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Home Sales Continue Upward Trend … May Average Price is at Record Levels

Published on June 22, 2015 in Ohio

May home sales in Greater Cincinnati continue to climb, up + 1.3%, compared to a year ago. Homes sold (closed) last month were 2,308 compared to 2,277 in May 2014.

“The Cincinnati housing market is in great shape,” said Joe Mock, President of the Cincinnati Area Board of REALTORS®. “The number of listings under contract is up over last May, which is good. There appears to be a slight backlog of listings waiting to close, which is not bad, but may be a result of changes to lending policies and government restrictions,” said Mock.

“Even though our housing market is strong, we will begin to see, later this summer, a slowdown in the reporting of sales and an increase in the time it takes to close on a property due to these lending restrictions. This is even MORE reason to contact a REALTOR to assist you through this process,” said Mock.

The May average home price set new records climbing to $195,110 vs. $182,630 a year earlier, a + 6.8% increase. The average price has increased year-over-year for 39 consecutive months. At the same time, the inventory of homes for sale, as of May 31, continued its year-over-year declining trend to 8,679 from 9,554 a year ago, down – 9.2%

Local home mortgage rates in May averaged 4.00% for a 30-year fixed rate loan. The rates were higher at 4.13 a year ago. At these fixed rates, the monthly principal and interest payment on a $100,000 home loan with no money down would be approximately $478.

“The fact that the May average price is at record levels is a result of a few things: the inventory is at record lows; interest rates remain low; once listed, if the property is priced correctly and in move-in shape it will sell quickly; and with the demand high and the supply low of good housing, the prices are increasing,” Mock continued.

“This is simple Economics 101. However, consumers need to realize that this type of market will not last. This is why if you are thinking about selling your property, do not wait. Contact a REALTOR to assist you,” said Mock.

“Remember, a Realtor is your source for real, accurate information about the current market. Call one today!”

Nationwide, May home sales were up + 5.1% from April on a seasonally adjusted basis, and were up + 9.2% from May 2014.

Click here for the full report.


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RE/MAX of Southern Ohio Launches Custom Mobile App

Dayton, OH - RE/MAX of Southern Ohio announced today the launch of its new mobile app for Dayton consumers looking to buy a home.  The new app offers consumers the most technologically-advanced tools on the market to help them find their dream home.

For buyers, the new RE/MAX app offers two key features  — MAXview  and CommuteTime – the newest technologies available to the real-estate industry.  MAXview offers buyers real-time view of for-sale properties within one mile of their current location through the camera feed of a mobile device.  CommuteTime allows buyers to target their search area based on their desired commute time.  Users can enter a work, school, daycare or other known address then set their preferred travel time at a given time of day.

The app is easy to search and easy to use.  Using the app, home buyers also can:

  • Find listings within one mile of their current location.
  • Compare similar rooms from different listings with side-by-side photos.
  • Save and share their favorite properties.
  • Arrange for a showing with a RE/MAX agent.

The new RE/MAX app is available on Apple and Android devices.  It is free to download through the Apple App Store and Google Play Market by searching “RE/MAX of Southern Ohio MAXview HomeSearch”.

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RE/MAX Regional Services Upgrades Mobile App with CommuteTime Feature

Buyers Can Quickly Indentify Homes Based on Desired Drive Time


RE/MAX Regional Services (RRS) today announced the addition of the CommuteTime feature to its popular MAXview HomeSearch app.  Powered by INRIX Drive Time, CommuteTime allows home buyers to select their ideal driving distance to important locations when searching for a new home.  CommuteTime is now available on iPhone, iPad and Android devices.


With the CommuteTime enhancement, RE/MAX app users can enter up to three addresses, such as work, school or daycare, then set their preferred travel time at a given time of day.  For example, if a buyer wants a 30-minute commute to work in 8 a.m. traffic, CommuteTime will shade the areas on a map that meet this criteria.


