How To Buy A Foreclosure

January 18th, 2013

Buying a foreclosure in Ohio differs somewhat from buying other homes in Ohio. First, there are different pros and cons of buying a foreclosure, and there are different stages of a foreclosure at which you can buy the home. The first stage is a pre-foreclosure, the second stage is a sheriff’s auction, and the final stage is repossession, or REO (real estate owned). You can buy the home at any one of these three stages, but Rick Sharga, of RealtyTrac, says, “the safest and best way to buy is when it’s a bank-owned property”. Here is more information on the stages of foreclosure, and how to buy a foreclosure.


Pre-foreclosure homes are homes that are in the foreclosure process, but haven’t been sent to auction yet. Homes in this stage are being sold by the homeowner, typically because the owner owes more money on the home than it is worth, and cannot or will not continue making the mortgage payments. Potential buyers wishing to buy a pre-foreclosure need to speak with the lender and the owner to negotiate an offer. Buying a pre-foreclosure home is a slow, complicated process that will require patience from the buyer. Generally, homes at this stage are more expensive than homes at the sheriff auction and REO stage.


Sheriff’s auction homes typically sell for the lowest prices. This is because these homes are often fraught with difficulties, and will require a lot of work from the buyer. At this stage, it is very difficult for potential buyers to get a home inspection, meaning that buyers won’t be aware of all of the issues a home has before purchasing it. Homes at the sheriff’s auction stage usually come with a long list of expensive and time-consuming repairs needed, which counteracts the low sale price.


REO homes are bank-owned properties that failed to sell in a sheriff’s auction. It is easier for potential buyers to commission a home inspection on these homes before purchasing, which eliminates the chance of getting stuck with unanticipated costly repairs. REO homes are almost always sold “as is”, meaning the bank won’t make any cosmetic repairs, and will only sometimes pay for repairs that are necessary to preserve the health and safety of the buyer. Buying an REO home is generally a much quicker-moving process than buying a pre-foreclosure home, so it is important for the buyer to get pre-approved for a home loan and have a home inspection done before making an offer.


When choosing to buy a foreclosure, it’s important to make sure you are financially and mentally prepared for the sale…

-You have enough money to buy the home, pay closing costs, pay taxes, and make necessary repairs/ you have been approved for a home loan

-You know what comparable homes in the area sell for, and are not likely to overpay for the property


Another tip: Don’t buy a foreclosure in an area with a lot of foreclosures-property values in the area are very low and unlikely to rise in the near future.


Read more from CNN and Inman News.


11 Must Have Mobile Apps for Real Estate

January 16th, 2013

Inman News recently released a list of “100 Must Have Mobile Apps for Real Estate”, including apps for housing searches, mortgage calculators, commercial property searches, property comparison, and much more!

Here are the top 11 must have mobile apps for real estate:

1.Zillow Real Estate Search is a free app for the iPhone with an average user rating of 3.5 (based on 63,223 ratings). The newest version allows you to search over 100 million homes for sale and for rent in the United States. Also, the app has a built in GPS which can help you find houses for sale and for rent as you walk or drive through neighborhoods you’re interested in.

2. Real Estate Search is another free app for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch with a rating of 3.5 (based on 17,715 ratings). The app allows you to find homes for sale throughout the country and the site is updated every 15 minutes to ensure that you have the most current and up to date information available. The app also includes map search, options to save searches and listings synchronized with the website, private ratings and notes, and the ability to share listings with your real estate agent, friends, and family.

3. Trulia Real Estate Search is another great app available for free on the iPhone or iPod Touch. This app has an average user rating of 3 (based on 20,903 ratings). This app from Trulia allows you to search nearby homes for sale and apartments for rent, and/or search for listings across the U.S. Moreover, the app includes features to help you plan visits to open houses, find a local real estate agent, and even check out local listing prices while on the go!

