Monthly Archives: November 2009

New McDonald’s on Hyde Park Rd, Leechburg, PA – Opens Today!

Today was the big day in Leechburg, PA near my office. The newly built McDonald’s opened. As I drove by later in the afternoon today, the place was packed (not an open parking spot) and people were lined up around the building for the new double drive-in. On September 1, 2009 the old McDonald’s on Hyde Park road was torn down along with a vacant Long John Silver’s building. From start to finish in less than three months.

As I stopped to get get photos last night, the freshly new place was perfectly lit up. There were young kids hanging out already by the door and some had duffel bags. I thought rather strange. Later after talking with some locals, I heard unconfirmed reports that the first 100 people in the door would get free Big Macs for a year. Rumor also has it that it is one of the most high tech McDonald’s in the area.

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Photos Copyright, 2009Â Â Amy S Myers Photography

McDonald’s
451 Hyde Park Rd
Leechburg, PA 15656
(724) 845-2035

Pittsburgh Comes in at Number 4!

Pittsburgh and the Metro Area proves time and time again a great section of the country to live. Â Home prices and Mortgages are stable and affordable in the region. The days on market are lower than other cities.

Top Cities that were least effected by the Recession from Forbes:

“To identify these cities, Forbes magazine ranked the 100 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas by employment rates, the conventional mortgage home price index, and the average days on the market for properties currently for sale.

The top cities on Forbes list were:”

* Omaha/Council Bluffs, Neb.
* San Antonio, Texas
* Austin-Round Rock, Texas
* Pittsburgh
* Harrisburg/Carlisle, Pa.
* Dallas/Fort Worth
* Rochester, N.Y.
* Houston
* Raleigh/Cary, N.C.
* Baton Rouge, La.”


Quoted from Realtor.org
and Forbes, Francesca Levy (11/19/2009)

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Heinz Stadium, Pittsburgh, PA

Photo Copyright, 2009 Amy S Myers

Would You Want a Home with This Inclusion?

This morning the agents in my office visited a few new homes that came up for sale.  It is an older home great shape but needs some updating and would make a great starter home. It has two full baths, brick, and is cape cod style. There is another home on the property that has two bedrooms, block building, real cute, would make a great rental. Both are located on a 1.6 acre lot. The property has plenty of level area for picnics or playing but over in the corner is . . . . a cemetery. It is a quite interesting. Would that keep you away or give you interest in buying? There appears to be about maybe about twelve grave stones. The stones date as far back as the 1700’s. It is surprising that you can even read some of the stones.  I was able to snap a few with my cell phone. This property is only maybe about 2 miles from our office. It comes with a cute stove too.

So in summary:Â Two homes (a two and a three bedroom) on 1.6 acres and a cemetery for a little over $100K.

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Good Faith Estimate

A good faith estimate is a statement that you receive from your lender before making an offer on a home. This summary will tell you the loan amount, loan term, interest rate and monthly payment and how much to bring to closing amount other things. It is required by law that you receive this at the time of writing your offer. January 1, 2010 the government is requiring a new format for lenders. This is intended to protect borrowers from big surprises at the closing table. Keep in mind this statement is an estimate and can go up or down slightly.

Read more from Realtor.org on new changes on January 1, 2010

Home Sales Expected to Increase

According to Realtor.org home sales are expected to increase in the coming year. The tax credit has already shown to improve the market and the first time home buyer tax credit extension is expected to keep the momentum going bringing additional “step-up” buyers into the market. Don’t let the holidays slow you down. There is still a limited amount of time to find your dream home and get closing processed successfully. Find a good agent that can walk you through all the steps.

Here is what Realtor.org had to say:

“Home sales will increase 15 percent to about 5.7 million units and REALTOR® income will be up 20 percent in 2010, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun told a packed room of REALTORS today in a residential economic update at the 2009 NAR Conference & Expo.

Yun credited the home buyer tax credit with unleashing sales on the lower-end of the housing market this year, bringing up to 400,000 first-time buyers into the market who wouldn’t have bought otherwise. That influx tightened inventories of starter homes, shored up prices, and helped reduce households’ fear over continuing price drops.

This virtuous cycle will continue now that the federal government has extended the credit to mid-2010 and expanded it to make a smaller credit available to repeat buyers and to households with higher incomes. “The key is stabilizing prices and preserving household wealth,” he says.

Yun predicts the supply of homes to stabilize at the historic norm of six to seven months. Homes above $500,000 will remain elevated in the near-term, but that weakness will be offset by a hefty drop in starter-home inventories, which are running at about a five months supply.    . . . ”

Quoted from Realtor.org where you can read more.

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Photo Copyright 2007, Amy S Myers

Veterans Day

We are truly blessed by the men and women who have fought for our freedom we have today. Here are some photo of Veteran War Memorials in downtown Leechburg, PA and next to my office in Allegheny Twp, Leechburg, PA 15656 that were taken today.