“Maintaining a reasonable drive time to work or daycare is a priority for many buyers looking to achieve a better work/life balance,” said Jeanette Schneider, senior vice president, RE/MAX Regional Services.  “This new upgrade allows buyers to easily and quickly identify which areas meet their driving-distance criteria.”


CommuteTime is powered by traffic information gathered from a variety of public and private sources, including government road sensors as well as accident and incident reports.  The traffic information is refreshed every minute, ensuring users always have the most current drive-time information available.


The RE/MAX mobile app was introduced last year.  The app is easy to search and easy to use.  Using the app, home buyers also can:


  • Find listings within one mile of their current location.
  • Compare similar rooms from different listings with side-by-side photos.
  • Save and share their favorites properties.
  • Arrange for a home visit with a RE/MAX agent.


The RE/MAX mobile app with the new CommuteTime feature is free and available to download through the Apple App Store and Google Play Market under the following names:


  • RE/MAX of Georgia MAXview HomeSearch
  • RE/MAX of Kentucky MAXview HomeSearch
  • RE/MAX of Southern Ohio MAXview HomeSearch
  • RE/MAX of Tennessee MAXview HomeSearch


About RE/MAX Regional Services

RE/MAX was founded in Denver in 1973 by Dave and Gail Liniger. In 1978, the first franchised RE/MAX Regional office was opened in Georgia. Today, RE/MAX Regional Services (RRS) provides outstanding support to close to 3,500 agents in more than 200 offices in Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Southern Ohio.  RRS ensures its real estate professionals are leaders in technology, training and expertise, to best serve the homebuyers and sellers in their communities.


With offices in more than 90 countries and the most productive sales force in the industry, RE/MAX sells more real estate than any franchise company in the world. RE/MAX agents are passionate about the communities in which they live and work, and are proud to have raised more than $138 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and other charities.  For more information, visit www.franchise-remax.com.


About the RE/MAX Network

RE/MAX was founded in 1973 by Dave and Gail Liniger, with an innovative, entrepreneurial culture affording its agents and franchisees the flexibility to operate their businesses with great independence. Over 100,000 agents provide RE/MAX a global reach of more than 90 countries. Nobody sells more real estate than RE/MAX.

RE/MAX, LLC, one of the world’s leading franchisors of real estate brokerage services, is a subsidiary of RE/MAX Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:RMAX).

With a passion for the communities in which its agents live and work, RE/MAX is proud to have raised more than $138 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals®, Susan G. Komen® and other charities.

For more information about RE/MAX, to search home listings or find an agent in your community, please visit www.remax.com.

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Townships winning, cities struggling in the county’s housing recovery

Realtor Gwen Ritchie puts a lock box on the front door of a home on March 22 during a listing appointment on Sleepy Hollow Drive in Monroe.

Butler County’s overall housing recovery has broken even, with the average price of homes sold across the county returning to pre-recession 2007 levels.

However, average sale prices have most improved in a majority of the county’s townships. Sales prices — which affect appraised property values for tax purposes and homeowner equity — remain depressed in the county’s cities, according to a Journal-News analysis of single-family home and condominium sales provided by the Multiple Listing Service of Greater Cincinnati Inc.

“It does depend on where you are,” said John Holbrock, co-owner of Realty First, a Hamilton-based real estate firm. Holbrock is a former president of the recently re-named trade group Butler-Warren Association of Realtors.

Of Butler County’s largest cities, the one with the most depressed average sold price of homes is Fairfield. The average price of homes sold last year in Fairfield remains nearly 13 percent below 2007 levels; whereas in Hamilton, prices are still down almost 9 percent and in Middletown prices are still down almost 2 percent, according to the figures provided by the MLS, a division of Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors.

Urban areas were often more affected by foreclosures and other distressed properties that dragged resale prices down, said Jeanette Schneider, senior vice president of RE/MAX of Southern Ohio, which includes the Cincinnati-Dayton region.

“When we’re not having so many foreclosures and short sales, we’ll start to see sales prices inch up,” she said. “It’s just probably behind the curve a little bit.”

