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Here’s How You Can Quickly Purchase a Home

Quickly Purchase A Home

Many of our buyers are curious about the timeline of a home purchase — after all, how long does it really take to get a mortgage and secure title insurance and make it to the settlement table? It depends largely on whether or not you’re securing a mortgage (you probably are), the seller’s plans, and your own interest. Here’s the basic breakdown:

Quickly Purchase a Home

525 Stevens Rd in Morrisville PA – just $329,000!

1. Assuming that you’re securing a mortgage, count on about 30-45 days (at a minimum) from the date that the home goes under contract. Sure, we’ve seen clients quickly purchase a home in less than three weeks — but that can be tough to accommodate, especially in the busy season. Generally speaking, the settlement date is a combination of the interest of both the buyer and seller. Maybe the seller can’t vacate the home for two months, or maybe you can’t move in until your lease is up in 90 days. Either way, it’s not uncommon for settlements to be scheduled 90 days out or so.

2. Not getting a mortgage? Lucky you! It’s not uncommon for “cash deals” to settle in two weeks, and this is largely due to securing title insurance and finding a day that accommodates all parties.

Why You Should Write a Letter to the Sellers

Regardless of whether or not you’re in a bidding war, it’s often a nice idea to accompany your offer with a personal letter to the sellers.

Letter to the Sellers , 607 Mews Dr in Sellersville - a gorgeous 2 bedroom condo for only $149,900!

607 Mews Dr in Sellersville – a gorgeous 2 bedroom condo for only $149,900!

Why? Selling a home can be an emotional experience, and many homeowners appreciate knowing that their old home will be well taken care of by a new loving family. It’s especially important to consider writing a letter if you’re in a bidding war or if your offer is on the low side. After all, it’s free and easy!
While we’ve seen all sorts of notes, we typically recommend including a little bit about yourself and/or your family (perhaps hobbies, or where you’ll be moving from) and what you love about their home. Let them know what stood out to you, or how much you appreciate their hard work in maintaining the home. It’s always a great idea to include pictures, maybe of your family or of a project or two that you’ve completed at your past home. Photos of your current home may help to show the sellers that you will take pride of your new home, too!
Your EveryHome agent is more than happy to deliver this letter to the sellers when submitting an offer, and we’re always happy to help answer any questions you may have about the purchase process!

Now Is The Time to Become a Landlord!

Did you know that rental prices are rising twice as fast as the inflation rate? It’s true! There is an enormous demand for rentals right now, and it’s pushing prices sky high. In fact, the market is hotter than ever with the national occupancy rate for rentals at an all-time high of 95.3%.

become a landlord

This townhome was recently offered for $1650/month!

While this isn’t such good news if you’re a renter, it’s excellent news if you’d like to become a landlord. Owners and investors have the opportunity to be more profitable than ever, according to real estate experts.

Think you want to rent out a property? Ask your EveryHome agent to help you do a little research to see what it might be worth in today’s busy market. Think hard about the terms of the lease (length, inclusions, pets, security deposits), and remember that it pays to cater to Millennials and Baby Boomers who are looking to downsize! Have any questions? We’re always happy to help! Just give us a call at 215 699 5555.

If I Get An Offer On My Home, Do I Have to Sell?

Got real estate cold feet? Occasionally, we’ll have clients who list their home for sale, receive strong offers, and decide they may not want to sell after all. In fact, sometimes this happens even when the offer is higher than the asking price!

an offer

Mike’s newest listing at 124 Dawn Drive in Lansdale PA! Asking just $204,900

The short answer is that you’re never required to sell your home as long as you haven’t accepted an offer in writing. For example, if you list your home with an asking price of $200,000 and you receive an offer for $205,000, you’re not required to accept.  However, be sure to check your listing contract with the real estate agency, because many agreements state that you still owe your real estate agent a commission if you get an offer for the asking price or higher.

