Tag: Real Estate

FHA to Cut Premium Mortgage Insurance (PMI) Starting This Year

 

Low- to moderate-income homebuyers will get a boost in 2017, with the FHA to Cut Premium Mortgage Insurance (PMI) Starting This Year.

The move “will mean a whole lot more responsible borrowers are suddenly eligible to purchase a home through FHA,” said National Association of Realtors President William E. Brown in a statement.

Annual premiums going down

The FHA will reduce the annual mortgage insurance premium most FHA borrowers pay by a quarter of a percentage point starting January 27. Annual premiums will drop to 0.6 percent from 0.85 percent, according to NAR.

“Every time we cut the cost of mortgage insurance it means more borrowers meet the debt-to-income ratio required to purchase a home,” said Brown, explaining why the move should lead more aspiring homebuyers to pull the trigger.

The rate cut means new borrowers who take out mortgages insured by the FHA will save an average of $500 this year, according to HUD.

The action “comes at the right time for consumers who are facing higher credit costs as mortgage interest rates are increasing,” according to Julián Castro, the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary, which oversees the FHA.

Why this is good news

The FHA makes it possible for banks to lend to borrowers who might not qualify for conventional mortgages, serving as a wellspring of credit for those buyers.

FHA borrowers pay both an insurance premium to the FHA and higher interest rates in return for a mortgage that requires as little as a 3.5 percent down payment.

“FHA mortgage products exist to serve an important mission: providing homeownership opportunities to creditworthy borrowers who are overlooked by conventional lenders,” said NAR President William E. Brown in a statement.

“The high cost of mortgage insurance has unfortunately put those opportunities out of reach for many young, first-time- and lower-income borrowers. Now, we have a real opportunity to get back on track.”

“After four straight years of growth and with sufficient reserves on hand to meet future claims, it’s time for FHA to pass along some modest savings to working families,” Castro said in a statement. FFHA to Cut Premium Mortgage Insurance (PMI) Starting This YearHA to Cut Premium Mortgage Insurance (PMI) Starting This Year

“This is a fiscally responsible measure to price our mortgage insurance in a way that protects our insurance fund while preserving the dream of homeownership for credit-qualified borrowers.”

According to Guy Cecala, CEO and publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance, FHA’s share of the home purchase market in first three quarters of 2016 was 16.6 percent.

“That was way down from the 33.8 percent market share seen as recently as 2010, but up from the 13.5 percent share seen right before FHA first lowered its annual MIP in early 2015,” Cecala told Inman via email. FHA to Cut Premium Mortgage Insurance (PMI) Starting This Year

Columbus Underground just posted the following article below: It is the Top 10 Fashion & Apparel Stores in Columbus for 2016.

Since 2011, Tigertree has topped our annual list of the best local fashion and apparel shops until they were dethroned by HOMAGE last year. In 2016, our readers and editors voted to return the title to Tigertree, picking the Short North boutique for the top spot in our annual Best of listing.

In addition to men’s and women’s fashion and apparel, Tigertree sells a wide assortment of accessories, home decor items and gifts for any occasion. Owners Josh and Niki Quinn launched a separate shop for children called Cubshrub at the tail end of 2015, bringing more options to customers who are looking for unique items for little ones as well.

Top 10 Fashion & Apparel Stores in Columbus of 2016:

  1. Tigertree
  2. Vernacular
  3. Pursuit
  4. Homage
  5. Rowe Boutique
  6. Thread
  7. Bend Active
  8. Samson Men’s Emporium
  9. Ladybird
  10. Royal Factory Atelier

References: Columbus Underground

Gazing into a crystal ball requires a leap of faith, but if you’re willing to take a look, you might find a few insightful nuggets that could help you and your clients make more informed decisions. Zillow’s predictions for 2017 include a change in course for the housing market as it continues to reflect the nation’s economic recovery. These are 5 Real Estate Trends to Expect for 2017.

Cities will get cozier

Smaller homes will crowd each other in new, denser developments, and they will be closer to public transit and urban centers. Knowing that square footage is off the table, your buyer clients might ask you to focus more on finding homes with upscale features or green technology.

Millennials will move out of the nest

No surprise here if you’ve read the Zillow Group Report on Consumer Housing Trends. In 2017, millennials will continue to drive up the homeownership rate by finally buying homes of their own. As millennials are the most racially diverse cohort, it also means more people of color will become homeowners. Your marketing efforts might include updated strategies to attract this new generation of buyers.

