Archive for November, 2014

Need plans for this weekend?  Here are some fun things to do this weekend November 21st, 22nd, and 23rdin Bucks County, PA and Mercer County, NJ!

Bucks County, PA:

1.      Peddlers Village Grand Illumination Celebration
This Friday, November 21st from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm Santa pulls the switch to illuminate the Village with one million holiday lights at exactly 6:15 p.m. sharp! There is a Gingerbread Display debut, holiday music, free cider & marshmallow toasting. You can also get Photos taken with Santa at Christmas Central.  Shops are open until 10!  Free admission and free parking!  More information
Routes 202 & 263 Lahaska, PA 18931

2.      Shady Brook Farms Holiday light show
Starting this Saturday November 22nd from 5 to 10 p.m., drive through a whimsical light displays in the comfort of your own car or enjoy the show on a horse-drawn hayride.  On Friday November 21st, you can get a sneak peak at the lights during a 2 mile run! More information  
931 Stony Hill Rd, Yardley, PA 19067

3.      A Very Furry Christmas at Sesame Place
Starting this Saturday November 22nd is a festive, family-friendly celebration with everyone’s favorite Sesame Street friends. The park is transformed into a one-of-a-kind Christmas wonderland with millions of twinkling lights, festive decorations and whirling rides including the new Cookie’s Monster Land featuring five rides, a three-story net climb and a soft toddler play area.  More information
100 Sesame Rd, Langhorne, PA 19047

4.      Yoga roots at Pennypack
This Friday November 21st at 12 a.m. Nourishing Storms is offering a gentle yoga class designed to help you connect to your roots and grow your yoga practice.  More information  
Philadelphia, PA 19152

5.      Horse-drawn wagon rides
This Saturday November 22nd meet the beautiful Belgian Horses and take a refreshing ride through Tamanend Park in Southampton (weather permitting).  A bonfire and refreshments will be served afterwards. Meet at Pavilion #2 – Registration is limited $5 per person; must have reservation. More information
Tamanend Park 1255 Second Street Pike, Upper Southampton, PA 18966
Mercer County, NJ:

1.      Shop at the Styleliner
This Friday November 21st from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. do some great shopping!  Donations are accepted as well!  More information
 166 Cherry Hill Road, Princeton

2.      Pennington Farmers Market
This Saturday November 22nd is the last Pennington Farmers Market of the year!  Organic vegetables, cheese, wines, desserts and many other goods are available!  From 9 a.m. to 1p.m.!  More information
 101 Route 31 N Pennington, New Jersey

3.      West Windsor Community Farmers’ Market
This Saturday November 22nd from 9:00 a.m. to 1 p.m. shop at the last West Windsor Community Farmers’ Market of the season!  Produce, flowers, baked goods, music and the Yes We Can food drive!  More information
Drive Parking Lot, Princeton Junction Train Station

4.      Princeton Basketball
On Saturday November 22nd at 7:30 p.m. see the Princeton Tigers in Jadwin Gym!  More information
Jadwin Gym

5.       Fall Skies, Raritan Valley College Planetarium
Explore the night sky with an expert guide this Saturday November 22nd at 7 p.m. for only $7.  More information

 Raritan Valley College, Planetarium, College Center, North Branch


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Mortgage interest rates for this week of November 17th, 2014!

Conv 30y fixed, 3.875% – 0 pts
Conv 10y ARM, 3.375% – 0 pts
Conv 15y fixed, 3.125% – lender credit 
Jumbo 30y fixed, 3.875% – 0 pts
Jumbo 5/1 ARM, 2.750% – 0 pts
FHA 30y fixed, 3.500% – gives lender credit

VA 30y fixed, 3.375% – 0 pts 
Please contact us if you have any questions!

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5 Things I know now, that I wish I knew when I bought my home.
My husband and I bought our current home in 2005, when the prices were still high and the competition was still on the strong side. I remember spending every morning on the computer looking at what new homes came on the market, that we may want to visit.

