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

July 2, 2020

What is Title Insurance? - Policy & Coverage Guide

What is Title Insurance and How Can It Help You?

Title Insurance protects property purchasers and mortgage lenders against defects or problems with a title when there is a transfer of property ownership. If a title dispute arises during a transaction, the title insurance company may be responsible for paying stated legal indemnities, depending on the title insurance policy.

What is title insurance on a home? And, what is the purpose of title insurance? Read on to find out.

Title Insurance Definition

Title insurance is a kind of indemnity insurance that protects moneylenders and homebuyers from monetary loss sustained from faults in a title to a property. The most common type of title insurance is lender's title insurance, which the mortgagor buys to protect the moneylender. The other type is buyer's title insurance, which is often paid for by the seller to protect the purchaser's equity in the property.

How Does Title Insurance Work?

A clear title is needed for any real estate deal. Title insurance companies have to do a search on every title to check for claims or liens of any kind against them before they can be issued. A title search examines public records to identify and check a property's legal ownership and to determine whether there are any claims on the property. For example, a title can become faulty due to flawed surveys and unsettled building code violations.

The purpose of title insurance is to shield both moneylenders and homebuyers against loss or damage occurring from liens, encumbrances, or faults in the title or actual property possession. Common claims filed against a title are back taxes, liens (from mortgage loans, home equity lines of credit, and easements), and inconsistent wills. Unlike traditional insurance which safeguards against prospective events, title insurance guards against claims for previous incidences.

What Does Title Insurance Cover?

A title insurance policy usually covers the following:

Title Search

Though title insurance policies vary from state to state and provider to provider, they always cover the cost of conducting a title search. Preferably, a title search examines the entire history of a property, stretching back to its original platting or subdivision. A comprehensive title search typically relies on local tax records, previous owners’ wills, and applicable court judgments.

Curing or Resolving Problems

A title insurance policy also covers the cost of resolving (also known as curing) most title defects uncovered during the title search. Common defects include:

  • Tax liens (for unpaid taxes)
  • Construction liens (for unpaid construction or renovation bills)
  • Creditor liens (such as an unpaid balance on a pre-existing mortgage)
  • Court judgments (such as a post-divorce judgment endowing part of the property to a previous spouse)

Legal Costs and Loss Compensation

Title insurance also covers future costs arising from title disputes. If a court rules the most recent transfer of the property as invalid, the policy also compensates the policyholder for any loss of equity in the property.

How Much Does Title Insurance Cost And Do I Need It?

Unlike traditional insurance companies where monthly payments are needed, title insurance only needs a one-time payment. This insurance varies according to the price on your home and according to the state where you are buying a property. Typically, a title insurance policy for a homeowner costs $834 and for the lender it costs $544.

Title insurance will buy you peace of mind. It not only protects you against covered claims, but it will also pay your legal fees while you protect your ownership rights. Plus, it will pay you the amount of your home equity if you lose the lawsuit and have to vacate the property. If you pass away and leave the property to your heirs, the same title insurance policy will cover them while they’re in the home.

Benefits of Title Insurance

With title insurance, you and your creditor won’t have to worry about problems cropping up during the real estate deal. The title insurance company identifies and fixes all the problems before you close the deal and protect you if any disputes arise after closing.

After the title search, the insurance company issues a “title insurance commitment” describing what they’ve uncovered, giving the seller the chance to clarify any problems. At the same time, the buyer gets the opportunity to call the sale off. If all parties agree with the title commitment, the transaction proceeds and when you close on the property, you do so with a clear title and insurance to cover any unexpected claims in the future.

In the grand scheme of your home buying expenditures, title insurance is small and often overlooked. That doesn’t mean you should skip it, though. Think of it as a little investment that safeguards your biggest investment: your home. 

In the competitive real estate market today, whether you are a buyer or a seller, you need a skilled negotiator to ensure a successful outcome. Call 610-642-3744 or email Janis Peterson at and buy or sell your next home with the best Main Line real estate agents! You can also browse our listings in Bryn Mawr, Gladwyne, Haverford, and all the best Philadelphia suburbs online.

Posted in Buying A Home
July 2, 2020

What is Escrow? - Mortgage Payment & Loan Guide

What is Escrow and Why Do You Need It?

If you’re buying or selling property for the first time, you’re perhaps wondering, what is escrow? And what is an escrow payment? According to escrow mortgage meaning, it is a third-party service that's typically compulsory when buying a home. When a purchaser and seller reach a buying agreement, they choose a neutral third party to act as the escrow agent. 

