e-Pro Realtor

 Why Use an e-PRO® Realtor®?

ePRO

Social media is still relatively new, and evolving every day. An agent with NAR’s e-PRO® certification is dedicated to making the most of today’s social media and technology to help you with your real estate needs, whatever they may be.

e-PRO® is the only technology certification to be officially recognized, endorsed, and conferred by the National Association of REALTORS®.

Agents with NAR’s e-PRO® certification demonstrate:

– Advanced training in using the latest technology and social media to promote your property or find your next home
– A clear understanding of the ways that e-office strategies, rich media and social networking can benefit today’s consumer in a real estate    transaction
– Excellence in adopting, implementing, and promoting technology best practices
– Ethics with commitment to use technology in fair and responsible manner
– Professionalism by completing an education program designed to keep one’s technical knowledge and skill sets up-to-date

Majority of Home Buyers start their search for a home on the Internet. Shouldn’t your home be there too?

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Being a certified e-PRO®, I know more than most Realtors regarding social media, online marketing and website development. With my online skills, I can help you effectively search for a new home online or market your home via social media and the web to reach the people that are looking for a new home using the online tools available to them today. With over 19 years of online marketing experience, I bring a unique set of tools to the table that most Realtors do not have.

How can you capitalize on my expertise? Give me a call and we can discuss it. I would love to work with you on your new home search or talk with you about listing your home and exploring our online marketing strategies for selling your home.

Feel free to call, email or text me anytime at 937-609-5852.

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Kelly Nation
ePro®, REALTOR®, NAR, DABR

11 Ways to Create a Welcoming Front Entrance for Under $100

11 Ways to Create a Welcoming Front Entrance for Under $100

By: Cara Greenberg

Wouldn’t it be nice to approach your home’s entrance with a grin instead of a grimace? Take our tips for beating a clear, safe, and stylish path to your front door.

First impressions count — not just for your friends, relatives, and the UPS guy, but for yourself. Whether it’s on an urban stoop or a Victorian front porch, your front door and the area leading up to it should extend a warm welcome to all comers — and needn’t cost a bundle.

Here’s what you can do to make welcoming happen on the cheap.

1. Clear the way for curb appeal. The path to your front door should be at least 3 feet wide so people can walk shoulder-to-shoulder, with an unobstructed view and no stumbling hazards. So get out those loppers and cut back any overhanging branches or encroaching shrubs.

2. Light the route. Landscape lighting makes it easy to get around at night. Solar-powered LED lights you can just stick in the ground, requiring no wiring, are suprisingly inexpensive. We found 8 packs for under $60 online.

3. Go glossy. Borrow inspiration from London’s lovely row houses, whose owners assert their individuality by painting their doors in high-gloss colors. The reflective sheen of a royal blue, deep green, crimson, or whatever color you like will ensure your house stands out from the pack.

4. Pretty up the view. A door with lots of glass is a plus for letting light into the front hall — but if you also want privacy and a bit of decor, check out decorative window film. It’s removable and re-positionable, and comes in innumerable styles and motifs. Pricing depends on size and design; many available for under $30.

A way to get the look of stained glass without doing custom work or buying a whole new door: Mount a decorative panel on the inside of the door behind an existing glass insert, $92 for an Arts and Crafts-style panel 20-inches-high by 11-inches-wide.

5. Replace door hardware. While you’re at it, polish up the handle on the big front door. Or better yet, replace it with a shiny new brass lockset with a secure deadbolt. Available for about $60.

6. Please knock. Doorbells may be the norm, but a hefty knocker is a classic that will never run out of battery life, and another opportunity to express yourself (whatever your favorite animal or insect is, there’s a door-knocker in its image).

7. Ever-greenery. Boxwoods are always tidy-looking, the definition of easy upkeep. A pair on either side of the door is traditional, but a singleton is good, too. About $25 at garden centers. In cold climates, make sure pots are frost-proof (polyethylene urns and boxes mimic terracotta and wood to perfection).

8. Numbers game. Is your house number clearly visible? That’s of prime importance if you want your guests to arrive and your pizza to be hot. Stick-on vinyl numbers in a variety of fonts make it easy, starting at about $4 per digit.

9. Foot traffic. A hardworking mat for wiping muddy feet is a must. A thick coir mat can be had at the hardware store for less than $20. Even fancier varieties can be found well under $50.

10. Go for the glow. Fumbling for keys in the dark isn’t fun. Consider doubling up on porch lights with a pair of lanterns, one on each side of the door, for symmetry and twice the illumination. Many mounted lights are available well under $100.

11. Snail mail. Mailboxes run the gamut from kitschy roadside novelties masquerading as dogs, fish, or what-have-you to sober black lockboxes mounted alongside the front door. Whichever way you go, make sure yours is standing or hanging straight, with a secure closure, and no dings or dents. The mail carrier will thank you.

