Our Favorite Walkable Suburbs
We’re lucky to have a lot of great, walkable suburbs in the Philadelphia suburbs! If you want the convenience of city life with the tranquility of the suburbs, be sure to consider one of these great neighborhoods:
1. Chester County – Phoenixville
Borough is the area’s live music and entertainment hub! With plenty of local galleries, coffee shops (we love Steel City Coffeehouse!), vintage boutiques and restaurants, there’s never a shortage of things to do in this friendly community. Phoenixville also has an incredible farmer’s market on Saturdays and endless events and town happenings.
2. Bucks County – Doylestown
Borough is home to some of our favorite restaurants, including Honey and Bobby Simone’s. Bucks County’s county seat is convenient to major arteries and public transportation, too. Doylestown offers an incredible lifestyle – but home prices here tend to be a bit higher than average!
3. Delaware County – Media
is nestled in the heart of Delaware County, and is notable for having become the first Fair Trade Town in the nation! A socially conscious community, Media is home to many parks, locally-owned shops and restaurants, and plenty of live entertainment.
4. Montgomery County – Ambler
Borough. It was a tough decision between Ambler and Skippack, but ultimately Ambler wins due to convenience and a greater variety of places in walking distance. If you haven’t been to Ambler lately, you won’t believe how far Main Street has come! The beautiful downtown area features shops, award-winning eateries, and an excellent theatre. We love their farmer’s market, and be sure to stop by their popular First Friday events.
Our Yard Sale Tips
It’s yard sale season! If you’re looking to clean out your cluttery basement (yikes!) and make a few bucks (yay!), be sure to consider a few of our tried-and-true tricks:
Image via honeyandcheese.com
1. You’ll probably be surprised at how many folks will show up when you have a yard sale — especially if you advertise well. Make sure you post on Craigslist and Yardsalesearch.com. Plus, it’s free! Thankfully, the days of paying a few bucks to advertise in a newspaper are long gone. Just be sure to mention what you’ll be selling, such as collectibles, furniture, or baby clothing and if any other families will be selling as well. Yard sale-goers love multi-family events!
2. Maintain your sanity on the big day by having prices clearly marked. Buyers will appreciate this and you won’t have to rack your brain for each item.
3. Signs, signs, signs! Since many buyers will be trying to find your specific home from the address provided online, be sure to help them out with a few big and legible signs by the closest intersection.
Best of luck!
While the majority of homes are selling quickly this time of year, there is a small percentage of homeowners who are struggling to find a buyer. Sounds like your situation? You’re not alone! Here are three things to consider:
1. Not getting a lot of showings? Take a look at your listing photos and the description of your home with a critical eye. If the photos are poor quality or don’t showcase your home well, it just might not be attracting the attention of buyers.
Katie’s beautiful brand new listing at 4104 Arthur Trail in Schwenksville!
2. If you’re getting a lot of showings (a couple per week or more) but no offers, consider how your home is being presented. Is it cleaned thoroughly? Does it smell okay? Is it much different looking in person than in photos? Ask your agent for his/her honest opinion, and consider a professional cleaner or home stager (if it’s vacant).
Volkan’s stunning listing sold in just a couple of days!
3. Is your home priced fairly? Sometimes it’s hard to objectively value our own home, so you may have to rely upon your realtor for a Comparative Market Analysis. Consider offering a seller assist to any prospective buyers (this can help them cover pricey closing costs) or let them know that you’re flexible with the terms.
Are Finished Basements Worth Your Time and Money?
Finished basements can add a lot more living space, and provide a great “Man Cave”, media room, or spot for the kids to hang out. But do they add value? Like many things in real estate, it depends who you ask!
First, it’s important to note that a finished basement may or may not add “true” square footage to your home. This varies by county, and often depends largely upon whether or not it’s a walk-out.
Clean, spacious finished basement at 4104 Arthur Trail in Skippack PA!
Regardless of whether or not you can boast additional square footage when you sell, many buyers love the idea of a finished basement and homes with this extra space do sell for more than those without. However (like most improvements), it’s unlikely to recoup all of what you paid.
Thinking of finishing your basement? We’d be happy to provide you with a complimentary Comparative Market Analysis of what your home will be worth with the upgrade! Plus, we’re always happy to pass along the names of reliable local contractors. Just give us a call at (215) 699-5555!
Save On Air Conditioning This Summer
The dog days of summer are upon us! Unfortunately, hot temperatures can result in costly air conditioning bills for many homeowners. Here are three simple ways to keep the price down:
435 Penn Road in Plymouth Meeting, PA
1. Change your filter. Ideally, this air filter should be changed every three months — although you’re not alone if you forget this (we’re guilty, too). They’re easy to change, and a clean filter will increase your unit or system’s efficiency.
