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you plan to finance part of your home purchase, getting pre-approved for a mortgage will give you a jump-start on the paperwork and provide an advantage over other buyers in a competitive market. The added bonus: you will find out how much you can afford to borrow and budget accordingly.
  2. Create your wish list. How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need? How far are you willing to commute to work? What's most important to you in a home? We can set up a customized search that meets your criteria to help you find the perfect home for you.
  3. Come to our office. The buying process can be tricky. We'd love to guide you through it. We can help you find a home that fits your needs and budget, all at no cost to you. Give us a call to schedule an appointment today!

 

If you plan to SELL this year:

 

  1. Call us for a FREE Comparative Market Analysis. A CMA not only gives you the current market value of your home, it'll also show how your home compares to others in the area. This will help us determine which repairs and upgrades may be required to get top dollar for your property … and it will help us price your home correctly once you're ready to list.
  2. Prep your home for the market. Most buyers want a home they can move into right away, without having to make extensive repairs and upgrades. We can help you determine which ones are worth the time and expense to deliver maximum results.
  3. Start decluttering. Help your buyers see themselves in your home by packing up personal items and things you don't use regularly and storing them in an attic or storage locker. This will make your home appear larger, make it easier to stage ... and get you one step closer to moving when the time comes!

 

 

WE'RE HERE TO HELP

 

While national real estate numbers and predictions can provide a "big-picture" outlook for the year, real estate is local. And as local market experts, we can guide you through the ins and outs of our market, and the local issues that are likely to drive home values in your particular neighborhood. If you have specific questions, or would like more information about where we see real estate headed in our area, please give us a call! We'd love to discuss how issues here at home are likely to impact your desire to buy or a sell a home this year.

 

Sources:

  1. Inman News –
    https://www.inman.com/2017/11/03/what-to-expect-from-the-2018-housing-market/
  2. Freddie Mac September Outlook Report –
    http://www.freddiemac.com/research/outlook/20170921_looking_ahead_to_2018.html
  3. org –
    https://www.marketplace.org/2017/07/05/economy/tight-inventory-slows-housing-market-down-0
  4. National Association of Realtors Press Release –
    https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/existing-home-sales-to-grow-37-percent-in-2018-but-inventory-shortages-and-tax-reform-effects-loom-300549447.html
  5. Fox Business News –
    http://www.foxbusiness.com/features/2017/11/27/entry-level-buyers-drive-solid-new-home-sales.html
  6. Zillow Research –
    https://www.zillow.com/research/2018-predictions-17217/
  7. National Association of Realtors' Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report –
    https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/research-reports/home-buyer-and-seller-generational-trends
  8. com -
    https://www.myfico.com/crediteducation/questions/foreclosure-fico-score-affect.aspx
  9. RealtyTrac -
    http://www.realtytrac.com/news/foreclosure-trends/boomerang-buyers/
  10. National Association of Realtors -
    https://www.nar.realtor/taxes/tax-reform/the-tax-cuts-and-jobs-act-what-it-means-for-homeowners-and-real-estate-professionals
  11. com -
    https://www.realtor.com/news/real-estate-news/tax-cuts-survey/
  12. Mortgage Bankers Association Economic Forecast –
    https://www.mba.org/news-research-and-resources/research-and-economics/forecasts-and-commentary
  13. Kiplinger Economic Forecast –
    https://www.kiplinger.com/article/business/T019-C000-S010-interest-rate-forecast.html#iOf4mkSFvvTmi2wr.99
October
27

Why Real Estate Investing Makes (Dollars and) Sense

INTRODUCTION

 

Turn on the television or scroll through Facebook, and chances are you'll see at least one advertisement for a group or "guru" who promises to teach you how to "get rich quick" through real estate investing. The truth is, much of what they're selling are high-risk tactics that aren't a good fit for the average investor. However, there is a way to make steady, predictable, low-risk income through real estate investing. In this blog post, we'll examine the tried-and-true tactics that can be used to increase your income, pay off debt … even fund your retirement!

 

 

WHY INVEST IN REAL ESTATE?

 

One of the basic principles of real estate investment lies in this fact: everyone needs a place to live. And according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' most recent Consumer Expenditures Survey, housing is typically an American's largest expense.1

 

But there are other reasons why real estate is a great investment choice, and we've outlined the top five below:

 

  1. Appreciation

Appreciation is the increase in your property's value over time. History has proven that over an extended period of time, the value of real estate continues to rise. That doesn't mean recessions won't occur. The real estate market is cyclical, and market ups and downs are natural. In fact, the U.S. housing market took a sharp downturn in 2008, and many properties took several years to recover their value. However, in the vast majority of markets, the value of real estate does grow over the long term.

 

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index, which tracks U.S. residential real estate prices, released its latest results on August 29 with the headline "National Home Price Index Rises Again to All Time High."2

 

 

Source: ZeroHedge3

 

While no investment is without risk, real estate has proven again and again to be a solid choice to invest your money over the long term.

 

  1. Hedge Against Inflation

Inflation is the rate at which the general cost of goods and services rises. As inflation rises, prices go up. This means the money you have in your bank account is essentially worth less because your purchasing power has decreased.

 

Luckily, real estate prices also rise when inflation increases. That means any money you have invested in real estate will rise with (or often exceed) the rate of inflation. Therefore, real estate is a smart place to put your money to guard against inflation.

 

  1. Cash Flow

One of the big benefits of investing in real estate over the stock market is its ability to provide a fairly steady and predictable monthly cash flow. That is, if you choose to rent out your investment property to a tenant, you can expect to receive a rent payment each month.

 

If you've invested wisely, the rent payment should cover the debt obligation you may have on the property (i.e. mortgage), as well as any repairs and maintenance that are needed. Ideally, the monthly rental income would be great enough to leave you a little extra cash each month, as well. You could use that extra money to pay off the mortgage faster, cover your own household expenses, or save for another investment property.

 

Even if you only take in enough rent to cover your expenses, a rental property purchase will pay for itself over time. As you pay down the mortgage every month with your rental income, your equity will continue to increase, until you own the property free and clear … leaving you with residual cash flow for years to come.

 

As the owner, you will also benefit from the property's appreciation when it comes time to sell. This can be a great way to save for retirement or even fund a child's college education. Purchase a property when the child is young, and with a little discipline, it can be paid off by the time they are ready to go to college. You can sell it for a lump sum, or use the monthly income to pay their tuition and expenses.

 

  1. Leverage

One of the unique features that sets real estate apart from other asset classes is the ability to leverage your investment. Leverage is the use of borrowed capital to increase the potential return of an investment.

 

For example, if you purchase an investment property for $100,000, you might put 10% down ($10,000) and borrow the remaining $90,000 in the form of a mortgage.

 

Even though you've only invested $10,000 at this point, you have the ability to earn a profit on the entire $100,000 investment. So, if the property appreciates to $120,000 – a 20% increase over the purchase price – you still only have to pay the bank back the original $90,000 (plus interest) … and you get to keep the $20,000 profit.

 

That means you made $20,000 off of a $10,000 investment, essentially doubling your money, even though the market only went up by 20%! That's the power of leverage.

 

  1. Tax Advantages

One of the top reasons to invest in real estate is the tax benefit. There are numerous ways a real estate investment can save you money each year on taxes:

 

Depreciation

When you record your income from a rental property on your annual tax return, you get to deduct any expenses associated with the investment. This includes interest paid on the mortgage, maintenance, repairs and improvements, but it also includes something called depreciation.

 

Depreciation is the theoretical loss your property suffers each year due to aging. While it's true that as a home ages it will structurally need repairs and systems will eventually need to be replaced, we've also learned in this post that the value of real estate appreciates over time. So getting to claim a "loss" on your investment that is actually gaining in value makes real estate an appealing investment choice.

 

Serial Home Selling

Even if you're not interested in owning a rental property, other types of real estate investments offer tax advantages, as well. Generally, when you own an investment property you pay a capital gains tax on any profits you make when you sell the property.

 

However, when you sell your principal residence, you are exempt from paying taxes on capital gains (up to $250,000 for singles and $500,000 for couples). The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) only requires that you live in the house for two of the previous five years. That means you can purchase an investment property, live in it while you remodel it, and then sell it for a tax-free profit two years later. This can be a great way to get started in real estate investing.

 

Section 1031 Exchanges

In addition to profiting off of your personal residence tax free, it is possible to sell an investment property tax free if you do it through a 1031 Exchange. If structured properly, the IRS Tax Code enables an investor to sell a property and reinvest the proceeds in a new property while deferring all capital gains taxes.

 

Tax-Deferred Retirement Account

It's a common misconception that you can only purchase financial instruments (i.e. stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc.) through an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or 401(k). In actuality, the IRS allows individuals to invest retirement funds in real estate and other alternative types of investments, as well. By purchasing your investment property through an IRA, you can take advantage of all of the tax savings these accounts offer.

 

Be sure to consult a tax professional regarding all tax matters related to your real estate investments. If structured correctly, the profits you earn on your real estate investments can be largely shielded from tax liability. Just another reason to choose real estate as your preferred investment vehicle.

 

 

TYPES OF REAL ESTATE INVESTMENTS

 

While there are numerous ways to invest in real estate, we're going to focus on three primary ways average investors earn money through real estate. We touched on several of these already in the previous section.

 

  1. Remodel and Resell

HGTV has countless "reality" shows featuring property flippers who make this investment strategy look easy. Commonly referred to as a "Fix and Flip," investors purchase a property with the intention of remodeling it in a short period of time, with the hope of selling it quickly for a profit.

 

This is a higher-risk tactic, and one for which many of the real estate "gurus" we talked about earlier claim to have the magic formula. They promise huge profits in a short amount of time. But investors need to understand the risks involved, and be prepared financially to cover additional expenses that may arise.

 

Luckily, an experienced real estate agent can help you identify properties that may be good candidates for this type of investment strategy… and help you avoid some of the pitfalls that could derail your plans.

 

  1. Traditional Rental

One of the more conservative choices for investing in real estate is to purchase a rental property. The appeal of a rental property is that you can generate cash flow to cover the expenses, while taking advantage of the property's long-term appreciation in value, and the tax benefits of investing in real estate. It's a win-win, and a great way for first-time investors to get started.

 

And according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, rents for primary residences have increased 21.9 percent between 2007 and 2015 as demand for rental units continues to grow.1

 

  1. Short-term Rental

With the huge movement toward a "sharing economy," platforms that facilitate short-term rentals, like Airbnb and HomeAway, are booming. Their popularity has spurred a growing trend toward dual-purpose vacation homes, which owners use themselves part of the year, and rent out the remainder of the time. There are also a growing number of investors purchasing single-family homes for the sole purpose of leasing them on these sites.

