731 W Skippack Pike
April 3, 2013 11:45 am
Regardless of whether you have a new job offer or just want
to get a jumpstart on retirement, sometimes you need to sell your home as fast
as possible. Selling can seem daunting enough without the extra pressure of a
time crunch, but don’t fret! This week, we’ve got tips to help sell your home
in the blink of an eye.
Be Realistic on
Price: We know that selling your
home is emotional. You paid a lot for it and then put your blood, sweat, and
tears into improvements, it makes sense that you’d want to get everything back.
Unfortunately, though, markets change and that may not be possible. Our best
advice is to listen to your realtor on this one. She knows what comparable homes
are going for in the area and will give you a fair estimate. Remember,
well-priced homes move while overpriced ones tend to sit.
If you really want to move in a hurry, you need to make your home as enticing
as possible to buyers. One way to do that is to offer some extras. Consider
whether it might be worth it to offer to pay the buyers’ closing costs.
Alternatively, consider leaving behind the washer and dryer or the big screen
TV that fits perfectly over the mantle.
Be Flexible: As
we’ve said before, getting out the door for showings can be a hassle, but we
promise it’s beyond worth the trouble! The more willing that you are to let people
come through your home – even if it’s at a moments notice – the more traffic it
gets. Think of it this way, people can’t submit an offer on a home that the
seller won’t let them see.
March 20, 2013 4:02 pm
Spring has finally arrived! It’s time to shake off those winter
cobwebs and usher in a fresh start. Regardless if you’re looking to sell in the
next few months or if this is your forever home, a little spring cleaning is a
great way to give your home a rejuvenated feel. To make this process a snap,
we’ve compiled a handy room-by-room list of chores that will leave you feeling squeaky
(including baseboards, if you’re feeling industrious)
windows to air things out
bedding and swap out flannel for cotton
winter apparel for summer, if you’re short on space
and reseal grout
towels and bath mats
old beauty products
out the fridge
out and organize food storage containers
expiration date on pantry foods
Family Room/ Living
cushions on furniture
placement of photos/knick-knacks
batteries on electronics
out filing cabinets
all computer updates
out computer hard drive and back it up
down phones and keyboards
in fresh office supplies
important items are protected from the elements
out seasonal items (candles,
out purses and bags
March 6, 2013 3:50 pm
Curb appeal refers to the way your house looks from the
street. As the very first impression prospective buyers have of your home,
there’s no overestimating its importance. However, we want to let you in on a
little secret – it can be super easy. This week, we have a few simple tips that
won’t break the bank AND can be completed in time for you to get to your
weekend plans. (Go ahead and have that beer, you deserve it!)
Embrace Flowers: Especially
now that spring is around the corner, flowers are a great way to add some
visual interest to the front of your home. Window boxes can easily add a pop of
color to the house while keeping your new garden contained. But, if that’s too
much work, most garden centers sell partially mature plants already in
decorative pots. Arrange a couple of these on your doorstep and you’re good to
Doorway: It’s important for potential buyers to get a welcoming feeling
from your home. Make sure it happens before they even enter the front door.
Throw down a welcome mat, hang up a wreath, and change out old hardware so that
your doorstep gives off that “homey” feel. Also, don’t be afraid to give your
door and screen a quick wipe down, you’d be surprised what a big difference it
Make Use Of
Identifiers: When selling, you want to make sure that people know which
house is yours, even if they’re just doing a quick drive-by. Choose a set of
decorative numbers from your local home improvement store and display them in a
spot that is easily identifiable from afar. (It wouldn’t hurt to put a second
set on the mailbox, too.)
Light The Way:
Typically, buyers go out on showings after they come home from work, which
means it will likely be dark by the time they get to your house. A dark
entranceway can feel uninviting. By placing lights at the start of your walkway
and around the doorway, you can ensure a welcoming start to the showing – not
to mention it highlights all of your hard work!
Do A Final Spruce: This
one is up to you to decide. Are there some rogue weeds sprouting up? Does the
grass need to be cut? Did the kids leave their soccer net out in the yard again?
Clean things up so that your home looks as put together as possible. You don’t
want potential buyers to get distracted from all your home has to offer.
February 27, 2013 4:58 pm
Figuring out how to finance your home can be daunting,
especially when you’re a first-time homebuyer. Really, how often do you deal
with that amount of money, right? Don’t
worry, this week, we’ve tried to take some of the stress out of it by providing
you with a cheat sheet.
Traditionally, there are two types of mortgages: FHA (Federal
Housing Administration) and conventional loans. Obviously, each option is going
to have its pros and cons. Read below, to decide which option works best for
you and your family:
First implemented during the Great Depression in order to
increase home construction, FHA loans fall under the umbrella of the U.S.
