Who are the real estate buyers in Yardley, Newtown, Upper Makefield & Lower Makefield, Bucks County, Pa.
Some things in real estate have remained unchanged over the past decade, while some things have changed drastically. Here, according to the National Association of Realtors , are some observations:
- 1999; 37% of buyers searched for a home online. 2009: 90% of buyers searched for a home online.
- 1999; Median home value is $137,600. 2009; median home value is $172,600. When accounting for inflation, not much change over the decade.
- 1999; 82% of buyers purchased detached, single family homes. 2009: 78% of buyers purchased detached, single family homes.
- 1999: 46% of buyers choose suburban neighborhoods. 2009: 54% of buyers choose suburban neighborhoods.
- 1999: 68% of buyers were married couples. 2009: 60% of buyers are married couples.
- 1999 and 2009: the median age for buyers was 39.
- 1999 and 2009: “neigborhood quality, affordability, and convenience to work and school have consistenly been top priorities.
So how do those statistics compare with my real estate practice, in the Yardley area of Bucks County?
Well, during the past year, 56% of the buyers I worked with, purchased detached, single family homes. This is slightly less than in prior years. Part of the reason for that, was the first time home buyer tax credit. The majority of first time home buyers that I worked with, bought condo’s and townhomes.
I prefer distinguishing buyers as either pairs (or more) compared with single person buyers. Using that comparison, 28% of the buyers I worked with, were single buyers, basically meaning that one person purchased the house.
In terms of searching on-line, basically 100% of the buyers I worked with used the internet as a search tool to find homes.
The median age of buyers I represented this year, was a bit younger than the National Association of Realtor national median age of 39.
I thought these statistics were interesting. The internet has definitely changed the way buyers look for homes. This does not come as any surprise, I’m sure.
Let me know what statistics you find most interesting, and I will see you in 2010!Continue Reading > Add a Comment
You want to see how many houses in Yardley, Newtown & Bucks County?
My answer is, it depends.
Interesting article in the Wall Street Journal this morning, prompted me to address this question. The article described one California buyer, who spent over 2 1/2 years, and looked at 298 homes, before finally purchasing the house of her dreams.
I have had buyers ask me, how many houses am I supposed to see, before I make a decision? More often than not, that sort of question is asked by first time home buyers.
So, my answer is, that as a buyer, you should see as many houses as it takes for you to be fully comfortable with the decision to make an offer. I suggest to clients all the time, that the more houses you see, the more you learn. You begin to appreciate, value in the market, relative to price. Personally, I think it is extremely important that buyers make fully informed decisions. In order to get to that point, buyers have to see enough homes to feel confident that they understand the market.
According to the National Association of Realtors, buyers spent 10 weeks on average, searching for homes, before making an offer, this past year. That compared with 8 weeks in 2008. Average buyers looked at between 10 & 12 homes, before reaching a decision.
So how many homes, and how long, is enough? That number is very different for different people. In my experience, I have had relocation buyers, who have been through the process many times, come into the area, see 3 houses in an afternoon, and make an offer on one of the three.
On the other hand, I have had first time home buyers spend months and months with me, checking out dozens and dozens of houses, before reaching a decision. I have also had buyers who were making, what I call, elective moves, take months and months, as well. I recently had a client close on a house in Upper Makefield Township , who started the process with me over a year ago. They were fortunate, becasue, like the California buyer, they were able to negotiate a price for their dream house, that was quite significantly lower than what they would have paid, when we first started the process.
I don’t mind spending whatever time is necessary for a buyer to be comfortable with their decision. I think that is the critical point. As realtors, I believe that we have an obligation to make sure that our clients are comfortable with their decisions. We should have the patience to allow the process to take whatever time is necessary for that to happen. My only criteria for the prospective buyer is to be sure that once they do find the right house, that they are able to buy it.
If you have thoughts or comments, please let me know.Continue Reading > Add a Comment
Real Estate in Yardley, Newtown, Bucks County, Pre-closing walk-thru?
I uploaded a short video, this morning, on my way to a closing on a house in Northampton Township, in Bucks County, focusing on the purpose of a pre-settlement walk-thru.
Especially for first time homebuyers, who may not be familiar with what happens at the final walk-thru, I thought the video might be helpful.
Would love to hear your thoughts and comments, and any experiences you may have had at pre-settlement walk-thrus.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ac6eGDgMevM[/youtube]Continue Reading > Add a Comment
Should the seller pay to have house inspected, in Yardley & Newtown, Bucks County?
I realize that this may strike some real estate sellers as odd, but when I meet with clients who are considering selling their house, I often suggest that they pay for a home inspection, as part of the process of selling?
Why would a seller decide to do that? Isn’t the home inspection part of what the buyer pays for?
