OTR Business Owner Fights to Reopen Emery Theater

April 1, 2015 at 11:09 am
April 1, 2015 |

Image Taken From: Starfire.com

Since its close in 1999, much discussion on what to do with the Emery Theater. A staple of the Over-The-Rhine section of downtown since 1911, the theater has been in the middle of a legal battle involving the University of Cincinnati, the current owners of the building and Requiem Group that will ultimately result in who will take possession.

Dan McCabe, a partner of the popular MOTR night club and Woodward Theater operator, hopes to find am investor that will enable him to reopen the theater. If successful, McCabe would implement a for-profit business model that would involve hiring talent acts to generate seat sales. His model would have the theater opening with 1,200 of the 1,600 seats, leaving 400 to be renovated as funds comein.

McCabe’s business plan was not originally selected by the Emery. The theater went with the not for profit plan presented by Requiem Group. However, in 2013, the Emery terminated its agreement with Requiem Group which resulted in a lawsuit from the operators of the company. Plenty of buzz about whether the University of Cincinnati has been illegally negotiating with the Emery has also recently presented itself, causing some to wonder who is telling the truth.

McCabe hopes to be able to continue to expand his business endeavors and help push OTR forward along the way. He is also considering developing a nonprofit group with MOTR for the redevelopment effort. McCabe fell in love with the Emery Theater when he became part of its board in 2007. He hosted a sold out MidPoint Music Festival stage there in 2012 and can see the potential in the location, now he just needs the investors to do the same.

Comey & Shepherd Realtors | Cincinnati Real Estate Blog | Cincinnati Real Estate | Comey Blog

NAR’s Existing Home Sales Report

March 30, 2015 at 3:34 pm
March 30, 2015 |

Content from: KeepingCurrentMatters.com

Comey & Shepherd Realtors | Cincinnati Real Estate Blog | Cincinnati Real Estate | Comey Blog

Selling Your Home: The Legal Checklist

March 25, 2015 at 11:13 am
March 25, 2015 |

All content and images taken from: zillow.com/blog

shutterstock_261953522

If you’re thinking it’s time to sell your home, there are a few legal issues to consider before posting that “For Sale” sign. Whether you are parting ways with your spouse, planning to upgrade or downsize, or selling out of financial necessity, you should protect yourself from pitfalls awaiting the unsavvy seller.

Here are four steps you can take to avoid common issues that pop up during the residential home selling process.

Resolve debts, encumbrances and liens

If your property has incurred any sort of debt, encumbrance or lien, you will need to take care of this prior to settling with your buyer. This obstacle can arise in any number of ways, including through:

Federal, state or local tax liens

Civil court judgments

Child support or spousal support missed payments

General unpaid debts

Failure to pay homeowners association dues

Of course, the outstanding amount will vary greatly from homeowner to homeowner, but one thing is certain: The lienholder will get paid.

If you are facing a major tax lien or civil judgment attached to your property, selling your home will not get you out of trouble, especially if you try to hide the debt or defraud the buyer. The lien will, without question, appear on a title search ordered by the buyer and will become a deduction from your sale proceeds on the day of closing.

Get joint tenants on the same page

The ownership structure of your property may impact your ability to sell, especially if you inherited the property with several family members as joint tenants. If this is your situation, your options for selling the property are limited.

You can either gather consent from all owners or try to divide the property in your state’s court of equity, which is usually a lengthy, expensive and highly combative process. In other words, before you attempt to sell jointly owned property, you need to get everyone on the same page and agree on how to split the net proceeds after the sale.

The same holds true if you and your spouse are going through a divorce and have mutually decided to sell the marital home. If the property was owned through joint tenancy or tenancy by the entirety, both owners will need to sign the transfer deed over to the new buyers and agree to split the proceeds accordingly. Trying to sell the house out from under your ex probably won’t work, and you could face serious fraud consequences for trying it.

Draft a home sale agreement, if needed

While other countries have set up laws granting property and ownership rights to unmarried domestic partners, the vast majority of U.S. jurisdictions have yet to catch on to this trend — much to the dismay of domestic partners seeking to sell their home or purchase property.

