Tips to Stage Your Home this Autumn
|It’s no secret that home staging is necessary to showcase your home’s best features to prospective buyers, and these four ideas will keep your home looking warm and cozy when autumn rolls around!
A pretty, seasonal flag at 10 Rambler Rd in Southampton PA
|1. Curb appeal! Maintaining a beautiful exterior is the easiest way to attract buyers, and autumn-specific maintenance is an important part. Rake up unwanted leaves, patch up brown spots in the grass, and consider pressure washing your siding.
|2. A few decorations can go a long way! Hints of seasonal foliage, a couple of pumpkins, or cornstalks outdoors are a great way to keep your home feeling seasonal, but be careful to not go overboard. Potential buyers want to see your home, and too much extra clutter can be distracting.
|3. As the days get shorter in autumn, you may want to check that your home is adequately lit. Buyers tend to prefer well-lit homes, and autumn is no exception! Consider adding a few more lights around your home, amping up the wattage, or installing exterior lights to make your home stand out in the evening!
|4. Appeal to all of the senses by lighting a autumn-scented candle, leaving out a bowl of candy corn, and lighting the fireplace for added warmth.
Buying On A Budget Tips
With a greater inventory of properties for sale, there’s a home on the market for everyone — yes, even if you’re shopping for a new place on a budget under $100,000!
Charming 2 bedroom condo in Hatboro PA for just $129,000!
Keep in mind the following tips when you’re home-hunting for a bargain home:
1. Foreclosures and short sales (“distressed properties”) can often provide the greatest deals, but approach with caution. Many foreclosures have been vacant for more than a year, and banks typically can not make any guarantees about the property’s condition. While we always recommend getting a home inspection on your new investment, we especially encourage it with foreclosures and short sales.
2. If a one or two bedroom home can accommodate your needs, you’re more likely to get a great deal. The vast majority of homes for sale offer three bedrooms or more, so you’re likely to enjoy a nice price break if you choose a smaller place.
3. Condos and townhomes are often budget-friendly, but be sure to consider the monthly condo association fees and the homeowners’ association fees, if applicable. Condo owners may enjoy a low-maintenance lifestyle (since the condo association will likely be responsible for your roof, lawn, snow removal, trash removal, and more) but the monthly fee is often upwards of $200 or $300 — not very budget-friendly at all!
4. Location, location, location! It’s no secret that location plays a major role in home prices, but this doesn’t mean that you have to live in a “bad” or inconvenient area just to get a good deal. Consider up-and-coming areas that may be a bit further from the city (such as Downingtown, Coatesville, Gilbertsville, or Quakertown) for a great value in a family-friendly area.
Should You Work With the Listing Agent?
You might have heard of “dual agency” as you shop for your new home. The term is just real estate jargon for when the same agent represents BOTH the buyer and the seller in a real estate transaction. It’s kind of a controversial topic throughout the real estate industry (in fact, dual agency isn’t even legal in every state, but it is in PA), and we at EveryHome do not engage in dual agency. Here’s how it works:
EveryHome specializes in working with buyers, so you can be sure that you’re getting great representation
|When an agent is representing a seller, it is their fiduciary responsibility to get the highest price possible for the seller. Similarly, when an agent is representing a buyer, it is their fiduciary responsibility to get the highest price possible for the buyer. You can only imagine how messy it can get when the same agent is working with both buyer and seller: ultimately, both parties may end up missing out on the best deal.
|Buyer beware: If you call the number on a “For Sale” sign outside of a home you’d like, you’ll likely be represented by the seller’s agent. It might be a better option to just let your agent know the address of the home you like, and they can get you the information and show it to you in person!
Cost Vs Value
|Thinking of sprucing up your home, but want to be sure that you’ll recoup those costs at the settlement table? Read up on The National Association of Realtors’ most recent Cost vs Value Report!
|Two words: Curb Appeal. Hands down the best value of home improvement is through updating the exterior of your home to keep its first impression looking great year-round. The number one cost vs. value on our list is replacing your current front door with a steel door (85.6). Number two is fiber-cement siding replacement (79.3%), and a wood deck addition (77.3%) comes in third. Garage door replacement (75.7%) is fourth.
|Some of the worst home improvements for cost vs value include a home office remodel, a sunroom addition, and a bathroom addition. Why? These are some of priciest add-ons, and they’re hit or miss with potential buyers.
