November 5, 2015

How to Cozy Up Your Home Without Cranking Up the Heat


via Pinterest
Already feeling a chill in your home, but not ready to crank up the heat? Never fear. Houselogic has great tips on how to make your home feel warm and cozy, without increasing your gas bill.

1. Dust your light fixtures. Clean bulbs make your home seem brighter and warmer, but won't hurt your electric bill.

2. Check for leaks. Air can leak out through cracks around windows, doors, wall outlets, and electrical boxes.

3. Warm up with the fireplace of the future: Gel fireplace inserts can burn for up to three hours and are completely smoke and allergen-free, according to Houselogic.

4. Indoor plants can help brighten up your home, while decreasing dust. Try either the golden pothos or some gerbera daisies.

5. Let in the light by cleaning your window panes! More natural light can help cure the blues brought on by shorter days and colder temperatures.

6. After you've cleaned your window panes, take out the screens. Dirty screens make your home feel darker and screenless windows have great curb appeal!



October 26, 2015

Five Maintenance Jobs You Need to Do This Fall

via MBdevelopment.com

Some home improvement jobs are just too much for the summertime. Heavy lifting in heavy humidity isn't ideal and some projects just cannot get accomplished until it cools off. Check out Houselogic's top five maintenance jobs for cooler weather.

1. Improve attic insulation
Not only will working conditions be much more tolerable in cooler weather, but you'll be able to tell
what areas need insulation if there's a draft.

2. Seal the cracks
Another place you lose money through leaks is around windows and doors. With the colder weather
coming, you're going to want to keep warm air in and cool air out. Examine all windows, doors, and
siding and fill in leaks with waterproof silicone caulk.

3. Clean the gutters
Moisture can wreak havoc on a home's condition, so make sure your gutters are clear and your
downspouts are drawing water away from your foundation. Autumn's falling leaves can clog gutters
easily and it's important your gutters are clear before winter comes.

4. Plant a tree
Fall is a great time to plant a tree, advises Houselogic, since the tree's dormant state is easier on the root system. Check out our list of trees with the most beautiful fall colors before making your decision.

5. Clean your garage
Wouldn't it be nice to drive your car straight into your garage once winter rolls around? Most of us
don't have that luxury due to messy garages. Houselogic recommends taking a weekend this fall to sort through and organize everything in your garage and to get rid of the stuff you don't need. It's also a great opportunity to make sure all your snow equipment (snow blowers, shovels, etc.) is in good
working order before the first heavy snowfall.

5 Maintenance Jobs You Need to Do This Fall

via MBdevelopment.com

Some home improvement jobs are just too much for the summertime. Heavy lifting in heavy humidity isn't ideal and some projects just cannot get accomplished until it cools off. Check out Houselogic's top five maintenance jobs for cooler weather.
 
1. Improve attic insulation
Not only will working conditions be much more tolerable in cooler weather, but you'll be able to tell
what areas need insulation if there's a draft.

2. Seal the cracks
Another place you lose money through leaks is around windows and doors. With the colder weather
coming, you're going to want to keep warm air in and cool air out. Examine all windows, doors, and
siding and fill in leaks with waterproof silicone caulk.

3. Clean the gutters
Moisture can wreak havoc on a home's condition, so make sure your gutters are clear and your
downspouts are drawing water away from your foundation. Autumn's falling leaves can clog gutters
easily and it's important your gutters are clear before winter comes.
 
4. Plant a tree
Fall is a great time to plant a tree, advises Houselogic, since the tree's dormant state is easier on the root system. Check out our list of trees with the most beautiful fall colors before making your decision.

5. Clean your garage
Wouldn't it be nice to drive your car straight into your garage once winter rolls around? Most of us
don't have that luxury due to messy garages. Houselogic recommends taking a weekend this fall to sort through and organize everything in your garage and to get rid of the stuff you don't need. It's also a great opportunity to make sure all your snow equipment (snow blowers, shovels, etc.) is in good
working order before the first heavy snowfall.

October 22, 2015

Prepare to scare with 9 spooky front porch decorations

via HGTV.com
Dying to be the best house on the block this Halloween? HGTV.com has got you covered! Click through their slideshow on spooky front porch decorating ideas. From bootiful luminaries to scary skulls, there's plenty of ideas to help you get your home Halloween ready.


October 14, 2015

Five must-have components of a garage workshop

via HouseLogic
Many garages have a workbench or toolbox set up somewhere, but what pieces are really necessary for creating the ultimate work space? Houselogic tells us their must-haves, and provides step-by-step instructions on how to transform your garage work space from forgotten to functional.

