Thursday, July 31, 2014

Jose Medina & Associates ranked among America's top 1,000 real estate professionals!

  On June 27, 2014, REAL Trends, Inc, in conjunction with The Wall Street Journal, published its 9th annual:  
 "The Thousand"  list of America's top 1,000 real estate sales professionals and real estate teams 

While we celebrate this achievement, we want you to know that our business is much more than just numbers. Check out out what a few of our clients have to say...

Dear Jose & Staff,
We'd like to thank you for the professional and courteous service we received throughout the process of the sale of our home.  The correspondences over the last two months have been very informative and helpful.  Thank you for making the sale of our home a very positive experience.  We will certainly recommend your services in the future!
-Jeff & Michelle Grametbauer

I just wanted to send you a quick note to say thank you for assisting with the sale of my house.  You and your team were very helpful and made things much easier than I thought they would be.  I will definitely be recommending you in the future to any friends and acquaintances.  Thank you.
-Tony Slabaugh

"We are pleased with the entire process of buying and selling our home!" 
- Tim L.  

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

10 Mold Prevention Tips for Your Home

1. Eliminate Clutter

Cast a critical eye on household clutter, and pare down your stuff. Clutter blocks airflow and prevents your HVAC system from circulating air. Furniture and draperies that block supply grilles cause condensation. All this moisture creates microclimates in your home that welcome and feed mold growth.
So throw out things you don’t love or don’t use. Push furniture away from vents and grilles to keep air circulating. On humid, still days, run a couple of fans to keep air moving.

2. Control Indoor Climate
Mold problems often emerge during hot, humid summers when you’re tempted to play with the air conditioner. But set the thermostat too high, and the air conditioner won’t dehumidify your air effectively; set it too low, and you create cold surfaces where water vapor can condense.

To prevent moisture problems and maximize energy efficiency, set the thermostat at 78 degrees F.

3. Shut Windows and Doors When AC is On
When you open windows and doors, you let air conditioning escape, waste money, and invite humid air into your cooler home. This causes condensation, which mold loves. So keep doors and windows shut when the AC is humming.
Also, maintain your home at around 80 degrees when you’re on vacation or at work. Too often, we bump the thermostat up to 85 degrees, or turn off the AC when we’re away. This raises temperature and humidity, which creates the ideal home for mold.

4. Properly Size Your AC Unit
Make sure your air-conditioning unit is properly sized for your house. If it’s too small, the unit will run constantly, elevating costs but not the temperature; too big, and the unit will constantly start and stop, which wastes energy, too.

Install an HVAC unit that’s just right. For guidance, call an HVAC professional or consult Energy Star’s square footage/AC capacity chart.

5. Monitor Humidity
An indoor humidity monitor will help you keep track of moisture levels that, ideally, fall between 35% and 50% relative humidity; in very humid climates, at the height of summer, you may have to live with readings closer to 55%.
But if you reach 60% relative humidity, it’s time to look for the source of the added moisture; above 70% relative humidity, certain species of mold can begin growing.

Indoor humidity monitors start at less than $20; more sophisticated models that simultaneously and remotely track several rooms can climb to $200.

6. Evaluate Your AC
If you get a high humidity reading of 60% or more, make sure your air conditioner is doing its job.
Is it set to the proper temperature?
Is it cycling on and off periodically?
Does it blow cold air when it reaches the set point?
Are the coils clean?

Inspect the condensate drain pipe (the narrow white pipe sticking out the side) to make sure it’s dripping regularly. If it isn’t, the pipe is blocked and water may be accumulating inside the unit — or on your floor. If you suspect a problem, call your HVAC professional. To prevent blockage and mold buildup, pour a cup of bleach mixed with water down the drain annually.

7. Look for Standing Water
If the air conditioner isn’t the issue, search for standing water or chronic dampness that’s increasing indoor humidity and providing a lovely environment for mold.

Check for puddles or dampness around hot water tanks, sump pumps, freezers, refrigerators, basement doors, and windows. Inspect crawl spaces for ground water dampness or foundation leaks.

8. Cover Your Crawl Space Floor
Groundwater seeping into crawl spaces can add gallons of moisture vapor into your house every day. The simplest defense is to cover crawl space floors with a plastic vapor barrier — 6 mil polyethylene (landscapers’ plastic) — that traps moisture in the ground.

If you regularly crawl in your crawl space, use a heavier plastic that won’t rip as easily: Some 20 mil plastic coverings are on the market.

9. Add a Dehumidifier
A dehumidifier removes excess moisture from the air.
You can buy a whole house dehumidifier ($1,100-$1,800) that attaches to your furnace, treats air throughout the house, and connects to a drain so you never have to empty a tank. If you live in a very humid area, a whole-house system is the way to go.
If you have occasional bouts of dampness and musty smells, a portable dehumidifier will suffice ($150-$200).
Most models have an auto shutoff that keeps the unit from overflowing when the storage tank is full. Some portables have a hose hookup that automatically sends water into a nearby floor drain.

