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Chester County PA Real Estate Market Trends For June 2018

by Scott Darling

Chester County PA Real Estate Market Trends for June 2018

Chester County PA single family homes saw pending sales increase by 5.5% in June 2018 when compared to June 2017. 823 homes sold in June with a median sales price of $355,000.  The average sales price increased by 3.2%, and homes were on the market 15 days more.

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Backyard Getaways in Chester County, PA

by Scott Darling

Many of us have seen the “she shed” photos on social media, where an outdoor building has been made into an outdoor spot for Mom to unwind--the counter to the basement man cave.  With these ideas, you can take your garden shed, gazebo or covered porch to many levels to provide a place to relax, entertain, or watch the children play in the sprinkler.   

 

Outdoor Oasis Plan 

- First, check with your municipal codes for accessory buildings, garden sheds, and see what permits you need to add one to your yard. If you already have one, you’re one step closer to your party hut. 

- Decide on what will fit in your space, then shop pre-fab shed distributors, Pinterest for DIY material-repurposing ideas, or online for downloadable building plans.  

- How do you want to use your space?  Will it be an entertaining area, a place to relax, or a low-budget pool house? Make a budget for decorating and extras, and stick to it. 

- Once you have your building in place, choose your decor and paint scheme:   

  • - Beach-inspired colors are bright, and you can include an old surfboard, vintage buoys and signal flags found at tag sales. 

  • - Rocking chairs, light colored walls, natural elements, and floral seat cushions make for a country retreat. 

  • - Go modern with simple folding chairs, which offer a storage bonus, simple green succulent plants in sleep pots, neutral colors, and a sleek bar of polished wood. 

  • - Send guests a message of fun in the sun with a palm-frond roof, tiki torches, lots of wood elements and an open-air bar for a tropical feel. 

  • - Create a small pool house with space for lounge chairs, as well as hardware for hanging clothes and towels, and storage for pool toys.   

 

Outdoor Entertaining with Conveniences 

- Lighting can be tricky if you don’t have electricity running to your outdoor structure.  If you decide to fully wire the place, have an electrician take care of this aspect.  You want it well-lit, but not a shining beacon--soft lighting is perfect for Summer night entertaining. 

- Give self-charging solar lights a try.  LED’s associated with solar lighting have come a long way, and can be bright without being harsh. 

- Battery-operated LED lights are an excellent alternative, and come in many designs to complement your decor.  Strings of Chinese lanterns and vintage-style bulb covers can be found in many styles in home centers and online. 

- You may not want to deal with the cost of a hiring an electrician to wire your new party pad, but using solar power on your small building is easier than you may think.  Home improvement centers have small solar kits that you’ll need to light the night without adding to your utility bill. 

- Solar-powered ceiling fans for outdoor use are easily found online, as well as stand-alone units.  Moving air will keep you and any guests comfortable.   

 

With so many products and ideas available at our fingertips, thanks to the internet, an outdoor gathering place can be outfitted as simply or luxuriously as we want--there’s no need to break the bank.  Create a haven that fits the needs for your family, and make fun-filled Summer memories without leaving your backyard! 


Courtesy of Chester County PA Realtor Scott Darling.

Photo credit: Country Living Magazine

Pet Summertime Safety

by Scott Darling

When we’re enjoying the warm weather, our pets usually are, too.  When we’re spending time outdoors with family and friends, we usually include our pets.  Keeping our furry family members safe should always be a priority, and these tips may be a refresher course for some, but it never hurts to make sure all our loved ones are kept out of harm’s way. 

 

In the Backyard 

- Fencing should be examined to make sure there are no gaps at the bottom, and that all materials are in place and secure.  You don’t want Fluffy taking a neighborhood excursion by himself. 

- The garden and landscaping bring us great satisfaction, and animals like to take a bite of growing things occasionally.  Check these lists for cats and dogs from ASPCA to make sure you keep your pets from chewing on them. 

- Keep any swimming pool chemicals and mechanical lawn tools sealed and out of your pets’ way.  Some of these products have a scent that is enticing to animals, and they wouldn’t hesitate to give them a try.   

- It may sound sensational, but if you have an animal that is a toy breed, or weighs five pounds or less, keep an eye and ear out for any predatory birds.  Owls, hawks, and eagles have been known to attack small pets, mistaking them for a wild meal. 