The first thing you'll need to set up a workshop is space! Set aside a space at least 10 feet long and 6 feet deep for your workshop to ensure you have enough room for any project you tackle.

In addition to space for your projects, you'll also need space for your supplies. Storage space is a must-have when designing your workshop. Hang your tools on the wall or organize them into a tool box, just make sure you keep them off your work bench!

Next, you'll need well-lit space. Ensure each task is completed with care by installing extra lighting around your work bench for up close inspections.

The work bench itself is a crucial component of the workshop. Make sure it's constructed of durable material, so excessive hammering and sawing won't phase it.

Last, but certainly not least, you'll need a space that's easy to clean. Sawdust and scraps can cause a huge mess, so construct a work area that can be swept out with ease.

Want instructions on how to build a bench DIY style? How about tips on getting the right amount of electrical power to your garage? Houselogic has the answers. Click here to get started.

October 7, 2015

9 trees with the best fall colors

Source
Fall has come to Columbus, bringing shorter days, cooler temperatures, and brighter landscapes. For those of us lucky enough to watch their transformation up close, the dazzling, changing colors of the trees are a true delight.

Green with envy over your neighbor's fall foliage? Here are HouseLogic's list of trees with the best fall colors to turn your yard into an autumnal wonderland.

  1. Japanese Maple
With its maroon-red leaves, a Japanese Maple is a beautiful tree that attracts songbirds and squirrels. Houselogic recommends planting it in the shade, so its leaves don't burn in the summer heat.
  1. Vine Maple
Houselogic cites this tree's curb appeal provided by its unique, twisting branches. The Vine Maple provides all three classic fall colors (yellow, orange, red) in its leaves, making it a perfect autumn addition.
  1. Viburnum
The Viburnum is technically a shrub, but that doesn't make its fall appearance any less stunning. Its leaves turn shades of red and purple, while its berries add lovely blue accents.
  1. Paper birch
The crisp contrast of this tree's white trunk and bright yellow leaves signal that fall has arrived! Houselogic also recommends tapping the tree for its sap to make syrup, vinegar, and beer.
  1. Sugar maple
Like the Vine Maple, this tree boasts hues of red and orange, but the Sugar Maple's leaves reach another level of fall time perfection: gold. Another fun fact: the Sugar Maple has a very long lifespan, with some living up to 500 years!
  1. Smoketree
Houselogic recommends using this shrub as an accent tree. The Smoketree is especially dynamic, with red-purple leaves in fall, and wispy, pink blossoms in spring
  1. Katsura Tree
This tree does require some extra TLC, but there's a big payoff. The Katsura tree has a spread of up to 60 feet and its fallen leaves smell like cinnamon.
  1. Sourwood
The Sourwood tree makes the list for its scarlet red leaves and silver seed capsules (sounds like Buckeye colors to us!). The capsules will stick around through the winter and bees will frequent Sourwood trees in the spring and summer to produce sourwood honey!
  1. Scarlet Oak
Like its name implies, the Scarlet Oak's leaves turn bright red in the fall. According to Houselogic, larger songbirds and wild turkeys love the Scarlet Oak!

September 28, 2015

2015 Parade brings changes, but doesn't disappoint


This year's Parade of Homes event may be smaller, and further from Columbus, but offers no shortage of features or fans. The Parade's 2015 location, Northstar Community, near Sunbury, is farther outside of the Columbus area than in previous years. The Parade also features only six homes, each with a price less steep than in years past. The Parade's dates are a change, as well, debuting in fall, rather than the summer.

In spite of all these changes, builders say their homes are selling well, perhaps due to this year's more
affordable prices and realistic floor plans. The homes may be less pricey than in previous years, but
Parade attendees can still expect to see the interesting and up-and-coming designs the Parade is known for.  Non-traditional wall textures, secret grocery doors, and unique furniture pieces can all be found in homes in the 2015 Parade.

Fans of the Parade's unique touches won't be disappointed. In this case, a smaller scale doesn't mean a
lapse in quality.

The Parade of Homes runs from September 19 - October 4.

Based on an article from The Columbus Dispatch.

September 22, 2015

Insider Tips on Affordable Home Accessories

via HGTV.com

Wonder how the experts outfit their homes? HGTV magazine asked their network's design stars to share their secrets on styling a home on a budget.

From the kitchen to the hall, the designers share their favorite affordable home items. And their sources may surprise you. Target, Urban Outfitters, and IKEA, all make the list thanks to their low prices.

Click here to flip through the slideshow and find your new favorite pieces for less.

