Open House: with the best of traditional and digital marketing


The way people like to shop for homes, has changed a lot in the past few years. Today’s buyers prefer things their counterparts even five years ago did not, and therefore it’s important to be mindful of changing methods and trends. While the general idea for a lot of open house preparation remains the same as it ever was, a number of aspects may need to shift just a little bit to accommodate current buyers’ preferences.

Today, the most successful real estate agents are able to combine old-fashioned industry know-how with cutting-edge ideas about how to attract interest, according to Bankrate. The tried-and-true methods for distributing information about an open house or a property itself can still apply, but it’s equally important to make sure to put everything online. Finding the right balance between traditional and online advertising options, depending upon the local market and its demographics, is vital. However, abandoning some traditional aspects can be a misstep as well.

What does that mean?
The vast majority of home searches start online, so agents should do the same, prioritizing a good website listing and social media presence over print ads.

However, old-school directional signs, with arrows guiding prospects to the open house, are still a smart move.

Traditionally, open houses take place on Sundays between one and four in the afternoon. Some experts are now suggesting weeknight evening ‘happy hour showings’ or Saturday showings. Even minor tweaks, such as changing the timing by moving back even an hour or two from standard open house times can open the door to a larger group of prospective buyers.

Making a website shine
Traditionally many buyers take photos around an open house. Investing in professional photography can go a long way to getting a property sold.  The photos not only entice prospects, but also help remind interested buyers about the features of the home after the initial showing. Consequently, it might be smart for agents do the same beforehand and put them on a website with an easy-to-remember URL, according to Fit Small Business. That way, when would-be buyers hit multiple open houses in one day, they’re not looking back a few days later and asking themselves, “Oh, I love this living room, but which house was it in?”

By giving shoppers the ability to look at a house again with a website that’s easy-to-find and navigate, agents can facilitate real estate sales for their clients without drastically changing the way they’ve done things for years. Often, all it takes is a little extra effort online to go from a good open house to a great one.

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click

10 Tips for Choosing a Reliable Home Inspector


A home inspection can prevent a lot of headaches for both buyers and sellers.

If you are buying a home, an inspection could reveal problems you never would’ve noticed. An inspection can require the seller to fix what needs fixing before you by the home. There may be issues found that make you decide not to buy.  The home inspection is a crucial part of the home buying process!

Here are 10 tips for choosing a reliable inspector.

1.Get a reference from your real estate agent.

One of the best resources for picking a good home inspector should be your real estate agent.  If your agent has been in the busy for any length of time, they have probably encountered quite a few home inspectors.  They will be able to give you advice on who does a thorough job and who does not.

2.Look for a company that is bonded and insured.

The type of work inspectors do puts them at certain amount of risk – while climbing in attics and wandering through basements and crawl spaces accidents can occur.  Reputable home inspectors carry insurance for this reason which eliminates the risk of the homeowner from being sued if injury does occur during an inspection.

3. Verify the inspection company only does inspections – not home repairs and renovations.

This information is important as companies who do offer repair and renovation services have a conflict of interest. They are likely to see problems where there aren’t any.  Choose a home inspection company that’s focused solely on inspections.  Bring in a contractor after the inspection is over if you are interested in the cost of repairs or renovations.

4. Find out what the inspection includes and how long it takes.

Knowing what an inspector will look at will allow you to shop around and compare services.  Some inspectors may focus on one area such as the structure itself and nothing else.  A good inspector will go over every little detail of your home including:

  • The heating and air conditioning systems.
  • The basement and foundation.
  • The roof and attic.
  • The electrical system.
  • The structural condition.
  • Evidence of water penetration or grading issues.
  • Pests such as bugs and wildlife.
  • Environmental issues such as mold, radon, asbestos, and lead paint.
  • Appliances and other general components of the home.

The time given for the inspection is also a good indicator of how thorough the inspection will be.  Generally, an inspection should take 2-3 hours to complete, but if you are buying a larger home, a fixer-upper, or an older home, the inspection should take longer.

5. Get references.

Selecting an inspector is as important as choosing the right real estate agent to work with. Asking for references allows you to reach out to previous clients and ask how their experience was when working with the inspector.  Did the inspector seem knowledgeable? Was the report comprehensive and relatively easy to understand?  Keep in mind, you will be given the contact information of their most satisfied customers so it is helpful to get multiple references.

6. Verify that you can accompany the inspector.

Going through the inspection will allow you to gain valuable insight into the state of your new home.  The home inspector can explain the different things he or she is looking for and will allow you to take notes of any areas that may give you trouble in the future – even if it isn’t an issue at the time of the inspection.

