Southeast Ohio Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

May 15, 2023

Home Equity Reviews: A Must-Have Step for a Successful Property Sale

Hey there, potential home sellers! If you're thinking of selling your home, you might be wondering how much it's worth and how much profit you can make from the sale. You might also be curious about how to price your home right and attract more buyers. These are all important questions that can affect your success as a home seller.

That's why you need a home equity review. During a home equity review, an expert will take a closer look at your home's current market value, your outstanding mortgage balance, and any other factors that could affect your home's equity. It's a simple way to find out how much equity you have in your home and how to use it to your advantage.

Home equity is the difference between the market value of your home and the amount you owe on your mortgage. For example, if your home is worth $500,000 and you owe $300,000 on your mortgage, your home equity is $200,000. 


Home equity is an asset that you can use to improve your financial situation. You can use it to pay off debt, fund home improvements, or invest in other opportunities. You can also use it to increase the value of your home and make more money from selling it.


The first step to finding out how much equity you have in your home is to contact a trusted agent (like me!) for a  market analysis. A market analysis is an estimate of how much your home is worth based on its location, size, condition, features, and market trends. Agents use their expertise and experience to compare your home to similar homes that have sold recently in your area.


A market analysis will give you an accurate and unbiased assessment of your home's value. It will also help you determine how much you can sell your home for and how much profit you can expect to make.

Once you know how much equity you have in your home, you can take steps to increase it before you sell. There are two main ways to increase your home equity: pay down your mortgage or improve your home.


Paying down your mortgage will reduce the amount you owe on your loan and increase the percentage of your home that you own. This will also lower your monthly payments and save you money on interest. You can pay down your mortgage faster by making extra payments, refinancing to a lower interest rate, or switching to a shorter loan term.


Improving your home will boost its value and appeal to more buyers. You can make small or big changes depending on your budget and goals. Some examples of home improvements that can increase your home equity are:


- Painting the walls-

- Updating the kitchen or bathroom-

- Adding a deck or patio-

- Installing new flooring or windows-

- Landscaping the yard-

- Adding solar panels or energy-efficient appliances-


Before you make any improvements, make sure to do some research and consult with your agent. We will help you make sure that the improvements you make will add more value than they cost and that they match the preferences of buyers in your area.

When you sell your home, you will receive the proceeds from the sale minus any fees and expenses. This is where your home equity comes in handy. You can use it for various purposes depending on your needs and goals.


Some common ways to use your home equity are:


- Buying a new home-

- Paying off debt-

- Saving for retirement-

- Starting a business-

- Traveling the world-

- Supporting a cause-


Whatever you decide to do with your home equity, make sure to plan ahead and budget wisely. You don't want to waste this valuable asset!

A home equity review is a great way to prepare for selling your home and making the most of your equity. It will help you:

- Find out how much your home is worth and how much equity you have-

- Learn how to increase your home equity and sell your home faster and for more money-

- Discover how to use your home equity wisely and achieve your financial goals-


Ready to get started? Contact me today and schedule your free home equity review. I can prepare a market analysis of your home and provide expert advice and guidance throughout the process. Don't miss this opportunity to unlock the potential of your home equity. Contact me today and get started on your journey to selling success!




Posted in Home Owner Tips
April 17, 2023

How to Find Your Dream Home Without Leaving Your Couch

If you're like most people (including me!), you love browsing through online listings of homes for sale. It's fun to imagine yourself living in a cozy cottage, a sleek penthouse, or a sprawling mansion. But what if you're not just window-shopping? What if you're actually looking for a new home to buy?


You might think that online home shopping is not as good as seeing the real thing. You might worry that you'll miss out on important details, hidden flaws, or neighborhood vibes. Well, I'm here to tell you that online home shopping can be just as effective and enjoyable as the traditional way - if you know how to do it right.


Do you want to know the secrets to finding your dream home online? 


Let’s get started!


Couple Searching Online For Homes



Secret 1


Before you dive into the endless sea of online listings, you need to have a clear idea of what you're looking for. Otherwise, you'll waste time and energy on homes that don't match your criteria.


So grab a pen and paper (or your favorite note-taking app) and make a list of your must-haves.  These are considered “needs” and are the non-negotiable features that your new home should have, such as:

  • Location
  • Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Square footage
  • Price range
  • Style and layout
  • Amenities

Now write another list of some nice-to-haves. These are considered “wants” which are the features that you'd love to have but are not deal-breakers, such as:

  • Fireplace
  • Pool
  • Garage
  • View
  • Garden

Knowing what you need and what you want will help you narrow down your options and focus on the homes that fit the more important criteria.

secret 2

Now that you have your list of must-haves and nice-to-haves, it's time to use the power of technology to find your dream home online.


