Category Archives: home buyers

Understanding – Home Inspections

If you are selling your home it is very important that you understand how important various home inspections are.

Bucks County Home Downsizing

Home Selling Tips PA NJIf you are planning on selling your home, you can count on a qualified buyer spending money out of their own pocket to have an independent third party conduct a home inspection. This is a virtual certainty in today’s market. For a seller, this can be an extremely stressful time. Let’s face it, as sellers we all think our home is just fine. We’ve live there a long time and often overlook small seemingly insignificant things as we go about our lives. However, you can count on a home inspector to find just about everything wrong with your home. They will generate a report often 40 pages in length with pictures to document their discoveries. Often times this is where a seller can become insulted and frustrated and a buyer can begin to have second thoughts. Having a strategy in place and remaining calm is very important.

That’s not all…in addition to a home inspection, your local municipality may also require very specific inspections on things like chimney, fire places, septic systems, smoke detectors, carbon detectors, building permits for work that was done on your home, sidewalks and more. So, getting an understanding of what the process is and how to prepare for it is very important. Townships call these mandatory inspections either their Certificate of Occupancy or Use and Occupancy inspections. There is always a fee to the local township for filing the paperwork and for their inspector to come out.  Sellers will usually receive a list of items that the township will inspect. Often these items are safety related items, but understand that not all township requirements will be listed on their list of requirements. This can be a frustrating time. Items identified in these local township inspections are mandatory and must be addressed and corrected in order to have a house settlement. If the seller does not get a clear Certificate of Occupancy, then settlement may not happen. Lastly, in addition to the township certificate of occupancy requirements, many townships also require an inspection by the local fire marshal, who will check for smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and the placement of fire extinguishers. Again, every township is different so you will want to check your local requirements.

This is part of a continuing series of articles by Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers, who service Pennsylvania and New Jersey and specialize in real estate, property management, home content downsizing and estate sale services. These tips and insights are especially important and true in the environment we are in today, with the global economy turned upside down, massive job losses, and the need for extreme social distancing due to the Corona Virus, which causes the COVID-19 disease.

Selling a home can be a stressful experience for most homeowners. When it comes to home inspections, most homeowners are not used to having a stranger peer into their attic, open every cupboard and closet or test every appliance. For some, this stress can turn into a major nightmare.

While most sellers look at inspectors as the bearers of only bad news, there are some positive factors. Often times, in today’s market, sellers contract with a home inspector to conduct an audit prior to putting their house on the market. Home Inspectors can give sellers the opportunity to make repairs that will put the house in better selling condition. Home inspections can ensure a smooth transaction and assist sellers in receiving the asking price. Maintaining your cool, as a seller is a must. Please remember that most Real Estate transactions can be emotional between buyer and seller. It is very important that both buyer and seller have an open mind and be amenable to compromise. We can tell you that if both parties are not flexible and reasonable when reviewing the home inspection and the township certificate of occupancy reports that is will be unlikely that the transaction will go forward. All properties no matter how old or new they are will inevitability have things come up that will need to be addressed or negotiated by the buyer and the seller. It is very important that both parties understand that.  Nothing in the reports should be taken personally. Some things are safety related issues and some things in the reports are things that are broken or defective, all parties should be open minded for a deal to be completed.

Here are three tips for navigating the home inspection process:

1. Be prepared for the inevitable.
When the home inspector comes through and begins pointing out flaws, many homeowners take the comments personally. This is why it’s important to make sure that your house is ready for inspection. Before the inspection process, it can be helpful to do a walk-through of the home yourself and note potential issues. By taking a really hard look at your home prior to putting it on the market will reduce the shock when the inspector points them out, and it will give them the opportunity to fix it preemptively.

2. Be proactive.
Before the inspector arrives, as a seller, you will want to decide if you want to be in the house during the inspection. You can count on the buyers being present during the inspection, which can take several hours. It can be very helpful for a seller to be prepared to answer questions that the inspector may have such as repairs, stains, leaks and other commonly asked buyer and inspector questions. This can help alleviate any tense or awkward moments.

