Welles Bowen Welcomes Lyn Casye O’Shea

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Office: 419-698-5370
Cell: 419-450-5068
Fax: 419 754-1408
VM: 419-698-8506
lyncasye@gmail.com

Professional and Personal Qualifications

    • Toledo Board of Realtors®
  • Ohio Association of Realtors®
  • National Association of Realtors®
  • Member of The Leading Real Estate Companies of the World™
  • Member of the Multiple Listing Service
  • Representing Buyers and Sellers
  • Graduate of The University of Toledo-B.A. Communication
  • Member of Toledo Broadcast Media since 1985
  • Lifelong Greater Toledo Resident
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    My Pledge To You…

    In keeping with Welles Bowen’s “Tradition of Excellence” I pledge to partner with you to accomplish your unique real estate goals. I’ll put my marketing expertise and extensive personal, community, and corporate connections, from 25+ years in the local broadcasting industry, to work for you. I’ll be dilegent and communicative in my efforts to ensure that you are 100% satisfied with your buying and selling transaction(s). Call me for a free consultation!

     

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    Here’s a Great Article Our Featured Agent Julie Nowacki Has Found For You

    Tips on How To Prepare Your Home for Holiday Guests

    By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon/Published: November 14, 2011

    Is your home ready for holiday visits from friends and family? Here’s how to prepare for the invasion.

    I’m lucky and have a guest suite always ready for holiday guests. But even with a dedicated space, preparing my home for the annual onslaught of friends and family takes time and forethought.

    English: The main room of a studio apartment i...

    Some preparations for holiday guests take only a few minutes; some take a lot longer. My advice: Start preparing your home for the holidays now.

    Prioritize

    The day before guests arrive is no time to pull apart junk drawers and clean out linen closets. Declutter guest rooms and public areas — foyer, kitchen, living room, den, and dining room. Remove anything unnecessary from countertops, coffee tables, and ottomans; if it’s out of sight, keep it out of mind, for now.

    If you run short of time, bag up the clutter and store it in car trunks, basements, and out-of-the-way closets. Sort and arrange after your guests depart.

    Safety

    Light the way: Even though you can navigate your home blindfolded, your guests can’t. Make sure outside lights are working so they don’t trip on the way to your door. Put motion-activated night lights in hallways, bathrooms, and bedrooms to ensure safe passage after the sun sets.

    Child proofing: Ask parents to bring hardware that keeps their small ones safe, such as baby gates and cabinet locks. Transfer toxic cleaners and medicines from base to wall cabinets. Hide matches and lighters.

    Fire prevention: If you didn’t freshen smoke detector batteries when you switched the clocks to Daylight Savings Time, change them now. After your guests arrive, run a quick fire drill: Make sure they can locate exits and fire extinguishers, and that they know how to open windows and doors.

    Entryway upgrades

    Your home’s foyer is the first place guests see, so make a good first impression.

    Upgrade exterior entry doors or give old doors a new coat of paint. Polish and tighten door hardware, and oil hinges to prevent squeaks.
    Remove scratches from hardwood floors, stairs, and wood railings. Place a small rug or welcome mat at the entrance to protect floors from mud and snow.
    Clear out shoes, umbrellas, and other clutter.
    Add extra hooks to walls so guests can hang coats and hats.
    Add a storage bench where guests can remove boots and shoes.
    Kitchen prep

    Your kitchen is command central during the holidays, so make sure it’s ready for guests and extra helpers.

    To increase storage, install a pot rack to clear cooking items off countertops and ranges.
    Move your coffee station into a family room so guests don’t crowd the kitchen when you’re trying to fix meals.
    If you like to visit while you’re cooking, place extra stools and chairs around the perimeter of your kitchen so guests can set a spell.
    Sleeping arrangements

    If you’ve got a guest room, replace the ceiling fixture with a ceiling fan and light combo, which helps guests customize their room temperature without fiddling with the thermostat for the entire house.

    To carve sleeping space out of public areas, buy a folding screen or rolling bookcase, which will provide privacy for sleepers. Fold or roll it away in the morning.

    Bathroom storage

    Bring toilet paper, towels, and toiletries out of hiding, and place them on open shelves so guests can find them easily.

    If you don’t have enough wall space for shelves, place these items in open baskets around the bathroom.

