Solar Workshop at Sunbury Urban Farm

The best time of year to learn about solar energy is around the equinox, which is September 22nd. You can look at your site and determine the average solar exposure, knowing that it will be better 6 months of the year, and worse 6 months of the year.

On Saturday October 6th at 10:30 am, I will be teaching a free solar energy workshop at Sunbury Urban Farm, 2140 Sunbury Rd. More information can be found here.

Customer Service Above All

At a recent closing, I saw my client out the window walk right past the closing office, looking like she was on a mission. Wondering if she was lost, I resisted the urge to text and re-direct her. So I waited, patiently, until she arrived at the closing office with a beautiful bouquet. I then realized her mission was to buy some flowers for me. She and her husband also made a gift to the wind ensemble that I founded and conduct, which was a beautiful, meaningful gesture. This is what clients do when they feel like their wishes have been honored, and their goals met.


I’m on a mission, too. My professional goal is to treat every client just exactly the way I would want to be treated: with care, kindness, honesty, and integrity. With promptness, and swift answers to questions, none of which are ever “dumb.” With the kind of personal touch that necessitates going above and beyond. When dealing with clients, I simply ask myself how I would want any given scenario to be handled, and then I handle it that way. Turns out that the golden rule is applicable to any situation, at any age, well beyond the Kindergarten years in which we learned it.


Customer service is absolutely the driving force behind my work. I’ve left places of employment because I was mystified at by the self-above-client culture dominating the workplace. When you put a customer first in that environment, you get sideways glances from the co-workers who expected you buy into the culture.


Here’s the reality of having a “customer first” philosophy: Every transaction will take more time. You will work harder, and the hours you work won’t fit neatly into 9 to 5. You DO hold proverbial hands if necessary, you DO have face-to-face interaction, you DO make personal phone calls, and you DO arrange for every contractor to give the same personal treatment that you give. All of the above takes time, and more time translates to fewer transactions. You know what? I’d rather make less money from deliriously happy clients than make more money from clients who got shortchanged. I’m different, I’m not rich, and that’s OK.


If you’d like to experience that personal touch in real estate or solar consulting, please call or text 614-383-8379. I look forward to serving you.

How Failed School Levies Affect Property Value

It’s all about supply and demand.

Well-supported schools draw families to a district, reducing inventory in that area. Reduced inventory drives the price of homes up, and stabilizes the ‘micro-economy,’ or economy of the area. Conversely, under-supported schools with higher student/teacher ratios and fewer curricular opportunities drive families away from the district, increasing available home inventory, which drives property values down (sometimes significantly) and de-stabilizes the micro-economy.

The best example of this can be found in Grove City, Ohio 2009. My in-laws live in Grove City, so this hit us on a personal level. In a paralyzing turn of events, the Grove City school levy failed, prompting extracurriculars to be abruptly cancelled, class sizes increased, classes cancelled altogether, sports (including football) to be cancelled, and buildings closed. Marching band season was scrapped. Teachers were immediately laid off. Students relying on sports and music scholarships had no venue to perform. Perhaps the most painful outcome, however, was the split schedule forced upon students and families. Some high school students went to school from 7 am to 1 pm, and some went to school from 1 pm to 7.

Families trying to salvage their student’s senior year (and scholarship opportunities) immediately fled to other districts. Seeing the exodus, businesses got nervous and followed suit. Those families and businesses took their money out with them.

The closure of school buildings hurt the Parks and Rec department, as venues for their programs were shuttered.

Surrounding geographic areas sensed the collapse and started actively recruiting people. The Grove City Mayor was forced to address City Council about the poaching, citing a Dispatch ad enticing Grove City residents to move to Pickerington. According to meeting minutes, he said “…You never recover from those residents that move away; the companies that never come; etc. We need to educate the public and ourselves over the implications that another failed Levy would have on the City.”

Indeed, as residents and businesses left Grove City, property values dipped well below values in peer districts. Home sellers took giant losses totaling tens of thousands of dollars.

