Shanna’s Blog

Preparing for a Great Appraisal

Posted by on Jan 16, 2015 in Blog, Real Estate Tips, Selling Real Estate | 0 comments

Preparing for a Great Appraisal

When selling your home one of the  last but important steps before closing is the appraisal. When trying to sell for it is important that your home shows its value and appraises for top dollar.  Without a good appraisal your buyer can’t get a loan.

When preparing for a great appraisal your home needs to show just as well as if you were showing it to a potential buyer, maybe even better. You should get a call that the appraiser is coming, most especially if they are wanting to see the interior of the home. Make sure the place is clean and tidy, lights on, window treatments open.

1. Make sure the home is in show condition.

2. Write up a list of updates and improvements you’ve made to the house, or were made before you purchased it. Highlight the most expensive/newest updates.

3. Leave the house. Even if the office tells you that you don’t have to leave, vacate the home while the appraiser does his/her job.

Showing that your home has been well taken care of and having it show well could be the difference between your appraisal coming back at the high end of the market value or just average. If your list price and contract commanded a good price, your appraisal needs to reflect that price. Every little bit counts to get the deal closed.

Columbus 23 Construction Information

Posted by on Sep 2, 2014 in Blog, Local Information, Local News | 0 comments

Columbus 23 Construction Information

Anyone that has traveled the north side of Columbus on 270 and 23N knows, the interchange that encompasses 23N/270 and also S.R. 315 has been in need of a fix for some years.

270/23 roadwork

Picture via ODOT

Well that fix is now well underway.

This north side section of the 270 Outerbelt was found to be the fourth more congested/high crash location in Ohio by ODOT (Ohio Department of Transportation).  This multi-year project is set to finish around September 2015 at a cost of $72 million.

The details:

  • 23 will be widened in both directions from two to three lanes between Northwoods Blvd and Lazelle Rd, and a fourth late on south 23 between 270 and Northwoods.
  • Traffic signals and two ramps will be replaced and reconfigured for exiting drivers from 270 with traffic lights.
  • Express lanes built underground will ease traffic between Campus View Blvd and Flint Rd.
  • High St. over 270 will include a new decorative fence with “Worthington” on it along the bridge.

Here is a nifty video of the trench that will take drivers from 270W to 23N.

What do Millennials Want From a Realtor?

Posted by on Aug 27, 2014 in Blog, Buying Real Estate, Market Trends | 0 comments

What do Millennials Want From a Realtor?

Millennials have become the largest group of recent home buyers in the United Sates, according to the 2014 National Association of REALTORS® Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study. The study compared the differences of recent home buyers and sellers and found that Millennials (those age 33 and younger) comprised 31 percent of recent home buyers.

realtors in columbus ohio“Millennials are the largest generation in history after the baby boomers, and since many still aspire to one day invest in their future through home ownership, they will drive future housing demand,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.  One of the reasons for the largest group of home buyers to buy? 87 percent polled say they consider their home purchase a good financial investment.

I have found Millennials to be very educated consumers in general. Most already know what they are looking for in a home thanks to online research and come in with firm ideas on their likes and dislikes, locations they would consider, and their timeline.

What Millenials are most often looking for in someone to help guide them through the process of buying. Looking at homes, negotiating the deal, and helping them through the financing to closing. Compromises are often needed to be made for many first-time home buyers, Millennials or not, so this is always where experience from a Realtor can come into the equation.

Columbus Real Estate Market News July 2014

Posted by on Aug 22, 2014 in Blog, Local News, Market Trends, Selling Real Estate | 0 comments