- Sometimes it’s necessary to leave your dog or cat outside while you’re gone for a while.  Make sure they have adequate shelter to keep them cool, and plenty of cool water to prevent heat stroke or dehydration. 

- Allowing your cat to roam in the yard is great for them, as they are natural hunters, and they find great pleasure in all the sights and sounds.  Keep an eye on them in case they see a bird they’d like to get to know better, or find a snake in the flower bed.  Protecting wildlife and your feline friend go hand-in-hand. 

 

Out and About 

- Does your dog go with you for exercise while you’re biking or jogging?  Some active pet owners take a water bowl with them, so they can offer a cool drink to their pet, and you can train them to drink directly from the bottle using an adaptor created especially for dogs. 

- Going fishing or water skiing?  Make sure you have a life jacket for them, as well as an overboard plan.  If you think Fido would enjoy jumping into the water, maybe you should leave them at home or at the kennel for their safety as well as your own. 

- vetSTREET offers some great tips for taking your dog to the beach.  Heat, waves, and hot sand can all play a role in just how much fun everyone will have--or not. 

- It’s vacation time, and you’d like to bring your pet with you, so call ahead for information on pet-friendly lodging, and where they can stay for events where pets aren’t welcome. Make sure you have a vehicle safety harness or seat belt for them or their carrier while you’re traveling. 

 

Summertime brings water fun, cookouts, and don’t forget the insects!  Keep your pets safe from biting insects, and be sure they get a flea and tick repellent treatment and heartworm prevention to avoid any diseases these insects can cause down the road. Pets need to be kept as safe as small children, so take preventive measures so you can have a fun and healthy Summer with the whole family.   

Courtesy of Chester County PA Realtor Scott Darling.

Photo credit: allpetnews.com

From Tenants to Homeowners in Chester County, PA

by Scott Darling

Whatever the reason you’ve decided that it’s time to go from renting a place to live to purchasing a home of your own, there is plenty to consider.  From down payments to paint, many factors of home ownership are different than when you’re a tenant in someone else’s home.   

 

- Begin budgeting now, if you do not already.  Homeownership has more expenses involved than renting, and you need to be able to manage your money properly. 

- Check your credit score and correct any mistakes, or do what it takes to bring your numbers up. 

- Start saving towards your down payment.  

- Be realistic.  You know about how much you can afford, so don’t start your initial search in the luxury homes sections. 

- Once your financial things are in good working order, shop around for a loan, and talk with the lender about your pre-approval amount.  Knowing how much you can afford will help keep you in check when it comes to the house searching. 

- Don’t balk at browsing other homes besides houses--there are affordable townhomes and condominiums that could be perfect for you as your first home purchase. 

- Think about your community options--do you want to live in a managed community (HOA), a rural area, new construction in a planned community, or an older suburban neighborhood?  Each can affect how much you pay in HOA fees, taxes, or maintenance costs. 

- If you have renter’s insurance, and you should, you’ll note that a homeowner’s policy costs more, because it covers much more than just your belongings.  Speak with your insurance agent about a quote so you can budget accordingly. 

- On the chance that you decide to relocate, you can choose to rent your property and become a landlord yourself.  You will have money from the rent to pay towards your mortgage payment, or, if the house is paid for, begin building a nest egg. 

- Purchasing a newer house than what you’re renting can save money in the end, because of less up-front maintenance, as well as being more energy efficient, thus having lower utility bills. 

 

Think about the freedom to paint your living room teal blue if you like, and feeling like dancing and not having to tiptoe because there are no neighbor’s downstairs.  As soon as you are ready, contacting a Realtor to help you get started is the first step you’ll need to take, as they are your guide during the whole home-buying process. 

Courtesy of Chester County PA Realtor Scott Darling.

Photo credit: homie.com

Chester County PA Real Estate Market Trends For May 2018

by Scott Darling

Chester County PA Real Estate Market Trends for May 2018

Chester County PA single family homes saw pending sales increase by 5.2% in May 2018 when compared to May 2017. 637 homes sold in May with a median sales price of $337,000, a 0.3% decrease from May 2017.  The average sales price increased by 3.2%, and homes were on the market 5 days more.

