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

3 Tips for Homebuyers in a Competitive Market

July 20, 2016 1:40 am


(BPT)—Homebuyers traditionally face competition at the height of real estate season. Now, with market indicators reaching record post-recession milestones, competition is stiffer than ever.

To gain an edge as a buyer, real estate professionals advise:

Getting Pre-Approved – Getting pre-approved for financing will give you significant leverage in negotiations with the seller—and knowing exactly what you can afford will keep you on track if a bidding war ensues.

Thinking Long-Term – As a homebuyer, your decision regarding which home to purchase should align with your future expectations. Planning to grow your family? Consider a larger house in need of work instead of a completely updated two-bedroom bungalow. Looking to downsize? Consider purchasing a ranch home without stairs.

Researching the Neighborhood – Researching areas in advance can save you time spent hunting for houses that do not suit your needs. Do you need easy access to commuter rail and bus lines? Where will your children attend school? These factors, and more, will influence your home-buying decision.

Keep in mind that in addition to these tips, the best ally in a competitive market is a real estate professional. If you’re ready to purchase a home, contact your local real estate agent for guidance.
 

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Report: In Most States, It's Better to Own Than Rent

July 20, 2016 1:40 am


Did you know that in the majority of states, owning a home is more economically sustainable than renting one?

A recently released GOBankingRates.com report reveals that it is less expensive to own a home in 42 of the 50 states and the District of Columbia—about 82 percent of the country. The report compares each state’s median list price and median rent of a single-family home, factoring in a 20 percent down payment, a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, insurance and property taxes.

The average monthly payments for a mortgage and rent by state, according to the report:

