Real Estate Category

Thank You!

For the third year in a row, I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve been selected as a Philadelphia Five Star Real Estate Agent! The award is designed to identify and showcase real estate agents in local markets whop score highest in overall satisfaction. The honor is given to fewer than 7% of the real estate agents in the local market and is based on an in-depth research process. Real estate agents are evaluated by past clients based on customer service, integrity, market knowledge, communication and negotiation skills, closing preparation, helping you find the right home, marketing the home being sold, and overall satisfaction.

You can find the awards section in the September issue of Philadelphia Magazine and more details on the process are below. A big thank you to those who recommended me, working with wonderful people makes it easy to love what I do!“10,000 to 50,000 recent home buyers (all area residents who purchased a home over $100,000 – $200,000 within a 12-36 month period depending on the market size) are asked to name and evaluate real estate agents with whom they have had direct/personal experience with. Recent home buyers can evaluate up to two agents. Both positive and negative responses regarding each agent are accepted. In addition to the survey results, other criteria such as acceptable disciplinary action and review by a panel of local industry experts are incorporated into the overall evaluation process.” ~ Five Star Professional

 

Categories: Random, Real Estate

The Shanachie Is Up For Grabs

As I’m dutifully checking the MLS this morning, what do I see, but the familiar black and red facade, for sale! As most of you know, Doc Magrogan’s was planning to open here in the fall, heck Dave Magrogan told me that himself! There have been rumors the past few weeks that the deal had fallen apart, this listing this morning seems to confirm that. I don’t have any details, and those in the know seem to be pretty tight lipped about it.

Time will tell what happens with this space; I personally hope it doesn’t turn into a chain restaurant or sit vacant for too long, Ambler has far too many vacancies as it is. That said, The Shanachie is for sale; they are asking a cool $1.1m, any takers? Anyone… Bueller…

Update (Jan 2013):

The former Shanachie sold in December, 2012 for $735,000. One of the owners/partners is Chad Rosenthal of Rosey’s BBQ, formerly located on North Main Street. As of this update, work is underway at 115 East Butler and Rosenthal hopes to open in March. He is pretty tight lipped about his plans for the new space, but I know live music will be an important aspect. I am looking forward to see his latest venture!

Categories: Ambler, Real Estate

Movin’ On Up

That’s exactly what many have been busy doing; our local real estate market has seen a positive increase in sales since the beginning of the year and June was no exception. June is typically a very busy month for real estate, but last month set the record for the most sales in Montgomery County since August of 2007 (excluding June 2010, as the tax credit expired at the end of that month resulting in a surge uncharacteristic of the market at that time). Not only were sales up in June, but so were pending properties which bodes well for the market in months to come. Of course every home owner, and potential buyer, want to know about prices, have they continued to drop, leveled out, increased? This market history snapshot shows a nominal increase in the median sales price in Montgomery County, but more importantly, it shows decreased inventory and increased sales; again a positive forecast for the market ahead.

If you would like more detailed, area specific, market information, drop me a line!

Categories: Real Estate

Montgomery County Real Estate Update

I admit it, I’ve been bad and have shirked my responsibility as a blogger. In fact, I may have lost the right to be called such. Obviously, I haven’t posted in ages… although the reason is actually quite positive. Things on the real estate front have picked up considerably, so much so that I have had little, ok, no time to devote here. Since I’ve been completely immersed in real estate and it is also a subject that is very important to many of you, I thought I’d take this opportunity to bring you up to date on our local market.

As I said, the market has picked up considerably, beginning around the first of the year. Typically early January is a relatively quite time in real estate, usually things start to pick up following Super Bowl Sunday (strange, but true). The media sings from the roof tops that it is still a buyer’s market, and while yes, this is true, there are some interesting things happening on the local level.

Interest rates are still unbelievably low and the inventory is still near record highs, but what kind of inventory??? Despite the glut of homes on the market, there is a serious lack of homes with the “WOW” factor. The majority of the homes on the market today are average at best, priced too high, a distressed sale, in poor condition or in a bad location (on a busy road, near train tracks, etc.). I’m not exaggerating when I say there are a lot of buyers out there looking right now; many of them just can’t find a home worth buying. It’s not as though these buyers are being unreasonable or picky, I understand their viewpoint 100%. This is pretty frustrating for a buyer who has finally decided to take the leap; they’ve mentally and financially prepared themselves, flown over the moon and back with excitement, and now they wait, and wait, and look and wait…

I think many home owners who don’t need to sell are holding off, thinking that the market is too soft and they’ll have a tough time. While this may be true for some, for those who have a WOW house, this is an amazing time. Buyers who have been out there in this market for a while are now able to recognize what a rare opportunity it is when the “total package” comes along. These homes are going under contract in weeks, many just days. Remember, what you hear on national TV and radio is just that, national news. If you’re a home owner or a potential home owner, it’s important to know what’s happening on your local level.

