Wendy & Associates

    Keller Williams RED DAY

    One More Week! Thanksgiving Tradition

    In my house, and my office and every other aspect of my life for that matter- Thanksgiving tradition will not fall by the wayside! I do not want sales, lists and coupons! I want family, turkey and pies on the last Thursday of November!  The tradition has evolved slightly since its start in the 1600?s- sweets are now a staple, and weren?t available then, and our attire has been updated, and the day is spent surrounded with friends and family. 

    Somewhere along the way the tradition of hitting the malls and big box stores on the Friday after Thanksgiving for crazy deals on everything from televisions to blenders- has changed.  It started as a slow change, with the hours creeping earlier and earlier- and before we knew it in the last 10 years we saw the stores start to open at the wee hours of the morning.  Now, this monster we call Black Friday is beginning to get a little out of control.  Don?t get me wrong- I love great sales as much as the next person, but not at the expense of family time on a Holiday!

    The very purpose behind current Thanksgiving tradition is to spend time with the ones we love, and to be THANKFUL for all that we have.  Yes, this is already slightly misdirected, because yes we should be thankful every day- but the point is that on this one day we should not be rushing out the door to shop or in many cases, to work! Instead of enjoying the time we have, we are either to worried about getting to the store as it opens- or needing to get there because of a work shift.  In my opinion, Black Friday is plenty long enough and should be kept as BLACK FRIDAY!

    Whether you will be cooking or shopping this Thursday, or a combination of the two- just remember where the holiday came from and try to keep sight of it.  At this point, boycotting isn?t going to change the fact that the stores are opening Thursday for Pre- Black Friday.  However, we cannot lose the spirit of yet another holiday and allow it to be completely revolving around gifts and goods!  HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

    Have a SAFE Winter!

    Buying or Selling a home can often cause for us all to allow for certain things to slip through the cracks, even important ones.  Whether you are new in your home, or have lived there for decades- it is important to maintain some priorities! One of those key things, that is overlooked much to often, is safety with fire and carbon monoxide.  New homes mean that you need to inventory, check and plan for safety equipment, including detectors, ladders and even a plan of action for exit and meeting.  This is especially important if you have you children, but honestly none of us should be ignoring it!

    Most of us are pretty good about having smoke alarms, however how often we check them ? could be a different story!  There are two types of smoke alarms, and it is typically recommended that both be in a home (or the combination version) ? as they function differently and serve their own unique purpose.  Smoke detectors should be placed on all floors of your home ? including in your basement and garage!  Always make sure that if they are battery operated, you are testing and changing the batteries as necessary ? some new construction will have the alarms hard-wired into the house electrical system, but battery operated versions are more common.  In addition to your smoke detectors, it is also important that you have an emergency plan in place, and have discussed and reviewed it with your family.  Plan safe exits, meeting points, etc. to ensure that your family understands and can react if necessary in your new home.

    Carbon Monoxide detectors are less common, and more expensive- than a regular smoke alarm.  However, since carbon monoxide is credited with being the leading agent in accidental deaths from poisoning, it is something that we should not take lightly.  As most know, carbon monoxide is a result of our appliances that burn fuel in order to function.  Furnaces, stoves, grills, fireplaces and dryers all produce carbon monoxide, with ranges being the most common producer due to the open flame.  However- it should be noted that most deaths and poisonings are a result of carbon monoxide from cars- if a car is running in an enclosed space, especially an attached garage, this can be particularly dangerous.  If your new home has an attached garage, be sure to practice smart behavior, and alert all of your driving-age family members- of the dangers that could result.  It can be easy and tempting, especially here in cold Northeast OHIO to want to start you car and warm it up indoors- but you simply just can?t.

    The detectors for Carbon Monoxide can be purchased at any hardware store or big box DIY store- such as Lowes or Home Depot- and they function by measuring the amount of carbon monoxide that has accumulated over time.  Carbon monoxide can be dangerous if you are exposed to low levels over a long time, and also if you have high levels occurring quickly.  Read alarm information and packaging to pick the alarm that is best for you!  It is also important to remember that these detectors run using an electrical outlet- so if the power is out, the detector no longer serves its purpose.  This may also be another great reason to consider getting a back up power source, like a generator, if your new home is in an area that tends to have more frequent power outages.

    Winter months mean we are running our furnaces more frequently, and also our fireplaces and warming up our cars!  These both increase fire and carbon monoxide risks- so take the right precautions and keep yourself and your family safe!

    Northeast Ohio?s Signature Holiday

    Happy Sweetest Day!- Although it has grabbed a bad reputation over the years- labeled as a candy-industry creation, or Hallmark Holiday - it?s early start is nothing to forget.

    The very first Sweetest Day was in Cleveland in the early 1920?s-  A committee planned the first Sweetest Day and distributed candy and treats to ?newsboys, orphans, old folks, and the poor? in an effort to do something kind for those less fortunate.  Several big ticket movie stars assisted in handing out the treats, and the rest is history!

