The Music of Westerville

the music of westervilleThe Music Of Westerville

An image often conjured up about suburbs of a large city is they are bedroom communities. These towns are places where people come home to eat and sleep with not much else to offer. That is not true in Westerville, Ohio. This is a city in its own right and is more than just a bedroom stop for workers in Columbus Ohio. There is a music scene in Westerville which is well developed.

The Orchestras

The Westerville Symphony orchestra stands out in the music scene. Since it was established in 1964, the symphony has provided music for the Westerville area enjoyment. Working with the Music Department of Otterbein University, the Symphony has provided real entertainment and enjoyment for audiences. The Otterbein University Department of Music is not to be outdone when comes to concerts. They have a program of concerts which includes The Youth Philharmonic of Central Ohio. There also are various musical presentations that showcase instruments such as woodwinds and varieties of music such as jazz.

The Choirs

Professional singers consider their voice to be their instrument. The same is true for the various choir groups in Westerville. The Westerville chorus has 45 singers in the choir and has provided vocal entertainment for the past 40 years. Otterbein University has always been a center for culture in Westerville and the Otterbein choirs, with six vocal ensembles on campus, will provide repertoires of various types of choral music. Church has always been a primary venue for choirs. The First Presbyterian Church of Westerville is known for its choir and favorable things have been said about the choir of Grace Fellowship Church. Incidentally, it is possible to hire a choir for a special occasion. You can place a request for a choir on Gigsalad.com.

Music Lessons

Music lessons are not that hard to come by. Music and Arts is a store that has an opportunity for people to take music lessons as well. The instructors specialize in instruments such as trumpets, percussion, guitar, and trombone. It is also possible to get piano lessons and voice from any one of the staff. If you need to rent or buy musical instruments you can also do that at Music and Arts. The Westerville Center for the Arts is a place where a person can go for both vocal lessons and guitar lessons.

There is music in the Westerville air and it adds to the atmosphere of this beautiful city. People enjoy all the cultural events that are available. If you wish to set down roots in Westerville, a good idea would be to have a real estate agent direct you to the right neighborhoods. This person will help you find the schools you need close by, as well as other amenities that make life enjoyable. You may want to have a home near to where the music is going to be played. The neighborhoods around Otterbein University are perfect and some of the homes are just waiting for a buyer.

The same is true for the streets and side roads close to the Westerville Center for the Arts. You have an opportunity to listen to some of the very best music. It is critical to have a house that you can afford on your budget. This is where the real estate agent can help you with. He or she can show those properties that you specify are within your spending boundaries. Always remember the real estate agent works for you. He or she is not trying to just collect a commission.

Westerville definitely does not take a backseat to Columbus Ohio when it comes to music. It is all there in this northeastern corner of Franklin County. You can listen to symphonies, delight in choir presentations, and even learn a musical instrument if you so wish. Westerville is a city that has business but also high levels of culture. This is the kind of community where you can enjoy the finest things in life, and your children can be beneficiaries as well. It does require having the professional expertise of a good real estate agent. You want to be able to enjoy culture but in a home that fits your lifestyle and your budget. The right real estate agent is going to be able to help you make all of this happen.

The Boyer Beauty

the boyer beauty

Westerville is known for its great natural beauty. It can be seen everywhere within the city limits whether it is on the boulevards, the great nature trails, or the beautiful parks to be found here. What is interesting about Westerville is that its commitment to nature is both open and also very subtle. There are some amazing places like Highlands Park, and here and there are places tucked away in the Westerville neighborhoods. One of these is the Boyer Nature Preserve. This is a mini wetland that is nicely located at 452 East Park St.

It is easy not to notice Boyer because of its size. This is a nature preserve that has only 11.43 acres to it. It was purchased over a period of years by the city of Westerville. There was a time when Boyer was not assessable to the public, but it is now and folks are welcome to take a stroll. Centrally located in the preserve is a 1 acre pond. Strictly speaking, this is a glacial kettle; a remnant of the Ice Age that was left behind as the glaciers retreated northward. The pond is shallow, with a depth of no more than 3 feet. Fish do swim in the water but not very many. The reason simply is the pond is not deep enough to accommodate large numbers. What can be found in the pond on any given day, are a flock of wild wood ducks. These scoot in an out of the water foliage, and can be watched from benches and the floating docks along the perimeter of the pond.