2. Call for a tune-up! Arrange a service with the pros once per year to ensure that your system is running well. Getting your heating and cooling system serviced regularly will help it last longer and catch any problems before they result in bigger problems. Some new systems even have these service fees built in!
This Honeywell thermostat is wifi enabled! Available at Lowe’s for $199.
3. Consider a programmable thermostat. These affordable devices can save you big bucks by letting the house get a little warmer when you’re away, and cool and comfortable when you come home. Some of the units can be programmed from your smartphone, too!
Increase in Rental Prices
As if we needed another reason to encourage homeownership! A recent report published by CNN found that rental prices skyrocketed another 4% in April, outpacing home values and the median income. This is the fastest increase in over two years.
Image via Astuteinvestments.com
The main reason? Demand! The demand for rentals has increased, caused largely by Millennials and former homeowners who had been foreclosed upon during the recession. But as expensive as rentals can be here in Philadelphia, we sure don’t have it the worst! Rentals in San Francisco jumped a whopping 15% since last year!
Situated in between the towns of Souderton and Harleysville in northern Montgomery county, Franconia is a family-friendly township with a lot to offer the modern buyer! In fact, Philly.com recently featured Franconia for being a rural (yet not isolated) “garden spot.”
While Franconia enjoys its reputation as a farming area with a lot of open land, it remains easily accessible to the turnpike, shopping, and restaurants. Local favorites include the Franconia Heritage Restaurant and the Old Dutch Cupboard store for farm fresh milk and eggs!
EveryHome’s current listing at 212 Sandown Ct – just $289,995!
Franconia offers a wide variety of home options. The majority of homes are single family between $225,000-400,000, but more affordable options are available. Some of the larger homes (including sprawling farm houses on land, as well as modern homes situated on golf courses) sell for upwards of $500,000.
One of the townships biggest selling points is the school district. In fact, Souderton Area School District ranked #18 in the state in a recent report!
Interested in the laid-back, friendly town of Franconia? Just give us a call at 215-699-5555!
EveryHome Welcomes Bob the Box
We’re proud to announce that EveryHome co-owner and co-founder Katie Kennedy has officially published Bob the Box, a children’s book about moving!
Illustrated by talented local artist C.M. Maniet, the new book offers 45 full-color pages to read with your little one as your family embarks on a big move. Katie explains that practically speaking, the book is intended to help your children become part of the move – which is both scary and exciting for kids young and old!
Click here to pick up your paperback copy for just $15!
How Do I Get Ahead in A Bidding War?
Being in a bidding war this spring won’t be uncommon, but these tried and true tricks can keep you ahead of the competition:
1) Consider writing the sellers a letter! This costs you nothing, and it can be especially meaningful if the current owners have lived in the home a long time. Include a photo, a little bit about your family, and let them know that their beloved home will be in excellent hands.
2) Submit your offer with an escalation clause. This addendum to the contract allows your offer to jump just a bit higher than any other offers submitted. Ask your agent if this might be beneficial for you.
3) Be prepared! Sellers won’t consider your offer unless it is accompanied by a pre-approval from your lender (or a bank statement if you’re planning on paying cash). Be sure to reach out to a lender well in advance of your home hunt.
Home Appliance Life Expectancy Cheat Sheet
Whether you’re shopping for a home or budgeting for the future, it’s important to get a general sense of how long you can expect your home appliances to last. If you’re in the market for a new home, your agent can provide you with details regarding which appliances are included (the washer and dryer are typically not sold with the home, for example). Your agent can also help you find out the approximate age of these appliances.
Image Via Kenmore
Air conditioners (room) – 10 years
Air conditioners (central) – 15 years
Dishwashers – 9 years
Dryers – 13 years
Furnaces – 15-20 years
Ranges – 13-15 years
Refrigerators – 13 years
Washing machines – 10 years
Water heaters – 10-11 years
Of course, these life expectancies can vary greatly based on the quality of the appliance, maintenance, and usage.
Information provided by the National Association of Home Builders
Upcoming Festivals In Philadelphia
May is unofficially the month of festivals in Philadelphia! Here’s what you can look forward to with the upcoming festivals this weekend:
Plazapalooza is returning to the Graduate Hospital neighborhood on May 16th! 23rd and South Streets will be packed all day with live music, beer (of course!), and plenty of food from local restaurants.
Image via J Fusco for Visit Philadelphia
Feeling artsy? Be sure to check out PAFA’s Annual Student Exhibition! From May 14th-June 7th, Philadelphia’s most prominent young artists will be showcasing their talent in our nation’s oldest exhibition of its kind!
Image via R Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia
South Philadelphia will be hosting its beloved 9th Street Italian Market Festival this weekend! On May 16th and 17th, be sure to check out some of the city’s most prominent eateries – just don’t forget your appetite!
