Why Cleveland Is A Great Place To Live

All Things CLE

Whether you’re from Cleveland or relocating here, there are so many reasons to love The Land, one of which is real estate. Whether you’re buying your first home, selling your beloved home, relocating here or want to invest in real estate — Cleveland is a great place to live.

Cleveland is located in northeast Ohio on the southern shores of Lake Erie and is about 60 miles west of the Pennsylvania border. Greater Cleveland sits along Lake Erie for about 100 miles and runs  40+ miles inland. It incorporates Cuyahoga, Lake, Medina, Geauga and Lorain counties and includes more than 70 suburbs, such as Lakewood, Bay Village, Parma, Westlake, Shaker Heights, Cleveland Heights, Strongsville, East Cleveland, Euclid, Fairview Park, Garfield Heights, North Olmsted, Rocky River, Avon, Avon Lake and more.

The city of Cleveland has a population of 381,009 (census.gov) while Greater Cleveland has a population of around 2.1 million (worldpopulationreview.com) making it the 32nd largest metro area in the U.S and the second largest city in Ohio (behind Columbus).

Downtown Cleveland has been revitalized over the last five years, with an estimated $19 billion in development already completed or planned in the last ten years. Occupancy rates are at 98% while home sales are up around an impressive 12% year after year (Real Wealth Network).

For more Cleveland real estate stats, click HERE.

There are some major factors that make Cleveland a great place to live and purchase real estate including:

  • “#1 City to Buy Home for Best Rental Return” – CNBC
  • “#4 City Where Your Paycheck Will Go the Furthest” – Forbes
  • “#10 Best City for First Time Home Buyers” – Business Insider
  • “Cleveland Real Estate Market Trends” – Movoto
  • “Ohio Best State for Start-Up” – Forbes
  • “#84 Best Place to Live” – U.S. News

(realwealthnetwork.com)

Some great aspects contributing to Cleveland’s economy include:

  • It’s home to the fastest growing healthcare economy in the country (home to well-known Cleveland Clinic). The healthcare sector serves as one of the leading employers in the area.
  • 10 Fortune 500 companies have their headquarters here, one of which is Sherwin Williams.
  • Cleveland is home to the second largest live theater district (Playhouse Square) in the country, behind New York City.
  • Cleveland has three major sports teams: Cleveland Cavaliers, Cleveland Browns, Cleveland Indians.
  • The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is located in downtown Cleveland.
  • You can find the famed “A Christmas Story House” in CLE.
  • The Cleveland Orchestra consistently ranks as one of the best orchestras in the world.
  • Cleveland is home to the NASA Glenn Research Center.

Wondering what there is to do around Cleveland? The answer is PLENTY.

The city offers residents and visitors alike tons of things to do:

  • Grab some delicious food from one of the many amazing restaurants
  • Spend the day in Little Italy
  • Catch a game at one of the many great local bars
  • Indulge your culinary side at the West Side Market
  • Tour the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
  • Go to a Browns, Indians, Cavaliers, or Monsters game
  • Shop at the 5th Street Arcades
  • Tour the “A Christmas Story House”
  • Spend a relaxing Saturday or Sunday morning at a farmers market
  • Catch some sun at one of the many beaches
  • Spend the day on Lake Erie
  • Play some golf
  • Watch a play at Playhouse Square
  • Take a hike in the Cleveland Metroparks
  • Spend the day at a local brewery
  • Drink some wine at a local winery
  • Go fishing
  • Go shopping at Crocker Park, Eton Chagrin Boulevard, Legacy Village or Beachwood Place
  • Spend the morning relaxing or working in one of the local coffee shops
  • Indulge your love for sweets at a local bakery
  • & so much more

While Cleveland really does have so much to love, our favorite part of this wonderful city is the pride that the we have in it. Clevelanders aren’t fair-weather fans when it comes to how much they love their city (or their sports teams lol).

If you’re relocating or considering relocating to Cleveland, send us an email at sfloodrealestate@gmail.com for a copy of our free Relocation Guide.

For a copy of our Moving Guide, click HERE.


Posted on October 18, 2020 at 2:16 pm
Susan Flood | Posted in Around Cleveland, Buyers, Sellers |

Deciding on a Vacation Home or Rental Property

Vacation Home or Rental Property?

