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Class-Harlan Cares…Pine2Pink FUNdraising

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October FUNdraising- Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Serving as a Sponsor of Pine2Pink, Class-Harlan Real Estate is honored to help FUNdraising efforts during local Breast Cancer Awareness Month activities locally.  Established in 2018, Pine2Pink’s core mission is to raise money locally to directly benefit local breast cancer patients in treatment and recovery.

Doylestown, PA has turned PINK for the month of October!  To embrace the month-long Pine2Pink activities, businesses are hosting events & donating prizes. An atmosphere of support and giving through creative FUNdraising activities permeates the air in helping to meet the mission of the Pine2Pink Foundation.  For more information or to make a donation visit WWW.PINE2PINK.ORG

 

Class-Harlan Cares!

Class-Harlan Real  Estate has pledged to donate $100 from every closing in October to Pine2Pink.  Keith Fenimore, Co-Founder/Executive Director of the Pine2Pink Foundation stated, “As a founder of the nonprofit, I am always trying to find creative ways to engage sponsors, in this case it was welcomed when Class-Harlan Real Estate came forward with this unique idea to raise funds for Pine2Pink and by extension local breast cancer patients in treatment and recovery.  I couldn’t be more thrilled to have them as a sponsor!”

Doylestown Borough is in the PINK!

For the month of October:  Pine Street in Doylestown has been changed to PINK Street & Pink bulbs have been placed in the street lamps throughout town!  A virtual scavenger hunt for Pink ribbons in 170+ locations with over 100 great prizes has begun! Donations are pouring in!  Learn more at Pine2Pink.org

“Breast Cancer has touched immediate members of the Class-Harlan family, extended members of our families and many members of the local community,” said Todd McCarty, owner/partner of Class-Harlan Real Estate. “When the opportunity to get involved in the Pine2Pink Foundation was brought to our attention, we did not hesitate to ask How can we help?”

 

Class-Harlan Real Estate has been serving the real estate needs of the community since 1963.  The team of experienced Realtors strive to exceed their clients’ expectations with professionalism and integrity seven days a week.  For real estate assistance, please call Class-Harlan Real Estate at 215-348-8111 or MEET OUR TEAM

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Pets Influence Home Buyers Decision Making Process

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Realtor Joey Nalty with her family Pet LabYour Pet is an Important Member of your Family!

If you’re a Pet Owner chances are a quiet street, a fenced yard, large shade trees, access to walking trails and a dog park nearby will appeal to you in your search for a new home!

Pets ARE part of your family!  Home buyers should talk openly to their Realtor about everything on their “wish list”.  Do you have a preferred location? How many bedrooms and baths do you need or want? Is a large yard important or do you prefer a smaller lot?  What about Schools?  Are you an existing home buyer or is new construction your preference? Think about Garage Space, Basement storage or additional living space, pool or no pool? Finally, when it comes to insuring the well-being and comfort of your pet you’ll want to give some thought to how your new home will work for them.

What home & community features are important to Pet Owners?

According to the National Association of Realtors Animal House Remodeling Impact Report, from 2016, 61% of US households own or planned to own a Pet in the future.  Some of the amenities homeowners with pets have found to be important include:  laminate flooring, washing stations, doggie/cat doors, cat litter closets, built-in spaces for dishware and pet beds.  Pet Owners also felt it important to live near Pet Supply Stores & Grooming Facilities, Dog Parks, Dog & Cat Day-Care Facilities, Kennels and the like.

Power of Pets

Pets influence the home buying decision process

Many communities have Animal-Friendly shops, businesses and even patio dining where well behaved dogs are welcome on your dining excursions!   It is not unusual to see water bowls on the sidewalks when walking thru town centers such as Doylestown, New Hope, Newtown, Perkasie and Yardley!  In fact, many businesses that host a “Take your Child to Work Day” now even have a “Bring your Dog to Work Day!”

We love our Pets as much as you love yours!  We Get it!

In conclusion, if a home in a Pet-Friendly community is your goal, be sure to find a Realtor that “Gets It”!  Most of all you’ll want a Realtor who is knowledgeable about the resources available for Pet Owners in different communities.

