New Home: Development Options and Choices

This is part 3 of a series: New Home: Part 1, Luxury, Part 2, On Your Own Land,

Part 3, Development options and choices.

Many builders offer homes in developments where they are the exclusive builder.

A new home in a matter of months! Yes it is possible. Here is what you need to know.

  • Pricing: When looking through options, it may seem some builders have much better prices. The real question to ask is: What is included? ‘Pricing strategy’ varies from builder to builder.

Some will have very low ‘Base’ prices, but practically everything is an ‘Upgrade’ which adds $100,000 to the price.

Other builders will offer a higher ‘base price’, but include features that may the home attractive and comfortable even with no ‘upgrades’.

To compare apples to apples, ask them to price the same features in the same size home, so you can compare the bottom line.

Many communities have ‘Lot Premiums’ for the best lots, so make sure you select a lot you like before asking for a price.

  • Incentive: An incentive may be offered to entice you to buy. Sales strategy makes them ‘Limited time offers’ to get you to buy sooner rather than later. These may be reasonable, or it could be a bate and switch. Having a Realtor who knows the builders and their pricing strategy is helpful to ensure you get the best deal possible.

Many builders employ new home salespeople to sit in the model homes and sell. These folks are not Realtors, just salespeople for the builder. Keep this in mind before disclosing information that may hurt your negotiation.

Many Builders tie any incentive to using their preferred title company and lender. This can be fine for a buyer, but compare interest rate and terms with preferred lenders before committing to ensure you are getting a reasonable rate and terms.

  • Locations: When looking for a new home, you may be set on a certain school district or area.

Think about your taxes and resale value before settling on a location. Having a local Realtor pro can ensure you know all your options within your target area. We may be able to suggest options you may not have entertained on your own.

On a new home, taxes have not been established, so make sure you know what property taxes will reasonably be, before committing to a mortgage.

  • Quality: Not every home is created equal!

No one wants to buy an inferior home. Do you know what features to look for in a new home? Many higher standards can be easily achieved by minimal costs. Selecting a builder who gives a higher level of quality will be well worth it in the end.

  • Resale value and stability: Protect your investment!

Make sure the builder you are purchasing from is established and has a history of satisfied customers. Nothing can be worse than buying a new home, only to see the builder slide into bankruptcy or chaos. Financial stability is essential to honor the new home warranty you will receive and provide a quality product.

  • Time: If you are not familiar with the market, you can spend many hours figuring out all the above items. Our new home experts know the market, know the lots, and know how to match you with the best options based on your needs. The best part? It does not cost you anything. As a buyer, the compensation your Realtor receives comes from the seller, but their duty is to represent your interest and serve you.

If you want to get started on the fast track to your new home- contact us today for a free consultation. Save time and fast track to your dream home!


New Home: On Your Own Lot

This is part two of a three part series: New Home, what you need to know. Click here for part one.

Want to buy land and build a home? How hard can it be?

If you have looked into this option, you may know there are many details of which you need to be informed. Have no fear, your new home experts are here to help.

Building on your own land does not need to be scary and hairy, but should be approached with an understanding of the details involved. Here are key details to fit your plan.

Understand that the cost is more than House + Land.   In our day of regulation, complying with the details of constructing a new building has become increasingly burdensome.  A builder with experience will understand how to break down these cost for you. They include:

  • Costs for Well and septic if applicable.
  • Costs and availability to connect to public utilities if available
  • The requirements for a ‘Storm Water Mitigation Plan’. Every new home must have a way to control water runoff during a storm.
  • Driveway requirements: if on a hill, state road or other limiting factors, a driveway permit may not be granted, which can shut you down before you get started. The length of driveway may also have a huge impact on your budget.
  • Costs to remove trees, rocks and prepare the site. These can be staggering if you have not prepared for them.
  • Heat source: is natural gas available? If not, will you bury a propane tank or use a high efficiency heat pump?

Given all these questions, costs and requirements how do you proceed?

Do not buy land without doing your homework! Many regrets have formed from this mistake.

Our new construction experts can help you through the process to arrive at your dream home on your own land.

Not every builder will build on your own property. You will want and need a builder who builds many homes ‘On your own lot’ and is intimately familiar with costs and requirements to do so.

Working with many of the local builders, we can match you with a builder who shares your vision and can make it a reality WITHIN your budget and time frame.

Call us for a free no-obligation consultation  to start the process of taking your dream home from a dream to a reality!

House Jumping

Need to buy a new house and sell current one?

You and half the population!

But how to you make that jump with a mortgage on each home?


There are several way you can make the transition:

1.Take a Home Equity Loan

-This requires that you first have equity.

– Second, you must qualify to carry the payment on Home Equity loan, current mortgage and the new mortgage. All these payments usually rule it out as an option for most people.