 

Short-term rentals offer several benefits over traditional rentals, which many investors find attractive, including flexibility and higher profit margins. However, the most profitable properties are strategically located near popular tourist destinations. You'll need an experienced real estate professional to help you identify the right property if you want to be successful in this highly-competitive market.

 

 

DOES REAL ESTATE INVESTING SOUND TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE?

 

We've all heard stories, or maybe even know someone, who struck it rich with a well-timed real estate purchase. However, just like any investment strategy, a high potential for earnings often goes hand-in-hand with an increase in risk. Still, there's substantial evidence that a well-executed real estate investment can be one of the best choices for your money.

 

Purchasing a home to remodel and resell can be highly profitable, as long as you have a trusted team in place to complete the remodel quickly and within budget … and the financial means to carry the property for a few extra months if delays occur.

 

Or, if you buy a house for appreciation and cash flow, you can ride through the market ups and downs without stress because you know your property value is bound to increase over time, and your expenses are covered by your rental income.

 

In either scenario, make sure you're working with a real estate agent who has knowledge of the investment market and can guide you through the process. While no investment is without risk, a conservative and well-planned investment in real estate can supplement your income and set you up for future financial security.

 

If you are considering an investment in real estate, please contact us to set up a free consultation. We have experience working with all types of investors and can help you determine the best strategy to meet your investment goals.

 

Sources:

  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey Annual Report – https://www.bls.gov/opub/reports/consumer-expenditures/2015/home.htm
  2. S&P Dow Jones Indices Press Release –
    https://www.spice-indices.com/idpfiles/spice-assets/resources/public/documents/574349_cshomeprice-release-0829.pdf?force_download=true
  3. Durden, T. (2016 November 29). US Home Prices Rise Above July 2006 Levels, Hit New Record High [blog post] ZeroHedge –
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-11-29/us-home-prices-rise-above-july-2006-levels-hit-new-record-high
January
19

DEHOFF REALTORS® Welcomes Eric Waldrop to its Team

North Canton, Ohio – DEHOFF REALTORS® recently welcomed Eric Waldrop to its team of real estate professionals.  He brings 20 years of experience in contract management and business reporting, and specializes in quality assurance, project management, and service level tracking.

 

"Whether my clients are buying or selling a home, I utilize my extensive business experience to ensure the real estate transaction is performed professionally and as expeditiously as possible," states Waldrop.  "My knowledge of and passion for information technology guarantees my clients' homes receive the highest internet visibility possible resulting in successful sales," he continues.    

 

Waldrop earned a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems from DeVry University in Columbus, and received his Real Estate Certification from Hondros College of Business.  He was born and raised in Canton, and is a McKinley Senior High School alumnus.  He has lived in the Market Hills neighborhood for the past 14 years, and previously served as President of the Market Hills Homeowners Association.  When he is not spending time with his wife, Erin, and their two dogs, Grizzly and Zuzu, he enjoys traveling and golfing.

 

Choose a REALTOR® who exceeds expectations and provides top notch customer service, and contact Waldrop at 330-705-1113 or ewaldrop@dehoff.com.

 

DEHOFF REALTORS® has been serving the real estate needs of the greater Akron-Canton region for over 50 years.  DEHOFF REALTORS® is founded on the principals of uncompromising ethics and a dedication to serving each client, customer, employee and sales professional with high quality, ethical service that exceeds expectations.  DEHOFF REALTORS® full-time real estate professionals have received numerous awards both nationally and locally.  The DEHOFF REALTORS® corporate office is located at 821 South Main Street in North Canton.  To contact a real estate professional, call 330-499-8153.

September
22

DEHOFF REALTORS® Introduces Melissa Millmier

North Canton, Ohio – DEHOFF REALTORS® announced today the addition of Melissa Millmier to its team of real estate professionals.  She brings over 8 years of experience in the communications and client services industry, and specializes in client services, marketing communications, client representation, account/sales management, lead generation and new business development.

 

"I am dedicated to working hard for my clients," emphasizes Millmier.  "I am always available and willing to go above and beyond for them," she continues.    

 

Millmier earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Akron, and received her Real Estate Certification from Hondros College of Business.  She is originally from the Akron/Fairlawn area, and currently resides in Green with her husband, Tim, and family pets.  She is passionate about animals and animal welfare activities, and enjoys cooking, exercise, traveling and spending time with her family.

 

Choose a REALTOR® who goes above and beyond for you, and contact Millmier at 330-858-2033 or mmillmier@dehoff.com.

 

DEHOFF REALTORS® has been serving the real estate needs of the greater Akron-Canton region for over 50 years.  DEHOFF REALTORS® is founded on the principals of uncompromising ethics and a dedication to serving each client, customer, employee and sales professional with high quality, ethical service that exceeds expectations.  DEHOFF REALTORS® full-time real estate professionals have received numerous awards both nationally and locally.  The DEHOFF REALTORS® corporate office is located at 821 South Main Street in North Canton.  To contact a real estate professional, call 330-499-8153.

September
22

Michael Macchio Joins DEHOFF REALTORS®

North Canton, Ohio – DEHOFF REALTORS® recently welcomed Michael Macchio to its team of real estate professionals.  Macchio comes to DEHOFF from a successful real estate career in New York City for the past 5 years.  He offers clients personal and friendly service with a straight-forward approach; the cornerstone of his business.  Clients describe his calm and friendly demeanor like working with a close friend.

 

"My success as a REALTOR® has been built on the importance of individual relationships, and I'll continue to form personal connections with my clients in the greater Stark County area," says Macchio.  "I promise my clients exceptional service while listening to their needs and fulfilling their requests, all the while keeping open positive and direct lines of communication," he continues.

 

Macchio earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in Finance from the Warrington College of Business Administration at the University of Florida.  In his spare time he coaches little league baseball, and enjoys coaching, hiking, traveling and exercising.

 

Choose a REALTOR® who offers personal and friendly service with a straight-forward approach, and contact Macchio at 330-269-9617 or mmacchio@dehoff.com and GET MOVING!

 

DEHOFF REALTORS® has been serving the real estate needs of the greater Akron-Canton region for over 50 years.  DEHOFF REALTORS® is founded on the principals of uncompromising ethics and a dedication to serving each client, customer, employee and sales professional with high quality, ethical service that exceeds expectations.  DEHOFF REALTORS® full-time real estate professionals have received numerous awards both nationally and locally.  The DEHOFF REALTORS® corporate office is located at 821 South Main Street in North Canton.  To contact a real estate professional, call 330-499-8153.

September
14

8 Smart Home Technology Trends that Can Save You Money

8 Smart Home Technology Trends that Can Save You Money

 

The 'smart home' is the new 'internet of things', or objects that can serve you better by communicating with each other or directly with you through apps on your smart phone. In the ideal version of the wired future, all of our appliances and gadgets talk to each other seamlessly.

 

What could living in a smart home look like? Picture something like this:

 

The lights in your bedroom slowly illuminate to quietly awaken you in the morning, replacing the typical blaring alarm. The aroma of fresh brewing coffee drifts in and stirs your senses. Once the lights are all the way up, the heating system kicks on, just in time to warm up your room so you're not shocked once you crawl out from underneath the duvet.


When you step into the shower, it turns on automatically and remembers your preferred temperature and water pressure. And it will shut off right when you're finished as it knows how long you take to bathe.

 

Once you've driven out of your garage, your home alarm system arms itself. And it will only unlock automatically when it "sees" and recognizes someone else from your family approaching through programmed in biometrics.

 

Do smart homes really work this way right now? Not exactly…while you may find some of these smart features in certain homes, we haven't reached the point where every feature intuitively knows what you want and when you wanted. However, each year we're getting closer and closer toward that shiny, idealized 'Jetson' future.

 

Here are some trends that we see for smart homes, many of which may also help you save money:

 

Smart Thermostats

 

Programmable thermostats that are synchronized with the clock have been around for decades. However, they're often difficult to set and aren't necessarily efficient; they simply turn on or off as programmed, whether or not you are there.

 

With the newer models, smart thermostats can be programmed to adjust the temperature when they sense you are present. And once you leave, they can kick back to standby mode so that you're saving energy and money. Nest does all of this, and it also allows you to check your usage from your cell phone so that you can adjust the temperature remotely and save even more.

 

Smart Smoke Detectors

 

Having a working, effective smoke detector saves lives. But unfortunately, many of us still have those battery-run smoke detectors that make that annoying, piercing beep when their batteries are running low on power. And instead of replacing batteries right away, it's often easier to pull them out and disable the detector (while risking our lives).

 

Many of the new smart smoke detectors, like the Birdi, monitor smoke, carbon dioxide, as well as air quality. With this new sensor technology, they know the difference between a real fire and burnt toast.

 

Smart Sprinkler Control

 

Weather in our area is predictably unpredictable. Often, especially during the summer months, we fall into a severe drought. But then we might have one season that brings extreme amounts of rain, like we did this past spring.

 

A smart sprinkler controller like Rachio Iro can not only help save you lots of money on your water bill but also help protect our precious resources.

 

Programmable by computer or smart phone, it can automatically adjust how often you water your lawn based on the season and the weather forecasts. You can also remotely adjust the settings through a mobile app.

 

Smart Solar Panels

 

You can put the sun to work for you by using solar technology to power your home. It's green and renewable, and can save you money over the long term. A recent study conducted by the NC Clean Energy Technology Center determined that Austin customers who invested in a solar system saved an average of $66 per month during the first year that they owned the system.

With smart solar panels, you can program the technology to monitor their performance and even turn them off in case of a weather emergency or fire.

 

Smart Home Security Systems

 

Home monitoring has become much more sophisticated in recent years. With the old-style security systems, you had to call in contractors to wire your home with monitoring sensors.

 

With new smart technology, you can simply place a few smart devices in your home to monitor movement and sense whether doors and windows are closed or opened. Some systems include audio and video monitoring, as well as sirens to scare off intruders. You get real-time feedback on security breaches through an app. And, because you're alerted as soon as the system senses an intruder, it's more likely that they will be caught.

 

Canary is one popular all-in-one audio-video security system, complete with sirens and night vision.

 

Smart Locks

 

Go beyond the standard key locks, which can often be compromised by burglars. The new smart lock systems give you more control over those who can gain access to your home.

 

Some systems, like the Kwikset Kevo, include encrypted virtual keys that you can program for access for a limited amount of time—for example, allowing guests over for a weekend, or cleaning service in during a specific window of time.

 

Other door locking systems include biometric technology. The Ola smart lock allows you to program your lock to recognize your family member's fingerprints. Other systems use facial recognition to greet you and unlock your door.