    Also, outfit each tub with a bath mat (to avoid falls) and each toilet with a plunger (to avoid embarrassment).

    What tips do you have for getting ready for guests this holiday season?

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    Michelle Rumans Brings You 6 Tips for Choosing the Best Offer for Your Home

    6 Tips for Choosing the Best Offer for Your Home

    By: G. M. Filisko Published: February 10, 2010

    Have a plan for reviewing purchase offers so you don’t let the best slip through your fingers.

    1. Understand the process

    All offers are negotiable, as your agent will tell you. When you
    receive an offer, you can accept it, reject it, or respond by asking
    that terms be modified, which is called making a counteroffer.

    2. Set baselines

    Decide in advance what terms are most important to you. For instance,
    if price is most important, you may need to be flexible on your closing
    date. Or if you want certainty that the transaction won’t fall apart
    because the buyer can’t get a mortgage, require a prequalified or cash
    buyer.

    English: An icon from the Crystal icon theme. ...

    3. Create an offer review process

    If you think your home will receive multiple offers, work with your
    agent to establish a time frame during which buyers must submit offers.
    That gives your agent time to market your home to as many potential
    buyers as possible, and you time to review all the offers you receive.

    4. Don’t take offers personally

    Selling your home can be emotional. But it’s simply a business
    transaction, and you should treat it that way. If your agent tells you a
    buyer complained that your kitchen is horribly outdated, justifying a
    lowball offer, don’t be offended. Consider it a sign the buyer is
    interested and understand that those comments are a negotiating tactic.
    Negotiate in kind.

    5. Review every term

    Carefully evaluate all the terms of each offer. Price is important,
    but so are other terms. Is the buyer asking for property or
    fixtures—such as appliances, furniture, or window treatments—to be
    included in the sale that you plan to take with you?

    Is the
    amount of earnest money the buyer proposes to deposit toward the
    downpayment sufficient? The lower the earnest money, the less painful it
    will be for the buyer to forfeit those funds by walking away from the
    purchase if problems arise.

    Have the buyers attached a
    prequalification or pre-approval letter, which means they’ve already
    been approved for financing? Or does the offer include a financing or
    other contingency? If so, the buyers can walk away from the deal if they
    can’t get a mortgage, and they’ll take their earnest money back, too.
    Are you comfortable with that uncertainty?

    Is the buyer asking
    you to make concessions, like covering some closing costs? Are you
    willing, and can you afford to do that? Does the buyer’s proposed
    closing date mesh with your timeline?

    With each factor, ask yourself: Is this a deal breaker, or can I compromise to achieve my ultimate goal of closing the sale?

    6. Be creative

    If you’ve received an unacceptable offer through your agent, ask
    questions to determine what’s most important to the buyer and see if you
    can meet that need. You may learn the buyer has to move quickly. That
    may allow you to stand firm on price but offer to close quickly. The key
    to successfully negotiating the sale is to remain flexible.

    G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who has survived
    several closings. A frequent contributor to many national publications
    including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar
    Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal
    finance, and legal topics.

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    Office: 419-698-5370
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    turnthekey@buckeye-express.com

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    Meet Welles Bowen’s Featured Agent Claire Browning

    About Claire Browning

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    Office: 419-535-0011
    Cell: 419-215-7929
    Fax: 419 535-7571
    VM: 419-539-2700 ext. 128
    clairebrowning@wellesbowen.com

    Professional and Personal Qualifications

      • Full Time Residential Realtor® Since 1987
  • Graduate Bowling Green State University
  • Toledo Board of Realtors® Lifetime Million Dollar Club
  • Welles Bowen Top Producer
  • Certified Residential Specialist
  • Graduate Realtors Institute
  • Member of The Leading Real Estate Companies of the World™
  • Member Toledo Museum of Art
  • Member Toledo Botanical Garden
  • Member Ability Center of Greater Toledo
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    Read This Weeks Article from Deon Davis

    How to Assess the Real Cost of a Fixer-Upper House

    By: G. M. Filisko Published: August 24, 2010

    When you buy a fixer-upper house, you can save a ton of money, or get yourself in a financial fix.

    1. Decide what you can do yourself

    TV remodeling shows make home improvement work look like a snap. In the real world, attempting a difficult remodeling job that you don’t know how to do will take longer than you think and can lead to less-than-professional results that won’t increase the value of your fixer-upper house.