A good place to start your search for the right Realtor is HERE. Many of us are Pet Owners ourselves. In addition, Class-Harlan Real Estate has been serving the real estate needs of the community since 1963.  Our team of experienced Realtors strive to exceed their clients’ expectations with professionalism and integrity seven days a week.  For real estate assistance, please call Class-Harlan Real Estate at 215-348-8111 or visit www.ClassHarlan.com

 

 

 

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Title Insurance PROTECTS Your Ownership to YOUR Property

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Doylestown, PA—By searching, clearing and insuring the title to your home, before you buy it, your new owner’s title insurance policy will offer protection for your property for as long as you and your heirs own your home.  This could protect you from expensive legal problems down the road.

Do I Really Need Title Insurance?

“Home Buyers often ask, Do I really need title insurance?” claims Todd McCarty, Owner/Partner & Broker of Record – Class-Harlan Real Estate.  As a property is conveyed from one party to another, mistakes can be made, some long before interest has been made in the property and these “mistakes” could place your future ownership in jeopardy.  For example, the current homeowner could have avoided disclosing that they used the property as collateral for an unpaid loan, or fraudulently claimed to be the sole owner, or have outstanding real estate taxes or contractor debt.  So, “YES, title insurance is highly recommended!”  The cost is typically 0.5% of the home’s purchase price.

Whether you are paying cash or financing your home, your title insurance will defend your possession of your property and assume the legal costs of that defense for as long as you own the property!  And if any challenge to your ownership of the property proves to be legitimate, your title insurance policy will pay for your losses, just as your title insurance policy provides.

Important reasons why a new home buyer should purchase title insurance:

  • Forgery
  • Fraud in the execution of documents
  • Undue influence on a grantor of a deed
  • False impersonation by someone purporting to be the owner of real property
  • Undisclosed or missing heirs
  • Wills not properly probated or misinterpreted wills and trusts
  • Transfer of title by a minor
  • Incorrect legal descriptions
  • Non-delivery of deeds
  • Unsatisfied claims not shown on the record
  • Deeds executed under expired or false powers of attorneys
  • Confusion due to similar or identical names
  • Incorrect indexing of the land records

Class-Harlan Real Estate has been serving the real estate needs of the community since 1963.  The team of experienced Realtors strive to exceed their clients’ expectations with professionalism and integrity seven days a week.  For real estate assistance, please call Class-Harlan Real Estate at 215-348-8111 or visit Meet Our Team

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Settlement Day and Your Pre-Settlement Walk-Thru

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Congratulations! It is Settlement Day…

You are headed to your final walk-thru prior to Settlement Day with your real estate professional filled with excitement.  Your head is likely spinning with the daunting tasks of unpacking and deciding furniture placement, paint colors, future family gatherings and the like.

The pre-settlement walk-thru is an important final step for home buyers to take prior to heading to the Settlement table to meet the home sellers. Your real estate professional will guide you thru the process that typically takes 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of the property.  You will want to have a copy of your agreement of sale with you, including all addenda as well as copies of receipts for work done by seller as a result of your inspection negotiations.

What should you look for on your final walk thru?

At the walk thru be sure all items included with the sale are left at the property and in the condition as agreed to with the Seller.  You’ll want to confirm that all items excluded from the sale of the property have been removed from the property.  The property should be in similar condition on Settlement Day as it was when you walked thru it, perhaps weeks, or sometimes months, prior.  Confirm any items Seller agreed to repair are in working order.

Check the major systems: heating, air conditioning, plumbing.  Make sure all are working or in a condition as agreed upon during negotiations with the home seller.  Run the hot water at all sink locations thru the property.  Check water pressure, look for leaks and flush all toilets. Be sure all appliances, light fixtures, ceiling fans and installed wall/window A/C units are operable.  Check systems in all buildings, pools, etc. on the property.

How is a Seller expected to leave the home?

Unless agreed to in writing, a seller is not required to have the home professionally cleaned prior to Settlement Day. But, it is so nice when they do! Some sellers leave picture hooks in the walls and some remove the hooks, spackle and repaint.  If this is important to you, be clear in the Agreement, how you want the property left for you.

If any issues are found during the walk-thru, your Realtor will guide you thru the negotiation of these items PRIOR to Closing.  You will have little recourse after Settlement Day.

If you agreed to purchase any items outside of the contract, make sure they are left at the property. You should make arrangements for payment of those items separately from the Settlement of the property.