That home purchase was done before I decided and became a full time real estate agent. I often think back on my process of thinking that I used when we were out hunting for a “perfect home”: what to buy, where, how to look, when and other thousands of questions.

We definitely liked our agent, but there are still a few things that I know today, I wish were explained to me when we were hunting. I am sharing them with you today, in hope that they will help those of you, who may be thinking about buying a home, or making your plans.

We were looking at single family homes in the purchase price range of up to $330,000, in 3 different school districts where we wanted to be. I wanted a large kitchen, a garage, an entry way with a mud room, central air, 3-4 bedrooms, and a colonial style home.

Here is how I should have been thinking:

1.     Figure out a monthly mortgage payment (which includes your principal payment, interest, property taxes and homeowners’ insurance) that you are comfortable paying per month and having money left over for other important things, such as car payment, car insurance, groceries, fun things. Once you have that number, then work “backwards” with your mortgage company, to find out what the maximum purchase price you will need to work with, based on your target monthly payment. Then you can start the search in your determined price range.

2.     Figure out a monthly home care payment that are comfortable with paying after paying the mortgage payment. Many people forget about this, but these expenses add up: utilities: gas, oil, electricity, water/sewer, cable/TV, internet. You can find out the approximate numbers for these by checking with the owners of the home that you may have your eye on, through your agent. You may be able to contact the local utility company as well, give them the address, and ask them what the average bill the owners have had. Be sure to find out how the bills change from winter to summer.

3.     Property taxes have the largestimpact on your monthly mortgage payment, not the mortgage interest rate! Property taxes vary from township to township, from school district to school district, so pay very close attention to them, when you are looking at potential homes you want to consider. And ask your mortgage company to run estimates for you based on the property taxes.

4.     Figure out what type of heating source you are comfortable with. I was completely ignorant about this during my buying process. Research oil heat, natural gas, propane, electric, hot water and see how the costs vary, and what are you willing to live with. Oil heat has tanks, sometime underground, electric heat has baseboards running through the house which are bulky and take up space, hot water heat has either baseboards or radiators throughout the house. Once you are done with your research, you can eliminate those homes with the type of heat you are not willing to live with. I have natural gas and am very happy with it.

5.     Figure out what features you absolutely have to have and which ones you would like to have but are not a “must” on your list. Carry these lists with you for any home visits. The most important thing here: be flexible even on your “must have” list. I am a perfect example: I had to have a garage, an entry way with a mud room, and we bought a house that did not have either of these features, and here is why: I loved the fact that there are no neighbors in the back, it’s a green zone; the street is nice and quiet, the location is close to everything: shopping, schools, commuting, and I mean everything, and the home had tons of great features that I fell in love with only after I came inside: large rooms, large windows with tons of sunlight that I realized only then, that I wanted very much; open first floor plan, and there is room to add a 1 car garage, should we decide to do so down the road! The possibilities were amazing!
These are just a few of hundreds of details that go into planning and finding that ONE home… Make sure you use an agent that is an experienced, and seasoned professional who is familiar with the area you are looking at, and that will guide you through the whole process with as little wrinkles as possible.

If you have already bought your home, what was your experience like? Did your “Must have” list change when you saw your home? Share!


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Time to start planning for this wonderful fall weekend November 14th, 15th, and 16th!
Bucks County, PA:

1.      New indoor artisan market at Playwicki Farm
Every Saturday until May, 2015 Playwicki Farm will feature specialty and gourmet foods, produce, baked goods, gifs, flowers, and handmade jewelry from 9 a.m. to noon.  This market is free to the public.  More information
2350 Bridgetown Pike, Lower Southampton, PA 19053

