A Few Good Tips for a Safe Home in Yardley, Newtown, Bucks County, PA
Summer is around the corner, and hopefully we have time to make plans for some excursions. The change of seasons is also a good time to review our home safety plan. UL, the company known for international safety certification, has a great Home Safety Checklist that focus on electrical, water and fire safety.
Here are a few tips from UL’s checklist and from my own experience with my years in Yardley, Newtown and Bucks County real estate:
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors – Be sure detectors are in working order. Change the batteries at least every Daylight Savings Time.
Fire Extinguishers – If you don’t have them, get one for each floor and for major living areas of your home (e.g. kitchen, bedrooms). OSHA’s Fire Prevention standard requires all fire extinguishers to be “inspected” annually by someone trained to do so.
Fire escape plan – Create or review your fire escape plan with everyone in the household. Create alternative escape routes besides the stairs for your second floor. Have emergency phone numbers listed on all floors.
Extension cords – Check all extension cords to ensure that they are not overloaded. Assure that no cords are placed under rugs or furniture, and that they are not coiled, kinked or frayed.
Water heater – Check that water temperature is below 120 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent scalding and save energy.
Laundry room – Clean out dryer vent hose regularly with a hose brush. Use an aluminum hose instead of plastic to prevent meltdowns and fires. Also check your washing machine water hose for leakage. Not only can old washer hoses pose a plumbing problem, they can cause electrical fires if the water comes in contact with electrical panels or outlets.Continue Reading > Add a Comment
Memorial Day Happenings in Bucks County, Yardley, Newtown
It may be a bit cloudy for our long Memorial Day weekend, but visitors and residents of Yardley, Newton and all of Bucks County can still relax with family and friends, and enjoy some special holiday activities and celebrations. Below are a few. Enjoy your weekend!
Memorial Day Celebrations and Parades
Yardley – Makefield Township
7:00am – 21-gun salutes at Slate Hill, Saint Andrews and Saint Ignatius cemeteries.
9:00am – Ceremony at Yardley Veterans Monument
11:00am – Yardley-Makefield Memorial Day Parade starting on North Main Street
10:45am – Memorial Service at the Washington Crossing National Cemetery
9:00am – Newtown Memorial Day parade starting at Commons West Building. Short memorial service at Newtown Cemetery.
8:00am – Taps and flag ceremony at Northampton Township building
9:00am – Memorial Day ceremony at Robert Dembowski Memorial ParkContinue Reading > Add a Comment
Spring real estate market tips for sellers, in Yardley, Bucks County, Pa.
Here is a video that I created in spring of 2011. The tips are still very relevant today to home sellers in Yardley, Newtown and all of Bucks County, PA. Click to watch the video, or here is a quick synopsis:
Three Important Tips to Get your House Sold Quickly
Buyers are looking for homes that are ready to move into, with little or no updating or repairs needed. Make some easy and relatively inexpensive updates like paint and carpets to “neutralize” the color scheme of your home. Focus on the kitchen, family room and master bedroom. Also take some time to add a little curb appeal to your exterior to create a great first impression.
Because so many buyers are starting their home searches online, it is very important to have great pictures that will show off the best aspects of your home.
With the competition on the market today, be sure to price your house correctly. It can make the difference between a house selling in a few weeks, or lagging on the market for months and months.
I have a useful booklet titled “450 Ideas to Get Your Home Sold Quickly”. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to receive this great step-by-step guide.
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Yardley and Bucks County, PA – Our History
Most people who live in Bucks County, PA know and appreciate the rich history of the area. Named by William Penn after his hometown in England, Bucks County became known for its importance during the Revolutionary War.
For those who are new to the area, or are thinking of moving to Yardley, Newtown or any of our wonderful Bucks County towns, there are many opportunities to immerse yourself in our local history.
Here are just a few:
The Old Library in Yardley
Opened in 1878 on land donated by William Yardley’s heirs, the Yardleyville Library is situated on Lake Afton in the town of Yardley. It was used as a library for the community until 1977, and can now be rented out for events. Visit the website of the Yardley Historical Association for more information on the library and other fun Yardley history-related happenings.
The village of Fallsington grew up around the first Falls Friends Meetinghouse built in 1692 it became significant as a social, market and religious center. This 300 year old village is now a Nationally Registered Historic District, and preserved by Historic Fallsington, Inc. Step back in time and enjoy the restored homes and visit the museum. Visit the Historic Fallsington website for more information on hours and pricing.
