RE/MAX 440
Kathy B. Hayes
1110 North Broad Street
Lansdale  PA 19446
 Phone: 215-362-0800
Office Phone: 215-362-2260
Cell: 215-498-7058
Fax: 267-354-6839 
kathy@kathyhayesrealtor.com
Kathy B. Hayes

My Blog

6 Tips for Buyers and Sellers to Best the Market

January 18, 2016 3:40 am

This year’s housing market is expected to favor sellers—and for buyers, those circumstances will likely result in multiple-bid situations. Whichever camp you fall into, it’s important to understand how to navigate this type of market in order to achieve the best possible outcome in the transaction.

“The 2016 housing market is forecasted to be mainly a seller's market, filled with increasing home prices, relatively low inventory and fierce competition between buyers," says realtor.com® Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke. "Buyers looking to close this year need to keep an open mind and be prepared to move quickly when they find a home that meets their needs. For sellers, it's about understanding the ins and outs of their local market so they can optimize the price of their home and close quickly."

For homebuyers, Smoke recommends:

Being the early bird – Over 85 percent of buyers who plan to purchase in the next year intend to buy in the spring or summer of 2016, according to a recent realtor.com® survey. With roughly 50 percent more listings inventory relative to the number of potential home sales expected in January and February, buyers who start their search early face less competition with nearly the same number of homes.

Comparison shopping for mortgages – Mortgage rates are expected to reach 4.65 percent and prices are predicted to rise 3 percent year-over-year in 2016. Buyers planning to finance their purchase should put as much effort into getting the right mortgage as they do finding the right home. A lower interest rate can make the difference in qualifying for a home and save thousands over the life of the loan.

Considering a new home – In 2016, the number of new homes on the market is expected to grow more rapidly, resulting in a 16 percent increase in new home sales year-over-year. Buyers should consider the new home options in their market; they are likely to have less competition and to enjoy a broad selection of homes. While new homes are typically higher in price, they are usually larger and offer performance advantages and warranties that could reduce operating and maintenance costs.

For home sellers, Smoke advises:

Listing during peak season – Unlike buyers, demand benefits sellers. Prime home buying season begins in April and reaches its peak in June, according to a realtor.com® analysis of home sales. Sellers who list their home during the prime spring and summer months benefit from a larger population of buyers and potential bidding wars, which often result in higher prices and faster closings.

Pricing a home to the market – In 2016, prices are expected to increase nationally 3 percent year-over-year. Local prices changes are anticipated to be more dramatic. Sellers who work with a local REALTOR® to optimize the price of their home based on its unique features and surrounding neighborhood are often able to receive the highest price for their market and sell more quickly.

Offering incentives – Last year, 37 percent of all sellers offered incentives to attract buyers. Sellers who are open to negotiating beyond price are more likely to find scenarios that result in wins for both sides resulting in a potentially faster sale and more seller profit.

Source: realtor.com®

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

Gardening in Winter? It Can Be Done!

January 15, 2016 3:31 am

Ready…set…spring!

One way to beat the winter doldrums this season is to liven up your home with greenery. Green thumb or not, the key is to start small, says gardening author Ann Whitman, who suggests beginning with a terrarium, a miniature tabletop garden.

“Terrariums invite you in for a closer look and provide a perfect escape from the winter weather outside,” Whitman says. “Terrariums are easy to care for and don’t require any special skills for success…not much more than occasional watering and trimming.”

The proper vessel is most crucial to your terrarium’s success. Modern models are substantial, and angled with beveled glass and copper-colored metal trimming (real copper would turn green). Take care to select plants that are specifically suited for terrariums—they should not require a high level of maintenance.

Aside from a terrarium, you can jump-start your outdoor garden (yes, in the dead of winter!) by planting seeds indoors, says Whitman. If your home does not receive adequate sunlight, consider purchasing a light system to ensure the seeds thrive through the season.

“Greenery” in your home might also include springtime scents, Whitman adds. Botanical essential oils, such as lavender, eucalyptus, orange, peppermint or rosemary, are the pure, extracted essence of plants, unadulterated by chemicals or other ingredients. Just a few drops in a diffuser can help inject life into your home ahead of the first day of spring.

Source: Gardener’s Supply Company

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

Home-Related Loan Delinquencies Dive toward Historic Norms

January 15, 2016 3:31 am

Delinquencies, or payments that are 30 days or more overdue, on home-related loans are declining toward historical norms, a sign of continued progress for the housing market. Both open- and closed-end home-related loans, according to a recent report by the American Bankers Association (ABA), showed an overall decrease.

“The steady decline in home-related delinquencies has been a bright spot as they grind their way back to pre-recession levels,” says James Chessen, chief economist of the ABA. “We expect this trend to continue as the housing market keeps gaining strength.”