New construction buyers will pony up

Labor shortages in the construction industry — possibly compounded by the President-elect’s proposed immigration policy crackdown — have resulted in rising construction wages, which will be passed on to buyers who choose new construction homes. It will be vital to let buyers know they can negotiate for upgrade credits, floor plan options or reduced closing costs to recoup some value when they choose a new construction home.

Commuters will get comfortable

In their cars, that is. As homeowners move deeper into the suburbs — and farther away from viable public transportation — in search of affordable housing, the percentage of people who drive to work will increase. Although inventory remains low, farming local suburban homeowners might help you drum up some listings.

Current homeowners will continue to prosper

National home values rose 4.8 percent between December 2015 and 2016, and the trend is likely to continue past the New Year’s celebrations. In 2017, Zillow predicts home values will grow 3.6 percent. It’s an opportunity to check in with homeowners who might have been waiting for a better list price.

A Timeline for Building a New Home

Breaking ground on a new home is more than exciting. It’s a chance for you to make every last cabinet, closet, and paint color speak to you. It’s also something that might make you feel in over your head if you’re not aware of the timelines or building stages. A Timeline for Building a New Home

Depending on square footage, weather conditions, the availability of workers and supplies, and more, construction of a new home can take anywhere from three months to over a year. You’ll need to be prepared to make important decisions along the way and to experience setbacks. The truth is, whether you’re building a simple starter home or the ultimate abode, most homeowners find the home construction process a bit overwhelming.

That’s where we come in. We’ve put together an easy to understand home building timeline that demystifies the home building process. From shopping for a lot to move-in day, read on to learn about the major steps you’ll encounter while building a home.

Designing Your Home

Prior to build

Before you do anything, you’ll need to find a pre-designed plan or architect to design your home. This is where you’ll see how far your dollars will go and what it will take to make your dreams come true.

In this stage, figure out answers to questions like, “How many square feet do we want/need?”, “Should the master bedroom face east or west?”, and, “Do we want all bedrooms on the second floor?” Hammer out all of these details in this phase to set yourself up for satisfaction in your new home.

Now is also the time to talk to an interior designer if you don’t plan on doing the decorating yourself. They’ll be able to tell you about prints, textures, finishes, and more that will make your home come together.

Not sure where to start? Angie’s List specializes in providing users with real reviews, background checks, and more about companies. Whether you’re looking for a contractor, designer, or architect, you can count on Angie’s List to find you a reliable person.

Purchasing a Lot

Prior to build

No matter if you’re going for a lot that’s in a housing development or a piece of property secluded on 100 acres, you’ll need to purchase land before you can build. This can happen during the home design process or before. It’s just important that you allocate part of your budget to your land purchase.

In order to budget wisely, shop around for lots. See what the going rate is per acre and by neighborhood. Make sure the house design you’re working on will fit properly and is zoned to fit on a certain sized property.

These are all great conversations to have with your architect. They’ll know the zoning laws and building height restrictions of nearby areas and can point you in the right direction.

To start shopping, check out real estate websites like Zillow, Realtor.com, and Trulia. You can search by very specific requirements—including lots of land—so it’ll be an easy place to start.

Site Preparation

Week 1

Once this stage starts, you can pass the torch to the experts. Everything will be set in stone as far as the look and construction of your home and that barren plot of land you’ve purchased will be prepped and ready to become the site of your new home.

Expect a lot of back hoes and heavy equipment to come with this stage. Workers will be busy clearing, excavating, and leveling the lot according to your architect’s plan. Then, they’ll outline the footprint of your home with stakes. It’ll be the first time that you’ll be able to see the rough shape of your home on your property and can be exhilarating.

The “Three Fs”

Weeks 2-5

The “three Fs” stand for footings, foundation, and framing. You’ll hear your contractor talk about “pouring the footers” and that entails pouring concrete to support your home’s foundation. Once footers are in place and have passed inspection, the workers will pour the concrete slab of your foundation. Then, your home will have a stable structure for framing.

As the name implies, the floors, walls, and roof will be “framed” out with wood. You can think of this as the skeleton of your home. Once framing is complete, an inspector will come out again to verify that everything has been done to code. After that, exterior finishes like plywood and house wrap will be applied to seal off the inside from the outside.

This stage requires major structural work. Keep in mind that delays might happen if the weather is too wet for concrete to set or failed inspections lead to longer construction time.