My suggestion to you as a Seller: Take the extra time to take care of the small details before listing your home, have someone lend a critical eye and be open to suggestions; it can make all the difference in the world. I’m not suggesting major improvements, as in this market they aren’t paying off in terms of return, however, they are paying off in that you home is going to sell, and sell in a shorter period of time.

As a Buyer my advice is to get out there and start looking, even if your purchase is months away. You don’t need to pound the pavement, but be aware of what’s available so when the time comes you’ll already have some experience under your belt. It could be the difference between finding and buying the perfect home or missing out on a great opportunity because you weren’t ready. Of course you should get pre-approved before you embark on this journey, as you want to make sure that you have set accurate and achievable expectations for yourself and your new home.

I work all over Montgomery County and some areas of Philadelphia, the conditions I’ve discussed above are prevalent throughout the area. As you know, Ambler is my specialty and I have to say if you want the quintessential Ambler house you need to give yourself more time than the average bear, as Ambler is less than one square mile so needless to say, these homes are few and far between!

If you are considering a move, but not ready to talk yet, feel free to stick your toe in and test the water here on my site! Buyers are welcome to search all available homes and Seller’s, you can take advantage of a great tool to help you determine the value of your home. Happy spring!

Categories: Ambler, Real Estate

Your Lucky Day!

Just in case you have a spare 30 million dollars laying around collecting dust and happen to need 30,000+ square feet on 70+ acres, it’s your lucky day! Check out this unbelievable estate just a few minutes outside of town on Sheaff Lane (one of the most beautiful lanes in the area, in my opinion). It was just listed today by Long & Foster in Devon, I suspect the pool of buyers for this home is rather limited 😉 Click on the thumbnail photos below for the best way to view the property.

We're sorry, but we couldn't find MLS # 5956234 in our database. This property may be a new listing or possibly taken off the market. Please check back again.

Categories: Real Estate

A Big Thank You!

I am thrilled to have been selected as a Five Star Real Estate Agent for the second year in a row; thank you to my clients who took the time to participate in the most recent survey! I would love to thank you personally, but as you know, I am not privy to the names of the participants. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the program, it is a blind survey in which real estate professionals are evaluated by their clients in 8 different areas:

  • customer service
  • integrity
  • market knowledge
  • communication and negotiation skills
  • closing preparation
  • helping you find the right home
  • marketing the home being sold
  • overall satisfaction

The final list includes the real estate agents in the local market who scored highest overall. This list represents less than 7% of agents in our local market, an honor that I am so proud have! The Five Star Agents in our area will be featured in the September issue of Philadelphia Magazine.

Categories: Real Estate

Lovely New Ambler Listing

Here is a perfect example of why I love Ambler; look at this beautiful home, they just don’t make them like this anymore! This Victorian gem was built 118 years ago and still stands the test of time. What makes this home better yet is that it is within walking distance to downtown shops, restaurants and theaters as well as the train, you can’t beat it! Looking forward to taking a tour this afternoon!

We're sorry, but we couldn't find MLS # 5874076 in our database. This property may be a new listing or possibly taken off the market. Please check back again.

Categories: Ambler, Real Estate

Ambler Anomaly

For those of you who live in Ambler, or know the area well, you know that there are very few homes within the borough that have an inground swimming pool; oddly enough there are two for sale right now. The last home to sell in Ambler with an inground pool was in 2005 and before that 2003, which happens to be one of the homes that is for sale today.

That home is on Overlook Road in the neighborhood bordered by Mount Pleasant, Hendricks and Tennis. This small neighborhood offers pretty much just two styles of homes, doll-house Cape Cod or contemporary (if you will). This home is one of the contemporaries, or as I like to refer to them, Brady Bunch’s.

We're sorry, but we couldn't find MLS # 5834608 in our database. This property may be a new listing or possibly taken off the market. Please check back again.

The other home is in one of my favorite spots in Ambler, on the block of Belmont where it dead ends at Glen Mawr. Unfortunately this home, or should I say the listing of this home is an anomaly in and of itself. I have tried to see the home, but to no avail. It has been on the market for close to a year and due to unusual circumstances they aren’t allowing showings. It seemed pointless to include it but it does have a pool and it is technically for sale. There are no photos of the home but the listing information is here nonetheless.