The answer is, yes, the buyer will most likely hire their own inspector, and will make their offer contingent on the outcome of that inspection.
The normal course of a real estate transaction, here in Yardley, Newtown and all over Bucks County, is that after the contract is signed, the buyer conducts a home inspection. The home inspection includes a complete and thorough evaluation of all systems and mechanical components of the house, including the roof, HVAC system, plumbing, etc.
Unfortunately, it is very common, that following the home inspection, there is another round of negotiations, covering who will pay for what repairs. In fact, the most likely cause of a real estate transaction not getting to closing, is the inability of the buyer and seller to negotiate the outcome of the inspection.
That gets me to my original point, which is that I often suggest to the seller, that they have a home inspection completed prior to putting their house on the market.
Here is the point. By doing their own inspection, the seller can make a calm decision as to what, if anything, they are going to fix. They are able to disclose those issues that come up that they are not going to fix. By doing that up front, they are often able to remove those elements from further negotiation, after a contract is presented. This can often save a great deal of stress, and in many cases, enables the seller to have a much smoother path to closing.
Although asking the seller to have a home inspection completed, prior to presenting the house to the market, may appear a bit counterintuitive, it is often a very succesful strategy, that gives the seller a much better chance to control the inspection process.
I would love to hear thoughts or comments.Continue Reading > Add a Comment
Christmas in Yardley, Newtown & Bucks County.
Writing this post on Christmas eve, I thought I would take a break from talking about the real estate market, and focus on the holiday season in Yardley, Newtown, and all over Bucks County, Pa.
As you can see from the few photos that I have posted, with snow on the ground, Bucks County presents a beautiful picture, at this time of the year.
To all who celebrate Christmas, I wanted to say, that I hope you enjoy a very merry Christmas, with your loved ones. I hope that the holiday season finds you and your families, in good health, and that you enjoy the spirit of the season, together.
One of my favorite columnists, Nicholas D. Kristoff , who writes in the New York Times, had a wonderful list in his column today, of relatively unknown charaties, that do amazing work, all over the world. I realize that there are so many, worthwhile charaties, and that it is always difficult to single out a few, but I thought that the work that these particular charaties do, often in relative obscurity, was worth mentioning, espcically this time of the year.
So here is the list:
Acumen Fund - They bring a venture capital sensibility to aid work by investing money in for profit businesses that treat the poor as customers. This reflects a trend of using business mechanisms to fight poverty.
Afghan Institue of Learning - This is an aid group run by Afghan women. They now serve 350,000 Afghan women and children annually. They focus on education and self reliance.
BRAC – This is an antipoverty organization in Bangladesh, which is branching out to Afghanistan and Africa. It emphasizes organizing village women and promoting education, health and microfinance.
Developments in Literacy - This group builds modern schools in Pakistan, particularly for girls.
Deworm the World - This group takes on a problem that we, in America don’t even think about. Most kids in poor countries, have intestinal worms. The sad part of this issue is that it takes one pill a year, which costs 50 cents, to protect a child!
SOIL - This groups aim is to improve sanitation and public health in Haiti. It is run by two American women.
Sustainable Health Ventures - This is a group whose mission is to help girls in poor countries, with sanitary products and medicine.
The Worldwide Fistula fund - This group is dedicated to correcting a chlidbirth injury that basically subjects a women to a life of pain and misery. A $450.00 surgicalk repair generally solves the problem, but for most of the developing world, that is a sum that is way beyond the reach of virtually everyone.
So, there you have it. Lesser known charaties that are tackling global poverty in innovative ways. Giving, is a wonderful way to recognize the spiritual nature of this holiday season.
Merry Christmas, to all who celebrate.
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New Hope, Pa – Bucks County – NEW YEAR’S At The Nevermore Hotel – December 31, 2009.
New Hope, Pa – Bucks County – NEW YEAR’S At The Nevermore Hotel – December 31, 2009.
Looking for a great place to relax and enjoy New Year’s Eve. The Nevermore hotel located in the heart of New Hope has a variety of dining and dancing options available. Whether you prefer a quiet dinner or a night of fun music and dancing they have an package for everyone.
Here are a few of their offerings:
Bar/Pub Menu Available In The Lounge ~ For Those Who Prefer a Quiet or Early Evening ~ Bar & Lounge Table Space Only ~ First Come Service 6 PM — 8 PM
Or HORS D’OEUVRES ~ COCKTAIL PARTY in HARLANS AND DANCE PARTY
Piano Accompanied, Elegant Butlered Selections Served Throughout the Evening ~ NOT THE TYPICAL “PRIX FIXE” • Cash Bar
8:30 PM — 2 AM – $55 — Includes New Hope’s Dance Party Listed Below Advanced Tickets Recommended.
