Thursday, July 22, 2010

Average Sold Price for Homes in Bucks County, PA and Council Rock School District - June 2010

We continue to see stable pricing for homes in Bucks County, PA, as indicated by both the Median and Average sold home prices year - over -year for June.

Below are the home price statistics for Bucks County:

Median Price is UP 3.4% to $299,900
Average Price is UP 1% to $339,820.

Council Rock School District home prices also remained stable:

Median Price is UP 1.4% to $388,000
Average Price is UP 0.5% to $433,595

Would you like to know your numbers for your school district, township or neighborhood? Give me a call or shoot me an email, and I'll be happy to send over your numbers!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tax Appeal Process - Bucks County, PA

As home prices have declined, many homeowners in Bucks County, PA are appealing their tax assessment with the Bucks County Board of Assessment. The deadline to appeal your Bucks County Tax Assessment is August 2, 2010.

Bucks County Tax Appeal

How do you determine if your home is over-assessed?

The STEB ratio handed down by the state for 2011 fair market calculations is .109. To determine the fair market value of your home, take your tax assessment and divide it by .109. For example, let's say your tax assessment is 64,000, to determine your fair market value, you would perform the calculation below:

64,000 / .109 = 587,155

Therefore, the fair market value indicated by your tax assessment is $587,155.

What if you think your home is work only $450,000?

You would submit a Residential Appeal to the Bucks County Board of Assessment, no later than August 2, 2010. Submit a Bucks County Residential Appeal Form with a check for the $25 filing fee. With this form, you will need to include some sort of documentation to support your opinion of fair market value of the home. It could be an appraisal, a HUD-1 from a recent sale in the last 18 months, or simply a list of similar homes that have sold in the past year.

Once the county receives your appeal, they will schedule a hearing in which you appear before the board with your evidence. Once you have your hearing, they will notify you by mail of any changes made to your 2011 tax assessment.

Need some help finding out just what your tax assessment is? Give me a call or shoot me an email! I'll be happy to provide you with your tax assessment, as well as give you a list of recently sold homes in your neighborhood.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

How I Won a $50,000 Jackpot by Re-Financing My Home (And how you can too if you have a 5-7 year old mortgage)

c184051_m I just won $50,000 today!  (‘Kay, not really, but I did SAVE myself $50,000 over the next 15 years)

15 year mortgage rates are at 4% today. 

I was shocked at how low they were and decided to do a little investigating “just to see” if I could manage converting my 30 year loan to a 15 year one.  If you’ve been in your loan for 5-7 years, and are at an interest rate of 6-7% you should run your numbers and see if a 15 year mortgage can save you a boatload of interest and knock significant years off your loan.  Bet you it can!

Check out the tables below:

For a loan amount of $250,000

Years Rate Monthly Payment Interest over Life of Loan
30 Fixed 6% $1498 $290,000
15 Fixed 4% $1849 $83,000

Now, lets take a look at these numbers if you’ve had your mortgage for 5 years…

By remortgaging the remaining balance, you’ll have a monthly payment of $1720, save $134,000 in interest, and pay off the original loan in 20  years as opposed to 30 years.





I seriously expected you to follow all that?





Let’s do it again for a loan amount of $150,000:

Years Rate Monthly Payment Interest over Life of Loan
30 Fixed 6% $900 $173,000
15 Fixed 4% $1109 $49,000

 If you’ve had your mortgage for 5 years…

By remortgaging the remaining balance, you’ll have a monthly payment of $1035, saving $73,000 in interest, and pay off the original loan in 20 years as opposed to 30 years.

If you really study these numbers, the difference in the monthly payment really isn’t too enormous when compared to the amount of interest you’ll be saving, as well as the years you’ll knock off your loan. 

If you’d like me to run some numbers for you, feel free to shoot me an email, call me out on Facebook, or hit the mortgage calculator yourself! 

Our in-house Mortgage Rep, Tom Fullen, hooked me up today, and always does a great job.  I used Tom even before I started to work for Prudential and he always gets me a great rate, and gets the loans done.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

"Send me the Good Deals" Why Foreclosures and Short Sales in Bucks County Aren't Always Good Deals

Although I haven't been as active on Trulia, Zillow, or even ActiveRain as I have been in the past (Baseball season is a killer when you have two boys!) I do keep an eye on them every day. I may not be participating, but I'm watching. Something I see pop up all the time is "How do I buy a foreclosure in Bucks County?" or "How do I buy a short sale in Bucks County?"

I also regularly have clients email me, "Where are the really good deals? The short sales and foreclosures?"

I think it's important to point out that these two phrases "good deal" and "short sale" or "foreclosure" are not synonymous in Bucks County.