7. Request a sample inspection report.

Inspection reports come in many different formats, from walls of text to colorful reports with photographs.  Ask to see a sample report to see if the format works for you.  Sometimes it is easier to discern problems with pictures accompanied by a description to see what the inspector is referencing.

It is also important to choose an inspector who can deliver a completed report with plenty of time to review – most inspectors will have the report ready within 24 hours of the inspection.

8. Compare the cost of hiring different companies.

When shopping around for home inspection companies, make sure you have a detailed description of what each company does during the inspection in order to make a fair comparison.

On average, a general home inspection can cost between $400 to $800 depending on where you live.  You should expect to may more if you are testing radon, mold, lead and water.

9. What’s the inspectors background?

You want to work with an inspector who knows what’s inside the walls of your home and understands the basics of local building codes and requirements.  If you are looking to buy a specialty home, such as an historic home, try to find an inspector with some experience in the type of home you are buying.  The issues with the construction of older home and newer home differ greatly so it will be helpful having an inspector familiar with each type of home.

10.Does the inspector belong to any professional home inspector associations?

Membership in appropriate associations, such as the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) ensures that inspectors have passed competency examinations, adhere to recognized standards of practice, operate under a strict code of ethics, and maintain continuing education in their field.

Whether you’re a first time buyer or building your dream home, we’ll help you through the entire home buying experience.  Contact your local HUFF agent today or visit






Fall Can Be a Great Season for Real Estate

village street
Fall can be a great season to buy as well

School is back in session nationwide, and that occasion is typically seen as the unofficial start of autumn. For real estate professionals, that might come as a stark contrast, because the summer buying season usually keeps them busy. However, recent analysis shows that fall might actually be the best time for many bargain-hunters to hit the market, because home prices tend to get more affordable around this time of year.

Just last autumn, an examination of home sales over a 15-year period starting in 2000 found October was typically the month in which buyers got the biggest discounts on asking prices, according to the industry data firm RealtyTrac. The average discount shoppers found October was about 2.6 percent below asking, outstripping the savings seen in winter months like December, January, and February.

The analysis even narrowed things down to the best day to buy: Oct. 8. On that day, the average buyer from 2000 to 2015 enjoyed a discount of 10.8 percent. That date came in ahead of Nov. 26, New Year’s Eve, Oct. 22 and Oct. 15, all of which saw average discounts of at least 9.1 percent.

What’s the big savings driver?
So the question many agents or brokers may have is, “Why do prices drop at this time of year?” Industry experts say there can be any number of factors involved, depending on where people live, how hot the market had been previously, and so on. All of these issues have a big impact on the number of and savings granted by real estate sales, so it’s important for brokers or agency owners to encourage their agents to stay active at this time of year.

October can be a prime buying season because the amount of daylight dwindles, but days are still relatively long for much of the month. In addition, the weather in most parts of the country cools, but not enough to deter people from showing up to an open house. Interestingly, warmer climates like the Southeast or Southwest, which tend to see a lot of “snowbirds” from northern states, sometimes see increased buying activity in the fall as people look to lock in deals so they can move before another winter begins.

Why should buyers act soon?
One of the biggest considerations here is that when people keep their homes on the market in the fall, sellers get more motivated, according to Trulia. Typically, they don’t want to deal with the dearth of shoppers that comes during and after the holiday season and may be a little more flexible when it comes to issues even beyond the sales price. For example, they might be more accommodating when letting buyers choose their move-in dates.

Industry experts also note those who buy nearer to the end of the year also get the benefit of shopping for new homes while holiday sales are going on. That can help them save a bit of money after they move in as well. Consequently, the more agents can do to highlight all the benefits of shopping throughout the fall, the better off both they and their clients are likely to be when it comes to finding the right home at the right price.

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click

The Time to Totally Embrace Tech is Now


Investors are feeling bullish on real estate technology, a sentiment that could produce new opportunities in the near future.

MetaProp NYC, a real estate technology accelerator, recently polled investors and startup founders on the state of the industry, and where they see it going in 2016 and beyond. The results of the “Global Real Estate Tech Confidence Index” show that investors are confident about the state of the real estate technology market. On a 1-10 scale, investors rated their confidence in the industry a 9.1.

“We found that 90 percent of investors intend to make either the same amount of investments as last year or more in 2016,” the researchers explained. “Founders and investors expect that the real estate tech market will grow more competitive during 2016, with more startups chasing a larger pool of venture capital funding.”

Luckily, real estate agents don’t have to wait for great apps. There are already plenty available. If you can’t wait for the latest investments to hit the market, here are a few of the best real estate apps available now:

When you’re working for a brokerage, keeping track of all your expenses can be difficult. This app will keep track of all your receipts for you, which can help you stay more organized and free up space on your desk or in your drawers. If you’re tracking your expenses, consider Expensify or a similar service to make sure you’re staying on top of your receipts.

