The Best Restaurants to Try in the New Year
|Recently we asked our Facebook fans about their favorite restaurants in the Greater Philadelphia Area. The responses were varied: Domani Star, Ooka, and Honey in Doylestown, Karla’s in New Hope, Pub & Kitchen, El Vez, Cuba Libre, Divan & Earth Bread in Philadelphia. So what do the pros over at Philadelphia Magazine say?
|Stateside on E. Passyunk Ave comes in for the number one spot, thanks to it’s exceptional menu of local ingredients and one helluva whiskey menu. Marigold Kitchen, Vedge, The Farm and Fisherman, and Le Virtu round out the top five.
Image via phillymag.com
|Other notable mentions include one of the best Italian restaurants in the country (and my personal favorite), Osteria on North Broad Street at number 13. Fork, the trendy spot on Market Street with a killer cocktail list, comes in at number 17. The historical and beyond-elegant Le Bec Fin made the list at number 26 (I thought it’d be higher!). And our only client favorite that made the list is Pub & Kitchen, Philly’s favorite gastro-pub, at number 31.
|Just barely making the list are Stephen Starr’s French-themed Parc, and the romantic favorite Talula’s Garden.
|Agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think on our Facebook page!
Philadelphia Among Least Affordable Rental Market
Philadelphia is already famous for cheesesteaks, diehard sports fans, and brotherly love. Now it can add one more to its list: an unaffordable rental market. As many locals will tell you, rental prices in Philadelphia continue to rise.
While it’s great for investors (!!!), it’s become increasingly difficult for renters to maintain their living situation as the current percent of median income to median rental price climbs to 47.4%. This is the third priciest rental market among cities in the United States.
Bronx, NY and Baltimore are the only cities with less affordable rental homes. Brooklyn and Miami round out the top five.
Of course, there is good news: home ownership is becoming easier for first time buyers and current renters. Lending standards have lessened somewhat, and closing costs have become more affordable with the return of the 3% down payment. EveryHome is always here to help, too! Just give us a call at 215-699-5555!
Comparative Market Analysis
If you’ve sensed that home prices are rising, you’re right. In fact, home prices are rising at the quickest paces since before the housing bust. This is great news if you’ve been thinking of selling! In order to get the best estimate of value on your home, you can ask a real estate professional (that would be us!) to provide you with a complimentary Comparative Market Analysis.
EveryHome’s newest listing! 1429 Wheatsheaf Rd in Morrisville, PA
Comparative Market Analysis (CMA’s) take into account a variety of factors that affect your home’s value. The biggest variables are location, size, and condition…but there are a lot of other things that affect the value, too! We take a look at all of the homes that recently sold or are on the market nearby, and we take a peek at the pictures & stats of those homes to see exactly how they stack up.
Computer-generated CMA’s (*cough cough Zillow’s Zestimates*) don’t take into account major things inside the home that can really raise the price, and that’s where we come in. If you have granite countertops, vaulted ceilings, hardwood floors, new windows, or stainless steel appliances, you know how much you spent on them–and you deserve to be able to get a return on some of those hard-earned upgrades!
If you’re looking for a no-obligation CMA, let us know by reaching out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s completely free, and we promise not to send you tons of e-mail or call you while you’re eating dinner (because we hate that, too). We look forward to hearing from you!
Our Christmas Wish
|1. We wish for continued low interest rates, a strong job market, and lending standards to permit first time buyers to achieve homeownership. We heard a rumor that first time buyers might make up an impressive 40% of home sales this upcoming year, and we hope that becomes true!
|2. We wish for all of our listings to appraise for full value and that all largely inaccurate property valuation sites (ahem **Zestimates**) be taken with a grain of salt.
|3. And, lastly, we wish for the inventory of homes for sale to increase in the spring so that our buyers may find the home of their dreams.
The Team at EveryHome (PS-we’ve been good all year!!!!)
How to Prep Your Home if Your Selling This Spring!
If you’re thinking of selling this spring, you’re not alone! Each year, the number of homes for sale spikes in the springtime (typically, we see a big jump right after the Superbowl). This means that you’re going to have quite a bit of competition with your neighbors, but there are a few easy ways that you can get ahead if you plan on selling this spring:
1. Consider contacting a real estate professional a couple of months before you wish to put your home up for sale. They’ll be able to give you a good idea of fair market value and provide you with personalized advice on how to best prepare and stage your home. (It’ll also give you time to meet with a couple of real estate agents andevaluate who you feel is best.)
2. If you regularly check our blog, you know that I’m a sucker for curb appeal…and tons of data support my obsession! Power washing your siding, wiping down the front door, purchasing a new “Welcome” mat, and sweeping the walkways are a few of the easiest ways that you can impress potential buyers. Take advantage of the time between now and spring!
3. De-clutter! One of the biggest turn-offs to buyers is a home that has too much “junk” in it and it tends to make rooms look smaller. Clear off tables, pick up toys, and tidy up the garage. If you don’t have a ton of extra space, rent an inexpensive unit at a storage facility for your extra things. Repeat after us: Less is more.
