Benefits of Selling Your Home During Winter

House_Snow_Hands.jpgWinter is not a time of year typically associated with a lot of home sales, but real estate experts advise that owners can actually tap this unique market. All it takes is a different type of prep work and a positive attitude.

While bright, sunny days coupled with warm weather and green grass can seem like the best way to market a home, some industry insiders actually prefer to market a home in winter, according to the Realty Times. Homes tend to be more brightly lit and festively decorated in a way that makes a listing look a lot more “homey”.

Everyone is Motivated in the Winter
Another huge benefit that comes with putting a home up for sale in the winter is interest of getting a deal done as quickly and easily as possible. Sellers who decide to sell in the winter are typically those who either have to get their homes on and off the market quickly or have had the property up for sale for a few months and want to strike a deal as soon as possible.

In either case, veteran real estate professionals will often advise that buyers at this time of year are likewise motivated to move in quickly. They might need to move for job-related reasons and want to do so when there’s less competition from other buyers or hope to relocate while prices are still below what they might expect to see a few months down the line.

What to Keep in Mind
It’s worth noting that homeowners have a serious part to play in making sure their properties are fully up to code and ready for the sales process. Any issues that arise could hold up what would otherwise be a quick and easy sales process. That point goes beyond simply making sure a home is ready for a photo or video shoot and involves ensure all home systems (heating and cooling, hot water heaters, etc…) are in good working order.

When mishaps arise with those home systems, they can lead to backups because of how busy the associated repair professionals are at this time of year. Therefore, getting systems tested before the home is put up for sale is usually a great idea.

Likewise, it’s usually smart for owners to invest in a home warranty ahead of a sale to make sure that if something does go wrong for those systems, they’ll have some financial protection and added peace of mind. That can be a huge benefit for buyers as well, and highlighting that protection might be an extra selling point at this time of year.

It’s also important for owners to remember that the more limited number of shoppers seen on the market at this time of year means that they might need to be a little more flexible in how they conceive of the sales process. Some home buyers may be perfectly willing to buy, but then the holiday season gets in the way, delaying the sale. Other buyers might want to get the sales process wrapped up as quickly as possible. Home sellers should be prepared for all scenarios.

Hosting an Open House
Because of how tight anyone’s schedule can be at this time of year, there are not as many open houses. This can actually present a significant opportunity for you to show off your home with an open house and putting your best foot forward.

Make sure your home is 100 percent ready for that open house. At this time of year, that effort usually starts with two different types of curb appeal. First, it’s important to keep a yard in the best shape possible, even if there’s a blanket of snow on it. Clearing out sticks and dead leaves can go a long way here, as can tasteful holiday decoration, where it’s appropriate.

The other aspect of curb appeal is making sure all paths are safe for people to walk on. Clearing snow, ice and puddles from driveways and walkways, as well as the sidewalks will help sellers and their guests avoid any potential accidents and also show that you are conscientious about attending to your property.

Issues to Avoid
Once open houses have been held and bids are starting to come in, keep a positive mental attitude. It can be easy to worry about getting a sale done in short order or a good price for a home, but at especially at this time of year, sellers’ agents will have more time to devote to the sale of their listings and make sure everything goes smoothly.

Remember, at some point the finer details of a sale are out of the sellers’ hands. Rather than getting worked up about things you can’t control, it’s usually a better idea to let you agent do his/her job. Relax and enjoy the season for what it is – an opportunity to spend time with family and friends.

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. To learn more click

Robin Sibcy Sheakley is Named Chairman of the Board of The Realty Alliance

Robin_Movie_CroppedRobin Sibcy Sheakley, Vice President of Sibcy Cline Realtors, has been named Chairman of the Board for The Realty Alliance. She will serve a two-year term that ends in October 2019. Robin has previously served as a board member of this organization.

Says, Rob and Pam Sibcy (Sibcy Cline’s President and Vice President of Marketing as well as parents to Robin), “We are very proud of Robin’s success and her leadership skills. We think it is wonderful she is continuing the real estate tradition within our family and are sure she will do a great job with The Realty Alliance.”

A licensed real estate professional since 1994 (and a fourth-generation Sibcy in the business), Robin wears many hats at Sibcy Cline Realtors. As Vice President, she oversees Relocation, Mortgage, Title, Insurance, Recruiting and Professional Development. She is also a member of the Sibcy Cline Executive team.

Locally, she currently serves as a board member for The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati; Ursuline Mother’s Club; Cincinnati Regional Business Committee; and as an advisory member of The Fifth Third Bank.

