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The Value of a REALTOR® Throughout the Home Buying Process

The Value of a REALTOR® Throughout the Home Buying Process

Did you know that, according to studies by Trulia, homeownership is 44% cheaper, on average, than renting?  The investment in real estate is beneficial in multiple ways but the thought of buying, or selling, can be very intimidating.  This article is part one in a series of two that will explain how partnering with a REALTOR® really makes the home buying or, in part two, home selling process much easier. So let’s first tackle how you go about purchasing your dream home– and how your REALTOR® can help every step of the way.

AN OVERVIEW OF THE HOME BUYING PROCESS
flow chart depicting the realtor's role in the home buying process
Finding a Realtor is the first step in the homebuying process because they will help guide you through all of the other steps you must take to go from searching for a home to living in your dream home.

Step One: Finding a Realtor

Buying a home is a huge investment– and can be overwhelming regardless of experience.   Once you’ve decided to explore  purchasing a property, your first move is to find a REALTOR – a member of the National Association of Realtors – as they are highly trained and have the knowledge and expertise to help guide you through this intricate process.

Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions anyone will make in their life.  You shouldn’t try to navigate this process on your own. This agent will have an initial meeting with you to discuss your wants, needs and time frames and to review the steps in the buying process.

They should go over the paperwork involved and answer any questions you might have.  You will walk away from the meeting with a much clearer picture and a good start on what should be a very valuable relationship with your agent.

Step Two: How Much Can You Afford?

Now that you’ve decided to purchase a home, you want to make sure that you first set an appropriate budget.  Knowing what you can qualify for in a loan, and where your comfort zone is as far as payment, are two key elements in your search.

In addition, checking your credit history will determine interest rates, type of financing and whether you would qualify now or later for a mortgage loan.  There are many types of financing out there – down payment assistance, government-backed, portfolio, first-time homebuyer to name a few.  Finding the right lender to help you figure this out is just as important as your REALTOR!

In fact, your agent should be able to give you several names of reputable lenders to begin the process of “pre-approval”.  This simply means that the lender has looked at your credit history and work/income status and given you an idea of what you can buy based on those factors.  This is important to have when beginning to look at homes.  It will become a key factor at time of contract and something your REALTOR will need when it is time to start looking at homes.

Step Three:  Beginning Your Search

Armed with the information from your initial meeting and also from your lender, you and your agent should have a pretty good idea of what you may be looking for as well as what areas fit your criteria.  Your agent will begin by setting up online searches in these locations, and any others that may meet your specifications.

This should be a collaborative process – one with your participation and feedback as well.  Most apps and company websites are designed to help you communicate with your agent regarding specific properties and areas of interest. They should have access to all the listings available through their membership in the area Multiple Listing Service and should update you in “real time” of anything new on the market meeting your criteria.
By viewing these properties with your REALTOR and giving feedback on what you liked, and didn’t like, you are helping to clarify exactly what it is you are looking for in your new home.  Your REALTOR will be able to provide you with area sales statistics as well as comparable properties, characteristics and the specific sales history on any home you are interested in exploring further.

HOW TO MAKE AN OFFER ON A HOME
the steps of the negotiation process including initial offer, counter offers, and inspection and appraisal
Negotiating an offer on a house can be a confusing process. Having a Realtor by your side can take some of the stress out of the process and ensure you get better results.

Step Four:  Making an offer

This is an exciting, and scary, step! When you’ve decided on the home of your dreams, your next move will be to make the seller an offer. Your REALTOR® should help you every step of the way in putting this together and to negotiate the winning bid.  Your agent knows the current market conditions and what it takes to successfully write an offer that will be seriously considered by the seller.

Your offer will take into account those market statistics your agent has provided and your agent will guide you through completing a strong and competitive offer.  There will be several documents to complete, along with the contract.  Each area is different, and each contract is different, so your agent should again review the details of every aspect of the documents you are completing – and give you time to review and understand what it is you are completing.

Once the offer is presented to the seller, one of three things will happen – the seller will accept, reject or counter your offer. Your REALTOR, a skilled negotiator, should keep you informed and present you with your choices, allowing you to decide what you will accept, and what you will not.  Sometimes an offer can be countered a number of times…sometimes accepted right away!  It depends on the seller and the strength of your offer.

Step Five:  The Transaction Process

Once the seller accepts your offer, the home is considered to be “in contract” and the timelines in the transaction process begin. This includes formal loan application with your lender, attorney review, home inspections and remedies, property appraisal and more. Each has a specific number of days or a date to meet throughout the transaction. Your REALTOR should provide you with copies of everything you have signed and help you stay on track for what needs accomplished and when. There can be consequences for time frames that are not met or actions that are missed.

Ask your REALTOR for a list of those days and dates and keep them in your calendar for reference. Think of each one as a bridge to cross on the way to your final destination!  Your REALTOR will be the master coordinator of the process, ensuring that all contingencies are met in a timely fashion. The preparation you make with your REALTOR in steps one through four will make this part of the process go more smoothly and help ensure a successful closing!

THE CLOSING PROCESS
the steps of the closing process from when the seller accepts the offer to the signing of the paperwork
The home closing process involves several steps, and your Realtor can help guide you through it.


Step Six: Closing

Once all the terms of your contract are met, and you receive your “clear to close” from your lender, if you have one, it is time to close!  There are many different customs and several types of ways to close a property but most involve a title company.  The title company pulls all the elements together, prepares the deed, records all necessary document, handles pay-offs, orders surveys, collects funds and pays all applicable entities and provides clear or transferable title to the home.

They also provide title insurance, which covers any ownership title issues that may arise during the time you own the home.  You may have a round-table closing, where all parties meet to sign documents, or escrow closing, where all necessary documents are gathered and obtained and funds dispersed behind the scenes.  Once each is complete, the property transfers.  Congratulations!  You own a home!