    Today we view Sweetest Day as a secondary, love-related holiday in comparison to Valentine?s day.  Predominantly celebrated in Cleveland and Detroit, although the tradition did catch on in a few other places throughout the US.

    It is quite possible that if you visit other parts of the country and mention this October holiday, people may have no idea what you are talking about!  However if you have recently moved to Northeast Ohio, you better be prepared to participate!

    Halloween Fun in Northeast Ohio

    ?Tis the season to bundle up, dress up and venture out for some Halloween and Fall fun!  Our area has an abundance of things to see and do in October! From local pumpkin patches to hayrides and hauntings- Clear your schedules and enjoy this time of year!

    Lake Metroparks has haunted hayrides and a spooky trail- great for the kids, but be sure to make reservations! The events will sell out quickly, but now is the perfect time while the weather is still decent.  Cleveland Metroparks also hosts Fall hayrides- running throughout October on Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons.

    Boo at the Zoo is another fantastic event- October 17-20 & 24-27, 2013 from
    6 - 9 p.m. at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo- and Friday, Saturday and Sundays at Akron Zoo- find kiddo-friendly (non-scary) décor and fun- including Trick or Treat, animal exhibits and entertainment at every turn.

    For adult fun, Put-in-Bay is hosting Octoberfest THIS WEEKEND! And there is also an array of haunted houses in and around our area.  If you love to be frightened, then you will definitely find enough to keep you busy this month! Couple that with Halloween parties and horror movie debuts- Plenty to scare and celebrate.

    Of course we can?t forget choosing and carving pumpkins, picking apples and hot apple cider- The favorites that tie the entire season together.  Just make sure you leave time to do that fall yard cleanup! Better yet, grab the pumpkin leaf bags and double your cleanup and decorating- it?s a win-win!

    Keep that Furnace in Shape!

    Furnaces can be a pricey replacement, and regular maintenance can greatly extend the use and efficiency of one of the most important appliances in your home!  One of the factors typically taken into consideration when purchasing a home is the age and status of the furnace- However maintenance is just as important, if not more so!  On top of general use for you and your family, it is a great idea to keep records for services performed on your furnace if you decide to sell your home in the future.

    If you have a new furnace, it is still important to ensure that the filters are clean, and that the furnace is operating at its best.  Make sure you register your product with the manufacturer, as many give a pretty wide window to ensure that furnaces are registered for any manufacturer warranty programs.  If it was just installed, chances are you will be good for the season- however if it has sat the summer months, or is even just a year or so old- it is a good idea to being your maintenance program.

    Many factors impact the performance of your heating source- What type of furnace do you have? Gas, fuel oil or electric are the most common.  The type of furnace is dependent on your location, the age of your home and the cost of commodities such as natural gas and electricity.   Many homes that were built prior to city gas line installs may still have alternative methods for heat- such as fuel or electric.  Although different, each type has its positives and negatives.  Any local heating and cooling professional will be able to service, inspect and recommend proper maintenance for each type.

    Establishing and keeping up with a routine maintenance plan can pay off big in the long run- small issues due to blocked filters can add up into high costs if the furnace abruptly stops working and you need to make an emergency service call in the middle of the night, in the dead of winter!  Furnace inspections are commonplace when purchasing a home, and home ownership should be no different- replacement costs and labor can be delayed for many years if proper care is taken. 

    Trying to DIY is a possibility, however if you are like me and take one look at a maintenance checklist- Half of the terms are foreign, and not to mention we are talking about working with electricity, fire, and gas!  In my opinion, this is a job best left for the pros- Give me a call for great local providers!

    Clean Up Before You Heat Up: Air Ducts

    Northeast Ohio weather is anything but predictable- We may see 90?s before the Fall is over, and we may need to fire up the furnace tomorrow in order to avoid seeing our own breathe in the kitchen!  It is a good idea to be ready for the cold, and part of that entails maintaining and servicing your heating system- and also the ductwork that the heat and air travels through.

    Throughout your home, the ductwork ensures air movement is even- and dispersed when called upon.  Easily forgotten, the only trace of existence often being the small vents found on the walls or floor.  Depending on the type of environment that is typical for your home, various reasons arise to ensure that your ductwork is clean and functioning properly.  The alternatives can get pretty nasty, so it is something that is best handled on an annual or bi-yearly basis. 

    Some common issues, although in no particular order, that can arise causing need for cleaning the ductwork in your home can range from mold to mice, and everything in between.  Whether your home has a humidity problem or not- it is common that mold and bacteria harbor and grow inside your ductwork.  If you have mice or other small animals that can gain access (they can be pretty crafty) they will sometimes become stuck and permanently relocated (rotting) inside your ducts.  In addition, general dust and dander, bugs and irritants can be residing within your ductwork- only to be circulated throughout your home each time you turn on your heating or air conditioning unit.

