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  • Sellers: See what is your home is worth

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  • Selling Q&A

    • What are the advantages of owning a home?

      There are many. Among the most appealing: you own it, which gives you, instead of a landlord, control of your living space. Other benefits stem from potential tax savings and the build up of equity as your property likely appreciates in price over time. Equity can be used to help put children through college, purchase a second home, or make home improvements.

      The mortgage interest paid on a home loan is tax deductible, as is the local property tax. If you get a fixed-rate home mortgage loan, you also can invest more wisely knowing your monthly mortgage payment, unlike rent, will not change substantially.



    • What is the first step to buying a home?

      Make sure you are ready - psychologically and financially. Ask yourself the following questions: Do I have steady income? Is my debt lower than my total income? Do I have enough money to pay for the down payment and closing costs? Am I working hard enough to improve bad credit?

      A house needs constant care and attention. Also ask yourself if your budget will allow for unexpected repairs and upkeep. Once you can honestly answer "yes" to these questions, you are several steps ahead of the game and that much closer to becoming a homeowner.



    • How much can I afford?

      The general rule of thumb is that you can buy a home that costs about two-and-one-half times your annual salary. A good REALTOR® or lender can determine how much you can afford and estimate the maximum monthly payment based on the loan amount, taxes, insurance and other expenses.



    • Is it best to save for the ultimate dream home or begin with a less expensive starter home?

      It can take a long time to save for that perfect dream home. Meanwhile, the market has been flooded with some of the most favorable mortgage interest rates in years. Low rates make housing more affordable, which is why so many buyers have jumped on the home buying bandwagon.

      Home-price appreciation has also been strong, making very solid gains in communities across the country. In fact, home prices are expected to increase 2.5 percent to 3 percent annually over the next five years.

      If you purchase a starter home today, you can potentially begin to build value that can lead to the purchase of a larger, or more desirable, trade-up home in the future.



    • How do you decide whether to add on to an existing home or purchase a new one?

      There are a few things to consider, including cost, individual needs, and what will add value down the road. Also important: your emotional attachment to the existing home. As designer and builder Philip S. Wenz, the author of Adding to a House: Planning, Design & Construction, notes, an addition is much cheaper than building a new home and can offer a "new" home without the heartache of moving.

      Other considerations:

      • Can you finance the home improvement with your own cash or will you need a loan?
      • How much equity is in the property? A fair amount will make it that much easier to get a loan for home improvements.
      • Is it feasible to expand the current space for an addition?
      • What is permissible under local zoning and building laws? Despite your deep yearning for a new sunroom or garage, you will need to know if your town or city will allow such improvements.
      • Are there affordable properties for sale that would satisfy your changing housing needs?
      Explore your options. Make sure your decision is one you can live with - either under the same roof or under a different one.

  • Monthly Help Videos

  • Monthly Home Ownership Tips

    • Is it true you never really stop fixing up a home?

      From the day you move in to the day you sell your home, there will always be something that will need to be repaired or remodeled. You may want to undertake some changes simply to elevate your comfort level - like installing central air conditioning - or spruce up the home's aesthetics, such as adding a few stained-glass windows.

      But other work will need to be done to maintain the property and minimize problems later on. For example, replacing a hazardous roof, fixing broken windows, and repairing leaky pipes. These are all necessities. Left undone, they can lead to major problems and damages within the home.

      If you decide one day to sell, other improvements will likely be made to increase the home's value and appeal to potential buyers.



    • Is there anything I should pay special attention to?

      From the very beginning, get in the habit of taking an inventory at least once every year of every nook and cranny of your home to check for potential problems. Examine the roof, foundation, plumbing, electrical wiring - basically everything. Try to fix trouble spots as soon as you uncover them. This proactive approach will help you avoid larger expenses later on, so leave no stone unturned when taking your inventory.



    • What about the unseen problems like toxic gases?

      Problems with your chimney, mechanical devices on your heating appliance, and pressure within the home can all cause combustion spillage, the unwanted flow of combustion gases into your home. Present in these gases are toxic elements such as carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides.

      The best way to prevent spillage is to hire a professional - preferably one who specializes in building inspection, indoor air quality, ducting, chimneys and heating equipment - to do a yearly maintenance check of all your combustion appliances. These appliances include a gas-fired furnace, boiler, or water heater, an oil-fired furnace, boiler, or water heater, and a fireplace.The service professional can check for heat exchanger leakage, evidence of start up spillage, and condensation in the chimney. Maintenance normally includes a tune-up, or in the case of a chimney, clearing it of debris and fixing cracks on the inside wall.



    • How much, on average, can I expect to spend on maintenance?

      Expect to spend one percent of the purchase price of your home every year to handle a myriad of tasks, including painting, tree trimming, repairing gutters, caulking windows, and routine system repairs and maintenance.An older home will usually require more maintenance, although a lot will depend on how well it has been maintained over the years.

