10 Ways to Add Value to Homes

December 18th, 2014

Source: HGTV.com

Whether you’re interested in starting a remodel project or just want to create more curb appeal with one you’re already working on, industry experts agree there are a number of easy, budget-conscious ways you can add value to a home.

There are 10 home-improvement projects that can make life in a current home more enjoyable in the short term and pay big dividends for the homeowners when the time comes to sell the home.

Project 1. Create a designated home-office space. Whether it’s just part of a room partitioned off with an obscure acrylic-block wall to create a private nook or an entire room, home offices are essential parts of today’s living. The multifunctional space can be used for studying, paying bills, writing or running a home business.

Project 2. Treat ceilings as the fifth wall of a room. Accent and embellish them with beaded plywood, paints or decorative finishes. Consider adding a lightweight urethane ceiling medallion around ceiling lights and fans. Two-piece medallions snap into place in less than five minutes to add more ambiance to a room. Check out what’s available at www.fypon.com, which also offers videos about installation.

Project 3. Invest in the lawn. Nothing makes a better first impression than a well-manicured lawn and continuously maintained shrubs and flower beds. Buyers immediately form opinions of how well the interior of a home is cared for by the look of the exterior.

Project 4. Replace old, leaky windows with energy-efficient vinyl windows. Not only will new windows make the whole house look better, but Energy Star-compliant windows help save on heating and cooling bills all year long. For added safety and security, consider impact-resistant windows. Much like a car windshield, these laminated windows won’t shatter if they’re broken, thus reducing damage inside the home from storms or break-in attempts. The clients may benefit from a discount in their insurance premiums, too.

Project 5. Expand living space by adding a deck or sunroom. Increasing the amount of usable space in a home always equates to adding more value. Whether it’s placing an awning over a patio area, converting a screened-in porch to a sunroom or adding a deck, the creation of more living space makes life more enjoyable for homeowners now and adds an appealing selling feature for the future.

Project 6. Remove mildew from a home’s exterior and prevent it from coming back. Start by killing any mildew by using a garden sprayer and a mildecide, which kills mildew without harming your siding, shrubs or grass. Once the mildew is dead, prevent it from coming back by using a mold- and mildew-proof paint.

Project 7. Trim out exterior windows and doors. If there is old, rotting wood around windows (or no trim at all), suggest low-maintenance, all-weather PVC millwork, which resists insects, rot and termites.

Project 8. Upgrade the master bathroom with a tub window. Durable acrylic-block windows provide privacy in the bathroom while allowing light into the room. A decorative bathroom window over the tub serves as a focal point in the room.

Project 9. Replace rotted columns and porch posts with fiberglass columns. Suggest to homeowners that when they start spending several weekends each year repairing and repainting exterior rail systems and columns, it’s time to invest in low-maintenance fiberglass columns.

Project 10. Bump out to a bay or bow window. Along with adding extra living space, bay and bow windows add instant visual interior and exterior appeal to homes. People value the extended space that can add room for a window seat, highlight a Christmas tree or simply bring more light into the home.


Source: HGTV: http://www.hgtv.com/remodel/interior-remodel/10-ways-to-add-value-to-homes


GenY is Finally in a Mood to Buy (Houses)

December 18th, 2014









Housing industry, brace yourself: The Millennials are moving in.

A generation that’s about 90 million strong, Millennials (or Generation Y) form the largest demographic wave in the nation’s history — even larger than the Baby Boomers. And now that the oldest are in their early 30s (the youngest are 12), they’re coming of age for home ownership.

It’s a momentous time for an industry still reeling from bad loans, foreclosures and price collapse. Now, builders, developers and agents are gearing up for the onslaught. Just this month, PulteGroup and Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate each released a survey of what Millennials want — evidence of their impending influence.

They’re not that different from their parents, except they’re not as wowed by luxury and are more likely to demand technology and flexible space.

“This generation is coming at the right time,” says Fred Ehle, vice president for PulteGroup. “It’s the largest potential number of buyers coming in to the market.”

They would’ve come sooner had the recession and high unemployment not deferred many Millennials’ dreams. “We forget how tough it is right now for these young GenYs to have a down payment,” says Greg Tsujimoto, manager at John Burns Real Estate Consulting in Irvine, Calif. “They have student debt. Another obstacle is finding and establishing their careers.”