Last year, 4,490 homes sold in Butler County and the Warren County portions of Middletown and Monroe for an average price of $161,266. By comparison, 4,700 homes sold in the same area for $160,135 in 2007. The average sold price rose less than 1 percent over that time span.

Homes sold last year in Fairfield for $119,720 on average, compared to $137,283 in 2007; Hamilton homes sold last year for $86,571 compared to $94,989 in 2007; and in Middletown, prices dropped to $77,620 last year from $79,115 in 2007 prior to the start of the Great Recession that December.

Lemon, Madison, Fairfield, Hanover and Liberty townships saw the biggest price jumps.

“What we’re seeing right now especially in Butler County I would say, you’ve got areas like West Chester, Liberty; that’s kind of the new area. Those and markets like them become the areas people want to move to and probably speak more to move-up buyers,” Schneider said.

Hamilton and Middletown are built up, said Gwen Ritchie, a real estate agent for Huff Realty, and also a former president of the local real estate agent association.

“They may not be experiencing some of the uptick in pricing because they don’t have the availability of land for new construction,” she said.

The housing market today, including the styles and home designs buyers want, isn’t the same as 2005, Ritchie said.

“When the area has an ample amount of jobs and the consumers feel that the economy is strong, I think that will impact the housing market also. There are still some people that are a little stressed financially,” she said.

“I think also our population’s shifting, and as it changes the types of housing people want may differ from some of the stock that we have.”

It’s important to note the sales price of a home and the property tax appraisal come from a different process. County auditor offices use a mass appraisal approach that does not consider appliances, or the inside condition of the house, for example.

County auditor appraisers look at quality of construction, square footage and what it would cost to build the house new, and how much the cost would depreciate for due to the age of the house. They also look at sales of the most similar houses in the same neighborhood, according to experts.

The county auditor considers comparable sales prices over a three-year period when updating appraised values, a longer time period than real estate agents or bank appraisers use. More weight is put on the most recent sales.

The auditor’s office only does appraisals of homes for tax purposes.

Every three years auditors conduct a triennial update, that uses a statistical approach to adjust appraised values based on market conditions and comparable sales prices. Every six years, auditors must do a reappraisal where they view each property individually from the outside.

Butler County’s most recent appraisal was completed for 2014. The county’s total property values — including commercial, residential, agricultural and other property — lost almost 2 percent between 2011 and 2014. Altogether, county property is now valued at approximately $7.4 billion, according to the auditor’s office.

Residential property values sank more than 2 percent from 2011 to 2014 in the most recent reappraisal process to about $5.2 billion, according to the Butler County Auditor’s Office.

This article originally appeared in Journal-News.

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Chamber Names Diplomat and Member

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First-time homebuyers win $10K in contest


(Photo: Amy Scalf/The Community Recorder)

While Emanuel and Tiffany Phillips were searching for their new house, they ended up with a surprise bonus: $10,000.

The Phillips live in Florence, and found their dream home in Burlington, but they have not yet closed on the new home.

Emanuel Phillips said their Realtor, Frank Littrell of RE/MAX in Florence, encouraged them to sign up for The Great Home Giveaway through his website, bit.ly/1wdPiCP.

“I didn’t think I was going to win anything, but hey, why not sign up for it? And I won,” he said. “It was amazing. I couldn’t believe it but it did happen.”

Littrell is one of more than 200 real estate agents nationwide who are participating in The Great Home Giveaway, which has given away $10,000 every two weeks since June. In February, the sweepstakes will choose a $100,000 grand prize winner. The site is accepting entries until Jan. 31. No purchase is necessary.

The sweepstakes is sponsored by Commissions Inc. and First Option Mortgage LLC.

Littrell, as a member of Commissions Inc., joined the giveaway because he thought it would be great if one of his clients won.

“They’ve given away $10,000 to 10 different families,” he said. “It’s geared toward people who are serious about buying a home, but it’s open to anyone.”

