Monthly Archives: February 2013

How Low Can You Go?

For the first time in a while, we are not talking about low home values. We are actually describing the number of homes currently for sale in the local Cleveland real estate market.

Take a look at the numbers below of current listings in some of the area’s more popular suburbs:

CITY                                ACTIVE LISTINGS

Aurora                                        67

Beachwood                                  33

Bainbridge                                    65

Chagrin Falls                                 39

Hudson                                        95

Lakewood                                     91

Pepper Pike                                   47

Rocky River                                   76

Solon                                           97

Westlake                                      91

 

Can you imagine what it’s like buying a home in Beachwood? There are only 33 homes for sale in the entire city, meaning there’s only a handful in any given price point.

Low inventories have actually been a problem for a while now and will continue to present a challenge for anyone entering the real estate market this year.

 

CHALLENGES FOR BUYERS AND SELLERS

Here is what low inventories mean:

FOR BUYERS:

1.   Harder to find a home

2.   Increased Competition

3.   Higher Prices

4.   Less Negotiating Power

5.   Must Be More Flexible

FOR SELLERS:

1.   Easier To Sell

2.   Increased Confidence

3.   Higher Prices

4.   More Leverage

5.   Easier To Buy Another Home

 

TIPS FOR BUYERS AND SELLERS IN 2013

The most important thing to do if you are buying a home this year is to get pre-approved up front. Waiting until the last minute to get your financing in order may be too late. Limited inventory causes competition ( bidding wars! ) and without a firm pre-approval, you will be negotiating from a weakened position.

Hire a buyer’s agent. A good agent will be aware of homes that are available but not yet on the market. Agents are very resourceful and can work their network to find homes for their buyers.

If you are selling this year, get your home on the market as soon as possible. Right now you have less competition and, if priced properly, could really benefit. Make sure your home shows well and is priced properly.

Low inventories bring a new dimension to our local real estate market. However, compared to the rough years we saw during the recession, this is a good problem to have.

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS

The above information is compliments of The Schuman Team, Amy and Dan, of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services. They specialize is luxury homes, relocation, and first-time buyers.

They can be reached at 216-346-3235 or 216-403-9189 or via email, danschuman@howardhanna.com or amyschuman@howardhanna.com.

The Schumans service the following Cleveland area suburbs: Aurora, Bainbridge, Bay Village, Beachwood, Bentleyville, Chagrin Falls, Cleveland Heights, Gates Mills, Highland Heights, Hunting Valley, Lakewood, Lyndhurst, Mayfield Heights, Mayfield Village, Moreland Hills, Oakwood Village, Orange, Pepper Pike, Shaker Heights, Solon, South Euclid, University Heights, Westlake, Woodmere.

How Low Can You Go? is the property of The Schuman Team and may not be duplicated or used without their written consent.©February, 2013

The Pitfalls Of Selling A Home

 

 

Selling a home is a big decision that comes with a few headaches. While we certainly aren’t discouraging anyone from listing their home, especially since the market has improved, we just want you to know what to expect as you open up your home to local real estate agents and the public.

I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS HAPPENED

When we meet with sellers, we are very up front about the selling process so there aren’t any surprises.

One of the most frustrating things for sellers is the actual showing process. In order to have the home ready to show, a lot of time and effort is made in terms of cleaning and getting everyone out of the home. Nothing is more aggravating to a seller than having all of this effort go wasted.

The following is a list of things that can happen with regards to a showing. The agent:

1. Cancels the appointment at the last minute

2. Shows up early or late ( catching you by surprise )

3. Fails to show up

4. Leaves the doors unlocked

5. Let’s a pet loose

Then you may have cases where a buyer or their agent uses the bathroom and forgets to flush the toilet, or worse, their little kids make a mess. Also, while it hasn’t happened to us very often, things do get broken.

Sounds like a lot of fun, huh? We haven’t even discussed public open houses.

STRANGERS IN YOUR HOME

When an agent makes an appointment and comes through with a buyer, there is some sort of accountability. The buyers are also typically screened and deemed serious. A public open house is entirely different.

For starters, open house attendees are usually not as serious as those working with an agent,  typically 6-18 months away from making a buying decision. There are also more risks of opening up your home to anyone as you never know who will show up. It could be neighbors, friends, or total strangers walking through every inch of your home.