Alabama
Mortgage: $859
Rent: $950

Alaska
Mortgage: $1,356
Rent: $1,690

Arizona
Mortgage: $1,223
Rent: $1,250

Arkansas
Mortgage: $769
Rent: $1,050

California
Mortgage: $2,221
Rent: $2,400

Colorado
Mortgage: $1,837
Rent: $1,700

Connecticut
Mortgage: $1,486
Rent: $1,700

Delaware
Mortgage: $1,375
Rent: $1,300

Florida
Mortgage: $1,297
Rent: $1,695

Georgia
Mortgage: $1,029
Rent: $1,200
 
Hawaii
Mortgage: $2,862
Rent: $2,347

Idaho
Mortgage: $1,199
Rent: $995

Illinois
Mortgage: $1,078
Rent: $1,600

Indiana
Mortgage: $745
Rent: $1,025

Iowa
Mortgage: $836
Rent: $1,095

Kansas
Mortgage: $836
Rent: $1,150

Kentucky
Mortgage: $849
Rent: $1,000

Louisiana
Mortgage: $1,022
Rent: $1,250

Maine
Mortgage: $1,104
Rent: $1,500

Maryland
Mortgage: $1,446
Rent: $1,700

Massachusetts
Mortgage: $1,941
Rent: $2,500

Michigan
Mortgage: $741
Rent: $1,000

Minnesota
Mortgage: $1,085
Rent: $1,400

Mississippi
Mortgage: $791
Rent: $1,100

Missouri
Mortgage: $768
Rent: $950

Montana
Mortgage: $1,348
Rent: $1,100

Nebraska
Mortgage: $884
Rent: $1,200

Nevada
Mortgage: $1,196
Rent: $1,275

New Hampshire
Mortgage: $1,240
Rent: $1,475

New Jersey
Mortgage: $1,428
Rent: $1,900

New Mexico
Mortgage: $1,043
Rent: $1,125

New York
Mortgage: $1,660
Rent: $3,295

North Carolina
Mortgage: $1,089
Rent: $1,175

North Dakota
Mortgage: $1,144
Rent: $1,250

Ohio
Mortgage: $700
Rent: $1,075

Oklahoma
Mortgage: $867
Rent: $1,050

Oregon
Mortgage: $1,562
Rent: $1,550

Pennsylvania
Mortgage: $934
Rent: $1,395

Rhode Island
Mortgage: $1,416
Rent: $1,750

South Carolina
Mortgage: $1,121
Rent: $1,250

South Dakota
Mortgage: $1,033
Rent: $1,100
 
Tennessee
Mortgage: $934
Rent: $1,195

Texas
Mortgage: $1,271
Rent: $1,425

Utah
Mortgage: $1,517
Rent: $1,275

Vermont
Mortgage: $1,226
Rent: $1,500

Virginia
Mortgage: $1,465
Rent: $1,650

Washington
Mortgage: $1,515
Rent: $1,650

Washington, D.C.
Mortgage: $2,719
Rent: $2,575

West Virginia
Mortgage: $832
Rent: $1,098

Wisconsin
Mortgage: $921
Rent: $1,200

Wyoming
Mortgage: $1,199
Rent: $1,100

Source: GOBankingRates.com
 

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Back-to-School: 5 Tips to Get Organized

July 19, 2016 1:40 am


There’s no better time than back-to-school season to organize for the upcoming school year. Begin with these five back-to-school, get-organized tips from the experts at Merry Maids:

1. Draw up a family calendar to keep schedules on track throughout the year. Hang it within view of all members of the household, including your child(ren), so that they know—and can change, if needed—appointments or obligations.

2. Set up color-coded files for your child(ren) to store assignments and projects as they come in through the year. Clear out the folders periodically, either over the weekend or over school vacations.

3. Organize a school supply cabinet with labeled baskets or bins. This will come in handy at homework time, guide your child(ren) during clean-up, and help you take stock when items need replenishing through the year.

4. Establish a time to pack lunches for the entire week—and enlist your child(ren) to help prepare them. Store the lunches in an accessible area in the refrigerator, so your child(ren) can grab-and-go each morning.

5. Designate a day each week for your child(ren) to participate in household chores—folding the laundry, picking up their toys, or setting the table, depending on their age and ability.

Putting school-time routines in place now not only starts the year off stress-free, but also ensures your household stays well-ordered in the months to come. Start with these tips!

Source: ServiceMaster Global Holdings, Inc.
 

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3 Ways to Waterproof Your House

July 19, 2016 1:40 am


Did you know water can enter and damage your home at any time, whether your house is in a low-lying area or otherwise?

“There are common water hazards that every homeowner faces at one time or another,” explains Michael Petri of Petri Plumbing and Heating, Inc. “It's a lot simpler than many people think to waterproof their homes and avoid those issues.”

Waterproofing your home not only guards it against flooding, but also eliminates unseen internal leaks. (Leaks, in fact, account for close to 15 percent of the average household’s water use.)

To waterproof your house, Petri recommends:

Scanning Pipes – Walk your property and note areas of mud or soil erosion, or wet spots on the driveway. These findings could indicate a broken pipe, which will require the services of a professional plumber to remedy.

Inspecting Sprinkler Heads – Look for vibrant green vegetation or moss growth on or around the sprinkler heads on your property. These may be signs of broken heads or damaged valves leaking into the ground (and potentially breaching your home).

Testing Toilet(s) for Leaks – Drip a few drops of food dye into the tank of the toilet. Wait 20 minutes; if a leak is found, replace the valve inside the tank.

These three types of leaks can develop in any house, both new and older, or on any property. If you suspect an irrigation or underground leak, call a professional plumber as soon as possible for help—continuous leaking can not only lead to extensive damage, but also can result in additional month-to-month costs.

Source: Petri Plumbing and Heating, Inc.
 

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What Role Does Insurance Play in Home-Sharing?

July 19, 2016 1:40 am


As the sharing economy hits its stride, more every-people are taking advantage of home-sharing platforms like Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO. The ease-of-use of these platforms, however, should not detract from insurance considerations, says John M. Huff, president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

“Sharing a home, car or even personal items with a complete stranger reflects a new level of trust between buyers and sellers,” Huff said in a statement. “When using companies like Uber and Airbnb, or lesser-known options such as Poshmark and TaskRabbit, failing to understand the insurance implications of these transactions can be costly. The NAIC encourages consumers to share with care.”

