The West Chester Liberty Scoop!

June 14, 2018

Well Done West Chester Liberty!

How Does Your Neighborhood Stack Up?

Date: June 13, 2018


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We’ve always known that West Chester and Liberty Township are terrific neighborhoods. They have great schools. They’re loaded with great restaurants and retail. And they both offer a true sense of community, a place where singles and families alike can feel right at home. 


But have you ever wondered how these neighborhoods stack up against the others? If you’re shopping for West Chester and Liberty Township homes for sale, here’s a bit of comparison for you to show you JUST how great these places are. And you don’t have to take our word for it! Someone else has done the number crunching for us (thank goodness!). uses dozens of public data sets and millions of online reviews to assign grades and rankings to neighborhoods across the country. Researchers look at key aspects of K-12 schools, colleges and other quality of life indicators such as housing prices and local crime rates. We were thrilled—but certainly not surprised—to see West Chester and Liberty Township both get A’s in a number of categories.


Let’s look at West Chester Township first.


West Chester Township - Overall Niche Grade: A+

Public Schools: A Crime & Safety: B

Housing: A- Nightlife: A-

Good for Families: A+ Diversity: A-

Jobs: A- Weather: C+

Cost of Living: B+ Health & Fitness: B-

Outdoor Activities: A- Commute: B+


Not a bad scorecard, especially when you consider that West Chester’s lowest scoring indicator was weather – nothing we can do anything about, unfortunately! And that’s certainly not something that puts West Chester at a disadvantage relative to surrounding communities. We all have similar weather!


Here are a few of the resident reviews for West Chester Township that are cited by


“West Chester is a very family oriented town with plenty of activities to do with family and friends. For example, they just built Liberty Center, which is an outdoor shopping mall with restaurants and a movie theater. West Chester is also just 20 minutes away from King's Island. One of my favorite things about West Chester is how safe I feel when I am there. Crime is not an issue and everybody is very friendly.”


West Chester Township is a great place to live and raise a family. They have one of the best public school systems in the state of Ohio. It's centrally located and easy to get to both the East and West side of Cincinnati. There are so many restaurants, places to shop, such as IKEA, and things to do, such as Top Golf. West Chester also has wonderful parks and activities that are fun for the whole family.

But West Chester has a little bit of competition from Liberty Township, which also ranks incredibly high on the majority of’s indicators.


Liberty Township - Overall Niche Grade: A+

Public Schools: A Crime & Safety: N/A

Housing: A Nightlife: B

Good for Families: A+ Diversity: B

Jobs: A Weather: C+

Cost of Living: B Health & Fitness: B-

Outdoor Activities: A- Commute: B


There wasn’t enough publicly-available data for Niche to assign Liberty Township with a Crime & Safety score, but in our experience, that’s usually a good thing! If there was an abundance of data, that would mean there’s more criminal activity. So rest assured, Liberty Township is also a very safe place to live. Just take a look at what residents have to say:


Liberty Township is an amazing suburb outside of Cincinnati. It offers beautiful parks, great schools and a welcoming atmosphere. Liberty Township is a great place for new families and children and I can't imagine living anywhere else!

I have lived in Liberty Township, Ohio for my entire life and I must say, I love it here. The people that live in the area are always polite, and the diversity of said people is incredible. I have met people that have climbed Mount Everest, nationally ranked Cross-Fit athletes, and doctors known nationwide for oncology. The schools in Liberty Township are outstandingLiberty Township is also a safe area to live; I have never had any problems or concerns regarding my safety. I would feel completely comfortable talking to anyone in my neighborhood, regardless of if I know them or not. I love Liberty Township, and I would gladly continue my life here.

See, people often think West Chester and Liberty Township real estate agents are biased – that we only talk up these neighborhoods to try and sell you homes. So not true! That’s why we love websites like Niche that aggregate others’ feedback. This way you can learn more about these fantastic neighborhoods from neutral bystanders.


If you’ve been considering West Chester and Liberty Township homes for sale, give us a call. We’d be happy to introduce you to these fantastic communities. Once you spend a little time here, you’ll see for yourself why there’s so much here to love!

Posted in articles
June 6, 2018

6 Signs That Your Realtor May Be A Little Questionable

6 Signs That You Have a Bad Realtor

Date: June 6, 2018


There are dozens of real estate agents in the West Chester and Liberty Township region – so how do you know if yours is doing a good job?


