Tag Archives: PA

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  • Consider skipping replacing your kitchen cabinets even if slightly outdated.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  • Think about refacing the cabinets if they are extremely outdated.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

Pricing Your Home Properly

The number one reason a home sells is for the price.  How can pricing come into play when selling your home?

1)Â Compare other homes in the neighborhood by gathering data on recent homes sold generally in the last 90 to 180 days.

2) Consider Short sales and Foreclosures when pricing. Sometimes these are sold below market value but can bring comparable prices down.

3) Negotiate with Decisiveness. Buyers are not interested in negotiations where talks go back and forth.   They are more savvy and willing to walk away if things get to picky.

4) If your house is not selling it could be the price so know when to drop the price.  Buyers will not even look and even loose interest if the price is too high.

Remember your first 30 days on the market are the most critical. That is when you home gets the “most” attention because it is a new listing. So if you have it priced very competitively and it is a great house, you may command list price. I have seen it happen.

Pittsburgh – A Top City

Again Pittsburgh is getting attention for being a top city to reside.  Housing prices are very reasonable and it is still a buyers market with plenty of inventory. Here another article . . .

“Pittsburgh is quickly emerging as one of the top cities in the United States overall, with the largest number of green buildings, nationally high ranked museums and schools and even one of the best airports it truly aims to pull in top marks in all aspects and areas of life. As you can see Pittsburgh is a great choice to explore when you are looking to move, look at the prices, the culture and even the lifestyle and you are sure to fall in love with the city.”

Heinz Stadium 2009, Photo by A Myers
c 2009

Pittsburgh Makes Headlines Again

Pittsburgh has been making headlines especially in the last two years. The city has done it again. Pittsburgh also has a strong university presence. There are over 12 Universities here in Pittsburgh. This equates to great employment opportunities and livability as these schools are large employers.

The following is quoted from Forbes.com

“Pittsburgh has a really great cultural scene. We have a great ballet and a great symphony that travels the world and performs to packed houses, and there’s a restaurant scene that’s much more diverse than it ever was when I was growing up,” says Wendy Hermann, director of student services for master’s programs and a Pittsburgh native. “And it’s an easier sell, now that the Steelers and Penguins won their respective titles.”
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Indeed, Pittsburgh’s art scene, job prospects, safety and affordability make it the most livable city in the country, according to measures studied.

Real Estate Market is Picking Up

You know, as an agent, I am noticing changes in the market. I have recently seen some homes go on the market and sell in a week or a day. Some foreclosures and some regular home sales. Homes are starting to move faster. Some homes are crisp, clean, and great curb appeal and some homes are just a plan good old deal that needs just a little work.

Just last week I started working with a young couple that is getting married in the summer.  They are looking for a starter home under $30K. There are a few around that are in livable condition. Funny thing is that at least three they inquired about were sold in less than a week with multiple offers. One that had been on the market for over a year had four interested parties including mine and boom gone – sold to the owner’s daughter.

So inventory is getting sold off more quickly. I must say from what I am seeing, it is a fast moving spring market for the homes that are priced right and have the appeal.  Buyers you have a little over 6 months to take advantage of the first time home buyer tax credit. Combine that with today’s interest rates.  Also, consider those homes that have been sitting there (that you have been watching), they may not get reduced anymore in price.  They will just be sold – boom gone.

When I bought my first home in 1993, I had been looking for quite sometime. At that time the market was turning over houses very quickly. I kept loosing them to other buyers – it was very frustrating. The home that I chose, had only been on the market 10 days. I walked in and new I wanted it. I had the offer written up that night and it got accepted. I was told another woman was coming back the next day to pay cash and I beat her to it. I was so happy that I was able to secure the home. I lived there for almost 10 happy years.

Previous Posts

First-Time Homebuyer Federal Tax Credit Info

First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit Details

Great News! Tax Credit Can Be Used for Down Payment

Local Scenery

A few weeks back, I had the opportunity to see some unique scenery created by the winter weather. In downtown Leechburg, PA, near where my office is located, we spotted some interesting ice formations in the Kiski River. We saw huge pieces of ice all jammed together. Some large pieces even sticking straight up and refrozen.