Columbus Real Estate Market News July 2014


Inventory continues to rise in Central Ohio

There were 3,808 central Ohio homes and condos listed for sale in July 2014, which is up 4.3 percent from July 2013, although down slightly by 2.4 percent from the previous month. The added inventory brought the total numbers of homes and condos for sale to 9,644 at the end of July, which is 4.3 percent higher than June 2014, according to the Columbus REALTORS® Multiple Listing Service (MLS). columbus real estate conditions “As expected, the inventory of homes in central Ohio has steadily climbed with the temperatures this summer,” said Milt Lustnauer, Columbus REALTORS® 2014 president. “It’s clear that sellers are starting to get the message that it’s a great time to sell their homes. Summer isn’t quite over yet and inventory is still on the rise.” The average sales price of a home was $199,239, an increase of 3.6 percent from July 2013, down slightly from the previous month by 1 percent. The average price is the total volume divided by the number of homes sold. “Although the average sale price was down from the previous month, it’s up over five percent for the year,” Lustnauer said. “Sales prices have followed an upward trend since the beginning of the year and will likely continue in that direction as buyer interest remains high.” There were 2,758 central Ohio homes and condos sold in July 2014, a 3.4 percent drop from the previous month and a 6.6 percent decrease from July 2013. According to the latest Housing Market Confidence Index (by the Ohio Association of REALTORS®) 95 percent of central Ohio REALTORS® describe the current housing market as moderate to strong and expect it to remain so over the next six months. Ninety percent of central Ohio REALTORS® expect housing prices to rise over the course of the next year, while the other 10 percent expect them to level. Compared to a year ago, 62 percent of central Ohio REALTORS® observed a slight to significant increase in the number of buyers purchasing a home with entirely cash, while 33 percent saw no change.

Columbus BIA Parade of Homes 2014 in Southern Delaware County

Posted by on Jul 11, 2014 in Blog, Local Information | 0 comments

Columbus BIA Parade of Homes 2014 in Southern Delaware County

Trails End 2014 BIA Parade of HomesColumbus BIA Parade of Homes 2014 is set to commence on July 19th through August 3, 2014. The always popular BIA Parade of Homes will be taking place in Trail’s End, a 148 lot community that overlooks the Olentangy River in Liberty Twp, Southern Delaware County, at the corner of Home Rd. and Olentangy River Rd (SR315). The homes this year are priced between $600,000-$1,000,000 and located on a bluff that allows for full-walkout basements for the homes. Some of the custom builders involved this year include Coppertree Homes, Compass Homes, Truberry Homes, Weaver Custom Homes, P&D Builders, and Romanelli & Hughes, there will be a total of 12 homes on display for public viewing during the Parade of Homes. Most of the homes are currently available for sale with a few already sold.  For any private viewings of these homes, please call me at 614-599-4663 or contact me via the website.

BIA Parade of Homes 2014

Dani Homes – 2014 BIA Parade of Homes House

Event Details:

July 19 – August 3, 2014 Monday – Saturday: Noon – 9 p.m. Sunday: Noon – 6 p.m. General Admission: $15 – Children 12 and under are free. Online Tickets: HERE AAA Member Discount: Show your AAA card to receive $3 off the ticket price. There will also be limited food available for sale on site. Parking is $2 CASH.

Trails End BIA Parade of Homes 2014

Romanelli & Hughes – BIA Parade of Homes 2014 House

Columbus Parade of Homes 2014

3 Pillar Homes – BIA 2014 Parade of Homes

6 Tips for Creating Curb Appeal with Landscaping

Posted by on Jan 13, 2014 in Home Improvement, Real Estate Tips, Selling Real Estate | 0 comments

6 Tips for Creating Curb Appeal with Landscaping

landscaping curb appeal

Sure, you’ve heard about curb appeal on your favorite DIY or home improvement show, but how can you make your home more appealing and inviting without the help of a TV show host to do everything for you?  Curb appeal refers to the overall appeal of your home’s exterior, including paint, siding, and landscaping.

All of these are important, but today we are going to focus on landscaping.

Most of the time, potential buyers or renters will make a judgment on a house within 30 seconds of seeing the exterior.  Having excellent curb appeal is a necessity!


1.       Make Sure Your Lawn is Maintained

This may go without saying, but your lawn says a lot about how you care for the rest of your house. Mow your lawn regularly and defeat those weeds!  Make sure that all of the edges are trimmed neatly to give your lawn a manicured look.

2.       Tend To Your Garden Beds

Freshening up your garden beds is a surefire way to add some curb appeal to your yard.  Make sure you get rid of any unsightly weeds before adding new mulch.  Try using a colored mulch to add some more pop to those beds.

3.       Trim Shrubs

Overgrown shrubs can mask your home’s beauty and make it feel uninviting.  Simply trimming shrubs can drastically alter your home’s appearance. Well-groomed shrubs will make the walkway and entrance to your house feel more inviting to visitors.

