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Chester County PA Real Estate Market Trends Report - February 2016

by Scott Darling

Homeowners looking to sell and move to a new place are in a great position; according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, sellers are seeing the sales price of their home creep up closer to list price—the median sales price as a percent of the listing price is 98 percent. Just a few years ago, in 2011, owners were selling their home for 95 percent of the list price. The amount of time a property sits on the market also matters in the sales price compared to the listing price. For homes that lasted less than a week on the market, half were sold for full listing price, while another 19 percent were sold for more than that price. The  sale-to-list price ratio falls as time goes on (for example, homes that are on the market for 5-8 weeks are only sold for 100 percent of the listing price 17 percent of the time and more than listing price only 3 percent of the time).

Take a look at how many successful home sellers there were in our market in February:

Chester County PA Real Estate Market Trends for February 2016

2,416 Chester County PA single family homes for sale in February 2016 which is a 4,67% increase from February 2015. 276 homes sold in February with a median sales price of $305,000, a 6.72% decrease from February 2015.

The supply of inventory is 4.5 compared to 4.9 in February 2015 and the Sales vs List Price is 93.2%.

Date Homes For
Sale
Months Supply
Inventory
Homes
Sold
Median Sales
Price
Sales Price vs
List Price
Feb 2016 2,416 4.5 276 $305,000 93.2%
Feb 2015 2,308 4.9 276 $327,000 94.6%

Curious about the value of your home? Get your home's value here!

Home Improvements That Will Help Sell Your Home

by Scott Darling

home improvement

Now is the time to get started on some home improvements so that you can get your house ready to put on the market in the spring!  Below are a few ways you can get started on home improvements both inside and out.

  • A fresh coat of paint inside your home is a great way to improve the way your home looks and get it ready to put on the market.   Try to keep a neutral theme if you can when painting because you want others to be able to see themselves living in your home and not the other way around.  You will likely be amazed at just how much difference a fresh coat of paint will make to your home. 
  • Panting your front door a color that pops is a great way to get awesome curb appeal.  Many folks will love your home simply because it has a red door and it stands out above all the others in the neighborhood.  Use a pop of color on your front door to your advantage when trying to sell your home!
  • Pressure washing your home is a great way to make it shine if your home is vinyl siding.  You may have lived in your house so long that you forgot what color your siding actually is until you pressure wash it.  This is another way to have great curb appeal when you put your house on the market. 
  • If your house has columns at the front it may be a good time to replace them or at least give them a fresh coat of paint.  Over the years columns tend to expand and crack and make the house look older than it actually is.  Give your home a facelift by taking care of issues like these before you put it on the market.
  • Refinishing your hardwoods is another way to make your home look its best.  You can do this yourself or you may want to choose to hire someone to do it for you.  Either way, refinishing your hardwoods is a great home improvement idea!

Courtesy of Chester County PA Realtor Scott Darling.

5 Tips To Protect Your Identity and Celebrate Refund Season

by Scott Darling

tax refund

Tax refund season is here and there's a lot to celebrate. This tax season, while consumers are eagerly awaiting their refund, tax preparation companies, tax officials and the IRS are working together to combat one of the fastest growing threats for tax season 2016 - tax identity fraud.

Based on IRS data, nearly 3 million people have been victims of tax identity theft since 2010. Every year, criminals use increasingly advanced tactics - particularly geared toward taxpayers filing online - to steal taxpayers' personal information, file fraudulent tax returns in their names and steal their refunds. After fraud occurs, it can take months and multiple steps by the victim to access a stolen refund and regain an identity with the IRS.

Protect your identity - and your refund - with these five tax tips from H&R Block:

 1. File early and be cautious. Filing your taxes early will allow you to claim your refund before a criminal can. Before you file, protect your personal information by installing a security software with anti-virus and firewall protections.

 2. Keep your paper records safe. Shred records you are no longer using and keep your social security card and any sensitive documents under lock and key.

 3. Do not respond to individuals posing as a tax agency. The IRS does not demand immediate payment without sending a bill in the mail first. If you receive a phone call or an email with an external link, do not click on the link or share personal or financial information unless you personally know the person on the other end.