About The Realty Alliance
The Realty Alliance is a network of the largest, most-successful full-service real estate companies in North America, comprising more than 117,000 sales people and thousands of employees in its real estate firms and affiliated businesses such as mortgage, title and insurance. The Realty Alliance leads the real estate industry in innovative practices and in the setting of policy for real estate.

Julie Back of Sibcy Cline Realtors Honored by the Business Courier Among the Ten Women Who Mean Business

Julie_WomenWhoMeanBus_3Julie Back, Executive Sales Vice President with Sibcy Cline Hyde Park, was honored by the Business Courier as one of 10 Women Who Mean Business on December 7, 2017.

The luncheon presentation included a video from each honoree where they shared their professional stories. Julie spoke about her 24-year career experience. (See an excerpt of Julie Back’s  Courier interview following the photos below.)

Julie has had quite a year in 2017. She has not only been honored as Sibcy Cline’s top-selling agent, but was also number one in sales for the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors for 2016 and number one in individual sales for the state of Ohio for 2017.

Read the Business Courier article to learn more about each honoree. (Note: If you do not have a subscription, you will not be able to read the entire article.)




How to Host a Party at Your Home without Breaking the Bank

People_Party_Christmas.jpgAt this time of year, many homeowners invite family and friends over to celebrate the holiday season. Fortunately, they don’t have to spend a lot of money to do so. With just a few helpful tips, it’s easy to have a great party and still stay on budget.

One important thing to keep in mind is that when winter arrives, most people aren’t looking for anything too extravagant from the holiday parties they attend. Just getting together to celebrate is what matters. That fact can help to put hosts at ease as it relates to keeping costs down as there are plenty of ways to save money.

Of course, when it comes to staying on budget, it’s important to actually set that budget. When hosts know how much they can afford to spend they can more easily apportion every dollar to make sure they get what they need.

Keeping It Under Control
When hosting parties, one of the biggest mistakes made is the purchasing or preparing of too much food or drink. Take the time to think back to past parties hosted and how much was left over.

Ask guests to bring an appetizer or drink of their choice to create more of a “family” atmosphere that lends to the festivities.

Hosts may also face the issue of having invited too many people. Not only can that approach make for a cramped setting, but it also pushes the budget that much higher. Paring back the invites, even a little bit, can be a great way to save.

Other Helpful Tips
Any food or beverage items that can purchase before the big holiday shopping rush will likely be at least a little bit cheaper than they are a few weeks from now. Snack foods, rather than a full meal, can go a long way toward filling stomachs without requiring a lot of prep time and will probably cost a similar amount.

And when it comes to decorating, hosts shouldn’t feel the pressure to go overboard. Again, this time is more about the people in attendance creating the warm holiday atmosphere rather than wall-to-wall expensive decorations. Often the items they already have on hand will suffice and shouldn’t take too long to set up.

A little planning can go a long way minimizing the need to go too deep into pocket. At the end of the day, a host’s primary focus should be on enjoying this festive time with family and friends.

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.  To learn more click


Local Home Sales Report for October 2017

HomeSales_Oct2017.jpgMany homes are still selling quickly due to low inventories of homes for sale. Mortgage interest rates remain low. Here are the sales statistics for October 2017 for Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio; Northern Kentucky; and Southeastern Indiana:


October 2017 vs October 2016

  • -6.73% Decrease in homes sold (2,052 homes vs 2,200)
  • 2.85% Increase in average sale price ($199,616 vs $194,086)
  • 1.29% Increase in median sale price ($157,000 vs $155,000)
  • -4.07% Decrease in gross sales volume ($409,612,540 vs $426,990,135)

January – October 2017 vs January – October 2016

  • -.92 % Decrease in homes sold (22,116 homes vs 20,321)
  • 5.93% Increase in average sale price ($202,211 vs $190,895)
  • 6.58% Increase in median sale price ($162,000 vs $152,000)
  • 4.95% Increase in sales volume ($4,472,799 vs $4,260,972,216)

Statistics courtesy of Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors October 2017 Home Sales Report


October 2017 vs October 2016

  • 3.17% Increase in homes sold (1,367 homes vs 1,325)
  • 3.12% Increase in average sale price ($154,695 vs $150,013)
  • 4.08% Increase in median sale price ($130,000 vs $124,900)
  • 6.39% Increase in sales volume ($211,468,609 vs $198,767,519)

January – October 2017 vs January – October 2016

  • 1.14% Increase in homes sold (13,775 homes vs 13,620)
  • 6.05% Increase in average sale price ($156,088 vs $147,190)
  • 6.35% Increase in median sale price ($134,000 vs $126,000)
  • 7.25% Increase in sales volume ($2,150,112,912 vs $2,004,733,228)