4. LoopNet Commercial Real Estate Search allows iPhone users to search for commercial real estate, investment properties, and lease space for free. The app has an average user rating of 3 (based on 1,053 review

5. Property Evaluator has a user rating of 3.5 (based on 15 ratings) and costs $1.99 for iPhone users. Property Evaluator is a product from Wasatch Digital Media Inc. and claims to be “the most powerful real estate investment analysis software for the iPhone”. Users simply enter required information about the property in question and are then able to view performance projections that help compare various properties.

6. Real Estate Calc received an average rating of 4 (based on 56 reviews) and costs only $0.99 for the iPhone. Skynetric released this app that is useful for buyers, sellers, real estate agents, investors, and loan officers.

7. ZipRealty Real Estate is a free app with an average rating of 2.5 (based on 8,367 reviews). The app allows users to find homes for sale in 25 major markets.


8. real estate search is another free app with a rating of 2.5 (based on 13,471 reviews). The latest version of this app allows users to conduct a custom search of nearby homes for sale and for rent. You can refine your search by price, property type, property features, and more, and you can choose to view listings in a detailed list or as shown on a map.

9. Redfin Real Estate is a free iPhone app with an average rating of 3.5 (based on 13,692 reviews). This app allows users to find information and photos for homes for sale and then add your own pictures and notes for future reference.

10. Property Flipper, another app from Wasatch Digital Media Inc., received an average rating of 2.5 (based on 49 reviews) and costs $1.99 for the iPhone. This app is great for real estate investors interested in flipping properties; users enter information about the property into the app and then the app provides a “flip analysis” that will tell you how much you’ll profit on the flip.

11. Keller Williams Capital Partners is our free app! Columbus Home Search brings the most accurate and up-to-date real estate information right to your phone! With Columbus Home Search, you have access to all homes for sale and MLS listings throughout the Columbus, Ohio area. Use Columbus Home Search anytime, anywhere to pull up homes for sale around you using the GPS search, or find homes based on address, city or zip code.


View all 100 real estate apps from Inman News here.

First Time Home Buyer Incentives – Worthington Ohio

January 14th, 2013

The Ohio Finance Housing Agency (OHFA) offers a First-Time Home Buyer Program that has allowed “thousands of low- and moderate-income Ohioans” to purchase homes in recent years, according to the website. The program offers competitive interest rates and mortgage options on 30-year fixed-rate mortgage loans that have made it possible for first time home buyers to purchase a home. Before we talk about first time home buyer incentives, let’s see who qualifies as a first time home buyer…

So, do you qualify?

OHFA require that applicants for the First-Time Homebuyer Program must meet income limits and properties must meet purchase price limits. *These limits vary by region.

OHFA stipulates that to qualify for one of their home loans, you must meet at least one of the four qualifying categories:

-You have never owned real estate

-You have not owned or had an ownership interest in your principal residence in the last three years

-You are a qualified military veteran

-You must purchase a home in a target area


Additionally, borrowers must meet all of the following three criteria:

Borrowers not using OHFA Down Payment Assistance must have a credit score of at least 620. Borrowers using OHFA Down Payment Assistance must have a credit score of 640 or higher

-Buyers must have a signed Purchase and Sales Agreement for a qualifying property

-Buyers must qualify for the loan being requested. Qualification will be assessed by lenders who will consider your income, assets, job stability, liabilities, and other criteria


Additional property requirements for an OHFA loan include:

-Within a municipal corporation properties are limited to two acres, outside a municipal corporation properties are limited to five acres (unless additional land is required by local health or safety code).

-Qualifying properties include:

-Existing homes: single-family dwellings, conforming condominiums, duplexes, and up to four-unit properties

-Newly built spec/nearly completed homes: one-unit single-family dwellings

-Modular/manufactured (mobile-style) homes: one-unit single-family dwellings, permanently affixed to a foundation


How to Apply

OHFA works with many Ohio lenders including banks, mortgage companies, and credit unions. Visit their website for more information.