If you are thinking about purchasing a beach house, city condo, mountain cabin, or other vacation property, let us help you do your due diligence. There is a lot to consider when owning a second home and you want to enjoy the property, not be burdened by it.

The first thing to consider is what your goals are for the property. Will it be strictly a retreat for your family and friends, or do you want to earn rental income when you are not using it? If you are entering the rental market, find out what months are the high and low season for visitors. Will this conflict with your personal use of the property?

The size of the property is another consideration if you want to rent it out. You may need three bedrooms for your family to vacation comfortably, but the rental market may be much higher for two-bedroom properties. You need to weigh what is more important to you.

When figuring your budget, you need to know what resort fees or taxes you will be required to charge visitors, liability insurance policies you may need, costs for regular repairs and maintenance, and refurbishing household items that disappear or wear out often.

Make sure you know the area laws or neighborhood rules on renting your property. Some neighborhoods do not allow short-term rentals of less than a month, others don’t allow less than a week. Some restrict the time of year, the number of people, or whether pets are allowed.

If you will want to rent your property, make sure you get a referral to a reliable property manager, handyman, and cleaning service that can assist you in between guests.

As you shop for properties, find out what HOA or deed restrictions are in place. If you are looking at condos or townhomes, are assessments charged for major improvements like a roof replacement, storm damage, or structural repairs, and when is the last time that happened?

Is there planned construction or development in the area? You don’t want to fall in love with the view off the porch of your cabin, only to find out a new complex is planned to be built below you.

Consider the ease of getting there. If you can load up the family, a few bags and groceries, and get to your vacation home with relative ease, you will be far more likely to use it often than if everyone arrives stressed out. Ideally, you want to have recreational gear and some basic provisions stored at the home so you can just pack a few clothes and perishable goods.

Make sure everyone is all in. Nothing spoils a good time faster than having to force the idea on your children or spouse. If everyone is complaining about having to go rather than looking forward to the next trip, you have a problem. There are different philosophies on family vacations. Some families like to explore new places all the time. For them, a vacation home may not make sense. But, if your family philosophy is revisiting the same beloved place year after year, and creating memories there, then a vacation home may be perfect for you.

If you have made the choice to look into a vacation property, we would love to help you locate the perfect property or refer you to a trusted real estate agent in that area.


Posted on August 11, 2020 at 9:08 pm
Susan Flood | Posted in Buyers |

First Time Homebuyer FAQs

It’s no secret that purchasing a home is a big step — especially if it’s your first home. With that said, if you know what to expect, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming or confusing and can actually be an enjoyable process. Below we have gone over some common first time homebuyer FAQs and linked our First Time Homebuyer FAQ’s Sheet to help answer any questions you might have!

Our Top First Time Homebuyer FAQ’s Answered

Mortgage-Related

  1. How do I know if it’s time to buy instead of rent? If you know where you want to live, have a steady and secure income, and are ready for the responsibilities of homeownership, then it’s a great time to invest in property.
  2. How much do I need to save up for a down payment? A conventional loan down payment is usually 20% of the sales price, but other types of financing require as little as 3.5% to 15%. A mortgage lender can tell you what types of loans you qualify for.
  3. How do I know if I qualify for a loan and how much I can afford? Contact a mortgage lender to get pre-approval for a loan. The lender will ask you some basic questions about your income and debts and can tell you what amount you can be approved for, and how much your mortgage payments will be.
  4. What does the lender need from me to give me a loan? Usually, you are asked to provide your last two tax returns to show proof of income. You should also provide recent bank and credit card statements and proof of your current pay rate. You will also be asked for your social security number so they can run a credit check.
  5. What’s the difference between pre-approved and pre-qualified?  While often used interchangeably, these terms don’t mean the same thing. Pre-qualification is an estimate of what you may be approved for based only on the verbal information you provide. Pre-approval means the lender has verified your income and debt information and run a credit check.
  6. How do I know which mortgage option is right for me? Your mortgage lender is the best person to advise you on this question. Their products and qualifications change from time to time, so they would know best what products are available to meet your needs.

