Newtown, PA-First Saturday Street Event in Newtown, not to be missed!
Newtown, PA-First Saturday Street Event in Newtown
While Newtown area businesses are preparing for not one, but two, First Saturday events this weekend, organizers focus on catering to customers instead of “tension” between two local business associations.
The Newtown Corporation and the newly formed Newtown Borough Business Connection are behind the separate First Saturday celebrations that planners hope will promote area restaurants and retailers and become a successful tradition in Newtown Township and Newtown Borough.
NBBC’s First Saturday State Street event will feature live music, face painting, various discounts offered by participating businesses, sidewalk sales and an appearance by the Easter Bunny, all taking place between 1 and 5 p.m. this Saturday and every first Saturday of each month through October.
The Newtown Corp.’s rival event offers musicians, street performers, sidewalk sales, carriage rides and discounts at local restaurants. The plan is to unite the township and borough by including businesses located on both Sycamore Street and State Street.
First Saturday Newtown, as it is being called, will be held between noon and 7 p.m. every first Saturday, beginning this week until December.
Both organizations will provide many similar sales and attractions, and shoppers likely will stroll around town enjoying both events simultaneously.
All businesses were welcomed to participate and close whenever they please . It’s a really great event going on here in a fantastic little town.
For details about the Newtown Borough Business Connection’s First Saturday State Street, visit www.newtownbcc.org
For more information about Newtown Corp.’s First Saturday Newtown, visit www.allaboutnewtown.orgContinue Reading > Add a Comment
Interesting twist from Central Bucks School District, on Bucks County tax appeal issue.
The topic that has generated the most resposne and interest, in my blogging, has been the issue of filing real estate tax appeals in Bucks County. I have reported in previous posts, how easy the process is, and have offerred suggestions as to the best ways to go about filing appeals.
I have also posted on many occassions, that the number of appeals over the past couple of years, has increased tremendously.
This Sunday, the Courrier Times had an article that explained steps that at least one district is taking, in response to the tremendous increase in successful appeals. You can read the entire article, by clicking on the Courier Times link I created.
The article points out that more than 5,200 Bucks County property owners filed appeals to reduce their real estate tax assessments in 2009. The Central Bucks School District took an huge hit, incurring a $4 million dollar loss in revenue, according to district officials.
Tuesday, the Central Bucks School Board , voted to start filing their own appeals to increase assessments for properties that have been sold since last July that it feels are under assessed. The district is trying to increase revenues, without increasing the tax rate.
As the Courrier Times article points out, and as I have blogged about previously, property tax assessments in Bucks County, is a perennial source of controversy, because there has not been a Countywide reassessment since 1072. Therefore, many owners of newer homes feel that they pay too much tax, compared with older homes that have not been reassessed in decades.
Many tax assessment experts said that it is pretty much unprecedented for a school district to appeal certain residential properties on their own. It is also possible, as the article observes, that there will be unintended consequences for the district. It could create a great deal of uncertainty for folks considering buying houses in Central Bucks, because they potentially will not know what their real estate taxes will be, or possibly even if a particular house will have an appeal filed by the district.
The Central Bucks school board resolution outlined their procedure for identifying houses that are under assessed. Properties sold since July would be subject to a review to compare thet assessed value on record, with a theoretical assessed value based on the properties recent sale price. The theoretical assessment would be calculated by dividing the sale price by the common level ration, determined by the State Tax Equalization board. If the difference is more than 15% greater than the current assessed value, the district will consider an appeal. The decision to file, will also depend on whether the district could collect $500 or more in additional revenue over a 3 year period.
If an appeal is filed, the new taxes will only affect the new owner, and any increase would not take effect until July 2011.
The state assessment ratio for Central Bucks, is .1031. For example, a house that has sold for 300,000 should be assessed at $30,930. ($300,000 X .1031)
This is definitely an interesting twist on the Bucks County tax appeal issue. I fully expect that the levels of appeals will increase this year, over appeals in 2008 & 2009. More and more property owners all over Bucks County, feel that their properties are over assessed, based on the declines in the housing market. I realize that this creates a very difficult problem for school districts and municipalites, that depend on property taxes to pay for services. However, the fact remains, that there is a great deal of inequities in the property tax assessment, becuase of the lack of either rolling re-assessments or countywide reassessments. With a valid, competently prepared appraisal documenting fair market value, it is difficult, if not impossible, for the tax assessor to argue with a property owners assessment appeal.
