Philadelphia is a city of neighborhoods! Here are a few of the hottest neighborhoods for real estate:
1. Dickinson Narrows, a small community located in South Philadelphia, ranked #2 in the nation in Redfin’s Hottest Neighborhoods of 2015! It’s affordable, walkable to great bars and restaurants, and near a ton of parks and playgrounds.
2. Northern Liberties. We bet you saw this one coming! Northern Liberties has become a hotspot for Millennial buyers with uniquely converted warehouses and luxury condos.
Image via visitphilly.com
3. Kensington is being lauded by Philadelphia locals as the most up-and-coming neighborhood in the city. Kensington Renewal is just one non-profit targeting the once-troubled community by rehabbing abandoned homes and turning them into safe, beautiful owner-occupied homes. Other initiatives include a community garden and library. Located near vibrant Fishtown, Kensington remains affordable but home prices continue to rise.
4. Homes have been selling fast in another South Philly favorite neighborhood, Newbold! Mark Gatta of EveryHome’s Gatta Group explains that the community just north of Passyunk Ave and just West of Broad St has been notable for its increased walkability, renovated homes, and community initiatives.
Mark Gatta of EveryHome’s Gatta Group – Philly’s Favorite Realtors!
5. Francisville is another one of the Gatta Group’s predictions for hot neighborhoods of 2015. The North Philadelphia community, which is known for being the city’s oldest neighborhood, is enjoying significant residential development.
Browse for homes in Philadelphia by neighborhood here!
Why Selling In April Is A Good Idea
You’ve heard how inventory of homes for sale is low, buyer competition is high, and homes are easy to sell. But why should you list in the next month? A recent Zillow report found that the very best time to hang a For Sale sign on your home is between mid-March and mid-April. The window tends to be a bit later for colder climates (which includes us!).
EveryHome’s newest listing at 128 Mary Ambler Way in Ambler PA
Homes sell 15% faster and for 2% more than the average sale in mid-March through April. Why? Buyers come out of the woodwork during the warmer spring months, and competition is high. Many of the best-priced homes for sale will result in fierce competition and bidding wars, driving up the sale price.
Thinking of listing soon? An EveryHome agent would be happy to visit your home and provide you with a comparative market analysis (this will tell you what your home might be worth) as well answer any questions you might have. Just give us a call at 215 699-5555 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cash at Closing
If you’ve been perusing EveryHome.com for some time, you’ve probably seen the Cash at Closing number listed underneath the sale price of nearly every home on our website. This number is the amount of money that EveryHome pays YOU at settlement, as appreciation for using an EveryHome agent.
This money is a portion of our commission, which is paid by the seller.
Rob’s client receiving his Cash at Closing check
The reason we do it is simple: buying a home is expensive! We understand that, and we don’t want anyone to drain their bank account paying for a down payment and closing costs. So we give you a check at settlement that you can use to help subsidize some of the costs of buying a home (because nobody wants to eat Ramen noodles for six weeks after they buy a home, right?).
We’re able to offer this to our clients because we don’t have a ton of overhead, unlike the big box agencies. We can afford to provide this great service to our clients, and we’re lucky to do so!
First time homebuyers holding their Cash at Closing check
Easter Egg Hunts
It may not feel like spring with this recent surge of chilly weather, but it’s nearly Easter! Much of Greater Philadelphia is in the spirit with local easter egg hunts:
Image via Tom Gralish of Philly.com
-The Philly Easter Egg Hunt is always a favorite, hosted at Gorgas Park in Roxborough on Saturay, March 28th from 10am-noon. With face painting, balloon animals, and a petting zoo, this event is sure to please the whole family…just be sure to register at phillyegghunt.com!
-Linvilla Orchards in Media will be home to the Hayride to Bunnyland! The event will run from March 28-April 4 and take guests through their expansive orchards and to the bunny’s house! Mr Easter Bunny himself will be visiting for photos and to pass out treats. Admission is $8 per person.
-The Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown will host an all-you-can-eat lunch with the bunny, followed by an Easter Egg Hunt. Dates offered include March 28th, April 4th, and April 5th. Reserve tickets at elmwoodparkzoo.org
Read Philly.com’s article with even more info here!
Should You Try Before You Buy?
Real estate’s newest trend is try before you buy…and we don’t just mean taking a tour or walking the neighborhood! Instead, a handful of listings are offering prospective buyers the opportunity to stay a night, hang out with the neighbors, and even cook a meal to test out the kitchen.
While these can be great ways to get acquainted with life’s biggest purchase (after all, we practically spend more time trying on shoes than we do a new home!), it’s important to note that we don’t expect this to expand to the majority of listings anytime soon.
Instead, we often recommend that prospective buyers tour the home a couple of times, and don’t be afraid to ask questions! Sellers can typically provide additional information about the systems and appliances in their homes (and we always recommend a home inspection too!). Additionally, we suggest that you visit the home at different times of day to get the best sense of the neighborhood. A quiet community during the day can become a bustling neighborhood in the evening!