    • Do you really have the skills to do it? Some tasks, like stripping wallpaper and painting, are relatively easy. Others, like electrical work, can be dangerous when done by amateurs.
    • Do you really have the time and desire to do it? Can you take time off work to renovate your fixer-upper house? If not, will you be stressed out by living in a work zone for months while you complete projects on the weekends?

    2. Price the cost of repairs and remodeling before you make an offer

    • Get your contractor into the house to do a walk-through, so he can give you a written cost estimate on the tasks he’s going to do.
    • If you’re doing the work yourself, price the supplies.
    • Either way, tack on 10% to 20% to cover unforeseen problems that often arise with a fixer-upper house.

    3. Check permit costs

    • Ask local officials if the work you’re going to do requires a permit and how much that permit costs. Doing work without a permit may save money, but it’ll cause problems when you resell your home.
    • Decide if you want to get the permits yourself or have the contractor arrange for them. Getting permits can be time-consuming and frustrating. Inspectors may force you to do additional work, or change the way you want to do a project, before they give you the permit.
    • Factor the time and aggravation of permits into your plans.

    4. Doublecheck pricing on structural work

    If your fixer-upper home needs major structural work, hire a structural engineer for $500 to $700 to inspect the home before you put in an offer so you can be confident you’ve uncovered and conservatively budgeted for the full extent of the problems.

    Get written estimates for repairs before you commit to buying a home with structural issues.

    Don’t purchase a home that needs major structural work unless:

    • You’re getting it at a steep discount
    • You’re sure you’ve uncovered the extent of the problem
    • You know the problem can be fixed
    • You have a binding written estimate for the repairs

    5. Check the cost of financing

    Be sure you have enough money for a downpayment, closing costs, and repairs without draining your savings.

    If you’re planning to fund the repairs with a home equity or home improvement loan:

    • Get yourself pre-approved for both loans before you make an offer.
    • Make the deal contingent on getting both the purchase money loan and the renovation money loan, so you’re not forced to close the sale when you have no loan to fix the house.
    • Consider the Federal Housing Administration’s Section 203(k) program, which is designed to help home owners who are purchasing or refinancing a home that needs rehabilitation. The program wraps the purchase/refinance and rehabilitation costs into a single mortgage. To qualify for the loan, the total value of the property must fall within the FHA mortgage limit for your area, as with other FHA loans. A streamlined 203(k) program provides an additional amount for rehabilitation, up to $35,000, on top of an existing mortgage. It’s a simpler process than obtaining the standard 203(k).

    6. Calculate your fair purchase offer

    Take the fair market value of the property (what it would be worth if it were in good condition and remodeled to current tastes) and subtract the upgrade and repair costs.

    For example: Your target fixer-upper house has a 1960s kitchen, metallic wallpaper, shag carpet, and high levels of radon in the basement.

    Your comparison house, in the same subdivision, sold last month for $200,000. That house had a newer kitchen, no wallpaper, was recently recarpeted, and has a radon mitigation system in its basement.

    The cost to remodel the kitchen, remove the wallpaper, carpet the house, and put in a radon mitigation system is $40,000. Your bid for the house should be $160,000.

    Ask your real estate agent if it’s a good idea to share your cost estimates with the sellers, to prove your offer is fair.

    7. Include inspection contingencies in your offer

    Don’t rely on your friends or your contractor to eyeball your fixer-upper house. Hire pros to do common inspections like:

    • Home inspection. This is key in a fixer-upper assessment. The home inspector will uncover hidden issues in need of replacement or repair. You may know you want to replace those 1970s kitchen cabinets, but the home inspector has a meter that will detect the water leak behind them.
    • Radon, mold, lead-based paint
    • Septic and well
    • Pest

    Most home inspection contingencies let you go back to the sellers and ask them to do the repairs, or give you cash at closing to pay for the repairs. The seller can also opt to simply back out of the deal, as can you, if the inspection turns up something you don’t want to deal with.

    If that happens, this isn’t the right fixer-upper house for you. Go back to the top of this list and start again.

    More from HouseLogic

    What you need to know about foundation repairs

    Budgeting for a home remodel

    Tips on hiring a contractor

    Other web resources

    This Old House remodeling cost estimates

    G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer whose parents bought and renovated a fixer-upper when she was a teen. A regular contributor to many national publications including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.

