Middletown couple helps first-time homebuyers accomplish ‘The Dream’

It’s the classic example of which came first, the chicken or the egg?  “I’ve recently graduated college or trade school and found a good job.  I’ve been able to save a few dollars for a small down payment. I know I don’t want to pay rent forever but when can I actually buy my first home?”  Mike and Jill Kohler, owners of Net Equity Financial Mortgage and Real Estate Services in Middletown Township, think buying a home is not only possible, but likely for many.

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Why move-up buyers should sell NOW

submitted by Lynne Kelleher, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services/Fox Roach Realtors Newtown Office

Do you store your cereal in the oven? Are you having difficulty shoving ONE MORE THING under the bed? Do you live out of your hamper because there’s no place to put away the clean clothes? If the police were called to your home, would they think it had been ransacked because your stuff is all over?

If you answered “Yes, good heavens YES!” to any of the above, I bet you’ve been thinking about moving. And if you’ve been on the fence about it, here’s what waiting could cost you.

Those in the know are predicting home prices will rise about 4% nationally and rates could increase another full point in the next year. If you’re selling your $300,000 home and moving up to a $400,000 home, here’s how it shakes out.

If you wait, your current home’s value would increase to $312,000. But now you’d need to pay $416,000 for your new home – a net increase of $4000 if we keep the numbers simple. Not horrible, right?

Here’s the kicker…if rates increase from 4.5% on the $400,000 sale (which is where they’re currently hovering), to 5.5% on the $416,000 sale, look what happens. Assuming a 20% down payment, your monthly payment for principal and interest increases from $1622 to $1957 – a whopping $335. Not chump change by any measure!

To put it another way – if you wanted to keep your payment at $1622, you could only afford a house for $344,000 at a 5.5% interest rate. Talk about an impact on buying power.

There’s no two ways about it – now is the time to sell, and move up, down or to Tahiti. So throw out, pack up and clean up, then get your home on the market. If it’s in good condition and priced correctly, it will sell and sell quickly.

Isn’t it about time you took your life off hold and moved forward?

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Why move-up buyers should sell NOW

submitted by Kathleen Layton, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services/Fox Roach Realtors Newtown Office

Do you store your cereal in the oven? Are you having difficulty shoving ONE MORE THING under the bed? Do you live out of your hamper because there’s no place to put away the clean clothes? If the police were called to your home, would they think it had been ransacked because your stuff is all over?

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How does one find a great contractor?

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

Most homeowners feel completely helpless regarding home repair and improvements. They don’t know what they are looking at, how to repair it or even who to call. It’s at that point that the homeowner feels overwhelmed. Having a trusted and reliable contractor to answer those questions is invaluable. So how does one find a great contractor?

The most common mistake in choosing a contractor is assuming that all contractors are equal. Professionalism, product knowledge, trade knowledge, service and customer care are important. The second most common mistake is assuming that the size of their phone book ad means something. Wrong – they just have the most money to burn. The third most common mistake is using price to determine who is best. More expensive isn’t always the best.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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