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The Extended and Expanded--- the Homebuyer Tax Credit

by The Cincinnati Team

Details, Details...the Homebuyer Tax Credit has been extended and expanded to include more buyers.  If you have thought you  might want to buy a home soon, whether you are a first time buyer or a current seller who wants to move up, you may want to accelerate your timetable.

This CHART answers lots of questions at a glance:

How long do you have to live in your home to sell and buy another one?

Who qualifies as a "first time buyer?"

What would be the amount of my tax credit?

Are there deadline dates?

Can I qualify when buying a vacation home?  Rental property?

What kind of income limits are in place for the credit?

Are there any partial income categories?

What is the maximum price you can pay?

Will you have to repay the tax credit when you resell?

All of these are answered on this chart, but check with your accountant for any questions about your IRS liabilities.  They can help you determine if this is the right time to move forward by analyzing your financial picture. 

Check out this video as a recap.

Uncover the Secrets of Egypt at Cincinnati Museum Center

by The Cincinnati Team

Lost Egypt: Ancient Secrets, Modern Science

Learn about how modern forensic science has been used to uncover the secrets of Umi, the Cincinnati Museum Center's new mummy.  Lost Egypt at Cincinnati Union TerminalThe current exhibit will help you uncover the secrets of Egypt for yourself. By visiting Lost Egypt, you'll learn about modern forensic techniques, like X-rays, CT scans and facial reconstructions, that have been applied to the human and animal mummies featured in the exhibit. By using these techniques, scientists can look underneath the mummy's wrappings to get greater insight into the daily lives of this ancient people. In addition, you can explore art and artifacts and connect with real scientists through video interviews and photographs of their work in the field. The exhibit uses theatrical sets, realistic props and tons of hands-on activities.

Lost Egypt will help you make a connection with the past, and see why archeologists now understand more than ever before. Cincinnati may be a long way from Egypt, but understanding the culture of that time period and learning about the science used today is fascinating!

Kick off the Holiday Season in Cincinnati

by The Cincinnati Team

Fountain Square is the place to be on NovemberFountain Square - Cincinnati 27 at 7 PM as the switch is thrown to light up the Square.  Festivities begin at 6:30 PM and Santa will be paying a visit. The tree will stand 60 feet tall and have over 20,000 lights. After lighting up the tree, fireworks will add to the celebration. 

Also, opening on the Square that weekend is the ice skating rink.  It is approximately the size of New York's Rockefeller Center's rink with everything you need to set out around the rink surrounded by Cincinnati's tall buildings.

You might want to make an evening of it by dining in one of the restaurants surrounding the Square and finishing off the evening with chocolate chip ice cream (or my personal favorite, raspberry chip) at Graeter's.

 

Cincinnati Multiple Listing Service Releases October Sales Statistics

by The Cincinnati Team

Sales Activity Continues on the Upswing

Cincinnati real estate sales have continued to see improvement. October statistics show a 15% increase in the number of homes sold compared to October of 2008.  Nationally, that number is even higher, 23%. Cincinnati Number of Homes sold - October 2009

First time buyers get credit as the primary drivers of this upswing.  Other factors are the availability of larger than normal numbers of homes and the favorable interest rates.  Rates have continued to stay in the 5% range, third lowest on record dating back to 1971.

Additionally, prices have started to show signs of stabilizing as consumer confidence improves and unemployment numbers are slowing.  Currently, for the entire area serviced by the Cincinnati Multiple Listing Service, there are 7.48 months of inventory, compared to 10.28 months a year ago.  That's a significant improvement.

Overall, prices are down 2% in October compared to October, 2008 and 8.6% since January.  Nationally, median prices are 7.1% lower than October, 2008. The Midwest was the only area of the country experiencing a gain in median price this month, a 1.1% improvement.

The National Association of Realtors reports that the typical family's buying power is better than any time on record, since 1970 when the statistic was first tracked.

What does 2010 Hold?

Generally, Realtors are optimistic heading into 2010.  With the extension of the Homebuyers Federal Tax credit for first time buyers and the expansion to include second and third-time buyers, sales are expected to continue to be brisk in the winter months.  I expect many new listings in the early months of the year, sellers who would have probably waited until May to list. 