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    Susan Langendorfer Brings You This Weeks Article

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    Want to Refinance Your Mortgage But You’re Being Turned Down?

    By: Donna Fuscaldo

    Published: June 14, 2013

    The federal program HARP might be able to help you. Here’s how it works.

    Is your house worth less than your current mortgage amount?

    Are you unable to refinance into a lower-rate mortgage or convert your adjustable-rate mortgage to a fixed-rate mortgage?

    Then the federal Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) is an option you should explore.

    HARP is one of two components of the federal Making Home Affordable Program for struggling homeowners. Its counterpart, the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), offers loan modifications if you’re behind on your payments or need help exiting gracefully if you can no longer afford your home.

    HARP, on the other hand, helps you refinance your home with a brand new mortgage.

    What Are the Benefits of HARP?

    Your savings from refinancing using HARP could be substantial. The White House says the typical homeowner using HARP could reduce their mortgage payments by about $2,500 a year. Like any refinance transaction, HARP loans come with fees, so you’ll have to weigh the costs and benefits for your specific situation.

    The good news is that HARP’s fees are less than the fees for typical refinances. For instance, you won’t have to pay for a full appraisal if the lender can get a reliable automated appraisal for your home. And Fannie and Freddie will waive for borrowers some fees they usually charge lenders (which lenders would normally pass on to you).

    What Are the Qualifications?

    1. Your mortgage must be owned or guaranteed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae.

    2. Your current lender had to sell your mortgage to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac before June 1, 2009. Check with your lender to make sure that happened.

    3. This must be your first HARP refinance. You only get one Home Affordable refinance, so if you’ve used the program before, you can’t use it again (although there’s a loophole for those with a Fannie Mae loan refinanced between March and May of 2009).

    4. You need the right balance between what you owe and your home’s value. The minimum is that you owe 80% of your home’s value (for example, owing $80,000 on your $100,000 home). If you owe less than 80%, you can’t use HARP. If you owe up to 105% (say your home is worth $100,000 and you owe $105,000), you can refinance into an adjustable-rate mortgage. If you owe above 105%, you have to go with a fixed-rate mortgage. There’s no cap on how much you can owe above what your home is worth.

    5. If you’ve paid your mortgage late even once during the past six months, you can’t use HARP, but if you had a late payment between 7 and 12 months ago, you’re fine.

    If you can meet those criteria, you have until Dec. 31, 2015, to apply for a HARP refinance through either your current lender or a new lender.

    Should You Apply?

    HARP makes sense if you owe more than your house is worth, which is preventing you from refinancing, according to Bob Walters, chief economist at Quicken Loans. You’ll still pay full-market rates for a HARP refinance, not a discounted rate or payment that you might get with a loan modification.

    As a rule of thumb, for fixed-rate mortgages, you’ll want your new rate to be at least a half-point better than your old one.

    Lowering your interest can pay off immediately. Let’s say you took out a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage at 6.5% for $176,800 at a monthly payment of $1,117.50 five years ago.

    Today, you’d still owe $168,065. If you refinance that balance into a new 30-year loan at 4.5%, your monthly payment would drop to $851.56, saving you about $266 a month. Or, you could refinance into a 15-year fixed-rate loan, pay about $168 a month more, and pay your loan off about 10 years earlier.

    HARP might also make sense if you can convert an adjustable-rate mortgage to a fixed-rate mortgage. Even if an ARM’s monthly payment is low now, it’ll go up if rates rise.

    When applying for HARP, you need paperwork just like any other mortgage application:

    • Pay stubs
    • Tax returns
    • Mortgage statements
    • Account balances
    • Debt totals (for credit cards, student loans, car loans, and such)
    • Details about any second mortgages or home equity lines of credit

    Pay attention to the fees associated with the refinancing, which the lender must disclose up front, and ask if those costs can be rolled into the new loan if you’re strapped for cash.

    Tips to Make the Process Go Smoothly

    To keep the process moving, ask your lender for a list of the documents it will need. Give yourself two weeks to collect everything.

    If possible, submit the entire packet together via certified mail. Sending in documents piecemeal could result in lost paperwork and your loan application falling to the bottom of the pile, says Nicole Hall, editor of LendingTree.com. Keep detailed records of any phone calls you make, and dates you mail or fax correspondences.