4.       Add Potted Plants To Your Front Porch

Potted plants are an inexpensive way to add contrast and color to an uninviting front porch.  Use an assortment of flowering plants and small evergreens to draw the eye to the front door.  Play around with different container sizes and colors to increase the variety.

5.       Replace Walkways

An old, dirty concrete walkway can easily be replaced with tile, pavers, or stone.  Upgraded walkways present a relaxed and charming journey to get to the front door.  Make sure to choose materials that pair well with your home’s design.

6.       Install Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lighting provides a lot of bang for your buck.  Any home improvement store will have a wide variety of lighting styles to place the perfect finishing touch to your new, upgraded front yard.  Place some lights in flowerbeds, and add a line of lights along the border of your walkway to finish the look.

landscaping curb appeal

Regardless of your lot size and your home’s location, implementing all or some of these steps in your lawn care plan will provide your home with a landscaping facelift therefore increasing your curb appeal.


This article is written exclusively for Shanna Lafontaine at by EXOVATIONS of Central Ohio, a contractor specializing in updating curb appeal through home exterior renovations.

To Decorate for the Holidays or Not

Posted by on Dec 5, 2013 in Real Estate Tips, Selling Real Estate | 0 comments

To Decorate for the Holidays or Not

decorate or not decorate for holidaysYour house is on the market and it is time for the holiday season.  Do you decorate?

Realtors have different opinions, but I feel like a festive home shows better.  The short answer: decorate but with limits.

If your Christmas tree going up makes your living room feel small, try to remove some furniture to keep the room feeling open and not cramped.  Store what you aren’t using in the room.

Stay with more classic decorations that appeal to the mainstream crowd and stay away from going over the top, or too much clutter.  Depending on how much you enjoy decorating, I’d suggest maybe half of what you would usually use as a good number.

Outside, again stay with more classic decorations and something understated.  Buyers have already judged your house when walking up to the front door. Get them in love with your home with some beautiful decorations but not too much.

Overall, decorations during the holidays can help your home show better helping create a happy feeling while viewing your home, but only if you are careful not to over do the decorating and keep clutter to a minimum.


Columbus Real Estate Market News September 2013

Posted by on Oct 30, 2013 in Blog, Market Trends | 0 comments

Columbus Real Estate Market News September 2013


Housing demand remains high in central Ohio!

September home sales were 13.1 percent higher than last year demonstrating that housing demand in the Columbus region continues to remain strong. Sales for residential homes and condos through the third quarter rose 22.4 percent from last year and stand as the second highest on record for the first nine months of the year according to Columbus REALTORS®.

Condo sales were up 8.3 percent in September and are up 26.5 percent for the year. Existing home sales jumped 14 percent in September and are 21.7 ahead of last year.

“The demand is there,” says Chris Pedon, 2013 president of Columbus REALTORS®. “Kids are back in school, fall is here, and the holidays are around the corner. But we still have a lot of folks who are looking to buy a home.”

The number of homes on the market last month remained higher than much of 2013, but is still 5.9 percent lower than inventory levels one year ago.

Prices maintain their climb as demand continues to exceed supply. The average sale price of a home sold in September was $174,735, up 4.2 percent from September of 2012. The average price of homes sold January through September is $174,853, up 3.5 percent from the first nine months of last year.

According to the latest Housing Market Confidence Index (by the Ohio Association of REALTORS®), 100 percent of central Ohio REALTORS® describe the current housing market as moderate to strong, but only 95 percent expect the housing market to be moderate to strong over the next six months. As for home prices, 91 percent expect home prices to remain the same or rise over the next year.

“Although there is a good selection of homes and condos on the market in all price ranges right now, REALTORS® are still seeking more sellers to meet the elevated demand,” adds Pedon. “If you’re a homeowner who has considered moving up or downsizing, you don’t need to wait. Today’s market offers solid advantages.”

View the current Central Ohio Market Update.
View the current Housing Market Report by Area.

Why HGTV Isn’t Reality

Posted by on Oct 28, 2013 in Blog, Buying Real Estate, Home Improvement, Selling Real Estate | 0 comments

Why HGTV Isn’t Reality

HGTV may be considered reality television, but I can tell you right now, HGTV isn’t reality.

HGTV shows aren't real

HGTV can be great for gathering remodeling tips, design and style ideas, but please don’t watch their shows and imagine that real estate in Columbus, Ohio is like real estate on HGTV.

