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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

Feb. 28, 2020

2020 Best Philadelphia Suburbs: Find Where to Live

2020’s Best Philadelphia Suburbs

Living in a big city has numerous benefits: it’s not only the place where one can find the most employment opportunities, but also hubs that house amazing cultural, dining, and entertainment experiences.

Still, living in the city center has some serious drawbacks, such as the never-ending traffic jams, pollution, and noise at all hours of the day and night. Not to mention the sky-high rent prices. Luckily, that’s where suburbs come in. They can provide you with all the benefits of living near a city while also allowing you to have more space, a backyard, and a small and closely-knit community you can rely on. It’s the best of both worlds. 

So what are some of the best suburbs in Philadelphia? Let’s explore below.

Narberth

If you’re looking for one of the most universally praised of the Philadelphia suburbs, you can’t go wrong with Narberth.

It’s clear to see that it’s impeccable reputation is widely known: it’s one of the wealthiest suburbs in the Philly area, with a median household income of more than $106,000. 

With the small-town vibe, families can enjoy breakfast out at Sabrina’s Cafe, a day of shopping on Chestnut Street, or explore one of the many trails and gardens. With an array of well respected churches and schools, it has everything a family might need to call it home.

Narberth Homes for Sale

Ardmore

Ardmore is another of the best Philadelphia suburbs, which is why most of the properties listed here fly off the market before they are even officially listed.

People are attracted to the beautiful nature surrounding the up-and-coming suburb, where the local Ardmore Farmers Market and Music Hall, along with a boom of new small businesses, have only boosted the appeal.

Since it’s one of the hottest suburbs of Philadelphia, a common price for a three-bedroom apartment is $500,000; ideal for professional couples and young families looking to upgrade.

Ardmore Homes for Sale

Berwyn

Philly is mostly known as a historic and bustling city, but one thing it’s not famous for is its nature. However, Berwyn is the exception—it’s located in one of the most beautiful areas near the city and has some of the nicest parks in the region.

You’ll also find excellent amenities such as restaurants, shops, and even a local theater, so you won’t have to head into the city every time you want to spend the night out with the family. If you do want to go downtown, Philly is just a half-hour drive away.

Homes in Berwyn can easily go for upwards of $500,000, making this one of the more upscale suburbs, but when you consider the benefits of living in Berwyn, it becomes easy to understand the value.

Berwyn Homes for Sale

Bryn Mawr

When looking at the best suburbs of Philadelphia, Bryn Mawr is a place that simply must be included on any comprehensive list.

Home to the Bryn Mawr Film Institute, Bryn Mawr certainly isn’t lacking in amenities, and even boasts a few unique perks that might give it an edge in the eyes of some families. It also offers more affordable market listings than some of the other Philadelphia suburbs on this list.

Bryn Mawr is located near the Bryn Mawr College, which means that you’ll not only find a beautiful campus but also have a youthful atmosphere with plenty of cultural events and a more vibrant nightlife. Add in the fact that the city of Philly is always just 20 minutes away, and it’s obvious why homes are selling quickly in this neighborhood.

Bryn Mawr Homes for Sale

Swarthmore

Swarthmore College makes this neighborhood desirable for families and young adults alike, and is another of the more affordable Philadelphia suburbs near the city.

When living in this closely-knit community, you may want to explore the beautiful scenery of The Scott Arboretum, or check out one of the many local events planned by the Swarthmore Recreation Association. And because this is a college town, you can be sure of your choice of restaurants and pubs if you want to go out.

Devon

If you’re looking for the single richest and safest of the best Philadelphia suburbs, at least by popular demand, Devon would be a strong contender for the title. Devon is home to a large percentage of residents with higher level education, and boasts some of the most highly rated public schools in the area.

For these reasons, along with its rural charm and assortment of coffee shops and restaurants, it’s a popular choice for families and young professionals.

Devon Homes for Sale

Blue Bell

Blue Bell has earned the reputation as one of the best places to live in Philadelphia suburbs

In many ways, Blue Bell is quite similar to Devon: both of these Philadelphia suburbs have a very high household median income, are incredibly safe, and offer highly rated public schools. Blue Bell has become a hot spot for families, so if you’re looking to root yourself in a friendly community and raise your kids in a safe and engaging environment, this is as good of a place as any.

Main Line Homes

As you can see, if you’re looking for the best places to live near Philadelphia, the array of great choices are many! Depending on what you’re looking for, Philadelphia suburbs offer vibrancy, safety, great schools, and an unrivaled sense of community: all within a quick drive’s distance of the city center.

If you want to learn more about the best Philly suburbs, Main Line Homes is here to help—call us at (610) 642-3744, and we’ll happily help you find the best choice for your needs.

Feb. 28, 2020

Why Use a Realtor? - Reasons & Benefits for Selling Your Home

Why Use a Realtor?

Selling a home is one of the most important financial decisions people make in their lives.

