The statistics from the last 12 months are good news for sellers who have been waiting to put their homes on the market. There has been a 3.5% increase in sales prices since June of 2012. This is further evidence that the market is recovering and stabilizing and now, improving on a regular basis. Over the last few months alone the increase is approximately 1.9 %.
There is one more reason why you might want to put y0ur home up for sale – if you have been waiting to see how things transpire before doing so: The interest rates for purchasing a home have also inched up. This means buyers are paying about 1% more for the mortgage loans they get. With loan rates in the 4% to 4.5% range, depending on the month or week, buyers have been a bit more anxious to pull the trigger, so to speak, and purchase.
There are also more re-sale buyers. Meaning, first time home buyers are no longer the bulk of the people in the buying pool. And yes, this means some people ARE jumping into the market and putting their homes up for sale.
More buyers would be buying (numbers have been down over the last month, due to it being August and no matter what year it is, August is slower because people are on vacation and also getting ready for school) except for the fact that inventory is still not good enough in many areas.
There used to be a good selection of homes to purchase in Lakewood, for example, in the 130k to 150k price range. Now, not so much. That’s just one example of a place where more homes would benefit the buyers currently looking. Why, you say, when many homes are still available in Lakewood, is there a need for more? Here’s why I picked that price point: Still not a ton of buyers in price ranges much higher than that. Also, homes under $120,000 usually need work and the trend of buyers wanting move in ready homes (except for painting or landscaping) has not abated. This is still what they want.
As I mentioned in my last post, the City Lift program with a $15,000 down payment gift is causing a lot of buyers to call us and ask us to help them find homes before the 12th of April so they can have their proverbial ducks in a row when they go to the City Lift event to apply for this program during that September week.
Just an update, hope you are all well this summer!
Tags: Cleveland Home Sales · Cleveland Real Estate · Cuyahoga County Home Sales · housing trends · neighborhood news
It’s a new program, for qualified people (buying within Cleveland city zip codes, income limits lower than around $51,000 for one person, higher if more people in the household). You have to live in this house for at least five years. If you do? The remainder of the loan is forgiven after the 5 yr anniversary date of the closing/settlement date.
This is similar to the on-going program offered in Lakewood, with one big difference being that 15,000 dollar down payment gift is :
1. not limited to first time home buyers
2. available for single family, town house, condo and multi-family purchases
3. there is a lot of money available for this program, but unlike the Lakewood program, it’s not an unlimited amount (I think 11 million dollars, but don’t quote me!) Once that money is gone, the program is over.
4. Long list of approved lenders for this program, NOT limited to Wells Fargo. Keep this in mind when you are examining the program. There are at least ten lenders on this list, including local lenders like Third Fed and 5/3 and PNC.
This is a seriously good program to investigate if you are looking to buy a home. The event kicks off on Sept 12th so that would still give you time tmo find your home to purchase and then get this loan. I’m providing links below:
list of approved lenders (subject to change before 9/12)
This next link from Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland (NHSGC) takes you to their FAQ page about the program. NHSGC is the sponsoring non profit and the best place for extensive details.
Tags: Cleveland Events · Cleveland Home Sales · Cleveland Real Estate
Still looking for inventory in many areas but one day in mid February the buyers multiplied by..a lot . I guess they looked at the long term weather forecast and decided it wasn’t going to matter if they waited for the end of March. And what they are looking for in a house has made me smile…in a good way.
I’ve been working with people of all ages, single buyers, couples, families, you name it. One thing they all have in common, is the lack of interest in homes that were built to scream out ‘I cost a lot of money, or at least I look like I do, so buy me.’ So what ARE they looking to buy?
1. Brick homes are as popular as ever. No matter the price range, high or low.
2. They want a home with a workable kitchen. Doesn’t have to be huge, but if it’s not, they want a dining room. And this room should be updated. Doesn’t have to be fancy but should have a dishwasher and workable counter space.