After all, the last thing you want is to be stick with a self-involved agent that comes off as too busy to care, too arrogant to listen to you, or too eager to coerce you into purchasing a home that isn’t right for you. If your agent seems disorganized, unprofessional, or even just a bit “off,” read on!


Here are six ways to tell if it is time to put your house hunt on hold while you shop for a new West Chester or Liberty Township realtor instead.


  1. Your agent is unresponsive.
    While you shouldn’t expect your agent to be on call 24/7, he or she should at least respond to your calls, emails or text in timely fashion (within a few hours or by the next day, if contacted at night). This is especially important during the early stages of your home search. When you first set out to shop for West Chester and Liberty Township homes for sale, you will likely have many questions. Your agent should be responsive.

  2. Your agent isn’t listening.
    The very first meeting with your West Chester or Liberty Township realtor should feel a bit like a counseling session. You should feel confident that your agent is asking all of the right questions, and really listening to your answers. This will tell you if he or she is really along for the ride, or if they’re just paying lip service to you to get you signed on as a new client. Be sure your agent is asking thoughtful questions like: What’s your timeframe to buy or sell? Have you worked with a real estate agent before, and what was that experience like?

  3. Your agent is inexperienced.
    It’s important to find an agent that works on a full-time basis. There are lots of professionals out there who got into real estate as a part-time basis, and those who work a limited schedule are naturally less up to speed on what’s happening in the market. You want to work with someone who has robust knowledge of your local market, local laws, and someone who is committed to the profession beyond just a hobby. You really want to find someone who has made selling real estate their career. Be sure to look at a realtor’s resume. Are the brokers they’ve worked with credible? Get in touch and find out whether they’d hire this agent again. And always, always be sure the agent’s state license is active!

  4. Your agent is unprofessional.
    Is your agent disorganized? Canceling appointments on short notice, or showing up late to those he keeps? If this sounds like your agent, it’s time to find another one! This behavior is unprofessional and sends the wrong message to everyone involved. Another tip-off that your agent is unprofessional: he’s asking you to work directly with his assistant (who may or may not be licensed to sell real estate in West Chester and Liberty Township!). You want to be sure you’re working with the utmost professional when it comes to making such a large financial decision like buying or selling a home.

  5. Your agent makes YOU uncomfortable.
    A good West Chester or Liberty Township real estate agent should be able to put you at ease when buying or selling a home. He’ll prepare you for the process and pay attention to all details along the way. If you find yourself lingering too long at showings, or viewing homes you don’t even like (or don’t fit within your budget or search criteria), you might feel uneasy with your realtor. Another red flag: if your agent is making disparaging remarks about homes (there’s a difference between being rude and offering constructive criticism), or making condescending remarks toward you and putting your ideas down – it’s time to find a new realtor.

  6. Your agent hasn’t done his homework.
    The West Chester and Liberty Township real estate market is as hot as ever, which means buyers are expected to compete for the homes they love. You need to be able to move quickly, and in order to do so, your agent needs to be prepared. He should really know the market you’re interested in buying in. He should know local comps. He should be sure you have your financial ducks in a row so you can line up financing. He should have a roster of home inspectors on call that you can tap into to meet the terms of your offer. If your agent hasn’t done his homework, he won’t be able to help you compete in today’s market. Time to find a new agent.


If any of these tell-tale signs describe your realtor, you might want to consider finding someone else. You’re under no legal obligation to stick with the original agent you’ve hired, particularly if they aren’t performing as promised.


Looking for a new agent? Give us a call. As one of the top real estate agencies serving West Chester and Liberty Township, we have worked with numerous buyers and sellers alike to provide top-notch service for our clients. We’d love to show you what we have to offer!

Posted in articles
June 1, 2018

Thinking New Construction?

Thinking of New Construction? Advice for First-Time Buyers

Date: May 31, 2018


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There's a common thread running through current real estate news: there’s a severe inventory shortage, particularly in areas like West Chester and Liberty Township, OH. Homebuilders are taking notice—and taking advantage of demand. We’ve seen a swell of new construction recently.


If you’re considering buying a newly-constructed West Chester or Liberty Township home for sale, here are a few things you’ll want to consider.


Before we get started, know that buying new construction is a “horse of a different color.” In other words, there are a few extra things homebuyers should know prior to signing any purchase and sales agreement on a newly built home.