Why Having a REALTOR® is Helpful

Is a REALTOR really necessary to buy a home?  The resounding answer is YES – if you want to have a worry-free transaction that provides you with the very best home for your needs and your budget. One that you will enjoy for all the years you own the home.  And your REALTOR is a fantastic personal advisory source. Their level of expertise is unmatched. If you’re looking to buy your dream home, make sure you contact HER REALTORS® who will be with you every step of the way!

2019 List of Best Brunches in Columbus Ohio

2019 List of Best Brunches in Columbus Ohio

There’s no better way to spend your weekend mornings than enjoying a delicious brunch with friends or families. Designed as a boozy combination between breakfast and lunch, brunch started becoming popular in the US in the 1930s.

COLUMBUS HOMES FOR SALE
View homes for sale in Columbus, OH

Now brunch is a weekend staple, especially in Columbus where the options for amazing brunch are endless. With so many options to choose from narrowing down where to eat can be the hardest part. That’s why we’ve curated a list of the Top 15 brunch spots in the Columbus area. We’ve even mapped them out by neighborhood for you, because we know having a clutch brunch spot nearby is definitely a deciding factor on what neighborhood to move to in Columbus.

View the largest and most accurate selection of real estate in Ohio by HER Realtors

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BLUNCH – Clintonville

brunch food at Blunch in Clintonville, Ohio

Blunch is not only becoming the go-to brunch spot in Columbus, with lines to prove it, they’re also reinventing the phrasing br-unch to b-lunch. They offer all the standard brunch fare from several eggs benedict options, pancakes (try the flight for a selection of speciality offering), and sandwiches plus their famous zeppoles and a plethora of bubbly cocktails (or Bloody Maries for something a little stronger!). Don’t take our word for it, Blunch’s Yelp is beaming with 5 star reviews.

Susan M sums them up perfectly,

“Bright, cheery and pleasant atmosphere. Staff was very nice and accommodating. Weekend breakfast was delicious! We started with the HOT donuts, followed by egg dishes. Everything was flavorful, delicious and worth coming back for! Can’t wait for a second trip!”

Trust us, once you visit you’ll be “blunching” every weekend!

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Katalina’s Cafe – Harrison West

 brunch food at Katalina's Cafe, Ohio

If you’re seeking a quirky “hip” brunch, look no further than Katalina’s Cafe. Located in a 100 year old gas station near central Columbus in Harrison West, the cafe is famous for their pancake balls that people line up for miles to consume. How can you go wrong with made-from-scratch goodies with a Latin-leaning/ Southern flair menu? You can pair your pancake balls with brunch favorites like avocado toast finished with a dash of North Market Spices Magnolia Fennel-Olive Sea Salt & pepitas, or indulge in the Award-Winning Breakfast Tacos.

Yelper Paige C. shares her experience,

“Came for the pancake balls, gonna continue to come for the pancake balls. this is one of those restaurants that lives up to its hype….we split the Huge! Sunrise Sammy, dulce de leche pancake balls, a bag of chips, and their version of street corn.

Pancake balls? Revolutionary in concept, delicious in execution. maple syrup included but not required. Dulce de leche was delicious, as is their Nutella flavor. Hoping to try the apple butter next time. #pancakeballs”

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Wolf’s Ridge Brewing – Downtown

brunch food at Wolf's Ridge Brewing in Ohio

If you’re seeking a particularly boozy brunch Wolf’s Ridge Brewing is the spot for you. Patrons rave over the atmosphere, classy but casual, open and bright. They play up the brewery on the brunch cocktail menu, with options like the Beermosa and a Bloody Maria with Tequila, Scotch, and beer. Enjoy unique treats like Poutine with duck confit and mole lamb, or try some brunch standards with an elegant touch like french toast with cinnamon bread pudding and chantilly or pig cheek hash.

If you’re still unsure, Victoria W’s Yelp review should seal the deal,

“The hardest part was picking what I wanted to eat. Everything looked so good. I ended up picking the french toast and HIGHLY RECOMMEND. It was all I could ever want and more. The donuts are also delicious.

The venue itself is gorgeous. The front is very well lit and perfect for brunch (and Instagram photos).”

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101 Beer Kitchen – Dublin, Ohio

brunch food at 101 Beer Kitchen in Dublin, OH

If you’re in the mood for rustic food and craft beer, 101 Beer Kitchen in Dublin is your next brunch spot. In addition to a well curated beer selection, the brunch menu leans on the “unch” dishes including Butternut Squash Perogies and Huevo Ranchero Pizza, with some breakfast staples like Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes, breakfast burritos and corn beef hash.  Brunch Entrees range from $10-$14, making this an affordable option as well!

Chad B. sums up his top notch experience on Yelp,

“This is by far my new spot for brunch in Columbus!  First of all, the atmosphere is fantastic. A nice  rustic feel and look.  Second is top notch service. From the moment we sat down at the bar we were taken care of be it drinks, small talk, knowledge of the beer menu and talking us through the food menu. How often have you asked a waiter’s opinion and gotten wishy washy answers or the, “I don’t really know” response? Not here. Our waiter took time to tell us about each item and get our input on what we were looking for.  I ended up with an awesome local Gose beer and hands down the best Corn Beef Hash I’ve ever had!  Both came highly recommended and for good reason.

So third is obviously the food and beer selection. The Corn Beef Hash was plentiful with a perfect balance of flavors coming from the poached eggs and hollandaise sauce.  I’ll note that this was our waiter’s second favorite item on the brunch menu behind the Low Country Benedict. My buddy ordered that and was equally blown away.  So much so, we almost reordered each dish to swap!  The beer selection was varied and I was able to find several I haven’t tried before which is always a plus for me.

Overall, this was one of the single best dining experiences I’ve had in Columbus and will be make return visits for the foreseeable future!”