10. Call a Professional
If you can’t find the moisture problem on your own, or you aren’t sure how to correct a problem you do find, call a home inspector or indoor air quality consultant. Look for credentials from a respected industry organization, such as the American Society of Home Inspectors or the Indoor Air Quality Association.

Have a MOLD FREE day!  

Brought to you by: 

Radon Mitigation and Mold Remediation Specialists
 (330) 241-2031
 (330) 730-9919

Friday, June 13, 2014

A Lending Hand For Mortgage Borrowers...

One area of relief coming to home buyers across the country appears to be the lowering of credit standards necessary to get a home loan.

Wells Fargo, the largest mortgage lender in the U.S., a couple weeks ago cut its minimum credit score for
borrowers of Fannie Mae- and Freddie Mac-backed loans to 620 from 660.

According to Bloomberg, Wells Fargo followed similar moves by smaller lenders, including the U.S. unit of Canadian Toronto-Dominion Bank, which lowered downpayments to 3% without requiring mortgage insurance for some loans.

The news is noteworthy because it opens up borrowing capacity for many who had been shut out in the years following the housing downturn. When the foreclosure wave started to hit, banks tightened up borrowing requirements to protect themselves from foreclosures and short sales, which for several years were eating up resources.

But now that the refinance boom has severely dried up, more lenders are looking to court purchase loans from home buyers.

Also contributing to this move is a recent drop in demand for mortgages, which we believe stems from a lack of homes for sale, increasing home values that are pricing out a lot of borrowers in markets throughout the country, and a larger presence of all-cash investors. In April, Mortgage Bankers Association Chief Economist Mike Fratantoni lowered his forecast for home purchase loans in 2014 to $626 billion from $652 billion last year.

What does this news mean for buyers and sellers?

On the one hand, it's good to hear that more borrowing options will be open for home buyers this year. Lower credit scores don't always equate to reckless borrowing. On the other hand, this is a clear sign that lenders are in need of more loan business. We may see more consolidation in that industry as a result.

Bloomberg reports that only 58% of independent mortgage banks and bank home-loan units were profitable in the last quarter of 2013. And JPMorgan Chase, the second largest mortgage lender in the U.S., said last month that its origination business lost money last quarter and would also lose money in the second quarter.

For the coming year, it looks like buyers will at least have an advantage when it comes to getting a loan. That doesn't help the inventory shortage situation, but provides one small area of relief.

Written By Gino Blefari
President & CEO
Intero Real Estate Services, Inc.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

We've grown! Meet the team...

The past few months have seen some awesome growth for Jose Medina & Associates.  We thought now would be a great time to take a moment to introduce or re-introduce you to our people!  You'll find that we are 11 different personalities that come together everyday with one goal in mind...excellence.  We reside all over Stark county and together we have over 90 years of real estate experience!  Each year we choose a word that exemplifies our focus over the next 12 months (idea prompted by Jon Gordon).  Enjoy getting to know us...and our words for the year!

Jose Medina: Team Leader & Licensed Agent
Word:  FAITH  Resides:  North Canton
Interests: Reading, running, riding his motorcycle & dirt bike, family time, sports (and tearing into a homemade peanut butter pie every now & then)

Rachel Hogue:  Listing Partner & Licensed Agent
Word:  INTENTIONAL  Resides:  Canton (Plain)
Interests:  Baking...especially pies, eating out, making cards, travel & hanging out with family and friends

Kristy Varrecchia:  ISA (Inside Sales Agent) Licensed Agent
Word:  ENDURANCE  Resides:  Massillon
Interests:  Walking, biking, kayaking, camping, traveling, learning new skills, 
hanging with friends, faith, and the adventure of change

Joanne Tarle: Administrative Lead
Word:  TIME  Resides:  Canal Fulton
Interests:  Reading, craft -card making, scrap booking, taking pictures
 and hopefully getting an awesome camera someday soon!

