Archives: Community Service

Get the Homestead Exemption Before the Deadline Ends

Posted on: September 6, 2018

Did you know that you could save up to $550 on your 2019 Real Estate Tax bill with the City of Philadelphia’s Homestead Exemption tax relief program? You are eligible to claim Homestead for your primary residence in Philadelphia, which lowers the taxes for your property. Don’t miss out on big savings and sign up before September 13, 2018!

There are more than 200,00 households enrolled in the Homestead Exemption since 2012. Around 76% of eligible homeowners have taken part in saving on property taxes as of December 2017, making it one of the City’s most successful tax relief programs. It is expected to provide Philadelphians even bigger savings next year.  If you are an eligible homeowner and haven’t applied so far, don’t wait any longer and apply today – it only takes 2 minutes!

You can apply to Homestead by:

Already enrolled in the Homestead Exemption program? No action is needed, simply enjoy your savings. Once you’re in the program, you stay in automatically, unless you sell your property or if the deed of your property changes.

This program is for everyone! Income is not one of the limitations for eligibility and there is no age requirement.

If you benefit from LOOP (Longtime Owner Occupants Program) or have a 10-year tax abatement, you unfortunately won’t be able to get Homestead until that existing program ends. Nevertheless, you can apply for Homestead even if you have an OOPA (Owner Occupied Real Estate Tax Payment Agreement) or the Senior Tax Freeze.

Don’t miss the opportunity to save up to $550 on property taxes starting 2019. Hurry, the deadline for these savings is September 13, 2018.

​Source: http://bit.ly/2Q8qOxt /phila.gov​


Winter is Coming, Prepare in the Summer

Posted on: August 16, 2018

With heat waves and beach trips still to come, it’s hard to believe colder months are right around the corner. Before you know it flip flops and sand shovels will be replaced with scarves and snow blowers. While vacation mode is in full swing, taking the time to prepare for winter could save your family and home from winter woes. Here’s how to get started.

1. Snow Plow Service Lists

Make sure to get your name on the snow-plow contractors list. Reach out to your neighbors to pitch in on a private company. By prepping now, you’ll have more options to choose from as schedules start to fill up fast come fall.

2. Schedule Your Furnace Service

With temperatures in the 90s, the last thing on anyone’s mind is heating the home. However, this is the perfect time to schedule service on your home furnace. Ask your HVAC company for a twice-a-year maintenance plan. If something does need to be repaired, you’ll have plenty of time to get the work completed before you need it. Giving you the opportunity to save money for the repair or find the best deal. HVAC companies often give discounted rates for larger repairs!

3. Schedule a Professional Energy Audit

Schedule a professional energy audit now. A professional audit will save you money and you will learn where your home is prone to energy loss. Check out energy.gov for info on how both professional and DIY energy audits work. You can also find energy auditors through the Residential Energy Services Network at resnet.us.

4. Plant a Tree!

Enjoy working in the garden but worried about the impending frost? Late summer, early fall is surprisingly the best time of year to plant trees. Planting them now provides adequate time for trees to establish roots before summer next year. Not only are trees beneficial to the environment, they increase the value of your home! Live in a Philly zip code? You can get one for free. Take a look at treephilly.org for more info.

 

Source: Kelley Walters/Houselogic.com


Building Community – A Chat with Katey McGrath, Director of Operations & Partner

Posted on: April 10, 2018

Do you volunteer or financially support a non-profit or charitable organization (if more than one, pick one)?

The Philadelphia Public School Notebook

What makes this organization special to you?

It’s an independent news organization covering the Philadelphia School District. I believe that our city needs an independent voice, working for quality, and equality, in our public schools.

I became involved with the Notebook’s board because the battleground for the fight for racial and social justice is public education, and the Notebook is an important ally, helping to create a culture of accountability.

I continue to work with the Notebook because it is an incredibly professional and hard-working organization at the center of a community that cares about the health of our public school system, the contributions of teachers and families, and the success of its students.