First off, real estate is local. We do real estate in Central Ohio, different than real estate in Indiana, California or even Cleveland, Ohio. A lot of the shows on

HGTV are set in Canada. I don’t know much about Canada real estate but I guarantee there are a lot of difference. There are real estate practices on HGTV of negotiating or contracts that I’ve never in 12 years of business seen done in our market.

These shows are also set on a ridiculous timeline. I don’t know if it is true, but I’ve heard the home selling shows are actually filmed AFTER the homeowners have found the house their buying, or even after they’ve purchased the home. Of course, they aren’t going to act the same walking through homes for purchase, after they’ve already found their new house. Or, be angry at their Realtor for showing them a house $100,000 more than they can afford as one of their three choices. What Realtor does that???? (If your Realtor does this, find a new one)

Why HGTV isn't Reality

Another thing that drives me nuts, is the home remodel shows or the shows set to help someone to sell their house by updating the home. When the updates cost literally 1/3 of what it would really cost to update or upgrade your house, I can’t help but feel frustrated. I feel that these shows give people unrealistic expectations of what they can do with their money and what it should cost to update a home.

The bottom line is that HGTV isn’t reality. It is entertainment, just like watching a football game, or Duck Dynasty, or even The Learning Channel. Take what you can from it, but don’t plan your home buying or home selling and mimic the TV show.

Curb Appeal, Small Changes = Big Appeal

Posted by on Oct 25, 2013 in Blog, Home Improvement, Real Estate Tips, Selling Real Estate | 0 comments

Curb Appeal, Small Changes = Big Appeal

Curb appeal has become a common conversation among home owners and real estate agents over the last several years. Increasing your curb appeal is all about creating a home that naturally invites people to come inside. Any home owner or investor can achieve curb appeal by making small changes around the home. With that being said, here are a few tips to help you achieve big results with curb appeal by implementing only a few affordable changes to your home’s exterior.

Scrub, Scrub, Scrub

A little elbow grease can go a long way! In this case we’re really talking about pressure washing. Most homes lacking curb appeal should start with a good pressure washing session. And this goes for more than just your house, your concrete areas and wood surfaces need it, too. This includes your driveway, walkway, deck, patio, front steps, porch, trellis and fencing.

Paint It

A new coat of paint is a great way to freshen up the look of a home and incorporate a warm, inviting color palette. Painting your home’s exterior and trim can really bring out the character of your home. When picking a color palette for exterior paint and stain products, be sure to consult a professional at your local paint store. They will be able to help you pick colors that you will love and that will create an inviting look for your home.

Cut Back

Prune your shrubs, trees and plants or remove them from the areas closest to your home’s walkway and front door. Many times homeowners miss this step and it can sabotage your ability to achieve excellent curb appeal. Keeping your plants in check keeps the path to your front door open, creating an inviting feel to your home. It is important that shrubs and bushes close to your home do not cover up any windows. Plants are a great way to enhance your home’s curb appeal, but they must be selected carefully and placed in a way that will do so.

Finishing Touches

Once you have cleaned the home’s exterior, have a fresh coat of paint and stain, and have maintained your plants and shrubs it is time to add some finishing touches. A big focal point for most is the front door, so focus on this area with a few quick updates regarding the following:

  • Lighting– Be sure that your light fixtures on your porch or at your front door area are in good working condition and repaint or replace if necessary.
  • Door Accessories-It is always a nice touch for your front door handles to look new and to contrast with the color of your front door. If you have a black front door you may want to purchase new handles that are silver so that it will enhance the features of the front door.
  • Flowering Container Plants-A great way to bring colors of the seasons is to include one or two flowering containers near your front door or on your front porch area. Limiting the number and size of the containers makes this project easy to manage and change with seasons. This also keeps the look of your home fresh and relevant.

Creating curb appeal will look a little different for you than it does for your neighbor because no two properties are the same. However, following these tips can help every owner create a home that has exceptional curb appeal. See below how a few simple changes can make a big impact on how a home looks.

exo-nickerson-front-facelift-before exo-nickerson-front-facelift-after

This article is written exclusively for by Exovations of Central Ohio, a home remodeling contractor specializing in renovations for home exteriors.

Shanna Lafontaine, LLC© 
RE/MAX Affiliates Inc. 7239 Sawmill Rd. Ste 210, Dublin, OH 43016

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