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This Week’s Average Mortgage Rates

Mortgage rates decreased slightly after a week of global market volatility. Government mortgage giant Freddie Mac reported the following, based on their Primary Market Mortgage Survey:

-30-year fixed rate mortgage (most popular loan for our clients) : 3.84%

-15-year fixed rate mortgage (popular for homeowners refinancing) : 3.06%

-5/1 adjustable rate mortgage: 2.90%

Image via Freddie Mac

Image via Freddie Mac

While these rates are believed to be accurately representative of the national average, it’s important to note that your individual rate may depend upon your credit score, specific type of loan secured, and geographic location. Not yet working with a lender? We’d love to introduce you to some friendly, local loan officers. Just give us a call at 215-699-5555!


 

Montgomery County Restaurants You Can’t Miss

Montgomery County Restaurants

Who doesn’t love a delicious meal at one of the many great montgomery county restaurants? Here are a few of our favorite montgomery county restaurants, in no particular order:

1. 19 Bella in Skippack never disappoints! This “Tapas” restaurant is consistently one of our favorite places for a nice night out in the region. The service is excellent and friendly, the decor is charming and whimsical, and the food is truly unique. Be sure to try the butter poached lobster risotto and the cheese plate! And the best part? It’s a BYOB!

Montgomery County Restaurants

Image via 19Bella.com

2. Ooka offers some of the finest sushi and Japanese cuisine in a chic, trendy setting at their locations in Montgomeryville, Willow Grove and Doylestown. We especially enjoy their popcorn shrimp tempura and specialty Maki — and be sure to try one of their great cocktails at their popular bar! Ooka also offers hibachi.

3. Bryn & Dane’s is quickly becoming a Montgomery County favorite for its healthy fast food in Horsham and Plymouth Meeting.  While it isn’t a full-service restaurant like the others on the list, it offers convenient seating, modern decor, quick and mouth-watering farm-to-table meals, and killer smoothies (we recommend “Grasshopper”).

Montgomery County Restaurants

EveryHome’s Girls Night at Leila’s Bistro!

4. Leila’s Bistro in Jenkintown offers a beautiful, romantic setting for some of the best French American cuisine around! Their seasonal menu is creative, and we especially loved the gazpacho and scallops. Be sure to make reservations for this intimate restaurant, which is also a BYOB.


 

5 Things Your Realtor Wishes You Knew

Ever wonder what your real estate agent is really thinking? Here are the five things that we hope to instill in every client:

  1. Not all $200,000 homes cost the same! Instead of thinking about your budget in terms of the sales price, consider the amount you’ll pay monthly. A home’s affordability can be greatly affected by real estate taxes, which can vary widely in our region. Similarly, homeowners’ association fees (if applicable) can influence your budget. Be sure to use EveryHome’s Closing Cost Calculator or ask your agent or lender for monthly payment information.

5 things your realtor wishes you knew

Stephanie Newcomb’s great clients in front of their pretty new home!

  1. We all want a great deal on our new home, and we firmly believe that the best way to do this is to cooperate and work together with the seller and the seller’s agent. Instead of having a “winner” and a “loser” in real estate, EveryHome works hard to ensure that both buyer and seller are satisfied with the terms of the agreement. We’ve all seen the reality television real estate shows where men in suits bicker and fight about fancy homes, and we’re proud to say that isn’t us! We have fun, respect all parties involved, and build lasting relationships with our clients and other industry professionals. (Karma is real!)

5 things your realtor wishes you knew

EveryHome’s newest listing at 403 Devon Ct in Montgomeryville

  1. Home inspection reports are inherently scary. There simply isn’t another way around it. The report is typically a 10-50 page document listing all of the problems and issues with the home, and it can be a nerve-wracking experience to thumb through and learn about all of the problems with the biggest purchase of your life. Every house has its set of issues unfortunately, but we’re typically able to remedy most concerns by working together with the seller to provide some credit for any issues or have repairs completed prior to settlement.
  1. Teal carpet and icky wallpaper can be changed; the school district cannot. Many buyers are only interested in move-in ready homes, and who can blame them? If your budget allows for a beautiful home in a great location, we completely understand wanting to unpack your bags and not have to change a thing. However, keep in mind that some aesthetic changes are easy and even affordable!  The location of your new home, however, cannot be changed. Research the local school district (which is now easy to do on EveryHome.com!) and heavily consider the neighborhood and commute to work, family, shopping, and eateries.