Have you ever hosted a virtual open house? If not, you might want to look into downloading Periscope and trying one out. Leads that are moving long distances or have busy schedules would likely take advantage of virtual tours if you offer them. You can also use apps like Periscope for Q&A sessions or to stream local events.

Maintaining relationships with past clients is important, which is why apps like Homekeepr can help. This service sends maintenance reminders to real estate agents’ past clients. This is a great excuse to keep in touch and it’s helpful for homeowners.

You no longer need to meet someone in person to drop off documents to be signed. Virtual signatures are as binding as ink and much easier to get a hold of. In addition, like Expensify, this app can help real estate agents save space and stay more organized by removing the need for piles of papers.

There are plenty of apps available for real estate agents, and new ones waiting around the corner. These can help you stay organized, reach new leads and maintain strong relationships with past clients. The suite of services available to real estate agents now – along with the fact that investors are confident more are on the way – is great for tech-savvy real estate professionals whose most valuable lead generation tools are their cellphones.

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click

Cincinnati Fall Festivals


Happy First Day of Fall!

In honor of this day,  HUFF Realty wanted to provide a comprehensive list of all the best corn mazes, pumpkin patches and other fun activities to do this fall! 



Burwinkel Farms – Open all of October. During the month of September, our farm in Ross transitions from a produce market into an October Fall Extravaganza. With over 20+ varieties of locally grown apples, as well as all your fall decorating needs, Burwinkel Farms is the perfect place to take your family for corn stalks, gourds and pumpkins of all sorts, Indian corn, apple cider, and mums. Our farm offers a variety of activities for all ages including a corn maze, scavenger hunt, straw tunnel, corn pool, and weekend hayrides to a pick a pumpkin from the patch.

Country Pumpkins: Alpine Hills Dairy Farm, Sept. 10 – Oct. 31, 2016

Fall on the Farm: Blooms and Berries Farm Market, Sept. 19 through Oct. 31, 2016

Fall Farm Days:  Bonnybrook Farms, Saturdays and Sundays – October 1-30, 2016

Irons Fruit Farm – corn maze, hay ride to pumpkin patch, pumpkins, etc.; weekends only (weekends in Oct.)

Niederman Family Farm’s Fall Festival –  Sept. 23 to Oct. 30, 2016

Neltner’s Farm and Greenhouses Fall Fest: October 1-30, 2016; Enjoy horse-drawn wagon rides, an expansive corn maze, pick-your-own pumpkin patch, the petting zoo, pony rides, homemade food and ice cream, our farm shop, crafters, pottery, face-painting, seasonal apples, folk art, live music, a wonderful variety of demonstrations and a barrel train! Weekend admission is $5 (ages 3 and up) with weekend hours of 10 AM-6 PM, Weekend admission includes horse drawn wagon ride to the pumpkin patch, corn maze, petting zoo, and acres to roam; Weekday admission is free and they’re open 9 AM-6 PM with farm shop, pumpkin patch, maze, & petting zoo open.

Pumpkin Days on the Farm, Benton Farm, October 14-16, 2016

Shaw’s Fall Festival Weekend: Shaw Farms, weekends from Sept. 17 – October 31, 2016; weather permitting



October 1 and 2: Sunflower Festival at Gorman Heritage Farm

October 1: Spooky Pooch in Glendale, 11am – 5pm; activities for dogs and their owners; including Spookiest Pooch contest, Spooky Pooch Parade, and more

October 7-9: Operation Pumpkin in Hamilton; live music, food, activities, crafts, and more

October 7-9: Kentucky Wool Festival

October 8 and 9: Ohio Sauerkraut Festival in Waynesville

October 15: Trunk R’ Treat Fall Festival , 2:30-5:30; A classic car show, kids in costumes, music, games and lots of candy combine for this annual event

October 15 and 16: Minges and Weber Family Pumpkin Festival

October 16: Make it a Fabulous Fall Funday! at the Taft Museum’s 3rd Sunday Funday; 1-4pm at the Taft Museum of Art

October 16: Celebrate cooler weather, changing leaves and the harvest season at Findlay Market’s annual Fall Food Festival, 10am to 4pm

October 21 and 22: Magic Halloween Hikes: Caldwell Nature Preserve, reservations required

October 29-30: Enjoy Fall Fest Weekend at Washington Park

October 22: Halloween Walk in the Woods, Blue Ash

October 26: Fright Night Flicks – an evening of classic horror double-features in Washington Park; Scooby Doo: Nowhere to Hyde – Rated G: 7:30-8p plus The Ring – Rated PG-13:  8p-9:55p

October 29: Nature at Night Pumpkin Hike at Farbach-Werner Nature Preserve, 7-8pm



Halloween Nights at Parky’s Farm: Dress your best and bring out your little ghouls and goblins, princesses and superheroes to a one-of-a-kind, family-friendly Halloween party. 2016 dates have not been published yet.

