Thursday, October 8, 2015

Are You Ready To Buy A Home?

The home buying process starts with finances.  For most people, it is the biggest financial decision that they will make.  So, it makes sense that you should be in a good place financially before beginning your home search, right?

You'd be surprised at how many people are either unaware of their finances or just simply are indifferent when it comes to that question.  Here is a great article from Money Under 30 that talks about getting your financial house in order.

If you are ready, and would like me to get you connected with a lender to start the process, contact me at any time!

Take care,

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Homeowner's Insurance

Insurance.  I don't have to tell you what it is or what is does... The interesting part of homeowner's insurance is how little we talk about it compared to health insurance and auto insurance.  I'm sure we use the other two more often, but even through my experiences within the real estate industry, I rarely get on the topic of homeowner's insurance with clients. 

With each standard contract that I write, clients receive a one-year home warranty.  I've had several instances where I've had clients use this warranty to their benefit, some clients have used it multiple times.  But, the insurance piece is one that I hope my clients remember to look into when something happens with their home after the first year.  

Let this post be a reminder to you to look into your insurance information and review your policy to see what is covered and what is not.  And when something happens around your home out of the ordinary, check again before you call a repair service just to be certain the situation isn't covered.  It sure can't hurt to check.  

Here is an article I read recently on homeowner's insurance that I felt I could pass along.  The article isn't overly heavy on details because each policy is different, but this is a good reminder of general information... 

Take care, 
Scott Morrison

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Cost of Common Home Repairs

In my 7+ years of homeownership I've found out firsthand the cost of the dreaded "home ownership" type repairs.  I've replaced a sump pump, got a new HVAC, new carpet, had electric work done, the list continues with little items here and there.

While I was reading one of my favorite blogs, The Simple Dollar, I came across the article linked below on the cost of common home repairs.  The costs of these repairs obviously will differ based upon location and severity of damage (among other variables) but I thought that the article had a great message about the costs that you should budget for as a homeowner.

When parents tag along during the buying process with young buyers I often overhear the discussion of repairs and hidden costs.  This is a time when mom and dad are right, the costs are real and they are something you should be prepared to encounter.  It's certainly a negative side effect of homeownership, but if you plan ahead and expect that these unexpected costs will pop up, you'll be prepared to face the adversity without breaking the bank.

Take care,

Thursday, July 16, 2015

When Will Mortgage Rates Go Up?

I love the reminder in the final paragraph of the article I've linked to below.  The article posted on the website, The Simple Dollar, says "If a small bump in mortgage rates will mean that you'll no longer be able to buy a home, consider whether you should be in the market in the first place."  

This is one of the first conversations I have with each of my clients.  Not necessarily the mortgage rates conversation, but more broad discussion around making sure that this is the right time to search for a home.  You can never time the market, if we could, we'd all know when to buy and when to sell and we'd all be rich and happy!  

The best you can do is to make sure that you do your homework.  Meet with the right people, have the right people advising you, and begin the home buying process when it is right for you, don't just rely on the market.  

Take care, 
Scott Morrison

Friday, July 10, 2015

FHA vs Conventional Loans

The first step in the home buying process is getting your finances in order.  Sitting down with a lender and finding out what programs your qualify for, what your monthly payment would be in specific price ranges, and laying the foundation for your purchase is essential.

One part of the equation will be determining what type of loan your will apply for.  This article provides some baseline information about the most common types of loans...

FHA vs CONVENTIONAL via Money Under 30

I have several lenders that I have worked with, and continue to refer people to, that I'd be happy to connect you with whether you are buying, selling, refinancing, investing, or just interested in knowing what you'd qualify for if you ever were to decide that a real estate transaction is in the near future.

Have a great week!  Someone chase the rain away please!

Take care,

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


Congrats to Travis and Sarah on beginning a new chapter of their lives (and for selling their home!).