Washington Crossing Historic Park
The site where, on Christmas Night, 1776, George Washington and the Continental Army crossed the icy Delaware River. The park also features the 19th-century village of Taylorsville, Thompson Neely House and gristmill, Bowmans Hill Tower, and picnic areas. Visit the park’s website for more information.
Pearl S. Buck House & Historic Site
Pearl Buck spent most of her life in China, and is famous for her book on Chinese peasant life, The Good Earth. Pearl lived in Perkasie, PA with her second husband from approximately 1935 – 1960. Enjoy a guided tour of the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author’s circa 1825 farmhouse and intact collection on a picturesque 68-acre estate. A National Historic Landmark with gift shop, cultural center, beautiful gardens and seasonal special exhibits featured. Find out more info at the Pearl S. Buck International website.
Contact me for more information on living in this wonderful area of Bucks County, PA.Continue Reading > Add a Comment
Mortgage Interest Deduction – Will Homeowners Still Benefit?
Homeownership is supposed to be the American Dream, and the government has long supported offering tax advantages to homeowners. The question is: Will this tax benefit continue? With the government looking for more revenue, and mortgage interest being one of the highest dollar tax deductions, a change to the laws may be in our future.
As it Stands
Currently, homeowners are able to deduct interest on loans up to $1.1 million for first and second homes. The opinion is that this deduction is no longer necessary, and benefits mostly the wealthy, who are more likely to have multiple homes and large dollar mortgage loans.
In 2009, there were talks about allowing deductions for first homes only, and only for loans up to $500,000. In 2011, other ideas included eliminating the deduction all together and replacing it with a straight tax credit. Still more talks revolved around a mortgage interest deduction based as a percentage of adjusted gross income. President Obama’s 2013 federal budget proposes limiting the tax deduction for families with incomes over $250,000.
What it Means to You as a Bucks County Homeowner
During this election year, we can probably not expect to see too many strong opinions about changing or limiting the mortgage interest deduction. Most voters are homeowners, and politicians don’t want to ruffle feathers at this time. However, this issue will certainly be revisited as long as there is a continuing need for increased federal revenue. The effect on home values is yet to be determined.
I’ll continue to keep you updated on issues that affect you as a home buyer or home seller in Yardley, Newtown or anywhere in Bucks County, PA. Please contact me for more information about Bucks County real estate.
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Bucks County Happenings: Special Mother’s Day Events
Are you looking for a way to honor a special mother this weekend? Three Bucks County wineries are offering events where you can wine, dine and pamper your favorite mom for Mother’s Day:
Wine Tasting for Moms – Crossing Vineyards in Upper Makefield Township
Sat, May 12, 12:00pm – 1:30pm
Treat your favorite Mom to a delicious afternoon of food, wine and fun. Includes a five-course gourmet food & wine pairing. Cost: $55 per person plus tax and gratuity. Reservation necessary. Call 215-493-6500, ext. 19 or buy on-line at http://www.crossingvineyards.com
Real Diamond Mother’s Day Concert – New Hope Winery in New Hope
Saturday, May 12, 8:00pm
Concert by the Real Diamond tribute band. Real Diamond is a professional band dedicated to the faithful re-creation of the live Neil Diamond experience. Menu available for purchase: Ham Strata, Mixed Greens Salad, and Sangria. Visit New Hope Winery for more information and to purchase tickets.
Mother’s Day Brunch – Sand Castle Winery in Erwinna
Sunday May, 13, 2012, 11:00am – 3:00pm
Treat your mom for a fabulous brunch catered by Crystal Rose Catering at Sand Castle Winery. Ticket includes first course buffet, tableside service for entrée, dessert, and a glass of your favorite Sand Castle wine. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Adults: $35.00, Children: $17.50. Visit Sand Castle Winery for menu and to order tickets.Continue Reading > Add a Comment
New Listing – Walk to the Makefield Township Golf Club
Golf Lovers in Lower Makefield Township:
This is a beautifully appointed home on a large one acre lot with golf course views!
This 4 bedroom, 3 bath, 4364 Sq Ft home in Lower Makefield Township has many upgrades and features, including custom wainscoting in the formal living room, airy den that could be used for office or playroom, two-story great room with extravagant riverstone hearth, bright kitchen with granit counters, stainless steel appliances and a freestanding island with barstool seating.
Upstairs, the spacious master suite offers a separate sitting room, jetted tub, separate shower and double vanity with makeup area. All other bedrooms are on the second floor, and are spacious and bright.