We love sunrooms — but they don’t always return their value!
|If you’re about to embark on a home improvement project, we would be more than happy to give you a no-obligation individualized evaluation of how it may impact future buyer behavior. Just let us know at email@example.com
Up and Coming Towns!
If you’re looking to purchase a home in an affordable, up and coming town with great restaurants, recreational activities, and local events, look no further than the following towns:
1. Phoenixville. Located in Chester County, Phoenixville has a trendy downtown area with loads of restaurants, coffee shops (we LOVE Steel City Coffeehouse), live music, family-friends activities and more! Phoenixville is pretty affordable, too!
2. Ambler. Ambler has quickly become a popular spot for shopping and dinner with an influx of award-winning restaurants and boutiques. Much of the town is walkable, and it’s a great town for commuters with easy access to public transportation and many major arteries. Ambler is comparatively affordable, although if you’re searching for a home in the area you’ll see that homes in Ambler sell VERY quickly!
3. Downingtown is another up and coming town tucked along the Brandywine Creek in Chester County, Downingtown has become an extremely popular spot for young families (in fact, Downingtown is one of the most popular towns for our clients to purchase homes!). Downingtown is typically very affordable and convenient, and offers plenty of activities for the whole family.
109 Tradition Lane in Downingtown, PA
4. Norristown, located in the heart of Montgomery County, has become an increasingly popular place for buyers looking for an affordable purchase in a walkable area. Many homes in the Norristown area(we especially love East Norriton & West Norriton) are just steps from the 26-mile Schuylkill Trail with beautiful views overlooking the river.
We would love to welcome you to your next neighborhood. To connect with a friendly, local agent who knows the ins-and-outs of the area where you’d like to live, give us a call at 215 699 5555!
Buying Season is Looking Good!
High levels of buyer and seller confidence is suggesting that we’re seeing the healthiest buying season in over three years, according to The National Housing Trend Report.
Typically, the summer (and particularly late summer) slows down considerably….but not this year! Instead, it’s a busy market with many enthusiastic buyers and sellers.
One of EveryHome’s newest listings… 418 Pinecrest Rd in East Norriton PA!
How do we judge a healthy buying season? One major factor is an increase in the inventory of homes for sale. With more homes to choose from, buyers are often much more likely to find “the one”. Similarly, sellers are optimistic and more willing to sell because home prices are increasing at a reasonable pace. While home prices are increasing, they’re staying affordable for many buyers thanks to the extremely low interest rates.
So what are you waiting for? We’d love to help you find your next home — just shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
If your agent has provided you with a Seller’s Property Disclosure for a home that you like, be sure to check how old the home’s roof is! It’s important to consider when determining the fair market value of the home (this is also true if you’re listing your home for sale!).
Slate, roofing tile, and concrete are other roofing materials that may be available for your home. They all have longer lifespans (30 years and up), but can be a bit pricier. Wood shakes are another great alternative and provide a really great look, but can require a bit more maintenance and the lifespan isn’t always as long as the others.
In order to keep your roof lasting as long as possible, be sure that your attic is properly insulated and ventilated and that you inspect your roof after any storms. If you’re missing a shingle or two, call your contractor right away—if it goes without getting repaired, it can create a domino effect!
Best Home Colors with McGrath Interiors
EveryHome was lucky to speak with Krista McGrath, of McGrath Interiors, about the latest trends in interior color and wallpaper. Based out of West Chester, Krista and her company (she works along side her husband!) boast an impressive resume of home decorating and design projects. Here’s what she had to say about up-and-coming colors right now:
“Through my experiences as an interior designer and staging consultant, I’ve noticed that many homeowners are quite savvy about where they should spend their home- improvement dollars. They know that kitchens and bathrooms are important to update for resale value, but as they’re also much-used parts of a home, homeowners like to improve the spaces they will get to enjoy themselves.
Color continues to play a large part in people’s homes. They are not afraid to express themselves with color, and are pairing cooler gray tones with warmer pops of color for accenting, contrast, and balance. Using paint in creative, unexpected places is a great, inexpensive way to add color and visual interest to a room. You can also add a bit of shimmer to a space with metallic-based paints either in a glaze, or by itself on trim and/or walls.