One of the best ways to ensure the process goes smoothly is to encourage open communication and clearly set contract terms that determine the profit division after the sale, especially if one partner is not on the deed.

Prior to engaging real estate professionals, sit down with your partner and go over the current financials of the property, including outstanding mortgage debt, asking price and your agreed-upon bottom line offer threshold.

From there, discuss the ownership expectations of both parties: Is it 50/50? 40/60? 25/75? This conversation may feel awkward at first, but it is the best way to protect each party’s investment in the property, which includes payment toward the mortgage, improvements, sweat equity and upkeep.

Once these issues are decided, have an experienced real estate attorney draft a home sale agreement that sets forth the allocation of proceeds upon sale, the responsibilities of each party with regard to debts or encumbrances, and any other terms agreed upon between you and your partner.

With this agreement in place, you are both protected from the pitfalls of litigation in the event the relationship — or the deal — crashes and burns. Otherwise, the court will only be able to help the party named on the deed as the owner.

Gather important documents

Finally, as you prepare for the sale of your home, it helps to compile all the important documents related to the value of the property, such as:

Deed

Evidence of encumbrances, liens, judgments, etc.

Surveys

Appraisals

Documentation of major repairs, damage or improvements

Any agreements made between tenants or co-habiting partners

Comparable sales in the area (if available)

Any agreements made between you as the seller and your real estate agent (if applicable)

Copies of restrictive covenants imposed upon the community, as this information will be highly relevant to prospective buyers

Comey & Shepherd Realtors | Cincinnati Real Estate Blog | Cincinnati Real Estate | Comey Blog

Preparing Your Home for a Spring Sale

March 23, 2015 at 3:33 pm
March 23, 2015 |
Content and Images taken from: zillowblog.com
exterior

Selling a home doesn’t happen overnight. To maximize your sale price, stand out from the competition and sell quickly, your home needs to go on the market in tip-top condition.

Prepping the home rarely happens in one weekend. It takes time and thoughtful planning. If you intend to sell your home this spring, here are a few steps you need to take now.

Have your home inspected

It may seem counterintuitive to spend money on a property inspection, but you need to know about your home’s condition. If there are issues — big or small — you need to address, it is better to know about them early so you can either remedy them prior to going to market or account for them with a lower listing price.

The last thing you want is for the buyer to uncover flaws once they are under contract. You will get stuck paying more under those circumstances than it would cost you to address the issues now.

Stash your stuff

As you prepare to sell, think of your home as an investment and start to see it through the eyes of potential buyers and the market. When you’re trying to sell your home, the less-is-more approach applies.

Put away big furniture and personal items. Store or put away all the things you won’t be using until you move into your new home. In the kitchen, make space in the cabinets for items you will need to use daily, but will want to put away for showings.

Paint, clean and make small improvements

It’s common for sellers to make cosmetic improvements before they list. Kitchens and bathrooms sell your home. Plan to have the bathroom grout cleaned and have some parts of the house painted to give it a fresh look.

Consider cleaning rugs, refinishing hardwood floors or painting kitchen cabinets. If you plan to list in the spring, you likely have a good local real estate agent on your side by now. Get their advice and ask for referrals to do the work. There are lots of inexpensive contractors who can help spruce up your home quickly.

Research like a buyer

Today’s buyers have research in their DNA and will investigate all they can. Check with your local building department and ensure there are no outstanding issues with your home.

Verify that property records reflect your home accurately, and prepare to remedy any discrepancy. Make sure your title report is clean, and talk about potential disclosure items with your agent. Banks won’t lend if there are outstanding issues, and you don’t want to jump through hoops at the eleventh hour. Researching now will keep you one step ahead of the buyers.

The sale of your home is likely one of your biggest financial transactions. Get a real estate agent on your team early, and make a list of all the tasks you need to complete before listing this spring. Now is the time to have those discussions. Smart planning and a good strategy will ensure a quick, painless and profitable home sale.

Comey & Shepherd Realtors | Cincinnati Real Estate Blog | Cincinnati Real Estate | Comey Blog

Location, Location, Location

March 20, 2015 at 2:45 pm
March 20, 2015 |

Content and Images from: Keepingcurrentmatters.com/blog

Location, Location, Location | Keeping Current Matters

A recent Demand Institute report revealed nearly half of all American households plan to move at some point in the future.

