John Payne Team – Cincinnati Realtor

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Running with a Realtor: Pleasant Ridge

Pleasant Ridge is a community within Greater Cincinnati that has a history and a future. Its history is that it was a flourishing community from well into the 1800’s. In the recent 20 years, the neighborhood has been chasing the likes of Oakley and has seen significant struggles during the Great Recession with foreclosures and distressed homeowners. The Community of Pleasant Ridge is going to come out ahead. The geography of the area is positive and is a middle ground between downtown/ Uptown and its booming development and Kenwood. I believe the biggest challenge is that they need to continue to embrace their unique nature and not try to be “like the rest”. Places like Pleasant Ridge can not compete with places like Oakley and Hyde Park/ Rookwood from a development standpoint, but they can and should compete within the secondary markets like Clifton, Northside, Price Hill, Blue Ash, Milford and Madeira. An ambitious plan was presented back in 2014 and I hope that it doesnt come to reality. This community has plenty of space on the street and I don’t think this major shift is necessary! Check this out here. Pleasant Ridge is a fantastic bedroom community within the Cincinnati Public School district. The houses there are a wonderful mix of starter home bungalow style and they go up to the typical Cincinnati mansion! This diversity of home is why this neighborhood will see another day, it will continue to attract and retain Buyers and Sellers.

Running with a Realtor : Mariemont Edition

I had a short, but successful run in Mariemont which captured all that the immediate area has to offer! Mariemont is a community to the East of downtown, a historic community. The new development in Mariemont has been incredibly successful with the introduction of new high-end condominiums. These condos replaced the dated and under utilized “4 square” apartment structures one block from the downtown core that were built circa 1950-1960. Mariemont’s single family residential market is a unique one as it has premier streets like most areas of Cincinnati, but even on the secondary streets, owners are investing incredible money to make their homes masterful, the civic pride is evident in the environment that they maintain. I think the main reason for this is that the true community of Mariemont is quiet small, just .89 sq miles. Simple supply and demand. Mariemont Schools are rated in the State test under Acheivement an “A” rating .  Mariemont is a walkable community with sidewalks on many streets, or the streets have a low enough volume of traffic to not warrant sidewalks. For a small geographical footprint, the area boasts many acres of parks. This is the Mary Emery tower at Dogwood Park. The area has a few grand streets/ boulevards like Center Street (pictured) which terminates at Mariemont Wall Park (pictured) which is a colonnade of landscape beauty! Mariemont is the host of the Porsche Rallye every year and it’s a wonderful event. I would recommend putting it on your calendar. Mariemont has a bright future in my opinion. It has a designed core with an amazing architectural vernacular unlike anything else in Cincinnati giving it instant recognition. The tax base is strong enough to support the municipal police, fire department and City Services. I believe people will continue to invest in the neighborhood and believe that the adjacent communities like Fairfax and Madisonville will thrive on the coat tails of this community. Take a walk or run through this community so that you can see what it can add to your enjoyment of our City.

Baby Boomers transitions

After a half of a century of life, you have accumulated more than you need materialistically. Its time to downsize and create a fresh, clean, manageable lifestyle for yourself. Here are some tips on how you can plan, execute and succeed! Your downsize is relative to your current lifestyle and the lifestyle that you want to create. For the sake of this exercise, lets assume that you are in a traditional 4 bedroom house that is 3000 sqft and you would like to transition to a 2000 sqft condo. Logically, you need to eliminate 1/3 of your everyday room items and you likely need to downsize long term storage by at least 50%. Start with the kids. Memory boxes are distributed to the kids on their birthdays, Christmas, Hanukkah, etc. Its your children’s responsibility to save what they cherish and its likely a large proportion of what you are carrying! Second, the closets should be paired down by being honest to what you wear, fit in, and love. Our family likes to support different causes, but the Veterans will come and pick up your under used clothes and provide those to people who are more vulnerable. Third, downsize your bedroom sets. If your children haven’t already taken the beds for apartments or their homes Now is the time to start asking them if they have interest in their old bed, dresser, rugs, etc. Clean out the room completely and either leave it empty or stage it as a home office, music room, playroom, etc. Finally, yes finally, its your personal belongings- your everyday couches, chairs, end tables, artwork, etc. Depending on personality and how you want to see your transition occur- an Auction could be a good option if you don’t want to micromanage. Locally, we have Everything But The House as the dominate force. Another option is to hire a local consignment shop to market them, or you can talk to regional antique dealer. Emotionally and physically, this process is exhausting! Dealing with (sarcasm) your ungrateful children not wanting your perfectly fine ____, its never easy hearing someone doesn’t want what you have… Ive found that once you are in a place mentally to accept the fact that your stuff is fine without you, it is a liberating and rewarding step towards your transition to a smaller home. I have heard from many people that liquid courage is a fine way to overcome hesitance! As always, have fun with your move and be careful out there Selling and Buying Real Estate! Check out these condos in Hamilton County that are 2+ bedrooms and min. 2 car garage.