But despite that, many are hesitant about hiring a realtor, as they don’t want the commission for the service to take away from their earnings after the sale is made.

However, with FSBO (For Sale by Owner) transactions at an all-time low and homeowners often having to settle for less than 30% of what realtors can get for similar properties, the financial incentives of hiring a realtor are quite apparent.

Let’s look at some of the most significant benefits that will clearly show you why you need a realtor.

Accessibility and Resources

Why use a real estate agent? Well, first and foremost, we have to point out that real estate agents are full-time professionals who are fully immersed in the industry.

That means that you not only get to take advantage of their years of experience, but also gain access to the professional tools that real estate agents have at their disposal to help that hunt for the best opportunities to sell your home.

Real estate professionals have access to a wide range of tools, including insider access to market statistics, marketing and advertising resources, and a powerful network of connections that can help you make the most out of your listing.

If you were to try to sell on your own, you’d have to spend hours on listing sites, as well as communicating with prospective buyers or their agents, not to mention having to immerse yourself in the process to make sure that you get a fair deal. And even then, all the time and effort you invested would probably not be equal to the access and reach that a real estate professional could offer.

Negotiating and Contracts

Another compelling answer to the query of why use a realtor is the fact that once offers start coming in, you’ll need someone on your side who knows how to get the best deal possible.

When selling a home, you often have to deal with real estate agents representing buyers, or experienced buyers themselves, that will do their best to gain leverage and get the price down from what you’re asking.

Meanwhile, if you choose a realtor to represent you, they can make sure that you don’t get duped and that your interests are being represented throughout the sale process.

What’s more, having a realtor represent you can save you a lot of stress and help avoid confrontation with buyers. Agents can hammer out the details in a professional fashion, and you can avoid losing a prospective buyer because of the negotiation experience going sour.

Market Knowledge and Experience

Many homeowners think that they have a pretty good understanding of the value of their home. But while that may be true, the knowledge probably can’t compare with the insights and experience accumulated by real estate professionals over the years on the job.

A realtor will consider aspects of your home that you wouldn’t have known how to calculate, such as the history of sales in your area, comparable home sales, and the movement of the market as a whole. That’s why even if you’ve sold homes before, you shouldn’t look at a realtor as someone who will take your commission, but rather as an asset providing you with in-depth knowledge and lessons from past experiences that you can use to make the most out of your situation.

So, if you’re asking,"why should I use a realtor?”, the simplest answer is that they can provide you with peace of mind knowing that you aren’t missing out on key information regarding the sale, and won’t be vulnerable to mistakes or oversights that could significantly lower the bottom line of the sale.

The Cons of FSBO

When weighing why to use a realtor to sell your home, it makes sense to weigh your other options. If you choose not to hire a realtor, your listing will be categorized as FSBO, or For Sale By Owner. As we mentioned earlier, FSBO listings often struggle and are sold for significantly less than listings handled by professionals. The biggest con to undertaking FSBO is the pricing and positioning of your home. Even if you deduct the commission that the realtor would take, it’s likely that their resources and knowledge would allow you to get a much better price.

Sure, you could slap on a higher price yourself. Still, a realtor has invaluable knowledge of whom to contact and how to position your home to attract the buyers that are the most likely to be interested. Without the connections and experience of a realtor, the most likely scenario is that your listing would end up sitting for months without garnering much attention.

Finally, when thinking about why chose a realtor to sell your home, consider the investment of time that selling a home involves, not to mention moving out and settling in your new home. Selling a home is not just about taking some pictures and posting a listing. To sell on your own, you’d also have to pursue buyers, answer calls and emails, prepare the house for showing, dedicate time to showing the house, and negotiate the terms of the contract for the final sale.

Simply put, selling a home is a full time job, made all the more challenging if you come at it with little prior experience. Chances are you already have a job, and have enough on your plate without taking on the stress of selling your home independently. Realtors sell homes for a living: it’s meant to be their full time job for a reason.

Your Needs Are Put First

Why work with a realtor? We have one more crucial answer for you to consider.

One of the most important reasons to use a realtor is that, in most states, professional realtors are bound by law to put your interests first. Their code of ethics demands your needs precede even their own, and that work to get you the best deal possible in all circumstances.

The vast majority of reputable real estate agents base their business on referrals, which is why you can trust them to make the decisions that serve your best interests, allowing you to relax and not have to worry about the sales process.

With all this in mind, "why hire a realtor?" should be a no-brainer. The reasons to hire a realtor are simply too compelling to be ignored.

If you want a real estate agent that will have your best interests at heart in Philadelphia, look no further than Main Line Homes—we can help you sell your home for the best price possible and guide you through the entire process. Call (610) 642-3744 today to get started!

Posted in real estate topics
Jan. 30, 2020

Berwyn, PA: City Culture, Profile, & History

Berwyn, PA - City Profile

Where is Berwyn, PA?