Seventy-five percent of those surveyed in the report cited one or more ‘location-related reasons’ for their eagerness to move. Here are the top 5 reasons:

  1. Safer Neighborhood – 30%
  2. Closer to Family – 27%
  3. Change of Climate – 26%
  4. Closer to Work – 25%
  5. For a New Job – 23%

While the majority of Americans (74%) will move within their home state, for the 26% planning to call a new state home, it is important to know that prices in each state are appreciating at different rates and waiting to buy or sell your home could cost you more in the long run.

The map below was created using the FHFA’s latest Home Price Index and shows year-over-year price gains in each state.

Year-Over-Year Price Gains | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

If your plan for 2015 includes relocating to a new state, meet with a local real estate professional in that area who can help you find the best fit for you and your family’s needs.

Comey & Shepherd Realtors | Cincinnati Real Estate Blog | Cincinnati Real Estate | Comey Blog

Infographic: Snapshot of the Average Homebuyer

March 18, 2015 at 3:12 pm
March 18, 2015 |

Content from: Keepingcurrentmatters.com/blog

A Snapshot of Homebuyers | Keeping Current Matters

Comey & Shepherd Realtors | Cincinnati Real Estate Blog | Cincinnati Real Estate | Comey Blog

4 Helpful Tips for Making a Room Seem Larger

March 13, 2015 at 3:22 pm
March 13, 2015 |

Content from: Zillow.com/blog

Plenty of people live in tiny homes, small rooms, or just diminutive spaces. No matter what your reason for living in smaller quarters, you’ll undoubtedly have to make some compromises in your decorating.

To live happily and efficiently in smaller square footage, you’ll want to get organized and make some adjustments to your lifestyle. By making the most of color, strategic furniture buying, space planning and interesting lighting, your place can feel wonderfully “you” — with all the space you need.

Expand your square footage to the outdoors

If you have large windows with beautiful views, add those colors to your room to unify the outside world with inside space and expand the look of your rooms. With the wonderful patterns and colors that outdoor fabrics offer, there is no reason to stop the “pretty party” at your interior.

Source: Chris Barrett

Patio

Carrying coordinating materials outside for drapes, cushions and area rugs will only make your space look visually larger. On the interior, let as much natural light into a room as possible so it opens up the space and gives it character.

Edit mercilessly

Declutter your space. Try to dispose of everything you have not used for a year. Do not get attached to furniture. Get rid of any item that is not adding to the look of the room.

Create organized storage wherever possible via built-in benches and use multi-purpose and storage furniture pieces, such as ottomans, so items that are less frequently used can be stowed away.

bench

When it comes to cabinets and bookcases, do not fill up every shelf in a room; leave some of them half empty and spacious for an airy and more dramatic look.

Where functional, remove as many doors as possible or use pocket doors to increase the sense of space.

Keep it simple

Link adjacent spaces with a unifying wall color and floor material. Maintaining a monochromatic palette makes rooms look bigger. If you do need to change flooring materials, simply stay within the same color family — the fewer floor “breaks,” the better.

Light colors or neutrals are space expanders and provide a neutral background for furniture and artwork.

Source: Zillow Digs

simple kitchen

Using cool colors will make your walls appear to visually recede. Additionally, it is best to avoid unnecessary details, such as ruffles, in furniture and window treatments. Use simple paneled draperies or shades instead.

Make a statement

Installing an oversized mirror or a set of smaller mirrors will add extra light, sparkle and make a small room appear larger. Even if a room is small, adding oversized artwork on a small wall or a statement light fixture overhead can create drama while making the space appear larger than it is.

Source: Claire Paquin

bookcase

You may also consider adding a floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall bookcase — this trick will create an impressive focal point and visually expand space by pushing the walls and ceiling out.

What tips have you successfully used to make your small space look larger?

Tax Benefits of Homeownership

March 11, 2015 at 4:08 pm
March 11, 2015 |

All content and images taken from: zillowblog.com

shutterstock_127076972
Owning real estate can make tax season more complex, but many homeowners receive considerable benefits — especially if they sold a home or relocated for a job in the previous year. Here’s a look at three ways homeownership can pay off at tax time.

