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What You Need to Know about the Reduced FHA Minimum Credit Score

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Credit is of considerable concern when it comes to buying a home, but if you’re on the market for a new place in the next few months there may be some timely news that applies to you. If you haven’t heard about the changes to the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) credit score minimum, here’s some information on the recent reduction and how it may impact your home purchase.

Information On The FHA
Started in 1934, the FHA is the organization responsible for insuring the loans that are available to homebuyers in the United States. These loans are not provided directly by the FHA, rather the FHA serves as the insurer for the loans that are lent by financial institutions of the United States. While there are a number of guidelines that must be met by borrowers in order to ensure the FHA will back their loan, a lowered mortgage minimum credit score means that those with a less-impressive credit profile may have a better opportunity for home ownership. FHA2

The Minimum Credit Score Reduction
The strength or weakness of your credit history has a significant impact on whether or not you will qualify for a mortgage or even pre-approval, so for those whose credit has suffered the recent drop in the minimum will be good news. Previously, the FHA required a score of 640 so that a borrower could be approved for a mortgage, but the reduction by 60 points to a credit score of 580 means greater possibility for those who might fit into a lower credit category.

A Lower Mortgage Minimum and The MarketFHA3
With the opportunity for home ownership that will be opened up to potential buyers, there is a strong possibility that the market will experience a noticeable shift. Many millennials are poised to enter the real estate market this year, and with more people considering a house as a result of a reduction, there could be an increased demand in housing purchases. While the prices in rural areas have been dropping off, the housing in metropolitan areas may experience a sizeable upsurge.

With the reduction of the mortgage minimum credit score by the FHA, there are likely to be some shifts in the real estate market in the coming year that will affect demand and price. If you’re on the market for a new home and are interested in a purchase that will align with your finances, you may want to contact a mortgage broker for more information.

If you have any questions regarding mortgages, buying a home, or other advice about selling your home. Please feel free to call me directly at 215-519-1399.

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IDYLLIC TOWNS TO VISIT IN BUCKS COUNTY

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Plan a trip to Doylestown, one of Bucks County’s unique and entertaining towns. Enjoy a meal you won’t forget at restaurants such as M.O.M’s; Maxwell’s on Main that features a variety of craft beers and live entertainment. Explore the history of the area by taking a stroll through Doylestown’s awe-inspiring Fonthill Castle and Mercer Museum, conveniently located just a mile from each other. Finish your day with an independent, foreign or art film at the County Theater.

Explore the picturesque town of New Hope, featuring views of the beautiful Delaware River. Start your day with a stroll down Main Street that’s lined with eclectic shops and boutiques. Take a break at one of New Hope’s many restaurants. Marsha Brown Restaurant is a local favorite that features flavors of New Orleans, all served in a renovated stone church. Continue your day by catching a performance at the renowned Bucks County Playhouse. “America’s Most Famous Summer Theater” has featured performances from renowned talents such as Grace Kelly, Robert Redford and Liza Minelli.towns2

Discover the bustling town of Bristol, located along the scenic Delaware River and filled with a variety of activities. The Bristol Riverside Theatre is a must-see, combining the intimacy of a small theater with a feel of a large-scale production. For a quick lunch or dinner break, head over to the historic King George II Inn for contemporary American cuisine made with fresh, seasonal ingredients. Enjoy your meal in one of five dining rooms or on a riverfront patio! The town also features live entertainment, authentic cuisine and family-friendly activities during annual festivals such as Puerto Rican Day in July and the Annual Afro-American event in August.

 

Photo of Fonthill Castle, courtesy of Anthony Sinagoga.
Photo of Bristol Riverside Theatre, courtesy of Visit Philadelphia.
Courtesy of www.visitbuckscounty.com

 

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Downsizing from a Large Home to a Smaller Home

DOWNSIZING

Many people make the decision to move from the country or the suburbs into the heart of the downtown area for a number of reasons, such as to enjoy proximity to work or to enjoy the urban lifestyle. With the higher cost of real estate in central urban areas and with real estate space at a premium, many who make the decision to relocate will need to downsize from a larger house to a smaller house or condo. While this can be challenging, it can be accomplished by following a few steps.

Choose The Right Pieces to Keep
When downsizing from a larger house to a smaller house or condo, it is often necessary to get rid of some furnishings. It is important to select furnishings that are best suited for the size of the new space as well as the individual’s needs. Items that will not have a place in the new home can be donated, stored in a storage unit or given to a family member or friend.

