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Main Line Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find my real estate blog to be a wealth of information, covering real estate Market Trends and real estate news, financial articles, numerous guidance articles on buying a home, selling a home, financing a home purchase, home loans, home maintenance, decorating, and design, among many others. The articles are valuable to both first-time home buyers and sellers, as well as to experienced home buyers and sellers. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. The articles in this blog contain a wealth of valuable insights and information. Enjoy! I love helping my clients find their dream home and preparing their home for sale. I'd love to talk with you!

Janis

Janis Peterson, Realtor®, GRI, ABR, SRES, CSP

 

Oct. 1, 2019

Meet the Main Line, Part II: Exploring Montgomery County

Continuing our series on the diverse and beautiful communities of Pennsylvania, we’re dedicating this month to learning all about Montgomery County and the amazing culture it has to offer. If you’re currently considering homes for sale in Montgomery County, PA, be sure to check out these incredible neighborhoods and communal landmarks!

Villanova

Nestled between Lower Merion Township in Montgomery County and Radnor Township, Villanova is a series of upper-middle-class Philadelphia suburban towns found along the original east-west railroad tracks of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Served by the SEPTA Paoli/Thorndale Line regional rail train as well as the Norristown High Speed Line, Villanova sports all kinds of famous features, such as:

Villanova University & Athletics

Villanova U. is a Catholic private university in Radnor Township. Named after Saint Thomas of Villanova, Villanova University is the oldest Catholic university in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the only Augustinian university in the country. For years, Villanova has consistently been regarded as one of the best universities in the United States, and has been frequently ranked highly in categories such as “Best Masters Universities,” "Best Value Schools," and "Best Undergraduate Teaching" in lists compiled by U.S. News and World Report. Villanova U. is also a 3-time national basketball champion; the “Wildcats” have won the National Championship three times, in 19852016, and 2018

 

The Appleford Estate 

The Appleford Estate is a gorgeous example of early Pennsylvania farmhouse architecture going back more than 300 years. The estate was originally part of a land grant from William Penn, and today it is maintained as an arboretum and bird sanctuary. With its blossoming trees, handsome stone walls, gardens, and streams, Appleford is the place to go to appreciate some of Villanova’s rustic beauty, and is popular as an exquisite wedding and event venue.

 

Today, Appleford owes its beautiful acreage to the acclaimed landscape architect Thomas Sears, who created a series of lush gardens, brick walkways, and rhododendron tracts from the woods to the meadow, set off by a pond, stream, waterfall, and gardens that can be enjoyed from every window of the house.

Stoneleigh

The Stoneleigh home and natural garden dates back to 1877. For nearly 80 years, Stoneleigh was the private home of the Haas family, who later donated their property to Natural Lands in 2016 to keep it preserved for posterity. After much preparation, Stoneleigh: A Natural Garden opened to the public in May 2018. 

 

Stoneleigh features a Tudor revival mansion, and is a brilliant reflection of more than a century of care by three different families. Incredible trees, sweeping vista views, and intimate gardens offer opportunities to explore, relax, and find inspiration.

 

Stoneleigh is closed on Mondays, but is otherwise open from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM every day and offers guided tours that are available on prior arrangement.

Ardrossan Farms

As the inspiration for the 1940 film The Philadelphia Story, Ardrossan Farms consists of nearly 800 acres of land, approximately 300 of which are wunder conservation easements. As an extraordinary country scene spotted with aged trees, Ardrossan Farms is a must-see in the Main Line.

Bryn Mawr

Divided among the townships of Radnor, Haverford, and Lower Merion, Bryn Mawr is found in the heart and center of the Main Line. Named after a Welsh estate belonging to the Quaker Rowland Ellis who emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1686, Bryn Mawr was initially known as Crankyville until 1869, when railroad agent William Wilson acquired the land and changed the name to Bryn Mawr. 

Harriton House

Originally built by the above-mentioned Rowland Ellis, the Harriton House itself was once named Bryn Mawr, later inspiring the town’s name. The home was famously the residence of Charles Thomson, the secretary of the Continental Congress, and still stands today as a museum and cultural resource.

Bryn Mawr College

Sporting distinguished alumni such as Katharine Hepburn, Bryn Mawr College is a women’s liberal arts school. Originally founded as a Quaker institution in 1885, Bryn Mawr College is one of the Seven Sister colleges and hosts nearly 1,800 undergraduate and graduate students.

