Happy Groundhog Day!Why is it a groundhog anyway, have you ever wondered?Well firstly, February 2nd was a church holiday, and it was called Candlemas, where all the people brought their candles to be blessed. In Germany, people then took this a little further and adopted a "hedgehog" or "badger" and used it to predict the weather and how long winter was going to last. They believed these animals interrupted their hibernation and would then decide how long winter was going to last. If the sun was shining and the animal saw its shadow then winter was going to last another six weeks. However, if it was cloudy then this was an indication that the weather was going to be mild and Spring would come early,When Germans moved to America and settled down, they could not find any hedgehogs. So, they adopted groundhogs who looked like badgers and were plentiful in the areas where they were settling.And that is how we ended up with Groundhog Day. Have a good one, because the Groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow and predicted another six weeks of winter. Remember, Winter can be a good time to list or buy a home, when there is generally less competition, although with the low inventories we have been experiencing there is a lot of pent up demand. Contact Nick Vandekar, Selling the Main Line and Chester County, with Long & Foster Real Estate Inc., office 610-225-7400, cell or text 610-203-4543, email Nick@VandekarTeam.com. Photo courtesy of Ralph Katlieb on Unsplash.
Here are 7 things most likely to happen when buying a home and what not to do!As much as you want to let all your friends and family know about the purchase of your new home on Facebook and every other social media site - Do not post anything before settlement.The property might not appraise at what you are purchasing it for. With rapidly rising prices due to very low inventory appraisers who only look backwards in time for their supporting comparable values might not keep up with the market. So be prepared.You will become irritated by all the demands for paperwork, documents that the mortgage company swears blind you have not already sent over when you know you have several times.You will need to provide evidence of where any money in your accounts has come from and show a trail for any transfers. This includes gift money, and warn anyone gifting you money they too will need to show evidence of where those funds have come from with a trail as well.You most likely during the transaction process will become frustrated, angry and nervous often all at the same time. Take deep breaths and make sure to do something to release the stress and tension that does not include going shopping.You will be tempted to spend money on new furniture, or others big ticket items for your new home. Do not pay for anything with new credit, however good the rates might be. Wait till after closing as you may find you now do not qualify for your loan for one of many reasons.Whilst dates and time are of the essence in Pennsylvania dates sometimes need to be changed, be prepared and do not go missing when your agent needs to contact you for something urgent.When buying or selling contact Nick Vandekar, Selling the Main Line and Chester County, with Long & Foster Real Estate Inc., office phone 610-225-7400, cell or text 610-203-4543, or email Nick@VandekarTeam.com.You can follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube and don't forget to subscribe to my blog.
The names chosen for a development can be boring usually and other times they can be extremely interesting. Ever since moving to Big Elk we have wondered about the road names. Some are fairly obvious, but it is not till you do a little historical research that the others become meaningful.For example our road Thomas Penn is quite obvious, son of William Penn who after his father died in 1718 travelled to Pennsylvania in 1732 to become the Proprietor of Pennsylvania. William, who had actually been in the Tower of London because of his Quaker views, had been given land in Pennsylvania in 1681 after a charter from Charles II.His three sons inherited the land equally, and Thomas came to Pennsylvania in 1732 and negotiated with the Lenape Indians in 1737 to extend the land owned by the family by some 1.2 million acres, this land was added to the Province of Pennsylvania. It became evident later that Thomas had swindled the Indians who had been friendly towards his father when he was establishing the land initially. When his brother John died, he left his share to his brother Thomas who became the Chief Proprietor from 1745-1775 when he died. Thomas due to many of his actions of overturning legislation from the Pennsylvania General Assembly was not popular in the colony. Thomas married Lady Juliana Fermor in 1751 and had seven children.Christiana Manor was probably named after Christiana Gulielma Penn born 1733 and lived till 1803.Guglielma Springett was William Penn's first wife, and in fact in the history books her name is spelt Gulielma. Her father died just before she was born and her mother remarried Isaac Pennington. Gulielma met Willam Penn and went on to have several children.