Slowing GenY’s entry into the housing market: delaying moving out of Mom-and-Dad’s house, delaying marriage and delaying kids.

“Right now, it’s either GenXers or Boomers buying,” Tsujimoto says. “It’s no secret Millennials want to own a home. That hasn’t changed. But there’s at least a four-year delay.”

The pent-up demand is starting to surface, and “that will more than offset a year or two we missed in the market,” Ehle says. “As soon as we get these folks out of their parents’ basement and into a job … ”

Unemployment for Millennials (born from 1982 through 2001) is just under 10%, more than two points higher than the U.S. rate of 7.7%, he says.

They will buy when they’re ready, says Tommy Stephenson, broker/owner of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Executive Partners in Augusta, Ga. “Millennials are more well-versed and educated in regard to today’s real estate industry and are prepared to buy when the time is right for them,” he says.

One advantage: Most are first-time buyers not hampered by underwater mortgages or having to sell one house before buying another.

“Why waste money to rent?” says Cristin Morton, 30 and single, who bought a house late last year in North Phoenix through Better Homes and Gardens. “I’m paying less for my mortgage than I was renting.”

What industry research shows:

More than half the Millennials who bought Pulte homes last year said the main reason was to invest and build equity.

Tiffany Troyer, 25, graduated in 2009 from Baylor University. She did what many of her peers did after college: moved back home. She stayed a year, got an apartment and has been renting ever since.

“My parents pressured me to look for a house the last two years,” says Troyer, area director for Nitro Swimming, an Austin swimming school.

One day, she agreed to do a rent-vs.-buy spreadsheet. “Rent has increased three consecutive years,” she says. “You’ll never get that back. Just looking at those numbers, I could own for less than rent.”

She qualified for a 3.25%, 30-year fixed mortgage with 20% down and bought a new 1,900-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath ranch-style house in Leander, a northern Austin suburb. Her mortgage: less than $1,500 a month, compared with $1,600-a-month rent for a 1,000-square-foot apartment.

“I get double the space,” Troyer says. “My goal was to buy something that, long-term, if I have a family and kids, it’s a place I can stay in.”

Pulte’s January online survey of 521 adult renters ages 18-34 just released found that efficient use of space is an important feature to 84%. More than two-thirds want an open layout for entertaining. Most want ample storage, and 63% want outdoor space to extend living areas.

“What may be different about this buyer is that they may have more stuff,” Ehle says. “It’s different kind of stuff: technological gadgets, gaming. They also do work from home.”

Better Homes and Gardens’ online survey of 1,000 adults ages 18 to 35 finds that Millennials are not keen on traditional floor plans or traditional rooms. They’re a “fix-it” generation who would rather do home improvements themselves than ask parents for money. They want their homes to be as unique as they are and each room to represent aspects of their lives, from hobbies to gaming, the survey shows.

One in five say “home office” is a more appropriate name for their dining room, and 43% want to turn their living room into a home theater.

Morton, a medical sales consultant, lives in a 2,300-square-foot, four-bedroom house. The dining room is not a dining room but an entertainment room. “I really want to utilize every room,” Morton says. “My parents have a traditional living room. Nobody ever sits there.”

Miguel Berger, president and broker of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Tech Valley in Albany, N.Y., was showing a house to a couple recently. Their reaction: “Who uses a dining room?”

The survey shows they would rather have extra space in their kitchen for a TV than a second oven, and that tech features are more important than curb appeal. Almost two-thirds say they would not buy a house without up-to-date tech capabilities.

Yet “they’re more frugal because they have lived through a recession,” Berger says. “They’re very concerned about value. … They like to know the per-square-foot value.”



Source: USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2013/03/28/millennials-dream-of-owning-a-home-stalled-but-not-dead/2029379/


10 Most Affordable Housing Markets in America

December 18th, 2014

So you’re looking to buy a new house. Congratulations! While you’re probably going to want to check out schools and make sure the neighborhood is safe, you’re also going to want to know — you know, because — what neighboring homes are going for.

