Archive for the ‘Living in Bucks County’ Category

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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I bet you did not know this one.

When you buy a used car you request a copy of the Carfax report to see the detailed history of the car:     from title problems to ownership history to accidents and service history. This report gives you a piece of mind that the car you are buying has been in good hands.

A purchase of a home is a lot more significant, It is one of the biggest purchases we make. CLUE stands for Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange, is a database used by insurance companies to exchange information about the history of your home including claims, injuries, losses and other pertinent information. Important information, right?

The CLUE report remains with the house itself, rather than the owner of the home, just like with cars and Carfax reports.

In Pennsylvania, the Agreement of Sale includes a contingency of Property Insurance, where the buyer can determine insurability of the property by making an application for property and casualty insurance. In New Jersey, I include this contingency when preparing the contract for buyers before going through the Attorney Review.

During the original inquiry is when the insurance company can pull a CLUE report for the property to see if there are any issues. I always suggest the buyers that I work with to make the property insurance contingency. They want to make sure there were no major issues in the past that seller may not have reported about, and, if the property is not insurable, the buyers can not obtain the mortgage to purchase the home.

When buyers purchase the home, they can not themselves obtain a copy of the CLUE report for the property they are thinking about buying, however, this report can be reviewed by the insurance company or buyers can request sellers to obtain a copy for review.

You the homeowner, can, however, obtain a copy on your own home. Under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act you can request a copy of your C.L.U.E. report from LexisNexis® toll free at 1-866-312-8076 or by visiting https://personalreports.lexisnexis.com.

I believe in checking out this report, just as you would request your credit report every year for free, to make sure there aren’t any issues on the report that should not be there.

We always learn something new, every day, don’t we?

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Here at Olga St. Pierre Real Estate Team, we specialize in Estate Sales.

We sit down with family members after their loved ones pass away and help them determine what to do with the personal items in the home and how to go about the sale of the house.

Sometimes the planning can be tricky and we always consult with a qualified attorney in legal matters. Handling the personal items in the home is always an emotional process that is difficult. Our job is to make things easier: to help with sorting, appraising the values, identifying antique items and making arrangements for the Estate Sale, during which the items in the home are sold. We also make arrangements for items to be donated if needed.

To see how we handle Estate Sales, please stop by our next Estate Sale this Friday, August 10th, 9-1 at 103 Terrace Rd, Levittown, PA, 19056, in the Twin Oaks section. We are handling the sale of the contents of the entire home.

Olga met with the children of the home’s owner yesterday to finalize the details of the sale. They were very overwhelmed by everything that is still in the house, as the closing is scheduled for Friday, August 17th. She explained how the process works for the sale: all items that are of value that the family wants to keep, need to be moved to one room or taken out of the home. Everything else that is in the house, will be catalogued, priced, sorted and divided for more efficient management.

Three members of the team will be working at the Estate Sale on Friday to assure a smooth sale. This type of sale, with proper organization is the best, most efficient way to handle a large amount of personal items in the quickest time.

If you have any questions about how to handle Estate Sales, please contact Olga via email, text or phone. We will be glad to answer any questions about the process.

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Contact Olga St. Pierre Real Estate Team today to schedule your walk through the exclusive models and get the August special on upgrades!  267.242.2712 or homeswitholga@kw.com


Buy today and receive the following options and upgrades to the model of your choice FREE!

 9 ft Base House Foundation  

Foyer Oak Stairs

Granite Countertops for Standard Kitchen
Upgrade 1 Kitchen Tile Backsplash
Upgrade 1 Kitchen Cabinets
Upgrade 1 Linden Kitchen Faucet
Upgrade Standard Appliances to Stainless Steel
Upgrade 1 Ceramic Floors in Master Bathroom
Upgrade 2 Cultured Marble Counter Tops in Master Bathroom
1 piece Crown Molding in Master Bedroom
14 Seer AC Unit
Hardwood Flooring in Dining Room – Base grade
Upgrade 1 Carpet Pad throughout 2nd Floor
2 Rooms of Custom Color Paint
One, 4 Recessed Lights Package, Kitchen
One, 4 Recessed Lights Package, Family Room
Brace, Wire, Cap and Switch for Future Ceiling Fans, Family Room and Bedrooms 1-4
2 Garage Door Openers
1 External Garage Keypad 

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Olga St Pierre Real Estate Team
, 267-242-2712, homeswitholga.kw.com, search all homes in Bucks County:

With the great weather this weekend, take the time and visit some of the Great Parks in Bucks County:

Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve (BHWP)

Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve (BHWP) showcases an extraordinary diversity of plants native to Pennsylvania and the Delaware Valley region. The Preserve focuses exclusively on native plants, in distinction from botanical gardens that may include natives in their collection.