September 15, 2015

Do's & Don'ts of the Parade of Homes

With the 2015 Parade of Homes almost upon us, check out our guide to the
Do's & Don'ts of the Parade!


The 2015 Parade of Homes event will be held from September 19 through October 4 at Northstar. Click here for more information!

September 10, 2015

DIY: A backsplash in a flash!


Want a kitchen update the adds value but doesn't break the bank? Barbara Ballinger of The Chicago Tribune has a project any homeowner can do on their own: a tile backsplash.

Here are some of her tips to get you started.
  • When deciding on the colors for your backsplash, remember white is always a classic. Or if you're going for a fresh, modern feel, consider pale green glass.
  • If you're not sure how to begin, Lowe's has a video that breaks down the project step-by-step.
  • Buy more tile than you think you'll need, as some may get dropped or broken!
  • Porcelain tile is easier to work with for beginners.
  • Don't forget to buy plastic spacers and grout.
  • Tiles mounted on mesh provide an easy and quick to start to the project

Happy tiling!

September 1, 2015

5 ways to make your patio feel like a paradise--without breaking the bank

Everyone wants a party-ready patio, but big updates can be expensive. How can you achieve the “wow-factor” on a tight budget? Don't worry, HGTV is here to help with five ways to dress up your deck without dropping the big bucks.


Light it up
Paper lanterns lend a festive touch, yet are cheap to buy. Dollar Tree has several options, each for the low price of $1. You can string them together or hang them independently to create exactly the look you want.




Curtain Call
Surround your patio in linen or sheer curtains for a cozy, upscale feel. Tie them back if you're entertaining or draw them if you want a bit of privacy. Curtains can also add a bit of warmth as the nights get cooler. You can find sheer outdoor curtains at Target for around $20.




via Pinterest


DIY masterpiece
Make your own mosaic to add some life to your porch. You can use this method to decorate table tops and flowerpots or to incorporate some color into stairs. Coordinate your furniture and develop a whole new color scheme around your creation.




Shop in your own home
Repurpose your old furniture as patio furniture! A mattress and bedframe (or crib!) can easily become your new backyard daybed and old coffee tables can find a new life complementing your current patio chairs.


via Pinterest
Cozy Carpets
Warm up your space by adding an area rug. It will help your space feel more luxurious, while protecting bare feet! Browse affordable options in a variety of sizes at Target.



August 27, 2015

Top tips for indoor plants

Houseplants can do wonders for your home. They can add life, color, and a calming atmosphere to otherwise drab spaces. Check out Houzz's top tips for growing your greenery indoors.



1. Fill dead space with plants.
If you have awkward space or empty corners in your home, consider filling them in with a plant. They'll add a splash of color to an otherwise boring or unsightly area.




2. Use plants to personalize your kitchen.
No paint? No problem. Use colorful flowers and interesting plants to help spice up your kitchen


via Pinterest
3. Put them somewhere unexpected
Here's an unexpected tip. Put houseplants in your bathroom. They'll love the moist air and routine steaming they get from the shower.

4. Fill sunny areas with plants.
Fill porches, sunrooms, patios or windowsills until they're positively bursting with greenery.


  Via Pinterest
5. Cluster your plants together
Clustering is good for the plants, as you'll remember to water them all at once and they'll be able to create their own micro-climate. And it's good for your home, as clustered plants are pleasing to the eye.

6. Make every meal feel alfresco
Decorate your table with a beautiful floral arrangement or surround your dining table with greenery. It'll make you feel as if you're dining in a garden every night.


7. Don't sweat it
Most importantly- don't stress. Plants bring a calming and refreshing vibe to your home, so don't override that feeling with stress if you accidentally kill one. As Houzz suggests:“Forgive yourself, and move on.”


August 11, 2015

Dublin City Schools experience record-setting growth for 2015-2016 school year


Dublin City Schools are growing faster than the district had originally anticipated. According to ThisWeek reports, the districtwide enrollment from last school year was 15,165 students. The projected enrollment numbers for this school year are 15,446. However, enrollment numbers are already exceeding projections as the projected enrollment for elementary school was 6,855 students, but currently 6,997 students have registered. Registration will continue throughout the summer, and staff expect August to be their busiest month.

Across the district, many grades and classes have been “capped” as there is simply no room for more students. Students who are unable to register at their closest school, due to lack of space, will be bussed to other nearby schools with available space.
 
District staff say the improving housing market may be the reason they've seen so much growth lately. According to ThisWeek, the current trend represents a record-setting pace for enrollments for the district.