Berwyn is a small town on the western side of Main Line towns in Pennsylvania.

Wondering what county Berwyn PA is in? It’s part of Chester County, also known as

“Chesco”, which is one of the original and therefore oldest counties of Pennsylvania.

 

The population of Berwyn, PA is 3,600, and its area covers a total of 1.9 square miles.

Berwyn spans two townships: Easttown and Tredyffrin. It lies southeast of Philadelphia and

is just under 16 miles from the center of Philadelphia city. For anyone working in the city of

Philadelphia, the pretty suburb town of Berwyn is the perfect choice, as it presents an easy

commute, either by car or by one of the many transport links (train, bus) to the city.

The History of Berwyn, PA

The town of Berwyn had three different names before it was given its current name by

Welsh settlers, in 1877. During a celebration of the town’s 100 years, the Welsh settlers

decided on its new name in honor of the Berwyn Hills, which overlooked their place of

origin in Wales.

Who lives in Berwyn?

Berwyn, PA is a predominantly white-collar town with 93% of the workforce in white-collar

employment. This figure is made up of mostly professionals, sales managers, and office

workers, though teachers and financial managers also make up a part of the demographic.

The population of Berwyn is highly educated, with a very high percentage having

completed university studies and beyond.

 

While Berwyn is not a university town, there are over 300 colleges within 100 miles of the

town. The nearest one, Cabrini College, is just 3.9 miles away. The many public and private

schools in town and in the vicinity make Berwyn a perfect choice for families to settle in

and grow within a community. It offers everything a family would need and with its large

range of transport networks, is an ideal place for commuting to-and-from.

The real estate market in Berwyn

Because of its location and amenities such as transport, excellent schools, health care

facilities, shops, and art and culture, homes for sale in Berwyn are very sought after. The

low crime rates in the area give the town a good reputation and entices families and like-

minded people here.

 

The median home value in Berwyn, PA is just under $700,000, with almost 50% of homes

being owned. Properties on the real estate market include condos, townhouses, and

single-family homes. Single houses are often situated on lot sizes of one acre or more.

Properties in Berwyn also tend to be newer, with 20% of them being less than 20 years old.

Commercial properties also make up a share of the real estate offers in Berwyn,

Pennsylvania.

What are the benefits of living in Berwyn, PA?

Berwyn is considered by many to be one of the nicest, most desirable suburbs of

Philadelphia. Good transport systems for people who work in Philadelphia make the daily

commute from Berwyn PA to Philadelphia very easy. Highly rated schools with 300 colleges

and universities all accessible within less than 100 miles of Berwyn (including Villanova

University, Eastern University, Haverford College, and Swarthmore College) make this town

ideal for young adults and families with older children.

 

If you like good food, and who doesn’t, there are plenty of nice options: enjoy a cup of

coffee while people watching at a local cafe or connect with a friend over dinner at one of

the highly rated Italian restaurants, all while taking in the community-centered atmosphere

of Berwyn PA downtown.

 

For outdoor life there are several nice parks, where Berwyn residents like to take long

walks or go for a jog and enjoy the benefits of keeping fit outdoors.

 

The town of Berwyn, PA is a welcoming and safe community, a perfect location to bring up

kids. The people in the community are keen to get to know their neighbors and work

together to help and support each other.

Berwyn attractions and places of interest

Apart from being a place of worship, the Trinity Presbyterian Church of Berwyn holds

cultural events throughout the year for the local community. Concerts are held in the

beautiful sanctuary, open to everyone and free of charge. The Church was officially

organized in 1863 and can be visited today to admire the history and architecture, or as a

place of worship.

 

There are many biking trails, parks, and gardens to enjoy in the town of Berwyn, PA. Enjoy

the natural flora and fauna while strolling through some of the parks in the vicinity such as

Frank Johnson Memorial Park, Valley Forge National Park, Wilson Farm Park, and Tea

Garden Park.

 

These attractions and the vast number of facilities, amenities and transport infrastructure

all make Berwyn, PA a much-desired place to live. If you are looking for property to buy or

rent in the area, call one of our experts at Main Line Homes, and one of our team members

would be delighted to help you make that move.

Dec. 21, 2019

Best Universities & Colleges in Philadelphia

The Best Colleges & Universities in Philadelphia

 

The Philadelphia area is known for its vibrant, active, and thriving student population. Students from across the Northeast, and the entire country, flock to the “City of Brotherly Love” in the fall, ready to attend one of the area’s award-winning academic institutions.

 

In fact, each year, more than 450,000 college students attend school here, with approximately 90,000 educational degrees awarded in the Philadelphia area alone.

 

These stats contribute to Philadelphia’s standing as the fifth-most populated college town in the world, surpassed only by New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Boston.

 

And it’s not just about sheer size. Philadelphia offers exceptional opportunities, activities, and amenities for students, including Philly Tech Week, The Franklin Institute, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, 54 free public libraries located throughout the city, and fourteen Fortune 500 companies with headquarters in the area.