So what are some of the ways that buying a new construction home is different from buying an existing home?

First, when considering the purchase of a new construction home:


  • Seek the advice and guidance of a Realtor/Agent BEFORE entering into a contract to buy a new construction home; and

  • Consult with a mortgage lender PRIOR to listing your current home for sale. Learn and fully-understand ALL your financing capabilities and options.


Also, expect home builders to REQUIRE a small deposit to hold a lot – at least until a contract can be agreed upon. Be prepared to negotiate your best price first. Then, and only then, discuss home building options, credits and financing. Builders often try to intertwine these discussions, so be clear on each topic.


You will be expected to pay the deposit before any construction begins (typically, 10% of the final negotiated purchase price).


When negotiating the new construction sales prices with the builder, consider the following:


  • How will home features (such as central air, appliances, upgraded flooring, etc.) be handled? Will you have the option to buy those outright at cost, or will the costs be added into the final purchase price? If it’s the former, you could put the costs on your own credit cards or pay cash. If the latter, you’ll be paying interest on them throughout the lifetime of your loan.


You should always compare the financing options presented to you by the builder with those offered by your own mortgage lender. Do this regardless of any “discounts” or special offers connected to the builder’s financing.


Regarding financing terms:


It’s important to understand that financing terms for new construction are different than that for existing homes. Here’s why:


  • For existing homes: contracts for closing are typically written for 30 to 60 day periods.

  • For new construction: timelines generally run from 90 to 180 days (or sometimes more).

  • Interest rate locks: typical interest rate locks run for 60 days, but some lenders offer 90-day rate locks. A smaller number of lenders will offer “extended rate locks” to cover a borrower from “start to finish/closing” on a newly-built home.

Before signing a contract, you should also ask questions and fully educate yourself regarding anticipated real estate taxes on the newly constructed home you’re buying. Start by determining the township the properties lies in, and then contact the local assessor to help you calculate future real estate taxes based on the local mill rate and anticipated home value.


If you are a buyer that currently owns a home, and it’s not yet sold, you will need to consider the following:


  • How will you fund the deposit for the home builder?

  • If your home sells prior to your new construction completion, where will you live or stay while your new home gets built?


Now, let’s talk buyer representation. Many buyers naively believe that they should negotiate directly with the builder instead of hiring their own West Chester or Liberty Township real estate agent. This is a big mistake! You should protect yourself by using the services of a buyer’s agent to assist you throughout the process of buying a newly constructed home.


A buyer’s agent will represent YOUR interests during transactions with a West Chester or Liberty Township homebuilder. The builder’s agent or sales rep represents the interests of the builder.


We also recommend hiring a local real estate attorney to provide further guidance prior to signing a contract, or at a minimum, have a provision in the contract that allows time for an attorney to review the contract (even if you decide not to exercise that option). As one of the top  real estate agencies serving West Chester and Liberty Township, we have a number of real estate attorneys that we can connect you with.


In short, having a contractor design a custom built home or buying new construction in general can be really exciting. But to fully understand if this time of home purchase is a good option for you, we recommend doing some preliminary homework.


For buyers looking in the West Chester and Liberty Township area, please reach out with any questions! We’d be happy to investigate and discuss all of the options available to you and assist you in applying those options moving forward during your home search, financing and purchase.

Posted in articles
May 24, 2018

Here's What You Need to Know About Appraisals...

What Buyers Need to Know about Home Appraisals

Date: May 24, 2018

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One of the key components of buying a West Chester or Liberty Township home for sale is the home appraisal. But what exactly is a home appraisal? Let’s break it down.


A home appraisal is an estimate of value by a professional, licensed appraiser. Your lender will require you to get an appraisal before committing to your loan. Essentially, the bank wants to be sure they aren’t lending more than your home is worth. You don’t need to worry about ordering the appraisal, though. This is something the bank takes care of for you. Remember: the appraisal is for your lender – not you.


The appraisal will then go visit the West Chester or Liberty Township home you want to purchase. They will evaluate the property and will compare its features to other similar homes in the area. Appraisers have access to MLS and will find comps in the area. Usually, they’ll look at four to five comparable homes like yours that have sold within the past six months within a mile radius, as well as one or two current listings. There are exceptions to this rule—sometimes no good comps exist!—but just know that the appraiser is looking to compare apples to apples, not apples to oranges.