 

The new August smart lock integrates with Apple's technology so you can ask Siri to open your door for you.

 

Smart lighting systems and light bulbs

A well-lit home feels warm and welcoming, and good lighting can instantly increase the value of your home.

 

However, annual lighting costs can account for up to 12% of your overall electric bill, or over $200 per year according to Energy Star. You can easily reduce this expense simply by using smart lighting technology to add efficiency.

 

The Philips Hue wifi-enabled lights make it easy to add to your home without installing specialized equipment. Smart lighting dimmers and sensors can give you more control over how much energy you use and allow you to turn them on and off through your smart phone.

 

New smart light bulbs can give you control over the warmth or coolness levels of your lighting. With the Lifx LED light bulbs, for example, you can program your light bulbs to turn on or off when you want, to slowly wake you up with increasing illumination, or to change from daytime work lighting to entertainment-friendly shades for parties.

 

Smart Appliances

 

Programmable slow cookers and coffee makers are the quaint, old-fashioned versions of these home conveniences. Newer, smart appliances give you more control over how your food is kept and prepared, and make it easier for you to complete pesky household chores.

 

  • Newer coffee makers, like the Smarter coffee machine, let you 'order' your coffee exactly to your liking, adjusting everything from bean grind to temperature to strength to time that it's ready to drink.
  • Smart refrigeration technology can help you store your food at just the right temperature, adjusting the thermostat during peak usage times. For example, the LG THINQ fridge can alert you via smart phone app if a door is accidentally left open.
  • Smart ovens can ensure that your food is cooked to the right level of done-ness, and alert you when your meal is ready to eat. June, a new counter oven invented by former Google, Apple, Go-Pro and Path employees will give you even more control—it will contain cameras, thermometers, and other technology to 'learn' what you like to eat and make menu suggestions.
  • Smart washers and dryers have customizable controls so that you can safely wash any type of fabric. Some units include controls to increase drying time to save energy. And soon, connected appliances from GE, Oster, Samsung, and other makers, will be able to re-order soap and fabric softener directly from Amazon, so you won't even have to think about running to the store at the last minute.

 

Have you tested any of these technologies in your home? Did we miss any of your favorite home technologies? Let us know in the comments!

September
1

DEHOFF REALTORS® Adds Donna Allen to Its Team

DEHOFF REALTORS® recently added Donna Allen to its team of real estate professionals.  Allen has been a licensed REALTOR® for 10 years.  She is a Certified Professional Property Stager Realtor Consultant, and has been awarded the Performance Management Network Designation by the Women's Council of REALTORS® (WCR).  She specializes in working with first-time home buyers, seniors, and buyers and sellers looking to upsize or downsize.  She currently serves as the Communications Vice-Chair of the Stark County Board of REALTORS®, and has been a member of several of the organization's committees, including the Strategic Planning Committee, Professional Services Committee, and the Realtors Political Action Committee.

 

In addition, Allen is actively involved with WCR at the local, state and national levels.  She formerly served as the Stark County Local Chapter President, has chaired numerous committees and received the Local Chapter "Member of the Year" Award in 2012.  She is the current Secretary for the Ohio State Chapter of WCR, having formerly served as the Governor in 2015, and Chair of the Historian and Hospitality Committee.

 

"I launched my career in real estate because of my desire to help buyers and sellers realize their real estate dreams and plans," says Allen.  "I love my career!" she continues.

 

Allen is a native of Stark County, and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Management from Malone University, and an Associates of Science degree from Kent State University.  Her volunteer efforts keep her actively engaged in the local community.  She has been a volunteer with several organizations and clubs, including Adopt A Highway, Mercy Medical Center, fundraising for Muscular Dystrophy, Gleaner Life Insurance Society, the Pro Football Hall of Fame Grand Parade, and the Jackson-Belden Balloon Classic.  She enjoys cooking, reading, playing cards, and having her home filled with family and friends. 

 

Choose a REALTOR® who will help you realize your real estate goals, and contact Allen at 330-232-1149 or dallen@dehoff.com to GET MOVING today!

 

DEHOFF REALTORS® has been serving the real estate needs of the greater Akron-Canton region for over 50 years.  DEHOFF REALTORS® is founded on the principals of uncompromising ethics and a dedication to serving each client, customer, employee and sales professional with high quality, ethical service that exceeds expectations.  DEHOFF REALTORS® full-time real estate professionals have received numerous awards both nationally and locally.  The DEHOFF REALTORS® corporate office is located at 821 South Main Street in North Canton.  To contact a real estate professional, call 330-499-8153.

August
29

Don't Get Burned – Get a Home Inspection to Save Money on Your Next Purchase

Okay, you made one of the most important decisions in your life: you're buying a home! You found your ideal home. It's in your desired neighborhood, close to everything you love, you dig its design and feel, and you're ready to finalize the deal.

But, whoa … wait a minute! Buying a home isn't like buying a toaster. If you discover something's wrong with your new home, you can't return it for a refund or an even exchange. You're stuck with your buying decision. Purchasing a home is an important investment and should be treated as such. Therefore, before finalizing anything, your "ideal" home needs an inspection to protect you from throwing your hard-earned money into a money pit.

A home inspection is a professional visual examination of the home's roof, plumbing, heating and cooling system, electrical systems, and foundation.

There are really two types of home of inspections. There is a general home inspection and a specialized inspection. Most general inspections cost between $267 and $600. The cost of the specialized inspection varies from type to type. If the inspector recommends a specialized inspection, take that advice because buying a home is the single most important investment you'll make and you want extra assurance that you're making a wise investment. 

By having your prospective new home inspected, you can:

  • Negotiate with the home seller and get the home sale-ready at no cost to you 
  • Prevent your insurance rates from rising
  • Opt-out of the purchase before you make a costly mistake
  • Save money in the short and long run

How Much Money Can a Home Inspection Save You?

A home inspection helps to find potential expenses beyond the sales price, which puts homebuyers in a powerful position for negotiation. If there are any issues discovered during the home inspection, buyers can stipulate that the sellers either repair them before closing or help cover the costs in some other way. If the sellers do not want to front the money to complete the repairs, buyers could negotiate a drop in the overall sales price of the home!

Perhaps even more importantly, a home inspection buys you peace of mind. Your first days and months in a new home will set the tone for your life there, and you don't want to taint that time with worries about hidden problems and potential money pits.

To help you understand how much money a home inspection can save you, here are some numbers from HomeAdvisor to drive the point home … so to speak.

Roof – Roofing problems are one of the most common issues found by home inspections. Roof repair can range between $316 and $1046, but to replace a roof entirely can cost between $4,660 and $8,950.

Plumbing – Don't underestimate the plumbing. Small leaks can cause damage that costs between $1,041 and $3,488 to repair. Your home inspector will look for visible problems with the plumbing such as leaky faucets, water stains around sinks and the shower, and noisy pipes. Stains on walls, ceilings, and warped floors show plumbing problems.

Heating and Cooling – Ensuring the home's heating and cooling system is working properly is very important. Your home inspector will make you aware of any problems with the existing system and let know you whether the system is past its prime and needs replacing. You don't want to throw down $3,919 to replace an aged furnace. Nor do you want to spend $5,238 replacing an ill-working air conditioner. Replacing and repairing a water heater gets pricey too. Wouldn't you rather use your savings for a vacation?

Electrical Systems – When thinking of the electrical system, no problem is better than even a small problem. Electrical problems might seem small, but they can blossom into thousand-dollar catastrophes. Make sure your home inspector examines the electric meter, wires, circuit breaker, switches, and the GCFI outlets and electrical outlets.

Foundation – If your home inspector sees that the house is sinking, that means water is seeping into the foundation; cracks in walls, sticking windows, and sagging floor also indicate foundational problems. The foundation is so important that if the general inspection report shows foundation problems, lenders will not lend money on the home until those issues are solved. Foundation repairs can reach as high as $5,880 to repair.

As you can see, a small investment of a few hundred dollars for a general home inspection can save you tons of money and future headaches. To save even more money, you might consider investing in a specialized home inspection as well. A specialized inspection gets down to the nitty-gritty of all the trouble spots the general home inspection might have located.

How Much Money Can a Specialized Inspection Save You?

A general home inspection can trigger a need for a specialized inspection because the general home inspector spotted something off about the roof, sewer system, the heating and cooling system, and the foundation. If humidity is high where you're buying your home, a pest inspection is recommended. Usually, a pest inspection will check for mold as well as pests. Most homebuyers have a Radon test done to ensure air quality.

Roof – Roof specialists examine the chimney and the flashing surrounding it. They also look at the level of wear and tear of the roof. They can tell you how long the roof will last before a new one is needed. They'll inspect the downspouts and gutters. The average cost of a roof inspection is about $223. Most roof inspections will cost between $121 and $324.

Sewer System – Making sure your sewer system has no problems should happen before the closing because what might look like a small problem can turn into a large problem in the future. If any issues pop up, you can negotiate with the seller about needed repairs or replacements before closing. Cost of inspection will vary; on the low side, it might cost you around $95, and on the high side, it might cost you $790. Compare these numbers to repairing a septic tank, which can cost, on average, $1,435 (though it could reach as high as $4,459), and you can see that the cost of an inspection is worth it when you catch the problem before you buy.

Heating and Cooling System – A HVAC specialist will check the ducts for blockage and for consistent maintenance of the unit. The repairs needed might be small or they might be big, but this small investment will save you headaches and lots of money down the road.

Foundation – A foundation specialist will pinpoint the exact problem with the foundation. The specialist will look at the grade or slope of the home. The ground should slope away from the home in all directions a half inch per foot. Most homeowners have spent between $1,763 and $5,880 to repair their foundation. And the average cost to re-slope a lawn is at $1,705. Most homeowners paid between $933 and $2,558 to re-slope their lawn.

Pest Inspection – Termites eat a home's wood structure from inside out and can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to your home. Other pests can turn your dream home into a nightmare. Depending on the humidity of where you live, you should a pest/termite inspection every two years or so. You can start with your potential new home. Most inspections are extensive and cost between $109 and $281. The good news is that most pest management company will guarantee the past inspection if bugs show up.

Radon Test – Radon is a naturally occurring invisible odorless gas that is the second leading cause of cancer. A radon test is a good test to have done as a good habit. The cost of radon test is low and its cost varies from state to state. Here'smore information about Radon.

Steps You Can Take to Save Money Using a Home Inspection

To help yourself save with a home inspection, you will need to:

Attend the inspection – Attending the inspection is important because it's an opportunity for you to ask questions.

Check utilities – Checking utilities let's know the energy efficiency of your potential home.

Hire a Qualified Home Inspector – We can recommend bona-fide home inspectors to you. You can compare our recommendation with all inspectors who belong to the American Society of Home Inspectors. While the decision of who you work with is always yours, we can educate you so that you make a wise homebuying decision.

