Havertown Homes- Colonial Style

havertown colonial

Havertown has a plethora of home styles. I will be featuring different home styles on my blog so that prospective Havertown Homebuyers will be able to see the different styles of homes in the area.  The variety of home styles is one of the many features that makes Havertown so attractive to potential homebuyers.

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Colonial Style home- Stone

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Colonial Style home with front porch

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How do you net your fruit trees?

Up close-branches netted only

Its been a summer of protecting our gardens…I’ve already netted the berry patch and only found 1 bird who managed to find their way in, which after some tweaking, I haven’t seen anymore.  We got delicious strawberries, raspberries and now blackberries from that garden.

Its been a summer of protecting our gardens…I’ve already netted the berry patch and only found 1 bird who managed to find their way in, which after some tweaking, I haven’t seen anymore.  We got delicious strawberries, raspberries and now blackberries from that garden.

The next area to be protected from squirrels and birds was our peach trees. We did a lot of pruning and other maintenance this year already to battle the peach tree leaf curl we had; then the summer storms have all but knocked off almost all of the peaches on the end two trees, so we wanted to save the fruit from the middle tree as best as possible.  Kevin made a tasty peach cobbler from peaches we froze last year, so I wanted to make sure we had the same success this year.  (He made fresh whipped cream to serve with it!)

peach cobbler

 

We did a lot of research online, and many discussion boards suggested covering the entire tree (they must have smaller trees, because ours are about 15-16 ft high), which that would be A LOT of netting to cover the entire tree.  So, I selected to cover just sections of the tree that were fruit bearing with netting (as well as just use the left over netting I already had).

I selected sections of the tree that were bearing the most fruit and looked promising. I cut a large section of netting off, draped it over the branches and used safety pins (yes, the safety pins I have been saving from all of my races and bibs- again I’m repurposing this summer :), to pin the netting into place. I figure the safety pins would be easy to secure the netting in place, as well as easy enough to remove when I was ready to pick the fruit.

So far so good, I will keep you posted how my netting project works out. If all goes well, I will be posting about my frustration of blanching, peeling and freezing the peaches in a few short weeks!

How do you net your fruit trees?

 

Netted peach trees

Netted peach trees

Up close-branches netted only

Up close-branches netted only

 

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Housing Market Continues to Stabilize in 2014

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Housing market continues to stabilize in 2014
Inventory is steadily rising, while prices have also increased
We’re now halfway through 2014, and as anticipated, the market has slowed down from the brisk pace of last year. It’s a stabilization of the industry that was predicted by our team here at Long & Foster, and it’s attributed to a variety of developments—three of which stand out as the most significant to me.
  • First, the mortgage industry faced a changing regulatory environment as the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act took effect in January 2014. Lenders of all sizes were faced with challenges implementing the new rules and we’re just now beginning to see how it’s impacted the loan business.
  • Second, the real estate industry has seen a slowdown in investor demand, which attributed to about 1 in 5 purchases in 2013. Now, though, as financing costs and property values have increased, investors aren’t as eager to buy real estate.
  • Last, and perhaps most significant, the low interest rates of the past few years have left many homeowners unwilling to sell. The 3.5 percent mortgage rates that spurred so many refinances and purchases have placed homeowners in a situation where they don’t see the financial benefit of selling. It’s the downside of low mortgage rates, and it’s an issue I expect we’ll have to manage for years to come.
Regardless, we have seen many positive developments in the market this year. For example, while inventory remains low, it’s steadily increasing. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported a 5.6-month supply as of May, which is much closer to normal than last December’s 4.6-month supply. Sales prices also have been on the rise across the country. Both NAR and the Mortgage Bankers Association predict this growth will continue through the year, and we’ve seen such developments at Long & Foster.
While we’re down year-to-date about 6 percent in volume and 7 percent in units, our sales are quite similar to the overall market. I’m confident our performance will continue to improve, and I’m appreciative of all you’ve done to help Long & Foster bring the homeownership experience to buyers and sellers across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast this year. Let’s keep up the good work as we move toward the future!
By the Numbers Wrap-up for June 2014
  • Real Estate: More than $2.6 billion in sales volume, a 10 percent decrease from June 2013, for a year-to-date total of over $15.2 billion
  • Real Estate: 7,181 unit transactions, an 8 percent decrease from June 2013
  • Property Management: Created 127 new accounts and referred 25 of our current accounts to Long & Foster Real Estate sales agents for potential sales listing in the month of June
  • Rental Service Center: Processed 1,663 applications and paid 1,322 rental cases, which includes placing a tenant, ratifying the lease and paying the leasing commission
  • Mortgage: 581 customers served, earning over 23 percent of Long & Foster business
  • Title: 1,477 customers served, earning more than 48 percent of Long & Foster business
  • Insurance: 299 new policies issued, earning almost 10 percent of Long & Foster business