August 6, 2015

Bridge Park developers eager to begin construction, have high hopes for housing



Hoping for an update on the new Bridge Park area in Dublin? You're in luck. ThisWeek reports that construction may begin as soon as this month.

Crawford Hoying, the area's developers are anxious to begin construction on the area, as soon as possible. As Dublin residents may have noticed, the building demolition and land moving stages have already begun on the site.

Bridge Park is expected to host condos, offices, shops, and restaurants. Crawford Hoying predicts that their Bridge Park housing will be specifically attractive to “renters by choice,” or in other words, those individuals looking to downsize or who aren't quite ready to buy their own homes yet. The developers expect both empty nesters and young professionals to have interest in the apartments.

Company representatives also believe that their new apartments will benefit the city, as they will provide housing for those who would have otherwise left Dublin due to its lack of rental properties. They also noted that these apartments will solidify the “live, work, play” atmosphere of the Bridge Park development.

The apartments will range in size from studios, to one and two bedroom apartments. Amenities include granite countertops and stainless steel appliances.

The building of these apartments is projected to support the new Bridge Park area's reputation as a true destination location.

August 5, 2015

This easy fix can increase your home's value overnight

 
Believe it or not, the condition of your front door actually plays a big role in your home's overall value. Although it may not seem like much, replacing your front door can add value to your home, as well as cut your utility bills by 10%. According to a recent article by Houselogic, the project could cost you as much as $1,230, but will return 101.8% of the cost in the increase in home value it provides.

Before you actually take the plunge and replace your front door, it's important to determine what kind of door is right for your home. Houselogic breaks down the pros and cons for each of the three materials typically used in front doors.
 

Steel
As the cheapest option on the list, a steel door can be a good choice for those homeowners looking to increase their home's value for as little money as possible. Houselogic points out that if you can do the installation yourself, you could replace your current front door with a new, steel one for as low as $150.

Although the price is low, so is steel's lifespan. If you live in a place where your front door is exposed to salty air or heavy rains, your steel door may only last five to seven years, according to Houselogic's findings.

Fiberglass
A fiberglass door may be right for you if you want a low maintenance option that looks like you sprung for real wood. It's also durable. If not exposed to extreme conditions, Houselogic reports that a fiberglass door can last for 15 to 20 years. Furthermore, fiberglass can provide excellent insulation due to its foam core.

A fiberglass door will be a bit more expensive to purchase and install than a steel door, however. The door itself may range in price from $150 to $600. Houslogic sources estimate that the entire project could set you back almost $3,000.

Wood
If curb appeal is your main concern, look no further than a wooden door. A front door made of wood can lend a luxurious touch to your home's entryway, but this luxury comes at a cost. Wood is the most expensive of the three materials. Houselogic estimates that a wood door may cost anywhere between $500 and $2,000. It's also one of the more high maintenance options, as wood doors require repainting every 1-2 years.

August 3, 2015

2015 Parade of Homes to be held in fall

The Building Industry Association (BIA) is making some big changes to their annual Parade of Homes event. For the first time, this year's Parade of Homes will be held in the fall. Typically a summer event, the 2015 Parade of Homes has been scheduled for September 19th through October 4th. According to the Parade of Homes Facebook page, this change allows the builders more time to complete the houses after recovering from a long winter.

The change of season also brings about changes in theme. BIA promises fun, fall activities and beautiful autumn scenery in this year's Parade of Homes location, a new golf course community near Polaris. Northstar Community, a 1700-acre development from Nationwide Realty Investors, will be divided into residential and commercial areas, and will also provide locations for elementary and middle schools.

The homes in this year's Parade will range in price from $500,000 to $800,00 and will include the following builders:
  • Fischer Homes
  • Coppertree Homes
  • M/I Homes
  • P & D Builders
  • Rockford Homes
  • Weaver Custom Homes
Tickets for the 2015 Parade of Homes are $15 (children 12 and under are free) and can be purchased online or at the door. BIA is also offering a preview party on September 17th in which attendees can get a sneak peak of this year's homes, while enjoying a progressive menu from Cameron Mitchell.

For more information on the 2015 Parade of Homes, visit biaparade.com


July 30, 2015

Looking back at Ballantrae's 'Bunny Park'


Do you know the story of Ballantrae's famous “Dancing Hares” statue?

The 15-foot bronze bunnies were designed by artist Sophie Ryder in 2001, and were commissioned specifically for the community by Mr. Peter Edwards. Each rabbit had to be shipped to their Ballantrae Park location separately, and are so heavy that multiple cranes were required to lift each sculpture and put it in position.