3. This is about counter tops, and maybe I should say what they don’t seem to care about anymore…granite. They don’t mind it, but they appreciate a nice updated kitchen without granite. I know the national trend is moving away from granite on buyer wish lists and apparently this is true for NE Ohio as well. I’m also noticing people smiling about white appliances instead of stainless, so maybe things are evening out in that area as well.
4. I love this one. They get approved for a certain amount to purchase, but they want a house in the price range that makes sense regarding monthly payments. I’m on my 3rd buyer in six weeks who is approved for 125k over what they’d like to spend. Nothing stabilizes the housing market like people who know what they can comfortable support in a monthly mortgage. I love it.
5. Needs are outweighing wants. Things that seem to be on everyone’s list except those looking for condos or condo alternatives are usable backyards. Some want them larger, some just want enough space to enjoy. And everyone still wants a fenced in yard, if possible. Extra rooms, a hot tub, a master suite: maybe on their want list but they are much more realistic these days and have analyzed needs over wants. This means two full baths would suffice when in years past (for me, that means as recently as 2010) they would have to have a master bath and skylights, the whole kit and caboodle.
6. Floor plans that suit their needs. Especially repeat buyers. Decent bedroom sizes. Most of the people I’m working with are owner-occupying (though I do have two investor clients). The owner occupants want more of an open floor plan. Even clients who are purchasing homes before open became the builder style, want a family room or dining room that is not closed off to the kitchen. Alternatively, they want it for a price that will allow them to do the work after they buy it, to make it more open.
That brings up a tip for those of you thinking about selling. Making your home ‘turn key’ or move in ready is great but you might have to be realistic about a listing price if your floor plan is one that was more traditional in decades before the ’90s.
I do a lot of neighborhood sales reports, yes? Some things are consistent over the years: brick homes appeal to buyers; upgraded kitchens and baths are almost always on the ‘needs’ list (except for my investor clients). And I’m so glad the trend of comfortable monthly mortgages seems to be added to this list by all ages now. Maybe we really did learn something from the economic downturn.
Peace Out – 3C
Tags: Cleveland Real Estate · Cuyahoga County Home Sales · housing trends
February 18th, 2013 · 3 Comments
Real estate is local, and rental niches and markets are no exception. I found many homes listed with area brokerages for rent in South Euclid in 2012. This makes it a good market for investment property. The highest rental prices per month were under $2,000/month and that differs from the other areas already examined. I also noticed more of a trend with owners paying for either both water and sewer or at least the sewer/trash charges.
In many ways, the rest of the info is similar to the other 3 neighborhoods. Updated homes with good amenities normally garnered higher rental prices.
The other real difference from the other neighborhoods was the number of 2 bedroom homes on the list.
I’m analyzing, as I did with Lakewood, West Park and Cleveland Heights, single family investment homes rented in 2012.
There were 39 single family homes rented through area brokerages in South Euclid in 2012. The average monthly rental was $1,096, most of these homes were on the market for less than two mo. but the average listing time was 46 days. The homes averaged about 1400 sq. ft. of living space.
Nicely finished family rooms on the lower level, 2 car garages, central air, updated kitchens and baths, these were the common threads in most of the homes.
9 single family homes rented between $750 and $999/month.
The lowest rental price was $750/month for a 950 sq. ft. 2BR home on Green Rd.
A 2 BR ranch on Lambert rented for $850/mo (next highest rental price). This home has about 1200 sq. ft. of living space, is near Warrensville Ctr. Rd. and Mayfield.
There were 8 rentals between $900 and $1,000/month.
Two of these 8 were 2BR homes, including a 1.121 sq. ft. brick cape cod on Okalona near Cedar and Green. This rented for $950/mo.
A 3BR 2BA brick cape cod on Verona rented for $995/mo. This is near Noble and Cedar (close to the Cleveland Heights border).
Coming in at $1,000/month is a 1,959 sq. ft. bungalow just north of Mayfield and near Green. Pretty woodburner in lower level family room, park like landscaped back yard.
Many single family rentals in South Euclid fell into the $1,000 – $1200/month range. This included another rental on Lambert for $1200/mo, a beautiful brick bungalow with an extra large master bedroom, a total of 4 brs and 1 1/2 baths, only listed for rent for 7 days before agreements reached. Like most of the homes on this entire list, but especially over $1,000 a month rentals, mechanical roof and kitchen or bath updates with central air and a garage.
