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Spotlight on Eagleview in Chester County with Eileen Carr-Devlin

Nestled in the heart of scenic Chester County in Uwchlan Township, Eagleview is a friendly and popular neighborhood to live, work, and shop.  EveryHome agent Eileen Carr-Devlin is proud to be a resident and loves the community for its charming, Southern feel and friendly neighbors!

Eagleview

The neighborhoods are brimming with a variety of new home styles, including carriage homes, single homes, and townhomes.  Prices vary considerably depending on the style of home, but most are moderately-priced.  And there’s one thing for sure: Eagleview is a popular community where homes sell quickly!

Plus, there’s always something to do in Eagleview!  Two of Eileen’s favorite events include the weekly farmer’s market with fresh produce and local goods, as well as the family-friendly movie nights.  Walkers and joggers love the miles of winding trails nearby, and the open community space offers plenty of room for the neighborhood’s popular annual events.

Eagleview

Interested in learning more about living in Eagleview? Be sure to give us a call at (215) 699-5555 to speak to Eileen.  We’d love to welcome you to the neighborhood!


 

List of Upcoming Open Houses This Weekend

1006 Aikens Ln, Wynnewood PA
1006 Aikens Ln, Wynnewood PA – Saturday, 10/1 1-3pm
29 Hilltop Rd, Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia PA - Sunday, 10/2 1-3pm
29 Hilltop Rd, Phila PA (Chestnut Hill) – Sunday, 10/2 1-3pm
12923 Medford Rd, Philadelphia (Parkwood) PA - Sunday 10/2 1-3pm
12923 Medford Rd, Phila PA (Parkwood) – Sunday 10/2 1-3pm
36 Canary Rd, Levittown PA - Sunday, 10/2 1-3pm
36 Canary Rd, Levittown PA – Sunday, 10/2 1-3pm
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411 Chandler St, Phila PA (Fox Chase) – Sunday, 10/2 1-3pm
3109 Sky Dr, Eagleville PA - Sunday, 10/2 1-3pm
3109 Sky Dr, Eagleville PA – Sunday, 10/2 1-3pm

 

 

 


 

Why Your Credit Score Matters When Buying a Home

It’s common knowledge that borrowers must have an average or above-average credit score to purchase a home.  However, credit scores are far more important when purchasing a home than you might think, as only buyers with the highest scores are eligible for the lowest interest rates.

Credit Score

While borrowers with credit scores above 760 are most likely to receive the lowest advertised interest rates, folks with lower credit score will end up paying significantly more over the life of the loan.

For a $225,000 home loan, for example, borrowers with credit scores between 700-759 will end up paying $10,000 more than their higher credit score counterparts during the 30-year loan term.  If your score is significantly less, between 620-639, you’ll end up pay a staggering $74,000 more over the life of the loan.

Credit Score

The majority of loan programs require a borrower to have a score above 620, although some government-backed mortgage giants allow scores as low as 580.

Curious about learning how your credit score might affect your interest rate? Be sure to check out myFICO’s home loan calculator.


 

When You Might Want to Get a Survey For Your Home

A licensed land surveyor can provide you with the exact boundaries of your home and retrace your property lines.  A land survey is not required when buying or selling a home in Pennsylvania, although some buyers choose to add them as an additional protection while purchasing.

survey

In addition to buying and selling property, there are a few other times that you may wish to consider a surveyor. If you’re adding a fence or a swimming pool, you may be required by the township to have a survey completed.  Similarly, if you’re building an addition onto your home, you will likely need a professional survey.

Another common reason to contact a land surveyor is when you believe that a neighbor may be encroaching on your property.  If, for example, you think that your neighbor’s fence, landscaping or shed might be located on your land, the best way to settle a dispute over property lines is through a survey.

survey2

Land surveys can range considerably in price depending on the nature of the property.  Most surveys will cost around $1000 or more, although small properties can be as little as a few hundred.


