Friday, February 27, 2009

Sage: Best New Restaurant in 2009 - Columbus Alive

I love the place!!!!!!! Congrats to Bill, Eddie, Betsy and everyone!!

Full article is here:

Sage American Bistro

2653 N. High St., North Campus



"I have learned that each and every person that I've ever worked with is part of every plate
that I serve," Chef Bill Glover wrote to me once in an interview.

The casually stylish diners at Sage American Bistro benefit from that wisdom and experience, as
Glover himself seems to get a chance to lend his expert touch to every well-turned-out plate his
modestly sized place serves. I say this because Glover's new restaurant exhibits the same kind of
thoughtfulness, care and sensitivity that is so evident in those just-quoted words.

At Sage, the former chef of the OSU Faculty Club has come up with a clever, focused and
seasonally changing one-page menu that never misses its restrained mark - and locals have noticed.
Thus Sage always seems to have a smart-looking crowd lounging between its tasteful-art decorated
brick walls.

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Clever uses for your camera phone from Palm (Thought I would share)

Nothing to do with real estate but I thought I would share.

-Remember where you’re parked at the airport or any crowded lot. Photograph the nearest parking location sign.

-Take a picture of your hotel, building address, room number, and the nearest street sign.

-Take a photo of your child every day as a safety precaution when you’re traveling.

-Capture a whiteboard after a meeting.

-Document damage after a car accident.

-Document your home and belongings as proof for your insurance company in the event of a loss.

-Snap a picture of the takeout menu and business hours of your favorite restaurant.
Shoot a photo of a flyer for an upcoming event or item for sale.

-If you lend out CDs, DVDs and books to friends, take pictures and label them with your friends’ names.

-Take a picture of something you’re about to disassemble, then use it as a reference when you’re putting it back together.

-Entertain kids with a photo scavenger hunt, with a list of things to take pictures of.

-Photograph yourself when you don’t have a mirror.

The link is here:

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Area home sales down 22% in January...a great time to buy!

From Business First.

The entire article is here:

Coming off another dismal month for Central Ohio home sales, the Columbus Board of Realtors is setting its sights on the spring for better news.

The board on Wednesday said 959 existing single-family homes and condominiums were sold in Central Ohio in January, down 22 percent from 1,225 a year ago. Homes in contract, an indication of future sales, fell 29 percent to 1,16 from 1,438 in January 2008.

The average sale price of a home in the region fell about $15,000, or 10 percent, to $137,446 from $152,790 a year ago.

Board President Gary Parsons said the results reflect an expected decline in holiday home sales. Looking ahead, the board is hoping a recently passed $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit and lower interest rates will spur more activity.

“As we get closer to spring, I think consumer confidence, like the weather, will start to improve,” Parsons said in a release.

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Eastgate: Urban suburban: Diversity, space, mix of housing motivate residents to put down roots

Nice story about Eastgate from the Columbus Dispatch

The entire story is here:
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As racial barriers started to crack in the 1950s and housing options opened up for
African-Americans in Columbus, there was only one area where Carlotta Ridgeway considered living --

"Before, you had to live wherever you could find a decent neighborhood," said Ridgeway, 87, an
African-American who has lived in Eastgate since 1962. "I had no desire to go anyplace else."

With its large lots, majestic trees, curved roads and a mix of housing styles, Eastgate offers
residents a haven that some describe as similar to suburban living but with the benefits of a big
city. Black families flocked there to take advantage of the spaciousness and nearby parks.

Now, the white flight that Eastgate saw decades ago is reversing as whites return and the area
becomes more diverse, said Kraig Thornhill, 37, president of the Eastgate Garden Civic Association.
Thornhill, who is black, has lived in the neighborhood for seven years.
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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Franklin County Auditor Updates His Website

Full Article is here:

The auditor's site is:

You still need someone to help you interpret the data.

