Archives: real estate

A chat with John O’Connell, Realtor

Posted on: October 11, 2017

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

I’ve been trying the coffee at a new place in Germantown called “Germantown Espresso“. It’s very good actually.

What do you enjoy in your free time?

I cherish my free time, driven by the rude calculation that shows me how little of it I have.  In the summer I set great store by the simple things, like sitting in Julie’s treasured  garden and tending, perhaps whimsically, to the plantings, or setting out planless, on foot, in the old Wissy. Hanging with my wife and kids on a Sunday night is always something fun. What’s not to like? Reading late at night is another favorite. Come deep winter, you’ll find me watching old movies on the lighted box, cooking dinner and entertaining friends. I own several antique automobiles. Surprise: I am happy as can be playing with them under the hood. Sometimes, uncut and unhyphenated indolence wins the day.  

What is your idea of a perfect weekend?

I’m partial to taking my wife on road trips in one of our old cars, setting out (for example) early on an autumn morning with the top down, threading our way through the Poconos with no particular place to go, ending up contentedly at a village inn, staying the night after a cozy dinner by the fireside. 

iPhone or Android?

iPhone

Where is your favorite place to vacation?

I love Italy. Rome, Florence, Amalfi Coast, Capri – in that order.

What is your favorite dessert?

Any chocolate will do, whipped cream also.

Tea or coffee?

Mostly coffee/espresso, but I still love a good tea.

What is your favorite style of house?

The “PAID OFF” kind

Vacation Type: Adventurous or relaxing?

There are trips and then there are vacations. I prefer vacations.

What is your favorite season of the year?

SUMMER

Why did you decide to make real estate sales a career?

I cannot with confidence peer back through the mists of time and put my finger on exactly what underlay my decision to get into the selling of real estate. Long, long ago, this one! I would say, though, that the plunge was more or less the product of a personal evolution. In my early days I had worked as a contractor and developer, but tugging at me all the while was a raw and untrained—but authentic and powerful– love of art and music. Houses and buildings can be extraordinarily beautiful, from the deceptively noble row houses in the river wards to the Xanadu of Chestnut Hill. At some point, it struck me that the only way to actually live in a work of art was to make one’s home in a structure of beauty, either unmeant beauty or plain-to-see beauty, and that appealed to me. I say “live in.” It works for me just to broker the sale of a good house. It is also worth noting that real estate is one of only a few ways a common man can snuggle up to something like wealth. I have flipped my share of houses. End of confession.

To contact John, call 267-312-1925 or email john@elfantwissahickon.com

 

 

 


A chat with Amy Greenstein, Realtor

Posted on: March 24, 2017

Where are you working today / where are your appointments?

I am actually doing work at home today, I have to write up a listing contract, do last minute items for 2 of my closings next week and then I have an appointment to show houses in Chestnut Hill.

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

Most days, if I’m really busy, I’m sorry to say it’s a granola bar and maybe a yogurt. I try and eat healthy, but sometimes when you’re really busy, it’s hard. Sometimes I skip lunch altogether!

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

Depends on where I am. In Chestnut Hill it’s Green Soul, they have the best salmon salad! In Ambler, it’s definitely El Limon, it’s the closest I’ve found to actual food from Mexico, amazing burritos! In Mount Airy it’s Trolley Car Diner for best burgers, and in the Elkins Park/Jenkintown/Glenside area it’s the original Union Jacks, best wings I have ever tasted, although Gracie’s, the new place that just opened on Limekiln Pike is extremely good and kid friendly too!!

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

Free Time, What’s that? lol. I like to run/work out, go help out at my daughter’s Kindergarten class or bake, I LOVE to bake.

What does your perfect weekend look like?

Actually, I’d like to hang out with the coolest person I know, my 5 year old daughter Sydney. My husband and I like to take her to plays, museums or to the movies, her excitement about everything is contagious and puts us both in a great mood! If it’s summer though, we like to go swimming or hiking/camping.

iPhone or Android?

iPhone please!!

Where is your favorite place to vacation?

We like to go to my husband’s Father’s house in Baja, Mexico. It’s on the beach and so wonderfully idyllic, we come home completely refreshed!

What is your favorite dessert?

hmmm, that’s a big question, I am a huge dessert person and I love to bake. I would say carrot cake. I think I could eat an entire pan of it myself!

How do you organize your day?