Leechburg is connected to Hyde Park by a nearby walking bridge so that was a great place to get a view. The day was warm enough to sneak out with out a coat and be semi comfortable as the ice in the river started to break up. I was delighted with the wonderful photographic opportunity. So my family and I walked on out to get some cool shots. It was a tricky to get shots when you were not standing near one of the bridge supports because the bridge did sway. It was really hard to get an idea of how large the pieces were because, it was not possible to go pose near any of them. I never thought to look at the river this time of year.

Here are some of the photos:

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Photos by Amy S. Myers, Copyright 2009

Go Steelers!

Here is a cute video from a young local band in Harmony, Pennsylvania. Hope everyone enjoys the superbowl this weekend. Go Steelers!

Mortgage Rates Still Historically Low

Great news with this new year ahead. Mortgage rates still Historically Low. Take advantage of the low rates before they disappear.

“RISMEDIA, Mortgage rates remained low last week and many states saw sub-5.00 percent rates for the first time in recent history. The weekly average rates for 30-year fixed mortgages declined to 4.96 percent, down from 5.15 percent the week prior, according to the Zillow Mortgage Rate Monitor, compiled by leading real estate Web site Zillow.com(R). Rates for 15-year fixed mortgages decreased to 4.91 percent, down from 5.00 percent and 5-1 adjustable rate mortgages decreased significantly to 5.54 percent from 5.94 percent.”

-Quoted from RISMEDIA

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Also, Todd Fletcher, a Pittsburgh area mortgage broker agrees and give tips below on how rate locks work:

“Rate Lock Duration Lock durations can vary for mortgage financing, but most lenders lock in the interest rate for 60 days from the date the loan application is submitted. As long as the loan is closed within that lock-in period, the lender honors the agreed upon interest rate.

Some consumers are misled by advertising that quotes unrealistically low rates based on 15- or 30-day lock durations. This is called ‘short-pricing.’ The lender basically knows the borrower doesn’t have time to meet their conditions and have all the necessary paperwork in order within that brief time period. As a result, the lender is not obligated to honor the low rate that was listed in their advertising.

For simple refinance transactions, a 45-day lock-in period is more realistic. For purchase transactions, which are typically much more complex, you’re much safer going with a 60-day lock, even though the interest rate might be a little higher than the rate you see quoted on billboards and the Internet.

Borrowers should make sure they have a written rate lock agreement, and allow themselves a reasonable amount of time to close their loan. I prefer to lock in all my clients as soon as their application is filed, rather than gamble with predicting short-term interest rate movement. My team and I focus more on assisting clients with long-term goals and management of their mortgage debt to secure a strong financial future.”

Todd Fletcher
Mortgage Advisor
Equity Lending Group
Phone: 724-453-0335
Fax: 724-453-0463
tfletcher@equitylendinggroup.com

Town Home Living at it’s Best!

This three bedroom 2 1/2 bath home is approximately one year young. Immaculate – Ready to move in! The home has a huge lot going back 380 feet with a meandering pathway. You can cozy up to the gas fire place when it snows. The gas bills are low. There is a large full basement for all your storage needs. Things that have been recently added that were not included by the builder is new front storm door and cement front walk-way.

Excellent starter home or great for downsizing. Inquire about possible owner financing.


For more details click here.

Lots of Fun Things Going on in Pittsburgh

I was delighted to hear that fun things are happening in Pittsburgh. Did you know that Pittsburgh has a large working population which has increased by 28,000 since 1996? Large companies have announced moving headquarters downtown bringing even more jobs in. Read more exciting news about shopping and restaurants.

“In the face of gloom and doom spreading across the country, Pittsburgh’s Downtown is enjoying a bit of a building boom in housing, office development and retail.

The former Lazarus store is being converted into condos, shops, restaurants and offices.” and there is more.

quoted from:Â http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08341/932158-65.stm