A nature path borders the water and it is a great place just to stroll and enjoy the natural beauty of the area. This is not a paved sidewalk by any means. It also is not engineered or completely flat, but has loops and elevations here and there as a person makes his or her way around the pond. Actually, the path can be thought of as a very good jogging trail for someone wishing to get ready for any of Westerville’s 5K or 10K races throughout the year.

What is unique about a natural preserve is it provides a service to the community. As a wetland, Boyer can be considered a working natural filter. The vegetation growing in this nature preserve helps remove plant nutrients that may encourage the growth of algae in the water. A person can also think of Boyer as one of nature’s sponges. Excess water that results from heavy rain or flooding is absorbed by the wetlands. Boyer also serves as the home for a number of species of insects and animals that are native to the area. The nature preserve is surrounded by a fence, and that helps keep out animals that otherwise would prey on the smaller creatures that are inside.

Although there is the fence, Boyer is not totally immune from uninvited guests coming in. These are more of the plant type, and there are invasive species that take root among the trees. Wild honeysuckle is a major problem. This particular plant starts early in the year and stays late, creating large patches of shade in the preserve. The challenge is that this blocks out the sun and wildflowers have a difficult time growing. Fortunately for this beautiful wetland the community of Westerville is committed to keeping honeysuckle at bay. Volunteer groups such as the Boy Scouts and Sierra Club have gone into the preserve and worked to remove this invasive plant. It’s not always the easiest job, but these volunteers have seen to it that Boyer natural preserve is not overrun with patches of honeysuckle.

Volunteer efforts also continue to keep Boyer natural preserve a real ruby in the woods for Westerville folks. It is an area that is just the right size for an after work walk, or perhaps even a brief stroll with the family through nature. Boyer gives every visitor the opportunity to take a look at nature that is not mapped out in rigid grids, but gently sprawls along the banks of a body of water. It provides a little bit of peace and serenity in the heart of suburbia. It is definitely a visual treat worth seeing.

Physically Fit in Westerville

Physically Fit in WestervilleThe City of Westerville is not a sleepy little corner of northeast Franklin County. It gave up that image a long time ago and is a very thriving urban area in its own right. The people of Westerville are very concerned about physical health. On any given day you will see joggers and bikers out burning up the calories on their fitness journeys. Westerville makes it as convenient as possible for these health conscious folks.

How did this all gets started? It began in 1996 when Westerville created a strategic plan for the Parks and Recreation Department, known as PROS 2000. The plan called for walking paths and a bikeway network for the residents to enjoy. The voters like the idea and agreed to an income tax increase in order to fund it.

Running Here and There

The Westerville bike and walk route has over 29 miles of trails. These include marked distances so you can have a better idea of how much running you are doing. As you go on the jogging route, you will notice that these will connect to various bikeways. Informational kiosks can be found along the way and there are drinking fountains here and there. An interesting development involves the linking of the Ohio to Erie Trail with the Westerville Bike and Walkways. There’s a new bridge of the county line road which makes things a lot safer. The longest running trail is the Maxtown – Sunbury Trail. This is 13.5 miles in length and is perfect for anyone who is doing marathon training. Other long trails include the Maxtown – Schrock Trail and the Lakeland – Walnut Trail.

Bikes Everywhere

Westerville’s recreational path systems includes bike paths. Many of these intersect with the running trails and allow you to go through what areas as well as fields and through city parks. Bike safety is extremely important in Westerville and there are various ordinances which you are required to follow. One important one is a 15 mile an hour speed limit on all the park trails.

Incidentally, Westerville encourages bicycles as a form of transportation. There are bike lanes on the roads where cyclists can ride without causing traffic problems. Westerville also has something known as Sharrows. These have shared markings and alert motorists to the possibility of bicyclists being on the road. They help bicyclists.in turn, stay safe and prevent bicycling the wrong way. It is a means by which motorists and those who use bicycles can take advantage of Westerville streets at the same time with smaller chances of accidents.