Take care,

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Central Ohio Housing Market Heating Up

Sharing a post from the Columbus Board of Realtors:

Central Ohio Housing Market Heating Up

Homes in Gahanna aren't staying on the market very long.  Inventory is low, so buyers have to be ready to act at any moment, and sellers need to be prepared to sell quickly!

Take care,

Monday, May 11, 2015

Gahanna Rain Barrel Rebate Opportunity

I've been thinking of purchasing a rain barrel for a couple of years now.  It has been continually put on the back burner, until a recent DIY pinterest idea for making your own came up.  (notice a recent pinterest theme to posts?)

The DIY version looked great, and for under $100 I could make a two-barrel system that'd make any DIYer proud.  Cost of rain barrels had always been my reasoning for moving forward, so for the same price as purchasing a barrel, I could make two, I'm in!!

Before I got myself in over my head, I did a quick search to see what the City of Gahanna says about rain barrels and perhaps wondered if there was a way to get free or reduced priced options.  Much to my delight, the page pointed me to the Franklin Soil and Water Conservation page that described a rebate program called Greenspot Backyards.

The short version of the story is that residents in Gahanna (also available in other municipalities) can sign up for the Greenspot Backyards program, and after taking a course and quiz online, can be eligible for a $50 rebate on an approved rain barrel or other conservation based item.

The $50 rebate cuts the cost of a 65-gallon barrel in half, and thus makes the DIY version both a hassle and more expensive, who knew!?!

I've now purchased my 65-gallon barrel from Rain Brothers LLC and should receive my rebate in the next week or so.  Take advantage of this opportunity while rebates are still available! If you'd like more details, I'd be happy to exchange emails with you to get you started!

Take care,

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Outdoor Decoration Ideas

As I make progress each and every day on replacing the boards on my old privacy fence, I get ideas for other cool things we could do to our backyard.  At the same time, my wife can't go 20 minutes without stumbling upon some beautiful DIY project on Pinterest that would be awesome as well. Combine the two and you can only imagine the amount of work it would take to produce such as yard.

As unrealistic as it may be, it sure is fun to think about all of the possibilities.  Then once you think you've seen it all, you stumble upon an article like this:

Guess it's time to get to work!

Take care,

Saturday, May 2, 2015

5 Big Selling Mistakes

I read a lot of articles on buying and selling houses.  I obviously want to know the information myself, but sometimes I come across articles like the one below and wish I had thought of the points the author makes while I was in a conversation with a seller about the exact same things.  

The article was written to speak to real estate professionals about their clients, but it certainly speaks to a seller as well.  If you are thinking of selling your home in the near future, take a look and keep Jovan's 5 mistakes/ tips in mind as you prepare

I'd love to help you sell you home when the time comes.  Email me or leave me a message at 614-383-8502 and I'd be happy to stop by and discuss how much your home is worth! 

Take care, 
Scott Morrison

Thursday, April 30, 2015

New House in New Albany

Congratulations to Matt & Lisa on your new home! 

During a time when it has become harder and harder to find a home due to the historically low inventory, it is rewarding to sit at a closing and watch clients take the keys to a wonderful new home. Homes are going fast all over Columbus and the list price seems to be becoming a low-end number as of late with all of the multiple offer situations.  Luckily, Matt and Lisa got to their home quickly and were ready to act... Now they will be able to enjoy it as their own! Congrats again! 

Take care, 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Getting The Lowest Interest Rate

This past week, I received an email containing the latest interest rate news from a preferred lender of ours at Keller Williams.  I receive multiple emails per week with different rates from different banks, so I have a habit of marking them as read and attempting to return to them at a later time.  As we all know, this is a strategy that never works.  Things get busy, more emails pile up, and you seldom return to the information.

I have a few buyer clients that have decided that 2015 is their year to purchase, so when the rates came this time, I knew it was information I needed to not put off until later.  Rates have been low for a couple of years now, but when I opened the sheet and didn't see a number above 4% for any type of mortgage, I was blown away.

I don't want to advertise any exact numbers on the blog for various reasons, but it was a good reminder that the deal you can get on a mortgage right now is incredible.  If 2015 may be the year your decide on a purchase or a sale & purchase, it's getting close to the time where you want to be making initial contacts, especially to lenders.