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The "property profile" is one of the new features on the Web site, along with "area sales
activity," which lists recent sales prices for nearby homes.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Our Financial Crisis in Three Simple Paragraphs

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Reducing foreclosures and stemming the historic decline in housing prices are crucial to repairing the overall economy.

Falling home prices have hurt banks and other financial firms, leaving them less able to lend. States and localities have taken a hit in the form of declining tax revenue and blighted neighborhoods. The housing free fall has plagued home builders as foreclosed homes have gone back on the market, swelling an already huge inventory.

Prospective homeowners have found it increasingly difficult to get credit as asset prices fell and worried bankers tightened loan standards. Some buyers, on a bet that prices will fall even further, have decided to postpone buying a house, thereby lengthening and deepening the crisis.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Supply and Demand Chart for Central Ohio--- Want to know about your specific area?

Click on the image to view full size.

This data is for the entire Central Ohio area. If you would like a report for your area of town, just e-mail me.

If you are thinking of buying or selling a home, this is critical market information. I always provide this kind of data to my clients.

Mid Winter Tips For Your Home

Baby, it’s cold outside. So stay indoors this winter – and complete a thorough check of these often-overlooked items:

-Check the snow load on your roof. If it seems excessive, call a roofing contractor to remove the snow, which could otherwise cause the roof to leak or collapse.

-Clean faucet aerators and showerheads.

-Remove and replace any worn or crumbling caulk or grout in and around bathtubs, sinks and toilets.

-Vacuum bathroom vent fan covers.

-Make sure the light bulbs in all home fixtures are of the correct wattage.

-Replace all extension cords, lamp cords and plugs that are brittle, worn or damaged.

In a few weeks:

-Inspect walls and ceilings for cracks or bulges – patch and paint as necessary.

-Hire a professional to check your water heater.

-Check basement and crawl space for moisture or leakage after wet weather.

-Examine exterior fascia and trim for deterioration.

-Repair cracked, broken or uneven driveways and sidewalks.

-Inspect your stairs and railings for any loose sections.

Homebuyers get frugal to save for down payment..but don't worry.

If you are thinking about buying, don't be afraid reading this article. Many of my clients are finding FHA loans with 3.5% down payment the best deal. Banks are still lending. I have not had a deal turned down!

The full article is here:
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Americans are saving more than they have in months, new data shows. And while that's bad news
for retailers and restaurateurs, it could be good news for the crippled housing market. Many
potential homebuyers say they've stopped eating out, going to movies, buying iTunes and other
nonessentials to save money for larger down payments that lenders now are demanding.

Lenders want buyers with between 20 percent and 25 percent of a house's price in cash, said Guy
Cecala, publisher of
Inside Mortgage Finance. Even loans insured by the Federal Housing
Administration, a popular option for first-time homebuyers, now require at least 3.5 percent down,
up from 3 percent last year.

"Everybody in America better be saving if they want to buy a house these days," Cecala said.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

A comparison of the 2008 $7,500.00 Home Buyer Tax Credit with the new 2009 $8,000.00 Home Buyer Tax Credit.


As Modified in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

Major Modifications Shaded

February 2009






Amount of Credit

Lesser of 10 percent of cost of home or $7500

Maximum credit amount increased to $8000

Eligible Property

Any single family residence (including condos, co-ops, townhouses) that will be used as a principal residence.

No change

All principal residences eligible.


Yes. Reduces (or can eliminate) income tax liability for the year of purchase. Any unused amount of tax credit refunded to purchaser.

No change

Purchasers will continue to receive refund for unused amount when tax return is filed.

Income Limit

Yes. Full amount of credit available for individuals with adjusted gross income of no more than $75,000 ($150,000 on a joint return). Phases out above those caps ($95,000 and $170,000).

No change

Same income limits continue to apply.

First-time Homebuyer Only

Yes. Purchaser (and purchaser’s spouse) may not have owned a principal residence in 3 years previous to purchase.

