Sibcy Cline Vandalia Starts the Year with Updated Interiors

VandaliaSibcyCline.JPGSibcy Cline Vandalia – Sibcy Cline’s most-northern office – received some updates to its interior space. The office now features new carpeting, painted walls, artwork, conference furniture as well as a new kitchen.

To celebrate these improvements, Mike Pierson, Vice President/Sales Manager of Sibcy Cline Vandalia invited several Vandalia city officials to attend an office meeting. Mayor Arlene Setzer, City Manager Jon Crusey and his assistant, Julie Trick presented a “State of the City” report to Vandalia Sibcy Cline agents while they also admired the office’s new look.

VAGroup1.jpgGroupPhoto4.jpgfoyer2

Sibcy Cline’s Website Earns Quality Certification for 2017

SplashPage_2017.pngSibcy Cline’s website has earned the Website Qualification Certification (WQC) for 2017 from Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, a global community of 550 high-quality independent real estate firms. The certification was presented in recognition of excellence in website design and function.

Sibcy Cline’s website earned the certification after receiving high marks in a number of critical areas relating to website performance, including usability, design and content, interactivity, customer service and mobile responsiveness. The evaluation was conducted by Virtual Results, LLC, a real estate Internet and social marketing firm selected to review the websites of participating members of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World.

“We created the WQC to raise the bar in online marketing and recognize the companies that are demonstrating best practices with their websites,” said Leading Real Estate Companies of the World President/CEO Pam O’Connor. “The companies that earned the WQC this year have not only mastered the technical components, but they have also shown superiority in providing highly local content, up-to-the-minute information on homes, and responsive customer service.”

Sibcy Cline’s website averages (depending upon time of year) between 26,000-45,000 daily visits with 77,000-145,000 listing pages viewed.

See a list of all WQC real estate companies here.

Sibcy Cline Employees Adopt a Second Grade Class at Evanston Academy

AdoptAClass 02-09-17.jpg

A group of Sibcy Cline employees have adopted a second-grade class at Evanston Academy for the 2016-2017 school year. Each month this group has a planned activity centered around a topic. And, they usually bring a snack for the kids, too.

Activities have included: how to make an introduction (handshake, eye contact, clearly saying your name and smiling). That session also included grab-bag questions to start conversations such as “Do you have any pets?” or “Tell me something you learned in school” and “What is your favorite food?”.

In January, the group helped the kids create Valentine’s Day cards complete with poems. They talked about the importance of recognizing and acknowledging people who make a difference in their lives such as parents, siblings, grandparents and friends.

Their goal is to inspire the children by showing them teamwork and a positive corporate culture. Who knows – these kids may become our future real estate agents at Sibcy Cline!

Evanston Academy’s mission is “preparing students today for a successful tomorrow by developing academic excellence and positive self-concepts to foster values and achievement for all.”

The adopt a class Sibcy Cline program works via the Adopt A Class Foundation.

Pictured: Chris Payne (Marketing/Listings), Julie Renner (Insurance), Jane Bobel (Marketing), Debbie Wilson (Direct Mail Marketing), Becky Robertshaw (Recruiting), Barbara Bruns (Home Services) and David Wheatley (Training). Missing: Lisa Gnotek (Home Services)

Homeowners Play a Role in Making Their Open House Inviting

family-room-wood-floor
When it’s time to sell a house,  it’s important for homeowners to make sure they’re doing all they can to pitch in. This may be especially true when it comes to planning and preparing for an open house.

With this in mind, homeowners may want to consider the best ways they can prep their homes for the big day, looking at everything from simply de-cluttering well-trafficked areas to rearranging furniture and lighting, according to U.S. News and World Report. One of the big goals here should be to make things look as simple as possible, and to highlight as much square footage as a space can provide. The more open space, the easier it will be for prospective buyers to imagine what they might be able to do with each room based on their own tastes.

How to accomplish it?
There are generally two things that homeowners should look at when they’re examining these issues. First, they should determine the focal point for each room – whether it’s a big-screen TV, bed, kitchen table, or other feature. The other is to make sure there’s plenty of space to get around furniture or other home decor so there’s a clear and easy path to any feature of a given room.

It might also be wise to look at issues such as whether decorations impede easy opening and closing of doors, or entrance to rooms. In addition, if pieces of furniture or art have sharp edges homeowners know to avoid, that won’t be the case for visitors at an open house, so getting them out of the way is crucial.

Generally, the more that can be done to make any given room appear “neutral” so there’s no specific feel with respect to the homeowner’s taste, the more likely buyers will be to visualize themselves in the space.

Avoid simple missteps
In addition, it’s important for homeowners to keep in mind that buyers will be entering their homes for the first time ever, and there’s such a thing as “nose blindness,” according to The Huffington Post. What that means is that a home may have certain smells owners no longer notice but which can be quite affecting for visitors. Be sure to deal with even the possibility of odors is vital with a little cleaning. Some agents even recommend that owners bake cookies for the open house so the home has that fresh-baked smell permeating it.

Finally, it’s important for homeowners who are about to host an open house to vacate the home during the showing hours. Agents will recommend home sellers make plans outside of their home, because it can be uncomfortable for would-be buyers to look through a home while the people who live there are sitting in a room upstairs.

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 www.hmsnational.com.