 Class-Harlan Real Estate has been serving the real estate needs of the community since 1963.  The team of experienced Realtors strive to exceed their clients’ expectations with professionalism and integrity seven days a week.  For real estate assistance, please call Class-Harlan Real Estate at 215-348-8111 or visit Meet Our Team

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Class-Harlan Real Estate February “Around the House Tips & Tools”

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Did you know that the Spring Real Estate market begins in earnest immediately after Superbowl Sunday? It’s also that time of year when we begin dreaming of daffodils, tulips and crocus poking their way through the earth as the earliest signs that warmer days will soon be here.  The end of Winter is in sight and at Class-Harlan Real Estate we’ve already gotten a jump start on our Spring cleaning at home and around the office as our busiest season of the year has already begun.

You too can benefit in many ways by starting early to get your house and yard in order and ready for the Spring thaw freeing up your time to enjoy the beauty of the season.  Save time and start early, especially if you’re planning on selling your home.  Feel free to contact us for a list of tips to get your house ready for marketing in the coming months too.

Bucks County’s February weather can be brutal. It’s typically a month when we get a bit stir crazy from being indoors all winter. So let’s make the most of this month and get a big head start on that Spring Cleaning To-Do list.  What’s that, you don’t have a To-Do list?

Don’t worry, we’ve got one for you.  At Class-Harlan Real Estate we love Houzz as a resource for everything HOME and we especially enjoy the monthly Houzz Home Checklists so we’re happy to share that with you right here, right now to get you started. After all, Spring is just around the corner!

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Must Have Tools Every Homeowner Should Have

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Nothing beats the feeling a first-time homeowner has when they unlock the front door and step into their new home for the very first time. Thoughts of what furniture or drapes to buy or whether to keep the carpet or lay down some fresh hardwood floors are sure to swirl like a tornado. However, before tearing down any drywall, there’s a few basic tools every homeowner needs to make sure they have in their toolbox in order to be prepared for all the small projects nobody really thinks of. From fixing that squeaky door to hanging a picture frame, by picking up these basic tools, every homeowner will be ready to tackle any small project in no time.

Hammer and Nails (Screws Too!)

While most first-time homeowners have the hammer, most usually forget to pick up the variety of different sized nails they’ll need to tackle any number of small projects around the house. But with so many varieties and sizes of nails, it can get a little confusing finding out exactly what you need. For any homeowner though, there’s 4 basic varieties that should always be found in their toolbox:

  1. Common Round Head Nail: Common nails are used in basic construction projects like carpentry and framing, and come in a variety of lengths.
  2. Finishing Nails/Brads: Finishing nails are thin with a small barrel-shaped head that can be driven past the surface of the wood. This leaves an almost unnoticeable mark that can be easily patched for projects like installing base molding. Brads are a smaller version of finishing nails that are perfect for cabinetry work.
  3. Casing Nail: Casing nails are like finishing nails, but a bit larger. The increased size increases its holding power. This is great for any window molding.
  4. Roofing Nail: Roofing nails are used for general roof repair projects like attaching shingles and installing roofing felt.

Screws are important as well, especially for hanging pictures, shelving and hardware. Depending on where you are hanging items, you may need molly screws, which helps with screwing into drywall.

Luckily for first time homeowners, many home renovation stores carry variety boxes of these must-have nails and more.

Paint like a Pro

Painting projects can be burdensome without the right tools. Homeowners can save plenty of time by being prepared with everything they need in order to take on any painting project big or small. The most obvious tool is a paint brush for simple touch ups or small projects like painting a trellis or some molding. For bigger projects like repainting an entire room, keeping a roller and paint tray handy is important to get the job done quickly. Painter’s tape makes any first time DIYer look like a pro by keeping any paint job neat and tidy. Make sure you have drop cloths to protect floors and furniture and the right cleaning supplies on hand. As an example, you may need mineral spirits or turpentine to clean oil based paints.

Combining these three tools can make painting a bedroom or living room simple and easy.

Lighting

It can be a hassle when a light bulb burns out, especially in a room that gets little or no sunlight. What’s worse is when there’s no replacement bulb to be found in the home, making a trip to the hardware store an unplanned addition to the day’s schedule. Making sure to keep a small stock of light bulbs can make short work of this easy project, but it’s not enough to just keep replacement bulbs for the bathroom on hand. Different lamps and sockets may require different wattage bulbs, while track lighting may need an LED replacement bulb. Picking up a few replacements of each will keep any homeowner prepared in case of a sudden burnout.

The Great Outdoors

While first time homeowners are trying to make the inside of their dream home look just right, nature starts to take its toll on the outside. Growing grass, weeds popping up, plants that need watering and more make it necessary to have the proper tools on hand to keep the home’s curb appeal. While equipment like a lawn mower and weed whacker will keep any yard looking nice and neat, other tools like a watering can or a sprayer for weed killers and fertilizers will help keep it looking lush and green.