 

Picture Appeal is the New Curb Appeal

Real estate agents used to focus much of their time and energy on curb appeal, which ensured that the front of the home looked attractive and welcoming as prospective buyers pulled up.  Now, however, this focus has shifted to perfecting the lighting, using professional camera equipment, and decreasing the clutter to showcase each room.

picture appeal

Pictures are becoming increasingly important, as approximately 99% of home buyers begin their home search online.  In fact, many buyers won’t even consider a home that doesn’t have at least a few interior photos!

picture appeal

In order to ensure that your home will have maximum picture appeal,  be sure to ask any prospective real estate agents for a sample of one of their most recent listings.  This will give you a good sense of the photos they take, in addition to their written description of the home to future buyers — another underrated skill that can help sell your home more quickly!

picture appeal

Your real estate agent will help you to maximize the quality of your photos by turning on additional lights in your home, suggesting areas that may need to be decluttered so that the room seems larger and open, and even bringing in a professional photographer (this is especially true for luxury homes).  For individualized assistance in marketing your home to the widest array of buyers, be sure to consult with your EveryHome agent.


 

Household Incomes Are Finally Rising Faster Than Home Values

Good news for home shoppers! The average household income has finally risen faster than home values, allowing for a greater number of buyers to afford a new home.  Since 2011, we’ve experienced skyrocketing home values but decreasing income levels, creating affordability issues across much of the nation.

Household Incomes

The Census Bureau recently released the numbers for 2015 household incomes, and they jumped 5.2% to $56,516 from 2014. This was the first rise in income since the pre-recession days of 2007.

Household Incomes
21 Schofield Rd, Phoenixville PA

Despite these affordability issues, mortgage rates have thankfully stayed low since 2011 and eased the sticker shock of home prices for many buyers.  As the economy further improves, industry experts anticipate mortgage rates to slowly rise.


 

Chester County Towns Top the Nation’s Best Places to Raise a Family

Niche.com recently released their 2016 Best Places to Raise a Family, and three Chester County towns made the top 25! The rankings were based on public schools, crime rates, family-friendly activities and cost of living.

214 Devon Blvd, Devon PA Chester County Towns
214 Devon Blvd, Devon PA

Impressively, Devon topped the list for the whole nation! The Main Line community made famous by its annual horse show earned an A+ rating for home values, low unemployment levels, and Tredyffrin-Easttown School District.

111 Rosemary Ln, Upper Uwchlan Twp PA Chester County Towns
111 Rosemary Ln, Upper Uwchlan Twp PA

Chesterbrook ranked #6 in the country, and Upper Uwchlan Township (in Downingtown Area School District) was rated #25.  Both towns were notable for their quiet, family-friendly communities and proximity to nearby parks, shopping centers, and restaurants.  Plus, all three towns have extremely low crime rates.

Towns in Ohio, Virginia, New Jersey and Indiana were all named to the top ten in the country.


 

Does Renting-to-Own Make Sense For You?

If you’re thinking about purchasing a home, but aren’t quite ready for the financial investment, you may wish to consider a rent-to-own (sometimes known as a lease-purchase).  This type of arrangement occurs when a tenant/buyer signs a lease for a home for a specified period of time, as well as an Agreement of Sale to purchase the home at a later date. Usually this period of time is one or two years.

Renting-to-Own

While each situation works a bit differently and can be negotiated by both parties, they also typically require the tenant/buyer to make a non-refundable good faith deposit to ensure that they have the honest intention of purchasing the home at a later date.  Depending on the agreement between the buyer and seller, sometimes this good faith deposit can be $5,000 or even $10,000, which can restrict some genuinely interested home shoppers.

Renting-to-Own

Renting-to-own might make sense for interested buyers who are working on improving their credit score, or saving up for a down payment. Be mindful, though, that many sellers will want the buyer to be financially stable in an effort to ensure that the mortgage process will go smoothly during the sale.

Renting-to-Own

Because most of these agreements require a hefty good faith deposit (which isn’t returned if the buyer simply decides not to purchase!), renting-to-own isn’t a “try before you buy” situation.  As a result, we don’t always recommend these arrangements to folks who are new to the area and unsure where they want to settle down.


 

What To Do When the Seller Discloses a Wet Basement

Did you know that nearly 50% of all single homes have had a wet basement before? While the idea of a flooding crawlspace or damp basement can be scary to many buyers (and understandably so!), it’s a common issue that can be fixed and prevented in the future.

