Cincinnati Named One of Nation’s Best Cities

December 19, 2014 at 2:26 pm
December 19, 2014 |

Taken From:

Photo By Rudy Balasko

Cincinnati has been gaining national attention in recent years, but it was just named one of the best cities in America for 2014.

Real estate blog Movoto ranked the Queen City No. 5 on its list of overall top cities. The ranking is based on several other surveys the site did throughout the year, including most caring cities, most stressed cities, most boring cities, snobbiest cities, cities with the most state pride and best cities for cats.

Cincinnati came in just behind Pittsburgh, and the two had similar scores, but one place they differed was the Pennsylvania town was a little more snobby. The blog gave Cincinnati props for its entertainment, saying, “anyone who lives there can tell you its certainly not boring.”

Cincinnati was also the second proudest of its home state and the No. 24 best city for cats. It also came in among the top third of cities when it comes to stress.

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Are The Holidays Really The Time To Buy?

December 17, 2014 at 12:54 pm
December 17, 2014 |

Taken From:

Image From Melinda Shelton Via Flickr Creative Commons

Every December, consumers are deluged with media stories predicting the economic year ahead and offering financial tips to close out the current year. This expert advice often mentions the benefits of buying a home during the holiday season.

But are these benefits really all they’re cracked up to be? Let’s take a look.

Lower home prices

Many holiday home buying stories claim home prices are lower at the end of the year, citing national statistics at the time. But national statistics don’t matter for your local decision-making.

The price of any home you buy will depend on price dynamics in your target city, neighborhood and street. Only your real estate agent can advise properly on the right offer price, and a good agent will tell you whether buying before or after the holidays makes any difference.

The national trend is that home affordability has increased as rent has risen. Conduct local rent-vs.-buy math with your lender and agent to see if that trend holds true for you locally.

Verdict: slightly overblown benefit

Motivated sellers

You can gain significant home price benefit when working with an eager seller. If anyone selling a home — whether an individual or a large corporate builder — keeps the property listed during the holidays instead of pulling it off the market, it means they’re strongly motivated to sell, and you have negotiating power.

Before writing an offer, you and your real estate agent must discover everything you can about the seller’s motivation. Is their new home purchase contingent on this home selling? How much do they owe on the home? (Your agent can get this data.) Answers to these questions will help you structure a firm and fair offer.

Verdict: big benefit

Less buyer competition

Even though the market is slowing, bidding wars are still common in many markets. However, even motivated buyers do indeed drop out during the holidays. If you and your family are able to manage a home buying transaction during this busy time of year, you will avoid some price competition.

Verdict: real benefit

Tax deductions

Home owners can deduct property taxes and mortgage interest every year, so it’s somewhat misleading to say that buying a home during the holidays makes a difference — unless the buyer is specifically concerned about impacting their taxes for the current year.

Buyers can also deduct “discount” or “origination” fees used to buy a rate down  in the year they paid these fees. All of these deductions reduce taxable income each year, thereby reducing taxes that homeowners pay each year. So buyers will get their home owner deductions, regardless of when they close.

Verdict: potential benefit

Low rates

Rates are indeed historically low right now, but claiming low rates as a benefit of holiday home buying is a bit disingenuous — rates have been historically low for years.

Wall Street estimates called for higher rates going into 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 — and so far, many 2015 estimates call for the same. Yet the only year rates spiked was 2013 (then dropped again this year).

It’s more important to get a low price on a home. A price can’t be lowered later if home prices drop, but a rate can be refinanced later if rates drop.

Also, if it’s a question of buying in December 2014 or early 2015, there’s little difference. Global economic fundamentals suggest we won’t see a material rate rise to start the year.

Verdict: not a December-only benefit

Easier mortgage process

Holiday buying stories promote easy mortgage closings during the holidays by claiming that lenders’ business is slower. But the reality is quite the contrary, especially this year.

Rates are at 18-month lows, and most lenders in this country will remain at capacity through the end of the year. Loan officers, like real estate agents, are happy to work during holidays. But they can’t help it if their lender and escrow/title team members — those who approve loans, draw documents, and fund and close loans — are on vacation or closed.

If you’re involved in a holiday transaction, double check that your lender and escrow officer can perform on the timeline dictated by your home purchase contract.

Verdict: greatly exaggerated benefit

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

Watch These West Coasters Try Cincinnati Favorites

December 12, 2014 at 12:41 pm
December 12, 2014 |


Image taken from Youtube video seen in below link

Cincinnati is known for The Reds, The Bengals, that George Clooney movie, the Lacheys, and most importantly its food. From goetta, to sweet chilies like Skyline and Gold Star, to that special sauce from LaRosas, food is a major part of what it means to be a Cincinnatian. Watch West Coasters try Ohio staples for the first time and notice how many of the foods are from our great city.

West Coasters Try Ohio Foods

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The 3% Down Payment Mortgage is Making a Comeback

December 10, 2014 at 12:50 pm
December 10, 2014 |


In an effort to open up lending to more low-income and first time home buyers, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced Monday that they will start backing mortgages with down payments of as little as 3% of the home’s price.