2. Take a ‘Bridge Loan’

Also called ‘Swing Loans’, this is a short term refinance of your current mortgage, which helps in two ways:

-First, you can pull equity out (provided again you have equity) for your down payment and closing costs.

-Second, this reduces the payment on your current home to interest only, in order to make it easier to qualify to pay both mortgages.

The ‘Swing Loan’ is paid off once current home is sold.

3505 Kendall Ln_01

3. Go ahead with a new mortgage

–  If you have enough income, you may qualify to pay both the current mortgage and the new mortgage. Now, most people have NO desire to pay two mortgages, and that’s okay.

Usually, as long you qualify on paper, you can write the offer on the new home. Sell your current home quickly, and then close on the same day, with NO overlap in payment.

Even with a small overlap in payment, it is usually not a hardship. When selling a home, the amount in your ‘Escrow’ account that is set aside for property taxes every month by your bank, is refunded to you a month after closing. This refund allows you to cover the extra payment for a month or two.

-The other caveat here is that you must have the money for down payment saved. If this is hard to achieve, it is a good time to call on family for a short term loan, to be repaid once current home is sold.

Every situation is unique, and we work with you to help make the decision that fits best.

-Call us, and let’s get started helping you make a House Jump!     Call/Text: 717-819-2825




the price is rightWhen selling your home, the right price and an attractive appearance are arguably the two most basic essentials.  Buyers have a pool of choices and since no two homes are alike it is crucial to make a distinction between your home and the competition.

Studies have shown that the first 2 weeks on the market are the most important.  During this time, your home will be exposed to the most active buyers, through internet searches and buyers’ agents. Therefore, if you are over-priced, your home could easily get overlooked and you could be forced to endure a slow stream of random buyers who enter the market after that point.

According to one report, homes that sold within the first week of being on the market, earned an average of about 2% over list price, while homes that sat on the market for four months sold for more than 11% below their original list price.

The Rebecca New Brittany Model

There are several things you should consider:

Request CMAs – Determining the value of your home is the best place to start.  A CMA (comparative market analysis) will show you the prices of recently SOLD homes in your area, homes on the market now, and homes that did not sell.  You should consider the price of the sold homes, not just the current LIST price of area homes. Realtors seldom want to list a home that is over-priced for the simple fact that the chance of selling your home would be much lower.

Think like a Buyer – The features you consider important in your home may not be the same features that buyers will consider valuable.  Discuss current home trends with your Realtor.  Your home’s price should be comparable to other similar homes; not be reflective of what you think its worth.

Sweeten the Deal – Some buyers have needs that go beyond the bottom line price.  The ability to close quickly, seller-financing, or assistance with closing costs can be a strong attraction to buyers.  The more flexible you can be in meeting these other financial needs, the more successful you will be in pricing and selling your home quickly.

Do your own Research – It is important to educate yourself and visit open houses in your area.  Make an assessment of how these homes compare to yours in terms of location, size, amenities, and condition.  If all sale prices were the same, would you buy your home or someone else’s?

React Quickly – Immediately after your home hits the market there should be a flurry of interest and showing activity.  If not, this may indicate that your home is over-priced.  If this limited interest continues for a few weeks, you should react.  It’s still not too late to reduce the price, but do it quickly in order to sustain some interest!

Consider the Market – Things to think about: Are homes selling quickly?  Are the interest rates attractive?  Is the economy good?  How is the local job market?

Keep it Clean – You only get one chance to make a first impression.  Clean it up and fix it up.  Make all necessary small repairs, such as fixing minor leaks, patching drywall cracks, or holes in the walls.  Clean up clutter and remove personal items.  Make sure your home is immaculate every time a buyer steps inside.

You have one chance to grab buyers’ attention.  Make sure your home’s price stands out from all the others for the right reason!!

Is it time for you to get ready?

For the past 6 years, routine dinner conversation would cover the housing market and just how terrible it was!

I personally had to turn a home into a rental, because we were under water on our mortgage, but had to move!

The good news? Recovery has come!! More and more people are finding they can sell and make money!

We sold our rental home last fall, and we did fairly well, selling in 2 days with multiple offers.

If you are thinking of selling in this improving market, now it the time!

Here’s why:

Ready to sell? Flier

If you need advice whether it makes sense for you, give me a call, and we will make sure you have the best advice possible to make an informed decision.

-No obligation, just friendly advice to be found at: 717-819-2825 call or text.

Why now is the perfect time to sell your house

This year- 2016- could be your last chance to list your home in the booming seller’s market, so if you’ve been toying with the idea of selling, now is the time!