When levies are up for a vote, it is often argued “I have no plans to move, so I don’t care about property value.” For those homeowners, it is wise to remember that sometimes people sell because they have to, not because they want to. No one plans to get divorced, no one plans to lose their job, and no one plans an abrupt move to take care of a sick, injured, or aging family member. However, those scenarios force people to sell their homes, like it or not.

Keeping property values stable is the best way to insulate homeowners from devastating losses. For this reason and a host of others, please support your local school levy.

Ten Steps to Selling your Home workshop

Coming up on March 28th at 6:30 pm at Westerville Library: a free workshop in which we’ll discuss Ten Steps to Selling Your Home. At this event, we’ll explore how to prepare to sell, ways in which to increase the value of your home, and how to set yourself up for a stress-free transaction. Resources and discounts will be available. Though the workshop is free, registration is required, as seats are limited.

Solar tariff by the numbers/WORKSHOP

You’ve heard about the tariffs now being applied to imported solar panels. You’ve heard the criticism, the outrage, maybe the praise for saving domestic jobs… it’s confusing. Is the tariff good or bad? Does it make solar more expensive for consumers, and if so how much? Let’s break this tariff decision down by the numbers and you can decide for yourself.

The decision came as a direct result of bankrupt domestic solar panel companies (two, specifically) that felt threatened by the wave of cheap imported solar panels being utilized in the US. The domestic companies couldn’t produce the panels at the same low cost, and were being forced to operate at low profit margins, forcing them into bankruptcy. These two companies came to the federal government for relief, proposing a tariff on imported panels. The federal administration granted that request.

By doing so, the employees of those two companies are assured continuing employment. This saved between 2,000 and 3,000 jobs which were in jeopardy.

However, the solar installation sector employs at least a dozen times as many people. An estimated 35,000 installers job are now in jeopardy because the increased price of solar will cancel or delay jobs which were designed with conscientious budgets. Without new projects to install, those installers will be unemployed. The difference between the number of jobs saved and the number of jobs jeopardized is roughly 30,000.

The affect of the price increases varies depending on the type of consumer. Residential projects, which use only a few dozen panels, will be affected the least, with an expected 3 to 5% increase. For the average household, that translates to  between $400 and $900 on a solar project that costs between $11,000 and $23,000 and saves an average of $35,000 over a lifetime. The savings could be significantly more as the price of electricity rises. At today’s rates, you can expect save a minimum of twice as much as you spend, though it will likely be more.

Commercial and industrial projects will be more acutely affected by the solar tariff, as they require hundreds or thousands of panels. The higher the number of panels, the more the tariff affects the price. It is these commercial and industrial projects that are most in jeopardy, and most deeply injure the solar industry.

It is worth noting that the affects of the new tariff will not be felt for months. In anticipation of the announcement, panel distributors have been stockpiling panels so that they can sell them at yesterday’s rates. In addition, the first 2.5 gigawatts of imported panels are exempt from the tariff each year, so tariff-free panels are still coming into the country, for a limited time. All of this means that if you are considering solar energy, you should start inquiring NOW, as the stockpiles of tariff-free panels will last an estimated 3 months, plus or minus.

I will be teaching a free workshop on residential solar on Thursday February 1st at Westerville library. At that workshop, we will going into even more depth on the economics of solar, as well as basic design, cost, financing, and vetting installers. Please register to save your seat!


My experience as a solar consumer

I’ve been teaching workshops about residential solar energy for over a year now (next one is December 14th!), but it’s been just recently that I’ve been able to speak from first-hand experience. The process for going solar has been much easier than most people think. It’s actually been pretty painless.

Once I requested a quote from one of my vendors, I applied for an Ecolink Loan, a process that from application to approval took about 3 weeks. This is the beauty of Ecolink loans: I financed this solar installation AND my kitchen renovation at just 1.34% over five years. (!) The amount of interest I’m paying on this is negligible. When we closed on the loan, I almost felt naughty, like I got away with something.

