Living in Yardley or Newtown in Bucks County, its getting cold, are your windows drafty?
Preventative care will minimize your home repair costs and, at this time of year, it’s a good idea to sweep your home’s exterior for sign of air leaks and drafts around windows. If you are in the Yardley and Newtown area, you know that it is getting cold!
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafty windows can account for 30% of a home’s heat loss in winter so it’s best to find them, and seal them.
In this 4-minute video from the DIY Network, you’ll learn how to identify your home’s leaky windows, and how to seal them with caulk. The job requires a little bit of elbow grease, but it’s manageable for even the notice handyman.
Some of the tips include:
- How to use a lit candle to find windows that leak air
- How to remove existing caulk using caulk softener
- How to “push the bead” of caulk for proper application
The video concludes with a brief tutorial on setting your home’s programmable thermostat so, when taken with the window caulking exercise, homeowners in Lower Makefield Township could stand to save a bundle on their winter heating bills.
Hope that you find this video helpful.Continue Reading > Add a Comment
Want to know if Zillow Zestimates are accurate in Bucks County? Check this out.
Often times, when I meet a client looking to buy or sell real estate in Yardley, Newtown or elsewhere in Bucks County, and we go over comparable homes, they refer to a home valuation from Zillow.
Well, you would be surprised to know, that Zillow, hidden on their site, actually shows how accurate their valuations are. You would probably also be surprised to know that, although Bucks County is considered by Zillow, to be an area of 4 star accuracy, as the chart below shows, only 65% of their zestimates, are within 10% of the true value. Further, only 84% are only within 20%. Only 38% are within 5% of the sale price.
I thought this was really important to understand. I offer a very easy way of finding out about the real estate market in your neighborhood. I have a market snapshot program that will automatically email you each month, a comprehensive analysis of all MLS activity within about a 5 mile radius of your home. It will provide you with days on the market, active, pending and closed sales, and will show the differences between asking prices and sold sold prices.
Check out the chart below, email me if you would like to receive the market snapshot each month.Continue Reading > Add a Comment
Pre closing walk thru, Newtown, Pa. house
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PF9skBmRdSM[/youtube]Continue Reading > Add a Comment
Check out the annual Taste of Lambertville this weekend.
Since my birthday is November 20th, I was especially interested in finding things to do this coming weekend.
If you are in the Yardley, and Newtown area, are are looking for a great Friday night activity, its the annual, “Taste of Lambertville” night this coming Friday, November 19th.
If you are not from the immediate area, Lambertville is in New Jersey, across the river from New Hope. It is fun to experience both towns, by walking across the bridge over the Delaware River that connects New Hope and Lambertivlle.
Restaurants that are participating, include Hamilton Grill Room, Triumph Brewing Company of New Hope, Ricks, Lambertivlle Station, Tortuga’s Cucina, Baker’s Treat, Thai Tida, Caffe Galleria, The Chocolate Box, Marhaba, Bell’s Tavern, City Market, Inn of the Hawke and Cabot Creamery.
We have been to virtually every one of those restaurants, and can only advise that you come hungry. They are all wonderful places.
Wine will be provided by Walker’s Wine and Spirits, Wonderful Work of Wines, and Unionville Vineyards.
Tickets are $45.00, and are available and the Lambertville Area Chamber of Commerce office at 59 N. Union St. and Sojourner on Bridge Street.
The tasting party will be Friday from 6-9 p.m. at the banquet hall of the Lambertivlle Rescue Squad on Alexander Ave. There will also be a silent auction and live music.
For more information call 609-397-0055, or check the website Lambertville.org.
It will definitely be a fun way to spend part of your Friday evening!Continue Reading > Add a Comment
Bucks County real estate market update, October, 2010.
Hard to believe, we are into November already. Wanted to provide another Bucks County real estate market update, based on statistics direclty from our MLS system.
If you follow my blog, I also provide market updates on the varioius communities that I serve, including Lower Makefield Township and Yardley, as well as Newtown, Upper Makefield, and Washington Crossing real estate.
Bucks County Real Estate Upate, year to date through October of 2010
Sold/closed units through October, 2010:
- 3912 2010
- 4812 2009
What does this mean? October closings were down by a whopping 40%, for all of Bucks County. As a result, the total number of housing units that have sold, is now just a bit lower than it was at the same time last year. (down 2.3%) I suspect, that based on the number of currently pending sales, that this difference will increase through November and December.
However, if you examine all of the localities that I track, you will note that many still show higher unit sales in 2010, than in 2009. We will look at some of those in future posts.
Real Estate prices in Bucks County.