Searching for a Home

  1. What should I do when I see a house online that I like? Call your buyer’s agent: the agent you are working with to find your home. It’s best that you work with one real estate agent throughout your search because that person learns what you like and dislike and will invest a lot of time vetting properties for you. That person also represents your best interests only. When you call the agent advertising the home, you are dealing with the seller’s agent, so, while they can assist you, they are also trying to get the best price for the seller.
  2. Can you show me a house if it’s not your listing? Absolutely. As a buyer’s agent, I can show you any house listed in our MLS system, and I will contact FSBO sellers on your behalf. As mentioned above, working with me as your buyer’s agent ensures that your interests are protected.
  3. How do we write an offer? When you find the property you want to make an offer on, I will run a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) to help you determine a fair offer amount. I will also guide you through the additional terms of the contract, such as the escrow amount, closing date, and any additional terms you want to be added to the offer. I will write the offer on a contract form and submit it to the seller’s agent.
  4. What if I want to back out of a contract? You always have the right to back out of the purchase, but you may lose your escrow deposit. If the contract is contingent on a property inspection, you usually have the right to cancel for any reason during the inspection period. Once the inspection period has passed, you cannot back out and keep your deposit unless the seller agrees, or an additional term has not been met.
  5. What happens if there are other offers on the house I love? If a seller receives multiple offers on their home, usually their agent will inform the buyer’s that multiple offers have been received and the buyers have another opportunity to alter their original offer to present their “highest and best” offer. Keep in mind that many factors may influence the seller in addition to the offer price, such as the down payment amount, closing date, and inspection terms.
  6. What happens when my offer gets accepted? Once both parties have agreed on all terms and signed the contract, your escrow deposit must be made and you should schedule the home inspection. Your lender will receive a copy of the contract and will begin processing your mortgage application.

We’re Under Contract!

  1. What does “under contract” mean? Under contract means that all parties have agreed on terms, have signed the contract, and the signed contract has been delivered to both buyer and seller. Payment of the escrow deposit is expected but is not a requirement to make a binding contract.
  2. What is escrow? The escrow money, escrow deposit, or good faith deposit is money that is offered with an offer, or as soon as an offer is accepted, to show the seller that you are serious about moving forward with the purchase of the home. Because you forfeit this deposit if you back out of the purchase for any reason not allowed for in the contract, the larger the escrow deposit, the more seriously your offer is taken.
  3. Do I need an inspection? We always recommend that you have a home inspection done. In the scheme of things, paying a few hundred dollars to have peace of mind that there are no hidden dangers or problems is well worth the money.
  4. How much are inspections? The cost of the home inspection depends on the size of the house and additional inspections requested, such as swimming pool, septic tank, termites, insurance four-point (HVAC, plumbing, roof, and electrical,) wind mitigation, and radon. An average home inspection, without additional inspections, is about $300.
  5. What if my loan doesn’t get approved? If you have gone through the pre-approval process and have been forthcoming with all the information requested by your lender, it’s unlikely you will be turned down, but it does happen. Make sure you do not change jobs, purchase big-ticket items on credit, take out a car or boat loan, or open any other new credit accounts while your mortgage is being processed. If your loan does fall through, talk with your lender about changing to a different loan type.
  6. When can I start moving? When you have the keys! When you are financing your purchase, it takes four to six weeks for your loan to be processed. Once the lender gives the all-clear, closing is scheduled. You will sign your loan documents and both parties will sign documents transferring ownership to you. Unless other arrangements have been agreed upon by both parties, the sellers should have completely vacated the home when they sign the closing papers. You can have your belongings ready to move, and a moving company scheduled before you go to closing. At closing, you will receive the documentation you need to provide utility companies with proof of your new residence.

For a copy of our full First Time Homebuyer FAQs Sheet to have this information on hand, plus Vocab and more! Click (HERE) to download your free copy!

If you are thinking about buying a home this year and aren’t sure if you will qualify for a mortgage, there are several actions you can take to improve your chances of being approved for the amount you wish to borrow.

Lenders look at more than just your credit rating. They want to know that you have a steady income and are responsible with your money. Before you start home shopping, take some time to make sure you are fiscally stable.