Delinquencies on closed-end property improvement loans and open-end home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) dropped to 0.87 percent and 1.31 percent, respectively. Closed-end mobile home and home equity loan delinquencies rose slightly, to 3.59 percent and 2.91 percent, respectively. A closed-end loan is for a fixed amount of money with a fixed repayment period and regularly scheduled payments. An open-end loan is for a fixed amount of available credit but a balance that fluctuates depending on usage.

“A good economy and lower delinquency rates go hand-in-hand, and the Fed is betting on a stronger economy in 2016,” adds Chessen.  “If the economy remains solid and jobs continue to grow, we would expect delinquency levels to continue hovering near these historic lows. As always, disciplined financial management by consumers is an essential ingredient for lower delinquencies.  Now is a great time for consumers to reflect on their holiday expenditures and resolve to reduce any excess debt in the New Year.”

Delinquent borrowers should speak with creditors as soon as possible to assess their options.

Source: ABA

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

Mortgage Rates Fall for Second Straight Week

January 15, 2016 3:31 am

Mortgage rates have dropped for the second week in a row.

The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) dipped below 4 percent to 3.92 percent with an average 0.6 point, down from 3.97 percent the week prior, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®). The 15-year FRM averaged 3.19 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from 3.26 percent the previous week.

The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) also decreased, moving to 3.01 percent from 3.09 percent last week with an average 0.4 point.

“Long-term Treasury yields continue to drop, dragging mortgage rates down with them,” explains Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sean Becketti. “Turbulence in overseas financial markets is generating a flight-to-quality which benefits U.S. Treasury securities. In addition, sagging oil prices are capping inflation expectations. The net effect on the 30-year mortgage rate was a 5 basis point drop to 3.92 percent."

Source: Freddie Mac

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

Say It Ain't Snow! 3 Safety Tips for Drivers

January 14, 2016 3:31 am

It’s no secret winter storms can severely diminish driving conditions, and many leave icy, pothole-ridden roads in their wake. But according to a recent survey by Hankook Tire, many drivers don’t have a solid grasp on the rules of the road—in fact, the majority of survey respondents did not know to keep a distance of 10-12 seconds, or six car lengths, between their vehicle and the driver in front of them during adverse road conditions.

If your area is prone to winter weather, keep in mind these safety tips before trekking out in your vehicle, courtesy of Hankook Tire.

• Don't Mix Tires – Never mix tires with different tread patterns, performance ratings or sizes. Use identical tires on all of your vehicle's wheel positions in order to maintain the best control and stability. In cold temperatures where slick surfaces require significant grip, a dedicated winter or all-season tire is best.

• Check Tire Pressure – As the temperature drops, so does tire inflation, decreasing 1-2 pounds for every 10 degree-drop in ambient air temperature. Make sure your tires are properly inflated regularly during winter.

• Keep a Full Tank – Or at least half-full. A car's fuel lines can freeze up very easily in the winter, and this usually happens when the gas level is below half the tank.

Source: Hankook Tire

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

3 DIY Projects to Improve Energy-Efficiency

January 14, 2016 3:31 am

(BPT)—You don’t need to hire a professional to make your home more energy-efficient.

We’ll say it again: You don’t need to hire a professional to make your home more energy-efficient. In fact, with just a few tools, most homeowners can greatly reduce their monthly utility costs, as well as lessen their home’s carbon footprint, by DIY-ing energy-saving projects around the home. For example:

Replace Worn Weather Stripping – Replacing worn weather stripping on doors and windows not only prevents cold drafts in your home, but also helps save on heating costs. To remove old stripping, simply heat caulk with a hair dryer to loosen, and use a paint scraper to peel away the old layer.

Swap Furnace Filter – Before you turn on your furnace for the season, check the filter. If it looks dirty, it needs to be replaced—the average cost of a new filter is $10. Regularly changing the filters in your heating system can drastically improve both its longevity and efficiency. If using your heat daily, aim to replace the filter every four to six weeks.

Cover Bare Floorboards – Non-insulated floors cause up to 10 percent of a home's energy loss. If you have wooden floors, consider adding rugs to help reduce some of that loss. If you spot cracks or gaps in the floor, apply a silicone-based filler to seal.

Source: Bernzomatic

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

What Will Homes Look Like in 10 Years?

January 14, 2016 3:31 am

Accessibility. Automation. Conservation. Health. Safety. These themes are expected to shape the future of residential home design, according to a recent American Institute of Architects (AIA) report.