Do you volunteer your time or make regular donations of funds or goods?

Lots of time! I’m currently serving as the Chair of the Board of Directors. My family proudly makes a gift to the Notebook each year.

Do you host or plan fundraisers or events?

Yes, regularly – we host small events for members, house parties to raise awareness (and funds), and an annual event to celebrate the Notebook and honor student journalist and public education advocates.

Are you on its board or a committee?

Before I was Chair, I was Co-Chair, Vice-chair; I’ve served on the Personnel Committee, Finance Committee, and Governance Committee.

What is your favorite thing about the organization?

I’m so proud of our staff and the content they produce. It’s the only place in Philadelphia where you can go for truly in-depth analysis on really complex education issues. Its credibility and integrity are inspiring to me.

When did you start volunteering?

2012

What made you support the organization?

I learned of the Notebook after completing the Young Involved Philadelphia’s Board Prep program (I highly recommend it for any young professional looking to get involved with a non-profit!).

Describe the organization in 3 words!

Equity, Quality, Impact

How can someone get involved?

Go to thenotebook.org, subscribe to our mailing list, like us on Facebook, and become a member!

To contact Katey, call 215-247-3600 or email katey@elfantwissahickon.com
Visit Katey’s Homepage here

 


A chat with Wendy Schwartz, Realtor

Posted on: December 6, 2017

Where are you working today / where are your appointments?

6:30 AM My day begins when I wake in the morning catching up on emails and promoting my new listings in bed,

7:00 AM Then hustling three kids to three different schools,

8:00 AM Parent/Teacher Conference at Elkins Park Middle School,

10:00 AM Prespective Buyers for 520 Carpenter Lane at the office,

12-3 PM Busy Brokers Lunch at 6723 Wissahickon 19119,

3:30-5 PM Open House for Buyers at 520 Carpenter Lane meeting with 15 Buyers and their designers on site planning their move,

6:00 PM Our Annual Favorite Family Event at the Empty Bowl raising money for local homeless families.

What is your favorite on-the-go lunch choice?

Green Soul

Do you have a favorite new local restaurant or business that you are really excited about?

I love the renovated Farmers Market in Chestnut Hill. Thursday night is a blast for all ages!

What do you like to do in your free time – besides sell real estate?

What Free time…spend every moment with my three kids and three dogs. We love hiking in the Wissahickon and we sometimes venture to the Palace in the Northeast to go roller skating.


Thanksgiving with my Grandmother the matriarch of the family with Isa and Cecelia in Delrey.


What I am most grateful for snuggling with my family.


My three dogs that constantly want attention.

What does your perfect weekend look like?

Weekend at the shore. Biking, kayaking, paddle boarding and reading a book on the beach.

iPhone or Android?

iPhone

Where is your favorite place to vacation?

Torn between Latin America and Israel. I am off to do a service project with my 14 year old daughter for 10 days in rural Guatemala.

What is your favorite dessert?

Dark Chocolate

How do you organize your day?

Highly dependent on my iPhone calendar.

I try to exercise and do physical therapy in the am with my favorite Morning Joe.

Trying to start meeting with Buyers and Sellers after 10 am and my day goes to 8 or 9 PM.

Tea or coffee?

Tea. I am very type A. I do not get tired.

What is your favorite style of house?

All homes have their special qualities however I have really been appreciating mid century modern.

Vacation Type: Adventurous or relaxing?

Adventurous. I do not know how to relax ;(

What is your favorite season of the year?

Summer

Why did you decide to become a realtor?

I love working with people!

What is your favorite part of being a realtor?

Helping people make the biggest decision in their lives and holding their hands along the way.

To contact Wendy, call 215.913.1425 or email wendy@elfantwissahickon.com
Visit Wendy’s Homepage here



♦ Photo on top: Great settlement with the help of my listing coordinator Kathy Krebs.
♦ Photo bottom left: Luna my favorite shh.
♦ Photo bottom right: My office at home. Always PJ’s and the pups.