There are many websites and apps that let you search for homes by various criteria, such as location, price, size, style, etc. Some of the most popular ones are Zillow or


These websites allow you to view photos, videos, and virtual tours of homes, as well as property details, such as year built, lot size, taxes, etc. You can also save your favorite homes, and compare them side by side.


Often your local agent or brokerage will have more in depth and up-to-date websites that allow you to search listings as well. These sites often update the status of listings more often and allow you to have an account where you can send information directly to your preferred agent to avoid using another company as a middleman. That means that when you do find the perfect home, you are able to move quickly and get it in contract!


Using these online tools will help you find homes that match your criteria and save time.


secret 3


Finding a home online is not just about looking at pictures and videos. It's also about doing your homework on the neighborhoods and areas that interest you.


You want to make sure that you're buying a home in a convenient and desirable location for you. You also want to get a sense of the local real estate market trends and conditions.

Look into factors that can affect your decision, such as:

  • Schools
  • Crime rates
  • Property taxes
  • Commute times
  • Shopping and dining options
  • Parks and recreation facilities
  • Culture and entertainment

You can use online tools like Google Maps to get a feel for the location and surrounding areas. You can also read reviews from other residents or visit online forums and groups where people share their opinions and experiences.


Researching the neighborhoods and areas will help you get a better understanding of the pros and cons of each location and make an informed decision.


secret 4


Online home shopping can be fun and exciting, but it can also be frustrating and disappointing. Sometimes, the homes that look perfect online turn out to be not so perfect in person. The homes that you love could get sold before you can make an offer. Maybe the homes that fit your budget are not available in your preferred area.


That's why it's important to be flexible when shopping for a home online. Don't get too attached to any specific home or location. Be open to exploring different options and alternatives. Be willing to compromise on some features or amenities if they're not essential.


Being flexible will help you avoid disappointment and frustration and increase your chances of finding a home that suits your needs.


secret 5

One of the best features of online home shopping is that you can see the inside of homes without having to physically visit them. Virtual tours and videos are becoming more common in the real estate industry, and they can give you a realistic and immersive experience of the home.


Many listings now include virtual tours or videos that allow you to walk through the home and get a better sense of the layout and features. You can zoom in on details, rotate the view, and even measure dimensions. You can also pause, rewind, and replay as many times as you want.


Virtual tours and videos can help you save time and money by eliminating unnecessary trips to homes that don't meet your expectations. They can also help you narrow down your choices and prepare questions for your agent.


secret 6

Another way to get a closer look at homes online is to attend online open houses. These are virtual events where you can join a live video chat with the agent and tour the home with them. You can also interact with other potential buyers and ask questions in real-time.


Online open houses can help you get a feel for the home and the agent's personality. They can also help you gauge the level of interest and competition for the home. You can find online open houses on websites or on social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram.


secret 7

  • Find more listings: Many agents and real estate companies post listings on their social media pages, so make sure to follow them for updates. You can also use hashtags or keywords to search for homes in your area.
  • Get recommendations: You can use social media to ask for recommendations for agents, lenders, inspectors, or other professionals that can help you with your home buying process. You can also read reviews and testimonials from other clients.
  • Connect with other homebuyers: You can use social media to join groups or communities where people share their home buying experiences, tips, and advice. You can also network with other homebuyers in your area and learn from their mistakes and successes.

secret 8

Online home shopping can be overwhelming at times, and it may take longer than you expect to find the right home. Don't get discouraged, and be patient during the process. Remember, buying a home is a big decision, and it's important to take your time and make the right choice.


Here are some tips to help you stay patient:

  • Set realistic goals: Don't expect to find your dream home overnight. Set realistic goals for how many homes you want to see per week, how long you want to spend on each one, and how many offers you want to make.
  • Stay organized: Keep track of your online home search by using apps, spreadsheets, or notebooks. Record the details of each home you see, such as price, location, features, pros and cons, etc. This will help you compare homes and remember what you liked or disliked about each one.
  • Take breaks: Don't let online home shopping consume your life. Take breaks from your screen and do something else that relaxes you or makes you happy. This will help you avoid burnout and stress.

secret 9

Online home shopping can be a great way to find your dream home, but it's not a substitute for professional guidance. You still need an expert to help you navigate the complex and competitive real estate market.