The projections for this year largely remain in favor to do so. In 2016 sellers can look forward to increasing home prices, low inventory, and intense competition. March is the perfect time to get everything in order so you’re ready to enter the market and put that for sale sign on the front of your yard. Home buying season begins in April and reaches its peak in June.


But what makes the current market so suitably tailored to sellers this year?

The answer is economics 101: supply and demand. Simply put, the amount of interested buyers shopping around the housing market far exceeds the inventory of available homes.

According to the National Realtors Association, in January 2016 an MLS-listed home was on the market for an average of just 64 days, and they found an 11% increase of houses sold in 2015  vs. 2016 on a seasonally-adjusted annualized basis report.  This is excellent news for sellers, because they can expect competitive bidding wars on their homes. The bidding will drive up the pricing of the property, and the seller will come out on top. So, if you wait to sell your home until the warmer months, you will miss out on competitive buyers.


What is causing the increase of demand in 2016?

Interests rates are expected to go up. The Federal Reserve has hinted the rates are going to increase sooner rather than later. This is causes passive buyers to take action and make fast decisions in the market to secure low mortgage rates.

Over the past few years we’ve also seen rent prices skyrocketing. The average price to rent an apartment or home has risen 15% in 70 metro areas across the United States. First time homebuyers are entering the market to avoid the rising rent costs, secure a stabilized mortgage payment, and to invest in properties for their future.

Finally, tax benefits still work in favor of the seller. Selling a home can secure a large tax break on your 2017 filings. You can exclude capital gains from the sale of a personal residence on your taxes. Single tax payers can exclude up to $250K, and joint filers can exclude up to $500K. Though be mindful of meeting the requirements before your finale decision to sell is based on the exclusion: you must have lived in the home for 24 consecutive months within the past 5 years, and you cannot have claimed a home-sale exclusion of your returns in the past two years.

7 Ways to Welcome Buyers in Winter

Snowy and icy weather may be worrisome to anyone who is trying to sell their home this winter. When you’re left wondering what you can do to keep your listed home looking pristine while the snow comes toppling down. Here are a few tips to help keep prospective buyers warm, while they fall in love with your home this winter:


Shovel. Spread Salt. Repeat. One of the best ways to help prospective buyers forget about wretched winter weather, so that they focus on your home, is simply to remove it. When your home is on the market during winter, it is important that you keep your driveway, sidewalks and any other walkways around your home snow-and-ice-free. This also includes keeping your gutters clean, so that no ice dams form. You never know when you may have a showing, so your snow removal and prevention routine needs to be around-the-clock while your home is listed and all throughout the closing process!

Keep the Weather Outside. Though you may remove every bit of visible snow from your walkways, shoes are bound to track a little snow, water or salt inside. While your home is on the market during winter, you may need to spot-clean your floors on a regular basis to remove any signs of winter that may get tracked inside. You can avoid salty, wet floors while buyers are browsing through your home by asking them to remove their shoes or providing prospective buyers with slippers or shoe covers to wear while touring. Don’t worry about offending them; buyers will appreciate the cleanliness!

Crank up that Heat. Once prospective buyers step into your home, winter’s cold should be the last thing on their minds. They’re there to envision themselves living in your home, so make sure it is WARM and inviting by keeping the thermostat at around 70 degrees. You also can help to set the ambiance for prospective buyers by keeping your home well-lit, lighting the fireplace and strategically placing a few oversized throws on the furniture. Do whatever you can to encourage buyers to think warm thoughts while inside your home this winter.

Highlight Your Rooms. Whether it’s a finished basement that you’ve turned into a den, a game room or a child’s playroom that can be used to ward off cabin fever during winter, make sure you and your real estate agent are highlighting every winter-friendly aspect of your home. When the weather outside is frightful, make sure prospective buyers know every delightful thing they’ve got to keep them entertained indoors!

Showcase Outdoor Havens. Although the last thing many of us want to think about when it’s blustery and cold is spending more time outside, home features like a screened-in porch or outdoor fire pit may actually entice buyers. Even if you don’t regularly use those spaces, when your home is on the market, you’ll want to make it look like they’re some of the coziest spots of your home!

Show Buyers Some Summer Lovin. While you’re not physically able to change Mother Nature’s direction, you can offer prospective buyers a glimpse of what your home looks like when the grass is a little greener. Offer photos of your home during a warmer season, so they can see your perfectly-pruned landscaping and envision their very own back-yard barbeque – even through the snow and ice!

Give Buyers Some Sugar. If all else fails when it comes to beating winter weather while your home is on the market, sweeten up your buyers by offering them a snack! It sounds so simple, but a delicious plate of cookies or brownies coupled with a warm beverage like spiced apple cider or even a cup of tea or coffee could go a long way in bringing on those warm thoughts about your home.