    Typically performed by a professional, duct cleaning can range from around $100-$500 depending on the size and complexity of your home- keep your eyes open for deals on sites like Groupon!  The pros come equipped with all of the tools, and a truck that does all of the work/cleaning.  Keep in mind this can be a little messy- although much of the debris and dirt is sucked out, some can find its way blown into and around your home- it is also a very loud process, so it may be necessary to temporarily relocate children or pets.  After cleaning, the ductwork is sanitized, usually with a safe and environmentally friendly product- no need to leave during or after its application.   The entire process takes only a few hours, depending on the size of the project- but the results are worth it! 

    Whether you have recently purchased and moved into your home, or you?ve been there awhile- this is a great way to kick of the closed-window season.  Contact me and I can provide you with trusted service providers in Northeast Ohio!

    Friday Night Lights, Northeast Ohio

    It?s that time of year- bundle up and don your favorite local team colors, grab some gloves, and head over to the stadium to watch live action football unfold right under your nose! Our area is full of team spirit and the excitement of the lights, games and fans is something that is not easily outdone. 

    Personally, I enjoy seeing the community spirit- as well as watching friends and family enjoy a tradition that has passed through the decades.  Those that can remember, understand and predict all of the statistics and player information get an entirely other level of enjoyment of the games as well!   I am always mesmerized by fans that can recite facts and figures from last week, last month and even last year(s)!  I prefer to visit local sites like Cleveland.com or Fox 8 if I need to find information or schedules-  I can?t possibly keep track of all of my houses and be a HS Football score buff, I simply don?t have the memory storage!

    Keep in mind as well, if you are new to a community, local sporting events can be the perfect way to meet neighbors and new friends- If you have school-aged children it is a great way to spend time together as a family, and also begin to build relationships in your new community.  If you are unable to attend the games, there are typically events and fundraisers that can be of huge importance to the teams as well, and another great way to contribute and give back to your community.

    This Summer Certainly Resembles Fall-like Weather!

    There?s no denying it- Fall is in the air in Northeast Ohio, even if the season is still a few weeks away!  With this in mind, now is a great time to start your seasonal prep as the days will soon start to shorten and the Fall task list will be in all of our minds.


    Before the leaves start to fall take care to clean your gutters and check out your roof- with all of the rainfall we have had this summer it is a good idea to visually inspect for any issues!  Clean out debris from your gutters, and check to make sure no branches have caused damage to your home.  Handling these items now can save a great deal of headache as the weather changes and our roofs are put to the test for yet another winter!  Keep up on cleaning your gutters out as leaves start to trickle down, as they will function properly without obstacles in the way. 

    For your yard and landscaping, planning ahead can help avoid dealing with your task list when it is buried under leaves!  If you are moving any of your landscaping arrangements, check for trusted gardening resources to pick the best time of year for relocation.  You can also find great information on pruning and caring for various plants as well, to ensure great growth the following Spring. 

    Organize your garage and storage sheds so that when it is time to pack away plant pots and yard décor you have plenty of space and can grab any necessary storage items like containers or tarps.  Give your patio furniture a good cleaning, even washing cushions and setting them out to dry while the weather is still nice!  This way next years set up will be nice and easy, and you won?t have to take care of these things in a few months when the temperatures start to drop.


    A great place to start inside is tending to your heating and cooling system.  Typically serviced a couple times a year, schedule to have a professional come out and clean, tune-up and replace any necessary elements for your HVAC systems and even your hot water heaters.  A normal hot water heater will last for years as long as it is properly cared for, which includes flushing out the entire system at least once a year.  This allows for any debris that settled in the bottom to be cleaned out, and your heater will operate more efficiently.  For your HVAC, cleaning your air ducts will ensure clean air is circulating through your home when it comes time to keep the windows shut!  This cuts down on dust and other allergens, and also will likely lengthen the lifespan of your heating and cooling units.

    Planning and organizing for stowing away Summer items, and retrieving Fall items, will help the transition between the seasons.  Take inventory and donate any items no longer needed, and drop off coats and Fall attire for dry cleaning if necessary.  Many local businesses offer specials at the end / beginning of the season!  Retailers also typically have great deals on storage bins and other related items, as many are planning and shopping for the start of the college school year.

    The Summer here in Northeast Ohio has been a strange one, the temperatures are much more like our normal Fall season, and the sun just doesn?t seem to want to stay around for long!  Beat the end of summer blues by staying busy, and set yourself up for a stress-free Fall!

    The Perfect Ending to Summer, Spend it on the Water!

    One of the best assets that Northeast Ohio has to offer is Lake Erie and all of the fun entertainment options that accompany it!  My plans for ending this summer are to make the most of this beautiful natural resource, and I?ve done some research I?d love to share.  Avoid the end of summer blues by packing your schedule with fun last minute plans, and you won?t regret it! 

