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Cleveland Ohio Real Estate Blog

The Schuman Team


Displaying blog entries 81-90 of 92

Pricing Your Home To Sell, Not Sit

by The Schuman Team

Many area home owners are looking to sell their home for a variety of reasons. Have you outgrown your current home, looking to move into a different school district, or maybe relocating out of the area?  Regardless of the reason for selling, the ultimate goal is to sell, but the challenge for many is knowing how to properly price a home in order to get it sold quickly.

We can tell you with confidence that pricing your home aggressively to sell at the beginning of the listing period will give you a better chance to sell, and for a better price.

Take a look at the chart below: 

 activity vs. time

As you can see, sellers get the most activity on their home during the first 30 days that it is on the market. The reason for this is that the buyers in the marketplace have already defined specifically what they want in a home and have seen everything in their price range prior to your home coming on the market. Once your home comes onto the market, the buyers who are serious will want to see it right away, hoping that their search is over and that your home will be "the one."

The buyers that look at your home during the first 30 days are typically the best because they are ready to buy now. In fact, many times these buyers are so eager to move forward with their home purchase, that they are looking for reasons to buy. If your home is the nicest one they have seen in that price range, it will stand out and a buying decision will often be made. If not, the buyers will move on.  A skilled Realtor should know the competition and will coach you on pricing accordingly.

Sellers who try to "test" the market, or price their homes higher than they should based on "what they need to get out of it" end up losing out on a golden opportunity to sell to these serious buyers. In addition, during a depreciating market when a home is constantly losing value, the longer a home takes to sell, the less money a seller will get for it.

If you really want to sell your home and move forward with your goals, pay attention to the chart and take advantage of the period of time in which you will get the greatest number of showings on your home. As the old saying goes, "strike while the iron is hot".

Free Home Staging Tips

by The Schuman Team




Your home is like a product on a shelf in a store.  Buyers will compare all the products that meet their criteria in the same price range and pick the nicest one.  As real estate agents who also specialize in home staging, it is our job to  make sure that our clients' homes are not only priced right, but show the best.  This can often be done with a very small budget. 

Here are five of the many Staging tips in our arsenal that increase the value of your home by making it show better. Best of all, they won't cost you any money!

1.  CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN!  Inside and out - and don't forget the windows.  Bathrooms should shine!  It's hard for a buyer to imagine themselves using a bathroom with someone else's grime in there. 

2. Clear off refrigerator.  So simple, but it makes a big difference.  In general, your "stuff" distracts buyers from the house itself and makes rooms feel cluttered.

3.  Clean and organize closets - Overstuffed and messy closets make buyers think there isn't enough closet space.  Pack away out of season clothes and they will be ready to go when you move. 

4.  Remove scatter rugs and bath mats for showings.  They only make rooms look smaller by visually breaking up the space.  Remember, more perceived space = more money! 

5.  Have a showings plan.  It is difficult to keep a home "show ready" at all times.  Create a plan to get the home ready to show in 10 minutes.  Example -  For the bathroom, buy 2 baskets- one for the shower and one for the countertop products you use regularly.  When you have a showing, just pop the baskets under the sink or in a linen closet for a quick and easy clean-up!

If you are looking to sell your home, we offer full staging services at no additional cost to our clients. 

How Long Should Home Components Last?

by The Schuman Team

Knowing the age of home components can help you with budgeting for future updates and repairs. It may also be a determining factor in choosing one home over another.

The following is a list of life expectancies of certain home components. Keep in mind that these figures are merely averages.



how long do home components last?