Now, on the rare occasion that there are no comps that meet those criteria, an appraiser may have to go farther back in time. Older comps may not be indicative of current market conditions, which means that an appraiser may need to make more adjustments to what is available by comparing big to small, or older to new. These methods can raise red flags to a lender but it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s an issue; it just means there will be greater scrutiny on the appraisal.


Keep in mind: an appraisal is NOT a home inspection. An appraiser is looking at the marketability and value of the West Chester or Liberty Township home you want to purchase. A home inspector inspects the condition of the property with an eye out for any defects. That said, an appraiser is the lender’s eyes and may call out obvious concerns such as cracks in the foundation or a roof in need of repair.


Lenders will then give you a mortgage based on the lower of the purchase price or the appraised value. If the home appraises for, say, $20,000 more than the purchase price, buyers will often ask if they can borrow that amount for renovations o closing costs. Unfortunately, the answer is no.


Conversely, if your appraisal comes in lower than the purchase price, you may be expected to make up the difference. For example, if you wanted to purchase the home for $300,000 and planned to put 20% down, you would have been taking out a mortgage for $240,000. If the home only appraises for $250,000 and the bank will only give you a loan for 80% of the value of the home, you’d only be able to get a mortgage for $200,000.

This is where you start negotiating with the seller. You should start by trying to renegotiate the purchase price. Clearly, you’re overpaying for the home at $300,000. If the seller won’t budge, then you’ll have to come up with $100,000 as a down payment on the home to purchase it at $300,000. A third option is to renegotiate with the bank. Instead of putting 20% down, you might be able to put 10% or less down – but then you could be subject to paying private mortgage insurance and your monthly payments will be higher.


Some people ask whether they should get their own appraisal, or if the appraisal seems unfairly low, whether they can challenge the appraisal. The answer is yes.


Lenders must comply with industry regulations and order appraisals through a third party company called an Appraisal Management Company. This regulation came about during the housing crisis a few years back and is intended to prevent lenders from influencing appraisers. So you can order your own appraisal (which costs about $400 to $500), but the lender cannot just accept your appraisal. Your appraisal can be used to fact check the lender’s, but cannot replace the lender’s.


If it seems like there’s a big discrepancy between the two appraisals, you can ask the lender to order another appraisal. They will charge you to do so but then, they’ll take the mid-priced appraisal as an average and that one will rule the day.


When you’re shopping around for West Chester and Liberty Township homes for sale, we encourage you to include an “appraisal contingency” in any offer you make. This contingency essentially serves as an “out” if the home doesn’t appraise for what you think it’s worth. This allows you to walk away unscathed in the event of a low appraisal (or to reopen the door for further negotiation).


Do you have questions about your appraisal? Give us a call today! As one of the top real estate agencies serving West Chester and Liberty Township, we have seen hundreds of appraisals and can give you our take on your appraisal if you have questions.

Posted in articles
May 18, 2018

The Red Flags to Look for When Buying Your New Home

Buyer Beware: 4 Red Flags to Look for When Buying a House

Date: May 17, 2018


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Buying a West Chester or Liberty Township home for sale is an exciting experience. Starting your life in a brand new home is always a great rite of passage. But some first time homebuyers get so wrapped up in the process that they overlook some major red flags.


Here are some real estate secrets that will help you spot the red flags from a mile away. This way, you don’t get sucked into choosing a West Chester or Liberty Township home that may not be right for you.


Check the yard when it’s raining.

The West Chester or Liberty Township, OH home of your dreams may look perfect in dry weather. But as soon as rain falls, you could be in for a major surprise. If you’re really interested in a home, drive by it when it’s raining to see if there are any problems in the yard. Make sure the yard isn’t flooding, or pools of water building up near the foundation. This could lead to big problems down the line that could require expensive irrigation systems, such as the installation of French drains or replacement gutters.


Beware of that new home smell.

It’s common for West Chester and Liberty Township real estate agents to bake cookies before an open house or to put potpourri in each room to make the home smell nice. But the scent should be subtle and not overwhelming. If you can really smell an aggressive scent, the seller could be trying to cover up a more obtrusive odor that could be more problematic to fix. In real estate, as in life, trust the sniff test.


Look out for the temperature.

