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Right Now: What $500,000 Buys in 5 U.S. Cities (and Philadelphia)

Posted on: March 10, 2015

We always enjoy articles highlighting what kind of home a certain amount of money will buy you in a variety of  U.S. cities. This particular POST compares NY, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Austin and Chicago. We wanted to add some Philadelphia properties to that list, so here is what $500,000 will get you in our fair city:

 

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114 E. Moreland Ave. Philadelphia, Pa 19118

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520 Carpenter Ln. #2G, Philadelphia, Pa 19119

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7111 McCallum St. Philadelphia, Pa 19119

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440 S. Broad St. Unit 1504, Philadelphia, Pa 19146


Don’t Forget To Spring Forward!

Posted on: March 6, 2015

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It may not look like it outside, but spring is at our doorstep! Soon we’ll be attending backyard BBQs, shuttling the kids to little league practice and complaining about the heat! There is no better indication of the coming of springtime than setting the clocks forward one hour for Daylight Saving Time!

Even though most will set their clocks forward by one hour before bedtime on Saturday night, the exact time of DST 2015 is 2am on Sunday morning, March 8th. Two clocks you normally will not have to change are on your cell phones and cable boxes. These are usually automatically programmed to adjust for time change.

You may wonder, why do we observe Daylight Saving Time? At one time, it was to save electricity. But newer studies have been challenging the long-held reason.

In general, the demand for electricity for lighting our homes is directly connected to when we go to bed and when we get up. When we go to sleep, we turn off our TVs and lights. In the average American home, 25% of electricity we use is from electronic appliances and lights, and a good percentage of that usage occurs in the evening when families are home.  So, by moving the clock ahead one hour, we cut the amount of electricity we use each day.

In fact, Philadelphian Benjamin Franklin was the first person to suggest DST in 1784, but the idea didn’t catch on until World War I to save on artificial lighting costs. Overall, Daylight Saving Time is said to cut back 1% of daily electricity usage!

So, spring forward and enjoy the coming warmth!


5 Tips For First-Time Homebuyers

Posted on: February 13, 2015

We found this great article on tips for first-time homebuyers we’d like to share with you HERE.

Real estate

The integral 5 steps are:

1) Check Your Credit

2) Evaluate Assets and Liabilities

3) Organize Documents

4) Qualify Yourself

5) Figure Out Your Down Payment

Purchasing your first home can be a daunting process. Get more info on the Home Buying Process through pre-purchase counseling with one of our Real Estate Professionals.

Meeting with an experienced REALTOR is necessary and will make finding and purchasing your new home a breeze!


Ditching Your Commute Is the Happiness Equivalent of a $40,000 Raise

Posted on: February 2, 2015

We found this cool little article in Lifehacker and thought we could be of assistance. Give us a call today if you are looking to shorten your commute and find a home closer to your workplace!

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“When you look at Americans’ day-to-day activity … the top two things we hate the most on a day-to-day basis is, No. 1: housework and No. 2: the daily commute in our cars. In fact, if you can cut an hourlong commute each way out of your life, it’s the [happiness] equivalent of making up an extra $40,000 a year if you’re at the $50- to $60,000 level. Huge … [So] it’s an easy way for us to get happier. Move closer to your place of work.”

Read the complete article HERE


Philadelphia is a “Top Green City”!

Posted on: January 30, 2015

According to Organic Gardening Magazine, Philadelphia is  “An urban area working to make their neighborhoods (and the planet) healthier and more sustainable.”

Jump to the full article HERE

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Philadelphia
Score: 15.686
Population: 1,450,000

Since 1974, Philadelphia Green, a pioneer urban greening program, has advocated for the development and care of community gardens and open spaces all over the city. The Mill Creek Farm has turned a once-vacant lot into a source of affordable organic food—and a model for sustainable living—in its low-income community in West Philadelphia. Helping to clean the Philadelphia air are the more than 25,000 residents that participate in PhillyCarShare, the world’s largest regional car-sharing organization.

The Philadelphia Flower Show is the world’s largest indoor flower show. theflowershow.com.


What’s the best approach to selling a house? Outside fixes or inside?

