3 reasons my clients move from New Jersey to Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
So why do so many people want to move to Pennsylvania from New Jersey?
1. Property taxes.
Property taxes in New Jersey, if not the highest in the country, are pretty close to that. Almost everyone that I work with, finds that their property taxes in Pennsylvania and specifically in Bucks County, will be lower than they are in New Jersey, for comparably priced real estate. There is no question that all municipalities face very serious budget issues in the current economic climate that we are in. However, it does appear as though property taxes in New Jersey increase at a faster rate than they do in Bucks County, in Pennsylvania.
2. Income taxes
To be clear, I am not a tax attorney or a cpa. For specific tax advise, you definitely need to consult a tax expert. Having said that, for most of the people I work with, they find that the state income tax in Pennsylvania is less than in New Jersey. Pennsylvania has pretty much a flat rate of 3.07%, while New Jersey can go as high as 8.97%. New Jersey does allow certain deductions that Pennsylvania does not allow, but my experience with clients that I have worked with, is that most will pay less in state income taxes in Pennsylvania then New Jersey. I should also mention that becuase of reciprical agreements with several neighboring states, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey, when considering Pennsylvnania and New Jersey, you will pay state income taxes to the state you live in, not the state you work in. For example, if you work in New Jersey, but live in Yardley, you will pay state income taxes to Pennsylvania, based on Pennsylvania rates. Again, I want to reiterate, that I am not trying to offer tax advice. For that, you need to consult your tax advisor. I am just sharing my experience with those who I have worked with who have moved from New Jersey to Pennsylvania.
3. Traffic and ease of travel.
This is somewhat subjective, but for most of the people I have worked with, they have felt that it is a bit easier to get around in Bucks County, than the areas in which I work in New Jersey, which is mostly Mercer County. I think most of the Yardley/Newtown area, and throughout most of Bucks County, the congestion is not quite as challenging as it is in New Jersey. My sense is that the quality of life is just a bit more peaceful in Bucks County.
Over the past couple of years, I have worked with sellers all over Mercer County. I have helped sellers in Ewing, Pennington, Lawrence, West Windor, Hopewell Township, and Hamilton. Virtually all of the sellers that I have represented, were selling in order to move to Pennsylvania. There were a few exceptions, but in thinking about this, I thought it might be helpful to look into the reasons why people are making this decision. I should also mention, that I have helped buyers who bought in New Jersey, it just seems as though the movement is in the other direction, from New Jersey to Pennsylvania, at least with my clients.
All of this is not to denigrate New Jersey. In fact, I grew up in Mercer County, and still serve on the board of the Trenton Public Education Foundation. We have a lot of friends in New Jersey, and know lots of people there. My only objective with this post, was to try and explain why so many people appear to be considering the move to Pennsylvnia.
So are there things that are less expensive in New Jersey? There sure are. Beer and Wine and gas!
I would love to know your thoughts.Continue Reading > Add a Comment
Looking for an over 55 community in Yardley, Lower Makefield Township, check out Toll Brothers Regency at Yardley this weekend.
I have worked with many friends and clients over the past several years, who have decided to move into one of the many very attractive, over 55 communities in the Yardley, Newtown area.
This is a very exciting development, ideally located within minutes from 95 & Route 1, close to all of the wonderful attractions that Bucks County and the surrounding area has to offer. The community will have a resort like feel, featuring a clubhouse with indoor and outdoor pool, state of the art fitness center, and walking trails.
The initial phase of the community will include 176 single family, detatched homes.
In addition, many people do not realilze, that as a realtor, I can help with lot selection, along with making suggestions with regards to options that are often good to consider, when evaluating potential re-sale implications at a later date. Not only does Toll Brothers support the realtor community by paying commissions, but they are holding a special Natioinal Sales Event, which ends February 27th. If you allow me, as your realtor to introduce you to the community, Toll will offer an additional credit towards options.
In order to take advanatage of that offer, I need to be with you at your initial visit.