The Guts

Weeks 6-8

Now that your home has its basic structure, workers can begin filling it with the things that make it function and look like a home. Experts will install important mechanicals like heating and cooling units, plumbing lines, and electrical systems. Once that work is done, walls will begin to close up too with insulation and drywall. The next time you walk into your home, it’ll look much cleaner. In most cases, the drywall will be sanded and primed, but it might also be painted.

If you’re interested in a home security system, solar panels, or other special infrastructure, this is the time to incorporate them. Many builders can prewire your home for a security system for an additional cost. You won’t have to choose a provider when they do so. Opting for this service will simply provide you with the wiring you’ll need to install a home security system down the line.

Flooring and Paint

Weeks 9-11

Up until this point, all you’ll see on your home building site is a lot of concrete, wood, insulation, drywall, and wires. This is the phase where your home will start to look more like one. Flooring will be going in, cabinets will be hung, and the pretty stuff like trim and mouldings will be installed during this period. Most homeowners will smile at this stage since the site will finally look like the drawings your architect showed you months ago.

Choosing flooring is one of the bigger decisions you’ll make for this stage. Determining your lifestyle, style, and budget will help guide you. For instance, genuine hardwood floors are gorgeous, but are prone to scratching, staining, and come with a large price tag. If you like the look, but need better durability, then engineered hardwood or tile might be a better bet. There are also funky solutions like dyed concrete that add an artistic and industrial flare to homes. This is all up to you, but consider all flooring materials before you pick one. It’ll be much harder to change your mind once everything is moved in!

Fixtures and Appliances

Week 12

Delivery trucks will make frequent stops at your home during this end stage. That’s because now is the time when sub-contractors (sometimes referred to as “trades”) install faucets, countertops, light fixtures, plugs, and appliances. The front of your yard will also be undergoing massive transformative if you’ve purchased landscaping services.

You will have been asked to choose these finishings long before they are delivered. Don’t delay the move-in date by changing your mind last-minute or waiting too long to commit. There are so many tools out there to help you with the overall design of your home. If you’re doing it yourself instead of hiring a designer, check out HGTV.com or Young House Lovefor some great ideas.

Here are some other design resources to help you decide what to do with your home’s interior and exterior.

  • Pinterest has a whole section dedicated to DIY and Home Décor
  • Apartment Therapy has a lot of user-generated and expert advice about how to transform your home
  • Better Homes and Gardens covers all kinds of design projects from plotting out an epic backyard garden to setting up a cozy living room.
  • Houzz is a one-stop-shop for all your design needs. It connects you with designers and other home professionals. Houzz provides you with advice about home decorating. The website even shows you where to shop to find certain items.

Final Countdown

Weeks 13-14

The last few weeks of your home building timeline will be a whirlwind of emotion and small details. You’ll be excited, but probably will want to know if it will all come together in time for closing.

Although you’ll be anxious to occupy your home, be absolutely sure all of your questions and concerns have been addressed before you head to settlement. That way, loose ends will be tied up, the small details of your home will be completed, and your home will be cleaned in anticipation of your arrival.

Closing

The moment you’ve been waiting for, closing, will be the best. There are just a couple things you’ll need to do before you formally close and move in.

After your home is complete, do a “walk through” of the home. In addition to inspecting it and making a “punch list” of things you want the builder to correct, take note of its features and learn how to work add-ons like the home security network. This is also a time when you can think about how to integrate more safety into your home. Walk the property and view the home through the lens of a burglar, meet your neighbors, and determine where you need better lighting. Once you’re done with all of this, you can close, get the keys to your new home, and enjoy every last detail.

Now that you’ve gotten a better idea of the home building process, is it still something you want to do? If you’re open to a flexible schedule and unforeseen incidents, it’s a great option to get a home that is 100% you.
We’ll leave you with one piece of advice: One of the best ways to stay on track with your home building timeline is to communicate your needs and wants clearly from the start. Before you build, consider if you’d like your home wired for a security system or want to have one installed post-construction. A Timeline for Building a New Home

Do Buyers or Sellers Pay the Buyer's Real Estate Agent?

Do Buyers or Sellers Pay the Buyer’s Real Estate Agent?

This has caused a great deal of confusion in the real estate industry and with consumers. Generally, a listing agreement between the seller and the seller’s listing agent specifies how much the listing brokerage will pay the selling brokerage for bringing a buyer.