Bryn Mawr Film Institute

The Bryn Mawr Film Institute is a non-profit, community-supported movie theater that was founded in 1926 and is known for showing a range of foreign, independent, and art-house films. Film education is central to BMFI, as the theater partners with local schools and offers film studies courses for adults.

 

To see the Bryn Mawr Film Institute and other attractions we’ve discussed in this blog, watch this quick video: 

 

 

Montgomery County has everything you could want and more in terms of community and local culture. For more information about Montgomery County homes for sale, feel free to reach out to our team at Main Line Homes today!

Posted in Real Estate News
Sept. 5, 2019

Meet the Main Line: Welcome to Philadelphia

If you’re looking for homes for sale in Gladwyne, PA, or anywhere else on the Philadelphia Main Line, let Janis Peterson at Main Line Homes help get you into the home of your dreams at a low price you’ll love. The Main Line is a great place to live, no matter what community you choose. 

A Brief History of the Main Line

Running northwest from Center City Philadelphia, the Main Line lies along what used to be the Main Line of the Pennsylvania Railroad. As way stations were constructed along the railroad, the social elite of Philadelphia began to view the area as a place to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, and it became common practice, for those who could afford it, to have a second home on the Main Line.  As suburbanization boomed in the 20th century, so did the Main Line. It grew into the most fashionable and wealthy region of the Philadelphia metropolitan area, and today is home to some of the most affluent communities in America. 

Main Line Transportation- AMTRAK & SEPTA 

Owning a home along Philadelphia’s prestigious Main Line represents far more than merely a status symbol. It’s also convenient if you work in Philadelphia or anywhere along the path from Philadelphia to Harrisburg, because you have access to this Amtrak-owned rail line. This includes SEPTA's Paoli/Thorndale Line service, also known as R5. AMTRAK & SEPTA provide fast, affordable public transportation which helps mitigate the stressors and pressures of commuting for the residents of the Main Line. 

Education Along the Main Line

The Main Line is also the perfect place to raise children, as you’ll have an excellent selection of schools within your radius, whether your child is at the age of primary, secondary, or university education. Home to some of the state’s most elite public and private schools, the Main Line is known to have a rich history in academic excellence. Let’s take a closer look at some of the area’s top facilities. 

Pre-Schools

  • The Malvern School
  • All Friends Academy
  • StarPoint and StarPoint 2: Therapeutic PreK/K and K/1 Academic Classrooms

Private Schools

All-Girls Schools

  • Agnes Irwin School (pre-K-12, Wynnewood)
  • Baldwin School (pre-K-12, Bryn Mawr)
  • Academy of Notre Dame de Namur (6-12, Villanova, PA)
  • Country Day School of the Sacred Heart (k-12, Bryn Mawr) 
  • Merion Mercy Academy (9-12, Merion)
  • Villa Maria Academy (9-12, Malvern)

All-Boys Schools

  • The Haverford School (junior kindergarten-12, Haverford)
  • Devon Preparatory School (6-12, Devon) 
  • Malvern Prep (6-12, Malvern)

Co-ed Schools

  • Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy grades (6-12, Bryn Mawr)
  • Kohelet Yeshiva High School (Grades 9-12, Northeast Philadelphia)
  • Delaware Valley Friends School (for children with learning disabilities) (Grades 3-12, Paoli)
  • Episcopal Academy (pre-K-12, Newtown Square)
  • Friends' Central School (nursery-12, Wynnewood)
  • The Shipley School (pre-K-12, Bryn Mawr)
  • Woodlynde School (for children with learning disabilities) (Grades K-12, Strafford)
  • Delaware County Christian School (pre-K-12, Newtown Square)
  • Friends School (nursery-8, Haverford)
  • Archbishop John Carroll High School (9-12, Radnor)

Public High Schools

  • Great Valley High School (near Malvern, PA)
  • Conestoga High School (Tredyffrin)
  • Harriton High School (Lower Merion Township)
  • Lower Merion High School (Ardmore)
  • Radnor High School (Radnor)

Colleges and Universities

  • The American College (Bryn Mawr)
  • Bryn Mawr College (Bryn Mawr)
  • Cabrini University (Radnor)
  • Eastern University (St. Davids)
  • Palmer Theological Seminary (Upper Merion Township)
  • Harcum College (Bryn Mawr)
  • Haverford College (Haverford)
  • Immaculata University (Malvern)
  • Rosemont College (Rosemont)
  • Saint Joseph's University (Lower Merion)
  • Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary (Wynnewood)
  • Valley Forge Military Academy & College (Wayne)
  • Villanova University (Radnor)

Top Philly Attractions / Getting to Know the Neighborhood  

 

It’s no secret that the Main Line is a great place to live, work, and raise a family. However, the first step toward finding the home of your dreams in this area is contacting the right real estate agent. For help finding and negotiating a deal on houses for sale in Wayne, PA, or anywhere else on the Main Line, contact Main Line Homes today!