      Tell yourself that the upkeep of your home is mandatory, and budget accordingly. Otherwise, your home's value will suffer if you allow it to fall into a state of disrepair. Remember, there is usually a direct link between a property's condition and its market value: The better its condition, the more a buyer will likely pay for it down the road.

      Also, adopt the attitude that the cost of good home maintenance is usually minor compared to what it will cost to remedy a situation that you allowed to get out of hand. For example, unclogging and sealing gutters may cost a few hundred dollars. But repairing damage to a corner of your home where gutters have leaked can potentially cost several thousands dollars.



    • What are the main reasons why homeowners remodel?

      There are many reasons. Home remodeling can improve the appearance of your home, enhance its value, add to your quality of life, and appeal to future homebuyers. According to a recent survey by the National Association of Home Builders, the top four reasons homeowners remodel is to obtain more space, avoid buying a new home, enjoy more amenities, and adjust to lifestyle changes.



  • Want a Market Analysis on your home: Request more Information

  • Glossary of Terms

    • Acceleration clause

      Stipulation in a mortgage agreement that allows the lender to demand immediate payment of the entire loan balance if any scheduled payment is missed.

    • Adjustable rate mortgage (ARM)

      Mortgage loan on which the interest rate falls and rises with changes in prevailing rates. The mortgage rate is tied to a selected index and may be adjusted annually. Also called a variable rate mortgage.

    • Agent

      Person authorized to act by and on behalf of another.

    • Air rights

      Right to occupy and use the open space above a parcel of land or property, such as in the leasing of air space over existing buildings or highways.

    • Amortize

      Pay a debt in monthly or other periodic installments until the total amount, along with the interest, if any, is paid.

  • Daily Consumer News

    • How to Keep Healthy Changes All Year Long

      Many of us vow to make smarter, healthier choices in the new year. But as winter rolls into spring, those resolutions may be left in a closet along with your heavy seasonal sweaters. To help kick off 2018 on the right foot, Giant's team of 11 nutritionists came together to share their 10 best tips for making sustainable changes.

      Find your motivation. Share your motivations with a close and trusted friend, coworker, or relative. They can cheer you on and remind you why you are pursuing change.

      Make it fun. When it comes to fitness, find something you enjoy doing. Whether it's long walks, barre classes, martial arts, peaceful yoga or pick-up sports games, you're more likely to stick to it if you're having fun! Bored of the same routine? Try a new fitness class or meet with a staff member at your local gym or community center.

      Amp up your hydration. This one is often overlooked, but it's key to overall health. Add an extra eight ounces of water to your day. More fluids will help you stay hydrated and those extra walks to the restroom will increase your activity!

      Try something new. Make 2018 the year of variety and trying new things. Start out by trying a new fruit or veggie each week, and then move on to other food categories like grains or healthy oils. Produceforkids.com is a great resource for learning to select, store and prepare new fruit and veggie additions.

      Load up on fruits and veggies. This rule is timeless for a reason. Aim to fill half your plate with fruits and/or vegetables at each meal or snack. If you're indulging with a few bites of a less healthy item or snack, you'll still have a half healthy plate!

      Find a buddy. It's no secret that working toward and achieving goals is more fun with friends! Plus, when you share a similar objective, you can keep each other up-to-date on your progress and encourage each other.

      Get cookin'. Work on easing yourself into a healthier routine by testing out one new recipe each week. Swap recipe ideas with family and friends to stay motivated. This is also a great way to incorporate tip four! You can work to create recipes using one new ingredient each week.

      Keep yourself accountable. Make a list of the top three reasons why you want to improve your health and stick it on the refrigerator or another space you see every day.  This constant visual will reinforce your new healthy habits.

      Shop smart. You can't eat half a plate of fruits and veggies at every meal if you don't buy half a grocery cart of fruits and veggies! Shop smarter to stick with it.

      Plan for the unexpected. Pack a tote of nutritious snacks when on the go – nuts, seeds, fruit, veggies – so that you won't reach for less healthy snack foods. This is great for day trips with the family or even just a busy day of errands. You'll be glad you didn't need to rely on that soft pretzel at the mall! You can also keep a small bag of nutritious snacks at the office or in your car.

      Remember to keep your goals realistic. It's not necessary to attempt all of these tips at once, so pick one or two that seem manageable for you!

      Source: Giant Food of Landover, Md.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.



    • Budget-Friendly Spring Break Getaways

      (Family Features)--Spring is the perfect time for a vacation. Shake off the doldrums of winter as you transition toward fresh beginnings and warmer days. One tip for planning a fun-filled trip with nearly countless memories: start your planning by deciding what types of things you'd like to do and experiences you'd like to enjoy.

      For example, destinations like Texas, which offers hundreds of miles of coastline along the Texas Gulf Coast, can be a perfect destination for spring break travel for all ages. Start looking forward to a getaway to remember with these ideas, perfect for family travel, spring-breakers and everyone in between.

      See the sights. If you're the exploring type and want to mix some education with your fun, plan your journey around attractions like museums and nature centers, where you'll find plenty to learn about the local area. Look for experiences you can't find anyplace else.