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Anne’s Kitchen – Powell, OH

brunch food at Anne's Kitchen in Powell, OH

No one does breakfast fare better than a Southern cook. Not only does Anne’s Kitchen specialize in Southern cooking, the atmosphere has the charm of a quaint Southern diner. Sometimes you just want homemade comfort food at bargain, served with a side of Southern hospitality, that’s when you go to Anne’s Kitchen. Known for their friendly staff and unassuming vibe, you can’t go wrong with their Cream Chipped Beef and Gravy, Fried Green Tomatoes, or Pecan Homemade Buttermilk Pancakes.

Take it from Don C. on Yelp,

“Great breakfast!  Had the corned beef hash and eggs. It was prepared perfectly. The marble rye toast was served actually toasted, not just warmed bread like a lot of restaurants….The staff was very friendly and on the ball. My food was served hot and my coffee cup was never empty. All in all a great experience at Anne’s and I will be back.”

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Scotty’s Cafe – Eastmoor / Bexley

brunch food at Scotty's Cafe at Eastmoor / Bixley

We may be cheating here, as Scotty’s Cafe serves breakfast all day every day, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a great stop for your next brunch outing. Voted the #1 cafe in Columbus, they offer breakfast, brunch, lunch, catering and a deli. The menu is simple but satisfying with a variety of omelette options, pancakes and french toast on the breakfast menu, and a nice variety of deli melts from the grill. Be sure to try the blintzes, regulars and newcomers alike can’t get enough of them. Patrons rave about the service, noting Scotty tries to meet every customer through the door. You don’t need to break the bank to have a great Brunch and the line at Scotty’s is a testament to that!

As Yelper Jacki O. shares,

“Great place for breakfast & brunch! Not only was the food delicious and served quickly but the service was outstanding! The waitress constantly checked on us and the owner literally greets and meets ALL his customers! Scotty, the owner, is also working in the kitchen, taking great pride in the food that is served. They also give you a complimentary bread pudding, so yummy! The place stays packed but you don’t wait long for a table. If you won’t be disappointed! We’re definitely coming back again!”

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Hudson 29 – Upper Arlington & New Albany, OH

brunch food at Hudson 29 in Arlington & New Albany

When you’re seeking an elevated brunch experience, Hudson 29 is the place for you. A part of the Cameron Mitchell Restaurant Group, with 2 locations in Upper Arlington and New Albany, most guests extol their sushi. Even if raw fish isn’t your top choice for breakfast, you still should still try the Surf and Turf roll with filet and tempura shrimp, yum!  Don’t worry there are more traditional options like quiche, short rib hash, benedict with rosemary ham. Regulars will tell your your meal isn’t complete without the Cheese Stuffed House Baked Butter Rolls.

Whatever you choose you’ll leaving happy, like Yelper Holly M,

“Hard to believe this wonderful restaurant is nestled in little New Albany. My favorite is their brunch. Never a wait. Service is splendid. Food is great. Prices are very reasonable. I would highly recommend!”

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The Whitney House – Worthington

brunch food at the Whitney House in Worthington, OH

When you’re seeking a refined brunch with perfectly mixed cocktails and elevated comfort food, The Whitney House will meet your needs and then some. Located in Worthington, with Brunch served Saturdays and Sundays from 9am-3pm, the menu is inspired by the nostalgia of Sunday family dinners with made from scratch rustic fare. Guests rave about the Cast Iron Sticky Buns, so be sure to start your Brunch with those! While they offer a limited menu, all the ingredients are fresh and high quality. Traditional breakfast items like Steak and Eggs and “Two by Two” (2 eggs your way + sausage and toast) are featured alongside unique options like Ramen (a favorite with guests!) and Flax & Quinoa Porridge.

As Jeff M Shares on Yelp,

“Friends recommended The Whitney House to us many times, so we decided to take the family for brunch to celebrate Mother’s day.    We made reservations, and received a timely table in their back room that was almost like an old brew pub.  Awesome.  Wait staff quickly visited and provided drinks, advise, and good humor.   We tried their sticky buns – wow what a great fun start!  MUST HAVE!  Our group of 6 tried Ramen, Two by Two, Short Rib Scramble, Salads and Burgers.  Everyone love it.  Personally I did Short Rib Scramble and besides their Ramen, it was the hit of the table.  We also enjoyed Bloody Mary and mimosa cocktails that were possibly the best ever!  Great day and thank you.

Service, environment and even prices were great.  Looking forward to going back soon.  Thanks everyone for a great day.”

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Third & Hollywood – Grandview Heights

brunch food at Third & Hollywood at Grandview Heights

Brunch is a great way to celebrate a special occasion with family and friends. When you’re seeking a fancy feast, Third & Hollywood is the Brunch spot for you. The attention to quality ingredients is unmatched here, as they only used sustainable high quality meats from the finest breeds, raised humanely and without antibiotics or growth hormones. Their remaining ingredients are sourced locally and organically or artisan produced. You can review the list of ingredient sources right on their website. No visit to Third & Hollywood would be complete without an order of the Iron Skillet of Cheddar Herb Biscuits. We recommend following that with Deep Dish French Toast for the sweet tooths or Croque Madame for those seeking a savory treat.

Take it from Mary C. on Yelp,

“I adore Third and Hollywood.  Their cheddar herb biscuits alone are worth 5 stars.  Pro tip:  if you go during happy hour and order a drink, you get free biscuits.  If that’s not a perfect night, I don’t know what is.  Other favorites on the menu are the veggie black bean and corn burger and the house-smoked salmon on the brunch menu.  I don’t eat meat, but friends RAVE about the bacon-wrapped roasted dates.  The guacamole is also solid.  I love the rustic, warm vibe at the bar–it’s the sort of place you want to sit all night long.  Did I mention they bring you little cookies with your bill?”

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Dough Mama – Clintonville

brunch food at Dough Mama in Clintonville

Born in the kitchen of pastry chef, Perrie Wilkof, Dough Mama originally offering their delicious baked concoctions at other local Columbus restaurants until the demand quickly outgrew her home oven. The menu is inspired by “stick-to-your-bones” Americana with a twist” while still aiming to provide delicious and innovative healthy options for variety of dietary needs. The menu is seasonal as the ingredients are locally-sourced, but you’ll likely find brunch staples with a twist like lox+avocado toast, handmade quiche, biscuits and gravy, and buckwheat Banana Pancakes.

