Saturday, June 30, 2007

Investing In Cleveland or as This Guy Puts it: In Your Own BackYard

I'm not an investment broker and I don't even play one on television. I'm in real estate! But this site, The Motley Fool, caught my eye. This post focuses on investing in NE Ohio and it is a good read! It talks about neighborhoods (Kamms, for example), and recommends Eaton Corp for it's leanness and long term stable growth potential. They cover a good cross section of info. My hats off to them for readability. Here is a quote from it (relating to investing in one of our signature areas, heavy metal)

"Metalworking mills may not be sexy, but they do get a lot of investor respect -- and with the massive and booming infrastructure markets in China and India, there's no shortage of buyers for their products. Cleveland is riding a wave of global growth right now, and it seems to be making the most of it. So I just have to break into song for a moment:
All the little chicks with the crimson lips go "Cleveland rocks! Cleveland rocks!"'

Who says reading about investing can't be fun? Check it out. And he/they are looking for input so comment away! Peace Out - 3C

Cuyahoga County Real Estate Sale For June 2007 - Includes Ohio City and Tremont

I have no idea how we have managed to already find ourselves at the end of June, but so be it. Sales in zip code 44113 are still intriguing; condos and town homes are continuing to be the top picks in this zip code. Here is what happened in June:

16 Properties had 'activity.' 3 of them are contingent, meaning they went under contract and have not closed yet. Of these three, all are attached dwellings (condos or town homes). The asking price for these three homes was $161,104, $184,900 & $204,750. (We won't know the sale prices until they close).

13 Properties Sold. 3 of them were single family homes. 10 of them were Condos/Town Homes. The Average Ask Price was $184,115 and the Average Sale Price was $179,408. The average price per square foot was $99. Again, since only three of these properties were single family homes, the average sale was for a 2 BR, 2BA unit with 2,272 square feet. And a two car garage.

There are a total of 174 homes on the market in zip code 44113. The breakdown is 92 single family homes and 82 condos. Some of the other stats interest me as well.

Of the 13 homes sold, none were sold for more $225k so I used that as a benchmark to do some sleuthing. There are currently 97 homes on for sale here with an asking price higher than $225k. I talk to myself (well I'm the only one here) and ask if maybe the price points are a tad high for the pocketbooks? Look at the average stats on these 97 homes listed for more than 225k:

Days on The Market: The 13 homes sold still averaged a bit more than three months. That's it. These homes have an average of 264 days on the market. And they are not sold yet. Most of these are gorgeous new construction homes so that explains a bit about this next stat, but still: there are some that have been on the market for more than 500 days.

The average cost per square foot on the sold homes was $99 yes? Well these homes average $182 a square foot. And the average square footage is 1,932, when the homes that sold for less money averaged over 2,000 square feet of space per home. My new mantra is lower price points please. Peace Out - 3C

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Real Estate: Making an Offer to Buy a House Contingent on the Sale of Your Current One

I have a lucky client: fiscally able to carry two mortgages at once. She has her current home listed for sale with me. And she found one she loves that feels like home in a neighborhood she loves even more. So we are considering writing an offer contingent upon the sale of her home. In this particular case, the sellers, who would normally (and understandably) be skittish about doing that - taking their home off the market while they wait for a closing to occur - would get a good report from my client's mortgage lender assuring them of her ability to own two homes, even if it's a substantial period of time. Her home, my listing, is fabulous, so I am confident that someone will want to buy it. What no one can predict is how soon that will occur.

Most of us are not in the position to carry two mortgages. Most people (buyers) who make an offer contingent on the sale of their home are basically hoping their home will sell so they can buy the one they found and like. In these cases, the State of Ohio and our purchase offer process allows buyers to have essentially a 'right of first refusal' with a '48 Hour Clause.' This means, the sellers keep their homes on the market and actively show it to potential buyers. If someone else makes an offer, then the original buyers (the ones who have a contract with the sellers) have 48 hours to 'make things good' - or bow out. Some people get their ducks in a row so they can get a bridge loan if that scenario happens. Not everyone is lucky enough to qualify for a bridge loan either. Some have to bow out and then the new buyer is able to purchase the home.