Posted on: January 28, 2015

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In the Inquirer Business Section, Elfant Wissahickon Realtors Neil DiFranco and Keith Adams were quoted in a story discussing inside vs. outside home improvements when it comes to selling a home. Take a look at the full article HERE.

 

Real estate’s premier selling season traditionally begins after the Super Bowl. Some local agents will tell you the spring market is already underway.

No matter how one defines spring, hopes for 2015 are high, given last year’s numbers. The National Association of Realtors reported Friday that U.S. sales volume in 2014 was 3 percent below that of 2013, which saw a booming first six months and a tepid run July through December.

Housing’s recovery was hamstrung much of last year by a shortage of salable inventory – that is, houses that met the dual criteria of being priced right for their market and being in move-in condition.

That shortage may have resulted partly from 2014’s severe winter and an apparently widespread concern by prospective sellers that prices had not recovered sufficiently to warrant listing their homes.

What will attract buyers to the available inventory this year? On that the national Realtors group and some area real estate professionals don’t fully agree.

The Realtors group suggests that smaller exterior home improvements offer the best-value investments for sellers. In its 2015 Cost vs. Value Report, done in collaboration with Remodeling magazine and available at www.costvsvalue.com, the association recommends projects such as replacing vinyl siding or garage doors as cost-effective.

Elfant Wissahickon Realtors’ associate broker Keith Adams in Northwest Philadelphia doesn’t see it. Today’s buyer remains “more strongly influenced by the condition of the interior and the space/layout,” he said.

Curb appeal may set the tone, but “it isn’t, in my experience, the most tangible or influential home element on my buyer’s list,” Adams said.

Lynn Mundy Coggin, an agent in Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach Realtors’ Jenkintown office, acknowledged that exterior improvements may offer the best value, but noted that “once a potential buyer walks through a new front door, first impressions of the interior are important as well.”

No one, Coggin said, “should discount the power of paint.” Once prospective buyers are inside, “they are looking for freshly painted, neutral gray walls, clean open spaces, updated kitchens with granite countertops, bathrooms with classic subway tile and, definitely, no clutter.”

“Simple is the new chic,” she said.

Elfant Wissahickon’s Neil DiFranco said that “an attractive color palette and tasteful staging will make a huge difference on the interior without a lot of cost when compared with major renovations.”

When it comes to tweaking a home’s exterior, Andrew Himes of BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors in Collegeville said, “buyers are more willing to make landscape upgrades and other small outside things themselves.”

They don’t, however, “want the cost nor have the time to handle kitchen and bath upgrades on their own,” Himes said. “They really want that to be done in advance.”

All of which raises the question: Will would-be sellers do the necessary work?

“Most sellers don’t want to spend any money in getting their homes ready for the market, but they still want top dollar for the home,” said Lena M. Tella Gelenberg, of Re/Max Services in Blue Bell.

“A little improvement goes a long way,” she said. “You don’t need to spend lots of money to make a house show well, but need to focus on the things that will make an impact.”

One example: those readily observed outdoor fixes the Realtors group advises.

First impressions can make or break a sale, said Lisa Fazio, of Weichert Realtors in Jenkintown.

“Attention to landscaping and gutters are also very important, since they can lead to trouble when it come to basement moisture problems,” she said, and untrimmed or dead trees can create safety and liability concerns.

Patios, decks and exterior lighting, done well, can add value, Fazio said.

Of course, the risk of any renovation done for the sake of a sale is that the potential buyer may not like the choices made.

Said DiFranco: “One homeowner’s perfect kitchen is another homeowner’s demolition project.”


Schools showcase achievements for area Realtors

Posted on: January 20, 2015

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When local Realtors toured some of Northwest Philadelphia’s public schools, they discovered that, just as you can’t judge a book by its cover, you can’t judge a school by the news.

The Nortwest Philadelphia Public School Realtor Tour, organized by the Mt. Airy Schools Coalition and Elfant Wissahickon Realtors, was formed to showcase the educational opportunities and strong school programs available to prospective home-buyers in Mt. Airy and the surrounding areas, while counteracting negative opinions about the school district.

Katey McGrath, director of operations at Elfant Wissahickon and a board member of Friends of Jenks, along with Abby Thaker, of the Mt. Airy Schools Coalition, came up with the idea to arrange the tour last year…

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