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Five Local Homes with In-Law Suites for Under $400k

6 Magnolia Ct, Downingtown PA  This beautifully updated home offers a true in-law suite with a separate entrance, kitchenette, bedroom, bathroom and living area for just $384,500!

in-law suite in-law suite in-law suite

 

202 E Hillendale Rd, Kennett Square PA  No stairs! This one story home in beautiful Chester County offers a large bedroom and a full bath tucked away at one end of the home — perfect for guests, in-laws, or returning college kids!  Priced at just $345,900.

in-law suite

in-law suite

in-law suite

 

30 E Cherry Ln, Souderton PA  This pretty home in award-winning Souderton Area School District features five bedrooms and a full acre lot.  The original garage was converted into a convenient first-floor in-law suite.

in-law suite

in-law suite

in-law suite

 

2021 Hansell Dr, Bensalem PA   Affordable and spacious! This 2,500 square foot home is priced at $294,000 and offers a full in-law suite with kitchenette on the lower two levels, as well as a full 3 bedroom home on the upper two levels.

in-law suite

in-law suite

in-law suite

 

863 W. Maple Dr, Southampton PA  Nestled in beautiful Bucks County, this well-maintained historical 6 bedroom home is being offered for just $395,000! The attached in-law suite/apartment offers a separate entrance with a kitchen, living area, dining room, and two bedrooms.

in-law suite

in-law suite

in-law suite


 

Could This Be the End of the Foreclosure Era?

The number of households in the United States that are “seriously” delinquent on their mortgage payments has fallen since this time last year, according to Freddie Mac. In the latest piece of good news for the housing market, the government mortgage giant reports that just 1.08% of homeowners are three months behind on their mortgage payments in July 2016, down from 1.48% the previous year.

delinquency rate

This rate is now back to the pre-recession levels seen in early 2008, although economists caution that a “normal” delinquency rate is under 1%. Experts expect that this rate will continue to gradually decline, due in part to the strong labor market.

While the number of foreclosed (bank-owned) homes has decreased in Greater Philadelphia, there are still plenty of opportunities available for savvy homebuyers and investors. To meet with an experienced EveryHome agent and learn more about these properties, be sure to give us a call at (215) 699-5555.


 

4 Back to School Tips to Ease the Transition

School’s back in session! The 2016-2017 year has begun for most districts in Greater Philadelphia, and it can be a stressful time for both students and their parents. Here are a few ways to ease the transition:

school bus
1.  Help your child manage all of his or her new responsibilities with a fun calendar, agenda, or downloadable app (we love the free iHomework app!). All of the assignments, tests, theater rehearsals and soccer practices will feel far more manageable if they’re displayed in an easy-to-read and understandable format for the whole family.
2.  Get involved! Encourage your kids to try something new this school year, like an instrument, sport, or club. Not only is it a fun way to make friends and share school spirit, but it’s also great practice for managing different activities and being responsible! As a parent, you may also wish to get involved with the Parent-Teacher Association or home and school organization. They’re nearly always looking for helpful classroom volunteers!
School lunch
3. Take advantage of the new, structured routine by planning healthy meals and snacks for the whole family. We especially love Pinterest for all of their excellent, packable lunch ideas (just search “Healthy School Lunches” for thousands of easy, affordable, and nutritious meals)
touch School
4.  Keep it fun! The beginning of the school year can be a nerve-wracking time for kids and parents alike, so we always recommend planning a fun activity for the whole family after the first full week of school.  And of course, these ideas can be affordable and local! We especially love taking the younger ones to a kid-friendly museum (such as the Please Touch Museum or Franklin Institute) and older kids might enjoy a day at the “beach” at Lake Nockamixon in Bucks County!


Top Labor Day Events in Greater Philadelphia

No beach house? No problem! Soak up the summer sun at the following festivals and events in and around Philadelphia for Labor Day:

Labor Day
Parks On Tap – Image via Phillymag.com
  • Head to FDR Park on Labor Day Weekend for the city’s popular “Parks on Tap.”  The traveling beer garden will be offering extended hours for the holiday weekend, and there will be a free yoga class on Saturday at noon!

Labor Day

  • Be sure to stop by The Barnes Foundation on Sunday, September 4th for free admission! As one of the city’s finest art museums, The Barnes Foundation is a great place for a relaxed date, or afternoon with friends.

Labor Day

  • This list just wouldn’t be complete without the Made in America Festival on the Parkway.  Rihanna and Coldplay will be headlining this year’s festivities, and you can also expect appearances from Chance the Rapper, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and Desiigner.  Both single-day and weekend passes are available and start under $100.

