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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

    • Transform Your Bathroom into the Ultimate Paradise

      (Family Features)--Many people spend a lot of time in the bathroom. It's a functional space where you can bathe, get ready for the day and take care of business. However, the bathroom can be so much more than that: it can offer a place to destress, relax and recharge before taking on the morning or after conquering a long day.

      Now you can escape to your own paradise without leaving home. These simple tips and tricks from lifestyle and parenting expert Jordan Reid of Ramshackle Glam can help you transform your bathroom into a spa-like oasis without undergoing a major renovation.

      Don't be scared to play with lighting, as it helps create a room's atmosphere. Use multi-bulb lighting fixtures paired with warm LEDs. For a sunset-on-the-beach vibe, try pink bulbs in the bathroom with your regular lighting; together they can create a rosy-glow that's the perfect aesthetic for a relaxing time.

      To immerse yourself in the sand and sun, use collections of gold-framed mirrors. Adding mirrors is a simple way to bounce additional light around the room, and the gold can add a warm hue, so they're both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

      Bathrooms can have greenery in them, too. Plants such as philodendrons and bromeliads can add an element of airiness and life, and both can be found in super-realistic faux styles if your bathroom is not conducive to the real thing.

      Don't be afraid to accessorize your bathroom with items that fit your style and personality. For your paradise getaway, a bamboo bathmat can create a beachy vibe that's also chic and modern and Turkish towels can add texture and color. Even smaller items, such as jewelry stands, towel hooks and toilet paper holders, can show off your unique aesthetic and make your escape truly your own.

      Keep your bathroom sparklingly and stunningly clean - and smelling great. Don't forget to clean frequently overlooked places like the back of the toilet, inside the shower and along the edges of fixtures. Scented cleaning products, including bathroom foamer, toilet cleaning gel, multi-surface spray and disinfecting wipes, not only deliver a refreshing clean, but can also help transport you to a relaxing paradise with aromas of coconut, pineapples and warm sandalwood.  

      Source: Clorox

      Published with permission from RISMedia.



    • Tax Return Tips for a Safe and Speedy Refund

      Due to the rising tide of income-tax refund fraud in recent years, the IRS and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) are encouraging taxpayers to file as soon as possible, and to also work with a qualified tax preparer. Doing so will not only expedite your refund, but help protect your tax return information as well.

      “Income tax fraud is essentially an identity theft issue, which often begins with a data breach,” says Connecticut BBB Spokesman Howard Schwartz. “Even though taxpayers cannot prevent the theft of sensitive information by cyber hackers, there are steps we can take to lessen the chances of becoming a victim.”

      Taxpayers aren’t the only ones at risk. According to the IRS, tax preparers should also be on the look-out for fake filers pretending to seek help with their tax returns, but actually sending an infected email attachment designed to access the personal information of clients.

      Luckily, the BBB says the best ways to prevent criminal interception of tax documents are very simple, such as filing returns online through the eFile system and having refunds directly deposited into your bank account. These steps will also help shorten the amount of time it takes to receive your refund.  

      The BBB also offers the following advice when looking for a reliable tax preparation professional:

      Credentials matter. Ideally, your tax preparer should be either a certified public accountant, tax attorney or enrolled agent. Any of the three may represent you before the IRS in all matters, including an audit. Also, find out if the preparer is affiliated with a professional organization that holds its members to a code of ethics.

      Look into service fees. Avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of your refund.

      Don’t trust a “larger refund.” Be wary of any tax preparation service that promises larger refunds than the competition.

      Never sign a blank return. Steer clear of preparers that ask you to sign a blank return, claiming it’s “more convenient.”

      Make sure they’re accessible. Many tax preparation services only set up shop for the months leading up to April 15. But if the IRS finds errors or requires an audit, you need someone you can access throughout the year.

      Read the contract carefully. Ensure you understand how much the service is going to cost, how the cost will be affected if preparation is more complicated and time-consuming than expected, and whether the tax preparer will represent you in case of an audit.

      Ask around. Be sure to get referrals from friends and family, and check the BBB Business Reviews of prospective tax preparation services at bbb.org.

      Source: BBB

      Published with permission from RISMedia.



    • Voice Activated: Do You Talk to Your Tech?