- $346.000 2010
- $329,000 2009
What does this mean? Interesting to note that the average price of a home sold in Bucks County, is up by 4.4% this year. Despite the fact that the pace of sales has slowed, it appears that pricing has remained stable, up to this point for 2010.
Pending sales represents the best forward looking indicator we have. Pending sales were off by 33% in October of 2010, compared with 2009. Thats why I anticipate the softening of the number of units that we will close for the rest of the year.
Bucks County Real Estate Inventory:
- 4709 Homes for sale in Bucks County, as of the end of October 2010.
- This represents an increase of 10.2% from the same time last year.
- Bucks County wide, there remains a 12 month supply of homes on the market.
- This is up from 10,7 at the same time last year.
- Average days on the market is slightly lower than last year. This is the first time we have seen this trend in a number of years.
What does this mean? Since a market is considered balanced when there is about a 6 month supply of homes on the market, factors still favor buyers. No surprise in that. Average list price of homes in inventory, is down by 5.5%, although buyers are still obaining an average discount from the asking price of 7 to 8%.
Bottom line, the market conditions still favor buyers. Sellers may be getting a bit more realistic in their pricing, which is why average days on the market has decreased a bit. You will see that each individual market perfoms in a unique way, but as I have said for a while, although if you are selling a home in Bucks County, it is obviously not a great market, our real estate market is a lot better than it is in many other parts of the country.
Becuase the market is so local, please contact me if you would like to know what is happening in your specific neighborhood.Continue Reading > Add a Comment
Want to buy distressed homes in Lower Makefield Township?
According to October data from foreclosure-tracking firm RealtyTrac, foreclosure filings topped 300,000 for the 20th straight month last month as 1 in every 389 U.S. homes received a foreclosure filing.
The generic term “foreclosure filing” is defined to include default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions. Versus the month prior, filings fell 4 percent, and as compared to October 2009, filings were essentially the same.
As usual, foreclosure density varied by region last month, with just 5 states accounting for close to half of the nation’s repossessed homes.
- California : 14.8 percent of all bank repossessions
- Florida : 14.4 percent of all bank repossessions
- Michigan : 7.3 percent of all bank repossessions
- Texas : 6.6 percent of all bank repossessions
- Arizona : 6.0 percent of all bank repossessions
The other 45 states accounted for the remaining half.
It reminds us that, what I have been pointing for a while, now, and that is, that all real estate is local. It can even vary neighborhood by neighborhood!
Having said that, there is no doubt, that we have seen more distressed property activity in Lower Makefield Township, and Yardley, than I have ever seen since I have been in realestate. For today’s Lower Makefield Township home buyers, though, foreclosures can represent an interesting opportunity.
Homes bought in various stages of foreclosure are often less expensive than other, non-foreclosure homes and it’s one of the reasons why distressed home sales now represent 35 percent of all home resales. But don’t confuse less expensive for less costly. Foreclosed homes may also be in various stages of disrepair. Getting them into living condition can be expensive. Often times the banks are extremely difficult to deal with, and can take months and months to make a decision on offers. Further, generally speaking, the banks who own properties, will not consider doing any repairs that may be necessary. The prospective buyer, is often on their own when it comes to taking on future repairs that are needed. It is critically important to understand the process, if you are considering buying a foreclosure or even a property that is in short sale.
Your best real estate “deal”, therefore, may be that non-distressed home that’s in sound, move-in ready condition.
If you’re buying foreclosures — or even just thinking about it — make sure you talk with a real estate agent first. Buying distressed property is different from the “typical” home purchase. You’ll want somebody experienced in your corner, who can explain clearly, what you are likely to encounter.Continue Reading > Add a Comment
Mortgage financing in Yardley, Newtown & Bucks County, fed guidelines are being tightened.
If you are interested in buying a house in Yardley, Newtown or anywhere in Bucks County, or if you are interested in refinancing your current mortgage, please note that the lending guidelines are continuing to get tighter.
This should not come as a surprise to anyone, and it also should not be interpreted to mean that no one is able to obtain financing. It just means, as the survey below points out, that the qualifying guidelines are continuing to get more difficult.
In addition, the paperwork requirements, along with appraisal hurdles, continue to create additional challenges. Again, these challenges are not at all insurmountable. I have a number of transactions that have closed recently, and in each case our buyers were able to get mortgages at incredibly low rates.
It does pay to be prepared, though. Do everything possible to get your financial house in order. In addition, allow plenty of time, for the loan process to take place.
Lenders are constantlly adding to requirements. For example, many lenders are now requiring that any repairs mentioned in a home inspection report, be completed prior to closing. In some cases, those repairs are different from repairs that the buyers and sellers negotiate. Again, it pays to be prepared, and to allow enough time to work through any potential issues.