Think About StorageDOWNSIZING1
When living space is downgraded, storage of everything from dishes to linens and clothing becomes a concern. Storage features in downtown condos is often minimal, and this means that those moving into these units may need to invest in special storage features. For example, storage bins that can slide under the bed, pull-out features for kitchen cabinets and various other types of storage features can all be put to use to improve organization and to maximize the limited amount of space available in the property.

Get Back to The Basics
While storage features can be useful, the fact is that most people who are making this transition will need to get rid of some of their items or store them in a storage unit. A smart idea is to consider only the basic items that are truly necessary for living as a first step. If space permits, additional luxury items can be added to the space provided there is room in the house or condo.

Downgrading from a larger home to a smaller living space can be frustrating and stressful, but eliminating the unnecessary items and improving storage and organization can go a long way toward streamlining this process. Those who are searching for a new place to live in the city can request personal assistance a real estate professional.

If you have any questions regarding home upgrades, mortgages, or other advice about selling your home, feel free to call me directly at 215-519-1399.

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THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO SUMMER FUN IN BUCKS COUNTY

Spend some time enjoying the summer months and making memories in Bucks County! Whether you’re looking for some family-friendly fun, a day of relaxation or idyllic towns with something for everyone, Bucks County has it all.

FAMILY FRIENDLYsummer fun1
Cool off with a spin down the Delaware River with Bucks County River Country! Bring the whole family on an affordable and relaxing tube or raft ride along the river. Make sure you bring your appetite as well for a BBQ lunch on a sandy beach at the Riverside Café. Perfect for any age, this activity will work for the whole family!

Please the kids with a visit to Sesame Place, the nation’s only theme park based entirely on Sesame Street. Located conveniently only 30 minutes from Philadelphia and 90 minutes from New York City, the park is perfect for families with young children. It features daily character shows, including the brand new The Magic of Art show, water attractions and whirling rides!summer fun 2

Take a trip to the enchanting world of Kids’ Castle! Located just minutes from downtown Doylestown, this nationally recognized and award-winning playground is a must-see for families! Children of all ages are able to play together and explore the castle, swings and slides.

Find something for every member of the family at Peddler’s Village! The kids will love Giggleberry Fair, home to the area’s largest indoor obstacle course! The site also features more than 60 unique shops with products from home goods to trendy fashion pieces. Unique festivals like Bluegrass & Blueberries in July and the Peach Festival and Annual Sidewalk Sale in August make the village the perfect place for families anytime in the summer months!

RELAXATIONsummer fun3
Surround yourself with the relaxing aroma of lavender at the breath taking Peace Valley Lavender Farm. The lavender fields bloom in June and July, creating a spectacular view and amazing opportunity for guests to pick their own lavender! The site also features a gift shop open year-round filled with lavender goodies such as perfumes, essential oils, lotions, soaps and deodorant.

Taste your way through Bucks County on the Bucks County Wine Trail! Featuring a variety of vineyards throughout Bucks County, treat yourself to expertly crafted wines while taking in the beautiful scenery. Book individual tours with each winery, or take a trip with Tastings & Tours and sit back, relax and let someone else do the driving!

Take a self-guided tour of Bucks County’s captivating 12 Covered Bridges, rich with history and interesting architecture. Make a date out of the trip with a picnic basket and blanket-the bridges provide a stunning backdrop for any pictures as well! On a beautiful summer day in Bucks County, these bridges are a can’t-miss feature of the area!

Courtesy of www.visitbuckscounty.com
Photo of Bucks County River Country, courtesy of Anthony Sinagoga.
Photo of Kids’ Castle, courtesy of Jeff Fusco.
Photo of Peace Valley Lavender Farm, courtesy of Sara Brace.

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A Few Good Reasons Why You Need a Real Estate Agent

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Whether you’re familiar with the market or you’ve never sold a home before, an effective real estate agent can be exactly the thing you need to make for a positive market experience. With the world of real estate in a constant state of flux, here are a few reasons why the right agent can successfully guide you through the muddled waters of the market.

A Skill for Communication
In the case that the real estate market makes you nervous, it’s particularly important to have the kind of agent who will keep you in the loop and give you the information you need to make an informed selling decision. An agent with the powers of agent2communication will be able to give you honest advice when it’s required, like if it’s time to lower the price of your house, so that you can have success in achieving the offer you’re looking for.

A Willingness to Work Hard
There are many agents out there who won’t be willing to put in additional effort for a client, but the kind of agent you’ll want to choose should be someone who is a go-getter and will chase potential business for you. Instead of waiting around, an ideal agent should be following up with potential buyers and ensuring that they’re chasing any leads that may guarantee the purchase of your home. If you have to ask them to be proactive, they’re probably not the right person for the job.