    In addition to dinner cruises and private events, the Goodtime III also offers great options for entertainment and happy hour!  From dance cruises, to the rush hour cruise- The Goodtime?s version of  happy hour - costs only $15 per person- Running through the end of September. 

    The Nautica Queen Cleveland cruise ship has great themed events for lunches and dinners, as well as private events and public daily water tours.  The Nautica has a great setup for a fun evening on the water-  DJ and dance floor with a great selection of food served casually as buffet style.

    On top of these two Cleveland treasures, we also have a host of yacht clubs and beaches in this great place we call home!  Events are different across the board- from family-fun themed outings to a great date night or an evening with friends- the schedules are packed with great things to end the summer months.   Search your local city clubs or beaches, event schedules are easy to find and can help you in packing in the most plans possible for these next short weeks.

    Summer is also a significantly busy time of year for the real estate markets, with school starting and weather ideal for moving.  keep your eyes out for new neighbors and help them get settled and comfortable by sharing some of the things Cleveland has to offer!  

    Real Estate Nightmare: Local Flooding!

    In light of recent weather events in our area, many of us woke up this past weekend to an awful scenario- It seems nobody escaped the wrath of the rainfall, and I was no exception to the rule.  The last few days have been quite hectic, but in the essence of sharing and honestly, distraction, now is as good a time as any to address water issues in a home!  Some homes undoubtedly have a higher occurrence rate, but in some situations, such as this weekend- There is no way to predict or prepare for the heavy rainfalls and flash flooding.  Even the most waterproofed basement in existence, in the most elevated area, was a potential victim of the storm.  Unfortunately on top of the rainfall, city systems were unable to function properly and contributed to the problems with backups all over the area.

    After sizing up the circumstances and damage at my own home, I had little time to do anything but kick into immediate high gear- my basement flooded and the water wasn?t going to clean itself up- However I needed to instantly turn my attention to all of my clients and homes on the market!  I began making the rounds, reaching out to all of my current clients selling homes, especially properties that currently are vacant.  Driving around town to check on homes- and take necessary corrective measures- made for an exhausting day. 

    As an agent, especially if a client has already relocated at a distance- the homes on the market are essentially your responsibility.  Keeping them secured and also in situations like this, clean- is an important part of my job!  In addition, changing scheduled open houses and showings to coordinate with cleanup schedules needs completed.

    When searching for a home, it?s a good idea to keep an eye out for the red flags that accompany frequent water damage occurrences.  Basements will tend to have an odor if there has been water or mold present, and signs will typically appear on walls and flooring if it is occurring repeatedly, and not tended to.  Tile that comes up easily in a basement, or water marks on walls are signs of water damage that hasn?t  been properly handled.  This tells a potential buyer that the water can get in, and more importantly that it wasn?t properly cleaned up! 

    Another tool comes in a surprising form- your insurance company!  When looking at homes, it is not a bad idea to call your insurance company and give them an address after you submit a bid on a home.  The insurance company can compile a quote, but they also can see past claims- All of them!  This includes any call to the insurance industry about the property- even if the caller decided to handle it themselves, and not file a claim- the call is still on record. 

    For everyone affected by the recent water devastations in our area, hang in there- It is never a pleasant scenario, but unfortunately it can happen to any of us. Good luck in your cleanup efforts!

    Deciding if Selling or Renting Out is your Best Option

    When the time comes to relocate, or purchase a larger home, two options exist: Sellyour current home, or rent it out.  There are many factors to consider before making a final decision, and this discussion is a common topic during my initial consultations!  Here are several factors to consider when trying to make the decision.
    1.  Locationfactors in in many ways- if you are in a location that doesn?t have a typically high resale value, it may not be a bad idea to rent- however you must pay attention to city code to ensure that any changes that come along with having someone rent, are not going to adversely effect your plans.  Locations with strong resale values are great candidates for resale, and listing your home for sale would be the ideal option.  It is also important to consider the proximity to your new home, as you will have to visit or arrange a third party to maintain any issues that may arise.
    2. Financing and loan options are effected in circumstances of rent and second mortgages- It may be difficult to obtain a second mortgage in order to purchase a new home, and your original mortgage may have stipulations regarding owner-occupancy versus tenant occupancy.  Timing also plays a factor as if you are looking to sell and haven?t owned the home long, you may be penalized by your mortgage company for doing so.  It is important to research all aspects when making the decision!  In addition, your homeowners insurance policies would need to change as well.
    3. Taxes and Fees definitely play a role in the decision to sell or rent your home-  Many don?t factor in condo or home association fees when considering a rent amount to charge, and taxes will need to be covered as well.  It is important to consider all of the financial numbers before making the final decision.  Keep in mind as well that certain utilities, such as water, remain the property owners? responsibility.
    4. Amenities typically included in a rental can be appliances as well as furniture in many situations.  If your new home doesn?t have appliances, a second set may need to be purchased for either the home you will rent out, or your new home.
    5.  Maintenance is a key factor when deciding to sell or rent out your home- as mentioned, proximity plays a role as you will have to be available for maintenance issues that arise- as well as regular maintenance, such as landscaping, in many situations.  The costs for time and supplies would need to be factored in to your end decision as well.

