Thursday, April 25, 2013

10TV Video - Realtor Warns of New Real Estate Scam

A new real estate scam is targeting would-be tenants and their hard-earned cash.
It surprised even an experienced realtor, and nearly cost a young couple big.
Brian Barker and Jaime DeBois spent Wednesday night packing up their Grandview apartment, preparing for a move to the Short North.
"It was a big weight off our shoulders to finally find a place," says Barker.
Especially after the bullet they dodged during their search.  While apartment shopping online, they thought they'd found a perfect place in an Italian Village rental on 2nd street.  So they responded to the ad.
"We started to correspond," Barker says, "and the emails were a little strange, so I just decided to drive past the house one day. And I saw that it had the 'for sale' sign, so I decided to give the realtor a call."
Terry Penrod was that realtor.  "I got a couple of phone calls asking me if the unit was for sale or for rent. And I said 'no, this unit is definitely for sale.' And they said, 'well, it's on the internet for rent,' which raised my eyebrows very quickly."
Penrod says someone swiped his online listing, even using the photo he'd posted.
But they listed it for rent, at a too-good-to-be-true price.
"For $800 a month, this would be a huge buy," says Penrod. "Someone's scamming the system and trying to get people to send in an application fee or first month's rent."
"And that's how we kind of obviously found out that whoever I was corresponding with wasn't the owner," says Barker.
Penrod says in 20 years in real estate, he's seen a lot of scams, but this is a new one.
Brian and Jaime happily didn't fall victim, but fear someone else might.
"I always thought I was doing pretty good due diligence in weeding out the scams versus what's actually real," says Barker, "but it shows you that even on a legitimate website where there are legitimate people on there posting houses for sale, people can sneak these things in."
Penrod contacted police, but says he was told since money didn't actually change hands, there wasn't much they could do.
Watch 10TV News and refresh for the latest.

Friday, April 5, 2013

7 Tips for Staging Your Home

Make your home warm and inviting to boost your home’s value and speed up the sale process.

The first step to getting buyers to make an offer on your home is to impress them with its appearance so they begin to envision themselves living there. Here are seven tips for making your home look bigger, brighter, and more desirable.

1. Start with a clean slate

Before you can worry about where to place furniture and which wall hanging should go where, each room in your home must be spotless. Do a thorough cleaning right down to the nitpicky details like wiping down light switch covers. Deep clean and deodorize carpets and window coverings.

2. Stow away your clutter

It’s harder for buyers to picture themselves in your home when they’re looking at your family photos, collectibles, and knickknacks. Pack up all your personal decorations. However, don’t make spaces like mantles and coffee and end tables barren. Leave three items of varying heights on each surface, suggests Barb Schwarz of in Concord, Pa. For example, place a lamp, a small plant, and a book on an end table.

3. Scale back on your furniture

When a room is packed with furniture, it looks smaller, which will make buyers think your home is less valuable than it is. Make sure buyers appreciate the size of each room by removing one or two pieces of furniture. If you have an eat-in dining area, using a small table and chair set makes the area seem bigger.

4. Rethink your furniture placement

Highlight the flow of your rooms by arranging the furniture to guide buyers from one room to another. In each room, create a focal point on the farthest wall from the doorway and arrange the other pieces of furniture in a triangle around the focal point, advises Schwarz. In the bedroom, the bed should be the focal point. In the living room, it may be the fireplace, and your couch and sofa can form the triangle in front of it.

5. Add color to brighten your rooms

Brush on a fresh coat of warm, neutral-color paint in each room. Ask your real estate agent for help choosing the right shade. Then accessorize. Adding a vibrant afghan, throw, or accent pillows for the couch will jazz up a muted living room, as will a healthy plant or a bright vase on your mantle. High-wattage bulbs in your light fixtures will also brighten up rooms and basements.

6. Set the scene

Lay logs in the fireplace, and set your dining room table with dishes and a centerpiece of fresh fruit or flowers. Create other vignettes throughout the home—such as a chess game in progress—to help buyers envision living there. Replace heavy curtains with sheer ones that let in more light.

Make your bathrooms feel luxurious by adding a new shower curtain, towels, and fancy guest soaps (after you put all your personal toiletry items are out of sight). Judiciously add subtle potpourri, scented candles, or boil water with a bit of vanilla mixed in. If you have pets, clean bedding frequently and spray an odor remover before each showing.

7. Make the entrance grand

Mow your lawn and trim your hedges, and turn on the sprinklers for 30 minutes before showings to make your lawn sparkle. If flowers or plants don’t surround your home’s entrance, add a pot of bright flowers. Top it all off by buying a new doormat and adding a seasonal wreath to your front door.

The story is here

More from HouseLogic

Spring cleaning guide

Green cleaning products for the bathroom
Green cleaning products for the kitchen

Other web resources

How to make a small room look larger

How to arrange bedrooms

Read more:

NBC: Columbus Named Most Intelligent City In America

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If you are feeling brainy it could be because you are part of the smartest workforce in America.  The Intelligent Communities Forum has named Columbus in the top seven most intelligent cities in the world, and it is the only American city to make the cut.    

ICF founder Robert Bell came to Columbus to present an award marking the achievement, and to also judge the city for signs of intelligence that could lead to the city being named the most intelligent city in the world for 2013.

Bell said that more than 400 cities around the world vie for the intelligence designation.  An international team of academic leaders whittles the list down to about two dozen and eventually the final seven are named.  Each city goes through a rigorous process of identifying the factors that set it apart, then an international panel of judges – from business and academia – will determine the overall smartest city.

Bell is spending three days gathering information, and making sure Columbus lives up to the claims it made about technology and collaboration.  He is looking at a number of criteria, and likes what he sees in Columbus.

"Is what's taught in your universities and your technical schools informed by the needs of business? Is government at the table trying to shape the outcomes for the good of all the citizens not just the top-tier citizens? Columbus has those things in abundance. While I've been here I've heard two words over and over again, you want to be open and want to be smart, and those are great advantages in the 21st century," Bell said.

City business and government leaders are taking Bell on a whirlwind tour of research, education and technology centers.  Bell visited Battelle, Nationwide Children's Hospital, The Ohio State University, the OSU Super Computer, the Columbus Metropolitan Library and TechColumbus.

But, he said, "technology is just a tool.  It's an enabler.  The magic happens when people all up and down the income ladder, all up and down the education ladder, of many cultures come together and use it to create something new and exciting."

ICF will name the overall most intelligent city in the world at a conference in June.