Sunday, September 30, 2012

Central Ohio Housing Report

The Columbus Board of REALTORS recently released the housing report for the month of August.  Housing news remains on a steady incline for Central Ohio homeowners.  The number of residential closings and the average time spent on the market continue to shed positive light on the real estate market.  Click here to read the full article.

Going by the numbers, it is safe to say that this Fall is a good time to put your house up for sale if you are looking to move any time soon.  There are still lots of motivated buyers eagerly awaiting the perfect home and the decline in the supply of homes increases the value of new listings.


The positive housing news is also a great sign for buyers.  The past few years have forced buyers to hesitate a bit to see where the market is going.  The time to buy at a very favorable price is sooner rather than later.  Use my website to search for homes for sale in your area.

If I can be of any type of assistance to you whether you are buying or selling, please feel free to contact me at any time!

Take care,
Scott Morrison

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Home Buying Process: Step #9

This is the ninth post of ten in a series about the home buying process.  The purpose of this series is to educate the reader on different steps in the process to ease any anxiety of the unknown.  Whether you are a first-time buyer or have purchased in the past, it is always advantageous to be up-to-date with the latest news and information to make your path to home ownership as smooth as possible.


Step #9:  Closing
At some point in the last 48 hours your agent has taken you through your soon-to-be home one last time for a final walkthrough.  This walkthrough was to check that all requested repairs were properly made, that all appliances and fixtures that were to remain in the home were still present, and that the home was still in the shape in which it was presented during your showing.

The closing marks the end of the home buying process.  Be prepared to go through a ton of paperwork.  You will sign your name or initial more than you can imagine.  All of these documents are for your benefit, so be prepared to be patient, and do not be afraid to ask questions before signing.  Go to closing with a learning mindset, and be certain you understand the documents you are signing.  The title officer will give a brief explanation of each as you go, but do not get impatient and just begin signing.

This link from Chicago Title is a good resource for learning about title insurance and escrow.  A question buyers often ask is "do we need all of this?"  I'm not sure you are going to find many agents that say "no."  Another topic of interest at the closing will be your truth-in-lending statement and other mortgage documents.  You will receive the final disclosure of the interest rates on your loan as well as a statement that will tell you your exact monthly payment.  You probably will already have a pretty good idea of this beforehand through your interactions during the buying process, but it is always nice to have closure.  Bankrate.com released a survival guide to real estate closing that gives a few additional explanations of the closing paperwork.

Items to bring to closing:
-  Certified check for closing costs and down payment
-  Photo IDs
-  Social Security card/ information
-  Addresses for the past 10 years

Two final events close out the process:
1.  Delivery of buyer's funds-  The bank or lender wires the funds for your mortgage in the amount of the loan.
2.  Delivery of the deed-  The deed is the legal document that transfers ownership of real estate.  It will name the buyer and seller, will contain the legal description of the property, and will contain all necessary signatures to make the transaction official.

CONGRATULATIONS!  You are now officially a homeowner.  The deed has been transferred and you are ready to receive the keys and move into your new home.

Step #10 will be a checklist for moving in that includes utilities, insurance companies, local contacts, and a number of other things you need to think about as you begin your new journey!

Take care,
Scott Morrison

Click here to search for a home for sale in Gahanna Ohio


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Home Buying Process: Step 8

This is the eighth post of ten in a series about the home buying process.  The purpose of this series is to educate the reader on different steps in the process to ease any anxiety of the unknown.  Whether you are a first-time buyer or have purchased in the past, it is always advantageous to be up-to-date with the latest news and information to make your path to home ownership as smooth as possible.


Step #8:  Loan Approval


Congratulations!  Your loan has been approved and only time stands in your way from moving in! 

Both parties are notified of the loan approval and all documents are sent to the title company.  Upon receiving the documents the title company will do final prep work such as conducting a title exam, and handling title insurance and title survey.  These steps are to be certain that the buyer is purchasing the home and only the home.  If the title examinations come back with any liens or other unsatisfactory marks, the buyer will be notified and the seller will need to clear the title before moving to closing. 

Prior to closing the buyer will have one final walk through of the home.  This typically happens 24-48 hours before the closing, and allows the buyer to be sure that the home is still in proper shape and all repairs or remedies have indeed been completed. 

It is time to start packing (if you haven’t already) because your new home awaits you! 
In Step #9 I’ll discuss the closing and give you a list of items that you should have prepared to bring along with you.  

Until then..
Take care, 
Scott Morrison

Click here to search for a home for sale in Gahanna Ohio


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Open House Sunday 9/16

I am holding this house open today from 2-4pm.  Feel free to stop by and walk through anytime!

Click here for more details

MLS remarks:   Very well maintained home in Ludlow. New kitchen upgrades, new windows, and list of updated items that you can view during your showing. Large Screened porch off of Family room over looks the private and secluded back yard full of mature trees and wonderful landscaping. Three of the bedrooms have new carpet. Quiet cul'de'sac. Full basement ready to finish.


Take care,
Scott Morrison

Friday, September 14, 2012

Great Places in Gahanna: Friendship Park

I've found myself getting too into the Real Estate part of this blog, and not involved enough in highlighting what makes Gahanna a great place to live.  I really enjoy taking my family down to Friendship Park to walk the trails and enjoy one of Gahanna's great places.

Rather than bore you with a wordy description of everything that the park has to offer... I decided to just take my camera along to speak for me.  Enjoy!

Click on a picture to see all pictures as a slideshow...











Click here for directions to Friendship Park.  