Heating and cooling systems can be quite expensive to fix and/or replace, so if a room or two seems much draftier than the others, find out why. An inefficient heating or cooling system might make one room really hot and another room ice cold – not fun! Also, make sure the furnace is in good working order before closing on a West Chester or Liberty Township home for sale. Older homes, in particular, often have problems with drafts and insulation, and these can be extremely expensive to fix.


Double check that all appliances are in good working condition.

Don’t be afraid to get your hands on everything and anything in the house! Just because a double oven looks beautiful doesn’t mean it actually works well. Double check all appliances before closing on a new West Chester or Liberty Township home. Turn on faucets, run the washing machine, flush the toilets, and take a drink of the water. Doing this, especially if the home is for sale by owner, will help you determine if anything is off and needs serious repairs before you buy.


When it comes to buying a home, bout 14% of homebuyers will look for a brand new home, while the other 86% opt for a previously lived-in home. No matter what kind of home you choose, you want to make sure to follow this list to avoid any major red flags before buying your first West Chester or Liberty Township property.


If you’re in the market for West Chester and Liberty Township, OH homes for sale – give us a call! As always, we’re happy to have a no-obligation chat to tell you more about how we work side-by-side with first time homebuyers to ensure a smooth, stress-free process. You’ll be glad you did!

Posted in articles
May 10, 2018

The 5 Hottest Bathroom Renovation Trends

The 5 Hottest Bathroom Renovation Trends


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Thinking of renovating your West Chester or Liberty Township home for sale? Why not start with the bathroom? Sprucing up a bathroom can make the entire home feel more luxurious.


If you’re ready for a bathroom remodel but aren’t sure where to start, let us help! The latest trends in bathroom renovations may give you some inspiration. Here are five ideas that can help you make a splash.


Trick out the shower: You don’t have to go MTV Cribs here. Instead, you can give a basic shower stall a boost with discreet water-safe speakers, steam-generating controls or a digital panel that programs the water stream's temperature and pressure.


Choose wood: Wood in the bathroom? Absolutely! All you need is the right type of wood and sealer. A simple wood slab can function as a floating vanity, planks can create an eye-catching feature wall, and slats on the shower floor can add warmth. Any way you use it, wood gives your West Chester or Liberty Township home for sale an organic, tactile feel to what can otherwise feel like a cold, sterile space.


Increase the size: Bigger may be better when it comes to your bathroom space. More of today's bathroom renovations focus on increasing room size, often with the aim of a light, open feel.

Add a standalone tub: A freestanding tub can steal the show in a bathroom revamp. It's not only a great design feature but also a way to create a relaxing, spa-like atmosphere.

Upgrade to high-tech: Bathrooms can be outfitted with all kinds of technology nowadays -- from high-tech toilets with self-cleaning mechanisms (yes please!) or heated seats to smart lighting that lets you sync it with your music and personalize hues.

Whether you try one or all of these trends, one thing is for sure: Once you renovate the bathroom in your West Chester or Liberty Township home, you'll wonder why you waited so long to get started. In fact, you may decide you don’t want to sell after all!

If you’re considering buying or selling a West Chester or Liberty Township home, give us a call! We’re one of the top real estate agencies serving Butler County, OH. And plus – it’s always fun to talk you through other tips and renovation techniques that will help add value to your home!

Posted in articles
May 3, 2018

House Hunting

Buying a West Chester or Liberty Township Home?
6 Tips to Help You Navigate the Process

Date: May 2, 2018


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People assume the home buying process is scary for first-time homebuyers. But did you know that the average person buys a new home once every decade? The real estate market can really change over a decade. Look at where we are now compared to back in 2008! Quite the change.


So if you’re in the market for West Chester or Liberty Township homes for sale – whether for the first time or fifteenth – you may be looking for a bit of advice. Good news. We’re here to help!


Here are 6 tips to help you navigate the home buying process here in Butler County, OH.


  1. Call a realtor as soon as you start thinking of buying.  
    Most people don’t realize that as a homebuyer, enlisting the help of a West Chester or Liberty Township real estate agent usually won’t cost you a dime! Your agent’s commission is typically paid by the seller. So, don’t hesitate to use an agent.

    A true real estate professional will not only help you find the right home, they’ll also hold your hand throughout the process. From competing with multiple offers and negotiating the best deal, to finding a contractor and helping you renovate after the sale has closed, take advantage of working with one of the area’s top real estate agents to land the home of your dreams.