Either way, sellers are skittish about this idea because one, it's not common that it works out; two, they feel like they lose time on the market. Even if it's a 48 hour clause, if the contract they are in is with buyers who definitely cannot afford the house without a bridge loan or a sudden windfall, then they tend to shy away from accepting this type of offer. Not always, but usually. It IS true, that there are many houses for buyers to pick from, and this idea may be appealing to more sellers than normal.

I would be really careful about this, do your homework with a reputable mortgage lender who can clearly advise you about a bridge loan, and who will honestly evaluate your financial situation regarding your ability to do this. Have your Realtor® advise you about the process. And try to evaluate your level of potential stress if the 'what if I own two homes' scenario comes to pass. Even a buyer like my current one, who can afford two mortgages, has to decide for themselves if this extra out of pocket money will leave them with too little cash flow if an emergency arises. I just googled this and there is an article in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune that talks about this type of purchase offer. It's worth a read but I just realized you will have to sign up to read it and that could be annoying. So here is another article from the Seattle Times.

Peace Out - 3C

Strip Clubs and Higher Sales Taxes All In the News

Condo owners in Stonebridge, according to WKYC news tonight, came out against a proposed series of strip clubs on the east bank of the Flats. Mayor Jackson said he knew it was controversial but it was a good spot for it. The City would create a new District for it. I can't find a web link for this story but I'm sure by morning I will and will add it. (okay I found it here on

Councilman Zak Reed and the Republican party are saying they will start a petition drive to allow us to vote on the issue of a raised sales tax instead of it being handled the way Commissioner Hagan and Mr. Dimora wanted it done....well you know, like the proverbial railroad train running through our lives. Tom Beres and WKYC reported the story tonight. Hats off to Councilman Reed and the Cuyahoga County Republican Party for stepping in before it was too late. I'll give more details when they announce the specifics about the petition drive. For sure, whether you would support a sales tax increase for a Convention Center and Medical Mart or not, you should have the right to vote on it! It's your money! So take that Hagan and Dimora.

Peace Out - 3C

Monday, June 25, 2007

Real Estate and LIfestyles: Money Magazine's 2006 Top Ten Places to Live

We have been talking a lot on Cleveland blogs (OK everyone everywhere is talking!) about what we need in Cuyahoga County and Cleveland in order to feel the economic and Sense of Place vibrancy we all crave. I thought it might be helpful to look at this 'best' list. CNN/Money did a poll and reports the findings. Here is their Top Ten Places To Live List:

1. Fort Collins, Colorado
2. Naperville, Illinois
3. Sugarland, Texas
4. Columbia/Ellicott City, MD
5. Carey, NC
6. Overland Park, KS
7. Scottsdale, AZ
8. Boise, ID
9. Fairfield, CT
10. Eden Prairie, MN

There were commonalities and differences, but a few things stood out: all ten economies are vibrant, job growth is up, the population is diverse (including the fact that not everyone is rich or poor) and there is an affordable housing stock as well as a higher priced mix. Most of these places also had a population that averaged around 125,000 residents.

**They all seemed to be just far enough away from metropolitan areas, but yet close enough to get there quickly. For example, Fort Collins is one hour away from Denver or one hour away from Cheyenne Wyoming. And Naperville is only 28 miles West of Chicago (hats off to Naperville, I know two wonderful agents there, Eileen Landau and Angus Woodbury).

**They had 'perks' - a strong educational community, home sale prices going up not down, and a biggie, job growth. Yes, I know I mentioned it twice.

**They all seem to offer a lot of green space, recreational areas, rivers, lakes, mountains, depending on their location. So as the House Hunt Inc. site points out, they have the best of both worlds. Fort Collins boasts an average of 300 days a year of sunshine.