Finding the Right House

Whether you fancy running or using a bicycle, the Westerville Department of Parks and Recreation’s does everything possible to make things convenient. You can easily go online and see the various maps of the running paths and the biking areas. That way, if you are a serious trainer or just somebody who enjoys little outdoor physical fitness, you can use the map that delivers what you want.

You can see the running trails from your home in the Twelve Trees neighborhood near the Hoover Reservoir, or perhaps if you are close to Otterbein University. The question is where would you like to live? It is going to require doing a little house hunting. The best possible assistance in your search will come from a good real estate agent. You can think of this professional as your scout. He or she will take note of what you were looking for and then go find it. You can expect to be able to see a number of possibilities before you make your final decision. When that time comes, the real estate agent helps you negotiate. Little things like utility budgets may go unnoticed; the real estate agent is on the lookout for them. You will quickly discover that this professional more than earns a commission paid. In fact, should you use the right agent you will save hundreds of dollars if not thousands.

People enjoy staying physically fit in Westerville. It is just as important to stay financially well. Purchasing the right house and at the right price helps your family budget. You are able to have what you need without stretching the dollars to the breaking point. Making sure that you are financially sound well into the future is perhaps one of the best reasons to have a good real estate agent when you go house hunting.

Farmer’s Market in Westerville

Farmer’s Market in Westerville

Packaged produce sometimes is all you see on the dinner table. We are all used to the convenience of what we buy at the super market, but that doesn’t mean that it is always tasty or as fresh as possible. Folks now and then want a change from the canned stuff or what is wrapped in cellophane. A farmer’s market exists to fill that urge and delight the palate. Westerville happens to have a great one.

The Uptown Westerville Farmer’s Market

On Wednesdays from May to October downtown Westerville hosts one of the best farmer’s markets you will ever find. This has been a mainstay of the summer since 2006, and vendors will come from as far away as Mt. Gilead and Washington Court House (not to mention nearby Licking and Delaware counties). Seasonal vegetables and fruits are the main products, but cheese and home baked goods may also be found on display. There once was a time when such markets were cash only affairs but the vendors now accept major debit and credit cards (People prefer plastic and do more shopping with them). What makes the Uptown Westerville Farmer’s Market so interesting is the nature of the offerings. The produce changes on a routine basis and the vendors one week may be replaced by someone else the following Wednesday. Clover honey may be popular one day and the next market session will feature zucchini delicacies. The variety and the fluid community of vendors makes this the most interesting affair to go to in the middle of the week.

The Great Benefits

A farmer’s market has some serious advantages over the commercial food store:
1.    The produce is ordinarily organic and does not have GMO substance in it;
2.    Very Fresh. The fruits and vegetables are usually picked the day before;
3.    Picked at the peak of ripeness. You are not eating something that is a few weeks old;
4.    Tastes great! Admit it, fresh corn always pleases the taste buds.
5.    Helps the local economy.
That last comment doesn’t just mean the farmers alone. People come into downtown Westerville and take some time to do a little extra shopping as well. The small business and merchants appreciate the uptick in their own business resulting from the market. The event happens rain or shine, and there is plenty of free parking. If you have a taste for the very freshest produce possible in season, this is a market worth checking out.

Small Town Ambiance

Westerville is one of the fastest growing cities in Ohio but still maintains some small town charm. An article in Money Magazine noted how the weekly farmer’s market provided the opportunity to mix a little produce shopping with the atmosphere of Westerville. The architecture and homes of the downtown are there to be appreciated. The market is close to Otterbein University, reminding people that Westerville also has the character of any college town in the Midwest. Everything here has a nice elegance and grace to it. It lets people know that a growing suburb like Westerville has not forgotten its farm roots; they run deep in the ground and spirit of this city.

Real Estate Opportunities

Real Estate isn’t part of the Uptown Farmer’s Market but the neighborhoods close by are active house markets. There is property going up for sale and being bought all of the time. The downtown is fairly historic, and there are homes with a great history behind them. The ones for sale are just waiting for the right buyer.