2.      Explore the top ten hidden treasures of Bucks County
Spend this weekend exploring Bucks County!  Whether you have lived here for a long time or might move into the area, this is a great way to get out of the house and see the beautiful things that Bucks County has to offer.  More information
3.      Victorian Boutique
This Friday November 14th, Saturday November 15th, or Sunday November 16th, see some decorative elements to accessorize your home, festive holiday, Christmas, fall, much more! One time only $1.00 entrance Fee, good for all visits for entire show at the show!  More information
Hours of Operation: Saturday: 10am – 5pm Sunday: 12pm – 5pm Mon-Fri: 10am – 8pm
53 N Main St, Telford, PA 18969

4.      Veterans Yoga Project
This Friday November 14thfrom 7 to 8:15 p.m. Tristana Yoga Studio is taking part in a National Yoga Event to help support veterans.  This class is to raise awareness and funds for Veterans Yoga Project which helps improve the health and well-being of military veterans.  More information
Tristana Yoga Studio, 4095 Ferry Road, Doylestown, PA

5.      Live music at the Jamison Grill
Every Friday night, including this Friday November 14 from 7 to 10 p.m. you can enjoy the music of Tony M. or even make a night of it and stop by for Happy Hour from 4 to 6 p.m. and stay after for the entertainment of the night!  More information
The Bucks Club, 2600 York Road Jamison, PA

Mercer County, NJ:

1.      Ballroom dancing at American Ballroom
Every Friday including this Friday November 14th from 7:30 to 8 p.m. is a group ballroom dancing class and from 8 to 10 p.m. is an open ballroom dance.  Entrance fee for each person is $15.00 at the door.  More information
American Ballroom Company, 1523 Parkway Avenue Ewing, NJ

2.      Movember at Old York Cellars
This Saturday November 15th and Sunday November 16th from 12 to 5 p.m. What Exit Wines will be supporting the Movember Foundation and men’s health.  You can have a custom label and your facial hair printed on your bottle of wine.  More information
Old York Cellars Winery, 80 Old York Cellars, Ringoes, NJ

3.      Stockton Market
This Friday November 14thfrom 3-7 p.m., Saturday November 15th from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday November 16th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. the Stockton Market will include a variety of products from food to candles, coffee and possibly some handcrafted goods.  More information
19 Bridge Street, Stockton, NJ

4.      Early morning fitness hikes
This Sunday November 16thmeet a Schiff’s Mcvickers Brook Preserve parking lot at 8 a.m. for a brisk 5 mile hike with a variety of terrain on the trails.  Dogs are welcome on a leash and with current rabies vaccinations.  Members are free but you must register in advance.  Non-members pay $10 per hike.  More information
McVickers Brook Preserve Parking lot, 239 Pleasant Valley Road, Mendham, NJ

5.      Pennington Farmers Market
This Saturday November 15th from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. you can start your Thanksgiving shopping early!  A variety of foods, drinks, and gifts are available.  More information

101 Route 31 N Pennington, NJ 08534

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Current mortgage interest rates for this week of November 10, 2014!
Conv 30y fixed, 3.875% – 0.25 pts 
Conv 10y ARM,  3.375% – 0 pts 
Conv 15y fixed, 3.125% – 0 pts 
Jumbo 30y fixed, 3.750% – 0 pts 
Jumbo 5/1 ARM, 2.625% – 0 pts 
FHA 30y fixed, 3.500% – gives lender credit
VA 30y fixed, 3.375% – 0 pts 

Contact us if you have any questions! 

