Local weather forecasts keep teasing us with milder days, which can only mean one thing — spring isn’t too far away!

But before you celebrate by packing away the sweaters and dusting off the lawn furniture, remember…we live in northeast Ohio. Besides, we still have February to get through. So, climb out of that saddle, cowboy. It ain’t over yet.

Fortunately, there’s plenty you can do to keep busy during the last month or so of winter that will give you a leg up on your spring cleaning. Here’s a checklist of things to do that don’t require going outside in the cold. Continue reading

While we appreciate one’s DIY initiative, finding a real estate agent is many times the first step in the home-buying process. And we’re not just saying that because we work with agents daily.

Any buyer who even contemplates going it alone does not fully appreciate the sheer amount of work that entails. Whether it’s lining up inspections, determining fair market value, negotiating with the other agent, or just navigating the mountains of paperwork, agents handle a great deal. And they do it every day.

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As Ohio and pretty much all of the United States that aren’t California endure some truly chilly temps, keeping warm is the name of the game. The first solution is obvious: juice up the thermostat. But do you really want to pay that extra high utility bill?

Sometimes you just have to swallow your pride and layer up when the wind chill drops the mercury below zero degrees. Here are some ways you can keep warm during the most frigid temperatures without turning up the heat.

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Homes are in short supply, which has made the local market very competitive. As such, it’s imperative that homebuyers, especially first-time homebuyers, do everything they can to improve their ability to get a loan. One of the biggest pieces of the puzzle is your credit score.

Your credit score can make or break your chances of being approved for a mortgage loan. And when you find a house you want, you need to be able to move fast in this market. Here are eight ways you can improve your credit score to have a better chance at getting approved quickly.

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Key Takeaways:

  • First-time homebuyer mistakes can leave you with a difficult financial situation
  • Start with finding a trustworthy real estate agent

Shopping for your first home? That’s fantastic! No doubt you’ve already thought about what your dream home will include and scouted out some neighborhoods and school districts.

But it’s important to remember that finding the perfect home is about more than curb appeal and modern features. And while there’s plenty of advice out there on what to do during the home buying process, there are some common first-time homebuyer mistakes that can trip you up along the way. Here is a quick rundown of what not to do. Continue reading

Six Ways to Improve Your Office’s Creative Thinking

Key takeaways:

  • Creative thinking is critical for problem-solving in unique situations
  • An inability to adapt and think creatively can cost you clients and referrals
  • There are simple ways to strengthen your office’s creative thinking

If you have a problem to solve, you need to be able to think creatively to formulate the best possible solution.

This is especially true when it comes to real estate. Each buyer or seller presents a unique situation and an agent must be able to adapt quickly. Failure to adapt usually means an unhappy client, which in turn means no referral. Not a great way to earn a positive reputation in the community.

In 2010, Newsweek published the results from a recent study into creativity. The study shows that since 1990, while IQ scores may be increasing, creativity has been inching downward. Further research into the decline shows that people in general are less creative as they get older.

Now more than ever, creative thinking is crucial to productivity. Think of your career. Has there ever been a time when your ‘job title’ hasn’t evolved to adapt to changes in your industry? Have you had to think ‘outside of the box’ to get an edge over your competition?

If you answered those questions with anything other than “every day,” then you have some catching up to do. Continue reading

Check Out What One Family Did With the FHA 203k Renovation Loan

Key Takeaways:

  • FHA 203k loans require lower down payments than Traditional
  • A lower down payment frees up money for other uses
  • Two-Step Strategy – refinancing an FHA 203k loan into a Traditional Conventional mortgage
John and Lauren DeSantis recently finished renovations on their new home and they love it. They found a house that had potential, but needed some TLC. Continue reading

Realtors Should Really Care About Instagram Stories

Key takeaways:

  • Instagram Stories are engaging and interactive
  • Streamline specific pictures and video directly to your followers
  • Pairing with a Facebook ad lets you target the viewers
  • The catch…Stories are live for 24 hours. So make them count!

I know what you’re thinking. “What the heck are Instagram Stories and why should I care?”

Great question. First, I’ll tell you what I know about them, and then I’ll explain why I think Instagram Stories can be a great tool for agents who are listing houses. Continue reading