Sibcy Cline Earns "2011 Family Business" Award!

On August 23, 2011, Sibcy Cline was honored at the 2011 Family and Private Business Awards Ceremony by the Goering Center as a winner of the “75+ Years Family-Owned Business” award!

This was such a tremendous honor for Sibcy Cline, especially in light of the economic recession of the last several years. There were 441 companies nominated and 56 finalists for the business awards. Our company is humbled to have won among such competition.

The Goering Center is a non-profit organization that is affiliated with the University of Cincinnati and focuses on private and family-run local businesses by providing education and training to their members for the past 22 years.

Pam Sibcy, Robin Sheakley and Rob Sibcy want to thank all of the Sibcy Cline agents and employees  for their hard work and dedication that helped to make this award possible. The Sibcy family is sharing this 2011 Family Business Award with them. They feel that each Sibcy Cline individual plays an important role in making the company the best in real estate, mortgage, insurance, title, relocation and home services.

Says Rob Sibcy, “This is our third award in one year. We are the Top Place To Work, the Best Place To Work and now a top Family Business. Thank you so much for being part of the best team!”

How's the Weather?

Planning on looking at some open houses this weekend and want to know what the weather is going to be? No problem. Sibcy Cline Realtors has added a weather widget to our  Open House page!  (A widget is an application, or a component of an interface, that enables a user to perform a function or access a service.)

Sibcy Cline’s open house pages show all area MLS listed open houses and averages 136,000+ views monthly. With just a few clicks, you can see what homes or condominiums you can visit this weekend.

And now you will know weather” or not to bring an umbrella along for your house tours.

Homearama 2012 Site Selected

Greater Cincinnati’s Homearama 2012 site has been selected at Willows Bend in Miami Township in Clermont County. 15 lots will be available at that location and homes will be priced from $550,000 – $1 million per the Home Builders Association of Greater Cincinnati.

Read more about Miami Township.

North College Hill is Best Place To Raise Kids

North College Hill was rated an Ohio “Best Place to Raise Kids” by Bloomberg Businessweek.

The rating system used 2010 data looking at area size, median income as compared to the state’s median, school performance, crime stats and cost of living. (It also took into consideration jobs, ethnic diversity and nearby recreational activities.)

Read more about North College Hill, including looking at listed properties here.

Sibcy Cline was featured in Cincy Chic!

Oh la la! Cincy Chic featured Sibcy Cline Realtors in their latest eblast! Amy Scalia wrote about Sibcy Cline’s social networking features including our Facebook page, Twitter page and our blog (which you are currently reading).

The article also referred to our mobile apps for our web site as as well as the Market Update e-mail available to clients, friends and family of our Sibcy Cline agents.

Read the Cincy Chic article here.

Feel the Heat of Mortgage Delays?

Pat Kuether, president of Sibcy Cline Mortgage Services, answers some questions about the loan process:

Why does the loan process and underwriting take so long today? PK: You would think lenders would be just waiting to pounce on and approve the next loan that comes through. You would think the processing and underwriting turn times would be faster for processing a loan, underwriting, drawing loan docs, and closing loans. You would think loans could virtually fly through the home-buying process. You would think all that, and yet you would be wrong.

So, just exactly why are loans taking longer than they should right now? PK: Like the movie Risky Business, mortgage lending was a party out of control. And, mom and dad came home early and found the house trashed. Party’s over,  we’re grounded! Mom and dad are making new rules.

PK: Here are some reasons why it’s taking longer industry wide:

Reason 1: Processing Delay
The buyer’s contract is accepted. He is expected to make loan application and pay the appropriate application fee for the lender to order credit and appraisal. But, the fee is nearing $500, so they want to wait until the whole house inspection is complete rather than loose the $500. Loss of time is 12 to 14 days, sometimes longer if they try and re-negotiate items for repair.

Reason 2: Tighter Standards
Credit standards were tightened. Every day brings new underwriting guidelines. Wage-earner stated income loans were an early casualty. Today, there is no common sense underwriting. The Loan Quality Initiative requires that lenders fully process their loans like the old days, however, just before closing the lender has to “re-verify” employment, “re-verify” credit obligations and  “re-verify” property value through an automated valuation model. Adding a small debt to their obligations could stop the closing.