For bathroom remodels, many homeowners are moving away from having huge, space-eating tubs to having a nice, large shower instead. They like “real” materials: tile, stone, etc. but there are many good-looking products on the market now that are more affordable and will wear well. Styles in this area tend to be more of a transitional look—not too traditional, but not the sleek, contemporary look that is popular in other parts of the country.”
Lastly, don’t forget about wallpaper. There are some great patterns that can be the cornerstone of the room’s décor. It doesn’t have to be on every inch of every wall. There are ways it can be separated to highlight a certain area, for instance, over a bed.
Interested in a new project for your home? Contact Krista for all your design needs! She can be reached at email@example.com or by phone at 610-692-7335
Check out www.mcgrathinteriors.com for all of your home design & decor needs!
Easily Get PreQualified
Mark Mawby, one of our preferred lenders and the VP of Lending for Aurora Financial, was kind enough to provide us with a guest post on getting prequalified (or pre-approved) for first time buyers:
Mark and EveryHome co-founder Katie Kennedy
The first step is to get “PreQualified” from a lender. This will help you when it is time to make an offer on a home, as your agent will need to submit the pre-qualification letter along with your offer for the new home. Getting prequalified early will also help identify any potential issues with being approved for a mortgage early in the process and give you time to address any issues. Getting prequalified earlywill also give you more time to go over the many different loan programs that you qualify for, so that you are armed to make a good decision about the loan product that works best for you. Additionally, there are many programs out there specifically geared towards first time home buyers, which have qualification standards that are easier to meet. Some examples include FHA, VA, PHFA, and USDA.
To Qualify is relatively easy. You may be qualified and not even know that you meet the requirements. You need to demonstrate three things as part of your application.
- Income ( you need to demonstrate a two year work history. Note* attending college, or any certificated trade school counts towards the work history. IF you are not showing enough income a co-signer may help to overcome this)
- Assets ( you need to show enough assets/savings for your down payment and closing costs. In some cases you can have a gift from a relative, or seller assist from the seller of the home to help with this piece of the puzzle )
- Credit ( this is the only piece of the puzzle that has NO work around. You need to have established credit. Things like Student loans, car loans, and credit cards with establish a credit history for you. The score requirements will vary depending on the loan type you are applying for. First time buyer programs typically have easier standards to meet. This is also something that can be addressed by starting the pre-qualification process early, as a lender will let you know what your scores are, and may even be able to provide some guidance to help resolve some issues)
- There are other pieces of the puzzle, that said this is meant to be an overview of the most common items that occur for a first time buyer. If you are thinking of buying a home anytime in the near future, I would strongly encourage you to reach out to me or another lender and get prequalified. Again this will help identify any items that may need to be addressed. It will also arm you with options to help overcome obstacles as mentioned above.
You can start the process by completing an application. This can be done over the phone in about 15 minutes, by reaching out to me. we will spend as much time as needed to address any questions/concerns you may have. You can also start by completing the application online. Follow the link to my web page (click here!), and click the button that says “Apply Here” If you have any questions about the process please feel free to reach out to me at 215 990 8580 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Deed Scam from Record Transfer Services
If you’ve recently purchased a home and you receive a bill from “Record Transfer Services,” it is a scam!
Pulling from a database of buyers who have recently settled on a new home, this company (as well as a few others) is sending fake bills to buyers across the country for $80+ in exchange for a copy of their new deed. In reality, your deed will be mailed to you for free after settlement and if you ever need another copy, they can be purchased from your county for just a couple dollars. Don’t fall for this deed scam!!
Image via Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Read more about this deed scam here
Unfortunately, these types of scams aren’t too uncommon. If you receive any similar type of bill before or after settlement and it’s not related to your mortgage company, be sure to let your real estate agent and/or lender know. We’re always happy to doublecheck something and help you to be absolutely sure it’s legitimate.
Kitchen Upgrades for Less
It’s no secret that the kitchen is one of the most important rooms in your home, so why not show it off to prospective buyers? Here are our five favorite ways to spruce up your kitchen for just a few bucks (no expensive and time-consuming renovations required!)
The beautiful, country-style eat-in kitchen at 36 E Temple Ave in Sellersville
1. Clean, declutter, and organize. Perhaps this is obvious, but you’d be surprised to see how many beautiful homes for sale have tons of “stuff” on the counters. Also, be sure to carefully check for any foul odors coming from the garbage, garbage disposal, or the potatoes that have been in your pantry for four years (hey, we’re guilty too!), as well as any little critters such as ants or fruit flies.