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Above photos in downtown Leechburg, PAÂ Painted mural on the side of a commercial brick building in Market Street

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above photos (Allegheny Twp) Leechburg, PA

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above photo is the driveway to The Allgheny Twp Municipal Building, Allegheny Twp, Leechburg, PAÂ (All photos copyright 2009, Amy S. Myers)

Using Homebuyer Tax Credit for Down Payment

Buyers have inquired, and articles have been written about the possibility of using the first time homebuyer tax credit, or at least part of the funds, for a down payment on the purchase of home.  I had written previously about this opportunity..

The key to having funds be used for a down payment was finding someone who would fund this amount because it would really have to be a loan. Well, I actually saw this happen.  I recently had a closing in October, where the buyer for my sold listing actually did use the tax credit for the down payment.  The transaction contained seller’s assist (where the seller pays part of the closing fees) and the balance due after that was around $4k. PHFA (Pennsylvania Housing Financing Agency) backed the balance due amount. The buyer’s have 12 months to pay the approximately $4K amount back as an interest free loan. The funds to pay back would come after filing their taxes in the spring.  What we were told at the closing is, if they chose not to pay it off it would become a loan and would be a lien against the property.

What I did find out at the closing was the PHFA had run out of funds at the point of this closing so we were not likely to see funding again in the near future from PHFA. It was a great deal for the buyer because with the seller assist, VA backed funding, and the tax credit funds for the down payment, the cash due at closing from the buyer was “Zero dollars”.   This is extremely rare but apparently it does happen. The interesting thing was the buyer even had a credit due them at closing but due to the loan rules the buyer was not able to get any money in their pocket after the transaction so it had to go onto the principle of their loan.

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Photo Copyright 2007, Amy S Myers

Tax Credit Extension Signed into Law by President

Great News! It is official. The President has sign the homebuyer tax credit extension to law. Activity has already picked up in the area this week.

“Obama Signs Extended Tax Credit into Law”-Â Expected to contribute approximately $22 billion to the economy, Congress overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan measure this week extending the $8,000 home buyer tax credit to April 30, 2010″. . . . .

More people are now eligible to take advantage of the law, which includes a $6,500 tax credit for buyers who are current home owners and have lived in their home for five of the past eight years.”Â

“Which Properties Are Eligible? Â – The 2009 First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit may be applied to primary residences, including: single-family homes, condos, townhomes, and co-ops.

How Much Will the Credit Be?  – The maximum allowable credit for home buyers is $8,000. Each home buyer’s tax credit is determined by two factors:

1) The price of the home—the credit is equal to 10% of the purchase price of the home, up to $8,000.

2) The buyer’s income—single buyers with incomes up to $75,000 and married couples with incomes up to $150,000—may receive the maximum tax credit.” – Quoted from Realtor.org

Additional details on the tax credit

Here is a helpful chart on the new home buyer tax credit changes. You will be able to compare the first home buyer tax credit plan that expires November 30, 2009 and the new plan that starts December 1, 2009. Chart supplied by the NAR (National Association of Realtors)

Additional info from CNN.com

“The bill also made more homeowners eligible to claim the credit on their taxes. First-time buyers — those who have not owned a home in the past three years — still qualify for an $8,000 rebate. But now people who want to trade up can also qualify. Those who have owned and occupied a residence for at least five years out of the past eight can claim a $6,500 tax credit if they close on a purchase by the end of June.

“The new version of the tax credit has the potential to stimulate the housing market even more than the old version due to the fact that more people will qualify under the new rules,” said Gibran Nicholas, chairman of the CMPS Institute, an organization that certifies mortgage bankers and brokers.  “

Interesting Sightings . . .

As a real estate agent, I really enjoy looking at homes. As you may have read from previous posts, there have been some rather outlandish things and ancient items and decor. Today, I was out with a buyer looking at multi-unit properties. The first one we went to was curious and intriguing. There were two sides, and on each side was an upper and lower apartment. One of the up stairs had the bath out in the hallway – not inside the locked apartment. We later found out when speaking to the owner that the home used to be a hotel about 100 years ago. There were old original stair cases on both sides that were in excellent condition with ornate detail in the woodwork. There were fireplaces in most of the rooms. Each room had been a keeping room in the hotel which was mainly used by guests for the opera house next door.  Since the owner happen to be there, she took us through and told us many stories about the house and the neighborhood being that it was in her family for years. She even told us where the secret cubbie holes where, that her dad had made as a child. The original hotel had four stair cases instead of the two that were currently there. Additional staircases made the traffic flow smoothly. Below is a photo of a stove that was in one of the apartments.

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The next home we viewed had a rather strange pipe coming out of the house. This duplex had a room on the third floor and there was a sink in it. There was no toilet and no tub – just the sink. Now even stranger, the sink drained out the side of the house and connected into the drain pipe from the rain gutter.  If anyone has any idea what they were thinking, I would be interested.

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