Thinking of Investing in Real Estate? Consider These 6 Points

Have you ever wanted to invest in real estate? It can be an amazing investment opportunity, but you need to consider these six things before making the leap.

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It’s still a great market for buying property here in the Dayton area, and that’s especially true for investment property. Have you thought about adding real estate to your portfolio? If so, you need to know these six important things before buying one:

1. Your personal finances need to be in order first. Can you handle this commitment? You should have a steady income and a well-stocked emergency fund and your non-productive, high-interest debt paid off, and be on track for your retirement goals. Like with stocks, you want to map out the investment carefully because not every real estate deal will make sense for your portfolio.

2. Calculate your return on investment before buying: You wouldn’t put money in a mutual fund without checking its performance. Rental property isn’t a low-risk investment, so it’s important to consider the ROI as it compares to the risk you’ll incur.

3. Find the right agent: Since many agents only view you as a potential commission, it’s critical to find an agent who’s on your side and has experience. They should be interested in establishing a mutually beneficial relationship and have investment property of their own.


You wouldn’t put money in a mutual fund without checking its performance first.


4. Realize that your investment property doesn’t have to be your dream home: I can say from personal experience that your wants and must-haves in a home generally aren’t what your investments are looking for. Regardless of your decision of ROI, you want to find the best properties available in the location you can afford and where your returns fit best.

5. Find a good and trustworthy accountant: As a real estate investor, your life will change in terms of bookkeeping and accounting. A great tax advisor can unearth all the benefits and write-offs you get as a property owner.

6. Keeping tenants requires some TLC: Finding good tenants who pay their rent on time is just as important to finding a good investment property. It’s important to screen every potential tenant with background checks, credits checks, and previous landlord checks. Once you find a good tenant, hold on to them!

If you’re interested in buying investment property or just learning more, give me a call or send me an email soon. I’d love to help you out.


Common Delays to Avoid During the Home Closing Process

Buyers and sellers will have to go through the closing process. How long does the process take and how can you avoid common delays in closing?

Buying a home? Click here to search all homes for sale.
Selling your home? Click here for a free home value report.

Whether you plan on buying or selling a home, once an offer has been submitted and accepted, you will have to go through the closing process.

How long does the closing process usually take? The first thing to keep in mind is that as a buyer, being pre-approved carries far more weight than being pre-qualified. Those who are pre-approved are often in a position to close sooner.

However, getting pre-approved is a process all its own. The pre-approval process involves verification of certain items up front before any kind of contract is made or signed on the home.

Once a lender has verified the buyer’s employment, bank account, and credit report, closing can go as quickly as an underwriter can process the paperwork and review the appraisal. Generally, that only takes a week or two. If a document is missing from the file, such as a preliminary title report or a seller’s condition of sale, the closing process could take longer.


First-time buyer programs with down payment assistance take longer to close.


Typically, most federal mortgage loans close within 30 to 45 days. Special first-time buyer programs, particularly those with down payment assistance, might take 45 to 60 days to close. That’s because those loans require approval from an additional underwriter.

Delays during the pre-approval process usually fall on the buyer, but there are a few other delays that you need to look out for:

  • The appraisal comes in low.
  • Additional debt is found.
  • There are mistakes on the buyer’s credit report.
  • New liens or judgments get filed against the buyer.
  • The title is not free and clear.
  • The buyer or seller has updated bank statements.
  • Expired loan or program commitment.
  • Buyer or seller gets married.
  • Required insurance information is missing.

The closing process can go very smoothly if you are prepared, so make sure that you talk to your lender and a professional Realtor to avoid delays and snags along the way. You can read more about the home closing process here.

If you have any other questions about the closing process or about buying or selling a home, just give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!

Are You Buying a Home After Your Divorce?

Buying a home after getting a divorce can be especially overwhelming, so today, we have a few key tips to help you navigate this process.

Buying a home? Click here to search all homes for sale.
Selling your home? Click here for a free home value report.

Going through a divorce is difficult enough on its own, but buying a home and having to check off that divorced box can also be difficult. That said, there are a few things you can do to make this part of your life a little bit easier.

Start by being completely sure of your mortgage budget. Check it and check it again. When you start working with a mortgage lender, you will get a pre-approval letter which tells you the maximum amount of money they can loan you for your home.