With raving reviews like Gwen W’s on Yelp,

“How could you not add Dough Mama’s to you must brunch list? “Why oh WHY WHY WHYYYY don’t I make a point to stop at Dough Mama more often? Like, every day. I now can say, without hesitation, that DM is a superb, quality breakfast and lunch spot that any, and EVERY, dang person should try out. Absolutely not one solitary excuse to avoid this quaint shop. End of excuses, diversions, and laziness. Get here.

I’ve tried a few different slices of their homemade pies, and yes, they are outstanding. I thought I’d give their breakfast sandwiches a try this time. For $10 I went with the Avocado Biscuit entree: Egg, arugula, tomato, pickled onion, between a cheddar scallion biscuit; salad on the side. The biscuits are made fresh. Warm, soft. Wonderful cheese-and-onion mixup. Very fragrant AND flavorful! Their breads, as a whole, or out of this world! The pickled onions were a great component.

The small side salad looked somewhat blah, when my entree was brought out. I figured it’d be an after-thought. I. Was. Wrong! They toss the fresh arugula mix in a lite soyish? concoction. It was wicked good! I’ll be very tempted to get a few extra servings of that side next time I stop in. With some chicken added, it’s in my top three favorite salads around town.

If you haven’t already stopped at Dough Mama’s, you are missing out BIG TIME! A truly country-chic, old town square vibe. I’ve never been rushed, always received polite service, and the food is 100% down home cooking at its best!

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McCarthy’s Wildflower Cafe & Catering – Clintonville

brunch food at McCarthy's Wildflower Cafe & Catering

Voted “Best Breakfast in Columbus” McCarthy’s Wildflower Cafe & Catering is another unassuming casual spot on our list with undeniable down home charm and eats. All the usual suspects of brunch menu items are in play, paired with a cozy atmosphere and friendly service. Regulars recommend the Giant Belgian Waffles and their Bloody Marys with their special made-in-house mix.

The Yelp reviews all praise the service, atmosphere and quality of food, as Natalie K. succinctly explains,

“Fabulous place to eat for brunch! Can’t really pick something that isn’t delicious. The scramble dishes are all excellent, perfect amount of food and great flavors. I always gotta add a giant blueberry pancake to whatever I get!”

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Skillet – Schumacher Place

brunch food at Skillet in Schumacher place

If you can’t decide if you’re in the mood for a rustic or urban meal, Skillet attempts to marry the two with their seasonal menu featuring farm to table classics “with an urban edge.” The flavors are complex but never complicated. While the menu changes regularly you can always find a unique variety of “Skillet Fare” served in, what else…. an iron skillet, that are praised by patrons.

While the venue is cozy, everyone on Yelp ensures they are worth the wait. As Aaron W explains,

“Amazing breakfast! Love this place. They have an always changing menu that is sourced with local ingredients. Everything is super fresh, which is why there is always a wait and it’s a bit pricey for breakfast.

Everything on the menu is good here. Their breakfast potatoes, sausage, frittata, and cinnamon role are all bomb!

I highly recommend this place!”

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Valters at The Maennerchor – Brewery District

brunch food at Valters at the Maennerchor

In the mood for a German meal? Valters at The Maennerchor will have you asking for “Noch eins, bitte.” (That’s “Another please” in English). Located in the historic Columbus Maennerchor, America’s largest and longest active German singing society and social club, Valters serves German beer and food with some American twists. One of their most exalted dishes is the Breakfast Hangover bowl featuring bacon, bratwurst, egg, peppers, onions and cheddar cheese topped with old-fashioned spicy cream mustard and a warm baguette. Be sure to come hungry!

Fans are quick to name them one of the best Columbus Brunches, as Ruth R. shares on Yelp

“One of the best brunch places that we’ve found in the Columbus area!  We walked with a party of 6; they were able to seat us immediately!  We ordered the waffles, pancakes, the Hangover & the Troy.  As well as the Bloody Mary & Mimosa & a Chocolate Martini.  The food was terrific.  The Black Forest cheesecake was superb!  We had a great experience and plan on returning soon! The service was quick and efficient.”

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Lindey’s – German Village

brunch food at Lindey's in German Village

Brunch at Lindey’s could have you wondering if you’ve been transported to New York’s Upper East. The classic setting, could be described as regal, with a traditional fine dining atmosphere. The patio is a coveted outdoor dining destination. You can’t go wrong with their classic eggs benedict dishes, fresh beignets, or fried chicken and biscuits.

Keith B. sums them up perfectly on Yelp,

“Lindey’s has a reputation – it’s not cheap, it has a great patio for nice weather. The inside is classic – nice and regal. Definitely not “modern” by any means, nor should they be. They have their own tradition.

It’s one of the best happy hours – if you can get parking (fortunately, they have valet if you don’t want to try to discover ). Get here early, scope a spot near the bar, enjoy the delicious, discounted happy hour special drinks and food. The staff on the patio was always amazing and accomadating.

Want something delicious? Come for a meal – it’s a great brunch spot, with warm beignets with a perfect compote that is just the right flavor without being sickenly sweet. The chicken sausage is flavorful.

You really can’t go wrong here. Delicious food is just what they do.”

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Oddfellows Liquor Bar- Italian Village / Short North

brunch food at Oddfellows Liquor bar

Oddfellows may look like just a kitchy dive bar, but their $10 “Classy AF” Brunch Buffet is like no other in Columbus. You can enjoy great music and Saturday morning cartoons while you nosh away in your PJs. With their one of a kind “Cereal Mimosa” if you’re seeking a fun and quirky experience, Oddfellows is the brunch spot for you.

Ja’Nay N. sums them up in her Yelp review,

“I can’t believe this awesome place has been under our noses this whole time. When most people think about OF’s they think “friday nights and drinks.” Not brunch!