3. Remain calm and focus on your goal.
When the time comes for the actual inspection process, sellers should be reminded that the home inspector is simply doing his or her job. It is important for all parties to remember this especially when the inspector comments on the improper installation of their favorite fixture. If the buyers are present during the inspection it is very important for the sellers to understand that often times the home inspection, with all the emotions that may be associated with it can terminate a deal. Every seller thinks their house is a castle and every buyer wants price concessions or repairs made by the seller for often even the smallest home inspection identified issues. This is often where deals blow up. Buyers an sellers have a meeting of the mind relative to price and conditions but inspections can and often do throw a monkey wrench in things. Keeping a level head and being open minded to negotiations from buyer and seller is important as this is often the home stretch in getting a reasonable real estate transaction done. Both parties need to understand the importance of giving and taking. It is important for sellers to take the emotion out of the situation. Sellers should be reminded to keep their eye on the bigger picture, which is their goal of selling their home in the first place and getting the best return on their investment and finding a new home.

Lastly, sellers should be made aware that a home inspection is just the first step. Often times, as noted earlier, local townships also require a certificate of occupancy inspection. C of O inspections often focus on safety issues ranging from sidewalks, steps, railings, smoke detectors, carbon detectors, septic tanks, chimney, heating ventilation systems, and will also check to see if proper permits were taken out for work done on the house. If a buyer is financing the purchase with an FHA or VA mortgage there will be additional inspections, so having a sellers house in order is critical for any deal to move forward towards settlement. Additionally, FHA and VA backed mortgages require the seller make the necessary repairs to a home prior to mortgage approval and settlement.

For more insights, tips and videos please visit our Resource Page in the About us tab.

For more information on real estate or home downsizing please contact Nick Santoro or Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers at 215-485-9272 or 908-368-1909. Personal Property Managers specializes in helping home owners transition from their home of many years into a new community. Personal Property Managers services Pennsylvania and New Jersey and offers downsizing services, estate sales services, home staging, discount full service real estate services via its association with EveryHome Realty. Learn more about Personal Property Managers from our recent News Stories.

Tips for Buying or Selling a home in the Corona Virus Era

Tips for Buying or Selling a Home during the Corona virus era

Bucks County Home Downsizing

Property Manager PA NJWe wanted to share some insights with you in handeling Real Estate…now, specifically buying and selling a home during the challenging times we are currently facing with the global Coronavirus outbreak.

First and foremost, we want to give thanks to the brave men and women who are out on the front line; our first responders, healthcare workers, medical personnel and support providers. Secondly, we ask all to practice safety and social distancing during this national emergency.This is part of an on-going series of real estate articles by Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers ( www.personalpropertymanagers.com ) who service Pennsylvania and New Jersey and specialize in real estate, home content downsizing, senior transition services, property management and estate sales.

So, what do you do if you are trying to sell a home or would like to buy a home now…in the middle of a national emergency?

We would like to share some tips and insights with you to help better understand the Real Estate process in these most unusual times.

So, let’s take a look at the facts, which are very important in determining a game plan for Real Estate whether you are buying or selling a home now, in these most troubling and confusing of times.

At the time of the writing of this article, just about 7 weeks into the COVID-19 / Corona Virus shutdown, we have seen over 33 million people laid off and file for unemployment in the US. This is a staggering number, with 1 in 5 Americans either furloughed or permanently laid off. We have seen unemployment go from statistically full at 3.5% to 20%.

We have seen 3.7 million people test positive with the virus, with about one third of those in the United states at over 1.2 million.   We have seen over 260,000 deaths world wide with over 75,000 in the US. To put this in perspective, the amount of fatalities in the US from the virus is more than the total deaths in the Vietnam war and the Afghanistan and Iraq wars combined.

What does this mean for Real Estate in the US?

We have seen listings drop over 70% during this time. Therefore, inventor is lower. We have seen transactions under contract drop 80%. Over two thirds of all sales in our area are now under $400,000.

What does this all mean? It means that the market has shifted from a sellers’ market to a buyers’ market, with the advantage now to buyers, because there are fewer of them and consumer confidence is low due to the uncertainty and the job market.

Real estate transactions are classified as essential services in most areas. People need a place to live. Of course, all activities during this time are dynamic, fluid and ever changing, so check your local state guidelines for more information.

The first thing we all need to do is practice social distancing. This is very important.

With social distancing, for sellers, it will be important to update your pictures posted on line, and if possible work with your Realtor to video your home for viewing on a virtual tour. During this time more and more people will be shopping and viewing properties from their computer or smart phone. Creativity and imagination are important during this time. Keep this in mind, especially if you are a seller.

Open houses are no longer permitted for obvious reasons, so pictures and videos will play and even more important role, now more than ever to give prospective buyers a better feel for the listed property. This is a time when more pictures and video is better.

