Yardley, Pa in winter…its cold!
If you are reading this post from pretty much anywhere in the northeast of the US, you know that it has already been a long, cold winter. Here in Yardley, in Bucks County, it was headed all the way up to 19 degrees today. (high temperature)
Although the older I get, the less I like winter, I must say that it is very pretty in the snow. Here are some recent photos that show you what it looks like.
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What home owners in Yardley, Newtown & Bucks County need to know about a sellers disclosure.
Hopefully you had a chance to watch the video about the importance of properly executing a sellers disclosure, if you are selling a house in Yardley, Newtown, or anywhere else in Bucks County. CLICK HERE FOR BLANK SELLER DISCLOSURE
I asked Vince Tecce, of the Building Inspector of America, to do a guest blog post. I have been working with Vince as a home inspector, for about as long as I have been in real estate. He recently inspected homes that 2 of my children purchased, so clearly I feel that Vince does an excellent job. Please check out Vince’s website, if you are in need of a home inspection. Here is his post:
Seller You Beware
In my years of performing Home inspections, as well as doing related expert witness work, issues related to the Seller’s Disclosure have come up. In a little over a generation the pendulum of the law has definitely swung the buyers’ way. The interpretation of the law regarding sellers now is clearly; Seller Beware.
First some background. Sellers Disclosures have been around for at least 20 years. Over the years the laws regarding Seller’s Disclosure have been strengthened. The 2000 law regulating Home Inspectors in Pennsylvania, called the Residential Real Estate Transfer Law( 68 PA C.S.A.), also again addressed Seller’s Disclosure. The wording of this law is very clear in what it requires of a seller in terms of disclosure when selling a property. By the way, Home Inspectors typically will ask to see the seller’s disclosure at the time the Home inspection is performed.
Some Scary Stories
Here are a few examples of what a failure to do a proper Seller’s disclosure will bring:
To the Extreme: A person sells their house. Some months after moving in the buyers have a sewer back up. They call a plumbing service. The contractor arrives and mentions they were out at the same properties some 12 years earlier for a sewer back up. The Buyer made a letter of demand to the seller claiming they failed to disclose this. The Seller settled for $12,000.
The Truly Deserving: An attorney I know was handling a case where the Seller clearly failed to disclose a significant siding problem to the Buyer who now own the property. He mentioned that the Seller’s attorney offer $20,000 to settle a true $30,000 claim. I felt perhaps to avoid further litigation the attorney might accept this. He was not at all interested in settling for a lesser amount. When asked about it, his response was; why should I settle for that when a judge will give me the full amount. In cases where a seller fails to disclose a problem they obviously knew about, the courts regularly give judgments to buyers for the full amount of the claim. Let me repeat: In cases where a seller fails to disclose a problem they obviously knew about, the courts regularly give judgments to buyers for the full amount of the claim.
The Deserving: A lady sells her house and a very negligent Home Inspection is performed. After some discovery, the Buyer’s attorney finds that the seller obviously lied and neglected to list items, somewhat related to what the Home Inspector failed to identify in her Seller’s Disclosure. The result, she went from being a minor party in this case where the focus was clearly on the Home Inspector, and in addition to a great deal of stress and aggravation, also ended up splitting a $175,000. settlement with the Home Inspector.
The Conclusion is Obvious
If you know about a problem, past or current, DISCLOSE IT! Failure to disclose will lead to litigation that favors buyers. There is something else that can be done to protect a seller. There is a section of the that allows for; report by expert – “The delivery of a report or opinion prepared by a home inspector, contractor or person registered or licensed under an act referred to in section 7503(a) dealing with matters within the scope of the person’s registration, license or expertise shall be sufficient compliance for application of the exemption provided under subsection (a)(3).” Consider getting a Home Inspection performed by a qualified professional before selling the property, and give a copy of the report to the buyer. This will avoid surprises and trouble with the deal, and make a potential buyer comfortable with buying your property.Continue Reading > Add a Comment
Is This Home Renovation Going To Be Worth It?
Home remodeling projects can add function to a home, but don’t always add value. Consider the latest report from Remodeling Magazine.
In it, the average cost of 35 projects are evaluated for the value they retain at the time of resale. Function beats flash, it seems, in today’s housing market.
Expansive kitchens and custom vanities are returning less value to homeowners in Newtown and Yardley on a percentage basis than energy-efficient doors and windows, for example.
A sampling of Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs Resale report shows the following cost recovery, by project:
- Attic Bedroom Remodel : 79.90 percent cost recovery
- Bathroom Addition : 74.90 percent cost recovery
- Bathroom Addition (Upscale) : 72.80 percent cost recovery
- Home Office Remodel : 63.40 percent cost recovery
- Minor Kitchen Remodel : 85.20 percent cost recovery
- Major Kitchen Remodel : 75.90 percent cost recovery
- Roofing Replacement : 73.90 percent cost recovery
- Window Replacement (Wood) : 85.30 percent cost recovery
Overall, “green” projects are returning a high percentage of costs to remodeling homeowners — especially for respect to homes that are “over-improved” with respect to the neighbors.
CNNMoney.com hosts a “Will This Renovation Pay Off?” calculator on its website, based on the data from Remodeling Magazine’s annual report. It may be a helpful guide for you. That said, before starting a home improvement project, regardless of whether your goal is increase your home’s resale value or to improve its function, be sure to talk with a real estate agent that knows your neighborhood well.
At worst, you’ll gain insight to what’s “typical” for your area to work into your plan, and, at best, you’ll keep yourself from over-improving your home.