  1. Stay at your present job. The bank will want to see, at minimum, your last two tax returns. If you want to buy a home this year, it’s not the time to start over in a new industry. If you are just getting started in the professional world, you may need to work a while longer in order to show a history of steady income.
  2. Put off buying a new car. Be careful about buying big-ticket items like a new car or boat or on credit until after you have closed on your home.
  3. Pay down credit debt. If you are carrying a balance on credit cards, work hard to pay those down or off. Try not to use credit cards if you can’t pay the balance off monthly.
  4. Pay your bills on time. Incurring late payments will reflect poorly on your credit report, so keep track of deadlines or set up automatic payments before they are due.
  5. Save up cash for a down payment. You have a better chance of being approved for a lower amount, so try to save up for a down payment to reduce the loan amount.
  6. Say no to cosigning for others. Now is not the time to cosign on any loans with family members or friends.
  7. Throw those credit card offers away. Each time you apply for credit, the provider will pull your credit history, which affects your score.

Let’s not sugarcoat it — buying your first home can be intimidating. But owning your home is such an incredibly rewarding feeling. If you’re thinking about buying a home, now is a great time! Rates are low, and inventory is high. Give us a call or txt us at 440.558.8841 and let us guide you every step of the way.


Posted on August 11, 2020 at 7:24 pm
Susan Flood | Posted in Buyers |

How to be Competitive in a Bidding War

One of the most stressful situations when searching for a home occurs when other buyers are competing for the home you want. To make an offer on the perfect house only to find out you have entered a bidding war is certainly frustrating.

It’s common to feel helpless as you wait for communications to come back through the agents involved, hoping for some good news. To that end, we’ve put together some tips for how to make a multiple offer situation as comfortable and successful as possible for my buyers.

  • Pick a real estate agent who is well organized and an exceptional communicator. A lapse in communication could be interpreted as disinterest. Don’t get overlooked because your agent didn’t communicate with the seller’s agent in a timely manner.
  • Have your pre-approval letter or proof of funds in hand. You may have a great offer to submit, but if you can’t back it up with proof you are qualified to purchase the home, the seller may just move on. Make a cash offer if you are able. If not, make as large a down payment as possible, and use a lender that communicates effectively with all parties.
  • Offer more than the asking price. Your agent should do a comparative market analysis (CMA) to give you a good idea on the home value as soon as you decide to make an offer. If it’s not too out of line with the CMA or your budget, offer more than the asking price.
  • Keep your offer clean and simple. Don’t ask for contingencies that aren’t necessary to closing the transaction.
  • Shorten the inspection period. Asking for a 5 to 7 day inspection period instead of the traditional 10 lets the seller know that you aren’t going to waste anyone’s time. Find a home inspector who has availability to schedule your inspection as soon as your offer is accepted.
  • Have your earnest deposit ready. Offer an earnest deposit that sends the message that you are serious about your offer and have the funds ready to turn in as soon as your offer is accepted.
  • Offer flexibility with your closing date. Convey through your agent that you are willing adjust the closing date to suit the seller’s needs.
  • Include a personal letter. Let the seller know who you are, what you like about the home, and that you intend to take good care of their former residence. Let them know what it is about the home that has already made it special to you.
  • Consider an escalation clause. Let the seller know your offer isn’t the highest you will go by including a clause stating that you will increase your offer, up to a set price, if the seller shows you a higher offer from another buyer.
  • Be diplomatic with negotiations after your contract is signed. Remember that the seller has other interested parties to fall back on. If you turn ugly after the contract is signed, making additional demands or not following through with your promises, the seller may hand you back your deposit and work with someone else.

Is buying or selling on your mind but not sure what’s going on in your local market? Check out our Neighborhood News.

It’s the best way to stay connected to what’s happening in the real estate market in your area. By signing up for Neighborhood News, you will be able to:

•See homes that are for sale or have sold recently.
•Find out if home sales in your area are trending up or down.
•See what houses near you are currently selling for.

To simply sign up and receive a monthly neighborhood market report, click HERE.

For our step by step Buyer’s or Seller’s Guides, email Sfloodrealestate@gmail.com or contact us at 440.558.8841.


Posted on July 30, 2020 at 5:18 pm
Susan Flood | Posted in Buyers, Sellers |

Welcome Home To 700 Lake

Brickhaus Partners & 700 Lake

If you live in Cleveland and even if you don’t, chances are you’ve heard of renowned luxury home developers, Brickhaus Partners. Their impressive resume includes:

  • Brownstones of Derbyshire – Cleveland Heights
  • 27 Coltman – Little Italy
  • Eleven River – Rocky River
  • Clifton Pointe – Lakewood
  • Riversouth – Fairview Park
  • 95 Lake – Edgewater
  • One Seventeen – Edgewater
  • Riverhaus – Chagrin Falls
  • Twenty Four Hundred – Beachwood
  • 700 Lake – Rocky River

Have any of these residences caught your attention or want to find out more about Brickhaus in general? Head to the company’s website,  HERE.