One thing I found odd and I have to put it here. Naperville Illinois was voted most 'kid friendly' city in 2006 by Zero Population Growth. Isn't that sort of an oxymoron??? Maybe my Naperville friends Eileen or Angus can explain it to me :-)

So I guess we don't need much to get on this list! We certainly have the green space; our Emerald Necklace alone is unbeatable. We have the affordable housing stock. We have a diverse population; we were voted one of the most literate cities so we can compete with these ten cities on good library systems. We have the higher education community a lot of people would love to have in their cities. The biggest weak link I see for NE Ohio (besides the sunshine.... does Fort Collins really get 300 days a year? That would be wonderful I have to admit) is jobs.

Peace Out - 3C

National and Cleveland May Home Sale Statistics + New Tax Abatement in Shaker

May is one of those 'go to' months when predictors well, start predicting based on first quarter results and May is a big real estate sales month. This Market Watch report talks about the high inventory of homes on the market Nationwide, but also talks about May sales being stronger than expected.

Just a Cleveland stat: during the month of May, 157 homes and condos sold in all west side Cleveland areas (these stats reflect sales listed with brokerages). Here is a comparison for sales in May in all of these areas for other years:

May 2006 = 164
May 2005 = 151
May 2004 = 185
May 2003 = 155

Peace Out - 3C

As an aside, the City of Shaker Heights applied with the State of Ohio to offer tax abatement. You can look on the City website here and get the details.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Budget Director Says Ohio Budget Shortfall Rests on Shoulders of Housing Market?

To me it's a 'chicken and egg thing.' The second biggest reason mentioned is the slow job market. I could be wrong, but in most cases I think you need a job in order to buy a house. The Columbus Dispatch did an article on Budget Dir. Sabety's remarks.

We kvetch about the brain drain and a good program was established to establish a State scholarship fund for students entering science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM). It was scheduled to start receiving monies ($50 mil) this coming school year and now that might not happen. Again I think about how serious this is. We are $167 million short in our state budget; we need jobs to counter the problem; we need students to excel in fields of study like the STEM areas and the budget shortfall might keep us from beginning this program that encourages our grads to stay here. It might just be Catch 22 and not the chicken and the egg dilemma. Does all of this make you a bit subdued? I find myself reacting that way.

Go to the Kent State website; you will see them announcing a 2007 STEM scholarship program in geology, computer science, etc. Maybe someone out there can tell me if this is a separately funded program that can still move forward in 2007?

Back to the Budget woes and housing. "....Sabety told Legislators that the “key driver” in the lower tax revenue estimates is the housing market..." And then there is the large amount of inventory (homes listed for sale) in most of our communities.

This is not just a City of Cleveland and inner ring suburb issue. We have a house listed in Strongsville. We have spoken to agents from other companies who have homes listed in this same subdivision. No showings, at least not more than one or two a month. And between the four of us (agents in different companies) we have homes in different price ranges and the price differences are not making anyone look at the homes. One clue could be that there are 352 single family homes for sale in Strongsville as of today (I am speaking of the ones listed by brokers on the MLS computer listing service).

Some other communities: Shaker Heights, 394; 279 in Medina; 302 Old Brooklyn/South Hills/Memphis Road. Garfield Heights is a community very hard hit for about six months (at least) now with predatory lending and foreclosure issues (although no one is spared really). In the Winter Garfield Hts. was averaging over 600 homes on the market (single family) and as of today there are still 503 listed. Folks, this is a huge amount of inventory that can take months to absorb. I have been really busy with buyers the last four to six weeks. But we don't have enough buyers for even the 2,878 homes I mentioned in the communities above.

Sometimes I feel like going to Frederick Maryland or Tyson's Corner Virginia or NYC with a sandwich board on my body that says please relocate your business to Cleveland - you won't be sorry.