Interested in more details and upcoming events? Be sure to check out Visit Philly’s calendar here.
Should You Use an Escalation Clause?
Escalation clauses just might be a home buyer’s most powerful secret weapon. You’ve probably heard by now that we’re in a “seller’s market” and that many homes are receiving multiple offers from buyers. This can become an arduous process for prospective buyers, but utilizing an escalation clause may ease some of the frustration.
Here’s how they work: Let’s pretend you’re submitting an offer on a home for $200,00 but you and your real estate agent are aware that another offer or two could also be coming in shortly. Your agent may suggest using this Escalation Clause, which is essentially an addendum to the contract that states that you will raise your offer price if and only if the sellers receive another offer that is higher than yours. Typically, this escalation clause will state that your offer will raise in specific increments (let’s say by $1000) over the competing offer – but only up to a specific amount (up to $210,000 for example).
Escalation clauses, while pretty nifty, shouldn’t always be used. In fact, they’re typically only considered when your agent learns that other buyers are seriously interested. But in today’s busy market, this isn’t uncommon! Be sure to speak to your EveryHome agent for individualized assistance.
Most (and Least) Popular Features in New Construction
Move over, outdoor kitchens and media rooms! Instead, walk-in closets, energy-efficient windows, and large laundry rooms are on the rise, according to a survey by the National Association of Home Builders. The 400 builders surveyed explained that efficiency and flexibility are the two most important characteristics of a brand new home.
Beautiful new construction at 2619 Lloyd Lane in Lower Providence
While luxury, specialty features were popular prior to the recession (like custom wine cellars, sunrooms, and whirlpool tubs), the modern buyer is opting for pragmatic and organized layouts and designs. The survey is quick to point out that it’s not all about the decline of luxury, however. In fact, granite countertops are now more popular features than laminate, and expansive walk-in closets are becoming standard.
Home Staging Secret
Home staging is both an art and a science. Successful staging will highlight your home’s strengths and ensure that your home appeals to the widest variety of prospective buyers. While hiring a professional surely isn’t free, multiple studies have shown that the benefits far outweigh any costs – homes are likely to sell faster and for a higher price when a stager is involved.
Darla DeMorrow of Heartwork Organizing is our go-to home staging consultant!
If you’re still planning on staging it yourself, there is one tip that can’t be ignored: Declutter! Getting rid of excess “stuff” will make rooms appear more open, welcoming, and they’ll even allow buyers to better visualize their own furniture and décor in a room. Plus, you want the buyer to focus on your beautiful home, not your personal items!
The most frequent “clutter-y” items that we see include children’s toys, pet items, excessive knick-knacks and décor on mantels/coffee tables/other surfaces, and small appliances and cookware lining the kitchen countertops. While we understand that a lot of these items are important for daily use (they’re all over our homes, too!) it’s important to note that they can be distracting to buyers and create the illusion of smaller spaces.
24 Alyssa Drive in Newtown, PA has a beautifully staged living room!
If you have a basement, shed, or other storage area, we recommend filling up some Rubbermaid containers prior to any showings or open houses. For bigger items, we sometimes recommend a small storage unit. We would be happy to provide individualized assistance and advice – just give us a call at 215 880 2775!
Mothers Day Fun
Mom always loves being spoiled with breakfast in bed, a massage, and flowers. But why not do something a little out of the ordinary to show Mom how much you love her? Here’s our top four favorites:
1. Crossings Vineyard in Bucks County is offering a “Paint and Sip” on May 9th, complete with award-winning wines, cheese, and a chance for you and Mom to paint something beautiful! The fee is $55. If you can’t make Paint and Sip this Saturday, be sure to check out their event calendar – there is always something fun going on!
2. Susan G. Komen’s Race for The Cure 5k run/walk is a perennial favorite in Philadelphia on Mothers Day. The inspiring, uplifting event brings tens of thousands of runners and walkers into the City of Brotherly Love… just be sure to register soon!
Image Via Longwood Gardens
3. Moms love flowers, and Longwood Gardens is filled with them this time of year! The Chester County landmark is offering symphony performances and special dining events for Mothers Day Weekend – but be sure to purchase your tickets early, as they sell out quickly.
4. In the mood for a true tea party? The Betsy Ross House will be hosting its annual Mothers Day Tea Party on Saturday, complete with sipping, snacking, and a tour of the house. Tickets are $25 and reservations are a must.
Image vis Art Star Craft Bazaar
5. If Mom is feeling crafty and up for a stroll, check out the Art Star Craft Bazaar at Penn’s Landing on Saturday and Sunday from 11am-6pm! Entrance is free and over 150 artisans will be featured.