Recently upgraded your home and want to sell? List your Centerville, Bellbrook, Oakwood Springboro home today. Just shopping? Call me for a FREE home evaluation!

9 Ways to Avoid Gobbling Up Energy on Thanksgiving

Wasting energy on Thanksgiving? Don’t be a turkey!

A few days before Thanksgiving

1. Install a dimmer switch for the dining room chandelier. Every time you dim a bulb’s brightness by 10%, you’ll double the bulb’s lifespan. Most CFLs don’t work with dimmers, but you can create mood lighting with incandescents and LEDs. The dimmer switch will cost you about $10.

2. Plan side dishes that can cook simultaneously with the turkey. If you cook dishes at the same temperature at the same time, you’ll reduce the amount of time the oven has to be running — it’s easier for the cook and saves energy, too.

When you start cooking

3. Lower your house thermostat a few degrees. The oven will keep the house warm. You also can turn on your ceiling fan so it sucks air up, distributing heat throughout the room.

4. Use ceramic or glass pans — you can turn down the oven’s temp by up to 25 degrees and get the same results. That’s because these materials retain heat so well, they’ll continue cooking food even after being removed from the oven.

5. Use your oven’s convection feature. When heated air is circulated around the food, it reduces the required temperature and cooking time. You’ll cut your energy use by about 20%.

6. Cook in the microwave whenever possible. Ditto slow cookers. Microwaves get the job done quickly, and although slow cookers take much longer, they still use less energy than the oven. Resist the urge to peek inside your slow cooker: Each time you remove the lid, it releases heat and can add about 25 minutes of cooking time to your dish.

7. Use lids on pots to retain heat. The food you’re cooking on the stovetop will heat up faster when you use lids.

When it’s cleanup time

8. Scrape plates instead of rinsing with hot water. Unless food is really caked on there, your dishwasher should get the dishes clean without a pre-rinse. Compost your non-meat food waste. Check out these other Thanksgiving clean-up tips.

9. Use your dishwasher. It saves energy and water, so only hand-wash things that aren’t dishwasher-safe. Wait until you’ve got a full load before starting the dishwasher. Be sure to stop the appliance before the heated dry cycle; just open the door and let your dishes air-dry.

Centerville Americana Festival

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The Centerville-Washington Township Americana Festival started in 1972 as a sidewalk sale promoted by the city’s downtown merchants.  This year, more than 75,000 people will attend the festival and more than 100 volunteers will be working behind the scenes to make it all happen. In 2011 the Festival was the winner of the Best of Dayton Award for 4th of July events.  Read more about the Americana Festival.

There are TONS of events and family activities!

5K Run
The Miami Valley Hospital South / Up and Running,   Americana 5k Run/Walk

Parade
The highlight of the Americana Festival is the parade. The Parade begins at 10:00am on East Franklin Street, west of Centerville High School, and proceeds West to Cline Elementary on Virginia Avenue.

Street Fair
July 4th at 9:30AM. A Wide Variety of Activities for Young and Old Alike! Each year, the Street Fair continues to grow.  Featuring 300 craft and food booths, artists, musical entertainment and a children’s game and activity area.

Fireworks
July 4th @ 10:00PM. (By the Famous Rozzi Family).   Enjoy synchronized music to the Fireworks Display on Fly 92.9 FM beginning at 10:00 pm. The holiday fireworks end a spectacular day of entertainment.

6 Signs of a Neighborhood on the Upswing

153863462-232x150It’s hardly surprising potential home buyers often overlook transitional properties in favor prime real estate. Purchasing a home in a neighborhood on the upswing is likely to be more affordable and add value to your quality of life and bottom line over time.

As you go house hunting, keep in mind these six signs of a neighborhood on the upswing to find a great deal:

1. Neat Neighbors
The signs should be immediately apparent—in the form of trimmed lawns, pruned bushes, unbroken fences, nice flowerbeds, well-kept yards, absence of litter on the sidewalk/streets and local committees responsible for the area’s upkeep.

2. Quiet Streets
Nothing wreaks havoc on a homeowner’s experience more than the noise of traffic, industry or a commercial thoroughfare. If you want to sleep well at night in your new home, make sure your potential residence is located far away from major highways, railroad tracks and airports. In an upswing neighborhood, major road construction or road repair work is generally scheduled at night or at specific times to minimize resident inconvenience.

3. Proximity to Vital Services
The best real estate locations are neighborhoods that provide easy access to these vital services:
• Schools
• Doctors and hospitals
• Public transportation and major highways
• Grocery stores and shopping centers
• Entertainment and recreational facilities
• Safe outdoor parks and nature spots
Your REALTOR® and local media reports may have information about planned commercial and residential development for the area, which could boost the amenities available to the neighborhood.