Once the money was available, deposit was made, and the system was installed within two weeks. I got it up in time to get the 2017 30% federal tax credit which we’ll use to pay down the loan, further lowering the already-low loan interest. I wanted to get the system up before the tax credit expires in 2019, and well before tax reform threatened it altogether. If that happens, it would likely be before 2018 elections.

I also beat a potential increase in the price of solar panels, which may be coming due to proposed tariffs on imported panels.  This may increase the cost of panels up to 35% (about a $1500 to $2000 increase). This is expected to happen in the next few months, so I *just* beat that by starting the process in September.

THERE IS STILL TIME for you to start this process and have the system installed well before these two market changes occur. Asking for a quote now locks in the price of panels at today’s ultra-low rates. 2017 installation is not likely to happen this late in the year, but you would still receive the federal tax credit for 2018; you’d just have to wait a little longer for it.

I hate high-pressure sales both as a consumer and a professional. However, please know that if you’ve ever considered solar for your house or business, NOW is really the time to get it done, before you end up paying $7000 more than you needed to! I saved about that much by doing it now. Don’t wait.

If you’d like an estimate on solar, I only need two easy pieces of info: 1) your address to evaluate your site on aerial maps, and 2) the total # of kiloWatt hours used at your site in the last year. This number is typically found on page 2 or 3 of your electric bill, and typically ranges between 7,000 and 30,000.

Consultation and estimate is provided at no cost to you. Call/message me and let’s get started! 614-383-8379.


FREE Residential Solar Workshops!

Tickets are now sold out for the free residential solar workshop on Thursday October 19th, but you may sign up for the next (identical) workshop on Monday November 13th at Westerville Library! Thank you for the overwhelming interest!

In this class, we will discuss why people choose solar, and countries that are world leaders in renewable energy. The answers will surprise you. Come to the workshop to find out which countries are leading the way to a renewable future, and how you can become part of the movement.

Solar-powered country living!

At Sunnysideofcbus, I try to share what’s awesome. This house is at the top of my list. It has all the things that make me happy (and a little bit jealous). The 7-kiloWatt grid-tied solar array powers the whole house and the owner’s electric car. Yes, I’ve got e-car jealousy too. But that’s just the top of a long list of green features that includes sustainable flooring, recycled glass countertops, rain barrels, raised garden beds, sizable shed with enclosed chicken coop, wood-fired hearth, and solar tubes for natural lighting. All this is located on 1+ semi-wooded acre, less than a mile from a wetlands with walking path, and across from farmland. 1401 Curve Road Delaware, Ohio has all the right stuff for homesteaders, green living enthusiasts, and folks who just want some nature in their lives. For more information and photos, please visit this link and feel free to register. Your information goes only to me, and I will never share.  Happy home-seeking!


What I love about Gahanna

It’s not hard to love Gahanna, Ohio. I’ve been here 14 years (Realtor® for the last 2 years), and I’m even more smitten with it now than I was in 2003. The reasons are wide-ranging, from practical to economical, to social. It’s very hard to boil it down to just a few paragraphs for a reasonable-length blog, but for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of living in or visiting Gahanna, I’ll hit the highlights and then invite you to add your own.

Let’s start with the practical. From Gahanna, I can be to anywhere in Columbus in less than 25 minutes. I can be at my downtown Columbus church in 13 minutes, and my husband can be at his New Albany office in the same amount of time. Appointments in Hilliard or Dublin? No problem, barely 25 minutes away. When I worked at OSU, my commute from door-to-door including parking was 22 minutes.  When I traveled for OSU work, the airport was 5 minutes from me. There is not a single destination that I can’t easily arrive at in short order. Living so close to the freeway, life in the fast lane is easy.

But I’m not always driving. I can be at the grocery store, bank, restaurants, and pharmacy within a 10 minute bike ride. This morning I utilized two different bike trails to get to an appointment at the corner of Cherry Bottom and Morse Rds. You might recognize the picture above as the pond at Woodside Green, one of four different parks that I can walk or bike to from my very fortunate location.