OHFA Loan Types

-Fannie Mae conventional loans with special features and flexible terms

-Government-insured loans including traditional FHA, VA, USDA-RD, and 203-k (and streamline) loans

-203(k) loans

-Certain weatherization options


Loan Features/Benefits

-Both new and existing homes qualify

-30-year fixed interest rate available

-Flexible rate options

-Available in all Ohio counties

-Generous purchase price and income limits


Loan Fees

OHFA states that these following fees could apply to your loan:

-1% origination fee

-$200 funding fee

-$85 tax service fee


Down Payment Assistance

OHFA offers two options to assist first time homebuyers with down payment costs

-A Down Payment Assistance Grant

-A Grants for Grads Second Mortgage Program (if you are a recent graduate)


Contact Information:
Office of Homeownership
Ohio Housing Finance Agency
57 East Main Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215



January 9th, 2013


 Columbus Ohio nighttime skyline



Columbus’ 2012 bicentennial brought people together with foreword thinking ideas who combined hopes and blazed trails that should spawn greater economic prosperity in the future.  The success of this year’s commemorative efforts will give cause for future Columbus celebration forever.


As this year’s bicentennial unfolded, a spotlight began to focus on a number of finalized community embellishments. There is an impressive list of public improvement projects Columbus unveiled during celebration of the city’s 200 years of existence. These are physical forms of evidence that show a great deal of faith in the future of Columbus and they are the results that will have lasting beneficial impact on the quality of life enjoyed by residents of the central Ohio community in the months and years ahead.


Columbus 200 BeCentennial


Major investment was made on the high visibility public enhancements that came to fruition during events in 2012. City leaders turned up the notch on self-promotion and affirmed their progressive determinations, to firmly establish Columbus as a vibrant place to live and work now and in the future.


Read Entire Article HERE




Leslie Warthman, REALTOR - Keller Williams Capital Partners Realty

5 Things to Avoid When Selling a House

December 26th, 2012

Every Seller is looking to sell their home for the best price possible, in the shortest amount of time and under the best possible terms, right? If you or someone you know is looking to sell their home, make sure you know what to do and especially what NOT to do.

Here are 5 things to avoid when selling a house…


1. Warped pictures on online and print listings. Pictures are a great way for buyers to get an idea of what a home looks like, without actually setting up a showing, to determine whether or not they’re interested. However, no one is going to buy a house based merely on pictures, they will want to actually look at the house too. That means that if you put warped or stretched images up on your listing, the buyer is going to figure out the lie eventually. This itself is enough to turn most home buyers off to your home. In order to attract serious and interested buyers, and not turn them off to your home, it is imperative that you offer realistic pictures of your home on online and in print listings.


2. Buyers have also revealed that “useless pictures” are a major annoyance. “Useless” means an excess of  pictures of fixtures, furniture, etc. So, unless you’re including your antique piano or your childrens’ backyard jungle gym in the price of the home, the buyer doesn’t need to see 8 different pictures of it. Remember, you are selling the property, not your possessions, and the buyers want pictures of what they’re buying-not how you’ve decorated. Make sure the pictures show off the size of a room, height of your ceiling, etc.


3. No pictures at all is a great way to make sure that your home is not even considered by potential buyers. If a buyer can’t even get a tiny idea of what your home looks like, without actually driving all the way out there and setting up a showing, chances are they’re going to scroll or flip right by your listing without giving it a second thought.




4. Once at a showing, buyers don’t appreciate being misled by the seller. While you may be able to conceal some issues with your home in pictures, you can’t hide certain problems with your home, such as water leaks (evidenced by water marks) or a crumbling foundation when buyers are present for a showing. Just like with the warped pictures, the buyer is going to see the real thing eventually, so it’s best to be upfront and honest about your home. Doing so will increase your chances of finding a serious buyer who is willing to take on the issues of your home, or at least negotiate with you.


5. Finally, buyers admit that strange showings will turn them off to buying a home. The biggest complaints buyers have made center around unruly children and/or pets and rooms that are closed off from viewing due to sleeping residents, people changing, people showering, etc. It’s best to secure a place, away from the home, for children, pets, and guests to go during showings in order to make your home as welcoming and amenable to buyers as possible.
To read more on things buyers hate, click here.