Jack O’Lantern Junction: EnterTRAINment Junction. Sept. 24 through Oct. 31, 2016

HallZOOween at the Cincinnati Zoo: “always hairy, never scary”; weekends in October

Halloween Haunt at Kings Island:   Fridays and Saturdays Sept. 23 through October 29

Haunted Village (family friendly): Fridays and Saturdays in October, ends October 29

Fall-O-Ween: Coney Island, Oct 8, 9; Oct. 15, 16; Oct. 22,23



Haunted Tours from American Legacy Tours (Cincinnati, Covington, Newport): now through November

Haunted Cincinnati Tours: now through December

Fright Night Flicks: Enjoy a free horror movie on Fridays in October

U.S.S. Nightmare: Built on a retired working steamboat

Mt. Healthy Haunted Hall: Open Sept. 30, 2016 and runs every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through October 31st.  Friday and Saturday 8pm – 11pm, Sunday 7pm – 9pm.

The Land of Illusion Haunted Scream Park: Sept. 2- Oct. 30 (Fridays and Saturdays in Sept. and Oct., Sundays in October)

The Dent Schoolhouse Haunted House: Sept. 9 through end of Nov. 5; see site for dates

The Haunted Farm House at Benton Farm: October dates to be announced

The Wilmington Haunted Hollow Ride: Sept. 17 thru Oct. 29 (Fridays and Saturdays)



Buyer Tools You Need


Did you know there are over 13,500 listings in the tristate area at this very moment? That many listings can make searching for a home overwhelming because of all of the options. But don’t fear! HUFF Realty has a few awesome tools to help you in your search for the perfect home!

screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-9-21-21-amSearch for your home on your desktop! contains more local inventory and up-to-date information about homes for sale than many of the national sites you may be using currently.  Search by location, price, and more using our powerful desktop search tool and browse thousands of homes, flip through photos, and save your favorites.

screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-9-25-09-amDownload the HUFF app!

Shop for homes on the go with our free HUFF mobile app and access virtually every home within the tristate area. The HUFF app offers unique tools that allow you to calculate commute times, share listings with your friends, draw around areas you want to search in, and use your smart phone or tablet’s GPS to instantly find homes nearby.

screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-9-23-05-am Find available homes in your desired area!

Register for your free Property Watch account and keep all your home search information in one place.  View all area properties listed for sale, save searches and favorites, get automatic email alerts as soon as properties hit the market and more!

Whether you’re a first time buyer or building your dream home, we’ll help you through the entire home buying experience.  Contact your local HUFF agent today or visit


4 tips for starting your real estate career off right


Working as a real estate agent isn’t like many other jobs, and people new to the role will need help kicking off their careers.

If you’re one of those individuals who is just starting out in real estate, don’t worry. This job requires hard work, but it’s also exciting and rewarding. To ensure success, though, there are a number of habits that new real estate agents should adopt. These will help you improve your planning and lead generation. If you’re interested in getting your real estate career started off the right way, you may want to consider taking up some of these habits:

  1. Block out lead generation time
    One way to ensure lead generation success is to block out time every day solely for that purpose. Don’t let anything break your lead generation bubble each day. This way, you can make sure you produce plenty of leads each day. Inman suggested scheduling this block each morning. This way you get it out of the way, and have the rest of the day to leverage your new leads.
  2. Be quick to communicate 
    Buying or selling a home can be a long, and sometimes complicated, process. One thing your clients definitely need is speedy communication. Being quick to respond shows your clients that you care, and earns their trust that you’ll be there when they need you. Once you are on the phone with your clients, be sure to take time to speak with them. Really investing time in their concerns will strengthen your relationships with clients and help you understand the homebuying and selling processes from their perspective better.
  3. Hone in on open houses
    Early on in your real estate career, it will help to set up as many open houses as you can, according to Inman. One every weekend for at least two months – or even three or four – could set you up with a significant network of leads to begin working through. Open houses are a great way to meet prospective Buyers who may be planning to get into the real estate market, but haven’t taken the next step of enlisting the help of a real estate professional.
  4. Take advantage of tech tools
    Technology exists to make our lives easier, so why not use it to simplify your day-to-day real estate plan? There are plenty of apps out there that simplify lead generation, budgeting, planning and marketing, among other tasks. Taking advantage of available tech will help you cut costs, make processes more efficient and stay on top of your real estate business.

Starting out in real estate can be daunting, but adopting the habits above will help you get your career going more quickly. By generating leads and building a positive reputation as you’re starting out, you’ll set yourself up for long term success.

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click