That's why you should work with a reputable and experienced real estate agent who can:

  • Give you access to more listings and information
  • Negotiate the best price and terms for you
  • Handle the paperwork and legal issues
  • Advise you on inspections, appraisals, and repairs
  • Represent your interests and protect your rights

Working with a professional agent will help you save time, money, and stress and ensure a smooth and successful home buying process.

pro tip
Online home shopping is a convenient and effective way to find your dream home. By following these secrets, you can:
  • Know what you want
  • Utilize online tools
  • Research the neighborhoods and areas
  • Be flexible
  • Take advantage of virtual tours
  • Attend online open houses
  • Use social media to your advantage
  • Be patient
  • Get professional help

With these secrets, you can find your dream home without leaving your couch. Happy online home shopping!


home search
Posted in Buyer Tips
Nov. 1, 2021

New Build or Existing Home: Which One Is Right for You?


New Build or Existing Home: Which One Is Right for You?

Homebuyers today are facing a huge dilemma. There simply aren’t enough homes for sale.1


Nationwide, there were 1.27 million active listings in September, down 13% from the previous year. According to the National Association of Realtors, that’s about 2.4 months of inventory, which is far less than the six months that is generally needed to strike a healthy balance between supply and demand.2


Given the limited number of available properties, if you’re a buyer in today’s market, you may need to expand your search to include both new construction and resale homes. But it can feel a little like comparing apples to oranges.


Let’s take a closer look at some of the factors you should take into account when choosing between a new build or an existing home. 




How quickly do you want (or need) to move into your next home? Your timeframe can be a determining factor when it comes to choosing between a new build or resale.

New Build

If you opt for new construction, you may be surprised by how long you have to wait to get the keys to your new digs. Currently, many home builders are dealing with unique challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, including rising costs, labor and material shortages, and shipping delays. While historically it took around five to six months to build a home, many builders are now reporting construction timelines closer to a year or more.3


These issues have led some builders to cancel contracts or raise the price on unsuspecting homebuyers long after agreements were signed. Unfortunately, this scenario can throw a major wrench in your moving plans and significantly delay your timeline.


To minimize these types of surprises, it’s crucial to have a real estate agent represent you in a new home purchase. We can help negotiate better contract terms and advise you about the potential risks involved.


Existing Home

If you're in a hurry to move into your next residence, then you may want to stick to shopping for an existing home.


You can typically move into a resale home as soon as you've closed the deal. The average time it takes to close a home purchase is around 51 days, but it can vary based on loan type and market activity.4


If you need to move even sooner, it’s sometimes possible to close faster, especially if you’re a cash buyer. In fact, many sellers prefer a quick closing, so it can give you an advantage in a competitive market.





From commute to construction to amenities, there’s a lot to consider when choosing your next neighborhood.


New Build

With a brand-new home, you're more likely to move into a neighborhood that's located on the edge of town and is still undergoing development.5 This could mean a longer commute and ongoing construction for some time.



However, new developments can also offer a lot of amenities that appeal to modern homebuyers. Water features, hike-and-bike trails, tot lots, and dog parks are just a few of the enhancements we’re seeing pop up in master-planned communities across the country. And some feature new schools and their own urban-like centers with restaurants, retail, and office space.6

Existing Home

An existing home is more likely to be located close to town in a neighborhood with mature trees, established schools, and a deeply-rooted community. As a result, you may find the neighborhood's trajectory to be more predictable than an up-and-coming area.


But the amenities may be lacking and the infrastructure dated when compared to newer communities. And while some homebuyers love the charm and eclectic feel of an older neighborhood, others prefer the sleek and cohesive look of a newer development.





Are you a DIY enthusiast, or do you prefer a low-maintenance lifestyle? Set realistic expectations about how much time, effort, and money you want to devote to maintaining your next home.


New Build

When you build a home, everything is brand new. Therefore, in the first few years at least, you can expect less required maintenance and repairs. A 2019 survey found that millennials' homebuying regrets often came down to maintenance issues, rather than other concerns.7 So if you would rather spend your weekends exploring your new neighborhood than fixing a leaky faucet, you may be happier buying a turnkey build.


That doesn't mean, though, that a new home will be entirely maintenance-free. In fact, depending on the builder, you could find yourself repairing more than you expected. Some home builders have reputations for shoddy construction and subpar materials, so it's important to choose one with a solid reputation. We can help you identify the quality builders in our area.