However, keep in mind that you do not have to go and spend the maximum amount on your new home. You don’t want to end up house poor, where all of your money goes into your mortgage. After all, you still need money to live your life, right?

Don’t forget to talk to multiple lenders, either. Find a lender who understands your life situation. Make sure you are confident that your lender can help make this process smoother.

When you are out looking at houses, consider what’s really important. Downsizing because your financial situation has changed may not sound ideal, but you don’t want to stretch yourself too thin financially just to stay in the same area or get a home of a similar size. Being down to one income also means that you will have less buying power, which does limit your options.


Make sure that you are emotionally ready to buy a home.


You should always begin this process by creating a list of your must-haves. For example, do you need to be in a certain school district or is your commute more important? Location is a huge factor that can determine the style and size of the home.

You might also want to take your name off the marital home’s mortgage. Doing so can improve your creditworthiness. Even if you’re no longer married, if your name is on the mortgage, the lender still holds you liable for mortgage payments unless you sell that house or refinance it.

Over the course of this whole process, make sure that you take your time. You don’t have to rush any decisions. You might not be ready to buy a home as far as savings go, but there are many low down payment options available.

The final and most important thing is to make sure that you are emotionally ready to buy. Buying a house is a massive undertaking, not only financially, but also in terms of commitment and maintenance. Again, take your time and make sure that you are ready to take this step.

These are just a few key tips to help you navigate this process. If you have any questions, give us a call. We would be happy to guide you through buying a home for this new chapter of your life.

8 Things to Do Before Moving In

Before you move into your new home, consider doing these eight things first.

Buying a home? Click here to search all homes for sale.
Selling your home? Click here for a free home value report.

Once you’ve purchased a new home, there are some things you should do before moving in.

1. Get the locks changed. You never know who might have a spare key to the old locks.

2. Clean the new home. Even if the seller did some cleaning in preparation for showings, it’s important that you have your new home cleaned by a professional.

3. Get the ducts, furnace, and air filters cleaned and replaced.

4. Clean or replace the carpets. There might be lingering pet odors or spills that the naked eye can’t see.


Let everyone know you’ve moved!


5. Paint your new home. Painting the home is a great way to make the home feel like your own, instead of someone else’s.

6. Repair anything that needs to be fixed. There might be some things on the inspection sheet that you agreed to take care of. Make sure you do those things right away.

7. Purchase new appliances. It will update the look of your home instantly and make the kitchen feel fresh.

8. Send out new address cards. Let everyone know you’ve moved!

If you have any questions, please feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you!

7 Ways to Cut Stress from Your Big Move


Moving can be exciting, and it doesn’t always have to be so stressful. Moving for a new opportunity like a better job or a chance to live in your dream home is the exciting part, but packing up your stuff and lugging it to the new place is a lot less glamorous.

I wanted to share seven tips that will help you avoid the stresses of moving.

  1. Purge. Clutter creates stress, so organize the things you no longer need into three groups: sell, donate, or toss. Put the valuable items in the sell group, enjoy a tax deduction with donations to Goodwill or Habitat for Humanity, and throw out items that have little or no use left.
  2. Clear your calendar. Block off a chunk of time to focus exclusively on packing, request a day off from work, and find a babysitter to watch your kids. You could also plan a whole weekend. You’ll get more done packing continuously for several hours than you will by packing in short spurts.
  3. Accumulate boxes. Start collecting boxes and newspapers several weeks before the big move; grocery and retail stores are a good place to start. You can also buy boxes from shipping stores or hardware stores.
  4. Plan. Don’t start without a strategy! One of the most efficient ways to pack is to methodically move from room to room clearly labeling each box based on where it was in your old home.
  5. Protect your valuables. Don’t have that nagging concern of not being able to find your wedding ring or passport. Pack one suitcase as if you’re going on vacation with all those items you’ll need to access immediately. Add valuables and important documents so you know exactly where they are.
  6. Give ample time in deadlines. Nothing is more stressful than when you can’t start moving into your new home until 8 a.m. but you need to be out of your current home by noon the same day. Be sure to negotiate important deadlines up front; your Realtor should be your guide. After you move in, promise yourself that you’ll pack one room per day, or you’ll unpack for two hours per night, for example.
  7. Delegate. One of the best ways to reduce stress is by outsourcing and delegating. Cash in favors from family and friends, and buy a lot of pizza and beverages!