Department of Housing and Urban Development. It is important to note that the FHA
does not make loans. Rather, it insures loans made by private lenders, so
shopping around is key.
Low Down Payment: The main selling point of an
FHA loan is the 3.5% minimum down payment requirement.
A minimum credit score of 580 is needed to
Low Credit Score Minimum: FHA boasts a minimum
required credit score of 500
However, buyers with credit scores between 500
and 579 are required to make a down payment of 10%
Higher Typical Lending Limit: Buyers in
higher-cost areas can borrow up to $729,750
No Payment Penalty
Mortgage Insurance Requirement: Both upfront and
annual insurance premiums are necessary.
Limited options: 15 year fixed-rate, 30 year
fixed rate, or 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages are the most common.
One at a Time: Generally, buyers are only
allowed one FHA loan at a time
Conventional loan is not made by a
government entity nor insured by a government entity. Homebuyers can take out
an amortized conventional loan from almost any bank, a savings and loan, a
credit union or even through a mortgage broker.
More Options: The type of loan is decided
individually between you and your lending institutions, so other options like a
10 year fixed-rate or 7 year adjustable-rate may be available
No Mortgage Insurance: Typically requires a 20%
Can Have Many Conventional Loans at Once
Accepted Everywhere: Many condo complexes won’t
go for FHA financing. The same goes for non-owner investment properties
Stricter Requirements: Generally, conventional
mortgages require a down payment between five and 20 percent and credit score
Possible Payment Penalty
Click Here for More Info (and never hesitate
to talk to your Realtor):
February 20, 2013 1:35 pm
Let’s be honest, moving is stressful no matter what. But,
there’s an extra layer to worry when kids are involved. Luckily, kids are
extremely resilient and adaptable. They’ll be fine once they get through the
initial adjustment period. But, we wouldn’t just let you hang out to dry until
then! This week, we have 6 tips to ensure that you and your kids come through
your move with flying colors.
Have A Family
Meeting: Breaking the moving news can be a big deal. Order a couple pizzas
or cook a favorite meal, but make sure that everyone is convened in the same
place. Be honest: share both your excitements and anxieties relating to the
move, as well as preparing the kids for what to expect during the moving
process. Give each child a chance to do the same and reassure them that their
concerns are valid. Just remember to end on a positive note, framing the move
as a new, exciting opportunity.
Give Everyone a Job: No
one wants to feel like the whole process is happening without them. It’s up to
you to make sure that everyone feels included. Give each child a job that is
age appropriate – assembling boxes, labeling, organizing items. Don’t be afraid
to make a game out of it, so at the end of the day everyone feels accomplished.
Clean Out Clutter:
Moving is a great time to get rid of unused clutter. Have a garage sale beforehand. Make it clear
that any money from the sale will go towards a treat related to your new home. It
can be the bigger TV everyone has been wanting or a trip to the amusement park
in your new city. Help each child go
through their things and decide what they would like to get rid of. If this
process gets tough, remind them of the reward.
Stay In Touch:
One of a child’s biggest concerns about moving is a fear of losing friends. A
goodbye party is a great way to ease these fears with a celebration. During the
party, you can collect friends’ contact information and make plans to have
weekly phone calls or send postcards. Just be sure to follow through once you
(Pro Tip: One fun activity is to have each guest write down
or draw a favorite memory, then share it. After the party, you can collect
these memories on a board or in special box so that can be brought to your new
Stick To Routines:
It can be tempting to slack off on things a bit while in the midst of moving
chaos. But, children are creatures of habit who feel more comfortable with
things they know. If their location is in flux, it’s very reassuring to remind
them that everything else will remain the same in their new home. Stick to
those familiar bedtime and time out routines n matter how crazy things get.
And, don’t forget to maintain regular rewards as well!
Become a Tourist: This,
obviously, is especially necessary if your family is moving further than just
down the street. It’s important to make your new location feel like home as
quickly as possible. One easy way to do this is to explore the new area. Make
it fun, go on adventures. We guarantee that you’ll feel more comfortable in
your surroundings and so will the kids.
February 13, 2013 3:55 pm
Winter is only half over and who knows how many more “storms
of the century” lay ahead. Whether you’re a buyer, seller, or proud homeowner,
everyone is undoubtedly feeling the strain of heating bills these days. This
week we’ve brought you some seasonal energy-saving tips. Here’s hoping that you
can use them to avoid wearing gloves to the dinner table. (But even if you do,
we won’t judge – we promise.)
Maintain Your Heating
Equipment: This one’s huge. No one wants to be left without
heat when they need it most, not to mention a big repair bill to boot. Dirt and
neglect are the top causes of heating system failure, especially on appliances
more than a decade old. Even if you think your system is fine, it can’t hurt to
get it checked out.
