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Scott Darling

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Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 368

Renovations and Your Homeowners Insurance

by Scott Darling


Making the decision to renovate any room in your home comes after a lot of thought and planning, but don’t forget that changes in your home can create changes in your homeowner’s
 insurance.  Whether the renovations lower or increase the payment depends on the job, so we’re going to look at how a remodel can affect your wallet: 

 

  • Additions:  Whenever you add square footage to your home, your policy will need to be upgraded, likely increasing your premium. 
     

  • Converted Space:  Turning your garage into a home theater or creating a master suite from your attic space may not require changes to the policy if the square footage is already covered, but as replacement value has changed, you will want to increase your coverage. 
     

  • Home System Upgrades: Improving electrical and plumbing systems can lower your premiums, as upgrading them can make your home safer from incidents relating to fire and leaky pipes. 
     

  • Pools:  Installing a pool or hot tub in your backyard will add to the replacement value of your home, and you’ll need to increase liability coverage to protect yourself in case of any accidents.
     

  • Roofing:  A new roof can lower your premium, especially if you upgrade it to the latest standards of protecting your home from natural disasters. 
     

  • Security Systems:  According to Safewise, adding a home security system could lower your homeowners premium by 20%.   
     

  • Solar Panels:  You will want to talk to your insurance agent before installing solar panels to your home.  They may require a separate policy, depending on how they are mounted, which would add to your budget.  
     

  • Upgrades:  Whether you use top-quality building materials for your renovation, upgrade the finishes in your home, or install state-of-the-art appliances in the kitchen, you’ll need to change your policy to reflect the replacement value. 

 

Making changes to your home improve your quality of life in many ways, but it may come at a cost.  Protecting your investment is worth it in the end, but you want to be prepared for anything that will add to your monthly budget. Schedule a meeting with your insurance agent before beginning any major changes in your home so you won’t be surprised when your payment increases. 

 

Courtesy of Chester County PA Realtor Scott Darling.

Photo credit: coldwellbanker.com

Collections and Home Decor

by Scott Darling


A collection of antique furniture is easily incorporated into your home’s decor.  But what if you collect memorabilia from a favorite movie, vintage kitchenware, or clown figurines?  No need to cram everything into one room on shelves along one wall (thoug
h that can make an impact for some collectibles).  Let’s look at some ways you can show off your prized possessions: 

 

  • - Consider displaying a few pieces at the time in a prominent place in your home:  mantel, a buffet or sideboard, or coffee table.  Keep the others stored safely away and switch them out every few months. 

  • - Vintage or antique glass items should be displayed near natural light so they will sparkle.  Open shelves on a wall opposite a sunny window will show off these treasures in a dramatic way. 

  • - An art collection doesn’t have to be displayed as a gallery wall;  negative space is very appealing, and the St. Mawes Gallery shares some tips on how to make your pieces stand out. 

  • - Make a collection of items on built-in shelves stand out by painting the insides of the shelves a complementary or contrasting color, especially if the items are the same color, or in the same color family. 

  • - Small items can be tucked away on a corner shelf, adding interest in a smaller room where there isn’t a lot of space.   

  • - Plate collectors don’t always display them in cabinets with glass doors; purchase plate hangers that will hold them securely to a wall and create an artful display on a dining room wall or over the soffits in the kitchen. 

  • - Collecting quilts or other textiles can create a dilemma, because just leaving them folded on a shelf doesn’t always do them justice.  Displaying them on a wall can be done with a little work, and they can be changed out to avoid any damage from the sun.  Check out these quilt-hanging ideas from Suzy Quilts. 

  • - Shadow boxes are inexpensive ways to display several small things at once, especially vintage toys!  If the items are made of plastic, you can place them all in the frame in a jumble, making it a fun conversation piece, sending people on a toy hunt. 

  • - Can’t get rid of those vinyl LP’s from high school?  Don’t keep them in a box--album frames are available from most craft stores and online, and you can take your favorites and display them as the art that only album covers can be! 

 

A collection doesn’t have to look like a hoard or be piled up in a jumble--treat them like treasures and decor items.  Learn some designer tips from Veranda magazine for displaying your prized possessions, and turn your treasures into a photo-worthy display! 

 

Courtesy of Chester County PA Realtor Scott Darling.

Photo credit: pinterest

Open House Etiquette

by Scott Darling


The house you’ve had your eye on has advertised an Open House, and though you haven’t started your official house hunt, you’re dying to see it.  If you’ve never been to an open house, there are a few things you need to know before you visit--you want to ma
ke as good an impression as the house! 