♦ Photo on top: Out celebrating with the boys!
♦ Photo bottom left: Proud to be honored as a Cushings Survivor Event. 15 months post op 8 hour brain surgery successfully removed two tumors! I “Kicked Cushing’s“ 😉 Nothing will stop me from selling houses.
♦ Photo bottom right: My ten year old Judah who runs the house. Best cook in town 😉 classic shot after trick and treating throughout Twickenham and Custis Woods! #proudcheltenhamparent


A chat with Neil Kugelman, Realtor

Posted on: September 22, 2017

What do you like to do in your free time – besides sell real estate?

Spend time with our family (brother, children, grandchildren, niece’s & nephews’ families); hang with our friends; listen to music; attend concerts; visit new places; plan vacations; attend Mason’s meetings; walk in the Wissahickon; do most anything outdoors in nice weather.

Where is your favorite place to vacation?

Ocracoke NC. You get there by driving down the Outer Banks and onto the ferry boat: INSTANT TRANQUILITY. I am both anxious and relaxed as the ferry pulls us onto Ocracoke Island. I can always close my eyes and imagine the beach in front of me; walking far into the water, yet my knees remain dry (enormous sandbar). This is my Beach Heaven.

What is your favorite dessert?

A good cannoli; crisp shell, gritty cheese filling…

What is your favorite style of house?

Queen Anne houses, with its mishmosh myriad of construction textures & colors, accents & appendages.

Why did you decide to become a realtor?

I had been commuting from our home in Germantown to my job as a store manager on Penn’s campus. It seems whenever the family went anywhere, I would point out the styles and architectural features of neighborhood housing to the wife and children. Finally my wife said, “Instead of selling five and dime s—, why don’t you sell something of big value – like houses?” The rest is history, 30+ years and counting.

To contact Neil, call 215-431-5095 or email neil@elfantwissahickon.com
Visit Neil’s Homepage here!


A chat with Christopher Plant, Realtor

Posted on: July 21, 2017

Where are you working today / where are your appointments?

Spring Arts, Mount Airy, Kensington and Chestnut Hill. A good bounce around the City.

What is your favorite on-the-go lunch choice?

Top of the Hill Market in Chestnut Hill and NomNom Ramen for downtown.

Do you have a favorite new local restaurant or business that you are really excited about?

Still can’t get over how much I enjoy Wm. Mulherin’s Sons in Kensington.

What do you like to do in your free time – besides sell real estate?

Walking and running the trails in the Wissahickon, movies with my family, exploring the City of PHL’s every nook and cranny. Still obsessed with everything HAMILTON!

What does your perfect weekend look like?

A good night out with friends, lots of family time, a little work and a fast day trip to the beach.

iPhone or Android?

Straight up iPhone and Apple across the board

Where is your favorite place to vacation?

Just had a killer snowboard trip to Powder Mountain in Utah in April that was epic.

What is your favorite dessert?

Salted caramel ice cream with chocolate bits, some fresh chopped almonds and chocolate sauce.

How do you organize your day?

Try to get up by 6AM, make coffee for my lady, get the dog out, get kids to school and then grab the day by the horns. I start at my new coworking space KISMET COWORK in Chestnut Hill and then hit the Elfant Wissahickon Realtors office to follow up.

Tea or coffee?

All coffee. Trying to drink less but it is a staple.

What is your favorite style of house?

One that I am helping my clients buy or sell! Mostly, I dig old houses with a good story but with a tasteful modern flourish.

Vacation Type: Adventurous or relaxing?

Adventure. I don’t really relax that well.

What is your favorite season of the year?

Summer. But I love the Fall. And the Spring. Winter is pretty awesome as well!

Why did you decide to become a realtor?

After buying my first house, I was HOOK, LINE, SINKER. It was a love affair.