For the most part, the people who attend open houses are good honest folks. However, not all attendees have the best of intentions. So in the interest of security, we always recommend that our sellers hide any guns, prescription drugs, and valuables, just in case.

EMOTIONS IN MOTION

The entire selling process can be also play a heavy emotional toll on the entire family.  First, many sellers have spent a long time in their homes and have a lot of wonderful memories. They are often sentimentally attached to their home and many of the personal touches they have made over the years. The thought of leaving it can be unsettling.

Also, moving can be unnerving to children, especially those not entirely happy with the move. Local moves are a bit easier but the thought of leaving behind friends and neighbors is certainly stressful.

Overall, selling a home is a bit chaotic. However, it is usually a necessary evil so you can move forward with the next chapter of your life. Proper planning and having a great agent can make a huge difference.

 

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About The Authors

The above information is compliments of The Schuman Team, Amy and Dan, of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services.

They can be reached at 216-346-3235 or 216-403-9189 or via email, danschuman@howardhanna.com or amyschuman@howardhanna.com.

The Schumans service the following Cleveland area suburbs: Aurora, Bainbridge, Bay Village, Beachwood, Bentleyville, Chagrin Falls, Cleveland Heights, Gates Mills, Highland Heights, Hunting Valley, Lakewood, Lyndhurst, Mayfield Heights, Mayfield Village, Moreland Hills, Oakwood Village, Orange, Pepper Pike, Shaker Heights, Solon, South Euclid, University Heights, Westlake, Woodmere.

The Pitfalls Of Selling A Home is the property of The Schuman Team and may not be duplicated or used without their written consent.©February, 2013

 

Solon Ohio Real Estate – Market Report January 2013

 Solon real estate market report

 

 

Here is our monthly real estate market report for homes in Solon OH.

First, we will provide a list of all home transfers for last month. Then, we will give market statistics of sold homes for January, 2013, with a comparison to the previous year. Finally, we will provide an analysis of the market, including discussion about where we are headed in the future.

 

ALL SOLON HOME SALES JANUARY 2013

5765 Richmond Rd $110,000
32570 W Nimrod St $137,000
6706 Glenallen Ave $161,000
6544 Copley Ave $165,500
6245 Sharondale Dr $170,000
5310 Harper Rd
$181,500
31561 Sedgefield Oval $185,000
33630 Wellingford Ct $235,000
33430 Seneca Dr $271,000
38640 Flanders Dr $450,000
38295 Flanders Dr $580,000

 

SOLD HOME STATISTICS SOLON OHIO – JANUARY 2013

 

Date                                         # of homes sold         Ave. Sales Price             

January 2013                                11                            $240,545

January 2012                                15                            $310,020

 

*source NEOHREX ( Regional MLS )

 

COMMENTARY:

Beginning of the year statistics can often be inconclusive and sometimes misleading. There is actually a great deal of activity in general and competition over homes is increasing.

The numbers above really don’t tell the entire story and you shouldn’t read too much into them. If you take a look at our 2012 Year In Review For Solon Real Estate, you will get a much better feel for the overall market. Just because we saw less sales and at a lower average price point last month than the previous January doesn’t mean much right now.

We anticipate another good year in 2013. Being able to sustain positive momentum throughout the entire 2012 year shows that we are coming off the bottom and beginning to finally see improvement. While prices aren’t near the highs of 2005-2006, we are starting to see a slight bit of appreciation.

Lack Of Inventory

I can’t remember seeing so few homes on the market. Granted, it’s only winter when inventories are typically low, but we have had this problem for over a year.  Buyers are literally sitting and waiting for new homes to come on the market, and willing to make an offer if they love the home.

While this certainly bodes well for sellers, we are certainly not declaring a “seller’s market”. Buyers are still feeling the sting from the recession so are proceeding with a bit of caution. They will pay a fair price, but not more.  Overall, a nice home priced fairly could easily sell within the first 30 days, with multiple offers not unusual.

Moving forward

We anticipate sales to be about where they were last year, possibly even a little lower. This is more a function of so few homes being on the market than a lack of demand. Interest rates creeping upwards during the year certainly won’t help, but they are still extremely low and shouldn’t affect things too much at this point.