I often meet with home owners in the Yardley and Newtown area, to discuss somewhat minor home improvement projects that will make their home more attractive, given the current market conditions. Even if the return on the project is not 100%, improvements that are made to enhance the way a home shows, often make the difference between a home sitting on the market for a long time, and selling relatively quickly. That can often be incentive enough, if it allows a seller to get their home, sold so that they can move forward with their plans.
I also offer a wonderful booklet, called, “450 ideas to help get your home sold quickly”. If you would like a free copy of the e-book, please email me.Continue Reading > Add a Comment
9 Things first time home buyers in Yardley should be concerned about, but aren't.
- We are expecting more snow, in Yardley later today and tonight. Although we are in the middle of winter, in real estate, the spring market isn’t too far away.Are you a first time home buyer, looking to buy in Yardley, or Newtown in Bucks County, this year? In order to address the stress and worry, along with the excitement that most first time buyers that I work with feel, I thought it would be helpful to suggest the 9 things that first time home buyers in Yardley should be concerned with, but generally are not. So here goes:
9 things that first time home buyers in Yardley should be concerned with, but aren’t.
1. What is the real cost of owning a home?
In my experience with working with first time home buyers, I often find that first time buyers do not pay enough attention to the actual costs of owning a home. I am referring to on-going maintenance costs. Be sure to have enough funds in reserve to cover unexpected issues with the house that may come up. Often times first time home owners are not aware of home warranties that can drastically reduce the costs of repairs.
2. Research home prices.
It is definitely a buyers market. Often times, first time home buyers can distracted by a homes ammenities, and from an investment perspective, can lose sight of how a home is priced, compared with others in the neighborhood they are considering. As a generalization, you would not want to own the most expensive house in a neighborhood.
3. Understand how the changes in the mortgage industry, can affect the buying process.
In the current financing climate, it is extremely important that first time home buyers, understand the mortgage process and understand their options. Understanding credit scores, appraisals, etc, have never been more important than they are now. It is a great idea for home buyers in Yardley or anywhere in Bucks County, to speak with a mortgage professional, before they begin looking at homes that may not work.
4. How do I make a smart offer?The answers to this question can go hand in hand with mortgage questions. What is a sellers assist? Are there special financing options available for a particular area? How much should I offer, and what amount should I put down. All of these are questions that should probably be addressed early in the process, so that as a first time home buyer, when you do see the right house, you can move forward with confidence. It is good to understand the offer process, very early on, so that once the time comes, you are totally comfortable with the steps that need to be taken to present an offer.
5, What should I look at in the house?
This may seem like an obvious question, but I have had many first time home buyers say to me, when looking at homes for the first time, “what are we supposed to be looking at”. I suggest focusing on the things in the house that you can not change easily, if at all. Sometimes people get distracted by cosmetic things, instead of the things like the lot, the view the size, etc.
6. What is a home inspection and how much does it cost?
This is something else that very few fist time home buyers in Yardley and Newtown, are familiar with. I find many buyers focusing their attention on things that will be evaluated and dealt with, through a home inspection. It is important to look at homes carefully, but it is also important to understand what happens during a home inspection, along with the process of negotiating any issues that do come up in the inspection.
7. What happens at closing?
Most first time home buyers do not have any idea what takes place during a real estate closing. I believe that buyers would have much less stress, if they knew what to expect at their closing, early in the process.
8. Its ok to ask lots of questions?
I think this may be the most imortant of all of the above. I love working with first time home buyers, and I always encourage people to ask questions. As a first time home buyer, the more you see, and the more questions you ask, the better educated you become, and the more you know. I really believe that the more you learn and know, the more comfortable you will be in making sound real estate decisions. The only dumb question, is the one that is not asked!
9. How should I find a realtor I am comfortable with?I kept this for last. All realtors are not the same. It is really important that as a first time home buyer in Yardley, you are completely comfortable with the realtor you work with. It is totally fine to schedule a time to interview realtors, before you even begin looking at homes. I do not reommend going into open houses, early in the process, because the realtor sitting the open house, is really at the open house as an agent of the seller. As a buyer, I suggest that you have more control over the process of who you will work with. You can ask friends for recommendations. You can read blogs, etc, but please note number 8. It’s ok to ask questions. If you are not totally comforable, move on to someone else.
That is my list for today. If you are a first time home buyer in Yardley or Newtown, it is a very exciting time. It’s a great time to buy, and I would be more than happy to answer any questions that you may have about the whole buying and home ownership process. You can reach me, at 215-519-1399. If there are things I left off of this list, I welcome your comments.
How To Renegotiate Your Credit Card Interest Rates To Something Lower
Credit card debt, left unchecked, can pile up quickly. Especially for debtors making minimum payments.
According to the Federal Reserve, a credit card balance of $5,000 at 23.99 percent APR won’t pay off for 16,127 years. That’s one reason why it’s important to manage your credit card rates, and renegotiate them whenever possible.
In this 4-minute piece from NBC’s The Today Show, you’ll learn the tested tactics that can cut a credit card rate, and get monthly payments to a more manageable range. And it’s do-it-yourself — no debt management firms required.
Some of the tips in the video include:
- Compare your current rate to the rate offered to new customers. Ask the lender for “new customer rate” if it’s lower.
- If your credit score has improved since application, ask for an interest rate more reflective of your current credit score.
- Be nice to the customer service representative. Kindness helps.
Managing debt is an important part of household budgeting so if you’re finding your credit card payments and/or rates too high for your liking, try following the instructions as described in the video. And, above all else, be persistent. The credit card companies won’t likely approve your first request.Continue Reading > Add a Comment