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Archive for November, 2012

National Association of Realtors comes out with this useful report every year. The statistics shared are very helpful in analyzing buyers’ and seller’s behavior, market trends and where things will shift in the new year. Keep in mind that these are national statistics, not local. Here are a few highlights on buyers this year:

Buyers:

  • First-time buyers:
  •  39% of market share, up from 37%
  •  Median age: 31
  •  Median income: $61,800
  •  Purchase: 1,600 square foot home, $154,100
  • Repeat buyers:
  •  Median age: 51
  •  Purchase: 2,100 square foot home, $220,000
  • Downpayments:
  •  Overall: 9%; first-time buyers: 4%; repeat buyers: 13%
  • Finding a home buyer resources: 90% Internet; 87% real estate agent; 53% yard signs; 45% attend open houses; 27% newspaper and print ads.
  • 91% of buyers using the Internet made a purchase through a REALTOR as did 71% of non-Internet users
  • Single largest factor when choosing a home was quality of neighborhood, convenience to job was second
  • Representation: 89% real estate agent; 6% direct from builder; 5% from previous owner. 

What we can glean from these statistics, is that first time home buyers took advantage of lower prices and more people were able to afford to buy a home. Internet is the #1 source for researching homes, which is why our team concentrates majority of our resources on internet marketing. Majority of buyers used a realtor to purchase a home (a statistic that we show to For Sale By Owners to help them understand the current market). Home location is the #1 consideration of buyers. 

These numbers speak for themselves and are important to keep in mind.   Check in with us on the buyer statistics that are more relevant for our area of Bucks, Philadelphia, Mercer, and Burlington, NJ areas

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My wedding photographer, a birthday, my daughter and real estate…

Interestingly, seemingly random things, but they all connect. It all started with my wedding. Ricky Dean (with TLP Studios) became our chosen photographer for our wedding for many neat reasons. We had a great time, loved our photos. That was over 10 years ago.

Fast forward to 2008 after staying in touch, Rick and I partnered to photograph homes that I was putting on the market after I became a real estate agent in NJ and PA. We always have great conversations, I give him a ride, we stop at Starbucks afterwards and it is always a fun morning or afternoon.

Bouncing ideas and strategies off each other has become a habit during our frequent trips. Last year, Rick shared  with me his business idea for Lens Friends. A studio where we, clients, are in charge of our photo shoots. Adults, kids, animals, we brought the ideas, Rick’s Studio (along with his partner Kara) would provide the tools (setting, professional cameras, guidance) and we would shoot and make our ideas and dreams happen on the camera screen. I thought, that’s SO COOL!

This year, I decided to host an 8th birthday party for my daughter Victoria there, as birthday parties are part of the Studio’s menu of great options.  When my daughter got there, she said, “Mom, are we only taking pictures?” and I told her “You just wait and see…”.

Well, in just one hour, after a flurry of backgrounds, props, funky clothing we shot over 300 pictures with just 2 cameras. Not only kids had a great time. Me and my best friend (mom to my daughters’ best friends 🙂 had a blast taking photos of each other as well our kids.  If you are friends on Facebook with me, the album with pictures is there. If you are not yet, please friend me and you can check out the fun that we had. The girls did not want to stop, they did not want to leave…

Part of the goody bag that the Studio gave us includes a CD with ALL pictures that we took during our time. So each child got a CD with every picture all of us took, in addition to sweet additions. Plus we had a great time with pizza, cake and tea for adults!

What Rick and his partner Kara created with their Lens Friends studio, is an affordable and unique way to have FUN, for adults and kids.

So, take a few minutes and experience something different and fun, right here, in Bucks County.

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Nov. 24/25: Check out these cool things to do, besides shopping 🙂

Today is black friday and besides the start of the holiday season shopping, it’s time to get into the holiday spirit. Here are a few fun things to check out this weekend, November 24-25:

1. Kick off the holiday season with Shadybrook’s 18th annual holiday high show. Experience the magic of millions of lights illuminating acres of farmland. You will see whimsical displays and familiar character. Runs now through Jan. 6th from dusk to 10apm, $20/carload Mon-Thurs, $25/carload Fri-Sun.

2. Enjoy a leisurely and scenic shopping experience at Peddler’s Village! Shops are open from 10am-9pm. Be sure to take some time to view their Gingerbread House Display… then stay til dark for a picturesque stroll through this illuminated 18th century style shopping village.

3. Head back to Sesame Place in Langhorne, PA for their festive Very Furry Christmas and experience the friends and the holiday lights!

 

 

4.  Annual Tree Lighting ceremony in New Hope: Sunday, 11/25 at 5pm.

Head over to New Hope and experience the magic of the tree lighting.  At Ferry Street/Cannon Square,
from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm, enjoy special performances from The Dance Junction, Downtown Performing Arts Glee Club and the Salvation Army Band Ensemble. Around 6:00 pm, Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus will arrive via horse drawn buggy. The tree will light and the first show set to music will commence. Enjoy!

Enjoy time with your family and friends! From your favorite real estate group!

 

About the author: Olga St. Pierre runs a top producing Real Estate Team, that works in NE Philadelphia, Bucks Co PA, and Burlington and Mercer Counties, NJ. She and her family live, play and work in Bucks County. 

 

 

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You, the seller, should list your home now and not wait until spring…

“We are going to wait until spring”.

“No one is looking at homes now, it’s a holiday season”.

I hear these 2 sentences very often during the last quarter of the year. It’s cold, it gets dark early and now that we are in the middle of November, the holiday season is almost here.