If you are interested, please contact me for details.
I have already suggested Regency to several buyers, who are looking forward to enjoying a carefree lifestyle in this sure to be wonderful community.
Check out the plot plan below.Continue Reading > Add a Comment
Improve your credit score, Yardley, Newtown, Bucks County.
A couple of months ago, I represented a client who was interested in taking advantage of current market conditions, to move into a house on a much larger piece of ground, than where they were living. The bought a fabulous house on about 5 acres, with a lovely pond in the back of the property.
Since they bought the house they were living in, at the height of the market, they were not counting on funds from the sale of that property, to use towards their new home. As a result, they decided to rent their current house.
Fortunately, we were able to secure a great tenant, who is anticipating actually buying the house, in a pretty short period of time.
I mention all of this, becuase there was a very informative column in today’s New York Times, by Tara Siegel Bernard, under the heading, “Your Money”, entitled “Healing a Wounded Credit Score.” The reason I mentioned the rental experience, is becuase during the realtively short period of time that we were marketing my clien’s home for rent, I received so many calls from prospective tennants, who had damaged credit, as a result of the economic challenges that we have faced over the past couple of years.
I heard every possible story, from lost jobs, to health issues, to home owners who were unable to see their homes, yet had to move. It was an extremely sobering process. So, with so many people having been impacted by the economic crunch, this article was extremely timely.
The article focuses on how important a FICO score is, for credit evaluation purposes. If you are not familiar with what a FICO score is, please click on the link I created, for a brief overview. Unfortunately, as the article points out, the best antidote for a poor score, is time. However, there are some steps that can be taken, that can help to expidite the process of improving one’s FICO credit score.
The article suggests that consumers should assess their situation, to be sure that they are in a position to begin paying bills on time. If that is not possible, try contacting card issuers to negotiate payments that you can afford. The column explains how to handle that process.
Clean Up Your Score – The column explains where and how to start the process of improving your credit score, by suggesting which debt to begin paying first. By sure to check this out.
Another suggestion, was to obtain a free copy of your credit report, from each of the 3 reporting agencies, and if necessary, write a note in your file, explaining what your circumstances were. Although, unless you are disputing a charge, leaving a note will not improve a score, it can help if prospective imployers examine your credit report.
Get Secured Credit Cards – Another option, as explained in the column, was to obtain a couple of secured credit cards, so that you can re-establish a credit history. The article actually mentions which cards offer the best terms. It may also be possible to speak with a credit union. Credit Unions are sometimes a bit more flexible with members who have experienced difficluties.
Finally, the article cautions consumers to be extremely careful when dealing with credit repair offers.
Unfortunately, there are so many consumers who are struggling with credit issues, that this article will hit home for many people.Continue Reading > Add a Comment
Selling in Yardley, Newtown or Bucks County, you will want to see this!
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KU0VBfJ9h-0[/youtube]Continue Reading > Add a Comment
What is the right price of a house for sale in Yardley?
As we wind our way through February, and with temperatures supposed to reach the mid 60′s by the end of the week, it is time to think about the spring market in Yardley Real Estate.
This past Sunday, one of my favorite real estate writers, Alan Heavens, wrote a column in the Philadelphia Inquirer, titled, “What is the right price for a house?”
The column actually points out how important proper pricing is to get the market moving. Alan mentions a prospective buyer, who has been looking for a long time, and observed how few homes he thought, actually fell into the category of being properly priced. According to a recent Coldwell Banker survey of online consumers, the most important criteria for buyers, is a, “move-in ready” home. If a home is not move in ready, then sellers must price to reflect deficincies.
Within our Bucks County, real estate market, there is a feeling within the real estate community, that there is a shortage of well priced, attractive homes. Notice that I said well priced, attractive homes. Unfortunately, there are still lots of homes on the market, but many of them have been on the market for a long time, in many cases for month and months. Many of these homes are still priced today, as they were 6 months ago. I believe that the average days on the market is extremely skewed, because there are homes that sell within weeks of going on the market. Those situations are off-set by the many homes that stay on the market for 6 months to 2 years.