Existing Home

No matter how good a deal you got when you purchased it, you could come to regret buying an older home if it costs you heavily in unexpected maintenance and repairs. According to HomeAdvisor's yearly True Cost report, home renovations have grown more expensive in recent years. For example, installing a new HVAC system could cost you $5,371 on average. And you can expect to pay nearly double that amount ($9,375) for a new roof.8


Fortunately, there are ways to prepare for these large expenditures. We always recommend that our buyers hire a certified home inspector, whether they buy a new or existing home. Once we have the inspector’s report, we can negotiate with the seller on your behalf for reasonable repairs or concessions.





On a quest for greener living? If so, there are several factors to consider when deciding on your next home.


New Build

There’s a growing demand for energy-efficient housing, and many builders are rising to the challenge. Nearly 1 in 4 homes built in 2020 received a HERS (Home Energy Rating System) Index Rating by the Residential Energy Services Network. A HERS rating provides an index score that compares the newly-built home to those that were standard in 2006. The more energy-efficient the home is, the lower the score it receives.11


The average home rated in 2020 was 42% more efficient than those built in 2006 and 72% more efficient than a typical home built in the 1970s.11 So if energy efficiency is a top priority, a new home with a low HERS rating may be a good choice. You can also look for one that’s ENERGY STAR Certified, which means it meets a series of strict efficiency guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency. In 2020, only 7.9% of homes built in the U.S. received this designation.12


Existing Home

Of course, a basic tenant of sustainable living is: reduce, reuse, recycle. And since a resale home already exists, it automatically comes with a lower carbon footprint. Research has also shown that remodeling or retrofitting an older home is often greener than building one from scratch.13


With some energy-conservation effort and strategic upgrades, environmentally-conscious consumers can feel good about buying an existing home, as well.





Open floor plan? Kitchen island? High ceilings? Must-have design features could drive your decision to build or buy resale.


New Build

With a new home, you can bet that everything will look shiny and perfect when you move in. Builders tend to put a lot of emphasis on visual details and follow the latest design trends. For example, newly-built homes are likely to feature an open floor plan, a central kitchen island, and 9+ foot ceilings, which are must-haves for many modern buyers. They are also unlikely to feature carpet on the main level or laminate countertops, both of which have lost mass appeal.14


However, some buyers complain of the cookie-cutter feel of new homes since they are often built with a similar aesthetic. That doesn't mean, though, that you can't incorporate your own style. We can help you negotiate custom features and upgrades to personalize the space and make it feel like your own.


Existing Home

In some of the most coveted neighborhoods, an older home with classic styling and character can be highly sought after. But unless the previous homeowners have invested in tasteful updates, an existing home is also more likely to look dated.


While some buyers prefer the traditional look and character of an older home, others crave something more modern. If that’s the case, we can help you find a resale home that leaves enough room in your budget to renovate it to your liking.





When it comes to choosing between a new build or an existing home, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. There are numerous factors to consider, and you may have to make some compromises along the way. But the homebuying process doesn’t have to feel overwhelming.


I’m here to help. And in many cases, our homebuyer guidance and expertise are available at no cost to you! That’s because the home seller or home builder may compensate us with a commission at closing.


Some new-construction homebuyers make the mistake of visiting a builder’s sales office or even purchasing a home without their own real estate representative. But keep in mind, the builder’s agent or “sales consultant” has their best interests in mind—not yours.


I am knowledgeable about both the new construction and resale home options in our area, and I can help you make an informed decision, negotiate a fair price, and avoid mistakes that can cost you time and money. So give me a call today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation—and let’s start searching for your next home!




1.      Reuters -

2.      National Association of Realtors -

3.      KFVS 12 -

4.      Rocket Mortgage -

5.      Real Assets Adviser -

6.      Builder Online -

7.      Bankrate -

8.      Home Advisor -

9.      Roofing Calculator -

10.   Plumbing and Mechanical Engineer -

11.   National Association of Home Builders -

12.   EnergyStar -

13.   Advanced Materials Research -


14.   National Association of Home Builders -

Oct. 11, 2021

Shut Down Home Intruders With These 7 Safety Strategies

According to the FBI, more than one million burglaries are committed in the United States each year, with victims suffering an estimated $3 billion in combined property losses.1 Fortunately, there are some proven tactics you can use to decrease your likelihood of a home invasion.


Most burglars won’t go to extreme lengths to enter a residence. They are looking for easy access with minimal risk. A monitored security system can be an effective deterrent—homes without one are 300% more likely to be burglarized—but it isn’t the only way to protect your property.2 The strategies below can help to maximize your home’s security and minimize your chances of being targeted by intruders.