      Make a splash. For water lovers and more active types, a visit to the seashore may be just the ticket. At some locations, you can find all sorts of adventures, like surfing, kiteboarding, snorkeling, scuba diving, parasailing, jet skiing, deep sea fishing and more.

      Pitch a tent. When you're looking to put the hustle and bustle of the city aside, a camping trip is the perfect way to reconnect with nature and enjoy some peaceful relaxation. Whether in the hills or on a beach, you can find a variety of camping locations.

      Explore the great outdoors. Discovering new flora and fauna is a delightful way to spend spring break. National parks offer nearly endless opportunities where you can experience natural elements teeming with life. These protected destinations are the perfect places for unique animal encounters, such as birdwatching, with hundreds of native species.

      Go by land and sea. You can create an eclectic trip with diverse experiences by choosing a destination that lets you enjoy activities on both land and water. Cruise ports from coastal areas around the country offer an array of activities that appeal to travelers in transition.

      Source: Texas Tourism Board

      Published with permission from RISMedia.



    • Three Reasons to Take Social Security at 62

      Popular wisdom has it that the longer you wait to start collecting your Social Security benefits, the larger the monthly check you will receive. In essence, that is true.

      However, as the money mavens at The Motley Fool point out, since the Social Security Administration (SSA) changed the rules so that full retirement age is not 65, but is based on the year you were born, there are several reasons why it might make financial sense to start collecting your benefits earlier than you planned. Here are the top three:

      You may have to start at 62 – According to the 2016 Retirement Confidence Survey, 46 percent of retirees were forced to leave the workforce earlier than expected – due either to unexpected health problems or to changes at work, such as downsizing. Since retiring ahead of schedule may mean you have less money socked away, being able to collect benefits at 62 could be a blessing.

      It may be a wash – It’s true that the longer you wait (until age 70), the larger your check will be. But, as the SSA explains, “if you live to the average life expectancy as someone your age, you will receive about the same amount in lifetime benefits no matter whether you choose to start receiving benefits at age 62, age 70, or any age in between.” That’s because the system is designed so that for those who live average age lives, it will be a wash in terms of total benefits received no matter when you start collecting. If you delay starting to collect from age 67 to 70, for example, you will miss out on a full three years of payments – albeit smaller ones. (Of course, if you love working and would rather stick with it until age 70 or later, it may make sense to wait and ultimately collect the larger monthly amount.)

      Claiming early could help you retire early – Early retirees enjoy the benefits of being  not so old and not so sick, making it easier to travel, golf, and pursue other more active hobbies – and if your family tree is full of people who lived less than average lives, consider that in terms of when you will start to collect. Even if you beat the odds and live longer, you will still be collecting benefits.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.



    • Don't Overpay Your Taxes

      (Family Features)--With tax season in full swing, take time to consider how to get the most out of your tax return, which includes finding all the credits and deductions available to you. While many taxpayers claim common deductions, such as home mortgage interest and self-employment expenses, there are additional tax deductions that can lessen your final tax bill or increase your refund. These often-overlooked tax breaks could potentially save you hundreds - maybe even thousands - of dollars if you itemize deductions.

      To start, get to know the difference between tax credits and tax deductions. Tax credits reduce the amount you owe in taxes. In some circumstances, tax credits allow a refundable credit, meaning you may not only reduce the amount you owe to $0, but you can also get money back. Deductions, on the other hand, simply reduce your taxable income. Both can have a potentially significant impact on your taxes and are often worth the extra effort to include on your return.

      Some commonly overlooked credits include:

      1. Child and Dependent Care Credit

      You can claim a credit of up to $2,100 for day care for your dependents so you and your spouse can work. Qualifying dependents include children under 13 and parents who are no longer able to care for themselves.

      2. Earned Income Tax Credit

      The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a federal tax credit based on your income and the number of qualifying children living with you. Nearly 1 in 5 people who qualify fail to claim the credit, worth up to $6,318. Just because you didn't qualify last year doesn't mean you won't this year; one-third of the EITC-eligible population changes each year based on marital, parental and financial status.

      3. Saver's Credit or the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit

      Make sure you "pay yourself first." Even if it is only $20 each pay cycle, make sure you are putting some money into a retirement fund. If your company offers a retirement savings plan, like a 401(k), it is usually in your best interest to participate. If your income is lower than $60,000, you can receive a credit of up to $1,000 for a contribution of up to $2,000 into an IRA or an employer-provided retirement account, such as a 401(k). The credit is in addition to any deduction or exclusion from income for the contribution.

      Some tax deductions that allow you to reduce your taxable income include:

      1. Moving Expenses

      If you moved for a job that is at least 50 miles away from your home and held this job for at least 39 weeks, you can claim your moving expenses even if you don't itemize deductions.

      2. Tax-Preparation Fees

      Plan for tax time. Tax laws change and so do life circumstances. Using a professional to help you file your return may be a wise investment. For example, the tax pros at Jackson Hewitt can help you get every deduction and credit you deserve and the biggest refund possible. Plus, the cost of preparing your taxes can be claimed if you itemize your deductions. In fact, one missed credit or deduction could more than cover the cost of having your taxes prepared by a tax professional.