If you have signed an Agreement of Sale, you are required to sell your home. If you choose to not sell for whatever reason, the buyer can sue and require you to sell. We always encourage our sellers to think carefully before accepting an offer! If you have any questions regarding the terms of the offer, be sure to speak to your EveryHome agent for individualized assistance.

Wawa Welcome America Festival Begins Saturday!

Wawa Welcome America Festival in Philadelphia!

Philadelphia is celebrating our nation’s heritage from June 27 through July 4th! And the best part about all of these exciting events spanning eight days? They’re FREE!

Wawa Welcome America festival

Beginning this Saturday, the Wawa Welcome America festival will be featuring block parties, free admission to the city’s most loved museums, parades, and free live music. The celebration will culminate on Independence Day with a free concert featuring The Roots and other special musical guests as well as a fireworks show at 11pm. With all that is going on, you sure won’t miss being at the beach!

For more information and the schedule, be sure to visit the official website.

Flood Insurance : What You Need to Know

There’s nothing worse than a major flood, and Hurricane Sandy was an unfortunate wake-up call to many homeowners in our region who didn’t have flood insurance. As you may already know, standard homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover you in the case of a flood. Standard insurance may cover windows broken from wind in a storm, or rain leaked down from the roof, but it typically will not cover flooding from the ground.

flood insurance

If the home you’re looking to buy is located within a flood zone, you’re going to be required to purchase flood insurance through your mortgage lender. In fact, they can require you to purchase flood insurance even if your home isn’t located in one of FEMA’s flood zones (after all, they have to protect their investment too!). And it’s not just homes located on beaches and rivers that require flood insurance — homes nestled in low-lying areas may also be required. Some buyers choose to purchase flood insurance even when not mandated by their lender.

Many buyers become insured through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) which is a government agency. Some private insurers offer competitive flood insurance policies, too! Your agent and lender will be happy to help explain what type of policy is necessary. If the home you’re purchasing is an existing home (as opposed to new construction), you can also probably learn what the current owner pays in flood insurance.

Learn even more about how insurance works through FEMA’s website.

Boomerang Buyers Will Affect Your Homes Value

Boomerang Buyers : Who Are They?

Have you heard the new industry buzzword “Boomerang Buyers” yet? If not, you’re about to hear a lot more about it! Referring to previous homeowners who were foreclosed upon or had to short sale their home, most Boomerang Buyers are expected to re-enter the real estate market within five years.

Boomerang Buyers

Image via howstuffworks.com

The recent report suggests that a whopping 2.2 million Boomerang Buyers will become once again eligible for a mortgage in the next five years. This sheer number will invariably affect your homes value — in a good way! The demand for homes is expected to outpace the supply (even more so than we’re currently seeing in this seller’s market) which will raise home values across the region.

Are you planning to purchase a home soon after struggling with foreclosure or a short sale years ago? We’d love to help, and we have professional and helpful lenders who are educated on exactly how to make you eligible for a loan. Give us a call at 215 699-5555!

How Much Will Your Summer Home Improvements Cost?

Looking to spruce up your home this summer? We asked a few local contractors for their estimated prices on a variety of popular summer home improvements:

1. New windows can range in price quite a bit, but a standard window opening costs about $400-700 for removal of the existing window, replacement, and labor. Custom windows (for instance, if your home is 150 years old or otherwise quite unique) can cost significantly more.

2. Gutter cleaning can range from $150-250 for the average home in our area. Larger homes can be a bit pricier, and installing mesh guards to protect against debris can keep the price down in the future.

Summer Home Improvements

The beautiful, clean deck at 1401 Bentley Drive in Warrington

3. Is it time to get your deck resealed? If so, local contractors suggest expecting about $2.00 per square foot for labor and materials.

Summer Home Improvements

Nicely painted exterior at 302 Sunrise Ct in Chalfont!