But greenery in spring and summer aren’t a homeowner’s only concern when it comes to outdoor care and maintenance. Winter brings a blanket of snow and ice every year, especially in our area of Pennsylvania. This makes having a snow shovel and rock salt handy a must for any homeowner in order to clear a path out of the home, clear of any hazardous ice.

Here is a list of some of the other basic items you should have when moving into a new home:

  1. Ladders – At least a 6 foot ladder or longer for harder to reach places, like gutters. A small step stool should help with many small projects and is much easier to carry around.
  2. Spackle and blade – You’re bound to get dings and dents in your walls, especially after a move. Spackle will help touch up blemishes.
  3. Basic tools – Screw drivers, pliers, hammers and wrenches are a necessity to hanging up pictures and solving minor issues.
  4. Tape measure –  Tape measures are necessary for centering your wall decor and working on projects.
  5. Power tools – Tools that drill, cut and sand can always help speed up projects with less grunt work.
  6. Glues – Crazy glue, wood glue and standard glues always come in handy around the home.
  7. Tapes – Duct tape, electrical tape and painter’s tape are some examples.
  8. Lubricants – Canned lubricant like WD-40 can help with a squeaky door or stubborn window. Liquid wrench can help with rusty or over-tightened bolts should you need to take anything apart.
  9. Outdoor tools – Trowels, shovels, rakes, trimmers, loppers and other standard gardening tools will make life a lot easier when working in your garden.
  10. Outdoor power tools – Weed whackers, leaf blowers, chain saws and hedge trimmers make quick work of seasonal cleanups.
  11. Safety gear – Ear plugs, gloves and eye protection are always very important. A good hat won’t hurt for sun protection.

Home ownership requires a lot of work that many first-time buyers are unaware of, prompting a lot of back and forth trips to the hardware store to get everything they need when projects arise. It’s one of the unforeseen expenses in a home purchase that should be considered when buying a home. Any experienced homeowner can help new owners along the way by getting any number of necessary tools as a housewarming gift. Not only will it help them with any project they may come across, but it will also help them save some money along the way. For more information, contact a Class-Harlan Real Estate agent today!

Disclaimer: Class-Harlan Real Estate suggests that anyone considering home improvement or repair should do so at the level of experience and ability they are comfortable with. If one does not know how to repair something or does not have the appropriate training, either for the repair itself or the tools used to make such a repair, it is highly suggested that you seek professional help. Class-Harlan Real Estate does not encourage or condone any activity that may cause injury or damage. 

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Top 10 Tricks for Writing a Stand Out Offer

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Buying a home isn’t as simple as saying “I’ll take it!” and writing a check for the down payment. A lot goes into closing the deal, including negotiations on price, inspections, dealing with the bank, and more. Most importantly though, just like a seller must make their home appealing to buyer, a buyer must make their offer appealing to the seller or it may not even be considered. Sellers are looking for specific terms and conditions that benefit them the most, along with a great offer. By following these 10 tricks, you can be on your way to putting your offer on top of the pile.

Offer Price

The offer price is a huge factor in any home buying process. Deciding whether to submit an offer above, below, or at list price can be challenging to figure out, and one wrong move can send the seller running to the next offer. It takes a lot of real estate research on the area in which the house is located along with the housing market in general to ballpark an offer that has a high chance of being accepted. Luckily with a Class-Harlan Real Estate ally in your corner specializing in Bucks and Montgomery Counties, submitting a great offer becomes a lot easier. Using their know how and years of experience, submitting an offer that is fair and well-researched makes this process quick and easy.

No Seller Assist

Coming up with a 10%-20% down payment on a home can be financially straining for any buyer. That’s why many buyers try to exercise a seller assist option on their offer where the seller gives the buyer a credit (eg., 3%) to go towards buyer closing costs. While this can greatly help a buyer, it can throw up a few red flags for the seller, forcing them to pass on the offer. Usually when a buyer exercises this option, they offer to put down a minimal down payment. This can lead the seller to think the buyer’s financial situation is marginal. A buyer that does not exercise seller assist on the other hand may prove to be more financially stable with a lesser chance of the deal falling through.