Mortgage interest

When you purchase a home, you will likely get a mortgage. Your monthly mortgage payment is made up of both principal (paying money to pay down the loan) and interest (what the lender charges for supplying the loan). As a way to incentivize homeownership, the federal government provides a tax benefit when it comes to the interest portion of your mortgage payment.

A homeowner can write off, dollar for dollar, the interest portion of their mortgage payment. Say, for example, a homeowner’s annual salary is $100,000. Their mortgage payment is $1,200 per month, and the interest portion of that payment is $1,000. At the end of the year, they have a $12,000 tax write-off. In essence, their taxable income is reduced to $88,000.

Capital gains

Homeowners also get a tax break when they sell their home. If you purchase your home for $200,000 and sell it for $400,000, you have a $200,000 gain — that’s income.

If you have an income by way of a job, a contract position or the sale of stock or mutual funds, you pay income tax on that gain. With homeownership, it’s different. If you are single and lived in the home for at least two of the past five years, you do not have to pay any income tax on that $200,000 gain — in fact, you don’t have to pay on gain up to $250,000. Married couples filing tax returns jointly and following the same owner occupancy guidelines are exempt up to $500,000. Where else can you generate income without paying taxes on it?

Tax credits for moving

If you purchase a home in one state and sell one in another, you should check with a CPA in both states. There may be benefits realized in one state but not the other, such as tax credits for moving expenses, if the move is a part of a job transfer. And, for the year you are between states, you will likely need to file a return in each state. It’s always smart to check with a CPA before a real estate transaction.

Comey & Shepherd Realtors | Cincinnati Real Estate Blog | Cincinnati Real Estate | Comey Blog

Infographic: The Difference an Hour Makes in Real Estate

March 9, 2015 at 4:20 pm
March 9, 2015 |

All content and images from: keepingcurrentmatters.com

The Difference an Hour Makes [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

Comey & Shepherd Realtors | Cincinnati Real Estate Blog | Cincinnati Real Estate | Comey Blog

The Tactic That Can Double Your Real Estate Content Marketing Return

February 27, 2015 at 11:44 am
February 27, 2015 |

All content and images taken from: inman.com

It would be hard to miss the constant changes in content marketing since the term was first popularized about 10 years ago. In 2005, blogs were becoming mainstream. Facebook was open only to college students. Twitter was nonexistent.

Most real estate professionals think of content marketing as creating and publishing an occasional short article, a quick post on Facebook or a scheduled tweet.

bokan/Shutterstock
bokan/Shutterstock

This is technically content marketing, but do you think it is effective?

The revolution happened so fast, it was easy for busy professionals to fall further behind each year. The Content Marketing Institute, one of the leading voices in this industry, recently changed how it defines “content marketing” based on the current best practices of the most effective organizations.

In addition, its recent “2015 Benchmark, Budgets Study” revealed one tactic that nearly doubled your chance at being effective.

Let’s take a look at the three key changes to the definition, and then we will return to that one tactic:

1. Content marketing requires a strategic and consistent marketing approach.

If you decide to make content marketing part of your overall strategy, it should be a formal business discipline. This includes a carefully designed plan to serve a particular purpose and to meet specific goals.

How you repurpose content should be part of that strategy. Repurposing is one of the most efficient uses of your time; however, it is more than just cross-posting on different platforms. The message and delivery need to match the audience and platform. If you ignore the context of the chosen platform, your marketing efforts will be in vain.

For example, to maximize the number of people who view your content on Facebook, that content must be interactive. If people do not like or share your content, then the number of users who see it will be limited. This is very different than other platform feeds (like Twitter), where you are shown all the content produced by every person you follow in chronological order on your feed.

Another important discovery was the exponential growth of content published. Nearly three-quarters of recent respondents indicated that they were creating more content this year than in the past year. I do not expect this to change for some time.

Without a strategy, it is easy to get sidetracked. When this happens, your content production and quality suffer.

Having a plan in place improves consistency. Most of us create content when we find the time to do it or when it is convenient. During the busy season, our flow of content runs dry and our audience moves on. It is amazing how quickly people forget about you when you do not stay in contact.