How to Buy a Home in Worthington, Ohio

December 19th, 2012

The process of buying a home can be daunting and confusing, regardless of whether you’re a first time home buyer or an experienced home buyer. However, if you’ve narrowed your search down to Worthington, that’s a good start!

Here are a few tips on how to buy a home in Worthington, Ohio!


1. First you need to see if you qualify for a home loan and, if you do, how much money you qualify for. You should look at your finances and determine how much you think you can afford, and then meet with a loan officer who will tell you what loan amount you qualify for.


2. Next you should find a real estate agent who is familiar with the housing market in Worthington, and who is experienced in buying the types of homes you’re looking at. Additionally, a real estate agent can help you with writing up an offer once you find a home, negotiating with the seller, and with any questions you have about the home buying process.


3. Now you can begin the search for your home. You can do some research on your own by checking popular real estate listing sites, such as Zillow or Trulia, and you can also drive around neighborhoods in Worthington and look for for sale” signs. If you want or need some help in searching for a home, you can ask your agent to suggest homes for you.


4. When you find the home that you want to settle into, you need to make an offer. It’s probably best to ask your agent for help at this stage.


5. Before you sign anything, make sure you get a home inspection. A home inspector will inspect the home and inform you of any major issues with the property. The sellers may be willing to fix some of the issues that the home inspector finds, but if not, at least you’ll know what needs to be fixed before you move into the home.


For more information on the City of Worthington, be sure to check out the city’s website here.

13 Hidden Costs to Buying a Home

December 14th, 2012

A common misconception of buying a home is that all you need is a down payment. This is not the case. We want to make sure you are completely prepared with all of the possible costs you might run into during the home buying process. Being more financially prepared to buy a home will prevent stress and issues during and after you buy a home. So what are the hidden costs that you need to be aware of?

Here are 13 Hidden Costs to Buying a Home…

1. Downpayment – typically 3.5% and up.

2. Cost of hiring an appraiser to make sure that the house you’re considering buying is priced appropriately.


3. Cost of hiring a home inspector to check for any serious problems with the home (usually structural problems are inspected).


4. Local and State taxes on the purchase; property taxes are, on average, 1.38% of the value of the home.


5. Closing Costs are sometimes paid by the seller if negotiated into the contract, but you need to be prepared to pay them if they don’t.


6. Homeowners Association fees or Condo fees, depending on where you are moving.


7. Moving costs, including transportation of furniture, cars, and other belongings. The cost of moving will vary based on what you’re moving and the distance you’re moving.


8. Costs of replacing faulty or out-of-date appliances or fixtures in your new home.


9. Cost of installation of cable, internet, and/or phone services in the new home.


10. Regular maintenance costs, such as repainting, replacing roof shingles, replacing furnace and air filters, and more. advises budgeting at least 1% of the home’s sticker price to pay for home maintenance costs.


11. Costs for renovations/remodeling/repairing. Depending on the age and condition of the home you buy, you may need to set aside money to cover the costs of repairing, renovating, and/or remodeling parts of your home.


12. Homeowners insurance covers both the property and its contents. You may need to pay more for insurance if you live in an area that is prone to floods, tornados, earthquakes, or other natural disasters not covered in standard insurance packages.


13. Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) if your down payment was less than 20% of the purchase price of the home.


For more information on the costs to buying a home in Central Ohio, Contact an experienced real estate agent at Keller Williams Capital Partners!

The Grace Giving Season

December 12th, 2012

by Leslie Warthman

Realtor – Keller Williams Capital Partners Realty




Read entire article here

Events in Central Ohio – December 2012

December 4th, 2012

Whether you’re new to Central Ohio, just visiting, or a long-time resident looking for a fun way to spend your holidays, there are plenty of upcoming events in the area. With a wide range of events, from art, to music, to sports, and holiday-themed events, you’re sure to find something you love!

Here are a few Events in Central Ohio…

Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium: runs from November 16 – January 1, and is open to all ages! This is a great way to spend an evening with friends or family as you journey through the winter wonderland and light show right here in Columbus

The Gateway Film Center will be hosting its third annual Holiday Classics film series from November 21 – December 26. The film center is located on the south end of Ohio State’s Campus, and is close to food, ice cream, and downtown.

