An Ambler Farmer’s Market

As you may know, Ambler recently hosted its 19th annual¬†Oktoberfest. ¬†I spent a few of the initial Oktoberfest hours volunteering and had then planned to take some photos to share with you… but there was so much going on and I ended up having such a good time that my photography took a wayward course, to say the least ūüôā

My time¬†volunteering¬†was to consist mainly of selling “guesses” as to the weight of a giant pumpkin, t-shirts and the like; an ancillary job was to talk to people about the prospect of a farmer’s market coming to Ambler. ¬†If you live in Ambler I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I spent the majority¬†of¬†my time discussing the proposed market and little time selling Ambler Main Street’s wares (all for good cause, of course).

A market in Ambler is a hot topic, and in my opinion, a much needed addition. ¬†The goal is to establish an outdoor farmers market, located at Trax Cafe, which will feature¬†fresh farm products from local farms, much of which will be organic. ¬†I personally support the¬†proposed¬†market and think that it is an excellent and necessary component to our community. ¬†It was made clear that afternoon that many share my¬†sentiments,¬†as a tremendous amount of people expressed their support for the market. ¬†Of course the topic of a farmer’s market quite often segued into the need for a general market, or small scale grocery store, but that is another (long-winded) discussion for another time. ¬†In the mean time, let me know what you think!

Categories: Ambler

This made me smile

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Happy Birthday to John Lennon, he would have been 70.

Categories: Random

Be There or Be Square!

Categories: Ambler, Events

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 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

Grand Re-Opening of the Ambler Library

Almost everyday, and sometimes several times a day, I drive down Race Street and pass our humble library.  It has looked so tired and sad the past few months, the only flash of color in the landscape was the yellow caution tape barring its front stairs.  Unfortunately the library fell victim to one of the many snow storms this past winter, damage was done to the roof and extensive repairs were needed.

After closing its doors over six months ago the Ambler Library is close to being back in business.  The library officially opens Monday, September 13 but they have planned a special grand re-opening celebration this coming Sunday, September 12 from 1 Р4 PM.  There will be entertainment and refreshments so be sure to bring the kids!  Miss Michelle aka the singing librarian will be there, there will be a magic show, a caricaturist will be sketching and a classical music performance will conclude the day.  Area families and friends are encouraged to show up to enjoy the festivities and welcome back a good old friend.

The month of September also holds another exciting library associated surprise; many local vendors have graciously agreed to give discounts and deals for patrons who present their library card!  This is only for the month of September, so be sure to take advantage of it.  You can access the list of participating businesses here.

If you would like to make a donation to help The Ambler Library continue to provide education and enjoyment to our local residents you can find information here.

Categories: Ambler, Events

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

Snow Patrol

Call me crazy, or optimistic, but I actually felt Spring in the air today!  Of course the greatly anticipated vernal equinox is still several weeks away, and we will continue to endure cold, and dare I say possibly more snow, but today Spring reared its lovely head.  This realization prompted me to post some of my photos from what I hope was the last snow storm of the season.

Categories: Ambler

Open House, Sunday Jan 31, 1-3pm

Come visit me Sunday and see one of Ambler’s great historic homes. ¬†86 Orange Avenue was built in 1890 in the¬†heyday¬†of Keasbey-Mattison. ¬†True to construction of the time it is a well-built, solid stone twin abounding with charm and character. ¬†This home features 3 levels, all with hardwood floors, an updated eat-in kitchen and bath, and a lovely fenced in backyard complete with brick patio. ¬†The location is¬†extremely¬†convenient;¬†walking distance to the train station and wonderful downtown Ambler with an array of great restaurants, shopping and cultural attractions. ¬†Click here for further information.

Categories: Real Estate

Ambler is on YouTube!

Check out these little gems…

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Categories: Ambler

Home Buyer Tax Credit

Ok, I’ve been putting it off for a week,¬†here is my obligatory¬†tax credit post.¬† Don’t be confused by my lack of enthusiasm, the tax credit is a great incentive to buyers and sellers alike.¬† I believe that it will help push the economy forward in the short-term; what this credit means down the road is what concerns me (increasing debt=higher interest rates, who’s going to pay for it, etc.), but¬†that is a discussion for another time.¬† As you may know the 2009 first time home buyer tax credit was set to expire November¬†30, 2009.¬† As of November 6th new legislation was passed to extend the existing first time home buyer’s credit as well as the¬†addition of a new credit for repeat buyers.¬† So without further delay, here are the¬†fundamentals of the new extended and expanded home buyer tax credit…

First time home buyers remain eligible for a credit equivalent to 10% of the purchase price, up to a maximum of $8000 (which is the norm in our market).  You are considered a first time home buyer if you (or your spouse) have not owned a residence at any time within the past 3 years prior to the new home purchase.

Pete and repeat were walking down the road… sorry,¬†sometimes I just can’t¬†help myself.¬† Repeat buyers are taxpayers who have lived in the same principal residence for 5 consecutive years out of the last 8 years.¬† This¬†type of buyer¬†may be¬†eligible¬†for a tax credit equivalent to 10% of the¬†purchase price of a new residence, up to $6500 (again standard in our market).

To take advantage of either credit you must meet the following qualifications:

  • You must occupy the new home as your principal residence for a minimum period of three years after settlement or be required to pay back the credit.
  • There are income limits to qualify; if you make less than¬†$125,000 single filer/$225,000 joint filers you are entitled to the full credit.¬† For individual/joint filers¬†making $125-145,000/$225-245,000¬†the credit phases out and you may be qualified for partial credit.¬† Buyers earning more than $145,000¬†(single)/$245,000 (joint)¬†are not eligible for the credit.
  • You must be under contract to purchase your new home no later than April 30, 2010 with a settlement date no later than June 30, 2010.
  • The sale price of the new home cannot exceed $800,000.

Please note that the above information applies to properties that are¬†purchased November 7, 2009- April 30, 2010.¬† Also important¬†to note is that¬†this is a refundable¬†tax credit, not a deduction.¬† This means that the credit offers a refundable¬†dollar-for-dollar reduction in what the taxpayer owes.¬† For example, a taxpayer who owes $10,000 and qualifies for the¬†full $8000 credit would only owe the IRS $2,000.¬† If the qualifying credit exceeds the taxpayer’s liability, the government would refund the excess portion of the tax credit.¬† For example, if you qualify for¬†the $8,000 tax credit but only owe¬†$5,000 in tax, you could receive a $3,000 check from the IRS.¬† Pretty sweet!

Categories: Real Estate