If you need help understanding the appeal process, or would like the necessary form to file an appeal, please contact me, and I can help.Continue Reading > Add a Comment
Use a local mortgage company, please…..
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VC7IbFHa66M[/youtube]Had a property that was scheduled to close yesterday morning. Buyers are putting down almost 40%, and have credit scores around 800. Perfect buyers, one would think.
This is a classic story that reinforces my belief that buyers of real estate are so much better off using a local mortgage company, than going direct to a large, national lender, or finding a lender on-line.
Check out the video for the story, but basically, the lender these buyers chose, was a very well known, enourmous national, bank.
The bank was completely clueless as to how we work in Pennsylvania. As amazing as it sounds, they didn’t even understand that in Pennsylvania, we fund loans the day of closing. The buyers were selling a house in North Jersey, the day before their purchase, and the lender refused to do anything, including even preparing documents, until they had the copy of the HUD, (the closing statement) from the New Jersey settlement. We sent the Hud 4 times, before they even acknowledged receiving it.
Most banks will send documents, etc, and just make that a final condition.
Although closing was scheduled for 9:00 AM, we never received anything from the bank, until almost 4:00, and all we got at 4:00, was a mortgage. Didn’t get the note, didn’t get funding, and could not ever get anyone on the phone.
The complete ineptitude, was absolutely amazing!
This is not the first time I have experienced this. If you use a local mortgage broker, you will have a local contact. Generally that person will be at the closing, or if not, will at least be in control of what is happening.
Again, generally the rates are comparable, so you are not paying anything extra, for having the benefit of a local contact.
The local contact will understand how our local market works.
Please do yourself a favor, and work with a reputable, local mortgage broker.
Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments.Continue Reading > Add a Comment
Yardley, Newtown, Bucks County real estate review
We read all the time, statistics about real estate from all over the country.
Real estate is, and always has been, local. It is local, sometimes even down to neighborhood by neighborhood.
I always track statistical information about real estate in Yardley, Newtown, Lower Makefield Township, Upper Makefield Township, and many of the communities that I serve.
People ask me every single day, how is the market? I can answer that question, based on how carefully I track statistics, as well as from my own personal experiences in representing buyers and sellers.
So, here is a brief look at a couple of interesting real estate charts, for Yardley and Newtown.
If you look at the charts, you will see that after falling a bit, during the 90 day review period, inventory levels are increasing in both Yardley and Newtown. As you would expect, with more houses on the market, it is taking longer to sell. Average days on the market is also increasing.
Houses can and do sell. It is all about the price. These charts make a compelling case for wanting to be sure that if you are interested in selling, you must price your house correctly.
If you have questions, please feel free to contact me.Continue Reading > Add a Comment
Real Estate Prices in Yardley, Newtown & Bucks County…where are we?
Saw a really intersting article this morning, by Alan Heavens, the terrific real estate columnist in the Philadelphia Inquirer, about where real estate prices are in the Philadelphia region today, compared with many other parts of the country.
What this article explained, is consistent with what I have been telling people ever since the real estate bubble burst, which is, that our area has not been impacted anywhere nearly as badly as many other parts of the country.
Based on a report by IHS Global Insight, median real estate prices in the Philadelphia region, in the 4th quarter of 2009, were almost exactly where they were in the 4th quarter of 2005. ($228,300 in 2009, vs. 227,300 in 2005)
The following were comparisons in other major metropolitan areas:
- Los Angeles 525,100 in 2005 Vs. 368,600 in 2009
- Las Vegas 287,000 in 2005 vs. 123,000 in 2009
- Miami 281,300 in 2005 vs. 180,500 in 2009
- Boston 359,300 in 2005 vs. 315,400 in 2009
- New York 496,800 in 2005 vs. 456,300 in 2009
- Chicago 294,400 vs. 210,700 in 2009
- Detroit 113,200 in 2005 vs. 71,800 in 2009
- Washington 399,000 in 2005 vs. 326,600 in 2009
- Phoenix 242,100 in 2005 vs. 146,500 in 2009
Iwould suggest, that real estate values in most parts of Bucks County, including Yardley and Newtown, are consistent with pricing trends in the Philadelphia metropolitan area.
