Category Archives: Uncategorized

Setting up an MLS Search

In this fast paced market, many of the homes that are priced well, in a good location and in decent condition can go within hours!!! I recently viewed a home with my client that had 25 showings on the first day, and they were in contract before the day was even over.  Daunting process for many buyers!  In the case of this home, had we waited just a day, we would not have had a shot at all.  For this reason, it is imperative that the modern buyer is set up on a search of the MLS through his/her real estate agent to get up to date listing information.  Many if not most of the real estate websites out there, get their information directly from the MLS.  Some sites are good at retrieving this information fast, but some are delayed or inaccurate, particularly if there has been any changes made within the MLS (clerical error for example).   As an agent, I like to set up my potential buyers on a search specific to the parameters they are looking for in a home when beginning the home buying process.  Location, size, interior and exterior features and price are some of the parameters used to identify a potential property.  The search can be set up so that alerts are made immediate to the buyer and agent when a new listing with the parameters set up, goes on the market.  It can be delayed, and modified at any time as well.   This up to date information can be used to get into a potential house the day it is listed in some cases.  Again, getting in quickly may be an imperative part of the process, giving my buyers the edge.

Secondly,  some homeowners may wish to set up an MLS search of their immediate neighborhood.  This  may be important for anyone considering selling currently or at some point in the future by allowing them to view new listings and sales in order to get an idea of market value for their immediate neighborhood.  However, it is important to keep in mind that there are many factors that go into pricing a home, not just neighborhood sales.  For example, the location of the home (busy/quiet street, cul de sac?), layout, condition, market conditions,  and relative size of the home are just some  other factors that may determine home price.

As always, feel free to contact me with any questions,

HER REALTORS,  the Jeannine Ryan Smith Team





I just left our monthly sales meeting where we had a lively discussion regarding the use of earnest money.  I have always suggested to my buyers that they consider including earnest money in their offers to make it more enticing to the seller.  Particularly in this market of multiple bids per home, and average day on market under 2 digits, buyers need to show that they have some “skin in the game” by including some money.  In one case, an agent revealed that she had seen a buyer add a $5,000.00 earnest money deposit NON Refundable unless received back at closing, with money being forfeited to the seller in any other circumstance.  Sounds enticing to a seller, but a bit scary for the buyer.  As you can imagine,  it won them the home in the bidding war, and kept them in the game until the end.  Would the modern buyer really consider forfeiting their deposit unless the property closes in order to make a stronger offer? In todays difficult market, maybe that is a strategy that we will see a little more.

In any case, any Earnest money deposit shows the listing agent, that the buyer is a serious buyer, and is planning on going to closing unless something is seriously wrong with the house, particularly during inspections, or perhaps financing falls through.   One agent suggested he would not even consider an offer unless it had an earnest money deposit.

One agent in the room however, suggested that he does not always include an earnest money deposit unless he is in a multiple bid situation.  Another suggested that it depended on where you were purchasing in the city as to how likely an earnest money deposit would be included or expected, but that the percentage of offers including it was certainly on the rise everywhere.

Ok, so maybe we need earnest money in todays market, but how much?  Most concurred $1,000.00 to $2,000.00 seemed to be average.  Of course, there will always be higher and lower numbers depending on the price of the home, and the interest.  I have even suggested $500.00 for some properties, and it was accepted.  If the seller wanted more, they would counter back, I figured.

What about cash offers?  They too, should offer up an earnest money deposit most agents agreed.  After all, they still need to verify funds, and the inspections could fail (or other possible contingency within the contract if applicable).

Any real estate questions?    Contact me at


5 Things I’ve learned about buying in Franklinton


I’ve heard much ado about Franklinton lately.  Its dubbed to be the next Short North, or “art district”.  There is some renovation going on in the area by big and small investors,  but much of it has yet to see any rehabilitation, and can look pretty scary when driving through. As I learned a while ago about neighborhoods, they all swing on a pendulum from up and coming, to peak, to decline, and back again.  Franklinton seems to be at its peak of decline on some streets, but on the upswing back again on other streets.  My children’s school even has collection bins for some of the Franklinton area schools, and we hear about the hard times many of its residents are having.  Nonetheless, I have a client that I am working with, who is young, smart, ambitious and wants to make a purchase in Franklinton in order to get in on the ground floor, so to speak.  We have been searching in Franklinton for at least 6 weeks now, and have yet to make a purchase.  In our search, here is what we have found:

  1. The old adage is true, “cash is king”.  When trying to purchase in an area that has values still under the city’s average price, and a neighborhood dubbed to be “up and coming”, properties under 100,000.00$ go very quickly if they are in at all decent condition, and you will be up against many other buyers, particularly cash investors.  BE PREPAIRED!  If you are not a cash investor, and must finance your purchase,  you must be prepared to submit a very appealing offer, such as omission of contingencies.  If not, you may have to get in line to see if the cash buyers financing is verified.  It is very hard to compete with cash…
  2. Act Quickly.   When you are looking in this area, the homes go so quickly that if you wait even a single day, or in some cases hours, you will miss it.  I showed one property with 25 showings on the first day.. The seller accepted an offer before the day was even done, the late showings didn’t even get a chance.   Set up a search for “ASAP”, so that the moment it goes live, you get an alert.  Try to see it that day, as early as possible.  Better yet, try to work with your agent to find a pocket listing through word of mouth, or professional contacts. Some properties go onto the MLS in “pending” status from the get go.

3.  Do a CMA.  Have your agent run a market analysis for each neighborhood, and  street.  The home prices can vary widely by street and location.  Know what to offer, and what your maximum amount you would be willing to pay for the house, regardless of the other buyers.

4.  Location matters!  The perimeter streets are busier, particularly on Central Avenue, Sullivant Avenue, Town, and Broad Streets.  There are pockets of rehabilitated area’s. Drive around the immediate neighborhood to see each street, and what is being renovated.

5.  Make use of public information on the web. There are many websites now dedicated to searching neighborhoods for demographic information, crime, etc…  Area’s that are being rejuvenated are not without crime, and in some cases violent crime. Be aware of your surroundings, and of what’s going on in the neighborhood.  If you see a policeman strolling the streets, don’t be afraid to ask about the street.  Talk to neighbors, they can give better information than you can find on a website.


Need help searching for a property?  I would be happy to set you up on a search with your specific criteria to make the search easier.








Vacation rental

I have been recently investigating vacation rentals in Ohio as a possible source of income.   Upon further investigation, I am finding a variety of possibilities.  Do you intend on enjoying it and supplementing or off setting costs.  Loking for a weekend, week long or daily rentals with air b n b?  I have noticed increasing interest and use in air B and B particularly for families or properties close to entertainment venues.  However They may only command as low as 50$ a night, and require daily attention.  Weekend getaways to the hockimg hills, Lake Erie or Amish country are popular if it is located close to a tour site such as cedar point.  Marblehead and the Lake Erie islands are a popular week long destination but it is hard to find a quality place, thus there may be a niche here to fill.  I found a gorgeous Luxury resort on the shores of both Lake Erie and the Sandusky bay offering beach access, marina, pool, tiki bar and shopping onsite.  There are a few lots left to build, but this may be a great week long rental to offset costs as a second vacaction home.  The season is limited, thus reducing opportunity for a good return on investment.  However the potential income may offset costs as a second vacation home close to home.   When looking into a home check HOA fees and rules on renting.  This property does not allow less than weekly rental.

I also found a modern apartment in the short north of Columbus, a popular location for entertainment.  This would make a great air B and B, commanding over $100 a night potential.

Also, I found a bare bones cabin near the hockimg hills.  It is a much lower price point, rustic probably 3 season rental.  This property has a fishing pond and is close to a swimming beach.

If I was purchasing myself to enjoy and rent to supplement, I would go for the luxury rental on Marblehead.  But strictly income producing, maybe the cabin in the woods, or condo in Columbus.

For more info on any of these properties please contact me!

Sales within a year

When a client wants to sell their home and they have only lived in it for one year, it is likely one of two situations:  either they are getting divorced or relocated.  In my last situation it was the former.  A nice young couple, barely married purchased their first home together.  Unfortunately, the rigors of life, marriage, and an older home got the best of them, and they had to sell and part ways.    When this happens, they are often lucky to break even (even in today’s market), particularly when the home is in need of repair.