Unlike traditional home previews and showings, we have found that homes that are completely empty, where the sellers have moved out already, seem to be highly desirable for todays buyers. This goes against past practices with recommendations for home staging and is a sign of the times we are in. This is true for several reasons. The first is that with the house empty, there may be less risk for germs which are top of mind today. The second reasons is that a buyer may be able to move their family in immediately.

Buyer home visits are permitted on an area by area basis, but should be kept at an absolute minimum. We recommend that separate cars be taken when driving out to view the property; agent in one car and buyers in the other car. Practice social distancing. We also recommend that you wear gloves and masks for even more protection. We recommend that the sellers not be in the home and to leave about a half an hour before all buyer appointments. We recommend that sellers clean and disinfect everywhere possible before and after a showing, such as door knobs, surfaces, counters, light switches, faucets and even the lock box. We recommend that you wash your hands often.

We suggest that sellers turn on all lights and open closets and doors prior to a buyer visit, again to eliminate or reduce the need for others to touch things in your home.

We recommend that buyers only bring a minimal amount of family members or friends with them when looking at a house, again being mindful of local distancing and safety guidelines.

For buyers, please understand that your agent may not wish to be right next to you touring the house room by room, and may in fact wish to wait in the car, as all are parties are encouraged to practice social distancing.

We even recommend the agents FaceTime or do Zoom video tours with buyer clients if pictures, video and virtual tours are not published or just do not provide enough information or property views to assist a buyer in their evaluation.

Tips for home Sellers:

  • Virtual tours and home videos are an absolute must for today’s buyer who want to preview a property before going outside or even considering it
  • Clean, clean, clean and then declutter your home. This is especially important now as more and more people are viewing homes in advance via videos, so cleaned out countertops, closets, garages and rooms in general are very important. You want to give an impression of largeness, cleanliness, and openness
  • Price your home to sell. With this being a buyers’ market and credit tight, properly pricing your home is critical. Work with your Realtor to do a detailed comparative market analysis to help you.
  • Vacant homes are more desirable for buyers today, because the risk of germs is greatly reduced
  • Neutral colors. 98% of buyers today want neutral color as opposed to bold colors. Remove wallpaper and boarders. 79% of buyers prefer the light gray colors that are so popular today

Buyer insights:

  • Make sure that you are pre-approved for a mortgage before house shopping
  • Mortgage interest rates are very low and near historically low levels.
  • Deals. There are plenty of deals out there for eager home sellers, so take advantage of this if you are pre-qualified

What about settling a property during this time of national emergency?

We want to stress again, that we are all experiencing something unknown in our nation’s history, so all current guidelines (national, state and local) are changing and are being updated on a daily basis, with the priority on safety, caution and saving lives. So, with this said, many things that were requirements in a settlement such as Certificates of Occupancy and Smoke Certifications are now being done on an honor system because many offices are closed. But be sure that when this national crisis ends, local governments will be spot checking settlements done during this time to verify that all safety requirements are met and that people who said these elements were satisfied were actually met. If they find that there was false information provided, or safety elements such as smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers or hand railings that were not actually done, then severe fines and penalties will be imposed. Everyone is doing the best that they can during this time. Honesty, good faith, safety, common sense and social distancing must be the responsibility of everyone.

Lastly, many settlement elements can be done remotely with wire transfers and electronic signatures and FaceTime, so whenever and wherever possible utilize these tools.For more insights, tips and videos please visit our Resource Page in the About us tab.

For more information on real estate or home downsizing please contact Nick Santoro or Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers at 215-485-9272 or 908-368-1909. Personal Property Managers specializes in helping home owners transition from their home of many years into a new community. Personal Property Managers services Pennsylvania and New Jersey and offers downsizing services, estate sales services, home staging, discount full service real estate services via its association with EveryHome Realty. Learn more about Personal Property Managers from our recent News Stories.

Merry Christmas & Seasons Greetings

On behalf of our team at Personal Property Managers (www.personalpropertymanagers.com) we wish you and your family a happy Holiday Season and a Merry Christmas. As you enter the new year and need help with moving, home downsizing, home cleanout, home content sale and liquidation, full-service discount real estate services, home watch services or property management give us a call. With Personal Property Managers…one call does it all. Contact Nick Santoro or Joe Santoro.