The last six homes on the list (highest rental prices):
1. A newly updated home on Argonne rented for $1250/mo. It had a deck and a very nice lower level family room (3BR, 1Bath).
2. $1250/month for a 4BR/2 full bath 1800 sq. ft. brick home updated and the word I would use to describe it is pristine (both inside and out).
I’ll insert this here: Insulating an investment home could be something that sets you apart from your competition, because after all, your tenants are going to be paying for their gas and electric and this could be very enticing to them.
3. For $1300/mo, a 4 BR, 2 1/2 bath home on Bridgeview WITH newer insulation, 1839 sq. ft. of living space – two fireplaces, 2 car attached garage.
4. On South Lyn Circle (near Green and Mayfield) a colonial with 4BR and 2BA rented for $1350/month.
5. Newer built (2003) Jefferson Lane home with attached 2 car garage, 3BR, 2 1/2 baths rented for $1450/month.
6. Highest rental price was $1500/month for a home on Trebisky. It had just under 2000 sq. ft. of living space, was built in 1969 but a really pretty open floor plan, 4 BR and 2 full baths. Updated, attached 2 car garage.
Tags: Cleveland Real Estate · Cuyahoga County Home Sales · housing trends · neighborhood news
February 13th, 2013 · 5 Comments
I don’t know the answer…yet.
Had a call from someone who claims he wants to purchase a home in Cleveland by buying the loan from the mortgage holder. Then he wants to flip the house (sell it immediately) without worrying about seeing it or fixing or improving it.
This call pissed me off on many levels. He wanted me to give him an analysis of what homes were worth in this particular area of Cleveland. Then tell him what the sale price point could be after he owned it. I said ‘do you plan on improving it?’ He said ‘no, just sell it immediately.’
First of all, I wouldn’t help someone do this – it certainly does not help the neighborhood.
Secondly, are mortgage holders really doing this, and why? To avoid having to fix it up first ?
I haven’t been able to find any info, yet, on whether this is legal but I have a few calls out.
Seems to me that no matter what history should teach us about loans, home selling and neighborhood property values, there is always someone who wants to circumvent proper means in order to make a few bucks. In this case, could be both a lender and a private individual.
Tags: Cleveland Home Sales · Cleveland Real Estate
February 10th, 2013 · 2 Comments
My experience last year was heavily into Westpark (the area west of 117th and east of Fairview and south of Lakewood). I was involved in listing two homes for rent. One allowed pets, one did not. Both rented quickly because there is such low inventory of single family rentals in West Park. One was somewhat updated, smaller (a cute colonial with a mostly fenced back yard, corner lot, on Clifford). It rented for $750. It was only on the market for a little over a week before I had an open house. Rented it that weekend. Pets not allowed, there was no a/c. A paved drive but no garage. Price was good for this home. I had about three different teachers who teach in schools close by to that home, all with different stories, all with dogs. This owner would not take pets. It rented quickly anyway. All said and done, almost 40 people contacted me about that home. And it was in the winter and we were having the only snow I think we had all year.
Next, I was part of a listing of a home for sale on W. 140th. Small home, had a/c, a fenced yard, a garage, 1 1/2 story bungalow with two nice rooms on 2nd floor. Nothing fancy but it did have a jetted tub in the only bathroom. After a while the owner said ok, let’s list it for rent. Same as Clifford. Listed it, had Sunday open house, had about 10 people come through, three heavily vying to rent. Owner decided on a tenant who had two large dogs but a baby on the way. This house rented for $850.
Those are two typical examples of normal but clean, move in condition single family homes. Not fancy with granite counter tops. One had a/c one did not.
Now for other stats about Westpark rentals in 2012. What did tenants rent? 34 total single family homes in this area (through area brokerages). The average rental price was $750 to $850/a month for smaller homes (less than 1200 sq. ft of living space, for example).
The Kamm’s Corner area of West Park does particularly well.