The unique trio of rabbits are posed in “boxing” positions, to mimic the fighting stance of hares seen during mating season. Each of the rabbits has random household items and toys hidden in their fur, which invites closer inspection.

The statues were meant to be both a whimsical decoration and an interactive experience. Visitors to the park are encouraged to touch and explore the statues to see how many hidden items they can find.

 
 
Sources:
http://www.ballantrae-dublin.com/dancinghares.aspx

July 26, 2015

June Home Sale Inventory On the Rise, Prices Highest Ever


 
According to a report released by Columbus REALTORS, there were over 7500 homes for sale in central Ohio this June, which is a 2.5% increase over last year and the highest number for 2015 so far.

Columbus REALTORS President Kathy Shiflet thinks this growth means homeowners realize its a good time to sell.

“Central Ohio homeowners have realized it's an opportune time to put their home on the market. . .” she said. “Both the real estate industry and the temperatures were hot last month!”

Furthermore, homes are still selling quickly in central Ohio with homes spending an average of just 47 days on the market, which is down 15 days from 2014.

More good news: home sale prices are on the rise, as well. Last month, the average home sale price for central Ohio was $206, 061. According to Columbus REALTORS, this is the highest on record.

Many think this hot market is here to stay. According to the report, 93% of central Ohio REALTORS expect this trend to continue with prices rising over the next year.

It seems that now is a great time to sell your home. If you're considering selling your home, visit my website and contact me to see how I can help. I am a full time Realtor with a 100% focus on serving Sellers (and Buyers!) in Central Ohio.

July 25, 2015

The five central Ohio communities where home values increased the most


 

According to an article in The Columbus Dispatch, Upper Arlington homeowners who bought their homes in April of 2009 saw the greatest appreciation in home value in all of central Ohio. Upper Arlington home values reportedly increased 28% from 2009 to 2015.

Based on a report compiled by Zillow, Bexley homeowners who bought in April 2010 also saw a large growth in home value. Buyers in 2010 were able to snag their homes for a median price of $233, 600. Those same homes now have a median value of $296,700.

Three other communities in the central Ohio area saw appreciation in their home's value over the past few years. Worthington saw 19.8% rise from 2009, Marysville saw a 17.6% rise since 2011 and Reynoldsburg home values grew by 15% since 2012.
If you're interested in buying or selling a home in these areas (or anywhere in Central Ohio)  visit my website and contact me to see how I can help. I am a full time Realtor with a 100% focus on serving Sellers and Buyers in Central Ohio.
 
 

July 15, 2015

Citizen Fire Academy Returns to Washington Township



via wtwp.com

Washington Township citizens will soon have the opportunity to experience life like a firefighter. The Washington Township Fire Department has recently announced the return of their Citizen Fire Academy, a 6-week training program for citizens. The program will be held Wednesday's starting September 2nd and ending October 7th. The Citizen Fire Academy will teach citizens about rope rescues, operating the “jaws of life,” and will include information about hazardous chemicals, ThisWeek reports. Graduates of the program may be chosen for ride-alongs, and could potentially assist with basic first aid and CPR classes in the community.


The program is available to individuals over the age of 18, with preference given to citizens of Dublin and Washington Township. The application closes July 31.

July 14, 2015

When should I replace my A/C?


via houselogic.com
 
Having trouble staying cool this summer? It may be time for a new A/C! Due to recent updates in the manufacture of air conditioning units, new systems may use less than half the electricity of old A/C units and will be more effective at cooling you off. According to a recent HouseLogic article, purchasing a new A/C may be more cost effective than repairing your old one. In order to determine if purchasing a new system is the right decision for your home, House Logic recommends you follow these steps:

Check your current A/C's efficiency
Units that are just 8-10 years old might use up to twice the electricity that a new unit would use. By purchasing a new A/C with more efficient energy standards, you could cut your consumption (and your bills!) by 30%. HouseLogic recommends consulting your installer to see if a new unit is worth the cost.

Investigate the ductwork
Your old A/C may only be part of your cooling problems. Your home's ductwork may leak 10-30% of its air before it reaches you. Have a technician run tests to insure that your ducts aren't the problem before deciding to purchase a new A/C unit.

Consider your home's structure
A poorly insulated house could account for your A/C's ineffectiveness. A contractor may be able to seal any cracks or improve your home's insulation. This fix may be enough to improve your old system's effectiveness and keep you cool for a few more years.

If you have considered these issues, and decided that purchasing a new unit is for you, make sure that your new system is the correct size for your home. Oversized systems cost more, use more electricity, and may still not be effective at cooling your home. Consult a trusted contractor to ensure you purchase a system that's right for you. And remember...