What is an escrow agent? The escrow agent accumulates earnest money from the purchaser, which is a deposit that’s equal to a small percentage of the sale price. In return, the seller takes the property off the market. Until the final exchange is concluded, both the purchaser's deposit and the seller's property remain in escrow.

What is an escrow payment on mortgage? In this article, we’ll discuss the definition of “escrow” in relation to a mortgage and how it can help improve your home buying or selling experience.

How do Escrow Accounts Work?

What is escrow on a home loan? When you get a mortgage loan from a bank or direct creditor, you also have an escrow account that lets you pay your property taxes and homeowner's insurance payments in good time. Although these overheads are funded on a yearly basis, your creditor will ask you to pay a monthly share towards each cost and accrue the balance in your escrow account. This guarantees that these overheads get funded promptly each year.

Escrow mortgage accounts are compulsory as they reduce the risk of borrowers failing to fulfill their financial commitments as homeowners. Creditors often oblige you to maintain a minimum balance in your monthly escrow payment mortgage account to protect against any unforeseen cost upsurges. The typical rule necessitates a minimum of two months' expenditures on your escrow payment account, however, the limit can be higher on chancier mortgages. Creditors generally appraise your escrow account annually to ensure that the calculated payments are keeping pace with outlays.

Types of Escrow Accounts

There are two types of escrow accounts that are part of the homebuying process.

Mortgage Escrow Account

Also called an impound account, a mortgage escrow account is set up by your creditor to pay certain property-related expenses on your behalf. If your loan includes an escrow account, you will pay monthly installments for taxes and insurance in addition to your monthly mortgage payment. Your mortgage servicer will deposit these monthly installments into the escrow account. Then, your servicer uses the funds to pay your bills when they are due, usually once or twice per year.

Real Estate Escrow Account

Also called pre-closing escrow accounts, these are held by third-party entities separate from both the purchaser and the seller, and are intended to safeguard the interests of both. These accounts keep all funds, instructions, and paperwork essential for the impending real estate sale, including money for the down payment and the deed to the home.

How are Escrow Accounts Managed?

When you borrow money from a bank or a direct creditor, you'll usually be given an escrow account. This account is where the creditor will deposit the part of your monthly mortgage payment that covers taxes and insurance payments. By accumulating a portion of those yearly costs each month, the escrow account decreases the risk that you'll delay your financial obligations to the government or your insurance provider.

Usually, the purchaser (or an agent acting on behalf of the purchaser) will instruct the escrow officer to release funds only when all terms have been fulfilled, title insurance has been issued, and the seller’s deed has been signed. Escrow is not complete until all the conditions have been fully satisfied and all the parties have signed the appropriate documentation.

Benefits of an Escrow Account

What is escrow used for? Escrow accounts provide protection for the seller, purchaser, and lender in a real estate transaction by guaranteeing that no funds or property are transferred until every escrow term is fulfilled.

For instance, an inspection shows that plumbing repairs are required, which the seller agreed to as an escrow condition but does not actually complete. As the funds are held in the escrow account, the purchaser has the power to stop the sale process if the repairs are not completed.

Some of the key benefits of escrow accounts are:

  • Home Buying: An earnest money deposit should remain in an escrow account to protect both the purchaser and seller.
  • Monthly payments: A homeowner might make deposits into an escrow account with each monthly payment, helping to smooth out large yearly expenditures. 
  • Tenants and landowners: Escrow accounts can help safeguard the interests of tenants and resolve disputes. 
  • Purchasing goods and services: Escrow is an option for almost any transaction where purchasers and sellers want an arbitrator to watch over payments.

Still wondering, what escrow is for a mortgage? Whether you are buying a home or selling one, understanding how escrow works can be overwhelming. With Main Line Homes by your side, you don’t have to worry. 

We use the hottest industry technologies to allow for the up-to-date tracking of market listings. We can help you find homes for sale in the best Philadelphia suburbs including Bryn Mawr, Gladwyne, Haverford, and across the entire Main Line region. Get in touch today!

Posted in Buying A Home
June 11, 2020

First Time Home Buyer Credit Defined Past & Present Impacts

Popular Alternatives to First Time Home Buyer Credit

Planning to buy your first home and wondering if there are any tax breaks available to help? Perhaps you have heard about first time home buyer credit. It was created by Congress as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. However, for most buyers, the first time home buyer tax credit was only available for a limited time: 2008 to 2010.

Although the new homeowner tax credit is no longer available, there are plenty of other programs that can help you buy your first home. And once you become a homeowner, you may be able to leverage tax breaks for new home buyers intended to help ease the cost of owning a home.

