Fabulous New Listing. 203 Second Street, Leechburg, PA 15656

* Four Bedrooms
* 3/12 Baths
* Large Front Porch
* Lower Level Game Room
* Large Open Foyer
* Garage Apartment for Extra Income

Contact me to view today!

Holiday Time, a Good Time or Bad Time to Sell Your Home?

In most cases, you would think that the holiday time is a bad time to sell a home. “Sixty percent of real estate professionals advise their sellers to list a home during the holidays because it’s a good time to sell, according to a new survey conducted by Realtor.com.” – Daily Real Estate News, December 5, 2011.

According to Daily Real Estate News, Almost 80 percent of agents who were survey said that buyer who are out during the holidays are more serious. Over 60 percent of agents said that because there are less homes on the market that there is not as much competition for the seller since less homes are generally for sale during that time.  Interestingly enough, almost 20 percent of agents said that the homes felt more cozy due to the cold weather.

During the winter season photographs the the property are even more important for the sale of the home according to the interview by Realtor.com. Sellers don’t tend to offer open houses as much during the holidays, therefore relying more on the photos and videos. This also helps the buyer bypass listings that do don’t interest them.

Helpful Tip: Find an agent that takes good photographs. I am a photographer on the side and I have had many people remark on the photos and how the photos got them to look at the property.

Photo Copyright 2006 Amy S Myers

Home Projects & Ideas that will Increase Home Value

The real estate market is still very competitive for sellers. Sellers are in stiff competition more than ever with their home on the inside and out. A few home improvement projects will impact buyers. Sellers going to have to spend a little time (and cash) but it will be well worth it.

  1. Painting – take the opportunity to brighten up rooms and get rid of those scratches and finger prints and smudges. Use neutral tones. Your buyer is most likely not going to like that red wall (or even the wall paper) . Wall paper is an instant repair list item and instant work. I recently removed a wall paper border in a small bathroom and it was a thorn in my side. Freshen up paint on the outside and especially the front door. It is the first thing the buyers see. I have had buyers that pull up to a house and refuse to go in because the front is not appealing.
  2. Landscaping – trim the grass, get rid of any weeds, keep the shrubs under control. Low maintenance will be easier on you and the buyers eyes.
  3. De-clutter – Clean and de-clutter your home. By doing this, of course, makes it neat but also low stress and makes the home seem cleaner. Get rid of personal photos. Some buyers have a hard time envisioning the homes as theirs with personal photographs around the house. Remove furniture and items that take up a lot of space. Rent a storage unit if you have to. Remember buyers are evaluating the space. This week I showed a home that was from another era. Oh, maybe 20-25 years ago. There was stuff in every nook and cranny, plants, knick knacks, etc. . . The whole thing was rather chaotic. The buyer had no interest in the home, even though it was a good bones home. He could not get passed all the personal items and taste specific décor. The house really needed a make-over.
  4. Minor repairs – Buyers see the details and they can tell when you have a very clean house and all details are taken care of that the other working parts are most like taken care of the same way. Fix the handle on the drawer or that missing little piece of molding, or that stain spot.
  5. Staging – talk to your agent about staging. A job well done in this area can set you apart from all the other homes in your neighborhood.

Private Transfer Fees Now Prohibited in PA

“Pennsylvania has just become the 28th state to ban private transfer fees. Gov. Tom Corbett today signed HB 442 into law, becoming Act 8 of 2011.

Private transfer fees are part of a covenant attached to a property deed that forces the seller to pay 1 percent of the purchase price to a private third-party entity every time the property sells over the next 99 years. These fees cost unsuspecting homeowners thousands of dollars in additional closing costs.”

Quoted from:

http://www.parjustlisted.com/archives/8065#utm_source=feed&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=feed

PA New Construction Does Not Require Sprinklers

Consumers who are building a new single family home in Pennsylvania are now not required to install a sprinkler system. This just came in from the PA Association of Realtors:

“Sprinklers no longer a mandate in Pennsylvania!

Governor Tom Corbett today signed his first bill, House Bill 377 which removes the sprinkler mandate on all newly constructed one- and two-family homes. The new law is Act 1 of 2011.

Now that sprinklers are a consumer choice, builders must offer a buyer the option of installing sprinklers. Builders must also provide the buyer with information made available by the State Fire Commissioner on the possible benefits of installing a sprinkler system.

Among other things House Bill 377 will also change the codes adoption process in Pennsylvania and require increased standards for fire protection of flooring.

As of January 1, 2010, sprinklers are mandated in newly constructed townhomes. Act 1 will not change this requirement.”

Believe it or Not . . .

Today, I took an investor to see a home on the out skirts of Pittsburgh. We new it was going to be a rough one. Check out the strange photos I took on my cell phone. The house was built into a hill and it even touches the stone wall. This can be good. Also, it appeared that someone had bought it to maybe flip at some point and had done some strange remodeling.