  1. Find a lender right away.

When you’re in the market for West Chester and Liberty Township homes for sale, you want to have a great lender on board right away. Having a lender from the get-go is not only smart, it may also help ensure you’re able to put an offer on the right home at the right time. A lender will explain your financing options, help you get pre-approved for a mortgage, and help you estimate the right price range for your budget. If you don’t have a lender in mind, give me a call! I can connect you with a reputable lender that we rely on a lot.

  1. Manage your expectations.
    In real estate, as in life, many of our frustrations stem from unmanaged expectations. When you begin searching for West Chester and Liberty Township houses for sale, think about your lifestyle. How long do you plan to live in the home? Will your life be changing in any major way during that time? This will not only help you narrow down the list of homes to consider, but it will also help you stay focused throughout the process.

  2. Read the fine print.
    Before you make an offer on a West Chester or Liberty Township home, know what’s at stake. For example, if the home you have your eye on is a condo or part of a homeowner’s association, read ALL documents to see if there are specific restrictions on the property. For instance, if you have to move out of the home in a few years – would you be able to rent it out, or is that against the HOA regulations? (We advise enlisting the help of attorney to go through these docs.)

    The same is true for your mortgage: are you allowed to pay it off early or is there a penalty? Will your payment go up if rates go up? The more informed you are, the better equipped you’ll be to make the right decision for you and your family.

  3. Think about your long-term investment.
    Whether you plan to sell your West Chester or Liberty Township home in 5 years or 50, it helps to consider the home’s resale potential. Also, think about the area and neighborhood – is it up and coming or is it well-established? Are there plans for development in the area, or there specific restrictions in place that could affect your property value down the line?

    Not sure? Well, that’s the benefit of working with a local real estate agent! While an agent can’t predict the future, he or she should have a strong understanding of various factors that could influence property values in the future.

  4. Plan for renovations, no matter how minor.
    Even if you’ve found the perfect West Chester or Liberty Township home, there may be some modifications that you’d like to make after the sale has closed. When looking at Butler County homes for sale, keep a list of possible renovations you’d like to make if you buy the home. Then, once the sale has closed, prioritize that list. I have a number of contractors and other service providers that I can connect you with if need be. A referral to a trusted contractor, landscaper, electrician, etc. can be worth its weight in gold!


OK. Ready to get started!? Give us a call today. Our team is among the leading West Chester and Liberty Township real estate agencies. We’d be happy to have a no-obligation conversation with you as you begin your home search.

Posted in articles
April 25, 2018

Both Pros and Cons to Paying Off That Mortgage

The Pros and Cons of Paying Off Your West Chester or Liberty Township Home Early
Date: April 25, 2018


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If you’ve purchased a West Chester or Liberty Township home for sale, there’s a good chance you have a mortgage on the property. Mortgages can vary, but most are for a 15- or 30-year term. That doesn’t mean you need to WAIT that long to pay it off, though.


Say you fell into a little bit of dough. Maybe it was an inheritance or a large bonus at work. You might consider putting some of that money toward the mortgage on you West Chester or Liberty Township home. This would help you pay off the mortgage faster, thereby paying less interest along the way.


But is prepaying on your loan a good move? Any benefits depend on several factors, including the loan's interest rate, your financial situation and more. Let's look at the pros and cons of paying off your mortgage early:



  • More cash flow: Once your mortgage is paid in full, you'll have fewer overhead costs on your West Chester or Liberty Township home and lower monthly living expenses.

  • Reduced financial stress: By eliminating your mortgage bill, you'll have more disposable income available.

  • Increased equity in the home: A paid-in-full mortgage means you own your West Chester or Liberty Township home outright and can sell it or turn it into a rental property at any time. It also means you have equity that you can tap if you need funds for other large expenses, such as paying off student loans or if you want to buy a vacation home.


  • Loss of tax benefits: One of the biggest benefits to owning a home is the tax benefits. Each year, you’re able to write off the interest you pay on your loan – it’s known as the mortgage interest deduction. When you pay off the loan, you lose this benefit. That’s why some suggest that you may be better off investing surplus cash into a retirement account or other form of investment.

  • Reduced liquidity: Cashing in on your home equity is more difficult than accessing a savings account or rainy day fund. (That said, if you take out a home equity line of credit, you can use this HELOC like a credit card….)

  • Savings starvation: By pouring all your money into your mortgage, you could be starving other savings and investment accounts in the process.