Yes, you read that correctly. The seller, in effect, pays your buyer’s agent to negotiate on behalf of the buyer, not the seller. C. A.R. buyer broker representation agreements state that if anybody other than the buyer pays the commission, then the buyer is relieved of the obligation to pay it.

There are instances where a buyer may pay a brokerage directly such as when there is no commission offered because the property is a for sale by owner. But typically the commission is paid by the seller to the listing brokerage. The listing brokerage divides the commission in some fashion with the broker of the agent who brings an offer.

Buyer’s Agents Usually Do Not Work for Free

When you ask a buyer’s agent to show you property, you are implying that you will eventually write an offer through that buyer’s agent.

 If you have no intention of ever writing an offer with that buyer’s agent, you are taking advantage of that agent.

Procuring cause is a complex process that determines which buyer’s agent is entitled to a real estate commission when a buyer works with more than one agent. Generally, the agent who writes the offer gets paid.

Therefore, if you ask an agent to spend weekends driving you around, sharing knowledge and helping you to select a home, it is only fair to be loyal to that agent.

The 203k Loan Process

What You Should Know – The 203k Loan Process:

In simple terms, the 203k loan is a type of home improvement loan program insured through the FHA that works by allowing homebuyers the ability to finance the purchase and costs of upgrades through one single mortgage. The 203k loan can also work as a refinance option for homeowners who want to add basic cosmetic or structural improvements to their home. The 203k Loan Process

It is important to remember that neither the FHA or HUD do not actually lend the money to a borrower. Instead, the FHA “Insures” a loan that is provided by an FHA approved lender.

While the borrower eligibility requirements for a 203k loan follow standard FHA lending guidelines, there are a few extra steps involving a contractor, inspector and HUD consultant to ensure the property meets FHA’s insurance standards.

The Renovation and Loan Process

We have highlighted the primary steps of how the 203k loan process works below to serve as a general reference guide, so please don’t worry about a test at the end of this chapter.

Step 1 – Meet With A 203k Mortgage Lender

Many home buyers may rush out to look at properties before speaking with a qualified Renovation Loan Specialist, which obviously may present some future challenges after a purchase contract has been accepted by a seller.

Our initial conversation with a borrower starts with the basic loan qualifying questions, such as budgeted down payment, total loan amount, employment, income and credit history.

Once we get a picture of the borrower’s lending scenario, we start drilling down on the property and home improvement requirements to determine which loan program best matches short and long-term financing goals.

Our best advice would be to please have your real estate agent contact us first to ensure you fall in love with a property that qualifies for this program. With a little insight, your agent may even be able to help you find a better deal on a home that can be renovated to your specific needs and wants.

Step 2 – Preliminary Market Analysis

With your loan pre-qualification letter prepared stating the terms and a maximum loan amount that fits your budget, it is time to start searching for properties.

Once you’ve found a potential property, a Preliminary Market Analysis can be completed by your real estate agent and with the help of a contractor and 203k Consultant to help get an estimate of what the property’s projected value might be after the renovation is complete. This should be performed prior to signing the sales contract and before you commit funds for an appraisal.

The market analysis should include:

  • The extent of the rehabilitation work required (Contact a 203K Consultant)
  • The rough cost estimate of the work (Contact a 203K Consultant or/and Contractor)
  • The expected market value of the property after completion of the work (Contact a Real Estate Agent)

Step 3 – Writing The Sales Contract

A provision should be included in the sales contract that the buyer has applied for FHA 203k financing, and that the contract is contingent upon loan approval and the buyer’s acceptance of additional required improvements as determined by HUD, the Appraiser and/or the Rehab Lender.

Step 4 – Work Write-up, Cost Estimate and HUD Case #

With the Consultant’s help, a feasibility study and preliminary cost estimate is used to produce the SOR – Specification of Repairs. After having refined and determined the specification of repairs, the Contractor submits the bid for repairs.

At this point the lender will request the HUD Case number and the project will now move quickly to the appraisal stage.

Note: HUD does not require a Consultant on a Streamlined 203k loan (a rehab with minor repairs that total less then $35,000 and/or that does not include structural repairs). However, the experience and value of the consultant’s advice can often save more than the fees charged for the service.