That should bode well for those of you ready to make a first time purchase or buy a larger (or smaller) home!  Give us a call so you can start regularly hearing about new listings on the market and take advantage of this government incentive.

Cincinnati...Gross National Happiness

by The Cincinnati Team

It seems like recently we’ve been hearing lots of Bad News. Day in and day out the media pundits shout the same stories on station after station. Whether they are right or not depends entirely upon where you live and what is going on in your neighborhood, because all real estate is local.

I’ve had enough of the media negativity!

So, I was excited when I read about a country named BHUTAN. They are located in south Asia at the eastern end of the Himalaya Mountains. Business Week rated this small country as the happiest in Asia and eighth happiest in the world. This is largely because of the Kingdom’s efforts to preserve the nation’s traditional culture, identity and environment.

What is their secret?  The Concept of Gross National Happiness (GNH). The four pillars of GNH are the promotion of sustainable development, preservation and promotion of cultural values, conservation of the natural environment, and establishment of good governance. Measuring GMH looks at the following:

  1. Economic Wellness: consumer debt, average income to consumer price index ratio and income distribution
  2. Environmental Wellness: pollution, noise and traffic
  3. Physical Wellness: overall physical health, severe illnesses
  4. Mental Wellness: usage of antidepressants and rise or decline of psychotherapy patients
  5. Workplace Wellness: jobless claims, job change, workplace complaints and lawsuits
  6. Social Wellness: discrimination, safety, divorce rates, complaints of domestic conflicts and family lawsuits, public lawsuits, crime rates
  7. Political Wellness: quality of local democracy, individual freedom, and foreign conflicts.

What a Concept!

Here’s a list of ideas that might help your happiness index and bring more fun and joy into your life:

  • Sip lemonade on your porch and talk to neighbors
  • See a double feature…with popcorn
  • Find pictures in the clouds, preferably with a child beside you
  • Make a snow angel
  • Pick up trash you see along the street...on your neighbor's side
  • Go see a high school theater production and imagine their futures
  • Give your children a big hug
  • Plan a neighborhood pot luck
  • Be thankful for the family gathered around your Thanksgiving table, thankful for the food you share and just plain thankful that you have someone who loves you, with all your bumps and bruises, unconditionally.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

First Time Buyers lead the Way to Housing and Economic Recovery

by The Cincinnati Team

Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors (NAR), indicates that the outlook for housing and and the economy appear headed for a sustainable recovery.

He credits the home buyer tax credit and its enhanced expansion to more home buyers into the middle of 2010 with this optimistic assessment.  "Given the success of the first-time buyer tax credit to date, and the need for qualified buyers to continue to absorb inventory that will include additional foreclosures over the coming year, we are hopeful about the impact of the expanded tax credit because it will stabilize home prices," he said.  In fact, the credit is working better than first projected -  it now looks like we'll have 2.3 to 2.4 million first-time buyers this year."

In 2009, the NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers reported that first-time home buyers accounted for 47% of all home sales.  In 2006, 36% sold to first-time buyers.

Yun believes that there will continue to be a steady draw down of inventory which will also help to stabilize home prices and increase the number sold by approximately 13.6% in 2010.  The biggest risk is caused by unemployment, which the government expects to peak at about 10%.

He predicts that mortgage rates for a 30 year fixed rate will average about 5.3% in the fourth quarter of this year and gradually rise in 2010, ending at around 5.8%.  Because of the decline in home prices, the NAR housing affordability index has risen by 30 points this year...meaning many more families can afford a home.  The biggest deterrent to buying is currently a lack of down payment or low credit scores.

Wondering about the Federal Housing Tax Credit?

by The Cincinnati Team

Do you have lots of questions about the Federal Housing Tax Credit?  Wondering if you can qualify for the $8000 First Time Buyer Tax Credit?  Have people been encouraging you to take advantage of the $6500 Home Seller/Buyer Tax Credit? Are you a repeat home buyer?bag os money

Questions...Questions...Questions!

Here are some answers.  The National Association of Home Builders has compiled information that answers these questions and more on one comprehensive site.  In their report, you can find out what the income limits are, how much of a tax credit you can earn, special credits for military, foreign service and intelligence officials, how to claim the credit and many other topics.