August
29

DEHOFF REALTORS® Welcomes Mendee Burnside

DEHOFF REALTORS® recently welcomed Mendee Burnside to its team of real estate professionals.  Prior to becoming a REALTOR®, Burnside worked for 9.5 years in the healthcare industry.  She started out as a Sales Representative for a national respiratory company before moving up into a management position.  As a result of her previous work experience, Burnside is an effective communicator, educator and problem-solver, giving her an edge in real estate.

 

"I'm 100% focused on helping my clients find their dream home," says Burnside. 

 

Burnside was born and raised in Stark County, and graduated from Lake High School.  She earned a Bachelor's degree in Fashion Merchandising and an Associate's degree in Marketing and Sales from the University of Akron.  She received her Real Estate Certification from Hondros College of Business.  Burnside currently resides in North Canton, and enjoys outdoor activities, working in her flower gardens, meeting new people and networking, and spending time with her husband and teenage daughter. 

 

Choose a REALTOR® who is focused on finding your dream home and contact Burnside at 330-361-0069 or mburnside@dehoff.com.

 

DEHOFF REALTORS® has been serving the real estate needs of the greater Akron-Canton region for over 50 years.  DEHOFF REALTORS® is founded on the principals of uncompromising ethics and a dedication to serving each client, customer, employee and sales professional with high quality, ethical service that exceeds expectations.  DEHOFF REALTORS® full-time real estate professionals have received numerous awards both nationally and locally.  The DEHOFF REALTORS® corporate office is located at 821 South Main Street in North Canton.  To contact a real estate professional, call 330-499-8153.

July
29

A Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing

Despite the grim economic outlook for some industries, one sector is gaining viability -- real estate. According to the 2016 Emerging Trends in Real Estate, which was released by the Urban Land Institute earlier this year, trends such as "18-hour cities" and millennial parents increasing moving from urban areas out into the suburbs signal that real estate as an industry is gaining strength every passing day in 2016. One lending officer at a large financial institution even went to far as to say that "the next 24 months look doggone good for real estate."

 

These trends means that real estate is a smart place to make an investment and grow your wealth. A housing shortage means that flipped homes tend to sell quickly and for high prices, and an increased demand across all age groups for rental properties means that finding tenants for your buy-and-hold properties should be a breeze.

 

Of course, these trends also mean that the real estate market is highly competitive right now. If you want to make a foray into real estate investing, you'll need to educate yourself and be strategic in who you work with and where you look for investment opportunities. Read on for our beginner's guide to real estate investing.

 

Assemble your real estate team before you buy

 

Building relationships with your team will empower you to make serious offers that will more likely get accepted by sellers. Among your team members, you will want to include:

 

  • A mortgage broker or banker, who can help you get the financing for your deal
  • A real estate attorney to protect you by reviewing and revising contracts
  • An appraiser who can help you get a correct appraisal for your potential property
  • An accountant who is well versed in real estate investments
  • A good contractor, for repairs whether you're rehabbing or buying rental property

 

How to find rehab or wholesale deals

 

You can buy properties to fix up and resell (flip) or you can buy and hold properties that you rent out for monthly cash flow.

 

The advantage of flipping properties is that you can end up with a good return on investment (ROI) in the short term. For example, you buy a property for $100,000, and invest $50,000 into repairs. Once it's rehabbed, your property is valued at $200,000, and you sell it for a $50,000 profit.

 

This is an extremely simplified version of ROI. There are many other factors that you need to determine to see if the numbers work in your favor — that is, you're not overpaying initially when you buy the properties or for the renovations or holding costs.

 

Flipping properties means that you will need to spend more time looking for fixer uppers that may be under market value. These may be more difficult to find in a hot market with rising property prices. Beyond the actual purchase price, you will also need to factor in fixed purchase costs for inspections, closing, and lender fees.

 

You'll also need to factor in holding costs. Your budget should include funds for making repairs, whether you are doing them yourself or hiring contractors. While you're upgrading the property, you'll need to carry mortgage payments, property taxes, utilities, and insurance.

 

Because of rising property values, fix-and-flip deals in good neighborhoods can be hard to find. But once you know where to find rehab opportunities, you can easily repeat the process by reinvesting proceeds from a previous flip into the next property, which can be bigger, in a more desirable neighborhood, or finished out more luxuriously, and therefore sold for more cash!

 

Working with the right real estate professionals will help you learn which neighborhoods to consider and determine where you should focus your search. We can help you find the right fixer-uppers that may be under market value. Also, a Realtor will have access to many properties that may not be publicly available.

 

Finding buy-and-hold rental properties

 

A buy-and-hold rental property is one that your purchase with the intent of renting it out to tenants. If you find the right long-term buy-and-hold rental property, you can earn consistent cash flow each month, which can be a great source of supplemental income.

 

You'll need to carefully review the operating expenses on the property and what tenants are willing to pay for the space to know if you'll make or lose money each month. For example, say your total costs to buy a duplex was $20,000, including down payment and closing costs. You can rent each of the units for $600. Assuming your building is 100% occupied, you'll make $1200 per month in income. Your expenses include mortgage payments, taxes, insurance, utilities, and management fees, and you want to set aside some cash each month for capital expenditures and routine repairs. You calculate that your expenses add up to $1100 per month. Once you subtract your expenses from your income, you'll have a positive cash flow of $100 per month.

 

Of course, this is a very simplified example, and it doesn't take into account that problems will inevitably arise. Emergency roof repairs, heating system breakdowns, broken windows that need replacing, and other unexpected expenses can eat away at your profits. One of your units may be vacant for a month or more -- for example, vacancies are high in the summer months in buildings around universities -- or you could have a tenant who fails to pay their monthly rent.

 

The more you can anticipate problems before they happen, however, the easier it will be for you to recover from setbacks! Moreover, rent isn't the only way to make money on a buy-and-hold property. You can also add amenities, such as coin laundry and vending machines, to increase your potential monthly income. If your property has space to add a billboard, you can earn advertising revenue from renting that space, too. And when you decide to sell, your property's value will likely have increased both from the overall rising property values and by the improvements you made to increase the cash flow. 

 

Once you find and invest in your rental property, you'll need to decide how you want it managed from month to month.

 

Getting the right property manager

 

Do you want to manage your own property or hire a manager? Property management can become a full-time job. As a property manager, you'll have to deal not only with maintenance, repairs and tenant issues, but also with insurance, fair rental regulations, and building code compliance. So if you're not an expert in these areas, managing your own properties may not be worth your time and effort.

 

Hiring a professional manager can save you headaches over the long term. While you'll have to factor in management as a fixed expense, your property manager will likely know how to better take care of routine repairs, tenant issues, and keeping your property near 100% occupancy.

 

Your real estate professional can refer you to reputable property management companies to help you take care of your investment.

 

Where should I start investing in local real estate?

 

Work with a knowledgeable real estate professional who knows about the different neighborhoods. We can help you find properties that will fit into your budget and your overall goals. Whether you're seeking a duplex or multifamily property so you can maximize your rental income or whether you want a condo or single-family home to improve for resale, we can guide you to the best property to suit your needs. 

 

Contact us to learn more about investment properties in our area. 

 

July
20

Should You Buy a New or Existing Home?

Maybe your dream home has the intricate details that you usually find only in older construction - wainscoting and crown molding in the interior, the front porch with a swing, an older tree shading the back yard, and the white picket fence.

 

Or maybe your dream home has all the conveniences of modern living - open floor plan in the living and dining spaces, large windows, connected, "smart" appliances and security systems, and minimalist design elements.

 

Whether you go for a brand new construction or an existing home, both types of properties have their pros and cons when it comes to purchasing. What type of home is right for you will depend on which factors are most important for your lifestyle.

 

Build your dream home with new construction

 

If you're making a home purchase that's still in the pre-construction phase, you may be able to customize many of the details. Many home builders will give you the option to add design elements that will give you the exact dream home you desire. If it's a new subdivision, you may even be able to pick which lot you like best.

 

Very early in the building process, you may have more room to customize. For example, if the walls aren't complete, you may be able to add extra outlets in each of the rooms or custom wiring for surround sound in the media room. Perhaps you could move the laundry room to the top floor instead of the basement. You might be able to get a separate mudroom entrance.

 

Later in the building process, you may be able to add marble countertops, an island, and custom cabinets in the kitchen. Your master bathroom could be upgraded with a steam shower, spa tub, and European fixtures. You will want to check with the builder to understand which features are included, and which ones are extra.

 

New homes save money with fewer repairs and more efficiency

 

Once your home is complete, all you'll need to do is move in. New appliances will be under warranty for a few years if they need repairs, and will likely work well for several years without needing fixes. Often, new construction is under a builder's warranty, so any repairs needed in the first year should be covered.

 

New homes often contain energy efficient and green appliances, like high-efficiency stoves, refrigerators, washing machines, heaters, or air conditioning units. These energy-saving appliances, along with good insulation and energy-efficient windows, will help you save money on monthly utility bills.

 

New homes also often use new building materials that require less maintenance — for example, using composite siding instead of wood, which doesn't need annual repainting. You won't need to spend as much to maintain your new home.

 

If you customized it during pre-construction, you won't need to spend any money on renovations or upgrades for several more years. You can just enjoy it and not worry about saving for major home repairs.

 

What you need to do to make a good new home purchase

 

Before you put in your offer, do some research on the builder. Do they have a good reputation? What else have they built? Did their other new properties have issues such as poor construction or unfinished details?

 

You like the model home, but will you like where it's situated? After you look at the home itself, come back to the neighborhood to see what it's like at different times of the day. Walk around during the day and in the evening, and see how you like the area.

 

Brand new communities usually attract similar types of buyers—urban professionals, couples, or young families, for example. These will be your neighbors, so you'll want to make sure that you want to be part of this new, homogeneous community.

 

You may also need to be flexible with your move-in date. Builders will only be able to let you move in if they can meet their construction schedule. If the wiring is delayed, the walls can't be finished. And because there are so many construction tasks that are dependent on the completion of prior tasks, schedules tend to slip.

 

Get more variety and established neighborhoods with an existing home

 

Existing homes are those that have generally been built and lived in between the 1920's and 1970's. With existing homes, you will get more variety in home styles, as different types of construction have gone in and out of style throughout the decades. Within one neighborhood, you may be able to find a mix of different styles like Victorian, modern Tudor cottages, tract style, ranch or split-ranch, or contemporary homes.

 

Existing homes are situated in established neighborhoods, which may have more amenities nearby that a new home in a brand new subdivision may not have. Your new neighborhood may have restaurants, cafes, and boutiques within walking distance.