What is your favorite part of being a realtor?

It sounds corny to say I love helping people shape their lives but that is the for real story!

To contact Christopher, call 215-740-2339 or email cplant@elfantwissahickon.com
Check out Christopher’s Facebook page here! Visit Christopher’s Homepage here!

 


A chat with Janice Smalley, Realtor

Posted on: July 14, 2017

Where are you working today / where are your appointments?

Working from home but no appointments scheduled so far.

What is your favorite on-the-go lunch choice?

Salad or yogurt

Do you have a favorite new local restaurant or business that you are really excited about?

Wissahickon Brewing Company in East Falls. They are an up and coming business here in the area.

What do you like to do in your free time – besides sell real estate?

I belong to the East Falls Village so some of my free time is spent driving others to doctor’s appointments or doing their shopping. I like to garden in the summer time.

What does your perfect weekend look like?

Gathering with family & friends, especially at the shore during the summer.

iPhone or Android?

Android

Where is your favorite place to vacation?

I do like Florida in the winter. Otherwise, I like wherever the cruise ship is taking me (smile).

What is your favorite dessert?

Coconut custard pie – yum!!

Tea or coffee?

Coffee

What is your favorite style of house?

Colonial

Vacation Type: Adventurous or relaxing?

Adventurous

What is your favorite season of the year?

Fall

Why did you decide to become a realtor?

Thought it was a good career move since I had always enjoyed looking at new construction and attending open houses for many years.

What is your favorite part of being a realtor?

I always feel a sense of accomplishment when I know that either my seller or my buyer is satisfied with the results of the transaction. Some “clients” are now called “friends”.

To contact Janice, call 267-496-9977 or email janicesmalley@elfantwissahickon.com
Check out Janice’s Facebook page here

      

Janice (sitting in the back) is enjoying the white water rafting in Denali, Alaska


A chat with Jan LeSuer, Realtor

Posted on: February 23, 2017

Where are you working today/where are your appointments:

It is an exciting beginning to the year, and my schedule today reflects that. I am spending some time at the office, but have already been to Ardmore, Mount Airy and Wyndmoor. Both listing homes and walking a client through the inspection process.

Where is your favorite on-the-go lunch choice?

Tacos! Mi Puebla in Mount Airy, or El Limon in Conshohocken and Ambler. Pho is another lunch favorite. There are a variety of great noodle places on Adams Avenue off the Boulevard.

Do  you have a favorite new restaurant that you are really excited about?

Banjara Indian Restaurant in Chestnut Hill. Martha and I love Indian food.

What do you like to do in your free time – besides selling real estate?

I try to swim laps everyday. In warm weather there is nothing more relaxing for me than getting out our 38 pound Kevlar canoe and hitting the lakes and rivers, birding along the way. We hike a lot up at the Pulpit and Pinnacle, near the Appalachian Trail, and further north too. But, my ideal heaven is a great meal, probably prepared by Martha and me, and long rambling conversations with friends with plenty of good wine.

iPhone or Android?

I have an Android. I am not an Android.

What does your perfect weekend look like?

Well, one of those two days I will be showing houses, which is always fun. At home, our granddaughter Cece will be joining us for a sleepover, with first a walk at the Morris Arboretum, and then Frozen and popcorn. The next day Martha and I will get the canoe out or head to the Shore for a few hours. Dinner is likely to be at Phil’s in Blue Bell. Incidentally, Phil’s has the best martinis in the area. You’re welcome.

What is your favorite dessert?

Crème brûlée. (Best I ever had was at the Angry Trout restaurant in Grand Marais, Minnesota one January, sitting just above a crystallized Lake Superior with a slim pane of glass between me and the 20 below weather outside. Ambiance is so much a part of dining, don’t you know.)

Where is your favorite place to vacation?

This is an impossible question to answer! I love both big cities and wilderness, and extremes in climate, so both hot places and very cold. I guess it depends upon the mood, whether we want laid back or something more intense. Probably our most successful have been to places like the Yucatan and Costa Rica where we can combine both.