Appliances -  Gas Range - 15 years

                    Dryers / Refrigerators 13                                                     

                    Dishwashers and Microwaves - 9

                    Compactors - 6


Countertops  -    Natural Stone - lifetime

                         Cultured Marble - 20


Decks -              15-20 , depending on climate


Doors -              Exterior fiberglass, steel and wood - will last as long as house stands

                          Vinyl doors - 20 years

                          Screen Doors - 40

                          French Doors - 30-50


Faucets and Fixtures -   Kitchen sinks - 50 years

                                    Faucets - 15

                                    Shower Doors - 20

                                    Showerheads/toilets - lifetime


Flooring -       Wood, marble, slate and granite - 100

                       Vinyl Flooring -50                         

                       Linoleum - 25

                       Carpet - 8-10


Garage Doors -             10-15 years


Home Technology -       Security Systems- 5-10 years

                                    Heat and Smoke detectors- 5-10 years


Heating, Venting, and AC- HVAC Systems- 15-20 years

                                       Tankless water heaters - 20

                                       Electric or gas water heaters - 10


Roofing  -                      Slate, Copper and clay/concrete - 50 years

                                      Asphalt-shingle - 20 years                     

                                      Fiber-cement shingles- 25 years

                                      Wood shakes- 30 years


Siding and Accessories-     Brick, wood, stone, and fiber cement- last as long as the home

                                        Exterior Wood shutters - 20 years

                                        Copper Gutters- 50

                                        Aluminum Gutters- 20

                                        Copper downspouts- 100

                                        Aluminum downspouts- 30


Windows-                         Aluminum - 15-20 years

                                        Wooden- up to 30 years 


Source= Study by National Association of Home Builders. Life expectancies listed above are general guidelines only. They should not be interpreted as a representation, warranty or guarantee regarding the life expectancy or performance of any individual product or product line.

Why Moving Up In A Down Market Makes Sense

by The Schuman Team


Many current homeowners have recently seen their housing needs change. Perhaps they have a child getting ready to start school in the fall, or maybe they simply need more space. Whatever the reason, if your goal is to move into a more expensive home, don't let the market scare you from moving forward.

With local real estate here in Cleveland on a slight downward trend, and with interest rates near historic lows, move-up buyers are facing a great opportunity. However, for a lot of move-up buyers, the thought of selling their current home during a declining market makes them uneasy and keeps them from moving forward with their goals. 

Hopefully, the follow graph will help illustrate why moving up can make a lot of sense.

Buying Up in a down market


In this example, the owners of Home "A" have experienced a 10% decline in the value of their home. On face value, this seems like a negative and can be very concerning. Had the owners of Home "A" sold at the peak of the market, like in 2003 or 2004, they would have also purchased Home "B" at the peak of the market. The difference would have been $200,000.

When the market declines, the price of all homes decline.  Thus, Home "B" experienced the same percentage decline as Home "A", yet went down a greater dollar amount.  The difference is now only $180,000. Although the sellers feel a "loss" in the sale of their Home "A", they actually realize a net gain of $20,000 in the overall transaction.

We realize this is a somewhat difficult concept for some people to grasp but we hope you really take some time to study the numbers. If you would like to buy a larger home, now really is a great time to do it.

Why You Must Use A Local Agent

by The Schuman Team


Local agents know their towns better than anyone else. We firmly believe that using a local Realtor® is in your best interests and in this post we will give you reasons why local is the only way to go.


To begin, real estate and the communities in which it is located is unique.  No one house is the same and neighborhoods are all different as well.  Although you can get basic information on the internet, there are certain things that only a local agent will know.


1.     Superior Market Knowledge - A good local agent constantly tours the market and knows the inventory.  Photos on line don't always show the true story of a home. A local "insider" will be able to share vital information that will end up saving you time and money.

2.     They Know The Schools - The strength of a community often starts with the schools.  A local agent will often have kids in the school system and be able to share specific information with you.

3.     Neighborhood Experts - A local agent not only knows all the specific neighborhoods inside and out, but often has friends and clients in each one that can be made available if needed.  While getting information from your agent is nice, hearing directly from people who live in the neighborhoods you are looking to buy is even better.

4.     Strong Relationships With Other Agents - A good local agent will network with other local agents to get the scoop about homes that may be coming on the market in the future or learn about a seller who has suddenly become "highly motivated" and is open to offers.   You'd be shocked about the kind of information that is passed between local agents, things that will never appear on line.