Every Saturday from 10am-2pm OF’S has a buffet brunch for only $10 and the fun doesn’t stop there. They play great music and saturday morning cartoons on a big projector. pajamas are welcomed

Food: rosemary yams, berry cinnamon pancakes, kale chips, greens, quiche, toast, sausage and gravy, sausage links, bacon, spring rolls and more.

Drinks: the cereal mimosas are unlike anything you’ve ever tasted. Milk with whiskey or vodka and cereal on top….YES PLEASE! If your not a big drinker there are still plenty of options for you.

Service: wonderful ladies at the bar. One of them made us water without us asking her too. They were friendly and checked on us just enough.

Decor: right now this place looks like christmas throw up in there, but in a great way. A way that’s nostalgic and will take you back to your childhood.”

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As you can see the number and variety of brunch options in Columbus can’t be beat, whatever your tastes or mood. For those on the hunt for a new home in Columbus, you probably want to make sure your favorite brunch spot is nearby!

5 Podcasts that Homeowners Need to Listen to ASAP

5 Podcasts that Homeowners Need to Listen to ASAP

In 2019, we have an endless stream of information right at our fingertips. No matter what you’re looking to learn about, there are countless ways of absorbing that information. Podcasts are one of my favorite ways to consume.

As a homeowner, you are busier than ever. Listening to a podcast is the way to go. It allows you to hear advice from experts without taking valuable time out of your day. Play it on your morning commute to work, while doing general housekeeping, or any other activity. It is a super convenient way to learn new things pertaining to your home.

Searching for your first home? Thinking of tackling a new home improvement project? Looking for finance options? Trying to save by trying to DIY a repair? There is a podcast for you! Check out this list to find the one that fits your interest.

A family gathered around the island in their kitchen
Sherry and John share affordable tips and tricks for homeowners in their podcast. Photo courtesy of hgtv.com

1. Young House Love

Sherry and John Petersik documented the ups and downs of buying and renovating their first home on a blog in 2007. Since then they have taken over the home improvement world. They have renovated five homes, published a book, create a line of home products that are sold in major retailers and start this podcast!

The couple talks about renovation using affordable and realistic materials, furniture, and decor. Podcast topics cover thousands of DIY Projects, guides to buying a home, how to cope when things don’t go the way you planned, but things don’t stop there. They share tips and tricks on organization, maximizing your use of space, living with kids and more! They even have special guests that come and give their expert opinion and experiences.

Sherry and John bring a bit of humor and relatability to this show, making it a favorite among many. That’s because they started their journey just like the average person. They were starting their family and buying their first home while living on a budget. Even after their success, they just focus on sharing their experiences and struggles. They have two kids, in which they refer to as their “Biggest DIY Project to date”.

This podcast is perfect for new homeowners. Listening to Sherry and John’s horror stories throughout the years makes everything a little less stressful. The show is also great for any home improvement lovers. Listening through will inspire you and give you tons of ideas on refreshing your space.

Subscribe in Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn Radio, and Spotify, or wherever else you get your podcasts.

The money pit logo
This show teaches homeowners how to fix things on their own and when it is important to call for help. Photo courtesy of moneypit.com

2. The Money Pit

This podcast is all about the repairs! If you own a house, there’s always something that needs fixing. Most homeowners don’t know the first thing when it comes to repairs. In this podcast, Leslie Segrete and Tom Kraeutler share their knowledge and guide the novice homeowners to being well-trained handymen. While Leslie and Tom are great at giving extensive explanations on home repair, the podcast covers a lot more than that!

Topics covered in the past include Easy Lighting Updates for KitchensBudget Bathroom RemodelsHow to Prevent Pet Damage to Your Lawn, and much more! This show is basically the ultimate source for hacks, tricks, & how-to’s for your home.

In addition to being a Podcast, The Money Pit is also a nationally syndicated radio show. That allows it to have a call-in format. Listeners call in to get all kinds of home advice. This means that you will hear people just like you talk about their struggles and get professional advice. A lot of the calls end up turning into a full show dedicated to the topic. So, if there’s a topic they haven’t covered yet, give Leslie and Tom a ring to get their expert opinion.

The Money Pit can be listened to on any platform where podcasts are available, but their website also has a transcript of each episode available for your convenience.

Holistic Housing Podcast. Connecting Community, sharing ideas, finding solutions. By NACCED.
This podcast is one of the more important ones on the list. Homeowners are directly affectedeffected by topics covered in these episodes, therefore, it is important for them to be educated on those subjects. Photo courtesy of nacced.org

3. The Holistic Housing Podcast

This one covers the politics of it all. The Holistic Housing Podcast is created by the National Association for County Community and Economic Development (NACCED). The show starts a conversation between thought leaders, policymakers and program implementers across the affordable housing, community development, and economic development field. As a homeowner, this information is extremely important to you. Guests on the show discuss their personal experience and potential solutions on everything from gentrification, workforce development, homelessness, urban revitalization, sustainability, place-making, the American Dream, and so much more.

The goal of the shows hosts, Sarah and Laura, is to explain how housing affects quality of life and in turn, every individual’s ability to lead a successful life. Don’t let the serious nature of this podcast lead you to think it is boring. The girls that run the show are not afraid to throw some humor in and do a really great job of explaining why these big topics are important to you.

You can listen on ITunes, Stitcher, and TuneIn.

Your Home Loan -- September 14-15, 2019 -- Ask the Millenial
This show explains the market to the average person and helps you along the buying process! Photo Courtesy of retradio.com

4. Real Estate Today Radio

Real Estate Today Radio is specifically for those looking to buy a new home. For homeowners, your home will be one of, if not the biggest investment you will ever make. So listening to this podcast, which shares relevant and critical information surrounding the market, gives homeowners a competitive edge. The host, Stephen Gasque, of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® is a credible source of information with a background in both journalism and real estate.