 

You might also have access to more supermarkets, dry cleaners, discount stores, and gas stations nearby. An established neighborhood might have a nice park, running path, or playground for the kids to enjoy. You might also be closer to a library or the post office.

 

Resale homes can be a less expensive purchase

 

If you're considering a resale home, you may be able to get into a beautiful, unique property at a lower purchase price than a new home.

 

There are many more resale homes available than there are new homes — according to theNational Association of Homebuilders, about 10 times as many. With such a large pool to buy from, the market for resales can be more competitive. You may have more room to negotiate the  selling price of the home. With a brand-new construction, you won't likely be able to have the same kind of negotiating power.

 

Before putting a home on the market, sellers often make home renovations or remodel parts of their homes to make them more attractive to buyers and to be able to potentially increase the list price. If the resale home has a brand new, modern kitchen, an updated bathroom, or even a new roof or upgraded windows, you could end up getting a home that's comparable to new construction without having to pay the potential more expensive new-home list price.

 

Existing homes have already been inspected at least once on the last sale, so you will know about any potential structural problems or repairs that have been made on the home. Knowing the track record on your potential home will help you avoid purchase mistakes—you're much less likely to end up with a property that has a rotting roof, dangerous electrical wiring, or a crumbling foundation. With a new home, you could end up with incomplete construction or major issues that you didn't know about because they weren't yet documented.

 

What you need to do to make a good resale purchase

 

Before you go too far down the road to a purchase, you can protect your purchase by first having the home inspected. A good home inspector will document all flaws, no matter how small they appear. If the inspector finds any major problems, like foundation cracks or leaky roofs, you may be able to counter offer and get the seller to either fix it or reduce the selling price.

 

Even if the inspection doesn't uncover any major issues, you will need to expect the unexpected. Older homes will eventually need replacement appliances, a new air conditioning unit, or a plumbing repair. As long as you know that before you buy a resale home, you can plan for surprise repairs.

 

With an older home, you may want to eventually remodel parts of it. Will you be happy living in your house while you're doing major work on the living room or the kitchen? If you know that it would disrupt your lifestyle too much, you may want to consider whether you really want to buy an older property.

 

Whether you choose to buy a new home or an existing home, the best way to get started is to speak with your trusted real estate professional. We will have access to both new properties and resale homes that may fit your goals, and will know which neighborhoods will serve your needs.

July
18

DEHOFF REALTORS® Introduces David Bordwell

North Canton, Ohio – DEHOFF REALTORS® announced today the addition of David Bordwell to its team of real estate professionals.  He brings 10 years of experience in business, and previously managed a $20 million business unit.

 

"I specialize in online marketing, and deliver maximum exposure of my clients' properties.  I enjoy problem solving and using my business knowledge and skills to assist my clients in achieving their real estate goals," says Bordwell. 

 

Bordwell earned a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering, and studied the field at the graduate level as well.  His passions include classic car restoration and technology.

 

Choose a REALTOR® who delivers maximum exposure for your property and contact Bordwell at 330-284-6107 or dbordwell@dehoff.com.

 

DEHOFF REALTORS® has been serving the real estate needs of the greater Akron-Canton region for over 50 years.  DEHOFF REALTORS® is founded on the principals of uncompromising ethics and a dedication to serving each client, customer, employee and sales professional with high quality, ethical service that exceeds expectations.  DEHOFF REALTORS® full-time real estate professionals have received numerous awards both nationally and locally.  The DEHOFF REALTORS® corporate office is located at 821 South Main Street in North Canton.  To contact a real estate professional, call 330-499-8153.

July
7

DEHOFF REALTORS® Welcomes Rita Haines to Its Team

North Canton, Ohio – DEHOFF REALTORS® recently welcomed Rita Haines to its team of real estate professionals.  Prior to becoming a REALTOR®, Haines was a local small business owner.  She was part-owner of Photo Factory for 10 years and Victorian Reflections for 7 years.  Both businesses were located on Whipple Road in Canton.

 

Haines is a graduate of Jackson High School, and studied to become a Registered Nurse at Kent State University.  She earned her Real Estate Certification from Hondros College of Business.

 

"I am a reliable and hard working woman who has had a passion for drawing houses since I was a little girl.  My love for my family and home run very deeply in me, and I look forward to assisting families find their next home," explains Haines.

 

Haines is an avid supporter of the Jackson School for the Arts, Jackson Diamond [Baseball] Club, Jackson High School Alumni Association, National First Ladies Library, M.A.P.S. Air Museum, and Canton Symphony.  Her passions include the Arts and education, particularly history, as well as home staging, floral and basket design, embroidery, party planning and class reunions, cooking and baking, crossword puzzles, cheering on Cleveland sports teams, traveling with her grandchildren and trips to the ocean.

 

To choose Haines for your next move, contact her at 330-844-5223 or rhaines@dehoff.com.

 

DEHOFF REALTORS® has been serving the real estate needs of the greater Akron-Canton region for over 50 years.  DEHOFF REALTORS® is founded on the principals of uncompromising ethics and a dedication to serving each client, customer, employee and sales professional with high quality, ethical service that exceeds expectations.  DEHOFF REALTORS® full-time real estate professionals have received numerous awards both nationally and locally.  The DEHOFF REALTORS® corporate office is located at 821 South Main Street in North Canton.  To contact a real estate professional, call 330-499-8153.

June
13

Tiffany Bracken Joins DEHOFF REALTORS®

North Canton, Ohio – DEHOFF REALTORS® recently welcomed Tiffany Bracken to its team of real estate professionals.  Bracken earned a Bachelor's degree in Communication at Kent State University before earning her real estate license.  She brings 7 years of experience in customer service and 3 years of experience in sales, giving her an edge in real estate.  She specializes in residential real estate, particularly with first time home buyers. 

 

"I am available whenever my clients have questions or concerns, and return every call, text or e-mail in less than 24 hours," promises Bracken.  "I help my clients understand each step of the home buying or selling process.  I pride myself on being an honest and trustworthy advocate for my clients," she continues.

After losing her brother to suicide in 2012, Bracken passionately volunteers for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.  In addition to hosting fundraisers for the foundation at Kent State University, she gathers together teams to participate in campus walks that benefit the foundation.  She recently began putting together a team for the walk held in North Canton each year as well.

 

She is an animal lover and owns 2 mini horses, Ryder and Thunder, and a dog, a boxer named after former Cleveland Browns cornerback Hanford Dixon.  She also enjoys traveling, scuba diving with her husband, and spending time with her family and friends.    

 

Choose an honest and trustworthy REALTOR® and client advocate for your next real estate transaction.  Contact Bracken at 330-412-2245 or tbracken@dehoff.com and GET MOVING!

 

DEHOFF REALTORS® has been serving the real estate needs of the greater Akron-Canton region for over 50 years.  DEHOFF REALTORS® is founded on the principals of uncompromising ethics and a dedication to serving each client, customer, employee and sales professional with high quality, ethical service that exceeds expectations.  DEHOFF REALTORS® full-time real estate professionals have received numerous awards both nationally and locally.  The DEHOFF REALTORS® corporate office is located at 821 South Main Street in North Canton.  To contact a real estate professional, call 330-499-8153.

June
9

DEHOFF REALTORS® Welcomes Brianna Lehman to Its Team

North Canton, Ohio – DEHOFF REALTORS® introduces Brianna Lehman as its newest real estate professional.  Lehman earned her real estate certification from the Ohio Institute of Real Estate in Medina, and has been a licensed full-time REALTOR® for 2 years.  Prior to her career in real estate, she taught Pre-K, and studied Early Childhood Education at Kent State University.

 

"I treat all of my clients as if they are my only one," says Lehman.  "I work diligently to ensure that every real estate transaction is as stress free and pleasant as possible.  I pride myself on building lasting relationships with my clients because my job does not end when the deal does," she continues.

 

Lehman is an active member of the Jackson-Belden Young Professionals and Jackson-Belden Chamber of Commerce, and attends Cathedral of Life in Canton.  She has a toddler, Adalynn, and enjoys golfing, cheering on Cleveland sports teams (Go Cavs!) and The Ohio State University Buckeyes, traveling, music and musicals.

 

Choose a REALTOR® who delivers a stress free and pleasant real estate transaction.  Contact Lehman at 330-265-9073 or blehman@dehoff.com and GET MOVING!

 

DEHOFF REALTORS® has been serving the real estate needs of the greater Akron-Canton region for over 50 years.  DEHOFF REALTORS® is founded on the principals of uncompromising ethics and a dedication to serving each client, customer, employee and sales professional with high quality, ethical service that exceeds expectations.  DEHOFF REALTORS® full-time real estate professionals have received numerous awards both nationally and locally.  The DEHOFF REALTORS® corporate office is located at 821 South Main Street in North Canton.  To contact a real estate professional, call 330-499-8153.

June
2

DEHOFF REALTORS® Welcomes Lisa George

North Canton, Ohio – DEHOFF REALTORS® announced today the addition of Lisa George to its team of real estate professionals.  In addition to her career in real estate, George has worked in the medical field for 37 years and as a medical assistant at a local doctor's office for 13 years.  She has also worked as a self-taught floral designer at a local floral shop for over 5 years.  Her extensive customer service, design and sales experience give her an edge in real estate.    

 

"Whether selling, buying, investing, looking for a vacation home, or that special place to retire, I will make your real estate dreams come true," promises George. 

 

George earned her Real Estate Certification from Hondros College of Business, and is a graduate of Perry High School.  She loves going for motorcycle rides with her husband and friends, walking 5k and 4 and 5 mile races, floral design, painting and other crafts, baking and cooking, horseback riding and animals of all kinds, getting into the outdoors, and most of all spending time with her daughter and son-in-law, son and daughter-in-law, and 6 beautiful grandchildren.

 

For a REALTOR® who will make your real estate dreams come true, contact George at 330-209-4237 or lgeorge@dehoff.com and GET MOVING!

 

DEHOFF REALTORS® has been serving the real estate needs of the greater Akron-Canton region for over 50 years.  DEHOFF REALTORS® is founded on the principals of uncompromising ethics and a dedication to serving each client, customer, employee and sales professional with high quality, ethical service that exceeds expectations.  DEHOFF REALTORS® full-time real estate professionals have received numerous awards both nationally and locally.  The DEHOFF REALTORS® corporate office is located at 821 South Main Street in North Canton.  To contact a real estate professional, call 330-499-8153.