HeartWork Organizing is a great local home staging company!
4. If your home will be vacant, consider hiring a staging company for a small fee. We can’t stress this enough! It’ll give a buyer a better sense of how their own furniture will fit in your home, and stagers are real pros at making your home look beautiful. Bonus: It’s more reasonably priced than you’d think.
Home Design Trends of 2015
The biggest home design trends of 2015 can be described in one word: retro! Elements of the 1970s and 1980s are back in a big way, according to Zillow Digs Home Report. Here’s what we can expect to make a splash in the upcoming year:
1. Gold Fixtures! I admit that I love this one. While brassy gold fixtures are so passé (hellloooo 1995), the modern take spin includes matte, bronze and weathered shades. Pick up a few inexpensive new fixtures at your local Lowe’s to give your bathroom an entirely new look.
Image via qloungemiami.com
2. Wallpaper. You heard right! Wallpaper will be back and better than ever in 2015. Of course, some of the popular bold prints are not for the faint of heart — instead, try your hand at a textured neutral print (and say a little prayer for when you will have to scrape it off in 15 years).
A stunning cowhide rug makes a great statement! Image via The Corcoran Group
3. Cowhide! Rugs, blankets, wall-hangings…. you name it, and it will be available in cowhide this upcoming year. The ideal texture for any elegantly rustic space, cowhide is set to be the new chevron print.
Gifts for A New Homeowner
|If a new homeowner is on your holiday gift list this year, check out some of our agents and clients great ideas:
|1. Celebrate with a few fancy new wine glasses, champagne glasses or martini glasses. We especially love the ones from Anthropologie. Bonus points if they’re monogrammed and if you pass along a nice bottle of wine as well! Unique wine bottle toppers are another fun gift that can be tied onto a package.
Image via anthropologie.com
|2. If they’ve been working hard around the house, consider a Home Depot/Lowe’s gift card or a tool set. (My favorite gift that I received at my Housewarming party was a bottle of champagne with a hammer taped to it and a sign that read: “You’ve worked hard! Time to get hammered.”)
|3. Practical doesn’t have to be boring! A monogrammed doormat (personalizationmall.com), a personalized door knocker, or a few fancy platters for entertaining are all sure to be a hit.
|4. Since the new homeowner is likely being inundated with bills and junk mail, consider ordering them something fun to look forward to each month! Martha Stewart and Real Simple magazines are great for the DIY-er, and a subscription food box are other fun ideas (Love with Food, Taste Trunk, and Mantry are our favorites).
Congrats to our neighbors in West Goshen Township (Chester County) and Horsham (Montgomery County) for being named #10 and #34, respectively, on Money Magazine’s Best Places to Live in the United States!
The comprehensive list of “America’s Best Small Towns” is compiled based on economic data, good schools, and a strong sense of community.
West Goshen was noted for its lush, suburban feel just minutes from flourishing downtown West Chester. A short drive from King of Prussia, Philadelphia, and Wilmington DE, West Goshen Township offers commuters the best of both worlds: proximity to work in a
beautiful small-town setting! Check out West Goshen Twp homes here!
27 Buckman Drive in Horsham PA — 4 bedrooms for only $310,000!
Horsham was featured due to its 600 thriving businesses in their noted high-end office parks (including many Fortune 500 companies!). Low property taxes and an acclaimed school district are two other big perks of Horsham. If you’re interested in a home in the Horsham area, visit here!
On December 13th, Santa Lucia marks the start of the Christmas season in Sweden.
Historically it began before dawn, when the oldest daughter in a family (representing Saint Lucia in her white robe and a red sash), wearing a crown of evergreen decorated with lingonberries and seven candles (nowadays common to wear electric candles), entered her parent’s room, followed by her siblings, and woke them with coffee and Saffron buns (lussekatter).
The earliest known appearance of Santa Lucia in Sweden was 1764 in a country house. Not until 1927, did Swedish cities make these private celebrations public during which Swedish boys and girls participated in lighting up the city with candles and festive songs.
The Lucia tradition is a blend of traditions and can be traced back to St Lucia of Sicily, a martyr and saint who died in the 4th century and to Swedish legend of Lucia as Adam’s first wife. St Lucia of Sicily is said to have given away her dowry to the poor and this was denounced by her fiancé and she was then blinded and burned.
It is considered a winter light festival since December is the darkest month of the year and December 13th (using the old calendar) was the seen as the longest night of the year.
Santa Lucia is a popular events in schools, retirement homes, hospitals and many offices every year where children dress up as Lucia, her attendants (they don’t wear the crown on their heads but instead a candle in one hand), santa gnomes, gingerbread cookies and starboys. They perform many traditional songs and bring light and happiness wherever they go.
Fannie Mae Loan Qualifications
The dream of home ownership will become a reality for more low-income and first time home buyers! Government mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae announced that they will begin backing loans with as low as 3% down payments and credit standards will become looser.