1. A 1500 sq. ft. home on Edgecliff (brick, attached garage) for$1200/month. They allowed pets, were on the market for 5 days.
2. A not overly updated but 2000 plus sq. foot home on W. 162nd. It rented for $1200/month.
Both of the above homes had two full baths. Not bad amenities to consider if you are looking to purchase or update a purchased rental home.
3. For $1100/month, a 1 1/2 bath home on Fernway (north of lorain in Kamm’s). They allowed pets, it rented in 22 days.
4. South of Puritas on Glenshire: 1312 sq ft colonial with 3 br and 1 bath and $1,020/month agreed upon rent. 41 days on market.
While we are south of Puritas: Puritas Park Town Homes rented one place last year for $975/mo (on Cyclone, some of these town homes have more sq. footage). 2 brs, 2 baths, finished basement, laundry room in basement, one car garage. TH rentals very popular too and this one rented in 13 days.
5. Pretty arts and crafts cape code on Valleyview rented for $1,000/month. It has 1396 sq. ft. of living space and 4brs and 1 bath. (Four bedrooms can be a real plus in a rental ppty). It also has a finished basement and a 2 car garage.
6. $975/month, listed for 34 days before being rented, a home south of Lorain Avenue again, this time on W. 151st st in Kamm’s. 4 brs, 2 baths, full bath on 1st and 2nd floors (a plus), not fancy at all but nice size, floor plan.
Back to the east side for more stats there later this week!
Tags: Cleveland Home Sales · Cleveland Real Estate · housing trends · neighborhood news
So we looked at Lakewood Tuesday and now let’s head east to another hot rental community: Cleveland Heights. It’s true that these numbers would be different if we included multi family homes but single families are extremely sought after by tenants so that is my focus in this several part report. All my stats were accrued via NORMLS, which means these places rented via area brokerages.
Cleveland Heights has been a single family home rental area, in my opinion, longer than Lakewood. First stat to back this up: 67 single family homes rented during 2012 (much higher than Lakewood). This is both a plus and a minus, if you are considering purchasing a single family investment property. Good, because it’s an established area, between CWRU, the hospitals, and Downtown Cleveland industry, single family homes rent well. The only somewhat downside is that it can take longer to rent it since there are usually more homes listed for rent at one time than there are in a place like Lakewood. Okay, let’s get started.
First, those 67 single family homes rented last year. NORMLS actually says 71 but while I was analyzing many of these homes, I found four that were really multi-family homes so I took them out of the equation.
The average rental price is $100 higher than Lakewood: $1,313. The average sq. footage in each of these homes is 1,779 and on average, these homes were listed for rent for about two months before getting an offer to rent that was accepted.
There were 3 rentals in the lowest price range: $800/month. This included one 2 BR (only two bedroom on Cleve. Hts. list) with only 842 sq. feet of space. It was on Roanoke.
1 on Navahoe rented for $850/month. 2 rented for $875 including one really pretty home with an open kitchen on Medford.
There were 10 homes in the $900 to $1,000/month rental range. At $925/mo. a home on Elmwood near Noble, very pretty Tudor style colonial with a deck, totally move in ready.
For $950/mo, two examples: One on OXford near Cain Park with 1400 sq. ft. of living space and a family room and a deck. One on Cedarbrook, near S. Taylor and Cedar (heart of Cleve. Hts.) with an amazingly gorgeous upper level bonus room. Rich, refinished floors, elegant architectural detail. Stunning.
There were 14 homes rented in 2012 in the $1,000/mo. range. A cozy brick cape on Meadowbrook, 1/12 car garage, allowed pets, terrific upgrades and refinishings but no stove provided although it allowed pets (not that many did, in either Lakewood OR Cleve. Hts, at least not by what it said on line. I still think this is a bonus investor owners can provide, allowing pets, which would potentially cut down on the number of days on the market before getting rented or re-rented).