Top 5 House Flipping Mistakes – 22

PPM smaller version Podcast - picture - final version 2-13-19

This podcast will share with you the top 5 house flipping mistakes to avoid. For more information contact Joe Santoro or Nick Santoro of Personal Property Managers at www.personalpropertymanagers.com

Personal Property Managers specializes in: Home Downsizing, Home Cleanout Services, Estate Sales, Home Content Liquidation, Property Management, Absentee Home Watch, Moving, Full Service Discount Real Estate Services, Home Sales, Home Buyer Services, and Elder Care Services. With Personal Property Managers, one call does it all.

 

Home Selling Tips for Pet Owners

If you are selling your home it is very important that you understand how important it is to make your home pet neutral.

If Home selling tips for pet owners: Removing signs of pets can help a home sell faster and for more money

pet lover 4

News flash…although you may love your pet and feel that it’s a part of the family, not everyone may feel the same way, especially prospective home buyers who may be turned off by pet odors, worn yards and scratches on floors and walls. So, what is a home seller with pets to do?

We are sharing insights to pet owners who are trying to sell your home. In fact, we advise animal-owning sellers to rid their home of any evidence of pet damage or animal scents before opening their doors to potential buyers.

Appealing to buyers who may not love pets as much as you do can boost your chances of getting top dollar for your house.

This is part of a continuing series of articles by Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers, who service Pennsylvania and New Jersey and specialize in real estate, property management, home content downsizing and estate sale services.

Addressing Outside Pet Needs
While a spacious backyard is a plus in the eyes of most buyers, pet-related landmines and holes typically aren’t on a buyer’s list of wants. To get your yard visitor-ready, we recommend filling in any doggy-dug holes and scooping the poop.

Additionally, be sure to check your fencing, deck, and porch for any marks from scratching or chewing. Most pet-related scratches and damage can be easily repaired with a little sandpaper and stain.

Addressing Inside Pet Needs
First impressions are everything, but dog toys and pet odors don’t exactly enhance a home’s initial appeal. Get your home ready by ousting any evidence of pets, including:
• Pet belongings. Collect toys, bowls, beds, crates, cat trees, and litter boxes and keep them out of sight. We even recommend hiding pet photos.
 Scents. Get rid of potentially off-putting animal scents by lighting candles, opening windows, or hiring a professional carpet cleaning crew to deodorize your domicile.
• Scratches. If your hardwood floors have a few battle scars to show for their years of being trodden upon by pets, consider having them resurfaced.
• Remove Your Pet(s). Leaving your pet in the house during showings isn’t the best idea. They could dart out an open door or pose a liability issue if they behave in a less-than-friendly manner toward strangers. If you can’t take your pets with you, let a friend or relative care for them or board them at a kennel.

Please remember that you only have one time to make a good first impression, be that a buyer or with other realtors, so please keep this in mind if you are a home seller with pets. You do not want to sabotage your chances of success by not being mindful of other people’s opinions of pets.

For more insights, tips and videos please visit our Resource Page in the About us tab.

For more information on real estate or home downsizing please contact Nick Santoro or Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers at 215-485-9272 or 908-368-1909. Personal Property Managers specializes in helping home owners transition from their home of many years into a new community. Personal Property Managers services Pennsylvania and New Jersey and offers downsizing services, estate sales services, home staging, discount full service real estate services via its association with EveryHome Realty. Learn more about Personal Property Managers from our recent News Stories.

How to determine your house worth

How much is your house really worth? Top 3 home valuation methods



                  503 Hogan Ct,

                  Doylestown,
                  PA
                  18901

What is the valuation of your home?

You are probably aware that that the Greater Philly and New Jersey housing market is doing well right now, but do you know how much your house is worth in today’s market? When we often met with clients, like lots of people, they have gone online prior to our meeting and looked up the value of their home, so they thought; right? Does this describe you?

It’s pretty easy. Google your address and like magic, up pops several online sites that will provide information on your house, such as number of bedrooms and bathroom and square footage. Sometimes they even show a picture of your home and sometimes they even will show an estimated valuation price of what your home may be worth. For a lot of people they take this number as gospel and look to us for verification of this number. Sometimes the estimated valuation number is close to the correct value of their home, but other times it’s way off. Did you know that the CEO of one of the largest online home sites sold his home a while back, and that he sold it for 40% less than what his own site said the home was worth?

This is part of an on-going series of real estate articles by Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers who service Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Personal Property Managers is a home sale specialist maximizing the sales value of our clients property, and also provides home content downsizing, senior transition services, property management and estate sales.

