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Central Ohio Real Estate News

by Teresa Butler; Signature Real Estate

By Teresa Butler | Agent in Gahanna, OH
  • Happy Valentine's Day!

    Posted Under: General Area in Columbus  |  February 14, 2014 10:50 AM  |  260 views  |  No comments

  • 70% of HOAs Are Underfunded

    Posted Under: General Area in Columbus  |  January 21, 2014 6:47 PM  |  105 views  |  No comments

    A growing number of homeowners associations do not have enough money stowed away in reserves to pay for repairs and replacements in neighborhoods over time, housing experts say. 

    About 70 percent of association-governed communities are underfunded, a 12.5 percent increase compared to 10 years ago, according to Association Reserves. Homeowners associations are increasingly going after home owners who fail to pay their dues. Beyond fines and notices, they are foreclosing on delinquent home owners. 

    Homeowners associations usually have the right to place liens on homes where the owners are delinquent on their dues. They have the ability to foreclose on houses, even if it’s to collect a few hundred dollars of unpaid debt. Prior to 2008, foreclosures by homeowners associations were rare. But HOAs now say they are becoming more common as associations look to respond to their shrinking dues. 

    “It’s a community, but it has to be run like a business,” says Frank Rathbun, spokesman for the Community Associations Institute, an advocacy group for homeowners associations. 

    About 63 million Americans nationwide live in communities governed by homeowners associations, compared to only 2.1 million in 1970. What’s more, four out of five buyers of new homes wind up in a community with an HOA.

    Source: “Homeowners Associations in Crisis as 70% Are Underfunded,” Reuters

  • Where Energy Bills are Highest

    Posted Under: General Area in Columbus  |  December 16, 2013 1:43 PM  |  131 views  |  No comments

    In some states, homeowners are paying nearly twice as much as the national average for electricity. That's according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the government agency responsible for the collection and dissemination of energy information, which released its most recent "Electric Sales, Revenue, and Average Price" report last month.

    The report found that the average monthly electric bill nationwide was $107.28 last year, up from $78.24 a decade ago. The highest energy bills across the country were in these five states:

    1. Hawaii, where the average monthly electric bill is $203.15
    2. Alabama: $135.26
    3. South Carolina: $131.64
    4. Maryland: $129.00
    5. Texas: $128.27

    Conversely, the places where homeowners paid the least to burn the midnight oil were the following states:

    1. New Mexico: $74.62
    2. Maine: $77.77
    3. Utah: $78.70
    4. Colorado: $80.94
    5. Montana: $84.88

    Besides Hawaii, which had the second lowest consumption levels after Maine, high energy bills don't seem to correlate with higher rates of energy conservation. The three regions that cover the south and southwest from Texas east to Florida and up to the mid-Atlantic region were the highest users of energy, while many of the states within these regions also paid the highest energy bills each month.

    Sources: "Shocking: Average Residential Electricity Bills in the U.S.," Builder Online and Average Monthly Electric Bill by State, National Association of Home Builders 

  • Top 10 'Winter Wonderlands'

    Posted Under: General Area in Columbus  |  December 12, 2013 1:31 PM  |  105 views  |  No comments

    Homes.com evaluated cities to find the best “winter wonderlands,” municipalities known for their holiday observances and winter festivities. 

    The following locales landed at the top of the list: 