May
23

Erin Miller Joins DEHOFF REALTORS®

 

North Canton, Ohio – DEHOFF REALTORS® welcomes Erin Miller to its team of real estate professionals.  Prior to becoming a REALTOR®, Miller worked in the sales and customer service industry for 10 years.  In addition, she studied Hospitality Management at Columbus State Community College.  Having earned her Real Estate Certification from Hondros College of Business, she is eager to apply her knowledge and practical experience to serve her clients and meet their real estate needs. 

 

"I truly enjoy assisting my clients as they begin an exciting new chapter in their lives," says Miller.  "I'm blessed to have the ability to see the potential in properties.  I utilize my unique perspective to work tirelessly towards helping my clients achieve their real estate goals and dreams of homeownership," she continues.

 

Miller was born and raised in Stark County, and is proud to call the area home.  She enjoys decorating, repurposing antique furniture, golfing, traveling, knitting, sewing, gardening, playing with her dog, Bogey, and spending quality time with family and friends.

 

Choose a REALTOR® with a unique perspective and achieve your real estate goals.  Contact Miller at 330-268-4222 or emiller@dehoff.com and GET MOVING!

 

DEHOFF REALTORS® has been serving the real estate needs of the greater Akron-Canton region for over 50 years.  DEHOFF REALTORS® is founded on the principals of uncompromising ethics and a dedication to serving each client, customer, employee and sales professional with high quality, ethical service that exceeds expectations.  DEHOFF REALTORS® full-time real estate professionals have received numerous awards both nationally and locally.  The DEHOFF REALTORS® corporate office is located at 821 South Main Street in North Canton.  To contact a real estate professional, call 330-499-8153.

May
20

DEHOFF REALTORS® Welcomes Ruthanne Wilkof to Its Team

North Canton, Ohio – DEHOFF REALTORS® introduces Ruthanne Mancini-Wilkof as its newest real estate professional.  Ruthanne specializes in premier real estate, vacant land, residential sales, and commercial.  Her extensive experience in the banking industry, her business integrity and her knowledge of the local community provides clients with a unique perspective when buying or selling a home.  A focused listener, able advisor, and fierce yet fair client advocate, she is known for her intuition and diligence while employing encouragement and genuine concern in creating a positive experience for both sides of any property transaction.  Her business strategy is direct and successful; listening to the client's needs and matching their goals with the right option and perfect property, while at all times assuring an honest and efficient transaction.  Ruthanne prides herself on providing an unparalleled service and thrives in developing long-term relationships and achieving success for each and every client.

 

Ruthanne has been a volunteer and community leader for over 40 years.  In 2003-2004 she received the "Volunteer of the Year Award" given by the Paul & Carol David YMCA while serving on the board.  She was a member of the Jackson Local Schools Key Communicator, Class of 2007 and was presented with the Certificate of Appreciation Award from the Jackson Township Trustees for the first annual Arts in Jackson Park event.  Ruthanne was the President & CEO of the Jackson-Belden Chamber of Commerce for nine and a half years.  During that time she won the 2005 "Outstanding Professional of the Year" award presented by the Chambers of Commerce of Ohio, becoming the first award-winner in the area since 1993.  Also she oversaw the Chamber's major fundraiser, the Jackson-Belden Food Fest and Fireworks.  During her tenure as President & CEO, the Jackson-Belden Chamber of Commerce grew from 211 members to 800 members.  Ruthanne willingly continues to serve on numerous boards and committees throughout the community.

 

Ruthanne is a Canton native.  She and her husband, Ron, moved to Glenmoor in Jackson Township in 2000.  Throughout her 40 years of career experience she has worked for many of the top banking institutions in the area and has built an extensive resource network to help her clients in every step of the transactional process.  Contact Ruthanne today for all your premier real estate buying and selling needs at 330.324.0573 or rwilkof@dehoff.com.  She is eager and passionate to meet with you and discuss how to reach your real estate goals.

 

DEHOFF REALTORS® has been serving the real estate needs of the greater Akron-Canton region for over 50 years.  DEHOFF REALTORS® is founded on the principals of uncompromising ethics and a dedication to serving each client, customer, employee and sales professional with high quality, ethical service that exceeds expectations.  DEHOFF REALTORS® full-time real estate professionals have received numerous awards both nationally and locally.  The DEHOFF REALTORS® corporate office is located at 821 South Main Street in North Canton.  To contact a real estate professional, call 330-499-8153.

May
17

Get Your Credit Score in Shape Before Buying a Home

How strong is your credit? Cleaning up your credit is essential before you make any major financial moves. Having a bad score can hurt your chances of being able to open a credit card, apply for a loan, purchase a car, or rent an apartment.

 

It is especially important to have clean credit before you try to buy a home. With a less-than-great score, you may not get preapproved for a mortgage. If you can't get a mortgage, you may only be able to buy a home if you can make an all-cash offer.

 

Or if you do get preapproval, you might get a higher mortgage rate, which can be a huge added expense. For example, if you have a 30-year fixed rate mortgage of $100,000 and you get a 3.92% interest rate, the total cost of your mortgage will be $170,213. However, if your interest rate is 5.92%, you'll have to spend $213,990 for the same mortgage  - that's an extra $43,777 over the life of the loan! If you had secured the lower mortgage rate, you could use that additional money to fund a four-year college degree at a public university.

 

So now that you know how important it is to maintain a good credit score, how do you start cleaning up your credit? Here, we've collected our best tips for improving your score.

 

Talk to a loan professional

 

You can protect your score from more damage by getting a loan professional to check your credit score for you. A professional will be able to guide you to whether your score is in the 'good' range for home buying. Plus, every time that you request your own credit score, the credit companies record the inquiry, which can lower your score. Having a professional ask instead ensures that you only record one inquiry. Once you know your score, you can start taking action on cleaning up your credit.

 

Change your financial habits to boost your score

 

What if your score has been damaged by late payments or delinquent accounts? You can start repairing the damage quickly by taking charge of your debts. For example, your payment history makes up 35% of your score according to myFICO. If you begin to pay your bills in full before they are due, and make regular payments to owed debts, your score can improve within a few months.

 

Amounts owed are 30% of your FICO score. What matters in this instance is the percentage of credit that you're currently using. For example, if you have a $5000 limit on one credit card, and you're carrying a balance of $4500, that means 90% of your available credit is used up by that balance. You can improve your score by reducing that balance to free up some of your available credit.

 

Length of credit history counts for 15% of your FICO score. If you're trying to reduce debt by eliminating your credit cards, shred the card but DO NOT close the account. Keep the old accounts open without using them to maintain your credit history and available credit.

 

Find and correct mistakes on your credit report

 

How common are credit report mistakes? Inaccuracies are rampant. In a 2012 study by the Federal Trade Commission, one in five people identified at least one error on their credit report. In their 2015 follow-up study, almost 70% thought that at least one piece of previously disputed information was still inaccurate.

 

Go through each section of your report systematically, and take notes about anything that needs to be corrected.

 

Your personal information

Start with the basics: often overlooked, one small incorrect personal detail like an incorrect address can accidently lower your score. So, before you look at any other part of your report, check all of these personal details:

 

  • Make sure your name, address, social security number and birthdate are current and correct.
  • Are your prior addresses correct? You'll need to make sure that they're right if you haven't lived at your current address for very long.
  • Is your employment information up to date? Are the details of your past employers also right?
  • Is your marital status correct? Sometimes a former spouse will come up listed as your current spouse.

 

Your public records

This section will list things like lawsuits, tax liens, judgments, and bankruptcies. If you have any of these in your report, make sure that they are listed correctly and actually belong to you.

 

A bankruptcy filed by a spouse or ex-spouse should not be on your report if you didn't file it. There shouldn't be any lawsuits or judgments older than seven years, or that were entered after the statute of limitations, on your report.  Are there tax liens that you paid off that are still listed as unpaid, or that are more than seven years old? Those all need to go.

 

Your credit accounts

This section will list any records about your commingled accounts, credit cards, loans, and debts. As you read through this section, make sure that any debts are actually yours.

 

For example, if you find an outstanding balance for which your spouse is solely responsible, that should be removed from your report. Any debts due to identity theft should also be resolved. If there are accounts that you closed on your report, make sure they're labeled as 'closed by consumer' so that it doesn't look like the bank closed them.

 

Your inquiries

Are there any unusual inquiries into your credit listed in this section? An example might be a credit inquiry when you went for a test drive or were comparison shopping at a car dealer. These need to be scrubbed off your report.

 

Report the dispute to the credit agency

 

If there are major mistakes, you can take your dispute to the credit agencies. While you could send a letter, it can be much faster to get the ball rolling on resolving a mistake by submitting your report through the credit agency's website. Experian, Transunion and Equifax all have step-by-step forms to submit reports online.

 

If you have old information on your report that should have been purged from your records already, such as a debt that has already been paid off or information that is more than 7 years old, you may need to go directly to the lender to resolve the dispute.

 

Follow up

 

You must follow up to make sure that any mistakes are scrubbed from your reports. Keep notes about who you speak to and on which dates you contacted them. Check back with all of the credit reporting companies to make sure that your information has been updated. Since all three companies share data with each other, any mistakes should be corrected on all three reports.

 

If your disputes are still not corrected, you may have to also follow up with the institution that reported the incident in the first place, or a third-party collections agency that is handling it. Then check again with the credit reporting companies to see if your reports have been updated.

 

If you can keep on top of your credit reports on a regular basis, you won't have to deal with the headaches of fixing reporting mistakes. You are entitled to a free annual credit report review to make sure all is well with your score. If you make your annual credit review part of your financial fitness routine, you'll be able to better protect your buying power and potentially save thousands of dollars each year.

 

How to clean up your credit now

 

Does your credit score need a boost so you can buy a home? Get in touch with me. I can connect you with the right lending professionals to help you get the guidance you need.

May
16

Dawn Hart Joins DEHOFF REALTORS®

 

North Canton, Ohio – DEHOFF REALTORS® welcomes Dawn Hart to its team of real estate professionals.  Prior to becoming a REALTOR®, Hart worked for 34 years in the field of developmental disabilities.  She served as Director of the Service and Support Administration Division, and developed the Clinton County Board of Developmental Disabilities Nonprofit Housing Corporation.  Along with many volunteer projects, she also served as Chairperson of the Clinton County Regional Planning Commission.    

 

"I bring professional, customer-driven services to the real estate industry," says Hart.  "I value the relationship I build with my clients. Their goals are my highest priority," she continues.

 

Hart is a graduate of Wittenberg University, where she earned two Bachelor's degrees, one in Psychology and the other in Sociology, as well as her Teaching Certification.  She is an active member of the Louisville Booster Club, Louisville Community Choir, and Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.  She enjoys casual outdoor activities, baking, singing, volunteering in her community, photography and traveling. 

 

Contact Hart at 330-515-0239 or dhart@dehoff.com to partner with a REALTOR® who is committed to helping you accomplish your real estate goals.