That’s where the Coldwell Banker Home Listing 2014 Report comes in. The group compared 51,000 listings of “similar-sized four-bedroom, two-bathroom homes” in markets across America between January and June 2014. The national average of a house that size is $295,317, which means the difference between the most and least affordable markets is extraordinary.

Cleveland is the country’s most affordable market, where the average price of a four-bed, two-bath homes comes in around $64,993. California, which lays claim 9 out of the 10 most expensive markets, also has the most expensive market in the U.S. with Los Altos (aka Silicon Valley), California as the most expensive market, as average houses list for about $1.963 million. Big surprise — San Francisco is onlythe 6th most expensive market.

Just to put things in perspective, for the price of just that one “average” Los Altos home Coldwell estimates that a home owner could purchase about 25 homes in Cleveland. Yikes.

Without further ado, here are the most affordable markets in the U.S.:


10. Utica, New York

9. Cheektowage, New York

8. Augusta, Georgia

7. Waukegan, Illinois

6. Buffalo, New York

5. Lithonia, Georgia

4. Lake Wales, Florida

3. Park Forest, Illinois

2. Riverdale, Georgia

1. Cleveland, Ohio


Source: Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/15/most-affordable-homes-in-the-us_n_6147890.html



The Most Innovative Cities in America

December 18th, 2014

From technology and infrastructure, to job creation and sustainability, these 10 cities are leading the pack when it comes to creatively solving urban issues.


Source: CNN Money

1. New York

New York has made a lot of the digital age. The city hosts a thriving tech sector with 300,000 employees — on par with Silicon Valley — and city government is praised for its use of analytics in evaluating all manner of programs.

Its signature environmental initiative — PlaNYC — contains hundreds of objectives on everything from the number of breakwaters made from oysters to cubic feet of natural gas captured from sewage plants. As former mayor Michael Bloomberg would say: “In God we trust. Everyone else, bring data.”

Current Mayor Bill de Blasio seems intent on keeping this emphasis on numbers, and he’s expanding the city’s environmental initiatives as well — recently announcing a pledge to cut carbon emissions 80% by 2050, largely by increasing energy efficiency in buildings.

Other innovations that put New York at the top of our list include a push for micro-apartments and affordable housing, redesigning streets to make them bike and pedestrian friendly, and pioneering the use of social impact bonds to attract private money into public projects


2. Boston

City government is at the center of Boston’s innovative programs. Its office of New Urban Mechanics works on pilot programs to improve the lives of its citizens. This takes the form of everything from smartphone apps to green buildings to education. A recent project matched local middle school girls with female mentors from Harvard and MIT in science workshops where they made Claymation videos and built robotic arms.

The city also has a new Innovation District that’s dedicated to entrepreneurship and is home to over 200 startups.

Boston is also leveraging the latest technology and opening it up to the public — a new site allows anyone with an Internet connection to search the city’s budget and understand where city funds are being spent.

But where Boston really succeeds is education — and not just for all those Ivy League kids. The city has a vast number of resources available to those struggling in the public school system, and its outreach has made the high school dropout rate one of the lowest in the country


3. Portland

Portland, Ore., has been ahead of the innovation curve for a long time. The city created a Bicycle Plan in 1973; turned a freeway into a riverfront park in 1978 and built a light rail (instead of a new highway) in 1986. Today, it has the highest percent of bicycle commuters, over 300 miles of urban trails and one of the best park systems in the country.

Public-private partnerships have thrived, creating “eco-districts” and green development projects around the city. Its downtown is composed almost entirely of LEED-certified buildings and the short blocks (200 feet x 200 feet) make the city more walkable and encourage small business growth.

Several years ago, Portland developed an aggressive export plan to grow its industry and boost the local economy. The We Build Green Cities initiative grew out of that and aims to export what Portland is best known for: its sustainability and sense of place. Through that program, three Portland firms have signed contracts to create an ecodistrict in Japan.


4. Chicago

Chicago was the first city in the country to appoint a Chief Data Officer, and it’s a leader when it comes to harnessing open data as a way to improve the lives of city residents.

It’s also good at leveraging relationships. City programs like Skills for Chicagoland’s Future match the needs of businesses with unemployed workers and offer training programs with direct pathways to employment.

