Friday, April 24, 2009

3 Reasons Why it's a Great Time to be a First Time Homebuyer in Bucks County

Oh, I know Realtors get a bad rap for the constant refrain, "Now's the time to buy!" but in all honesty, conditions are coming together to create a perfect opportunity for first time homebuyers to buy a home in Bucks County.

1. Inventory is HIGH, Prices are DOWN, Sellers are REASONABLE

As of today, there are 1,440 residential homes for sale in Bucks County priced under $300,000. Within that inventory, there are singles, townhomes, condos, historic farmhouses, etc. Year-to-date median price for Bucks County homes has gone from $292,000 in March of 2008 to $260,000 in March of 2009. Sellers know what the market is like, and we're seeing fewer and fewer homeowners pricing their homes at peak pricing. Reality has set in, and Sellers have made adjustments to their expectations.

2. $8,000 of Free Money from the Government

I'm sure you've heard of the First Time Homebuyer credit that was included in the stimulus bill signed in February. As of right now, you must settle on your new home before December 1, 2009 in order to qualify. For more information on the tax credit click here.

3. Interest Rates are REALLY Low

As of Tuesday of this week, FHA mortgage rates were at 5% with 0 points and a FICO of 620 or higher. Because you only need to put 3.5% down on an FHA loan, we are seeing a re-birth of this product...and the rates were at FIVE PERCENT. Just to give you a point of reference, when I purchased my home in 1998, we paid 7% and that rate was considered "good." We re-financed in 2003 and paid two points to get 5% and I distinctly remember saying to my husband, "Oh my God! We'll never be able to touch this interest rate again in our lifetime!" Here we are 6 years later, and we're at 5% with 0 points for FHA. Unbelievable.

If you think you might be interested in starting a home search, please don't hesitate to contact me. I also have a snazzy new website where you can search listings, and also sign up for "Daily Listing Alerts" where you'll get an email every day of the properties just hitting the market.

Interested? Just click the button and register!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Bucks County Open House in Eagle Ridge / Newtown - April 19th from 1-3

You get another chance to view this beautiful home located in Eagle Ridge in Newtown Township. I'll be hosting an open house at this great house on Sunday 4/19 from 1-3.

112 Fair Oaks Court
Newtown Township / Council Rock School District

It's huge for a townhome at 1,468 square feet, 2 bedrooms and 1.5 baths, and I continue to get extremely positive feedback on our pricing and condition.

Take advantage of the first time homebuyer credit of $8,000 and live right outside Historic Newtown Borough with his charm, restaurants, and killer ice cream shop.

Want more information or additional pictures and a virtual tour? Visit our website:

See you there!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Why Appraisers May Be Doing Buyers (and Agents) Dirty Work in the Future

For the first time, ever, in my real estate career, I'm seeing homes not appraise for the contract price.

Now, some may think this is long overdue, and that appraisers are finally doing their job the RIGHT way. I'm of the opinion that appraisers were doing their job the right way all along - houses were worth those inflated prices because people were willing to pay those inflated prices. If houses are worth what a Buyer is willing to pay....well, I'm getting off track here.

Anyhow, the fact of the matter is that appraisers are now under direct scrutiny, and they're being a lot more stringent about how they perform their appraisals. I'm hearing (and our office reporting) of a lot more deals falling through because the home did not appraise at the contract price.

What does this mean for Buyers and Agents?

Well, it lets us off the hook just a bit, doesn't it? No longer can Sellers overprice their home against their Realtor's advice and hope that someone, somewhere will pay their inflated pricing. I mean, sure they can still do it, but that appraisal is going to kill any deal they get at their inflated pricing, unless they are willing to lower their price to the appraisal price.

For Buyers, a appraisal can be your very best friend. It can shave a few thousand dollars off your contract price. Of course, it can kill the deal, as well, but in most cases, the Seller is more than willing to compromise with you to get the deal done.

What does this mean for Sellers?

Comps, comps, and more comps! Make sure that your asking price is backed up by good, solid, CURRENT comps. You can't overprice by $5,000 and hope you can squeeze a little bit out of your home. There's no squeezing anything at this point (except your proceeds). Don't look at it as a loss - you probably wouldn't get that extra $5,000 anyway. Look at as you are priced right.

Secondly, keep an eye on your Seller's Assist numbers. Previously, no one had a second thought about jacking the contract price up to accommodate a Seller's Assist. Those days are gone. Your house needs to appraise at the contract price, not at your net price. If you're offering a Seller's Assist, figure on taking it off of your current price.

There are new procedures going into place in May that will affect how lenders order appraisals, and I expect some fall out in pricing to result. It's more important than ever that you keep appraisals in mind when pricing, or purchasing a home.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Bucks County Open House 4/5 from 1-3

I'm holding an open house at a really great new lisiting in Wrightstown, PA on April 5th from 1-3 p.m. Stop in and visit with me!

114 Midland Road



This renovated home has 4 bedrooms, 2 full baths, and an amazing 25 x 16 family room. It's in the Anchor Estates development, and in the Council Rock School District (Wrightstown Elementary School).

As always, you can visit the Prudential Fox & Roach website and search for the open houses for the week.