Feasterville Business Association will be conducting a Free Home Buying Seminar on April 23

As part of its new “Spotlight On Business” series, the Feasterville Business Association will be offering a free home buying seminar at the Lower Southampton Free Library, 1983 Bridgetown Pike in Feasterville, PA on Wednesday, April 23, from 6 to 8 p.m. The public is invited.

In making the announcement, Rose McMenamin, president of the FBA, says that whether you’re a first time, second time or beyond buyer there will be a great deal of important information provided by a host of professionals working in almost all aspects of the home buying industry. “Here’s a terrific opportunity to come and find out about the whole process from pre-qualification to final settlement without any cost or obligation,” McMenamin explains. “If you’re in the market for a home purchase it will be time well invested.”

Among the topics to be covered will be preparing for home ownership, benefits of pre-qualification, loan options and obtaining a mortgage, mortgage and title insurance, credit scores and credit counseling, tools for home shopping, home inspection, sales agreements, closing costs and more. There also will be an open forum question and answer segment with a panel of experts.

Participants include representatives from 3rd FED Bank, Olde Towne Real Estate, Inc., Bucks County Housing Group, Credit Counseling Center, Financial Expertise, Financial Group Plus, Greater Philadelphia Abstract, Kelly Adjusters, Miller & Hauptman, New Penn Financial, and Regal Property Management. Light refreshments will be served.

Now in its 65th anniversary year, the Feasterville Business Association‘s mission is to foster and encourage growth and progress for the betterment of the community. Reservations are suggested by calling 215-436-9768 or by emailing feastervilleba@gmail.com. You can also visit the FBA on the web at www.feastervillebiz.

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Should we stay or go?

submitted by Lynne Kelleher, Prudential Fox & Roach, Realtors – Newtown Office

Moving is one of the top five stressors in life, weighing in after death, illness, divorce and job loss, so most people don’t enter into the real estate market lightly. They ponder, contemplate, argue and look for signs from above before reaching a decision, which rarely comes easily. If you’re considering making a move, here are some factors to consider:

  1. You, your family and your stuff are starting to make you feel claustrophobic – and you don’t see it getting better any time soon. If you can’t store another thing under the beds and your seven-year-old is still sleeping in his toddler bed in a room with his two older brothers, it may be time.
  2. The house and grounds are starting to get the best of you, and keeping up with maintenance is becoming a challenge.  Don’t let your largest single asset start to deteriorate.
  3. Your up and coming neighborhood still hasn’t arrived, or is gradually becoming down and out.
  4. You’re using the equity in your home to get you through a “rough patch” that has lasted way longer than it should have.
  5. You had always considered this home to be a stopping point, not a destination, and have the financial ability to move up to your dream home.

If you’re a move-up buyer, it’s time to get off the fence and into the market NOW, while interest rates are still low and prices, while starting to increase, aren’t moving sharply upward. If you’re downsizing, it’s still a great time to sell as inventory levels are low and well-priced homes in good condition are selling quickly. The market has started its rebound no matter how you look at it. You’re not getting any younger – it’s time to move forward with your dreams and plans.

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Should we stay or go?

submitted by Kathleen Layton, Prudential Fox & Roach, Realtors – Newtown Office

Moving is one of the top five stressors in life, weighing in after death, illness, divorce and job loss, so most people don’t enter into the real estate market lightly. They ponder, contemplate, argue and look for signs from above before reaching a decision, which rarely comes easily. If you’re considering making a move, here are some factors to consider:

  1. You, your family and your stuff are starting to make you feel claustrophobic – and you don’t see it getting better any time soon. If you can’t store another thing under the beds and your seven-year-old is still sleeping in his toddler bed in a room with his two older brothers, it may be time.
  2. The house and grounds are starting to get the best of you, and keeping up with maintenance is becoming a challenge.  Don’t let your largest single asset start to deteriorate.
  3. Your up and coming neighborhood still hasn’t arrived, or is gradually becoming down and out.
  4. You’re using the equity in your home to get you through a “rough patch” that has lasted way longer than it should have.
  5. You had always considered this home to be a stopping point, not a destination, and have the financial ability to move up to your dream home.

If you’re a move-up buyer, it’s time to get off the fence and into the market NOW, while interest rates are still low and prices, while starting to increase, aren’t moving sharply upward. If you’re downsizing, it’s still a great time to sell as inventory levels are low and well-priced homes in good condition are selling quickly. The market has started its rebound no matter how you look at it. You’re not getting any younger – it’s time to move forward with your dreams and plans.

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The price you pay for waiting

submitted by Gary Selleck, owner, C & C Family Roofing

Every day people make decisions on how they spend their money. Things like vacations, cars, schooling, home repairs, etc. Many of these things are very costly and can put a strain on one’s bank account. So you have to prioritize where the money goes.