A partnership with the MacArthur Foundation has helped to provide more affordable housing in the city, and its Center for Neighborhood Technology has contributed to innovations on the local level, like car-sharing and energy efficiency in homes.

The city has also turned many of its alleys into small greenways, and redeveloped existing land into public parks, like the Navy Pier and The 606, a nearly three mile-long railroad. More green is on the way for this city — an infrastructure trust was established to facilitate the building and greening of buildings.



Need is often a prime driver of innovation — and Detroit needs a lot.

There’s a new land bank charged with helping get people back into the city’s thousands of abandoned homes. The land bank itself is part of a broader plan to reimagine all of Detroit’s unused space — a plan that’s won points from experts.

Start-up incubators abound, with a vibrant technology district downtown. In the city’s Midtown section, light manufacturing is making a comeback and other high-tech industries are taking hold, helped by funding from regional and national foundations. The two neighborhoods will soon be connected by a new light rail line — a collaborative work between the public and private sectors.


6. Minneapolis-St. Paul

June saw the opening of a new light rail line between Minneapolis and St. Paul. Experts from around the country praised it as an example oftransportation infrastructure done right — it integrated the needs of the affected communities and used the new line to drive economic development.

The Twin Cities were early adopters of programs to help immigrants start businesses, artists buy real estate, and enlist local execs in solving community problems.

The cities also get high marks for their public health efforts, including smoking cessation programs, cancer screening and efforts to create walkable communities.


7.San Francisco

San Francisco residents have long lives, high incomes and are well-educated. With a host of educational and economic initiatives available to residents, life in the City by the Bay is likely to keep getting better.

Residents enjoy plenty of green spaces due to programs like Pavement to Parks, which turns underused areas of land into pedestrian spaces. There’s also a ton of farmer’s markets, a composting program and city-supported urban gardens.

The city has the country’s highest minimum wage, a city-funded college savings program for kids and a public housing system that focuses on not just building places to live but revitalizing communities at the same time.



Mayor Michael Nutter set out to make Philadelphia the greenest city in America by 2015. While the title is likely to be hotly contested, the city has made some serious strides, including improving air quality, diverting waste from landfills, and increasing access to farmer’s markets.

On top of that, the “Green City, Clean Waters” initiative is a 25-year plan to reduce stormwater pollution and sewer overflows through stormwater fees, retrofits, new street designs and green infrastructure. It will ultimately improve efficiency (and save money).

Philadelphia also created a land bank in 2013 that will be up and running next year. This aims to clean up blighted neighborhoods by acquiring, maintaining and selling the city’s 40,000 vacant and derelict lots. By streamlining the process, the city will be able to make sure the property is responsibly developed for things like affordable housing, community space and local businesses.


9.Washington D.C.

D.C.’s former planning director Harriet Tregoning spent several years working to transform the city with initiatives around environmental sustainability and neighborhood development. (Tregoning recently left to take a job at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.)

She rewrote the city’s zoning code, which hadn’t changed in half a century, promoting more pedestrian-friendly walkways and installing the city’s first bike-share program. The city has also poured resources into early childhood education, and the initiatives seem to be working: Preschool attendance improved by 10% between 2007 and 2012.

With stream corridors that double as public parks and green living initiatives, the city is leading the way when it comes to going green. Its residents and businesses are a big part of the success: Their use of solar and wind power helped the city win first place in the the EPA’s green power competition for the third year in a row.



The city gets props for its Sustainable Cleveland program — a city-wide effort to promote energy efficiency, renewable energy, clean air and green space.

Its food policies are particularly noteworthy, including the adoption of a mobile farmer’s market and extra food stamp benefits for those who shop at green markets.

The city also launched one of the nation’s first rapid bus transit programs. An idea borrowed from the developing world, buses get their own lane and can theoretically transport people nearly as fast as a subway for a fraction of the cost.

There’s a plan afoot to turn 100 miles of old street car lines into protected bike paths, a data-driven approach to identify and rehabilitate abandoned properties, and a local content initiative aimed at getting the city’s big organizations to source products from local businesses.


Source: CNN Money: http://money.cnn.com/gallery/technology/2014/10/07/most-innovative-cities/10.html


What Homes Do Millennials Buy?