If you’re looking for style, sophistication, and elegance in Cleveland – all of Brickhaus Partners’ projects fit the bill by combining luxury, ground-breaking technology and eco-friendly practices. They raise the bar in not only design and livability but functionality and sustainability as well. Their latest venture, 700 Lake, epitomizes this.

To learn more about these exceptional residences, visit their new site dedicated solely to 700 Lake, HERE.

“International Partners Andrew Brickman and Alexandra Yonkov combine bold planning with classic architecture to create the most progressive lakefront residence between New York and Chicago. Mindfully designed to deliver unparalleled luxury, every surface, every angle and every viewpoint of the 25 condos and 8 townhomes forges a connection with the natural beauty of Lake Erie. 700 Lake is driven by the history of Rocky River and its scenic shores, embodying classic design and a health-focused lifestyle that redefines lakefront living.”

This masterpiece was designed with remarkably innovative ideas, refined crafting and top-of-the-line materials. As mentioned above, 700 Lake includes 25 condos and 8 townhomes.

Features of the condos include:

  • Lake views
  • Pool right on Lake Erie
  • Square footage ranging from 2,220 – 3,600
  • 3 bed & 3.5 bath
  • Spacious, open floor plans
  • Private outdoor living spaces

Features of the townhomes include:

  • Rooftop terraces
  • Square footage ranging from 2,000-2,200
  • 3 stories of open floor plan living
  • 3 bed & 2.5 bath
  • Customizable finishes
  • 2-car garages

Not impressed enough yet? See all the awards and nominations Brickhaus has received, HERE.

Interested in making a slice of Cleveland heaven your own? Give us a call and we’ll set up an appointment to view their gallery, see state-of-the-art digital presentations, have Brickhaus Partners show us through the project or take us to the site.


Posted on June 23, 2020 at 9:32 pm
Susan Flood | Posted in Around Cleveland, Buyers |

Easing The Stress of Relocation

Tips for Relocating to a New Town

Moving is always hard work but moving to a new town can be exceptionally hard, even when you are excited about your next chapter in life. As your real estate agent, I can help you find a home if you’re moving to Cleveland; whether you come into town to view homes or I give you video tours of the listings you’re interested in.

If you’re moving from Cleveland to another place, I can refer you to an agent in your new town to help you find your new home, and also give you referrals for other services you will need, such recommendations for hotels, restaurants, child care, and pet boarding while you get settled.

To help make the logistics of your relocation as smooth as possible, here are some to-do items you may not have thought about yet.

  1. As soon as you know you will be moving, start to organize your belongings, getting rid of things you don’t want to take with you.
  2. Collect used packing materials like boxes and bubble wrap to reduce what you will need to purchase.
  3. Start packing items you don’t use daily, like family mementos, holiday decorations, books and décor accessories.
  4. Get an estimate from moving companies and schedule a tentative date with the one you choose.
  5. Visit your new town, if possible, and arrange a driving tour with a real estate agent that can show you different neighborhoods, shopping centers, and the locations of hospitals, schools, churches, and recreational facilities or parks.
  6. When you know what school district your children will enroll in, visit the schools your children will attend to meet the principal and tour the grounds.
  7. Once you know what neighborhood you will be living in, join Nextdoor or the neighborhood Facebook page to keep abreast of what’s happening there.
  8. Locate and pack your important papers and ID’s so that you know where they are at all times.
  9. If your company is offering you relocation services, make sure you know all the terms. Often, they will cover items you might not think about, like the cost of shipping your car or professional organizers to help you unpack. They may also be negotiable in what they cover.
  10. Save all your moving expense receipts. If you are moving 50 miles or more from your old job to start a new job, your expenses may be tax deductible.
  11. Make a list of services you need to terminate in your old town and services you need to initiate in your new town.
  12. If you have doctor, dentist, veterinary, or hair appointments scheduled ahead of time, call and cancel them.
  13. Remember to transfer subscriptions for things like magazines, food deliveries, and mail-order prescriptions.
  14. Change your delivery address on your Amazon, Target, Shipt, or other shopping accounts so you don’t accidentally ship items to your old address.
  15. Schedule an appointment to transfer your automobile registration and driver’s license if moving to a new state.
  16. Transfer your voter’s registration right away, especially if your move if close to a major election registration deadline.