As always you are encouraged to talk to your accountant, who could evaluate the program and apply it to your special cercumstances.  Whenever the Internal Revenue Service is involved, we want to get it right!

Shop Locally-Owned Cincinnati Businesses

by The Cincinnati Team

A remarkable initiative is underway.  "Break the Chain" is a brainstorm of an organization of locally-owned stores supporting one another, called Buy Cincy.  They are urging you to Break the Chain of the corporate chain stores and shop locally-only for one day.  The third annual celebration of Cincinnati Unchained is Saturday November 21st.  Over 30 stores are participating. 

All the stores appear to be offering specials of some sort, from a percentage off on certain items to gift certificates to donations to non-profits to samples and more. 

The list of participating stores is organized by area. Hope this helps you map out your visits.  For information about the specific offering of each store, check out the Cincinnati Unchained website.

DowntownBromwells

  • Bromwell's - 117 W. 4th St.
  • Contemporary Arts Center - 44 E 6th St.

Over the Rhine

  • Atomic Number Ten - 1306 Main St.
  • Dojo Gelato - 1801 Race
  • Findlay Market - 1801 Race St.
  • Joseph Wiliams Home - 1232 Vine St
  • The Little Mahatma - 1205 Vine St.
  • MiCA 12/v - 1201 Vine St.
  • Outside - 16 E. 12th St.
  • Park + Vine - 1109 Vine St
  • Switch - 1207A Vine St.

Clifton

  • The Mustard Seed Boutique - 311 Ludlow Ave.

Northside

  • Chicken Lays an Egg - 1608 Chase Ave.
  • NVISION - 4577 Hamilton Ave.

College HillCollege Hill Coffee Shop

  • College Hill Coffee Co. - 6128 Hamilton Ave.

Mt. Healthy

  • Yottaquest - 7607 Hamilton Ave.

Evanston

  • Woodstone Creek - 3641 Newton St.

O-Bryonville

  • Indigenous - 2008 Madison Rd.
  • Margot Madison Stationery - 2026 Madison Rd.
  • MiCa - 2039 Madison Rd.

Oakley

  • Blue Manatee Children's Bookstore and Decafe - 3054 Madison Rd.
  • Essencha Tea House and Fine Teas - 3212a Madison Rd.
  • The Spotted Goose - 3048 Madison Rd. (refresh yourself with an ice from Aglamesis while you're there)Blue Manatee Childrens Books

Kenwood

  • Litwin's - 7565 Kenwood Rd, Suite 204

Bellevue, KY

  • Field of Vue - 34 Fairfield Ave.
  • Front Door Gardens - 309 Fairfield Ave.

Online

These store have banded together to support one another in these economic times and to strenthen the local economy and your neighborhoods as well.  Interestingly, studies have proven that money spent in local stores generates three times more economic activity that money spent in a chain.  So help improve Cincinnati's economy and be a part of supporting your neighbors, shop locally-owned for just one day.

This will be a great chance to get an early start of your Holiday shopping and find unique and fun gifts as well!

Cincinnati is "For the Dogs" - Parks, That is!

by The Cincinnati Team

What's this love affair we have with our dogs?  When we got our darling bundle of fur over seven years ago, I had no idea the energy he would have.  Why didn't it occur to me that a Brittany Spaniel, bred for hunting, would need to constantly run and play? Taught me a lesson...find out all about your dog's breed, temperament and energy levels before committing to him.WagsPark Dog Park

But there's a solution if you have a dog like mine.  Give them lots of exercise...enter the concept of dog parks!  Cincinnati has been actively opening both public and private dog parks to meet the need and demand from dog lovers. 

Anderson Dog Park, 6701 Kellog Avenue, Anderson Township

A part of the Anderson Township Park District, this five acre park is near the Ohio River, close to River Downs.  The fencing is 6 feet high so your dog is completely safe and there are lots of benches for those who visit,  They charge a $45 yearly fee.

Bark Park at Miami Meadows, 1546 State Route 131, Milford

Growing in popularity, this dog park has plenty of places to "run, walk, play, sniff, scratch and lick."  There are two areas, one for large and one for small dogs.  Free.