December 16th, 2014

New NAHB research shows that millennials tend to buy homes that are smaller, older and less expensive than homes bought by older generations. Being the youngest home buyers with little or no accumulated wealth also affects how millennials shop for and buy their homes.

(View a Dec. 10 Fox Business news report where NAHB CEO Jerry Howard discusses millennial home buyers and the housing landscape.)

The majority of millennials are buying homes for the first time in their lives. Three out of four millennials who purchased a home were first-time buyers, but a quarter traded their existing homes.

Compared to older generations, millennials are less likely to buy a new home. Less than 9% of millennial home buyers bought a new home. The share was close to 12% among older home buyers.

More than two-thirds of millennials who bought homes purchased single-family detached properties. Nevertheless, compared to older home buyers, the millennial generation shows a slightly higher preference for multifamily condominiums. Close to 9% of millennial home buyers bought a multifamily property compared to less than 6% of older home buyers.

Consistent with being the youngest and largely first-time home buyers, millennials tend to buy homes that on average are smaller and concentrated in the lower price ranges compared to homes purchased by older generations. Half of all homes purchased by millennials averaged less than 1,650 square feet of living space and cost less than $148,500.


graph 1


graph 2



The most common reason for moving reported by millennial home buyers is to establish their own household, followed by the desire to have a larger unit and own it.

When choosing a particular home, millennials are more likely to let financial reasons influence their choice, while older generations consider the right size most often.

When selecting a new neighborhood, the right house most often influences the decision for both millennial and older home buyers. However, millennials are more likely to also pay attention to proximity to work and having good schools.

Compared to older generations of home buyers, millennials are more likely to finance home purchases out of current income rather than out of accumulated wealth, and when taking out mortgages they are more likely to use unconventional zero-down mortgages.

The research is based on the 2013 American Housing Survey (AHS), the most recent release of this ongoing biennial housing data collection. Only housing units purchased in the two years preceding the 2013 AHS interviews are considered. Housing unit characteristics are tabulated by the age of the household of head, a person in whose name the housing unit is owned. Millennial home buyers are householders that were 33 years old or younger in 2013 and bought homes within the two years prior to the AHS interviews.


Source: NAHB Now: http://nahbnow.com/2014/12/what-homes-do-millennials-buy/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=mmb1215





Cleveland Home Prices Outpacing National Average

May 29th, 2014

Cleveland Home Prices


Data released on May 28th by the S&P/Case-Schiller Home Price Indices found that Cleveland home prices have appreciated faster than the national average. The Home Price Indices, which are the leading measure of U.S. Home Prices, show home prices in the 10-City and 20-City Composite Indices increased 0.8% and 0.9% respectively between February and March.

Cleveland home prices appreciated 1.5% in March. This marks a 3.1% turnaround in home price value from a decline of 1.6% in February, which is the largest month-over-month improvement in the nation. Leading the charge are Cleveland suburbs like Lakewood, Lyndhurst, and Cleveland Heights. Month-over-month home prices for these suburbs have increased by 36% in Lakewood, 21% in Lyndhurst, and 17% in Cleveland Heights.

The rise in suburban home values has been supported by strong sales numbers. Over the two month period from February to March, closed home sales in Lakewood increased by 80% and contracts written increased by 63%. In Lyndhurst and Cleveland Heights these numbers were even higher! Over the two month period, closed home sales in Lyndhurst increased by 24% and contracts written by a staggering 140%. Cleveland Heights experienced similar growth and saw a 19% increase in closed home sales and a 109% increase in written contracts.

For the three suburbs, the amount of homes for sale rose between 9% and 12% to accommodate the heightened demand from buyers.

The S&P/Case-Schiller data also showed that home prices nationwide are returning to mid-2004 levels. Measured from their pre-recession peaks in June and July 2006, the decline from the peak-to-current home prices for both Composites is approximately 19 to 20%. The recovery from the March 2012 lows is 24% for the 10-City and 20-City Composites. All 20 cities weighted in the composite index saw home prices improve in March compared to February prices. San Francisco and Seattle posted the biggest monthly gains of all cities at 2.4% and 1.9% price increases, respectively.

For more information on Cleveland home prices, contact the real estate experts at the Keller Williams New Homes Team.