I hope these tips were helpful to you, no matter when your next move will be. If you have any questions about making the moving process smoother, or you’re thinking about buying or selling a home in Dayton, give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you!

Competing Against All-Cash Offers on Homes


If you really love a house but you’re up against someone else making an all-cash offer, what do you do?

After the crash in 2008, home buyers making all-cash offers quickly became highly sought-after. Now that the market has heated up again, bidding wars are the new normal. Unfortunately, it’s still common for sellers to favor all-cash offers in the Miami Valley over a buyer with a deal that hinges on a mortgage approval.

As of February 2016, 43% of all offers were cash, so what’s a buyer to do? Here are seven tips:

  1. Put your best foot forward: Don’t wait to submit your best offer in this competitive market. Assume you won’t get to negotiate on price.
  2. Go a little higher: The highest offer doesn’t automatically mean a sale, but it many cases it helps. As little as $1,000 can sway a buyer.
  3. Find out the seller’s terms. Sometimes terms are more important than price. Get an agent who can negotiate terms early on. 
  4. Be flexible: You have to be creative to compete, so emphasize your flexibility and sweeten the deal by letting the sellers direct the terms on things like the closing date or repairs.
  5. Be thorough: Fewer items included in a counteroffer will make a seller more likely to accept. 
  6. Show some initiative: Give the seller your pre-approval letter up front to show you’re serious and your financials are verified.
  7. Put in the as-is offer: This makes the offer attractive to the seller. Let the seller know you’re sincerely interested and that unless repairs exceed a certain amount, you won’t pick the home apart for repairs.

For more guidance on this subject, feel free to contact us. We’d love to help you navigate your real estate deal.

What Does a Home Inspection Do for You?

Today I wanted to talk to the sellers out there. A lot of them have been asking us about home inspections and whether it’s a good idea to get one before they list their home or not. Professional home inspectors have determined that there are certain issues that come up all the time with home inspections, and being proactive about some of these will make the entire process of selling your home easier and less expensive.

Without further ado, let’s talk about these four issues, and how you can be proactive about them in order to save yourself time and money.

1. Major systems

A home inspector will do a thorough investigation of all the major systems of your house, including the roof, furnace, central air, plumbing, and electrical systems. Once under contract, having these kinds of issues could kill the transaction.

2. Maintenance improvements

Make sure you do things like trim your shrubs, make sure all of your bathrooms are properly caulked, and all your other major systems are serviced and up-to-date as well.

3. Little details

These are small, inexpensive fixes, but can make a huge difference when selling. When buyers see things like leaky faucets, loose doorknobs, or a broken window screen, they can be put off and become disinterested in the home.

4. Safety precautions

Make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are updated and working, and that you have GFCI outlets in all of your wet areas. Buyers will appreciate the little things like this.

With home inspections, you are alerted to issues with your home that you didn’t know existed previously. However, by completing this process before you list your home, you can be proactive about getting your problems fixed, and a lot of times you can get them fixed much more inexpensively than you would be able to with a buyer’s contractor.

You want to make sure you are selling a good product, and having a home inspection ensures your home is just that. It will optimize the value of your home and give buyers peace of mind, giving you the best sale price possible.

If you have any questions for us, feel free to give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to speaking with you!

Erroneous Zestimates

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Call us at (937) 432-2644 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation

The truth has finally come out. What truth? The truth about Zillow!

Unfortunately, in the past, most people who got their home valuations from Zillow took them as absolute fact, which creates a problem with buyers and sellers because often times these values are significantly off.

The CEO of Zillow was recently interviewed on CBS, and when asked about the accuracy of Zillow’s home valuations, he stated, “It’s a good starting point. The error of margin for Zillow is on average 8%.” Denise Swick pullquote 4.23

We don’t know about you, but that’s a lot of money in this market when being overpriced by even 5% will stop your home from selling. Often times when people are looking to buy or sell, they are taking those inaccurate Zillow values, when what they really need is a professional to guide them.

We are in a typical spring market right now where homes are coming on the market and selling. However, in this market, you need to be priced right to drive the price up on your home and make sure you get the most money possible. So, if there’s anything we can do to help you purchase or sell a home, give us a call or send us an email, and we would be glad to help!

Four Crucial Questions for Dayton Homebuyers

Looking to buy or sell a home in Dayton, Ohio? Click here to perform a full home search, or if you’re thinking of selling your home, click here for a FREE Home Price Evaluation so you know what buyers will pay for your home in today’s market. You may also call us at (937) 432-2644 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation to answer any of your real estate questions.

A lot of buyers here in Dayton are asking me about what they can do to take advantage of the local real estate market. We’re seeing a lot of change in Dayton and I have 4 questions that you should be asking yourself if you ‘re in the market to buy.

  1. How do I know I’m getting the right financing?  You need to find the right lender with the correct loan program for your specific situation. Making certain that you can afford the closing costs should also be a high priority, because those expenses can add up and make or break a deal. Finding a local underwriter is also important. The Miami Valley is changing, with areas that are up, down, and neutral. Find someone local with a strong understanding of the Dayton real estate market that can make a good appraisal on a property.
  2. How are you going to find the right home for me? Most agents, including myself, are on the MLS or are using Trulia, Zillow, or other internet-based real estate websites. However, you should ensure that your Realtor has proprietary homes to show you that aren’t listed on the MLS or the internet. They should find the home that fits your needs, and not what is just the easiest to find. For Sale by Owner properties are also worth looking into because negotiating with them is often easier than with another Realtor, so you can get the best value possible.
  3. How will I know what I’m paying is appropriate? The real estate market in Dayton and the Miami Valley is intense right now, so be sure that your Realtor has a deep knowledge of your local market and has also thoroughly studied the trends. A current property valuation (CPV) is also helpful in determining if you’re paying the right price for your home. With a CPV we look at similar properties and see what people in Dayton are paying for them.

How will I know the condition of the home? Whole house inspectors tend to know a lot about your entire home, but are not necessarily experts in all parts. They cost less, which is why they’re popular, but a home is a huge investment and you should only rely on qualified professionals that specialize with HVAC’s, furnaces, etc. Your Realtor should have a list of trusted inspectors so that you can choose the best one. If you’re thinking of buying a home in Dayton or the Miami Valley, then please don’t hesitate to contact us. We would love to help you find a good home for a great price. Have a great day!

Don’t Repeat this Crucial Mistake Most Buyers Make

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Looking to buy or sell a home in Dayton, Ohio? Click here to perform a full home search, or if you’re thinking of selling your home, click here for a FREE Home Price Evaluation so you know what buyers will pay for your home in today’s market. You may also call us at (937) 432-2644 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation to answer any of your real estate questions.

It seems that our buyers are always asking us the same few questions, so today we thought we would share those questions with you, along with our answers. So, our first question: What are some pitfalls buyers can look out for when buying a home? 

The most common mistake that buyers make is NOT listening to the advice of a qualified professional. Instead, they are listening to friends and neighbors who, while they may have good intentions, are not experts on the market.Dayton Real Estate Agent
Another common mistake is not getting pre-approved.Buyers tend to start looking for properties before they really know what they can afford. Unfortunately, we have had quite a few deals that have fallen through because buyers couldn’t get their financing in order.

While Trulia and Zillow are great places to begin your home search, they are not necessarily the “go-to” place for home values. They use algorithms that are designed to estimate the value of a home. There are much better ways to get accurate home values. You don’t want to end up spending $20,000 more than you have to simply because an online algorithm says so.

Here are a few more common mistakes that we see buyers making:

  • Not researching agents and lenders beforehand
  • Forgetting about other costs (inspection, appraisal) associated with a home purchase
  • Being unrealistic about pricing

Probably the most outrageous mistake we have seen a buyer make is going out and buying all new furniture before finalizing the purchase of their home. This is a big no-no. Making purchases on credit before your home purchase is finalized will affect your credit score and possibly affect your ability to buy the home.

As you can see, there are a lot of little mistakes home buyers can make to derail their purchase. If you have any questions at all, feel free to give us a call or send us an email. We would love to help you navigate through the purchasing process.

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