Inspect your sewers in Real Estate Transactions

We just closed a transaction with a client in Anderson who bought the most wonderful ranch house. During the offer period, it was noted in the disclosures that the house had a disclosed sewer backup in 2014 and that they have not had issue since. I also noticed that they had a mature, 25 year+ Silver maple in the front yard. I informed my client that it was my opinion that we inspect the sewer in addition to the house, which she was receptive too because she just replaced a sewer in her current house in Clifton. The buyer hired Zins Plumbing, a local Cincinnati company to camera the drain. They discovered a major root intrusion and major break in the sewer line. Zins Plumbing was very professional and marked the location in the front yard and recommended that Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) to be called and they would see if the blockage went into their sewer main. It is the homeowners responsibility to keep the house sewer to the street clear of roots. This is mentioned in multiple documents found on the public service website- MSD only becomes involved when the pipe is compromised, cracked or shifted from alignment, within the Right of Way (ROW). In our case, the pipe damage was deemed within the ROW and its depth was over 15’ below the surface. The estimate to perform this repair was well over $10k. The cost of inspection was $200, the cost saved was peace of mind and over $9800. That’s a nice return on investment and something that in my opinion more Buyers and Sellers should investigate as they do maintenance on our homes. Knowledge is Power, and as always be careful out there buying and selling real estate!

Buy Equity in a Neighborhood, not a house

I have always been told by respected investors that you make your money when you Close the first time on the property- you buy with equity in the property. I have changed my opinion within major sections of Cincinnati this last year. I believe within the Sellers market regions of Cincinnati, you buy equity in the neighborhood. Equity in a neighborhood is the upward mobility of your immediate area- your neighbors. There are rules to this theory and I believe they are bound by these three rules: the market search of the neighborhood, how close the subject property is to the core of the neighborhood and does it have the housing features of the typical house in that neighborhood. First, the market search is critical. People are not creative when purchasing a house, if they want Hyde Park- they don’t want Oakley, Evanston or Norwood. Some areas of Cincinnati’s MLS simply don’t get searched and their values do suffer because agents and the general public do not know what that neighborhood is named! Second, how close the house is to the core of the neighborhood. Context is everything- your proximity to the center of the neighborhood is critical. A community core can be an obvious “square”, it can be “that house” on the block, it can be adjacent to an iconic park- it’s a place where people want to be. Lastly, the housing features- these are critical. If you buy a 2 bedroom in a 4 bedroom neighborhood- it’s a out of market house! Buy the same style of house that everyone wants or has. If you buy a 2 bed in a 4 bedroom area, you should make sure to have the money to add those additional bedrooms and make it nicer than your neighbors. So don’t get frustrated by the marketplace, accept it, negotiate nimbly within it, but don’t forget- its not a bad place to be on successes’ coat tails! Be careful buying out there!

Home Inspections- the best time for Buyers, the worse time for Sellers!

The most major contingency in the Real Estate transaction is the inspection period. It is typically a 10-15 day period from which you can hire a home inspector to provide you a report of their opinion of condition. In the report, they will provide opinions of defects and they can recommend further investigation and/ or they state that a repair should be completed. The inspector does not include in the report how to correct, they do not recommend companies to do the repair. Your agent may have qualified persons from previous dealings or AngiesList is always an option. The Buyer takes the information in the report and tells the agent what items within the report need to be repaired or resolved before they move forward with the purchase. The Buyers agent provides this list of desired repairs to the Sellers agent on a “Post Inspection Addendum” boilerplate form. After the presentation of this form the Sellers have a negotiated time period to respond to the addendum. We usually write 3-5 days in the purchase contract. The Sellers can negotiate from the Addendum. While it is a request of repair, it is formally a counter offer to the original purchase contract. As a buyer, you should understand that they can say “NO” to any item. Typically, if the request is reasonable, we get this negotiated pretty easily unless a structural or major mechanical system needs addressed. Sellers are hesitant to invest money in the house that they want to Sell, and Buyers are wanting a stable house to move into. It is critical that both agents understand their clients goals; Buyers Agent- Buyer needs a house; Sellers Agent- navigate the Owner to a successful Closing. After everyone is satisfied, the Buyer and Seller sign the addendum and move forward to Closing! If the Buyer and Seller can not be satisfied, then the Buyer is Released from the Contract and retains the Earnest Money deposit because they exited the contract using a negotiated contingency. In the Sellers market that Cincinnati saw the summers of 2014 and 2015, I saw many contracts being emotionally written and then the buyers agents’ used the inspection period to negotiate the transaction to the real market price. It was a tactic used to emotionally invest the Buyer and Seller, then you leverage the fear of the Sellers that the house would look defective if they couldn’t negotiate with the Buyers. It is something to be aware of during the transaction!