Almost all of the 14 homes in this rental range had updated kitchens, baths, general house updates, mechanicals. More homes in 44118 might have been a tad less fancy (maybe steam heat instead of forced air, maybe a pristine kitchen with updated appliances but not fancy new kitchen cabinetry). The area that is nearest to Coventry and Cedar and Fairmont and Cedar Lee/Taylor is a hot commodity and what isn’t found by tenants in granite counters and cherry cabinets is found in location with entertainment, shops, food, grocers etc., all in walking distance, great public transportation to Univ Circle, etc etc. Also, some of the amazing architecture that abounds in this area, makes up for fancy new kitchens, in some cases. Which you will see in the higher priced rentals. Let’s move on…
13 homes rented in the $1200/month range. 10 had more than one bedroom plus similar amenities and condition to ones already described.
5 homes rented in the $1300/month range. One on Hampshire (popular Coventry area) without modern updated kitchen did have 1500 sq. ft of living space, gorgeous natural wood and newer appliances. Also one on Kingston that was stunning with a huge, airy 3rd floor.
Time to mention that 95% of these single family rentals have what is signature Cleveland Heights: rich, refinished hardwood floors, as opposed to wall to wall carpeting.
For $1500 a month a Euclid Heights Blvd. beauty with 2500 sq. ft. of space, an in ground pool in the back yard, 5 Brs and Baths (no central air but high ceilings and all that other wonderful stuff).
Once we hit $1800/month, most of the homes are in the heart of Cleveland Heights. Two are newer: Courtyards at Severance 2003 built home with 3 brs 2 1/2 baths for 1800/month. And at Brownstones on Euclid Hts. blvd, 2,962 sq. feet of living space, rented for $2800/month (and was only on the market as a rental for 28 days).
One phrase, or variation of it, ran through these rental listing descriptions: totally read to move in, totally updated…you get the picture. Not all of these places, even with spanking shiny new kitchens, offered appliances, but most did.
One trend different than a few years ago (and true in Lakewood as well) is who pays for the water and sewer charges.
While an owner may pay sewer charges (not a bad idea) they are rarely now paying the water bills, the tenant is doing that. Pretty self explanatory, the utilities keep going up.
Hope this helps, in a few days we will begin doing a few more areas. Any questions or comments, feel free !
Tags: Cleveland Real Estate · Cuyahoga County Home Sales · housing trends · neighborhood news
February 5th, 2013 · 3 Comments
Thinking about buying investment property? All styles are good ideas these days, but over the next few posts I’m going to focus on single family homes. They are the hottest properties for tenants because of the lack of availability. To start out, I’m picking a few areas to feature because 1) they are good rental areas and 2) to show house sizes, amenities and agreed upon monthly rental prices. I’m going to do Lakewood first (I will be covering both the west and east sides of town).
There were many, many rentals in Lakewood during 2012 but I’m only dealing with single family homes. Still, there were 26 ! The average rental price for these homes was $1200 but they ran the gamut in pricing.
All 26 had at least 1100 sq. ft. of living space, some quite a bit more. There could be reasons to buy a home with less space, but in general, I would definitely stay above 1,000 sq. ft if purchasing investment property.
Let’s go over some details:
There were two 2BR homes (one east lakewood, one central lakewood) one rented for $650 a month, one rented for $750/month. Both had dishwashers and updated kitchens, one had central air, one did not. Both (judging from photos) had mechanical updates, clean, move in and ready to go.
There was a completely updated 1915 built row house on Cranford rented for $890.month. It had 1200 sq ft, no garage.
Most of the single family homes in Lakewood rented for more than $1,000/month.
1. How much sq. footage for receiving $1000 a month as a landlord? No set rule!
2. No set rule either on whether or not the tenant or landlord agreed to pay water and sewer.
3. All 26 homes were rented either at 100% of asking rental price or close to it. Actually, one of the higher priced homes (over $2k a month rent) rented for a few hundred dollars more than asking rental price.
Which brings me to another point: There is frequently competition among tenants. If you have a place that is in a sought after area, amenities tenants are seeking, you could get more than you were looking for per month.
The average number of days these 26 homes were listed for rent before getting rented was 29 days. Good, yes? One home which was also listed for sale and was in the over 2k a month category took over 200 days. One home took 51 days. With 29 days the average time, there were seven homes that rented in 7 days or less.