Beyond being practical, Gahanna is economical. For the reasonable tax money I pay, I reap innumerable benefits, just one of which is the above-mentioned park & trail system.  We take good care of our city, and the pride is evident upon just driving in. It’s pretty, and we take care to make it seasonally decorated. A group of volunteers called Make Gahanna Yours has indeed put their own stamp on Gahanna, with street planters, art, flowers, and hosting events to enjoy the scenery. While volunteers are busy beautifying, the city of Gahanna under the leadership of multiple mayors in my time has been a good steward of my tax money, with noticeable improvements. It’s changed in 14 years, for the better.

But perhaps the one economical piece that I appreciate most is the quality of our school system. When I moved here in 2003, I knew that Gahanna schools were reputable, but I wouldn’t learn until years later that the elementary school that my son attends is private-school quality. I know this having taught in two private schools. I would send my son to Chapelfield Elementary before I would pay for him to go to either of those two private schools. I could be effusive for hours about how much I adore Chapelfield, but that is a subject for another lengthy blog.

Social reasons to love Gahanna aren’t hard to find, starting with the fact that people here are nice to each other. Always have been. I recently read a Facebook post about how folks stuck in a traffic jam got re-routed through a residential neighborhood, and one of the residents passed out cookies to the drivers. That’s Gahanna.

There are so many people, from so many walks of life. There’s a valuable diversity here that I feel is a better cross section of humanity than most suburbs. We have economic diversity: Gahanna is home to millionaires, families with moderate incomes, and good folks struggling to make ends meet. Every demographic is represented here, with a spectrum of colors, cultural backgrounds, religious traditions, and age brackets. This is an environment where I feel comfortable raising my child to appreciate variety in life and people.

Here is the bottom line: life here is enjoyable. It’s not pretentious. I’m not burdened with expectations of high-society, but I am held to expectations of appropriate care of (and pride in) my community, which I see reflected all around me. I love Gahanna. Tell me why you love it too in the comments below. If you’re looking for someone to help you find or sell a home here, please feel welcome to call me for help! 614-383-8379






There’s a sunny side to everything.

Real estate can be tough. This is especially true if you’re a buyer in this crazy Columbus market. There’s good news and bad news there: the good news is that Columbus is a REALLY good place to live. The bad news is that everyone wants to live here, that makes home inventory low, houses go into contract almost as quickly as they go on the market, and that makes for a very frustrating experience as a buyer.  I’m here to tell you, please know that if that good listing got away AGAIN, it was either not the right house for you, or not the right timing for you. I believe things- even bad, frustrating things- happen for a reason.

My first client was elderly, with limited mobility, searching in a very limited radius. It took three months and dozens of showings to find THE ONE, and we knew it when we walked in. We were devastated to find out that the condo went into contract while I was showing it to her. I accepted this as minor setback, knowing somehow it could work in our favor. Two weeks later, the listing agent called me saying that the buyers financing has fallen through, and asked would my client still want to write an offer? Well, we jumped on the chance, and since the condo had fallen out of contract three times already (due to financing), the sellers were READY to sell, at whatever cost. We ended up getting the condo for about $5000 less than what we had originally planned to offer. We just needed to wait those 2 weeks for the better outcome.

Another client took seven months and dozens of showings to find THE ONE. Along the way there were several THE ONE’s. The first was the right house, at the wrong time; her father passed within days of it appearing on the MLS. Another was in the right tax and school districts, just not the right style. Every house we saw narrowed the search further until THE ONE went live, with all the proverbial “boxes checked.” It was absolutely the best of all possible houses, the ideal house in the ideal location, worth waiting for. But you know what? There is no ‘perfect’ house, even with all the ‘boxes’ checked. Part of the joy of moving is accepting challenges and turning them into positive outcomes. It’s not the house that makes you happy, it’s living in it and focusing on the joys that happen within its walls.

So buyers, take heart. THE ONE is in your future. Until then, try to see the sunny side, and if you need help with that, just call me.