As we approach the month of July, many local sellers (particularly the ones with children at home) become antsy about moving before school starts in September. If your home has been on the market for approximately 45 days or more, be sure to take a critical look at the way your home is being marketed and consider the following:
1. Price. It’s no secret that price matters when attracting potential buyers, but unfortunately it’s still not uncommon for sellers to overprice their homes. This is especially true for homeowners who purchased at the height of the market in 2007 or 2008, and may be a bit underwater on their property. Be sure to ask your real estate agent for a comparative market analysis, and carefully consider similar properties nearby.
2. Pictures. The vast majority of home buyers start their search online — and we bet that we don’t have to tell you that, as you browse Everyhome.com! A prospective buyer’s first impression of your home is going to likely be through photos viewed online, so they must be clear, flattering, and of good quality. If your home is well-priced and has been on the market for a few weeks with less than three showings, carefully consider the way that the photos are representing your home. Don’t be afraid to ask your agent to re-take the listing photos if you’re concerned that they don’t nicely represent your home, and be sure to clean and fully de-clutter before picture day.
3. Place. Is your home located in a closer suburb of Philadelphia (within 15-20 miles) and in a good school district? Fairly priced homes in these neighborhoods are selling very quickly. This is especially true because these neighborhoods are in a highly competitive seller’s market where there is low inventory of homes for sale and fierce competition among buyers. If your home is located in one of these areas, be especially sure to consider the price and presentation, as these homes should sell quickly. Alternatively, if your home is located in a further suburb, it may simply take longer to sell because there is a smaller pool of buyers.
4. Presentation. Curb appeal! Cleanliness! Clutter-free! If your home is receiving a good number of showings (let’s say at least two or three per week), then the pictures of your home online are likely attractive enough to prospective buyers. However, if you’ve had more than ten showings on your home without any offers, it’s a good idea to take a careful look at how prospective buyers are seeing your place. Does the home appear welcoming, warm, and well-maintained from outside? Are there any unusual odors (from pets or smoking)? Is there too much “stuff” in your home that buyers can hardly get a good feel for it? Be sure to ask your agent for some honest advice in how to best present your home.
Here at EveryHome, there’s nothing that we love more than working with first-time home buyers! If you’re interested in owning your own home but (still!) writing a check to your landlord each month, be sure to consider the following:
1. You can likely own a home for a lower monthly payment than your rent. Rental prices have been rising quickly in Greater Philadelphia – and we bet we don’t have to tell you that! Due to high demand for rental homes, landlords are demanding sky-high prices, and we bet that you’ll be able to find a similar home for a lower monthly payment. Be sure to check the “Closing Costs” button located under each house on EveryHome.com for a detailed estimate of monthly fees, including the mortgage principal and interest payment, taxes, and association fees (if applicable).
Plus, most first time buyers put down just 3.5% on the purchase price — gone are the days of required 20% down payments!
2. If you’re concerned about the maintenance and responsibility for your home, there are a variety of options available. Condo communities are extremely low-maintenance and owners are typically not responsible for any landscaping, snow removal, or upkeep of the exterior of the home. Many townhouse communities also offer a variety of similar services. Worried about a major appliance or system breaking down and having to pay to repair or replace it? Consider purchasing a home warranty, which costs approximately $400 per year and may cover the heating and cooling system, roof, hot water heater, major appliances and more.
3. Still renting because of a less-than-stellar credit score? The federal government recently relaxed its minimum credit score requirement for FHA loans to 580. The previous minimum credit score was 620. FHA loans are popular for first-time buyers because they’re a bit easier to qualify for than conventional loans, and the interest rates are competitive. If your credit score is below 580, or if you’re interested in raising your score in order to qualify for a lower interest rate, be sure to consult a credit repair professional.
There’s never a shortage of things to do in the City of Brotherly Love, and America’s 240th birthday is no exception!
Kick off the weekend at Penn’s Landing with a free concert by the award-winning Philadelphia Orchestra on Friday at 8pm. Fireworks will follow the live music.
Additionally, some of Philly’s favorite museums will be offering free admission this weekend as part of Wawa Welcome America’s Free Museum Day series. A few of our favorites include complimentary admission to The Barnes Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Sunday, July 3rd. Check out the full list here.