Shadowbox Live, located at Easton Town Center is showing Scrooge! on select Saturdays and Sundays November 25 – December 30. The show will retell the classic tale of Ebenezer Scrooge in a new and exciting way! Best for 18 and up.

On December 1, Columbus will have its Grand Illumination in which downtown is illuminated from the Scioto Mile Promenade all the way to Bicentennial Park. This year, the display will feature over 200,000 lights and projections of seasonal imagery onto the Scioto Mile Foundation. Additionally, you can grab some hot chocolate or coffee and a warm dinner at Milestone 229 during your walk along the beautifully lit downtown area. Visit for more information!

The Clintonville Woman’s Club will continue to host the Big Band Jazz with Vaugh Wiester’s Famous Jazz Orchestra through December 17. The orchestra is composed of 21 of the finest musicians in central Ohio who play every Monday from 7:30pm – 10:30pm at 3951 North High Street in Columbus, just north of the Park of Roses. Cost for admission is $1o for adults and $5 for students. The events are BYOB and there are snack vendors set up at the event. You can learn more about the orchestra at this website:

For a complete list of upcoming events in central ohio, check out the city’s website!


Gahanna Ohio Holiday Light Display – Creekside Holiday Lights 2012

November 28th, 2012


by Leslie Warthman, REALTOR – Keller Williams Capital Partners Realty

Creekside Holiday Lights 2012 Gahanna Ohio

 I am one of those folks who faithfully illuminates my home every year with outside holiday lights.  Every time I come home to the blinking bulbs, I admire the holiday shine and love how they make our house sparkle with seasonal cheer.

I load my family in the car every year to pass the anxious time waiting for Santa to arrive. We typically cruise around our neighborhood and stop to ‘ooh and ahhh’ at the most elaborate lighted abodes. We also cast our votes and select winners in our own holiday light contest, which we make up.These personal memories probably explain why I am still to this day fascinated with the seasonal lighting that comes out at this time of year.

Creekside Holiday Lights 2012 Gahanna Ohio

Several nearby neighborhoods deck their town halls in November much to my delight.  I jumped on the chance to get out and take in a light show already and I enjoyed the years’ first holiday light sights inGahanna.

Gahanna’s community holiday lighting ceremonies kicked off the holiday season for me!  I went to CreeksideParkfor the presentation sponsored by AEP Ohio® and the City of Gahanna Department of Parks & Recreation. Once the sun began to set, the switches were tripped.  And in a blink of an eye what appeared was a Winter Wonderland.

There were other families and their pets parading merrily down the lighted wooded Creekside park path as soon as the holiday lights were shining.  I couldn’t help notice that I was not the only one there getting all lit up with holiday spirit.

The fading colors of fall shined vibrant under the glow of hundreds of red and green bulbs. Creekside’s signature miniature watermill, which is located at the entrance to the park, provided a dazzling double image reflection on the water.  It was a radiating scene that foretold more to come as I crossed over the bridge and began the light show journey through the woods.

Creekside Holiday Lights 2012 Gahanna Ohio



Just around a small curve in the path there were children inspecting the postal facility. The miniature Post Office is one of several little buildings incorporated in theGahanna’s Creekside Winter Wonderland holiday decorations.  There were imitation structures and building facades all along the lighted path.

The entire woods twinkled all around us. There are thousands of lights hung from branches in every direction as well as overhead.  A lighted fox figure peaked out from behind a big tree trunk. Other creatures were also spotted deeper in the woods.

There were oversized blinking holiday ornaments and big bells strung in lights that hung above the park’s arches and brightened our spirits along the way.

The Creekside scenery from past experience looks just like a Winter Wonderland under a real blanket of snow. But, with or without the white stuff, I enjoyed Gahanna’s holiday light display. The massive blanketing of the woods with little lighted bulbs turned these surroundings into a holiday postcard-like vision.


To read the entire article click here.

Leslie Warthman, REALTOR - Keller Williams Capital Partners Realty