Downtown Westerville is a place where families can enjoy the scenery and the fun. There are restaurants and curio shops lining the street, and baskets of flowers are on every lamp post. Someone who is seriously thinking of buying property in Westerville should take the opportunity to go to the Westerville Uptown Farmer’s Market. You get the opportunity to buy fresh squash or tomatoes and the chance to walk around the downtown. Westerville is not far from the heart of Columbus, but it rests in a world that is calmer and lot more scenic. Your hunt for the right house can start any Wednesday in uptown Westerville and can stroll on the sidewalks until the best place for you and your family is found.

Be careful with your home upgrades

home upgrades

The home improvement industry in the United States is growing at an alarming rate. Many Americans spend thousands of dollars each year upgrading and remodeling their house. While the dwindling housing market has forced some homeowners to rethink their home upgrade plans, others continue to invest believing that the upgrades will improve the value and salability of their house. But are all the home improvement projects worth the money you spend on them? If you are a homeowner looking to spend some money on home upgrades, think before you begin the project and please, be careful with your home upgrades. Here is a list of home upgrades that are a waste of money:

  • Finishing an attic – Most people are unlikely to use their attic for anything. A well-finished attic may not add to the value of your home.
  • Wallpapers – Your new buyer may want to decorate the house in his or her favorite colors and patterns. They will have to go through the trouble of ripping the old wallpaper before decorating the house. Many people will not prefer this.
  • Bathroom remodeling – Bathroom remodeling can help your home. It is not a complete waste of money but you should focus on utility rather than the style.
  • Unconventional kitchen appliances – While you may love to have some unique appliances around your home, remember that not everyone cares for them and may not shell out extra money to pay for them.
  • White floors and carpets – White color looks fresh and beautiful. However, many people do not wish to buy a home with white floors as they are difficult to clean and maintain. It can turn into a home upgrade that is a complete waste of your money.
  • Extensive landscaping – High-end landscaping projects look exotic. They can definitely add to the curb appeal of your home. However, they may be difficult to maintain. Many home buyers, therefore, prefer a simple setup.
  • Patio accessories – Patio décor such as fountains, ponds and gazebos look great but will not add value to your home.
  • Swimming pools – Many experts believe that the addition of swimming pools in backyard will not increase the value of your home or improve its chances of getting sold.
  • Basement upgrades – Be cautious about basement upgrades as well. While some buyers may prefer a finished basement, most people will not pay extra for those luxury upgrades and unusual features. Plan your basement upgrade project carefully.

Looking for energy efficient home?

Looking for energy efficient home?Here are your best options:

· New Windows – This is one that is a tossup for most people as to whether or not to do it, largely due to the cost. Buying and installing new windows certainly isn’t cheap, but it can be huge for your energy savings each month. Double pane, energy efficient windows can save you a tremendous amount of money each month. While the upfront investment is costly, it pays off in the long run.

· New Weather Stripping – Weather stripping is the seal of foam around doors and windows, and it keeps drafts out and the air in your home inside. But as time goes on, it can quickly begin to deteriorate. Checking the seals on your doors and windows is a fast and easy way to see if you’re losing energy efficiency without realizing it. And replacing weather stripping is one of the cheapest ways to improve your home’s energy usage.

· More Insulation – Insulation is the option that most people think of when trying to determine how to improve their home’s energy efficiency. Attic insulation is the most important, and insulation in the attic should be at a minimum R-30. Wall and foundation insulation will matter as well, and in general it’s a good idea to spend time considering an upgrade in insulation.

· New Appliances – Appliances drain a tremendous amount of energy each day, and as a result it’s worth thinking about upgrading to today’s modern energy-friendly models. Washers, dryers, ovens, and refrigerators are all available in Energy Star variations, making it easy to cut down your power bill and energy use in a big way.

· Heat Unit Upgrades – If you’re running an older furnace or HVAC unit, it may be time to make an investment in a new system. Like new windows, this can be expensive, but in the end the cost savings on your monthly bill will make a big difference and make that investment worth doing. If you don’t buy a new unit, at least consider having some routine maintenance done on your existing one.