Strong Down Payment

There’s multiple reasons to put a large down payment on a home including the reduction of overall interest payments, lower interest rates from lenders, smaller mortgage payments, and no need for PMI. For sellers looking for the perfect offer, a large down payment in a situation with competing offers can be a deal maker. Just like where a low-down payment with seller assist can hint at a marginal financial situation, a strong down payment can hint at a stellar financial situation where banks will be more likely to approve a mortgage. This is a big safety net for sellers by going with a buyer who’s deal will most likely not fall through rather than spending time on a buyer who’s deal may fall through.

Preferred Settlement Date

Timing can make a big difference in terms of which offer a seller accepts. If a seller wants to get out of their home as soon as possible so they can quickly move into their new home, it may be beneficial to try and set an early settlement date. On the other hand, if the seller wants 30 or 60 days before settlement, the buyer may need to be patient and set a settlement date further down the road than they would like. At the end of the day though, it all depends on if an agreeable date can be set for both parties. By working with your Class-Harlan Real Estate Agent, you can gain a better understanding of a preferred settlement date to set on that makes both parties happy.

Send a Letter with your Offer

There’s a reason a buyer is submitting an offer on a home. It could be the curb appeal, the school district, stellar upgrades, or any other number reasons that compelled them to submit an offer on one house in particular out of the countless homes on the market. That’s why instead of just telling their friends and family about why this is their dream home, they should tell the seller. An emotional appeal may not be as convincing as a stronger down payment or a high offer. However, an emotional appeal as to why a buyer is submitting their offer can sway the seller’s mind.

Inclusions and Exclusions

Inclusions and exclusions detail what will be included and excluded with the sale of the home. Simply put, this list will give insight as to what will and won’t come with the home such as a washing machine, chandeliers, or a refrigerator. Usually this list is hammered out during negotiations, but a buyer can save themselves and the seller a lot of time by being up front with what they want included with the sale. This is a great way for the buyer to convey their wishes to the seller up front in order to hammer out any issues immediately rather than during negotiations where the deal can fall apart due to a failure to compromise.

Waiving Inspections

Buyers have a great deal of protections when buying a home, and one of those protections is the inspection contingency. During this period, a buyer can have the home inspected to get a detailed report of anything that may need repairs. Based on this information a buyer can request that the seller make any repairs before agreeing to buy the home, and can even back out of a deal altogether. So why would anyone waive their right to an inspection?

First off, a buyer can back out of a deal for several reasons based on the inspection report without losing their earnest money deposit. A crack in the sidewalk can make a passive buyer back out of the deal, forcing the seller to relist their home. Secondly, it can be off-putting for a buyer to require the seller to repair everything on the list. From painting to repairing a wobbly doorknob, a seller can dissolve the deal if too many unreasonable requests are made.

Shorten Inspection Contingencies

If a buyer decides to go through with an inspection, they will have a certain time frame to get it done as well as any additional inspections that may be recommended by an inspector. If a lot of inspections need to be done, it’s good to have a long inspection contingency. However, in the current competitive real estate market, a long inspection contingency can push a buyer’s offer to the back of the line. Shortening the contingency period and scheduling inspections quickly during this period is key. It moves the process along faster, and decreases the chance of a third-party offer being accepted.

Cash Down

Putting a down payment in the area of 20% is huge in terms of submitting a stellar offer. What’s even better is putting that 20% down in cash! By doing so, a buyer will reduce his mortgage payments than if they put down a smaller down payment, lower his interest rate, and avoid needing PMI. Not only that, but it instills confidence in the seller that the buyer has the credit and finances to buy the home without issue from the bank.

However, cash down payments need to “season” in a bank account for anywhere between 30 to 60 days so a lender can ensure the validity of the money. For instance, if $20,000 showed up in a buyer’s bank account overnight, it may mean they took out a personal loan to cover the down payment. If this is the case, a lender will be less likely to give out a home loan because the potential buyer is already on the hook for a large loan, making the issuance of a larger second loan a very risky move.

Conventional Loan over VA or FHA Loans

Finally, the type of mortgage a buyer gets can dissolve a deal instantly. Conventional loans give a good amount of protections to the sellers in the form of minimum down payments to attract buyers who may be more financially ready to make an offer, while also using the borrower’s credit and debt-to-income ratios to determine eligibility for a loan. Of course, by having these protections in place, the seller’s mind is more at ease accepting an offer with a conventional loan.