Wall Street Journal covered the trend in depth here.
How to Win Bidding Wars
With a lower inventory of homes for sale, we’ve seen many sellers receive multiple offers on their home. While these multiple-offers can be great for the sellers, they can lead to bidding wars and quite a bit of stress for the potential buyers involved! Here’s how to beat out the competition if you’re shopping for a well-priced home in a popular neighborhood:
EveryHome’s beautiful new listing at 3195 Doebrook Rd, Worcester PA
1. Get your financial ducks in a row. Before getting serious about any homes, be sure to secure a pre-approval letter from a qualified lender. You’ll need a pre-approval letter to submit an offer. Plus, getting pre-approved is easy—it just takes a few minutes over the phone. We know lots of great lenders, and we’re happy to refer you and help you every step of the way.
2. Don’t wait to see a home! Instead of waiting for the open house, be sure to check new listings every single day. (We make this easy for you on our “New Today” section!) If you’re working with an agent, he or she will scour the new listings every day, too. The best homes will often sell before an open house, so time is of the essence!
3. “Cash is king” can be true…but not always! Unfortunately, buyers that are getting a mortgage can be beat out by all-cash offers, but there are ways to edge your cash competition. Consider shortening the loan and appraisal contingencies, and have your home inspection immediately. While we understand that it’s not ideal, you might want to consider paying a little extra if you know you’re up against a cash offer.
4. Be sure to work with a highly communicative and accessible agent. You’ll want to trust that he or she is in contact with the seller’s representative and that he or she knows what other offers (if any) are already on the table. Your agent will be guiding you through the whole process, and he or she should be experienced in the local market and help give you an edge in the competitive environment. Good luck with your future bidding wars!
Upgrading an Older Home
If you’re thinking of putting your older home on the market (or even if you’re not), there are a few easy improvements that you can make to keep up with the preferences of the modern buyer. CNN Money recommends the following:
352 1st Avenue in Phoenixville is for sale! And even at 115 years old, it features all the amenities that a modern buyer loves!
1. Closet space in an older home tends to be significantly smaller than the massive walk-in closets we see today! Make the most of your space by installing an organizing system. For less than $100, Target offers some wonderfully affordable options, or consult the pros at California Closets (they have a location in King of Prussia!).
2. Closed-off kitchens are a thing of the past, as modern buyers prefer open floor plans and spacious kitchens with plenty of counter space. Instead, consider opening up the wall between your kitchen and dining room or living room. CNN Money estimates this cost to be around $3000. Other easy kitchen upgrades for an older home? Consider updating your fixtures and lighting — you’ll be surprised at how much of a difference it can make!
3. Buyers frequently ask us where the laundry is located, and many prefer that it not be located in the basement. If possible, consider installing a washer and dryer on the main floor or second floor of your home. Stacking front-loaders can minimize the amount of space needed.
EveryHome Agent Jen Kuznits and her husband’s latest home flip — a few walls were knocked down in the process!
Jen Kuznits’ newly remodeled kitchen is gorgeous and spacious after being opened up.
Rent have increased 15% from 2009 to 2014 according to the National Association of Realtors, but that statistic doesn’t tell the whole story. While raising rental prices aren’t too uncommon, the real issue comes down to stagnant wages and salaries.
In fact, some areas have seen declining income in the past five years! Coupled with skyrocketing rental prices, this has squeezed many renters out of their home.
Looking for a bit of a silver lining? First, rising rent is great if you’re an investor (or thinking about becoming one!). More than ever, landlords are enjoying a nice margin driven by stiff competition among renters. Additionally, the Greater Philadelphia Area is not one of the cities with declining income — in fact, our region is slightly above the national average.
Philadelphias Art Scene
Did you know that over 300,000 works of art call the Philadelphia Museum of Art home? Museums and galleries large and small decorate the City of Brotherly Love, which is further establishing itself as the art hub of the east coast!
Philadelphia Museum of Art – Image vis withart.visitphilly.com
Touted as the most artistic mile in the nation, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway offers an extraordinary collection of public art, gardens, fountains, monuments, and more! Beyond museums, Philadelphia offers impressive theatre options including The Walnut Street Theater, Merriam Theater, and the Kimmel Center.
It’s no surprise that Philadelphia offers so many extraordinary art attractions, as the city is home to some of the finest art schools. Talented new artists keep philadelphias art scene fresh and alive, emerging from schools such as the University of the Arts, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Moore College of Art & Design, and the Art Institute of Philadelphia. Whew! Be sure to check out each school’s upcoming exhibitions and events.
For inspiration for your next daytrip to the city, check out www.withart.visitphilly.com!
Enjoy everything Philadelphias art scene has to offer!
Think Millennials aren’t buying homes? Think Again!
Forget what you heard about millennials loafing around, unemployed, in their parents’ basements! A recent report conducted by the National Association of Realtors found that millennials (that is, adults under 34 years old) accounted for 32% of all home purchases in 2014. The study attributes increased employment and growing young families to the surge in buying.