Thinking about listing your home? We have some additional recommendations for you. Contact us to find out the procedures we use to keep our clients and their property safe and secure during the buying and selling process.



  1. Check Your Doors and Windows


According to home security company ADT, the most common entry point for a burglar is an unlocked front door (34%) followed by a first-floor window (23%) or back door (22%).3 So securing these points of entry is essential.


       Evaluate the condition of your doors and locks. 


A steel door is generally considered the strongest, but many homeowners prefer the look of wood. Whatever material you choose, make sure it has a solid core and pair it with a Grade 1 or 2 deadbolt lock with a reinforced strike plate.4


       Add window locks and security film.


Aftermarket window locks are an easy and inexpensive upgrade that can provide an additional layer of protection for your home. Choose a lock that is compatible with your window frame material and a style that is appropriate for the window type. And consider using a specialty film on windows that are adjacent to a door. Security film holds shattered glass in place, making the windows more difficult to penetrate.5



  1. Landscape for Security


When it comes to outdoor landscaping, many of us think about maintenance and curb appeal. But the choices we make can impact our home’s security, as well. Thieves target homes that they can enter and exit without being detected. Here are a few tweaks that can make your property less appealing to potential intruders.


       Increase visibility from the street.


A privacy hedge may keep out nosy neighbors, but it can also welcome thieves—so trim overgrown trees and shrubs that obstruct the view of your property. According to police officers, they offer an ideal environment for criminals to hide.6


       Place thorny bushes and noisy gravel below windows.


Don’t eliminate shrubbery altogether, though. Certain hedges can actually offer a deterrent to robbers. Plant thorny rose bushes or sharp-leaved holly beneath your first-story windows for both beauty and protection. Add some loose gravel that crunches when disturbed.



  1. Light Your Exterior


When it’s dark outside, criminals don’t need to rely on overgrown shrubbery to hide. Luckily, a well-designed outdoor lighting system can make your home both safer and more attractive.


       Install landscape lighting.


Eliminate pockets of darkness around your yard and home’s perimeter with strategically placed outdoor lights. Use a combination of flood, spot, well, and pathway lights to add interest and highlight natural and architectural details.


       Use motion-activated security lights to startle intruders.


The soft glow of landscape lighting isn’t always enough to dissuade a determined intruder. But a motion-activated security light may stop him in his tracks. And if you choose a Wi-Fi connected smart version, you can receive notifications on your phone when there’s movement on your property.



  1. Make It Look Like You’re Home


Motion-activated lights aren’t the only way to make an intruder think you’re at home. New technology has made it increasingly possible to monitor your home while you’re away. This is especially important since most burglaries take place on weekdays between 10 am and 3 pm, when many of us are at work or school.2


       Turn on your TV and leave a car in the driveway.


A survey of convicted burglars revealed that the majority avoid breaking into homes if they can hear a television or if there’s a vehicle parked in the driveway.7 If you’re away from home, try connecting your TV to a timer or smart plug. And when you travel, leave your car out or ask a neighbor to park theirs in your driveway.


       Install a video doorbell.


In that same survey, every respondent said they would knock or ring the doorbell before breaking into a home. A video doorbell not only alerts you to the presence of a visitor, it also enables you to see, hear, and talk with them remotely from your smartphone—so they’ll never know you’re gone.



  1. Keep Valuables Out of Sight


Few home invasions are conducted by criminal masterminds. In fact, a survey of convicted offenders found that only 12% planned their robberies in advance, while the majority acted spontaneously.8 That’s one of the reasons security experts caution against placing valuables where they are visible from the outside.9


       Check sightlines from your doors and windows.


Don’t tempt robbers with a clear view of the most commonly stolen items, which are cash (think purses and wallets), jewelry, electronics, firearms, and drugs (both illegal and prescription).6 Take a walk around your property to make sure none of these items are easily visible.


       Secure valuables in a safe.


Consider the possessions that are on display inside your home, as well. It’s always a good idea to lock up firearms, sensitive documents, and expensive or irreplaceable items when you have housekeepers or other service providers on your property.



  1. Highlight Your Security Measures


While it’s prudent to hide your valuables, it’s equally important to advertise your home’s security features. In surveys, convicted burglars admit to avoiding homes with obvious protective measures in place.7,8


       Install outdoor cameras.