While most had central air, not all did. My suggestion, if you are purchasing and thinking about what to do in your renovations to get and keep tenants: a/c is great, if you don’t want to put out that expense right away, provide newer high efficiency window units.
80% of these homes had updated kitchens (even more modest homes seemed to have very nicely upgraded kitchens. And if the kitchen was older? It was still either large or in excellent shape with good storage. One thing almost everyone who rented a single family home in Lakewood last year got for their monthly rent was a dishwasher.
More to come, and I will feature Cleveland Heights next (fairly comparable in many ways to Lakewood, but we will see if there were more or less single family homes rented in Cleve. Heights in 2012 than Lakewood. Stay tuned!
Tags: Cleveland Real Estate · Cuyahoga County Home Sales · housing trends
February 4th, 2013 · 8 Comments
How are you all holding up this winter? Yes, it’s a bit snowy. People are still looking for homes, which makes it quite interesting when showing during a sideways snow storm!
Anyway, let’s look at Westlake. I Went back to 2005 and then did the stats on all single family homes from 2009 through 2012. Will they be similar? Let’s see:
In 2005 there were 304 single family homes sold (through area brokers, all my stats deal with brokerage sales). The Average Listing Price was $365,120 and $124 a square foot. The Average Sale Price was $350,329 and $119 a square foot. This gives us a bench mark. The lowest priced single fam. home sold was $54,500 for a one bedroom 520 square foot house on 2nd Street (definitely qualifies as a tiny house, in fashion these days!) The highest sale price went to a home with over 6k sq. ft. and it sold at 74% of list price. It sold for $1,500,000.00.
2009: 229 homes sold. The Average List Price was $321,697 and $111 a square foot. The Average Sale Price was $297,457 and $103 a sq. ft.
The lowest sale price was for a quaint 1883 built one bedroom home that sold for $33,000. The highest sale price was for a large home on Waterfall Way with 2,646 sq. ft. of living space. It sold for $1,081,500.00. This was 64% of listing price.
2010: 239 single family homes sold. The Average Listing Price was $354,179 and $117 a sq. ft. The Average Sale Price was $323,659 and $109 a sq. ft.
This time, the lowest sale price was not a one bedroom. It was a 4 BR 2Bath home on Dover Center (a century home) and it sold for $62,900. The highest sale price was a home on Rocky Ridge that sold for one million dollars and that was 74.07% of the listing price.
2011: 213 homes sold. The Average Listing Price was $292,364 and $106 a sq. foot. The Average Sale Price was $273,458 and $99 a sq. foot. (this year was a bit lower, in volume and prices)
In 2011, we have more than one 1Br home in the lower sales price category – Then a 2 bedroom home on Lansing that sold for $36,750 and the highest sale price for a home on Churchill that sold for $1,174,000.00 (87% of listing price).
2012: 233 homes sold. The Average Listing Price was $309,644 and $110 a sq. ft. The Average Sale Price was $289,640 and $104 a sq. ft.
The lowest sale price was for a 4BR 1 1/2 BATH 1,480 sq. ft home on Columbia. It sold for $48,00. The highest sale price was on Waterfall Way (just like 2009) which sold for $1,225,000.00 and came in at 72.27% of the listing price. (And 158.70 a sq. ft)
So what do you think? The only drop in volume worth noting would be for 2011 with a rebound in 2012. Sale prices are lower but there didn’t seem to be a giant swing up or down over the last four years. Do you agree?
Tags: Cleveland Real Estate · Cuyahoga County Home Sales · housing trends · neighborhood news
December 11th, 2012 · 1 Comment
I receive quite a few calls from people who are either stuck with an inherited home, or just can’t pay on their mortgage anymore. And they want to know about the Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure option. Fannie Mae is now offering three ways to stay in the house while this is all getting sorted out, including 3 mos w/o paying any rent or mortgage payments. You can read about the new guidelines currently set to take effect on March 1st 2013 here.
Tags: Cleveland Real Estate