5.     In The Know - Local agents are aware of upcoming changes that may  affect the housing market.  Some may be good, and some could negatively impact values. They are also always hearing the latest community gossip at the local softball field and PTA meetings, information that sellers don't tell their own agents. Things get discussed in small circles in every community and a good local agent will know about them and be able to share with their clients.


I often get calls from agents asking for directions to one of our listings, or wanting more information on a popular subdivision in town.  It's obvious they don't know the area and I wonder why they would do such a disservice to their clients. Referring the business to an agent who knows the local area better seems to make more sense.

If you are ever looking to buy or sell real estate, remember that a real estate transaction is very complicated,  involving a lot of money and risk.  A local agent is always the safest choice.

Common Terms Used By Real Estate Agents

by The Schuman Team

Buying A Home In Cleveland - Common Terms Used By Agents


Cleveland Ohio Real Estate understanding real estate language


If you are buying a home in Cleveland,you will most likely work with a real estate agent who will use language and terminology that you do not understand.  An agent may say they will go into the MLS, find some great comps and send you a CMA, and you will simply smile and nod your head knowing full well you have no idea what they are talking about.

In an effort to educate the consumer, we have compiled a list of common words and terms that real estate agents use on a regular basis along with a definition of each one. Once properly armed, those who are buying a home in Cleveland will be able to "speak the same language" as their agent.

Agency - A consensual fiduciary ( this is covered below ) relationship in which one party acts on behalf of and under the control of another in dealing with third parties.

Comps - Comparable or similar properties used in determining current value of a subject property, typically for appraisal purposes.

CMA - Acronym for Comparative Market Analysis - a report showing a comparison of similar homes to a subject property giving the sellers an idea of market value.

Contingency - A condition that must be met before a contract is legally binding; a financing or home inspection contingency are common.

Fiduciary - Someone who acts in a legal role responsible for the best interests of another.

MLS - Also known as Multiple Listing Service- a database through which member real estate brokerages exchange information on listings of real estate. This is a Realtor database of homes that offers the most up to date and accurate information available and is not for public use. Here in Cleveland, we use Northeast Ohio Real Estate Exchange ( NEOHREX ).

REO - Real Estate Owned - An REO is a property that goes back to the mortgage company after an unsuccessful foreclosure auction. Another term for a bank owned property.

FSBO - Pronounced "Fizz Bo" - For Sale By Owner - A property being marketed by the owner without the involvement of an agent.

Staging® - Refers to getting a home ready to sell by removing certain personal items, re-arranging furniture, and bringing in furniture in a vacant hometo make the home look good to potential buyers 

Warranty - A home warranty is an insurance contract that covers the repair and replacement costs of home appliances and offers protection for mechanical systems against unexpected repairs not covered by home owner's insurance coverage. It extends over a specific time period and does not cover the home's structure.

Hopefully this list of terms will help make you more comfortable during the home buying process. 


*Many of these terms officially used by the Federal Trade Commission.

Is Zillow Really Accurate, Check This Out

by The Schuman Team

Is Zillow Really Accurate, Take A Look For Yourself


Is Zillow Really Accurate


Over the past 5-7 years, the internet has become the main source to get information, especially when it comes to real estate. With so much data available, we think it is important for consumers to understand exactly what they are reading. 

Today, we are going to be looking at one of the most visited sites, Zillow has quickly become known to consumers as a good place to go to check home values, and is a fine site. However, a problem that a lot of real estate agents have is that people seem to be putting too much weight on the numbers they see here, and are paying less attention to the more accurate figures they receive from us.  I couldn't tell you how many conversations I have had with a client that starts with them saying "you know, we were on Zillow, and it says our home is worth..."  

I guess I don't blame someone for wanting to believe some of the things they read on line, but we thought it was time to set the record straight.  Let's take a closer look at the information you are getting.

If you go to, there will be a link at the very bottom of the home page that takes you to a disclaimer regarding their values.  Here's what I'm referring to:


 link to zillow accuracy disclaimer

         estimate Values and Accuracy        Terms of Use      Privacy Policy

Go ahead and click on the link above. Here, you will be able to learn how Zillow comes up with their homes values and see that they do in fact have a margin for error in their figures. They even give specific information on major metropolitan areas, such as our city, Cleveland.