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Seven Internet Privacy Check-Up Tips

by Scott Darling

With the revelations from Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg about how the social media giant utilizes user data, many people are wondering how they can protect any personal information they have on social media and the internet. Using an ad-based website--or anything on the internet, for that matter--isn’t totally private, but there are some things you can do to help keep your personal data from getting into the hands of the wrong people. 

 

  • - If you’re reading this, odds are you are a Facebook user, and your personal data may have been used by an outside data analysis firm.  Gain some insight into your privacy settings, and how to change them and your personal data information from trustedreviews.com. 

  • - Using Facebook to log into websites like Pinterest, GoodReads, and other social media sites is convenient for you, but it also makes that website privy to your connections’ information as well.  Set up one email account for use on social media, and don’t use it for anything that requires signing up with personal information.  

  • - Almost every website now has an info window that pops up that informs you that they use cookies to store your activity.  Some cookies can embed trackers that gather info as you surf the internet.  Take a few seconds every time you browse by clearing them from your browser settings. Digital Trends shows you how to delete them from the most popular internet browsers, including your mobile browsers. 

  • - Whenever you’re using free WIFI in public places, their internet service providers can see what you’re doing while using their connection.  A Virtual Private Network (VPN) can protect your personal information from being seen by encrypting it.  While there are free VPNs available, some will cost you.  PCMag lists their favorites according to your usage--from general browsers to world travelers. 

  • - Once you’ve finished using a website where you have an account, log out.  If you’re out and about, and the data you’ve stored on whatever device you’re using is sensitive, opt out of the free WIFI and use your data instead.   

  • - Did you know you could browse privately?  Click on your browser’s menu and choose “Private Window” or, in the case of Google Chrome, “Incognito Mode.”  While using this feature, nothing you do will be stored in the browser’s history. 

  • - Some browsers don’t share any of your personal information, or at least, share a limited amount.  Mozilla FirefoxOpera and Tor are free, and are always doing their best to keep surfing the internet safe for their users.  Mobile browser apps are available as well. 

 

To sum it up, don’t share anything on the internet that you don’t want a data analysis company or a hacker finding out.  Lifehacker offers tips on several other ways you can protect your personal data such as two-factor authentication and email encryption.  Most of us can’t avoid using the internet completely, but we choose what sites we use, and what information we share.  Short of signing off the world wide web for good, being proactive is the best way to protect ourselves. 

Courtesy of Chester County PA Realtor Scott Darling.

Photo credit: Eventbrite

Let Kids Grow - In The Garden!

by Scott Darling

Taking time to work in the garden can be turned into family fun when you get the kids involved.  Children are usually fascinated with how things grow, and being a part of the process may even get them to try some new foods!  Try some of these projects to get them interested, and not to mention, free help in the garden! 

 

  • - A bean teepee is a fun and relatively easy project.  Assemble three 8-foot poles in a tepee shape, make sure you give them a good push several inches into the soil, and tie the poles together at the top with jute twine.  Continue using the twine to make a loose net so the vines will have support, just make sure you leave one section open for a doorway.  Plant pole bean seeds at the “base” of the poles and webbing, and watch them grow, and the kids will soon have a little hideaway with fresh beans close by for a snack. 

  • - Once your garden is planted, have the kids paint rocks as decorative row markers. 

  • - Hummingbird feeders are a common sight, but how about butterfly feeders?  Make this one from PBS Parents with a clean ketchup bottle, fake flowers and a few other household items.   

  • - If you don’t have room for a full garden, try a few plants that can be grown in clean five-gallon buckets.  Make sure there’s a drain hole in the bottom, add about an inch of gravel, broken old clay pots or old bricks, and add a good potting soil/compost mix.  Plant cherry tomatoes, bush beans, cucumbers, or zucchini, following the planting guidelines. 

  • - Plant recipe-specific plants:  have a spaghetti sauce or pizza row with tomatoes, oregano, basil and bell pepper; a salsa row can have tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, peppers and onions; plant chamomile, any type of mint, or lavender and make tea! 

  • - Sunflowers are always an amazement to children because they grow so tall.  These beautiful giants can be grown in many layouts using a garden hose to make the design, leaving room for a path if you’re planting a mini-maze, then planting the seeds along the way, and sunflowers can even be trained to make a little house.   

  • - Grow flowers whose blossoms open at different times of the day:  morning glories, daylilies, four o’clock, evening primrose and moonflowers. 