In its quarterly survey of senior loan officers around the country, the Federal Reserve asked whether “prime” residential mortgage guidelines” have tightened in the prior 3 months.
A “prime” borrower typically carries a well-documented credit history with high credit scores, has a low debt-to-income ratio, and uses a traditional fixed-rate or adjustable-rate mortgage.
For the period July-September 2010, 52 of 54 responding loan officers admitted to tightening their prime guidelines, or leaving them “basically unchanged”.
Just 4% of banks loosened their lending standards.
If you’ve applied for a home loan lately — for either purchase or refinance — you’ve likely experienced the effects of the last 4 years. Because of delinquencies and defaults, today’s mortgage underwriters are forced to scrutinize income, assets and credit scores, among other facets of an home loan application.
As I mentioned, mortgage applicants in Newtown, Yardley and all over Bucks County, have higher hurdles to clear:
- Minimum credit scores are higher versus last year
- Downpayment/equity requirements are larger versus last year
- Debt-to-Income ratios must be lower versus last year
In other words, although mortgage rates are the lowest they’ve been in history, qualification standards are not. Minimum eligibility requirements are tougher, and appear to be toughening still.
If you’re among the many people wondering if now is the right time to join the Refinance Boom, or to buy a home, consider that, while mortgage rates may fall further, eligibility standards may not.
Most importantly, people are still able to obtain mortgage financing. Rates are at all time historic lows, so it may be a great time to consider buying a house, or refinancing your current mortgage.
If you would like some direction, regarding financing options, please contact me.Continue Reading > Add a Comment
New Continental Tavern in Yardley, undergoes additional renovations.
If you have driven through Yardley Boro at all, recently, you have seen the impressive looking construction taking place at the New Continental Tavern, on the corner of Afton and Main Street, just across the street from Starbucks.
Those of us in the community absolutely love what the new owners of the Continental Tavern have already done.
If you are not familiar with the area, in April of 2009, the new owners, who are a local family, basically gutted the entire downstairs of the restuarant and redid it. It is a huge improvement.
The Continental Tavern has long been a hub of the community. According to historians, in 1845 Samuel Slack operated a Temerance House and store on the New Continental site. As the town librarian, he also operated the town library above the store. On July 4, 1860 Samuel Slack was granted a license to operate a tavern and boarding house under the name, “Yardleyville Hotel.
In 1866, the license was transferred to Aaron Slack and the name was changed to the Continental Hotel. From the mid 1800′s through the Civil War, the building served as a way station on the Underground Railroad. The building was destroyed in 1876.
The current building was constructed in 1877.
For years the Continental Tavern has been a friendly place where citizens and visitors to Yardley and the surrounding areas, could relax and enjoy food and drink.
The current owners have done an absolutely wonderful job of enhancing the atmosphere, improving the food, and creating a great place for folks to enjoy the charm and character of Yardley.
The new construction project includes improving the entire exterior, which will include new windows along with a renovation of the second floor. They will add bathrooms, offices, and eventually a couple of apartments on the third floor.
I wish everyone associated with the New Continental Tavern, the best of luck. It is one of my favorite places for food and company, in the area.Continue Reading > Add a Comment
Caulking tips for Lower Makefield and Yardley Homes.
This morning when I left my house at 6:45, for an early morning networking meeting, it was 32 degrees! It is definitely starting to feel like winter is just around the corner, in Yardley, and all over Bucks County. My wife was complaining that it was too cold to walk the dog.
In an interest in trying to focus on energy saving tips and ideas, I thought I would review an easy way to help protect homes from drafts.
The amount of air that leaks from the seams of a typical home is the same amount of air that would escape through an open window. It’s why home care experts recommend a routine caulking of a home’s windows and doors — at least once per year.
Solid, all-around caulk jobs can reduce a home’s energy bill by as much as 20 percent.
A Lower Makefield Township homeowner’s basic toolkit should include the familiar caulking gun and tube for larger jobs, but for spot treatment, Caulk Singles can be a good alternative. A product of GE, Caulk Singles are single-use caulking “packages”, squeezable like a toothpaste tube.
The singles are easier-to-control than a traditional caulking tube, and require no instruction or experience.
Caulk Singles are made in 3 varieties :
- Waterproof Silicone (White), for white finishes
- Waterproof Silicone (Clear), for colored finishes
- Paintable Acrylic, for paintable seals
Caulk Singles cost roughly $2.50 per package on Amazon, but may be cheaper at a local hardware store.
Hope that you find this simple tip, helpful.
If you would like to understand the value of your home in the current market, or would like to be emailed a detailed report showing all neighborhood activity, please contact me.Continue Reading > Add a Comment