Jobs would help. Students dying to fill jobs in STEM areas would attract jobs, I know it. What are the solutions to the Budget Shortfall? Peace Out - 3C

Friday, June 22, 2007

Housing and Mortgage News

I went to our Finance Manager Bob Wilson (Howard Hanna Mortgage Services) for some updates on the state of the housing economy. The first thing he sent me was information that can affect interest rates, expected out in June. We already know that they were spiking at the beginning of the month. Bob pointed out the Bond prices falling. That happened again a few days last week. The current rate is about 6.5%, although those pesky rates change depending on your own situation.

Here was his list of important June activity:

Housing Starts
Tuesday, June 19,
8:30 am, EST
Down 2.8% (Bureau of the Census Info)
Important. A measure of housing sector strength. Larger than expected decreases may lead to lower rates.

Leading Economic Indicators
Thursday, June 21, (PR Newswire Info)
10:00 am, EST
Up 0.2%
Important. An indication of future economic activity. Weakness may lead to lower rates.

Philadelphia Fed Survey
Thursday, June 21, ( reports on this)
12:00 pm, EST
Moderately important. A survey of business conditions in the Northeast. Weakness may lead to lower rates.

Mortgage rate info Peace Out - 3C

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Is East Fourth Street The Pulse of Cleveland Again?

I had a gentleman walk into my office a week or so ago. He moved here from Kansas City and worked in a western suburb. He'd only been here a few days, but could already tell he really wanted to live in Cleveland. He wants to rent so we set out to explore a few things; our first efforts did not work out and this week I found myself down on East Fourth Street looking for rental possibilities. I trekked over there when the Corner Alley bowling/martini bar opened because it sounded exciting (it was). It was even more exciting to see it and everything else all decked out for summer, neon-blazing and streets closed to cars (not in the way Euclid Avenue is's a pedestrian delight on East Fourth). It really felt, for the first time, like a NYC street in Cleveland.

Now today even better news! A terrific article in the PD written by Bill Lubinger who was positively glowing about the vibrancy of the Street --a shout out to Bill because this was a positive article on Cleveland City! It is definitely worth a read.

Two points over and above the synergy part of the story (new restaurants, etc) struck me the most. The first is a comment by Michael Symon of Lola (and others) fame who hit it on the head: he wants Lola to succeed on East Fourth but not " the expense of Ohio City and Tremont...." He knows that one street isn't going to carry the load (just like LeBron couldn't be expected to do all the work last week, but I digress).

Back to the apartments. I knew they existed; Bill Lubinger tells me there are 160 apartments now, above the entertainment/retail establishments and that more are coming. I know I found myself down there on Monday because of the affordability of one of the buildings. The point is that mixed use development is what is really going to create the synergy we need in all areas of Cleveland, be it Chinatown, the Euclid Avenue Corridor, The 'west of Ohio City' portions of Lorain Road that extend all the way to Fairview.

I was on E. 185th in the Historic Shopping District there last weekend and it made me feel alive to be there and see all the people at the coffee shop, stores, etc, enjoying their neighborhood and supporting the businesses. The Warehouse District already proves that housing adds to the after hours life of an area. Anyway, thanks again to Bill Lubinger - It's a great time of year to check out East Fourth Street and put a smile on your face. Happy Summer everyone ! Peace Out-3C

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Mayfield Village,Mayfield Heights Home Sales

When my ex MIL was alive and living in Mayfield Heights, I spent a lot of time there. It's a community with a sizable rental market as well as residential housing. The Village of Mayfield Heights has it's center at S.O.M. Center Road and Wilson Mills Road (there is also an Aladdin's Eatery and a Yours Truly nearby, two of my favorite 'local' food chain establishments!)

The last U.S. Census Report shows the combined Village and 'Heights' population as 19,386. Retail is a big part of this community's business life: Eastgate and Golden Gate shopping centers provide hundreds of storefront shopping. (Petsmart is a new 2007 store in Goldengate)

How about single family homes in Mayfield? Here are stats from January 20007 until now.

72 homes sold since January. They ranged in price from $50,000 to $408,000. The averages were: 1,477 square feet, 3 BR, 1 Bath, 2 car garage. The average Ask Price was $161,030 and the average Sale Price was $154,299. They were on the market an average of 82 days. There are 124 homes for sale in Mayfield Village/Heights right now.

