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OTR home prices inching toward $1 million

People stroll around Washington Park in Over-the-Rhine while others play kickball. In 2010, the average sale price of a single-family home in OTR was $221,428. Today, it is $427,192. (Photo: The Enquirer/Ben Liebing)

Bob Castellini made a prediction last month at the Over-the-Rhine Chamber luncheon at Music Hall: Within three years, there will be million-dollar, single-family homes for sale in the neighborhood.

The future is almost now. The highest recently recorded sale in OTR was a unit at American Condominiums on Central Parkway that sold for $850,000.

A two-family home on 14th Street at the north end of Washington Park was recently on the market for $899,000.

“OTR isn’t up-and-coming,” said Shawn Baker, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker and longtime OTR resident. “It’s happening.”

In 2010, the average sale price of a single-family home in OTR was $221,428, according to RE/MAX real estate agents Mary Elsener and Saralou Durham.

Today, real estate search engine Trulia reports the average list price is $427,192.

“We have seen property values appreciate significantly,” said Mary Burke Rivers, executive director of Over-the-Rhine Community Housing, the nonprofit developer dedicated to keeping the neighborhood diverse and helping low-income residents afford housing.


Pleasant Street looking south toward Washington Park in Over-the-Rhine. (Photo: The Enquirer/Cara Owsley)


The developer also sells properties at market rate.

Rivers explains that the nonprofit developed the 1400 block of Pleasant Street. A home there that sold for $261,640 in 2010 was resold three years later for $424,000. Another Pleasant Street property sold for $321,830 and resold a year later for $415,000.

Anastasia Mileham, communications director for Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC), explained that when the developer first sold condos in 2006, the price per square foot was $166. Today, that rate is $250.

“That has a lot to do with the increasing stability of the neighborhood as much as anything else,” Mileham said. “Not only is our for-sale product going for higher prices than in earlier years, but it’s selling faster.”

This two-family house at 116 14th St. was originally priced at $899,000, but the property has been split into two units for individual sale. (Photo: The Enquirer/Cara Owsley)

Not the whole picture

That two-family home on 14th Street selling for almost $900 grand?

Ryan Messer, president of Over-the-Rhine Community Council, and his partner Jimmy Musuraca bought the dilapidated building in 2011.

“From when we bought it until now, we’ve put over $675,000 into the house,” Messer said. “And that doesn’t include the vast amount of ‘sweat equity’ hours.

“And that’s what a lot of people don’t understand about renovating these properties in OTR. Sure, you may be able to sell them for a bit, but what you have to put into them is enormous. These aren’t ‘pull up the carpet and paint the walls’ renovations.”

Messer said he recently saw a place on Vine Street where all three floors of the building had collapsed into the basement.

Originally, even Messer was skeptical the couple would get their asking price. They had offers, but all have fallen through because lenders studied comparables, and they came in low.

Soon enough, Roxanne Qualls, former Cincinnati mayor and the real estate agent listed on the home, persuaded Messer and Musuraca to split the listing into a two-family building.

“We weren’t seeing a big demand for the purchase of the whole building,” Qualls said. “Individual condos are in high demand, but not entire properties, at least at this point.”

The two condos were priced to sell individually. The first went back on the market at $585,000, the second at $399,000. So what was a single property listed at $899,000 is now two units with a combined listing of $984,000.

Since the split, a sale on the first is already pending.

“I find it interesting that people have preconceived notions about what the future of Over-the-Rhine is going to be,” said Seth Maney, executive vice president of Urban Sites, a developer. “There is certainly high demand now, but supply is being created by all kinds of different forces.”

As for the impending million-dollar mark? Qualls says she thinks the housing price will continue to rise in OTR, though the rate of sales may slow in the future once supply is closer to exhausted.

“Some have already invested millions in property in OTR,” Qualls said. “These places just aren’t on the market yet.”

This article originally appeared here.

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RE/MAX names top agent of 2014

Scott Tufford was named the No. 1 Individual Realtor for RE/MAX Greater Atlanta in east Cobb.

A real estate professional with nearly 20 years’ experience, Tufford grew up around the business in Little Rock, Arkansas, where his father was a home builder. He credits part of his success to his extremely high referral rate for new clients and going out of his way to educate clients about their real estate transaction.

Tufford’s 2014 sales were up about 20 percent over the prior year. His first quarter for 2015 has also been very busy, with his sales numbers better year-over-year from 1Q 2014.

For more information, call (678) 784-4477 or visit www.homebuyatlanta.com.


This article originally appeared in the Marietta Daily Journal.

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How warranties have saved my buyers thousands — and added to my agent value

Knowing how to best cover clients alleviates their home frustrations

Yesterday, I got a phone call from a buyer client of mine whom I helped to close on a home about three weeks ago. He opened the conversation by asking me if I was there at the home inspection (he was out of the state at the time).