    There are companies that will offer to take care of the paperwork for a fee, but you don’t need to pay. You can access free help through a housing counselor approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Counselors will help you understand the Making Home Affordable program and aid in gathering the documents needed for your loan servicer.

    More about qualifying for HARP.

    Don’t qualify for HARP? Then maybe its sister program, HAMP, is for you.

    Welcome Deana Deen to Welles Bowen

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    Professional and Personal Qualifications

      • Toledo Board of Realtors®
    • Ohio Association of Realtors®
    • National Association of Realtors®
    • Member of The Leading Real Estate Companies of the World™
    • Member of the Multiple Listing Service
    • Specializing in Residential Real Estate Sales

     

    My Pledge To You…

    I pride myself with providing my clients with the utmost attention to their real estate needs. From selling your home to finding your dream home, I promise to assist my clients from start to finish!

     

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    Make Your House FHA-Loan Friendly

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    By: Terry Sheridan Published: June 2, 2010

    Know the basics of FHA loan rules and you stand a better chance of selling your house or condo.

    If your house passes the FHA rules, it will appeal to buyers who plan to use an FHA-insured mortgage. If your house doesn’t qualify for an FHA loan, you’re cutting out 30% of potential buyers.

    FHA is especially important to first-time homebuyers and those with small downpayments because it allows borrowers with good credit to make a downpayment as low as 3.5% of the purchase price.

    Here’s how to make your home appealing to FHA borrowers:

    Know the FHA loan limits in your area

    Start by checking to see if your home’s listed price falls within FHA lending limits for your area. FHA mortgage limits vary a lot. In San Francisco, FHA will insure a mortgage of up to $729,750 on a single-family home. In the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the loan limit is $271,050.

    Home inspections

    Most buyers will ask for a home inspection, whether or not they’re using an FHA loan to buy the home. You must give FHA buyers a form explaining what home inspections can reveal, and how inspections differ from appraisals.

    How much do you have to repair?

    If the home inspection reveals problems, FHA will not give the okay to buy the home until you repair serious defects like roof leaks, mold, structural damage, and pre-1978 interior or exterior paint that could contain lead.

    Dealing with FHA appraisers

    Help the lender’s appraiser by providing easy access to attics and crawl spaces, which usually must be photographed, says appraiser Frank Gregoire in St. Petersburg, Fla.

    Your buyer can hire his own appraiser to evaluate your home. But FHA only relies on reports by its approved appraisers. If the two appraisals conflict, the FHA appraisal preempts the buyer’s appraisal.

    Help with FHA closing costs

    Most FHA buyers need help with closing costs, says mortgage banker Susan Herman of First Equity Mortgage Bankers in Miami. So a prime way to make your house FHA-friendly is to help with those costs.

    FHA currently allows sellers to pay up to 6% of the sales price to help cover closing costs, but is considering lowering that limit to 3% in the fall of 2010.

    If you’re selling a condo

    FHA also has to approve your condo before a buyer uses an FHA loan to purchase your unit. Be sure your condo is FHA-approved for mortgages. The list has been updated, so if your association was approved a year ago, check again to make sure it’s still on the approved list.

    FHA generally won’t insure loans in condo associations if more than 15% percent of the unit owners are late on association fees. Ask your property manager or board of directors for your association’s delinquency rate.

    Other rules cover insurances, cash reserves and how many units are owner-occupied and the types of condos that can be purchased with an FHA mortgage.

    FHA sometimes issues waivers for healthy condominiums that don’t meet the regular rules. If your condo isn’t FHA-approved, it doesn’t necessarily have to meet every single rule to gain approval. Ask your REALTOR® to consult with local lenders about getting an FHA waiver for your condo if it doesn’t meet all the requirements.

    FHA also limits its mortgage exposure in homeowners associations. With some limited exceptions, no more than 50% of the units in an association can be FHA-insured.

    FHA loans for planned-unit developments

    FHA no longer requires lenders to review budgets and legal documents for planned-unit developments.

    More from HouseLogic

    Show Your Support for FHA

    Other web resources

    Why ask for an FHA loan?

    Find a State Program to Help Homebuyers Afford Your Home

    Terry Sheridan is an award-winning freelance writer who has covered real estate for 20 years, and has owned and sold three homes.