ORContinue Reading > Add a Comment
New real estate market update, Yardley, Lower Makefield Township, Bucks County
Lower Makefield Township, Bucks County, real estate closed sale pace, 2006-2009
Sitting in my house, watching the snow fall, realizing that this could be the largest snowfall in December that we have ever had in Bucks County, I thought it would be an interesting exersise to look at some real estate statistics in various Bucks County markets.
I started this exercise, by looking at how many single family homes are selling, in Lower Makefield Township, on a monthly basis, from 2006 through November of this year.
Here is what the statistics show. At the height of the sellers market, which was basically 2006 & 2007, there 49 closed sales in June of 2006, and 40 in July that year. In 2007, there were 46 closed sales in June, and 56 in July. In most years, June and July are the most active months for closings. Continue reading “New real estate market update, Yardley, Lower Makefield Township, Bucks County” »Continue Reading > Add a Comment
Real Estate property tax appeal update, Bucks County, Pa.
Over the past several months, I have posted a number of articles on real estate property tax appeals, in Yardley, Newtown, Upper Makefield, Lower Makefield, and all over Bucks County.
I have pointed out how easy the process is, and how most appeals actually succeed.
There was another article in the Bucks County Courier Times, this morning, that addressed the outcome of the appeals, throughout the County this past year, and the overall effect on tax revenues.
As noted in the story, the overall value of property in Bucks County declined by approximately 40 million, according to the board of assessment report. This is the first time in at least 35 years that the overall value declined.
The municipalities that were coping with the largest reduction, are Upper Makefield, Northampton and Buckingham, among others. There were more than 5100 appeals filed this past year, which was an all time record for appeals.
According to the assessment board report, about 80% of the appeals were granted. For those who appealed successfully, you will see the change in your 2010 real estate property tax bills, which will arrive in the spring. As I have pointed out in my posts, it is a relatively easy process to file an appeal. You merely download an appeal form from the county website, and submit it to the County Board of Assessment. You will be given a hearing date, and you must appear at the hearing, with data supporting your position, that your property assessment should be lowered.
Appeals for 2011, will be accepeted from January 1, 2010 through August 1, 2010.
If you have any questions about the process or would like suggestions and/or help, please contact me. See the chart below for the municipalities who lost the most, in the appeals process.
Does it make sense to sell or buy first, in Yardley, Newtown, Upper Makefield, Lower Makefield, Bucks County?
Just spoke with a client of mine, who purchased a town house several years ago. They would like to take advantage of the market right now, to buy a larger, single family home. They realize that interest rates are incredibly low, and there is a lot of inventory, since it is such a buyer’s market. So, their question is, do we buy first or sell first?
This is a very common question, so I created this video blog, addressing the various options.
Check it out, and let me know what you think.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHI3gQg0N1s[/youtube]Continue Reading > Add a Comment
Home Buyer tips for saving for your first home
It can be one of the hardest things to do — save money for your first home. But now, more than ever, there’s incentive to buy. Government housing tax credits have been extended and that’s sparking buyers’ interest.
Reports show that U.S. homes sales increased 10 percent in October to the highest level since February 2007. The tax credit, less expensive homes, and lower mortgage rates are being credited. However, while the government is helping to support the purchasing of a home, many Americans still can’t afford to buy one.
So how do you get in a position to buy a home? For some the process can seem nearly impossible. First-time homebuyers are often fearful they’ll never be able to accumulate a down payment now that stricter guidelines are being enforced for taking out home loans.
Look over your finances and see where things can be cut back a little. For instance, maybe you have a gym membership that you really use only a few times a month; does that justify having it? Another big area to find savings, especially for single people, is the dining out category. Some people spend an enormous amount of money eating out, if you really want to save, take a look at the car you’re driving. Well, if you’re trying to save for your retirement or trying to save for a house and you go out and buy a $30,000 car by taking out an auto loan—you can’t afford it. What you’re doing is borrowing against future income to be able to drive a car that’s more expensive than what you can really afford.
People spend an enormous amount of money on things like sporting events and while I understand their passion, if they’re trying to save for a home, something must go. “I’m not saying to cut it all out but how about cutting half of it out. It comes down to trade-offs.” Another trade-off might be to watch some of the events on TV rather than go to them. This brings us to the point of seeking savings in your utility bills by bundling cable, Internet, phone or maybe even cutting down to the bare essentials of channels. Shop around for services and see if you can combine them under one company and get discounts for doing so.
Have you checked your cell phone bill lately? A lot of times those charges add up very quickly. People are wasting an enormous amount of money in this area because of the Web surfing, the down loads, and the text messaging.
The bottom line is saving for a home is a very personal experience—what one person is willing to give up another person may not. If you keep your goal set on purchasing that home then you’ll find the effort to get there is not nearly as difficult and you’re likely to find that there are more places to cut costs than you realize.Continue Reading > Add a Comment