It really is all about pricing correctly, to reflect current, and I mean current, market conditions. Unlike the days of the rapidly appreciating real estate market, it is entirely possible, that a seller will get less for their house than their neighbor received when they sold a few months earlier.
As a seller, for your house to sell given the current market conditions, it is absolutely imperative that it be priced correctly. For today’s market enviornment, that means that buyers must perceive it to be a bargain, based on other homes on the market. It has to stand out.
As the spring market approaches, there will be more homes coming on the market. As always, sellers who understand pricing reality, will sell their homes relatively quickly, and will be able to move forward with their real estate goals and objectives. Unrealistic sellers will encounter long delays, and much frustration with the market dynamics.
So, the question is, what is the right price for a home in the Yardley and Newtown real estate market? It is the price that will generate lots of activity, early in the sale process, and a realtively quick offer. Remember, the chances of getting close to the asking price, is really inversely proportional to how long the house is on the market. The longer its on the market, the larger the discount the buyer will expect.
Curious about pricing in your neighborhood? As to have my market snapshot emailed to you. It will show you all market activity within about a 5 mile radius of your home, including active listings, pending sales, and homes that have closed. It includes days on market, and will show you discounts from the asking price.Continue Reading > Add a Comment
How did the Yardley Hunt real estate market perform in 2010?
Yardley Hunt Real Estate Market Update
Yardley Hunt was one of the early Toll Brothers communities, in Bucks County. It was started about 33 years ago, and includes homes of between 2500 & 3200 sq. ft. Yardley Hunt is close to Yardley Boro, close to the Lower Makefield Community center, and offers very quick access to 95, and other commuting roads in the area.
- In 2010, there were 16 houses that went to closing.
- The average sale price was $453,226.
- The average discount from the original asking price, was 6%
- Average days on the market was 43.
I think the statistic that stands out, is the days on the market. 43 is much quicker than for most of the real estate market in Yardley and Bucks County.
Currently there are 4 homes on the market in Yardley Hunt. Based on last years results, this represents about a 3 month supply of inventory. This suggests that at least for Yardley Hunt, it is not a bad time to get a house on the market.
Please see below for the complete list of homes that have sold. If you would like a market snapshot report, detailing this sort of information, for your neighborhood, please contact me.
Address Original Price Sold price Days on market
1090 Randolph 406,900 360,000 61 (Bank Owned)
826 Hudson 439,900 412,000 24
916 Quincy 439,875 419,875 159
776 Sumter 469,900 420,000 23
1265 Revere 434,900 425,000 1
933 Hamilton 469,500 428,000 204
821 Hudson 450,000 442,500 8
1382 Knox 474,900 450,000 17
929 Morgan 470,000 455,000 33
1448 Buford 525,000 460,000 25
1289 Revere 489,900 465,000 26
1458 Clinton 499,900 468,000 54
819 Stark Cir 539,500 505,000 1
833 Winthrop 519,900 506,250 29
1240 Knox 519,000 510,000 19
1492 Revere 525,000 525,000 11Continue Reading > Add a Comment
Snipes farm offers Community Supported Agriculture program for Bucks County residents
For those of you who live near Snipes Farm & Nursery, which has been in Morrisville, Pa for many decades, you may want to check out their Community Supported Agriculture program. (CSA)
Basically, a CSA is a program allowing each member, for a fee, to enjoy fresh, locally farm grown produce from June to November.
Investing in a full share in the program includes the following:
- 35 varieties of in-season vegetables, fruits and herbs.
- 1/2 to a full bushel of fresh produce every week.
- U-pick blackberries, apples and vegetables.
- Weekly pick-up at the farm on Thursdays from 3-7.
- Weekly newsletter with growing updates and recipes.
- Community events.
- Volunteer opportunities.