Gulielma Maria b. 23 January 1673, d. 17 May 1673
William and Mary (twins) b. February 1674, d. May 1674 and December 1674Springett b. 25 January 1675, d. 10 April 1696
Letitia b. 1 March 1678, d. 6 April 1746William b. 14 March 1681, d. 23 June 1720unnamed infant b. March 1683, d. April 1683
Gulielma Maria b. November 1685, d. November 1689
Lady Letitia Penn married William Aubrey who loaned William Penn her father money on extremely unfavourable terms and there was a lot of bitterness as a result. In fact her gravestone in England is marked as Letitia Penn. She had accompanied her father and his second wife to America before getting married in England. She was also given land in Northampton County k own as the Barony of Nazareth and her rent was one red rose annually to be presented to her brothers on June 24th. In fact the Red Rose Inn was the principal inn in the barony till 1783 and the land was sold to the Moravians in 1741.I believe the land bought by Ryan/NVR was the Hood Farm, hence the obvious use of that name for the entrance road into the Big Elf development. Let me know if you know anything else about the people featured in our road names. History is always interesting.And remember, if you are interested in buying a home in the development of Big Elk and want buyer representation, I can represent you as I live here and know the homes. Contact Nick Vandekar, Selling the Main Line and Chester County with Long & Foster Real Estate, office 610-225-7400, cell or text 610-203-4543, or email Nick@VandekarTeam.com.
I was talking with a friend yesterday as we were watching The Philadelphia Eagles beat San Francisco to go forward to play in the Superbowl. Go Eagles!Anyway, I digress, because as our conversation progressed I realized that even with so much talked and written about it buyers still think they need 20% as a down payment to buy a house. This friend mentioned that without 20% she would need to pay a large PMI, mortgage insurance rate, so she has been renting. As a single mother she is in the process of putting her daughter through college, however her rent is about to rise again.I told her that all she was doing was paying the mortgage for her landlord. That most likely she could get a mortgage, even with PMI and pay the same as or less than her rent for a home of her own.As we were holding this conversation during the game with other people around, we decided I would connect her with a mortgage consultant and she could discuss the various options that are open to her.There are plenty of first time home buyer options as well, even if you have owned a home before, if you have not owned for three years. So, these may include grants of special programs to help first time buyers get a foot on the rung of homeownership.With the current slight drop in rates, and with economists expressing their belief that rates will stay level if not drop a bit by the end of the year, we are expecting home buyers to take advantage of the opportunities to buy homes as they come on the market. This is the largest thing holding back many buyers is the lack of homes to purchase.So, if you are interested in purchasing a home in 2023, then contact Nick Vandekar, Selling the Main Line and Chester County, with Long & Foster Real Estate Inc., office 610-225-7400, cell or text 610-203-4543, or Nick@VandekarTeam.com. Let me put you in contact with a local mortgage consultant and discover how easy it can be to purchase a home. We make the home buying process and amazing experience and give you the confidence to make the right decisions throughout the process.