Step 5 – Lender Prepares/Issues Firm Commitment Application

After the appraisal and the contractor’s bid have been accepted, the lender will issue a Conditional Commitment and Statement of Appraised Value to establish the maximum insurable mortgage amount for the property. The 203k Loan Process

Step 6 – Mortgage Loan Closing

Note To Real Estate Agents – This is a typical closing where the buyers would sign final loan documents and the close of escrow date is met, which is also when the real estate agents are paid and technically done with the transaction. To meet the COE deadline with as little anxiety as possible, we ask our agents to let us drive the bus from steps 4-6.

Note To Buyers – The mortgage closing is where the lender prepares the Rehab Loan Agreement and other pre-closing documents required for the mortgage closing. The Agreement is executed by both borrower and lender, and establishes conditions under which the lender will release funds from the Rehab Escrow Account.

A few of these conditions include the construction draw schedule, fees schedule, work item change orders and identity of interest statement.

Step 7 – Construction Begins

At closing, mortgage proceeds are disbursed and the Rehab Escrow Account is established. Construction may begin immediately, and must begin with 30 days of closing.

Step 8 – Funds are Released from Rehab Escrow Account

Funds are disbursed to the various contractors according to the Rehab Lon Agreement. Changes to the work write-up are made through written change orders and are typically inspected by the Consultant or Lender’s Fee Inspector. A final release of the funds confirms the substantial competition of the rehab.The 203k Loan Process

Halloween Decorations to Avoid If You Want To Sell Your House

As Halloween nears, strange things start creeping up in neighborhoods across the country. Zombies hang from trees, inflatable pumpkins pop up on lawns, and freakier-looking clowns start appearing in schoolyards and supermarkets (oh wait, that last part actually began way beforeHalloween). It’s unquestionably a fun holiday to decorate for. But what if you’re trying to sell your house? Just how far can you go with Halloween decorations if you don’t want to truly scare off buyers? See below on what Halloween decorations to avoid if You want to sell your house

 

Blood and gore

Sorry, “Walking Dead” fans.

“Gruesome scenes of death and zombies are definite no-nos,” says Paul Sian, a Realtor® with Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Real Estate. “People with young kids will be very unappreciative of decorations that depict murder, gore, and more.” At least we hope they will be.

Halloween Decorations to Avoid If You Want To Sell Your House

A not-so-pretty sight at a home showing

Shopko.com

Dead children

And speaking of kids: Anything that depicts dead ones, even if they’re kinda creepy cute, probably isn’t going to go over too well with parents, either. You knew that, right?

A blood-spattered front door

We’ve already said blood is a no-no, but just in case we weren’t clear, writing scary messages in gory-looking red paint—even something as chipper as “Happy Halloween”—is a bad idea, too. It’s fine and dandy if you’re just trying to give trick-or-treaters a fright, but to prospective home buyers, this graffiti-style treatment just looks messy, and screams “go away.”

Halloween Decorations to Avoid If You Want To Sell Your House

Pumpkins whose time has come—and gone

If you’re going to use real flowers, pumpkins, and other perishable decorations, make sure to keep them looking fresh. No one wants to see (or smell) produce that’s well past its prime.

Political statements parading as Halloween decor

It might seem obvious, but politically themed decorations are a definite don’t. This election is plenty scary enough already.

Clowns

While no Realtor we interviewed mentioned this season’s scourge, terrifying clowns, we’re going to go out on a limb and say it: No creepy clowns—even if your house isn’t on the market. Talk about the stuff of nightmares…

Halloween Decorations to Avoid If You Want To Sell Your House

Clowns? Not cute. Ever.

halloweenexpress.com

Too many decorations, period

It’s easy to get carried away with decorations as you get caught up in the festivities, but don’t. You’re not trying to impress buyers with your decorating skills; you’re trying to impress them with your house, which can get buried if you’re not careful.

Halloween Decorations to Avoid If You Want To Sell Your House

The 10 Best Secrets for Selling your Home

The 10 Best Secrets for Selling your Home

Selling Secret #10: Pricing it right
Find out what your home is worth, then shave 15 to 20 percent off the price. You’ll be stampeded by buyers with multiple bids — even in the worst markets — and they’ll bid up the price over what it’s worth. It takes real courage and most sellers just don’t want to risk it, but it’s the single best strategy to sell a home in today’s market.