Security cameras are the most common home protection device and for good reason.10 Not only do they help prevent crime (burglars are known to avoid them), they can offer peace of mind for homeowners who want to sneak a peek at their property while away.11 And if you do experience a break-in, security camera footage can help police identify your intruder.


       Post warning signs.


Security system placards and beware-of-dog signs are also shown to be effective deterrents.8 Of course, you should back up your threats with a noisy alarm and loud barking dog for maximum impact.



  1. Limit What You Share on Social Media


Social media platforms can be a great way to stay connected with friends and family, but it’s easy to reveal more than you’ve intended. Be thoughtful about what you’re posting—and who has access.


       Delay posting photos or travel updates.


It can be tempting to upload a concert selfie or pictures from your beach vacation. But these types of photos scream: “My house is unoccupied!” Try to wait until you’ve returned home to share the photos on social media.


       Set privacy restrictions on your accounts.


Think twice about connecting with strangers or casual acquaintances on social media. If you enjoy sharing family updates and personal photos, it’s safer to limit your followers to those you truly know and trust.





We take home security seriously. That’s why we have screening procedures in place to keep our clients and their homes safe when they are for sale. We also remind our buyers to change the locks before they move into their new homes and provide referrals to locksmiths and home security companies that can help. To learn more about our procedures and how you can stay safe during the buying and selling process, contact us to schedule a free consultation!





1.      Federal Bureau of Investigation -

2.      Bankrate -

3.      ADT -

4.      National Crime Prevention Council -

5.      SafeWise -

6.      Forbes -

7.      KGW News -

8.      Science Daily -

9. -

10.   SafeWise -


11.   The Guardian -

Posted in Home Owner Tips
July 4, 2021

How to Bridge the Appraisal Gap in Today’s Real Estate Market

If you’re searching for drama, don’t limit yourself to Netflix. Instead, tune in to the real estate market, where the competition among buyers has never been fiercer. And with homes selling for record highs,1 the appraisal process—historically a standard part of a home purchase—is receiving more attention than ever.


That’s because some sellers are finding out the hard way that a strong offer can fizzle quickly when an appraisal comes in below the contract price. Traditionally, the sale of a home is contingent on a satisfactory valuation. But in a rapidly appreciating market, it can be difficult for appraisals to keep pace with rising prices.


Thus, many sellers in today’s market favor buyers who are willing to guarantee their full offer price—even if the property appraises for less. For the buyer, that could require a financial leap of faith that the home is a solid investment. It also means they may need to come up with additional cash at closing to cover the gap.


Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, it’s never been more important to understand the appraisal process and how it can be impacted by a quickly appreciating and highly competitive housing market. It’s also crucial to work with a skilled real estate agent who can guide you to a successful closing without overpaying (if you’re a buyer) or overcompensating (if you’re a seller). Find out how appraisals work—and in some cases, don’t work—in today’s unique real estate environment.





An appraisal is an objective assessment of a property’s market value performed by an independent authorized appraiser. Mortgage lenders require an appraisal to lower their risk of loss in the event a buyer defaults on their loan. It provides assurance that the home’s value meets or exceeds the amount being lent for its purchase.


In most cases, a licensed appraiser will analyze the property’s condition and review the value of comparable properties that have recently sold. Mortgage borrowers are usually expected to pay the cost of an appraisal. These fees are often due upfront and non-refundable.2


Appraisal requirements can vary by lender and loan type, and in today’s market in-person appraisal waivers have become much more common. Analysis of the property, the local market, and the buyer’s qualifications will determine whether the appraisal will be waived. Not all properties or buyers will qualify, and not all mortgage lenders will utilize this system.3 If you’re applying for a mortgage, be sure to ask your lender about their specific terms.  




If you’re a cash buyer, you may choose—but are not obligated—to order an appraisal.





An appraisal contingency is a standard inclusion in a home purchase offer. It enables the buyer to make the closing of the transaction dependent on a satisfactory appraisal wherein the value of the property is at or near the purchase price. This helps to reassure the buyer (and their lender) that they are paying fair market value for the home and allows them to cancel the contract if the appraisal is lower than expected.


Low appraisals are not common, but they are more likely to happen in a rapidly appreciating market, like the one we’re experiencing now.4 That’s because appraisers must use comparable sales (commonly referred to as comps) to determine a property’s value. These could include homes that went under contract weeks or even months ago. With home prices rising so quickly,5 today’s comps may be lagging behind the market’s current reality. Thus, the appraiser could be basing their assessment on stale data, resulting in a low valuation.





