Tips to Choose a New Neighborhood

Aerial Looking straight down Suburban IntersectionIf you are buying a new home, the neighborhood you choose can be just as important as the choice of home.  There are a variety of types of neighborhoods for which you can purchase your new home.  The key to finding the right one for you is to consider your lifestyle and needs.  The following tips will help you in choosing a neighborhood that is best suited for you.

Step 1:  Asses Your Needs

What is it you and your family want out of a neighborhood.  Are you looking for a quite suburban street filled with families for your kids to play with? Or would you prefer a downtown, urban vibe?  Start with making a list of must-haves and won’t haves, which are non-negotiable, and some nice-to-haves where you can compromise.  Creating these lists before you start searching for homes will help in the elimination process.

Step 2:  Think about Budgets

You may have found the perfect neighborhood for you, but can you afford the properties in it? Also, take a look at the additional expenses living in the neighborhood may bring.  Will the drive to work or places you go often add additional gas expenses?  Online mortgage calculators can help you determine what priced home you can afford.

Step 3:  Think Ahead

Think ahead to any lifestyle changes that may be heading your way.  Perhaps you’re planning to start a family in the next few years, or your kids might be ready to move out.  Consider if the neighborhood would have enough amenities to entertain a teenager or if the town’s nightlife will make it too noisy when you have young children.

Step 4: Do Your Research

It’s always a good idea to pay attention to the little details.  Visit your prospective neighborhood at different times of the day to get an all-around perspective.  You may discover rush hour traffic is terrible or that you hear trains passing early in the morning.  If you see For Sale signs in the same area, find out why.  This could be a warning sign.  Try to talk to neighbors and get their thoughts on the neighborhood.

Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases you will ever make.  A HUFF agent can help you prioritize and make you aware of options you might not have considered.


Top Reasons You Should Not Sale By Owner

Modern Home for Sale with sign in front yardFor Sale By Owner, or FSBO, is the process of selling real estate without representation by a real estate agent. The primary reason owners choose to sell on their own is to avoid paying the real estate commission in an attempt to save money. However, there are many factors to weigh when considering selling FSBO v. hiring an agent. Will I price it right? Who will prepare the documents? Do I really have the time and patience for this? Will I get in legal hot water?

There’s the risk of selling your home for a lot less than it’s worth. Statistics have shown that the average FSBO home sells for about 25% less than homes sold through a Realtor.

Where did buyers find the home they actually purchased?  The days of selling your home by putting a sign in the yard and placing an ad in the paper are long gone.  Most agents have an online strategy to promote the sale of a home. Do you?

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Preparing all of the legal forms, disclosures etc. is your responsibility, and if you’re unfamiliar you take the risk of financial and legal liability.  The paperwork alone is one of the reasons the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 8% over the last 20+ years.

There are too many people to negotiate with when selling a home.  Are you prepared to negotiate with:

  • The buyer who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
  • The home inspections companies, who work for the buyer and will almost always find problems with the house
  • The appraiser if there is a question of value

Selling your home will likely be one of the biggest transactions of your life. You can try to do it alone to save money, but hiring an agent has many advantages. Agents can get broader exposure for your property, help you negotiate a better deal, and dedicate more time to your sale. An agent brings expertise, which few home sellers have, to a complex transaction with many financial and legal pitfalls.

Before you decide to take on the challenges of selling your house on your own, sit with a real estate professional in your marketplace and see what they have to offer.

For more information on selling your home download HUFF’s free seller’s guide:


Down payments: how much do you really need to buy your dream home?

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Let us show you low – and no-down-payment options today.

Down Payments as low as 3.5%

Federal Housing Agency (FHA) Loans have the benefit of a low down payment but there are other loan products with the same option. Be certain to compare the overall costs of all products, including the monthly and long-term costs and conditions of the required mortgage insurance.  In many instances, you may find FHA to be a more expensive financing option.  For details, visit

0% down payment

Veterans, active-duty service personnel, and reservists deserve to live the American Dream they help protect.