To determine adequate insurance coverage, home-sharers should discuss their intentions with their insurance provider, the NAIC recommends. The home-sharer may be required to supplement a standard homeowners insurance policy with additional liability coverage, home-based business coverage, or even landlord insurance.

The NAIC suggests the home-sharer confirm the damaged-related coverage an existing policy offers, as well. Home-sharers may opt to limit rentals to those who can show proof of homeowners, renters or personal liability insurance, so that they will be able to file a claim on the renter’s policy should the renter damage the property.

Most importantly, home-sharers should stay up-to-date on the policies and terms of use of each sharing platform. Home-sharing agreements are apt to change, and often, according to the NAIC.

Source: National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC)
 

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The Science Behind Grocery Shopping

July 18, 2016 1:40 am


Shopping is a science—one repeat savers know well. The savviest shoppers routinely apply it to recurring household expenses, like groceries, to reap the most savings.

Shopping app Ibotta recently cracked the code to the secrets behind the science of grocery shopping, revealing the best times to shop for everyday items.

Grocery bills, for one, are highest on weekends—the most popular time of week for shoppers. The savings, Ibotta found, are earlier in the week: better prices on beer, wine and ice cream can be found on Mondays and Tuesdays, and discounts on produce are common on Wednesdays.

Shoppers purchasing beer and wine on a Monday can expect up to a 9 percent discount off Saturday prices. The best stores for savings, according to Ibotta:

• Walmart ($7.75/six-pack beer)
• Target ($8.11/six-pack beer)

• Walgreens ($9.23/wine)
• Walmart ($9.39/wine)
• Sam’s Club ($9.61/wine)

Ice cream is also best bought on Monday, when shoppers can save up to 9 percent. Dollar stores, Ibotta found, have the steepest discounts: $3.01 at Dollar General, and $3.26 at Family Dollar.

Produce, on the other hand, is the least expensive on Wednesdays, especially at regional retailers like Albertsons or Food4Less.

Ibotta also pinpointed the purchase preferences of certain cities, with some intriguing findings: the city that purchases the most beer and wine, for instance, is Tampa Bay, Fla.—the “Booziest City.” The “Ice Creamiest City,” based on purchasing trends, is Richmond, Va. Seattle is named the “Healthiest City,” due to its penchant for organic, healthful food purchases.

And Green Bay, Wis., is the “Cheesiest City.” No surprise there!

Source: Ibotta
 

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Unpacking Summer's Hottest Housing Trends – Pt. 1

July 18, 2016 1:40 am


Housing’s on a hot streak this summer, as more buyers, sellers, investors and renters take advantage of the best real estate season in years.

Three trends are defining the season, according to ApartmentList.com: co-living, micro apartments and tiny houses. In this first segment of our series on these trends, we’ll drill down and unearth the facts behind micro apartments.

Rents can be a major challenge for people living in expensive markets like New York City. Enter micro—less than 400 square feet—apartments, where everything but the bare minimum is shaved away in a centrally-located unit.

The main purpose of a micro apartment is primarily function, though the spaces are made to appear roomier with strategic ceiling height, color and lighting, say the experts at ApartmentList.com.

Most who gravitate towards living in a micro apartment often do so for its amenities, and because they do spend a lot of time outside of home, explain the ApartmentList.com experts. Unlike co-living situations, micro apartments do not necessarily require a membership. Micro apartments have a more “permanent” feel compared to co-living spaces, as well.

The micro apartment trend has taken root in at least one market: Seattle, where a micro apartment development was recently unveiled. According to a blog by former Seattle Mayor Michael McGinn, the 170-square-foot units are affordable for individuals with “moderate” incomes, with an average rent of $575 per month.