If there is one take away from this report, it should be that we need more homes to sell. Anyone that has been putting off selling their home, waiting for the market to get better, should sell now. Rates  aren’t getting lower and demand is the highest we’ve seen in a long time.

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About The Authors

The above information is compliments of The Schuman Team, Amy and Dan, of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services.

They can be reached at 216-346-3235 or 216-403-9189 or via email, danschuman@howardhanna.com or amyschuman@howardhanna.com.

The Schumans service the following Cleveland area suburbs: Aurora, Bainbridge, Bay Village, Beachwood, Bentleyville, Chagrin Falls, Cleveland Heights, Gates Mills, Highland Heights, Hunting Valley, Lakewood, Lyndhurst, Mayfield Heights, Mayfield Village, Moreland Hills, Oakwood Village, Orange, Pepper Pike, Shaker Heights, Solon, South Euclid, University Heights, Westlake, Woodmere.

Solon Ohio Real Estate – Market Report January 2013 is the property of The Schuman Team and may not be duplicated or used without their written consent.©February, 2013

Do Open Houses Sell Homes?

 

 

Despite what consumers may think, open houses are less effective at selling homes than in the past. In fact, less than 1% of home buyers actually found their home through an open house. (*statistics provided by NAR, 20112 profile of buyers and sellers. ) However, there are still benefits of having them that could make it well worth the effort.

TIMES ARE A CHANGING

Buyers today see less value of an open house. Before the “net”, the easiest way for a buyer to see the inside of a home was to actually go in person. Therefore, attending a Sunday open house was critical.  In fact, this is how we bought our current home. We looked in the Sunday newspaper, saw which homes were open, and went to see them.

Now, with so much information available on line, potential buyers are doing a ton of research on homes using their laptops or even smart phones. They are basically eliminating homes they see on line that in the past, they would have likely seen by attending an open house.

The role of the listing agent acting as the sole “gatekeeper” of getting into a home has also changed. The evolution of buyer’s agency, where a buyer can have their own representation, makes buyers less dependent on going to a Sunday open house.

Also, the lifestyle of today’s buyer is very hectic and many don’t want to spend their time driving around seeing homes. Therefore,  the buyer’s agent ends up doing a lot of the leg work and screening of homes in advance. When a home is deemed worth a look, the buyer’s agent schedules the showing for a day/time that is convenient to the buyers, not necessarily on a Sunday.

WHY HAVE AN OPEN HOUSE?

Open houses still have their place. From a listing agent’s perspective, they owe it to their sellers to make sure they are doing everything possible to market their home. Even if only a few people show up, it’s still better exposure for the home then doing nothing.

A listing agent can also grow their business by having open houses.  Many buyers who actually attend a Sunday open house are not quite ready to buy.  They are more casual lookers, typically 6-18 months away from making a buying decision. However, they will buy at some point and this is a great opportunity for the agent holding the home open to earn new business. Basically, the open house is like bait on a hook to reel in buyer leads.

It’s also good for a busy buyer’s agent. If an agent is with one set of buyers on a Sunday, and another buyer wants to see a particular home, sending them to a home that is open makes things convenient.

Also, although it’s hard for me to believe, some people simply don’t like real estate agents. There are a small percentage of buyers who will refuse to work with a buyer’s agent, but they still want to see homes. These buyers end up utilizing the Sunday open house to find a home and work directly with the listing agent.

For the most part, an open house won’t likely sell that particular home. However, they still serve a purpose for acting as a catalyst to bring buyers and sellers together.

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About The Authors

The above information is compliments of The Schuman Team, Amy and Dan, of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services.

They can be reached at 216-346-3235 or 216-403-9189 or via email, danschuman@howardhanna.com or amyschuman@howardhanna.com.

The Schumans service the following Cleveland area suburbs: Aurora, Bainbridge, Bay Village, Beachwood, Bentleyville, Chagrin Falls, Cleveland Heights, Gates Mills, Highland Heights, Hunting Valley, Lakewood, Lyndhurst, Mayfield Heights, Mayfield Village, Moreland Hills, Oakwood Village, Orange, Pepper Pike, Shaker Heights, Solon, South Euclid, University Heights, Westlake, Woodmere.

Do Open Houses Sell Homes is the property of The Schuman Team and may not be duplicated or used without their written consent.©February, 2013

Selling Your Home In The Winter

 

 

Regardless of the season, you still have only one chance to make a positive impression. If you end up selling your home during the winter, there are things you can do to help your home stand out.