      3. New Moms

      Breast pumps and lactation supplies are considered medical equipment, which means they qualify for a possible deduction.

      4. Career Corner

      Job hunting often means investing both time and money. However, you may be able to deduct some of the job-search expenses you incur. Costs such as preparing resumes, creating and maintaining websites, business cards, agency fees and travel expenses may be eligible.

      5. Wedding Bells

      If you were married in a church or at a historical site during the past year, you may be able to deduct fees paid to the venue as a charitable donation.

      6. Medical Fitness

      While general toning and fitness workouts to improve general health are considered personal expenses, you may be able to deduct your gym membership as a medical expense. If a doctor diagnoses you with a specific medical condition, such as obesity or hypertension, or a specific physical or mental illness, and prescribes workouts or participation in a weight-loss program to treat your illness, the membership dues may be tax-deductible.

      7. Road Warriors

      If you travel for business and aren't reimbursed by your employer, those costs can qualify as a deduction.

      Refund Advance
      If you're getting a refund, you typically want it as soon as possible, but that isn't always an option, especially if you are one of the millions of Americans who claim either the Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit.  

      Did You Know?
      1. The IRS, as well as many states, allows taxpayers to catch up on missed credits or deductions, offering a three-year window for filing an amended tax return. You can secure unclaimed credits and deductions by filing amended tax returns to avoid losing any unclaimed funds from as far back as 2014.

      2. With locations across the United States, including kiosks in 3,000 Walmart stores, the tax professionals at Jackson Hewitt make it easy to stop in when it's most convenient for you.

      3. If you are a single parent, you can file as Head of Household instead of Single. This filing status can provide better deduction options and a lower tax rate schedule.

      Source: Jackson Hewitt

      Published with permission from RISMedia.



    • Slip, Trip, Stumble: 5 Tips for Safer Falling

      Most of us will take a tumble at some point in our lives. But be it a slip on an icy walkway or a trip over an exposed cable, there are ways you can minimize damage when you fall - if you know how.

      "We often associate falls with children or the elderly, but in fact 50- to 60-year olds experience more falls than older individuals," says Allison Averill, M.D., director of neurorehabilitation, Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation. "And while falling at some point in time is inevitable, there are ways to protect yourself from serious injury by creating a safer environment in and around your home and also by learning how to fall."

      Understanding the science of falling is critical. Studies have shown that it's not whether you slip on a wet or icy surface, trip over a rug or a crack in the sidewalk, or fall down a flight of stairs, but rather what you do in those brief seconds before you reach the ground:

      Protect your head. Falls are the No. 1 cause of traumatic brain injury in the United States, accounting for nearly half of these injuries. To help minimize the risk, try to tuck your head toward your chest if falling backward and turn your head to the side if falling forward.

      Reach and relax. Although it's natural to tense up, try to stay loose and reach with your arms bent to help cushion your fall.

      Butt first … Falls are the second leading cause of spinal cord injuries. To help distribute the impact of a fall, try to land on the fleshier parts of your body and roll with the fall.  

      Reducing the risk of falling is equally important – and that includes paying attention to both physical and environmental factors:  

      Eliminate clutter. Keep pathways clear by moving furniture or removing throw rugs, toys and other obstacles in the home, as well as tools, hoses and other items outdoors.     

      Focus on safety. Make sure rooms are well lit and use handrails on stairways and grab bars in the bath or shower. Outdoors, pay attention to the pavement or other surfaces and weather conditions. Even at the market or the mall, watch the flooring, displays and other potential hazards.

      Build your balance.  Developing core strength and flexibility through exercise and/or physical therapy, along with training like tai chi, may help improve balance.

      Check your eyes – and your meds. Poor eyesight, certain medications and even your diet, as well as the effects of arthritis, MS, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, stroke and other medical conditions, can affect balance and coordination and lead to falls. See a physician if you experience any difficulties.

      "Falls will happen," cautions Dr. Averill. "The best defense to help avoid injury is to minimize risk factors in and around your home, workplace and community. And in that split second as you begin to fall, remember how to prepare to land."

      Source:  www.kessler-rehab.com.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.