“Historically, the dominant factors in home design have been economic and demographic shifts,” says AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker. “Residential architects are seeing these forces at play in their vision for the next decade, as well. Homeowners have indicated a strong preference for functionality, accessibility and sustainability over the last ten years, and architects expect that to accelerate, with increasing demand for healthy building materials and furnishings, along with designs that provide measures of resistance to weather-related calamities.”

The themes above will inform the following major design trends in the next 10 years:

1. Technological Integration – Technological integration will become more prevalent, with both dedicated support for personal devices and automated controls for temperature, security and lighting.

2. Non-Toxic Materials – Increased awareness about environmental health issues will lead to more widespread use of low- or no-volatile organic compounds (VOCs) for paint and composite wood, as well as natural fiber upholstery, carpets without polyvinyl chloride backing and air purification systems.

3. Disaster-Proof Design – There will be a growing demand for design that strengthens homes against natural disasters, including elevated residences, windows with impact glazing, dedicated safe rooms and backup power generation.

4. Energy-Efficiency – The next 10 years will see an increasing use of energy-efficient and other sustainable design elements and products, such as solar panels, water reclamation systems and tankless water heaters.

5. Aging-in-Place Plans – More homes will include aging-in-place and universal design elements to accommodate an aging population, including wider hallways, added handrails and one-level living spaces.

6. Open-Concept Living – Kitchens will continue to serve as the focal point of the home highlighted by open-design concepts.

7. Outdoor Space – The next 10 years in residential design will also include a heavy emphasis and investment in outdoor living spaces.

8. Home Offices – As employment situations evolve and workplace norms fall by the wayside, more households will require space devoted to home offices.

9. Infill Development – Infill development, or the process of developing vacant or under-used parcels of land within existing urban areas, will result in smaller, better-designed homes.

10. Urban Characteristics – There will be a strong preference for urban lifestyle qualities in communities, leading to higher-density developments that provide amenities to residents.

Source: AIA

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

Replacing a Home Appliance? Why It Pays to Buy New

January 13, 2016 3:31 am

When a major household appliance needs replacing, you may be tempted to save some money by purchasing a used or refurbished model. Be forewarned: what you save now may end up costing you more down the line, according to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM).

Why? Used or refurbished appliances may not be as efficient as the latest offerings, resulting in higher energy bills.

Consider this: a 20-cubic foot refrigerator manufactured in 1991 consumes, on average, more than 857 kilowatt hours (kWh) a year, while a 22-cubic foot refrigerator carrying the ENERGY-STAR® label manufactured in 2012 consumes only 452 kWh a year. That difference amounts to over $50 in savings per year for the typical household.

Used or refurbished appliances also have the potential to break down, resulting in more costs for repairs. And, secondhand appliances may have a lower life expectancy overall, especially if the previous owner neglected to conduct regular maintenance.

Keep in mind some states and utility companies offer sizable rebates when you purchase new energy-efficient appliances, and even when you recycle your old appliances.

In sum, a new appliance, when designed with energy-efficiency in mind, is a far better deal than a used one.

Source: AHAM

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

Now's the Time: Test Your Home for Radon

January 13, 2016 3:31 am

Radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas, is responsible for over 20,000 fatalities each year. To avoid exposure to radon, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) strongly advises homeowners to test their homes for elevated levels of radon.

“Radon—a serious health threat to our families and communities—can be easily avoided through testing,” says Ron Curry, regional administrator of the EPA. “Testing for radon will save thousands of lives, prevent burdensome health care costs, and make America’s homes and schools safer for future generations."

You can test your home for radon with an affordable, do-it-yourself kit available at many home improvement and hardware stores, as well as online. If you prefer not to conduct the test yourself, you can hire a qualified radon professional.

If you’re in the market for a new home, make it a point to look for radon-resistant construction—your builder should have this information readily available for you.

Source: EPA.gov

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

5 Paint Color Trends That Imitate Life

January 13, 2016 3:31 am

Call it life imitating art, in reverse.

Interior designers often consult cultural trends to inform décor choices, especially paint colors. This season, color expert Sara McLean of Dunn-Edwards Paints forecasts a “combination of colors” that reflect current lifestyle preferences—colors that can be applied in any home.

“I believe that the combination of colors tell the story,” says McLean. “It’s about the entire palette and how a collection of colors evokes a feeling, an era or a scene.”

These color combinations include:

• Rose shades of pink, such as blush, with fresh and fruity pastels

• Deep, Prussian blue contrasted by stark whites, or Air Force blue with Scandinavian gray

• Rich, saturated reds, such as burgundy and Bordeaux, with poppy corals or softened peach tones

• Acidic green-yellow with turquoise, indigo, navy and periwinkle blues

Color combinations will also multiply, McLean says, to include rainbow coloring, manifested in color-blocking, flecked or speckled paints.

Source: Dunn-Edwards Paints

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags: