6 Outdoor Projects You Can Do With Your Kids

 Homemade stepping stones in a home's yard

6 Outdoor Projects You Can Do With Your Kids

Get your kids outside and spark their creativity with fun, simple home improvement projects. Plus, you’ll boost your curb appeal. Read

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This home at 13381 Bevelheimer Rd in Westerville Ohio listed by the LaPorte Realty Group was only on the market for five days. Situated on .68 acres on the Westerville – New Albany line this home is in a great location with only a 25 minute commute to downtown Columbus Ohio. This home offers the perfect balance of country living and city conveniences! Area amenities include Bevelheimer Park, New Albany Market Square, Hoover Reservoir, many golf courses, and Kroger is only four miles down the road. The houses on this street are serviced by both Plain and Harlem Township EMS and Fire.

Westerville Home For Sale

Additionally, being on corner of Bevelheimer Rd and Kean Rd, this house is just a walk across the street from the annual Berlin Buckeye Bash.  Held every October, the Berlin Buckeye Bash has been featured on local news stations and includes fun activities for kids, food, drinks, prizes, and an Ohio State Buckeye football game shown on the Jumbotron!

Berlin Buckeye Bash

If you or someone you know is interested in selling a home, contact us today! Jason LaPorte and the LaPorte Realty Group are Central Ohio real estate specialists helping homeowners like you move to your next home.

Rent vs. Buying

When you’re looking for your new place of residency, you have the tough decision of renting or buying. There are many pros and cons to buying versus renting, so how do you know what is the best decision for you to make?

Buying a home is an investment. This year predicts a strong real estate market, providing more homes at lower prices than the past few years. Interest rates are to steadily decline as well, making it seem like now is the time to buy rather than rent.

You have to look at all of the factors that come into play when buying. You have to qualify for a mortgage, have access to a down payment, and all of the costs need to be factored in. When you buy a home, there are purchase costs, yearly costs, selling costs, and lost opportunity costs. Purchase costs include the down payment and closing costs. Yearly costs are the recurring monthly or yearly expensive such as mortgage payments, community living fees, renovation costs, maintenance costs, property taxes and homeowner’s insurance. Lost opportunity costs are how much you could have made if you had invested the down payment instead of buying your home. Selling costs, for when you do decide to sell, include broker’s commission and fees as well as the remaining balance on your mortgage.

When it comes to renting, the only costs you have are initial, yearly, lost opportunity and leaving your rental. Initial costs are the rent security deposit and something the broker’s fee. Yearly costs are the monthly rent and the cost of renter’s insurance. Lost opportunity costs are what you would have had each year for both your initial costs and your yearly costs. Leaving your rental is equal to the security deposit, which is typically returned to a renter at the end of a lease.

Although the initial cost of buying is much greater than the initial cost of renting, the yearly cost of renting is higher than the yearly cost of buying. How long you stay in your home should be the determining factor in the long run. If you like having the option to move around, then renting is the easier choice. If you plan on staying where you are for more than five years, it makes more sense to buy rather than to rent.

With a growing economy and the market gaining strength, some might see it as the perfect time to buy a home. However, if you aren’t ready to stay in one place and enjoy the freedom of having the choice to move, renting might be for you. By determining what you can afford and what your individual situation is, you will be able to make a decision on whether to buy or rent.

About the Author:
Castle Rock Colorado Luxury Real Estate Agent Lori Corken is pleased to bring you this article on Renting vs. Buying. Lori mainly focuses on luxury homes in Parker Colorado and in Castle Rock. If you are interested in learning more, please check out her website today.

Beauty and the Beast

Any builder could tell you this isn’t the title of a fairy tale; it is a metaphor for the constant battle between aesthetics and code in any modern building.

As a freelance architect, I am caught in the middle of this battle every day. When I design a commercial building I start with the function of the building along with the commercial codes I have to follow and then I try to create something beautiful. However, when it comes to homes, the opposite is true.

Rebuilding the past according to code

I will often have clients show me interior and exterior photos of 18th – 19th Century English Tudor homes and want one just like it. I don’t mean they are showing me pictures from Architectural Digest, they are showing me photos they took themselves of 250 year-old homes in England that they want me to duplicate.

I would like to think homes have come a long way since the English Tudor. Since real English Tudor homes had the propensity to burn to the ground, an exact duplicate is never an option considering modern code. However, thanks to Hollywood and the art of illusion, we have learned some good tricks that allow us to create an amazing English Tudor, French Colonial, or any other style without sacrificing the structural and safety improvements of recent years.

Beauty fades when function fails

Beauty and function don’t have to be mutually exclusive in a modern home. But when builders find themselves needing to cut corners, they will often sacrifice other items before beauty. They know that over the last few years, beauty closes the sale.

Part of the focus on beauty over the last 15 years had a lot to do with the dynamics that created the mortgage crisis. Homes were designed, built, financed, and sold based on emotion and not sound financial principles. Undisciplined builders, buyers, and mortgage companies got caught up in the housing boom and the amazing look of the new homes. Beauty took precedence over function and quality just like writing the paper and collecting the commission took precedence over financial due diligence.

A new market of buyers

However, many buyers are becoming more savvy. The last house they purchased looked perfect until little things started going wrong. By the time they fixed all the problems, they had fallen out of love with the house. Now their priorities are different. They still want beauty and style but when it comes to a financial contest, they default to quality and function.

Are aesthetics and beauty dead?

Does this mean that the new market has no interest in beauty? Hardly; but now beauty must have a reason and it must appreciate in value with the home. Homes with superior quality will appeal to this astute new buyer. Beauty will be welcome but it must pay homage to the beast.

Jami Castleton is a freelance writer who enjoys designing things on the side. She currently is writing for companies like precisiondoorcolumbus.com.

2012 Home Sales & Prices Flourish — Best Since 2007

Central Ohio saw 22,915 single-family and condominium home sales in 2012, up 15.5 percent from the previous
year, according to the Columbus Board of REATORS®. This marks the highest number of residential home sales
since 2007 – the end of the housing boom.

“2012 exceeded our expectations,” said Chris Pedon, President of the Columbus Board of REALTORS®. “Sellers
opened their doors, buyers brought their confidence, lenders gave their best rates and REALTORS® worked eight
days a week.”

The average sale price of a home sold in central Ohio in 2012 was $167,459, which is 7.2 percent higher than in
2011. The average sale price for the month of December was $158,898 – a 7.5 percent increase over the same time
last year.

Source: Columbus Board of Realtors – 1/22/13

Possession Worries

columbus-real-estate-possesionMany people have concerns over the post-closing possession period (aka the Possession Period). I get a lot of questions like “What happens if I let the Seller have three days of possession and they put a hole in the wall during that time?” Unfortunately the Seller is not liable for any damages incurred during the Possession Period by default. I say by default because the standard purchase contract does not include language protecting the Buyer’s new home during the possession period. So if the Seller requests three days of possession after closing to allow them a few extra days to move out, they can incur damages they are not responsible for fixing.

A way around this is to amend the possession clause in the contract to include language that will ultimately protect the Buyer. The Buyer’s real estate agent will be able to do this and be sure the language explicitly spells out that the property must be in the same condition as it was at the time of contract acceptance. The amended language should also specify that any and all damage done during the possession period must be remedied prior to Buyer’s possession.

What is a Short Sale?

columbus ohio short saleWhat is a short sale? This is a question I get all the time because unless you were involved in a short sale, you typically would have no idea what it entails. Selling a house on a short sale can be a way to avoid foreclosure due to economic or financial hardships. Another situation would be if the homeowner’s job relocated forcing him or her to sell. In either scenario, the main reason for opting to sell short is due to the value of the home being higher than what is currently owed on the home.

The biggest hurdle is convincing the bank (aka lender, investor, etc) to sell short by having your agent submit documentation along with a hardship letter explaining your situation. From a buyer’s perspective, a short sale can be good or bad. It can be good because you can sometimes get a great deal on a short sale as you’re dealing with the bank who may be willing to take less than it’s worth. The downside is that it can be a lengthy process. As a buyer you do have an escape clause allowing you to retract the offer in writing without penalty provided the bank hasn’t approved the short sale. As a seller, you’re not profiting from the sale so purchase price virtually means nothing. The bad part is you typically can’t apply for another mortgage for at least two years.

You may have heard that short sales take forever to close. This is because it usually takes the bank awhile to approve the short sale. Some banks can turn an approval around very fast while others take months. If you’re looking to sell or buy a home on short sale, be sure to choose an agent who has the experience as this can save you time and headache.

How Much Home Can You Buy?

homes for saleWhile looking at homes for sale in Columbus, Ohio you will likely need to finance a portion of your homes cost, so it is important to review your personal financial situation and make informed estimate of your “True Purchasing Power”. Here are four steps to prepare to to speak with a lender when purchasing your next home for sale.

How Much Home Can You Buy

A simple way to determine how much you can spend on your next Columbus Ohio home is to use the folowing two estimates.

Determine your high price by multiplying your annual household salary by 2.5.
columbus homes for sale rough estimate

Determine your high price based on 25% of Gross Monthly Income
purchase columbus home 25 gross

*Remember these are just estimates and other factors may impact how much home you can afford.

Understand Your Credit Score

Your credit score is one of the primary factors that your lender will use to determine how much money they are willing to lend and at what interest rate. The higher your credit score the more favorable your lending terms will be. From a cost perspective a lower credit score will lead to a higher interest rates and thus a higher monthly payment. And that impacts your purchasing power.

The first step is to understand what your credit score is. You can obtain copies of your credit score from the three main credit agencies:

  • Equifax – equifax.com
  • TransUnion – transunion.com
  • Experian – experian.com

credit score chartThere are several factors that affect your credit score including your current ratio of debt to income, payment history, and signs of responsibility and stability. Since creditors do not always report to all three agencies you want to secure your credit report from all three credit agencies and make sure the information is accurate and correct. If there are any errors you will want to work with the agencies to have the mistakes corrected prior to speaking with a lender.

The average credit score in the US is 678 so you will want to compare your score to the chart included to get an idea of where you fall on the scale.

Gather Your Documents

If there one guarantee in life it is that when purchasing a home be prepared to complete a lot of forms and produce a lot of documents. At the end of the proces your home purchase file will likely be a couple of inches thick. Here are some documents you will need to be prepared to have:

  • WS2 Forms for previous two year
  • Pay Stubs
  • Employment History Summary
  • Bank Statements for past three months
  • Creditor Information Including Debts
  • Federal Tax Returns for Two Years
  • Complete Record of Assets

If possible pay of as many debts as possible. And remember avoid making major purchases and changing jobs in the months leading up to purchasing a home.

Talk to a Qualified Lender

A knowledgeable lender can make the process easier by walking you through the various hurdles of the process. They will be able to explain your options and provide guidance. Choose wisely and be sure to ask your agent about lenders they have worked with. As an agent its in our best interest to provide the resources that will make the home purchasing process as painless as possible.

We have partnered with Concord Mortgage to get Pre-Approved for your loan so if you are ready to take that step, check out our Pre-Approved Loan page.

Also be sure to download our Columbus Home Buyers Guide.

Possession and Real Estate Closings

real estate possessionPossession is literally defined as the act or state of owning or holding something (according to Encarta). In a real estate transaction, the seller possesses the home until a specific date and time outlined in the purchase contract. This can certainly confuse anyone involved if not clearly understood.

Typically a buyer will submit an offer with them taking possession of the property at closing meaning the buyer leaves the closing table with the keys and complete control or ownership of the property. If the seller knows they will need additional time to move due to relocation or to align possession with their next purchase, they will counter-offer with the seller retaining possession of the house for a specific number of days after closing. What confuses many people is the time of possession.

Agents will either write a specific date and time of possession transfer, or they will write the possession to be retained through a certain date. Either way, both parties involved must agree on when the buyer may possess the property after closing and coordinate the handing off of keys. A good agent will coordinate the effort on behalf of their client to ensure compliance and a peaceful exchange.

Now, if possession becomes an issue while in contract, this can be changed by way of a contract amendment signed by both buyer and seller. It is very important to make sure the possession aspect of the deal is worked out at least three weeks prior to close. The reason being that many buyers and sellers choose to hire a moving company to assist with their move and if possession is not agreed upon in a timely manner, there is a very good chance the moving company will not have availability. Especially in the Central Ohio area, movers are usually booked a month in advance.

If you’re in contract to buy or sell a home, it is imperative that you and your agent fully understand the terms of the possession as you may just end up homeless for a couple days.

Jason was Always Very Responsive

Jason had two offers on the condo within 60 or so days. It had sat on the market for over a year with another realtor. Jason was always very responsive with my many questions as this was the first property I had ever sold. I would highly recommend him.