Churchville Park & Nature Center

The mission of the Churchville Nature Center is to instill an awareness and appreciation of the natural world in all people through education, and to encourage responsible environmental stewardship with a commitment to the preservation of resources and wildlife habitat.

Core Creek Park

Comprised of 1200 acres and includes horseback riding, walkways and bikeways, tennis, hiking and boat rentals.

Kids’ Castle and Central Park

This impressive 8-story structure was the result of a volunteer community effort to build a wonderland of swings, slides, a rocket ship, climbing and hiding places, and a great place for kids to spend a summer afternoon. It is located within Central Park at 425 Wells Road in Doylestown Township, just outside of town. It is open 7 days a week, sunrise to sunset, and admission is free. The park is open year-round though the castle closes after the first freeze. Central Park is a 108-acre facility that includes tennis courts, volleyball, soccer fields, and 1.5 miles of biking and hiking trails. It is perfect for picnicking, with many tables and several covered pavilions.

Tyler State Park

Consists of 1,711 acres in Bucks County. Park roads, trails, and facilities are carefully nestled within the original farm and woodland setting. Neshaminy Creek meanders through the park, dividing the land into several interesting sections.

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Why Pennsylvania real estate market is on track to rebound faster than most of the country

You will be surprised. Let’s get started by looking at the casino industry. Pennsylvania has 8 casinos throughout the state. What affects us here, on the border of PA and NJ are 4 casinos: Mt. Airy in Poconos, Sands in Bethlehem, Lehigh Valley (60 min. from Phila), Parx in Bucks County, and Harrah’s in Chester, Delaware County (about 30 min. from Phila).

These casinos have been giving Atlantic City headaches for a couple of years now. The state of Pennsylvania taxes all casinos a chunky 55% (approx.) on gross revenues. Here is how the numbers look for a good prospective, for 2009/2010 months:

Parx casino is located in Bensalem, PA. It’s a short drive from Burlington and Mercer Counties, NJ, and is a considerable contributor to Bucks County’s economy:
(in millions)
State tax (34%) :                                                                                540,619,247
LSA (local share assessment) 5%:                                               63,602,264
EDTF (economic development & tourism fund) 5%:            79,502830
PRHDF (PA race horse development fund) approx. 12%:  190,737,337

These are just the financial figures for 1 casino. These places are running full force 24-7-365.

As of April 8, 2010, 5 casinos (Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, Luzerne County, Parx, and Sands, that are important to us) got permissions for table games, more headaches for AC. This work is under way now and is expected to be operational by mid-2010. New table games will bring in 2,300 new jobs, plus all 5 casinos have financial responsibility to pay the state-mandated $16.5 million table game fee each, by June 1, 2010 and all 5 casinos will dedicate millions of dollars towards construction at their facilities to accommodate new games.

New jobs are being created, more manufacturers, suppliers and vendors for goods and services will be involved. The surrounding businesses will also benefit from the expansion: restaurants, hotels, grocery stores. When new jobs are created in the area, demand for housing goes up: rentals, resales. With the rising demand, the prices for homes will also go up.

As you noticed, the casino industry is infusing a superb chunk of money in Pennsylvania horse racing industry: over 190 million dollarslast year and for the first 3 months of 2010. PA horse racing industry that was dying a few years ago, is now an envy of the nation. The infusion of cash has nearly quadrupled purse money and put the Keystone state on the map with Louisville, Baltimore and New York as a destination for breeders and horse owners.