Megan Spray, vice president of corporate marketing and operations for Commissions Inc., said she hopes more people enter to win.

“We’re just trying to give back to local area home buyers, and our biggest grand prize of $100,000 is coming up in early February,” she said. “We’re encouraging as many people as we can to jump on board with that to see if they can win the big prize.”

Littrell said he and another Realtor, Leah Kordenbrock, worked with the Phillips over several months, and surprised them with an oversize check just before Christmas when they won.

Emanuel Phillips said finding their new home was already a win for them, as first-time homebuyers, but the money was also appreciated.

“Everything we had, we invested in our home,” he said. “It’s kind of a fixer-upper, so we have to put a little money into it, so it came in handy.”

He said they’re going to purchase new appliances and finish some projects with the winnings.

Want to continue the conversation? Tweet @AmyScalfNky

This article originally appeared at Cincinnati.com.

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A House Divided: Strategies to ponder If you’re planning to divvy up your properties

They say breaking up is hard to do. But it’s even harder when a couple seeking a split own a home. As a house obviously can’t be physically divided up 50/50 Solomon-style, it’s important to know what to expect regarding real estate matters during and following a divorce, say the experts. Your goal is to come to a mutual agreement with your spouse on how divvy up your assets, including your house, without having to go to court, which can be messy and expensive and result in one or both parties feeling shortchanged.

In the beginning of the process, David Bulitt, an attorney with Joseph Greenwald and Laake in Rockville, Maryland, recommends that each party should: Make a list of any real property (for example, the principal residence plus any vacation homes) that they and/or their spouse own. Determine whether your real property is:

Marital, meaning it was acquired by one or both parties during the marriage

Non-marital, meaning the property was brought into the marriage by one party or acquired through gift or inheritance Potentially a sort of hybrid, for example, if one spouse “gifted” the home to the other during marriage.

Locate the deed to these properties to learn how these properties are titled.

Gather any paperwork concerning loans — mortgage, home equity, etc., to review whose names are attached to the debt.

Next, it must be determined if the home will be sold or if one party wants to remain in the home, if able to. With the former option, if the home has a mortgage, monies from any equity accrued are usually split up equally after the home is sold and the lender is paid off. With the latter option, the spouse that remains usually has to buy out the other partner’s equity share, assume the mortgage (commonly done via a refinance), and then have the title signed over to him/her.

“If the party who wants to stay in the home cannot afford to refinance, special factors need to be considered,” says Rebecca Zung, a Naples, Florida, attorney. “That person can agree to be solely responsible for the mortgage payments, execute a hold harmless clause, and indemnify the other person if they don’t make the payments. This way, if the first party defaults on payments, the second party has the option of making the payments and thus can preserve his or her credit rating and not have to worry about the bank coming after him or her and will have recourse to get reimbursed from the defaulting party.”

Nathan Embrey, a real estate agent with RE/MAX Preferred Group in Cincinnati, notes that if the home is to be sold and there is not enough equity in the home to pay off the mortgage, both parties may want to pursue a short sale of the home. “Lenders consider divorce a valid hardship and will allow a short sale, which can minimize damage to credit and resolve the unsold property issue quicker,” says Embrey.

Other property settlement aspects also will need to be carefully strategized by both parties and their representatives. ”Illustrate all settlement scenarios possible, and include all financial aspects, such as support issues, assets and liabilities including retirement plans, as well as the disposition of the matrimonial home,” says Vickie Adams, a certified financial planner and divorce analyst in San Pedro, California. “These include property equity, tax implications, and market conditions for possible sale, in addition to family living issues. ”Divorce is usually not fair,” Adams adds.

“But once you are armed with all the financial facts, try to take a big picture view regarding your settlement. Decide what is most important to you, let your mediator or lawyer negotiate those items for you, and be prepared to let the rest go.”

This article originally appeared in the NWI Times.