You have found the home of your dreams, made an offer and it has been accepted.Now what?Well it all depends on how your agreement of sale was written and what contingencies were included. Today, I want to focus on the home inspection, as I have come to realize, that every state is different in how a real estate transaction progresses.This post approaches from the perspective of a Pennsylvania, and principally a transaction on or around the Main Line and Chester County as even within a state there may be local idiosyncrasies. Generally in Pennsylvania, an earnest money deposit is made with the agreement of sale or within 5 days as so many agreements are signed remotely today. The inspections are generally done within 5-10 days from the signing of the agreement by all parties, and then a second deposit bringing the total deposits to about 5% is generally due once the home inspection has been done, negotiated and agreed upon in writing by both seller and buyer.Over the past few years, due to the market being so active, many buyers resorted to waiving most if not all contingencies to get a home. Now things are normalizing a little, we are seeing more buyers doing home inspections as part of their purchase.Whilst the Pennsylvania Agreement of Sale is pre-printed with sections to fill in the number of days for home inspections, generally this is something you will want to discuss with your agent. The dates in all Pennsylvania agreements are firm, as dates and time is of essence in our contracts/agreements. That means it is important to abide by the days required to not be in breach of contract and miss your opportunity to negotiate or withdraw if things are seriously wrong with the house.Most agents can refer you to one or more local home inspectors. With the market picking up, you may find the inspector of choice is busy and you do not have enough time to obtain the inspection, receive the report, review it and put together a response to the seller.Sellers may want you to obtain the inspection very quickly, whilst you may require a slightly longer period due to getting your inspector of choice. The main thing with any inspector is to make sure they are part of one of the National Inspection Organizations like ASHI, the Association of Home Inspectors.You also may need longer as outlined in the agreement of sale for any Septic Tank Inspections, Stucco or Pool Inspections. These can all take longer to set up and receive the reports.Once again, discuss with your agent, and choose what is best for you, then be ready to negotiate with the seller to reach a satisfactory result that can be achieved and stay within the parameters set by the agreement of sale.
Elk Creek Farms is a development of 194 homes built by Iacobucci Builders between 2002 and 2004, located on route 896. It comprises of single family detached homes of three, four and even five bedrooms, with two and three bathrooms.Whilst most homes have a two car garage I have seen some with three car garages. Most homes sit on about 1/3 of an acre and homes vary between 2900-3900 square feet approximately with additional space in the basement.Children living here will attend Avon Grove Schools, Penn London Elementary, F S Engle Middle and Avon Grove High School. These homes have a West Grove mailing address.Eight homes sold in 2022, with the average days on market being 10. The average home price was $567,700. The lowest price home sold for $480,000 and the highest price home sold for $700,000. Obviously location in the development, size and amenities affect the selling price of any home. Some homes have stucco exteriors which may need remediation. This is a great location, with homes having public sewer, water and natural gas. Elk Creek Farms is close to shopping and all major amenities, plenty of excellent restaurants are nearby, including several local BYOB's. You are close to Brandywine Museum, Longwood Gardens, Winterthur and many other wonderful places to visit and enjoy.
This is a question I get asked often, especially by first time buyers, but also clients moving from other states. So, I am going to address what happens here in Pennsylvania.Firstly, the earnest money can be different amounts, sometimes there may be one deposit, other times two deposits. Usually a buyer will give a first deposit of $1,000 followed by a second deposit after completion and negotiation of inspections that will be about 5% of the purchase price, but this amount is negotiable.My advice to clients is to always make sure your earnest money deposit is being held by a real estate broker and not an attorney or title company. The agreement of sale explicitly details how that deposit is handled by the real estate broker as does Pennsylvania law.Title companies and attorneys are not held to the same demands. For your own protection work with a real estate broker/company that will escrow your deposits.What is escrow? Escrow is a specific type of bank account that holds your funds separately to the other monies belonging to the broker/real estate firm. The company needs to account for those to the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission and there are harsh penalties for instances where those funds are mixed or mingled.On acceptance of your offer, the earnest money deposit by the terms of the agreement once received needs to be deposited within 24 hours. This does not mean the funds have to be given to the broker in 24 hours unless that is specified in the agreement, only that once received they must be deposited.These funds, and any additional deposit are held in the escrow account till shortly before settlement or closing. At that time they are transferred to the title company handling the settlement/closing. Usually this is done by a wire so the funds are with the title company in advance of settlement. These funds are all part of your closing costs or deposit. At settlement you may be paying cash or obtaining a mortgage, and will need to transfer funds to complete the purchase to cover any amount not covered by a mortgage.What happens if the agreement to purchase breaks down?If the money is deposited in the escrow account, and then for one reason or another the agreement is terminated there are remedies in the agreement to what happens to the deposit. In most cases, where the buyer and seller cannot reach agreement following inspections the funds under the terms of the agreement in Pennsylvania are returned to the buyer. However, this does require both the buyer and seller to sign a "Release" allowing the broker holding the deposit to return the funds to the buyer. Most contingencies in the Agreement of Sale are handled in the same way. If a buyer has somehow annoyed a seller they may decide to not sign the release, and in that case the funds cannot be released to either party. Many sellers think that by not signing they will be given the deposit. This is not the case. So, it is important to realize funds may need to be held until the issue can be resolved by court order, arbitration or mediation or a certain amount of time has passed as written in the agreement of sale.If you are buying or selling in The Main Line or Chester County contact Nick Vandekar, Selling The Main Line and Chester County with Long & Foster Real Estate Inc., office 610-225-7400, cell or text 610-203-4543, or email Nick@VandekarTeam.com. Our company holds escrow for sellers and buyers when required.