Then he wanted to know if the home inspector I recommended tested all the vents up and down to see if the furnace worked, and why wasn’t the air conditioner tested? He then said he had an air compressor out, and it was going to cost $2,000.

I always love those types of phone calls — seriously. Why? It always allows me to reaffirm to that past client that I took care of them. To begin with, I went back to the home inspection while we were on the phone together, and during the inspection the inspector noted that the heat blew out of the vents right at 100 degrees.

This note was within acceptable standards, and there were no derogatory comments made. You should know, this is an inspector I have used for years, and I know him to be utterly thorough on the details. I then reconfirmed with my buyer that the air conditioning was not tested on that day due to temperatures, which were in the “teens.”

I have seen one thing make clients post-sale happy by reducing expenses after closing day, and that one tool is a home warranty.

In this case, the seller from whom my buyer purchased the house had an existing warranty on the property. That scenario is best. When the situation involves a new warranty, originating and paid for at the closing table, it’s easier for the warranty company to scream “pre-existing condition” in an effort to avoid paying for an air compressor — even just three weeks after closing.

I reminded him of the fact that we had a warranty on the property and encouraged him to give them a call first before doing anything. He said, “Yeah, I already called them, and for a $60 fee they are replacing it for me.”

How funny. The conversation started out with a significant concern that was acknowledged as no problem at the end of the same call because of a home warranty.

Last year, I had another sale where we had negotiated a warranty as part of the sale. This one was a bit different. It was an HSA home warranty. HSA has the ability to go ahead and put the house under warranty when it is listed on the MLS, with the agreement that the warranty will be paid for at closing at the time — they cover the house throughout the process.

In this sale, again acting as a buyer’s agent, I got a call from the listing agent the day before closing letting me know, once again, that an air compressor had failed. HSA stepped in, committed to fixing the issue on a warranty they had not even been paid for yet, and the commitment of them making the repairs and replacing the air compressor allowed closing on time.

The seller was happy, my buyer had peace of mind — and that is what we are seeking at every closing as agents, isn’t it? Happy clients?

On another recent sale, this time as a listing agent, I had used an HSA warranty during the listing. During due diligence, my seller was out of town because he was relocating for employment about 800 miles away. The buyer had concerns over half a dozen issues upon inspection.

Instead of the buyer having to be there to watch over multiple contractors and bid out work, the warranty company was able to cover most of the repairs, saving him hundreds of dollars and time. They also helped ensure that closing happened on time, without a hitch.

I have seen it over and over again on both sides of the sale, including mechanical, plumbing and appliances — they can stop working any time. I had an inspection just recently where the inspector said that just because it was raining the day of the inspection, he was able to see two roof leaks. What if it had been a dry day? He might not have noticed them. After the closing, if that buyer had a warranty with roof leak protection built in, some of those frustrations could have been alleviated.

I’m not saying that there aren’t problems, and I am not saying that all warranties and companies are good and noble in their pursuit of making people happy. However, I’d rather have a warranty in the contract than not at all. It has saved my clients thousands of dollars over the years.

Final story: About two years ago, I had a client who had owned their home for a little over a year after buying it through me. They called me one steamy summer Friday night in Georgia to say the air conditioner went out with a new baby at home, and the temperature made it unbearable.

I called my regional representative with HSA, Tammy Dale, that weekend, and she had their local service company take care of the issue within 48 hours. The only lag time there was involved getting parts over the weekend.

That made this past client of mine a “referral superstar” for me, because on social media and by word of mouth they told everyone I took care of a problem they had a year after the sale.

That’s when we build our business: when past clients see us there for them over the long haul.

Hank Bailey is an associate broker and Realtor at RE/MAX Legends. You can follow him on Facebook or Twitter. This article originally appeared at Inman News.

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Home Prices Are Accelerating

The number of metro areas seeing double-digit price appreciation doubled in the first quarter of this year compared to last quarter, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ latest quarterly housing report.

Strong demand mixed with tight inventories of homes for-sale continues to push up home prices nationwide. The median existing single-family home price rose in the first quarter in 148 out of the 174 metro areas NAR tracks. Only 25 areas recorded lower median prices compared to a year earlier, while 51 metros saw double-digit increases – a sharp increase from the 24 metro areas in the fourth quarter of 2014.

At the end of 2014, home prices had mostly moderated to healthier, more sustainable levels of growth, but now prices are picking up again, says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.

“Sales activity to start the year was notably higher than a year ago, as steady hiring and low interest rates encouraged more buyers to enter the market,” Yun says. “However, stronger demand without increasing supply led to faster price growth in many markets. Sales could soften slightly in some of these markets seeing sharp price appreciation unless housing supply markedly improves and tempers its unhealthy level of growth.”