2017 Is the Year To Buy a Home

Young couple moving in new homeOver the past few years, real estate professionals likely noticed a strange trend among would-be homebuyers. When mortgage rates went up even slightly from near-historic lows, shoppers tended to retreat from the market despite the fact that affordability was still well below pre-recession and all-time norms. But now that rates and prices alike are creeping back toward the highs seen prior to the economic downturn, experts say the time to buy is now.

There are actually two things to consider when it comes to mortgage costs, because while prices in some areas may have now surpassed all-time highs, rates haven’t come close to doing so. As such, while some consumers may get a little worried about mortgage rates that have jumped nearly a full percentage point in the course of just a few months, it’s important to put that increase into context, according to MarketWatch. While today’s rates are in the low 4 percent range and expected to rise at least a little more over the course of 2017, they’re still well below those in the 5.5 to 6 percent range that were so common before the housing market crashed.

family couch.JPG

Getting perspective
Simply put, mortgage rates below 5 percent were quite literally unheard of for recent generations of homebuyers. Not since the early 1970s have they been that low, and in fact got nearly as high as 20 percent in the early 1980s. As recently as the start of the 2000s, mortgage rates were closer to 7 percent. As such, today’s rates should still be seen as eminently affordable, and not something that should scare off shoppers any time soon.

With that having been said, though, experts also caution that the best time to buy will be in the near future. Prices and rates alike are expected to keep rising, so those waiting for a better deal than the ones available today to come along will likely find themselves disappointed. In general, experts advise that those who wait even six months to get into the market might end up paying tens of thousands of dollars more over the lives of their loans than current shoppers.

Other options to boost affordability
Fortunately, for consumers with the ability to make larger payments when they close their home loan agreements, there are other options for saving money on a mortgage, according to CNBC. Many lenders offer the ability to “buy points” at closing, which effectively means paying an additional 1 percent of the loan’s value to lower the interest rate by a single percentage point. The larger the payment at that time (which can obviously get expensive for those buying more than one point) the lower the ongoing interest rate. This can lower monthly mortgage payments a little bit each month, making it slightly easier to afford the mortgage in the long term.

With all this in mind, those who are now looking at their options in order to buy a home should talk to their agents and mortgage lenders about what their options for saving money might be. The ability to increase mortgage affordability is one that can really pay off over the course of a few decades.

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 www.hmsnational.com.

Sibcy Cline Insurance Services is Ranked among Cincinnati’s Top Property and Casualty Insurance Agencies

courierlist_topins_jan2017

Sibcy Cline Insurance Services was ranked among the Cincinnati region’s top property and casualty insurance agencies by the Business Courier. The company ranked at #18, rising up from a #20 ranking in 2016.

Ben O’Brien, Vice President of Sibcy Cline Insurance says, “We are thrilled with the recognition as a top agency in our region. Our team worked very hard this past year to provide the best-in-class of service to our clients. We had great results with an increase in business by 12 percent.”

Robin S. Sheakley, Vice President of Sibcy Cline Core Services adds, “We are very proud of our insurance team and their success in 2016! Our insurance agency is a valued resource not only for the public, but our Sibcy Cline employees and agents as well. Convenience, trust, and customer service are most important whether we are helping people buy, sell, finance, close, or insure their home.”

Hände schützen Haus

Founded in 2000, Sibcy Cline Insurance Services creates insurance programs that are personalized to each client. The company represents many insurance companies including: Travelers, Safeco, MetLife, Progressive, State Auto, Foremost, Specialty Underwriting Group, Diversified Brokerage and Marketfinders.

Carrie McIntosh-Owens of Sibcy Cline Realtors is President of the Southern Ohio Association of Realtors for 2017

carriemcintoshowens
Carrie McIntosh-Owens, co-manager of the Sibcy Cline Northeast office is the 2017 president for the Southern Ohio Association of Realtors (SOAR). She is looking forward to her term for the upcoming year. Carrie says, “Realtors in the Southern Ohio Association support a wide range of clients in the agricultural, rural, and suburban areas of Cincinnati. The association also supports its realtor members by offering continuing education, fun events, and philanthropic activities that support the communities in which we live and work. I am honored to be this year’s president and will work hard to make 2017 the best year yet by laying a  strong foundation for years to come.”

Says Rob Sibcy, president of Sibcy Cline, “We are thrilled Carrie will be leading the Southern Ohio Association of Realtors. She has been a very active with board member and we know she will do a fine job this year.”

Involved in Real Estate
Carrie has been an active member of SOAR throughout the years. She has served on the board of directors since 2007 as well as:

  • Treasurer – 2013
  • President – 2014
  • Past President – 2015
  • President – 2017

She has also served as Chairperson for RPAC in 2016, strategic planning committee, membership committee and the Elite Club committee. In 2014, Carrie was honored as Realtor of the Year for all of her past efforts with this organization.

Carrie also has state-wide responsibilities. She has been an Ohio Association of Realtors (OAR) director since 2013. She serves on the OAR professional development, communications and Young Professional Network committees.

Community Supporter
Carrie is a lifelong resident of Loveland, Ohio. She is a fast-pitch softball coach and has served on the board of directors of the Loveland Softball Association. She was also a Loveland Youth Football Cheerleading coach.