On the other hand, FHA loans benefit the buyer by insuring loans to those with lower credit scores and who are only able to put down a minimal down payment of 3.5%. Similarly, VA loans offer the same benefits to those with lower credit scores and cash-on-hand, but require no down payment on the home at closing at all. Though FHA and VA loans can help certain individuals buy a home who may not have been able to with a conventional loan, it can be risky for a seller to accept an offer with an FHA or VA loan. Because most of the protections go to the buyer with these loans, the chances of a seller rejecting an offer for another with a conventional loan are higher.

These ten tips can help any buyer make an offer, and their dream home, become reality. Your Class-Harlan Real Estate agent can help get you on the right path by walking you through the home buying process. Call your Class-Harlan agent today, and get started on putting together a winning offer.

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Why Home Buyer Qualifications Matter to the Seller

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Why Home Buyer Qualifications Matter to the Seller

Buyer qualificationsSelling a home is a momentous occasion to say the least, but nothing beats that feeling of getting an offer after all the work that went into listing the home and preparing for each showing. But before popping the champagne, there’s one very important thing a seller needs to understand: an offer does not equal a sale. In fact, there’s a lot to consider before deciding to accept any offers. Do the buyers qualify for a mortgage? What kind of mortgage are they looking for? DO they have a home to sell first? These buyer qualifications may mean the difference between a successful transaction and an offer that will ultimately fail.

Financial Stability

Financial stability is the most obvious buyer qualification the seller should be aware of before executing a contract. A seller should always look into a potential buyer’s financial information in order to gain an understanding as to whether or not they’re qualified to buy this home. Even a pre-approved mortgage is not final, and can ultimately be denied. However, by acquiring a Buyer’s Financial Information Sheet (BFI), a seller can more accurately gauge the buyer’s ability to secure a loan. Simply put, a BFI can be requested by the seller in order for them to see a more detailed picture of the Buyer’s qualifications. This is done by breaking down income, liquid assets, liabilities, employment and more. Using this sheet, a determination can be made as to the likelihood of financing being approved without taking the home off the market.

Buyer qualifications also include employment status and career longevity. Also, determining if the Buyer’s purchase is contingent on them getting a financial gift is also a factor.

Mortgage Type

Traditional mortgages offer competitive rates and allow more flexibility to both the seller and buyer in order to close the deal. For example, if a deal is reached and the home is appraised by the buyer’s mortgage company at a value less than the sale price, the seller may either lower the price, or the buyer may continue with the purchase is acceptable to a mortgage lender. However, with private mortgages, if the buyer puts less than 20% down on the home, they must pay for Private Mortgage Insurance which will increase their monthly payments. This increase in price may prove too much of a financial burden, forcing the offer to be retracted.

FHA loans on the other hand give more protections to the buyer, while also presenting more opportunities for the deal to fall through. If a home is appraised less than the offer price and the seller does not lower the list price, the FHA loan will not be approved. Additionally, FHA loans allow for only 3.5% of the offer to be put down on the home at closing, while approving those with sub-par credit. This can throw up a financial red flag as to whether the buyer is able to pay for the home or if they will default.

Inspections, Repairs, and Maintenance

Inspections are a big part as to whether or not a deal goes through with regard to buyer qualifications. Inspectors leave no stone unturned to inform a buyer of any material defects with the property. Once the report is finalized, both parties have the chance to review it and negotiate what work may need to be done to the house and who will be responsible for completing the work. If the repair and maintenance bills are too much for either party to take on, or if the seller is trying to close the on the house as is, the deal could fall apart. It is critical for the seller to make the terms of the sale clear as to what they are willing and able to contribute towards repairs of the home so the buyer knows exactly what they are getting into.

Additionally, those looking to acquire an FHA loan must have the house appraised according to FHA requirements, which can be restrictive. Something simple as partially peeling paint or a faulty central air unit could result in a loan being denied until these issues are fixed. If a seller chooses to accept an offer with an FHA loan, they may be responsible for any repairs that are required, possibly placing a lot of financial strain on the seller in order to close the deal. Sellers may chose to hire their own inspector before accepting any offer to gain insight as to what may violate the terms of an FHA loan. If no major issues are found, the seller can be more confident in accepting an offer with an FHA loan.

As a seller, there are a lot of factors to look out for before accepting an offer. Once an offer is accepted, the home may be removed from the market as negotiations continue. If the deal falls through, the seller may very well have missed out on another offer being submitted by another prospective. This makes looking at a buyer’s qualifications a crucial factor in accepting any initial offer.

If you’re looking to sell your home, a dedicated Class-Harlan agent is ready to help. They’ll be able to sift through any offer to help find a qualified buyer for your home. Speak with a knowledgeable Class-Harlan agent today!