5 things your realtor wishes you knew

Congratulations to Jen Kuznits’ newest happy homeowners!

  1. Not all real estate websites are created equal. Unfortunately, we often have clients ask to tour homes that are marked as being “For Sale” on popular websites like Trulia and Zillow…only to discover that the home went under contract weeks ago. Heartbreaking! Our advice? Stick to EveryHome.com! We offer the most reliable information on an easy-to-navigate website.

What Dual Agency Really Means

Have you heard of “dual agency”? This real estate word refers to a transaction in which the buyer and seller are represented by the same agent. In other words, the agent who is negotiating on behalf of the buyer is really working for the seller! Since the agent’s original contract is with the seller and requires him or her to find the best buyer with the highest amount of money for the seller, it’s not hard to see that this situation can quickly take advantage of the buyer. In fact, dual agency is illegal in many states, although it is permissible in Pennsylvania with written consent from all parties.

dual agency

Surprisingly, dual agency still occurs regularly. If a prospective buyer calls the name of the agent listed on the For Sale sign, or attends an open house, he or she is likely to be claimed by the listing agent as a client. Instead, be sure to secure your own buyer’s agent before you begin shopping for homes. Best of all, buyer’s agents are free because the seller pays the commission.


Philly’s 15 Favorite Charming Suburbs

Visit Philadelphia (the city’s official visitor website) named the top 15 Towns of the Countryside! The charming small towns were chosen for their walkability, great attractions, natural beauty, and accessibility to the city. In fact, every town chosen is within an hour drive or train ride to the city!

Image via Visitphilly.com

Image via Visitphilly.com

The towns include Phoenixville, Kennett Square, West Chester, Bristol, Doylestown, New Hope, Media, Wayne, Ambler, Ardmore, Jenkintown, Skippack, Chestnut Hill, Manayunk and Mt. Airy. Not only are each of these communities popular for a night out or an afternoon of wine tasting and trailblazing, but they’re also excellent places to live!  For the original article and more information, click here.

529 Rhoades St in Phoenixville - affordable and in a great location!

529 Rhoades St in Phoenixville – affordable and in a great location!

We are proud to have EveryHome Realtors in each of these towns, and we’d love to assist you with finding your new home anywhere in the region. Be sure to use Everyhome.com to easily search by municipality for any of these great communities.


PA Real Estate Market Report

PA Real Estate Market Report. The Pennsylvania Association of Realtors recently released housing statistics for the second quarter of 2015, and the market continues to steadily improve. Perhaps most notably, the median sales price increased 3.3% over this time last year to $175,500. Sellers are also benefiting from quicker sales; the average Days On Market decreased 3.5% to just 82 days.

PA Real Estate Market Report

While it’s a “Seller’s Market,” it’s important to note that many areas in the region are still accessible to buyers. Continued low interest rates have kept home ownership affordable, although experts warn that rates could increase this winter.

Additionally, pending sales (homes that are under contract and awaiting settlement) increased 8.5% and new listings increased by 86,920 units. For the full pa real estate market report, click here.


4 Things To Do Before The Kids Go Back To School

It’s that time of the year again! We love the idea of a “last hurrah” as summer comes to a close, and here are a few of our favorite family-friendly events before the little ones head back to school:

1. There’s nowhere on earth quite like the Franklin Institute. Philly’s favorite interactive science museum is now offering “The Art of the Brick,” the world’s larges collection of art made from LEGOs! The exhibition is open now until October 4th and affordable tickets are available on their website.

back to school Franklin Institute

Image via Franklin Institute

2. We all want our children to love reading, and one of the easiest (and cheapest!) ways to encourage to encourage a love for books is to sign up for a membership to the local library. Most public libraries offer membership for free or for a nominal fee to local citizens, and children’s memberships are often available. Workshops, “Meet The Author” events, and children’s events are regularly offered. Be sure to check your local township for more information.