    This glimpse into all of the items that encompass the decision to rent your home should be evaluated and then consulted with a trusted REALTOR.  Once knowing that potential resale value of your home, your decision may be to sell! 

    Fun (and not-so-fun) New Home Surprises

    Whether a home is new or new to you- the changing seasons can be accompanied by many new and exciting sites and occurrences as well as some pesky ones!  Here are some common pros and cons to look for in your new home as time goes by.

    Landscaping and Flowers: As you get settled and watch the landscaping change with the summer months it can be exciting to watch plants and flowers develop as time goes by.  Many are lucky and purchase homes with established landscaping, while many homes require some landscaping TLC.  If you have a home with landscaped areas it is a good idea to let a season go by before pulling and either pitching or moving plants.  Take photos and keep track of the growth and flowering to decide if it?s a keeper, needs relocated or just plain removed.  Keep an eye on deer and insect activity too to better help decide what type of plants to choose in the future!  Some areas with high deer populations have a difficult time keeping hostas or lilies in good shape as they tend to be an easy meal. 

    Bugs and Pests:  Perhaps disclosures should have a section including a description of seasonal insect activity, but at this point it is pretty much trial and error for all of us!  Some homes are more apt to have ant issues, or pesky moles and mice that can terrorize your new abode.  Keep an eye out for any bee nests as well whether it be in near by trees, or in brick and stone facades.  If necessary give the pros a call and have the situation remediated, but it can also often be a DIY project too with all of the tools and resources that are available at stores and online. 

    Air and Moisture:  In our area we can often run across issues with humidity or allergens in the air, and when purchasing a new home it is another item that simply has to be learned as time goes by.  If your new home tends to have high humidity it?s a good idea to circulate the air and even utilize a de-humidifier to avoid condensation and any potential issues with moisture and mold.  Many central AC units can solve the issue as well as they have built in de-humidifiers, and are also reducing the humidity from the outside by having windows closed.  For allergens and dust, ensure duct work and filters for heating and AC units are clean and properly functioning-  I?ve found a large difference between homes with wood floors versus those with carpet-  using area rugs can be a large help to catch some of the dust and dander instead of kicking it around and back into the air. 

    Purchasing a new home is exciting, and although some issues may arise, remember to keep calm and work through them!  No home is completely perfect, patience and great advice from your favorite Northeast Ohio Agent can go a long way!

    The 4th of July in Northeast Ohio!

    Keeping up with tradition, I of course am all over the events and attractions for the fourth of July holiday weekend!  As of right now, the weather forecast isn?t looking so great, however that could definitely change over the next few days!  If it doesn?t there are plenty of other options to keep busy over the coming weekend.

    From fireworks displays to parades and fairs- the weekend can be packed beginning to end with fun things in Northeast Ohio- 
    Fairport Mardi Gras Festival kicks off on Wednesday with the parade at 7pm and fireworks will be on both the 5th and the 7that dusk.  Kids Day, Senior Day, a 5K, and even raffle prizes all pack the Mardi Gras event schedule- Visit their Facebook page here!

    Most cities are hosting their fireworks displays on the 4tharound dusk- Check your city for exact information- Willoughby, Mentor and Wickliffe are each hosting at the same locations as years past!

    On the 3rd Debonne Winery has tethered hot air balloon rides from 6-8pm- A great attraction even if you don?t plan to ride!  The balloons look beautiful and the wineries are always bustling with activity this time of year!

    Rainy Day Alternatives
    If the weather doesn?t cooperate, or if you have some spare time between outdoor activities- The 4th of July weekend is a great weekend to shop sales on everything ranging from project necessities to furniture, plants and appliances- and everything in between!  Stores will typically host huge sales to kick off Summer and get merchandise moving.  If you have had a big ticket item on your wishlist this weekend may be the weekend to shop around!  Area hotels will also often offer discounts for an overnight stay, or package specials-  This could be a great alternative in gloomy weather for a quick getaway!

    General Reminders
    Trash and mail are delayed on the National holidays, and you may need to reschedule any weekly visits from landscaping professionals!  Even if they are open on the holiday, if you are planning a party you may not want your pros there before or during your get together!  

    Regardless of your plans, the Fourth of July weekend should prove to be a fun, relaxing and exciting weekend all across Northeast Ohio!

    It?s in the Mail: Ohio Real Estate Tax Bills

    All across Northeast Ohio homeowners are beginning to see their property tax bills arrive in the mail.  Here is a breakdown of where the tax income goes, here is some great information presented by Cleveland.com:

    (From Cleveland.com ?Here is how an average city tax bill of $2,213 per $100,000 of home value in the seven-county Cleveland-Akron area is divided. Note: many cites are not part of JVS districts, or are in counties without a community college, reducing the overall averages shown above for those purposes.?)