- Opportunities to purchase other local products for partners of the Snipes Farm.
Snipes Farm has been a family owned on run farming operation for many decades. Their mission is to model and teach sustainable farming , while building community and reconnecting people to the land. The present generation of the Snipes family is the 11th to farm in Lower Bucks County.
When our children were young, we used to take them to the farm several times a year, to enjoy picking fruits and vegetables with them.
Another worthwhile aspect of the CSA, is the partnerships that the Snipes Farm and Education Center continued with the Bucks County Homeless Shelter and with the Bucks County Housing Group. With donations from CSA members along with a small, local grant, Snipes was able to provide 4 memberships to the shelter kitchen, where they prepare food for 75 residents every day, and 3 memberships for families working with the Bucks County Housing Group.
Click on the Snipes Farm link, for information about the farm, along with their CSA.Continue Reading > Add a Comment
Life in Bucks County, can you challenge flood insurance?
One of the aspects of being involved with real estate that I most appreciate, is the chance to collaborate with other realtors, to help answer questions, and solve problems for buyers, seller and owners of real estate.
I recently encountered a perfect example of this.
Over the years of representing buyers and sellers, and talking to home owners in Yardley, Newtown, and all over Bucks County, I have had a number of people ask me about flood insurance. As anyone who lives in our area knows, there are those of us who are very close to the Delaware River. In fact, the Delaware River was just voted the river of the year.
The Delaware River is beautiful, scenic, offering all sorts of wonderful towns, attractions and things to do, along its path.
It has also flooded several times.
Which brings me to the real estate lesson I recently learned. I have worked with many people who have bought homes that are in the flood plain, and therefore require flood insurance. Flood insurance itself, is a seperate blog topic, but basically, if you buy a house in the flood plain, you will not get a mortgage without flood insurance, and flood insurance is not inexpensive.
I was under the impression that if the flood maps that are drafted by the Army Corps of Engineers, shows a house to be within the designated flood plain, then flood insurance is a necessity in order to obtain a mortgage. Thanks to a fellow realtor in my Coldwell Banker office, Vicky Cohen, I discovered that it is possible to challenge the flood map. Vicky had a client who was able to challenge the map, thereby reducing their flood insurance premium.
It is not an easy process but basically, you would need an engineer to take the following steps, in order to either elimiate or reduce flood insurance:
The first step would be to do a flood elevation survey, which invloves researching maps and records to determine whether the primary structure is located within the flood hazard.
You may also need a flood elevation certificate in order to get quotes for flood insurance.
If, after conducting the above analysis, the property qualifies, an application for a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) can be made. this goes to FEMA, and if they agree, they will either modify or remove the property from the flood insurance requirement.
If you or someone you know, feels that it is worth evaluating their flood insurance situation, I can suggest an engineer who handles this sort of evaluation.
Please contact me at 215-519-1399 for any help with this issue.Continue Reading > Add a Comment
Surprising real estate market results in Yardley, Lower Makefield Township, Bucks County.
Posting a chart today, showing the real estate market results for 2010, in Bucks County, as well as for the real estate market in Lower Makefield Township/Yardley. Please refer to spread sheet below, for details.
- A few quick points to make, first for the Lower Makefield real estate market:
- Prices fell by 7.6% in 2010. Please check the spreadsheet below for 11 year appreciation/depreciation chart.
- Unit inventory down 6.7% from last year.
- Asking price of homes in inventory up 2.8% from last year.
- The number of homes sold in Lower Makefield/Yardley was up 19.6% from last year.
- There is currently a 6.5 month supply of homes in inventory. Please note that a balanced market happens when there is about a 6 month inventory supply, so we are actually close to balanced market conditions in Lower Makefield Township.
A few quick points to make for real estate in all of Bucks County.
- Prices increased 4.3% in 2010.
- Homes in inventory is down by 5.6% from last year.
- Average asking price of a home currently on the market in Bucks County is down by 7.1% from last year.