A Bevy of Client Referencesagent3
A real estate agent that is worth their salt should not hesitate to provide you with client references so you can make an informed, educated decision. Instead of asking for their personal references, though, request the names of their last ten clients as this should give you a pretty good grasp of what their capacities as an agent are, and how they will serve you. If they are cagey about providing references, you’ll want to move on to your next potential agent.

The real estate market is rife with a lot of things to know and it can be complicated to jump into the tides, but the right agent can actually make the process of selling your home a lot less stressful. If you’re currently looking for homes and are not sure where to turn, you may want to contact a real estate professional for more scoop on the market.

If you have any questions regarding home upgrades, mortgages, or other advice about selling your home, feel free to call me directly at 215-519-1399.

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Celebrating The Fourth Of July in Bucks County

Gather your flags and red, white and blue attire to celebrate the independence of this great nation with a variety of events happening in Bucks County This Fourth of July. With concerts, fairs, mouth-watering BBQ and of course, fireworks, Bucks County has all the best activities to celebrate your patriotic pride.

TOP PLACES TO SEE FIREWORKS4th of july1

Fireworks are a quintessential part of any Fourth of July celebration. Here are our picks for where to see stunning fireworks throughout Bucks County.

Celebrate throughout the summer with Friday night fireworks over the Delaware River in New Hope. This location provides a breathtaking backdrop to the fireworks and the opportunity to catch them all summer long!

Take the kids to a day-long celebration at Sesame Place®! Starting with a Fourth of July BBQ and ending with a magnificent display, this day is sure to be non-stop, patriotic fun! You’ll experience a unique display set to Sesame Street music, which is sure to entertain the kids as they hang out with their favorite furry friends.

Combine the charm of a country fair with the excitement of a fireworks display at the Annual Southampton Days Country Fair! Enjoy a parade, rides, delicious food, a flag raising and multiple live entertainment options. Cap of the day by sticking around for a fantastic display of fireworks.

Feed your appetite with a delicious pancake breakfast at Quakertown Community Day. The event will also feature a car show, parade and live entertainment. Remember the classic display of fireworks that follows!

PATRIOTIC FUN AND MUSEUM TOURS

Fireworks aren’t the only time-honored Fourth of July tradition. Check out any of these historic events to step back in time and celebrate our country’s history!

Explore everything related to the symbol of our country, the American flag, at the Mercer Museum. Their “Long May She Wave” exhibit features thousands of American flag-related objects and artifacts. You’ll be able to explore different interpretations of one of the most recognizable symbols in the world-the American flag!4th of july2

Check out Fonthill Castle’s Fourth of July Celebration for a day filled with family-friendly activities. There will be something for everyone at this day filled with food, old-fashioned games, crafts and live music, all with the magnificent backdrop of Henry Mercer’s estate. The castle will also be open for self-guided tours as the cherry on top of an already amazing celebration!

Discover the past at Washington Crossing Historic Park. You can watch living historians demonstrate their crafts, tour historic buildings and even see a military encampment. The Declaration of Independence will be read aloud, a great finishing touch to your day of historical discovery. On the Fourth of July, the site also turns into a great place to watch a breathtaking fireworks display, the first in 20 years on the site!4th of july23

Pack a picnic lunch for the whole family and spend time together at the charming Pennsbury Manor. Located along the picturesque Delaware River, this recreation of William Penn’s historical estate offers a variety of activities. You can take a guided tour, visit their award-winning exhibit, William Penn: Seed of a Nation, or explore the estate on your own. By the end of the day, you’re sure to be an expert on one of Pennsylvania’s most famous Quakers!

Explore the Sellersville Museum and listen to a reading of the Declaration of Independence. This event also offers the opportunity to be chosen to ring the Museum’s historic school bell! This is a great way to honor our country’s independence while getting a taste of the past!

 

*Courtesy of www.vistbuckscounty.com
*Photo courtesy of Sesame Place
*Photo courtesy of
 Fonthill Castle
*Photo of Pennsbury Manor, courtesy of Sara Brace

 

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How Converting Your Homes Flooring to Hardwood Will Increase Its Value

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When a homeowner makes the decision to upgrade flooring of their home, there are numerous materials that may be considered. While each material option has its unique benefits and advantages, many are drawn to hardwood flooring as an option. This is a material that has the potential to increase a home’s value, and a closer look at its benefits will reveal why this is the case.

A Durable, Long-Lasting Material
With many flooring options, homeowners understand that the material will need to be replaced or upgraded over the years. With hardwood flooring, the timeless appeal and incredible durability of the material means that the floor may be an investment to enjoy for many long decades. In fact, with periodic maintenance and regular care of hardwood floors, some hardwood floors may provide the homeowner with 50 years or more of beautiful use in the home.