As I said, we understand how stressful moving can be, let alone when moving to a new city or state (trust me, we’ve done it). With some preparation & moving/packing tips, you can make the entire process a bit easier on yourself.

For packing tips to make your move less stressful, this article has some great tips: https://www.lifestorage.com/blog/moving/packing-tips-for-moving/

The Floods Real Estate offers a free Moving Guide as well as a Relocation Guide. If you’d like a copy, please don’t hesitate to ask and we’ll be happy to email it to you!


Posted on June 9, 2020 at 11:56 am
Susan Flood | Posted in Buyers, Sellers |

Making Your Move a Successful One

Ways You Can Make Moving a Little More Bearable

It’s no secret that moving is stressful but did you know that research shows that it’s even more stressful than divorce? According to studies, moving is stressful because there are so many small details involved when it comes to moving into a new home. While there is no way to completely eliminate stress during the moving process, here are some things you can do to make the process less overwhelming.

Forward your mail earlier – Obviously you’re moving to a new address so it’s crucial that you change your address so you’re not chasing your mail all over the city. It’s not just the post office you have to remember either; update your address on your credit cards, bank accounts, student loans you might have, magazine subscriptions, car insurance, and don’t forget to give your friends and family a heads up.

Turning the utilities on – The last thing anyone wants to deal with after moving is living for a few days without electricity or even worse, without WiFi. Remember to contact any utility companies before your big move and ask them to transfer utilities; make sure to allow enough time as it may take a few days to get the new accounts set up and good to go.

Hire help – While it may look appealing to cut costs where you can after buying a home, this is NOT the place to do it if you can avoid it. Take it from us, it’s absolutely worth the expense. With the internet, it’s pretty easy to find reputable movers and there’s also many apps that help you find and hire movers. We also have some movers we personally recommend if you would rather go that route.

Donate, donate, donate – There’s no better time to clean out and donate any unused items than when you’re moving into a new home. This is a win-win, you’re helping those in need and it means there’s less stuff for you to have to move to your new place.

Organize your boxes – This should be done according to necessity. Which items will you need ASAP when you move in? Think toothbrush, wine opener, pajamas, hair dryer, etc. Let’s be honest, after a long day of moving, the last thing you’ll want to do is go hunting for your toothbrush.

Photos are necessary – While this step may seem a bit over-the-top, it is actually extremely helpful and you’ll be so glad you did it. Take photos or videos of how electronics and complicated furniture pieces are assembled. You may think you’ll remember how to re-assemble your favorite electronics or that shelf in your office but why take that chance when you can snap a few pictures or take a short video?

We get it, moving is not fun. There’s going to be some bumps in the road and annoyances but you can certainly make it easier on yourself by preparing beforehand.

Moving is worth it in the end but the stress and anxiety that comes with it can be daunting. Consider following some of the tips in this article: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/living-the-questions/201703/ten-simple-tips-manage-the-stress-moving

We offer a Moving Checklist. To download a copy, click HERE.


Posted on April 4, 2020 at 12:34 pm
Susan Flood | Posted in Buyers, Sellers |

House Hunting Red Flags

Signs of Damage in a House

It’s so easy to get distracted by the cute barn doors, the recessed lighting, and the shiplap walls – that we miss the water damage on the roof! Luckily, the inspection period is written in the contract to give buyers a chance to hire a licensed inspector to assess the property. However, it’s important to know the signs that something may be wrong before getting too invested in a home.

Here’s a great article discussing what a home inspection is, when it happens, how much it costs, what exactly happens at a home inspection, and what a home inspection report includes: https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/mortgages/home-inspection/

Here are some signs that there may be big problems with a house.

