Columbia Real Estate Blog

The RBRE Group 20 Fun Facts About Thad

Here are 20 Fun Facts about the RBRE Group's in house ninja and master of all things real estate. Thaddeus (Thad) is an integral part of what makes our team work so well and brings a bit of comedic relief around the office.
1) My wife and I bought our first home a week after our wedding. Instead of a honeymoon we went house hunting.
Thad Usovsky
2) I was born at Boone Hospital in Columbia and have not stopped loving and living in Columbia since!
3) I’m the youngest of 3 kids. My brother is 7.5 years old and my sister 5.5 years older. They think I’m perpetually 5 years old and treat me as such.
4) I’ve wanted to be a realtor since I was 12. Before I had my license, I would make my mom or dad drive me to the builder’s parade of homes, drive through established and new neighborhoods, all while constantly repeating that I would be a realtor “when I grow up”. It only took me until I was 29 to make the dream reality.

The RBRE Group - 20 Fun Facts about Holly

The RBRE Group

20 Fun Facts about Holly

  1. I love Lakota coffee and I always order a 4-shot iced white chocolate mocha.  Did I say Love? I meant addicted.  My day cannot start until after I've had one.
  2. I eat Tabasco on everything.
  3. My family is from an island called the Seychelles. It is on the east coast of Africa above Madagascar. My mom came here from the island in 1982.
  4. I have a beautiful little girl named Monroe; she lights up my life.
  5. I love to laugh. 
  6. I love my little girl Monroe’s laugh. Her laugh is contagious and her face lights up. It makes me smile and feel a love I never thought was possible. Monroe smiling
  7. Christmas is my favorite holiday, I love the spirit of the season, the gathering, the decorating, and the Christmas music.Holly and Monroe
  8. I love to make fresh floral arrangements. I enjoy picking up fresh flowers from Gerbes on Broadway on my way home.  Arranging them, adding a pop of color and the scents around the house makes me smile.
  9. I hate alarm clocks. I want to throw mine against the wall.  Mine goes off at 4:10...

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day from a safe sneeze distance!

Did you know that when Aurther Guiness opened his brewery in Dublin City, Ireland in 1759 he signed a 9000 year lease for about $65 a year?

That was some serious planning and foresight.  The value of that commercial property today is probably a few dollars higher now.

When you are ready to look for your forever home, whether it's for the next 90 or 9000 years, I'm here to help.

Enjoy scrolling Facebook and looking homes for sale online while cozy in quarantine.  Hope you are stocked up on some liquid Irish gold and can enjoy it without getting pinched. Call or text me if you are interested in looking at homes or properties once the quarantine is lifted.

Don't let the leprechuans see you, wear green and skip the Guiness.



The Story of ShowMeRosie

My Story

By Rosie Apparatus

1969 American Apparatus Pumper Truck

6 Cylinders - 1000 Cubic Inches of Sass - 4 Speed - Seats 20


First of all, I ain’t old ‘nuff to be retired. That’s what I told them folks at the firehouse anyways. They said to me, “Rosie, you’re older than erry body here, ‘cept the chief, and he ain’t went on a call since most of us was just a twinkle in our daddies’ eyes.” Of course I made a fuss, but it ain’t do no good.

Next thing I know I’m gettin’ all gussied up for some parade by a buncha ol’ men wearing those funny-lookin’ hats with the little tassels a hangin’ off ‘em.  It was the silliest thing I ever saw, I tell you what.  Caught my reflection in a storefront window during the procession, and I’ll be darned if them boys didn’t have me a shinin’ and lookin’ good as I ever did.  Them Shriners in St. Louis is some pretty skilled folk.

That’s how it went for ol’ Rosie for quite a spell. I’d lay low in the garage a few months, get all shined up by the blue hair brigade, blow my sirens for the kids a linin’ the parade route, and then get tucked back beside Viola, my ’49 ladder truck roommate.


Have You Saved Enough for Closing Costs?

Have You Saved Enough for Closing Costs?There are many potential homebuyers, and even sellers, who believe that they need at least a 20% down payment in order to buy a home or move on to their next home. Time after time, we have dispelled this myth by showing that many loan programs allow you to put down as little as 3% (or 0% with a VA loan).

If you have saved up your down payment and are ready to start your home search, one other piece of the puzzle is to make sure that you have saved enough for your closing costs.