 

  • - Dress casually, and maybe even wear slip-on shoes, as some homeowners prefer guests to remove their shoes.  

  • - Be on time (maybe even early so you can be the first ones there):  unless there’s an absolute emergency, you don’t want to get there when lots of others are in attendance, nor do you want to get there as the agent is locking up to go home. 

  • - Let yourself in!  An agent may greet you at the door, or they may be waiting for visitors in a central room.  Remember that different agents have a different method, so be prepared for a self-tour, or an agent who would like to give you a tour. 

  • - Signing in is sometimes optional, but some homeowners require it for their protection, and if you’re ready to start looking for a home, the attending agent can have your contact information so you can talk with them about your needs. 

  • - If you already have a buyer’s agent, the polite thing to do would be to let the attending agent know who your agent is. 

  • - While others are looking around, wait until they’re out of a room before you go in, giving them space and privacy. 

  • - Most houses on the market don’t have closed access, but if you come to a closed door at an open house, ask the broker if it’s okay to go in and look around.  Sometimes another guest has mistakenly closed a door. 

  • - At the same time, don’t open medicine cabinets or anything else that could have the seller’s sensitive personal items, and make sure it’s okay to check out closet space before you go into the bedrooms. 

  • - Only take photos with permission.  Most of what you need to know is already provided in the open house flyer and online. 

 

Take the brochure or flyer the agent has available and take notes on it as you tour the house. Once you’re finished with the walkthrough, stop and ask the agent any questions you may have about the house, and write those answers down. This is especially helpful if you’ve taken a day to visit several houses and will make any discussions with your significant other or your agent much easier. 

 

Courtesy of Chester County PA Realtor Scott Darling.

Photo credit: bankofthewest.com

Honey Brook Home for Sale at 140 Barneston Rd

by Scott Darling

What a View!!! Overlooking a wide expanse of Chester County. Enjoy coffee in the morning or a cool drink in the afternoon. You will just love this location on a private drive. This beautifully landscaped property has great privacy but also nearby neighbors. You get the best of both worlds. When you enter this home, you’ll instantly notice the wonderful hardwood floors and a soaring stone fireplace (propane) reaching for the top of the vaulted ceilings. This open floor plan offers a kitchen with a breakfast bar, and living and dining areas all combined as one. The sliding glass doors lead out to a massive deck and those wonderful views. There is a master bedroom with a connecting bath and sliding glass doors to the deck as well as two other bedrooms on this level. The lower level offers a finished area with a half bath as well as a utility room that includes your laundry area. There is also a door to the attached two car garage. A new septic system was just installed with a two-year warranty so there should be no worries there. Also, the seller had a camera system installed around the house so you’ll be able to see what’s going on even when you’re not home. This is a nice country property but not too far out in the country. Come take a look.

Home Projects By Seasons

by Scott Darling


Thinking about doing some home improvements?  Whether it’s a kitchen or bathroom remodel, a whole-house painting, or floor refinishing, there’s a time of year when these jobs are easier to get completed, mainly because of how the weather affects not only c
onstruction, but the quality of the finished product as well.  Find the project you’re considering, and see when it’ll be the right time to get to work:  

 

Additions, because of needing a new foundation, could be started in late Winter/early Spring when the ground is still cold and more compact.  It makes for better digging and concrete pouring and setup. 
 

Exterior door replacement would be convenient any time except Winter, just in case there are any issues and the doors aren’t a quick switch. 
 

Exterior painting, for many reasons, is a better idea in early to late Summer, when temperatures are above fifty degrees. 
 

HVAC work, in non-emergency situations, should be done in the off seasons--new heater in warm months, air conditioning before it’s sweltering outside. 
 

Interior remodeling like kitchen and bathroom redo’s, can be done practically any time.  The main thing to keep in mind here is warm months are busier for contractors, and that can mean a job done in a hurry, or higher prices. 
 

Outdoor projects, even though a popular time for construction is the warmer months, should be started in late Winter, simply because you want to be able to spend your Summer enjoying your new outdoor space! 
 

Refinishing hardwoods is probably best completed during the times of year when humidity is low for the best finish, and so windows can be opened to allow air circulation to help get rid of any associated odors. 
 

Roofing, believe it or not, may get better results in hot months of the year, as the most common materials used will need warm temps for the best performance. 
 

Window repair/replacement is managed well during warm months or when frequent rain isn’t a factor. 