  • Buyers: Ck out our featured Properties

    • 3120 ARBOUR GREEN CT HATFIELD, PA 3120 ARBOUR GREEN CT, HATFIELD, PA Single Family | Semi-Detached for sale. $293,000 
    • 773 HARLEYSVILLE PIKE TELFORD, PA 773 HARLEYSVILLE PIKE, TELFORD, PA Single Family | Detached for sale. $239,000 
    • 1499 E PHILADELPHIA AVE #A GILBERTSVILLE, PA 1499 E PHILADELPHIA AVE #A, GILBERTSVILLE, PA Commercial for sale. $395,000 
    • 367 MANOR CIR HARLEYSVILLE, PA 367 MANOR CIR, HARLEYSVILLE, PA Condo/Townhome | Townhouse/Row for sale. $315,000 
    • 1141 GROSSTOWN RD POTTSTOWN, PA 1141 GROSSTOWN RD, POTTSTOWN, PA Lot/Land for sale. $325,000 
    • 19 PAR CIR LIMERICK, PA 19 PAR CIR, LIMERICK, PA Single Family | Detached for sale. $410,000 
    • 701 ANTIETAM DR DOUGLASSVILLE, PA 701 ANTIETAM DR, DOUGLASSVILLE, PA Single Family | Detached for sale. $277,900 Price reduced from $284,990 (-$7,090)
    • 2650 KRIEBEL RD HARLEYSVILLE, PA 2650 KRIEBEL RD, HARLEYSVILLE, PA Single Family | Detached for sale. $625,000 
    • 910 MOYERS RD LANSDALE, PA 910 MOYERS RD, LANSDALE, PA Residential Income | SingleBldg for sale. $235,000 
    • 564 KIMBERTON RD PHOENIXVILLE, PA 564 KIMBERTON RD, PHOENIXVILLE, PA Commercial for sale. $550,000 
    • 1445 SAINT PETERS RD POTTSTOWN, PA 1445 SAINT PETERS RD, POTTSTOWN, PA Lot/Land for sale. $165,000 
    • 1973 W MAIN ST #B NORRISTOWN, PA 1973 W MAIN ST #B, NORRISTOWN, PA Condo/Townhome | RowTwnhsClus for sale. $1,200 
    • 564 KIMBERTON RD PHOENIXVILLE, PA 564 KIMBERTON RD, PHOENIXVILLE, PA Commercial for sale. $2,000 
    • 564 KIMBERTON RD #C PHOENIXVILLE, PA 564 KIMBERTON RD #C, PHOENIXVILLE, PA Commercial for sale. $950 
    • 509 HARLEYSVILLE PIKE HARLEYSVILLE, PA 509 HARLEYSVILLE PIKE, HARLEYSVILLE, PA Single Family | Detached for sale. $309,900 Price reduced from $319,900 (-$10,000)
    • 1912 KOFFEL RD HATFIELD, PA 1912 KOFFEL RD, HATFIELD, PA Single Family | Detached for sale. $299,900 Price reduced from $304,900 (-$5,000)
    • 30 BEACON HILL LN PHOENIXVILLE, PA 30 BEACON HILL LN, PHOENIXVILLE, PA Single Family | Detached for sale. $525,000 
    • 611 MORRIS RD EAST GREENVILLE, PA 611 MORRIS RD, EAST GREENVILLE, PA Condo/Townhome | Townhouse/Row for sale. $147,500 
    • 2109 DEEP CREEK RD PERKIOMENVILLE, PA 2109 DEEP CREEK RD, PERKIOMENVILLE, PA Single Family | Detached for sale. $350,000 
    • 1000 N GRAVEL PIKE SCHWENKSVILLE, PA 1000 N GRAVEL PIKE, SCHWENKSVILLE, PA Single Family | Detached for sale. $1,100 
  • Search the Mls for Houses for sale

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    Postal Code 19333, PA
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    Address 123 Main St, Devon, PA
    Street Main St, Devon, PA
    Listing ID #123456
  • Search for School information on a home you like

    Before you purchase a new home it is always a good idea to research the schools in the surrounding area. The quality and/or proximity of the schools surrounding your home may significantly impact its resale value.

    Select a city to view a comprehensive list of all public and private schools that are available in the area.


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  • Buying Q&A

    • What are the advantages of owning a home?

      There are many. Among the most appealing: you own it, which gives you, instead of a landlord, control of your living space. Other benefits stem from potential tax savings and the build up of equity as your property likely appreciates in price over time. Equity can be used to help put children through college, purchase a second home, or make home improvements.

      The mortgage interest paid on a home loan is tax deductible, as is the local property tax. If you get a fixed-rate home mortgage loan, you also can invest more wisely knowing your monthly mortgage payment, unlike rent, will not change substantially.



    • What is the first step to buying a home?

      Make sure you are ready - psychologically and financially. Ask yourself the following questions: Do I have steady income? Is my debt lower than my total income? Do I have enough money to pay for the down payment and closing costs? Am I working hard enough to improve bad credit?

      A house needs constant care and attention. Also ask yourself if your budget will allow for unexpected repairs and upkeep. Once you can honestly answer "yes" to these questions, you are several steps ahead of the game and that much closer to becoming a homeowner.



    • How much can I afford?

      The general rule of thumb is that you can buy a home that costs about two-and-one-half times your annual salary. A good REALTOR® or lender can determine how much you can afford and estimate the maximum monthly payment based on the loan amount, taxes, insurance and other expenses.



    • Is it best to save for the ultimate dream home or begin with a less expensive starter home?

      It can take a long time to save for that perfect dream home. Meanwhile, the market has been flooded with some of the most favorable mortgage interest rates in years. Low rates make housing more affordable, which is why so many buyers have jumped on the home buying bandwagon.