 

There’s no question that attending one of the many highly-regarded Philadelphia area colleges is an intelligent choice. The challenge, however, comes when students must narrow down their options and select one institution in which to enroll.

 

To assist parents and potential students with this difficult decision, we’ll be taking a more in-depth look at the top Philadelphia colleges and discussing the unique, high-profile features each school has to offer.

  1. University of Pennsylvania

Of all the colleges in Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania (referred to as “Penn” by staff and students) is arguably the most well-known. Approximately 22,000 students attended Penn in 2018, a marginal number when you consider that the university typically received around 50,000 enrollment applications per year. But don’t be discouraged, those who are accepted benefit from 300+ campus clubs, a world-class recreation facility, and a 94 percent post-graduate employment rate. Oh, and last but not least, Penn has served as a launching point for some of America’s most prominent innovators and academic achievers, including Elon Musk, Warren Buffett, Leonard Lauder, Naom Chomsky, and Dr. Mehmet Oz.

  1. Swarthmore College

Swarthmore College is a smaller, private institute with a far-reaching reputation. It is one of the leading liberal arts colleges in Philadelphia and has received much acclaim for its communal, collaborative approach to education. Students are also drawn to Swarthmore for its widely-respected Honors Program, where students think through ideas together in seminars, pursue a wide range of special projects, and are then evaluated via written and oral exams administered by external examiners. This method provides students with real-world, individualized feedback on their performance from esteemed professionals.

  1. Haverford College

If you are interested in Philadelphia colleges and university programs where class sizes are small, where you’ll be taught by actual academic scholars who have obtained the highest degree in their field, and where you’ll gain a better chance of being accepted into law school, medical school, or other Ivy League programs, Haverford College is for you. Haverford is another of the most prominent liberal arts colleges in Philadelphia, and the faculty there go above and beyond to ensure students find meaningful work upon graduation. Check out their Center for Career and Professional Learning for more information about how they support and empower students seeking employment. If you’re interested in real estate near the college, be sure to visit our page featuring homes for sale in Haverford.

  1. Temple University

Temple stands out from other universities in Philadelphia due to the fact that it is a public research institute — meaning research is a core component of Temple’s mission. In fact, Temple University received the R1 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, and it is one of the most active research universities in the nation. Still not impressed? What if we told you that Companies formed based on Temple discoveries account for $397 million in investments, 106 active jobs and 39 Startup companies? Or that two Nobel Prize winners attended Temple University? These are just a few of the achievements Temple has to its name.

  1. Bryn Mawr College

If you’re open to colleges near Philadelphia, PA that aren’t located directly in the heart of the city, Bryn Mawr College (BMC) is an excellent choice. Founded in 1885, this historic institute played a pivotal role in the academic advancement of women. And the college hasn’t deviated from its original mission — it is still a women’s college today, although a small portion of the student population is male (less than 5 percent). Employment rates are also impressive for BMC students — 86 percent of the 2016 class went on to find relevant employment or continue their education in a Master’s program. The area in general is also considered an excellent place to live and homes for sale in Bryn Mawr are always in high demand.

  1. Villanova University

There is a long list of reasons why Villanova is consistently named one of the best colleges in Philadelphia. To start, the Villanova School of Business was placed at #1 on Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2016 list of best undergraduate business schools. Then there’s the fact that it has a 96.9 percent career outcomes rate— making it one of the valuable education Pennsylvania has to offer. And, of course, the school’s nationally-acclaimed basketball team has won 21 NCAA team national championships and 109 conference championships. But if you ask us, what really sets Villanova apart from the rest of the Philadelphia colleges and universities on this list is how they encourage their students to use their knowledge, skills and compassion to better the world around them.

  1. Drexel University

Drexel is known for being one of the few colleges around Philadelphia that focuses heavily on cooperative education. Through the school’s co-op program, students can choose from more than 1,500 employers in 31 states and 38 countries (or find a potential employer on their own). This unique approach allows students to gain hands-on experience in their field of choice. Drexel is also home to the Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship—the nation's first independent school of entrepreneurship to offer degrees, with more than 20 entrepreneurship courses for students to choose from. If you want to gain employment after graduation at an even higher salary, Drexel is likely the choice for you.

 

Are you interested in moving to the Main Line area so your children can eventually attend one of these prestigious colleges in Philadelphia? Our agents have extensive local knowledge and can help you find your ideal property. Contact us today to learn more!

Dec. 21, 2019

Narberth, PA - Community Info & Family Life

Living in Narberth, PA

 

Narberth is a strikingly scenic suburb of Philadelphia. Its population of fewer than 5,000 residents allows locals to enjoy a peaceful, small-town existence, while still being just a short commute from the city.

 

Narberth is a family-oriented community — 52 percent of families in the area have children under the age of 18 — making it especially appealing to young couples who are looking for somewhere they can raise their little ones long-term.

