Columbus Ranked as a Top Affordable Housing Market for Millennials

Courtesy of Columbus Underground:

The Columbus Metro Area is a rapidly growing region with over 20,000 new residents added every year. To accommodate that growth, local private developers are building thousands of new apartment units in dozens of apartment projects targeted primarily at Millennials and Empty Nesters / Baby Boomers who are looking for the flexibility that rentals provide.

But what happens when Millennials decide that it’s time to buy a home rather than rent?

Locally, you’re in luck.

Franklin County was recently rated by RealtyTrac as the 7th most affordable region in the United States for Millennials who want to purchase a home, with an average percentage of median income spent on housing pegged at a mere 15.26%. Columbus was bested on the list only by Augusta GA, Fayetteville NC, Atlanta, Jacksonville FL, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Little Rock.

But if the idea of homeownership doesn’t appeal to you, and you’d rather continue to rent, well, you’re still in luck.

In the same research by RealtyTrac, Columbus was also named the 10th most affordable region in the US for Millennials who want to rent, with the average percentage of income spent on rent at 24.69%. Columbus was topped in this category only by Shreveport, Washington DC, Lincoln NE, Fargo, Charlotte, Baton Rouge, Wilmington NC, Little Rock and Madison.

RealtyTrac’s staff evaluation reports that these affordable rates are already proving to attract more new young residents compared to larger US cities:

“Although many of these counties may not be known as hot spots for hipsters, the most culturally definable segment of millennials, many of them are emerging as attractive to the demographic looking for a less expensive alternative to the high-priced hipster havens on the coasts. The millennial population was up more than 20 percent in markets like Franklin County, Ohio (Columbus) — a bigger increase during the same time period than Kings County, N.Y. (Brooklyn) and Los Angeles, County, Calif.”

Top Home Buying Myths

Whether you’re a real estate professional or first-time home buyer, the home buying process and real estate transactions can be stressful.  There tends to be some common misconceptions in this process, so it’s very important that you’re well informed of what is fact and what is fiction.  We’re here to set the record straight.

Myth #1:  You don’t need a realtor.

Before you bravely take on one of the biggest purchases or sales of your life, remember this: it’s not as easy as it looks.  REALTORS® know all the ins and outs of the local area as well as the market in which you’re looking to buy or sell.  Picking up the phone and calling a REALTOR® may be one of the best decisions you’ll make.

Myth #2:  The bigger the downpayment, the better off you’ll be.

Buyers’ immediate reflex is to put as much cash down as they can when buying a new home because they’ll borrow less, lower the monthly mortgage payments, and won’t need to buy mortgage insurance.  However, putting 20% down is not a requirement and it’s not for everyone.

Thanks to Federal Housing Administration Loans (FHA Loans), you can put as little as 3.5% down.  With this method, you’ll potentially have a lower interest rate, giving you more flexibility.  Your money is not all tied up in your house like in a traditional down payment that can leave you with little or no extra cash to spend on home care, improvements, or any other unforeseen circumstances.

Myth #3:  Appraisers set the value of a home.

The role of the appraiser is to produce a credible opinion of value that reflects the current market.  Appraisers are not responsible for setting the value of the home and they also do not confirm a home’s sale price.  According to David S. Bunton, President of The Appraisal Foundation, “Appraisers provide an analysis of the collateral, so that lenders understand the value of a property when making the loan decision.”

Myth #4:  You need perfect credit.

Most people assume that you must have absolutely golden credit in order to get a loan, but that just simply isn’t the case.  If buyers have less than perfect credit, lenders are often willing to work with them to get the best possible loan.

Credit is not the only thing that lenders look at when deciding to approve a loan, but your score will have an effect on the interest rate on your mortgage.  Make sure you review your credit report and if any errors are found, they should be reported to the credit reporting bureaus before applying for a mortgage.

Architectural Details Add Verve and Value

DIY-Friendly Molding

Molding made from hard polyurethane foam is lightweight yet tough enough to stand up to the bumps of everyday life. It can be cut and sanded like real wood, and it installs easily with nails and glue, making it a good DIY material. You can buy matched sets that include chair rails, crown moldings, door surrounds, and baseboards. Depending on size and the detailing, polyurethane crown molding runs $1 to $20 per foot.