     

    Lana Rife Brings You This Article About Home Appraisals

     

    What You Must Know About Home Appraisals

    By: G. M. Filisko Published: March 12, 2010

    Understanding how appraisals work will help you achieve a quick and profitable refinance or sale.

    1. An appraisal isn’t an exact science

    When appraisers evaluate a home’s value, they’re giving their best opinion based on how the home’s features stack up against those of similar homes recently sold nearby. One appraiser may factor in a recent sale, but another may consider that sale too long ago, or the home too different, or too far away to be a fair comparison. The result can be differences in the values two separate appraisers set for your home.

    2. Appraisals have different purposes

    An appraisal being used to figure out how much to insure your home for or to determine your property taxes may rely on other factors and arrive at different values. For example, though an appraisal for a home loan evaluates today’s market value, an appraisal for insurance purposes calculates what it would cost to rebuild your home at today’s building material and labor rates, which can result in two different numbers.

    Appraisals are also different from CMAs, or competitive market analyses. In a CMA, a real estate agent relies on market expertise to estimate how much your home will sell for in a specific time period. The price your home will sell for in 30 days may be different than the price your home will sell for in 120 days. Because real estate agents don’t follow the rules appraisers do, there can be variations between CMAs and appraisals on the same home.

    3. An appraisal is a snapshot

    Home prices shift, and appraised values will shift with those market changes. Your home may be appraised at $150,000 today, but in two months when you refinance or list it for sale, the appraised value could be lower or higher depending on how your market has performed.

    4. Appraisals don’t factor in your personal issues

    You may have a reason you must sell immediately, such as a job loss or transfer, which can affect the amount of money you’ll accept to complete the transaction in your time frame. An appraisal doesn’t consider those personal factors.

    5. You can ask for a second opinion

    If your home appraisal comes back at a value you believe is too low, you can request that a second appraisal be performed by a different appraiser. You, or potential buyers, if they’ve requested the appraisal, will have to pay for the second appraisal. But it may be worth it to keep the sale from collapsing from a faulty appraisal. On the other hand, the appraisal may be accurate, and it may be a sign that you need to adjust your pricing or the size of the loan you’re refinancing.

    More from HouseLogic

    How to use an appraisal to eliminate private mortgage insurance

    Understanding the assessed value of your home for tax purposes

    Understanding the amount at which to insure your home

    Other web resources

    More information on appraisals

    How to improve the appraised value of your home

    G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who’s had more than 10 appraisals performed on her properties in the past 20 years. A frequent contributor to many national  publications including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association  Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics. 
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    Professional and Personal Qualifications

      • Toledo Board of Realtors®
    • Ohio Association of Realtors®
    • National Association of Realtors®
    • Member of The Leading Real Estate Companies of the World™
    • Member of the Multiple Listing Service
    • Full Time Licensed Realtor, specializing in Residential Home Sales.
    • Over 15 years Paralegal experience
    • Free Complimentary Consultation

     

    My Service Commitment To You…

    With the backing of Welles Bowen, one of the area’s oldest and most established full service real estate companies, I will always and consistently put my clients’ best interests and needs ahead of everything else. Whether you are buying or selling, relocating or investing my commitment to you wil always be to achieve results that exceed your expectations. The greatest investment on Earth is earth! Let me show you the difference that service and commitment can make in your life.

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    Becky Williamson Asks: Does a Pool Add Value to a Home?

    Does a Pool Add Value to a Home?

    Article From HouseLogic.com By: Julie Sturgeon Published: July 10, 2013

    Learn how a pool affects the value of your home, and get advice on construction and maintenance costs.

    Does a pool add value to a home? No. And yes.

    In general, building a pool is not the best way to add value to your home. You’re better off making physical improvements to your actual house instead of adding a pool to your yard.

    Related: What Home Projects Give the Most Value? (http://www.houselogic.com/photos/roofing-gutters-siding/cost-v-value-exterior-remodel/)

    However, a pool can add value to your home in some cases:

    If you live in a higher-end neighborhood and most of your neighbors have pools. In fact, not having a pool might make your home harder to sell.

    If you live in a warm climate, such as Florida or Hawaii.

    Your lot is big enough to accommodate a pool and still have some yard left over for play or gardening.