      Home-price appreciation has also been strong, making very solid gains in communities across the country. In fact, home prices are expected to increase 2.5 percent to 3 percent annually over the next five years.

      If you purchase a starter home today, you can potentially begin to build value that can lead to the purchase of a larger, or more desirable, trade-up home in the future.



    • How do you decide whether to add on to an existing home or purchase a new one?

      There are a few things to consider, including cost, individual needs, and what will add value down the road. Also important: your emotional attachment to the existing home. As designer and builder Philip S. Wenz, the author of Adding to a House: Planning, Design & Construction, notes, an addition is much cheaper than building a new home and can offer a "new" home without the heartache of moving.

      Other considerations:

      • Can you finance the home improvement with your own cash or will you need a loan?
      • How much equity is in the property? A fair amount will make it that much easier to get a loan for home improvements.
      • Is it feasible to expand the current space for an addition?
      • What is permissible under local zoning and building laws? Despite your deep yearning for a new sunroom or garage, you will need to know if your town or city will allow such improvements.
      • Are there affordable properties for sale that would satisfy your changing housing needs?
      Explore your options. Make sure your decision is one you can live with - either under the same roof or under a different one.

  • Financing Q&A

    • What is a mortgage and how does it work?

      A mortgage makes homeownership possible for most people. In the simplest terms, it is a loan that is secured by real property. The lender holds title to the home until the loan is completely repaid. If you fail to pay up, the lender has a right to take the property, sell it, and recover the money that is owed.

      The amount of a mortgage will vary greatly depending on the down payment you make to reduce the amount of money that is needed to finance the home. You may put as much money down as you like, or you can sometimes pay as little as 3 to 5% of the purchase price, or sometimes nothing at all. The more you put down, the more you reduce the amount that is financed, thereby lowering your monthly payment.

      The monthly payment consists of both principal and interest but also typically includes additional amounts to cover property taxes and insurance-specifically hazard insurance and private mortgage insurance, the latter of which is required for down payments less than 20% of the purchase price.

      Home buyers in the U.S. have access to several different types of mortgage loans.



    • How do I qualify for a home loan?

      Top 5 Members have information on lender loan requirements and will be able to calculate a rough monthly figure you can afford based on the maximum monthly payment for the loan, taxes, insurance, and any type of maintenance fees. This pre-purchase evaluation by the agent can save you a lot of time spent looking at properties you cannot afford.

      Lenders also routinely calculate what you can afford and can pre-qualify you for a loan even before you begin your home search. This way, you know exactly how much you can afford to buy.

      Lenders generally stipulate that you spend no more than 28% of your gross monthly income on a mortgage payment or 36% on total debts.

      Ultimately, the price you can afford to pay for a home will also depend on other factors besides your gross income and outstanding debts. They include the amount of cash you have available for the down payment, your credit history, current interest rates, closing costs and cash reserves required by the lender, and the type of mortgage you select.



    • What's the best way to choose a home loan?

      A lot will depend on the length of time you plan to live in the home, other financial obligations, and potential savings gained from comparing the monthly costs of a home against the upfront costs and closing costs involved with a particular loan.

      Also, you will need to be comfortable with whatever choice you decide to make. Trust your instincts and do not be pressured into signing for a loan that will not really work for you.



    • Where can I get a mortgage?

      You can get a home loan from several different sources-a credit union, commercial bank, mortgage company, finance company, government agency, thrift (which includes savings banks and savings & loan associations), mortgage broker, and even the seller.

      Note, however, that most lenders have tightened their credit standards in light of increasing foreclosures and higher delinquency rates. Begin your search by calling at least half a dozen lenders to inquire about the types of financing available, current rates on each loan type, loan origination fees and number of points, other loan features and their credit requirements for borrowers.

      Once you actually apply for a mortgage, the lender will pull a recent copy of your credit report. That inquiry and any and all others are recorded and become a part of your credit file. Normally, several inquiries during a short period are viewed negatively, as a sign you are trying to open several new accounts. Such a move lowers your credit scores; and lower credit scores mean you will be offered a higher mortgage interest rate.

      However, there is a caveat. Credit scoring software generally detect that you are shopping for a single mortgage, if you shop within a short, 30-day window. So multiple inquires pulled roughly within this time frame will only count as one inquiry and should not affect your FICO or credit score.

      Checking your own score also will not lower your credit score.



    • What does a mortgage broker do?

      Much like a stockbroker helps you buy stocks, a mortgage broker can help you purchase a home loan. Because the broker has access to many lenders, you will be able to select from a wide variety of loan types and terms that fit your specific needs.

      Note, however, that brokers are not obligated to find the best deal for you. Of course, if you agree in writing to have one act as your agent, that is an entirely different story. This is why it is important when looking for a broker to contact more than one, just as you would any other lender.

      Compare their fees and ask questions, particularly about how they will be paid. Sometimes their fees appear as points paid at closing or the compensation is factored into the interest rate, or both. In any event, haggle with the broker and the lender for the best deal.

      Real estate agents normally maintain contact with several brokers. Ask your Top 5 Member for recommendations.