4. Picture Perfect Views
The view has a major impact on a property’s appeal. Indeed, properties facing mountain views, greenbelts, water views and sweeping city views fetch up to 20 percent more in market value over second-rate views or no views at all. High views are worth more than low views, so if you own a penthouse, you could strike gold when you decide to sell.

5. Safe Stats
Everyone wants to live in a low-crime area, and neighborhood safety is an even greater concern for families with children and for single women who live alone. To determine how safe a neighborhood is, do the following:
• Check local crime rates. Also peruse the area’s Megan’s Law website to see if sex offenders live in the area.
• Look for well-lit roads and sidewalks, as well as working streetlamps that deter crime.
• Walls covered in graffiti can indicate the presence of gangs or a low-income area.
• Private parking spaces in front of the home or in a private garage are safer than parking on the street or in a public garage.
• Safe homes in an upswing neighborhood feature high-end security systems, strong door locks with deadbolts, well-lit driveways and fenced-in gardens.

6. Tips from a Neighborhood Specialist
Real estate agents who have up-to-date, hands-on knowledge of a particular area can be a big help in identifying a good neighborhood. They can provide vital information such as these key tidbits:
• Current home market values
• Appreciation/depreciation trends in the area
• History of the home and of the neighborhood
• Neighborhood amenities
• Neighborhood detractors and hazards

Home prices will fluctuate in any market, but a house in a neighborhood on the upswing is more likely to have hidden value than one in an already-popular area. As the upswing neighborhood grows into something sought-after, your home will attract greater numbers of prospective home buyers when it comes time for resale.

Article courtesty of: Realtor.com

How Long Does It Take to Buy a Home?

how-longConsumers considering a home purchase often want to get a handle on how it takes to actually buy a home.

The problem is this: it’s a surprisingly subjective and multi-layered question. Answers tend to focus on the typical time it takes to close a home loan once you’re under contract, which is usually 30 to 45 days.

That’s an accurate response, but it’s a vantage point that leaves little room between the starting and finish lines. The home-buying journey—from financial preparation and finding the right home to getting under contract and through closing—tends to take a lot longer.

The reality is there is no stock answer on how long it takes to buy a home, mostly because everyone’s journey is different. Here is a closer look at some stages and steps that can shape your home-buying timeline.

Building Credit & Savings

Signing a purchase agreement to buy a home is a key step, but it doesn’t mean much if you don’t have the credit and assets necessary to secure a mortgage.

You might need to spend time burnishing your credit profile or stockpiling savings in order to qualify for a home loan. Credit-score and down payment requirements can vary depending on the lender and the loan type. (Checking your credit scores before you begin your home search can help you determine if you need more time to build your credit. There are various services that allow you to check your credit scores for free, including Credit.com.)

Borrowers looking at a $300,000 home would need at least $15,000 in cash for a minimum down payment on conventional financing (5%) and at least $10,500 for FHA financing (3.5%).

The average conventional borrower in April had a 755 credit score, while the average FHA borrower had a score of 685, according to mortgage software company Ellie Mae.

Paying down debt, correcting mistakes on your credit report and other steps can help boost your score, rapidly in some cases. But some blemishes can take longer to clear up than others.

How long it takes to build that down payment nest egg depends on the borrower and their budget. Scraping together enough cash to simply meet those minimum requirements can take considerable time, especially for first-time buyers.

Finding the Right Home

Last year, homebuyers typically looked at 10 homes over 12 weeks before getting under contract, according to the National Association of Realtors.

But there’s no game clock on your home search. You can tour 50 homes over 50 weeks. You can buy the first showing.

It’s obviously the most personal part of the process, but it’s also a time when perfect can truly be the enemy of good. First-time buyers especially have to learn to balance wants and needs with the realities of their housing market and what they can afford.

That’s not always an easy—or quick—lesson to learn.

Loan Processing

For mortgage lenders, the home-buying clock starts once they get a copy of your purchase agreement. From there, work starts on getting the property appraised and all of your financial documentation in order for an underwriter to review.

Like credit and underwriting requirements, appraisal time frames can vary depending on the loan type. For example, most appraisals on VA loans are back within 10 days, but it might take longer in more remote parts of the country.

That 30- to 45-day window from contract to close is a good ballpark for most purchase loans, unless you are trying to buy a short sale (think more like 90 to 120 days). But understand it’s not uncommon for underwriters to require additional documents once they begin scrutinizing your loan file.

Borrowers can help speed the process along by returning those documents as quickly as possible. You don’t have a ton of control once you are under contract on a home, but this is one key area where your swift action—or lack of it—can have a big impact on your home-buying timeline.

Article courtesy of: Credit.com