But borrowers will still need to meet strict criteria first, the two government-backed mortgage giants said.

The new loans will only be doled out to those who buy private mortgage insurance, have a credit score of at least 620 and offer complete documentation of their income, assets and job status. And, to further mitigate risk, the agencies will require borrowers to receive home ownership counseling.

Both programs are for fixed-rate loans given to first time home-buyers and those seeking to refinance. Fannie will start backing the loans as soon as December 13, while Freddie will start offering them March 23.

The move should expand access to credit for first time home-buyers, typically younger buyers who have not have had enough time to save a big lump sum.

Fannie and Freddie already back mortgages with as low as 5% down. And the Federal Housing Administration insures 3.5% loans.

Still, according to Mark Palim, who directs economic and strategic research at Fannie Mae, it’s a welcome expansion of credit.

“It’s not a radical departure from what we’re doing now, but anything at the margins helps,” he said.

The 3% loans from Fannie and Freddie should also offer some advantages over the 3.5% down loans offered by FHA, according to Palim.

For example, the FHA loans require borrowers to pay for private mortgage insurance premiums for the entire term of the mortgage — typically 30 years. That means adding an extra 1.35 percentage points to monthly mortgage rates. A loan carrying a 4% rate, for example, becomes a 5.35% mortgage.

In dollars, that’s about an extra $80 a month for every $100,000 borrowed or $960 a year. That adds up to nearly $30,000 over the life of the loan.

Under Fannie and Freddie’s programs, borrowers are permitted to cancel their private mortgage insurance premiums once the mortgage balance drops below 80% of the home’s value — either because they’ve made enough payments or the home’s value has risen.

If home prices increase 5% a year for three or four years, for example, these borrowers may be able to cancel their insurance and save them tens of thousands of dollars over the next 26 or 27 years.

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Infographic: Novemeber National Home Sales Report

December 3, 2014 at 4:55 pm
December 3, 2014 |


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How Much Stuffing Would It Take to Stuff Your House Like A Turkey?

November 26, 2014 at 2:29 pm
November 26, 2014 |


Tomorrow families and friends will gather around the country to enjoy the classic American tradition of Thanksgiving. The conversations will be merry, the atmosphere enjoyable and of course there will be copious amounts of food. Stuffing is a time honored Thanksgiving staple that most everyone loves. Find out how much stuffing it would take to fill your home for some holiday laughs and an interesting fact you can share at the dinner table.

Comey & Shepherd City Office: 1,884,477 boxes of stuffing or 697, 114.8 pounds to fill

Other Fun Stuffing Locations:

Empire State Building
Boxes of stuffing: 1,476,300,000
Pounds of stuffing: 546,231,000
Cooking time: 123,025,000 hours

Taj Majal
Boxes of Stuffing: 7,980,000
Pounds of stuffing: 2,952,600
Cooking time: 665,000 hours

White House
Boxes of Stuffing: 39,884,040
Pounds of stuffing: 14,757,095
Cooking time: 3,323,670 hours

Sidney Opera House
Boxes of Stuffing: 35,112,000
Grams of stuffing: 12,991,440
Cooking time: 2,926,000 hours

Follow this link for more stuffing facts and to find out how much stuffing your home would hold:

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Top 10 Reasons You Should Date a Real Estate Agent

November 19, 2014 at 1:10 pm
November 19, 2014 |


Having a real estate agent as your significant other definitely comes with perks. So if one asks you out on a date, or for your hand in marriage, you should definitely say yes!

    1. You can ditch your shrink and save money! There’s no better therapist than a real estate agent.

    2. Tax deductible dinners. No need to feel guilty about ordering that bottle (or 3) of Screaming Eagle Cab. Write-offs are an agent’s best friend.

    3. Real estate agents are tough. They don’t give up easily. When the “Honeymoon” stage fades, they’re not likely to scram.’

    4. Since there’s no “sure thing” in real estate, an agent’s hopes are tempered in realism. They tak enothing for granted and are   practically immune to let downs.

    5. Real estate agents are great negotiators. If you want to vacation at the beach and he or she wants to go to the mountains, guess what…yep, go pack your flannels. Which is better anyway–you’ve been to the beach too many times already.

    6. Real estate agents work with multiple vendors, so they’re great coordinators. Think: parties, weddings, reunions, etc. This will lighten your load down the road. You’ll thank me later.

    7. Real estate agents know beauty is more than skin deep. On that note, if one ever tells you that you have “good bones”, it doesn’t mean what you think.

    8. Real estate agents are easy to reach at a moment’s notice. They keep their phones on them at all times. Their livelihood depends on it.

    9. Never worry about awkward social situations. They are dripping with charm and can relate to all walks of people.

    10. They’re skilled at breaking things down into simple terms (ever read a sales contract?!). So when it comes to talking about feelings and emotions, you’ll know exactly where they stand.

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

      Why Removing Those Personal Touches Can Help You Sell

      November 14, 2014 at 12:06 pm
      November 14, 2014 |


      Red and orange room

      Many sellers love their homes. They’ve made some of their most important memories there, and their home is literally where their heart is. When these homeowners took on improvements, from painting rooms to kitchen and bath renovations, they likely did it with the idea of adding “personality.” And then, when it’s time to sell, those same homeowners sit across the dining room table from their real estate agent and wonder why, after three months, their home hasn’t sold.