 

If you’re interested in buying a home in a residential community where property lots are spacious, and listings with charming, historical characteristics are the norm, this may be the perfect Philadelphia suburb for you.

 

Let’s take a closer look at the unique points of interest Narberth, PA has to offer.

Population and Real Estate Statistics

As mentioned above, Narberth is a family-centric community. More than 60 percent of adults who live in the area are married, more than half have children living in the home, and more than 65 percent of residents own their homes as opposed to renting.

 

These statistics show that Narberth is a place families are proud to call home and where parents are content to raise their children.

 

On the real estate front, Narberth, Pennsylvania is also prospering, making it a lucrative location to invest in a property. The median home value for Narberth real estate is currently $481,700, which is 4.4 percent higher than it was in 2018. This increase in home value is expected to continue into 2020 and beyond, making it an ideal time to secure a piece of Narberth realty.

 

Of course, turning a profit is just one of the added perks of living in this neighborhood. The greatest benefit of all, however, is the coveted, quintessential American life newcomers can start enjoying as soon as they move in.

 

Schools and Family-Oriented Appeal

The excellent educational facilities in Narberth are an integral part of what makes the area so desirable to parents. The region is served by the Lower Merion School District (LMSD), one of the most prestigious school systems not just in Pennsylvania, but in the United States as a whole. 

 

What makes the LMSD so great? 

 

Well, to start, it was the first school in the country to receive the U.S. Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools District Sustainability Award. Furthermore, Lower Merion and Harriton high schools ranked #1 and #2 in the state among non-admission-based schools on the ACT exam, placing in the top 1.5% of schools in the state on the SAT exam.

 

If you’re looking for a community with educational institutions that will set your children up for future success, Narberth is an ideal location. 95% of LMSD graduating seniors annually attend institutions of higher learning — a testament to the quality of the region’s academic programming.

 

And that’s not all — Narberth also offers first-rate recreational facilities where families can have fun together, play, and socialize.

 

Some of the area’s most celebrated family-focused amenities include Narberth Playground, Narberth Community Library, and the Narberth Tennis Club.

Crime and Safety

Are you concerned about crime rates? Looking for a low-risk community for your kids to grow up in? Narberth, PA is, once again, a perfect choice for those looking for a safe place to raise their kids. 

 

According to an analysis of FBI crime statistics, Narberth is safer than 84% of other communities in the United States (including larger urban centers and small towns). 

 

To be more precise, an individual living in Narberth, PA Borough has a 1 in 155 chance of being the victim of a crime. The US average across all municipalities is 1 in 36.

 

As parents, and as human beings in general, safety is always a priority when deciding on a place to call home (as it should be). As a real estate agency serving the Main Line Region, and Narberth, specifically, our team never has to worry about addressing these concerns for our clients. The area truly is wholesome and hospitable — the sort of place where neighbors get to know one another and work together to create a community where everyone feels supported and safe.

Community Culture

Narberth is a community with deep roots, and this is reflected in the longstanding traditions residents have held onto. 

 

The annual Fourth of July parade, for example, has been a yearly celebration of patriotism since 1972. The event draws thousands of spectators from the Philadelphia area and beyond, and includes a baby parade (complete with diaper derby), wheelbarrow races, musical performances, fireworks, a pie-eating contest, and tons of family-friendly games. Plus, attendees get to sample a smorgasbord of different BBQ dishes and refreshments.

 

Newcomers will quickly experience how friendly and welcoming residents are. Soon, you’ll be invited to local events where you can meet others and solidify your social circle. Whether it’s watching a show at the Narberth Community Theatre, bringing your little ones to the Narberth’s Fire Department’s annual “Visit with Santa”, or joining one of the many local meetup groups/ volunteer organizations (Narberth Area Garden Club, Narberth Athletic Association, and the Narberth Community Food Bank are just a few recommendations) — it won’t be long until you feel like you’ve always been a member of the community.

 

Attractions and Places of Interest

There are plenty of landmarks and fascinating sights to discover near Narberth, PA. 

 

One of the most notable is the General Wayne Inn. Listed on the National Register of Historical Places since 1976, it was built in 1704 and is named after Anthony Wayne (aka “Mad Anthony”) — the United States Army officer and statesman who led the Legion of the United States. Wayne frequented the Inn, along with a number of other high-profile figures, including George Washington, Marquis de Lafayette, and Edgar Allen Poe.

 

Today, the Inn is home to the Chabad Jewish Center, but visitors can still view the memorial plaque on the exterior of the building and admire its historic architecture.

 

Another place of interest is the St. Denis Roman Catholic Church. The original site of the church was constructed in 1825, with a newer church being constructed on the site in 1858 (which still stands today). The development of the church was funded by an immigrant Irish couple, Dennis Kelly and his wife Mary, after they settled in the area and went on to help many other Irish natives relocate to Narberth. The Kellys were Roman Catholics and wanted to invest in a place of worship for the community.

