Should Listing Photos Be Removed After the Sale?

Some home buyers express concern that photos of their properties continue to live on real estate websites after they’ve closed on the purchase, and they’re asking real estate professionals to help take them down, citing privacy and security issues.

Per the MLS:

“Photos submitted to the MLS may not be removed from the Service with the exception of (1) replacing photos to reflect a change in the seasons, (2) reflecting improvements to the home; or (3) substituting a higher quality photo of the same image.

“While secondary photos may not be removed from the Service, a listing broker may instruct the Service to suppress off market secondary photos (but not primary photos) from the Service’s data feed to third parties (such as Zillow.com, Realtor.com, Trulia.com and the listing agent’s own brokerage site). Unauthorized removal of photos shall result in a $250 fine and the photos will be restored to the listing.”

Learn more about this issue HERE.

Does Central Ohio Score an A or F?

ATTOM Data Solutions, curator of the nation’s premier property database, today released its 2018 Neighborhood Housing Index, which uses new neighborhood boundary data to rank more than 10,000 neighborhood housing markets nationwide based on six factors impacting the hyperlocal housing market: affordability, home price appreciation, school scores, crime rates, unemployment rates and property taxes.

How did Central Ohio fare?  The map below represents the neighborhoods studied for this report.  To give you a sense of the area, the far east orange dot is Hebron, blue to the west is Galloway, lowest green dot is Grove City, and northernmost green dot is Powell.  The map at THIS LINK is interactive.  Find your neighborhood.  Are you surprised by the results?

 

When Your Mortgage Lender Wants to be Pen Pals

When an insurance company’s underwriting department has questions about a borrower’s background, it’s becoming common to ask the borrower to write a letter of explanation to their lender, dubbed a “comfort letter.” The lender may request a letter to gain clarity on the borrower’s circumstances that were not explained in their credit or employment documentation.

The Wall Street Journal offers up some scenarios, such as a borrower who wants to buy a new home far away from their current place of employment. The lender may ask the borrower to explain, like if they intending to telecommute or has a new job. The bank may also request one if the borrower makes an unusual large deposit. They may ask for a letter to document where the funds came from. A lender may also ask for an explanation if there was a gap within employment.

Read more HERE.

4 Tips to Help Choose the Right Remodeler

Calling in the professionals may help ensure the job is done right and satisfactorily to help boost a home value. For homeowners looking to spruce up their digs, Rae Duncan of Rae Duncan Interior Design in Chicago offers some of the following tips to help buyers and sellers choose the right interior decorator and contractor:

1. Sellers should choose a designer who not only can aid the inside of a home but also boost curb appeal. Clients should research and select a designer with great reviews and testimonials. “Design can get frustrating and complicated,” Duncan says. “You want to hire someone you are going to work really well with and who ‘gets’ your vision. Meet with them. Talk in depth about what you want to achieve. A remodel can be one of the most stressful things a homeowner ever does. Choose carefully who goes through that process with you.”

2. Look for a contractor with great technical skill and all the proper licenses and insurance. Duncan says it’s equally important that they have excellent communication skills. “Words matter as much as, if not more than, blueprints,” Duncan says. “Good communication limits ‘surprises’ and pricing changes mid-job. Choose someone with integrity and lots of referrals, too.”

3. When buying a home, don’t buy homes that are too funky or “unique,” Duncan suggests. “Previous owners may have done some bizarre things to structures, and while potentially charming, those oddball decisions can be very expensive and difficult to change,” Duncan says. “You want your home to be a unified masterpiece, not choppy and all over the place. Don’t make it harder on yourself to achieve that vision by buying the wrong home.”

4. Don’t break the bank, especially when you are selling. “When it’s a home you plan on living in for years to come, you should do what your heart desires,” Duncan says. “But when you are looking to sell, certain improvements may not give you a return on the investment, such as tiles and fixtures.” She suggests that those choices be made carefully with a design professional who is knowledgeable about real estate and knows what appeals to buyers. “Making things look luxe without them actually being luxe is the key,” she adds.

Learn the remodeling projects that can offer the biggest paybacks at resale: Remodeling Impact report

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Buyers Consider Pet Needs

Home buyers are increasingly being swayed by their pets when choosing which property to purchase. Three-quarters of home buyers say they would even pass up an otherwise perfect home—their dream home—if it did not meet their pets’ needs, according to a new realtor.com® survey of more than 1,000 consumers who’ve closed on a home in 2018.

Read more HERE.

Renter Scams

More than 43 percent of renters say they’ve found online rental listings that seemed fraudulent, and more than 5 million say they’ve actually been scammed—sometimes to the tune of thousands of dollars—according to a new report released by rental website ApartmentList.com.

Cigarette Smoke Reduces Home Resale Value

Smoking in a home can reduce that property’s resale value by up to 29 percent, according to realtor.com®. And home buyers who fall for a home that reeks of smoke shouldn’t assume the odor will go away as soon as the smoker moves out.

Removing the cigarette smell from a home is not easy and sometimes removing entire systems is the only way to remove the stench quickly—the smoke will seep into everything.

Read more HERE.

How Homeowners are Saving for the Next House

Many would-be move-up buyers are staying put in their current homes, unable to afford the increasing prices of larger properties. But they’re learning a strategy to save for their next home—by becoming “accidental investors.“ More investment property owners today are everyday homeowners renting out their current home to take advantage of rising rental rates and save for a bigger home, CNBC reports.  Read more HERE.

‘Fair’ vs. ‘Very Good’ Credit

Consumers who make efforts to raise their credit scores from “fair” to “very good” may see big payoffs. LendingTree researchers analyzed loan request and average loan balance data to see how a lower credit score can increase borrowing costs for the average consumer. They compared the impact across several types of debt: mortgages, student loans, auto loans, personal loans, and credit cards.  HERE are the results.

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