 

Keep in mind that Spring and Summer are busiest time for contractors.  If you are hiring your job out, the process should be started long enough in advance that you don’t have to be put on a wait list.  On that same note, during slower months, a contractor may give you a deal on the work, because there aren’t other jobs to be done, and you get their full attention!  Planning is key for a smooth finish on any project, any time of year. 

 

Courtesy of Chester County PA Realtor Scott Darling.

Photo credit: servicewhale.com

Before You List Your Chester County PA Home...

by Scott Darling


It’s time to get ready to put your home on the market, and there are some things to think about before you have it listed.  There’s work to be done, and some dos and don’ts that should be taken into consideration if you want your home to sell!
 

 

  • - The exterior of your home is the first thing a potential buyer sees; paint the siding, if necessary, and make sure the roof is in great shape.   

  • - Clean up the yard, front and back, and add some seasonal plantings for color. 

  • - A deep clean inside is necessary.  Wash windows, (inside and out), walls, draperies, scrub the bathroom’s every cranny, and shampoo the carpets. 

  • - If you have pets or a smoker in the home, a professional clean may be necessary, or even a new coat of paint on the walls. Pet odors and cigarette tar stay on everything.  Ask a friend or neighbor to come in and do a smell test and tackle any issues that they share with you. 

  • - Deciding what colors to paint the walls shouldn’t be of your personal taste.  Choosing neutral colors is best, and don’t stop at the living areas walls--paint every room. 

  • - Check all the doorknobs, and if any are sticking or simply not working, replace with similar hardware, or replace all of them.  It’s also important for all the exterior door locks to be in proper working order and replace any that aren’t. 

  • - Major repairs or restoration should be done by a pro or an experienced DIYer.  If you choose not to make a repair that you know is needed, you’ll have to be up front to your agent, make the needed fix is listed in your disclosure, and be ready to lower your selling price. 

  • - Sellers want their home to stand out, but don’t overdo it!  Using generally popular fixtures and finishes is better than going with the latest trend. 

  • - Even if your storage space is limited, make it appear like there’s plenty of room.  Remove seasonal clothing from closets, as well as occasionally used kitchen gadgets from cabinets and counters, and put them in storage with the rest of your things. 

  • - Consider staging, and if you can’t afford to go full scale, find a designer that will use your furniture and decorative pieces to maximize space, as well as have it looking its best. 

 

Lastly, don’t go it alone; find a RealtorⓇ that knows all that you don’t about selling your home.  Using an agent gets your home “out there,” and will make the process easier for you as well as for the buyer.   

 

Courtesy of Chester County PA Realtor Scott Darling.

Photo credit: realtor.com

Downingtown PA Real Estate for Sale at 101 Kinston Lane

by Scott Darling

Can you see yourself living here, sitting poolside with a cold drink, a hat to shade your eyes and relaxing music in the background? The outdoor aura is just one of the fine things you’ll enjoy in this home. Having a first-floor main bedroom and a private updated master bath makes living here very easy. The main floor consists of a formal living room, formal dining room and comfortable family room with a beautiful fireplace and sliding glass doors leading to the deck and patio overlooking the pool. The eat-in kitchen with an island has been updated with solid wood cabinets. There’s also a built-in desk area with extra cabinets too. Recessed lighting adds to the ambiance on the first floor as well. A separate laundry area, powder room and a “family entrance” complete this level. Upstairs are three spacious bedrooms and another updated full bath. Located in the Welsh Ayres Community and just steps from the Uwchlan and Struble Trails is a huge bonus for you outdoor lovers. The neighborhood is friendly and you can even walk to the elementary school (Shamona Creek). Shopping, the train station and many main arteries are nearby so travel is made easy. Come by for a look.

Chester County PA Real Estate Market Trends for February 2019

by Scott Darling

Chester County PA Real Estate Market Trends for February 2019

Chester County PA single-family homes saw pending sales increase by 9.2% in February 2019 when compared to February 2018. 248 homes sold in February with a median sales price of $314,000.  The average sales price increased by 1.4%, and homes were on the market 20 days more.

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What To Do With Old Devices?

by Scott Darling


If you’re like many people this time of year who are cleaning out or following the new “simplify” craze, you’ve come across a drawer filled with old cell phones and devices.  Don’t throw these devices in the trash--they’re bad for the environment.  They ca
n be put to good use, whether by yourself or someone else!  Just make sure you reset the device settings to the factory settings.  If you’re not sure how, DealNews has a guide to help you with that.  Now let’s see what we can do with these unused gadgets! 

