4 Must Know Tips before Building a House

Building a new house is an exciting project with a steep learning curve. There is much you need to know before embarking on building a home, but we are here to help you every step of the way! We ensure surprises are kept to a minimum, so you get to move into your dream home!

Here are 4 Must Know Tips before Building a House:

1. Find the right builder

When building a new house, the most important task is finding the right builder. You want to use a company that matches your needs, wants, desires, style, and price range.  

The new-build market is constantly shifting, builders come and go as new neighborhoods start, or complete.  Make a list of possible builders, if you have a preference already. If you’re not sure, what communities are being build or don’t have a custom builder you want to use.  Ask us!  We always have an ongoing list since builders keep us informed of new neighborhoods. We can even help you narrow down your choices by reviewing your wanted features and providing research on which builder will best fit your needs.

2. Have Buyer Representation

Use a REALTOR® who works with you on your behalf and is professionally and legally bound to represent your best interests. Buyer representation is important when building a new house because, not only will they help you find the right builder, they will work on your behalf to make sure that you are getting what you want and what they agreed to.

Another benefit of working with a good REALTOR® is that they will be looking at your new house with future resale in mind. The Columbus Team is intimately familiar with what buyers want and can advise you regarding choices that will improve your resale.

There is no fee to buyers when choosing representation, the builder pays a small percentage to the agent because using us saves them time and money as well.  The cost of building a home is the same price whether or not you use a REALTOR® but If you choose not to buyer representation, there is no one who is legally bound to represent your best interests. The Columbus Team has many clients who we represented during new home builds and they are very happy they did so!

3. Expect price increases

There are a many costs associated with building a new house. Unlike buying an existing home, every detail of the building and property is up to you. This includes everything from floorboards being 2” or 4” to light switch plates being brass or plastic. With each of these choices comes a varying cost. This process can become unexpectedly expensive, which is why we suggest adding $10,000 to $20,000 onto the initial cost of the home to cover your design choices.

If a community proves to be popular, the builder may raise prices as the homes sell, in the past once you were in contract you were insulated from these price increases. In 2021, the new build contracts vary by builder. There are many opportunities for the builders to insert clauses, often paragraphs, where you, the buyer, is responsible for any increased cost for materials above the original contract price.  These contractual paragraphs are called escalation clauses. Many builders are also adding clauses that state if the new build does not appraise for the contracted price, that the buyer will pay the gap between appraisal and build price.  

 “There is a lot of buyers’ beware in building a new home today,” says Sue Lusk-Gleich. “Buyers only build 1 house in their lifetime and do not understand some of these pitfalls could very well throw off their budgeting for a new home, including future unforeseen cost or loss of deposits if they cannot perform in the end because of financial changes to the transaction.”

“Realtors on the other hand help our buyers build houses every day and bring great value to the buyer client of a new build to help them understand situations they may find themselves in after the fact.”

4. Be prepared for it to take longer than expected

Everything from the weather to the delivery of parts can affect how long the project takes, regardless of the timeline you’ve been given. Building a new house is time consuming because it requires permits, inspections, plus schedule coordination of many different contractors, and suppliers working in conjunction with one another.

At times, it may be a frustrating process, but it will get done! Your REALTOR® keeps on top of the timeline and communication with the builder.  We represent you to ensure the house build meets your expectations and the contractual obligations. The Columbus Team consists of experienced new build REALTORS®.

If you found 4 Must Know Tips before Building a House helpful, or have any questions please  reach out!  We’re happy to help!

4 Myths About Homeownership

4 Myths of buying vs renting

According to recent studies, some 20.4 million renter households paid more than 30 percent of their incomes for housing in 2019. Economic fallout during the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a rental affordability crisis in the USA. Rising rents and limited housing have increase pressure on moderate-income households.

People rent for a lot of reasons, many of them good: flexibility, convenience, love for the high-rise life. But we also know that many renters dismiss homeownership out-of-hand when it might be the best option for them. Here are the four most common myths about buying a house versus renting an apartment.

MYTH #1: Ownership Is More Expensive.

If you compare the overall price tag to your monthly rent, homeownership doesn’t seem all that affordable. But unless you’re buying a home outright and paying in cash, it’s not a fair comparison. In many cases, a monthly mortgage payment will be comparable to (or less than) monthly rent payments, especially since rents are increasing nationwide. According to a 2021 study, median home prices in 287 of the 552 counties analyzed in the first quarter of 2021 were more affordable than past averages. Homeowners are also less likely to suffer from cost burdens than renters are.

Plus, unlike a rent check, a mortgage payment establishes equity in your home. It’s also tax-deductible.

MYTH #2: Forget Saving Money.

You might think that after a downpayment, and mortgage payments, and furnishing, and repairs, and maintenance, and property taxes… saving money is a lost cause. But think of it this way: Every mortgage payment that pays down principal and interest is a kind of “forced savings account.” You have to pay it, so you do. But unlike a rent payment, that money isn’t vanishing into the ether (or, as it’s more commonly known, your landlord’s pocket). Assuming you don’t default on your loan and go into foreclosure, you’ll see that money again, in a different form. By establishing equity in your house, you’ll be seeing long-term value in the form of an investment. You’ll also be eligible for new lines of credit. It might take 30 years to pay it off, but it won’t be 30 years of checks down the drain.