4. Summer is the perfect time to get your shutters and front door painted! For the pros to paint 8 shutters and a front door, count on a fee of approximately $500. Want to DIY? A gallon of paint should cover it, and can be picked up at Home Depot for around $30 and a few brushes, rollers, and a tray will be about $25.

5. Freshen up by getting your carpets cleaned! While prices vary greatly depending on the type and condition of carpet, the first floor of your house can run between $150-300. Groupon often has excellent deals on professional carpet cleaning, so be sure to check there first! And if you want to DIY, you can rent a shampooer for approximately $75/day.

Thank you to local construction company L.K. Miller for their assistance with pricing!
Thank you to local construction company L.K. Miller for their assistance with pricing!

*Please note that these prices are based on the average fees by local residential contractors. The condition, size, and style of your home may dramatically affect these estimated prices. Additionally, the materials you choose may affect the price, as well as your contractor’s labor fees*

Mortgage Payment: What’s Included And What’s Not

Have you seen EveryHome’s nifty closing cost calculator yet? Not only can it calculate the approximate amount that you’ll need to bring to the settlement table, but it can also estimate your monthly mortgage payment! Under each home on our website, there is a blue button titled “Closing Costs” (click here for an example).

mortgage payment

Mark Mawby of Freedom Mortgage is one of our helpful Network Lenders!

Your monthly mortgage payment includes more than just the principal and interest on your loan. It will also typically include all real estate taxes as well as homeowner’s insurance. This will all get paid in just one bill each month. While the monthly payment number may seem a bit high at first, our first time buyers are always relieved when they learn what’s included!

However, the monthly payment doesn’t include everything! While our closing costs calculator will simplify things for you by including any/all homeowner’s and condo association fees, if applicable, they will typically get paid in a separate bill. And of course, unlike renting, this monthly payment doesn’t include any utilities or other home-related fees!

For the best breakdown and monthly payment information, be sure to reach out to your lender or EveryHome agent. No agent or lender? No problem! Give us a call at 215 699 5555 and we’ll introduce you to local, friendly real estate experts!

Manayunk Arts Festival This Weekend!

Manayunk Arts Festival

Manayunk will be home to one of the largest juried arts festivals in the region this weekend, June 20th and 21st. The outdoor event is notorious for drawing over 200,000 people to one of Philly’s favorite neighborhoods — and it’s not only for those interested in art! Manayunk Arts Festival will also feature plenty of music, activities for the kids, and food trucks. Many local restaurants will also be offering dinner and drink specials.

Manayunk Arts Festival

Image via Manayunk Development Corporation

The festival will be open from 11am-7pm on Saturday and 11am-6pm on Sunday. For more information, be sure to check out their website. Planning to go? We recommend public transportation! Parking has historically been a zoo for this event.

Is a USDA Loan Right For You?

USDA loans have become a popular alterative to the more traditional FHA and Conventional loans, as they can offer 100% financing (yep – that means no down payment!). These loans are designed to promote rural development, so they’re only available to buyers looking in certain areas.

usda loan right for you?

Wondering if the home that you like is eligible? Check out this website to determine property eligibility! Much of northern Montgomery and Bucks counties qualify, as well as western Chester County and much of Berks County.

USDA loan for you

33 Sunset Hill Rd in Boyertown is located in an area that may qualify for a USDA loan

Another consideration for qualifying for a USDA loan is household income. Unlike most other types of mortgages, there is an income limit. For much of Pennsylvania, that household income limit is around $78,000 for a family of 1-4 people. If you make more than the specified income limit in your area, you may not qualify.

If you’re interested in a USDA loan, be sure to ask your agent or lender for details!

Fewer Homeowners Are Underwater

A recent report detailing negative equity among homeowners nationwide found that fewer homeowners are underwater. The national rate dropped to 15.4 percent in the first quarter, from 18.8 percent one year ago.

fewer homeowners are underwater

Image via solvencyiinews.com

Defined as owing more on your home than it is worth, being underwater restricts many homeowners from selling or even refinancing their home without taking a major financial hit.