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Agent Snapshot: Denise Abruscato, Realtor, RE/MAX All Properties, Cumming

Denise Abruscato is a Realtor Agent with RE/MAX All Properties in
Alpharetta, Roswell, Sandy Springs and Cumming

What was your first job in the realty industry? Relocation with AT&T, then RE/MAX Greater ATL – and after that, RE/MAX All Properties in South Forsyth County.

Where did you grow up? Chicago, Alpharetta and Cumming.

Growing up, what did you want to be? Home remodeling.

What do you do to relax when you’re stressed? Walk to Lake Lanier, paddle board, golf or garden

If you could have lunch with a well-known figure (living or not), who would it be and why? Ben Franklin – would like to hear his ideas and what generated them.

Where is your favorite place to hang out? Lake Lanier and near water, like Ocean Destin, Fla.

What do you love most about the industry? Helping people buy and sell real estate.

How do you distinguish yourself from the crowd of agents? I care about people and transition plans.

What is the most difficult aspect of your job? Letting go.

Where do you go to network and meet new clients? Chamber of Commerce, people I do business with and professional settings.

What has been your greatest accomplishment? Children and grandchildren; incorporating businesses; my black belt in karate; my Certified Professional Home Builder CPHB status; and home remodeling.

What was the last good movie you saw or book you read? The Hunt for Red October.

What is your favorite restaurant? Rice Restaurant Cumming for Sushi, along with Pappadeaux in Alpharetta and Maggiano’s.

Architecturally speaking, what is your favorite building in Atlanta? Fox Theater.

What kind of car do you drive? Kia Sportage.

Smartphone or paper? Smartphone.

What is your favorite city after Atlanta? Dahlonega, Blue Ridge or Ellijay.

In 10 words or less, what is your advice for someone new to the industry? Work with a professional team before you activate your license.

What’s your favorite real estate iPhone/Android app? RE/MAX or Zillow.

Who are your favorite people to follow on Twitter? WSBTV breaking news.

This article originally appeared in Atlanta Agent Magazine.

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RE/MAX Alliance and American Mortgage Service Co. Partner Together This Holiday Season

RE/MAX Alliance in Louisville, KY partnered with American Mortgage Service Company this holiday season to help those in need in their local community. American Mortgage gathered gather gift baskets and sold tickets to RE/MAX Alliance agents and guests during their annual office Christmas Party. The money received from the ticket sales was then used to help a local family in need. Through the raffle, they were able to raise over $600.


“They didn’t ask for anything crazy when we inquired as to what they needed”, stated Frankie Story, Branch Manager at American Mortgage Service Co .  ”It was truly the basics.  Socks, shoes, underwear, etc.  We were able to take care of the basics and then give them a few items from Santa for the kids.  They don’t have TV so they asked for educational items and puzzles. Here is the message we received from the Mom Rachel:

“Oh my goodness….Thank you so so so much.  Please let the people know how much we appreciate what they have done.  We were brought to tears.  We were worried about how Christmas was going to be.  We know God is watching us and knows our needs.  The people that provided these things are truly a great example of God’s glory and love.  Thank you so much for thinking of us.”  


RE/MAX Alliance also collected 400 canned goods for the food pantry at Southwest  Christian Ministries. Frankie’s 4-year old nephew also helped out by delivering the canned goods to the Food Pantry and he helped buy toys for the family. “By the end of the day he was tired and hungry, but it’s never too early to learn about the joy of giving,” stated Suzy Watkins of RE/MAX Alliance. “I have a wonderful group of agents who do so much for others.”

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Home Sales Cool Off in November

After two consecutive months of home sales higher than last year, November sales fell 5.2% lower than sales in November 2013. The winter months normally see lower sales than in the summer, but sales this year have mostly been lower than what was seen in 2013.  However, home prices continue to rise, but at a slower rate than last year. The November Median Sales Price was $195,151, which was 6.1% higher than the median price last November. Inventory became slightly tighter in November with a 9.2% reduction from last year. Due to slowing winter sales, the Months Supply of Inventory rose to 5.6 on a scale where 6.0 indicates a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers. Click here to see the full report.

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