You can even get more detailed information regarding Zillow's figures if you are the kind of person that loves details.

The point we want to make is that visiting sites like Zillow are great, but the numbers you see should be used merely as a starting point for discussion purposes only. Nothing replaces the information you can get from a local real estate expert.  In fact, Zillow even recommends getting a market analysis from a real estate agent, it even says so right on their site.

We find that a little education goes a long way, and hopefully you found this helpful. Now, if you end up sitting down with us to buy or sell a home, you won't start the conversation with ..."you know, I was on Zillow the other day...."

Home Vs. Neighborhood - What's More Important?

by The Schuman Team

What Is More Important: The Home OR The Neighborhood?


Tudor Style home in SOM Hills Solon Ohio

Huntington Woods Solon Oh block party


We just had a rather healthy debate with some other agents about this topic. We were asked in a group setting what is more important to today's buyers, the home or the neighborhood ( we couldn't answer both ).

While it's hard to make a blanket statement, based on our personal experience, many of our buyers seem to be focused on the "home". Maybe even a little too much.

In today's market, we understand that buyers "want it all" when it comes to finding a home. The home has to look a certain way on the outside, the floor plan must be just right, and room sizes must be perfect as well.  It also must be a finished product and done to their tastes, because many of today's buyers lack vision or simply don't want to do any work themselves. Oh yeah, and it would be nice if it's in a neighborhood or area that they like as well.

On the flip side, when we talk to our selling clients and ask what they will miss the most, they rarely mention their home. Most say they will miss the neighborhood, the proximity to schools, or the friendships they've developed in the community. Rarely do we ever hear "I'm really going to miss this huge dining room that we just had to have when we bought the home because it perfectly fit our antique dining room set".

I'm not saying people don't love their home. It seems though that once someone moves in and starts living in a home, the more they begin to appreciate the other features such as location, amenities, and the neighborhood. The home often becomes secondary after time.

So what is really more important, the home or the neighborhood? It seems to depend on where you are in the cycle. However, we think that today's home buyers would be wise to "relax" just a little bit about not getting every little thing they want, and focus on the big picture of what will most likely make them happy in the long run.

Introducing Our Cleveland Real Estate Blog

by The Schuman Team


Cleveland Real Estate Blog


Welcome To Our Blog.  To begin, this article is a little ill timed.  You see, we have actually been writing a blog for over 2 years now but never officially introduced it.  That's kind of like opening a restaurant and then having a grand opening 2 years later.  At first, we wanted to work out the kinks. Then, we got so busy writing that it just slipped our mind.  It has actually become one of the most popular real estate blogs in Ohio and has been a great source of business for us. You can see over 300 of our older posts by visiting our official Cleveland Real Estate Blog site. So, without further ado, welcome to our....

Oh wait.  Before we actually talk about our blog, I think we need to take a step back and explain what a blog is all about.  Initially, we assumed most people were familiar with blogs, and have used the term frequently in conversations. However,  I was at a social event recently and told someone that we have a very popular blog and invited her to check it out. To that, she replied, "what's a blog?"

So, while it is certainly possible that most people are aware of the term, they may not know the particulars, because every blog is different.  There are personal blogs, which read like diaries, corporate blogs, photo blogs, etc... Heck, I didn't even understand the entire concept until I actually started blogging, so I suppose we shouldn’t assume others will know anything about our blog, unless we explain it to them, or better yet, show them.

For the purposes of trying to explain the basics of our Cleveland Real Estate Blog, so people like my parents ( who are still trying to get a grasp on this "email" thing ) can understand, here is an easy way to think of it.  A blog is like a newspaper, with "articles" being added to it all the time, sometimes even daily.  The newspaper is called the "blog" and the articles are called "posts". So, what you are now reading is a post on our blog.  If that's not clear, than I don't know what to tell you because even that explanation made sense to my parents.