These online sites have many different names for their rough home valuations. Did you know that they often fail to take into consideration floor plans, swimming pools, frontage, interior and exterior updates and upgrades? Please do not make the mistake of hitting the market without an expert valuation from a local Realtor who takes everything into account when pricing your home for sale.

Nick Santoro says that when you value homes, there are three methods that you should use to determine a property’s value. Whether or not you plan to sell your home any time soon, knowing the value of your home is often the starting point for making wise financial decisions.

Another factor that is very important to consider is that almost all buyers will need some form of financing such as a mortgage. We are sharing with you the top 3 methods that they use when determining a homes valuation and thus the amount of mortgage that they will provide and approve. They are:

1. The Cost Approach
The cost approach works by analyzing what it would cost to build the property in today’s market, adding the current value of the parcel of land on which it sits and then subtracting a factor for obsolescence or depreciation. This method is rarely impactful as resale homes are heavily influenced by supply and demand. If there are too many homes for sale, cost will have no bearing on valuations, as sellers will have to compete to get them sold. Fortunately, the opposite is true as well. If there are too few homes on the market, buyers very well might have to pay a premium to have a seller part with her property.

2. The Income Approach
The income approach is typically used with investment properties. The net income a property generates (net operating income) is used to derive a market value based on a multiple of the property’s annual income. Generally speaking, the more income a property generates, the more it is worth.

3. The Sales Comparison Approach
The sales comparison approach, also known as the market approach, works by looking at the supply and demand for similar homes. We look at similar homes that are for sale, the selling prices of similar properties that have recently changed hands, and how many similar homes that have failed to sell recently.

It is important to look at homes on an apples to apples comparison. We are talking about comparing the number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, home style, square footage, lot size, school district, location, updates and upgrades, curb appeal, roof, HVAC systems, overall condition, geographic proximity to your home / subject property. Also look at what may need to be done to the property to bring it up to current market demand conditions, and the cost to do so.

Additionally, many clients look at the price that other homes are listed for in their area. This is a mistake. This may be fine for an overall feel, but the real measure is looking at what similar homes have actually sold for. This is what your lenders will be looking at. It often does not matter what houses are listed for, what really matters is what similar houses have sold for. As licensed Realtors, we can share this analysis with you by conducting something called a Comparative Market Analysis or CMA.

The prices of homes are then adjusted upwards or downwards based upon how they compare with other properties that have sold, are listed and the overall condition of the property in comparison to other like properties; then, by averaging the prices of the comparable properties, an appropriate value is determined for the subject property.

The Best Method
To find the real value of your home, you should use all three approaches, but heavily weigh the findings from the sales comparison approach.

Remember, all markets are subject to supply and demand, and if more supply is needed, then the cost of creating additional supply will affect the values of the supply that is already in the market, over the long run.

Following the methods above will help you determine an accurate value for your home. Then, with an understanding of current market factors, you can develop a well-informed strategy regarding when to sell and buy a home.

If you need help coming up with a plan or determining your home’s value, please give us a call or look us up on the net at http://www.personalpropertymanagers.com We are home sale specialists. We not only can help you sell your property at the best possible price, but we also offer a best in class seller acceleration program to help get your home ready for sale by downsizing and de-cluttering it and helping to liquidate the contents. For a truly one call does it all solution, contact us today for a free evaluation.

For more insights, tips and videos please visit our Resource Page in the About us tab.

For more information on real estate or home downsizing please contact Nick Santoro or Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers at 215-485-9272 or 908-368-1909. Personal Property Managers specializes in helping home owners transition from their home of many years into a new community. Personal Property Managers services Pennsylvania and New Jersey and offers downsizing services, estate sales services, home staging, discount full service real estate services via its association with EveryHome Realty. Learn more about Personal Property Managers from our recent News Stories.

Selling your home? Should you accept the offer or not? – 15

PPM smaller version Podcast - picture - final version 2-13-19

If you are selling your home, this podcast will help you to evaluate whether to accept a buyer offer or not. For more information contact Joe Santoro or Nick Santoro of Personal Property Managers at www.personalpropertymanagers.com

Personal Property Managers specializes in: Home Downsizing, Home Cleanout Services, Estate Sales, Home Content Liquidation, Property Management, Absentee Home Watch, Moving, Full Service Discount Real Estate Services, Home Sales, Home Buyer Services, and Elder Care Services. With Personal Property Managers, one call does it all.