  • Home Matters Articles

    • In this Edition: Create a Healthy Home Environment

      Our lead story in this month’s Home Matters examines five simple ways to create a healthy environment within your home. Other topics covered this month include tips to steer clear of falling victim to a scam and questions that need to be addressed before you undertake a home remodel. We hope you enjoy this month’s edition of Home Matters and as always, we welcome your feedback. Email us anytime!

      Published with permission from RISMedia.



    • 5 Steps to a Healthier Home

      Believe it or not, being healthy at home isn’t just about what’s happening in your fridge. Sure, it’s a good starting point, but there are actually many ways to create a pro-health environment throughout your home. Here are five simple ways to start.

      1. Declutter the kitchen. In this case, we’re not talking about knickknacks—we’re talking about food. Go through your cabinets, pantry, fridge and freezer and say goodbye to anything that’s been lingering for way too long. Donate canned goods you’ve been saving ‘just in case,’ get rid of freezer-burned processed meals and old packages of crackers and snacks. Once your shelves are cleared out, start buying and eating mostly fresh items, picking up just what you need every couple of days as opposed to doing a mega shopping every couple of weeks.
      2. Honor your eating area. If you’re wolfing down meals standing up at the kitchen counter or on the sofa in front of the TV, it’s likely that you’ve adopted some poor eating habits. Make sure your dining space is set to sit down and enjoy a mindful eating experience that includes quality time with your loved ones, as well. Not only will this lead to eating better prepared, healthier meals, it will force you to eat more slowly, which will help you avoid overeating.
      3. Check the air quality in your most-frequented space. Whether it’s the living room or family room, make sure the air is healthy in the room in which you spend the most time. Dust and vacuum more often than usual (especially if you have pets or use a fireplace frequently), open the windows to circulate air, or use an air purifier or salt rocks to remove impurities. Add some house plants to help absorb carbon dioxide and release additional oxygen.
      4. Carve a restorative niche. Whether it’s a small workout area, or a reading and meditation nook, everyone needs to build their own private space within the busy walls of their home. Whether it’s for exercise or simple quiet time, having a mini escape right at home is essential to both your physical and mental well-being.
      5. Create a rest-inducing bedroom. Many of us aren’t getting enough sleep, which is at the root of a wide variety of health problems. Do a quick analysis of your sleeping quarters to make sure they’re conducive to a good night’s rest: Is your mattress well-suited for your sleeping needs? Is there a television that needs to go? Is the temperature cool enough? Is an after-hours quiet zone enforced? If not, get your bedroom in sleeping shape pronto. 
      These five steps will help ensure your home is designed to serve both your physical and emotional health.
       
      If you need more real estate information, feel free to contact me.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.



    • Don't Get Swindled by a Scammer

      Crafty financial fraudsters are getting ever more creative in their attempts to swindle money from innocent victims through phone or email schemes, or even in-person at your doorstep. According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), the latest rash of fraud involves imposters posing as someone from your doctor’s office, a financial institution, government agency, the court system or even the police department. They will typically threaten the victim with arrest unless a fake “fee” or “penalty” is paid. Other scams involve a softer touch in which an imposter pretends to represent a charity.
       
      Email scams are particularly easy to fall for as they appear to come from a legitimate institution and encourage the recipient to click on a link or open an attachment, which can infect your computer with a virus or lead to a webpage designed to elicit information to steal your identity.
       
      In order to steer clear of such scams, consumers must know the red flags. These include the demand for payment through an untraceable method, such as a wire transfer, cashier’s check or gift cards. The BBB offers these other tips to help you avoid such nefarious activity:
       
      Don’t do business at your front door. Select a professional, business or charity yourself, rather than respond to a solicitation. Also, be aware that individuals claiming to be with a utility company, phone company or any other type of business, may be carrying false identification.
       
      Monitor your credit reports. Doing so will give you an early indication that someone is using your personal information to open lines of credit and obtain loans. You may obtain your reports for free from the government-sanctioned website annualcreditreport.com. You will be asked to provide personal information for authentication purposes. This allows you to keep an eye on your credit reports all year long by requesting a report from one of the three credit monitoring companies every four months.
       
      Harden your computer security. Update and scan your computer regularly with anti-malware. Don’t ignore operating system and software updates either. Be sure to download them as they’re often designed to close security loopholes. Talk to an IT professional about the best way to back up your important files, photos and videos in case of a cyber hack or computer failure.
       
      Remember, there is no free lunch, no free cruise, fake inheritance or sweepstakes. There’s always a catch.
       
      Look for “https” and a padlock logo in URLs. You will find these in your browser address bar. This means the website you’re using is taking measures to protect your information.
       
      Do your research. Before signing a contract, putting down a deposit or donating to a charity, check out any organization you’re considering partnering with at bbb.org.
       
      If you need more real estate information, feel free to contact me.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.



    • Get Smarter About Smart Homes

      The smart home movement is taking homeowners by storm, with an increasing number of gadgets and apps hitting the market to make your life at home more streamlined, efficient, and in many cases, cost-effective.