 

These are the Best Stores for Buying Appliances

As Consumer Reports explains, the most popular stores for buying appliances aren’t always the ones rated most favorably by consumers.  Home Depot, Sears, and Lowe’s racked up the most sales for large appliances last year, but they hardly offer the selection and customer-service of independent retailers.  Instead, try these three favorites:

consumer reports

  • Best Buy offers the absolute best prices for large appliances, according to Consumer Reports.  For smaller appliances, be sure to check out Costco or Sam’s Club (you’ll need a membership card for these places, though).
  • For the greatest selection and best comparison shopping for larger items, be sure to try HHGregg.  Amazon.com is also a great choice for smaller appliances.

refridge

  • For good old-fashioned customer service, head to your nearest independent retailer (we love Queen’s in King of Prussia).  The service is unbeatable compared to the major chains, and they make check-out easy. Consumer Reports recommends steering clear of K-Mart, Sam’s Club, Target and Wal-Mart for expert assistance as they received the lowest marks.

 

Ask The Realtor: Is It Really Still a Sellers Market?

There’s no doubt that it was a “sellers market” in the busy spring months of 2016, as fierce competition among buyers drove up home prices and gave sellers full control. But is that still the case?

Sellers Market

While we’re not ready to call it a buyer’s market just yet, the pendulum is shifting back toward the center and here’s why:

  • Interest rates are hovering at historic lows, so home buying remains relatively affordable
  • Despite inventory of homes for sale remaining relatively low, there are far fewer buyers in the market than there were just a few months ago, and home shoppers are less likely to find themselves in tense multiple-offer scenarios.

Sellers Market

That all said, the real estate market tends to be “hyper local” in late Summer, meaning that certain neighborhoods are favoring the sellers, whereas others are favoring the buyers.  As a general rule, suburbs that are closer to the city and located in strong school districts are still in a sellers market (Flourtown, Ardmore, and Media are a few good examples) whereas buyers are more likely to be calling the shots in semi-rural communities that are further from the city (think Schwenksville, Quakertown, Boyertown, and Downingtown).

Sellers Market

Interested in learning more about your neighborhood, and what your home might be worth? Be sure to give us a call at (215) 699-5555 to be introduced to a friendly, helpful and local EveryHome agent!


 

Spotlight on: West Chester Area School District

The award-winning West Chester Area School District is a popular choice for families who enjoy the convenience of a bustling suburb with the tranquility of the Chester County countryside!  Downtown West Chester is brimming with great eateries, unique shops, yoga studios, and cafes.  A few of our favorite local restaurants include Spence 312,  Teca and The Couch Tomato Cafe.  Plus, the well-loved West Chester University is also located in the borough.

West Chester Area School District

West Chester Area School District is one of the largest in the region, and operates sixteen schools including three high schools.  Impressively, all sixteen schools have been rated “Schools of Excellence” by the Pennsylvania Department of Education!

West Chester Area School District
838 Marrones Ct, West Chester PA

Because the district is so large, home prices and styles vary considerably.  The most popular home styles tend to be single homes between $350,000 and $600,000, although there are also an abundance of well-maintained townhomes under $250,000.  Plus, there is no shortage of luxury homes in the West Chester area! You’ll be sure to find charming historic manor homes as well as brand new sprawling estates.

Exterior Front - West Chester Area School District
921 Shenandoah Lane, West Chester PA

 

What’s the Difference Between APR and Interest Rate?

If you’re in the process of buying a home and securing a mortgage, you may have seen both the interest rate and annual percentage rate (APR) expressed on various websites and forms. While they’re similar, there are a few key differences — and they’re definitely not interchangeable terms.  Here’s what you need to know:

APR

  • The interest rate, very simply put, is the cost of borrowing the money each year. Currently, the average interest rate for a 30-year fixed rate loan is about 3.56% according to Bankrate.
  • The APR is a broader measure that takes into account the entire cost of securing a loan. In addition to the interest rate, the APR also includes the lender’s fees, points, and any other charges that you may have to pay to get the loan. Because the annual percentage rate includes these extra costs, the annual percentage rate is typically a higher amount than the interest rate.

APR

As a consumer, it’s helpful to consider both the interest rate and APR. The interest rate will allow you to determine your monthly payment, whereas the annual percentage rate will help you to easily compare lenders.