Take care, 
Scott Morrison

Click here to search for a house for sale in Gahanna Ohio

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Home Buying Process: Step 7


This is the seventh post of ten in a series about the home buying process.  The purpose of this series is to educate the reader on different steps in the process to ease any anxiety of the unknown.  Whether you are a first-time buyer or have purchased in the past, it is always advantageous to be up-to-date with the latest news and information to make your path to home ownership as smooth as possible.
Step #6:  Mortgage Application

Step #7:  Underwriting

The underwriting step is when the bank does a thorough evaluation of your financial situation to determine your eligibility for a loan.  Before granting you a loan, the bank does a credit analysis to see that you are indeed qualified to make the payments and that you are not a risky investment.

This step has become more difficult in the past few years.  Banks are establishing tougher requirements to eliminate risk of repeating the financial crisis that sent the market into a downward spiral.  These tougher requirements are making this time frustrating for buyers, sellers, agents, and everyone else involved in the process.  Often times, deal will move slowly through this time because of the thorough evaluations that are required of the underwriters.

The one thing that I'd like to communicate to buyers about this step is to be patient.  You may find yourself frustrated because you are getting a call every few days asking for a new document or signature.  Be certain that you ask questions if you are unsure of an instruction or situation so that you can provide the evidence necessary to get to the next step of the underwriting process.  It can be a stressful, tedious time, but just keep in the back of your mind that you are only weeks away from moving into your brand new home!

Take care,
Scott Morrison

Click here to search for a home for sale in Gahanna Ohio

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Home Buying Process: Step 6

This is the sixth post of ten in a series about the home buying process.  The purpose of this series is to educate the reader on different steps in the process to ease any anxiety of the unknown.  Whether you are a first-time buyer or have purchased in the past, it is always advantageous to be up-to-date with the latest news and information to make your path to home ownership as smooth as possible.

Step #6:  Mortgage Application

You've been pre-approved for a loan, but unfortunately pre-approval does not guarantee you a loan.  During this step of the home buying process, you must formally apply for a loan for the property in which you have selected to purchase.

The pre-approval process is done with only very basic information.  The mortgage application allows the lender to more thoroughly examine your financial situation to determine your true qualifications.  During this time the lender will look at all sorts of information.  The lender may ask for tax documents, income statements, debts, financial obligations, assets, bank statements, and any other information required for the specific loan you are applying for or qualify for.

Work with your lender to gather as much information about your situation that you can before sending your application off to an underwriter.  You should be certain that you have provided enough evidence to convince the underwriter that you are qualified to purchase a home.  This is where the importance of choosing a trusted lender comes in handy.  The best lenders will assist you during this stage to make your case look its very best before you even submit.

Once the paperwork and compiling of documents is complete, it's time to send your application off to underwriting to determine the level of risk as a borrower.  Come back next week for Step #7:  Underwriting.

Take care,
Scott Morrison

Click here to search for a house for sale in Gahanna Ohio

Sunday, September 2, 2012

How much do you charge?

The most common questions that I receive as a licensed real estate agent are in regards to financials.  I'm not posting this to suggest that the questions are bad questions, in fact, I think it is great that folks are being fiscally responsible by getting that information up front.

How much do you charge? (potential buyer asking the question) 
Buyers do not pay for real estate commissions!  Your representation is free.  The Seller covers the percentage that is negotiated between the brokerages. 

So, the bottom line answer:  I can be your agent on the buying side for FREE!!  How's that for a sales pitch? 

Myth:  I'll save money by finding the house myself
First, is this possible?  Yes, kind of.  

See if this scenario helps explain:  

Johnny Buyer wants to find a house/ Condo.  He thinks he'll save money by not using an agent, so he begins looking online for a condo.  He knows he has to stay below $110000 because he received a pre-approval up to that amount.  He opens the Sunday paper and sees that there is an open house for a condo at $105000.  He goes to the open house, meets the listing agent, loves the condo, and decides he'd like to buy it.  

The listing agent, Bobby Agent, tells Johnny that he'll write up a contract for him on the spot for FREE and he'll have to pay nothing in commission cost.  Johnny is thrilled!  

Bobby Agent writes the contract for $105000.  Johnny signs, the deal goes through and Johnny is the proud owner of a condo... All by himself!!! 

Rewind:  Remember Bobby Agent is working for the seller.  The seller is already going to pay the commissions, so regardless of whether or not Johnny had an agent, Johnny wasn't going to have to pay anything towards commissions.  

This is where it could have benefitted Johnny to have an agent.  Johnny's agent would have drawn up the contract for free as well.  In the contract they would have asked the Seller to pay commissions, and they would have negotiated for the best price.  There is a possibility that they would have still offered the $105000 asking price, however, Johnny's agent would have thoroughly examined the facts to be certain that the price they offered was fair.  There is a high possibility that Johnny's agent would have found that in the past 6 months, there were 3 condo's of similar size and condition that sold for an average of $97,500.  That's $7500 that could have been used to negotiate the price down from $105000, saving Johnny more money than had he even had to pay the commission (but he didn't have to do that either).  

Again, this is just an example, but I've seen a few acquaintances that have found homes and posted their find on Facebook, and then when I look at the facts, I feel like the above scenario may have happened to them (or something similar).  And this is just the negotiation of the purchase price.  Having a buying agent will also ensure that you are properly negotiated for on terms such as time periods of inspections, financing, and closing. (see my post on negotiations)  

Real estate deals are complex.  If saving a bit of money on an agent is worth taking the risk of not being properly represented in all aspects of a deal, it may be time to reconsider whether or not you are ready to take on the financial responsibility of being a homeowner.  

I hope this post answered some questions.  I know it doesn't cover every concern, so if there is still something you'd like answered, email me and I'll get back to you ASAP both in email and here on the blog!

Take care, 
Scott Morrison

Click here to find a house for sale in Gahanna Ohio