And of course, it wouldn’t be 4th of July in Philadelphia without the city’s celebrated Independence Day Parade beginning at 5th and Chestnut Streets around 11am. This year’s affair will feature dozens of floats, live music and entertainment, and approximately 5,000 marchers!
Plus, dozens of local towns will be offering Independence Day events all weekend. Skippack will be featuring a parade and fireworks on July 4th, Conshohocken’s Sutcliffe Park will be hosting fireworks on the evening of July 3rd, and Washington Crossing will be holding a celebration and fireworks on July 4th at their popular park.
Plus, Glenside will be holding a 4th of July parade on Monday morning, King of Prussia will be hosting the Upper Merion Carnival with fireworks, and Phoenixville will be home to a fireworks celebration on the evening of July 4th.
If you’re in the process of purchasing a home, it just might be time to lock in your mortgage rate. The average 30-year fixed loan decreased ten basis points this past week to 3.56%, the lowest rate in three years according to Forbes. A similar home loan was 4.0% this time a year ago.
Why did rates sink so unexpectedly? Industry experts speculate that Brexit is one of the primary reasons, as the UK’s vote to leave the European Union created even greater uncertainty regarding the global economy. Generally speaking, increased market volatility results in lower short-term mortgage rates, as investors seek safer investment opportunities like mortgage-backed securities.
Interested in learning more about qualifying for a mortgage? Send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org – we’d love to introduce you to a local, friendly, knowledgeable lender!
You’ve probably heard that the best time to list is during the hot “spring selling season,” and that’s partially true — after all, buyers come out of the woodwork during the months of March, April and May. And while the summer tends to be a bit slower for showings, this year is bucking the trend. Here’s why:
1. A large number of local buyers have still not bought a home. As you may have seen, the inventory of homes for sale decreased significantly this year, leaving buyers with fewer choices and increased competition throughout the springtime. In fact, some local counties saw a 15% decrease in listings from this time last year! As a result, many buyers struggled to land their dream home during the spring months, and are still actively searching. Well-priced homes are selling quickly, and we expect to see this continue through July and August.
2. Home prices are rising at a healthy pace, and you’re likely to get more for your property than in years past. In Philadelphia, for example, the median sale price was a staggering $27,000 higher in May 2016 than May 2015. As a result, fewer homeowners are underwater and they’re now more likely to walk away from the settlement table with a check in hand.
3. Mortgage rates are expected to remain low throughout the summer, which means that home buying will be affordable for many local home shoppers. That means more potential buyers will be able to afford your place. And since rates are hovering around historic lows, you will also likely qualify for a lower rate than what you’re currently paying if you buy another home.
The local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) recently released the market trend report for the first half of 2016, and the results suggest that the real estate market in Greater Philadelphia is thriving. Every local county is experiencing an increase in the total number of homes sold, as well as healthy growth in sale prices. However, the vast majority of the region is experiencing a shortage in homes for sale, leading to increased competition among buyers.
In Montgomery County, the median price of settled homes jumped 1.5% to $257,750 from this time last year. Additionally, demand continues to outpace supply, and the number of homes for sale dropped 14.4% from this time last year in Montgomery County. As a result of this increased competition, buyers are submitting better offers; the average sale price was 96.6% of the original asking price, which is well above the 93-95% norm.
In Bucks County, the total number of sales are 9.9% higher than 2015, despite a 15.2% decrease in the number of homes for sale. Chester County’s number of homes sold are also on the rise and 6.0% higher than this time last year.
Delaware County’s median sale price jumped $10,000 this past year, and the total number of homes sold increased 13.2%.
Philadelphia’s real estate market has also heated up in 2016: the average sale price in May 2016 was a whopping $27,000 higher than May 2015. And like much of the region, Philadelphia is experiencing a shortage in the number of homes for sale — there are 16.6% fewer listings than this time last year.
Not only are Joe and Nick Santoro licensed EveryHome agents (both in PA & NJ!) but they are also the founders of Personal Property Managers. The father and son team strive to provide a one-stop solution for sellers, particularly in the areas of downsizing, estate sales, clean-outs, and property management services.