4. Change your password. The 2015 tax season saw a significant increase of tax fraud in the do-it-yourself (DIY) space. When using at-home tax software create a strong password with capitalization, numbers, and symbols or avoid the risk by visiting a tax preparer.

 5. Use tax identity protection services. Visit the IRS website to learn more about how to protect your identity.

This tax season, take away the stress and put the "fun" back in "refund" by filing early. (BPT)

chester county real estate

In a relationship, you count on your significant other to be there with you through the good and the bad. They are your best friend, your confident and your closest ally. And you count on being able to have important conversations with them as well.

One of those important conversations every couple should have focuses on money and each person's respective financial goals, especially if you are planning to purchase a home. However, 33 percent of married or partnered adults have difficulty discussing money with their significant other, according to a Wells Fargo survey. "I think money is one of those topics most couples put off discussing because it can be sensitive," says Arlene Maloney, senior vice president, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. "However, if you don't discuss money before entering into a major credit purchase, like homeownership, you open yourself up for potential problems down the road."

Purchasing a home is one of the largest investments most people make in their lifetime. When two people decide to achieve the goal of homeownership together, it's important to understand not only your own finances and credit profile but your partner's finances and goals as well.

To help you broach this conversation with your partner, here are some things you should discuss before you move forward:

Where you will live and what you want to purchase.

Do you want to live in the city or the suburbs? Are you set on a single-family home or a condo? Do you want to build your home or purchase an established property? Having answers to these questions will help you speak to a lender and learn more about how the type of home you choose may affect loan approval requirements or what options exist if you want to build your home. You'll also learn if any bond or down payment assistance programs may be offered in the municipalities you are considering.

Your partner's credit score.

Lenders use customers' credit profiles to help determine your ability to repay a loan. When purchasing a home with someone else, both of your credit scores are considered. In most cases the lowest middle score between the two of you will be used. If you or your significant other has a very low score this may not only impact the loan amount you receive but also the interest rate. It may even prevent approval. If one of the credit scores is very low, as a couple you might discuss only one person applying for the mortgage loan.

Have an honest conversation about debt.

An important factor that lenders evaluate is your debt-to-income ratio. This varies by mortgage program but a good rule of thumb is to ensure your debt level is at or below 36 percent of your gross monthly income. Having an overabundance of debt could impact the amount of the loan or whether you receive mortgage approval.

How much money can you put toward the purchase?

It isn't necessary for you to put 20 percent down but most loan options require some sort of down payment. In many cases lower down payment options require mortgage insurance, which will increase your monthly payment.

Will one or both of you be on the note?

If purchasing a home with someone else, each of you must qualify in order to be on the note, and both of you are responsible for the debt. If only one person is on the note, the other may not engage in any transactions regarding the loan, including refinancing, or application for modification. If one of you has less desirable credit, you may decide that only one of you will apply for the mortgage. You should also consult your state's attorney general's office to see if any community property laws exist in your state. Such laws could make a spouse legally responsible for any debt acquired by the other spouse after marriage. If such a law exists in your state, it's important you are aware of it.

Purchasing your first home is an exciting time and, for many people, a sign of success. But while you may want to rush out and start the shopping process now, take your time. Having a conversation with your significant other about the topics above beforehand will ensure you're both on the same page and set you up to make the most of your future and the home it includes. (BPT)

Chester County Market Trends Report - January 2016

by Scott Darling

Sales were 15.1% higher than in January 2015 while the median sold price was down 0.5% compared to January 2015.

Residential activity in Chester County (Single-family and Condo)


chester county real estate

What's happening in the Local Market?
 

Sales in January were considerably higher than expected, exceeding 2015 by 17%. Additionally, the median sales price was 4% higher than a year ago. The sales price increase is not too surprising since most forecasts were for a 3-4% increase in prices this year over 2015. Of course, one month does not a year make. For February we are projecting about a 10% increase in sales. Pending sales, usually a good indication of sales to come over the next month or two, were 6% ahead of last year in January; that’s in line with the experts expectations of a 3-5% sales increase for 2016. Inventory is beginning to build and it looks like a strong spring market ahead.chester county real estate

Curious about the value of your home? Get your home's value here!

Displaying blog entries 1-5 of 5

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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