      How many of us are talking to our tech on a regular basis?

      Ken Olmstead at the Pew Research Center recently highlighted the fact that nearly half of U.S. adults (46 percent) say they use voice-controlled assistants and applications to interact with smartphones and other devices.

      Just over half (55 percent) say “a major reason” they use voice assistants is to permit hands-free interaction with devices.

      The Pew study affirmed that voice assistant technology is being widely used to remotely control connected systems, including "smart home" lighting and heating devices. In fact, more than a quarter (26 percent) surveyed use voice assistants to connect remotely to those apps and devices.

      So where are the newest voice control technologies being integrated in 2018?

      Kohler, the global designer of kitchen and bath products has just introduced Konnect. This new platform allows consumers to conveniently personalize their experience with a growing number of the company's products through voice-control.

      Claiming to have delivered the first voice-activated product line for the kitchen and bath, Konnect offers support through Amazon Alexa, the Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit.

      Say the word and adjust the company's lighted mirror, order up a soak with their voice activated bathtub faucet, pick your spritz with their voice command shower systems - yes, even apply a number of controls to the toilet!

      Kristen Hicks at senioradvisor.com says voice activation improvements like these are helping countless homeowners age in place, by turning lights on and off, keeping grocery and to-do lists, reminding folks to take meds, changing interior temperature settings, using voice-activated technology to be sure doors are locked, and most importantly, calling for help in an emergency.

      Hicks says while many home alert systems require reaching a phone or a button, a voice command can be issued without having to move.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.



    • How to Claim Tax Credit for Retirement Savings

      It's tax time, and you're claiming those office expenses and miles logged getting to and from work, but are you taking the "Saver's Credit"? The Saver's Credit, also referred to as the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit by the Internal Revenue Service, is available to eligible taxpayers who are saving for retirement, yet 64 percent of workers are unaware of the credit, according to the 18th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey.

      "As a tax credit, the Saver's Credit is an important incentive to save for retirement in a 401(k), 403(b) or IRA. By saving for retirement and claiming the credit, eligible taxpayers may be able to lower their federal income taxes," says Catherine Collinson, president of nonprofit Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. "Millions of Americans who are already saving for retirement could be missing out on the Saver's Credit simply because they don't know it exists. Among those who are not yet saving for retirement, the Saver's Credit could be the incentive they need to get started."

      What Is the Saver's Credit?

      The Saver's Credit is a non-refundable tax credit that may be applied up to the first $2,000 of voluntary contributions an eligible worker makes to a 401(k), 403(b) or similar employer-sponsored retirement plan, or a traditional or Roth IRA. The maximum credit is $1,000 for single filers or individuals and $2,000 for married couples.

      "The Saver's Credit is a tax credit in addition to the benefit of tax-advantaged savings when contributing to a 401(k), 403(b) or IRA. Many eligible retirement savers may be confusing these two incentives because the notion of a double tax benefit seems too good to be true," says Collinson.

      Who Can Claim the Saver's Credit?

      The credit is available to workers ages 18 years or older who have contributed to a company-sponsored retirement plan or IRA in the past year and meet the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) requirements:

      - Single filers with an AGI of up to $31,000 in 2017 or $31,500 in 2018 are eligible;

      - For the head of a household, the AGI limit is $46,500 in 2017 or $47,250 in 2018; and,

      - For those who are married and file a joint return, the AGI limit is $62,000 in 2017 or $63,000 in 2018.

      Additionally, the filer cannot be a full-time student and cannot be claimed as a dependent on another person's tax return.

      How Can Workers Claim the Saver's Credit?

      "Workers who are eligible to receive the Saver's Credit are at risk of missing it if they use the wrong tax form. If you are eligible to claim the Saver's Credit, you should use Form 1040, Form 1040A or Form 1040NR. The Saver's Credit is not available on Form 1040EZ," says Collinson.

      Another important and potentially overlooked opportunity is the IRS Free File program. Workers who are eligible to claim the Saver's Credit are also eligible to take advantage of this program that offers federal income tax preparation software for free to tax filers with an AGI of $66,000 or less. Unfortunately, a concerning 55 percent of workers are unaware of this program, according to the 18th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey. Twelve companies make their tax preparation software available through this program at www.irs.gov/FreeFile. Certain restrictions may apply.