As Joe explains, “Personal Property Managers offers home downsizing services, which focuses on helping sellers prep a home for sale. As you know, this can be a real hassle. A clean and decluttered home is more inviting, shows better, and commands a higher sale price.”
Then, Personal Property Managers shifts into gear taking care of clients’ contents (furniture, etc) if they are moving, especially out of state and cannot afford the cost of shipping contents from here to there. This is accomplished via Estate Sale services.
In fact, they have a big estate sale coming up next weekend. Click here is just one example of their home and the stuff they want to sell.
“Everything is focused on helping people achieve the best selling price for their home, selling it in the shortest amount of time (days on market), making things easy for clients via our home cleanout and downsizing services, our estate sale services, and getting them the highest net on sales via our EveryHome affiliation,” Joe explains.
And for people relocating for work on a temporary basis (usually overseas for a year or two) we offer home rental/property management services.
Interested in learning more? Be sure to reach out to Personal Property Managers at (215) 485-9272.
The Philadelphia region is home to quite a few luxury homes for sale, but these three just might have the most over-the-top living rooms that we’ve ever seen! If you’re interested in impressing 200 of your closest friends at your next get-together, be sure to consider the following three homes (and they have price tags to match!).
It doesn’t get much more luxurious than this! It’s all in the details in this stunning 19,000 square foot estate in Chester County, which offers 6 fireplaces, a 500-bootle wine cellar and winery on premise. 49 Rosewood Lane, Malvern PA – Asking $4.95m
The high ceilings, contemporary woodwork, and dramatic windows overlooking the property’s 11+ acres are just three of the exciting features in this truly unique reclaimed barn. 5441 Carversville Rd, Doylestown PA – Asking $3.1m
Beautiful! The sumptuous neutral palette of this 14,000 square foot Montgomery County estate perfectly complements the art deco fireplace and details. 1308 Meetinghouse Rd, Lower Gwynedd PA – $5.9m
Prior to her career in real estate, EveryHome agent Colleen Whitlock enjoyed working in the home staging industry for ten years. She was kind enough to chat with us about her experience and provide advice for sellers.
We’d love to hear a little bit about your background in home staging. Where did you work, and what was your role?
The company I worked for was Dragon Design, LLC and was one of the first home staging companies on the Main Line. The concept of home staging was new back in early 2000’s so agents and sellers needed to be educated on the process of home staging. Unlike what you see on HGTV, home staging is very labor intensive. Once you have put a look together for the property being staged the accessories and furniture need to packed up and carried into trucks. When you reach the destination that is being staged all the items need to be carried to their perspective rooms, unpacked and setup. When the home sells, you pack all the items up and return them to the warehouse.
What was your favorite part about staging a home?
The best part of home staging was showing sellers the true potential of their existing home and showing them ways to use this experience to transform their next space.
What is the biggest mistake that sellers make when staging a home, and what piece of advice would you’d give to anyone selling?
The biggest mistake people make when staging their homes is either too much, or too little furniture. The amount of furniture and the way it’s positioned in a space can greatly impact the overall feel of the room. Most homeowners have the right items they just need help deciding how to use what they already have.
The best advice I can give homeowners when selling a home is to paint & declutter! Don’t go white, but have a natural paint scheme throughout the home. A freshly painted house does wonders. Go room to room and declutter. Remove personal photos, baskets with magazines, clean up your bookshelves, etc.
Why is staging so important? What are the most important rooms to stage?
Staging is not interior design. The way you live in a home is not the way you stage a home to sell. Staging brings out the best assists in each room. You want to focus on the rooms best features and play off of that to show buyers your home in its best light. Buyers now start their home buying process online. Your house may be amazing but if your pictures don’t reflect that you may never get that buyer in the door. The most important rooms to stage are the Living Room, Dining Room, Family Room and Master Bedroom.
What sparked your interest in selling real estate? Why did you choose EveryHome?
While working in home staging I learned a lot about real estate and met many great agents in the field. We now live in a very DIY/HGTV world and agents & sellers are more knowledgeable about what they need to do to stage a home. The days of explaining what the concept of home staging is, is behind us. Being a real estate agent was just a natural “next step”. I want to help homeowers sell their homes and keep the most equity they can. The best way do that was to come to EveryHome. With my knowledge in home staging I can give sellers they best advice to get the most return on their investment and add onto that the low 4.5% listing fee with EveryHome its the best possible way I can show value to my sellers.
