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Articles Tagged "Buying a Home"

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February
5

 

Ohio is the place to be for many individuals and families. There is a natural beauty, parks, and close access to highways which provide opportunities to explore nearby cities and towns. No matter what someone is looking to see or do, there is always something happening right in your backyard. To get there, however, takes a few steps before a final move is completed. 

 

The Right Move

People who want to move often look for similar things. They want safety, established communities, great schools, arts, and lower cost of living than where they are from. With all these in mind, it is no wonder people are looking to Ohio as the place to live. Compared with other states, Ohio's cost-of-living is one of the best in the nation. Housing prices are low and costs for electric, water, heat, and other utilities remain lower than the national average. Some other great features to consider:

  • Transit routes are all over, from door-to-door bus routes to national airports and upgrades being made every year, there are myriad ways to get to and from major cities and local towns
  • Schools offer diversity, generous funding, and increasing opportunities in athletics and STEM programs
  • Sports and recreation are high on the list for Ohioans. Whether you support state teams or national champs, there are many reasons to love Ohio

 

Be Prepared

Don't leave prep work until the last minute. Moving is a considerable expense and stressor. To best prepare for a move, it helps to have some key things in your back pocket:

  • Outstanding realtor: don't move without having someone in your corner to help find the best home, place to live, and amenities to suit your family's needs
  • Find a way to transport furniture and goods well before the move. Researching helps lower costs, including discounts to book online or in advance of the move date (if known)
  • Research the weather. Depending on where you move from, the weather might be a rude awakening when it comes to winter. Snow, sleet, ice, and rain are all part of a fall to winter scenario. Be prepared to buy the necessary equipment like snow blowers, shovels, and more to cope with it in your new home

 

When the day finally comes to make the big move, get a checklist together. Write everything down, check the mail to be sure all bills will be forwarded and review school checklists. Everything can be sorted when the move happens if it is quick, but it helps to have some things done in advance with a follow-up list for after the move. Proper planning helps people manage their new life in a new place but what matters is being able to finally put everything in one place and begin to grow roots in the great state of Ohio. 

 

When people look for a great place to live, they think of Choice Properties. We are the best in our area for helping families make the right choice for them when it comes to where to live and what type of home you desire. We help you from sale of your home to close on the new property. Contact one of our top-notch realtors at Choice Properties who specialize in the Ohio market to find the property that is right for you.

 

August
2

Generally, real estate is often a smart and rewarding investment option. It is a great way to produce an ongoing income and can be a smart investment if the property value increases over the years. However, buying an apartment complex, restaurant, or piece of land may become expensive. It's important to be sure you are financially stable to start investing in real estate, and consider the ongoing maintenance costs as well as gaps between tenants. So, should you invest in real estate? Here are some tips to see if it's the right path for you:

Pay Investments in Cash

Most financial experts advise against taking out a loan for an investment project, which should be taken into consideration before investing in a piece of real estate. If you do take out a loan, it's suggested you're able to afford the monthly payment without relying on renters income. Keep in mind, there can be a high turnover with renters as there may be gaps in time where there are no renters on the property. This may become more of a financial burden if you are not able to afford the mortgage without renters, which could negatively impact your credit and create financial issues in the long run. Paying in cash eliminates these worries. 

Plan Out Expenses

When purchasing real estate, whether for personal or investment reasons, it's always smart to plan out your expenses. Consider the cost of taxes, maintenance repairs, utilities, and building upkeep. When planning expenses, estimate the cost you will be asking for your rental property so that fees and other expenses are covered. 

Research the Property

When investing in real estate that you plan on selling down the road, it's crucial to thoroughly research the property. Look into development plans or new roads that are being expected to be built to ensure it does not impact the property value. Also take time to research nearby neighborhoods for market value, if the area is up-and-coming, and other external factors. 

Investing in real estate is an appealing idea to many! With the proper planning and steps taken, it can be done well and successfully. If you are interested in starting the steps to investing in property, contact a Choice Properties real estate agent today!




Choice Properties understands your needs and desires when it comes to the home search. We are here to help you define what you want, seek the best property and move forward feeling educated and able to make good decisions throughout the process. You can trust us to help you navigate it with the best real estate agents working for you. Call us to get started on your dream home search today.

February
14

5 Things to Look for When Buying a Home

Shopping for a new house often comes with completing a checklist of amenities that suit your needs. Perhaps you are seeking more space for a growing family, a larger backyard, or simply a fresh start. This is an exciting time, but it's important to ensure your dream home doesn't come with stack of issues and repairs. Consider these 5 things to look for when buying a home to avoid a risk.