New Home Sales Case Study – Waverly Station Townhomes

March 29th, 2014

Waverly Station Townhomes Overview:

23 Townhomes – $4.8 Million – 22 Month Sales Cycle

A few short years ago, Case Development LLC, found a dilapidated piece of property on the border of Ohio City and the Gordon Square Arts District.

Waverly Station Before

In the uncertain year 2011, they partnered with the Keller Williams Realty of Greater Cleveland – New Homes Group, and embarked on their five-step plan. The following is a case study highlighting the various challenges endured and strategies created by the partnership. The project is presently sold out less than two years after ground-breaking, and enjoyed a pace of sales of 13 units per year.

Feasibility & Research

The KW New Homes Group began researching recent sales utilizing a variety of comparative market analyses and market trends reports. They created proprietary, customized analyses to identify potential sale prices based on dollars per square foot, number of bedrooms, presence of outdoor space, number of garage spaces, and a multitude of other factors, compiling it into one unified report and presentation.  A progressive building forecast was also created highlighting likely trends of supply and demand over a variety of time periods to help project sales.

Strategy & Implementation

Based on the data analyzed during the feasibility process, the developer and the KW New Homes Group set forth a plan, budget, and Performa to find the best equilibrium that would maximize pace of sales and profits.


Waverly Station Townhomes

The brand “Waverly Station Townhomes” was developed by the KW New Homes Group and we facilitated logo creation, brand strategy, advertising schedules, social media interaction, and public relations. Two marketing budgets were created (one for pre-launch and one for elevation) and facilitated under budget during the process.

Sales & Pre-Sales

The KW New Homes Group pre-sold every home at Waverly Station and performed all sales in the absence of a model home. It takes special skill and preparation to sell “from paper” when homes aren’t intended to be customized. Phases 2 and 3 included substantial price increases (20% from phase 1 to 3).

Additional Progress

Case Development LLC, was able to leverage the success of Waverly Station and added two additional developments to their portfolio with the help of the KW New Homes Group, now pre-selling, at an aggregated future sales price near $7 Million and a projected sales cycle of 18 months.

Phillips excited to lead Keller Williams Realty’s new Rocky River office

February 7th, 2014

Written by: Jill Sell

Scott Phillips, Jr., company president of Keller Williams Realty’s new Greater Cleveland River office in Rocky River, wants to be a pro football coach when he “grows up.” That’s understandable, because Phillips is a former professional arena football quarterback.
Right now, however, Phillips will have to settle for a different kind of success. He is a recent recipient of the National Association of Realtors Top 30 Under 30 (he turned 30 last year), and is a regular invited guest to the prestigious International Real Trends Emerging Leaders Forum. In addition, Phillips was the founder of the Keller Williams downtown Cleveland office in 2009, where in less than three years he claims the office “was performing at the highest level of any office located in Cleveland proper.” Also, his independent sales practice is regularly in the top 20 in the state. The locker room will have to wait.

“I’m looking forward to leading our newest office in Rocky River,” said Phillips. “Keller Williams is expanding due to the business model, which allows our agents to operate their real estate practices in creative ways to serve their clients’ best needs.
“Rather than a top-down approach where a single broker passes down unilateral tools to their agents and ultimately a single sales strategy to the clients, Keller Williams’ model encourages education, progressive training and creativity to help our clients get their homes sold,” he said.

Phillips also delivers good news about the area’s home appreciation: “We are seeing more and more cases where people who bought homes four to five years ago are selling at a profit again.”

The Greater Cleveland River office employs more than 30 individual staff members, including: C. J. Trivisonno, Pete Formica, Laurie Brill, Jeremy Ols, Coury Sicker, Andrew Ginter, Tony Bonini, Kit Schroeder and Torry McJunkins-Tutin.

Phillips lives with his wife, Jenny, and their two preschool children in Independence. Formerly he lived in Cleveland’s Warehouse District where he enjoyed his rooftop deck and “enchanting” views of the skyline and Lake Erie.

“I spend 75 percent of my social time in the greater downtown area,” said Phillips. “We are definitely city people. The other 25 percent is at Guarino’s Restaurant in Little Italy, which is the oldest restaurant in Cleveland. My father (and his mother and sister) run the restaurant and it’s been around for 95 years. I imagine it will stay in the family,” said Phillips, who worked at the restaurant when he was about 13 to 22 years old.