Things Are Looking Up

Pressed tin ceiling tiles are classics once common in 19th-century homes. They come in copper, bronze, brushed nickel, and pre-finished and unfinished steel, with hundreds of pattern options. A 2-foot-by-2-foot tile runs $5 to $30; install them in a suspended grid, or nail and glue them to the ceiling. This homeowner salvaged these tiles from an old warehouse.

Top It Off

Turn your staircase from humdrum to handsome by topping off a plain newel post with a cool finial. A pineapple-style finial is a classic, timeless touch that goes with lots of styles. You can find them in unpainted and finished wood, polyurethane, and metal with prices ranging from $25 to $250. For a unique touch, check out salvage yards for one-of-a-kind finials.

The Art of the Arch

Classy arched passageways might look like an extravagant remodeling project, but made-to-order molding kits can be installed in a day. The curved portion is a one-piece system that needs no additional framing behind it — just cut out the drywall to match the curve. The arch is supported by elegant jambs and door casings. Kits cost from $250 to $1,500.

The Snookie Treatment

Builder-grade birch cabinets weren’t making the grade with this homeowner, but new cabs weren’t in the budget. Makeover to the rescue! She painted the cabinet a crisp white, then gave it the “Snookie treatment” — bumping up the height with a 1-inch-by-6-inch pine board installed vertically and topped with some decorative crown molding ($1 to $2 per linear foot).

Rack ‘Em Up

Got some decorative plates or maybe Grandma’s antiques? Show off your cool dinnerware on plate rail molding. Plate rail molding is made with a groove on top that secures the edge of each plate. The molding can be installed freestanding or on top of wainscot. It’s a good idea to install plate rails about 6 feet from the floor — the better to show off your collection and prevent accidental bumps. About $3 per linear foot.

DIY Baseboards

Tall baseboards (6 inches or more) are impressive but can start to get expensive. Cut costs by making your own. Use paint-grade 1-inch-by-6-inch (or larger) pine boards, and top with a decorative molding. Be sure the lumber you buy is kiln-dried; that way, it won’t shrink and open up unsightly gaps in your handiwork.


Stair bracket molding turns any staircase into a showpiece. You can find premade brackets in wood or lightweight urethane for $10 to $25 each. Measure to make sure the bracket isn’t thicker than the scotia molding — the small piece of trim that goes under the stair tread (in this picture, it’s the same color as the tread).

A-Door-Able Hinge Pins

These tiny toppers come in pewter, bronze, and brass and attach to a door hinge pin with magnets. Lots of designs, including animals, figures, and decorative touches such as hearts. Prices run from $10 to $16.


6 Signs a Home is “The One”

1. It becomes the yardstick against which all others are measured.

Maybe you saw it early on, when you first started looking. Maybe you liked it, but you wanted to see what else was out there. But then you find yourself referring to it all the time. Other houses just aren’t as nice. The light isn’t as good. The layout doesn’t flow as well. That house, even if you saw it first, might actually be The One.

2. It reminds you of previous homes you’ve loved.

The things that make you love a house may be relatively small, things like whether the kitchen sink is positioned under a window or the way the maple tree out front makes the bedroom feel like it’s in a tree house. You may not have thought to include those things in your must-haves list, but when you find a house that reminds you of a beloved previous place, it can help push you over the edge into full-on infatuation.

3. You’re trying to talk yourself into buying it.

Sometimes when we ask other people for advice, we find ourselves trying to convince them to give us the advice we want to hear. This can be useful because it tells us what we really want. If you find yourself coming up with more and more reasons to buy a certain house, you may already be in love with it.

4. You can imagine yourself living there.

Mentally arranging your furniture and other prized possessions is an indication that you’re already feeling at home. If you just can’t imagine how you’d lay out important rooms like the living room or the master bedroom, it might be a sign to move on.

5. It’s got great bones.

No house is perfect, but some imperfections are worse than others. There are some things that are really, really hard to change. You can’t change the location of a house. And sure, you can change the layout or the placement of the windows, but that’s so difficult you’re unlikely to do it. If the things you don’t like about the house are easily changed—like the carpet, the wall color, or even the smell—you might have yourself a winner.