Signs of roof damage:

  • Cupped, curled or warped shingles
  • Lots of shingle granules in the gutters
  • Cracked or broken tiles
  • Missing sections
  • Mismatched roof sections
  • Ceiling stains
  • Sagging roof deck

Signs of foundation damage:

  • Visible cracks in exterior or interior
  • Door jams/doors not shutting
  • Gaps on top of doors when closed
  • Windows not square
  • Wall corners not square
  • Cracks in driveway or sidewalks
  • Drainage not pointing away from the house
  • Large trees with roots close to foundation

Signs of water/mold damage:

  • Water stains on ceilings and walls
  • Cracks around windows
  • Bowed roof
  • Visible mold
  • Musty smell
  • Missing caulking or tile in baths
  • No bathroom vents
  • Wood rot around doors and trim
  • Peeling paint

Signs of electrical damage:

  • Exposed wires
  • Warm outlets
  • Damaged or rusted electric panel

Signs of plumbing damage:

  • Water stains in sinks, toilets, bath
  • Low water pressure
  • Screeching when turning on/off
  • Slow drains
  • Bad odors from sinks

A good real estate agent will be able to help you catch these things.

Ready to start looking for homes? Contact us and let’s get started!


Posted on March 31, 2020 at 12:50 pm
Susan Flood | Posted in Buyers |

Dream Home Drama? Here’s How To Win A Bidding War

How To Be Competitive In A Bidding War

One of the most stressful situations in home buying occurs when other buyers are competing for the home you want. To make an offer on the perfect house only to find out you have entered a bidding war is certainly frustrating.

It doesn’t always happen, but if there is a shortage of homes for sale, or you are looking in a particularly sought-after area, it’s a possibility.

What exactly is a bidding war? Read this article for an in-depth explanation: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/bidding-war.asp

To that end, we have put together some tips for how to make a multiple offer situation as comfortable and successful as possible for my buyers.

  • Pick a real estate agent who is well organized and an exceptional communicator. A lapse in communication could be interpreted as disinterest. Don’t get overlooked because your agent did not communicate with the seller’s agent in a timely manner.
  • Have your pre-approval letter or proof of funds in hand. You may have a great offer to submit, but if you can’t back it up with proof you are qualified to purchase the home, the seller may move on. Make a cash offer if you are able. If not, make as large a down payment as possible, and use a lender that communicates effectively with all parties.
  • Offer more than the asking price. Your agent should do a comparative market analysis to give you a good idea on the home value as soon as you decide to make an offer. If it’s not too out of line with the CMA or your budget, offer more than the asking price.
  • Keep your offer clean and simple. Don’t ask for contingencies that are not necessary to closing the transaction.
  • Shorten the inspection period. Asking for a 5 to 7 day inspection period instead of the traditional 15 lets the seller know that you aren’t going to waste anyone’s time. Find a home inspector who has availability to schedule your inspection as soon as your offer is accepted.
  • Have your escrow deposit ready. Offer an escrow deposit that sends the message that you are serious about your offer and have the funds ready to turn in as soon as your offer is accepted.
  • Offer flexibility with your closing date. Convey through your agent that you are willing adjust the closing date to suit the seller’s needs.
  • Include a personal letter. Let the seller know who you are, what you like about the home, and that you intend to take good care of their former residence. Let them know what it is about the home that has already made it special to you.
  • Consider an escalation clause. Let the seller know your offer isn’t the highest you will go by including a clause stating that you will increase your offer, up to a set price, if the seller shows you a higher offer from another buyer.
  • Be diplomatic with negotiations after your contract is signed. Remember that the seller has other interested parties to fall back on. If you turn ugly after the contract is signed, making additional demands or not following through with your promises, the seller may hand you back your deposit and work with someone else.

Have any questions, want to know more about the buying process, or ready to start the search for your next home? Give us a call!


Posted on March 31, 2020 at 12:16 pm
Susan Flood | Posted in Buyers |

New Construction: Is It For You?

Questions You Should Ask When Buying New Construction

There’s nothing like moving into a home that is truly new, with no smells, smudges or dust left behind by a previous owner. Even better is when you get to make your own custom selections. But buying from a builder is a different ball game and it’s important you know how to play.

Consider these questions if you are considering new construction.

Should you use a real estate agent? Yes! The builder may have sales agents or an assistant that helps buyer’s through the process, but those people work for the builder. It’s always a good idea to have a professional advocating for you, and most builders will pay agents a commission for bringing the buyer. It’s important that your agent accompany you to the first visit to the model center or builders’ office so that representation is established.

Does the builder have a good reputation? We’ve all heard stories of builders who fail to deliver on their promises, using lower grade materials than quoted, or even disappearing before the work was completed. Check out your builder before signing anything. Find out if there are any complaints registered against them and ask for references from other homeowners. Find out if you can tour a model or a recently completed home, and bring someone who can judge the quality of the workmanship.