According to this 2020 Borrower Equity Update, the average equity gain per homeowner in 2020 was $26,300.

MYTH #3: No One Will Give You a Loan.

After the housing crash, banks are a little more cautious about lending to new homeowners than they were in 2007. Still, it’s not impossible to get a loan if you have decent credit and some funds in reserve. Even if you don’t have the standard 20% down payment, you might be able to qualify for a low downpayment mortgage from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It backs mortgages with down payments as low as 3% for borrowers with credit scores of at least 620. That’s great news for young homeowners just entering the workforce.

MYTH #4: Home Ownership is for Old People.

According to the National Association of Realtors, over 36% of new homebuyers in 2021 were Millennials, making them the largest group of recent buyers.  Gen Z’s are now entering the market in small numbers, too.

Homeownership is a huge commitment, of course, and it should take more than reading a blog post to convince you to apply for a loan. Before you make any decisions, take a clear-eyed and ruthless look at your finances, your plans for the future, and your willingness to be responsible for basic home repairs. If you think homeownership is for you, get in touch with The Columbus Team to set up a consultation. Happy house hunting!

This article was originally provided in 2017 by Sam Radbil, a contributing member of the marketing and communications team at ABODO Columbus apartments. It has since been updated in 2021 with more recent statistics and information.

Questions to ask at an Open House or Showing

By Maddie Ogden

Open houses and house showings can be overwhelming, especially for first-time buyers. It is the first opportunity for you to see your potential new home. While these events are exciting, it is also the perfect time for you to ask important questions about the house.

You may be wondering, what sort of questions should I be asking? That is exactly what we are here for! Here are some questions you should ask both before and during an open house.

Questions to ask before the Open House or Showing

  1. How long has the house been on the market?
  2. Have there been any price reductions?
  3. Is it vacant? If so, how long has it been vacant?

Go over the following questions with your chosen real estate agent since they can be indicators of how desirable the property is.

  1. Why are the owners selling?
  2. Have there been any offers?
  3. When does the seller want to move?

Questions about the sellers expectations are also important to go over with your chosen real estate agent before an open house or showing. The answers to these questions hint at what the negotiation process will be like and how quickly the seller wants to close.

Questions to Ask During the Open House or Showing

  1. What are the house’s biggest problems?
  2. Has the house been tested for mold, radon, lead, and/or asbestos?
  3. When was the last time the roof was replaced?
  4. Is the house in a flood zone?
  5. How much do the utilities cost?

If you are seriously interested in purchasing the property, here is additional information about the community you may want to know. The answers to these questions will help finalize your decision to make an offer.

  1. What is the neighborhood like?
  2. What’s within walking and driving distance?
  3. Is there a Homeowner’s Association?
  4. What is the crime rate in the neighborhood?
  5. Where can I get information on the local schools?

Knowing information about the neighborhood is just as important as knowing information about the house.  If you don’t like the neighborhood the house is in, then chances are you will not be satisfied with the house.

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Making Your Offer

  1. Will my furniture fit here?
  2. What’s the cell signal like?
  3. What updates would I make, if any?
  4. Can I picture this house becoming my home?

Open houses and showings are an excellent way to gather information about a particular home that has caught your interest. Ultimately, you are the only one who can decide whether a house is right for you, or not.  We are here to help you find a home that is a perfect match for you!

3 Local Blue Ribbon School Winners Announced

National Blue Ribbon Schools Seal

We’d like to recognize and congratulate three schools in our area who recently received The Blue Ribbon Award:

  • St Paul School (private – Catholic)
  • Tyler Run (public – Olentangy)
  • Buckeye Woods (public – South-Western City)

The Blue Ribbon Award is given to schools who excel in certain areas. The program was developed in 1982 to recognize and encourage academic excellence or progress in closing gaps among student subgroups. The award is given by the U.S. Department of Education. The coveted Blue Ribbon Award highlights the hard work of teachers, students and families who are willing to challenge themselves to accomplish more.

The National Blue Ribbon School Flag is given to those schools who win so that they can fly it proudly at the entrance to the building, letting everyone know that the teachers and students at the school are determined to master the learning process.

Both public and private schools are eligible to win the award. This important achievement is about more than just educational excellence. It also rewards and recognizes those schools that have closed the gap between student subgroups. For instance, in schools where students are from minorities or low-income homes, teachers work harder to help those students receive a quality education they can be proud of.

Let’s Look at the Schools More Closely

St Paul School – Westerville, OH (private – Catholic)

Formed in 1961, St Paul School has provided a strong educational foundation for multiple generations of families living in Westerville, OH. As a parish school they continue the tradition of an excellent Catholic education while incorporating contemporary pedagogy and modern technology. They strive to keep pace with current educational practices, but their core value of instilling the importance of a life of service is paramount. They challenge students to use God’s gifts to identify means by which they can become productive adults who recognize that service to others, especially the poor and needy, is a principal goal in life.