Not only will these five steps make your home more energy friendly and help lower power bills, but they can also have a big impact on your property values. The more of them you have in your home, the more valuable your home is likely to be. That means that if the time ever comes when you want to sell, you’ll be able to get more for it than you would have. Consider these steps and what they’re worth to you, and you’ll be on the path to a more economical and energy efficient home.

Getting the best price for your new home

Getting the best price for your new home

It’s easy to understand why someone would want to buy a home in Columbus Ohio. Frequently ranked in various best-of lists and home to a thriving economy and top-notch educational system, the city has something for everyone. But before you can head off to enjoy the city and the downtown scene, you’ll need to settle in. And for most, that means buying the right home for themselves and their families.

Buying a home in Columbus is a big investment, and one that needs to be taken seriously. Along with just making sure that you find the right home, you also need to take the time to find the best price. Getting the best price for your new home is something that every buyer should do, and it’s also something that isn’t entirely impossible. And here are a few simple tips can help you accomplish just that:

· Understand Negotiation – First, keep in mind when you’re browsing listings that there’s a good chance the price can be negotiated – at least to a point. You shouldn’t make an offer so low that it’s insulting, but don’t be afraid to try to make a lower offer. If it’s refused, at least you know you tried.

· Shop Informed – Most people do plenty of research before they make a major purchase, and few things are more major than your home. Spend some time researching the area to figure out what a fair price on homes really is. Look at not only properties for sale, but those that have recently sold if possible and get a clear idea as to the right price. Once you know what homes are selling for, you’ll have a clear picture of what you should pay for your own.

· Shop Around – It’s easy to find that dream home in Columbus, thanks to the quality properties on the market. But don’t just settle on the first or second house you look at. Spend a little extra time looking at other properties just to make sure there’s not a better offer out there for you to take advantage of.

· Get A Realtor – Your real estate agent can help you identify good prices, point you to deals you may have missed or never even known about, and even help negotiate the price of a property. They’ll have a big impact in getting you the best price possible.

· Get Inspections – Most lenders require inspections anyway, but it’s good to get one even if it’s not required. A home inspector will make sure you’re not buying a home that has serious structural issues, and help ensure that you don’t pay too much for a ‘fixer upper’ that may cost more than you realize in repairs.

· Don’t Ignore Easy Fixes – Some homeowners just don’t have the capital to make minor repairs to a home, and it can leave a property looking worse for wear. But pay attention to homes with minor cosmetic issues. Sometimes they’ll be priced at lower prices, and often all they need is a little paint and some TLC. They may be the best investment on the market.

How To Contest Your Property Taxes

How To Contest Your Property Taxes

Property tax is a form of tax that helps your local government fund essential programs such as schools and new roads. Many communities directly depend on this income to maintain their basic lifestyle.

Every city council determines the tax rate within their area of jurisdiction. The amount can vary significantly. However, every resident within in area is expected to pay at the same rate. The state government will determine the maximum property tax rate that the local governments can charge from their residents.

The actual amount of property tax you pay will depend on the value of your house. A government appraiser will determine the value of your home. Your tax will be certain percentage of your home value. Most local governments reassess your home value each year to determine your taxes for that particular financial period.

The recent housing market slump has led to a significant drop in the amount of property taxes collected by the government. This is forcing agencies to cut down school program funding and infrastructure projects. Some local governments are increasing the property tax rates to make up for the losses.

This can lead to additional financial burden for the home owners. If you think you are paying disproportionate amounts of property taxes, you are not alone. You do not have to be disillusioned. So, how to contest your property taxes?

Begin by understanding the cause of the problem. High property taxes can occur when the assessed value of your house is greater than the market value. You may also end up paying higher taxes if the entitled exemptions were not applied to your account.

Once you determine the cause, you can approach the local city council office to contest the property taxes. You will not require a lawyer. Most agencies have clear pre-determined procedures. They send an assessment letter to all home owners each year. They will also attach a contest form to that letter. Simply fill out the form and submit it.

You may be invited for an informal hearing with your assessor. If you can present a strong case, you can lower the values. You may also be invited for a formal hearing if you have a complicated case.