Let me give you at least 10 reason why you, sellers, should put your home on the market NOW and not wait until spring.

1. January is traditionally the month when employees begin their new jobs. Since transferees cannot wait to buy, you need to be on the market during the Holidays to capture those serious buyers. Here is a great example: I currently have clients that are moving from Indiana to New Jersey’s Princeton area. The husband is starting a new job on December 17th and they are looking to buy a home in Mercer County, NJ. The family will be here on December 26th. Do you think they are serious buyers? Absolutely.

2. Even though your home will be on the market, you still have the option to carefully monitor and restrict showings during the days around the holidays. No problem.

3. Some people must buy before the end of the year for tax reasons! There are great deductions that come with home ownership and many items on the closing sheet statement that you get at closing are tax deductible.

 

4. Buyers have more time to look for a home during the holidays than they do during a working week. Many people have at least a few days off during the holiday season. Many take advantage of those days off not just shopping for presents, but shopping for a new home.

5. Houses show better when decorated for the Holidays. More festive, bright and sparkling.

6. Since the supply of homes dramatically increases in the spring, there will be less demand for your home and less money when negotiating the best price and terms for your home.

7. Serious buyers have fewer houses to choose from during the holidays and this means less competition for you and a better price for your home.

8. Finally, people who look for homes during the holidays are MORE serious buyers! They are out in the dark, cold weather looking at homes. They are serious about finding a home! I have buyers now who just found the home they love in Hopewell, Mercer County, NJ, they want to be moved in just in time for Christmas. We negotiated a closing date of December 21st. Do you think they are serious? Absolutely.
So, don’t do what everyone else will be doing in the spring. Differentiate yourself from your competition and reap the rewards! 

To get your home on the market and to get more information, log on to www.HomesSoldByOlga.com or call/email us!

 

About the author: Olga St. Pierre runs a top producing Real Estate Team, that works in NE Philadelphia, Bucks Co PA, and Burlington and Mercer Counties, NJ. She and her family live, play and work in Bucks County.

 

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The clubhouse construction update and general information on new construction at Regency Yardley, premier adult luxury community in Lower Bucks County. To get more information and to schedule your tour, contact our team: 267.242.2712, homeswitholga@kw.com. for more information: http://www.HomesWithOlga.com

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If you are still thinking about refinancing your mortgage and have it on your list of things “to do”, go ahead and check it off your list as “done” and get started on the process. Refinancing means paying off your current mortgage and obtaining a new one with better terms.

Here is a sample of interest rates from just a few days ago:

Conventional mortgage (20% downpayment):
30 yr Fixed 3.125% .250 cost
15 yr Fixed 2.875% .250 lender credit

FHA (government insured, 3.5% downpayment):
30 yr Fixed 3.250% .875 lender credit

I don’t think the rates can get any lower than this. You may consider refinancing for a couple of reasons:

1. To lower your interest rate. This can make a significant difference in your monthly payment.

2. Shorten your loan term. You may consider going from 30 year mortgage to 20 or 15 year mortgage. This is a sensible way to reduce your long-term mortgage costs and you will own your home sooner.

3. Convert ARM to a fixed rate. If you have an adjustable mortgage, you will have a peace of mind with a fixed interest rate for the duration of your mortgage. Mortgage rates for fixed rates are often higher than for ARMs, so be prepared to pay more to your lender each month.

I just locked in my new interest rate of 3.875% to refinance my investment property. This is an excellent rate! If own an investment property, you know that the interest rates for these types of homes are higher than for primary residence homes. Based on the overall low mortgage rates, and with the election behind us, NOW is the great time to take advantage of low rates.

 

If you need suggestions on great mortgage options and rates, please let me know as I work with a group of great, experienced mortgage lenders. Happy Tuesday!

 

About the author: Olga St. Pierre runs a top producing Real Estate Team, that works in NE Philadelphia, Bucks Co PA, and Burlington and Mercer Counties, NJ. She and her family live, play and work in Bucks County. 

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Did you know that Bucks County has more wineries than any other county in Pennsylvania?

I learned this interesting fact about 10 years ago when I was deciding on what favors to share with my guests at my wedding. My husband and I decided to introduce our guests to our local wine from Buckingham Valley Vineyard. The vineyard bottled their white and blush wine, with a custom label for us, with our names and our wedding date.

The wine was smooth, silky and delicious and our guests loved it. In fact we still have a few bottles in our cabinet, for memories. Our good friends, who got married 2 years ago in November, after having the wine at our wedding, also had the wine from Buckingham Valley Vineyard at their wedding. Delicious!

What we wanted to show others, is that besides California, there are wineries tucked in many surprising places, including right around the corner from us.

If you are looking for something interesting to do, or for a great adventure, or a gift for someone, consider doing a Bucks County Wine Trail. How cool does this sound? There are 9 wineries included on this tour, all spread throughout the whole county.

It’s not too late for this year either:
1. November 17-18: taste the first new wines of this season.
2. December 8-9: Holiday celebration, tour the wineries decorated for the holiday, enjoy wine tastings, live music, artisan cheeses and special prices on wine gift packs and baskets.

The spring tours go on sale in March and quickly sell out. For more information check www.buckscountytrail.com.

About the author: Olga St. Pierre runs a top producing Real Estate Team, that works in NE Philadelphia, Bucks Co PA, and Burlington and Mercer Counties, NJ. She and her family live, play and work in Bucks County.

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