In the world of home repairs there are a few projects that can be very costly. The roof is one of those things. But how does the average person determine the condition of their roof from the ground? The only way is to have someone look for the signs that the roof is failing or in disrepair.

The most common signs roofing contractors look for is the general condition of the roofing material. Are the shingles starting to lose the colored granules? Are the shingles curling or cupping? Are there any blisters (bubbles) forming on the shingle surface, and is there excessive fading of the color? These signs usually occur after the first 10 years. They are signs of moderate wear and are to be expected.

As the roof continues to age these signs become more pronounced and can lead to possible leaks. The shingles lose enough colored granules that the fiberglass matting is visible. The curling or cupping is noticeable and can lead to wind damage or shingle loss. The blistering increases and exposes nails or seams and finally cracking of the base membrane.

The hope is to wait long enough to get full value for the money spent on the roof, but the gamble is waiting too long and incurring damage to your interior. Don’t cost yourself more money by losing the waiting game. Have a professional roofing contractor come and evaluate your roof today. Don’t wait!

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Real estate market bounces back

submitted by Kathleen Layton, Realtor, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach, Realtors – Newtown Office

Well…It’s official. The real estate market is finally back. Not to pre-crash levels of course, but firmly on solid ground and gaining.

After nearly a decade of despair reminiscent of the Great Depression, 2013 has seen real estate change from being a ball and chain around the neck of millions of Americans to an asset that has been one of the few bright lights helping to move this stubbornly sluggish economy forward.

While the housing market is still somewhat volatile, the “experts” are calling for increases in 2014 ranging from 5% over 2013 levels to 10-15% higher. In Bucks County, the number of units sold increased 20% over 2012 totals.

Nationally, home prices continue to rise faster than they have since the housing boom. The average sale price in Bucks County of $322,592 was up 2.3% and it took an average of 77 days for a house to sell, down 19% over the previous year.

Another key factor on the rise is mortgage interest rates, which have come up almost a point in 2013 and are now hovering around 4.5%. Expect them to rise even higher in 2014, possibly close to the 6% mark by the end of the year. Also expect to be put through the wringer if you’re applying for a mortgage this year. Lenders and underwriters are still re-living the horrors of the mortgage debacle and even immensely qualified buyers are paying the price through excessive documentation, explanation and all around hoop jumping.

We’ve returned to a “normal” real estate market, where neither party should consider themselves in the driver’s seat.

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Real estate market bounces back

submitted by Lynne Kelleher, Realtor, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach, Realtors – Newtown Office

Well…It’s official. The real estate market is finally back. Not to pre-crash levels of course, but firmly on solid ground and gaining. After nearly a decade of despair reminiscent of the Great Depression, 2013 has seen real estate change from being a ball and chain around the neck of millions of Americans to an asset that has been one of the few bright lights helping to move this stubbornly sluggish economy forward.

While the housing market is still somewhat volatile, the “experts” are calling for increases in 2014 ranging from 5% over 2013 levels to 10-15% higher. In Bucks County, the number of units sold increased 20% over 2012 totals.

Nationally, home prices continue to rise faster than they have since the housing boom. The average sale price in Bucks County of $322,592 was up 2.3% and it took an average of 77 days for a house to sell, down 19% over the previous year.

Another key factor on the rise is mortgage interest rates, which have come up almost a point in 2013 and are now hovering around 4.5%. Expect them to rise even higher in 2014, possibly close to the 6% mark by the end of the year. Also expect to be put through the wringer if you’re applying for a mortgage this year. Lenders and underwriters are still re-living the horrors of the mortgage debacle and even immensely qualified buyers are paying the price through excessive documentation, explanation and all around hoop jumping.

We’ve returned to a “normal” real estate market, where neither party should consider themselves in the driver’s seat.

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The real estate market continues to improve

submitted by Lynne Kelleher, Prudential Fox & Roach, Realtors – Newtown Office

Third quarter market statistics are in and show a continuingly improving real estate market in Bucks County. The average sale price is up 1.9% to $333,582 and the number of closed sales is up 28.3% over last year. The time it takes to sell a home is down to an average of 81 days, a reduction of 23.5%, inventory levels are down 12.1% and there’s a six-month supply of inventory which is down 26.4%, signifying a return to more “normal” conditions.

What’s it all mean? For one thing, the bottom of the market is clearly behind us and we’re finding ourselves in one of the busiest markets in years. While the pace has slowed somewhat, well-priced homes in good condition are selling in a matter of days, often with more than one offer to choose from. As the economy continues to improve, prices, as well as mortgage interest rates, will continue to rise. Most economists are forecasting a 2% rise in prices annually over the next several years.