Have all the arguments and evidence ready. Make a list of similar properties in the area with lower property taxes. You can also check all the available deductions and make sure everything has been applied correctly. A strong presentation and a few hours of your time can lead to a significant difference.

Buying Short Sales And Foreclosures

Buying Short Sales And Foreclosures

The slump in the housing market has forced many homeowners to foreclose or short sell their houses. There are thousands of such houses in each city. If you are looking to buy a new house, you should consider the foreclosed and short sale homes as well. You will generally find them for a lower price. However, you need to be aware of several factors before placing an offer for a foreclosed home. Here is some popular expert advice:

Most foreclosed homes are in a bad shape. The price of the house is only one of the aspects. Make sure you have the money for all the repairs and fixes.

Unlike a regular house on sale, the previous owner of a foreclosed home is usually the bank. And the short sales homes are owned by individuals that are looking to move out of the house for various reasons. They will rarely offer you upgrades and additional incentives. You basically get what you see.

If you are looking to buy a foreclosed home for investment purposes, you should also check out the renters market in the area. You will need to find a tenant quickly; otherwise you will be required to pay the mortgage from your pocket. Even a small amount can lead to financial stress in the long run.

If you are buying the house in another state or city, make sure you visit the place and check the neighborhood and city yourself. This will help you avoid surprises at a later stage.

Make sure the house is located near good schools. This can be important for your family. It can also be an important criterion for prospective buyers and renters of your property.

Check how long the house has been empty. Houses that have not been occupied for a long time can be infested with bugs and pests. The sewage and plumbing lines also get damaged over time. You may be looking at thousands of dollars in repairs under such circumstances.

Talk to a professional home inspector. Have him come over to look at the house. Have everything checked including the pipes and the power supplies. The house may not be in perfect, turn-key condition. However, the damage and the repairs should be reasonable and manageable for you.

If you are not an investor, and are looking to buy a foreclosed home for your personal use, hire a real estate agent who specializes in them. He or she will help you negotiate with the bank and offer you the best price.

Also, it could take a very long  time to get the bank to approve your purchase, in some cases up to a year. If you’re OK with that then by all means do it. If not, you might be better of just looking for a good house in the regular housing market.

Speed Up Your Home Hunt

Speed Up Your Home HuntThere are plenty of homes in Columbus Ohio Real Estate market today, and finding the right one for you and your family is often trickier than you might suspect.

It’s easy to spend days, weeks, and even months trying to track down the right home, and when you factor in things like negotiation of price and setting up a closing date it becomes even more frustrating, especially when you’re trying to speed things up and get into a home fast. But there are a few things that you can keep in mind which should make it much easier and much faster to not only find your dream house, but also to buy it and move in quickly.

· Get An Agent – Simply put, this is the number one thing you can do to speed up the entire process from start to finish. A real estate agent can quickly ask you what you’re looking for in a home in terms of location, size, price, and more, and then narrow down your options fast. Instead of spending weeks browsing the markets just hoping to stumble on a great house, they’ll show you the best ones for you from day one.

· Use The Net – Research is fast thanks to the Internet, and plenty of online listings include information about location, school district, crime, and more. Spend a few minutes taking a look at the online information about a particular home and you’ll speed things up immensely. It also makes it easier to narrow down your searches when looking online.

· Get Preapproved – Getting preapproved or prequalified for a loan doesn’t just help you avoid future frustration when you find the house you want and need to get the loan, it also helps speed up things in the early stages of house hunting. The reason is simple – when you’re prequalified, you know roughly what your budget will be. This means you can focus on looking at homes that fall into that budget range instead of wasting time looking at homes you may not even be able to afford.

· Know The Fair Price – Don’t try to absolutely lowball when you negotiate. Try to get a good idea of the right price before you make an offer. This way your expectations will be realistic and you won’t have to spend too much time negotiating when you could be signing the contracts.

If you’ll keep these four simple steps in mind you should have little trouble getting the right home quickly. It shouldn’t be something that causes you undue stress and leaves you frantically scouring for the right home, especially when so many great properties are available. Columbus Ohio is a great place to live, and you can get into your perfect home faster than you may realize.