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Time to start planning for a fun filled weekend this weekend:
 November 7th, 8th and 9th.
Events in Bucks County, PA:
1.      Ballroom With A Twist, Bucks County Playhouse
This Saturday November 8, 2014 at 7 p.m. Dancing with the Stars pro Anna Trebunskaya and Dmitry Chaplin are hosting a dancing event that is fun for the entire family!  Admission is $35 to $100.  More information
 70 South Main Street, New Hope, 215-862-2121
2.      Explore the top ten hidden treasures of Bucks County
Spend this weekend exploring Bucks County!  Whether you have lived here for a long time or might move into the area, this is a great way to get out of the house and see the beautiful things that Bucks County has to offer.  More information
3.      Bucks County Holiday Art Show
This Saturday November 8, 2014 from 6 to 9 p.m. you can have the pleasure of meeting the artists of the art that is featured in the art gallery.  More information
46 East State Street, Doylestown, PA, 18901
4.      Bucks County Wine Trail Nouveau Celebration
This Saturday November 8, 2014 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Taste the new wines of the season! More information
5.      Victorian Boutique
This Friday November 7, Saturday November 8, or Sunday November 9, see some decorative elements to accessorize your home, festive holiday, Christmas, Fall, much more! One time only $1.00 entrance Fee, good for all visits for entire show at the show!  More information
Hours of Operation: Saturday: 10am – 5pm Sunday: 12pm – 5pm Mon-Fri: 10am – 8pm
Events in Mercer County, NJ:
1.      Princeton University Football & Hockey
This Saturday November 8, 2014: 1:00 PM Princeton Football, Princeton Stadium, 609-258-3538 
Princeton Hockey, Baker Rink, 609-258-4849 at 7 p.m., Colgate. $10 More information 
2.      AARP Driver Safety Program, Hopewell Valley YMCA
This Friday November 7, 2014 at 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Defensive driving and how to handle problem situations, aggressive drivers will be taught at the Hopewell Valley YMCA.  The registration fee for the program is $20.  More Information
Hopewell Valley YMCA, Hopewell Borough Hall, 88 East Broad Street, Hopewell, 609-737-3048
3.      Cider Making, Howell Living History Farm
This Saturday November 8, 2014 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. visitors are invited for free, to use the machines at the farm used for pie and cider!  More information
Cider Making, Howell Living History Farm, 70 Wooden’s Lane, Lambertville, 609-737-3299
4.      Walking Tour, Historical Society of Princeton
This Sunday November 9, 2014 at 2 p.m. Take a two-hour walking tour around downtown Princeton and Princeton University campus for $7.  More information
Walking Tour, Historical Society of Princeton, Bainbridge House, 158 Nassau Street, Princeton, 609-921-6748
5.      Mercer County Park Ice Skating Center
This Saturday November 8, 2014 have a fun time with the family ice skating from 1:00 – 3:30 p.m.  Skate periods also include: 5-7 pm and 8-10 pm.  More information

334 South Post RoadWest Windsor, New Jersey 08550

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Buyer question of the week: What is the difference between
a foreclosure and a short sale?
I was out looking at home with new clients, and they asked me this question. I am sure many people would like to know the difference between these two types of sales.
A foreclosure for sale means that the home is currently owned by the bank, the seller. More often than not, these homes will need work to be done to them, have been vacant for a while. They may not qualify for government (FHA, VA) or conventional financing depending on the amount of repairs needed. It also makes a difference on who the bank is and what the stipulations for the sale are. My suggestion is to review each foreclosure home for sale carefully.
A home for sale as a short sale means that the homeowner is the seller, not the bank. The asking price of the home is less than what the homeowner owes on their mortgage, hence the name “Short Sale”. Banks will allow homeowners to do a short sale to sell their homes when sellers have true hardship reasons to sell, such as loss of employment, relocation, sickness or death. The actual process is not easy, can be very long and frustrating. In order to consider buying a home in a short sale process, first a decision needs to be made if a buyer is willing to wait for a possible long time to get to the closing, then a thorough investigation of the situation needs to be made: who is the bank or more than one bank is involved in the negotiation of the short sale process, who will do the negotiation and does that person have experience negotiating short sales, what type of mortgage does the seller have (makes a difference on the length of time the process will take) and if seller is serious and is fully cooperating in this process with proper paperwork.  There is a significant amount of work and team members that is involved in the short sale process and it takes a team of professionals to get to a successful sale of the home through this process.
There is no way to say which one is better, as many factors are important to consider for each one. So it’s important that buyers find a real estate agent who is knowledgeable and is experienced in working with both of these sales to help buyers guide through the decision making process.

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