The first hurdle is that short sales and foreclosures may have some lending issues. Many of the foreclosures that we are seeing, unless they are in the higher price point, are wrecked. As in, someone has ripped all the copper out of the house and you have no heat. We are also seeing the investors come back into the market at the lower price points. It's extremely difficult for an owner/occupant to compete with an all cash/no inspection offer, which is typically what investors throw out there.

At the higher price points, typically the homes are in fine shape, and investors aren't the problem. However, the scarcity of foreclosures above the $350,000 price range will make it a waiting game for you.

Short sales in Bucks County? Ugh. Another post for another time. Are they "good deals?" Sometimes. Not all the time. And you never really know if that short sale is going to pan out. If a short sale doesn't happen, it's not a "good deal."

So, I would encourage this:

Look for a good deal. Period.

They're there. There are plenty of people who are sitting on an vacant home as part of an estate, or have already re-located, or are sick of showing their house, or (gasp!) are just reasonable about their sale price. Don't limit yourself to a foreclosure or short sale. Bucks County has plenty of deals to go around, don't get hung up on a specific type of sale.

Some ideas for finding "deals:"

  • Run a search of homes that have been on the market 120 days or longer
  • Look at homes that may be estate properties (typically outdated, but not trashed)
  • Look at homes that have relocation addendums posted to the MLS
  • Look at homes that have "motivated seller" in the comments

Or, give me a call or shoot me an email and I'll let you know when I see a really good deal come on the market.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Bucks County Open House in Warrington, Central Bucks School District 6/13!

Ahhhhhhh....Such a joy to relax at this prime location/yard this summer! This 4 bedroom, 3 full bath home in Warrington, in the Central Bucks School District will be held open this Sunday June 13th from 1-3. Here's the open house deets....

512 C Taylor Avenue
Warrington, PA


Open House Sunday 6/13
1-3 p.m.

Need more info? Ok, here goes...

  • Nestled at the end of a dead end street
  • Close to shopping and major roadways
  • Almost completely remodeled
  • Lighted horseshoe pits (whoot! whoot!)
  • Large family room
  • Beautifully remodeled eat-in kitchen
  • Full finished basement
You really need to visit to truly appreciate this home. Come visit us on Sunday at the open house and take a look!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Bucks County and Council Rock School District Real Estate Market Update May 2010

Ok, ok...I missed two months. Mea culpa. Forgive me. I have, however, been posting to my facebook fan page, which can be found here. Hit the "like" button and get more frequent updates on happenings in Bucks County.

Here are our median and average price ranges in Bucks County and Council Rock School District as of May, and it's still good news overall:

Bucks County real estate has an increase in both the median price range, and average price range. Because the chart is a bit difficult to read, here is the year to year average and median pricing:

Average +5% (from $311,000 in 5/09 to $327,000 in 5/10)
Median +6% (from $260,000 in 5/09 to $275,000 in 5/10)

Council Rock School District, specifically, did not enjoy as much of a recovery. My thoughts on this is that we do not enjoy a large percentage of first time homebuyer properties as compared to other school districts. Let's see if that first time homebuyer credit really does trickle up to the more expensive price points over the next few months.

That being said, Council Rock remains a very stable market without significant fluctuation in the average or median price as of May 2010.

Here is the breakdown of the Council Rock School District median and average pricing:

Average +1% (from $433,000 in 5/09 to $438,000 in 5/10)
Median -1% (from $355,000 in 5/09 to $353,000 in 5/10)

As always, if you would like to see what your own little corner of Bucks County is doing in terms of average pricing, median pricing, months supply of inventory, etc, please don't hesitate to contact me via email or cell. I'll be happy to run your numbers and email you your report!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Open House in Warrington, Bucks County, Central Bucks Schools – 4/11 from 1-3

Join me for a fabulous open house in Bucks County, Warrington Township, Central Bucks School District on this Sunday from 1-3 pm.  Actually, this Sunday is National Open House Weekend, so there are going to be a lot of open houses in Bucks County on April 11th.  However, the most rocking open house is definitely going to be at my 4 bedroom/3 FULL bath listing in Warrington:


512C Taylor Ave.

Warrington, PA





What’s so rocking about this home?

The yard, definitely.

The location, certainly. 

The spaciousness and condition of the home itself, ABSOLUTELY. 


The weather is supposed to be gorgeous, and maybe I can convince my Seller to crank up his outdoor speakers and let you enjoy a few games of horseshoes while you visit!


For more information about National Open House Weekend, Warrington, or Bucks County, shoot me an email.  I hope to see you at the open house!