I start the day with marketing, I make sure I spend at least an hour either blogging or updating my website and SOI, then onto my callbacks for the day, making appointments and then I’m off to the races either showing or going to listing appointments.

Tea or coffee?

Tea actually. I am allergic to coffee!

What is your favorite style of house?

I love old, historic houses. My favorite style is Old Victorians. I am a sucker for the round turrets and the different level roofs. If it has gingerbread on it, I’m a goner!!

Vacation Type: Adventurous or relaxing?

I would like to say relaxing, but I have a hard time doing that. I’m really an on-the-go person, so adventurous is really more my style. I love to try new things, places, new foods and anything else that sounds fun!

What is your favorite season of the year?

I am a Spring and Summer person. I love the warm weather! Puts me in a great mood and gets me up and running. I HATE the cold, although I like season changes, so I’m ok with Fall, but once the holidays are over I am DONE with the cold and I count the days until Spring.

Why did you decide to become a realtor?

I have ALWAYS loved houses. A lot of my family is in different aspects of the business so I was exposed to it at an early age. I was a touring musician for 20 years and when it came time to settle down in one place it was a no-brainer for me to just transition to Real Estate. I also have to say it was a no-brainer to come to Elfant Wissahickon as well. They treat us like family and I would never work anywhere else!

What is your favorite part of being a realtor?

I love the puzzles this job puts in front of you. In selling, the puzzle of finding the best way to market a property so that it goes quickly at the best price or initially figuring out what a client wants out of their Realtor, whether it be a friend/hand holder or a business-minded shark. In buying, I love the people-puzzle. Figuring out what EXACTLY they want in their perfect home and then finding it for them is so much fun for me. I hate sending people a bunch of properties that they have to wade through to get to the right one, so really figuring out what they think is best for them so I can vet through them first is always the most fun to puzzle out.

To contact Amy, call 267-226-3926 or email agreenstein@elfantwissahickon.com

Visit Amy’s Homepage here! Check out Amy’s Facebook account here!

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A chat with Deb Stanitz, Realtor

Posted on: February 3, 2017

What did you do before you became a realtor?

I am an Artist by training having earned my BFA and MFA and practiced as a sculptor primarily in welded steel, glass and light. For many years I designed and fabricated furniture as well as teaching Art at the University level. I loved helping students visualize their ideas and master the skills to realize those visions. How things are put together is a passion of mine, from conception/visualization through execution. In addition I have spent many years recreating my own home in Manayunk/Roxborough.

Why did you decide to become a realtor?

I love people and realized I could use these skills to help other people visualize their new home and assist them if realizing that dream. I love problem solving and I am very detail oriented, all very helpful attributes in navigating a Real Estate transaction.

Where is your favorite place to vacation or to relax?

Getting out into nature is a must for me, be that into the Wissahickon Gorge or the mountains of Vermont, Pennsylvania, Colorado or Peru. When I need a break I love going birding with my husband, Leo, sometimes just a day trip to some of the great birding spots near Philadelphia in PA and NJ or on an extended trip like Costa Rica. Yet, I still love to check out museums, other artist studios and gallery shows. It gives me pleasure supporting other artist by collecting their work.

What does your perfect weekend look like?

Leo is a fabulous gardener and has made our tiny garden an oasis. Photographing the textures, colors and natural wonders of his garden, the Wissahickon Park or other natural locations is how I stay connected to my visual creativity. I frequently use these photos in my marketing.

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

We enjoy Craft Beers and good creative food shared with friends. McMenamins Tavern in Mt Airy is a favorite of ours for years and recently we discovered The Pub of Penn Valley in Narberth.

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

Many early mornings a week you will find Leo and me power walking on Forbidden Drive or on the secluded trails of the Wissahickon Park. It is, also, important to me to nurture long time friendships and several early mornings each week I am on the phone with friends who live in other states. These friends have known me through many stages of my life some as far back as Jr High School and they represent industries as diverse as clothing manufacturing, aerospace engineering, a student of Ram Das, symphony violist, lawyer and psychologist. Getting support and perspectives from these areas of expertise is fascinating and enriching.

To contact Deb, call 267-235-7028 or email deb@elfantwissahickon.com

Deb Stanitz

Some of Deb’s photography work:

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A chat with Patrick Walsh, Realtor

Posted on: January 27, 2017

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

In my free time I like to see live music as often as possible. Whether it be in a small, intimate club setting or an arena rock show, live music has always been something that I’ve been passionate about. I also enjoy exploring Philadelphia’s exploding culinary scene. There is a seemingly endless list of restaurants and bars that I have yet to visit, as new places continue to open so frequently.

