First-Time Buyer? Tips to Follow to Get Pre-qualified for a Home


It is important for first-time home buyers to know the best ways to navigate the mortgage market. Taking time to better understand the real estate sales process and how to qualify for the best possible mortgage terms will go a long way in reducing stress. Plus, getting the right type of home loan could save a buyer tens of thousands of dollars over the life of the mortgage.

Get Pre-Approval
One of the smartest things inexperienced home buyers can do to make themselves eligible to buy a home as quickly as possible is to get pre-approval on a mortgage. Your loan officer will be looking for the best type of mortgage loan to meet your needs with the lowest rate possible. A pre-approval helps the first-time home buyers better understand the true cost of homeownership: beyond the mortgage payment there is the cost for mortgage insurance, homeowner’s insurance and property taxes. Plus, with pre-approval, an offer on a home is taken more seriously by the home seller. 

Down Payment
The larger the down payment buyers can put together, the better off they will be going forward. This will not only increase chances of qualifying for a mortgage in the first place – and in doing so, getting a better rate – but also reduce their payments going forward, making homeownership more affordable. In some cases, it will also eliminate the need to pay private mortgage insurance altogether.

Work on Your Credit Score
It is also important that potential buyers
make sure their credit is up to snuff before they even think about actually applying for a mortgage. The higher an applicant’s credit score, the more likely to get approved and lock in a low rate. However, that may mean months of work to improve the financial conditions that go into a credit score, including paying down outstanding credit card balances and keeping up with all payments. (When you are buying a home it is really important NOT to make large purchases such as furniture, appliances or a new car. These type of purchases are reported to credit bureaus and can add a blemish to your credit.)

Save Money
At the same time, it’s important for new home buyers to make sure they’ve put aside additional savings to help cover closing costs and other expenses that typically crop up after moving into a home such as additional furnishings and unexpected repairs. Keep in mind that property taxes can rise. 

Talk to a Loan Officer and Real Estate Agent
Be sure to meet with a loan officer and real estate professional for guidance and valuable advice on how to proceed in the market and get the best possible deal out for your home purchase.

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty. HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers. Learn more here.



It’s Time Again for a Sibcy Cline Super Open House Weekend April 21-22, 2018

FBAd_1200_628_April2018_SuperLooking to a buy a home? Plan on attending an open house or two during the Sibcy Cline Super Open House Weekend on April 21-22, 2018. There will be some great homes to see throughout Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio; Northern Kentucky; and Southeastern Indiana.

Look at homes for sale.

Why buy and sell a home now?
Home values have risen. Mortgage interest rates are low. Now may be the best time for you to sell your old home and find a new one to meet your needs!

Sibcy Cline’s Listings and Sales Contest – Lots of Winners!

Monitor.jpgSibcy Cline conducted its annual listing and sales contest for 2018 from January through mid March. Agents who acquired at least 75 points were invited to a special celebration breakfast on April 11th at the Manor House in Mason.

Highlights of the contest:

  • Springfield had a majority of their agents qualify to attend the breakfast
  • Agents had 1,156 listings and 2,202 sales during the contest period
  • 1,189 open houses were held
  • 72 outgoing referrals were sent

Agents accumulating the most contest points:

  • Becky Orth – Campbell County – 861 points
  • Terry Blakley – Beavercreek – 974 points
  • Julie Back – Hyde Park – 1,205 points
  • Sue Lewis – Northern Hills – 1,180 points
  • Tim Cottrill – Northern Hills – 1,349 points

Top 5 Listing Agents:

  • Judy Recker – Kenwood – 16 listings
  • Becky Orth – Campbell County – 18 listings
  • Julie Back – Hyde Park – 19 listings
  • Sue Lewis – Northern Hills – 24 listings
  • Tim Cottrill – Northern Hills – 25 listings

Top Sellings Agents:

  • Teresa Durbin – Fairfield – 17 sales
  • Brad Sanders – Florence – 17 sales
  • Laura Sanders – Florence – 17 sales
  • Sue Lewis – Northern Hills – 19 sales
  • Lisa Goris-May – Centerville – 20 sales
  • Julie Back – Hyde Park – 22 sales
  • Terry Blakley – Beavercreek – 29 sales
  • Tim Cottrill – Northern Hills – 29 sales

Top 5 Listing Offices:

  • Montgomery – 82 listings
  • Northeast – 84 listings
  • Kenwood – 85 listings
  • Northern Hills – 88 listings
  • Anderson – 125 listings

Top 5 Sales Offices:

  • Hyde Park – 155.5 sales
  • Kenwood – 155.5 sales
  • West Chester – 164 sales
  • Florence – 170 sales
  • Anderson – 180 sales

RNS_BigCheck2Agents who earned 75+ points during the contest were in the running to win $10,000.  All agents’ names were placed into a hopper earlier this week and 100 names were pre-selected for the final reverse drawing.

During breakfast, those 100 names were on display. This year, to add a bit of fun, 10 of those final names were hidden until announced. Oh, the suspense…

The raffle began – who would win the $10,000 cash? Names were drawn and removed. For every tenth name drawn, that person came on stage and selected a random cash envelope for $100 to $500.

Cash winners were:

  • $100 – Ruby Heisler – Fort Mitchell
  • $100 – JoeEd Liska – Anderson
  • $200 – Barbara Klein – Anderson
  • $200 – Bri Briggs – Western Hills
  • $300 – Helena Cameron – Northeast
  • $300 – Beth Onthank – Hyde Park
  • $400 – Marcia Greenwald – Milford
  • $400 – Gary Keeshan – Northeast
  • $500 – Terry Blakley – Beavercreek

Final10Agents_2When it came down to the final 10 possible winners, those agents were invited to head to the stage to discuss options. They could continue with the raffle or take $500 each. This group decided to play until there were five left.

And now there were five agents left on stage. This group conferred with each other and decided to share the winnings of $1,500 each. 


The final five contest winners were:

  • Connie Juillerat – Kenwood
  • Larry Thinnes – Northwest
  • Becky Poast – Hyde Park
  • Kathy Smith – Northwest
  • Tammy Dittmer – Western Hills

Western Hills agents wore their super hero shirts:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

More photos of our agents:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Sibcy Cline’s Opening Day Findlay Market Parade Float Wins Third Place!

Managers_FloatThe Opening Day Findlay Market Parade is a long-time tradition in Cincinnati. For the first time, Sibcy Cline participated in this parade with our own float – and we won a third-place honor! We love our Sibcy Cline “red” and we love the Cincinnati Reds.

The Sibcy Cline float was organized by Amanda Duncan, Sibcy Cline’s Social Media and PR Specialist. Sibcy Cline Branch Managers shared their enthusiasm throughout the parade!



Sibcy Cline Ranked on REAL Trends Top 500 List for 2018

RealTrends_2018_LgstIndepRE.pngSibcy Cline Realtors once again is part of the REAL Trends Top 500 list for 2018. The company was ranked #20 of the largest independent U.S. Brokers and #13 for closed transactions of all Leading Real Estate Companies of the World broker members.

The Real Trend’s list ranked Sibcy Cline #40 in closed transaction sides and #75 in sales volume for all U.S. real estate brokers.

See all of the rankings here.

CoreServices_RealTrends_2018Additionally, real estate Core  Services were ranked and Sibcy Cline was listed at #12. This list included mortgage, title, home warranty insurance and escrow transactions.

2018 Guide to Local Farmers’ Markets in Southeastern Indiana

FarmersMarket_SEInd_2018There is nothing like eating fresh produce! Be sure to find a local farmer’s market in Southeastern Indiana to patronize. Most are open through October and offer local, fresh fruits and vegetables as well as flowers, jams and other homemade foods.