 

Posted in Real Estate News
Aug. 5, 2019

Learning the Lexicon, Pt I: A Guide to Common Real Estate Terms

When preparing to purchase your first home, you’ll likely come across many words and phrases that are being used in a new context or that might even seem completely foreign. Here at Main Line Homes, we appreciate that specific real-estate terms can be confusing. In fact, it’s precisely why we’ve created this series — as a guide to help people who are looking for a new home to navigate through the new terminology they encounter. Let’s take a look at the first installment of “Learning the Lexicon.”

Appraisal

An appraisal is an estimate of a property’s value based on the written analysis from a qualified appraiser. Before a bank issues a loan, they typically require an appraisal to make sure that the estimated cost of a property exceeds the amount that will be borrowed.

Buyer’s Agent

A buyer’s agent is a real estate agent who specifically represents the interests of people buying homes. If a buyer’s agent completes coursework and proves their experience with representing buyers, they can qualify for accreditation and become an ABR (Accredited Buyer’s Representative). The ABR accreditation is awarded by the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC)

Contingencies

Before a real estate transaction is completed, certain conditions must be met. These include home inspections, financing contingencies, or contingencies that state a buyer must first sell their current home. Generally speaking, the fewer contingencies that are required of a seller, the stronger a buyer’s negotiating position is in terms of getting the best price.

FHA Loan

Loans that are insured by the FHA (Federal Housing Administration) often have attractive finance rates and less strict lending requirements than conventional bank mortgages. For buyers with low credit scores, FHA loans can be very appealing as they also offer smaller down payments. However, they require two types of mortgage insurance: an annual premium and an upfront premium. The monthly premium is included in the monthly mortgage payments.

Home Inspection

In real estate terminology, a home inspection is a professional examination (funded by the buyer) that will evaluate the mechanical and structural condition of a property. This includes the foundation, electrical, plumbing, HVAC systems, and roofing. If any issues are identified by the inspector that will be too expensive to resolve, they can be discussed with the seller in detail before proceeding to the final negotiations of a sale. 

Keep an eye out for the next part in our “Learning the Lexicon” series to further examine some of the most commonly used real estate terms and what they mean. For additional information or to discuss the property market in Philadelphia, contact us today!

Posted in Real Estate News
July 9, 2019

Three Tips for Selling Your Home This Summer

 

 

Here at Main Line Homes, we provide exceptional services to clients that are looking to buy or sell real estate across the Philadelphia Main Line area. Our expert guidance helps clients to identify and achieve their real estate goals. We utilize knowledge of local market trends to provide customers with the best possible experience and results throughout their real estate transactions.

 

With summertime upon us, we've decided to share our expert tips on selling homes across the warmer months.

 

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June 3, 2019

The Four Ds: Top Staging Secrets the Pros Don’t Want You to Know

 

Here at Main Line Homes, we know how complicated selling a home can be. From arranging open houses and showings to negotiating offers and understanding legal contracts, the challenges can seem insurmountable at times. That’s why we’re the Main Line's top-rated realtors — because we do all of this for you, taking the stress and pressure away and giving you the peace of mind that you're getting the best price for your home.

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Posted in Real Estate News
June 3, 2019

The Critical Facts No One Tells You About Buying a House

 

As the premier realtor serving all corners of the Main Line from Merion to Haverford to Malvern and everything in between, we understand that there are so many things that comprise the process of house hunting. Not only do you need to understand current market conditions, but you'll also want to be aware of new developments, prioritize your features, determine your budget, etc. The list goes on and on. That's precisely why Main Line Homes is dedicated to helping our clients buy the perfect new home.

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Posted in Real Estate News
Oct. 15, 2018

5 Tips Every Military Home Seller Should Know

Whether you’re retiring from the military and planning a move, or you’ve just received PCS orders to relocate, we’ve got your back. As a military homeowner, it’s always smart to have a game plan ready for selling your home on a timeline.

Here are five tips to help get you there!

Make a List of Things to Fix

Man applying plaster to a wall in his home.Before listing your home, go through each room and note any repairs or improvements that need to happen. Make sure you’re taking care of any damaged or malfunctioning appliances. Things like leaky faucets, broken appliances, and carpet damage are a huge turnoff to buyers.