No change

Still available for first-time purchasers only. Three-year rule continues to apply.

Revenue Bond Financing

No credit allowed if home financed with state/local bond funding.

Purchasers who utilize revenue bond financing can use credit.


Yes. Portion (6.67% of credit or $500) to be repaid each year for 15 years, starting with 2010 tax filing.

No repayment for purchases on or after January 1, 2009 and before December 1, 2009


If home sold before 15-year repayment period ends, then outstanding balance of repayment amount recaptured on sale.

If home is sold within three years of purchase, entire amount of credit is recaptured on sale. Applies only to homes purchased in 2009.


July 1, 2009

(But note program changes for 2009)

December 1, 2009

Effective Date

Purchases on or after April 9, 2008 and before January 1, 2009. Repayment to begin for 2010 tax year.

All revisions are effective as of January 1, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

Real Estate Tax Credit Update - For First Time Home Buyers

It looks like these will be the final terms:

  • $8000 credit ($4000 for married filing separate)
  • Effective for purchases on or after Jan 1, 2009 and before Dec 1, 2009. So no penalty if you close today
  • 2009 purchasers can make an election to claim the credit on their 2008 tax return
  • The credit is refundable -- refund computed in conjunction with filing 1040 tax return
  • No repayment requirement for 2009 purchases unless property is sold within three years of claiming credit
  • Purchasers who finance their 2009 purchases with revenues from a state/local bond authority will be eligible for credit

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

House, Senate quickly reach $790B stimulus deal

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Home buyer tax credit
A new $8,000 tax credit for buyers of new or existing homes
This is down from $15,000 added in the Senate.
The White House and congressional leaders agreed Wednesday on a two-year, $790 billion economic stimulus plan. Here's how some of the differences between the House and Senate bills were resolved:

In addition to reducing Obama's tax cut, proposals added by the Senate to provide tax credits to home buyers and tax deductions for people purchasing cars were greatly reduced.

House, Senate quickly reach $790B stimulus deal
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WESTGATE: An affordable oasis

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August 10, 2008 3:34 AM
An affordable oasis

They're comfortable on Powhatan Avenue in their three-bedroom, 1 1/2-story Cape Cod house, which
they bought for less than $100,000 last August.

"We're the Upper Arlington of the Hilltop," he said.

Westgate was founded in the mid-1920s as one of Columbus' streetcar suburbs, a portion of it
built on land where Union soldiers trained and Confederate soldiers were imprisoned. The Camp Chase
Cemetery, where more than 2,000 Confederate prisoners are buried, is still maintained and open to
the public.

"It's a nice neighborhood, a family-oriented atmosphere," said Darrell Drone, 53, who has lived
in Westgate 16 years.

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How to dispute a real estate tax valuation

Older article but the principle is still the same.

Full link is here:
Do you think your property, or your client's property, is valued too high by the Auditor's office for real estate taxes?

There is a complaint process that is administered by the Board of Revision.

If you believe your value is high you will need undisputable evidence to support the valuation. Once you appeal your value, it can go up, down, or stay the same.

Taxes are one year in arrears. Therefore, your tax bill that will come out around December 20, 2007, is for the valuation of your property up to 1/1/07. This means if you have an appraisal for the appeal it should be dated as of 1/1/07.

If property values are dropping in your neighborhood in the year 2007, then this will take effect with your 2008 tax bill.

The county re-evaluates your property taxes every three years. Therefore, the county will be re-evaluating your tax valuation in 2008 (also upon transfer assessed valuation is adjusted to the sales price).

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Congress Reaches Deal on Stimulus Plan

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In driving down the total cost of the stimulus bill — from $838 billion approved by the Senate and $820 billion by the House — legislators also sharply reduced proposed tax incentives for buyers of homes and cars that held huge public appeal. Senator Collins said getting the final number to under $800 billion was more than symbolic; it meant “a fiscally responsible number,” she said.

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