When a property appraises for less than the contract price, you end up with an appraisal gap. In a more balanced market, that could be cause for a renegotiation. In today’s market, however, sellers often hold the upper hand.


That’s why some buyers are using the potential for an appraisal gap as a way to strengthen their bids. They’re proposing to take on some or all of the risk of a low appraisal by adding gap coverage or a contingency waiver to their offer.


Appraisal Gap Coverage

Buyers with some extra cash on hand may opt to add an appraisal gap coverage clause to their offer. It provides an added level of reassurance to the sellers that, in the event of a low appraisal, the buyer is willing and able to cover the gap up to a certain amount.6


For example, let’s say a home is listed for $200,000 and the buyers offer $220,000 with $10,000 in appraisal gap coverage. Now, let’s say the property appraises for $205,000. The new purchase price would be $215,000. The buyers would be responsible for paying $10,000 of that in cash directly to the seller because, in most cases, mortgage companies won’t include appraisal gap coverage in a home loan.6


Waiving The Appraisal Contingency


Some buyers with a higher risk tolerance—and the financial means—may be willing to waive the appraisal contingency altogether. However, this strategy isn’t for everyone and must be considered on a case-by-case basis.


It’s important to remember that waiving an appraisal contingency can leave a buyer vulnerable if the appraisal comes back much lower than the contract price. Without an appraisal contingency, a buyer will be obligated to cover the difference or be forced to walk away from the transaction and relinquish their earnest money deposit to the sellers.7


It’s vital that both buyers and sellers understand the benefits and risks involved with these and other competitive tactics that are becoming more commonplace in today’s market. We can help you chart the best course of action given your individual circumstances.





There’s never been a market quite like this one before. That’s why you need a master negotiator on your side who has the skills, instincts, and experience to get the deal matter what surprises may pop up along the way. If you’re a buyer, we can help you compete in this unprecedented market—without getting steamrolled. And if you’re a seller, we know how to get top dollar for your home while minimizing hassle and stress. Contact me today to schedule a complimentary consultation.





1.      Wall Street Journal -

2.      US News & World Report -

3.      Rocket Mortgage – 

4.      Money -

5.      S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price NSA Index -

6.      Bigger Pockets -

Washington Post -

Posted in Market Updates
June 15, 2021

Could Rising Home Prices Impact Your Net Worth?



Learn how to determine your current net worth and how an investment in real estate can help improve your bottom line.


Among its many impacts, COVID-19 has had a pronounced effect on the housing market. Low home inventory and high buyer demand have driven home prices to an all-time high.1 This has given an unexpected financial boost to many homeowners during a challenging time. However, for some renters, rising home prices are making dreams of homeownership feel further out of reach.


If you’re a homeowner, it’s important for you to understand how your home’s value contributes to your overall net worth. If you’re a renter, now is the time for you to figure out how homeownership fits into your short-term goals and your long-term financial future. An investment in real estate can help you grow your net worth, build wealth over time, and gain a foothold in the housing market to keep pace with rising prices.



What is net worth?


Net worth is the net balance of your total assets minus your total liabilities. Or, basically, it is what you own minus what you owe.2


Assets include the cash you have on hand in your checking and savings accounts, investment account balances, salable items like jewelry or a car and, of course, your home and any other real estate you own.


Liabilities include your total debt obligations like car loans, credit card debt, the amount you owe on your mortgage, and student loans. In addition, liabilities would include any other payment obligations you have, like outstanding bills and taxes.



How do I calculate my net worth?


To calculate your net worth, you’ll want to add up all of your assets and all of your liabilities. Then subtract your total liabilities from your total assets. The balance represents your current net worth.


Total Assets – Total Liabilities = Net Worth


Ready to calculate your net worth? Contact us to request an easy-to-use worksheet and a free assessment of your home’s current market value!


Keep in mind that your net worth is a snapshot of your financial position at a single point in time. Your assets and liabilities will fluctuate over both the short term and long term. For example, if you take out a loan to buy a car, you decrease your liability with each payment. Of course, the value of your asset (the car) will depreciate over time, as well. An asset that is invested in stocks or bonds can be even less predictable, as it’s subject to daily fluctuations in the market.


As a homeowner, you enjoy significant stability through your monthly real estate investment, also known as your home mortgage payment. While the actual value of your home can fluctuate depending on market conditions, your mortgage payment will decrease your liability each month. And unlike a vehicle purchase, the value of your home is likely to appreciate over time, which can help to grow your net worth. Right now, your asset may be worth significantly more than it was this time last year.3


If you’re a homeowner, contact us for an estimate of your home’s market value so that you can factor it into your net worth calculation. If you’re not a current homeowner, let’s talk about how homes in our area have appreciated over the last several years. That way, you can get an idea of how a home purchase could positively affect your net worth.