Statistics courtesy of Dayton Area Board of Realtors October 2017 Home Sales Report

Northern Kentucky

October 2017 vs October 2016

  • -7.68% Decrease in homes sold (589 homes vs 638)
  • 6.23% Increase in average sale price ($180,727 vs $170,126)
  • 3.33% Increase in median sale price ($155,000 vs $150,000)
  • -1.93% Decrease in sales volume ($106,448,636 vs $108,540,622)

January – October 2017 vs January –October 2016

  • 1.93% Increase in homes sold (6,085 homes vs  5,970)
  • 2.77% Increase in average sale price ($179,995 vs $175,151)
  • 3.97% Increase in median sale price ($157,000 vs $151,000)
  • 4.75% Increase in sales volume ($1,095,271,303 vs $1,045,652,419)

Statistics courtesy of Northern Kentucky Association of Realtors October 2017 Home Sales Report

Southeastern Indiana

October 2017 vs October 2016

  • 20% Increase in homes sold (114 homes vs 95 homes)
  • -7.2% Decrease in average sale price ($160,578 vs $173,002)
  • 7.1% Increase in median sale price ($152,500 vs $142,400)
  • 11.4% Increase in sales volume ($18,305,870 vs $16,435,177)

January – October 2017 vs January – October 2016

  • 6.3% Increase in homes sold (1,039 homes vs 977 home)
  • 7.9% Increase in average sale price ($164,683 vs $152,495)
  • 3.6% Increase in median sale price ($144,000 vs $139,000)
  • 10.5% Increase in sales volume ($164,583,438 vs $148,987,900)

Statistics courtesy of Rick McMillin – Southeast Indiana Association of Realtors Home Sales Report, October, 2017

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Cincinnati Citirama 2018 to be Located in the West End near Music Hall

ClarkStreetMapThe Home Builders Association of Greater Cincinnati announced its site selection for Citirama 2018 – in the West End on Clark Street (near Music Hall). Fifty four single-family detached homes are slated to be constructed. Fifteen lots will be part of the home show with home prices ranging from $250,000-$400,000. Citirama is scheduled to run from September 8-16, 2018.

Homes will qualify for the City of Cincinnati Tax Abatement program (10-year, 100% abatement on the improvements and longer for LEED Certified and “visitable” homes.)

Real Estate Forecast for 2018

crystal ballWhat’s in store for real estate in 2018? Here are some predictions for the market:

Home Sales Increasing
Total U.S. home sales are expected to increase by 2% for 2018.

Economists are also predicting 1.33 million new housing starts in 2018 – up from 1.22 million in 2017. Low inventory has been a frustrating part of the home-buying process and new home construction will help to relieve some of those inventory issues.

Mortgage Rates and Home Prices To Rise
U.S. economic growth is positive with the stock market going strong with a rise of 10% in 2017. Mortgage rates are expected to increase moderately and home prices are expected to increase by 4.9%. Homeowners will continue to build equity in their current homes. These are all good signs of a healthy economy.

Rising home prices and rents will outpace increases in income in 2018. The rental market is expected to have low vacancies and thus a rise in rates of 3-6%. The inventory of single-family homes will continue to be tight and result in higher prices for home purchases as well. Newly constructed homes will be generally be more expensive due to higher material costs and wages. Much of this is due to 2017 natural disasters (including multiple hurricanes).

Baby Boomers and Millennials
Baby Boomers are slowing down with home purchases (due to their age) and Millennials are in line as the largest home-buying sector. The great recession and tremendous college debt have affected Millennials, putting them behind a few years in making a home purchase. These former renters are now getting into position to blossom into homeowners. Looser mortgage restrictions will play a large role in helping them succeed with the American Dream.

Boomerang Home Buyers Are Back
Home buyers who lost homes during the recession will be rebounding back. (The normal foreclosure waiting period is seven years.) The average age of a homeowner who lost a home to foreclosure during the recession was 45 – as a boomerang buyer they will now be in the their early 50s.

Lending Guidelines to Lessen
There is an expectation that lending guidelines will be rolled back therefore allowing potential home buyers easier access to mortgages.

No Housing Bubble
Economists are not foreseeing a housing bubble and state there is little risk for home-price declines. This is great news for those planning on buying a home in 2018!

Our Local Market
The local economy has been strong and Cincinnati is now the largest in Ohio at $132 billion as well as the fast-growing city in the Midwest. Read more here.

Look at homes for sale.

Read more predictions here.
Sources: Realtor.Org,  FreddieMac and Market Leader.