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Chester County PA Real Estate Blog

Scott Darling


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Chester County PA Real Estate Market Trends for February 2018

by Scott Darling

Chester County PA single family homes saw pending sales increase by 4.6% in February 2018 when compared to February 2017. 319 homes sold in February with a median sales price of $323,000, a 4.5% increase from February 2016.  The average sales price increased by 2.8%, and homes were on the market 15 days less.

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St. Patrick's Day in America

by Scott Darling

St. Patrick’s Day has become a highly celebrated holiday in the US.  When Irish immigrants came to America, they chose that day to celebrate home and all that was Irish.  It took until the 20th century for people of non-Irish descent to join in the festivities.  Many American cities turn green on March 17, even coloring waterways green, not to mention green food and drink, and shamrocks on every corner.   


  • - Boston, Massachusetts hosts the reportedly oldest St. Patrick’s Day parade, and has grown substantially since the first parade of Irish-Catholic Redcoats marching down the streets with “Fifes and Drums” to honor their home country’s saint.  The South Boston parade route is three miles long and is attended by a million spectators. 

  • - Green water isn’t a welcome sight for most people, except on St. Patrick’s Day.  Savannah, GA, and St. Louis, MI, celebrate with city fountains flowing green; in Chicago, a portion of the Chicago River is dyed green, and Tampa’s Hillsborough River becomes the River O’ Green.   

  • - For 245 years, the streets of Philadelphia have filled with marchers, and the parade has grown to approximately 20,000 participants, including bagpipes, floats honoring the patron saint, and, in 2018, will be led by Grand Marshall Sister Mary Scullion, a member of the Catholic Religious Sisters of Mercy.   

  • - O’Neill, Nebraska is home to the world’s largest shamrock, and they celebrate the special day with a parade that centers around the giant concrete leaf and includes a dodgeball tournament. 

  • - San Francisco boasts the largest celebration in the western part of the country, and not only has a parade and lots of Irish music, but a huge scavenger hunt.  Party-goers enjoy a unique dish for the holiday--Irish nachos made of fried sliced potatoes, of course, topped with cheese, bacon and jalapeños. 

  • - New London, Wisconsin becomes New Dublin on March 17 after residents dressed as leprechauns, with city officials’ approval, change the signs in the town. Their parade isn’t complete without a parody adaption of James Joyce’s “Finnegan’s Wake,” using a green hearse. 

  • - Yes, Virginia, there is a Dublin in the US, and it’s located in Ohio!  The city hosts plenty of festivities for everyone, and the local Lions Club holds a pancake breakfast fundraiser with--you guessed it--green syrup! Before the parade begins, onlookers get to enjoy the Inflation Celebration, where the large inflatable parade entries are brought to life, and it’s a sight to see!  


St. Patrick’s Day celebrations can be as unique as the cities they are held in.  If your local festivities aren’t as different as these, every town and citizen can still be Irish on March 17.  Just be sure to wear your green to avoid a pinch from a leprechaun! 


Courtesy of Chester County PA Realtor Scott Darling.



Tax Tips for New Homeowners in Chester County, PA

by Scott Darling

It’s tax time, and many dread the prep and thought of paying them.  There are some deductions homeowners can take, so if this is your first time filing as a homeowner, make sure you get the maximum tax benefits out of your new home. 


  • - Homeowners can claim their mortgage interest for a tax deduction. On the chance that you’re using tax return software, it will calculate your deduction after you answer questions about your home purchase.  If you’d rather use an accountant or tax prep service to help you, they can answer all your questions.

  • - If you moved more than fifty miles because of your job, or starting a new one, your expenses are tax deductible.  There are some time stipulations as well, according to number one in this guide from;  make sure you meet the requirements before taking this deduction. 

  • - Making your home more energy efficient by installing a solar energy system or solar water heater make you eligible for a thirty percent credit for parts and labor.  Unfortunately, the credit for geothermal heat pumps and small wind turbines has expired. 

  • - Are you self-employed and use a room or section of your living area for a home office?  There’s a deduction for that.  The IRS has a couple of requirements, and if you don’t want to go through figuring up the standard deduction, they offer a simplified deduction, but choose which method takes more off your tax responsibility. 

  • - Did you pay “points” to the bank to get a better interest rate? If so, that money is tax deductible. Since points are usually 1% of your home loan, if your loan was $250,000, your tax break would be $2,500 for paying down one point. 

  • - Any property taxes are tax deductible, beginning the official date that you purchase the home, which is usually on your settlement statement you receive at closing. 