Peace Out - 3C

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Cuyahoga County Home Sales: Richmond Heights

Richmond Heights is 90 years old this year (it was Incorporated in 1917) . Just over 10,000 people live there, according to the 2000 U.S. Census. Current stats show the High School has a 95% graduation rate and one of the major industries in town is the General Electric Lamp Glass Company. According to the latest edition of the City newsletter, Miss Ohio 2007 is a Richmond Heights gal (Anna Melomud). The newsletter also mentions some recommended home safety maintenance tips you might want to check out on page six.

Most homes in this community are 30 years old or younger; 30 years ago is when most of the City's development began to occur.

So what's happened in the housing market here since January 2007? Let's take a look:

34 Homes have sold since the beginning of the year. Here are the averages on these homes:

1,880 square feet of living space; 3 BRs, 2 BA, and a two car garage. The average Ask Price was $181,602. The average Sale Price was $173, 429. That came out to an average of $87 a square foot in these purchases. And the homes averaged just over three months, or 114 Days on the Market before selling.

There are 142 homes on the market right now in Richmond Heights. The photo above shows the living room in one I have listed on Lindsey Lane. Peace Out - 3C

Monday, June 18, 2007

New Plans for Detroit Shoreway's The Detroit Superior Lofts

Those of us in real estate have been hearing about the proposed Detroit-Superior Lofts for a while now. There are two articles about the plans and it's always a bit amusing to see the differences in the stories. Isn't news always like that? It seems the project is still a 'go' and it is still being developed by TEG Properties of Cleveland. Both articles agree on that. They also agree that the non-profit group A Place For Us is no longer in the picture for that site. (The site btw, is at the corner of W. 28th and Detroit)

Crain's Cleveland is where I first read about it today. Stan Bullard wrote an article about the 50 unit project. It was once also going to cater to more senior residents (in additon to the gay population) and it was to be a four story building. According to Bullard, it is now a seven story affair. He also says the prices for the units will start upward of $140k.

The Plain Dealer article written by Henry Gomez goes into a bit more detail about why A Place For Us pulled out of that location, feeling more confident in a different developer and deciding on a Lakewood Gold Coast site for their involvement. A rep from TEG is quoted here as saying it should be completed (the project) sometime next summer.

Both articles say the cost of the project is around $15 million. The PD article says the units will start at $150k. Well, I guess that is 'upward of $140k.' One good thing, it's a much lower price point than the usual $300k new construction we have been seeing. Peace Out - 3C

Friday, June 15, 2007

Worthwhile Real Estate Blogs To Read

Sacramento Real Estate Voice posts often about foreclosure and financing issues. Here is one post on What is a Short Sale.

Luxury Home Digest covers that market, especially on the West Coast. But I like the other topics as well. Here is a cool post on what your Realtor® should or should not do when you want to write an offer.

Want to move to Nevada? One of the fastest growing States in the Country. Check out John Sells Henderson. He also writes on Active Rain and he does good market reports. This is a newer blog but he will keep adding reports, he is a good steady blogger.

Manhattan Beach on the West Coast...good market reports and I love this blog about styles of homes there. Real estate is local and we all have our own housing styles; fun to see different ones!

Many NE Ohioans take vacations in the Carolinas. Here is the Charlotte Blog. With all of it's history and natural beauty and great historical homes, you might want to invest in a property there. She has a great post on visiting Charlotte.

This next one is one of my favorite bloggers. She works the DC area, here is her Virginia Blog.

The Columbus Best Blog covers all things Columbus, a good enough reason to read it; besides she writes good stuff.

Sacramento California, a pretty spot indeed! Sacramento Real Estate Voice is a worthwhile read and while there, check out the post on what sellers need to know (buyers may ask for closing costs, for one thing).

Arizona is another fast growing State and maybe you want to retire there or move there to see the Cactus League. Whatever the reason, this Phoenix Blog is a good read.