July 10, 2015

Cleveland and Cincinnati top list as most affordable cities for millennials


 
Bloomberg recently released a report on the top ten most and least affordable cities in the country for millennials. Cleveland and Cincinnati made the cut for two of the top ten most affordable spots, clocking in at #5 and #8, respectively. Cities across the Midwest also made the list, including Detroit, Indianapolis, and St. Louis.

On the other hand, almost all of the least affordable cities were located on the west coast, with six of the top ten located in California. An article from Realtor Mag noted that the cities most attractive to young people are often the cities that are the furthest out of their price range.

You can see the full list below.

Most Affordable
  1. Detroit, Mich.
  2. Pittsburgh, Penn.
  3. Buffalo, NY
  4. Indianapolis, Ind.
  5. Cleveland, Ohio
  6. Kansas City, MO
  7. Memphis, Tenn.
  8. Cincinnati, Ohio
  9. Birmingham, Ala.
  10. St. Louis, MO
Least Affordable
  1. San Jose, Calif.
  2. San Francisco, Calif.
  3. Los Angeles, Calif.
  4. San Diego, Calif.
  5. Sacramento, Calif.
  6. New York, NY
  7. Seattle, Wash.
  8. Riverside, Calif.
  9. Washington, D.C.
  10. Boston, Mass.

July 9, 2015

Plan submitted to develop Jacquemin Farms into apartments, shopping center

via jacqueminfarms.com
 
Jacquemin Farms, a popular flower and produce farm on Hyland-Croy Road may soon be converted into a new development containing shops and apartments, the Dispatch reports. Schottenstein Real Estate Group recently submitted plans to develop the property. If the plans are approved, the Jacquemin Family will still continue to operate a small market on the property, but will grow their goods elsewhere. The farm was originally a sod farm, but over time the Jacquemin family converted the property into a popular destination for school trips and family outings.
 
According to The Columbus Dispatch, the Scottenstein Group's submitted plans call for the land to be developed in three parts. The first part, comprised of 36 acres, will be used to build 300 rental units, made up of both apartments and townhomes. The second part, comprised of 11 acres, will be dedicated to a senior assisted-living facility. The third part, comprised of 11.5 acres, will become two retail centers.
 
Although the Schottenstein Group has submitted their plans, the township's zoning board has yet to reach a decision on if the development will occur. The board is said to be considering the traffic impact of such a project, and has put the request on their agenda for their July 27th meeting.

July 8, 2015

Central Ohio home sales on the rise





News flash: the central Ohio housing market is booming! According to a new report released by the Columbus Board of Realtors, May 2015 home sales for central Ohio were up almost 18 percent from the previous month, and grew 8.4 percent compared to May 2014. The Board also reports that the number of home sales for the first five months of this year are the highest on record, according to data from the Columbus Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

Columbus REALTORS® President Kathy Shiflet believes this surge will last, stating “There is an incredible amount of buyer interest right now, and no one is wasting any time purchasing a new home...I don't anticipate [it] waning any time soon.”
Homes are also selling more quickly. In May 2015, central Ohio homes only spent an average of 54 days on the market before they closed. This average is down 11 days from May 2014.

And the good news doesn't stop there. Average sales prices of central Ohio homes are also on the rise. May 2015 saw a 9.1 percent increase from last May.

No matter how you look at it, this is great news for central Ohio homeowners. Shiflet summed it up best when she said “It's simply a terrific time to sell your home!”

If you're considering selling your home, visit my website and contact me to see how I can help. I am a full time Realtor with a 100% focus on serving Sellers (and Buyers!) in Central Ohio.

July 6, 2015

Columbus resident showcases minimal lifestyle on HGTV's “Tiny House Hunters”

Twenty-six year-old Short North resident Nils Root was recently featured on the HGTV series “Tiny House Hunters” to showcase his new condo. At 442 square feet, his High Street home fit the bill for the network's new show on living simply. According to a recent article in The Columbus Dispatch, the show represents an increasing population of home buyers with a desire for a more minimalist lifestyle. The article goes on to say that Central Ohio, specifically, currently has four condos up for grabs in the Downtown area that fulfill this desire, each clocking in at under 550 square feet.


via The Columbus Dispatch
Root worked with a Keller Williams agent to find a simple space that fit his needs. His search took him to Grove City, North Linden, and eventually, to the Short North neighborhood near downtown Columbus. Root was able to secure his tiny abode for $131,500 and has furnished it with small appliances and simple seating arrangements.


via The Columbus Dispatch
Another aspect that draws home buyers to purchase a small space is the opportunity to scale back on material possessions. Root told the Dispatch that he threw out any item he hadn't used in the last year. Five hundred square feet doesn't leave a lot of room for unnecessary clutter and home buyers looking to live small may have to make sacrifices when it comes to their larger furniture items. However, many people find this kind of de-cluttering gratifying. Terri Murray, the manager of the “Tiny House Hunters” series told the Dispatch that she feels many people dream of scaling back, owning a smaller home, and living more simply, and that this dream inspired the series.