Damaged Roof

The first thing you should notice when looking at any home is the age and condition of the roof. When working with a trusted realtor, your agent should be able to guide you in the history and quality of the roof. When doing a visual check, be on the lookout for missing shingles, rusted flashing, moss, and any other spots that look concerning. A damaged roof puts your home at severe risk and could potentially damage in the interior and exterior.

Water Damage

Water damage is an expensive repair within a house. When touring potential homes to buy, keep your eyes open for signs of water damage. This includes:

  • Check under sinks in kitchen and bathrooms while running all faucets.
  • Check the basement or crawl space to see if there is a sump pump.
  • Check the lawn for slopes, standing water, or water marks on the foundation.

Heating and Cooling

Having an air conditioner and heating system that works properly is important for your family. Ask questions, such as the age of the system, turn it on and off while listening to how it runs, and double check the filters. When walking outside, look for rust and dirt on the heating and cooling equipment. Although an inspector will test the appliances, it still doesn't hurt to see for yourself.

Foundation Faults

The foundation is the most important part of a house. When browsing homes, be sure to check for foundation faults by walking around the exterior, the crawlspace, or basement. A few signs of foundation damage includes:

  • Cracks within the walls
  • Uneven floors
  • Rotten wood
  • Tile cracks
  • Doors out of square
  • And more

Working Appliances and Electrical Outlets

Don't let cosmetic repairs distract you from other issues, especially in a kitchen with fresh paint and backsplash. Turn on all the appliances to confirm they properly work, run the dishwasher, and peek into the fridge. Checking appliances and electrical outlets gives you a piece of mind, and you can never be too cautious!




Choice Properties understands your needs and desires when it comes to the home search. We are here to help you define what you want, seek the best property and move forward feeling educated and able to make good decisions throughout the process. You can trust us to help you navigate it with the best real estate agents working for you. Call us to get started on your dream home search today.

January
23

Ways You Can Save Money to Buy a Home

Perhaps you are seeking more space or simply ready to start the next chapter in life. Either way, buying a home is a goal shared by many! Learning different ways you can save money to buy a home will get you on the right track, preparing you for exciting adventures ahead. From creating a budget to managing credit, you'll be glad you took these steps to homeownership.

Cut Back on Small Luxuries

Unfortunately, with saving money requires you to determine what you need to cut back on spending. Consider skipping the morning drive-thru coffee, you would be surprised by how much money you save at the end of the year! Other small luxuries that can be put on hold are cable TV, magazine subscriptions, manicures, and going out to eat. Although this may seem like a challenge, remember these are only temporary (and definitely worth it)!

Create a Budget

Set a goal for how much you desire to put into a down payment for your new home. This allows you to create a budget, giving you a timeline as to how long it will take to reach the set number. Setting aside a specific amount for current rent, bills, and other living expenses will show you how much you're left. Determine how much you're willing to transfer to your savings each month after bills have been paid and you'll be saving money in no time!

Save Your Tax Return

It can be tempting to spend the hefty tax return check that you've been anticipating all year. We suggest depositing the check directly into your savings so you are not tempted to spend the extra money. This is an easy way to instantly boost the number in your savings and speed up the home buying process.

Get Out of Debt

It may sound contradicting to save money while paying off credit card debt, but both can be done! While it's important to save money for a down payment on a new house, it's just as important to pay off outstanding debt. Your credit score greatly influences the loan amount and interest rate you will receive. Having a higher credit score will lower your interest rate, allowing you to save money in the long run. Making minimum payments on credit cards is an easy way to pay off debt while building credit.





Looking for more information on finding a new home?

Give Choice Properties a call today to speak with our award winning realtors!

September
5

An Overview of the Mortgage Loan Process

Through the various steps of purchasing a home, the getting qualified for a loan may feel the most overwhelming for first-time homebuyers. The expert agents at Choice Properties understand this and are here to guide you through, which is why we created an overview of the mortgage loan process. From getting an assessment to a loan officer pre-approving you, we want you to enjoy every moment of making your dream home a reality.

Pre-Approval

The first step to obtaining a mortgage loan is go through a meeting with your lender to discuss credit score and credit history with a third party, called a tri-merge credit report. This will give you an estimate of how much money you can borrow based on financial information, such as your employment and income. Mortgage pre-approvals show sellers that you are serious with a home purchase, making you stand out among other interested buyers.

Pre-Qualified

During your research for a mortgage loan you may find pre-approval and pre-qualified, but it's important to know the difference. A pre-qualification holds a lesser meaning and is a simple glance at a borrower's credit and capacity to repay a mortgage. This is usually completed by a loan officer asking the borrower simple questions regarding credit and there is no third party involved. Although this step is good to have with your lender, it usually does not influence a seller or real estate agent.