I believe that our area did not experience as wild an upswing, when the market was rising, as some of the more speculative areas in the country, like Florida and Arizona, and as a result, as prices have fallen, our drop has not been as dramatic, either.
I also agree with the article, that mentioned that Philadelphia is a stable area, where people grow up and remain. I think the same is true of Bucks County.
We also have a diverse, and relatively stable job market. From a logistical perspective, folks in Yardley and Newtown, commute in many different directions, so if a job is lost in one city, it is possible to find something in another city, without requiring a move. Many people commute to both New York and Philadelphia from Bucks County.
If you have a chance, check out the article and let me know what you think. Click this link to the Inquirer article.Continue Reading > Add a Comment
Spring is in the air, in Yardley, Newtown and all over Bucks County
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4J79DIAnYcI[/youtube]If you live anywhere in the area around Yardley, Newtown, or in the Bucks County, Pa. area, then you know that the past few days have been absolutely gorgeous. Spring is finally in the air!
With temperatures in the 60′s and even 70′s, the outdoor activities in the area, are in full bloom.
As I mentioned in this short video, there was a long line at Rita’s Water Ice, in Newtown. The canal towpath was packed with joggers, and walkers. People were sitting outside, along the river, in New Hope, and Peddlers Village was packed.
Lots of families feeding the ducks at the Yardley pond.
There is nothing like Bucks County in spring time.Continue Reading > Add a Comment
Real estate market statistics for Newtown, Bucks County, Pa.
In my last post, I took a close look at real estate statistics through February of 2010, for Lower Makefield Township.
Today, we will see what is happening with the real estate market, in Newtown Township, Bucks County.
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- Inventory of homes for sale at the end of February this year, was 120
- Inventory of homes for sale at the end of January, 2010 was 101.
- Inventory of homes for sale at the end of February, of 2009 was 119
Basically, unit inventory is virtually equal to what it was last year, at the same time, but did rise by 19 homes, from January, 2010.
- 16 homes sold through the end of February, 2010, at 95% of the asking price.
- 13 homes sold through the end of February, 2009, at 92% of the asking price.
Unit sales volume is up 23.1% compared with last year. Full year 2009 unit sales were down by 3% from the prior year. Buyers are achieving approximately 5% as an average discount off of the asking price.
- Average price of a home for sale in February of 2010 was $475,000
- Average price of a home for sale in February of 2009 was $501,000.
List prices of homes in inventory, is donw by 5.2%
What does all of this mean to buyers and sellers? There is currently a supply of just over 6 months of inventory. We consider a market to be balanced between buyers and sellers, when the inventory is about at 6 months. At the moment, that is the case in Newtown Township. However, houses are definitely taking longer to sell. Average days on the market is 62, versus 53 last year. Across the board, prices fell 3.7% in Newtown, for all of 2009. Although the list price of homes has fallen this year, it is too early to see what the 2010 trend will be.
As always, it is critical to price your house correctly. Be aware that buyers are achieving approximately a 5% discount from the asking price.
If you have any questions, or want more detailed information, please feel free to contact me.Continue Reading > Add a Comment
Lower Makefield Township, Bucks County market statistics Feb, 2010
The following information, regarding the real estate market in Lower Makefield Township, in Bucks County, are taken directly from our MLS data.
Please refer to the charts below, which will show the following as we look at real estate statistics, through February of 2010:
- Inventory of homes for sale in Lower Makefield Township at the end of February 2010 was 191
- Inventory of homes for sale in Lower Makefield Township at the end of January 2010 was 188
- Inventory of homes for sale in Lower Makefield Township at the end of February 2090 was 186.