      The technology, however, is outpacing even the savviest among us, leading to a bevy of buzzwords that can make your head spin. Luckily, the National Association of REALTORS®’ Center for REALTOR® Development (CRT) has created a wealth of online resources to help homeowners get a handle on smart home technologies.

      Below are just some choice terms from the CRT’s smart home glossary that will elevate your tech IQ in a jiffy:

      Bluetooth LE/Bluetooth Smart: This refers to a wireless protocol that is popular among smart home devices. Compared to classic Bluetooth, it is designed to use considerably less power while maintaining a similar range.  

      Cloud-to-Cloud: Many smart home products use cloud services for their core functionality. Two devices in the same room might not be able to communicate directly. Instead, messages are sent back and forth through their respective cloud services over the internet. A concept known as cloud-to-cloud, it’s becoming a popular way for hardware vendors to increase compatibility.

      Geofence: Think of this as a virtual perimeter for the real world. Using your WiFi, Bluetooth or GPS radios, your smart home software can trigger events based on your physical location. For example, you can use a geofence to automatically turn off the lights when you leave for the day.

      Hub: The hub is the central device that allows all your different smart home products (lights, locks, thermostats) to work together. Most hubs will also act like a universal remote, as well as providing the tools necessary to automate your devices.

      Interoperability: The ability for different smart home devices and services to reliably work together.
       
      IoT (Internet of Things): The Internet of Things is a broad term that refers to everyday devices like lights, thermostats and locks that are able to connect to the internet and to each other. These connected devices can exchange data and work together, automating tasks that used to be manually performed. By 2020, it is predicted that there will be anywhere between 26 billion and 200 billion devices connected to the internet.  

      Smart Meter: Smart meters are a new generation of electric and gas meters that can digitally (and more accurately) transmit meter readings to your utility. Smart meters can also be paired with monitors or gateways to give consumers a better idea of their own energy usage in real-time.
       
      WiFi: WiFi is the most common protocol used in smart home devices. This is largely because many consumers already have a central hub (their WiFi router) for WiFi enabled devices. WiFi is able to provide high bandwidth for devices that send a lot of data (IP Cameras), but it uses too much power for most battery-powered devices.

      Source: Center for REALTOR® Development
       
      If you’d like more homeowner information, please contact me.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.



    • Remodeling? Questions to Ask During Your Pre-Construction Meeting

      Embarking on a remodeling project is an exciting endeavor—you’re finally going to get that new kitchen or finished basement you’ve been longing for. But going under the knife, so to speak, is also a stressful prospect. That’s why scheduling a pre-construction meeting with your remodeling professional is essential.
       
      According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the pre-construction meeting is a key opportunity for the remodeler to explain exactly what will be done, as well as how the job will progress. It also provides a chance for both parties to define their expectations and flag any problems that may arise. The goal is to alleviate as many surprises in advance as possible.
       
      Here are just some of the issues the NAHB recommends you discuss with your remodeling professional during the pre-construction meeting:

      • Are you okay with signs on your property? In addition to acting as a marketing tool, signs help contractors and suppliers locate your home. Decide now whether you will agree to this.
      • Discuss which areas of your home will be off limits to workers. You may discover that workers need access to certain rooms for part of the project.
      • If you have an alarm system, determine how it will be handled. Will you give the construction crew a key, or do you plan on having someone on the premises to let them in?
      • Figure out a plan for removal of trash. Agree upon where the dumpster will be located.
      • Ask if any utilities will be interrupted during the remodel, such as water or electric, and if so, for how long. This will help you decide whether you will need to find other accommodations for a period of time.
      • What will take place in terms of daily clean-up? Make sure your expectations are in sync with what will actually take place.
      • When will work begin and end each day? Where will workers park? Once you find out, be sure to let neighbors know.
      • What are your rules concerning workers using your landline for local calls? What about using your bathroom?
      • Let your remodeler know what your rules are when it comes to smoking, profanity and music. 
      Laying all of this out in advance will help make for a smooth project and a pleasant working relationship for all.
       
      If you’d like more homeowner information, please contact me.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.



  • Office Location: 418 Main St, Harleysville

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  • Patricia O'Herrick

    Vice President / Associate Broker Harleysville Office

    (215) 256-6543

    (267) 718-0202

    Email Me

    AB-067879

    Patricia has been in real estate over 20 years. She has lived and work in this area her whole life. She is actively involved in her church and volunteering in her community. She has a heart for serving her clients and giving back.  Her background has always been in management and sales. She has several real estate designations, both state and nationally recognized, that give her the expertise she needs to represent her clients successfully.

    - Sellers love her dedication, marketing plans and pricing that gets their house sold.
    - Buyers appreciate both the time, energy and care that she puts into finding just the right home for them.
    - Her certified negotiation skills aide in all areas, giving her clients the most for their money.
     
    Patricia's experience and expertise is joined by her caring and fun personality. Her clients love her and continue to come to her for all their real estate needs.