 

Additionally, for those who live in Narberth, Philadelphia is just a short commute away — a city where plenty of historic wonders await to be seen.

 

Are you interested in making Narberth, PA your new home? At Main Line Homes, our agents have specialized knowledge about this beautiful Philadelphia suburb. Contact us today for more info!

Dec. 12, 2019

Home-Staging

Home Staging How-To

 

Home staging is a strategy that has been used by real estate professionals for years to improve the likelihood of selling a property. Essentially, it is the process of tidying, decorating, and preparing a home so that it is more attractive to potential buyers.

 

The practice actually began in the 1970s, when a former theatre professional, Barbara Schwarz, decided to try her hand at real estate. She felt that home decor was a means of “setting the stage” for sale and discovered that sellers could help potential buyers envision themselves in their space by presenting it in stylish, clean, and modern way.

 

In fact, some reports have found that staged homes sell up to 73 percent faster than their unstaged counterparts.

 

So, what does staging a house involve? And how can you ensure your house staging will be a success?

 

We’ve included everything you need to know below.

Cleaning and Decluttering

This should always be your first priority when staging your home. No matter how nicely you decorate, viewers will completely overlook your efforts if they notice dirt, dust, and mildew in the home. Make sure you remove all clutter and any personal items (family photos, mail on the counter, clothes on the floor, etc). Then do a deep clean— yes, that means wiping down blinds, cleaning baseboards, and scrubbing shower grout. These little details don’t go unnoticed and are an essential part of staging a home for sale.

Enhancing Curb Appeal

The exterior of the home is often the most overlooked feature when it comes to home staging. Sellers spend so much time tidying and painting that they completely forget that curb appeal is the very first impression a home has on a potential buyer. Those who are experts at staging homes will tell you that manicured lawns, clutter-free yards, and tasteful landscaping elements work wonders when it comes to adding value to a home. Another helpful tip is to set up your outdoor living area if you have one. Place a tray with lemonade on the table, set out your chair cushions, and open up your patio umbrella— it’ll help viewers imagine themselves using the space.

Depersonalizing

As much as you may love your DVD collection or the crayon drawings your children made for you, displaying them while trying to sell your home isn’t recommended. Part of knowing how to stage a house is understanding that not everyone is going to share your personal style or tastes. It’s better to remove personal possessions and provide viewers with a blank slate so they can envision their own belongings filling the space. Remember to remove knick-knacks, children’s toys, religious artworks or items, trophy collections and any other personal effects that may distract potential buyers.

Arranging Furniture

Another important aspect of staging a home is strategically picking and placing furniture. The goal is to minimize the amount of furniture as much as possible while still making your space appear inviting. The less crowded your rooms are with furniture, the bigger they will appear, which is always a good thing. In the living room, it always helps to have a focal point, like a large flat-screen TV or a fireplace, to draw the eye and provide a sense of order. It also helps if your furniture is one consistent style, so if most of your pieces are antique, stick with a vintage look. If they’re contemporary, choose items that match the modern vibe.

Providing Focal Points

Every room in your home should have a special feature that captures the attention of the viewer. In bedrooms, for example, an elaborate upholstered headboard or a single wall covered in geometric wallpaper are excellent features to highlight. In bathrooms, a large victorian-style mirror or a hexagon-shaped shower tile are attractive options. Whichever features you decide to emphasize, just be sure to tie them into the overall aesthetic of the space.

Lighting, Colors and Odors

Natural light is one of the most cost-efficient and effective resources you’ll have at your disposal when staging a house for sale. By simply cleaning your windows ahead of an open house you can make your home appear brighter and airier. It also helps to leave drapes open, especially in smaller rooms where natural light isn’t as abundant. To brighten your home even more, paint walls in light, neutral tones like pale grey, seafoam green, or a muted taupe. And last but not least, rid your home of odors by cleaning litter boxes, emptying all garbage bags, and avoiding strongly-scented foods like fish, curries, or onions.

Accessorizing in Groups of Three

The way items and objects are organized is another often-forgotten aspect of how to stage a home for sale. There are studies that show the human eye is drawn to things that appear in groups of three, as well as things that are arranged symmetrically. Try stacking three books on top of one another, hanging three photos that are the same size behind your sofa, or adding three evenly-spaced barstools to your kitchen island. These simple added extras can have a major impact on how pleasing your space is to the eye.

Finishing Repairs and Renos

Incomplete home projects can be off-putting to potential buyers. It forces them to think about the work they’ll have to do if they decide to purchase your property— and no one likes to think about doing extra work. Sure, there may be a few folks who are willing to take on a project, but most people on the market for a home are looking for a turnkey property they can start enjoying right away. Whether it’s a small project, like painting a newly-plastered wall, or a bigger one, like finishing a backyard deck, it’s always better to get the job done before listing.