I already have the Opinionated Mortgage Broker on my blog roll but, here is another good mortgage blog hosted on the Rain City Guide. When you purchase a home and get a mortgage your lender is required to give you a good faith estimate. Here is a thoughtful post on why they are sometimes less that great.

Peace Out - 3C

Cuyahoga County Bank Owned Property Sales: Some are Now Upgraded by the Banks

The National news is abuzz with the 2006 figures for foreclosures which are out now. This is not news to us in NE Ohio since our figures have been public and discussed for some time. I wrote about it several times, for example, here.

The end result is that I wind up showing many more bank owned homes to buyers than ever before. With so many homes in almost every market in Northeast Ohio for sale, there is a lot to pick from. Yes, it's a buyer's market. As it turns out, banks are realizing they have to be competitive in the same way private owners who put their homes for sale are being competitive. This means it's now possible to find bank owned homes that have been upgraded.

An example: I have a client with a contract on a home in Cleveland. We had looked at about six homes, and one of them was owned by Fannie Mae (which means the foreclosure occurred on a government loan. After Fannie Mae took it over, they made significant improvements to the home: upgraded the kitchen with new everything including appliances. Stuccoed the garage; replaced the roof on both the home and the garage. They also upgraded the bathroom. This is not your stereotypical bank owned behavior. I guess some banks are realizing there are so many foreclosed properties for sale and in order to get theirs sold they are going to have to put money into it. This is a savvy move on their part. And it also means, if you are looking to buy a home you might not want to pass over the bank owned properties because they may be in better shape than you expect. So ask your Realtor® to add them to your search for a home. The benefit to you is easily seen. The benefit to the community is they sell. Win-win? Peace Out - 3C

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

June 21st is National 'Dump the Pump' Day

We have another grassroots effort to protest the use and cost of fossil fuel coming up. It is sponsored by the American Public Transportation Society (APTA). Their figures show people in this Country took 10.1 billion trips on public transportation in 2006.
How about NE Ohio? RTA stats show that for the fourth straight year, ridership was up. This past year, .03%. Might not sound like much but that meant an additional 150k plus trips for a grand total in 2006 of 57.2 million rides. They also said that the blue and green lines servicing Shaker/Cleveland increased ridership by 5.1%.
A good time to try it out yourself? Next Thursday for Dump the Pump Day. Good time to start planning the trip now. It's really a good way to show your support for the reduction in reliance on foreign oil. It's really a good way to show the value in energy conservation no matter where the oil comes from, when you get right down to it. Some other facts from the press release on Dump The Pump Day:

  • Each year, public transportation use saves the equivalent of 140,769 service station tanker truck trips clogging our streets

  • Each year, public transportation use saves the equivalent of 34 supertankers of oil, or a supertanker leaving the Middle East every 11 days

  • Each year public transportation households save over $1,399 worth of gas

  • Transit availability can reduce the need for an additional car, a yearly expense of $6,251 in a household budget

It's a good idea! I realize everyone doesn't live near transit access (which is a shame, it's a great reason to move). If you have the opportunity and the accessibility, why not participate in this. Who knows, you might find out it's a great way to get to work and wind up doing it more often. Peace Out - 3C

Thursday, June 7, 2007

More NE Ohio Job Info: Hot Jobs for 2007

Browsing through my daily dose of Crain's Cleveland I discovered an article on three 'fields' of expertise that are supposed to be 'hot' in NE Ohio. This according to the staffing firm Robert Half. The three jobs are:

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Help Desk/IT Support (DUH!)

You can read the Crain's article here. You can read the Robert Half press release here.

Then I decided to do some more research. According to (a thriving and expanding local company I might add), these are top ten jobs:

1. Radiation Therapist

2. Nurse Paralegals (like tax attorneys only different lol)

3. Genetic Counselor (assisting families with family members who have birth defects)

4. Legal Nurse Consultant

5. Art Therapist

6. Computer Forensic Expert

7. Medical Illustrator

8. Veterinary Physical Therapist

9. Animal Defense Lawyer

10. Animal Assistant Therapist

To find out more you can read the article. Peace Out - 3C

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

June is National Home Ownership Month

Bonnie Erickson is a fabulous blogger, so reading her blog is always a treat. I wanted to feature her latest post because she talks about June being National Home Ownership Month. The National goal is to increase minority home ownership. It's a good read! While you are there you just might want to check out her other informative and well-written posts.

