Maria Walley, Realtor
selling a condo | Cincinnati Condo Connection

10 “Must Do” Items Before Listing Your Condo For Sale

1) Have HVAC serviced and save the report for buyers. The most common item I see come up on post inspection requests is an allowance for an HVAC at the end of it’s life.  Be proactive, show that you service it and that it’s in working order and you may save yourself thousands of dollars.

2) Make sure all doors close properly and repair doors that don’t. Same with cabinet doors.  Doors and cabinets that don’t shut properly are annoying and are easily and cheaply fixed.

3) Repaint if necessary, especially if the colors are no longer fashionable.  Red and gold, remember the jewel tones of the 90’s.  They look terribly dated now.  Try Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray.  If there is prior water damage that has been resolved, please repaint the ceiling. Yes, you need to disclose if there was water damage but if you leave the spot on the ceiling, it makes buyers nervous.

4) Make sure all faucets are working properly.  No one likes to see a drippy water faucet. If they are old and unfashionable, change them out with newer inexepensive faucets.

5) Make sure the toilets are not running.

6) Make sure all lightbulbs have been changed to attractive bulbs (no CFLs) and that all are working and free of dirt and debris.  Otherwise buyer’s inspector will tell buyers to bring an electrician to make all lights operable. They don’t carry spare bulbs for testing.  Also, good lighting can make a home look cozier and prettier.  Bad lighting just makes everything look uglier.

7) Make sure washer and dryer are working or remove them if they don’t.

8) Make sure you have all of your current HOA docs including any amendments, master insurance policy, rules and regulations, minutes from board meetings and current year operating budget and balance sheet.  You will be asked for these things and you don’t want to wait until that moment to try to get these items.

9) Check smoke detectors.  Make sure they have new batteries if they are not hardwired and get rid of the ugly yellow ones and replace them with new white ones.

10) Deep clean and declutter (refrigerator, closets, storage area)  Condo buyers are usually downsizing and worried about containing all of their possessions.  You don’t want them to open up your storage area and see things stacked on top of each other.  Nothing says this place is to darn small that a storage unit piled high, ditto for your linen closet. Pack up anything seasonal or that you won’t need right away and store offsite.. Also clean out the cabinets under sinks and in laundry room. Chances are you have many duplicates of cleaning supplies that you don’t use.

I always recommend staging a condo.  I believe sellers usually sell it faster and get top prices when they stage.  I realize not all sellers have the funds to invest in staging up front.  Often, clients ask if they should repaint.  If the colors aren’t hideous, I usually tell them to save the time and money on painting and stage it instead.

Condo Buyers Checklist: 3 Tips to Make Buying a Condo Less Stressful

Street in Cincinnati

People make the decision to purchase a home for a variety of reasons. For some, it’s all about the location. For others, it’s about pricing and amenities, but most of all, it’s about potential return-on-investment in the future. Regardless of what you are looking for, the home-buying process can be an arduous one. Here are a few tips that, if applied, will make your condo purchase less stressful.

1. Evaluate your finances

This may seem obvious but the importance of preparing your finances when before a home purchase cannot be understated. Condos, in particular, come with some unique financial challenges, due to varying Homeowner Association rules. To help avoid confusion, both buyers and sellers should make sure to utilize the Condominium and Homeowner Association Checklist provided by the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors. You should also ensure that your own financial statements show a history of good credit and on-time payments. For a deeper dive into how to boost your credit rating, check out Credit Repair’s recent article on “How to Fix your Credit to buy a Home.” In addition, make sure that you have saved up enough to fund at least a 5% down payment (although 20% is typically preferable) on your home

2. Research, Research, Research

You can be prepared for many of the curveballs that the condo-buying process will likely throw your way by doing lots of research. The best advice we can offer is simply to start early. Even if you may not be looking to purchase a new home right away, the more time you have to familiarize yourself with the area the better off you will be. Look at price ranges, appreciation likelihood, availabilities, and amenities. Then, create a list of must-haves for your new home, and continue to proactively add and subtract from that list throughout the process

3. Get help from a professional

As a potential home-buyer, it is in your best interest to find help from a licensed real estate agent. Not only can they help you decide which home to buy, they can offer much-needed help and advice throughout the purchase process.

Here at Cincinnati Condo Connection, we understand the intricacies of purchasing a Cincinnati condo for-sale.  We have a proven track record of quality with both buyers and sellers and often know when new units will be available before they reach the market. Contact us to begin your search for a Cincinnati condo today!

Three Tips for Flipping a Condo in Downtown Cincinnati

The American

With the ever-growing popularity of HGTV shows like Flip or Flop and Fixer Upper, home flipping as a source of income is becoming more and more popular. While for some, it can be a great and lucrative investment; home flipping is not for everyone. Interested in flipping a home or condo in downtown Cincinnati? Check out the following tips to help you get the most bang for your buck.

1. Understand the home flipping market and the costs involved

Presently, the home flipping market in the United States is a saturated one. Atom Data Solutions’ Q2 2017 U.S Home Flipping Report, showed a home flipping rate of 5.6% of all home sales during the quarter and a gross flipping profit of $67,516. Inventory is tight nationwide, which makes flipping anywhere a tough investment. Before buying a home, make sure that you have done your research on the area in which you are purchasing. Check multiple sources to see what comparable properties are renting or selling for, and gauge the level of necessary repairs around those numbers.