You should also see what aesthetic improvements you can make! This includes things like repainting the walls, replacing tarnished door knobs, and switching out old faucets.

Use Listing Photos from Last Spring (If Possible)

Now that it’s getting colder outside and your grass, trees, and plants might not look so fresh, you may want to consider using exterior photos of your home from spring or summer when listing it. You want your home (and yard) to look as lush and verdant as possible.

Regardless of the time of year, high-quality listing photos pay for themselves. Professional photos will make your home look much more appealing than ones taken on your cell phone, and will invite potential buyers to come see it in person.

Research the Market

Woman smiling at a laptop as she researches the real estate market.The market has probably changed a lot since the last time you bought or sold a home. Before you list your home, take some time to thoroughly research your local real estate market.

Familiarize yourself with things like the current listing prices in your neighborhood, average turnaround times, and the type of housing for sale around where you live. Need a jumping off point for your research? We’ve got your back! We’d love to share some complimentary market reports and research tools with you.

Create a Cozy Atmosphere with Staging!

Now that it’s officially fall, take advantage of cozy fall staging to really welcome buyers into your home. As it gets colder outside, potential buyers will be feeling the cooler temperatures; imagine their relief when they step into your warm and cozy home after being outside in the cold.

Play up the cozy aspects of your home by lighting lightly-scented candles (like cinnamon or cloves, nothing too crazy!) or putting a pot of cider on the stove. Place throw blankets on furniture, highlight your fireplace or wood stove, and make sure to keep all your shades or blinds open to let in the natural light.

Get a Property Valuation

Two parents in military fatigues smiling as they hug their child.The most important step to selling your home within your time frame is pricing it correctly! It may seem easier, but you really can’t rely on on online home value estimators. These automated systems use algorithms to price homes, and often rely on outdated or even incorrect information. Too often, we see sellers lose out on their hard-earned equity by using one of these tools—sometimes even missing out on thousands of dollars!

Instead, work with a Realtor with extensive experience buying and selling homes in your area. If you’d like a free property valuation, one that takes into account the specific qualities of your home and the surrounding neighborhood in real time, please reach out to us!

Ready for a Successful Home Sale?

As an active duty or retired military member, you deserve a real estate experience that’s custom-tailored to fit your unique needs. When you choose to partner with us, that’s exactly what you’ll get.

Give us a call today to get started!

Posted in Real Estate News
Oct. 1, 2018

How to Sell Your Home (While Buying a New Home)

It’s a common real estate predicament: selling the home you currently live in while trying to buy a new one. So… what’s the most efficient way to go about it?

All in all, it depends on your situation. Are you willing to buy a second home without having sold your first one? Or are you relying on the payoff from your current home for the down payment on your new one? Are you relocating? Upgrading? Downsizing? Your reasons for selling will most likely dictate how you’ll go about the process.

So, here are four things to keep in mind when you’re buying and selling a home at the same time.

It’s All About Timing

Group of people consulting a calendar.What works best for you? If you’re selling your home because you’re relocating to a new area, it might more more sense to sell your current home first before buying a new home in a new market.

However, if you have enough money saved up for a down payment, it may be easier to buy your new home first, then sell your old home once you’ve moved to the new one.

So Do Your Research

A great place to start is by researching the market. If there are a lot of buyers and not a lot of homes, this is called a “buyer’s market”, meaning the conditions are ideal for buyers. Oppositely, if there are a lot of buyers and not a lot of homes, the conditions favor sellers (a “seller’s market”). If you’re buying and selling in two different markets, you’ll have to research both.

If you opt to buy before selling, make an offer on the new home with a sale and settlement contingency. You can then request an extended closing.

And Consider Your Money, Money, Money

A pile of money next to a checkbook with a pen.Look closely at your bank account; what is it telling you?

The answer to your current question (Should I buy or should I sell first?) most likely lies within. Begin by meeting with your financial advisor or mortgage lender. You’ll want to look at three main financial factors: a) The amount of money you have in liquid cash, b) The equity in your current home, and c) The amount of the new loan you qualify for.

A big part of this is knowing the resale value of your current home. It’s also a good idea to have a pre-inspection completed on your home, so you can take care of any maintenance issues that might deter potential buyers down the road… and maybe even bump up your home value a bit.

Your Equity is Also Crucial

To find the equity on your home, take its current market value and subtract what’s left on your mortgage.

Need to know the current market value of your home? Use our home evaluation tool! Please reach out to us to learn more.