 

Seller Alert: Keeping Your Home Safe During Showings

Thankfully, it’s exceedingly rare to experience any issues during showings or open houses, but it’s always a good idea to take precautions when new people are touring your home.

during showings

Here are a few tips for keeping your home protected:

  • Be sure to keep all valuables locked up and hidden prior to listing your home.  In addition to your jewelry, cash, mail, electronics, firearms and other valuables, it’s a good idea to secure any medications too.
  • When your agent is taking pictures of your home to be displayed on websites, be sure to remove valuables from photos including pricey artwork, firearm cabinets, and fine jewelry displays.

during showings

  • If your agent is hosting an open house for you, ask them to use a sign-in sheet.  Some sellers also request that open house guests show ID.
  • Vacant homes can attract unwanted attention.  Consider adding exterior lights on a timer, or even a small security system (a basic alarm costs just $20).

during showings


 

Don’t Call it a Comeback! Luxury Home Sales Expected to Rise

The luxury housing market is heating up, according to industry experts!  Luxury home values dropped significantly in the first quarter of the year, largely due to stock market volatility.  High-priced homebuyers tend to be far more sensitive to any changes in the stock market than the average buyer and unlike most buyers, luxury buyers aren’t particularly motivated by low mortgage rates.

Luxury Home

The biggest factor for the luxury market, however, might be the strong jobs report that was released in July.  One of the best indicators of a healthy economy, the better-than-expected report may be a sign to luxury homebuyers that now is a solid time to invest.

Luxury Home

Luxury homes tend to be defined as the top 5% of any given market, which varies considerably around the globe.  In Greater Philadelphia, a million-dollar price point is the simple definition of a luxury home, although $750,000 is a more accurate number in some neighborhoods.


 

3 Must-Do Events Before the End of Summer

Celebrate summer’s last hurrah with one (or three!) of the following events that embody the sights, sounds, and tastes of our favorite season:

Image via Philly.com
Image via Philly.com

If you can’t make it to the beach, be sure to stop by Spruce Street Harbor Park along the Delaware riverfront for Philly’s favorite pop-up beach.  With 50+ colorful hammocks, floating gardens and craft beer galore, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Spruce Street Harbor Park is considered one of the best places to visit in Philly.  The summertime hotspot is open 7 days per week, free, and dog-friendly (but don’t forget a leash!)

cc sips

For a well-priced cocktail, glass of wine or craft beer after work, be sure to stop by one of Philly’s hottest restaurants and bars each Wednesday for Center City Sips!  Dozens of bars will be offering $5 cocktails, $4 glasses of wine and $3 beers (plus half-priced appetizers) every Wednesday from now through September 28th.  A few of our favorite participating restaurants and bars include MilkBoy, Max Brenner, Devil’s Alley, and Time. Be sure to check out the full list here!

Head to Penn’s Landing every Friday in August for a free smooth jazz concert by nationally renowned jazz and blues artists!  Be sure to arrive by 7pm for the 7:30pm show, and click here to learn more about the featured musicians.


 

Is This the Magic Number for Pricing Your Home?

When it comes to sticking a price tag on your home, there are two different schools of thought.  Some real estate experts believe that a round number, like $300,000, is best because the home shows up in more home searches.  Think of it this way: If a prospective buyer is browsing for homes on a real estate website, they may filter their home search by price.  Whether they’re searching for homes between $250,000 and $300,000 or $300,000 to $350,000, this specific $300,000 home will show up in both searches, and be seen by more buyers.  In fact, a recent study shows that these homes enjoy a shorter time on the market.  Plus, some studies say buyers find these sellers more trustworthy!

Pricing Your Home

However, a new study from the Journal of Housing Research suggests the very opposite.  Instead of pricing your home for $300,000, the study’s authors believe that you should instead use the “just below” technique and list it for $299,999.  “Our study suggests that by using the ‘just below’ pricing strategy sellers can price their home slightly higher without driving away potential buyers.  As a result, they end up selling their house for more,” explains Eli Breach, one of the researchers.

Here’s why it matters for you: If you are seeking to list your home for more than it may be worth (let’s say your neighbors recently sold for quite a bit less, but you’re underwater on your mortgage payoff and are hoping to get more), it might not be a bad idea to start by using the just below strategy.  In this scenario, the study suggests that it may be a bit easier to get away with pricing your home a little bit higher than the market would normally allow.

Pricing Your Home

In most sales, however, a round number may be best.  Ultimately, we always recommend you carefully consider your home’s actual value and consult your EveryHome agent for individualized assistance.  Happy home selling!