What is your favorite season of the year?

My favorite season of the year is Autumn. This has a lot to do with living in/around Northwest Philadelphia. The foliage along the tree lined streets of East Falls, Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill has always amazed me. Autumn in this area is truly breathtaking!

Tea or coffee?

Coffee. Always coffee.

What is your favorite style of house?

My favorite style of home has to be the old, stone Singles found throughout Northwest Philadelphia, in particular in Chestnut Hill and Mt. Airy. The sheer size and age of the homes are enough to impress, but most seem to have features unique unto themselves. They tend to tell a tale about the previous owners throughout the years, and I love the historic aspect of these properties.

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

I’d have to say my favorite on-the-go lunch choice is Green Soul in Chestnut Hill. They have an excellent selection of ready-to-go juices and smoothies, as well as delicious made-to-order wraps and sandwiches. I’ve also been known the frequent Chubby’s Steaks in Roxborough, trying to cut back, so delicious!

To contact Patrick, call 609-529-4080 or email patrick@elfantwissahickon.com

Patrick Walsh Patrick Walsh (photo f. blog)


A chat with Marissa Brooks, Realtor

Posted on: January 20, 2017

Where are you working today / where are your appointments?

All over! I spent the morning in West Philly, quick stop in Mt Airy, the afternoon in Port Richmond, and happy home to my fam in South Kensington.

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

Reading terminal all the way. So many great stalls to choose from! Some days a piece of cheese from Downtown Cheese and a baguette from Metropolitan OR Four Seasons Juice Bar (next to Market Blooms) and a pretzel from Miller’s twist.

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

PlayArts at Front and Thompson opened in September and it is a wonderful business! It is a beautifully rehabbed old municipal pool building turned into a spectacular play space complete with sensory, art, music, and dance classes. From infants on up, it is a great addition to the neighborhood.

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

When I’m not showing houses or chasing a toddler around, I love to cook!!

iPhone or Android? 

iPhone

What is your favorite dessert?

Pizza 🍕

Tea or coffee?

Coffee – I’m very spoiled since the flagship La Colombe is just a few blocks from my home.

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La Colombe Coffee Roasters, Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia

What is your favorite part of being a realtor?

Helping people take the next step in their lives. In my experience, physically moving is usually a manifestation of change in life, and it isn’t always young people starting fresh or growing into a “dream home”(though that is really fun!). Sometimes it’s because of death, divorce, retirement, or downsizing. A house can come to symbolize so many very personal things for people; a loved one that resided in it, a relationship that may not have worked out, a space that whole generations of a family have been raised in… It isn’t always an easy thing to do, but it is extremely rewarding. The purchase or sale of real estate is a very empowering experience.

Visit Marissa’s Facebook page here!
marissa-brooks

Marissa Brooks

 

 

 


15 DIYs to Increase Your Curb Appeal

Posted on: June 17, 2015

Here is a great little article we found on ApartmentTherapy.com of ways to increase your curb appeal with some fun DIY projects. Enjoy!

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On Apartment Therapy we spend most of our time on interiors—to us its what’s inside (your home) that really counts—but it can really pay off to give the exterior a little TLC. It’s the first thing you see before you step though the door and it can add a lot to your home’s value, should you own it yourself. With this in mind, we’ve rounded up a few DIY projects to give your place a little extra curb appeal.

1. Modern House Number DIY from A Beautiful Mess

2. DIY Wood Shutters from Home Talk

3. How to Make a Tree Bench from This Old House

4. DIY Address Number Wall Planter from Shanty 2 Chic

5. How to Make a Window Box from Two Twenty One

6. DIY Modern Mailbox from Mod Frugal

7. DIY Cedar Planter Box from Shanty 2 Chic

8. DIY Bird Bath Planter from Mami Talks

9. Modern, Space-Saving Vertical Garden DIY from Man Made DIY

10. House Number Plaque DIY, 4 Men 1 Lady

11. Monogram Welcome Mat from Thistlewood Farms

12. DIY Crate Bench from Operation Home Blog

13. DIY Concrete Paver Planters from Life in Velvet

14. DIY Succulent Wreath from Pretty Prudent

15. DIY Slat Screen from The Brick House

 


Tips On Keeping The House Cool This Summer!