Selling Secret #9: Half-empty closets
Storage is something every buyer is looking for and can never have enough of. Take half the stuff out of your closets then neatly organize what’s left in there. Buyers will snoop, so be sure to keep all your closets and cabinets clean and tidy.
Selling Secret #8: Light it up
Maximize the light in your home. After location, good light is the one thing that every buyer cites that they want in a home. Take down the drapes, clean the windows, change the lampshades, increase the wattage of your light bulbs and cut the bushes outside to let in sunshine. Do what you have to do make your house bright and cheery – it will make it more sellable.
Selling Secret #7: Play the agent field
A secret sale killer is hiring the wrong broker. Make sure you have a broker who is totally informed. They must constantly monitor the multiple listing service (MLS), know what properties are going on the market and know the comps in your neighborhood. Find a broker who embraces technology – a tech-savvy one has many tools to get your house sold.
Selling Secret #6: Conceal the critters
You might think a cuddly dog would warm the hearts of potential buyers, but you’d be wrong. Not everybody is a dog- or cat-lover. Buyers don’t want to walk in your home and see a bowl full of dog food, smell the kitty litter box or have tufts of pet hair stuck to their clothes. It will give buyers the impression that your house is not clean. If you’re planning an open house, send the critters to a pet hotel for the day.
Selling Secret #5: Don’t over-upgrade
Quick fixes before selling always pay off. Mammoth makeovers, not so much. You probably won’t get your money back if you do a huge improvement project before you put your house on the market. Instead, do updates that will pay off and get you top dollar. Get a new fresh coat of paint on the walls. Clean the curtains or go buy some inexpensive new ones. Replace door handles, cabinet hardware, make sure closet doors are on track, fix leaky faucets and clean the grout.
Selling Secret #4: Take the home out of your house
One of the most important things to do when selling your house is to de-personalize it. The more personal stuff in your house, the less potential buyers can imagine themselves living there. Get rid of a third of your stuff – put it in storage. This includes family photos, memorabilia collections and personal keepsakes. Consider hiring a home stager to maximize the full potential of your home. Staging simply means arranging your furniture to best showcase the floor plan and maximize the use of space.
Selling Secret #3: The kitchen comes first
You’re not actually selling your house, you’re selling your kitchen – that’s how important it is. The benefits of remodeling your kitchen are endless, and the best part of it is that you’ll probably get 85% of your money back. It may be a few thousand dollars to replace countertops where a buyer may knock $10,000 off the asking price if your kitchen looks dated. The fastest, most inexpensive kitchen updates include painting and new cabinet hardware. Use a neutral-color paint so you can present buyers with a blank canvas where they can start envisioning their own style. If you have a little money to spend, buy one fancy stainless steel appliance. Why one? Because when people see one high-end appliance they think all the rest are expensive too and it updates the kitchen.
Selling Secret #2: Always be ready to show
Your house needs to be “show-ready” at all times – you never know when your buyer is going to walk through the door. You have to be available whenever they want to come see the place and it has to be in tip-top shape. Don’t leave dishes in the sink, keep the dishwasher cleaned out, the bathrooms sparkling and make sure there are no dust bunnies in the corners. It’s a little inconvenient, but it will get your house sold.
Selling Secret #1: The first impression is the only impression
No matter how good the interior of your home looks, buyers have already judged your home before they walk through the door. You never have a second chance to make a first impression. It’s important to make people feel warm, welcome and safe as they approach the house. Spruce up your home’s exterior with inexpensive shrubs and brightly colored flowers. You can typically get a 100-percent return on the money you put into your home’s curb appeal. Entryways are also important. You use it as a utility space for your coat and keys. But, when you’re selling, make it welcoming by putting in a small bench, a vase of fresh-cut flowers or even some cookies.

The 10 Best Secrets for Selling your Home

Ohio State's New North Residential District

Ohio State’s New North Residential District

Students moved into the first new buildings in OSU’s North Residential District in the fall of 2015. Construction of the remaining buildings – all located west of High Street, between Lane and Woodruff avenues – continued until right before move-in this past August. This semester, the first in which sophomores are required to live on campus, marks the first time that the new district is being used to its full capacity. Ohio State’s New North Residential District is definitely starting to look amazing!

OSU Associate Vice President of Student Life Molly Calhoun recently gave Columbus Underground a tour of the new district, including the new dorms, the new North Recreation Center, a multitude of event and study spaces, and the two-story cafeteria, which seats 920 and is larger than any restaurant in Central Ohio.

Calhoun emphasized the importance of outdoor space to the project, including the long brick pathway leading from High Street west through the heart of the district, following the route of what used to be West Frambes Avenue.