Our list is in order by day. If you see a local farmer’s market that is missing, please let us know –

Busse’s Fruit and Vegetable Farm 
7096 State Road 48, Aurora, Indiana (mid June – October 2018)
You will also find them at the Lawrenceburg Farmers’ Market

Madison Farmers’ Market
Broadway Fountain at corner of Main Street and Broadway, Madison, Indiana (April – October, 2018)

White’s Farm – Flea and Farmer’s Market
6028 Holland Rd (US 52), Brookville, Indiana 47012 (May 1 – October 9, 2018)
5pm to dark

White’s Farm – Flea and Farmer’s Market
6028 Holland Rd (US 52), Brookville, Indiana 47012 (year round)
Daylight to 12pm

Madison Farmers’ Market
Broadway Fountain at corner of Main Street and Broadway, Madison, Indiana (April – October, 2018)

Bright Farmer’s Market
Providence Presbyterian Church at 23983 Salt Fork Road, Bright, Indiana (June – October, 2018)
3pm -6:30pm

Brookville Treatment plant in Brookville, Indiana (May 18 – October, 2018)

Batesville Farmer’s Market
Downtown Batesville, Indiana (May- October 2018)

Lawrenceburg Farmers’s Market
Newtown Park (along US 50), Lawrenceburg, Indiana (June – mid October, 2018)

Madison Farmers’ Market
Broadway Fountain at corner of Main Street and Broadway, Madison, Indiana (April – October, 2018)

Rising Sun Farmer’s Market
Corner of Main and Walnut Streets, Rising Sun, Indiana (May-October, 2018)

2018 Guide to Northern Kentucky Farmers’ Markets

FarmersMarket_NKY_2018There are so many great reasons to live in Northern Kentucky and local farmers’ markets are one of them. Enjoy shopping for your locally grown fruits and vegetables through October by visiting one of these markets listed below.

If you know of any local markets that aren’t mentioned on this list, please let us know and we’ll add them! 

Boone County Farmers Market
6028 Camp Ernst Road, Burlington, Kentucky.
10am-5pm (May – October 2018)
Summer Hours (Memorial Day – Labor Day): 9am-6pm
Winter Hours: Day after Thanksgiving: 10am-8pm weather permitting

The Friendly Market
10050 Norbotten Drive, Florence, Kentucky. (April – October, 2018)
Mon-Fri: 11am-6 pm
Sat-Sun: Hours vary

Highland Heights Farmers’ Market
3054 Alexandria Pike, Highland Heights, Kentucky. (May-October, 2018)

Fort Thomas Farmers’ Market 
90 Alexandria Pike US 27 (outside Fort Thomas Antiques & Design Center)  Ft. Thomas, Kentucky.  (June-October 2018)
October hours: 3pm-6pm

Dixie Farmers’ Market
116 Commonwealth Avenue, Erlanger, Kentucky. (May-late October 2018)

Alexandria Farmers’ Market
7634 Alexandria Pike, Alexandria, Kentucky. 3pm-6pm (starts June 1, 2018)

Covington Farmers’ Market
Third Street and Court Street, Covington, Kentucky. (May-October 2018)
April 2018 preview: Baker Hunt Art & Cultural Center at 620 Greenup St. (April 21 and 28, 2018) 

DCCH Farmers’ Market of Fort Mitchell
75 Orphanage Road, Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky. (May – October 2018)

Independence Farmers’ Market
5272 Madison Pike (Independence Court House), Independence, Kentucky.  (Starting April 28, 2018)

Newport Farmers’ Market
709 Monmouth Street, Newport, Kentucky. Near Pepper Pod.  (June – October, 2018)
Not confirmed for 2018.

Highland Heights Farmers’ Market
3054 Alexandria Pike, Highland Heights, Kentucky. (April – May, 2018)



Highland Heights Farmers’ Market
3054 Alexandria Pike, Highland Heights, Kentucky. (April – May, 2018)