Purse money is the life blood of horse racing, because the winnings ultimately trickle down to owners, jockeys, trainers, breeders. The infusion of cash since 2006 brought 2 new race tracks and nearly 5,000 horse racing industry jobs, a growth of nearly 70%. In addition to these jobs, the industry has helped create thousands of race-related jobs that are not at the tracks: new farms, breeding, veterinary hospitals, grain and hay sellers and other members of communities.

Reports project that by 2013, Pennsylvania would pass California in purse money. And the highest track in the nation won’t be the Churchill Downs, Belmont Park or Santa Anita. It will be Philadelphia Park, right here, in our backyard: Bensalem Township, Bucks County, PA.

More tourists, more demand, more $$$, more jobs, companies doing good business: demand for real estate = higher prices, good resales. Price rebounding and values going up.

Uh, there is more.

Pennsylvania is at the forefront of the nation’s gas drilling boom, with at least 4,000 new oil and gas wells drilled in 2008, more than in any other state except Texas. When energy prices spiked in 2008, drillers flocked to PA, bringing sorely needed 29,000 new jobs and $240 million in state and local taxes.

Marcellus Shale, a deeply buried layer of rock that runs through the western portion of Pennsylvania, according to some analysts, holds enough gas to meet the nation’s natural gas needs for more than 20 years.

Surging Marcellus Shale gas demand tripled applications for PA drilling permits in 2010 to 5,200 permits and produced twice the expected revenue from a recent auction of state lands for drilling.

Energy companies are paying around 2,500 an acre, a lump sum of about $375,000 for a typical 150 acre farm. More money will also flow to land owners, the state and into local economies from gas royalty payments and taxes.

There are plans to build new waste water processing plants. A total of 17 new plants have been proposed. These plants will

process and purify the millions of gallons of water that are pumped deep into the earth to break layers of rock and release the gas. When water is sucked back out, it contains natural toxins dredged up during drilling.  It is necessary to process this water, before it is released into rivers and streams. New plants are going operational with projected 2011-2012 start.

It is getting crazy busy, here in the state and it’s just the beginning. This boom has transformed lives of local farmers, hotels and food industry that have been struggling for a number of years. More and more businesses are benefiting from the gas exploration: trucking and railroad companies, auto repair shops, restaurants, and  of course real estate.

I believe it’s a good time to reinforce the fact that national news are NOT local news. It’s time to take a note of fact- based statistics that talk about our local real estate market and economy, not opinion-based news from 2, 3 or 6 or 9 states away.
Our real estate market can not be compared to Florida, CA, or Nevada. I found out yesterday that Miami area in Florida  has about 83 months of inventory.  Our average here in Bucks/Mont/Phila/Mercer/Burlington is 9.8 months. This means that in Florida, it will take 83 months to sell the current supply of homes that are on the market.  We are doing just fine.

Our real estate market is still buyers’ market, as in most places around the country, however homes are selling and buyers are buying! It’s not too late to take advantage of free government money and put your home on the market or to purchase that dream home.

What do you think?

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school students

Yep, it’s that time of the year. Summer is about to wrap up, great sales are still going on on school supplies and new clothes are being purchased for the new school year. Yep, it’s time to go back to school! Just in time for the new school year, here are the useful statistics for Bucks County School Districts:

2008 Average SAT scores:

District Reading Math Writing

Bensalem:                         457               476            462

Bristol                                440                451            432

Bristol Twsp                    449                 455           424

Bucks Co. Tech HS        460                 470          432

Centennial                       495                  511           480

Council Rock                  539                  563           533

Morrisville                      460                 478           463

Neshaminy                     496                  512            482

Pennsbury                      510                  529            494

Student-to-Teacher Ratio:

District Elementary Secondary

Bensalem                               15.5:1                        14.8:1

Bristol                                        20:1                          15:1

Bristol Twsp                             14:1                          11:1

Bucks Co. Tech                         n/a                         20:1

Centennial                                 19:1                         24:1

Council Rock:                          25:1                         20:1

MBIT                                            n/a                        16.5:1

Morrisville                                21:1                         22:1

Neshaminy                               25:1                         22:1

Pennsbury                                21:1                         26:1

For each district school calendar, contact information, enrollment procedures you can turn to www.homeswitholga.com.

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