  • - A garden based on favorite storybooks is another good way to get them to dig in the dirt.  Plants based on The Tales of Peter RabbitStone Soup, and Blueberries for Sal are just a few ways to engage children in growing and eating what they’ve grown. 

  • - Adding a water feature doesn’t have to mean a huge pond with waterfall--small pond containers are available at garden centers, as well as water plants.  Create a mini pond with this guide from Better Homes & GardensⓇ.  

 

There are so many benefits to your family while spending time together outside. Gardening encourages your children to try new things, and gives them a knowledge of where their food comes from, along with a little biology.  You may even be creating life-long gardeners.  Most importantly, you’re making memories. 

Courtesy of Chester County PA Realtor Scott Darling.

Photo credit: gardenateaseshops.com

1051 Stargazers Rd-Ranch Home with In-Law Suite and Pool!

by Scott Darling

West Bradford Township, DOWNINGTOWN SCHOOLS – Yes, even though this home has a Coatesville mailing address it funnels into Downingtown Schools. Move right into this Award-Winning location, home of the STEM Academy. This freshly painted 3 bedroom, two and a half bath ranch home also includes an in-law suite with an additional bedroom, full kitchen, living area, full bath and outside entrance. All this in a convenient yet country setting. The master bedroom has a very large walk-in closet and its master bath has radiant floor heat for those chilly winter mornings. The eat-in kitchen with brand new granite countertops also includes a wet bar making entertaining a breeze. Speaking of entertaining, zip on out to the Florida room and enjoy the in-ground 18’ x 36’ pool. The family room with a large brick fireplace walks out to the pool area as well. The basement is also finished for additional fun and games, or maybe even an office area. Enjoy a beautiful view from the formal living room overlooking a nicely landscaped courtyard. The circular driveway and 2 car attached garage gives you ample parking. Come in from the garage right to the laundry area to avoid bringing a mess thru the front door. This is also convenient for bringing groceries in on a cold, rainy (or snowy) day. Some of the other great features include new siding (Fall 2016), new chimney liner for heater (2016), new A/C (2014), new water heater (2018), new pool liner (2014) and a 10 x 14 shed. There’s much more there. Come and take a look. You’ll enjoy this home for years and years just as the current owners have.

417 Warren Blvd-Conveniently Located Home!

by Scott Darling

Conveniently located in the Lawrence Park section of Broomall! Whether you need to get into Philadelphia or the airport or anywhere up and down Route 476 (the Blue Route), this location will put you there in minutes. Shopping is also just around the corner. The home itself is a great place to start or an easy move up. You’ll spend a lot of time on the large screened deck overlooking a lush green backyard. It’s a great place to play and it’s also fenced in for your favorite pet. The home consists of an open first floor plan with a living room, dining room and eat-it kitchen. Upstairs are 3 good sized bedrooms and a hall bath. There’s also a stairway to a multi-level attic storage area. On the lower level is very large great room as well as a powder room, utility room and laundry area. This neighborhood has always been a very desirable place to live and houses fly off the market here so you may want to get a move on this one.

357 2nd Ave-Renovated Home on a Tree Lined Street!

by Scott Darling

Not too often does such a wonderful home come up in Phoenixville Borough that shows great, is priced right AND has such an awesome location. It’s close enough to walk to everything yet not right in the center of all of the hub-bub. Renovated, updated and ready for you to move right in. This wonderful brick home is located on a beautiful tree-lined street and across from the elementary school. It’s also walking distance to the park, library and downtown shopping and dining district. The kitchen was recently updated to include beautiful granite countertops, new cabinets and appliances. It’s very spacious and it includes a pantry. In similar model homes, others have converted the pantry to a powder room. There is also a large laundry room off the kitchen which saves you the effort of heading to the basement to do your laundry. It’s a really nice upgrade. You’ll notice the tall ceilings and all the exquisite woodwork that has kept its patina and beauty for many years. On the second level you’ll find 3 very nice bedrooms and a hall bath. There is also a loft area for the 4th bedroom or just make it a playroom or office. The 2nd and 3rd floors were just re-carpeted too. As an added bonus, this home has central air that is rarely found in this age of a home. Enjoy a cool beverage on the front porch as you watch the world go by. You’re going to love living here.

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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