    As you see, the majority of the income is going to the local school districts- which will not only have a positive impact on education, but also on home values in the area.  We may all see taxes adversely from time to time, but it is a necessary ?evil? and in the end leads to better neighborhoods and cities, and ultimately better real estate markets!

    Here are the tax bill due dates by County:

    ?       Cuyahoga County, July 10
    ?       Geauga County, July 10
    ?       Lake County, July 17
    ?       Lorain County, July 12
    ?       Medina County, July 12
    ?       Portage County, July 15
    ?                     ?       Summit County, July 26.

    In some scenarios, taxes are paid directly through your mortgage company, rather than to the county.  If you are unsure contact your mortgage lender! As always, if you have questions relating to Northeast Ohio real estate, give me a call!

    Why Now is the Time to BUY!

    We?ve heard it all, buy now, buy low, buy high- After last weeks? event for the Carnival of Choices seeing all of the resources available and the recently released home sales statistics- I can tell you NOW is the time to buy, here?s why!

    Prices are trending up and time spent on the market is trending down, it?s only a matter of time until the interest rates rise!  If you plan to purchase a home or condo in the near future, now may be a good time to begin to get your finances  and plans in order and schedule the meetings to get the ball rolling in order to take advantage of great interest rates and lower home prices.  Waiting to long may result in higher interest rates than we?ve seen recently and also higher priced homes.  Factorssuch as location, size, age and school districts can all factor in and ultimately have an increase on higher home prices.

    Northeast Ohio and the entire state of Ohio are seeing RECORD numbers for home sales, ultimately resulting in more choices for buyers!  In the last 23 month period, home sales and dollar values were consistently on the rise.  The President of the Ohio Association of REALTORS was quoted as saying ?Attaining 23 consecutive months of gains in sales activity is the longest stretch in uninterrupted growth in 16 years of tracking Ohio home sales, and is a clear indicator of growing consumer confidence and a renewed appreciation that housing is a solid, long-term investment. ?  The more that?s selling mean the more willing potential sellers will be to make the move and put their home on the market!

    If you are a potential seller the decision to sell now could avoid an influx of homes hitting the market as the trends continue to climb.  The most important thing to do is research!  See what homes are selling for in your area, and consult a trusted agent to give you information on buyer pools and predicted changes!

    Northeast Ohio June Highlights

    If you?re anything like me I am sure that the words ?I?m Bored? are ringing through your home already- YES already!  Even though school has been out for single-digit days, it is an instant result of the structure-less summer.  Whether you need something to entertain the kiddos, or to get yourself out of the house for sanity, I am constantly looking for the best to see and do in Cleveland and surrounding Northeast Ohio cities.  

    Freshwater Cleveland
    A great site consistently updating events and current local information.  Currently,  Freshwateris highlighting several Summer events- 

    The Solstice  at Cleveland Museum of Art,  an international music festival this Saturday, the 22nd!  I recommended that anyone and everyone make the trip to the CMA and this is a great reason!

    Chamber Fest- A 10-day festival spanning from June 20th-30th, featuring musicians that are currently staying with local families- and actively participating in our local communities while they?re here!  Visit the Chamber Festsite for all of the event details and locations.

    Garden Walk Cleveland- June 22nd and 23rdtakes us on a self-guided tour through several local neighborhoods, all displaying outstanding gardens (OVER 200!) Take it all in or take away inspiration for your own garden.  This is a great way for new homeowners in our area to see what plants will flourish in the Northeast Ohio gardens!

    Positively Cleveland

    Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroads- From today until September 1st, the CVSR Summer schedule is in full swing with tours starting and ending at various depots-  Great for visiting guests, or take the kids along for an old fashioned train ride through the forest! 

    Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Photo Safari-  Generally reserved for adult amateur-photographers, but whose to say the kids can?t snap a great photo!  From April to November 1st the Zoo hosts a photo contest-  For your next visit let the kiddos have some fun and photograph the animals!

     The lists are literally endless, 4th of July is right around the corner followed by a packed Summer events calendar!  Visit my website for even information on our area?s historic and cultural cities!

    The Cleveland Museum of Art- 30 Minute Drive to Amazing!

    This past weekend I went not once, but twice- To the Cleveland Museum of Art, as I just couldn?t get it all done in a day!  If you have not been to the Art Museum recently, it is a must see trip to make.  Just a short drive from surrounding Cleveland areas, the art museum has plenty to see and do for adults and kids- and it is all FREE!  Events and exhibitions are on the Museum?s website- and I am definitely looking forward to the Solstice music festival on June 22nd!  Featuring music from across the globe, it is truly a great event in our area.

    In addition to the special events, the Museum also has Family Day on the second Sunday of each month- Craft projects, complimentary programs and more.  The first Friday of each month hosts themed Happy Hours- a great end to the work week!  This June two new exhibits open as well, the Art of the Americas and Art of North American Indians.