Wet Basement

When you’re house hunting, you’ll likely be carefully reading each home’s Seller’s Property Disclosure for information regarding any upgrades or defects.  If the seller discloses that they’ve had problems with a wet basement before, you’ll first want to call in the pros to determine the cause of the problem.  While moisture in the home is always deserving of attention (it can pose serious structural and health problems down the road), it’s not always a cause for major concern or a reason to walk away from your dream home.

Wet Basement

First, get a sense from a couple different reputable companies as to the cause and nature of the problem, as well as ideas on how to best waterproof it for the future.  On average, the cost to seal a basement is about $3800 (although of course this varies widely based on size!), and some minor repairs may cost just a few hundred dollars.  To fully waterproof a truly problematic wet basement, some homeowners could spend up to $10,000 or more to fix cracks in the gutter, and add drains or gutters – although thankfully, that amount of work needed tends to be relatively rare!


 

Upgrade to a Smart Home Without Breaking the Bank!

Whether you’d like to control your home’s lighting for security reasons, turn down your thermostat from an app to save energy, or simply stream your favorite music throughout your entire home (because hey, it’s cool!), there is a smart home gadget for you.

Smart Home

Of course, we’ve all heard the stories about the billionaires in Silicon Valley who can control every square inch of their home from a satellite.  And while we think that’s really cool, it’s not exactly practical — or affordable — for the average family.  Here are a few tested-and-approved products and ideas that won’t break your budget:

1. Smart lighting is one of the easiest things to integrate into your current home.  One of the most popular current products is Philips Hue.  Calling itself “personal wireless lighting,” Philips Hue allows you to change the color and brightness of the lights in your home from an app, and offers features like motion sensor lighting and timers. One of our favorite things about the system is its ability to gradually simulate natural sunlight in the morning to gently wake you up – much better than our obnoxious iPhone alarm!  The system ranges in price depending on the bulbs and accessories purchased, but you can start a simple lighting system around $50.

Smart Home

2. If you’re interested in saving energy, you’ll love PECO’s newest energy alert feature.  Sign up on their website to receive free text messages or emails to let you know when you’re using a lot of electricity — no surprises on your next bill!  Plus, be sure to explore PECO’s website for personalized suggestions on how you can save energy and money every month.  (You may have seen this one advertised on TV, too!)

amazon-echo Smart Home

3. One of the easiest ways to integrate technology into your smart home is to add a “home automation hub.”  Amazon’s Echo is one of the most popular options on the market and can stream all of your music, answers questions (using “Alexa”), reads audiobooks, and can even control your thermostat and lights (including Philips Hue!) for just $180.


 

Homebuilders Stock Tumble as Mortgage Rates Jump Higher

Mortgage rates had been stuck around 3.4% for much of the summer, but they finally took their biggest leap in over two months this week.  While they only increased about an eighth of a percent, it was enough to hurt stocks of the nation’s top homebuilders.

Homebuilders

Significant increases in the average mortgage rate can send shockwaves throughout the entire housing market.  Sellers tend to decrease the price of their homes in an effort to promote affordability, fewer buyers are able to afford homes, lending institutions tend to see fewer refinances, and real estate agents produce fewer sales.

Homebuilders

While this week’s jump in rates is hardly considered significant in the grand scheme of things, it’s worth considering the impact of future rate hikes.  Currently, we’re experiencing some of the lowest mortgage rates in history – in fact, in the last forty years, the average rate is over 8 percent! As the economy gains further momentum in 2017 and 2018, industry experts anticipate that rates will slowly increase and eventually return to historically normal levels.


 

Student Housing is the Latest Craze for Investors

Tiny dorms, communal bathrooms, and economy furniture just aren’t cutting it anymore!  Students around the country (and particularly upperclassmen) are increasingly choosing higher-end off-campus apartments over campus housing, leading to an excellent opportunity for investors and developers.

student housing

Axiometrics, an apartment research company, anticipates rental growth in this market to remain strong over the next five years according to an article published by CNN.  This is especially relevant as college enrollment increases nationwide, and universities struggle to provide student housing.