Facebook Sold my House

Facebook SOLD my house. It couldn’t negotiate, write a contract or see it to Closing though… In the competitive world I think of cab drivers and Uber, Kroger and farmers markets and Realtors and Facebook. Each has their appeal and place in the market, but do you as the consumer know the difference? Let me tell you. I’ll leave cabs, Uber and Grocery alone- you can watch the news for that headline. Real Estate and Facebook, or social media, has never had higher stakes in my businesses. National data from the National Association of Realtors, 9% of home sales were FSBO in 2013. The typical home sold for $184,000 compared to $230,000 for agent assisted home sales. Source- NAR website. That information doesn’t tell you anything definitive, but it does tell you that the spread between the two is $46,000 and the commissions paid would have profited the consumer who used the agent assisted method. If you have a house under $250,000 or you live in a neighborhood that sells within 14 days of being on the market, you are thinking “I can Sell this myself”. I am here to say, maybe, but I can do it better and it may not cost you anything more once the transaction is complete. I want to Market, Negotiate, and Shepherd you to a successful Closing. Call me to get more information about how I can get you your equity! 513-500-7474.

Loyal to a Fault?

Where has loyalty gone in our society? I am finding that younger generations of clients are significantly less loyal even after getting the same service as my elder clients- I asked myself WHY? Generation Y and the Millennial have grown up with the internet at their finger tips. I am one of them and since Ive had a mobile phone with internet connection, Ive not let an unanswered question leave my mind without a search. I can accomplish anything with my smart phone and opposable thumbs! The baby boomers are internet savvy but they have grown up with a physical rolodex of professionals. They grew up with a physical white or yellow pages!? My hypothesis is past clients and personal referrals create loyalty. “Access to information” hinders loyalty or the perception of need for professional service- the DIY society. I am a Realtor® and I work with a hundred plus clients a year. I end up Closing transactions with approximately 50 clients per year. The difference between the numbers is because I consult with more people than sell or buy. I help people get their renovations correct, make sure that people don’t over-improve without knowing, I introduce contractors with clients because I’ve been blessed to work with amazing professionals during my life of working. I am a professional. I belong in your rolodex. I have had a few clients recently in the Generation Y category work with me, gain knowledge, spend my time and simply go trailblazing on their own- without any trigger. In my industry, they are mostly switching and working with the Listing agent. The reasons are to “Streamline” or “simplify” because they don’t want a communicator, advocate in their camp… it’s frustrating to say the least! Contrary, I have several clients over the age of 50 who send me a steady stream of clients because they have either first hand, or second hand heard that my level of service is a must. Compliments like “You cant do this without John”! I just shared some of my frustrations on this topic with a dear friend who is also in the service business- financial planning/ investments. His opinion is that you need to be clear with your value added and leverage your “raving fans” to continue to gain client base. If you have the choice of 10,000 agents, a friend’s recommendation will set you apart. I am on the phone with past clients now, asking for referral business, because they are experienced! How do you gain loyalty in your industry? Do you see the difference between generations and what I reference as “loyalty”. You can leave a comment, or post a comment on Twitter @RealtorPayne call me 513-500-7474 or email me

Oldest House in Cincinnati?

I just walked what seemed to be the oldest house in Cincinnati today! It was amazing! Cracked plaster everywhere, but it was still intact. The rooms had 12′ ceilings and 10′ doors! Here are some photos of the transom windows which was an amazing spectacle. It is a mechanical system that with the pull of the lever, the transom window will change it pitch. Transom window were used in these houses to allow heated and cooled air to circulate. The door remains closed giving you privacy. The hinge detail on it was amazing. I don’t know if they added the detail to make the casting more simple, but the end result was beauty and pride in the product that someone produced… well done 1800’s, well done!

Is 3.5% Downpayment enough Skin in the Game?

You may think Im an elitist if you read my article Cut FHA PMI- Housing Market going in wrong direction. You’re half right. The fact is that you’re able to purchase a house with little money down is not a problem, its leveraging debt to income and the Lending environments rule. Leverage is a wonderful thing as long as there is a plan in the background! I would recommend that the person comfortable leveraging the numbers would have a successful financing planner working for their money that is not tied up on the house purchase. Also, I would recommend that the person’s accountant would help advise someone with a low down payment in vetting the plan of execution so that your aware of your path towards financial success. My issue with clients with 3.5% down on a house is that when you sell a house, you pay 6% or higher. The broken piece is that your transaction costs and your equity in the property could be imbalanced. In this scenario, when you Sell a house you are gambling on the market appreciation or are you only going to take a clients built equity to pay your agent for that professional service? That doesn’t sound like good business! If you have read my story titled “Is the American Dream, just a dream?” you will have more understanding of the ‘equitable position’ of owning Real Estate. I just had a client in the booming market of Madeira, a suburb of Cincinnati- loose money on a house that they bought in 2010; arguably pre-recovery. On a phone call with the client 2 days before Closing, he said “You know a house is more of an asset if you only do the maintenance, it can be an investment but you need to constantly work to improve it!” That was the best explanation that I have heard to date and I needed to write that down! In summary, I would recommend that if someone is only putting down a minimal amount of down payment, that they have liquidity elsewhere in their life so that the “big gamble” isn’t on the house. Also, this concept of reinvesting constantly makes you wonder if your debt service to income ratio is low enough that you have monthly cash flow for those stabilization projects. As a rule of thumb, you are supposed to have 6 months of ‘Living’ within an investment vehicle that can be liquidated without major penalty in less than 3 days. If you read this and want more information or coaching on the correct next steps for you, I would love to have that conversation and refer you to a professional financial planner so that you can make educated buying and selling decisions. No reason not to Win!