Young couples entering the housing market is a good thing for both the economy and neighborhood stability, according to the National Association of Realtors. The chief economist of the association, Lawrence Yun, notes that we still have a way to go before returning to pre-recession levels of first-time homebuyers. Yun remains hopeful that this rate will increase in the upcoming years.
Another interesting tidbit? Millennials were most likely to buy with their unmarried partner
Cater to this Type of Tenant
Recent reports have confirmed what we like to think we’ve known all along: the women are in control (especially when it comes to the rental market)! Rentals, which bring a certain degree of freedom, are being favored more than ever by young women.Surprised? Don’t be! Later marriages, lower birth rates, and more women than men in college and graduate schools have all contributed to women enjoying the lifestyle that only a rental can provide. While being a tenant may not necessarily be the savviest option in our humble opinion, this knowledge opens up a window of opportunities for investors.
Image via nydailynews.comWith interest rates at historic lows and a stronger-than-ever rental market, now may be the time to invest in that rental property you’ve been considering. A recent Raymond James report has estimated over 1.3 million new renter households in the past year alone! Still not convinced? Tenant turnover and move-outs are at their lowest level in decades, meaning you’ll likely have a strong group of truly committed renters. A few ways to cater to young tenants include allowing pets, offering flexible lease terms, enhancing kitchens, bathrooms, and closet space, and featuring a security system!
Credit Reporting to Benefit Buyers
At last! The nation’s credit reporting giants have agreed to make drastic changes to the way that credit disputes and inaccuracies are handled. After coming under fire from consumer advocacy groups and the New York state Attorney General, credit reporting companies have agreed to work towards a significantly easier and more transparent process for individuals struggling with discrepancies on their report.
Since mortgage lenders scrutinize an applicant’s credit history, these changes are expected to assist prospective homebuyers secure a loan for their new home.
Additionally, credit reporting companies will extend the grace period for unpaid medical bills to 180 days. This unprecedented move allows more time for individuals who have been burdened by medical bills before they will show up on their credit report.
These changes are expected to be fully instituted between 6 and 39 months from now.
Starbucks Effect Your Home’s Value?
The “Starbucks Effect” is being widely reported as an incredible predictor of home values….and yes, we’re serious! Stay with us on this one: Between 1997 and 2013, homes within a quarter mile of a Starbucks increased in value by 96%, compared to 65% for all U.S. homes. Wow!
How does this really work? As many industry insiders are pointing out, Starbucks are typically placed in towns and neighborhoods that are prospering. Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff noted that a new Starbucks in town may give local developers a tip as to which neighborhoods are on the rise.
And for you Dunkin Donuts fans, don’t despair! Homes located near a DD have increased more in value, too — just not nearly as much as the Starbucks effect.
Adjustable Rate Mortgage Starting to Rise in Popularity
Thinking about securing an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) on your new home purchase? You’re not alone! Five-year ARM rates remain extremely low at approximately 2.97%, and they’re even lower than a 30-year fixed rate mortgage because the bank is taking more risk to lend you money for a longer period of time. As the name implies, an adjustable rate mortgage interest rate will periodically fluctuate to reflect the current market.
While adjustable rate mortgage have risen in popularity lately, they only make up approximately 5.4% of new loan applications. This number is expected to rise in the coming months. image via wellsfargo.com
For some buyers, an ARM loan is a great option. However, generally speaking, if you know that you’ll be in your new home for longer than 10 years, then your safest bet is to a choose a 15- or 30-year fixed rate mortgage. As always, we recommend that you speak with your lending professional to determine the best option for your individual needs.
Located on the Main Line within Lower Merion and Haverford Townships, Ardmore embodies a lush, small-town feel just minutes from Philadelphia.
Originally named Athensville, the town changed its name in 1853 when the railroad station in the center of town was renamed by the Pennsylvania Railroad. Picturesque Ardmore was developed as a result, and became a popular host for wealthy families in the city to build their country home in the nineteenth century. While today it is considered far from “the country”, the town still enjoys an affluent, historic feel with plenty of tree-lined streets and beautiful stone mansions.
Move-in ready and affordable! 38 W Spring Ave – asking $314,900
There is no shortage of things to do in Ardmore! Suburban Square is a popular open-air shopping mall (in fact, it’s one of our countries earliest shopping centers) featuring high-end boutiques and plenty of fine eateries. Ardmore Farmers Market is located nearby and is open seven days a week to provide the town’s residents with fresh, local, and organic ingredients. The Ardmore locals are passionate about the continued success of the place they call home—in fact, The Ardmore Initiative is a business district authority responsible for all of the improvements of downtown Ardmore.
Served by both of the award-winning Lower Merion and Haverford Township School Districts (depending on which side you live on), Ardmore has a reputation for affluence. Home prices are higher than our state’s average, but a variety of options are available.