A questionable appraisal could require a second appraisal. Now, lenders are processing loans twice, not just one time.

Reason 3: Fraud – Systemic Changes
Fraud is the mortgage industry’s #1 issue still today. Fraud is defined as a material misrepresentation, misstatement, or omission that is relied upon by an underwriter or lender to fund, purchase, or insure a loan. With fraud bombs falling everywhere and lenders going under every day, there is heightened sensitivity to anything that smells like an early-payment default. Certain states and regions of the country may experience more fraud, but, underwriting standards are established nationally, not individual markets.

Reason 4: Seasonal Factors
Summer is peak buying time. Add to this employee vacations and you have less workforce to get the loans through the system.  Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and July 4th holidays all punch holes in the work week. People leverage time off by combining vacation days and holidays, causing further staffing shortfalls during these peak times.

Reason 5: Declining Values and Appraisal Problems
Declining property values over the last few years have created more work for the appraisers and those who review them. This extra work is required to make sure the lender has a sound investment. Lower values can mean higher LTVs and more challenge structuring a loan that will work. Agency guidelines sometimes call for desk or field reviews of an appraisal, adding extra time to the process.

Reason 6: Bad Lenders
When we save loans from falling apart it’s usually because another lender did not ask all the appropriate questions or understand the buyer’s needs and how to structure the loan. Or, perhaps they did not properly explain the requirements in today’s lending environment. It could be someone inexperienced, incompetent, unprofessional, dishonest, uncommunicative, or otherwise unable or unwilling to do the job.

Reason 7: Changes and Restructuring a Loan
Changing a loan program because of restrictive guidelines, conditions or buyer qualification can delay a closing many weeks. When a buyer cannot, or refuses to provide a loan approval condition it will create more delays.  And, if the loan had already been underwritten and the original request denied, or a condition substituted, it must then go back through the underwriting process as a new loan. Remember, it’s not one item that an underwriter reviews; it’s the combination of many factors that assist the underwriter with their decision and risk assessment.

What can you do about potential delays? PK: There are some things that you can do to minimize the disruption, delays and buyer/seller anxiety. First, work with a knowledgeable and experienced lender. This is no time to hand your buyers over to someone who just got into the business. Second, be flexible. Write your contracts with 45 or 60 days to closing. And last, educate buyers and sellers about potential problems, expect delays, and you won’t be disappointed. Most buyers have not been through this new process and don’t know what to expect.

Cincinnati is "Home" to 3 Top-Rated Hospitals!

Need a doctor? Move to Cincinnati, Ohio!

Three of Cincinnati’s hospitals have recently been rated among the country’s best in the US News & World Report 2011-2012 Best Hospitals Ranking. The hospitals include: University Hospital, Christ Hospital and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Read more details about the rankings here.

Small yard? No problem – visit a park!

If you are purchasing a home or condominium that has only a small (or no) yard, do not fear. Greater Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio and Northern Kentucky have many public parks to fulfill your “green” needs.

In Cincinnati, you can explore over area 100 parks with 5,000 acres of space!  Read more about Cincinnati Parks here.

One favorite Cincinnati park is Alms Park. This beautiful and scenic park is tucked away on Mt. Tusculum (710 Tusculum Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45226) and offers panoramic Ohio River views and is a great place to watch planes take off and land from Lunken Airport. The concrete slide at this park has been a longtime favorite for all ages.

In Dayton, the Carillon Historical Park is a must-see for the area. This park showcases historical artifacts for industrialism and innovation on a 65-acre campus. (1000 Carillon Blvd., Dayton, Ohio 45409)

Northern Kentucky has more than 20 parks to explore.  Devou Park is located on the highest lookout in Covington, Kentucky and offers spectacular views of the riverfront and downtown Cincinnati.  (790 Park Lane, Covington, Kentucky 41011)

Visit a park soon! Here is a link to the Cincinnati Parks web site. Here is a link to sources for Dayton, Ohio parks. And finally, here is a link to Northern Kentucky parks.