The median existing single-family home price in the first quarter was $205,200 nationwide, up 7.4 percent from the first quarter of 2014. Meanwhile, total existing-home sales decreased 1.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.97 million in that time frame.

Inventories remain tight. By the end of the first quarter, there were 2 million existing homes available for sale, with the average supply during the first quarter at 4.6 months – down from 4.9 months a year ago. Most economists consider a 6- to 7-month supply to be a healthy balance between buyers and sellers.

“Home owners throughout the country have enjoyed accumulating household wealth through the steady rise in home values in the past few years,” Yun says. “However, some home owners are hesitant to move up and sell because they aren’t confident they’ll find another home to buy. This trend – in addition to subpar homebuilding activity – is leading to the ongoing inventory shortages and subsequent run-up in prices seen in many markets.”

Regional Breakdown

Here’s a closer look at how existing-home sales performed across the country in the first quarter:

  • Northeast: Existing-home sales fell 11.2 percent in the first quarter but are 2.2 percent higher than the first quarter of 2014. Median price for single-family homes: $245,000 in the first quarter, up 2.4 percent from a year ago.
  • Midwest: Existing-home sales dropped 2 percent in the first quarter but are 6.3 percent higher than a year ago. Median home price: $156,600, up 8.9 percent from a year ago.
  • South: Existing-home sales dropped slightly by 0.5 percent in the first quarter but are 7.8 percent above the first quarter of 2014. Median home price: $182,300, up 8.2 percent compared to a year earlier.
  • West: Existing-home sales rose 1.5 percent in the first quarter and are 5.4 percent above a year ago. Median home price: $295,500, up 5.8 percent above year ago levels.

The 5 Most Expensive Markets

The following metro areas had the priciest median existing single-family home price in the first quarter:

  1. San Jose, Calif.: $900,000
  2. San Francisco: $748,300
  3. Honolulu: $699,300
  4. Anaheim-Santa Ana, Calif.: $685,700
  5. San Diego: $510,300

The 5 Least Expensive Markets

The following metro areas had the lowest median existing single-family home price in the first quarter:

  1. Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio: $64,300
  2. Cumberland, Md.: $71,600
  3. Rockford, Ill.: $78,600
  4. Decatur, Ill.: $82,200
  5. Toledo, Ohio: $83,800

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

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RE/MAX of Georgia becomes title sponsor of Georgia Tech football radio broadcasts


RE/MAX of Georgia Inc. will be a sponsor of Georgia Tech Athletics, Georgia Tech IMG announced May 6.

As a sponsor, RE/MAX of Georgia will serve as the in-game title sponsor for all football radio broadcasts during the 2015 season.

“We are excited to have RE/MAX of Georgia joins us as a sponsor for the 2015 season,” Mike Bobinski, Georgia Tech Director of Athletics, said in a statement. “It is through the support of successful local organizations like RE/MAX that we are better able to provide the resources necessary for our student-athletes to succeed in the classroom and on the playing field.”

In December 2012, Georgia Tech Athletics reached an agreement with IMG College, a collegiate marketing firm, to extend its multimedia rights partnership through June 2021.

The agreement included IMG College’s exclusive representation and management of game broadcasts and coaches’ shows for radio and television, publications, digital assets, corporate partnerships, stadium and venue signage, game promotions and game day hospitality.

Atlanta-based Collegiate Licensing Company, an affiliate of IMG College, has represented Georgia Tech’s licensing rights since 1983.

RE/MAX of Georgia has more than 1,300 sales associates and 100 offices.

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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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Keep the cart behind the horse

It’s probably no surprise that nearly all buyers require financing for their home purchase. The real challenge is not so much in getting the loan as it is in finding the loan that’s right for you.


The time to start your loan search is before you begin looking at homes. After you’ve reviewed your loan options, you’ll have a better idea of just how much home you can afford.


Starting early gives you an edge when you offer to purchase a property, because purchase contracts will specify what type of loan you are pre-approved for – usually conventional, FHA, or VA. Having your pre-approval from a great local lender in place before you start your home search will give you the confidence to make your offer when you find the right home. You’ll already know what your monthly payment will be and if you’ll need help from the sellers for your closing costs and the amount needed.


You’ll also have an advantage with the sellers, because an offer to purchase from a pre-approved buyer is more attractive to sellers who won’t have to worry about whether you’ll qualify for financing . It demonstrates to both you and the sellers that you have the financial strength to complete the purchase on schedule.


Most real estate agents have experience and relationships with local lenders, and can suggest local lenders who offer a variety of loans with competitive terms and quality service. Your mortgage is as individual as you are, so take the time early on to match a loan to your particular needs.