June is also a good time to do some of those pesky chores like cleaning gutters, washing windows, repairing screens. I'm still working on weeding all my flower beds but that is another story! Peace Out - 3C

Monday, June 4, 2007

New Approach to Community Activism: Blogging

Many of already know this, but there is an interesting article in the Washington Post about how you can advocate for your community by establishing a blog. There are already community blogs per se, where organizations can all join on one blog and residents can go there and find out information. But this gets to the heart of grassroots efforts which a lot of us are well, advocating! Christian Antoniades is the author. Remember my post about reporting pot holes to the City in Lorain? Well she brings up a good point! You can set up a blog that basically allows you to do that about potholes, or any other issue of importance on your street or block or neighborhood.

She interviewed bloggers who have set up community blogs in Maryland neighborhoods and they had some tips.

1. Take a camera! (absolutely!) if there is a recently vandalized home on your street, take a photo, blog about it, and email the blog to your Council person I say).

2. Get other bloggers involved. (Or get other neighbors involved, in my opinion. Have them come to you and tell you what they are concerned about. It's rare to have a lot of activists in one spot. It does happen. For example there is a Yahoo! Group for Ohio City that pretty much acts as a neighborhood watch group and it does an excellent job. But in reality one or more bloggers can get the job done for a small area.

3. Get a few people to have different areas of interest. (For example, the Business people on the Euclid Avenue Corridor could have used a blog to get help before that one poor woman wound up arrested because patrons could not get out of her establishment.)

We have fine bloggers in NE Ohio but I'm not aware of a series of neighborhood blogs. Could be I am just not seeing them it's a big blog world out there!

And by the way, it doesn't have to be a 'complaint' blog! Maybe you want to get the neighborhood teens involved in a project for the summer. Maybe an elderly resident needs help with home repairs. Teens working to help neighbors could get started on a blog. You get my drift.

Anyway, the more people who get involved in each of our neighborhoods, the better off we are and just maybe we can make a difference? Peace Out - 3C

Saturday, June 2, 2007

A Day In the Life of a Realtor®

Normally I don't blog about my daily experiences but something happened Thursday evening that has stayed on my mind. I wrote a post a few days ago without having personal experience with it but now it hit home. Well, it happened when I trekked out to show a home.

My client had gotten really excited about this one home. New enough to still have tax abatement. Very affordable. And the on line photos gave it great curb appeal and interior updates. I made the appointment with the listing agent, and set out to show it. Arriving a few minutes before the scheduled time, I decided to go ahead and open the door. That should have been my first clue. It was jammed. My clients arrived and with the help of one of them, we got the back door open, although that was not easy either. Once inside, the home looked nothing, anymore, like the on line photos. Dry wall smashed out of every room, particles all over the floor. Every piece of wiring was gone. The copper pipes were gone.

This home featured an updated bath with jetted tub and really nice fixtures. Well the bath was no longer nice, believe me. It was surreal. The three of us kept wandering around. My clients were a young married couple and the gentleman wandered into the basement first. He announced a flood. I checked it out, half of the basement had standing water because even though the vacant home had been winterized (which means water turned off so pipes don't burst in below freezing weather), the pipes had water in them and as they were ripped out a flood appeared. Now the home is not only vandalized but in this weather, in danger of becoming a festering haven of mold before you know it.

I of course called and left a message for the listing agent (who oddly has never called me back nor responded to my emails) to make sure she knew what was going on. My clients and I secured the windows and doors and left.

So you have a home, built in a neighborhood in need of revitalization. And less than five years after it is built, it's now trashed. There is something very sad about that. Peace Out - 3C