While we aren’t yet seeing luxury student housing with vaulted foyers, walk-in closets, and granite kitchen islands, many young adults prefer amenities like stainless steel appliances, en-suite bathrooms and parking spaces.

student housing
Exterior Front –

Neighborhoods surrounding West Chester, Drexel, Temple, Penn, Ursinus and Swarthmore are currently hotspots for local investors.  Interested in gaining more information about renovating a fixer-upper in these popular towns? Give us a call at (215) 699-5555 to be introduced to an experienced real estate agent.


 

Greater Philadelphia Fall Market Forecast

It’s been a busy spring and summer for real estate in Philly and the surrounding suburbs, and it looks like the trend will continue well into the fall months.  While it’s common for the market to slow down considerably once school begins in late August, this year has been quite a bit busier than usual.

Industry experts believe the reason for so many late summer sales is due to a persistent imbalance between supply and demand; in the spring months, more buyers than ever were interested (and able!) in purchasing a home, yet there were so few available homes for sale.  The fiercely competitive market in April, May and June led to an abundance of potential buyers who hadn’t yet found their dream home.  Many of those shoppers are still actively looking!

homes for sale

Luckily, we’re finally starting to see a slight increase in the number of homes for sale when adjusted for seasonal norms.  More homes than normal are hitting the market in September so far, and we’re certainly experiencing this at EveryHome too!  Our hard-working EveryHome agents are listing plenty of great new homes for sale everyday.

homes for sale

One reason why so many buyers are interested in purchasing homes is the extremely low interest rates that are currently available.  Most of our clients are locking in rates under 3.7%, which hovers around the lowest rates we’ve seen in decades.  While we don’t expect these rates to rise rapidly anytime too soon, there is chatter from the Fed that they’ll be raising the interest rate at the end of 2016 – and we’ll likely see mortgage rates jump slightly then, too.


 

Pennsylvania Has The Lowest Closing Costs in the Nation

When it comes to purchasing a home, there’s far more to it than the down payment!  Buyers also have to shell out a pretty penny for other costs associated with purchasing a home, including appraisals, credit report fees, transfer tax, and title insurance.

Pennsylvania

While these fees can quickly add up, a recent study by Bankrate.com found that Pennsylvanians actually have it the best when it comes to closing costs!  According to the lenders surveyed in the state, a buyer in Pennsylvania can expect to pay just $1,837 for these fees.  If that number sounds a little low, it’s because the study chose not to include variable costs like transfer tax and title insurance, which make up the lion’s share of closing costs.  Instead, the lender survey looked just at things that should stay consistent, like lender and attorney fees.

Pennsylvania

So why is Pennsylvania so much cheaper? It’s largely because attorneys are rarely used in the real estate process. It’s not mandatory to consult with an attorney when purchasing or selling a home in PA, like it is in other states.  Wisconsin, Kentucky, Oklahoma and South Dakota round out the top five cheapest states, while Hawaii, New York, North Carolina, Delaware and South Carolina are the priciest.


 

What You Need to Know About a FHA Inspection

If you’re obtaining a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan to buy your home, you’ll be required to get an FHA inspection.  This is in addition to the standard home inspection, and is designed to insure that FHA borrowers will be living in a safe, livable home.  In order for the buyer to secure the FHA loan, the home must pass this inspection before settlement day.

FHA Inspection

Licensed FHA inspectors check a variety of things when they visit the home.  Some of the most common problems that we see on reports include peeling or chipped paint, significant holes or cracks in the walls or ceiling, major water damage, missing smoke detectors, or an outdated electrical system (like knob and tube).

FHA Inspection

Ultimately, it’s not uncommon for “fixer-uppers” to have a hiccup or two with the FHA inspection, and your EveryHome agent is trained and experienced in handling this. If the inspector fails the home for any reason, the buyer and seller may negotiate to pay for a repair or replacement by a licensed or registered contractor.  After the fix has been completed, the inspector will come back out to the home to ensure that the work has been satisfactorily completed – and you’ll be all set for settlement day!


 

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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)