While we’re on the subject, dirty air filters are another
leading cause of system breakdown. Most sources recommend that they be changed
every three months for optimal performance. Plus, the better they function, the
less energy your system has to expend, and the more money stays in your pocket.
Seal Off Air Leaks: Now,
in a perfect world, this would have been taken care of before the dead of
winter, but better late than never. In rooms that are excessively drafty, you
may have an issue with air leaks, particularly around windows and doorframes.
Sealing the air leaks with caulk, spray foam, or weather stripping can help you
get the most out of your home’s insulation.
Close Doors: Shutting
the door to unused rooms, can help you avoid unnecessarily heating the space.
Studies have shown that this simple action can save up to 3 percent* on monthly
heating costs. (Pro-tip: Make sure to reduce sun exposure in these spaces as
temperature fluctuation can sometimes lead to mold growth.)
Open Drapes: On
sunny days, don’t be afraid to use natural energy to your advantage. Open up
the drapes and let the sun help heat the room, especially if the windows are
south or west facing. As an added bonus, sun exposure has also been known to
help drive away those “winter blues”!
Wait To Do Your
Laundry: We don’t know about you, but we’ll take this excuse and run with
it. It’s no secret that a bunch of half-full loads can needlessly add to your
water and energy bills. Waiting until you have a full load (along with washing
in cold or lukewarm water) can help you save 2-4 percent* on your next bill.
*In case you’re curious, the statistics used in this
article are from The EPA and The Edison Electric Institute and were compiled in
another article found here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/27/winter-energy-saving-tips_n_1139412.html#s529040&title=Maintain_Your_Heating
January 30, 2013 4:06 pm
Congratulations, deciding that you’re ready to buy your own
home is a big step! Now, it’s time to think about what kind of what kind of home
you’d like to purchase – style of architecture, number of bedrooms, lot size. While every buyer has a wish list, you should
be prepared to make some compromise. However, there are some areas on which comprise
isn’t such a virtue. We’ve laid out three for your consideration:
it’s not one flat rate that needs to be decided upon. It’s best to have two
figures in your head when looking at listings: a figure that you’d prefer to
stay under and then your absolute maximum. This maximum gives you a little
wiggle room and comes into play when deciding if it’s worth it to spring for a
completely redone kitchen. (Don’t be
afraid. Remember, while a couple thousand dollars may seem like a huge deal
when looking at the total price tag, the amount is much smaller when
distributed over your monthly payments.) Don’t feel like you have to let your
dream house go over a few lattes per month.
Location, Location” is the ultimate home-buying cliché for a reason. This is
because, at the end of the day, it’s the one thing about the house that really
cannot be changed. Once you settle into a home, new appliances can be bought
and paint colors can be altered, but your commute to work will never shorten.
Conversely, a property that’s too close to a major road may eventually be
subject to expansion or unattractive to buyers upon resale.
TURN KEY VS. FIXER
UPPER: On the one hand, renovating is a great way to put your own personal
stamp on a home and it’s seems like a great way to save a few extra bucks, at
least initially. But, on the other, they are also a huge responsibility. Are
you handy? Do you have the time to deal with contractors or do the projects on
your own? Are you prepared to deal with unexpected setbacks and extra costs? Now is the time to be honest about these things. It’s hard to call it quits
in the middle of a project.
January 24, 2013 4:20 pm
Let’s be honest, selling your home can be hard work. On top
of school, work, and softball practice it’s not easy to shuffle the whole
family out the door, so that prospective buyers can come through for a showing.
At that point, the last thing on anyone’s mind is making sure that the house
looks like a Homes and Gardens cover.
Unfortunately, staging is one of those necessary evils. A showing is a prospective buyer’s first –
and quite possibly only – impression. Just like on a first date, it’s really
important to put your best foot forward. People talk and homes that show better
inevitably get more traffic. Lucky for you, we have 5 tips to make sure the
process is as quick and painless as possible.
CLEAN: This seems
like it should go without saying, but it bears repeating. Luckily, that doesn’t
mean you have to hog wild for each showing. Use your time wisely. Scrub in the
corners when you have time on the weekends. Then, just make sure that you do a
quick sweep to pick up those odds and ends before you leave.
DON’T CUT CORNERS: Everyone has experienced a moment when company
is five minutes away and the living room still looks like a tornado hit it. The
easy answer is to shove the whole mess into a closet and deal with it later,
right? That may work most of the time, but remember that when potential buyers
are on a showing, they are trying to picture themselves living in the home.
They want to see as much as possible. This means closets, laundry rooms, and
even attics or crawl spaces in some cases. If you’d be embarrassed to show your
guests, don’t take the chance.