Tyler Run – Powell, OH (public – Olentangy)

Tyler Run Elementary School (TRES) is successful due to the sense of community among students, staff, parents, and the community. Tyler Run facilitates maximum learning for all students through engaging in many activities to build leadership skills and celebrate diversity.

The heart of their leadership is the Tyler Run Tiger’s “Paw”sitive Promise. In their community, the focus is on Teamwork, Respect, Effort, Spread Kindness (T.R.E.S). Students and staff are reminded daily of the promise through a catchy chant with hand motions. These four behaviors are taught and expected as TRES builds a positive community. Students, staff, and the community gather together to celebrate the efforts of students in a quarterly town hall meeting by recognizing students who have consistently demonstrated these behaviors.

Buckeye Woods –Grove City, OH (public – South-Western City)

Buckeye Wood Elementary is the largest elementary school in the South-Western City School District (SWCSD). As such, they face a variety of unique challenges. One of their most pressing challenges has been making certain that each and every student’s unique social-emotional and academic needs are met. The SWCSD provides high quality curriculum resources and professional development. Buckeye Woods teachers use these resources and training, along with knowledge of their students’ strengths and needs, to make skillful instructional decisions. Formative assessments enable teachers to use data-driven decision making to the fullest advantage. Teachers customize and target instruction for all students and utilize an excellent support staff to provide interventions, as needed, to supplement and enrich classroom instruction.

We Support our Schools!

The Columbus Team supports efforts like this in our community because we know it makes our world a better place to live when children can get a great education. We understand that homeowners want to choose their school districts and we can direct them to the information they need.

If you aren’t sure which district is best for your family, you can review the “School Report Cards” produced by the State of Ohio. You can compare all school districts including Gahanna, Dublin, Worthington, Olentangy, and others to find the one that fits your needs.

The Columbus Team has compiled information on the parochial, private, alternative, and public schools in the Columbus area as well, and we would be happy to pass that on to you!

Information on Columbus colleges and universities is also available. We’re here to help home buyers and home sellers in any way we can.

Why Relocate to Columbus?

Why Relocate to Columbus?

Why Relocate to Columbus? The Columbus area is thriving in all major life sectors!

Continued Growth

A recent article by Forbes Media shared some news: the PGA TOUR Superstore chain will soon open a new location in Columbus, adding to the over 40 stores is has in 16 states. Recreation opportunities abound in central Ohio, and golf is one of our favorite pastimes. With Dublin being home to the annual Memorial Tournament it’s a surprise it took them so long!

Job Opportunities

For professionals hoping to relocate here and build a new career, the outlook keeps getting better…

A recent search on LinkedIn showed over 37,000 current jobs in the Columbus Metropolitan Area. Of those, almost 33,000 were full-time positions. The industries ranged from healthcare to logistics, to marketing, and many more. Columbus’ economy is healthy!

Living Conditions

ABC 6 News ran a story on the results of a U.S. News survey on the 125 Best Places to Live in the USA. The survey looked at populous metro areas. The criteria included value, desirability, job market, and quality of life. Columbus not only made the list but did very well. We were named the 36th best place to live in the United States. Columbus was praised for many reasons, including: 

  • A prosperous economy
  • A young and energetic atmosphere
  • Sports teams and nightlife

The city was also lauded for one of the best metropolitan areas to retire in!

Smart City

Here’s something to brag about, and a great reason to relocate to Columbus: The Intelligent Communities Forum announced that Columbus “is one of the seventh smartest cities in the world and the most intelligent in the U.S.” In fact, it was the only city in the U.S. on the list. Columbus won the Smart City Challenge in 2016 and received millions in funding to improve people’s quality of life, drive growth in the economy, provide better access to jobs and ladders of opportunity, become a world-class logistics leader, and foster sustainability. You can read more about the efforts on the Smart City website.

Recreation & Culture

In terms of lifestyle and culture, Columbus pretty much as a lot of everything! It’s what the moving comparison site Unpakt called a “foodie hub,” and one of the popular areas for food is the North Market. And the Short North.  And downtown.  We have to mention the food trucks too! Honestly, it doesn’t matter where you go in Columbus, we love good restaurants with delicious food, and it shows in the quantity and quality of choices available here.

There are so many reasons to love Columbus.  There’s the renowned Columbus Zoo, rated one of the best in the country, a thriving and abundant art, and music community, and the fact that it’s a very family-friendly city with many activity options. There are always multiple events to choose from happening all across our city every day.  It also has a relatively low cost of living!

Cost of Living

Speaking of the cost of living, Sperling’s Best Places gives Columbus an overall rating of 85.5 out of 100. Anything below 100 means the cost of living is less expensive than the U.S. average. Perhaps the best news is that the cost of living for Housing is ranked 68.2/100. The Median Home Cost in this survey was $157,700, compared to a national average of $231,200. Housing is the most significant factor in the cost of living difference for Columbus.

As you can see, there are many great reasons to relocate and live in Columbus! Are you thinking of relocating here? Do you need a partner to help you plan your path? The Columbus Team is here for you! Find out how we can help. Call (614) 888-6100. Or text one of our REALTORS on their direct line.