The best thing about our blog is that we have total control over content. Yes that's right, it's basically a free for all, but we do understand the importance of great content, otherwise, no one would read it.  The thing that has made blogs so popular is because they are more personal and often offer deeper insight on a particular topic than the typical article someone may read. That's what people can expect from this blog.  Our goal is for everyone to feel like their time spent reading was worthwhile, and that they actually learned something new.


We give general information that would be of value to anyone, regardless of where they live. Since we are real estate agents, naturally we do write about real estate, but also discuss other topics as well.

On the real estate side, we give basic tips to home buyers and sellers, and sometimes even talk about complicated subjects such as the different styles of negotiating.  Also included are posts on our areas of specialty, luxury homes and home staging.  We also love sharing tips to our corporate and business contacts.  Here are some examples of what you will find here:

Nationally Featured Articles:

C'mon People, Stop Posting Vacation Plans On Facebook

Does Hiring Cousin Vinny Really Make Sense?

Real Estate Agents Are Not Just Door Openers

Is Zillow Really Accurate? Take A Look For Yourself

Local Articles:

The Complete Guide To Buying A Home In Cleveland

Solon Ohio -  A Special Community

Signature of Solon

Business Tips and Advice:

How To Increase Your Website's Ranking

Rating Your Social Media Personality,Are You A Sitcom, Drama, or Informercial?

The Art Of Working With Athletes

The last great thing about our blog is that it is interactive.  At the bottom of our posts, there is a link that will take you to a comment section.  Here, readers are encouraged to make a comment.  Ideally, we would love to hear your thoughts and opinions about the post you just read.  However, if you just want to send us a note, that’s ok too.

So, we would officially like to welcome you to our blog.

Also, if you know of someone who would benefit by reading our blog,  please share it with a friend.

For the record, most of our posts are much shorter than this.  But after two years, we had a lot to say.

Selling A Home - Little Things Mean A Lot

by The Schuman Team

When we consult our home sellers, we tell them that they don't have to spend a lot of money to get big results. It’s the little things that count, and many are very inexpensive.

Buyers respond to certain things in their subconscious mind that makes a home attractive to them.  If you want your home to sell, it must say things to a buyer that make them excited enough to want to purchase it.   And what do we want the house to say?  “I’m the one!”  “I’m updated and well cared for.”  “You can move right in and not have to spend any more money!”


light switch covers - cheap tip

Let's look at something minor like light switch covers.  While certainly not a focal point of a home, if they are cracked, crooked or dirty, a buyer will be turned off. At less than $1 a piece it’s as cheap a quick fix as you are going to get, and the impact is huge.

A home with new covers will be viewed as cleaner, crisper, and believe it or not – more updated!  Just be sure to match the cover to the color of the actual switch.  For some homes, you may want to spend just a few more dollars and change out the whole switch just to make sure they both match.

On that same note, here are a few other tips to help give the impression of an updated and well maintained home:

  • Replace your old thermostat with a digital, programmable one.  This not only makes your home more energy efficient, but gives the impression of updated systems.
  • Replace vent covers that aren’t at their best.  Subtle signs of neglect  leave a bad impression in a buyer’s mind.Home Staging
  • Put away room fans or space heaters for showings – they only send a message that your HVAC system and/or insulation is ineffective.
  • Replace your front door handle and/or lock.  The front door impression sets the tone for the whole showing.  A door that is difficult to unlock or open and a peeling, old handle do not bode well for what’s to follow.
  • Have your HVAC system serviced if you don’t already do it annually.  The fresh service sticker tells buyers that you take care of your home.  At a minimum, change the filters.  Dirty filters = neglect.
  • I’ve said it before – but wash your windows inside and out.  It makes everything in your home look better!

You don't necessarily have to put a lot of money into your home to make it look its best.  Focusing on the little things will help get your home sold, and for more money.

Displaying blog entries 81-90 of 92

Contact Information

The Schuman Team
3550 Lander Road
Pepper Pike OH 44122
Dan: 216-346-3235
Amy: 216-403-9189
Fax: 216-456-2333