We're sorry, but we couldn't find MLS # 5689963 in our database. This property may be a new listing or possibly taken off the market. Please check back again.

According to public records there are only 20 homes in the borough (out of 1771) with pools, 11 of them are reported to be inground. Of course this may not be entirely accurate, but short of knocking on every door in town, that’s the best I can come up with.  I’m just happy to sit here, in my nice toasty office, thinking of days warm enough to go swimming!

Categories: Ambler, Real Estate

let’s do the math

If ever there was a time to appreciate the power of a low interest rate, this is it. But some of us relate more to dollars than to percentages, so let’s do the math.

According to www.FreddieMac.com On April 29, 2010, just before the tax credit expired, the interest rate on a 30 year fixed rate mortgage was 5.06%, a very good rate.  Coupled with up to an $8,000 tax credit many people bought a new home.  But the current interest rates make today an even better time to buy.  I realize this sounds hard to believe, but let’s break it down and look at the big picture…

As of late August the interest rate was down to 4.42%.  For a $400,000 home purchase, that translates to a monthly savings of $154 versus the same purchase for an April buyer.  The bigger picture is that over the life of the loan the interest savings is $55,515!

There is even more to consider… What if you bought or refinanced your home 5 years ago and now have 25 years left on your loan?  Assuming your home will appraise, you can refinance today and save a bundle.  If you financed a $400,000 in 2005, when the average rate was 5.87%, you are paying about $2,365 per month in principal and interest.  You could refinance your balance and reduce your principle and interest payment to about $1.857, saving $508 per month!  Or you could keep your payments the same and shorten the length of the loan, saving tens of thousands in interest over the life of the loan.

There are people who need to buy and sell in every market, and today’s market is no exception.  People typically purchase a home due to changes in their lives.  Are you or anyone you know getting married, divorced, having children, emptying the nest, getting promoted, or changing jobs?  If so, now is an excellent time to take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity, housing affordability is at record high levels.  Do you know that in your lifetime there has likely never been a better time to buy or refinance?  Are you sitting on the fence waiting to see if prices go down while the interest rates inch up?  Don’t allow yourself to look back at this time with regret over a missed opportunity.  The stars are aligned right now with good inventory, low prices and low interest rates.  Today is the day to take full advantage of this good economic news and share it with those you know who stand to benefit!

Categories: Real Estate

Local Real Estate Market Gone Wild!

My day began with a phone call cancelling my showing of a home listed 3 days ago.  The appointment was cancelled because the house was already under contract, in 3 days!  This didn’t come as a huge surprise as the home was well priced and in great condition.  Last night I wrote an offer for a home that was listed 7 days ago, and my buyer is one of three offers!  Two weeks ago clients rushed to put an offer in on a fabulous home in just 4 days because the seller already had second showings and was expecting an offer.  This is after their “number one so far” had gone under contract, receiving 3 offers following a necessary price reduction and a weekend of heavy traffic.  A few months ago in the middle of winter (typically a time of decreased activity in real estate) a wonderfully maintained Ambler twin received multiple offers and went under contract within a week.

Yes, this is contrary to what the market has been and what you have heard in the media for the better part of the past three years. Why, you ask? The increased activity, competitive atmosphere and multiple offer situation is being spurred on by the first time home buyer tax credit. To take advantage of the current government tax credit (potentially $8000 to those who qualify) buyers must be under contract on a property by April 30,2010. This has been common knowledge since November 2009 but clearly many buyers have been dragging their feet. Although that is not the case with all buyers looking to take advantage of the credit, for many there just hasn’t been a good amount of decent inventory. Hence the rush when a properly priced home that shows well enters the marketplace.

How does this help you?

If you are a first time buyer looking in the entry to mid level housing market, first and foremost you need to have carefully considered what you want and need out of a home. You also need to be pre approved for a mortgage within a price range where you are comfortable and know your bottom line. If you find yourself in a multiple offer situation sometimes emotion can take over and you may find yourself paying too much or making other concessions that you normally wouldn’t. It is extremely important that you are represented by a Realtor who has your best interest in mind and will advise you with regard to individual properties and current market value of a home prior to writing an offer. That being said, it is imperative that you get out and visit any home of potential interest as soon as it is listed.

If you are considering selling your home and you fall into the entry to mid level price point you need to contact a Realtor asap to see if there is time for you to take advantage of the activity created by the tax credit. Spring is always a busy time in the world of real estate, but coupled with the expiration of the tax credit this Spring is an ideal time to have your home on the market. If you are thinking of selling your home but are unsure of current market value give me a call and I will be happy to provide you with a free market analysis.

Categories: Ambler, Real Estate