McGinn also revealed Seattle's Planning Department continues to hear from builders who are interested in offering micro apartments. McGinn noted the demand for affordable housing in transit-friendly communities will likely continue to expand, especially in markets like New York and San Francisco.

Stay tuned for our upcoming segment, where we’ll dive into the next hot summer housing trend: co-living.
 

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Current Economy Keeps Lid on Mortgage Rates

July 18, 2016 1:40 am


Mortgage rates, slow to react to Brexit, remain below 4 percent.

According to Bankrate.com’s weekly rate report, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate is averaging 3.57 percent, with an average 0.23 discount and origination points. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate is averaging 2.85 percent, with an average 0.20 discount and origination points. The 7-year adjustable mortgage rate is averaging 3.23 percent, and the 5-year adjustable mortgage rate is averaging 3.04 percent. The jumbo 30-year fixed mortgage rate is averaging 3.67 percent.

Borrowers obtaining a 30-year fixed mortgage at the current average rate can expect to pay $905.92 monthly. 

Close to three-quarters of mortgage experts surveyed by Bankrate.com expect rates to rise only marginally in the next week, due to the sluggish state of inflation, interest rates and economic growth globally.

Source: Bankrate.com
 

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The Smart Home Takes a Swim

July 15, 2016 1:40 am


Smart home automation’s dipping into pools.

Many poolside mechanisms, such as the heater, pump and timer, can now be automatically controlled with smart home technology, optimizing energy use and performance and potentially extending their lifespan—a benefit that can result in thousands in saved repair or replacement costs, which are often a burdensome expense for pool owners.

“New automation options eliminate the inconvenience of trips to pool or spa equipment to reset timer clocks and thermostats,” said Kyle H. Chaikin, president of the Northeast Spa & Pool Association (NESPA), in a statement. “Control the pool at poolside, from inside the house, on the golf course or halfway around the world with handy smartphone apps.”

According to the NESPA, pool owners can automate any or all of the following features:

• Chlorine Generator
• Cleaner
• Filtration System/Pump
• Fountain
• Heater
• Jacuzzi/Spa
• Lighting
• Timer
• Waterfall

Pool owners can take automation a step further by assigning control to their pool service provider, Chaikin added.

“Pool and spa automation fits perfectly into any busy lifestyle. You can monitor your pool and poolscape yourself, or you can turn it over to your pool service company who will monitor it in real time, and be able to respond in real time, should any issue develop.

“Automation equipment quickly makes your backyard ready to use right when you are ready to use it, regardless of the season,” Chaikin added. “Owning and operating a pool and spa today has never been easier or more fun.”

Source: Northeast Spa & Pool Association/The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals
 

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5 Tips for a Better Backyard

July 15, 2016 1:40 am


(Family Features)—Fenced-in or acreage to spare, a backyard should be worth coming home to. Get inspired to better yours with these tips, courtesy of the experts at Trex (Trex.com).

Light Bulb!
Start by drawing ideas from DIY bloggers, HGTV.com, Houzz.com, Pinterest and other resources. Bookmark the elements that resonate with you most. You’ll soon compile enough inspiration to form a near-complete design for your backyard.

A Helping Hand
Consider hiring a professional landscape contractor if your design is outside DIY ability. A professional can assist with projects like hardscaping or structural building.

Limbo
Factor any maintenance requirements into your design. Incorporate features like all-weather cabinetry, composite decking, shade and storage to keep function high and maintenance low.

Put the Heat On
Enjoy your new backyard any time of day or night with heat- and light-producing fixtures. Most popular now are fire pits and fireplaces, lanterns and tiki torches.

What Rules?
Lastly, be open to mixing up the furniture in your new backyard—a variety of styles outdoors reads inviting, not eclectic. Think outside of the box when it comes to accessories like pillows, tableware, and even artwork, to lend a personalized touch.

Source: Trex.com
 

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