Medicine cabinet by the toilet. ??? There was one by the sink too.

Looked like in this photo and below they built this part of the house around a falling stone wall.

The buyer decided to pass.

When Buying a Foreclosure, Avoid These Mistakes

There are still plenty of foreclosures out there in the market in many locations across the country. It is a great time to cash in on these deals. Buyers do need to be cautious when purchasing. Sometimes you are not always getting a great bargain. Here are some things to consider:

1. Just because a house looks good does not mean it is. There could be”mold like” substances hiding behind walls and floorboards which could lead to costly repairs. Sometimes a foreclosure or fixer upper can look run down and have an excellent shell and important interior parts. Recently I took a buyer into a an older $22,000 – 4 bedroom foreclosure. You could tell the home was wonderful in its day. But what we found out was that some of the beams in the basement were burned. Insurance money, we thought, had made some nice upgrades but . . . there was also the hidden issue of the home being required to tap in to new sewer lines in the town – ouch! I made sure any interested parties were aware.

Also, don’t rely on any previous inspections if there would be any. Empty homes can deteriorate quickly. I always suggest buyers have an inspection. Also you should check the sewer/septic and water statuses as some banks claim to know nothing about whether these systems exist or are currently in working order.

2. Price is should not always be the focus. The price will get many people’s attention. You want to research quality of the school district, location, crime rate and even the view, and accessibility. Also financial problems are not always the main reason for every foreclosure.

3. Don’t be tempted to “flip” the house. Sometimes the price is not always low enough for a neighborhood to get your money back out of the flip. Always consult a real estate professional, home inspector or a contractor if you lack that knowledge.

4. Stick to a budget. Buyers need to make sure that they have the money to repair what they need or want repaired. Buyers should avoid taking additional loans. A great option in some cases is a rehab loan. For example, there is a loan called a 203K rehab loan (not all loan agents have knowledge of how to run them nor do all want to). This loan will escrow money for needed repairs that are are required to get financing or even additional things that are desirable to do.

Here is a neat article with before and after photos of a remodeled fixer upper. You have to have vision when purchasing a home like this. As an agent, is amazing to see what different people see when they walk into a home.

Stylish Remodels: A Foreclosure Gets a Dramatic Makeover

Helpful Hints to Get Your Home Ready To Sell

Before choosing to update your home and make it appealing for a sale, a seller should seriously consider if that improvement will re-coup all the costs. Yes, buyers today want updated features, and many do not want to do the work themselves. Most likely if you over do it, you will be loosing money in today’s market.

“In an ideal real estate market, that would add value, but in today’s market, expensive pre-sale renovations, for the most part, aren’t worth it. The numbers bear this out: In general, a home remodel will cost quite a bit more than you’ll get back when you sell; remodels done in 2010 will only recoup 60% of their price when the house is sold, according to Remodeling magazine’s 2010 Remodeling Cost vs. Value survey, done in partnership with the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).” – RISMedia

Kitchens and bathrooms are still what attract buyers. So yes, that is where you would want to start. Here are some tips on what to do and not do if you are getting your home ready to sell.

In the Kitchen

  • Costly professional-grade cook’s appliances should be avoided. If buyer might enjoy the professional grade he might actually prefer a rival brand or maybe the buyer is not a chef.
  • Have your appliances serviced so that they are in excellent working order. If your appliances are seriously out dated, you may want to consider replacing them. Buyers do love stainless appliances – a great selling point for sure. Many times you can find new appliances on amazing clearances because it is old stock. One time I found an oven at Sears for 90% off.
  • Consider skipping replacing your kitchen cabinets even if slightly outdated. This can be a “taste-specific” issue and very subjective. If you chose light cabinets and they buyer prefers dark wood, then you might loose them over and improvement.
  • Think about refacing the cabinets if they are extremely outdated. You could have a company come in for under $2000 and this is a great investment in comparison to at price new kitchen.
  • Granite and marble should be avoided as a pre-sale upgrade. It is too costly. With so many different options, it will be tricky to find something that will please a large number of buyers.
  • Hiring a professional cleaning company is a wonderful idea. Have you ever had your car detailed. Well detail your kitchen and even the rest house. It will not go unnoticed.
  • Do touch up your the paint on the trim and the walls. Hopefully you still have some left over paint or that swatch to get more.

In the Bath

  • Don’t invest in big ticket “taste specific” items like the kitchen. Skip expensive tub and shower upgrades as they are a matter of taste.
  • Go a ahead and replace dated fixtures in the bath, sink and even lighting. Oh yes, and please get rid of that brown, green or pink toilet. Buyers don’t like to be forced to decorate around the color of the toilet. Another idea is replace your small shower head with a rainwater style to give the shower a spa feel.
  • Do try to brighten up the vanity. It is affordable to add a large mirror and lights.

Photo Copyright 2006-2011 – Amy S Myers