Freddie Mac defines closing costs as:

“Closing costs, also called settlement fees, will need to be paid when you obtain a mortgage. These are fees charged by people representing your purchase, including your lender, real estate agent, and other third parties involved in the transaction. Closing costs are typically between 2 and 5% of your purchase price.”

We’ve recently heard from many first-time homebuyers that they wished that someone had let them know that closing costs could be so high. If you think about it, with a low down payment program, your closing costs could equal the amount that you saved for your down payment.

Here is a list of just some of the fees/costs that may be included in your closing costs, depending on where the home you wish to purchase is located:

  • Government recording costs
  • Appraisal fees
  • Credit report fees
  • Lender origination fees
  • Title services (insurance, search fees)
  • Tax service fees
  • Survey fees
  • Attorney fees
  • Underwriting fees


Selling in the Winter Attracts Serious Buyers

Selling in the Winter Attracts Serious Buyers

A recent study of more than 7 million home sales over the past four years revealed that the season in which a home is listed may be able to shed some light on the likelihood that the home will sell for more than asking price, as well as how quickly the sale will close.

It’s no surprise that listing a home for sale during the spring saw the largest return, as the spring is traditionally the busiest month for real estate. What is surprising, though, is that listing during the winter came in second!

“Among spring listings, 18.7 percent of homes fetched above asking, with winter listings not far behind at 17.5 percent. While 48.0 percent of homes listed in spring sold within 30 days, 46.2 percent of homes in winter did the same.”

The study goes on to say that:

“Buyers [in the winter] often need to move, so they’re much less likely to make a lowball offer and they’ll often want to close quickly — two things that can make the sale much smoother.”

Bottom Line

If you are debating listing your home for sale within the next 6 months, keep in mind that the spring is when most other homeowners will decide to list their homes as well. Listing your home this winter will ensure that you have the best exposure to the serious buyers who are out looking now!

The study used the astronomical seasons to determine which season the listing date fell into (Winter: Dec. 21 – Mar. 20; Spring: Mar. 21 – June...

3 Questions to Ask Before Buying Your Dream Home

3 Questions to Ask Before Buying Your Dream Home

If you are debating purchasing a home right now, you are probably getting a lot of advice. Though your friends and family will have your best interest at heart, they may not be fully aware of your needs and what is currently happening in the real estate market.

Ask yourself the following 3 questions to help determine if now is actually a good time for you to buy in today’s market.

1. Why am I buying a home in the first place?

This truly is the most important question to answer. Forget the finances for a minute. Why did you even begin to consider purchasing a home? For most, the reason has nothing to do with money.

For example, a recent survey by Braun showed that over 75% of parents say “their child’s education is an important part of the search for a new home.”

This survey supports a study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University which revealed that the four major reasons people buy a home have nothing to do with money. They are:

  • A good place to raise children and for them to get a good education
  • A place where you and your family feel safe
  • More space for you and your family
  • Control of that space

What does owning a home mean to you? What non-financial benefits will you and your family gain from owning a home? The answer to that question should be the biggest reason you decide to purchase or not.

2. Where are home values headed?

According to the latest Home Price Index from CoreLogic, home values are projected to increase by 5.3% over the next 12 months.

What does that mean...

Is Getting a Home Mortgage Still Too Difficult?

Getting a Home Mortgage

There is no doubt that mortgage credit availability is expanding, meaning it is easier to finance a home today than it was last year. However, the mortgage market is still much tighter than it was prior to the housing boom and bust experienced between 2003 - 2006.

The Housing Financing Policy Center at the Urban Institute just released data revealing two reasons for the current exceptionally high credit standards:

  1. Additional restrictions lenders put on borrowing because of concerns that they will be forced to repurchase failed loans from the government-sponsored enterprises or Federal Housing Administration (FHA).
  2. The concern about potential litigation for imperfect loans.

What has been the result of these concerns?

6.3 Million Less Mortgages

The Policy Center report went on to say:

“It was so hard to get a mortgage in 2015 that lenders failed to make about 1.1 million mortgages that they would have made if reasonable lending standards had been in place. From 2009 to 2014, lenders failed to make about 5.2 million mortgages thanks to overly tight credit. In total, lenders would have issued 6.3 million additional mortgages between 2009 and 2015 if lending standards had been more reasonable.”

In an interview with DSNews, Laurie Goodman and Alanna McCargo of the Policy Center further explained:

“Our Housing Credit Availability Index (HCAI)* measures the probability that mortgage borrowers...