  • Up to 100% financing for qualified borrowers
  • Choice of fixed-rate or adjustable-rate products
  • Funds for down payment plus all closing costs can come entirely from gifts and grants and waivers

“97% LTV” – the 3% down payment1

  • For 1-unit principal residents only, including condos!2
  • Fixed-rate mortgage with maximum 30-year term
  • Loan limits: $417,000 in most counties and up to $615,250 in high-cost markets
  • Down payment and reserves may come as a gift from an eligible donor3
  • Reduced rates on private mortgage insurance for qualified low-to-moderate-income borrowers

Down payments as low as 5% PLUS Gift Funds allowed

Qualified first-time and move-up borrowers may be able to get a conventional loan for as little as a 5 percent down.  In addition, the funds needed to complete transaction may come from a personal gift from an acceptable donor.  This may include funds for all or part of the down payment, closing costs, or financial reserves.4

O% down payment

If you’ve been house hunting in an outlying area, a “Rural Housing” loan is designed to create opportunities for those with limited savings or modest incomes.5   There are no minimum down payment down payment or cash reserve requirements, and closing costs may be financed as part of the loan amount.

Talk with a mortgage loan officer for additional details.

There are a variety of down-payment options available.  It’s important to note that loans with low down-payment features may require monthly mortgage insurance which could increase the overall cost of the loan.



For more information contact:

Mark Shooner

Local Market Manager | NMLS 577408,  OMBA LO.001679.001
6192 Muhlhauser Rd | West Chester  OH 45069

1Availalbe for qualified first-time buyers and cash-out refinance only.
2Manufactured housing is not eligible.
3 Acceptable Gift Donors: A relative of the borrower (borrower’s spouse, child, or other dependent, or one related by blood, marriage, adoption, or legal guardianship, a fiancé, or finacée, or domestic partner.
4Subject to certain minimum borrower contribution requirements.  Certain affiliation and relationship restrictions may apply.  See your mortgage loan officer for specific details.
5Credit is subject to approval.  Property location and income restrictions may apply and homebuyer education may be required.

HomeServices Lending, LLC does not offer loans in all states.
Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act. Georgia Residential Mortgage License Number: 32253. Regulated by the Colorado Division of Real Estate. Licensed by the Delaware State Bank Commissioner to engage in business in Delaware, License # 5837, Expiration 12/31/17. Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee MB.6761077. Kansas Licensed Mortgage Company, License Number: SL.0026321. Ohio Mortgage Loan Act Certificate of Registration: 490683 SM.501899.000; Ohio Mortgage Broker Act Certificate of Registration: 490683 MB.804161.000. Oregon Mortgage Lending License ML-5251. 2700 Westown Parkway, Suite 345, West Des Moines, IA 50266.
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Working with an agent can reduce stress for buyers and sellers

blogAs the spring buying season arrives, real estate professionals often find the demands on their time and attention pulling them in a number of different directions. However, staying focused on the task at hand – that is to say, facilitating real estate sales – is not only vital for their business, but also for helping buyers and sellers through what can sometimes be a stressful process.

There are a number of worries that can arise during the sales process, no matter which side of it they happen to be on. Consequently, agents would be wise to prepare their clients for any number of eventualities that might arise.

How to help sellers
One of the biggest aspects of the sales process that can be problematic for sellers – is pricing a home, according to Excel Real Estate Experts. Agents typically have plenty of experience with pricing in the marketplace, while most homeowners understandably do not. Therefore, agents would do well to take the time to explain how they have valued a home and why, not only setting a price point but also talking about the impact that outside issues can have a property’s price.

It might also be wise to set both a realistic aspirational price and a fallback position that will still allow homeowners to come out ahead. Those who don’t have much experience selling a property may not know everything that goes into asking prices, but experienced agents who can assuage their concerns and help them to better understand the ins and outs of proper pricing are most likely to have success and reduce their selling clients’ stress levels.

How to help buyers
The good news for sellers is that demand for properties in many markets is so high that some homes may appear to sell themselves. On the flip side of that, is that buying clients will likely have to face bidding wars for the properties they want, according to Atlantic Bay Mortgage Group. However, agents can help to reduce stress for these shoppers as well, by carefully explaining how the process typically proceeds and what they can do to best prepare themselves for each step of the way.

The first aspect of preparation for buyers is to understand the maximum amount they will be able to pay, and agents along with a trusted mortgage professional may be able to help them get a better understanding of what affordability means for them. Agents should probably also keep in mind that while the sales process is old hat for them, it’s not always the case for many buyers and sellers. As such, a little empathy and a good amount of advice can go a long way for all involved.

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