Tag Archives: Westmoreland

Foreclosures in Pittsburgh Area Fall 29 percent

Yes, the housing market is having a national crisis but the Pittsburgh area has remained stable. While yes there are foreclosures, they have fallen in numbers for the five-county area (Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Washington, and Westmoreland) by 29.1 percent comparing to July 2007. These statistics were reported from RealSTATs, a real estate information company.

Amazingly, Allegheny County was down to 138 foreclosures from 231 in July 2007. According to RealSTATs Allegheny County’s peak foreclosure year was 2006.

Home Buyer Tax Credit

Were you aware that there is a home buyer tax credit for buying a first home. It is part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 that was signed into Law this past July. Individual’s earning less than $75,000 and couples up to $150,000 can qualify for the full $7,500. Buyers with income of $95,000 to $170,000 may be eligible for partial credit.

If you have not owned a home in the past three years, you can take a tax credit worth 10% of the home’s sale price up to the amount of $75,000 (whatever is the lower amount). What is this program really is is a no interest loan. If you would owe $8,000 for a tax bill then after this credit of $7500, you would only owe $500 but in future years this amount would be paid back on your taxes over a period of years.

This program does not give you cash up front and is not free money but may be of assistance to many new homeowners.

See the following article for more details.

Selling a Vacant Home

Preparing a vacant home is more than just making sure that the property is clean. It goes beyond cleanliness. If there are competing homes in your neighborhood, this is just another way for you to stand above them all.

1. Curb Appeal – The first thing the buyer sees is the curb appeal. I even knew of a buyer who would not even go in a house because of the lack of curb appeal. It was a great house inside but could not get him in the door.

– Make sure your bushes are under control and trimmed, pull weeds, and even add some new mulch if needed.
– Your front door should be clean. Even repainted it, first impressions are important.
– Place a new doormat at the front door
– Keep your grass trimmed and maintained and clean up all clippings
– Add some plants that give color. It will ad some punch to the landscape.

2. Cleaning – don’t stress out your buyer’s, have a clean house.

– Clean the driveway and sidewalks. Try using a pressure washer.
– Make sure windows are clean inside and out.
– Clean your decks and patios with a pressure washer.

3. Make sure you have neutral colors. While your red wall may be your favorite, buyers react better to walls that will fit with their decor. If they have to repaint that makes the home more work. Try creams or light grays.

4. If your house is vacant the buyers eyes will go right to the carpet. Not to mention buyers see it is unsanitary. Replace with an low cost neutral tone.

5. If you can, stage your home. Give the buyer something else to look at besides floors, walls and ceilings. They will not be able to see the flaws as easily. If they see flaws, they are more likely to make a lower offer.

Energy Saving Tips for Your Home

Here are some energy saving tips for your home:

  • You can save up to an average of a third of your gas use if you have a gas oven or range with an automatic (electronic) ignition system rather than a unit with an open flame pilot light.
  • When boiling water, cover the pot, you will heat the water faster and save energy.
  • When using your stovetop make sure the pan size matches the heating element size. This will prevent loosing heat if the pot is too small for the burner.
  • Pre-heating your oven generally wastes energy and money, so unless required consider skipping the pre-heat.
  • If you have an extra freezer in the basement, make sure you keep it full if it is running. It costs more to keep air cold than to keep the contents.
  • Check the condenser coils on your appliance a couple of times a year and make sure they are clean. Appliance with dirty coils generally consume more energy.
  • Keep an eye on your door seals of your refrigerator and freezer. If the seal is not working properly and air is escaping, you may want to repair or replace.
  • Before you store leftovers in the refrigerator or freezer, let them cool down. This will prevent your refrigerator from having to cool them down.
  • Always cover foods, even more so liquids, prior to storing them in the refrigerator; sometimes moisture can enter the refrigerator and cause the refrigerator to work harder and use more energy.
  • Remember, these tips are only general guidelines. Every situation is different, so contact a professional for specific questions. If you have a tip to share, you are welcome to submit a post. Have a great day!

Selling Your Home

There are many people that try to sell their own home themselves, but many are not successful. About 80 percent of “For Sale By Owners” end up selling with an Real Estate Professional, believe it or not. Marketing and other chores can be a burden. Seller’s often are not sure how to price their home. Selling Real Estate is a full time job. An important aspect to consider when hiring an agent is always ask if an agent is full time in the real estate business. A good number of agents are not. The agents who are not full time quite often have other jobs. They are not there for you to answer questions and give you the high quality service.

Another interesting thing is that statistics show that you will, on average, receive 16% more for your home using a Real Estate Professional. Wow! That is great! Even though you pay a fee for these services you will be coming out with more money in your pocket. Not bad – and you don’t have to do any of the work except for having your house ready to show. Sounds like a good deal to me.

One of the top complaints that I have heard from sellers that have tried selling their own home is that they had a buyer but the financing fell through. One thing a Real Estate professional does is pre-approve buyers. This helps from wasting your valuable time. I don’t know about you, but I would not want to let just anyone in my house to show them my home – consider security. Just something to think about.

Staging a Home

It is very important to stage a home right to help sell it. One of the most important things is the front. If someone does not like the front, it is very difficult to get them to go inside, even thought the inside may be beautiful. Your front door is the first thing the buyers see – give it some fresh paint and make it shine!

Consider your clutter piles. You know when there is a clutter pile in a certain area of the house, sometimes I tend to block it out if I get busy. If it is not too big, I can forget it is there. I would be the first one to notice though I did not live there and were walking in. You need to consider what other people would see. Would you want to buy the house if you were walking in for the first time? Some times you can also get used to a smell if you have one in your home.

Another thing to do is if you cannot find a place for items that are making the place seem small, get a storage unit. Hopefully it will be for the short term. Believe me, it will make all the difference.

Here is a site with some great staging tips.

Technology in Real Estate

Technology has really come a long way in the last 10-12 years. I do not think many of us can leave home or go anywhere with out our cell phone. How did we ever survive before with out one let alone survive without the internet?

I use the internet everyday and in so many ways. My house uses it for personal and business communications, research, pay bills, shopping, watching videos and more. My son loves to play internet games with his friends live on the internet when he gets home from sports practice.

The internet helps me communicate so much better with my family out of state. I love sending photos instantly. It also helps me service my customers in a way that has never been done before until recently. I utilize everything I can in one day – and still there is more. Always try to learn everything you can about what technology is available to you. It won’t do you any good if you do not know how to use it.

Here are some stats that may boggle your mind ( or maybe not ).

As of September 2007, there were over 106 million registered accounts with MySpace.com. Approximately 230,000 people sign up every day.
The average myspace.com page is visited 30 times per day.
There are more than 2.7 billion searches performed on Google each month.
The number of text messages sent and received every day exceeds the population of the planet.
Approximately 47 million laptops were shipped worldwide last year.
One in eight couples married in the U.S. last year met online.

Stats quoted from: RISMedia.com