3. Consider enrolling your child in a non-competitive, kid-friendly yoga class! School can be stressful on everyone, and these fun classes offer your son or daughter the chance to improve his or her self-esteem and self-control. There are a few local studios in our area, including All Kids Yoga with locations in Phoenixville and Devon.

back to school Sprayground

Sprayground. Image via Germantown Ave Parents

4. Enjoy the last few days of the summer heat at one of Philly’s popular “Spraygrounds” (playgrounds + water!). These fun parks are available in 6 different Philadelphia neighborhoods and are open from 11am-7pm. The best part? They’re free!


 

Difference Between a Foreclosure and Short Sale

There are still plenty of short sales and foreclosed homes on the market, despite the housing market being largely recovered. While the bank is involved in both short sales and foreclosure, it’s important to know that these two terms are very different– and result in a far different buying process! Here’s how these distressed properties work:

foreclosure

Image via Creditfirm.net

A home is a short sale when the seller owes more on the home than it’s worth. These homes might hit the market because the seller is struggling to make payments (sometimes they’re even behind on payments and the bank is considering foreclosure), or simply because the seller must move (for a job or other reason) and the home is not worth what they still owe. Unfortunately, short sales became very common during the recession! The term is derived from the seller coming up “short” in paying back the bank once the home sells. As a result, the bank is heavily involved during the transaction, even though you’re still buying from the home from the owner. The process can be a tedious one for both buyer and seller, and short sales typically take far longer than a standard real estate transaction. When you’re shopping for a home and it is a short sale, be sure to ask your EveryHome agent to let you know how far along it is in the bank approval process, as this can give you a better sense of an expected timeline. Since every short sale is quite different, ask your agent for details.
Foreclosures, on the other hand, tend to be a bit more simplified. A foreclosure occurs when the owner stopped making payments and the bank takes them to court to remove them, or the seller simply hands over the keys in a “deed in lieu of foreclosure.” Either way, the bank becomes the sole owner of the home, and the transaction proceeds accordingly. Generally speaking, banks are motivated to sell homes quickly and the process tends to be easier (and faster!) than a short sale. Foreclosures are nearly always sold “as-is,” as the bank is not willing or able to make repairs and the buyer is responsible for a few more upfront fees, including the transfer tax that is typically paid by the seller.
Questions about a home that is bank-owned? Give us a call at (215)-699-5555!


Home Builder Confidence Soars to Ten Year High

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index has climbed to its highest level since 2005! The confidence index now sits at 61 points, which indicates slow but steady progress and an optimistic outlook among builders across the nation. Additionally, construction on new single-family homes soared 13% from June to July and has now reached the highest level since 2007.

HD

Builders aren’t the only ones benefiting! Spending at Home Depot has jumped to pre-recession levels, and the national home improvement giant has reported a record number of transactions since mid May. Stock is now at all-time highs and up 47% since this time last year.


Night Out Restaurant Week Begins Aug 21!

The celebrated neighborhoods of Northern Liberties, Fishtown and Penn’s Landing will be offering their second annual Night Out Restaurant Week from August 21st until August 30th!

Night Out Restaurant Week

The 21 participating restaurants include the award-winning Moshulu, Morgan’s Pier, Cantina dos Segundos, and Circles Thai. Lunch will be offered for $20 and dinner will be offered for just $35.

Be sure to make your reservations soon, as this popular event fills up quickly. For more information, visit their website here!


Distinctive Feature for Pennsylvania Homes

The National Association of Realtors compiled a fun list of each state’s distinctive real estate feature, and we certainly agree with their conclusion about Pennsylvania. The Keystone State’s distinctive feature is (drumroll, please)… a big rear backyard! The list was compiled by a team of researchers who evaluated 1.5 million homes for sale and selected individual features from their listing descriptions.

Distinctive Feature

Beautiful fenced-in yard at 147 Billingsley Dr in Chalfont!

Most of us living in the ‘burbs take our big backyards for granted, but folks in other parts of the nation aren’t always quite so fortunate. After all, Pennsylvania suburbs are notable for having one of the largest median size lots in the nation.

Distinctive Feature

910 Little Conestoga Rd in Glenmoore has a yard and a beautiful deck!

New Jersey’s distinctive feature was hardwood floors, and Delaware loves gas fireplaces. Other interesting home features include granite countertops in California, mountain views in Colorado, RV parking in Idaho, and storm shelters in Oklahoma!