Should you use the builders’ lender? Many builders work with a preferred lender that offers attractive discounts on closing costs when you finance through them. It’s important to know if the lender is working as a referral or if the mortgage company is owned by the same company that is building your home. If your lender and builder both work for the same company, it’s a good idea to have an attorney review your contracts as an independent set of eyes.

What are the deed restrictions and is there an HOA? Developers usually file a subdivision’s restrictive covenants when applying for approval to build the development. Any persons buying property in the development are bound to abide by these restrictions. You can get a copy of the deed restrictions from the builder. Also ask if there is, or will be, a homeowner’s association, what the HOA fees will be and what they cover.

Can the builder charge extra for unexpected cost increases? Look over the builder’s contract carefully, or have an attorney do so, and note if there is an escalation clause that would allow the builder to pass cost increases onto you in the event that materials or labor costs increase during construction.

What warranties are provided? Normally a builder offers a warranty lasting from six month to two years, possibly longer for some items. You should know what is covered under the builder’s warranty and for how long. All the major structural items and mechanical systems are usually covered. Appliances are not, but they should come with a manufacturer’s warranty. Damage from weather, shrinkage or expansion of the home or foundation, and anything resulting from the homeowner’s failure to provide maintenance or from work done on the home after construction is not covered.

What is the timeline for completion? This will depend on whether the build is a production home, meaning the builder is building select models throughout a development, or if you have hired the builder to build a custom home. Production homes can be completed in three to four months, where custom homes usually take a minimum of six months. Regardless, the builder should be able to give you a timeline outlining each phase of construction. Factors affecting the timeline include weather, delays receiving building supplies, or the number of changes you make along the way.

Can you choose different finishes or colors? Again, it depends on the type of build. Certainly, if you are building a custom home, you can make as many changes as you are willing to pay for. But if the home is part of a development and the builder has color palettes and finishes chosen, there may be a limit to how much you can change. Often the builder will allow you to change paint colors, flooring, fixtures, tile or appliances, as long as what you choose is in line with the budget he set, and those items have not already been ordered.

Can you get a credit if you buy your own appliances? If you already own your own appliances or prefer to choose something different from the builder’s choice, ask if you can be credited back the amount he had budgeted to pay for those items.

Is landscaping included? It’s no fun to get to the end of construction and find out there is no budget for landscaping. Find out what the builder plans to put in in terms of grass, trees and shrubbery. You may want to make additions or changes to his landscape plan.

Is new construction the best fit for you?

Now that you know the questions you should ask yourself when considering new construction, you need to decide whether or not new construction is for you.

Some perks of buying new construction are:

Everything is NEW. (Yeah, obviously) but most likely everything will last much longer than buying used. A new home means modern plumbing, appliances, heating and air, etc. meaning it can leave you worry-free for years. With less stress and fewer unexpected expenses after you move in, you’re able to spend time reveling in your new home instead of making possible repairs and updates.

High-Rated Energy Efficiency. Modern construction and the integration of advanced technologies has the added benefit of energy efficiency. New construction homes are built with the latest advances in construction materials and building methods, which provides new homeowners with the benefit of reduced monthly utility bills.

Home Warranty. As mentioned above, new builds usually come with home warranties that can last from 6 months to 2 years. This usually covers all appliances in case something goes wrong after you move in.

Modern Floor Plans. New homes often offer open floor plans, high ceilings, and an overall feeling of spaciousness. Think open kitchens and family rooms that are perfect for entertaining, large islands, and strategically placed bedrooms.

Customizations. New builds provide a clean slate; no popcorn ceilings, dated wallpaper, or shag carpeting that you’ll have to update. While some builders limit the colors or materials you’re able to choose from, you have more power over what your home will look like with a new build than you will when purchasing a pre-existing house. You get to pick and choose from several details and finishes to ensure your home is exactly the way you want it.

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To search for new construction homes in the Cleveland area, visit my New Home Source website to see everything from what’s available, builders, community names, school districts, featured builders & so much more!

There are many pros and some cons to new construction. Give us a call and let’s discuss if it’s a good fit for you.


Posted on March 31, 2020 at 11:46 am
Susan Flood | Posted in Buyers |