While the report is an optimistic indicator for the overall health of the real estate market, it’s important to note that some homeowners are suffering from deeper negative equity than we’ve previously seen. In fact, 930,000 mortgage holders owe twice their home’s value, and experts speculate that it may take these homeowners a decade or longer to regain positive equity in their property.

Are you underwater and feeling stuck? Give us a call. We have an excellent team of experienced agents and lenders who would be happy to assist.

Summer Home Maintenance Checklist

It’s not yet officially summer, but it sure feels like it! With temperatures soaring into the 80s and 90s, it’s more important than ever to have a summer home maintenance checklist so your home is ready for the hot weather ahead. Here’s where to start:

Summer Home Maintenance Checklist

803 Pierce Rd in Norristown PA

1. Get your central air conditioner serviced and replace the air filter. This simple and inexpensive step will save you time and money down the road. Be sure to clean all of the dust off of ceiling fans that built up over the winter months.

2. Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detector. Don’t have a carbon monoxide detector? Pick one up at your local home improvement store for a few bucks — it’s worth it!

3. If you have a deck, be sure to check it for any signs of rotting or any nails poking up. It’s also a good idea to check whether or not it needs to be resealed (a simple tip from Nest.com: sprinkle water over your deck, and if it soaks right in then it’s time to be resealed).

4. Clean your dryer vent! Clogged dryer vents are one of the leading causes of home fires, so be sure to pick up a vent-cleaning brush kit (more effective than using your vacuum cleaner) and remove as much lint and dust as possible.

gutter guys for your Summer Home Maintenance Checklist

Serving Bucks & Montgomery Counties

5. Not only are dirty gutters unsightly, but they can also lead to water damage in your home. If your gutters are too high and a ladder can’t help you safely do the job, be sure to call in the pros. And to prevent future cleaning, consider installing a mesh guard over your gutters to keep debris out.

Don’t Overlook This Step Before Listing Your Home

Professional cleaners offer a lot of bang for your buck when it comes to selling your home! For around $200, the pros can leave your home spruced up and sparkling.

don't overlook this step of hiring cleaners

The beautifully clean kitchen at 528 Mockingbird Way in Warrington

Unfortunately, you would be surprised how many sellers overlook this step! While many buyers can try to look past a little dust, a truly clean home can “wow” a visitor and indicates that the seller takes great pride in maintaining their space.

Even if you pride yourself on being an excellent cleaner and a true neat freak, it’s not uncommon to miss a few spots. The pros also have special equipment to clean as thoroughly as possible. Plus, selling your home can already be overwhelming and time-consuming.

Selling your home? Be sure to ask your EveryHome agent for a list of locally recommended cleaning companies, and check Groupon for extra savings.

Why Are Short Sales So Cheap?

It’s no surprise that clients often show interest in short sales. After all, they’re almost always priced under market value! While there aren’t as many on the market as there were during the recession (nearly 32% of homes sold as short sales in 2012!), they’re still numerous and you’re likely to come across a few in your home search.

Short Sales So Cheap

Image via totalmortgage.com

Short sales, which are essentially an alternative to foreclosure, occur when a homeowner’s debt on the home exceeds its fair market value. Because the bank becomes involved in price negotiations, one of the major drawbacks of purchasing a short sale is the time needed. Unfortunately, short sales aren’t short! It’s not uncommon for banks to take months to respond to an offer made by a prospective buyer.

Short sales are also priced a bit lower because they’re typically sold “as-is”. While this doesn’t mean that you can’t get a home inspection (in fact, we still encourage it!), the seller/bank will not make any repairs or provide credit for any repairs prior to settlement.

If you’d like to learn more about a specific home or about the short sale process, we’re more than happy to help! Just give us a call at 215-699-5555.

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EveryHome Realty is licensed by the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission (license RB066839) and the New Jersey Real Estate Commission (license 0901599)