Ohio State's New North Residential District

[CLICK HERE FOR MORE PHOTOS]

The path ends at what has been dubbed Town Square, a large open space framed by the new, three-story recreation center and the new buildings Noskar House, Scott House and Blackburn House.

“Early on in the planning process, we said, ‘think about the spaces between the buildings as much as you’re thinking about the spaces in the buildings,’” said Calhoun. “We’ve historically done a really good job relative to indoor programming space, but we wanted to emphasize the programmatic aspects spilling out into the green spaces.”

Space was created for the many large plazas, courtyards and greens by tearing down a number of low-rise buildings. Twenty of 22 large trees identified as “heritage trees” on the site were able to be saved, and 225 new trees were planted.

A rotating cast of student volunteers provided input from the very beginning of the planning process, which started in earnest in 2010.

“I tell the incoming students, when you guys were in the fifth grade we were thinking about where you would be living when you came to school,” said Calhoun.

Other highlights of the new district:

  • Each residential building contains common areas accessible to all students living in the dorms, complete with billiard and ping pong tables, video game stations, and party/event rooms.
  • Dining options include a made-to-order breakfast station (open all day), gluten-free options, a Mongolian grill, and booths designed for large groups of students.
  • The basketball courts located on Lane Avenue outside of the new recreation center are now only accessible to students. They’ve also been designed so that they can be covered at some point in the future, with outdoor courts placed on top of the new building (that’s in anticipation of Jessie Owens North, which currently contains indoor courts, eventually being replaced with an academic building).
  • The new trees planted in the district all have a trunk diameter of six inches or more, “so that they are substantial, and it wouldn’t be 60 years until you had a tree canopy,” according to Calhoun.
  • In response to student input, all laundry rooms are designed to be open, well-lit spaces. They are located on the first floor of each residential building.
  • The new dorm buildings all feature a similar layout, with two, 40-person communities on each floor (and one Resident Advisor for every 40 students). The rooms are mostly two-person suites with quarter-baths, but larger suites at the end of each hall – with full bathrooms and private living areas – are available for second-, third-, and fourth-year students.

Ohio State’s New North Residential District

10 Things You Must Know About VA Loans

Here’s 10 things you must know about VA Loans:

1. They’re reusable. You can use your full VA entitlement over and over again as long as you pay off the loan each time. But you may be able to obtain another VA loan even if you’velost one to foreclosure or currently have one.

2. They’re only for certain types of homes. If you’re planning to buy a working farm, a downtown deli or a fixer-upper, the VA loan may not be for you. It’s mainly designed forproperties in “move-in ready” condition, including single-family homes, condos, modular housing, some multi-unit properties and more.

3. They’re for primary residences only. Don’t bother trying to use your VA loan benefits to buy an investment property or a vacation home in the Poconos. VA loans are for primary residences, with few exceptions.

4. They’re not issued by the VA. The VA isn’t in the business of issuing home loans. Instead, the agency provides a guaranty on each qualified mortgage loan.

5. But they’re guaranteed by the government. If you have a VA entitlement, the agency typically guarantees up to a quarter of the loan amount. The guaranty gives lenders confidence and helps service members secure great terms and rates.

6. They’re available despite foreclosure or bankruptcy. Service members with a history of bankruptcy or foreclosure can secure a VA loan. Even borrowers who have had a VA loan foreclosed on can still utilize their VA loan benefit.

7. They don’t have mortgage insurance.Mortgage insurance is a monthly fee you pay with other programs when you’re not putting at least 20 percent down. The VA’s guaranty eliminates the need for any mortgage insurance or mortgage insurance premium, helping borrowers save even more money each month.

8. They come with a mandatory fee. There’s no mortgage insurance with VA loans, but there is the VA Funding Fee. This fee (usually about 2 percent of the loan amount) helps the VA keep the program going and is required on both purchase and refinance loans. It can be rolled into the loan amount and waived entirely for those with service-connected disabilities.

9. They have limits on co-borrowers. Some loan programs let you get a loan with just about anybody. That’s not the VA loan program. Having a co-borrower who isn’t your spouse or another veteran with VA loan entitlement who will live in the home with you will require a down payment. Not every VA lender offers these types of joint loans (Veterans United does).

10. They don’t have a prepayment penalty. You can make extra payments any time you want, saving you a boatload in interest over the life of your loan. You can even structure your payments to automatically deduct a little extra every month. Just an extra $100 per month can shave years and tens of thousands of dollars from the balance.

 

10 Things You Must Know About VA Loans


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