Final Approval

This is the most excited step of the mortgage loan process! Closing on a loan means the mortgage is official and final disbursements are made. During the final approval, documents are drawn where they are then sent to the title company where the closing takes place. You have a three day window to view the terms of the loan before officially signing. Once the documents have been signed, you are then ready for move into a new home!

 

 

Choice Properties understands your needs and desires when it comes to the home search. We are here to help you define what you want, seek the best property and move forward feeling educated and able to make good decisions throughout the process. You can trust us to help you navigate it with the best real estate agents working for you. Call us to get started on your dream home search today.

July
5

Have You Been Wondering if you Qualify for Refinancing?

If you identify as a homeowner or make monthly payments on your car then you may be aware of the option to refinance your loan. Refinancing your house or car loan simply means to finance your investment again on different loan terms, usually with a lower interest rate. This is a good idea for most homeowners when rates significantly lower than what they currently are. Depending on the loan term, choosing to refinance can save individuals hundreds of dollars per month. However, this loan option is not an to everyone. Have you been wondering if you quality for refinancing? Consider asking yourself these questions to see if you meet the criteria.

Do you have 20% stake in equity?

Lenders seek a high percentage invested into your equity, usually around 20%. To estimate your equity, divide the amount you are wanting to borrow by the value of your home. Take your amount and subtract 100 to find your equity percentage. If your percentage is around or over 20%, this increases your chances of refinancing.

Do you have a good credit score?

Aside from holding 20% equity stake, good credit score is another key factor lenders seek before the approval of the loan. The minimum most lenders require is a score of 600-650, while some lenders seek credit scores of 720 or above. If your credit score is low, focus on changes you can make to gradually increase the number. Your credit score comes from five different factors:

  • Payment history
  • Utilization
  • Length of credit history
  • New credit lines
  • Type of credit you obtain

How much debt do you have?

Lenders study your monthly payments including mortgage, credit cards, and car loans that are relative to your income. Ensuring your payment history is correct with no missed payments will increase your approval of a refinance loan. Lenders seek ratios no higher than 38% when analyzing your debt-to-income.

If you are looking to reduce your monthly mortgage payment, refinancing your home is a great option! Upon going through the process you will be saving cash each month, allowing you to invest in other expenses.





Choice Properties understands your needs and desires when it comes to the home search. We are here to help you define what you want, seek the best property and move forward feeling educated and able to make good decisions throughout the process. You can trust us to help you navigate it with the best real estate agents working for you. Call us to get started on your dream home search today.

June
13

How Does Your Credit Card Debt Affect Your Mortgage Rate?

Credit card debt is a common discussion in today's age and, when handled responsibly, can be a great way to boost your credit score when applying for a mortgage. Although a little credit card debt can do wonders, having too much can hurt your chances of obtaining a mortgage loan. Most Americans set a goal of buying a home, making it important to keep credit card debt under control. If you find yourself asking, "How does your credit card debt affect your mortgage rate?", then stay tuned to hear our expert realtors of Choice Properties explain the potential outcomes.  

Having High Credit Card Balance

If you have a high credit card balance, be prepared to show proof of available funds used to pay off the balance. If you lack the funds you could be subject to a higher interest rate on your loan. Having a strong credit history with monthly payments will help show your financial security, preventing a rise in interest rate. It is important to remember most lenders check credit in the final stages of your loan approval. You do not want to risk running up your credit card debt before closing, even if you are approved for a favorable loan rate as this could delay closing.

Having Zero Credit

When applying for loans with a history of zero credit, you may be asking yourself what options are available. Although the mortgage loan process is different, there are ways to secure a loan with no credit score. Applying for a government loan, or FHA loan, requires more paperwork as you must show you have paid rent or bills in the past. These typically come with a larger down payment. A second option is to have a co-signer, preferably someone with a history of good credit. If you prefer to avoid both of these methods, we suggest taking 6 months or more to build credit.

By lowering your credit debt or even paying it off, you are lowering your interest rate on a mortgage loan. Controlling unnecessary spendings and maintaining a strong monthly payment will set you on the right track of a good mortgage rate. Once you are ready to go, the realtors at Choice Properties will be waiting to help find the home of your dreams!




Choice Properties understands your needs and desires when it comes to the home search. We are here to help you define what you want, seek the best property and move forward feeling educated and able to make good decisions throughout the process. You can trust us to help you navigate it with the best real estate agents working for you. Call us to get started on your dream home search today.