      What went wrong? Usually, it’s because the home has too much personality. The problem with personality is that buyers see you, and not themselves, in the home you’re hoping to sell. If you’re serious about selling your home and you want to achieve the highest value, you need to make the home as neutral as possible. Here’s how.

      Remove family photos, heirlooms, diplomas and personal items

      Buyers don’t want to feel like they’re walking through someone else’s house. They want to feel that they’re walking through a home that could potentially be theirs. The more neutral the home, the easier it will be for them to imagine themselves there. As proud as you may be of your college degree or of little Susie’s first footprints, they don’t need to be on display when your home is for sale. The process of putting these items away may bring up emotions, but that’s part of the process. Cost to do this: $0.

      Repaint rooms with personality

      You may have taken some time to choose the deep red color for your dining room, the heavy oak paneling in the family room or Johnnie’s jungle wallpaper. While these were personal choices for you and may have served your time there well, they may be off-putting to a potential buyer for any number of reasons. Before you sell, paint these rooms a neutral color and take down the heavy paneling. These are not big or expensive projects, but the return can be huge. Cost to do this: less than $1,000 depending on the size and number of rooms.

      Show the rooms as they should be used

      The room off the kitchen is unmistakably the dining room. But if you use it as a home office, it throws a buyer off. Likewise, if you’ve used a small bedroom as your child’s toy room/your closet spillover, the same thing will happen. In the visual age of the Internet, Instagram and Facebook, people need to visualize what each room is. Some people simply don’t have the imagination. No matter how obvious it is that the dining room is the dining room or the third room upstairs is the third bedroom, the buyer needs to see it used that way, not the way you use it. Cost to do this: $0.

      Detach yourself emotionally

      Ultimately, when you go to sell, it’s time to stop thinking of your property as your home. Instead, think of it as an investment, and you need to get the best return on your investment possible.

      To do this, you must turn your home into a product on the market. This means you must emotionally detach from the home you love. If you’re not ready to do that, you may not be ready to sell yet. You may not want to take out the personality you added, and that you love. That’s OK, but be aware it will probably result in a smaller pool of interested buyers and a lower sales price. And the more neutral you can make the home, the wider the base of potential buyers you’ll have.

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

      Top 5 Reasons You Should Hire a Real Estate Professional

      November 12, 2014 at 4:35 pm
      November 12, 2014 |


      Whether you are buying or selling a home, it can be quite an adventurous journey. You need an experienced Real Estate Professional to lead you to your ultimate goal. In this world of instant gratification and internet searches, many sellers think that they can For Sale by Owner or FSBO.

      The 5 Reasons You NEED a Real Estate Professional in your corner haven’t changed, but have rather been strengthened due to the projections of higher mortgage rates & higher prices  as the market continues to recover.

      1. What do you do with all this paperwork?

      Each state has different regulations regarding the contracts required for a successful sale, and these regulations are constantly changing. A true Real Estate Professional is an expert in their market and can guide you through the stacks of paperwork necessary to make your dream a reality.

      2. Ok, so you found your dream house, now what?

      According to the Orlando Regional REALTOR Association, there are over 230 possible actions that need to take place during every successful real estate transaction. Don’t you want someone who has been there before, who knows what these actions are to make sure that you acquire your dream?

      3. Are you a good negotiator?

      So maybe you’re not convinced that you need an agent to sell your home. However, after looking at the list of parties that you need to be prepared to negotiate with, you’ll realize the value in selecting a Real Estate Professional. From the buyer (who wants the best deal possible), to the home inspection companies, to the appraiser, there are at least 11 different people that you will have to be knowledgeable with and answer to, during the process.

      4. What is the home you’re buying/selling really worth?

      It is important for your home to be priced correctly from the start to attract the right buyers and shorten the time that it’s on the market. You need someone who is not emotionally connected to your home to give you the truth as to your home’s value. According to the National Association of REALTORS“the typical FSBO home sold for $184,000 compared to $230,000 among agent-assisted home sales.” Get the most out of your transaction by hiring a professional.

      5. Do you know what’s really going on in the market?

      There is so much information out there on the news and the internet about home sales, prices, mortgage rates; how do you know what’s going on specifically in your area? Who do you turn to in order to competitively price your home correctly at the beginning of the selling process? How do you know what to offer on your dream home without paying too much, or offending the seller with a low-ball offer?

      Dave Ramsey, the financial guru advises:

      “When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.”

      Hiring an agent who has their finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying/selling experience an educated one. You need someone who is going to tell you the truth, not just what they think you want to hear.

      Bottom Line:

      You wouldn’t replace the engine in your car without a trusted mechanic. Why would you make one of your most important financial decisions of your life without hiring a Real Estate Professional?

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

      Infographic: Waiting to Buy? There’s a Price To Pay.

      November 7, 2014 at 4:20 pm
      November 7, 2014 |


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