    Cleveland is on the come back and this is the perfect showcase example as to why- recently renovated and booming with activity- Our Cleveland Museum of Art needs to be on your Summer to-do list!  Upgrades to design and technology are showcased throughout- My personal favorite tech upgrade were the touchscreens throughout that offered downloads of information to iPads!

    Use this gloomy weather as a motivator if you must, and visit soon and visit often- we are lucky to have such an awesome feature in our backyard!  Check out the Cleveland Museum of Art website here!  

    Carnival of Choices June 21st in Lake County!

    Summer Fun and Real Estate talk all rolled into one with The Coalition for Housing and Support Services of Lake County hosting an event, Carnival of Choices- on June 21st at Veterans Park in Painesville.  I will be there to answer questions and offer insight, in addition to other local businesses and service providers.  The Coalition has been working since 2004 to be able to provide funding for and information on housing related programs in Lake County.  The Carnival of Choices is a fun, casual environment great for families and individuals looking for area housing information.

    The event aims to educate and collaborate for the best in housing opportunities for our area- providing information on safe and affordable housing as well as loans, credit counseling information and additional related topics to best promote what our area has to offer in the form of housing and housing programs.  The list of considerations is endless when making the decision to buy a home, and this event will definitely assist in eliminating unknowns and shedding light on a complex topic!

    As part of my business, each new client that I meet with is provided a full summary of the buying and selling processes, as well as additional information to best select an area in which to live.  This event elaborates and provides a forum for all questions to be asked and answered, in order to relay all of the information that we have to offer!  Buying a home can be an overwhelming, and often intimidating process.  It is my goal, and the goal of the Carnival of Choices event participants, to be able to provide prospective buyers the information and tools necessary to be able to achieve the goal of purchasing a home.

    On June 21st from 11-3pm individuals and families can attend the event- in addition to the housing related information, there will be complimentary games, prizes and refreshments.   This is a great opportunity in a nice, relaxed environment to talk all things Lake County Real Estate!    Stop up and see me!

    Memorial Day 2013!

    The first Holiday of the summer season is finally here!  If you aren?t to busy house hunting, check out these great events in Northeast Ohio!  Our area has no shortage of fun- the beautiful lake parks, our wineries and festivals, the list is endless!  Here are a few of my favorites, pick one or pick them all- Many span the entire weekend!

    The Great American Rib Cook-Off and Music Fest
    An event spanning 20+ years in the Nautica Pavilion, food and fun!

    Greek Heritage Festival in Tremont
    Traditional Greek food and just south of Downtown.

    The Mentor Memorial Day Parade
    Beginning at 9:30am from Heinen?s parking lot

    Cedar Point
    Offering free admission for active and retired military, check out their site for information!

    Whether you?re new in town, or just looking forward to a long weekend to enjoy this gorgeous area we call home- there are plenty of attractions and events to choose from!  The forecast calls for warm and sunny, be sure to keep plenty of sunscreen on hand and water for your travels.  The early part of the season we often forget the basics!  Ensure no matter where your destination is, you plan a meeting spot in instances of separation for your family- These early events can be slightly chaotic for all of us that have been stuck inside for the long winter, and it?s important to plan ahead.

    Many of us take advantage of the long weekends as well to knock items off of our project list- Whether you just moved, are planning to sell, or simply collected to much over the winter- the extra day can be a great way to plan family cleaning and organizing projects.  Pack away the winter clothes and school books, and celebrate the start the new Summer season ready and organized.  Tackle one thing at a time, and be sure to sneak some fun in for your and your family! 

    Don?t Cheat Yourself! Choose the RIGHT Agent

    Whether you are buying for the first time, or selling for the fifth- It is important that Clients understand that REALTORSwork for you, and not the other way around! 

    I always say ?I am never to busy for your referrals!? and I know I am not the only one, however I can?t seem to understand when Clients reach a point where they are chasing their REALTOR around, or trying to hunt them down for help and answers..  Our industry can be the best- freedom, flexibility and always rewarding- however it can also be challenging at times too.  None of us are perfect, but I truly believe no purchase or sale is to big or to small, and each deserves the best attention!

    When purchasing or selling a home, always meet with your agent to review all expectations, questions and guidelines.  It is important that all parties involved are educated and able to understand- and most importantly, know what to expect as each step approaches.  Your agent is your advocate and liaison from start to finish, and should be able to provide the time and efforts that you need.  Our understanding of your needs and wants will ensure the entire process is as efficient, and ultimately successful, as possible.

    As professionals, we establish working relationships with other Agents, and all of the other industry players- from the banks, to the movers, insurance companies and everything in between.  Having an Agent that understands the importance of building these relationships can play a critical role in your transaction!  Buying or selling a home is one of the biggest changes that we make in life, and our area is rich with resources and wonderful opportunity. 