 

DEHOFF REALTORS® has been serving the real estate needs of the greater Akron-Canton region for over 50 years.  DEHOFF REALTORS® is founded on the principals of uncompromising ethics and a dedication to serving each client, customer, employee and sales professional with high quality, ethical service that exceeds expectations.  DEHOFF REALTORS® full-time real estate professionals have received numerous awards both nationally and locally.  The DEHOFF REALTORS® corporate office is located at 821 South Main Street in North Canton.  To contact a real estate professional, call 330-499-8153.

April
25

DEHOFF REALTORS® Welcomes Stephanie Weston


Canton, Ohio – DEHOFF REALTORS® announced today the addition of Stephanie Weston to its team of real estate professionals.  She brings 10 years of experience in customer service, sales, and leadership, and specializes in investment properties.

 

"I provide my clients with exceptional customer service and personalized care to help them meet their real estate needs," says Weston.

 

Weston earned her real estate license at Tuxedo Training at Ashland University, and attended Oral Roberts University and Kent State University.  Over the last 12 years, she has founded and led multiple music ministry groups at local churches.  In addition, Weston is a volunteer at Jackson Local Schools, and a designer for The Love Gift, a free wedding event, for several years.  She enjoys party planning, crafts, and sharing her passion for music.  She plays guitar and piano, and loves to sing.

 

For exceptional customer service and personalized care, contact Weston at 330-934-0299 or sweston@dehoff.com and GET MOVING!

 

DEHOFF REALTORS® has been serving the real estate needs of the greater Akron-Canton region for over 50 years.  DEHOFF REALTORS® is founded on the principals of uncompromising ethics and a dedication to serving each client, customer, employee and sales professional with high quality, ethical service that exceeds expectations.  DEHOFF REALTORS® full-time real estate professionals have received numerous awards both nationally and locally.  The DEHOFF REALTORS® corporate office is located at 821 South Main Street in North Canton.  To contact a real estate professional, call 330-499-8153.

April
15

DEHOFF REALTORS® Welcomes Jacklyn Nelson

 

DEHOFF REALTORS® Welcomes Jacklyn Nelson

North Canton, Ohio – DEHOFF REALTORS® announced today the addition of Jacklyn Nelson to its team of real estate professionals.  In addition to her career in real estate, Nelson manages 9 privately owned rental properties, as well as supervises and coordinates the logistics of a family-owned auction company which specializes in the sale of kitchen cabinets.  Her experience in marketing and sales gives her an edge in real estate.    

 

"I provide my clients with exceptional service," promises Nelson.  "I'm strongly committed to earning their trust and ensuring they are completely satisfied.  I'm relentlessly focused on delivering a stress free real estate experience," she continues.

 

Nelson earned her Real Estate Certification from Hondros College of Business, and is a graduate of Sandy Valley High School.  She volunteers for the Canton South Wildcats Softball Team, a Canton South Girl Scouts troop, and Canton Local Schools.  She enjoys watching her daughter, Gracie, play softball.  The two also share a love for camping and hunting.

 

For a REALTOR® who provides exceptional service and a stress free real estate experience, contact Nelson at 330-316-1070 or jnelson@dehoff.com and GET MOVING!

 

DEHOFF REALTORS® has been serving the real estate needs of the greater Akron-Canton region for over 50 years.  DEHOFF REALTORS® is founded on the principals of uncompromising ethics and a dedication to serving each client, customer, employee and sales professional with high quality, ethical service that exceeds expectations.  DEHOFF REALTORS® full-time real estate professionals have received numerous awards both nationally and locally.  The DEHOFF REALTORS® corporate office is located at 821 South Main Street in North Canton.  To contact a real estate professional, call 330-499-8153.

April
14

Hetti Hine Joins DEHOFF REALTORS®

Hetti Hine Joins DEHOFF REALTORS®

 

North Canton, Ohio – DEHOFF REALTORS® welcomes Hetti Hine to its team of real estate professionals.  Prior to becoming a REALTOR®, Hine worked for over 20 years in retail and non-profit fundraising marketing.  She directed marketing campaigns for some of the top national and international non-profits, including the American Heart Association, Alzheimer's Association and Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada.    

 

Having earned her Real Estate Certification from Hondros College of Business, Hine is eager to apply her knowledge and practical experience to serve her clients and meet their real estate needs. 

 

"No matter if you are buying or selling, I'll make your experience a smooth and easy one through my hard work, dedication and expertise," says Hine.

 

Hine is a graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor of Business degree and a major in Marketing.  She is an active member of the Elks Lodge, the Elks Lodge Ladies Auxillary, and Green Local Schools PTA.  In addition, she volunteers for the Green Local School District and Girl Scouts.  She enjoys cooking and traveling on fun weekend trips with her husband, Patrick, and 2 children, Brandon (12 yrs.) and Emily (9 yrs.).  She also loves all things Disney, and visits Walt Disney World with her family annually. 

 

For a REALTOR® who provides a smooth and easy real estate experience, contact Hine at 330-631-1520 or hhine@dehoff.com and GET MOVING!

 

DEHOFF REALTORS® has been serving the real estate needs of the greater Akron-Canton region for over 50 years.  DEHOFF REALTORS® is founded on the principals of uncompromising ethics and a dedication to serving each client, customer, employee and sales professional with high quality, ethical service that exceeds expectations.  DEHOFF REALTORS® full-time real estate professionals have received numerous awards both nationally and locally.  The DEHOFF REALTORS® corporate office is located at 821 South Main Street in North Canton.  To contact a real estate professional, call 330-499-8153.

April
11

How to Amp Up The Resale Value of Your Home

Whether you're putting your home on the market this year or in the next five years, it is a smart decision to start building your home's resale value now. Here are some ways to create a comfortable home while making it easier to put more money into your bank account on closing day.

 

Small Maintenance and Repairs

 

If you think that home maintenance on the weekends waste your time and energy, think again. The small chores you do around your home prevents it from losing value. Neglecting small maintenance and repairs causes 10% of your home's value to walk out your door and slip through your windows. Most appraisers claim that homes showing little to no preventative maintenance can depreciate from $15,000 to $20,000.

 

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Connecticut and Syracuse University shows that regular maintenance boosts your home value by about 1% per year. However, ongoing maintenance costs offset that value, which means that regular maintenance actually slows down your rate of depreciation. Furthermore, because homebuyers generally notice any repairs needed upon buying a new home, proactive maintenance lets the homebuyer know that he or she will not have to spend extra money to maintain the basics. This makes your home more attractive, and thus more likely to get higher priced offers.

 

Maintaining the basics can cost you little money and certainly some effort, but there's a way to accomplish this very important activity smartly. This article by HouseLogic, for example, shows you how to keep home maintenance below $300 a year.  Planning ahead will also help make maintaining your home easier. Most professional appraisers and real estate agents recommend a proactive maintenance schedule that includes:

 

  • Keeping enough cash on hand to replace systems and materials
  • Creating and following a maintenance schedule
  • Planning a room redo every year
  • Keeping a notebook of all your maintenance and repairs

 

Landscaping

 

The Virginia Cooperative Extension at Virginia Tech published a study that shows landscaping can increase a home's value by 15%.  The study claims that a home valued at $150,000 could increase its value between $8,300 and $19,000 with the addition of landscaping. Particular landscape elements add different value. For instance, landscape design can increase your home's value by 42%, plant size can increase your home's value by 32%, and diversity in plants can increase your home's value by 22%.

 

Replace Entrance Doors

 

If your entry doors are wood, consider switching them out for either fiberglass or steel doors. Steel doors add style and architectural interest to your home while improving security; you can add a deadbolt and electronic keypads to keep out intruders. Unlike wood doors, steel doors do not rot or splinter.

 

Alternatively, fiberglass doors can be designed to look like wood doors and give your home a modern look. Fiberglass doors conserve more energy than steel doors.

 

Pricewise, a steel door will cost you $1,335 with a 91% return on investment whereas a fiberglass door will cost you $3,126 with an 82.3% return on investment.

 

Garage Door Replacement

 

At first, you might not think that your garage door increases the value of your home. However, your garage door distinguishes your home from the other homes on your block. As the largest entryway of a house, garage doors get noticed first because they're the focal point of your home. If you want to quickly increase the resale value of your home, you need to make the most of this space.

 

Some interesting things being done with garage doors include:

 

  • Increased Size: Bigger garage doors help homes stand out more, and homeowners can do more creatively with them.
  • Bold Colors: Bright and bold colors now can complement the color of your home, or you can build a concept around the color of your home.
  • Faux Wood: You can install fiberglass or steel garage doors that look like wood garage doors. This gives your home a new level of sophistication.
  • Windows: Large Windows on your garage door improve the aesthetic of your home, and provide light into your garage so that it's no longer a dark space.

 

More importantly, a garage door replacement will cost you $1,652 and add $1,512 to the value of your home; that's a return on your investment of 91.5%.

 

Fiberglass Attic Insulation

 

While energy efficiency is still not the sexiest selling point of your home, installing fiberglass attic insulation saves energy and garners a big payback on your investment. According to Remodeling Magazine's 2016 Cost vs. Value top trends report, fiberglass attic insulation gained the top return on investment among the 30 projects in this year's report. Using Remodel/Max as the cost source, a fiberglass attic insulation project cost $1,268 nationwide.  Real estate professionals surveyed estimated that the work would boost the price of a home at resale, within a year of its completion, by $1,482. That's a 116.9% return on investment.

 

Replacing Windows

 

Replacing your windows is another way to save energy and increase your home's resale value. Replacing your old windows with energy saving models will beautify your home, keep it comfortable, and ease the workload of your HVAC system. According to HGTV, you'll see a reduction in your utility bill by 7% to 15%. However, if you're selling your home, you could expect a 60% to 70% recoupment of your investment. The two types of replacement windows that fetch the best return are vinyl and wood. 

 

Remodeling Your Kitchen

 

Kitchen remodeling can get expensive, but small renovations can make your home more buyer friendly. Changing your kitchen's texture and color using a matte finish and neutral colors such as putty or grey enhances your home's resale value. Because matte finishes have transitional qualities, your potential homebuyer can easily match his or her stainless steel or black and white appliances. Also, refinishing cabinetry, or switching to Energy Star™ appliances provide comfort you like and pizazz buyers adore.

 

Flow is important to any interior design of a home. If you feel that your kitchen hinders a good flow, change it. A small investment to knock out a non-structural wall or remove a kitchen island creates space and provides flow that buyers love.

 

A minor kitchen remodel can cost you $20,122 while putting $16,716 of resale value into your home; that's an 83% payback on the project. If you want to do a major kitchen model, this can cost you about $60,000 and put about $39,000 of resale value into your home, which is only about a 65% payback on the project. Therefore, consider a minor kitchen remodel first.