Work With the Right Realtor

Even if you’re not buying and selling a home at the same time, the right Realtor can transform your real estate experience. A great local agent has the expertise and resources you need for a streamlined, stress-free, and successful real estate transaction.

If you’re in search of an expert agent in the area, we have the experience, resources, and area knowledge to assist you in your upcoming home sale and/or purchase. Give us a call today to learn more.

Posted in Real Estate News
Sept. 26, 2018

Autumn is a Great Time to Buy or Sell a Home

Fall isn’t traditionally thought of as the busiest time in real estate, but there are big advantages to buying or selling a home during autumn. People are always moving into our area, and your home will undoubtedly stand out if there are few others like it for sale. Additionally, buyers who are out looking in the fall tend to be more serious, so you could have fewer showings, but a greater chance of one of them garnering an offer.

As you can imagine, it takes time and effort to sell a home in any season. A professional real estate agent like me will handle all of the details and promote your best interests. I help sellers get their homes staged and ready, advise them on pricing, market the home, coordinate showings and work my contacts to find the right buyer. Once the right buyer is found, I aggressively negotiate on your behalf and help you navigate a relatively complex process to ensure you close with the best price and the least amount of stress. If you are interested, I would be happy to provide a free competitive market analysis which will give you an accurate idea of your home’s potential market value.

The National Association of Realtors has also found this season is the best time of the year to purchase a home because of potentially lower home prices, less competition and the possibility of getting a deal on a property that has been on the market since summer. Sometimes homes are available in the fall because the sellers are motivated to move quickly due to unexpected circumstances like a job change.

The perfect time to buy is as soon as you are ready. In today’s market, with appreciating home prices, low inventory, strong demand and rising interest rates, the longer you wait, the more expensive your ideal home will become in the future. History has shown that a home can be a great investment in any season, if you are buying for the long term. As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me with any of your homeownership needs.

All my best,
Janis

Posted in Real Estate News
Sept. 1, 2018

Home Buying Terminology: A Cheat Sheet

Buying a home shouldn’t be rocket science. You find the perfect home, make an offer to the seller, pay a couple of fees, and bam! You just bought a home.

However, buying a home actually has a lot of moving parts which include a number of funny real estate terms you’ve probably never heard before. Are Realtors and real estate agents even speaking English anymore?

To help you out, we’ve come up with a cheat sheet so you’ll know exactly what we are talking about when we explain the home-buying process.

Pre-Approval

Two adults meeting over a stack of paper.If you meet with an agent before you begin looking for homes, they’ll likely recommend you get pre-approved for a mortgage. Mortgage pre-approval is the best first step to buying a home, because it essentially sets your budget for you.

Pre-approval involves sitting down with a lender to discuss your financial portfolio. This includes your credit score, borrowing history, outstanding debts, annual income, and any assets you have. After reviewing all of this, the lender gives you an exact number: that’s how much the bank is willing to lend you.

Not only is your budget set, home sellers will take you more seriously because they know you can qualify for enough loan to support your offer.

Earnest Money

Two parents sitting with a child who is opening a piggy bank full of coins.Defined loosely, earnest money is the money you pay to confirm a contract. When you’re buying a home, this is essentially a good faith deposit. It lets the seller know that you’re serious—serious enough to go ahead and put money down.

This money sits in a joint account (called an “escrow” account) held by both the buyer and seller. When the home purchase is finalized, the earnest money goes toward the buyer’s down payment.

Due Diligence

A few bills next to a checklist that has home-buying items on it.Due diligence refers to the period of time after the seller has accepted a buyer’s offer. This is the time when you as the buyer can schedule inspections, confirm financing, and make sure that buying this home is in your best interest.

Now’s the time to do some research! Have the home inspected by a professional to ensure nothing is wrong with it, consult public records to learn more about its past homeownership, as well as any environmental issues in the neighborhood, and work with your lender to make sure this is a good financial decision.

So…. Are Realtors and Agents the Same Thing?

Yes and no. The primary difference between REALTOR®s and real estate agents is the National Association of Realtors, also known as the NAR. The NAR is a professional organization of real estate brokers that abides by a specific Code of Ethics that all REALTOR®s are required to follow.

A real estate agent works under a brokerage, but is not necessarily a licensed NAR member.

Let’s Find Your Dream Home Together

Young couple being handed the keys to their new home.We’ll never hide behind big words when it comes to helping you find the home that’s right for you.

Give us a call today to begin your home-buying journey.

Posted in Real Estate News