This one is actually a radio show but all the episodes are available online. The show covers every step of buying a home. They guide homeowners through everything from everything to attending an open house to making an offer. Stephen analyzes changes in the market and puts it in laymen’s terms for potential buyers.

This podcast is the ultimate guide for buyers.

Afford Anything - Build a Better Life - with Paula Pant
This podcast will help first-time homeowners manage their lives and their finances, while still being able to havbe their dream home. Photo courtesy of affordanything.com

5. Afford Anything

Afford Anything isn’t just for homeowners. It is for anyone who is living an adult life on a budget. However, she focuses on getting out of debt and purchasing homes. This one is one of the more straightforward shows. The host, Paula Pant is great at breaking things down and explainingexplaing things. She often takes her caller’s real-life numbers and breaks it down to help them form a plan to reach a certain goal. For example, she helps one caller decide whether or not she should downsize to a smaller home.

Paula alternates what the topics will be each week. She switches off between a well-researched episode dedicated to one topic and AskPaula episodes where her listeners call in and ask for advice on their lives. Past topics have included How We Retired at Age 30 and 29, with Mike and LaurenWhen a Child of Financial Chaos Stumbles into Adulthood – with Paulette PerhachHow I Reached Financial Independence Through Real Estate – Eith Chad Carson, and other great ones.

When listening through the Afford Anything website, each episode gives you a list of resources related to the topics covered in that episode. Overall, this podcast is great for young or first-time homeowners more than anything. Paula and her guests give really specific instructions and explanations for everything they share.

Whether you own a home or are looking to buy, owning having a home means having a huge responsibility, and can be very stressful. Who has the time to read thick books with words you don’t know? Who has the money to pay someone to handle every home-related task thrown at you? Let these podcasts help you manage your stress. These shows help to break down the information you need in a way that is easy to understand and in the time frame you need.

It doesn’t matter what stage of the home buying process you’re in – these podcasts are sure to help you tremendously. Listen to find inspiring new ways to spice up your space. Listen to get advice on how to finance your dream home. Listen for instructions on simple repairs to save some money. The list of ways these podcasts will help homeowners is endless! You will not be disappointed.

Family-Friendly Activities To Do in Columbus Before School Starts

Family-Friendly Activities To Do in Columbus Before School Starts

As the old saying goes, “They grow up so fast”—as uttered by every parent, ever. So, as a parent, you have to love summer—it’s a much-needed opportunity to bond with your children before they go off to school and grow another year older and busier!

If you’re looking for some family fun in Columbus, OH, this summer,we’ve got you covered. Here’s our top picks for activities to do before school starts.

Looking to move your family to a beautiful Columbus home? View the largest and most accurate selection of real estate in Columbus, OH by HER Realtors > 

Center of Science and Industry (COSI)

Explore science from the deep ocean blue to the vast starry sky at COSI this summer. Image courtesy of COSI.

Address: 333 W Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215

Hours: Daily, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

COSI is a fan-favorite among Columbus locals—for good reason! This science center has been up-and-running for 55 years and features a staggering number of over 300 exhibits, hands-on activities, galleries, and more to engage the community in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) topics.

This summer 2019, be sure to check out COSI’s special feature, the Jim Henson: Imagination Unlimited exhibit! This exhibit will run from May 25 to Sep 2, exploring Jim Henson’s “groundbreaking work for film and television and his transformative effect on popular culture.” The exhibit will “[reveal] how Henson and his team of builders, performers, and writers brought to life the enduringly popular works of The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, and much more.”

You can also buy family memberships for as low as $49 if you’d like to return more throughout the year.

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Did you know that sea turtles can travel over 10,000 miles across the ocean in one trip? One female leatherback was recorded to have traveled 12,000 miles during migration. Image courtesy of Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

Address: 4850 W. Powell Rd, Powell, OH 43065

Hours: Summer hours (through the end of August)—daily, 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has been in operation since 1927 and proudly brings the community closer to the wonders of wildlife. It has over 7,000 different animals, so your children are sure to find exhibits that they love!

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium proudly takes wildlife conservation efforts quite seriously, donating $4 million of privately raised funds to support conservation efforts around the world.

Don’t forget to stop at the animal sculptures, which make for a great photo-op—holiday card picture, anyone?

Central Ohio Fire Museum

The Central Ohio Fire Museum is the perfect stop for the aspiring firefighter in your life! Image courtesy of Columbus Family Adventures.

Address: 260 N 4th St, Columbus, OH 43215

Hours: Tue-Sat 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Why let your kids stay in and play with toy fire trucks when you can go out as a family and see the real deal?

The Central Ohio Fire Museum is perfect for your little firefighters! Stop by to learn about the rich history and service of firefighters, vintage fire trucks, and the day-to-day life of a modern firefighter.

You can even browse the gift shop to find the perfect souvenir, like a firefighter suit, to take home, so that your child will have memories of the real thing!

Of course, don’t forget to slide down the pole!

Columbus Children’s Theater

Pictured: 2017 production of James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. Image courtesy of David Heasley

Address: 512 Park St, Columbus, OH 43215

Schedule: Check out the CCT website to see what’s playing now

Appreciation for the arts isn’t just for grown-ups!

Check out a summer production at the Columbus Children’s Theater for a wide range of plays and musicals that the whole family is sure to enjoy. Their mission is to “[transform] families through the power of the stage” by “educat[ing] and involv[ing] young people of all backgrounds in theatre arts.”

If your child is especially interested in the magical world of theater—good news! The Columbus Children’s Theater even offers classes for all your little actor’s needs at the CCT Academy.

LEGOLAND Discovery Center

Creative building fun happens at the LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Columbus! Image courtesy of Columbus Underground.

Address: 157 Easton Town Center, Columbus, OH 43219

Hours: Sun-Fri 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM, Sat 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Do you have a little LEGO builder on your hands? Can’t stand to keep LEGOs in the house in case you step on them with your bare feet? We have the perfect place for you!