In the meantime, check out the virtual tour by clicking here.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Bucks County Open House - 3/14 in Warrington PA -

Please join me at my open house and tour this gorgeous 4 bedroom, 3 bath home in
Warrington Township / Central Bucks School District:

Sunday March 14th from 1-3.

512-C Taylor Ave
Warrington, PA


So, what's special about this home? A lot. Maybe we'll start there...this home is located at the end of a small dead-end street. Private without being secluded, and no traffic, although you're close to shopping. Come Spring and Summer, you're going to be outside enjoying the newer, expansive deck, the pool, the lighted HORSESHOE PITS! A recent second story addition, and updated throughout, this home offers the feel of newer construction, with the charm of an older home. All 3 full baths have been renovated, the mechanicals have all been updated, the kitchen has been updated...there is literally nothing to do to this home. Truly move-in ready.

Located in desirable Central Bucks School District, and in close proximity to Street Road and 611 (and the new Valley Square Shopping Center - with Wegman's!) this home offers a great home, and a fabulous school district, in a convenient location.

Can't wait for the weekend to come to the open house? Take a virtual tour of this property by clicking here.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Bucks County and Council Rock School District Real Estate Market Update - Feb. 2010

I'm going to try to do some monthly updates for all of you analytical types out there who need DATA and CHARTS to understand the real estate market in Bucks County and Council Rock School District.  Here's a little secret - I can give you these stats for ANY area, school district, township, even zip code.  Want to know about the real estate market in Pennsbury School District?  Email me and I'll send it right out.  Want to know about the real estate market in Doylestown?  Email me and I'll send it right out.  I've got your numbers, baby, you just need to let me know what numbers you want!

As a Realtor, I know all anyone really cares about is price, and Bucks County Median and Average prices are up from last year.  YAY!  Good news regarding Bucks County real estate prices!  Looking at the chart below (click for a larger view), Bucks County median price is up 4% and the average home price in Bucks County is up 3% from last year.


Council Rock School District also saw an increase in the median home sale price... a considerable increase of 10%.  The average sold home price in Council Rock decreased by 1%.  I think this is due to a softening in the high end price point, which more greatly affects the the averages. 


So, heartening news for home prices in Bucks County and Council Rock School District.  I'm anxious to see how the early Spring selling season we've been enjoying will impact these numbers.

Remember, if you want to see how your little corner of the world is doing, just ask!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Isaac Newton's - Newtown PA's Favorite Place to Eat, Drink, and talk Beer

The other day, I met a few friends from grade school for lunch in Newtown. (By the way, how magical is Facebook for re-connecting?  You can find me on there right here).  We went back and forth about where to meet, but when one mentioned that she may want to have an...ahem..."adult" beverage, there was only one place to go.



Isaac Newton's

18 South State Street

Newtown, PA



I got there a little early and sat at the bar to hang out until my girls came.  Everyone is super-friendly and I got to talking with the bartender, Tim Gannon.1266598101063   We figured out that we used to work together in high school, so if you're local, you might know him.  Tim is wicked-smart about beer, and was able to figure out what I would like, even though I have no idea of what kind of beer I drink (blinks vacantly).  I heard Tim have a whole discussion with another customer about hops, wheat, something-else-that-I-have-no-idea-about.  Smart dude.  He works M-F starting at 11:30.

Check out their on-tap beer list (which is constantly changing):


(You can't see it, but the top right hand beer is Heavy Sea's Holy Sheet Belgian Ale.  Hysterical.)

On top of the beer and mixed drinks, Isaac Newton's has amazing food, and their french fries with what I call "that delicious dipping sauce" are a must.  My husband and I come here with the kids sometimes for dinner, and they do a really nice job with families - huge booths upstairs, fast service so the kids don't lose it, and great kid's meals. 

So, with good food, a great beer selection, and knowledgeable staff, you can imagine Isaac Newton's is a pretty popular place.  If you're in Newtown for the day, or looking for a place to meet up after work or for a casual date, it's a definite "must-try."  I'm not the only one who thinks so...Isaac Newton's was just named the 9th best beer bar nationwide by

If Tim's there when you go, tell him I said "Hi," and make sure you get the fries!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Open House 1/31 from 1-3 in Warrington, Bucks County

I've got a s-weet new listing that hit the market today, and you can be one of the first to view this gorgeous 4 bedroom, 3 bath home for sale in Warrington at the open house on Sunday.

512-C Taylor Ave.

Warrington, PA

Open House Sunday 1/31 from 1-3 pm


This home is so least I think so because its location very similar to my own home. It's tucked at the end of a small dead-end street and the location.....sigh. I live at the end of a dead-end street, and there is really nothing like it. Traffic? Uh, not unless you've invited them! The home has a yard made for enjoyment, with a 30' x 14' deck, above ground pool, and lighted horseshoe pits.