 

Bathroom Addition or Remodel

 

Likewise, carefully consider adding a bathroom or remodeling your bathroom. Switching out your frosted glass shower doors for glass doors, cleaning the grout, replacing the shower and floor tiles, switching out your sink or toilet, or replacing your sink and shower fixtures can cost you little money.

 

Adding a bathroom can get expensive, but it can reduce congestion during hectic times and provide your guests with a bathroom. Consult with your real estate agent or a local appraiser before deciding whether a full remodel or addition is right for your situation. While a bathroom remodel will cost you about $18,000 with a return on investment of about 66%, a bathroom addition will cost you about $42,000 with a return on investment of about 56%. Therefore, it's best do your due diligence before working on your bathroom.

 

Your Needs and Buyers' Wants

 

On that note, if you need to renovate your home, be sure to consider how those changes will affect its appeal to future buyers. Knowing design trends will give you the opportunity to make changes to your home based on where your needs and your potential buyer's desires intersect, thus increasing your property's resale value drastically.

 

Designers and design websites provide great ideas when you're brainstorming home renovations. Keep in mind as you research, however, that you don't want to sacrifice your needs for a comfortable home just for the sake of what you think a future buyer will want!

 

Therefore, before you begin making any changes to your home, consult your real estate agent. Real estate agents, because we are constantly working with new buyer clients, have insider insight into what home buyers are looking for now and in the future. We'll be able to help you make smart choices when remodeling or renovating your home.

 

If you think you might want to remodel or renovate your home in the near future, or if you are just curious about other ways you can increase its resale value, please reach out to me! 

February
23

National Real Estate Market Update

Seasonality in Real Estate: How Weather and the Time of Year Affect Housing!

Weather and the time of year have a big impact on housing activity, and in every housing market there are times of the year when fewer homes sell. For most, that time of year coincides with the winter months, and in much of the U.S., that's the case right now.

 

But no matter where you live, it's important to know how seasonality affects the housing market. So let's look at the current housing numbers, how seasonality affects them, and what it means for you if you're looking to buy or sell.

 

With few homes available, sellers are in pole position

Last year, limited inventory dominated the headlines for the real estate industry, and that trend looks to continue this year. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), inventory dropped 12.3 percent from November to December, falling to 3.8 percent lower than December 2014. That equated to just a 3.9-month supply of homes.

 

Generally speaking, a 6-month supply of homes (meaning it would take six months at the current sales pace to sell all the homes on the market) represents a balanced market, one in which there are enough homes to meet demand. For much of 2015, inventory remained well below a 6-month supply, and will likely remain so for 2016.

 

Why is inventory so constrained? Part of the sharp drop in December is due to the seasonal slowdown in many states. Cold weather and holidays keep many buyers out of the market and many sellers waiting for demand to pick back up. Additionally, new home construction came to a standstill when the housing market crashed, so there are fewer new homes available. Existing home inventory is low as well. A combination of factors, such as locked-in low interest rates and a sense that home prices will continue to increase, are keeping current homeowners from listing their homes.

 

If you're thinking of selling, this market is very much a seller's market. When inventory is scarce, buyers are forced to compete over the few homes for sale. Homes are selling faster, and in many markets bidding wars drive home prices up well above asking. At the very least, you'll be in a strong negotiating position.

 

Economic Conditions and Home Affordability Continue to Sideline Buyers

For buyers, the market is tough, and the low number of first-time buyers illustrates just how tough it is. In a separate study conducted by NAR, first-time homebuyers in 2015 made up the lowest share of the market in nearly three decades.

 

Many factors are keeping first-time home buyers sidelined. Despite a strengthening economy and job growth, wages have remained relatively stagnant. At the same time, rent prices have skyrocketed and continue to rise. Combined, these factors are preventing millennials from saving enough for a significant down payment.

 

At the same time, home affordability continues to suffer. Home prices have risen quickly over the last three and half years, again outpacing wage and job growth. Prices are expected to rise more modestly this year, somewhere around 4 to 5 percent.

 

These factors combined with limited inventory are making it difficult for buyers to find the home they want at a price they can afford. However, if you're thinking of buying, it is important to start looking sooner rather than later…

 

Mortgage Rates & Increasing Finance Accessibility

In February, mortgage rates remain near record lows. According to Freddie Mac's Mortgage Survey, the average mortgage rate for a 30-yr FRM was just 3.65%. Despite tough market conditions, these rates present an excellent opportunity if you're thinking of buying.

 

In a piece of good news for buyers, it should be easier to get financing in 2016. Fannie Mae's fourth quarter 2015 Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey™ shows that lenders expect to ease mortgage credit standards for GSE-eligible loans and government loans over the next three months, opening the door for more buyers to get financing.

 

If You're Thinking of Buying, Act Sooner Rather Than Later

If you're thinking of buying a home, it's important to act sooner rather than later. As the year goes on, affordability will continue to suffer. With home prices expected to increase around 4 to 5 percent this year and mortgage rates expected to rise to around 4.5 percent, the longer you wait to buy, the less home you'll be able to afford. Even small increases in mortgage rates and home prices can have a large impact on your future monthly mortgage payment!

February
15

Top Homeowner Tax Deductions That Decrease Your Tax Burden

Top Homeowner Tax Deductions That Decrease Your Tax Burden

 

You can't avoid paying taxes, and we all need to pay our fair share. However, paying your fair share shouldn't place an unjust burden on you. As a homeowner, your tax burden is doubled because you pay both income and property taxes. To decrease that burden and boost your tax savings, take advantage of these homeowner tax deductions. As a result, you can use your tax savings to go on a vacation, increase your child's college fund, build upon your retirement fund, or complete another home improvement project.

 

Home Improvement Tax Deduction

 

You spend so much of your time at home, and you try to make it as comfortable a place to live as possible. If your home needs some upgrades, consider improvements that will help foot the bill for themselves.

 

You can get an energy-efficient tax credit of up to $500 for installing storm doors and energy-efficient insulation and air-conditioning and heating systems. Switching out your old windows for energy-efficient ones could earn you $200. This credit expires this year on December 31st. So, this year will be your last chance to take advantage of getting tax credit for making your home more energy efficient.

 

Also, installing equipment that uses renewable sources of energy makes you eligible for the Renewable Energy Efficiency Property Credit. The credit covers 30 percent of the cost of equipment and installation. This credit also expires this year on December 31st.

Mortgage Interest and Refinancing

 

If your mortgage payment makes you cringe each month, you'll be glad to know you can deduct taxes on the following:

 

* Interest towards mortgage

* Mortgage payments for additional property

* Rental properties

* Refinancing and home equity lines of credit (HELOC) up to $100,000 of debt.

 

If you own multiple properties, the mortgage interest on additional property is deductible as well. The cool thing is that it doesn't have to be a house. It can be a boat or RV; as long as it has cooking, sleeping, and bathroom facilities, it counts as additional property.

 

Regarding using your second home as a rental, you need to vacation at least 14 days at the property or spend more than 10 percent of the number of days you rent it out.

 

Furthermore, you can claim points on your mortgage the year you paid them if the following happened:

 

* The loan was to purchase or build your main home

* Payment of points is an established business practice in your area and the points were within the usual range

 

Property Taxes

 

Now, this is the big one. Property taxes you pay each year are tax deductible. The amount of property taxes you paid for the year shows up on your lender's annual statement. You must deduct them as an itemized expense on your Schedule A tax form.

 

First-time homebuyers, look at your settlement sheet to see additional tax payment data. You may deduct the portion of property taxes you paid during the first year of your homeownership.

 

Protesting Your Assessment to Lower Your Property Taxes

 

Although you must pay property taxes, you can make sure that you pay a reasonable amount based on the true value of your home and land. Many homes get overvalued because assessors err in valuing a home and homeowners don't pay attention to these mistakes. Consequently, homeowners unwittingly pay more than they should in property taxes.

 

However, if you've owned your home for more than a year, you can potentially lower your property tax burden by showing that your home has been overvalued, meaning that your tax assessment claims your property is worth more than it is.

 

Even if the number on the tax assessment seems close, you should still consider protesting your property tax. Typical savings from a successful tax protest is over 15%!

 

According to SmartAsset, the national median property tax paid is roughly $2,839.00. That's about 1.192 percent of a home valued at $238,200.00.

 

If you're able to reduce your assessed value by 15 percent to $202,470.00 and consequently save 15 percent on your tax bill, your new tax bill will be about 2,413.00. That's a savings of $426.00!

 

To get started protesting your property tax, read your assessment letter. Your assessment letter will list data about your property and the assessed value of your house and land. Make sure your assessment letter has the correct information about your property.

 

Understanding that assessors can make mistakes assessing your home value will help you with your appeal. There are three key mistakes assessor make when assessing property. These mistakes include:

 

  1. Outdated Historic Sales Data: Sometimes assessors will use sales data from previous years. Because the real estate market is fluid, this data changes quickly, as a result; this data can over value your home.

 

  1. Mass Appraisal Methods: Also, when assessors use mass appraisal methods, they do not take into account all the market adjustments that occurred over time. Consequently, there sales data can't always produce useful comparable properties to set future sales.

 

  1. Living Area: Assessors notoriously make mistakes about the living area of your house. This is especially true if you live in a 1.5 or 2 story home. Check any previous appraisals to ensure correct measurements and description of our home. Does the assessment letter show the right number of bathrooms and bedrooms? Does it report the correct size of your lot? .5 acres differs greatly than 5.0 acres.

 

After reading your assessment letter, consult a Realtor. We can find three to five approximate values of comparable properties similar to yours, and these comps can then be used to support your claim that your home is overvalued. This is especially useful if the assessor used poor historical sales data.

 

You'll have 30 days to file an appeal of your assessment, so you'll want to get the comps as soon as your assessment arrives. You can speak with an assessor on the phone or request a formal review.

 

You'll then need to fill out a form and follow specific instructions regarding your supporting evidence. Typically, it's not necessary for you to appear at the review. The review can take one to three months to complete, and you'll receive a decision in writing.

The majority of assessment appeals are successful. However, if at first you don't succeed, appeal. You'll need to pay a small filing fee for an independent appeals board to hear your second appeal. This process could take up to a year to complete, so you'll need to decide whether it's truly worth it.

 

As a homeowner, you have plenty of options available to decrease your tax burden. The benefit is that you can use your tax savings for major life events such as weddings, vacations, and home improvements.

 

To find out more about your tax saving options as a homeowner, check out tax information for homeowners. You can also contact me directly and I'll gladly lead you in the right direction towards saving you money on your taxes.

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