Located in the award-winning Souderton Area School District and filled with well-priced homes and friendly neighbors, it’s no surprise that Harleysville is a popular place to raise a family! The small town of just 9,000 residents is synonymous with Lower Salford Township and nestled in the northern part of Montgomery County. We’re proud to have a number of EveryHome agents who love living and working in Harleysville.
In fact, did you know that EveryHome actually began in a garage in Harleysville? Paul Heck and Katie Kennedy started EveryHome in the late 1990s as Katie was raising her two (now adult) children in one of the town’s safe, friendly neighborhoods.
As Katie explains, many of Harleysville’s subdivisions and cul-de-sacs are attached by the town’s great walking/running/biking trails. Older kids even have the option of biking down the trail to a friend’s development. Katie’s daughter, Emma Waltz, remembers the walking trails and says the best thing about Harleysville was all of the parks and things to do. Plus, the town has a great community pool!
Harleysville is located within Souderton Area School District. The district’s high school was recently ranked #18 in Pennsylvania by U.S. News and World Report, and has garnered national attention for their impressive student-run environmental club, S.A.V.E. (Students Against Violating the Earth). EveryHome Agent Angela Lundy has six children attending school in the district, and believes the schools are top notch and filled with truly caring teachers.
Another EveryHome agent, Alanna Messner, grew up in one of Harleysville’s popular raised ranch homes on Park Avenue and graduated from Souderton Area High School. Her favorite part about the town was the big backyards and family-friendly neighborhoods. “Harleysville is just one of those towns where everybody knows each other’s name,” Alanna explains.
Despite Harleysville’s small size, there’s no shortage of things to do! EveryHome agent Jeff Nyce loves that there are a number of attractions just a few minutes away, including the shops and restaurants at Skippack Village, the Perkiomen Trail, and a fun cook-it-yourself tiki bar at Spring Mountain. And within Harleysville, you’ll find great restaurants like the popular Butcher and Barkeep and Harleysville Hotel. “Plus, there are many local churches in Harleysville and the surrounding areas that are all very welcoming and help to bring the sense of community to the area,” Jeff adds.
Homes in Harleysville tend to be priced right around the Montgomery County average, but they typically offer more acreage and are very well-maintained. However, classic mid-century Harleysville homes don’t hit the real estate market often — instead, they’re passed down through the generations. New construction is also popular in the area.
While Harleysville is considered a semi-rural area, it’s still convenient to many highways and major employers. Angela sums it up, “Good-natured store owners and farms are sprinkled all throughout the area. It’s not over run with big businesses, yet everything you need is only minutes away.”
If you’re thinking about buying a condo, you’re probably aware that you’ll be paying a monthly association fee to take care of things like the lawn, exterior maintenance, trash, and water. Often times, condos are relatively affordable and excellent low-maintenance options — but in addition to the monthly fee, they also can enforce a number of rules and guidelines, and many associations regulate pets!
Every condominium community works a bit differently. Some are pretty strict, whereas others are more flexible (and your EveryHome agent can help you get a better sense of this prior to submitting any offers!).
As a general rule, cats tend to be allowed in condos, although many communities will only allow one or two. Small animals, like hamsters and fish, are typically not restricted, although some condos have regulations regarding birds.
Dogs are a bit less likely to be welcome in condo communities, unfortunately. In our experience, about half of the local condo communities allow smaller dogs, whereas the others ban them altogether. Larger dogs (50+ lbs) are restricted in most local condominiums, although we known of some communities that will allow them. And sadly, a few breeds including German Shepherds, Dobermans, Pit Bulls, and Rottweilers, tend to be unwelcome in most local condominium communities due to their insurance policies (and this frustrates us, too!).
If you and Fido are looking for a new home in Greater Philadelphia, be sure to give us a call at (215) 699-5555! We’re excited to have many dog lovers on the EveryHome team, and we’d be excited to find a home that works well for all of your furry family members.
For the past two or three years, economists and industry insiders have forecasted that mortgage rates would soon increase to 6% or higher. But despite expert predictions, mortgage rates have actually decreased in 2016 and remain near historic lows.
