December 27, 2013

Need New Year's Eve Plans?

I hope you are all enjoying this holiday season! With Christmas behind us, it’s time to ring in 2014. What are you doing this New Year’s Eve? For those looking to make last-minute plans, here are some New Year’s Eve events taking place in Central Ohio, all on December 31st:

Family Friendly:
  • 2014 First Night Columbus at COSI and the Veteran’s Memorial (downtown). This event begins at 5pm and costs $9 (kinds under 3 are free). It celebrates community spirit, cultural heritage, and the arts through entertainment and hands-on activities. Over 100 entertainers—from street performers to live bands—will preform in several downtown performance sites. Fireworks will be set off at midnight!

Adult Events:
  • Shadowbox Live New Year’s Eve Celebration. Shadowbox is Columbus’s sketch comedy and rock’n’roll club and is located at Easton Town Center. Shadowbox will offer a 2+ hour concert/dance party with household band, BillWho? The $100 general admission cost (or two tickets for $180) also includes a dinner banquet and champagne toast at midnight. Doors open at 9pm.
  • New Years Eve at Hyatt Regency. From 8pm-2am at the Arena District Hyatt Regency, 10 live musical acts of various styles will celebrate the new year. Available tickets range from $144-$154 and include an open bar, all you can eat buffet, and optional overnight stay (for a total of $450).  

December 20, 2013

Market Update

Summary: The housing market is in a completely different state than it was this time last year, with steady price increases, more solid inventory, and strong demand.

Details:  Median age of inventory is 94 days. This is a leading indicator of demand and has declined by 11.32 percent from last year. In Columbus in particular, inventory is scarce, with a median age of inventory of 78 days—less than three months! Home prices, on the other hand, have risen. Nationally, the median list price increased by 7.57% year-over–year. The median list price for homes in Columbus, Ohio is $148,500. –a smaller increase of 2.77%. Overall, the market did not experience the seasonal slowdown typical of the fall months, leaving buyers, sellers, and Real Estate agents working full steam ahead.

In today’s recovering market, there is never a bad time to buy or sell your home. I assist both buyers and sellers in Central Ohio. Contact me if you are looking for a qualified and caring agent to address your specific home needs. 

Click here to see market statistics for a wide variety of other major U.S. cities. 

December 17, 2013

The Inside Scoop on Winter House Hunting recently published its Winter Home Buyer Report, which reveals the pros and cons when it comes to searching for a home in the winter months. The most common complaint involves insufficient inventory in a buyer’s preferred price range. 45% of respondents cited this as problematic, while 34% noted the lack of inventory in general. Many respondents also replied that the inclement weather makes house hunting less enjoyable. On the plus side, respondents claim that sellers are more motivated to sell and negotiate, home prices are better, and competition is less severe, allotting buyers more time to make a decision. House hunting in the winter also lets the buyer test a home’s “winter fitness” (drafty windows? inadequate heating system?). Real Estate agents are likely more available, and lenders and movers will be more accessible and sometimes more affordable. You also get the chance to see how well the streets are paved and whether the homes are decorated for the holidays.

Many people (approximately 25%) are currently searching for a home because they were unable to find one during the warmer months. It is also common to see winter buyers who are relocating. Unfortunately, the same problems that discouraged buyers in the summer and fall, such as low inventory, continue to hinder buyers now.

Are you in the market to sell or buy a home? Contact me to see what I can do for you!

December 10, 2013

Pros and Cons of Investment Property

Investment property isn't just about cash flow projections and planning. The investor must analyze a property carefully before purchasing, then manage it effectively. If successful (and lucky), one can become quite profitable from real estate investments. After all, The most significant asset of most families is the equity in their homes.
Advantages of Investing in Real Estate

High Leverage (the use of borrowed money with the intent to increase the investor's return on the cash invested). Few other investments offer the high leverage real estate does. Whereas stocks and bonds typically require at least a 50 percent down payment, most real estate investments can be made with 25 percent down payments or less.

Good returns. Many cautious and keen investors yield great returns, often exceeding 20 percent.

Income tax shelter. Most investments (ex: bonds, stocks, and mutual funds) require that investors pay taxes on all current income (dividends). Real estate investments often provide tax-deferred cash flows, primarily due to cost recovery deductions (depreciation). This allows investors to avoid paying taxes on cash flow until they sell the property. 

More personal control.  The purchase of real estate gives an investor control over the investment's operation and management. Even if the investor hires a property manager, the manager reports to the investor.

Disadvantages of Investing in Real Estate

Management time. Consistent management of an income property's operations takes time. The investor should achieve a higher return on investment to compensate for this.

High capital requirements. Investors need funds to acquire the property and must have reserve funds available to make renovations or cover unexpected events. If vacancy rates are high, investors may have trouble selling the property and may need to put more money into it to pay its operating costs and debt service until more stable ground is reached.

Poor liquidity. Investment real estate is a complex purchase, involving land-use requirements, environmental audits, maintenance inspections, lease reviews, and new financing. A seller must understand that it could be a year or more after listing the property on the market before closing a sale, even under normal or good market conditions. 

Personal stress. Property management requires personal interaction with tenants, unless an owner's properties are large or profitable enough to hire a manager. When the mortgage payment is due, slow-paying tenants can be a burden. Tenant complaints take time and people skills to resolve. If tenants leave a property in poor condition when they move out, the investor must restore the premises. Eviction is sometimes necessary and is a stressor to all involved.

High risk. Overbuilding in the market, causing high competition and lower rents, could lead to failure. Environmental laws may require costly retrofitting, or a large employer may relocate, resulting in widespread unemployment. This type of risk--dynamic risk--is not covered by insurance.