Why would you spend the time and effort to gain an audience only to lose them in prime time?

2. Content marketing requires relevance.

Content is relevant when it is closely connected to your audience. When considering relevancy, I often ask myself this question: Will this content help my audience solve problems and achieve their objectives?

Most people do not go to social media to learn about real estate. They go to connect with others and for amusement. Therefore, entertaining content is just as important as educational content. Finding a way to link these concepts together is golden.

But how do you make relevant content for the people who you do not know? Like those prospects who signed up at your website, or those friends of your current audience?

Not knowing what problems they have or what they value makes this a tough job. To be effective, it is best to define your audience clearly and develop content specifically for them.

3. Content marketing requires a clearly defined audience.

Online lead generation is a lot like creating an audience. You have two choices. First, you can create content that is designed to attract the masses. You will soon discover by attempting to attract everyone that your message will resonate with almost no one. Sure, some folks will appreciate your efforts and may do business with you, but the overall results will be less than you desired.

Your second choice is to define your ideal customer precisely and attract those who are similar to your ideal customer.

You may have heard the expression “cloning your customers.” This is a way to do that without all the risky medical experimentation.

In order to clearly define your customer, you need to have a full understanding of them. You need to know the “who, what, when, where, why and how” of your ideal customer. You need to understand their pain and motivation. This takes some time and serious market research.

The good news for Realtors is that the National Association of Realtors has provided us a great start with the annual “buyer and seller profiles” report. This is generalized market research, so you need to take it a step further. You should take the time to ask questions like the following to yourself, your team and some of your best clients:

  • Describe the specific buyers that you are targeting.
  • What pain do they experience in the sales process?
  • When do they experience the pain of not buying a home?
  • Where else do they experience pain before they decide to buy?
  • Why can they not buy property by themselves?
  • How have they tried to buy without your help and failed?
  • What would their life look like if they were able to buy with your help?

Do not be satisfied with the first answer that you get for each question. Drill down and continue to ask until you find the crux. Once your research is complete, you will have a clear picture of your ideal client, or a customer persona. You will better understand what they value and appreciate. Then you can design content based on what your ideal customer values, content that solves problems and provides solutions. When your content aligns with your defined audience, you will attract people who are most like your ideal customer because they feel a connection with you and your values.

Everywhere you attempt to connect with your defined audience, your content must speak to this persona. This consistency among platforms improves your connection to the audience. They will feel like you actually know and understand them, as though you are having a conversation with them.

It is also important to define the audience for each market you serve. Your ideal buyer is not the same as your ideal seller. This is also true for each niche you serve, such as luxury, investors and first-time homeowners.

The flip side to your customer persona is the selling avatar, or how you want to be viewed by your audience. A selling avatar helps you to consistently position yourself (or your team) in the best light possible to your clients. To develop a selling avatar, ask yourself (and your team) questions like the following:

  • What makes you a uniquely qualified agent?
  • What systems do you have in place to help buyers?
  • When will their pain be resolved if they work with you to buy a home?
  • Where else can you help them in the homebuying process?
  • Why are your systems the best for buying homes?
  • How does your homebuying system work?
  • What will life be like if they do not use you and your systems?

Your opportunity for success is unlimited when your content resonates with your audience, when they see you as a trusted adviser and when they understand why you and your systems are the solution to their problem.

What was the one tactic?

The Content Marketing Institute found one tactic that drastically increased the effectiveness of content marketing. This tactic is so simple and obvious that most people just ignore it:

When you have a documented content marketing strategy, you are almost twice as likely to effective.

It is simply not enough to discuss your strategy with your teammates or keep it in your head. In order to be effective, it must be written.

Why does this work?

Your buy-in to the strategy is entrenched when your plans are put on paper. Educated clients make the best decisions.

Go back and look at the new areas of content marketing, writing down the answers to the questions we’ve uncovered. This will be the framework of your content marketing strategy.

Use the power of content marketing effectively. To attract customers, educate your clients, solve their problems and grow your business.

Comey & Shepherd Realtors | Cincinnati Real Estate Blog | Cincinnati Real Estate | Comey Blog

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