May
2

Considerations for Buying an Older Home

Character and personality are nice things to have in a home, but it does not always mean the home is going to be what you want. Fine woodwork, wrap-around porches, arched doorways, carved staircases and ornate tapestry are all part of the deal but it can come with additional risks and expenses of buying an older home. Learn how to protect yourself against these risks.

Foundation and Structure

Even the best homes can shift over time, causing cracks in the foundations and walls. Doors and windows may jam, chimneys need support, and stonework needs attention. Older homes are also at greater risk of termite damage, which impacts floors, structural walls, and the drywall.

Hazardous Materials

Homes built prior to 1978 often contained lead based paint, both inside and out. Old lead pipes can get into the water system. Asbestos was commonly used for insulation and fireproofing. This is all fixable, at a cost to the homeowner.

Electrical System

If you know the age of the electrical system, you are in good shape. If it is knob-and-tube wiring, you will want to replace it. Insulation for the wiring needs to be intact, and the electrical panel and circuit breakers should be up-to-date. If it was replaced recently, make sure it was done to code.

Old Appliances and HVAC

Kitchen and laundry room appliances, air conditioning systems, furnaces, and water heaters all have expected lifespans. A home inspector will check the age of each unit to determine typical remaining years. Figure this into your purchase price.

Trees, Leaves, Roots

One of the attractions of an older home is the beauty of an older neighborhood with trees and mature shrubs. These items are costly and often require regular trimming. Autumn brings leaves that need to be raked and bagged. Old trees have roots which can crack foundations and sidewalks, or grow into plumbing. Check to make sure the seller stayed on top of any root problems.

Don't let any of this deter you from purchasing an older home, full of character and charm. This can be a great way to renovate or update an old property and help you get on your way to owning a sweet old home. Just be aware of any hidden costs to eliminate surprises and keep you feeling good about the purchase.

 

 

 

Choice Properties understands your needs and desires when it comes to the home search. We are here to help you define what you want, seek the best property and move forward feeling educated and able to make good decisions throughout the process. You can trust us to help you navigate it with the best real estate agents working for you. Call us to get started on your dream home search today.

September
27

Soak up the Beautiful Homes in Russells Point Ohio

Russells Point is located in northwest Logan County, Ohio. A small village of approximately 1300, it is situated in a beautiful location on Indian Lake, a popular summer resort destination. Families can enjoy year round water based activities, recreational sports and waterfront dining. Russells Point real estate affords families opportunities to purchase a second home for vacation getaways or to live in a serene and scenic community year round which has lots to offer.

History

Originally a group of small lakes and wetlands, Indian Lake is a destination for leisure activities and recreation. Numerous islands dot Indian Lake including the 'Indian Isles' chain through the center of the lake. Wildlife areas and 30 miles of shoreline make this a can't miss destination near Russell's Point. An amusement park and dancehall was built for residents. Sandy Lake Amusement Park opened in 1924 which offered an arcade, a carousel, ferris wheel, funhouse and a boardwalk to Sandy Beach island. Bandstands were built for music with famous orchestras performing to packed crowds. A fire destroyed much of the wooden structures and fell into new ownership in 1935. Less crowds came as newer, bigger amusement parks were built at Cedar Point and Kings Island, within a two hour drive.

Community

Families who choose to purchase Russells Point real estate will find affordable homes in a resort style community. Approximately 1,300 people live in Russell's Point with 342 families residing in the village. Nearly thirty percent of households have children under the age of 18 with the median age being 38 years old. One quarter of residents are under the age of 18 years old making this community a great place to set down roots and get to know other young families moving to the area.

Schools

Children who live in the district have many options for schools to attend including Benjamin Logan, Bellefontaine and Indian Lake Local Schools. Students can thrive academically and in sports while attending any of these school districts with opportunities to take advanced classes, courses for special needs students and sports such as track, football, baseball and more on offer.  

Things to Do

Making a decision to purchase Russells Point homes is made easier with the number of activities available. Several fishing tournaments are held each year, ice fishing and snowmobiling prove popular activities in the winter and numerous islands for exploring the area. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources manages some of the green spaces and several walking trails are popular with locals and visitors. Jimmy Buffett weekend is the first week of February with an annual Boat Show the first weekend in March and on throughout the year. Nearby Mad River Mountain ski resort, Ohio Caverns, castles and nearby horse farms are open to the public.

Affordability and accessibility are two main reasons why families choose Russells Point homes. This destination is a small village with lots to offer anyone who decides to call it home.