Are you interested in hiring a real estate team that is experienced in home staging? At Main Line Homes, we specialize in Main Line real estate and can help you prepare your home to sell at a premium price. Contact us today!

Posted in Selling A Home
Dec. 12, 2019

Comparative Market Analysis

Everything You Need to Know About Comparative Marketing Analysis

A comparative market analysis (CMA) is one of the most dependable and authoritative tools a real estate professional has to gauge the value of a property. When used in combination with other vital data—like the square footage of a home, it’s age, and the neighborhood it is located in—a CMA can predict the most likely sale price for your home with impressive precision.

 

But in order to produce well-defined results, a home analysis has to be completed using the right information, by someone who has a thorough understanding of your local market. This is why many individuals selling their home are surprised when they don’t receive an offer, even after they’ve looked at other homes in their area on MLS websites— if you don’t know how to use that information to paint an accurate picture of the overall market, you’ll likely end up with a report that doesn’t reflect the reality you will be facing.

 

Let’s take a closer look at how, with market analysis, home listings can be set up for success.

What is a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)?

A comparative market analysis, also known as a home market analysis, is a method of determining a property’s value. It is completed by cross referencing the price at which similar homes, within the same neighborhood (or nearby areas), have sold. A real estate agent then uses this relative data to deduce the most likely sale price for the property being listed.

Why Get a CMA? 

There are a few different reasons why a comparative market analysis is recommended when selling or buying a home. 

 

To start, when backed by a CMA, homes are less likely receive lowball offers. This is because the seller’s agent can justify the listing price using factual, evidence-based information. 

 

Another benefit is that sellers who conduct market research ahead of time can better structure their offers to secure their dream property. For example, if most properties in a particular neighborhood have sat on the market for three months before selling, and a buying client is willing to close the deal in 30 days, their offer will be more appealing.

 

Lastly, for sellers, a CMA can help you determine whether or not your home has any special features or amenities that are rare and appealing. For instance, if your home is located across the street from a top-rated school, or if it features a swimming pool when the majority of homes in your area don’t, you may be able to list at a higher price.

What Information Does a CMA Use?

Real estate agents have access to industry reports and other data that the average person doesn’t, including exclusive MLS data, access to private non-MLS sales, and their own book of business.

 

They also know how to factor in listings that others often overlook, like those that were cancelled before a sale was made, or new builds that are expected to go on the market within a short period of time.

 

Lastly, local real estate agents are familiar with the community and often have years of experience managing listings and sales in their area. At Main Line Homes, for example, we’ve been marketing, negotiating, and finalizing home sales in the Pennsylvania Main Line areas for more than 20 years, so we know these neighbourhoods better than anyone.

What Factors Are Used to Compare Homes?

There are several factors that are referenced when conducting a market analysis for home evaluation. A few of the most important factors include:

  1. Location

Most people assume that location means neighborhood, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Real estate agents will also consider how close your property is to undesirable landmarks, like noisy railroads or areas with high crime rates. There are a wide range of characteristics that can impact how favorable the location of your home is.

  1. Amenities

When purchasing a home, buyers aren’t just interested in the property itself. They’re also interested in the lifestyle they’ll enjoy after they move in. Amenities play a huge role when determining the quality of life a property will provide. Conveniences like public swimming pools, natural parks, walking trails, access to public transportation, and off-leash dog areas are all features that attract homebuyers.

  1. Curb Appeal

When compiling a CMA, houses with exceptional curb appeal always have a competitive edge. This also applies to the community as a whole— if an area appears rundown or poorly kept, it’s less likely buyers will be interested. If the exterior of home provides a pleasant first impression, it will signify to potential buyers that you put effort into maintaining your home and that the property will likely be in great condition.


If you’re interested in a CMA, real estate agencies with a longstanding history of serving your area are your best bet. If you’re interested in Main Line real estate or purchasing a home in one of our beautiful, family-friendly communities, contact one of our friendly and knowledgeable agents today.

Posted in Selling A Home
Dec. 12, 2019

How Much Is My House Worth?

How Much Is My House Worth?

Purchasing a home is the greatest financial commitment a person will make in their lifetime. In fact, on average, Americans spend 37 percent of their household budgets on mortgage payments, so it makes sense that homeowners want to know what their property is worth. 

 

The issue, however, is that a large number of American citizens aren’t sure what to consider when evaluating their home. That, or they often base their assessments on factors that aren’t relevant from a real estate market perspective, such as wanting a certain amount of cash in pocket from the sale, or having emotional ties to the property.

 

In today’s post, we’ll be discussing the steps homeowners can take to accurately value their residential properties and secure the best rate for their unit.

What is House Value and How Do I Determine It?

“How much is my house worth?” seems like a very straightforward question, but the reality is that it’s a complicated one to answer. By definition, home value is the amount for which a house is likely to sell. But here’s the thing— determining that speculative number is a delicate science.