Here is what influences our nation’s mortgage rates:
1. Economic Growth One of the best ways to predict the mortgage rates is by checking out our country’s major economic indicators. The unemployment rate, gross domestic product, government spending, imports and exports (among other things!) can all affect the mortgage rate. While our nation has experienced growth in recent years, the overall economy remains sluggish and the world economy has been turbulent.
2. Housing Market A booming real estate market generally pushes mortgage rates up, whereas a slower market pressures them downward. Currently, there is a fairly strong demand for real estate nationwide, but some markets remain stagnant due to lack of inventory.
3. The Federal Reserve’s Monetary Policy While mortgage rates aren’t directly tied to the Fed, they tend to fluctuate in tandem. In recent years, the Federal Reserve has held the Federal Funds Rate near 0.00% in an effort to stimulate the economy by allowing consumers and businesses to borrow money cheaply. Mortgage rates have also remained low. Economists speculate that the Fed may increase the interest rate soon — and we may see home loans climb too!
There’s nothing we love more than trying a great new restaurant, but we’d rather stay in and whip up a tried-and-true Pinterest recipe at one of these ultra-luxe kitchens any day. Plus, all of these homes are located in Greater Philadelphia and currently for sale!
With soaring 20-foot ceilings, this gorgeous kitchen combines historic charm with modern day amenities. Plus, this home (Squire Cheyney Estate) is a national historic landmark! 148 Freedom Rider Trail, West Chester, PA – Asking $2.2m
Truly a chef’s kitchen! This sleek, open, and sun-filled space offers top-of-the-line appliances and a beautiful view of Rittenhouse Square. 2000 Delancey Pl, Philadelphia – Asking $2.2m
Custom designed by Coventry Kitchen, this chef’s paradise offers skylights, a walk-in pantry, work station, and high-end appliances. After preparing your meal in this gorgeous space, be sure to enjoy it in the enclosed sunroom overlooking the pool! 1318 Valley Rd, Villanova – Asking $1.7m
This posh kitchen is more than just a pretty face! In addition to the fun color palette (complete with leopard print rugs), this kitchen also offers Wolf/Sub-Zero appliances and a huge butler’s pantry. 1028 N Spring Mill Rd, Villanova PA – Asking $2.99m
Seeing double! This country-inspired kitchen features TWO dishwashers, TWO ovens, and TWO dining areas. Plus, this ultra-luxe home offers a 6-burner Viking range. 402 Rockwood Path, New Hope PA – Asking $7.7m
With oversized windows overlooking the property’s stunning 4.25 acres in Upper Makefield, and sunny skylights, this cheery kitchen is perfect for a homemade brunch with friends! It also offers custom cabinetry by William Draper. 43 Street Rd, New Hope PA – Asking $1.8m
Have you ever dreamed of renovating and flipping homes? If so, you’re not alone – but the real estate investing world can be risky. It takes creativity, skill, market knowledge, and even a bit of luck! EveryHome agent and first-time flipper Heather Famularo was kind enough to sit down and share her story with us.
A natural entrepreneur, it was no surprise that Heather decided to take the plunge into the investment side of real estate. Heather bought her first investment property, 1513 Yeager Rd in Royersford, from the courthouse at a sheriff’s sale. “I love the street it sits on, and the houses around it are beautiful,” Heather explains. “Plus, taxes are low for Springford and it sits on an acre of land!”
Heather’s favorite part of the whole experience? The hands-on work! “I was hammering down the deck and right there with my contractors helping with most of the jobs,” she said. Heather even did a lot of the demo work herself!
But like with any fixer-upper, it’s not always easy — and things don’t always go as planned! “There are a lot of ‘unknowns’ when renovating a property,” Heather warns. With most sheriff’s sales, they may only allow you to tour the property the morning of the sale.
“It’s a bit of a risk because you get the keys in the afternoon of the sale, you walk into the house and for the first time, you get to really dig into it.” Luckily for Heather, very few problems surfaced during her first home flipping experience.
Be sure to click here to check out all of the gorgeous photos and the details of 1513 Yeager Rd in Royersford, PA. The sun-filled 4 bedroom home is currently listed for just $419,000.
We look forward to seeing more of Heather’s future real estate projects!