Make sure to check out the LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Columbus, a 36,000 square foot facility with 10 themes LEGO play areas, two rides, 4D cinema, and loads of fun!

Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is a beautiful greenspace and the perfect place to take your family for some easy-going nature appreciation this summer. Image courtesy of Stephanie Kase

Address: 1777 E Broad St, Columbus, OH 43203

Hours: Daily 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

If you’d like a family-friendly activity that will suit all age ranges, then look no further than the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. This facility features both glass-enclosed and outdoor gardens with exotic flora and beautiful water fixtures.

Special summer exhibits include the fan-favorite, Blooms & Butterflies, where you can step into “an enchanted land of tropical butterflies and splashes of floral color during the Conservatory’s 25th anniversary of Blooms & Butterflies”!

Don’t miss out on this magical experience this summer.

Grange Insurance Audubon Center

Pictured: The Scioto Audubon. Image courtesy of Metro Parks.

The Grange Insurance Audubon Center is a nature preserve in Columbus situated along the Scioto River. Its mission is to “conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity.”

Kids will love the Audubon’s enclosed play area that features an enclosed climbing structure, but there are also plenty of educational stations where kids and parents can learn about the environment.

Over the summer, the Audubon has special events like Preschool Storytime and Weekly Beginner Bird Hikes, and programs such as Audubon Adventure Camp and K-8 Youth STEM programs.

Columbus Commons

Whether you’re going to a concert on a cool summer evening or taking an early-morning yoga class, the Columbus Commons is the perfect place to spend time with the family. Whatever you want to do, it’s here at the Commons! Image courtesy of Columbus Commons.

Address: 160 S High St, Columbus, OH 43215

The Columbus Commons is a privately-owned park that is home to over 200 events year-round! It’s a perfect spot to stop by for a casual morning, afternoon, or evening with the family.

Events at the Commons include concerts from local and international bands, fitness classes, family activities, food trucks, festivals, and more! There’s always something going on here—so be sure to check the calendar to see what’s going on today.

Rockin’ Jump

Lots of indoor family fun to be had at the Rockin Jump trampoline park near Columbus, OH! This amazing facility not only has trampolines but also rock climbing and sports. There’s something here for every kid!  Image courtesy of Atlanta Parent.

Address: 1220 County Line Rd, Westeville, OH 43081

Rockin Tots (Ages 6 and under) hours: Tue-Fri 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM, Sat 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM, Sun 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Open Jump (All ages) hours: Sun-Fri 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM, Sat 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Summer storms got you down? You can still go out and have fun with the family!

Check out Rockin’ Jump, an indoor trampoline park. Rockin’ Jump has over 10,000 square feet of trampolines and more. Park attractions include the main jump arena, a dodgeball arena, the slam dunk zone, the vertical ops climbing wall, the ninja course, and more! You’ll have loads of fun and feel like a kid again trying to catch up with your kids on these attractions.

For ages 6 and under, be sure to visit the park during its “Rockin Tots” hours in the morning before the park opens to all ages.

You can even host parties and events at Rockin’ Jump for all of your summer needs.

Summer Fun Starts Now

Now you’re equipped with all of the tools you need for this summer in Columbus, OH.

Have you done all of these things? Or, are you looking for more tips on your beautiful city? We’ve got you covered!

Be sure to check out our blog for more guides on the area as well as real estate tips and more.

Having the Help of a REALTOR® Makes All the Difference

Having the Help of a REALTOR® Makes All the Difference

When the time comes to sell your house, trust in the expert advice and experience of a REALTOR®. REALTORS® are trained to specifically know your market, and are held to a high standard of ethics by the National Association of REALTORS® . Although there are those that think this is an unnecessary step when selling their home– and are not interested in paying the fee of a REALTOR® — they are really selling themselves short of the best possible real estate transaction. Selling your home at the price you want, and what the market allows, is not as easy as some people would believe. With a REALTOR® by your side throughout the entire process, you have the satisfaction of knowing that everything will be taken care of in a knowledgeable and professional manner.

In this article, which is part two in the Value Added by a REALTOR® Series, we’ll take a look at:

  • The home selling process
  • How a REALTOR®  can help sell your home quicker and for a better price, without the hassle!
Selling a home flow chart process

The Home Selling Process

So you’re finally ready to put your home on the market. You’ve patiently waited until it was the optimal time, and done your research regarding the market for home prices in your area. But what happens next? Potential buyers don’t just show up and ask to see your house. You’ve got to get it out there and in front of them, and a REALTOR® can help you do all that and more.

Keys to a new home
A REALTOR® will help you list, prepare, and sell your home for the best price on the market. 

Find a REALTOR® and Set the Price

Enlisting the help of a REALTOR® is the first step you should take when trying to sell your home. Chances are a family member or friend has used one in the past and can make some recommendations for you. This is the best way to ensure you’re getting a REALTOR® you can trust, and develop a good working relationship with. REALTORS® are held to a very high standard of ethics, they want to help you sell your home as quickly as possible, but are bound by their Code of Ethics. REALTORS® have duties to clients and customers, and rely on specific standards of practice. They will not engage in activities outside of their scope of their real estate license or areas of expertise. This gives many people the confidence to know that their REALTOR® is bound to act in their best interest at all times.

Once you’ve found your REALTOR®, you can sit down and work out an acceptable price to list your home. REALTORS® have their finger on the pulse of your local market– they know what the last 10 homes in your area have sold for, and what they were originally listed at. This type of in depth knowledge is hard for most homeowners to get on their own. They can offer comparative market analysis that is specific to the local market. REALTORS® also know how competitors are pricing homes and how that is influencing the seller’s market. You can also trust the opinion of your REALTOR® to inform you of any necessary repairs you’ll need to complete before listing, and if anything can increase sales price of the home and shorten the listing period of the property.