6. You don’t want to leave.

How many times can you convince your real estate agent to show you a house before they want you to make an offer already? If you just can’t stay away from the house it might be time to make it your own. Driving by unnecessarily, lingering for a long time during showings, showing up at every open house—these are all signs that you’re ready to seal the deal.

Things to Consider and Research Before Buying a Home

1)    Location is paramount to your decision.  Where you purchase your home is critical.  If you want a certain neighborhood, a certain school district, a certain proximity to a certain shopping center these criteria should all take precedence over anything else.  Using these parameters will often limit your market area where you are looking.  If these criteria are not that important your scope of search could be a lot broader.  However, the most important decision is that the location you desire to search should not be compromised.

2)    Make many visits to your search area.  It is important to visit the areas you are looking during all different times of the day to see the broad activity that occurs over the period of time from morning, noon and night.  A home or neighborhood may seem quiet and peaceful at 10A, but during the afternoon commute it might be busy and bothersome.  The neighborhood school during the summer may look cute, but in the school year will be buzzing with activity and traffic.  The little league park or the soccer fields look like great places for kids to play in the off-seasons, but when the leagues are in session the traffic, noise, and activity may be overwhelming for you.

3)    Neighbors talk.  All neighbors have information that is not 100% public knowledge.  Walk around the neighborhood and talk to as many neighbors as possible.  They will all have different stories to tell and information to gossip.  The neighbors know where all the “bodies are buried” so to speak.

4)    Get the neighborhood association documents.  If the neighborhood you are considering has an HOA, get the documents and read them all.  There are records, minutes, and notes about all of the dirty details that have occurred during the history of the property.  There will be any records of litigation or disputes as well which would be important to know.

5)    Local news might have information.  Contact the local news agency to see if there is any information about the community or neighborhood.  Are there any long-term problems or issues about the neighborhood that is common knowledge but no one talks about?  Have there been any notorious events in the neighborhood?

6)    Coming developments, construction, freeways.  Are there any major construction projects or large developments coming that can change the texture of the neighborhood?  City hall will be the proper location to check on any major projects in the pipeline.

7)    Explore the surrounding area.  A neighborhood might seem great, but the peripheral surrounding areas will also have an impact and affect your neighborhood.   Make sure to check out all of the surrounding areas such that you are comfortable with the idea of those adjoining neighborhoods being close to yours.

The decision to buy a home is a process which has many moving parts.  When buying a home research, diligence and a comprehensive strategy should begin with hiring a competent and experienced real estate agent.  To make your home search fruitful and enjoyable learn everything about your potential neighborhood such that you are almost a neighborhood expert before you decide to make an offer.

Arranging Furniture? Do it Feng Shui Style.

Whether you’re selling a home, getting ready for an open house, or moving into a new home, there are many ways you can arrange furniture.  But here comes the hard part – which layout is most effective in functionality, harmony and design?  This week, we’ll focus on incorporating feng shui into your space, which has shown to be very beneficial for many home owners.

What does feng shui even mean, anyway?  In the literal sense, it translates to “wind and water” or the ancient Chinese art of placement.  It is designed to enhance the flow ofchi, or spiritual energy, and create a harmonious environment that supports health, beckons wealth, and invites happiness.  If you believe that we are affected by our surroundings, then it’s time to feng shui your home!

Here are some furniture arrangement tips that will help you bring some harmony into your home and make a great first impression at your next open house.  It may even bring you good luck!

1. Living Room

the best way to create the best feng shui in your living room is to have a circular furniture arrangement, and there should not be any chairs with their back to the door.  Avoid clutter in your living room so that energy flow is not distracted.  The main pieces of furniture in every room should be in the “empowered position”, meaning they are facing the entrance but not completely aligned with it.

2. Bedroom

Arrange your bed in such a way that it isn’t aligned with the door because that specific placement is believed to not be conducive with good luck and health.  This is called the “Commanding Position.”  You should also have a good supporting wall behind the bed and nightstands on either side to balance energy.

3. Patio

Before even thinking about arranging furniture on your patio, make sure it is clean and clutter-free.  You can then use different types of patio furniture that promote different feelings and emotions.  A square table will encourage stability in relationships, a round table promotes a united community, and a rectangular table encourages lively discussion.

Use these tips to bring in some feng shui flair and improve the visual flow of your home, making it feel comfortable and promote good fortune for yourself and your guests.  Is feng shui right for your home?


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