Posted on: July 3, 2014

About five months ago as we were cursing the icy air and abundance of snow, we longed for the carefree summer months. Well, they are here and they’re HOT! It’s hard to keep things in perspective when you’re sweating through your t-shirt, but, try to enjoy the summer months as best as you can, because right around the corner is…you know.

We were searching the web for some effective ways to keep the house cool during the summer months while saving energy and we found this great list below via Care2.com. Enjoy!

1. Reduce the cooling load by employing cost-effective conservation measures. Provide effective shade for east and west windows. When possible, delay heat-generating activities such as dishwashing until evening on hot days.

2. Over most of the cooling season, keep the house closed tight during the day. Don’t let in unwanted heat and humidity. Ventilate at night either naturally or with fans.

3. You can help get rid of unwanted heat through ventilation if the temperature of the incoming air is 77 F or lower. (This strategy works most effectively at night and on cooler days.) Window fans for ventilation are a good option if used properly. They should be located on the downwind side of the house facing out. A window should be open in each room. Interior doors must remain open to allow air flow.

4. Use ceiling fans to increase comfort levels at higher thermostat settings. The standard human comfort range for light clothing in the summer is between 72 F and 78 F. To extend the comfort range to 82 F, you need a breeze of about 2.5 ft/sec or 1.7 mph. A sow-turning ceiling-mounted paddle fan can easily provide this air flow.

5. In hot climates, plant shade trees around the house. Don’t plant trees on the South if you want to benefit from passive solar heating in the winter.

6. If you have an older central air conditioner, consider replacing the outdoor compressor with a modern, high-efficiency unit. Make sure that it is properly matched to the indoor unit.

7. If buying a new air conditioner, be sure that it is properly sized. Get assistance from an energy auditor or air conditioning contractor.

8. Buy a high-efficiency air conditioner: for room air conditioners, the energy efficiency ratio (EER) rating should be above 10; for central air conditioners, look for a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) rating above 12.

9. In hot, humid climates, make sure that the air conditioner you buy will adequately get rid of high humidity. Models with variable or multi-speed blowers are generally best. Try to keep moisture sources out of the house.

10. Try not to use a dehumidifier at the same time your air conditioner is operating. The dehumidifier will increase the cooling load and force the air conditioner to work harder.

11. Seal all air conditioner ducts, and insulate ducts that run through unheated basements, crawl spaces, and attics.

12. Keep the thermostat set at 78 degrees F or higher if using ceiling fans. Don’t air-condition unused rooms.

13. Maintain your air conditioners properly to maximize efficiency.

14. Install white window shades or mini-blinds. Mini-blinds can reduce solar heat gain by 40-50 percent.

15. Close south and west-facing curtains during the day for any window that gets direct sunlight. Keep these windows closed, too.

16. Install awnings on south-facing windows, where there’s insufficient roof overhang to provide shade.

17. Hang tightly woven screens or bamboo shades outside the window during the summer to stop 60 to 80 percent of the sun’s heat from getting to the windows.

18. Apply low-e films.

19. Consider exotic infills in your windows, a new technology that fills the space between panes with krypton or argon, gasses that have lower conductivity than air, and which boost R-values.

19. Provide shade for your room A/C, or the outside half of your central A/C if at all possible. This will increase the unit’s efficiency by 5 percent to 10 percent.

20. Clean your A/C’s air filter every month during cooling season. Normal dust build-up can reduce air flow by 1 percent per week.

22. Turn off your A/C when you leave for more than an hour.

23. Several studies have found that most central air conditioning systems are oversized by 50 percent or more.

Read more


Announcing Buyer Expo!

Posted on: September 14, 2012

SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 22, 2012 11am – 2pm .

BUYER EXPO! Come to our Open-House to learn about all aspects of the Home Buying Process! Expert advice will be on hand.

GIVEAWAYS. US Inspect will be raffling off two FREE TERMITE INSPECTIONS with the purchase of a home inspection. Allstate King Agency, the Neil Kugelman Team and Elfant Wissahickon Realtors will provide small gifts to participants.

OUR EXPERTS:

* John Coneys, Branch Manager of Guaranteed Rate, will be on hand with mortgage information – He can review with you any specific issues you may have with your credit history or your ability to obtain a mortgage.  His twenty-plus years of experience can help you work through obstacles to get to the settlement table.