2. Buyers will likely peek inside your pantry or cupboards, so consider keeping them neatly organized and arranged. Consider removing excess food, dishes, and serve ware and storing it in the basement or attic temporarily. Not only will it look beautiful, but it will also show the buyers that you’re a tidy homeowner who takes pride in his or her home!
3. Add a pop of color with some fresh flowers, a fruit bowl, or any other greenery. Easy, inexpensive, and looks beautiful!
4. Well-placed, tasteful accessories will add a little glamour. Consider fancy soap at the sink, a few of your nicest cookbooks on display, or an elegant tea kettle placed on the stove. Be careful to not overdo it, though — typically just 2 or 3 fancy items will do the trick.
5. Let in the light! Be sure to open the blinds prior to any showings or open houses. A naturally lit, open-style kitchen is the number one request we get from buyers….so show it off!
Is It Worth It To Buy Discount Points for Your Mortage?
In order to lock in the super-low advertised interest rates, it’s often necessary to purchase “discount points”. These points are essentially a type of prepaid interest that allows mortgage borrowers to obtain a lower interest rate (saving them on each and every payment for their home).
Typically, each point costs one percent of the loan amount. For example, if you are securing a $150,000 loan, one discount point will cost $1500. Each discount point purchased will generally lower the interest rate by 0.125%.
Discount points can work well for some borrowers, but it’s not always the best option. Your lender can help you determine how you can save the most, and also when you will break-even on your points purchased. If your savings on mortgage payments won’t cover the cost of the discount point for ten years, for example, and you plan on moving within seven years, points may not be worth it.
Summer Fests in Philly
A bug fest, a bacon fest, and a peach fest all in the same weekend? Only in Philadelphia! Check the list below for some of the most fun and family-friendly events in the City of Brotherly Love this weekend:
Philadelphia’s Bacon Fest, image via visitphilly.com
-Head to The Oval in Philadelphia for the second annual Bacon Fest! With free screenings of Kevin Bacon films, food trucks, music and more, the free event on August 8th is sure to win over your heart…and stomach!
-Peddler’s Village Peach Festival and Sidewalk Sale in Lahaska (Bucks County) on August 9-10 will feature pie eating contests, live music, activities for kids and peaches, of course! Check their website here
for more details!
-The Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel University will be hosting the Bug Fest on August 9th and 10th. Be sure to bring the kids and check out the creepy crawlies of all shapes and sizes!
-Foodies, rejoice! The Reading Terminal Market will be home to the Pennsylvania Dutch Festival from now until August 9th. Indulge in traditional food and crafts while enjoying live music and horse drawn carriage rides!
Home Prices are Slowly Increasing
While home prices remain on the rise, the pace of their growth has slowed since late last year.
EveryHome’s newest listing at 36 E Temple Avenue in Sellersville PA!
The S&P Case-Shiller Index reported an annual increase of 9.3% in May, down from 10.8% in April. The largest recent year-over-year increase was 13.7% seen in November 2013.
Industry experts had expected the home prices to slow to more comfortable levels. In fact, this slower growth is welcomed by many economists, who had feared another housing bubble after such rapid growth. The current data is consistent with a “normal housing market,” experts say.
Increasing home prices over the past two years bring good news for many homeowners, who are no longer underwater on their homes after nearly five years of consistent home price decreases.
Save 46 percent When you Buy vs Rent! But How?
CNN Money reported the top 10 U.S. Cities for buying a home, and Philadelphia made the list! In the Greater Philadelphia area, the numbers suggest that you’ll save 46 percent when you buy a home instead of renting a home if you live in that home for seven years or longer. This accounts for all closing costs and fees, because they will be offset by benefits such as tax write-offs and price appreciation.
As you probably already know, housing in Philadelphia is 15% more expensive than the nation’s average (ugh, we know). But there is good news: home prices have remained far more stable in the City of Brotherly Love than the rest of the nation. The city ranks highly in terms of affordability, too.
With increasing rental prices, and low mortgage rates, now is the time to buy! Here are a few of our favorite homes on the market today for first time buyers:
1303 Coventry Pointe Lane in Pottstown, PA. Just $189,900!