 

Why You Might Need A Jumbo Loan

If you’re looking to secure a mortgage for $417,000 or more, then you’re in the market for a “Jumbo” Loan! These jumbo mortgages refer to loans that are in excess of the limits imposed by government mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  If the mortgage amount is higher than $417,000 (A few of the nation’s priciest counties impose higher limits), then you’ll be securing a jumbo loan which works a bit differently than traditional mortgages.

jumbo loan

Image via equityreach.com

A Jumbo Loan is typically considered a greater risk for lenders due to their high value, and they have historically charged higher interest rates. Luckily, however, the rate for jumbo loans is now around the same as a conventional loan. While some lenders require stricter buyer credentials for a jumbo loan (including higher credit scores and a greater down payment), these requirements have eased greatly as the housing market continues to recover. Additionally, interest on these loans is tax-deductible up to $1 million.

As home values increase, the number of buyers needing jumbo loans increases! Be sure to reach out to your lender for individualized assistance.


 

Home Inspection Horrors

How to Survive a Scary Home Inspection

Whether you’re buying or selling, home inspections can be scary. In fact, they almost always are! Why? Home inspectors are hired to find all issues, potential problems, and needed maintenance. Unfortunately, even brand new homes can have a list of hidden issues,  and even the most meticulously maintained homes will need some repairs. Whether it be a roof that should be replaced within five years, a faucet leak, an outdated electrical system or cracks in the driveway, you’re sure to find at least a few things on the report.

home inspections

Needless to say, the majority of buyers can become overwhelmed. And it’s not uncommon for the sellers to be frustrated, either — after all, many sellers have worked hard to maintain their homes! The best reassurance that we can provide is that it’s normal to be intimidated by an inspection report.  A good home inspector will take the time to carefully evaluate the home, draft a thorough report, and answer any questions that you may have. We always recommend thoroughly reading through this report and gaining an understanding of how to best maintain your new home.

Really concerned about something specific? Some items on the inspection report may be negotiated between the buyer and seller before settlement. The seller will often make the repair before the closing date, or sometimes a credit is offered to the buyer so that he or she may make the repair themselves. It’s also not uncommon to consult a specialist (depending on the issue, this may involve a structural engineer, general contractor, plumber, or electrician) to determine the extent of the repair needed and a more specific dollar amount.

home inspection by LDS

www.ldscos.com

Be sure to consult your EveryHome agent with any questions you might have about your home inspection. We’re always happy to help, and we pride ourselves on assisting our clients navigate through the entire home buying process!


Which School District Is Best For Your Family?

Searching School Districts

We know how important it is to find a great school district, and we’re excited to offer helpful, new information on Everyhome.com to assist clients with their search! If you’re on the website regularly, you may have noticed that every school district in Chester, Montgomery, and Delaware County now offer each school district’s general information, highlights, and average real estate prices within the district. Bucks County and other local areas are coming soon!

You can find this by searching “School Districts” on the left hand navigation menu, and clicking on a district of interest.

 located in award-winning Downingtown School District!

16 Prospect Hill Blvd in Chester Springs – located in award-winning Downingtown School District!

For an example of Tredyffrin-Easttown School District, click here.

And of course, we’re proud to have Realtors all over Greater Philadelphia! Give the office a call at (215)699-5555 to speak to a local, friendly agent.


When Will Mortgage Rates Rise?

Economic conditions are slowly returning to normal across the nation and many experts are speculating that the Federal Reserve may soon raise interest rates.  In recent years, the Fed has attempted to promote economic growth by holding the Fed Funds Rate near 0.00% which has allowed businesses and consumers to borrow money cheaply. However, strong labor market reports, increased household spending, and a busy real estate season have all contributed to industry insiders believing that the 12-person Federal Open Market Committee may hike up interest rates . While the Fed does not (and cannot) set mortgage rates, their decisions about interest rates can greatly affect the mortgage industry.  The Fed meets eight times annually, and their next scheduled meeting is in September.

mortgage rates rise

What other factors affect mortgage rates? Aside from simple supply and demand, the world’s economy can also impact your interest rate. Most notably, the recent instability in Greece and China have kept rates low as foreign investors seek financial security in the United States.

Be sure to check EveryHome.com regularly for the latest mortgage and real estate updates.


 

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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)