FOR PETS): It will be a lot easier to get everyone out of the house on time
if you know where everything belongs. (Pro tip: Dark colored bins can hide a
multitude of sins.) This goes double if
you have pets. Always make sure that all paraphilia – like food or a liter box
- is in the same room and as tucked away as can be. Whenever possible, take
Fido with you to minimize risk of accidents or allergies.
is no doubt that you have an impeccable sense of personal style. However, you
have no idea who will be seeing your home. It could be a young professional
searching for her first house or an older couple looking to downsize. Your job
is to appeal to as many people as possible. Now is the time to remove family
photos and big statement pieces. When in doubt, neutral works best.
EMBRACE LITTLE TOUCHES: You
don’t have to break the bank to add value to your home. A new coat of paint and
some fresh flowers can go a long way.
August 10, 2012 7:06 pm
Should I FSBO? It’s a question that often comes up.
The practice of a homeowner with no previous experience selling one’s own property is not uncommon. But whether to do it or not is a subject of intense debate.
Floridian real estate professional Riley Smith recently blogged that you could not pick a worse time to list on your own. While inventory is low and well-priced, homes are seeing multiple-offer situations. Smith has never seen a more difficult time to get to the closing table than right now.
He says pitfalls from new insurance requirements as well as appraisal values and lending guidelines have real potential to blow up a FSBO deal.
He went so far as to highlight the fact that the Wall Street Journal discovered that the founder of ForSaleByOwner.com, hired a REALTOR® to sell his New York apartment because he was unable to get the job done on his own.
In Texas, real esate professional Loreena Yeo makes the point that FSBOs residing in non-disclosure states may be stymied by a lack of accurate information to accurately value their property.
Yeo also blogged that some FSBOs may be more successful than others simply because of location. If a home is located on a busy street where many people constantly drive by, they are more inclined to see and talk about a house that is for sale.
She also stresses the Miranda warning: ‘You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law.’
Yeo warns that a regular home seller without much experience, more often times, will volunteer information without realizing it. So watch what you say - and to whom - or you might talk your way into some legal entanglements that will cost a lot more to untangle.
August 10, 2012 7:06 pm
Studies show that summer is the peak season for home break-ins. Why? Because people tend to open the windows and forget to close them when they leave. They forget to lock the front door while working out back in the garden – often leaving purses, wallets, and other valuables out in plain sight.
In addition to correcting these common oversights, the consumer advocates at Consumer Reports suggest five ways to boost your home security:
• Kickproof your doors – Most doors, whether solid wood, fiberglass or steel, are resistant to hard blows. The problem is the door jamb area near the lock’s strike plate. You can strengthen these areas on exterior doors by using a one-inch long deadbolt lock and a reinforced metal box strike, which costs about $10. Use three-inch long screws to mount them so they lodge in the framing beyond the door jamb. (And don’t overlook the door that leads into your house from the garage.)
• Choose the right locks – High security locks, which cost up to $175, are worth the price because they resist drilling and picking. Equally important: Carry a pull-apart key chain, so your home key stays with you when your car is being serviced or valet-parked.
• Landscape wisely – Trim tree branches that could provide access to windows’ roof or skylights. Remember that tall plants and high fences can provide cover for criminals – and that gravel beds around the perimeter of the house make it easier to hear anyone lurking outside.
• Keep it bright – Illuminate areas around doors, windows and blind spots. Install lights on high exterior walls so they can’t be easily disabled. Low-voltage light systems provide more light than solar powered lights – and can be connected to motion detectors.
• Don’t leave garage door openers in your car – They can be an open invitation to robbers. Especially if your address is easily obtained from papers in your glove compartment, tuck the garage door opener into your purse or briefcase whenever you park your car away from home.
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If you are a home owner in the Blue Bell area and are thinking of placing it on the market, this site contains information about preparing your home for sale, selecting the right agent, pricing your home appropriately, marketing it effectively, going through the inspection processes, and receiving a timely market evaluation. This site features houses and condos for sale in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Looking for property in and around Blue Bell, Pennsylvania? Residential, Commercial, Land-Lot or Rental, we can help with all your real estate needs. On this Blue Bell real estate site find Blue Bell In Town and Suburban Properties, Land, Lots, Blue Bell Golf Homes for Sale, Luxury Estates, Town Homes, Blue Bell New Homes for Sale, Blue Bell Condos, Town Homes, Real Estate, Blue Bell Luxury Estates, Equestrian Estates and Blue Bell Executive Homes For Sale. Mary Mastroeni with RE/MAX Central - Blue Bell is here to help home buyers and home sellers through the real estate process in Montgomery and Bucks County. Blue Bell Homes for Sale and Blue Bell Real Estate - Buying or Selling Blue Bell Real Estate.
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