News from Long and Foster Companies, Jeff Detwiler, President and Chief Operating Officer

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Responsive & Patient Realtor

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Whose to blame if a home isn’t selling?

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Most home sellers are quick to pass the blame when their home is lingering on the market without any offers.  The agent is the one who takes the hardest hit, but many sellers will also blame the house….stating location, or floor plan, or age as the reason potential buyers are not flocking to their door.

Homes can have “issues” that make them more of a challenge to market…however, the majority of the time it’s the sellers’ lack of preparation that is behind the shortage of buyer interest.  Most home sellers have little to no experience in the art of presentation or the psychology of marketing.

If you want your home to sell….you must PREPARE it to sell!

Here are some simple low-cost home staging tips to help sell your home:

1.  Determine who your target buyer is.  Whether they are a single professional, retired couple, or a young family….what features are most appealing to them?  Think about the location of your home, the number of bedrooms, etc…who will be the most likely to buy your home?

2.  Make simple improvements.  Replaced dated light fixtures, remove busy wallpaper, and worn carpet which many buyers can not see past  Older homes have character, however the age of your home becomes less of an issue if it appears well maintained.

3.  Define space and function in each room. Arrange the room for a smooth flow and spacious feel.  It’s important to remember that what is convenient and comfortable for you, may not represent the most appealing floor plan to potential buyers.

4.  Highlight the positive features and de-clutter.   Most sellers have too much stuff…clutter that makes it impossible for buyers to see and appreciate the hardwood floors, built-in cabinetry, custom trim, stone fireplace, and beautiful view.

 Homes don’t kill real estate deals…bad impressions due to sellers’ lack of preparation can kill real estate deals- or even prevent offers.  Prepare your home to sell, not sit on the market. 

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Is your Realtor Patient and understanding?

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Home buying is a big deal- I try to be as patient and understanding as possible with all of my clients. A home is not a pair of pants you can return if you decide they don’t fit right.

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Happy First Time Home Buyer Review

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I recently helped this client buy their first homes in Drexel Hill. It was a pleasure working with this client and guiding her through the process.

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Veteran & Active Duty Military Focused Realtors

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Long and Foster is looking for Military Focused Realtors. Contact me today for more information!

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Top Producer, Lister & Seller

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Kevin has been named the 2013 Top Producer for Satellite offices as well as the Top Lister and Seller of the Devon Office.

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Kevin’s work ethic and drive speak for themselves and these honors are a testament to his continued efforts in Real Estate.

His clients rave about his communication skills and honesty.

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Home Sales in U.S. Poised to Surge With Spring

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In recent article written by Kathleen M. Howley onMar 31, 2014, she shares many of the same issues I have been discussing with my clients:

Donna Cicerone and her husband Paul want to put their three-bedroom home in Milton, Massachusetts, on the market. First, they have to find a house to buy.
The Cicerones live in the Boston area, where all but three weekends this year have had snow, sleet or rain. Bad weather has forced them to cancel house-hunting plans half a dozen times, they said. When they have found a house they liked amid a limited supply of properties, they’ve been outbid.
“The moment we sign a contract to buy, we’re putting our house on the market,” said Donna Cicerone. “We feel like we’re missing an opportunity because everyone says there are lots of buyers, but there’s nothing we can do.” Frustrated shoppers and would-be sellers like the Cicerones are setting the pace for the housing
market’s spring selling season, the March through June period when more than half of U.S. home sales take place. The market’s getting a late start this year because so much of the country has been in the grips of bad weather, said Dean Maki, chief U.S. economist for Barclays PLC in New York.
“There aren’t many people who want to drive around looking for homes in a blizzard, and there aren’t many sellers who can put their homes on the market unless they have some place to move to,” Maki said. “We’ve seen sales take a hit so far, lagging where they usually are, but we think the
next few months will make up for it.”