How can real estate increase my net worth?


When you put your real estate dollars to work, it’s possible to grow your net worth, generate cash flow, and even fund your retirement. We can help you realize the possibilities and maximize the return on your investment.


Property Appreciation


Generally, property appreciates in one of two ways: either through changes to the overall market or through value-added modifications to the property itself.


  1. Rising prices


This type of property appreciation is the one that many homeowners are enjoying right now. Buyer demand is at an all-time high due to a combination of record-low interest rates and limited housing inventory.4 At other times, rising home prices have been attributed to different factors. Certain local conditions—like a new commercial development, influx of jobs, or infrastructure project—can encourage rapid growth in a community or region and a corresponding rise in home values. Historically, home prices have been shown to experience an upward trend punctuated by intermittent booms and corrections.5


  1. Strategic home improvements


Well-planned and executed home improvements can also impact a home’s value and increase homeowner equity at the same time. The type of home improvement should be appropriate for the home and in tune with the desires of local buyers.


For example, a tasteful exterior remodel that is in keeping with the preferences of local home buyers is likely to add significant value to a home while remodeling the home to look like the Taj Mahal or a favorite theme park attraction will not. A modern kitchen remodel tends to add value, while a kitchen remodel that is overly expensive or personalized may not provide an adequate return on investment.


Investment Property


You may be used to thinking of investments primarily in terms of stocks and bonds. However, the purchase of a real estate investment property offers the opportunity to increase your net worth both upon purchase and year after year through appreciation. In addition, rental payments can have a positive impact on your monthly income and cash flow. If you currently have significant equity in your home, let's talk about how you could put that equity to work by funding the purchase of an investment property.


  1. Long-term or traditional rental


A long-term rental property is one that is leased for an extended period and typically used as a primary residence by the renter. This type of real estate investment offers you the opportunity to generate consistent cash flow while building equity and appreciation.6


As an owner, you don’t usually have to worry about paying the utility bills or furnishing the property—both of which are typically covered by the tenant. Add to this the fact that traditional tenants translate into less time and effort spent on day-to-day property management and long-term rentals are an attractive option for many investors.


  1. Short-term or vacation rental


Short-term rentals are often referred to as vacation rentals because they are primarily geared towards recreational travelers. And as more people start to feel comfortable traveling again, the short-term rental market is poised to become a more popular option than ever. In 2020 alone, in the thick of widespread travel bans, the short-term rental platform Airbnb’s market share of the hospitality industry reached as high as 41 percent.6


Investing in a short-term rental offers many benefits. If you purchase an investment property in a top tourist destination, you can expect steady demand from travelers while taking advantage of any non-rented periods to enjoy the home yourself. You can also adjust your rental price around peak demand to maximize your cash flow while building equity and long-term appreciation.

To reap these benefits, however, you’ll need to understand the local laws and regulations on short-term rentals. We can help you identify suitable markets with investment potential.





Ready to calculate your personal net worth? Contact us for an easy-to-use worksheet and to find out your home’s current value. And if you want to learn more about growing your net worth through real estate, we can schedule a free consultation to answer your questions and explore your options. Whether you’re hoping to maximize the value of your current home or invest in a new property, we’re here to help you achieve your real estate goals.



The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only.  It is not intended to be financial advice. Consult the appropriate professionals for advice regarding your individual needs.





  1. National Association of Realtors -
  2. Forbes -
  3. The Washington Post -
  4. Bloomberg -
  5. Federal Reserve Economic Data -
  6. Propmodo -
Posted in Market Updates
July 31, 2017

Curious About Local Real Estate?

Receive the Latest Local Market Stats

Curious about local real estate? So are we! Every month we review trends in our real estate market and consider the number of homes on the market in each price tier, the amount of time particular homes have been listed for sale, specific neighborhood trends, the median price and square footage of each home sold and so much more. We’d love to invite you to do the same!

Get Local Market Reports Sent Directly to You

You can sign up here to receive your own market report, delivered as often as you like! It contains current information on pending, active and just sold properties so you can see actual homes in your neighborhood. You can review your area on a larger scale, as well, by refining your search to include properties across the city or county. As you notice price and size trends, please contact us for clarification or to have any questions answered.

We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

Posted in Market Updates