Patty House:  Closing Manager & Licensed Agent
Word:  BALANCE  Resides:  Canton (Plain)
Interests:  Spending time with her boys, exercising (running, boxing & cross-fit) and riding motorcycles

Kevin McCaulley:  Licensed Buyer's Agent
Word:  FOCUS  Resides:  Massillon (Jackson)
Interests:  Loves the outdoors - hiking, biking, fishing, boating & cookouts

Anita Reese:  Licensed Buyer's Agent
Word:  BALANCE  Resides:  Doylestown
Interests:  Cooking, entertaining, vacationing, boating & enjoying summer days at the lake

Tiffany Pepper:  Licensed Buyer's Agent
Word:  PRESENT  Resides:  North Canton
Interests:  Spending time with family and friends, reading & riding motorcycles

Valerie Rasinar:  Licensed Buyer's Agent
Word:  TIME  Resides:  Canton
Interests:  Spending time being silly with family, running and reading

Valarie Espenschied:  Licensed Buyer's Agent
Word:  FULFILLED  Resides:  Louisville (Plain twp)
Interests:  Working out, any activities outside, and spending time with her granddaughter

Kate Medina:  Account & Rental Manager
Words:  LET IT GO (because some years require more than one word!)  Resides:  North Canton
Interests:  Writing, reading, exercising, entertaining, travel, fun adventures with family and friends

Friday, March 21, 2014

March Market Update Report

Is your home competitive or compelling? Competitive means your property is priced and shows “as well as” the other competing homes currently on the market.  Competitive feedback sounds like “nice home; just started looking; wants to see other homes”, etc.   However, if your property is compelling then it stands out from the rest of the crowd.  Buyers don’t want to leave the driveway, and instead of receiving feedback you receive an offer!  Right now about 1/3 of the homes that sell are doing so in the first 30 days (buyers are demanding homes that are priced to compel.)  So… is your property priced to be competitive or compelling???

Here’s some current market stats you may find interesting.  Currently there are almost 1,700 homes and condos on the market in Stark County.  On average, only about 200 properties sell each month, which means that only the top 12% of the market is selling each month.  In other words, your listing has to be in the top 12% of the market to be sold!  If there are 50 competing properties for your listing and only the top 6 sell a month - is your home in the top 12% of homes regarding price and condition?  We are in a very crucial season with a lot of buyer activity and now is the time to seize this market.   Please always feel free to call us with any questions or concerns….

Your Realtor,

Jose Medina

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

How to apply to lower your Property Taxes!

Super Charged Learning! 

Saturday, MARCH 22, 10:00 -12:00 p.m.
Learn How to Apply to
Lower Your Property Taxes

We all want save money - Come Learn How!

A representative from the Stark County Auditor's Office will discuss how to complete the application form to have your property taxes reviewed for a reduction. 

Please bring you current tax bill and your property card from the Stark County Auditor's website. 

Auditor Forms will be provided.

A Notary will be present to complete your application.

 $10 Pay at the door.  Cash, check or credit card.

All Revision Requests are accepted only once a year.  This year's deadline is March 31...
So do not delay in registering for this event!

Advance Registration for this seminar is requested,
but not required.
North Canton Branch
of the Stark County District Library
189 - 25th St NW
North Canton, OH  
10:00 am - 12:00 pm

To Register for this Class
call Dan Quinlan at
Red Rock Real Estate
330-456-ROCK (7625)  

Stark County Real Estate Investors Association

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

"Renting to Own" explained...

Entering into a "Rent to own" or "Lease Option" contract basically means you're renting a home just like any other rental. However, as part of the contract you have the option to buy the home at the end of the lease for a predetermined price.  Renters are required to pay an option fee to the seller (which is a set amount that will be applied to the down payment when the home is actually purchased by the tenant.)  A portion of the tenant's monthly rent will also be applied towards their principal balance.

 For example, if a home is worth $100,000.00 and rent is $800/month, then the seller may
require a $3,000 option fee up front and agree that  $100/month of the rent payment go towards the purchase price balance. That would mean that at the end of a 12 month contract, the tenant would have their $3,000 option fee and another $1,200 ($100/month x 12 months) as a down payment on the agreed upon purchase price of $100,000.00.  The tenant would then need financing to purchase the home for $95,800.00.  Please note that if the tenant should decide NOT to purchase the home at the end of the contract period, the seller retains the option fee.  

Renting to own can appeal to people with little to no savings for a down payment, or people with bad credit or no credit.  It is also an option for those who do not qualify for traditional mortgages or may have lost their homes to foreclosures.  It can be a great way to get into a desired neighborhood or school district in a timely manner, while affording the renter time to build their income or repair their credit.    

 Some points to consider before entering into a rent to own contract...

1)  All terms are negotiable.  Be sure that the purchase price of the home agrees with the current value of the home.  It is likely that the option fee will be 3% - 5% of the agreed upon purchase price.
2)  Most rent to own contracts will require the renter to purchase the home in 1 -2 years.  Many contracts will extend another year to the renter with a 4% escalation (this percentage could be higher or lower) on the original agreed upon purchase price of the home.  
3)  A renter can walk away from the purchase at the conclusion of the lease, but they will lose their down payment.  
4)  Most rent to own contracts state the the tenant is responsible for all repairs needed (even throughout the rental period).
5)  Make sure that all terms are understood and agreed upon before signing a contract.