 

It’s not uncommon for homeowners to check their local listings, figure out what nearby properties are selling for, and put their home on the market within the same price range. Another common strategy is to base the price on tax assessments. The problem with these methods, though, is that they don’t always reflect the fair market value and can actually hinder the sale of your home. So, before drawing your own conclusion, it’s always worthwhile to get some expert advice by asking an experienced local real estate agent “How much is my home worth?”.

What Factors Contribute to a House’s Value?

There are quite a few factors that reputable real estate agents consider when calculating the value of a property. Below are a few of the most important conditions that must be taken into account:

  1. Local Market Trends

It is impossible for your agent to conclusively answer “What’s my house worth?” without factoring in the current state of the local real estate market. If your area is experiencing an economic downturn, housing prices will reflect that, and you may not be able to list as high as you would have liked. On the other hand, if your neighborhood or community is in high demand, it will be more likely that your house will sell at a higher price point. 

  1. Age and Current Condition

This is one of the most critical considerations when it comes to home appraisals. Many sellers are frustrated by their real estate agent’s response to “What is my house worth?” because as the homeowner, they may have overlooked these key components. If your home is one of the oldest in your neighborhood and newer builds have been selling at high prices, that doesn’t automatically mean your home will fetch the same offers. Similarly, if other homes in your area have been renovated and updated, but yours hasn’t, you will be at a disadvantage when it comes to price.

  1. Size and Special Features

Did you know that the most-purchased homes in America are 1,900 square feet with three bedrooms and two bathrooms? Or that features like walk-in master closets, kitchen islands, fireplaces, hardwood floors, and stainless steel appliances can increase your sale price? A seasoned home value estimator will take an inventory of these characteristics when determining the listing price of your home. Additionally, if you have the available cash flow, it may be worth your while to invest in upgrading some of these features in your property before listing.

What is Market Value?

Fair market value, also referred to as market value, is an estimation of what a particular property will sell for based on two key factors: supply and demand, and comparable sales within close proximity of the property being listed.

 

While there is no standard for calculating this figure, many real estate professionals conduct their own research and deduce a property’s market value based on their findings.

 

Market value is important when listing a property because buyers and sellers can often have opposing views on how much a home is worth. Market value gives both parties a clearer understanding of what the local market dictates the price should be.

How Does My Home’s Value Affect What Financial Decisions I Can Make?

The value of your home can impact many financial opportunities, not just the sale of your home. The answer to “How much is my house worth?” is actually an extremely beneficial figure to have in your back pocket, as it can provide individuals and families with a significant amount of financial leverage.

 

Let’s say one of your family members has fallen ill, and you need a lump sum of cash to cover the medical bills. Knowing how much your home is worth can be helpful if you decide to remortgage to obtain those funds. Remortgaging a home often comes with lower interest fees than lines of credit or credit cards, which is often a much-appreciated benefit in times of uncertainty.

 

Alternatively, you may want to know the market value of your home if you’re preparing for retirement. Most individuals begin considering downsizing or selling during this phase of life and having a clear understanding of how much value your home holds can help you make the best possible financial decisions for the future.

How Can I Increase My Home’s Value?

After asking “What’s my home worth?”, most homeowners want to know what they can do to make their home more appealing to potential buyers. Investing in renovations and upgrades can be a lucrative decision, but it is crucial for property owners to know which projects yield the best return.

 

Below are some of the most value-adding home renovations and upgrades: 

  1.  Cosmetic Bathroom Enhancements

Despite what you’ve heard, you don’t need to spend a small fortune to make a return on a bathroom project. Minor upgrades like a new coat of paint, switching to dual sinks instead of one, and refreshing shower tiles are enough to add value. In fact, many bathroom renovations return as much as 102 percent of your investment.

  1. Finishing a Basement

Completing the lower level of a home adds livable space and makes your property far more attractive to buyers. While the ROI isn’t as high— at around 70 percent of your investment—homes with finished basements do tend to sell more quickly, increasing the likelihood of securing a quick sale.

  1. Hardwood Floors

If you’ve been thinking “I want to increase my home’s value”, the solution could be right under your feet. Hardwood floors are a highly-desired feature and are one of the most affordable ways to amplify your home’s appeal. Many flooring companies offer sales on a regular basis, and if you’re handy (or know someone who is), you can do your own installation for additional savings. Most hardwood floor upgrades recoup anywhere between 80-100 percent of the initial investment.

 

As you can see, real estate agents and other industry professionals take a multitude of factors into consideration when responding to “What is my home worth?”. These realty experts come armed with the latest data, comparables, and market trends to help you make an informed and well-founded financial decision regarding your property.

Have you been wondering “How much is my house worth?” At Main Line Homes, our agents have more than 20 years of sales and marketing experience, making us uniquely qualified to assist you. If you’re interested in Main Line real estate, contact us today!

Posted in Selling A Home
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