What is really wonderful is that all this privacy, and you are only minutes away from some seriously good shopping and restaurants. It's the perfect spot: privacy without isolation. You're going to love it...

And then you'll get to tour this great home and enjoy the equally show-stopping interior. This home underwent a major renovation around 4 years ago, so it feels very much like newer construction. Roof, siding, heater, Pella windows and doors...everything's been updated. Large rooms, and an open floorplan really fit today's Buyers. All this, and Central Bucks Schools.

I hope you'll visit me at the open house this weekend...I'll be holding one of the best in Bucks County :) You can find a listing of other open houses in Bucks County by going to Prudential Fox & Roach and clicking on the red "Open House" flag.

Take a look at the photos for 512-C Taylor Ave, and I'm sure you'll be impressed. See you at the open house!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

How Do I Find a Good Agent In Bucks County, PA?

I've been answering questions on Trulia for a while now, and I find the same questions come up repeatedly. One of the most frequently asked (and furiously answered) is:

"How can I find a good Agent?"

Agents, I guess, have a bit of a reputation for being dirtbags...who knew?

I've answered the "How do I find a good agent?" question several times on Trulia: most recently here, got into it a bit with another REALTOR here, and answered it circuitously here.

To break it down to the one critical question you should ask yourself about a real estate agent:

"Do you trust him/her?"

There are a lot of ways for people to be "good agents" and I believe there are many "good agents" here in Bucks County. Some agents think it's being a bulldog during negotiations. Some agents think it's knowing all the numbers. Some agents think it's having good professional practices. While I agree that most of these are necessary (except for the bulldog one - I think that's the absolutely WRONG way to do right by your client...but that's a different post) the bottom line for me is that I want my clients to trust me.

I want them to trust that I'm taking care of them.
I want them to trust that I have their best interests at heart.
I want them to trust that I'll always tell them the truth.
I want them to trust that I know what I'm doing.

If I don't have that level of trust, then I'm not the right woman for the job. Now, trust is earned, and I earn that trust by doing things like: knowing what I'm talking about, actually putting my clients' best interest at heart, telling them the truth, etc.

So, when you're looking for an real estate agent in Bucks County, ask yourself the very fundamental question:

Did this person earn my trust?

Five Reasons why 507 River Road is the Ultimate Weekend Home in Bucks County

Springtime in Bucks County usually brings forth the New York and Philadelphia Buyers who are looking to purchase a weekend or vacation home in one of our scenic River Towns in Upper Bucks. Lucky for me, I have one of the most adorable homes for sale at 507 River Road. This quintessential Bucks County Bungalow would make a wonderful vacation/weekend home for many reasons, but here are my top five reasons this is the ultimate vacation home:

1. Proximity! Located just an hour away from Center City Philadelphia, or an hour and a half from New York, you won't waste your time travelling to your weekend home, you'll spend it enjoying it.

2. Scenic Location! This home is located on one of the most famous, scenic roads in Bucks County, but more than that, it's unique hilltop location is the perfect setting in which to spend your downtime in your weekend getaway. Far from the McMansions the pervade our suburbs, this historic cottage offers you something different.

3. Things to Do! In a short drive, you can enjoy shopping, dining and nightclubs in New Hope, taste local wines, tube on the Delaware, or explore Ringing Rocks Park. Head into Lumberville, and eat at the fabulous Black Bass Hotel, or explore Frenchtown, NJ. While there is much to do just a short distance away, this home is located outside the hustle and bustle of town; a perfect combination of solitude without isolation.

4. Low-Maintenance and Low-Carrying Costs! The gorgeous, naturalistic property offers plenty of outdoor living and entertaining space with absolutely no lawn to maintain. Inside, the kitchen and bath have both recently been renovated with energy efficient fixtures and appliances. The home is being sold fully furnished with wonderful, heirloom, eclectic pieces. In the winter there is a fireplace for warmth, and in the summer there is a wooded lot for cooling, making energy bills extremely reasonable. Taxes are only around $185/month!

5. Because of the charm! Honestly, it's the intangible that is the biggest draw to this home. It is so utterly charming and unique: the home, the location, the area itself...I recently took a walk along the canal, and there is just a different feeling to River Living in Bucks County. It truly is a local "vacation." You must visit it to truly appreciate how special this home is.

Oh, and the Seller is offering two new Simmons Natural Care by Danny Seo mattresses, so you'll never have to worry about "Who's been sleeping in my bed?" JACKPOT!