* Steve Haslam, as a Home Inspector and Building Consultant for US Inspect, he inspects the structure, systems and components of a home to ascertain its overall condition and identify items for repair.  Through this process, he educates Buyers about household systems and preventive maintenance.  His company, US Inspect, is one of the most trusted names in the Tri-State area, with deep roots here in PA’s Delaware Valley.

* Jeff King will be on hand to discuss the hows, whats and whys of homeowner’s insurance. Ask him those questions you’ve always wondered about – “How much insurance do I need?” or ” What happens if…” or “Is there a better way to …” or “Can you save me money if I…” His company, Allstate King Agency, is one of the area’s top insurers of auto, life and home.

* The Neil Kugelman Team of Elfant Wissahickon Realtors are sponsoring this event. Neil and his team of service-oriented Agents, previously featured on the front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer, will be our hosts. Neil, Chris Kinka, Melinda Coughlin and Marilyn Silberstein bring a wide range of experience in client service, construction & real estate. They have a 35+ year track record of service to NW Philadelphia and E. Montgomery County. They will be here to answer questions about the many aspects of real estate and can provide you with information about available housing options as well. “People are our business, real estate is our service.”


The Neil Kugelman Team

Posted on: February 8, 2012

“People are our business.  Real estate is our service.”  This is their mission statement.  They come to real estate from a variety of disciplines with a common theme: high standards of ethics in service to others.

Neil began his real estate career in 1984 and hired his first assistant in 1993.  Together with his team of licensed agents, Marilyn Silberstein, Melinda Coughlin and Chris Kinka, they serve the Philadelphia and Eastern Montgomery Counties with solid counsel and superior communication skills.  Both Melinda and Chris are former teachers, while Marilyn’s focus was social work.  Chris also brings his construction background to bear.  Melinda’s people skills were refined as she and her husband were the long-time owner/operators of Fairmount’s London Grill.  The empathy and communication skills Marilyn employ result from the variety of positions held as she climbed the ranks of medical social work.

Each team member benefits from the experience and knowledge of the team’s leader, Neil Kugelman.  Collectively they meet regularly to discuss, among other things, how best to serve their particular clients.  This different approach to real estate brings distinct advantages to both Buyers and Sellers – having a caring team behind you with expert and timely advice.  Their team approach first headlined the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Real Estate section February 11, 2007.

Neil has extensive experience in all aspects of residential housing, having done foreclosure work for Fannie Mae, Citibank and others.  He has been involved in over 100 renovations for REO companies.  He teaches “Buying a Fixer-Upper” at the Mt Airy Learning Tree.  He has been consistently top ranked by the Greater Philadelphia Association of REALTORS for annual production and has been specifically recognized with city-wide awards three times.  He has been the recipient for the past two years of Philadelphia Magazine’s annual Five-Star Professional Award.  He is a repeat winner of Elfant Wissahickon’s Top Agent annual award.  Neil has been a resident of Germantown, Wyndmoor and now lives in Mt. Airy.


We've got an app!

Posted on: December 14, 2011

Elfant Wissahickon Realtors is excited to announce its partnership with AppCreatorPro to provide our agents with highly personalized individual apps for their clients!

EWR is constantly searching out ways to provide a technological edge to its’Agents and Clients. In these fast-paced times, it helps to be connected!

AppCreatorPro is an information technology company created, in part, by one of our own Realtors, Christopher Plant! The goal is to provide real estate sales agents with a powerful connectivity tool to provide to their clients. Download Christopher’s app here.

Agents can share their app with clients, enabling them to ask questions, get directions, read testimonials, and contact their agent immediately.

As Christopher tells it, there was a harmonious occurrence wherein he was looking to create a MOBILE MARKETING presence and happened to bump into his friend Stephen Segal of Mount Airy. Stephen had recently started a company making APPS and they combined their skills and came up with a fantastic new product for Realtors with Stephen’s CEO, Will Delamater.

This app allows Realtors to create a meaningful and useful bond with their Buyers and Sellers. By providing a variety of services within a highly customizable interface, Clients can easily access valuable Real Estate news, look up a Realtor’s Preferred Vendors and easily SHARE a Realtor’s APP with a friend or family member.

We feel that the world of Real Estate is becoming more MOBILE everyday. We know that information moves quickly. If our Realtors aren’t immediately connected, they might not get the deal. We want the deal. We want to be the leaders of Real Estate technology in our markets.

To find out what AppCreatorPro can do for you as an agent, Buyer or Seller, contact Christopher Plant today!