Martha and I just got back from a week staying with friends and clients in the Florida Keys. One is the production designer for the Netflix series Bloodline and the other acts in the show with Sissy Spacek. Not only was the kayaking, snorkeling and birdwatching spectacular but going on the set to watch the acting and taping was amazing.

We really mix up the types of vacation. Over the years some adventures have taken me to Africa, Alaska, Hudson Bay, the Oregon Cascades, Costa Rica, and of course, Mexico. Martha and I love Isla Holbox off the Yucatan. Look it up.

My dad always wanted to see Tierra del Fuego, so for his 75th birthday I took him on a long tour of Patagonia, both in Argentina and Chile.

I have seen condors, scarlet macaws, and all kinds of wildlife along the way. I was up at Hawk Mountain one day this past November and saw 11 eagles, both Bald and Golden, in one day.  Last year Martha got us on a boat out of Cape May that took us to the Continental Shelf, 100 miles out for a day and a night to see pelagic birds unseen on land. It was tremendous.

What is your favorite season of the year?

I like the turn of the seasons, the transitional moments of the year.

What is your favorite style of house?

As I said, we just got back from the Florida Keys. While in Key West I became aware of “eyebrow” houses there. They have extended awnings that descend below the upper floor windows providing some longer hours of shade during the summer heat. They are just beautiful homes, with of course, lovely flora surrounding them.

Why did you decide to become a realtor?

I love people, all types, in all stages of life. There is not a better way to get to know people closely than real estate. The relationships, which are built out of an intense experience, can last and last. Every deal is different, the people involved have different motivations and vision. Guiding folks through either the process of buying or selling is exciting, and every day is new and completely different than the day before. Clients become friends and then clients again as they proceed through their lives. I have done many things in my life… Peace Corps volunteer, teacher, librarian, elected official… nothing has been as satisfying.

To contact Jan, call 610-952-6805 or email janlesuer@elfantwissahickon.com

Visit Jan’s Homepage here!

Jan LeSuer

Jan Hiking in Cascades

Jan- Hiking in Cascades


Schools showcase achievements for area Realtors

Posted on: January 20, 2015

1

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…

Continue reading on The Chestnut Hill Local Website


How to protect your home when you leave for vacation.

Posted on: July 30, 2014

Summertime is the time of year when most Americans take vacation. Over 60% of us, in fact, take our vacations in July or August. On average, we are gone for about 2 weeks per season.

That said, it is extremely important to protect your house and belongings when you are gone.  Thieves can case your neighborhood, looking for houses that appear vacant and can even be as bold as ringing the doorbell to see if you are home. There are a few sensible steps to make sure your house is protected when you are way, below are a few of them:

1) Never post your vacation dates and plans on social media, and if you do, make sure your privacy settings are set so just your trusted friends can see your posts.

2) Before you leave, make sure all of your doors and windows are locked and that your ground floor curtains or shades are pulled.

3) Invest in a home security or camera system if you leave your house unattended regularly. There are now low-cost options that can help protect your valuables.

4) Make sure it appears as though you are home. Keep outdoor lights on, illuminating your property enough to deter burglars. Set some indoor lights to timers in different rooms. Leave a television or radio on, or set it to a timer, as light to moderate sound will make thieves second guess a break in.

5) If you go on an extended trip, schedule lawn maintenance. Nothing says vacant property like an overgrown yard.

6) Have a trusted family member or neighbor check on your house every day or two and report back to you. This will ease your mind in addition to appearing like you have company if someone is watching you house.

7) Don’t forget to have your neighbor or family member pick up your mail and newspapers. Burglars also check mailboxes to see if letters have been piling up for some time.

If you follow some of these simple suggestions, it will go a long way in protecting your property and easing your mind so you can enjoy your rest and relaxation. Happy Summer!