The professionally finished basement is well lit and offers a separate office, ample storage space and endless space that can be used as a play or game room.
This home won’t last long with its great location, features and price of $688,000. Contact me to see this home, or any other great homes for sale in Yardley, Newtown or other areas of Bucks County.
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Lowest Interest Rates in History – What it Means to Bucks County, PA
Interest Rate News
Freddie Mac announced on May 3, 2012 that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage interest rate is at an all time record low. Lowest-ever rates and still-recovering property values are creating an interesting real estate market for both buyers and sellers.
According to Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist at Freddie Mac, “Signs of slowing economic growth and inflation remaining subdued allowed yields on Treasury bonds to ease somewhat and brought most mortgage rates to new all-time record lows this week.”
The national 30-year fixed rate averaged 3.84%, down from 3.88% last week. 15-year rates averaged 3.07%, down from 3.12% last week. Freddie Mac has been keeping records of interest rates since its inception in 1970. See Freddie Mac’s site for more interest rate history.
What it Means to Bucks County
As I have been observing for the past few months, the real estate market in Yardley & Newtown and all over Bucks County has experienced the most active spring market, especially for sellers, in years.
Correctly priced houses are selling much quicker than they have in the past few years, and we have even seen a few multiple offer situations.
Everyone knows that interest rates have been incredibly low, for some time. The recent announcement by Freddie Mac, confirms exactly how low, historically, interest rates are.
I believe that one of the factors that may be helping the increase in activity this spring, is that buyers are slowing coming to the realization that interest rates will not stay at this level forever. I think that we are seeing a bit of an increase in buyer motivation, because many buyers do not want to miss this incredibly opportunity to take advantage of lower home values, along with incredibly low interest rates.
I also believe that many sellers are afraid of the market, because of all of the negative publicity, so sellers who can avoid selling in the current market environment are not putting their houses on the market. So in many cases we see lower inventory, along with increased demand.
This is not to suggest that we are back to the double digit, crazy days of real estate. I am suggesting that the dynamics in the Yardley, Newtown and Bucks County real estate market are much more balanced today than they have been in years.Continue Reading > Add a Comment
3 Quick Home Staging Tips
In selling a home, creating the proper atmosphere is just as important as pricing your home properly. Elegant furniture can enhance a room, or stifle buyers’ ability to envision themselves there if the placement is incorrect. Depending on presentation, beautiful flowers can appeal to a potential buyer or detract from the mood of the showing. Simple yet aesthetic additions can sometimes make all the difference.
When consulting with sellers, I help them determine what their home is worth in Yardley, Newtown or anywhere in Bucks County. I can assure that a more inviting home will result in a quicker sale and a better price. Here are three easy do-it-yourself ideas to quickly add some eye-catching appeal and dollar value to your home:
Proper furniture placement
There should be just enough furniture in each room to give the room a purpose. Remove all redundant furniture and move the large pieces away from the walls when possible. Make sure the furniture is the proper scale for the room (e.g remove a king size bed and replace it with a queen if it is too big for the bedroom.) Create appealing vignette groupings with furniture, plants, and artwork to create a mood and attract the buyer’s eye.
Use appropriate plants and beautiful pots
Add vibrantly colored flowers to a neutral-colored room to add some flair, and flowers with more subdued colors to a room that already has a bold color scheme. Use flowers and plants that match the décor of your home. Place plants or flowers in high quality containers near the outside entrance and in the foyer to welcome your buyers. Strategically placed greenery can guide the buyer’s eye as they navigate through your home. Plants can bring life to your home, but be sure to choose quality placement over quantity.
Add small tastes of home
Small details added to your simplified décor can stand out and give buyers the warm fuzzy feeling of home. Eye-catching bowls of shiny fruit on the dining room table, colorful cookbooks on the counter, a creative basket of bath salts and spa treatments in the bathroom all entice the buyer to make themselves at home. Try to focus on items that will universally affect the largest potential group of buyers. Sometimes the things that we think of as “homey” may not be for someone else.
Sometimes just a few small staging changes in your home can mean the difference between a quick sale and a long wait on the real estate market in Yardley, Newtown or Bucks County. Talk to your realtor or a staging expert to decide what changes might benefit your home. Depending on your budget, you can opt for some free or low-cost adjustments like the ideas above, or invest in the professional advice of a staging professional. Contact me for more information if you are interested in an evaluation of your property.
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