  • - Hopefully, this hasn’t happened in your first year in your new home, but if you’ve had something unfortunate happen that insurance didn’t cover, there is a casualty loss deduction for out-of-pocket expenses.  The repair cost must be more than 10% of your gross income. 


Don’t let all this information scare you away from doing your own taxes!  No matter how you decide to file, gather everything you would normally use to file taxes, but make sure you have the 1098 mortgage interest form from the lender, property tax receipts, and any paperwork you saved from the casualty loss repairs or alternative energy installments. Home ownership has many benefits for the homeowner, and you should take advantage of every penny you have worked so hard for to put into your new home. 


Courtesy of Chester County PA Realtor Scott Darling.



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House Hunting Homework

by Scott Darling

There is plenty to do to prepare for buying your new home, and once you’re actively touring homes or stopping into an open house, you can draw a blank when it comes time to ask specifics.  Have some questions ready to prepare yourself so you won’t forget! 


Open House and Walkthrough 

  • - How long has the house been on the market, and are there any current offers? The length of time it’s been for sale can mean savings for you, or you may not want to bother if there are already multiple offers. 

  • - Why is the current owner selling?  This may seem like prying, and you may not get the exact answer, but it can add flexibility to price negotiations if the owner is ready for a fast sale. 

  • - Ask for a seller’s disclosure before you think about making an offer. Check this list for your state’s info about what the seller must tell you before buying the house. 

  • - How old is the roof? An older roof that has issues can either cost in the long run, or give you a discount on the sale price if it need replacing. 

  • - If it isn’t obvious, ask when the house was last updated.  With people living longer, some could have lived in the same home for fifty years and done nothing else besides redecorating. 

  • - Condition of the home’s systems are important, so inquire about the age of the water heater, electric, plumbing, security and climate control systems. 

  • - How is the home heated and insulated, including the attic?  You need to have a good idea of what your utilities will cost, and heating can be expensive, whether it’s propane, electric, or geothermal if the insulation needs improving. 

  • - Has the house been treated for pests on a regular basis?  This can keep a lot of headaches at bay in the long run. 

  • - What is included in the sale price, and are any warranties still active?  You don’t want to be surprised when you start moving in and find out you have to buy all new appliances. 

  • - You may be moving in the same general area, but a different city or county.  Property taxes vary per location, so make sure you know how much you will be paying if you eventually purchase the home. 

  • - If your prospective new home is in a historic district or homeowner’s association, there will be restrictions on how you renovate or build an addition, and fees for HOA.  Ask your realtor for these details. 


Pay Attention 

  • - While you’re on your walkthrough, pay attention to traffic and nearby surroundings.  Spend several minutes outside in the front and back yards and listen for any traffic noise, or a noisy possible neighbor. 

  • - Is your prospective new home on a busy shortcut street in the mornings and evenings?  Make time to discover for yourself and drive through on your way to or from work. 

  • - Look closely at fresh paint jobs for cracks or possible mold.  Sometimes, that new paint is covering up a problem. 

  • - Check your mobile phone for signal strength.  Different areas can be dead zones. 

  • - Drive through the area one evening after most people are home from work.  Is there plenty of parking available? 


Using these opportunities to find all the information you can about a potential new home is imperative when you know you’ll be looking at many different homes on the market.  Do your homework--keep a list of questions on your mobile phone’s notepad app so you won’t forget anything, or use a clipboard if you’re looking at multiple houses, keeping this information better organized. Since buying a home will most likely be your biggest investment, you want to be certain your money will be spent wisely. 


Courtesy of Chester County PA Realtor Scott Darling

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Before You Remodel

by Scott Darling

Depending on whether you are planning to sell your home in the next year or if you are in your forever home, remodeling is a great way to get what you want out of your home, or what buyers want.  There are things to consider before you jump into remodeling. 


  • - Decide on a budget, and how you’ll pay for the upgrade.  Consider hiring a financial planner who can help you choose which way is best. 

  • - If you decide to do this project yourself, and you’re not in the construction business, plan on taking much longer than a professional.  Be realistic about your skills and hire help if you need it. 

  • - Acquiring an architect or designer is a good idea if you’re making major changes.  You don’t want to run into major structural or electrical issues and not know what to do. 