 

  • - Recycling could be the easiest thing for you.  Get all of the devices in a box, and either call your local waste management to see where you can drop them off, or go to the Sustainable Electronics website, and click your area on the interactive map, and it shows you where you can send or drop off your items. 

  • American Cell Phone Drive is an organization that helps raise funds for thousands of organizations worldwide.  Follow the link, type in your zip code, and it will direct you to local places that will gladly accept your old cell phones. 

  • - Many large electronics retailers, online and brick-and-mortar, will accept your outdated gadgets for recycling, as well as the device manufacturers.  In some cases, they will purchase newer items (usually less than three years old) and put the amount on the retailer’s gift card.  A quick search online will help with finding what stores will buy from you. 

  • - Organizations such as domestic violence centers, daycares, schools and veterans’ associations are just a few places that may take the donation where it can be used for education or for emergencies.  Call and speak with whoever is in charge to find out if they can use what you cannot. 

  • - You can always sell your devices, the newer the better, and put a bit of cash in your pocket, or donate the proceeds.  Social media is full of local “yard sale” pages where you can post items for free or use an online auction site to sell your goods for a fee. 

  • - A laptop or computer tower takes a little more work to erase all sensitive information from, but these can be donated or recycled as well.   

  • - If the computer still works, call a local school, senior center, homeless shelter or youth program to see if they can use it.  Many will gladly take a free computer. 

  • - Do an online search to see if any local retailers or recycle centers will accept your laptop or computer, and when you call, make sure they can recycle laptop batteries, too.  In some cases, the lithium-ion batteries must be recycled separately. 

 

Not only will you be paring down your clutter, but you can help someone in need or simply keep dangerous metals from the environment when you recycle or donate your unused devices.  Help yourself and someone else while you’re purging the junk! 

 

Courtesy of Chester County PA Realtor Scott Darling.

 

Photo credit: acwastewatcher.org

For Sale By Owner for Sellers and Buyers

by Scott Darling


Some homeowners think they’ll be saving a ton of money by choosing to sell their home themselves, and unless they’re a real estate agent, that may be so.  If you are interested in a house that is offered for sale by the owner (FSBO) what’s the risk for you
?  Read on to find out why it’s not a good idea for seller or buyer: 

 

Sellers 

  • According to realtor.comⓇ, the listing agent and buyer’s agent split about 6% of the home’s sale price.  You’ll need to calculate how much it costs you to stage and photograph your home, get an MLS number, market the house, take time from work to schedule showings as well as host the showings, do all of the paperwork involved, and contact and pay attorneys and others who are involved in a home sale, and compare it to the commission you believe you’ll give up to an agent.   

  • - To be fair, the seller should offer a 3% commission to the buyer’s agent.  Otherwise, most agents won’t bring anyone who’s interested to your home for a showing. 

  • - Sellers are responsible for any mistakes that have occurred once the transaction is in motion.  If you don’t purchase errors and omissions insurance, you may end up paying out of pocket in court or settle out of court for those mistakes. 

  • - Pricing your home takes more than just an online search for sold homes in your area, and not only can you overprice your house, but you can lose thousands by underpricing. 

  • - Scammers abound and can cost you in many ways.  These criminals target FSBO homeowners, because the scammers are savvy enough to make their offer look legitimate.   
     

Buyers 

  • - Beware the owner’s asking price.  Since the majority of FSBO sellers don’t have the experience to set a good market value on their home, their quote will likely be too high. 

  • - Be prepared to wait some time to see the home.  Most homeowners have full-time jobs, and you’ll have to view the home on their time, with them as your host. 

  • - If a seller tells you their house is in perfect condition, and you can save money by not hiring an inspector, walk away.  Every house even brand-new houses should be inspected before changing hands. 

  • - Ask the seller what fees they plan on paying, and in the case that they ask to share the costs with you, it’s time to find another house. 

  • - Do your own research on the house, make sure the person you’ve talked with is the actual owner, and proceed with caution.  There are scams that involve an empty house, FSBO signs, and scammers who will take your money and run, because they aren’t the rightful owner. 

 

The best advice: hire a RealtorⓇ.  Not only are they the ones taking the risk in selling your home (or not), licensed real estate agents know everything you don’t know about selling and purchasing, devote all their working hours to home-buying, and can protect your investment as well as a buyer’s interests.   

 

Courtesy of Chester County PA Realtor Scott Darling.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 368

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Photo of Scott Darling Real Estate
Scott Darling
RE/MAX Action Associates
403 W. Lincoln Highway #101
Exton PA 19341
(610) 594-SCOT
610-363-2001
Fax: (610) 363-5275