No matter how you slice it, now really is a great time to buy or sell a home. If you need to sell your current home before you can purchase your next one, waiting until it appreciates isn’t the answer. Any gain you may make will be wiped out by rising interest rates and higher home prices for your new home. 

If you’re considering getting out of mom and dad’s basement or out of an apartment and into your own place – get off the fence and DO IT! The time will never be better.

The same holds true for those of you looking to expand your portfolio or diversify your retirement strategy. Rental properties are in high demand and an investment property could offer some long-term growth and passive income in those golden years.

There are still opportunities to be had in this market but who knows when that window will start to close? If the circumstances are right for you, now may be the time to make it happen.

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The real estate market continues to improve

submitted by Kathleen Layton, Prudential Fox & Roach, Realtors – Newtown Office

Third quarter market statistics are in and show a continuingly improving real estate market in Bucks County. The average sale price is up 1.9% to $333,582 and the number of closed sales is up 28.3% over last year. The time it takes to sell a home is down to an average of 81 days, a reduction of 23.5%, inventory levels are down 12.1% and there’s a six-month supply of inventory which is down 26.4%, signifying a return to more “normal” conditions.

What’s it all mean? For one thing, the bottom of the market is clearly behind us and we’re finding ourselves in one of the busiest markets in years. While the pace has slowed somewhat, well-priced homes in good condition are selling in a matter of days, often with more than one offer to choose from. As the economy continues to improve, prices, as well as mortgage interest rates, will continue to rise. Most economists are forecasting a 2% rise in prices annually over the next several years.

No matter how you slice it, now really is a great time to buy or sell a home. If you need to sell your current home before you can purchase your next one, waiting until it appreciates isn’t the answer. Any gain you may make will be wiped out by rising interest rates and higher home prices for your new home. 

If you’re considering getting out of mom and dad’s basement or out of an apartment and into your own place – get off the fence and DO IT! The time will never be better.

The same holds true for those of you looking to expand your portfolio or diversify your retirement strategy. Rental properties are in high demand and an investment property could offer some long-term growth and passive income in those golden years.

There are still opportunities to be had in this market but who knows when that window will start to close? If the circumstances are right for you, now may be the time to make it happen.

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House drafts are a constant battle

submitted by Gary Selleck, owner, C & C Family Roofing

Did you ever walk past a window or a door and feel a draft that sends shivers up your spine? As if Death himself has laid his hand on you. Often this is a result of improper insulation in your home. The hot air from your heating system escapes through the inadequate insulation areas and thus your heating system needs to run more often to compensate. This air infiltration can lead to increased heating costs, moisture build up on the wood framing and could possibly lead to mold.  The same thing could be said during the summer.

There are many areas in older homes that lack the proper insulation. The attic is the most common area. Older homes rarely meet the minimum recommended R-value for insulation. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends the northeast region to have a minimum R-38 insulation to maximum R-60 insulation in your attic space (bat insulation or blown-in insulation). An easy way to determine whether a home has an insulation issue is during the winter months. Snow accumulation normally melts during the daylight hours.

Some other areas on a house where poor insulation is found are around windows and doors. When windows and doors are installed properly there is a minimal gap that should be insulated. Many houses have larger openings and the insulation sags or misses altogether.

Like many things in life, people would rather not know and just presume things are fine, all while their heating and cooling bills are unreasonably high or they’re suffering with an uncomfortable home. Have your home insulation checked by a professional insulation company before the winter really sets in. Don’t get left out in the cold!

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When it rains it pours

submitted by Gary Selleck, owner, C & C Family Roofing

Nobody likes to get wet when it’s unexpected. Have you had a glass of water spilled on your lap at a restaurant, gotten caught in a sudden rainfall, or had a car splash puddle water at you while walking? All these situations make for a miserable day.

But have you ever had unexpected water in your home. Wet clothes are a lot less stressful than a wet carpet, furniture, drywall or basement. Often these sudden water penetration issues are a result of clogged or defective gutters. Defective or loosely secured gutters can be a result of snow and ice creating downward pressure on the old hanger of the gutters causing them to fall out of alignment.

When gutters don’t perform the way they are supposed to they can cause all kinds of problems. Water will spill over the edge of the gutter and splash against windows, in the landscaping or against the foundation. Gutters are intended to control or manage the removal of rainwater from off the roof and direct it to areas on the ground that will cause the least amount of trouble.

Here are some ways that homeowners can prevent these unexpected water issues from occurring. Have your gutters cleaned out two times a year (in the spring when the trees bloom and in the fall when the leaves fall). Have your gutters and downspouts secured to the house and aligned properly. If the gutters are in total disrepair have them replaced. Make sure that the size of the gutters matches the amount of water that is being managed. Have a good gutter guard screen installed on your gutters to prevent leaves and debris from causing future problems.

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