 

Sellers Property Disclosure (SPD) 101

A Sellers Property Disclosure (SPD) is a document that the seller fills out when their home hits the market.  It includes information about any defects or damages, as well as any upgrades that the buyer has made (such as a structural addition or replacing the hot water heater).

Additionally, it may also provide some insight into the age of big-ticket items, like the heating and cooling system or roof.  This can help the buyer budget for replacing items after the sale, as well as consider purchasing a home warranty.

sellers property disclosure

However, while the SPD is a helpful tool for learning more about a specific home, it is NOT intended to serve as a substitute for a home inspection.  We always recommend that all buyers get a home inspection.

sellers property disclosure

Unfortunately, not all homes will have a sellers property disclosure for your review.  Bank-owned (foreclosure) homes will not provide any of this information, as the bank cannot make any claims about the property’s condition.  Similarly, many estate homes will also not provide a disclosure.


 

Best School Districts for Center City Commuters

If you’ve given up your dream of big city living in exchange for a better school district, you’re not alone.  Each year, tens of thousands of Philadelphians trade in their condos in Northern Liberties for quiet townhomes in friendly suburbs… and for good reason!

Whether you’re on a quest to send your kids to a top-ranked school or you simply want to ensure that your home’s value will stay high (location, location, location!) by being in a great public school system, you’ll love the following districts:

Center City
478 Cambridge Rd, Lower Merion School District – $478,900

1. Lower Merion School District.  We bet you could have guessed this one if you’re familiar with the area! The elite district consistently ranks among the top five school districts in the state, offers small class sizes, and sends more graduating seniors to 4-year schools than nearly any other district in the region. But let’s face it: Lower Merion is NOT cheap, but there are some areas that are more affordable. As a general rule, Ardmore and Bala Cynwyd tend to be more moderately-priced, whereas Villanova and Gladwyne may be the priciest.  And it just might be the easiest commute into Center City.  Regional rails abound on the prestigious Main Line, and many homes are walkable to SEPTA stations including Merion, Wynnewood, Narberth, and Bala – just to name a few!  And if you’re driving, you can easily hop on 76 or Kelly Drive.

Center City
2026 Moreland Rd, Abington School District – $245,000

2. Abington School District.  Nestled in the southeastern portion of Montgomery County, Abington is an award-winning and relatively affordable district with plenty of great (and unique!) homes for sale.  The district has been named to the AP Honor Roll for offering rigorous course work to high school students, and they have an extensive list of extracurriculars and strong sports teams.  Commuters by car can easily take Rt 611, which turns into Broad Street, into Philadelphia or walk to one of the many public transportation stops in town.

Center City
6349 E Valley Green Rd, Colonial School District – $345,000

3. Colonial School District.  Serving the towns of Plymouth Meeting and Conshohocken, Colonial is a convenient, moderately-priced district with award-winning schools.  The district encourages students to volunteer and partake in community-service projects, and was ranked among the Nation’s Best High Schools by The Washington Post.  Center City commuters can easily hop on 76 or take the regional rail.  Conshohocken Borough is the most walkable part of the district, with many homes walkable to SEPTA.


 

Why Aren’t More New Construction Homes Selling?

Most of the nation is experiencing a “seller’s market,” and Greater Philadelphia is no exception! Demand for homes has far exceeded the inventory of homes for sale, leading to fierce competition among buyers and steadily rising prices.

picture1

As a result, new home sales should be flourishing, as more and more buyers flock to the market. We bet you’ve probably seen a number of new construction communities in your hometown, but industry experts say it’s still not enough.

So why aren’t more new homes being built? Builders are hesitant to start construction until they’re already under contract with buyers. Burned by the Great Recession, these developers are hesitant to take any chances and want to be certain that the homes will sell immediately.  Additionally, it’s become more difficult for construction companies to economically build affordable homes.  The price of brand new homes continues to increase, with the average new home costing over $306,000 (and in Greater Philadelphia, that number is even higher!).

Beechwood Estates - Bensalem, PA
Beechwood Estates – Bensalem, PA

Another problem is the lack of space. There simply isn’t enough available land in Greater Philadelphia for new neighborhoods – especially in popular, close suburbs like Media, Ardmore, or Abington. Most of the open land for sale is located in towns more than 25 miles away from Philadelphia, like Coatesville, Pennsburg and Quakertown.

Interested in purchasing a brand new home? Be sure to give us a call at (215) 699-5555 to be introduced to an EveryHome agent who specializes in new construction.


 

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