    In our Keller Williams offices we have a great mentoring program, and I firmly believe that anyone can learn the basics- the outline of the basic information a REALTOR must know- but it truly takes dedicated pros to master the ins and outs, and at the end of the day provide our Clients with exactly what they need!

    Roofing 101

    In my years of experience, I have seen it all- and one of the big factors that can stop a purchase or sale is the condition of the roof.  A big budget expense, roofing is inspected, and often has an impact on the sale itself, or the price of the home for sale.  Roofing materials and labor can be costly- and if not done properly the unfortunate issues will undoubtedly arise!

    The roof is in place to ensure your home is protected from the elements, but the space itself has to be able to breathe!  The air between your ceilings and your roof has to circulate- which is done so by ensuring proper ventilation and also proper placement of insulation.  If not completed and regularly checked, issues with sitting moisture can lead to mold.

    It is also important to ensure your vent for the bathroom fans, and even dryer vents, are properly releasing- and not just into your attic space!  When properly done, these will release the heat and moisture out of your attic space. It may also be necessary to call in a mold remediation specialist, in order to have any mold removed if it exists. 

    When purchasing a home that has existing issues it is always a good idea to have them thoroughly researched.  Even the best home inspectors will recommend that a roofing professional visits the home to look.  In some cases, it is even necessary to call upon a mold remediation specialist as well for inspection. 

    As always, I am able to provide trusted resources and years of experience to each situation, and would provide a second set of eyes to the reality and urgency of the matter!

    Summer Camp Time!

    Longer days and warmer weather is right around the corner!  Our kids will soon be finishing school for the year, and I will begin my search for the perfect summer activities to keep them busy!  Even with knowing the ins and outs of Northeast Ohio, I still do countless hours of research each Spring to gather all of the options.

    Lucky for us, we have everything from Sailing Camps to Horseback Riding, Sport Camps to Girl Scouts- and absolutely everything in between!  Our area is rich with resources and organizations that provide numerous options.  The trick is being able to navigate through, decide the type of camp and the type of structure that you need.

    Organizations like the American Camp Association and the National Camp Association allow results to be narrowed based on specific criteria- but even a simple search onlineproduces a long list of results! Our area has the YMCA and city camps as well, where kids travel to local pools and attractions to fill their Summer days with fun. 

    The internet also allows for us to have a glimpse inside before ever even making the phone calls- Reviews, itineraries, photos and past trips are often displayed to showcase the experiences and events that each camp is known for.  Planning a move, or new to the area? I would love to share my knowledge of all things Northeast Ohio!

    The Appraisal Bomb

    Buying or Selling a home can be an emotional and arduous process!  In addition, recent market changes have created a new and reappearing trend regarding appraisal issues.

    One report by the NAR gathered data and estimates that roughly 35% of REALTORS have experienced an appraisal that negatively impacted the transaction of buying or selling a home.

    Who should pay for the discrepancy between the transacted price, and the appraisal?  We have shifted in our Market, our properties are selling to quickly, many within less than a weeks time on the market!  With that, comparables are hard to find from months ago- homes from 1 to 6 months back are not supporting our new, increased sales prices- and the gap between list price and sales price is nearly gone.

    In our Sellers Market today it all depends on the situation.  Unfortunately, many Sellers have to realize what they want for the house and what they need for the house sale, are not always what the house will appraise for.  If the house doesn't appraise the bank cannot give a loan to a Buyeron the amount that is higher than an appraisal.  

    If the house is still to sell, who should make up the shortage? Sellers ? Buyers?  The answer today is negotiable.  Out of my last 12 sales, 11 of the appraisals came in short.  Having the conversation upfront and realizing this may be a hurdle to overcome in the transaction tends to help with the negotiations and expectations later!

    We all LOVE a Good Open House!

    Do not miss out on the opportunity to be a part of one of the largest nationally recognized REALTOR events!  This weekend, April 20th and 21st, is the National Open House Weekend presented by the National Association of REALTORS.

    Open houses are a huge resource for both Buyers and Sellers, as well as for Agents to interact with clients and potential clients, all while showcasing great homes in our area.  

    Open houses are a great opportunity for Buyersto be able to look around, learn about the local area and see the most important details that impact their decision.  REALTORS are available to answer questions on school systems, neighborhood attractions and even the history of the homes!   The NAR says 45% percent of ALL buyers utilize open houses in their search for the perfect place to call home.

    For Sellers, the National Open House Weekend is a great tool to generate buzz and attention to their home, creating the perfect atmosphere for finding the right buyer.  Now is the perfect time with Summer right around the corner, school years coming to an end, and nice weather on our doorstep!

    This weekend is even a great tool for interested parties, who may plan to buy or sell in the near future- the resources that are provided in the form of information, Q&A sessions and general process details- are a great way to support the decision to buy or sell down the road as well.

    Keep an eye out for those RED Keller Williams Wendy Kunash signs all over Northeast Ohio!