The Keller Williams Greater Cleveland River office is located at 20033 Detroit Rd., Suite #300. For more information: 216-849-8333.


Fortune Magazine says Cleveland is on the rise in 2014

January 9th, 2014

By: Michael K. McIntyre
CLEVELAND,Ohio — It was just a few short years ago that Forbes magazine dubbed Cleveland America’s most miserable city. Fortunes apparently have improved, says Fortune magazine.

Thanks to a re-population push into the city, Fortune lists Cleveland as one of the country’s next Brooklyns, meaning we’re poised for growth.

A Fortune post on its CNN Money website in December contrasted Detroit and its significant woes with Brooklyn, with orbital real estate prices, high end condos and lots of residential growth.

Described as “our bets for 2014’s breakout and breakdown towns,” the authors say Cleveland could be one of the “New Brooklyns.”

“The city is in the midst of a downtown revival that has seen not one, not two, but three Williamsburg-esque neighborhoods emerge: Tremont, Ohio City, and Gordon Square.

” What, they’ve never been to Waterloo?

Louisville, Ky., and, oddly, Detroit were also picked as possible “New Brooklyns.” The “New Detroits” include Woonsocket, R.I., Fresno, Calif., and all of Puerto Rico.

It’s not like we can’t take a compliment, but, Fortune, when you posted the piece did you really have to illustrate it with a photo of a shimmering downtown Columbus? The pic was corrected when commenters pointed it out.


Top 5 Strategies for 2014

December 23rd, 2013
1. Studying the market conditions specifically and regularly. If you only watch the news, you’re waiting too long to develop a plan. The news, by its nature, reports on events which have already occurred. Therefore if you’re looking backwards with the news as your primary information source, you’re likely reacting to the market rather than making it. Our clients are informed of market conditions and market “voids” so that they can move to fill them with their new projects and phases.
2. Marketing to SPECIFIC buyers, instead of ALL buyers. In the era of “build and they will come” we were able to get by with newspaper ads and billboards. A lesson learned during the recent recession was how to make more with less in the marketing department, and what we’ve found is that we’re actually spending far less per unit, and exceeding sales from “back in the day.” That is done by spending time identifying our market of buyers, and finding ways to speak to them affordably. Sometimes, we’re leveraging economies of scale for our clients, and other times, we’re simply creating a specific campaign strategy. Any way we do it, our clients are focusing on finding their buyers instead spending a fortune broadcasting their message to the thousands of disinterested parties.
3. Price for the Long Haul. Will prices continue to rise in 2014? Yes, we all agree that barring unforeseen circumstances, costs to build and prices to sell will continue to rise. With that said, our clients are setting strategies to make sure that their prices of today coincide with their plans for tomorrow. Rather than riding a wave and raising prices just for the sake of doing so, our clients are strategizing 1-2 phases ahead this year, to make sure pricing is sensible and intentional for their long term plans.
4. Make friends with your neighbors. Some of our best selling communities in 2013 had worthy competitors that helped drive business back and forth between each other. The best examples were the record setting years set by both the Battery Park Community and the Waverly Station Townhomes. Both communities spent nearly the entire year, sold out of existing inventory due to record setting demand they created alongside each other. Another lesson learned as we emerge from the recession is that we need to re-engage home buyers to the idea of building a new home (in general) and a great way to do so is collaboration.
5. Enlist strong affiliated partners. From Realtors to Lenders, from title companies to warranty providers, it is extremely important these days to have a strong supporting cast. If we have learned anything during our rise from the recession it’s that the nation is committed to keep history from repeating itself. Tightened lending restrictions, low appraisals, harsher inspections, stronger warranty requirements, and higher scrutiny on borrowers surround the industry today. While it’s become less of a challenge in some ways since the valley in 2009 and 2010, that is primarily due to the increase focus the consumer has on controlling their own destiny. If you want to make sure you purchase agreements lead to closed deals, it is more important than ever to be confident in your affiliated partners.
If you’d like to build a successful marketing and sales strategic plan for 2014 and beyond, feel free to reach out to our team at www.KWNewHomesGroup.com or by emailing us here: scott.phillips@kw.com.