 

 

For more information about our award winning real estate agents at Choice Properties, give us a call!

May
24

Buying a Home in DeGraff Ohio

DeGraff is a village located in Logan County, Ohio. As of 2010, the population was approximately 1,200 people. This small town is situated at the intersection of State Routes 235 and 508 making transportation to nearby towns and cities a viable option. Being a small village offers families seeking DeGraff homes a serene, rural atmosphere with access to affordable housing and excellent educational opportunities.

Township

The village of DeGraff is located within Township of Miami, a minor civil division (MCD) of Logan County. As of 2010, 476 households and 347 families resided in the village. Nearly 40 percent of households in DeGraff have children under the age of 18 years old and the median age within the village is 34.8 years. Young families seeking opportunities to purchase DeGraff real estate can enjoy the opportunities of connecting with other families with younger children while raising them in a small town.

Community

Nearby Bellefontaine is a mere 15 minute drive from DeGraff with access to shopping, dining and entertainment options. Within DeGraff there are a handful of small businesses catering to people who wish to dine out on pizza, subs or pub food. Entertainment options include a local library, livestock auctions and movies at a cinema in nearby Bellefontaine. DeGraff homes reside in a small close-knit community surrounded by larger towns and cities but for those seeking quiet, residential living away from the hustle and bustle this is a great option.

Schools

Riverside Local Schools district was formed by consolidation of Quincy and DeGraff School Districts in 1960. From 1960 to 2002, the elementary school facilities were housed in the former Quincy building and junior high and high school facilities were contained within the DeGraff building. Beginning in 2002-2003, Riverside Local School District merged into a new building which housed all grades K-12. District owned farm land was used to build the new facility with replacement of all athletic facilities being replaced. Many activities are available to children of all ages with a pursuit of academic excellence by administrators and staff alike. Plenty of opportunities to volunteer and participate in school sports, arts and academic clubs are available as well as chances for parents to get involved. The district has around 800 students total. A smaller school means more opportunities for families to connect and invest into the children and community.

Living in the village of DeGraff affords families seeking DeGraff real estate opportunities to purchase homes at all price points. The beauty of a small town is getting to know all of the local families and raise kids in a safe and supportive environment with excellent schools close to, but far enough away from, big city living.

 

 

For more information on finding Ohio property for sale, give us a call today to speak with our award winning realtors!

February
15

 

 

A refinance could cut the monthly mortgage payment but whether it is the right move or not depends on some factors. Learn more about some things to consider prior to refinancing a home mortgage that could save time and money.

 

Refinancing Costs Money

A free finance does not exist as there are closing costs associated with any closing no matter what house a person buys. Anywhere from 2 to 5 percent of the loan amount will be added on and need to be paid upfront. Some options can also include:

  • Cover the closing costs using a no-closing cost refinance which can come with a slightly higher interest rate

  • Look at closing costs and how those will be covered prior to calculating how long it will take to make monthly payments to repay the closing costs

  • If the closing costs will only be covered in four years and the plan is to stay two years in a home, refinancing may not make sense

 

Savings

Refinancing makes sense when the interest rate on a mortgage is more than 100 basis points above current interest rates. There is no hard and fast rule on how much to save but costs should be recouped in two years or less. A 30-year fixed loan of $200,000 loan might see a rate of 4.83 percent in March 2011. The rate today may vary from that slightly. In six months past the two-year mark, it may take awhile to recoup costs if the loan is considered at a different rate in a different period of time. Doing homework on comparing refinance rates will save lots of time and money in the long run, which requires research on multiple lenders to come to a final conclusion.

 

Refi and PMI

Private mortgage insurance (PMI) on a loan on a home that has substantial equity could enable a person to cancel mortgage insurance. To do this, the following must be in place:

  • Loan balance of 80 percent or less of home's appraised value

  • New loan could replace the loan with PMI when appraised and cancel PMI obligations

 

Equity and Cash

A cash-out refinance lets a person take out a new mortgage for more than the amount owed on the current loan and pocket the difference - typically up to 80 percent of loan-to-value ratio. This may be a good move depending on where the money goes. If this money goes to put an addition on the home, this will increase the property value but come at a higher rate than non-cash-out-refinances. Discretionary spending like vacations or other spending may not be advisable as it does not put equity back into the home. One thing to keep in mind is that if a home's value may decrease in a certain neighborhood where values are going down, it may not be a good time to tap the equity. Weighing costs and benefits is part of the process and requires forward thinking to save money in the long run.

 

When looking to buy or sell a home in Logan County, Choice Properties Real Estate is the premier company with award winning agents available to assist you in the search. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.