 
The second season of Tiny House Hunters airs today, Monday, July 6th on HGTV.

May 13, 2015

Tips to Sell Your Home


Even though it's more of a seller’s market than a buyer’s, sellers must prepare their homes before listing them in order to appeal to buyers who are value-sensitive following the recession. The best way to sell your home is to hire a professional Realtor like myself, who is an expert on the market and has experience selling homes. Contact me to hear how I help my clients successfully and quickly sell their Central Ohio homes. The below tips will also help your home sell in a timely fashion:

  •  Enhance curb appeal. This can be as simple as mowing the grass, planting flowers, repainting the garage door, and removing lawn décor. Curb appeal is a potential buyer’s first impression of your home, so it is critical to maintain.
  • Depersonalize. Remove pictures of you and your family, but feel free to keep neutral art on display or swap out photos with stock images. The point here is that buyers should be able to picture themselves living in your home—and starring at pictures of your children will not help them do so.
  • Declutter. This goes beyond cleaning up and making the beds. Decluttering entails putting things in closets, the garage, and out-of-sight locations such as storage units. For instance, put away (or throw away) the pile of books or magazines on your coffee table. You want surfaces (and floors!) to be as clear as possible. This is especially important for smaller homes, which can benefit the most from maximizing their space. Take the kitchen, for example. Put some decorations and appliances away: buyers do not want to see your toaster, blender, George Foreman Grill, microwave, Keurig machine, and butter dish—they want to see your counter space. The same holds true with furniture. It you have any non-essential furniture pieces that do not complement the rest of the house, remove them during showings. Good examples are children’s art tables or chairs.
  • Make minor upgrades. Granite kitchen countertops are increasingly common in new builds but were rare for homes built in the 1990s. Upgrading to granite countertops and stainless steel appliances will help put your home on a more level playing field with new builds. Buyers also like to see updated bathrooms. New front doors and garage doors offer some of the highest returns on investment. Check for and fix cracks in your foundation, stucco, or any other structural areas. You can likely fix them now for less money than you could when a home inspector points them out to potential buyers. Sealing cracks ahead of time can reduce the time your homes spends on the market since less work will be required during the selling process itself.
  • Keep it comfortable. Don’t overheat your home or blast the AC. Be mindful that, when buyers are arriving in coats, they won’t appreciate an unusually warm house.  If you have pets, keep them in the garage or backyard—somewhere where they will not interrupt potential buyers.  

May 6, 2015

Central Ohio Apartment Construction Skyrockets Alongside Rental Rates

The current market in Central Ohio is geared towards renters: last year, for the first time in two decades, more apartments were built than single family homes, at 3,037 and 2,903, respectively, according to The Columbus Dispatch. This stands in stark contrast to 2006 to 2012, during which time the number of apartments built was fewer than 5000, or about 833 a year. Percentage wise, the number of rental households in Central Ohio rose 8.7 percent between 2009 and 2013 while the number of owner-occupied households dropped 9.3 percent, according to the National Association of Realtors

Part of this can be attributed to inadequate finances following the recession; part of it can be attributed it to changing preferences and demographics. Young people are getting married and starting families later in life; so too are they delaying buying their first home. On the other end of the spectrum, there is an increasing rental demand from empty nesters looking for low-mainitence lifestyles. Both cases have resulted in an increased spread of luxury apartment buildings offering things like granite countertops, walk in closets, high ceilings with crown molding, wood floors, and prime locations walking distance to restaurants  bars, shops, and parks. The Short North, Downtown, German Village, Victorian Village, Italian Village, and Brewery District are popular areas. Of course, this all comes at the expense of soaring rental rates. One bedrooms of this sort are rare for less than $1000 and two bedroom units can cost as much as $3000 per month. 


Aston Place is one of many newly constructed apartment complexes in the Short North

As a result, homeowners can find some strong incentives to buy, including historically low interest rates and tax incentives. Not to mention, when you buy a home, you benefit from building equity and property appreciation. You can update or modify your home as you please and don't have to abide by silly rules ("no candles"), and forget paying an extra $30/month for having a pet, and another $80 for parking your car. Use Realtor.com's Rent vs. Buy Calculator to see which option would make more financial sense for you, or contact me to see how I can help. 