    Still, that’s no guarantee you’ll get a return on your investment. At most, your home’s value might increase 7% if all circumstances are right when it comes time to sell. Those circumstances include the points made above, plus:

    The style of the pool. Does it fit the neighborhood?

    The condition of the pool. Is it well-maintained?

    Age of the pool. If you put a pool in today and sell in 20 years, you probably won’t recoup your costs, especially if the pool needs updating.

    You can attract the right buyer. Couples with very young children may shy away from pools because of safety issues, but an older childless couple may fall in love with it.

    But only you, the homeowner, can determine the true return on investment. A pool can add value to your quality of life and enhance the enjoyment of your home. You can’t put a price tag on that.

    But we can put a price tag on how much a pool costs to build and maintain.

    The Cost to Build a Pool

    The average cost in the U.S. to install, equip, and fill a 600-sq.-ft. concrete pool starts at $30,000.

    Add in details like safety fences (most states require them), waterfalls, lighting, landscaping, and perhaps a spa (http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/pools-spas/what_to_consider_before_building_spa/), and you’re easily looking at totals approaching $100,000.

    Costs also depend on the type of pool you choose.

    Gunite is the most popular in-ground pool. Gunite is a mixture of cement and sand, which can be poured into almost any shape. It has replaced concrete pools as the sought-after standard.

    Fiberglass shells and those with vinyl liners fall on the lower end of the budget scale, but the liners typically need replacing every 10 or so years. Changing the liner requires draining the pool and replacing the edging (called coping), so over time, costs add up. Most homebuyers will insist that you replace a vinyl liner, even if it’s only a few years old.

    Related: Fences for Pool Safety (http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/pools-spas/pool-fence-safety/)

    Filtration and Heating

    The filtration pump is the biggest energy hog in a pool system, so you want to get the most efficient pump possible. The good news here is that new, variable-speed pumps use up to 80% less energy than old single-speed pumps, cutting operating expenses dramatically. At about $500, these cost more up front, but some local utilities offer rebates through participating pool dealers. You can further cut energy costs by setting the pump to run at non-peak times, when rates for electricity are lower.

    If you’re planning to heat your pool, gas heaters are the least expensive to purchase and install, but they typically have the highest operation and maintenance costs. Many pool owners opt instead for electric heat pumps, which extract heat from the surrounding air and transfer it to the water. Heat pumps take longer than gas to warm the pool, but they’re more energy-efficient, costing $200 to $400 less to operate per swimming season. Regardless of heating system, covering the pool with a solar blanket to trap heat and reduce evaporation will further lower operating costs.

    Related: Solar Pool Heater Costs and Facts (http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/pools-spas/solar-pool-heaters-can-lower-energy-costs/)

    Maintenance Expenses

    All pools require that the water be balanced for proper pH, alkalinity, and calcium levels. They also need sanitizing to control bacteria and germs, which is where chlorine has traditionally entered the picture.

    These days you have a variety of options, including systems that use bromine, salt, ozone, ionizers, or other chemical compounds that can be less irritating to skin. Chlorine remains the most popular because the upfront costs are reasonable, and you don’t have to be as rigid about checking the levels on a set schedule. But as far as your wallet is concerned, they all even out in the end.

    In a seasonal swimming climate, budget about $600 annually for maintenance if you shoulder the chemical balancing and cleaning yourself; in a year-round climate, it’s more like $15 to $25 per week.

    To save yourself the task of once-a-week vacuuming, you can buy a robotic cleaning system for between $500 and $800 that will do the job for you. In locations where the pool must be opened and closed for the season, add another $500 each time for a pro to handle this task.

    Related: Natural Swimming Pools (http://www.houselogic.com/photos/pools-spas/natural-swimming-pools-9-myths-busted/)

    Insurance and Taxes

    A basic homeowners insurance policy typically covers a pool structure without requiring a separate rider, but you should increase your liability from the standard amount.

    It costs about $30 a year to bump coverage from $100,000 to $500,000. Many underwriters require you to fence in the pool so children can’t wander in unsupervised.

    In some areas, adding a pool may increase your annual property taxes (http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/property-taxes/property-tax-appeal/), but it won’t necessarily add to your home’s selling price. For that reason, try to keep your total building cost between 10% and 15% of what you paid for your house, lest you invest too much in an amenity that won’t pay you back.

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