Numerous Stylish Options
More than that, there are numerous style options for homeowners to consider, and this provides the ability to easily select a material that is ideal for the look of the home. In addition, hardwood flooring generally has universal appeal that FLOORING2many desire, and this increases the desirability of the home to future home buyers. This is especially true when a more classic tone of wood is selected rather than a modern or trendy tone.

Improved Indoor Air Quality
Some flooring materials, such as carpet, may have a detrimental impact on indoor air quality, but this is not the case with hardwood flooring. The material is easy to clean, and this means that dust, dander and other allergens can easily be removed from the floor. This will have a direct and beneficial impact on indoor air quality that current owners as well as future home buyers can enjoy.

While hardwood flooring can be desirable and beneficial for current property owners, the appeal of the material will extend to future home buyers. When hardwood flooring is well-maintained by the owner, it is a true investment that will add true value to the home and that may help the owner to sell the property more quickly when the time comes. Those who want to learn more about how hardwood flooring may impact their own homes value and the ability to sell their property in the future can request a consultation with a real estate professional

If you have any questions regarding home upgrades, mortgages, or other advice about selling your home, feel free to call me directly at 215-519-1399.

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Picnic Perfection for International Picnic Day in Bucks County

Grab your baskets and your blankets! International Picnic Day is June 18 and Bucks County has many scenic spots to nosh and soak up the sun. Pack a picnic and take your friends and family to one of Bucks County’s parks or other unique settings to enjoy the great outdoors! picnic1

With more than 7,500 acres of county and state park land, Bucks County’s parks provide some of the best places to picnic. The beautiful landscapes, woods, meadows and streams are the perfect setting for an outdoor feast.

Core Creek Park has pavilions and wooded picnic areas for you to enjoy. Pets are allowed so bring your furry friend!

Taking its name from Neshaminy Creek, Neshaminy State Park has picnic benches and grills at your disposal to create your perfect picnic.

Playwicki Park is a local favorite. The kids can play on the huge playground while you grill up a delicious meal for the family and enjoy it in one of their large pavilions.picnic2

Ringing Rocks Park is a both a breathtaking and unique place for picnic. After you finish eating, make sure to bring a hammer to the boulder field to hit the 10-foot-high rock piles that make a strange and fascinating ringing sound when struck.

Situated around the beautiful Lake Towhee, Lake Towhee Park has much to offer including a playground, hiking, boating, and fishing. After your activity filled day, enjoy a picnic in their spacious pavilion surrounded by large, shady trees.

For a romantic and special picnic, head over to Buckingham Valley Vineyards & Winery. After a self-guided tour and wine tasting, the owners welcome you to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy as you view the vineyard’s 40 stunning acres. When you’re finished, explore their exquisite sculptures created by Bucks County artists.picnic3

• If you’re looking for a place to picnic and get a history lesson, Pennsbury Manor delivers! The Manor, a reconstruction of William Penn’s home, is set on 43 beautiful acres along the Delaware River. Take their guided tour through the Manor House, furnished with 17th century period furniture and experience what life was like in colonial times. After your tour you are free to explore the estate. Stroll through the gardens, walk along the banks of the Delaware River or visit the stables to catch a glimpse of oxen or sheep grazing in the pastures. Take your picnic lunch to their covered picnic pavilion to round out your exciting and educational experience.

Take a trip back in time when you picnic at Washington Crossing Historic Park. Preserved on the park’s 500 acres is the site where George Washington crossed the Delaware River and turned the tide of the Revolutionary War. When your finished having lunch in one of the parks many picnic areas, tour the rest of the park for more American history, natural beauty, and family fun!picnic4

Is there a better way to picnic than surrounded by beautiful, blooming wildflowers? The folks at Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve don’t think so! Take one of their daily Guided Wildflower Walks to see and learn about the gorgeous blooms. After your walk, picnic in the designated area located just past the entrance to the Preserve grounds, in the Captain James Moore Pavilion and adjacent grassy area. The Pavilion has electricity and picnic tables to make your experience perfect!

 

*Courtesy of www.visitbuckscounty.com
* Photo of family picnic courtesy of Anthony Sinagoga Photography
*Photo of Ringing Rocks Park courtesy of Justin DeRosa
*Photo courtesy of Pennsbury Manor
*Photo of Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve courtesy of Sara Brace 

 

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Hosting a Successful Open House

open house1From fixing up all the minor repairs to cleaning the house top-to-bottom, there are a lot of small details that go into organizing the perfect open house. However, in the rush to organize everything, there are a number of to-do’s that are easy to forget about. If you’re currently prepping your home and don’t want to miss the important stuff, here are some things you should contemplate before setting the date.