A few things to remember-

1.  Rates change-  They are low now, but until you get in touch with a lender and begin the loan process, your rate isn't locked in.  I'm not in the market to predict the future, so I can't say how long they'll be low.

2.  Don't over-purchase-  With lower rates, comes more affordability.  Don't over purchase just because you can get a great rate.  I always like to think of the purchase less for the rate and the purchase price, and more for the monthly payment that I'll be paying for the next 30 years.  It doesn't make sense to lock up a higher monthly payment by buying a more expensive house just because you can get a lower rate.  Sounds simple, but it has handcuffed many people in the past.

3.  You don't have to buy-  I've had a number of people in the past few years say "rates are so low, I should be buying."  To some degree it is true, but that isn't the way to think about making a six-figure purchase.  Low rates make buying more a part of the conversation, but your reasons for purchasing a home should be more than low interest rates.

4.  Closing is #1-  Rates are important, but the most important thing is working with a lender that can get a deal closed.  When I recommend lenders, I always tell clients that I recommend people that I've closed deals with.  We all have an interest in getting you into your new home as quickly and efficiently as possible.  You could be getting the best rate in the world, but if the lender cannot get the deal done, the rate doesn't matter.  Lesson:  when you shop for lenders, don't just shop rates.  Make a decision based upon a variety of factors including recommendations, comfort level, rates, fees, and any other factors that are important to you in purchasing your home.

If you'd like my list of recommended lenders, shoot me an email and I'd be happy to get you in touch with any of the folks I consistently do business with.

Take care,
Scott Morrison

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Home Values Rising

Happy New Year!
I'd imagine that buying or selling a home (or both!) is going to be on many 2015 resolution/ goal lists. Such a big financial transaction and lifestyle change is something that should be planned out far in advance.  The latest report from the Columbus Board of Realtors suggests that we are in a "sustainable market" as home prices are steadily rising and  surpassing pre-recession levels.  

See the full report here:  Central Ohio Housing Report - November 2014

Questions to ask yourself as you consider whether buying or selling is right for you:

What should I do to prepare my home for sale?
Beyond the obvious things like tidying up, decluttering, and making the home presentable, I believe the most important thing is to sit down and make sure that you know where you are going next. I think that many people see the rising values and think that they can get money for their home, but then have no idea what they are going to look for next. Meet with a Realtor and come up with a full plan months in advance. Also, get advice for any upgrades that make the home more desirable at a cost that you'll get a good ROI.

When is the best time for me to list?
I believe that the "best time" is whenever you are ready. Whenever the home is prepared, your future is somewhat clear, and you feel comfortable with the process. Many folks think that the Spring is the best time to list because of the changing weather. I cannot say that this is either true or false, it all depends on your goals. Spring is a great time to list, but it's also a prime time to have a ton of competition in and around your area. Meet with Realtors and lenders a few months in advance so that you can make an educated decision.

With values up, should I wait to buy?
The best time to buy is the time at which you are ready to buy. When you have a stable job, a steady income, and are ready for the ups and downs of home ownership. Attempting to time the market isn't something that is going to be worth your time.  Buy when you are ready, buy smart, and make sure you l
ove the home you are buying, don't just buy to buy.

What should I do first?
If you are thinking of buying this year, it's time to be referred to a lender. If you know of a lender you want to use... great! I'd be happy to refer you to any lender that I've successfully closed transactions with. You can shop around for rates, but the most important factor should be whether or not the lender can get the deal closed. Don't just chase the best rate. Make sure you are comfortable with the people and company that you choose to work with.

There are several more questions that a buyer or seller may want to ask. If you have a question that is on your mind, feel free to email me anytime... I'd be happy to get you the best answer!

I hope that 2015 brings you happiness! If a real estate transaction is a part of the plan, I'd love the opportunity to serve as your Realtor.  Have a great year!

Take care,
Scott Morrison