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The Importance of Curb Appeal

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The Importance of Curb Appeal

curb appealBucks County and Montgomery County, PA offer stunning landscapes, long distance vistas, rivers, lakes, farmland and an abundant assortment of living options. A simple Sunday drive can easily turn into a dream home window-shopping excursion. A house with the stone façade, an old Victorian with a huge backyard and outdoor colonial oven, and laundry list of other beautifully kept homes can all catch the eye of a number of passersby. The attention all these gorgeous homes attract are due to their respective curb appeal. Without it, these homes may simply blend into the background, turning a selling opportunity into a liability.

Curb appeal refers to the outside presentation of a home, and the first impression of any home can draw in a lot of potential buyers. From simple pleasing aesthetics, to making a house feel like a home before a potential buyer even walking through the door, curb appeal can be a seller’s best friend.

Aesthetics and Natural Draw

Potential buyers are naturally drawn in by the first impression of a home. The more properly maintained and aesthetically appealing it looks from the outside, the more willing a buyer is to explore the inside. It’s the appeal that turns the heads of countless cyclists, drivers, and joggers as they pass by. If left unkempt, the heads stop turning and the natural draw will fade. When thinking about the curb appeal of a home, it’s important to ask a few simple questions:

Is the lawn properly maintained and clear of any unsightly weeds or brown spots?

  • Does the house need painting?
  • Does the roof look like it needs to be replaced?
  • Are the hedges and decorative shrubbery all properly trimmed?
  • Do any trees look like they need pruning?
  • Does the home or deck need a power washing?

Viewing a home through the lens of a buyer can help answer these questions and can even uncover new ways to improve the aesthetics of a home. Quick fixes and a weekend’s worth of simple landscaping projects can greatly improve a home’s curb appeal and draw much greater attention.

Impression of Less Maintenance

curb appealNobody buys a home to start raking leafs or trim hedges. Homes that give an impression of less maintenance is a big plus to any potential buyer. Even something simple like an unkempt tree can scare away otherwise interested parties out of fear for an expensive future tree removal job. Taking care of these issues up front will put any buyer’s mind at ease and a smile on their face as they ask to see the inside.

Turn a Negative into a Positive

A crack in the path to the front door, or an unsightly electric meter oddly placed in the front of a home can raise the eyebrow of a potential buyer. Although these issues don’t effect the structural integrity of a home, blemishes like these in a home’s curb appeal can detract potentially interested individuals. Unfortunately, issues like these can require an ample amount of time and money to fix. In order to avoid these distractions, a homeowner can use a little creativity to draw the attention away from these negatives while improving their home’s overall curb appeal. Draw attention away from the crack by planting flowers on either side of the path, or hide the meter with a flowering shrub. Some creative thinking is all it takes to mask any blemishes to make a home look perfect.

Welcome Home

Selling a home all comes down to making the buyer feel like their already home. A lot of work goes into the inside of the house to achieve this goal, but that initial “wow” factor a potential buyer gets while pulling up to the home for the first time is critical. Presentation is everything in showing off a home’s potential, and all that hard work by the homeowner to cover the electric meter and trim that old tree will go far in making complete strangers feel like their already home.

Get the Offer You Want

curb appeal bucks countyFrom remodeling the kitchen to making essential repairs, a lot of work goes into improving a home’s value before putting it on the market. After all, like any good investment, the more you put into it, the more you should get out of it. Yet all that hard work done indoors to increase the list price can be lost if poor curb appeal is discouraging potential buyers from walking through the front door. Spending a weekend or two to improve a home’s curb appeal can immediately catch the eye of multiple interested buyers. This increased demand can translate into receiving quicker offers and bids close to or even above the home’s list price.

The agents at Class-Harlan Real Estate are experts in preparing any home to be put on the market. With some of the most experienced agents in Bucks County, their agents will help you decide which projects are most important in improving your home’s curb appeal so you can start drawing in potential buyers immediately. Maximize on your investment by contacting a Class-Harlan agent today.

Considering selling your home? Click here to speak to one of our knowledgeable agents today!

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Water: Important Considerations When Choosing a Home

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Water: Important Considerations When Choosing a Home

Class Harlan Public Water Bucks CountyWater is a vitally important utility. Think about all the things we use it for: drinking, cooking and cleaning. There isn’t a day where you don’t turn on a faucet somewhere in your home. Yet this utility sometimes drifts towards the bottom of the list of things to consider when choosing a home.