Experts expect apartment construction to slow down within the coming year, as the best locations are purchased and developed. 


April 29, 2015

Mirco Units Provide a Small, but Affordable, Option


In major urban U.S. cities such as Seattle, New York City, Boston, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., apartment unit sizes have been decreasing as developers seek higher density and revenue per square foot to compensate for increased land value and construction expenses. These "micro-units" are typically studios or one bedroom apartments with full kitchens and bathrooms and lease for 20 to 30 percent lower per month than conventional units yet have high value ratios (rent-per-square-foot). The size of such units varies according to city-specific size requirements for new dwelling units, but typically ranges from 280 square feet to 450 square feet, often falling between the sizes of a one and two car garage. 

The first prefabricated micro housing project in the U.S., SmartSpace SoMA (shown below), was built in San Francisco in 2013. Its 23 units are just smaller than 300 square feet each and feature dining tables that convert into beds. 


















Micro units have preformed well when compared to conventional units, achieving higher occupancy rates and rent-per-square-foot. According to 2014 consumer research conducted by the Urban Land Institute, nearly a quarter of renters in traditional apartments would be interested or very interested in renting a micro unit.  However, real estate analysts have yet to determine if micro units characterize a large, relatively untapped market or is simply a niche market. The popularity of these units could be attributed to their relative scarcity as opposed to unmet demand - only time will tell. 


April 22, 2015

Buckeye Lake's New Dam Puts Summer on Hold

A recent article in The Columbus Dispatch reports that the state will soon replace Buckeye Lake's dam, keeping the reservoir's water level low, which will prohibit boating, for the duration of the project. The estimated $150 million project will take about five years.


While the replaced dam is necessary for structural and safety purposes, the project is concerning for many reasons. Local businesses that depend on seasonal recreation such as the Buckeye Lake Winery, to the left, will likely suffer from decreased business. Many of Buckeye Lake's attractions (including its Yacht Club, above, and restaurants such as Captain Woody's and Papa Boo's) can be reached by boat. The project will also hurt residents, who will not be able to use the lake for the duration of the project or experience the lake view they've grown accustomed to. Not to mention, Buckeye Lake residents who were hoping to sell their home any time soon will be hard-pressed to find a buyer at this time.

Buckeye Lake, renamed from Licking Summit Reservoir, was declared a public park in 1894. How did it end up in this position? In the early 1900s, Ohio's Board of Public Works sold the land excavated to use in building the dam and leased the land occupied by the the backside of the dam for private development. At this time, the area was mostly farmland, as it no longer served as a feeder lake for the Ohio and Erie Canal. Buckeye Lake soared in popularity when an electric interurban railway system began taking vacationers there. Even through the railway went out of business in 1930, Buckeye Lake was in good shape: it had an amusement park (see image below) complete with a beach, arcade, bathhouse, and two dance pavilions.


In the last 1950s, the Chief of Parks V.W. Flickinger declared that the occupied lands by the back half of the Buckeye Lake Dam were "no longer needed for public recreation, parking areas, roads and highways, or other projects of a public nature." This so-called property surplus was subsequently divided into 77 lots in the 1960s, by which time the amusement park was falling into disrepair. A sidewalk along the dam's crest separated private from state property; however, residents paid little attention to this boundary and built patios, decks and docks as they pleased without facing repercussion. While drawings had to be submitted to the parks office for approval, many residents came in with modest drawings and proceeded to build much larger scale projects. Some residents feel that the state is to blame for selling the property rights in the first place, while the states blames the residents for encroaching upon the dam.

Currently, 370 homes sit atop the 4.1 mile dam. Michael Spoor states that Buckeye Lake is "without precedent" in the number of man-made encroachments compromising its structure. Spoor has studied dams for the U.S Army Corps of Engineers for over 40 years. The Corps claims that the man-made impediments are the most significant source of the dam's many defects, and now its current residents will have to pay the price as they wait patiently to get their summers back.

For those interested in owning a house on the water, consider buying a property on Indian Lake (below) in Logan County (Western Ohio). Widely used for recreational activities such as fishing and boating, the  area is also known for its wildlife and walking trails. Check out my current listing on Indian Lake: a two bedroom, two bathroom condo that's furnished and move-in ready! The 2nd level, end-unit condo has a new hot water tank, carpeting, decking, and HVAC. It's eligible for a 0% down USDA home loan, and comes with an assigned boat slip! Contact me to learn more.