This article originally appeared at dailycall.com

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RE/MAX of Spring Hill lands awards

RE/MAX Fine Homes of Spring Hill award winners from back row from left are: Marsha Hendry, Belinda Bell, Cynthia M. Beard, Vicki Roberts and Heather Rose. Front row left to right are: Kim Scarritt, Vera Russell, Lori Koch, Adrienne Arnett and Terri Rutherford. Kay Daughrity is not pictured. (Courtesy photo)


The RE/MAX Fine Homes of Spring Hill office and agents took home regional awards during a recent ceremony.


The office was named a 2014 Tennessee Showcase Award winner, which is given to offices that achieve outstanding team results, according to a press release.


RE/MAX Fine Homes of Spring Hill Regional Award Winners for 2014 include Executive Club Award winners Marsha Hendry, Belinda Bell, Vicki Roberts, Kim Scarritt, Vera Russell, Lori Koch and Kay Daughrity, 100 Percent Club winner Heather Rose and Platinum Award winner Adrienne Arnett.


“This is just an incredible time to be in real estate, especially here in Spring Hill, and we have the right team of agents to get the job done,” Managing Broker of RE/MAX Fine Homes’ Spring Hill office Cynthia Beard said in the release. “We had a great year in 2014 and are already off to a great start in 2015.”


RE/MAX Fine Homes is part of the RE/MAX global franchise. The company has a presence in more than 90 countries and recently announced that it counts over 100,000 agents in its network worldwide.


The RE/MAX Fine Homes offices in Spring Hill and Brentwood are known as “donation offices.” For every sale made through the real estate office, the company makes a donation to the client’s charity of choice. The company has benefitted many nonprofit groups, including Graceworks Ministries of Williamson County, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and others.


The Spring Hill office of RE/MAX Fine Homes is located at 2051 Wall St. For more information, call (615) 302-8585. This article originally appeared at The Daily Herald.

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Local RE/MAX owners honored

From left are Lisa, the daughter of RE/MAX of Georgia owner Hugh McPherson, Denny Jones and Ben Christopher, co-owners of the RE/MAX Greater Atlanta franchise office and recipients of the Legacy Award.

Ben Christopher and Denny Jones, two established names in the metro Atlanta real estate market and co-owners of Marietta-based RE/MAX Greater Atlanta, were recently awarded the Legacy Award by RE/MAX of Georgia. The awards were presented during the annual RE/MAX of Georgia awards banquet.

The Legacy Award is an exclusive award only given to those having more than 25 years of service with the RE/MAX organization. Christopher and Jones have owned and operated a RE/MAX franchise in the Marietta area since 1986. The company has been at the same address since the building was built in 1994.

Along with the most recognized name and logo in real estate, the RE/MAX Greater Atlanta building, 2050 Roswell Road, is a familiar landmark in the area — a multi-story, Southern colonial with columns.

For more information, call (770) 973-9700 or visit www.realestateatlantaga.net.

This article originally appeared in the Marietta Daily Journal.

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RE/MAX Real Estate Center recognizes top agents

RE/MAX Real Estate Center recognized the following real estate agents for outstanding performance in their field at an awards luncheon.

Georgia office awards:

Monte Sanders licensed in Georgia and Tennessee was awarded the “Top Selling Agent” for 2014, with the highest volume of sold properties for the year.

Vickie Dycus licensed in Georgia and Tennessee was awarded the “Top Selling Agent” for 2014, with the highest volume of listings sold for the year.

Brenda Harden and Vickie Dycus both licensed in Georgia and Tennessee qualified for the executive club for 2014, which honors successful top selling agents in their field.

Tennessee office awards:

Mike Chauncey licensed in Georgia and Tennessee was awarded the “Top Selling Agent” for 2014, with the highest volume of listings sold for the year.

Wayne Thomas licensed in Georgia and Tennessee was awarded the “Top Selling Agent” for 2014, with the highest volume of sold properties for the year.

Mike Chauncey and Cliff Butler both licensed in Georgia and Tennessee qualified for the “100 percent club” award for 2014, which honors successful top selling agents in their field. Last year, less than 22 percent of all Re/Max affiliates earned this prestigious award.

Overall company awards:

Wayne Thomas was awarded the “Red, White and Blue” award by his fellow agents. This award is given to a person that embodies the spirit of the company, is supportive of fellow agents and represents the company in the best manner possible at all times.

Brenda Harden was awarded the “Above the Crowd” award by her fellow agents. This award is given to a person who has set herself apart, who truly is “above the crowd,” and is perceived as an outstanding agent as well as being respected within the real estate industry.

Stacey Hewitt licensed in Georgia and Tennessee was awarded the “Rock Star” award for her many years of service and always going above and beyond for the company.

Re/Max Real Estate Center is a locally owned and operated full-service real estate brokerage located in Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., and Chattanooga, Tenn. Founded in 2007, the brokerage has 13 agents in the Georgia office and 10 in the Tennessee office, specializing in residential and commercial real estate.

This article originally appeared at Northwest Georgia News.

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