If you are looking for real estate in Bucks County or Montgomery County, you will encounter both city water (public) and well (private) setups for a home. There are significant differences between the two that should be considered carefully when choosing a property.

Private Water

Private water is almost always brought into your home via a well. A pump draws the water out from the well and a tank in the home provides the pressure needed to move the water throughout the dwelling.

There are important considerations when considering a home with a well.

Quality and Treatment

Well water can be the best tasting water you can have, and many appreciate it as a feature in their home. Since you are literally pulling the water from the ground, your well can be susceptible to virtually anything that can seep into the ground. It’s important to get the water tested during the inspection process and once the home is yours, it’s entirely up to the owner to test the cleanliness and safety of the water.

Common contaminants can include:

  • Pesticides – using fertilizers and pesticides may help beautify your property but can also contaminate your water. Homes in close proximity to crop fields may have elevated instances of pesticides
  • E. Coli – damaged septic systems or area farming can also infect your well with E. coli, which is a dangerous bacteria that can wreak havoc on your health.

Testing kits are easily available and affordable, and it is recommended that you test annually for contaminants. If there are unsafe levels of a contaminant such as E. coli, you may need to shock your system with chlorine and other agents to kill off the bacteria.

So long as your well is in a good location and you take proper care of your well, there are few better options for clean, pure and un-tampered water.

Cost of Ownership

In addition to testing and potential disinfection, the owner of a well has to manage the entire system and should any part of that system fail, it’s up to the owner to fix. Think of a well system as a furnace or central air system; it’s part of the mechanics of your home and as such, may need occasional maintenance and possible replacement. A knowledgeable real estate agent can help further explain a well system and some of these costs.

If one is not already in place, most owners of well systems opt to install water filtration systems to remove contaminants. These systems can also include UV light filtration which will kill bacteria like E. Coli. They can run from several hundred to a couple thousand dollars for multiple stage units and is a solid investment for your home and also you and your family’s health. They, too, require occasional maintenance.

That being said, all the water you do draw from the ground is free.

In Real Estate

Lenders may require that a water test be performed as part of the inspection process. While this shouldn’t delay a real estate transaction, it is another factor. If there is an issue with water quality, it is usually up to the seller to remediate.

Other Considerations

We’ve all heard the term ‘the well has run dry,’ and a home’s well system can indeed run dry during a period of drought. This can be fairly devastating when you think about all the things you use water for. You can purchase bottled water but in severe drought conditions, you can start to see shortages at grocery stores.

Another consideration is the loss of water during a power outage. Since your pump relies on electricity, a power outage will effectively turn you system off. Many homeowners with private wells choose to get a generator, which come with additional costs to install and maintain.

Lastly, pressure can be more easily impacted depending on how many utilities or faucets are being used. When it comes to pressure, you are at the mercy of your pressure tank and how quickly your pump can keep it full. If multiple people are showering and you have other appliances such as a dishwasher and a washing machine going, you can expect to see a drop in pressure.

Public Water

Class Harlan Water Options for Bucks CountyPublic water is seen as a more hands off, hassle free source. It’s treated at a plant via underground infrastructure and brought to the curb of your home. You pay for the service based on usage (much like electricity,) and any problems with the system leading to your location will be dealt with by the utility company. Furthermore, any issues with contamination will be dealt with by the utility company as well.

There are some important considerations with public water.

Quality and Treatment

City water is regularly monitored and should be fairly consistent in quality, yet it is not immune from contaminants. It is also treated with chlorines, which some people may not like the taste of, and can still include trace chemicals and contaminants. Depending on your location, the infrastructure can be old and be susceptible to bursts and contamination. As an example, New York City workers often encounter pipes that have been installed in the 1800’s. Public water can also be hard.

Cost of Ownership

Owners are charged either via a bill or through a tax. For the former, it is usually based on usage similar to electricity. Owners are also responsible for the piping that brings the supply from the curb to the home. Any issues that take place on the property are the owner’s responsibility.

Like private well owners, homeowners frequently opt to install and subsequently maintain a softener and other filtration systems to correct hardness and to remove other contaminants that affect quality and taste.

In Real Estate

Public water is typically seen as a plus from lenders since it represents a more stable cost of ownership and maintenance. There are no required tests, making it one less thing to worry about during the inspection phase of a real estate transaction.

Interested in buying or selling in Bucks or Montgomery County? Speak with one of our knowledgeable agents today to get started!

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