      Tips for claiming the Saver's Credit:

      - If you’re using tax preparation software to prepare your tax return, including those programs offered through the IRS Free File program, use Form 1040, Form 1040A or Form 1040NR. The credit is not available with Form 1040EZ. If your software has an interview process, be sure to answer questions about the Saver's Credit, also referred to as the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit and/or Credit for Qualified Retirement Savings Contributions.

      - If you’re preparing your tax return manually, complete Form 8880, Credit for Qualified Retirement Savings Contributions, to determine your exact credit rate and amount. Then, transfer the amount to the designated line on Form 1040, Form 1040A or Form 1040NR.

      - If you’re using a professional tax preparer, be sure to ask about the Saver's Credit.

      - If you receive a refund, consider directly depositing it into an IRA to further boost your retirement savings.

      "Please spread the word about the Saver's Credit by telling your family, friends and colleagues – and be sure to check whether you're eligible. Many people who contributed to a 401(k) plan or IRA in 2017 are eligible to receive it, but may be missing out because they don't know about it," says Collinson. "Those who are eligible but did not save last year can still contribute to an IRA until April 17, 2018 and may be able to claim the Saver's Credit for 2017."

      Source: Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies

      Published with permission from RISMedia.



    • 4 Times to Put Your Phone Away

      Just about all of us could benefit from a device diet. While a boon on so many levels, sometimes smartphones have gone too far in permeating our lives. A great way to detach even just a little bit, is to create boundaries around certain times and events, making them non-negotiable device-free zones for you and your loved ones.

      Here are four places to consider making your phone off-limits:

      Dinner. Hopefully, this is already a rule for many of you. But take a look around the next restaurant you’re at and you’ll see that’s not the case for a lot of people. Mealtime, especially dinner, is meant for relaxing and meaningfully connecting with friends and family. Everyone is so busy all day long, we need this hour for ourselves, don’t you think? Plus, not only is the social component important, but slow, mindful eating is important for your body, as well. If there are reasons you must have your device handy, such as a baby at home with a sitter, keep it on vibrate in your pocket, then check it when you use the restroom. Also, remember the old-fashioned way: give the sitter the name of the restaurant you’re going to so he or she can call there in case of an emergency.

      The Movies. This is a rule in most movie theaters, yet we continue to see the haunting glow of mobile devices popping up throughout the audience. Enjoy the art of seeing a movie on the big screen and leave your small screen in your pocket - if not for yourself, out of respect for the rest of the people who paid $17 to get lost in an old-school cinematic experience.

      Waiting in Line. This one’s a challenge, but well worth it. Research has shown that our creative thinking abilities are being diminished by our constant occupation with our mobile device every time we have a spare moment to kill. So, next time you’re in line at Starbucks or at the airport, resist the urge to pull out your phone and instead...let your mind wander. Maybe even strike up a conversation with the person in front of you. You never know where this exercise could lead.

      A Concert. While mobile devices allow us to blast out on social that we’re at the concert of the year, as well as film the entire set, the downside is that we’re starting to miss the point - we’re at a live concert! So, take a couple of pictures, capture your favorite song, then put the phone away and immerse yourself in the concert experience - the crowd, the singing along, the lights, the performance. If you’re posting, snapchatting, tweeting, etc., sure, you’re telling the world you were there…but were you really there?

      Published with permission from RISMedia.