    1. Atlanta: It features Macy’s Great Tree at Lenox Square along with the store’s “Pink Pig” train and an annual Children’s Christmas Parade.
    2. Saranac Lake, N.Y.: It hosts an annual winter carnival that dates back to 1897 with a massive Ice Palace (made from ice bricks that lights up the town every night).
    3. Chicago: Among twinkling lights at the Lincoln Park Zoo and gift shopping on Michigan Avenue, it also features a German holiday celebration at the Christkindlmarket with German foods and entertainment.
    4. Lava Hot Springs, Idaho: The city boasts a tradition with its annual Fire & Ice Festival on Main Street, where residents run down snowy streets in bikinis and boots.
    5. Boston: The city features university choral concerts, and Frog Pond on Boston Common becomes a place for ice skating and sledding down the snowy banks.
    6. Nashville: The city’s southern belle homes get decked out in holiday lights with “authentic holiday antiques” that “showcase everything from trees trimmed antebellum style to historic holiday dress.” 
    7. Baltimore: The city’s Hampden neighborhood features a light display that garners national recognition and residents each year light up their homes for a big holiday display on 34th street (which shares its name with the New York street in the holiday film “Miracle on 34th Street”).
    8. Grapevine, Texas: Branded the “Christmas Capital of Texas,” the city offers up more than 1,400 holiday events over 40 days, such as performances at the Grapevine Opry and gift shopping at the International Christmas Market.
    9. Denver: The historic lower downtown area, nicknamed LoDo, features an “artistic flair” to the holidays as art students compete in the LoDo Aglow Window design contest, decorating store windows for the holiday season.
    10. Park City, Utah: The Park District offers a gingerbread house competition and a winter sports event known as the Deer Valley Celebrity Ski Fest, which brings celebrities and Olympic athletes together to raise funds for charity.

    Learn more about what makes each city a “winter wonderland” at Homes.com. 

    Source: “Homes.com Reveals America’s Top 10 Winter Wonderlands,” Homes.com 

  • 6 Hot Spots for Retirees

    Posted Under: General Area in Columbus  |  September 12, 2013 1:04 PM  |  129 views  |  No comments

    As the housing recovery rolls on, baby boomers and empty-nesters may be looking to finally downsize and trade-in for a retirement home in a new locale. Kiplinger recently ranked the top states in which to retire based on special tax breaks for seniors, easy access to amenities, and active lifestyle opportunities for older adults. 

    The following are the states that ranked at the top and some of the tax breaks for seniors there: 

    • Arizona: Home owners who meet certain residency requirements and are ages 70 and up can apply to defer their property taxes. 
    • Delaware: It has no state or local sales tax, and older home owners may be able to qualify for a property tax credit up to $500.
    • Florida: The state has no inheritance tax, state tax, or retirement income tax.
    • Georgia: Social security income and up to $35,000 of most types of retirement income are exempt from taxes. 
    • Louisiana: Civil service, state and local government pensions, as well as military income and social security, are exempt from the state’s income taxes. 
    • Mississippi: It has one of the lowest property taxes in the nation.

    Source: “9 Best Places to Retire,” AOL Real Estate

  • 10 Most Youthful Towns

    Posted Under: General Area in Columbus  |  September 12, 2013 12:57 PM  |  117 views  |  No comments

    Many real estate experts are pointing to Millennials as a major force behind the housing recovery. If that's true, then these 10 towns are in great shape.

    Money Magazine recently ranked the youngest towns in America as part of its "Best Places to Live" series. Many of them are college towns, where the median age is under 22 years old.

    The top 10 youngest towns (along with the median age of their residents) in the nation are: 

    1. Eagle Mountain, Utah: 19.9 years old
    2. Durham, N.H.: 20.3 years old
    3. Amherst Center, Mass.: 20.7 years old
    4. Allendale, Mich.: 20.9 years old
    5. College Park, Md.: 21.7 years old
    6. Athens, Ohio: 22 years old
    7. East Lansing, Mich.: 22 years old
    8. Whitewater, Wis.: 22 years old
    9. State College, Pa.: 22.3 years old
    10. Boone, N.C.: 22.3 years old

    Source: “Best Places to Live: 25 Youngest,” Money Magazine

  • 7 Best Midsize Cities for Job Growth

    Posted Under: General Area in Gahanna  |  July 16, 2013 5:19 PM  |  136 views  |  No comments

    Economists often say where jobs pick up, the housing market will soon follow. Forbes recently ranked metro areas to find which midsize cities are posting some of the largest job gains. Forbes reviewed employment data from 2001 through January 2013 for its rankings. The midsize cities that topped its list:

    1. Boulder, Colo.
    2. Provo-Orem, Utah
    3. Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, Ark.-Mo.
    4. Corpus Christi, Texas
    5. Bakersfield-Delano, Calif.
    6. Lafayette, La.
    7. Lexington-Fayette, Ky.

    Source: “The Best Midsize Cities for Jobs 2013,” Forbes

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