OK – so now what? If you’ve decided that you want to pay off the mortgage on your West Chester or Liberty Township home early, there are a few routes you can take.


Refinancing is one great way to shrink your loan term and pay off that balance in less time, though it may still take a few years. You can also ask your lender about an accelerated payment plan, or consider using savings or investment funds to pay off your balance in full.


Interested in learning more about the West Chester and Liberty Township real estate market? Give us a call today! One of our team members would be happy to discuss in more detail, and if need be, connect you with some of the lender who we’ve worked with here locally.

Posted in articles
April 19, 2018

The Better The Score, The Better The Mortgage

Looking to Buy? How DIY Credit Repair can Help You Qualify for a Mortgage


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It can come as a surprise to some when they’re denied a mortgage on the West Chester or Liberty Township home of their dreams. Some don’t even realize at the time that they have bad credit!

But there’s no need to panic. Think of this as one of life’s many curveballs. There are ways to improve your credit score so you can buy a West Chester or Liberty Township home for sale. It might take time, but it can be done.


There are two ways to go about improving your credit score. The first is to engage the help of a credit repair company. In short, credit repair companies can help you get inaccurate and/or outdated information removed from your credit history.


The second option is to try and improve your credit history on your own, or what we like to call “DIY credit repair.”


In fact, one of the reasons credit repair companies get a bad rap is because most of the services they offer are things that people can do themselves. That said, DIY credit repair can be daunting for many. Most don’t even know where to get started.


DIY credit repair isn’t for the faint of heart. But if you’re willing to give it a try, here are a few steps to follow.


  1. Request a credit report from all three credit bureaus.
    Did you know that there are really three credit bureaus? Experian, TransUnion and Equifax are the big three. If you were denied a loan on a West Chester or Liberty Township home for sale, the lender may have only run your credit history through one of the bureaus. It’s important to get a feel for how you rank across all three, as each evaluates a person’s credit history a bit differently.


You can request a copy of your credit history from each of the companies for free once a year. Visit for a free copy of your report. The website has been approved by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) so you can be sure it isn’t a scam.

Note: a credit history is different than just a credit score. There are a lot of websites and mobile apps out there (Credit Karma and Credit Sesame are two of the most popular) that will give you your credit score. But you really need a copy of your credit history to evaluate the inputs that are going into determining your credit score.

  1. Evaluate the accuracy of your credit reports.

Most people find that their credit histories are indeed accurate. Maybe you have a credit card that you forgot you opened, had a balance on, and are now racking up interest payments on. It happens to the best of us. But on occasion, people find blemishes on their record that are totally inaccurate. Credit reports usually contain the following information:


  • Personal information, including your name, social security number, address and employment history;

  • Types of accounts, such as credit cards, loans, and debt;

  • Collections if any collection agency has pursued recovering money you owe;

  • Public records about any financial obligation, such as overdue tax payments or liens on your property; and

  • Credit inquiries that indicate whether you’ve applied for a new loan, how many new loans, and when.  


Each bucket of information can influence your credit score when trying to buy a West Chester or Liberty Township home. For instance, if you try to open a number of new credit card accounts in a short period of time this could negatively impact your credit score. If you see credit cards opened that you didn’t actually open, this is a red flag that needs to be addressed.

Pay close attention to missed payments, length of time using credit cards, the variety of accounts on your record, recent credit inquiries and your amount of available credit. These are the biggest influencers of your credit score.


  1. Dispute any errors you find on your credit report.

After you’ve gone through your credit reports with a fine toothed comb, you’ll want to dispute any information that’s inaccurate. Errors aren’t common, but they do happen! To dispute a record, make a copy of your credit report and highlight the information in question. Gather any information you have as backup (bank records, credit card payments, etc.) to prove the inaccuracy. Compile this information, write a letter to the credit bureau reporting the inaccuracy and detailing why that’s not the case, and submit either online or by certified mail.

Contact the three credit bureaus for more information:



The FTC mandates that credit bureaus respond to your claim within 30 days. During that time, the credit bureau will contact the creditor to verify your claim. If the creditor does not respond within 30-45 days, the credit bureau will remove the account or correct the negative information from your credit report.


  1. Request new copies of your credit report.

Give the credit bureau a few weeks to correct any inaccurate information on your credit report. Once 3-4 weeks have passed, request a fresh copy of your credit report to ensure the item has actually been deleted from your record.