  • Buyers: Ck out our featured Properties

    • 963 MANATAWNA AVE PHILADELPHIA, PA 963 MANATAWNA AVE, PHILADELPHIA, PA Single Family | Detached for sale. $498,000 
    • 110 W LINCOLN AVE TELFORD, PA 110 W LINCOLN AVE, TELFORD, PA Residential Income | SingleBldg for sale. $300,000 
    • 925 LUCON RD SCHWENKSVILLE, PA 925 LUCON RD, SCHWENKSVILLE, PA Single Family | Detached for sale. $575,000 
    • 7 WILLIAMS WAY SELLERSVILLE, PA 7 WILLIAMS WAY, SELLERSVILLE, PA Mobile Home | Mobile for sale. $138,900 
    • 547 PARK AVE HARLEYSVILLE, PA 547 PARK AVE, HARLEYSVILLE, PA Single Family | Detached for sale. $200,000 
    • 586 SHAKESPEARE DR HARLEYSVILLE, PA 586 SHAKESPEARE DR, HARLEYSVILLE, PA Single Family | Detached for sale. $579,900 
    • 1105 SCHOOL HOUSE LN QUAKERTOWN, PA 1105 SCHOOL HOUSE LN, QUAKERTOWN, PA Single Family | Semi-Detached for sale. $209,000 
    • 147 GLENDALE RD BOYERTOWN, PA 147 GLENDALE RD, BOYERTOWN, PA Farm/Ranch | Detached for sale. $729,900 
    • 432 FAIRVIEW AVE SOUDERTON, PA 432 FAIRVIEW AVE, SOUDERTON, PA Single Family | Detached for sale. $240,000 
    • 1499 E PHILADELPHIA AVE GILBERTSVILLE, PA 1499 E PHILADELPHIA AVE, GILBERTSVILLE, PA Single Family | Detached for sale. $395,000 
    • 1499 E PHILADELPHIA AVE #A GILBERTSVILLE, PA 1499 E PHILADELPHIA AVE #A, GILBERTSVILLE, PA Commercial for sale. $395,000 
    • 1141 GROSSTOWN RD POTTSTOWN, PA 1141 GROSSTOWN RD, POTTSTOWN, PA Lot/Land for sale. $325,000 
    • 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 
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    Listing ID #123456
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    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: Cyber Safety Tips to Protect You While at Home and On-the-Go

      Our lead story in this month’s Home Matters examines simple tips for not falling prey to cyber threats both at home and while on-the-go. Other topics covered this month include five ways to get your home ready to sell this spring and top paint trends you can easily incorporate into your home décor. 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.



    • Creating a Cyber Safe Home

      While our online lives have become increasingly seamless from the workplace to the coffee shop to our living rooms, they’ve also become increasingly risky as cyber threats pop up in different guises almost daily.

      In fact, according to recent research from cybersecurity firm Webroot, even though we’ve become savvier when it comes to digital safety, there are still alarming gaps in our online security practices. Here are some important tips for staying cyber safe at home...and anywhere you happen to jump online:

      • Remember to back up your data. Putting a system in place to regularly or automatically back up your data will not only protect your precious family photos and videos and personal information, it will save you thousands of dollars in restoration services should your data be compromised.
      • Surf wisely. Pay attention to the websites you visit, the URLs you click on and the mobile apps you use. If something looks fishy, trust your instincts and avoid it. Be sure to educate your kids or any seniors in your household, as well.
      • Think before you click. Don't click links from unknown senders and hover over links before you click to double-check that the URL will direct you to a legitimate website. An even safer option? Type the URL directly into your browser.
      • Avoid public WiFi. If you’re at the mall or another open location with an unsecure network, criminals can hack into your device via the WiFi. If you must go online at that moment, opt to use your mobile data, or connect to a VPN to secure your session.
      • Use a credit card instead of a debit card. This way, if you do get hacked, the funds in your bank account won’t get stolen. Credit card charges can be stopped and flagged as fraudulent.
      • Deactivate Bluetooth. This is especially important in crowded areas like shopping malls. Bluetooth makes it easier for anyone within range to hack your phone.
      • Use a reliable antivirus software. A good solution should protect your data while providing a seamless user experience.
      These wise cyber practices will help protect your personal and financial information, as well as help prevent identity theft.

      If you’d like more homeowner information, please contact me.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.



    • How to Lower Your Monthly Expenses

      If you’re feeling squeezed by mounting bills every month, you’re not alone. The good news is, by taking a closer look at your monthly budget, you can lower your expenses...without making sacrifices, says the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
       
      Start by taking a hard look at how much you spend each month or year on fixed costs such as your mortgage, entertainment and communications. In many cases, there’s wiggle room where you can reduce costs.
       
      From there, look into reducing your insurance premiums. According to the BBB, insurance companies have many different pricing plans for the same coverage. Consult an insurance agent to see whether you can benefit from any new markdowns, such as a safe driver discount. You can also lower your vehicle, dwelling and umbrella coverage by opting for a higher deductible. Premiums decrease significantly if your deductible is high.
       