Most homeowners in town in suburbia, Columbus Ohio, can expect roughly a 6% increase (or more) in home value over the course of a year.  The cost of sale to pay  the realtor fee’s is generally 6% of purchase price, and there are often costs associated with sale in form of repairs/remedies to help the deal go through.  In addition, there are other associated fee’s with title, transfer fee’s, ,etc…   at closing.  Some sellers may bring money to the table if they paid a premium price for their home to begin with.  In a good scenario, if a home was purchased at a good value, and improvements were made to the property such as a remodeled bathroom/kitchen then someone may walk away with money in their pocket.  In this case, general maintenance such as new roof, windows, HVAC, does not always fit into this category.  It may make the home more saleable, but does not guarantee increase in value at sale.  A last thing to consider is how much money was put down at closing when purchasing the home the first time- will this be recouped? Something to ponder when deciding on a final purchase price.

In my client’s situation, they had a lovely home in a nice location with some updates.  They lived in their home a little over a year, but they did not have to bring money to the table, and had a little in their pocket at closing…win.



When is the best time to put my house on the market?

The answer depends in part on when you want to move.   Its a given that many prefer to move when the weather is optimal.  For us in Ohio, that is certainly anytime between April and October.  The weather gets a little less predictable in November through March.   In addition, many families prefer to move during the summer months when the kids are out of school, and the pace may slow a bit.  So does that mean that I just wait until June to list my house? Not necessarily!  In fact the answer is usually no, that is too late!  For my clients I like to do a real estate timing analysis.  This is a basic guideline that I use to decide when would be the best time to list the house.  It is a fantastic tool that I can use to show people how long it really takes to sell a house so that they  will know when to list and not miss the prime time in this market.   The Real Estate Timing Analysis begins with todays date.  I speak to my clients about different pricing methods such as retail vs. wholesale pricing.  If they want to sell the house very quickly, they may want to  price it below market value.  If time is no issue, and money is more important, I may price it higher, but factor in extended time.    I then add in the cumulative average days on market for that particular home’s neighborhood based on sales within the past year.  I generally add time to that to account for homes that sold “for sale by owner” that are not included, and usually take much longer to sell.  I throw out any “anomalies” that I see that don’t fit the market, maybe one strange house that threw off all the numbers to get an average number.  I add in the processing time once the  house goes into contract.  In this market, many lenders  and title agents are backed up and it can take 45 days or more to move the process of inspections, appraisal, remedies, etc. before close.  I add to that number the possession time (when will tenants  move out based on a lease agreement?, for example).  All of these numbers added together can give me a true picture of how long it will take for a house to sell.   I add that number to todays date if we listed today, to get a number of days from today that they will likely be moving from their home if all things in the market stay the same.  It may come as a shock to many sellers to see how long the process may take from start to finish!  It is also important to bear in mind that the market may change at any time!   It could slow down if interest rates rise, thus prolonging this period.  Before you sell your home, its important to speak to your local real estate agent about a real estate timing analysis.

Jenny Ryan Fusco, HER Realtors

The Jeannine Ryan Smith Team


A seller’s market


It has been a busy fall at my office. The annual convention, many CE classes, meetings, and of course work with clients.  The buzz is heard over and over about the “seller’s market”.  So what is a seller’s market?  It can be simply described as when the housing inventory is low and the demand is high- thus, sellers have the advantage.  They may get full price offers, fewer request to remedies,  earnest money deposit, multiple offers and even on occasion a  bidding war.  When a house is listed, if it is priced right and in good condition, it may go pretty fast.  (Although, in our market, like many, some neighborhoods  may go faster than others).

So how can you take advantage of this seller’s market?  If you are thinking of selling your home, you may consider contacting a local real estate agent that can run a comparable market analysis to find out what your home may be worth.  There is no obligation to use an agent if you are just getting a CMA, and it is free!  Working with an agent that lives in your neighborhood can be a bonus as well, she/he may know the area well and provide good market comparisons.

Like the seasons, the fashion, and your age… the market will change, and probably sooner than you think. It always does!


Considering Selling in central Ohio area?  Let me run a Comparable Market Analysis for you!

Jenny Ryan Fusco

The Jeannine Ryan Smith Team, HER Realtors