5 Things To Do To Stand Out

1. Exterior Photo – If possible, have the exterior shot done immediately after a snowfall. A fresh snowfall on the trees and ground can really make the home “pop” in a picture.

2. Twilight Photo – With the light reflecting off the snow, a twilight shot can look very cool. You will need sufficient exterior lighting to do this, however.

3. Clear Driveway and Sidewalks – Nothing is worse for a buyer than having to walk through snow and ice to see a home. Having your driveway plowed is one thing but taking the extra step to salt and clear the driveway and all walkways will make a great impression on potential buyers. They will notice and appreciate your efforts, and think you take just as good care of your interior.

4. Keep Interior Warm – When showing your home in the winter, make sure it is kept at a warm temperature ( 70-72 degrees ).  If your home is cold a potential buyer may think it is not insulated properly, or that you are cheap. If they think you are cheap, they will question the care you have taken of your home. Overall, it put buyers in a negative mindset.

5. Play It Up – Pretend you are entertaining for a big holiday party. Have the fire going, put on some music, make it so warm and inviting that a buyer won’t want to leave.

Winter can be a good time to sell. There is less competition and buyers who go out in the cold and snow are typically very serious.

If you do end up selling during the winter months, following these tips will help you get maximum value for your home.

 

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About The Authors

The above information is compliments of The Schuman Team, Amy and Dan, of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services.

They can be reached at 216-346-3235 or 216-403-9189 or via email, danschuman@howardhanna.com or amyschuman@howardhanna.com.

The Schumans service the following Cleveland area suburbs: Aurora, Bainbridge, Bay Village, Beachwood, Bentleyville, Chagrin Falls, Cleveland Heights, Gates Mills, Highland Heights, Hunting Valley, Lakewood, Lyndhurst, Mayfield Heights, Mayfield Village, Moreland Hills, Oakwood Village, Orange, Pepper Pike, Shaker Heights, Solon, South Euclid, University Heights, Westlake, Woodmere.

Selling Your Home In The Winter is the property of The Schuman Team and may not be duplicated or used without their written consent.©February, 2013

Why You Need A Buyer’s Agent

 

 

Many home buyers view a real estate agent as someone who just opens up a home for them, providing little other value. While this may be true in some cases, many agents wear a lot of different hats and actually bring a lot of skills to the table.

Today’s post will shed some light on things a good buyer’s agent does and why you should use one if buying a home.

MY LAST AGENT DIDN’T DO ANYTHING

My motivation for writing this post was that too often, we have heard some less than flattering comments from consumers about their past experiences with a real estate agent. Here are just a few comments made to us:

“We were the ones who picked out the homes and did most of the work.”

“She really didn’t educate us too much about the market or the different areas.”

“He was nice but didn’t do a whole lot.”

“Our last agent wasn’t always available.”

In many of these transactions, the agents probably spent a lot of time with these buyers and had good intentions, yet things just didn’t work out for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they were inexperienced or only worked part-time. Maybe they did a lot of things for their clients behind the scenes, but never let their buyers know about them. It is also possible that the buyers had unrealistic expectations.

In any event, we take great pride in our industry and don’t like to hear about negative experiences. We want to dispel the myth that an agent is nothing more than a door opener.

THE VALUE OF AN AGENT

The popularity of the internet has made information more readily available to buyers than ever before. Therefore, they have a perception that they don’t need an agent for anything other them to simply open up the home for them.

I’m here to say that a skilled buyer’s agent actually brings a lot of value to the table. Many are things that buyers may not think about yet are still critical to having a successful transaction.

WHAT DOES A BUYER’S AGENT DO?

1. Preview homes in advance – No reason to pull up to a home that is located next to a commercial building ( that was conveniently not mentioned in the on-line description ). Previewing in advance saves your time.

2. Has knowledge of the local inventory.

3. Provides “insider information” – knowledge of homes that will soon be coming on the market or ones whose sellers are extremely motivated.

4. Educates their clients on the different areas.

5. Is proactive to find you a home. A good agent will call their buyers about a new home on the market or coming on the market BEFORE the buyer has a chance to call them.

6. Will refer you to another quality agent if they don’t service the area in which you want to buy.

7. Thoroughly explains the buying process.

8. Will take additional photos or video of a home or neighborhood and email them to you. Especially important to out of town buyers.