There is no typical buyer out there, everyone has different needs. I have had clients buy the second house I have shown them and others who have taken months of showings before finding the right home.In the last couple of years with the extremely low inventory and low interest rates there was the added complication of multiple offers making obtaining the home you want to buy even more complicated.Today, with the interest rates having risen multiple offers are not as common as many buyers have stopped looking or adjusted their price points. However, the lack of inventory still means that there are more buyers looking than homes coming on the market, so multiple offers have not disappeared completely.Historically, I have found most buyers, whatever their situation, look at between ten and twenty houses before finding the house that they wish to make an offer upon. As I said above though, that does not mean you have to look at that number, if you find the house you want to make your home straight away then you do need to act.There are several elements of making an offer, whilst price is important there are many parts that mesh together to form the whole offer, from the settlement date, to all the contingencies that can be included or waived. Using an experienced Realtor who knows the area and is used to the typical terms and what is acceptable in the local market makes a difference.If you are ready to make 2023 the year in which you buy a home, be it your first or your twenty first, contact Nick Vandekar, Selling the Main Line and Chester County with Long & Foster Real Estate Inc., office 610-225-7400, cell or text 610-203-4543, or email Nick@VandekarTeam.com.
Image courtesy of 8520540 © Kadokarci | Dreamstime.com
I want to introduce you to Rich Filipone. Rich just joined our team at Long & Foster Real Estate in Devon working for Prosperity Mortgage as our in house Mortgage Consultant. Rich has plenty of experience in the Mortgage industry and you will get to hear more from him in the weeks to come as we bring more mortgage information to video.If you need to get pre-approved as you begin your home search give Rich a call his number is 610-716-3329, or email him at Rich.Filipone@phmloans.com, you can even fill out a loan application on line at www.richfilipone.phmloans.com. As we have said before one of the first steps is getting pre-approved and knowing how much you can borrow. In this changing mortgage market, you may need to do that multiple times as rates change. Many buyers are finding it has taken longer than they expected to find a home and get an offer accepted resulting in mortgage approvals expiring. But Rich can get you re-approved quickly if needed.Remember, once you are approved, contact Nick Vandekar, Selling the Main Line and Chester County, with Long & Foster Real Estate Inc., office 610-225-7400, cell or text 610-203-4543, or Nick@VandekarTeam.com. I give you the confidence to make the right decisions throughout the transaction.
Everyone knows about the Longwood Gardens Christmas Lights Display, but just down the road at the Herr's Factory in Oxford is a FREE display on the trees and factory.The whole campus is lit up, offices, factory and all the trees and the grounds as well. It is a drive through experience, but a fun one.After you have driven through there are plenty of places to enjoy dinner locally in Oxford and Nottingham, or a bit further away there is West Grove and Kennett Square. People come from Maryland, and all over to drive through and enjoy the display. No free chips, but a wonderful free light display.