  • - Think about how long you want to stay in your home before you invest in big ticket items, like a six-burner range for the kitchen, or expensive hardwood flooring throughout the house.  If your sole plan is to make money from a sale, or if you want and can afford the upgrades, go ahead. But if you’re not going to enjoy those items while you’re living there, consider a simple refurbishing or using what you have if it’s in good working order and won’t look out of place. 

  • - When looking for a contractor, price isn’t necessarily the important thing.  Ask for references, check their license numbers, and call the former clients and ask to see the work that was done, either in photos or in person. The research will be worth it in the end.  

  • - Once you hire your contractor, start getting your paperwork in order.  The contractor has their own responsibilities, and the homeowner has to take care of other items--check this list from to see who is responsible for what. 

  • - Planning a timeline with your contractor is especially important, and make sure you leave room for possible unexpected issues. 

  • - Sit down with your family and figure out logistics, especially if you’re remodeling the kitchen or one of the bathrooms in your home.  Remodeling can cause a lot of stress, but if everyone knows what to do before it all happens, things can flow better. 

  • - As with moving, clean out the room before the renovation, giving away, selling or throwing out what you haven’t used in months.  Wrap and store any items you’re keeping in a spare room. 

  • - Before the construction team comes in to begin the project, sit down with your contractor to set location boundaries for the crew and your family, along with other logistics. The crew doesn’t want your children playing around with tools, and you don’t want your good bathroom towels used for grimy hands.  Everyone needs to know what is okay, and what isn’t.   


home remodel is a big undertaking; watching renovation shows on television can give the idea that everything goes off without a hitch.  It takes planning, communication and good all-around management to make the process go smoothly, even if you hit a few bumps along the way.   

Courtesy of Chester County PA Realtor Scott Darling.

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141 Park Lane Classic Home Situated on 2.9 Acres!

by Scott Darling

What an amazing property! Tucked in the Village of Glenmoore this classic home offers so much for every kind of buyer. Are you an outdoors person? Then this 2.9 acre lot with both wooded and open areas as well as a creek will allow you to enjoy every season and all the wildlife that goes with it from deer to fox to birds and even salamanders. You’re also located just a couple minutes to the Marsh Creek State Park, the Brandywine Creek, Springton Lake Park and the vast trail systems covering Chester County. The outdoors could also mean ball fields, playground equipment and tennis courts too. Well, look no further than across the street to the Wagenseller Park which has these amenities and a large picnic pavilion. The home itself will amaze you just like the property does. This was a traditional 3-bedroom home in the “old days” but along came the in-law suite. Whether you need the in-law suite or not, it would make a large and very wonderful master suite. It also has its own separate entrance. Maybe your “at home” college student could make this their apartment “away” from home. Typically, you wouldn’t think of older homes as having much storage space but this one is not your ordinary “old home”. There are plenty of closets, storage rooms, basement space as well as a walk-up attic. It even comes with a couple sheds for your outdoor lawn equipment. No more taking away from that garage space like before. Now you’ll have use of a full 2 car garage. Some of the upgrades and features of this lovely home include beautiful hardwood floors, updated kitchen, windows, roof, heater. When asked what the seller loves the most, these words instantly came out… “Privacy, Quietness, Serene, Comfortable”. This home, property and amenities far exceeds its asking price so you will want to take a look at it quickly so it doesn’t get scooped up by someone else. As they say, “The nicest ones go first”. Hurry!

Chester County PA Real Estate Market Trends for December 2017

by Scott Darling

Chester County PA Real Estate Market Trends for December 2017

Chester County PA single family homes saw pending sales decrease by 9.0% in December 2017 when compared to December 2016. 513 homes sold in December with a median sales price of $330,000, a 6.5% increase from December 2016.  The average sales price increased by 8.2%, and homes were on the market 10 days less.

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Saving Money For Your New Home Down Payment

by Scott Darling

With the new year here, many people are thinking about resolutions.  If you’re seriously considering buying a new home, you’ll definitely need to be thinking about having your down payment ready when you find the perfect house.  Follow these ideas for saving as much as you possibly can. 


  • - First and foremost, know your house-purchasing budget, and estimate needing 20% of that budget. 

  • - Set up a hands-off down payment high-yield savings or money market account. 

  • - Start cutting out expenses, or find ways to make extra money.  Every little bit counts. 

  • - If you plan on getting an end-of-year bonus or income tax refund, set aside that money to begin your new nest’s egg. 

  • - Sign up with your employer to deposit a portion of your pay into a down payment savings account if you’re not great at putting money into savings.  Most of the time, if you don’t see it, you don’t miss it. 