The Outside Look
The first thing potential homebuyers will notice when they arrive at your home is the outside, and that’s why it’s so important not to neglect it. Before organizing your open house, make sure the lawn is mowed, any unsightly hedges are trimmed and that your entrance area and flowerbeds are well maintained. Since potential homebuyers will see the outside before anything else, there’s no sense in losing them for having a disheveled lawn before they’ve even walked through the door.

Effectively Market the Eventopen house3
Many home sellers want to believe that their house will sell itself, but if no one knows about your open house or bothers to show up, there’s no chance of getting any offers. While your real estate agent should be featuring your home on their website, you may also want to hand out flyers to your neighbors and make a few posts on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to get the word out. There are no assurances when it comes to drumming up interest, but spreading the word with as many people as possible will likely find a few interested parties.

Use The Five Sensesopen house4
It may not be the most common advice, but engaging potential buyers on a number of different levels can actually enhance the appeal of your home. Playing a little music can be a good way to make them feel comfortable, and you may want to do a little baking beforehand since the sense of smell can have a and at home like the scent of freshly baked treats and a little music.

There’s plenty of cleaning and organizing when it comes to an open house but it’s also important to look at the big picture when it comes to prepping for your home showing. If you’re nearly ready to put your home on the market, you may want to contact a local real estate professional for more information.

If you have any questions regarding home mortgages or other advice about selling your home, feel free to call me directly at 215-519-1399.

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Picnic Perfection for International Picnic Day in Bucks County

Grab your baskets and your blankets! International Picnic Day is June 18 and Bucks County has many scenic spots to nosh and soak up the sun. Pack a picnic and take your friends and family to one of Bucks County’s parks or other unique settings to enjoy the great outdoors! picnic1

With more than 7,500 acres of county and state park land, Bucks County’s parks provide some of the best places to picnic. The beautiful landscapes, woods, meadows and streams are the perfect setting for an outdoor feast.

Core Creek Park has pavilions and wooded picnic areas for you to enjoy. Pets are allowed so bring your furry friend!

Taking its name from Neshaminy Creek, Neshaminy State Park has picnic benches and grills at your disposal to create your perfect picnic.

Playwicki Park is a local favorite. The kids can play on the huge playground while you grill up a delicious meal for the family and enjoy it in one of their large pavilions.picnic2

Ringing Rocks Park is a both a breathtaking and unique place for picnic. After you finish eating, make sure to bring a hammer to the boulder field to hit the 10-foot-high rock piles that make a strange and fascinating ringing sound when struck.

Situated around the beautiful Lake Towhee, Lake Towhee Park has much to offer including a playground, hiking, boating, and fishing. After your activity filled day, enjoy a picnic in their spacious pavilion surrounded by large, shady trees.

For a romantic and special picnic, head over to Buckingham Valley Vineyards & Winery. After a self-guided tour and wine tasting, the owners welcome you to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy as you view the vineyard’s 40 stunning acres. When you’re finished, explore their exquisite sculptures created by Bucks County artists.picnic3

• If you’re looking for a place to picnic and get a history lesson, Pennsbury Manor delivers! The Manor, a reconstruction of William Penn’s home, is set on 43 beautiful acres along the Delaware River. Take their guided tour through the Manor House, furnished with 17th century period furniture and experience what life was like in colonial times. After your tour you are free to explore the estate. Stroll through the gardens, walk along the banks of the Delaware River or visit the stables to catch a glimpse of oxen or sheep grazing in the pastures. Take your picnic lunch to their covered picnic pavilion to round out your exciting and educational experience.

Take a trip back in time when you picnic at Washington Crossing Historic Park. Preserved on the park’s 500 acres is the site where George Washington crossed the Delaware River and turned the tide of the Revolutionary War. When your finished having lunch in one of the parks many picnic areas, tour the rest of the park for more American history, natural beauty, and family fun!picnic4

Is there a better way to picnic than surrounded by beautiful, blooming wildflowers? The folks at Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve don’t think so! Take one of their daily Guided Wildflower Walks to see and learn about the gorgeous blooms. After your walk, picnic in the designated area located just past the entrance to the Preserve grounds, in the Captain James Moore Pavilion and adjacent grassy area. The Pavilion has electricity and picnic tables to make your experience perfect!

*Courtesy of www.visitbuckscounty.com
* Photo of family picnic courtesy of Anthony Sinagoga Photography
*Photo of Ringing Rocks Park courtesy of Justin DeRosa
*Photo courtesy of Pennsbury Manor
*Photo of Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve courtesy of Sara Brace 

 

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