Mortgages:

Home sales declined in February to the lowest level since mid-2012, according to the National Association of Realtors. The number of contracts signed with the intention of purchasing properties fell that month to the lowest since 2011, according to the Realtors’ group. While the numbers are seasonally adjusted, they can be influenced by unexpected events such as unusual weather. Applications for mortgages to purchase homes dropped in February to the lowest since 1995,
according to an index from the Mortgage Bankers Association that also is seasonally adjusted. By mid-March, the gauge regained about 12 percent from that low, while remaining about 17 percent below the level it was during the same week in 2013. Most of the sales blocked by bad weather will happen in the next few months, Maki said. Housing forecasters Fannie Mae and the Mortgage Bankers Association predict 2014 home sales will be ‘Exaggerated Bounce’ “Because we’ve had a late start to sales, we expect a bit of an exaggerated seasonal bounce,” said Maki. sales of existing homes probably will rise to 5.14 million in 2014, up from last year’s 5.07 million, according to the mortgage bankers group. Mortgage lending for purchases probably will total $661 billion, near last year’s $652 billion, the trade group said. Like many buyers, the Cicerones are eager to purchase a house so they can lock a mortgage rate before borrowing costs rise. The average U.S. rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 4.4 percent last week. A year earlier, it was 3.57 percent. By the end of 2014, the average rate probably will be about 4.6 percent, said Fannie Mae.  “We’re ready to pounce when we find the right house,” said Cicerone, 48. “We want to put our home on the market to catch all the buyers nervous about mortgage rates, and we want to find a house as fast as we can so we can lock in a good rate too.” They may get some cooperation from the weather in April. Below-normal temperatures will give way to more seasonal weather in the eastern U.S. next week, according to Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland. The December through February period was the coldest in four years.

Fed Tapering:
Borrowing costs have risen as the Federal Reserve continues tapering stimulus efforts that have kept interest rates low. Policy makers cut monthly bond purchases to $55 billion this month, from $85 billion last year. Fed Chair Janet Yellen said the program could end this fall and that the benchmark interest rate, which has been close to zero since 2008, may rise six months after that. Tighter lending also is hurting the market, said Michael Hanson, a former Federal Reserve economist now working for Bank of America Corp. in New York. In January, the Fed issued a report showing 1.4 percent of banks had raised mortgage standards, the first increase since April 2012.

“We need more first-time buyers in the market so they can purchase the homes of people who want to move up,” Hanson said. “We won’t see a normal real estate market until they are included, and they are the ones most affected when lenders tighten standards.” First-time buyers accounted for 28 percent of all purchases in February, up from 26 percent in January that was the lowest in data going back to October 2008, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Supply Differences:
The supply of homes for sale is bigger than last year, according to the National Association of Realtors. At the current sales pace, it would take 5.2 months to sell the properties on the market in February, compared with 4.6 months a year earlier. The markets in certain areas, such as Boston, Denver, and Houston, are leaner than during the 2013 Spring selling season. In Boston and Boulder, Colorado, the number of homes for sale in February was down about 30 percent from a year ago, according to Zillow Inc. in Seattle. In Houston, Dallas and Denver, the contraction is about 20 percent. The metropolitan New York and Seattle areas were up 1 percent. That has made extra work for home-loan brokers such as Jonathan Sexton, a vice president at NE Moves Mortgage LLC’s office in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Each time people make an offer on a house, their mortgage broker prepares a letter showing they are pre-qualified for the amount of the bid. When supply shortages cause bidding wars, those letters are in greater demand.

‘Low Success’:
“So far this year, I’ve seen an inordinately low success rate for bids because the supply of properties is so limited,” he said. “I wish I got paid in pre-approval letters instead of closed loans.” Sales in the Boston area and other parts of the country likely will pick up speed as the market goes into April and May, said Bank of America’s Hanson. “The housing market, like the rest of the economy, is on a gradual recovery path,” said Hanson. “In the next months, we’re going to see the Spring market come to life.”

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