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Unit inventory was up 2.7% year over year, and up by 3 houses from January 2010.
- Average price of a home for sale in Lower Makefield Township February 2010 was $491,000.
- Average price of a home for sale in Lower Makefield Township February 2009 was $551,000.
List price of homes for sale in inventory is down 10.8%
- 22 homes sold as of the end of February 2009, at 89% of list price.
- 27 homes sold as of the end of February 2010, at 92% of list price.
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Unit sales volume is up 22.7% year over year, from last year, which was up 1.6% from the previous year.
What does this mean to buyers and sellers?
There is still nearly 9 months of inventory of homes for sale in Lower Makefield Township. We consider a balanced market to exist when the inventory level is around 6 months. This means that to no one’s surprise, conditions still favor the buyer. There are still more houses for sale, than there are buyers for them. As you would also expect, the average days on the market is increasing. It is now 85 days, compared with 68 last year. If you are selling, the market is still a challenge. It is more important than ever, to price your house correctly, and market it aggressively.
It is possible to sell homes quickly, and get close to, or at, the asking price. I recently had a listing in Lower Makefield, that generated multiple offers, and sold for the asking price, in a week or so.
If you are curious how that happens, call or email me, and I will explain.Continue Reading > Add a Comment
Fabulous new listing in Yardley Run! Lower Makefield Twp., PA 4 bed 2 and 1/2 bath Colonial
JUST LISTED! Enjoy my photoshow of my new listing in Yardley Run! An amazing 4 bedroom colonial on a huge lot!
Top 5 things that devalue your house, when selling real estate in Bucks County
In this post, I am going to take the opposite approach, and suggest 5 things that decrease a home’s value, when compred with other properties.
Clearly, there are a lot of factors that go into trying to decide what a house is worth, in a given area and market. Things like location, overall condition, size, ammenities, etc, help to determine how one house compares with another. Lets look at 5 things that will devalue your house:
This would seem obvious, but if you have a house that is in a weak position in a neighborhood, it can significantly decrease the value. For example, a few years ago, I sold a house for a seller, that back to railroad tracks. The house sold for approximately 15% less than it would have, had it been on the opposite side of the street.
The same can occur is a house is on a main road.
The other issue, in terms of the neighborhood, is how are the surrounding homes maintained? If you are trying to sell a house, and it is next to a property that is an eyesore, it will afect a properties value.
2. Curb Appeal
Again, this may seem obvious, but when I am showing real estate in Yardley or Newtown, I can often tell how a house will show inside, by what the exterior looks like. If the gardens are full of weeds, and the exterior needs painting or other upkeep, it will absolutely affect how much the house is worth. If your house makes a poor first impression, it will impact how much a prospective buyer is willing to pay.
This sort of goes along with the observation above, which is that first impressions, are critically important. If a buyer walks into a house, and finds peeling wall paper, or rooms that need to be painted, it often sends a signal of distress, that can translate into lower values. The same can be true, if your house is painted with garish color schemes. The lesson is, make sure that your house is freshly painted, if you want to maximize its value, and if you do need to paint, pick soft, neutral and warm colors, that will appeal to the widest audience.
Once potential buyers get inside your home, the kitchen represents one of, if not the most critical space in the house. Sinks, contertops and cabinets, are extremely worthwhile investments, when getting houses ready for sale. If the kitchen is cluttered and disorganized, it will negatively effect the value of the house.
If your counters and/or backsplash are stained, it will impact the perception of value that the buyer has.
Even minor kitchen improvements, can make a big difference in the value of a house. You really want your kitchen to sparkle, when you are selling a house.
As with kitchens, old and tired bathrooms, will detract from the value of a house. It is well documented, that the best investment that one can make in a house, is in kitchens and baths. These are important spaces, and when a buyer looks at bathrooms with chipped or old tile, or sees areas in need of new grout, etc, they will lower their sense of what a house is worth. Again, these things send a message of distress, which reduces a homes value.
These suggestions were taken from a wonderful website called, “How Stuff Works“. Check it out for lots of other good ideas.
As always, I welcome your thoughts or comments.Continue Reading > Add a Comment