      You may also be able to save money on your utility bills by investing in more energy-efficient appliances. Smart thermostats, for example, can reduce electricity consumption by learning your habits and lowering the heat or air conditioning at night or while you’re away from home.

      Next, take a look at your cable television bill. Determine which channels you really need and cut back your package for significant savings. Or, if you’ve migrated to Netflix, Apple TV or other streaming services, perhaps you’re ready to cut the cord on cable altogether.
       
      Also, be sure to analyze your mobile device services. Find out exactly what you’re paying per device and what your data plan is. It may be time to shop around for a new carrier with better rates and family plans.
       
      It’s also important to examine your credit card usage. According to the BBB, while store-branded credit cards typically offer a discount off your purchases for signing up that day, the interest rates are higher than other credit cards, and if you don’t pay off the balance or miss a payment, you can get hit with charges that can outweigh the savings at the time of purchase. Instead, shop around for a card that offers money back on gasoline purchases, cash back on your monthly bill or points that can be redeemed for other products or services.
       
      The BBB also points out that you can reduce expenses by performing seasonal, preventative maintenance on your home, such as changing air and water filters and having your furnace and chimney cleaned and inspected. A home is like a vehicle in the sense that you save money over the long-term if it’s tuned up.
       
      Take the above steps and start putting some of those monthly expenses back into your pocket or savings account.
       
      If you need more real estate information, feel free to contact me.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.



    • 5 Ways to Get Ready to Sell Your Home This Spring

      Spring has long been one of the best seasons for selling a home. If you’re ready to put your home on the market, follow these steps to make sure you’re in prime showing shape once spring hits.

      1. Find a real estate agent. Use this time to interview several agents and make the right selection. Choose an agent with excellent local market expertise, technology savvy, and negotiating skills. The relationship you have with your agent is important, so be sure to select someone you connect with and communicate well with.
      2. Make necessary repairs. If your agent advises that certain repairs be done prior to listing your home, use the remaining weeks of winter to get them done, as they will likely affect the price at which you can list your home.
      3. Have a painting party. There’s likely more than one room in your home that will need to be painted before it hits the market. Stick to neutral colors and spend the next few weekends accomplishing the task.
      4. Pack up. Now is the perfect time to start packing up unnecessary items. Not only will this give you a head start on your eventual move, it will declutter your home for optimal showing purposes.
      5. Plan a photo shoot. Once the essential cosmetic changes have been made, talk to your agent about the best time to photograph and film your house. Make sure your surrounding property is camera-ready, too, and if snow is masking some of your yard’s best features, gather photos of your garden in full bloom and your pool or patio under the bright summer sun so that your agent can add them to the listing. 
      Your agent will have other directives based on the specifics of your home and its location. Be sure to heed their advice as they know what it takes to get a home sold.
       
      If you need more real estate information, feel free to contact me.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.



    • Home Equity Levels Out. What Does It Mean?

      Home equity levels have been steadily returning since the recession years, however, the latest findings from ATTOM Data Solutions show that while equity is still on the positive side, the most recent gains are not quite as strong. Here are the latest stats:

      • 9.3 percent of all U.S. properties with a mortgage were seriously underwater at the end of 2017, down from 9.6 percent a year ago. However, this was the smallest year-over-year decrease in share of seriously underwater properties since ATTOM began tracking this data at the beginning of 2012.
      • 25.4 percent of all U.S. properties with a mortgage were equity rich at the end of 2017, up from 24.6 percent a year ago. This was the smallest year-over-year increase in share of equity rich properties since the third quarter of 2015.
      • The share of homeowners with at least 20 percent equity dropped 1.1 percentage points from a year ago, while the share of homeowners with between 10 percent equity and 10 percent negative equity increased 1.1 percentage points from a year ago. According to ATTOM, this indicates that homeowners are increasingly leveraging their equity to sell and move up into another home or by refinancing. 
      If you’re considering leveraging the equity in your home to move-up, talk to a real estate agent about:

      - What repairs/modifications should be done to your home to gain the maximum sales price
      - The best plan for marketing your home, including listing portals, social media and open houses
      - The best time to put your home on the market
      - A realistic price range you should consider moving up to and the best locations within that price range 

      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.