  • - Receiving gifts from family members towards your down payment require documentation so your  lender, as well as the IRS, knows where the money is coming from, and that the money doesn’t require re-payment.  More information about down payment gifts are here from The Mortgage ---Reports website. 

  • - Start paying off your credit card debt by paying more than the minimum payment.  Lowering and/or eliminating your card balance also lowers your interest rates, so you can start taking what you’d normally pay on credit cards and depositing it towards your down payment fund. 

  • - If you have investments in stocks or bonds, plan on liquidating those assets when it’s time to purchase your house.  Make sure you document these sales. 

  • - A pay raise at work is great, but if you happen to get one, stay on your old budget, and have the extra pay direct deposited into your down payment account. 

  • - You can always borrow from your 401k or IRA, but make sure you’re not having to pay penalties. Talk with your account holder before you make any withdrawals. 


A down payment, especially at twenty percent, can look daunting.  If it just looks impossible, do your research.  There are many first-time buyer programs available, as well as lower down payment options through the USDA, the VA and state-specific programs.  Zillow has a terrific guide on low down payment guidelines and opportunities. Planning ahead and keeping your eye on your goal will get you well on the way to home ownership. 

Courtesy of Chester County PA Realtor Scott Darling.

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Making Your Living Space Appear Larger

by Scott Darling

If the furniture in your living space looks like it’s just stuffed in the room, there are ways to make your space seem larger.  Check out these tips to create more space in your home: 


  • - Use mirrors to fool the eye, because they reflect light and images. Hang one larger mirror on the main wall, several small ones, (gallery style), or even an oversized mirror leaned against the wall.   

  • - Painting walls a light color automatically opens up the space to the eye, because it reflects light.  Going all one color is a great way to make the room appear larger, too. 

  • - Get rid of clutter.  The more you have sitting around--mail, books, work, kids’ school things--the fuller your space looks.  Baskets, files or paper organizing gadgets, decorative storage containers, or furniture pieces that double as storage are the best way to hide necessary things.  Get rid of, (in other words, throw away or recycle), junk mail and unnecessary paper as soon as you look at it. 

  • - Draw an imaginary diagonal line across your room and place your furniture at an angle.  You even get a bonus storage area behind anything that covers a corner! 

  • - Pieces that are the same color as the walls blend in, making the room appear larger. 

  • - Either skip window coverings, or use sheer drapery or curtains and blinds that are the same color as your walls.  If you have to use drapes, hang them either at ceiling height, or just inside the window so the framework is visible. 

  • - If you want bookshelves, consider a wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling unit.  Draw the eyes horizontally and vertically. 

  • - Speaking of bookshelves, the less you have on these open spaces, the roomier it looks.  Cramming every collection, book, or “trinket” just fills up the space in a similar way that clutter does. If you must display sentimental pieces, display a few at the time.  Switching them out on occasion will also give new appreciation for them. 

  • - Choose sofas and chairs with exposed legs to allow to light to pass through underneath them.  The more light in your room, the better. 

  • - On that note, light is your friend.  If you can’t get more natural light into the space, use a few lamps instead of an overhead light, as it draws the eye to look around the room. 

  • - Keep patterns small.  Use a punch or two of larger patterns on pillows or throws, but not too many--remember--less is more. 

  • - If you need an area rug, don’t settle for a small rug under the coffee table.  Purchase a rug that extends out from the furniture, as it will draw the eye out. 

  • - Create a focal point with framed pieces on one wall, especially behind a sofa, and extend the arrangement to the ceiling, and it will make the space appear taller.  It will also add pop and take away from the room’s size.  

  • - Drop-leaf tables or dining tables with the extra leaf removed work best in small areas, and if you need more tabletop space for guests or for workspace, simply add the leaf. 


Small spaces can still mean big living--we just have to make a few adjustments to maximize the space and create a few illusions for our minds to think big.  Better Homes and Gardens has multiple ideas for small spaces, from apartments to living areas, as well as those awkward spaces. 


Courtesy of Chester County PA Realtor Scott Darling.

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Chester County PA Real Estate Market Trends for November 2017

by Scott Darling

Chester County PA Real Estate Market Trends for November 2017

Chester County PA single family homes saw pending sales increase by 10.3% in November 2017 when compared to November 2016. 520 homes sold in November with a median sales price of $340,000, a 6.3% increase from November 2016.  The average sales price increased by 3.5%, and homes were on the market 16 days less.

If you are thinking about selling your home get a free instant home evaluation Learn More

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Contact Information

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