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Chester County PA Real Estate Market Trends for April 2016

by Scott Darling

sold sign

2,719 Chester County PA single family homes for sale in April 2016 which is a 1.98% decrease from April 2015. 485 homes sold in April with a median sales price of $310,000, a 6.41% decrease from April 2015.

The supply of inventory is 5.1 compared to 5.7 in April 2015 and the Sales vs List Price is 9347%.

Date Homes For
Sale
Months Supply
Inventory
Homes
Sold
Median Sales
Price
Sales Price vs
List Price
April 2016 2,719 5.1 485 $310,000 94.7%
 April 2015 2,774 5.7 470 $312,000 94.7%

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

5 Hacks To Childproof Your Home

by Scott Darling

childproof

You may or may not have small children living in your home but even if you don’t you might have a family member or a friend who does, so tips on how to childproof your home may be advantageous to you.  There are several ways in which you can make your home child friendly so that you don’t have to worry about any little ones getting hurt or any of your stuff being destroyed. 

  1. The first and most important tip to make your home childproof is to cover your electrical outlets.  For some reason electrical outlets are very interesting to little hands and fingers.  The best way to keep the kids from exploring your electrical outlets is to buy covers for them.  Make sure to get the electrical outlets that are not that hard for you to pull out so that you don’t constantly have to try so hard to remove them when you want to use an outlet. 
  2. This may sound silly but get on your hands and knees and travel around your home looking for things that might be dangerous.  You may find that you see much more clearly by getting down to a child’s level when it comes to childproofing your home.  Fix any issues you deem to be hazardous to kids while you are in this position.
  3. Put glass items and valuables up high out of reach of children.  This will not only help keep children safe in your home but it will also keep your valuables from getting broken.
  4. If you have anything sharp such as a fireplace with edges made from stone or brick you may want to buy covers for those edges to use when you will have small children around.  If you have little ones who live in your home you may want to keep these areas covered at all times. 
  5. If you have a swimming pool, always make sure that someone is outside watching the children if they want to play in the back yard.  Even if you have the pool surrounded by a fence you need to make sure the kids are looked after if they are anywhere near a pool. 

Hopefully some of these ideas for childproofing your home will be helpful to you and will prevent an accident from happening.  Once you feel as if your home is childproof then you will no longer have to worry about little ones getting hurt and you can enjoy your new or existing home. 

Courtesy of Chester County PA Realtor Scott Darling.

Know What's Below Before You Dig This Spring

by Scott Darling

before you dig

With the snow gone and the ground thawed, many eager homeowners and landscape professionals across the country are rolling up their sleeves and reaching for their shovels to start projects that require digging this spring.

During the transition into "digging season," Common Ground Alliance (CGA), the association dedicated to protecting underground utilities and the people who dig near them, reminds homeowners and professional diggers that calling 811 is the first step towards protecting you and your community from the risk of unintentionally damaging an underground line.

Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a free call to 811. Installing a mailbox or fence, building a deck and landscaping are all examples of digging projects that should only begin a few days after making a call to 811. Calling this number connects you to your local one call utility notification center.

According to data collected by CGA in a phone survey in late February, more than half (46 percent) of American homeowners said they plan to do DIY projects involving digging this year, but 40 percent of them do not plan to make a free call to 811 before digging. Extrapolated to the full population of U.S. homeowners, approximately 51.8 million people will dig this year without first calling 811.

A utility line is damaged every six minutes in America because someone decided to dig without making a call to 811 to learn the approximate location of buried utilities in their area. Unintentionally striking one of these lines can result in inconvenient outages for entire neighborhoods, harm to yourself or your neighbors and repair costs.

As a result, CGA offers the following tips to make sure you complete your project safely and without any utility service interruptions, so you don't become a statistic.

Here's how the 811 process works:

1. One free, simple phone call to 811 makes it easy for your local one call center to notify all appropriate utility companies of your intent to dig. Call a few days prior to digging to ensure enough time for the approximate location of utility lines to be marked with flags or paint.

2. When you call 811, a representative from your local one call center will ask for the location and description of your digging project.

3. Your local one-call center will notify affected utility companies, which will then send professional locators to the proposed dig site to mark the approximate location of your lines.

4. Only once all lines have been accurately marked, roll up those sleeves and carefully dig around the marked areas.

There are nearly 19 million miles of underground utility lines in the United States that your family depends on for everyday needs including electric, gas, water and sewer, cable TV, high-speed Internet and landline telephone. That equals more than a football field's length of utilities for every person in the United States. With that much critical infrastructure underground, it's important to know what's below and call 811 before digging.

To find out more information about 811 or the one call utility notification center in your area, visit Call811.com. (BPT)

Courtesy of Chester County PA Realtor Scott Darling.

3 Smart Ways To Use Your Tax Refund

by Scott Darling

tax refund

The average tax refund in 2015 was approximately $2,800 according to the IRS, and similar refunds are expected in 2016. For those getting a refund, there are many options to consider in deciding what to do with this unexpected income. The big question is what is the smartest option?

While you may want to splurge with your refund, careful management for the majority of the funds is a smart financial move. A tax refund or any unexpected income can be used to help reach your financial goals without impacting your current standard of living.

Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) suggests three things to consider for this year's tax refund:

1. Pay down debt. Take a look at your current debt. Find out which have the highest interest rates and consider paying those down first to help prevent interest from continuing to add up. Another common strategy is to pay off your smallest debt first, then work your way up to the larger ones.

2. Build an emergency fund. Consider using at least a portion of your tax refund to give your emergency fund a boost. Make a goal to stash away three to six months' worth of expenses in cash in an emergency fund you can easily access if you need to, such as a savings account, and use your refund to work toward that goal.

3. Pay the future forward. The positive news is that Americans are living longer. The challenge is that their health may change with aging, and people are now faced with saving for a retirement period of up to 30 years. So if you haven't started to save or want to boost your retirement savings, consider putting your refund in a retirement savings plan. You may also consider taking a portion of your refund for higher education - whether for yourself, a child or grandchild. Or, if you haven't considered life insurance or disability income insurance yet or need to revisit your plans, now's a good time to talk to a financial professional.

A tax refund is money you've worked hard for, and it is OK to do something fun with it. Just make sure you consider committing at least a portion toward your short-term and long-term financial needs and goals. (BPT)

Information courtesy of Chester County PA Realtor Scott Darling.

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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