Create a Marketing Plan– and Make Changes to Your Home as Necessary

Once you and your REALTOR® have come to an agreement on a listing price, it is time to create a marketing plan for your property. This means you’re going to need a marketing plan, and a list of all possible updates and repairs to make to your house before it is sold. Your REALTOR® can help you put together a game plan that includes first having your property listed on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). These sites constitute a network where sellers’ agents can lists properties for other agents to view. There are multiple MLS’s throughout Ohio, and agents are required to be members in order to view or list properties.

Your REALTOR® will also be able to accurately judge what type of advertising might best suit your home and its market. Regardless of your target buyer, (although millennials are the largest group of homebuyers at 11%) your REALTOR® can ensure your listing is complete with high quality photos and even videos to make your home as appealing as possible. Normally, REALTORS® will put together a brochure or booklet that will highlight the aspects of your home, and engage in social media marketing as well on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Sellers are encouraged to share additions, upgrades, and customized features of their home (such as a new roof, custom cabinets, finished attic, etc.) with their REALTOR®. Your REALTOR® can then highlight these features in the marketing materials and posts.

If any changes are required, such as a broken shower in the basement, or other major defects, your REALTOR® will dutifully point out what repairs should be made to lessen the chance of a buyer backing out of a transaction.

Open Houses and Showings

Marketing your house goes hand in hand with ensuring that your home gets in front of buyers– and one of the best ways to do this is through open houses and/or showings. Your REALTOR® will be able to advise you on how to prepare your home for a showing, and may even recommend having it professionally staged. This step is all about first impressions, and you want to make sure you’re presenting your home in the best light possible. Open house dates and times can be advertised on listing sites and on the REALTOR’s® social media accounts.

Showings are also an opportune way to have buyers walk through and assess your house. Your REALTOR® can arrange times with the buyer’s agent, so that you can plan accordingly and be outside of the home. Most REALTORS® will also screen potential buyers and can request proof of pre-approval of the potential buyers. The agent of the buyers will present the home for showing as well, and will walk through it with the buyers.

Closing the deal on a new home
Depending on the type of market, your REALTOR® may suggest negotiating with the buyer over price. This is a good tactic to use in a seller’s market, and you should trust the experience of your REALTOR®.

Negotiation and Offer

Once you have a prospective buyer– or buyers– who are ready to put an offer on the table, your REALTOR® can help you evaluate the offers and make suggestions on whether or not to accept it or to try negotiating. If you’re selling your home in a seller’s market, there is definitely some room for negotiating– especially if your home is in a desirable location and you are entertaining multiple offers.

Your REALTOR® can also help navigate you through the next important steps in the process once the negotiation is over, and you and the buyer have come to an agreement.

The Next Steps: Inspections, Appraisals & Escrow

Inspections

The buyer will want an official inspection of the property– which will confirm that they are purchasing a property that is in the condition that is claimed to be in. This is usually held within 2 weeks after the accepted offer. The buyer reserves the right to place contingencies in their offer that include the right to cancel the sale if their inspector finds major problems with the house, and the seller is not willing to fix the problems or renegotiate the selling price. This is where your REALTOR® can offer you some good advice on how to respond to the buyer contingencies– they may suggest fixing the problems outright, or reducing the selling price of the home to help compensate for the cost of repairs.

Appraisals

Mortgage lenders will require a potential new property to be appraised by a professional appraiser. Appraisals ensure that the value of a home is worth the purchase price. Cash buyers may also have an appraisal completed on a new property. Appraisers look at the overall value of the home, and assess the condition of the property if the buyer is not paying in cash, and is working with a lender. The appraisal also takes into consideration what comparable properties in the area sold for in recent months.

Although the appraisal is not an official inspection, if there are any outstanding problems or deficiencies, it will be noted in their report to the lender.  It’s a good idea for sellers to accompany the appraiser– or for their REALTOR® to do so– so they can point out any improvements and special amenities the seller has commissioned.

Escrow

Once the buyer and seller have come to an agreement, the closing process can begin. This can include procedures such as the inspection, appraisal and potential repair requests or remedies. After the inspection, when appraisal and remedies have been completed, an escrow or title agent will now act as the intermediary to finalize the home purchasing and closing process.  Escrow typically lasts for around 30 days, but can vary from transaction, and gives the title company time to pull and inspect the title of the property for any potential liens. This is the time to formalize the moving dates.

In Ohio, the closing is usually an “open table” format where the seller and buyer sit face-to-face and sign documentation formalizing the sale. It’s the closing agent’s job to make sure all parties have completed their tasks for finalizing the sale. Real estate sales processes do vary from state to state, depending on the laws and typically procedures of a given state.

House for sale
Image courtesy of Fortune Builders. Your REALTOR® can take you from listing your home to having it sold quicker and easier than trying to go at it alone.

Closing

You and your REALTOR® have made it this far, and all that is left is for the buyer to do a final walk through, and you both to sign the paperwork. The final walk through is typical 24 – 48 hours before the closing. Your agent can arrange the walk through with the buyer’s agent– to make sure they are buying a home in the condition that was agreed upon. The final step in the process is to show up at the closing location and sign the appropriate documents. Once this has been accomplished, the property is officially sold. Depending on your occupancy agreement with the buyer, both party agents can negotiate when and how to hand the keys over to the new owner.

The REALTOR® Experience

Selling and buying a home is one of the biggest transactions you can encounter. By entrusting your home’s sale to a REALTOR®, you are taking the emotion out of the process and allowing decisions to be made that are in your best interest. REALTORS® are committed to treating all parties in the real estate transaction fairly and honestly as it is a part of their code of conduct. The REALTOR® collects their commission after the sale of the property– and not a minute before. You know they’re working with your best interest in mind, and this motivates them to sell your house for as much as the market allows. Your house is one of the biggest investments you will make, and you should trust the sale of it to a professional with your best interests in mind.

Almost as soon as you decide the time has come to sell your home, you should consider finding a REALTOR®. Their professional advice and insight throughout the home selling process makes for smooth negotiations with prospective buyers, and will be sure to get you the best price possible. Don’t undertake this complex and important task alone, find a local REALTOR® to help you all the way.

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