The importance of understanding the growth potential of the neighborhood in which you are purchasing cannot be understated. For instance, a condo for sale in Over-The-Rhine may be more expensive and need fewer repairs than one in Oakley. However, given the rate in which home prices in Over-The-Rhine have grown in the last 20 years, a condo flipping project in that area is likely to be the better investment.

2. Be Wary of Costly Repairs

Allow your research to inform which repairs you undertake on your newly acquired property. While research shows that an upgraded kitchen and bathroom are large selling points on most homes, they are also the most costly upgrades, given that typically they will require plumbing work. Although some costs will vary by market. According to HomeAdvisor, the average kitchen repair will cost anywhere from $4,000 to $50,000. While the average bathroom repair ranges from $2,500 up to $23,749.

3. Work with the right contractor and construction team

Do your homework to find the best, most reliable contractor for the job. Check references, look at past projects and thoroughly interview everyone you bring on your team. The right contractor can also be a great sounding board for cost – effective re-model ideas but, be careful not to overdo it. Choose a few, impactful repairs that will help you to improve the value of the home without paying an arm and a leg and, do your own repairs where you can. The best way to save money on a home improvement project is to do-it-yourself.

Although the house flipping market is a saturated one, it is possible to make a decent profit given the right tools. Here at Cincinnati Condo Connection, we have condos for sale in a variety of price ranges, some of which may be a great flipping investment. Contact us today to begin your own project!

How Is Selling a Condo Different than Selling a House?

Selling a condo is very different from selling a house.  Make sure you work with an agent that understands and sells a lot of condominiums. Get recommendations from your neighbors or management of the building.

Lofts at 4120 in Oakley

Pricing

Condos in many buildings have a wide variety of prices.  Some of the factors that affect the price are location in the building.  In a high rise, the higher the more expensive.  Corner units also sell for higher prices than interior units.  The view also matters.  The premium for a better view can sometimes be 100% or more.

A River View in East Walnut Hills

Seasonality

Condos in Cincinnati sell year round.  They don’t follow the typical spring cycle, mainly because it’s rare for family’s to purchase a condo in this city.  It’s typically a single person or a couple.  Many empty nesters start looking at condos when their last child graduates from college Or when  they feel they are no longer able to live in their house . This can happen suddenly.  They often have encouragement from other family members to make this move.  Showings pick up around the holidays when adult children are home to help their parents find a condo.

Staging

Condos tend to be smaller than houses and many empty nester buyers who are moving from a large home worry about fitting their belongings into a condo.  Empty condos look small.  I recommend staging empty condos for many reasons but mainly because people can see that they can fit their king size bed, two night stands and dresser in the seemingly small bedroom of a condo.  The other benefit to staging a condo is that it takes the buyer’s eye away from the flaws.  They tend to see the view and the furniture rather than the dated parquet floor or worn kitchen appliances.  A good stager will have on trend colors and new stylish furniture. Developers, builders and flippers all stage homes because they know staging yields a better price and a quicker sale.  See this condo at The Ingleside that has been staged.It was on the market for 6 months as an empty condo.  It went under contract in one week after staging.

Staged condo at the Ingleside

The Building

Make sure that you have a realtor that understands the building. It’s best if you can get a realtor that not only knows the building but will be present for all showings.  There’s a lot to know about each building or community and you don’t want the selling agent who doesn’t understand your building fumbling around trying to find the party room or your parking spaces.  You want someone who can speak confidently about the amenities, the culture, the location and the financial health of the building. My team and I focus on condos and are familiar with all of the urban buildings in Cincinnati.

HOA Docs and Financials

Make sure that your realtor has current HOA documents and all amendments as well as financial statements for the building.  They will need the current budget, a recent balance statement and an income statement.  A copy of the rules and regulations is important to have too.  You don’t want to get a contract and then have the buyer find out that their 60 lb dog is not allowed in the building. Provide them with meeting minutes too. Many potential buyers want to know what the hot issues are in the building. You may also want to provide information about past special assessment and the history of the monthly HOA payment increases.

Photography

Make sure you have professional photography and that the common areas are shown.  If there is a pool or a gym, you will want to have those photographed too. If it’s winter, a good realtor that is familiar with your building will likely have photos of the pool from previous listings. For luxury condos or condos with great views consider doing a drone video to really show off the view and surroundings.

Days on Market

Condo buyers are a bit more deliberative than a house buyer.  Most will be very thorough in their evaluation of the building and the unit. In the last six months of 2017, condos in Cincinnati averaged 69 days on the market compared to single family houses which averaged 43 days on the market. Pricing the house right is the best way to beat the averages.

Advertising and Marketing

Many buildings do not allow signage so make sure that your realtor not only puts the condo on MLS but has a complete marketing plan to sell the condo.  Open houses are great for condos and usually attract a lot of people.  Make sure your realtor is willing to host open houses until it’s sold. Consider a dedicated website for your condo.

Financing

Financing a condo is more complicated than financing a house.  You and your realtor will want to line up a mortgage officer that does a lot of condos.  Not all condo mortgages can be sold on the secondary market. Other condos that have storefronts or restaurants are considered mixed use buildings and many lenders will not underwrite mortgages on those buildings.  The Edgecliff Private Residences, The Regency and many condos in OTR (Over-the-Rhine) are mixed use.