So, is the DIY credit repair approach worth it? It can be. Credit repair companies can charge upwards of $500 or more to settle your credit history inaccuracies. So it can make sense to save the money and try and improve your credit history on your own if you’re up for it.


Remember: having good credit is SO important when it comes time to buying a West Chester or Liberty Township home for sale. Be sure to get your financial ducks in a row before you start shopping for West Chester or Liberty Township homes for sale. That way, when you’re ready to buy, you don’t have to worry about whether the bank approves you for a loan.


It can take time to improve your credit score, but remember that buying a home can be within reach – just keep your eye on the prize!  

Posted in articles
April 5, 2018

Look Good on a Budget? We got you...

5 Inexpensive Ways to Improve Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Date: April 4, 2018


Image result for improve curb appeal selling home


They say first impressions are everything! If you’re planning to sell your West Chester or Liberty Township home this spring, it’s important that buyers are impressed the minute they pull up. So where better to start than improving your home’s curb appeal?


Enhancing your home’s curb appeal doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Homeowners often think they need to invest tens of thousands of dollars in landscaping before listing their West Chester or Liberty Township home for sale – but that’s simply not the case!

Here are a five inexpensive ways to improve your property’s curb appeal this spring.


  1. Power wash the exterior.

    Over time, dirt and mildew build up on the outside of a home. It happens little by little, so sometimes it’s hard to notice how bad it’s become. It’s amazing what a good scrub-down can do. Rent a power washer and blast all exterior surfaces of your home.

    While you’re at it, power wash front walkways, outdoor patios, fences, pool decks, and driveways. Not only will power washing help beautify your property, it can also help extend the lifespan of these outdoor elements.

Power washing is incredibly affordable. Even if you decide to hire a professional, the costs are still really low. On average, it costs anywhere from $100 to $300 to power wash a house. It costs another $80 to $200 to power wash a driveway, and about $250 to $500 to power wash a deck or patio.


  1. Clean up the yard.


Take a step back – literally. Go across the street and look at your West Chester or Liberty Township home. What needs improving?

Start with general yard cleanup. Pick up loose branches. Prune shrubs. Rake leaves and other debris. Mow the lawn. Weed overgrown gardens. Throw down a layer of topsoil or mulch to make flower beds pop. You may have a really pretty outdoor area, but if it’s hidden under debris and weeds nobody will notice! These simple fixes will do wonders for the appearance of your property, and often don’t cost a time. Just a little time and elbow grease.


  1. Invest in lighting.


Cast your home in a more favorable light with a few lighting techniques. Wall lighting and sconces are a great way to softly illuminate a walkway or entrance.

Be sure not to overdo it with lighting. Fixtures should create a focal point and create a warm, welcoming vibe. Designers often suggest mimicking moonlight: only illuminate your front yard as intense as the moon would on a clear night. It should be enough to cast shadows without looking like a Hollywood movie set.

  1. Add some color.


Make your West Chester or Liberty Township home for sale pop with a few bursts of color. The spring is a great time to add colorful flowers to your front-yard gardens or flower boxes. We also like using hanging plants that accent the front door or walkway.

Another easy way to add a pop of color is by painting the front door. Consider a bold red or deep blue hue. This creates contrast and dimension. Be sure to use a paint that’s designed specifically for exterior doors. You’ll want a paint that’s fade resistant, water resistant, and scuff resistant. It’s amazing how much wear and tear front doors take! Top it off with a cheerful doormat that is welcoming and inviting.


  1. Make repairs.

    A sagging front deck, unsightly tree stumps or cracked pavement can be a major turnoff. Make these repairs a priority if you want to make a good first impression. Someone may love the idea of having an old stone wall around the property, but if that stone wall is crumbling, people might begin to wonder what other maintenance you haven’t stayed on top of over the years.


Now that’s it’s *officially* spring, there’s no better time to invest in a few low-cost home improvements to boost your property’s curb appeal. Most of the projects listed above can be accomplished over the course of a weekend for only a few hundred dollars. That time and money can translate into even bigger gains as more people become interested in your West Chester or Liberty Township home for sale.


Interested in learning about other ways to prepare your home for sale? Give us a call today! We’ve been working with dozens of eager buyers looking for homes for sale in West Chester and Liberty Township, OH. We’d be happy to share some advice as to what they’re looking for this season!

Posted in articles