Deerfield Dog Park in Schappacher's Park, 4686 Old Irwin Simpson Road, Mason

This is Warren County's first Dog Park. It received the "Best Dog Park" award from Cincinnati Magazine in 2003.

Ft. Thomas Dog Park, 85 Mayfield Drive, Ft. Thomas

Part of the Highland Hills Park, this dog park was a welcome addition for those that had to drive further away to allow their pets to be off leash.  Wooded setting with hills, benches and water for the dogs.

Kenton Paw, 3950 Madison Pike, Covington

This Kenton County Paw Park, within Kenton County's Pioneer Park, also has large and small dog areas with a beautiful creek setting.  Their extremely active Friends of Kenton Paw has fundraisers, including their fun calendar with pictures of visiting dogs.  They also co-sponsor a program with the Kenton County Public Library where children read to dogs...a program proven to encourage early readers.

Mt. Airy Dog Park,  3006 Westwood Northern (between Montana and North Bend)

Located in Mt. Airy Forest, this West Side dog park was Cincinnati Park's first in a public park.  It has over two acres of fenced area and is located at the Highpoint Picnic area.

Otto Armleder Dog Park, 3960 Pennsylvania Avenue, off Wooster near Mt. Lookout

This seems to be the place to be, whether you have a dog or not. Imagine if you lived in an apartment that restricts dogs. There are lots of young professionals to be found here looking for a chance to meet other young professionals and playing together with the dogs. Enjoy watching some happy dogs in this video.

One of the interesting points when reviewing this 323 acre park is that it is jointly operated by the Hamilton County Park District , the Cincinnati Recreation Commission and Cincinnati Parks.  Impressive use of resources!

In addition to the large and small breed areas, there are dog shower and drinking fountains.  The 2-mile paved trail allows you to run or roller-blade with your dog.  Be sure to check out whether it is open if the river is running high...yes, the Ohio River can back the water all the way up the Little Miami River (didn't seem to stop the dogs who came)!

Red Dog Pet Resort and Spa, 5081 Madison Road, Oakley

This is one of only two private facilities in the area.  The WagsPark is "members only" with three acres, including walking trails and play equipment.  Right next door to the Pet Resort and Spa area is a self-serve dog wash facility...a dog lover has everything they could need. 

WagsPark Dog ParkIf you need lots of  help with your dog's care when working late nights, this could be your solution.  The facility operates 24/7 with services that include training classes, accommodations - royalty accommodations is more like it -  including themed suites, a pool, massage/healing touch, playtime inside and out and a "bedtime story and tuck-in." 

Plus, if you love your cat as well, they can come, too.  Sometimes, when I travel, I wish I were treated as well as the animals here!

Symmes Township Park, 11600 Lebanon Road, Loveland

You walk about a quarter mile from the parking lot to get to this fenced dog area.  If you like to have a private area to train your dog off leash, this would be a good place to practice skills.  It is generally rather deserted.

WagsPark Dog Park, 3810 Church Street, Newtown

Also a private, members only dog park, this one is run by people who KNOW dogs...the Pet Stop people are trying to think of everything a dog owner needs in a facility.  This video will get you in the mood.

I like the fact that there is temperament testing to be sure that dogs are suitable for the park.  They also check vaccinations to be assure that all dogs will be safe.

A membership is designed for all dogs in your family...assuming you don't have more than four dogs.  They have a diving dock for dogs to jump into the spring-fed pond.  There is an agility and speed course, WagTropolis play system, and a dancing fountain.

Check out the adjoining filling station, car wash and "WagOmat."  After they run through the ponds next door, you can give them a good bath there before going home...I think your dog will need a nap when he arrives home after all this fun!

Wiggly Field, 8070 Tylersville Road (at Cox), West Chester

Walk your dog around the 35 acre lake at the Voice of America Park in West Chester, before entering the fenced 3-acre dog park.  Located off Tylersville Road near the Butler and Warren County line, this park is easily accessed.  It is a 3 acre grassy site without shade for visitors. 

University of Cincinnati Football Excitement!

by The Cincinnati Team

Need we say more?  We love University of Cincinnati Football...after attending for all these years, this is FUN.  Go Cats!!!!University of Cincinnati Football

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 25

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