Additionally, the mortgage giants have instituted new guidelines that will benefit independent lenders. This will help prospective buyers as well, as independent lenders may now more easily qualify applicants for a loan.
Experts from Fannie Mae and the Federal Reserve have reported that the average credit score for buyers has decreased slightly in the past few months, although they warn that lenders will never return to the lax underwriting standards that we saw in the mid 2000s. While loans may become a bit more easier to secure, “They’re very concerned about reputational risk,” Mark Palim of Fannie Mae explains.
Entrepreneur Mag: Why You Should Invest in Real Estate
Entrepreneur Magazine recently featured an article entitled “Why You Should Be Investing Your Money In Real Estate”…and we couldn’t agree more!
|Here are just a few of Entrepreneur’s reasons to consider rental real estate as part of your portfolio: Tax free cash flow, rental real estate is a “forced retirement plan”, increased tax deduction strategies, and tax write-offs against your other income.
|If you’ve been thinking about purchasing an investment property but aren’t exactly sure where to start, give us a call! We have plenty of experienced agents in the Greater Philadelphia Area who are happy to help you get started. Call us at (215) 699-5555 or send us an email at email@example.com
|Check out Entrepreneur’s whole article here!
|You purchased your Pollyanna gift, scrounged up a White Elephant gift from around the house, and baked the casserole that your father-in-law loves. But if you’re traveling this holiday, a small token of appreciation for the hostess might have slipped your mind…or am I the only one who forgot? Anyway, here’s a short list of some easy last-minute gifts to bring along.
1. It’s hard to start this list properly without wine. A nice bottle of Chardonnay is sure to please, and consider tying on a cute bottle stopper or package of wine charms. We love the ones from Pottery Barn! Feeling festive? Peppermint Schnapps will do the trick!
2. For the tea enthusiast, consider picking up a few ounces of loose leaf tea and an elegant Japanese tea canister. My favorites are from Teavana, and a black tea blend is sure to be a favorite. If they’re into coffee instead, your local Starbucks offers plenty of wrapped coffee/mug sets.
|3. For the family member who loves to grill, check out Williams-Sonoma for cedar grilling planks. At only $15 for 4, they’re less expensive than you’d think! Bed Bath & Beyond carries these, too. Herb blend rubs for meat and fish are another good idea.
|4. Looking for something a little more unique? A slate cheese board with chalk is one my favorite gifts that I ever received. It has a fun, vintage feel and you can label each cheese right on the board. They sell them at Crate & Barrel, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Williams-Sonoma.
Conshohocken Has More New Development Planned
Conshohocken home prices have risen significantly in the past couple years, largely in part due to recent revitalization, and now developers are reporting that a new wave of construction and renovation is expected in 2015. We love Conshy for it’s convenient location, great schools, awesome selection of restaurants (our newest favorite? Bar Lucca!) and variety of housing options.
The small borough located along the Schuylkill River has become a favorite for Center City commuters, young professionals, and families in search of strong school districts (Plymouth Whitemarsh). Of course, it’s popularity has resulted in a surge in home prices…and it looks like we can expect to see even greater home prices with greater revitalization!
Browse homes for sale in Conshohocken homes here!
|Some sellers feel that it can be tough to keep their home looking its best in the winter, but cozy seasonal staging can be appealing to prospective buyers. With our four favorite staging tips, your home will be the most beautiful on the block!
|1. Create a welcoming atmosphere by setting up lamps and window candles on timers so that the house is well-lit upon a buyer’s arrival. If any rooms in your house are too dark, consider purchasing an extra inexpensive lamp.
|2. Keep it festive! Embrace the holiday season with a wreath, a decorated mantel, or a Christmas tree, but be careful that the decorations aren’t the focal point of your home.
We love this festive wreath from Pottery Barn!
|3. Comfort and warmth are key. Consider adding a snuggly throw pillow onto the couch to create a cozy vibe, and pick up a few of those electric candles next time you’re at the store (they’re much safer than leaving a real candle lit!). Adjust the thermostat a degree or two warmer than normal on particularly cold days.
|4. Last but not least…. curb appeal! Of course, it’s harder to keep the exterior of your home looking beautiful when the grass is brown and trees are bare, but it becomes even more important that your windows are washed, front door area is clean, and sidewalks are clear. Be sure to keep ice at bay by salting and shoveling the walkways and driveway.
High-end homes are selling quickly, according to a recent report conducted by Zillow. The main reason that luxury homes are picking up steam is simple: inventory! There are significantly more luxury homes for sale this year than last year, and a much higher proportion of luxury homes than usual.
Increasing home prices are enticing many homeowners to sell, and consistently low mortgage rates are encouraging these sellers to purchase more expensive homes according to the report published by CNBC.
A strengthening stock market is also being attributed to the recent uptick in sales. While the real estate market typically slows down during the fourth quarter, experts are predicting strong sales in the luxury market.