9.Gets you information not readily available on-line.

10. Refers you to trusted lenders, inspectors, and contractors.

 

Remember, this is just a small sampling of things a good buyer’s agent will do for you. This list doesn’t even get into some of the more complicated parts of the process such as negotiating and inspections, things that can be very stressful and emotionally intense.

Many of us are more than merely door openers. We bring experience and knowledge to the real estate transaction. The best part is that we represent your best interests only and the seller pays our fee.

 

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About The Authors

The above information is compliments of The Schuman Team, Amy and Dan, of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services.

They can be reached at 216-346-3235 or 216-403-9189 or via email, danschuman@howardhanna.com or amyschuman@howardhanna.com.

The Schumans service the following Cleveland area suburbs: Aurora, Bainbridge, Bay Village, Beachwood, Bentleyville, Chagrin Falls, Cleveland Heights, Gates Mills, Highland Heights, Hunting Valley, Lakewood, Lyndhurst, Mayfield Heights, Mayfield Village, Moreland Hills, Oakwood Village, Orange, Pepper Pike, Shaker Heights, Solon, South Euclid, University Heights, Westlake, Woodmere.

Why You Need A Buyer’s Agent is the property of The Schuman Team and may not be duplicated or used without their written consent.©February, 2013

Home Warranties – Why They Are Important

Having a home warranty is important not only for buyers, but for sellers as well. If you are buying or selling a home, you may regret not investing a relatively small amount of money to have one. In this post, we will explain what home warranties do and why you should get one.

THE PURPOSE OF A HOME WARRANTY

A home warranty covers you in the event appliances or major systems break down. In most cases, a warranty will cover things that your typical home owners insurance policy does not. Having both a comprehensive home owner’s insurance policy and a home warranty will provide you will excellent coverage.

Most homes experience issues pertaining to mechanical systems and appliances on a regular basis. It could be once a year or every few years, you just never know when something will happen. That is why having the protection of a home warranty is a smart thing to do for both buyers and sellers.

FOR BUYERS

1. CONVENIENCE  – When covered by a warranty, you will have access to qualified contractors simply by calling an 800 #. This is especially nice if you are new to the area.

2. LONG-TERM PROTECTION – While a seller will typically pay for the first year of a buyer’s home warranty, the buyer has the option of renewing every year. As your home ages, the likelihood of a problem increases. So for the long term, having a warranty can be a huge help.

3. PEACE OF MIND – There is a tremendous feeling of knowing you will be covered if certain problems arise.

FOR SELLERS

1. COVERAGE WHILE ON THE MARKET – You will get covered during the listing period and NOT have to pay for the policy until closing.

2. STAND OUT FROM COMPETITION – Offering a home warranty may entice a buyer to purchase your home over another that is not offering one.

3. ELIMINATES PROBLEMS AFTER CLOSING – If a problem arises after title transfer, it is better for the buyer to contact the warranty company instead of you.

DO I REALLY NEED ONE?

We are not here to tell you what to do. But based on the chart above, claims are certainly a common occurrence. In fact, we get emailed every time one of our clients has a claim paid by the warranty company, and it seems like it happens all the time. From an agent’s perspective, I do feel it provides tremendous value to both buyers and sellers.

When it comes to buying or selling a home that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, spending $400-500 on a home warranty seems pretty minimal. If you think of a warranty as more of an investment than an expense, it will hopefully make  more sense.

 

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About The Authors

The above information is compliments of The Schuman Team, Amy and Dan, of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services.

They can be reached at 216-346-3235 or 216-403-9189 or via email, danschuman@howardhanna.com or amyschuman@howardhanna.com.

The Schumans service the following Cleveland area suburbs: Aurora, Bainbridge, Bay Village, Beachwood, Bentleyville, Chagrin Falls, Cleveland Heights, Gates Mills, Highland Heights, Hunting Valley, Lakewood, Lyndhurst, Mayfield Heights, Mayfield Village, Moreland Hills, Oakwood Village, Orange, Pepper Pike, Shaker Heights, Solon, South Euclid, University Heights, Westlake, Woodmere.

Home Warranties – Why They Are Important is the property of The Schuman Team and may not be duplicated or used without their written consent.©February, 2013