What is a Tax Credit?

A tax credit is the amount of money that taxpayers can deduct from taxes payable to the government. Unlike tax deductions and exemptions that decrease the amount of taxable income, a tax credit decreases the actual amount of tax payable.

Governments may provide a tax credit to encourage a particular behavior, such as swapping older appliances with more energy-efficient ones, or to help underprivileged taxpayers by decreasing the total cost of accommodation.

What was the First time Home Buyer Credit?

The first time home buyer tax credit was part of the legislation passed by the federal government during the period of Great Recession. This legation was intended to help recover the economy. The 1st time home buyer tax credit was for individuals and couples who bought a new house between April 8, 2008, and Sept. 30, 2010. 

In July 2010, Congress extended the closing deadline for the credit until Sept. 30, 2010. However, houses purchased after this deadline could not qualify for the credit. And home buyers and proprietors had to satisfy other specific eligibility criteria to claim the new home buyer tax credit, including meeting income limits.

Can I Claim the First time Home Buyer Credit?

At present, there’s no federal 1st time buyer credit. In 2018, legislation was presented in the Senate to reintroduce the credit, but it wasn’t accepted. So, if you bought your house between April 8, 2008, and Sept. 30, 2010, and fulfilled the eligibility criteria, you may have claimed the first time home buyer tax return when filing your income tax return in 2008, 2009 or 2010.

If you didn’t claim a credit or deduction in the tax year you were eligible for, you can claim it by filing an amended return. However, you have to file within 36 months of the date of the original return, or 24 months from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later. As the first home buyer tax credit ended in 2010, it’s now very late to claim through an amended tax return in 2020.

First Time Home Buyer Credit Alternatives

The following are some popular first time homebuyer tax credit alternatives to provide you with closing cost and down payment assistance.

Government-backed Loans

The federal government provides different types of loans to help people buy their first house. These loans may have less strict eligibility criteria and be more reasonable compared to other kinds of loans.

  • FHA loans: These are loans from private creditors that are supported by the Federal Housing Administration.
  • USDA loans: These loans are sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for low and moderate income mortgagors in rural areas. They often come with no down payment and are usually cheaper than FHA loans.
  • VA loans: These are loans from private lenders that are backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for eligible veterans, service members and their spouses.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Programs

These are government-sponsored mortgages that are intended for low income homebuyers. Both programs require a 3% down payment.

HUD Program

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers a Homeownership Voucher Program that can help low-income families make their monthly mortgage payments, as well as meet other home expenditures.

Tax Breaks for New Homebuyers

The federal government offers the following tax breaks for new homebuyers:

  • Mortgage interest deduction: It allows you to deduct mortgage interest you paid during the year on your federal income tax return.
  • SALT deduction: If you’re paying certain state and local taxes, including property taxes, this tax break allows you to subtract up to $10,000 of these costs on your federal taxable income.
  • Residential energy credits: They are available to eligible homeowners who make energy-efficient improvements, such as installing solar panels or efficient heating and air-conditioning systems.

Main Line Homes is Your Resource

The costs of buying and owning a home are substantial. But by taking advantage of the first time homebuyer credit alternatives and tax breaks available, you can cover the cost of home buying and homeownership.

Before you make a move toward buying your first home, make sure you understand where your credit stands and how it might impact your eligibility for home loans.

With Main Line Homes by your side, you don’t have to worry.  Whether a Bryn Mawr colonial or ranch style haven in Radnor, we can provide great knowledge and resources to help you finance your first home. Call (610) 642-3744 today to get started!

Posted in Buying A Home
June 11, 2020

First Time Home Buyer Programs: Beginner’s Guide

All You Need To Know About First Time Home Buyer Programs

Today, first time home buyers are facing one of the toughest real estate markets. Inventory is especially tight in many parts of the country as investors purchase these houses to flip for quick income. Moreover, increasing costs are compelling constructors to concentrate more on high-end houses that increase their own profit margins.

For a first time home buyer, free money is a dream. But we know how not all dreams come true. Fortunately, there are numerous first time home buyer programs and grants available to help you manage paying for your first real estate purchase. These first time home buyer assistance programs offer benefits such as lower down payments and closing costs. We’ve compiled eight of the best first time home buyer government programs and other grants to help you buy your first home.

1. Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Loan

The FHA works with local creditors countrywide to offer loans to individuals who may not qualify to get them elsewhere. As the government indemnifies shares of these mortgages, creditors are at ease offering first time homeowners loans to individuals without the strongest credit history. For instance, a credit score of around 580 can earn you an FHA loan with a 3.5% down payment, making it a solid first time buyer program.

2. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Loan

Among the options of special first time home buyer grants, the USDA provides low interest loans to low income individuals who wish to live in rural regions. But, the USDA has a broad definition of “rural” so even some outlying locations fall under its radar. These loans usually carry low-to-no first time home buyer down payment. The USDA indemnifies local creditors to a certain extent, so the government organization takes on less risk providing loans with modest rates.

3. Veterans Affairs (VA) Loan

The Department of Veterans Affairs offers loans to eligible military members including first time home buyers. Unlike their conventional counterparts, these first time home owner grants usually carry lower interest rates. VA-partnered creditors also offer mortgages with little-to-no down payment. To be eligible, you must fulfil certain requirements specified by the VA and possibly some specified by particular creditors.

4. Native American Direct Loans (NADL)

NADL is another popular first time home buyer loan, which is backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs for homes on Federal Trust Land. To be eligible, you must fulfill the elementary requirements for a traditional VA grant along with other terms. For instance, you must be a Native American enrolled in an American Indian tribe or Alaskan Native village or belong to a tribe that has set a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the VA. Alternatively, you should be married to an eligible individual.

5. Good Neighbor Next Door Program

It’s a first time buyer program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). It provides housing assistance for law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, teachers, and other public servants. This program helps these individuals stay in their local communities by helping them repay their home costs.

6. Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac Program

Both these first time home buyer programs are best for mortgagors with strong credit but minimal down payments. They are government-sponsored enterprises that set borrowing guidelines for mortgages they’re willing to purchase from conventional creditors on the secondary loan market. Both programs necessitate a minimum 3% down payment. You also need a minimum credit score of 620 (depending on the creditor) and a comparatively flawless financial and credit history to be eligible.

7. Energy-Efficient Mortgage (EEM)

These loans are ideal for first time home buyers who want to make their house more energy-efficient but don’t have upfront money for renovations. EEM loans are insured through the FHA or VA programs, helping you meet the costs of making “green” upgrades to your home. These upgrades include new insulation, a more efficient HVAC system or double-pane windows.

8. State and Local First time Home Buyer Programs

Regardless of what state you live in, you should check out your local government housing agency to see if it has any first time home buyer grants for which you might qualify. For example, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) offers down payment and closing cost assistance to first time home owners in the Keystone State. It also provides mortgage loan programs, refinancing, and home improvement loans. Some state housing programs also partner with loan creditors to offer 30-year fixed rate loans with competitive rates for eligible candidates. Often, you can even combine these loans with other aids and endowments.

With so many first time home buyer programs to choose from, it can get overwhelming for you to narrow down your options. That’s where Main Line Homes can help you. From Ardmore to Haverford and beyond, as your buying agent, we can help streamline the process of buying a home for the first time. Contact us today to find out more about our services.

Posted in Buying A Home
May 16, 2020

Sellers Disclosure

What Is A Seller's Disclosure (And Why It’s Important)

If you’re looking to buy a new house, be prepared to handle a lot of paperwork. One piece of paperwork that’s particularly important is the seller's disclosure statement. It advises you of any potential issues with the home before you make the big move.

So what is a seller disclosure? And why is it so important? Read on to find out in our detailed guide to real estate disclosure.

What is A Seller's Disclosure?

A seller’s disclosure statement is a set of documents completed by the seller of a house, mentioning any identified issues with the property and any major renovation done during the time they owned the house. In most states, the seller has to provide this property disclosure within a few days of mutual acceptance. In turn, the purchaser has a specific number of days to appraise the house disclosure.

Generally, potential purchasers can ask their real estate agent for access to the seller's property disclosure before making an offer. But, when purchasing bank-owned houses, purchasers will not receive any disclosure statement because the bank doesn’t have to provide details about the condition of the house.

Why Do You Need A Seller's Disclosure?

The basic idea behind a seller disclosure form is to protect buyers from purchasing a property with undisclosed problems. However, the real estate disclosure is also extremely important for protecting the seller from possible lawsuits.

If you fail to disclose a problem you are already aware of and it later causes issues for the new buyer, you could be sued for the price of repairs or more. You could downplay some problems because you don’t see them as major complications, however, telling buyers about any issue up front is the best option.

In Pennsylvania, for example, every home seller is obligated to disclose all identified defects that could substantially affect the value of the property. Hiding or manipulating this information can be damaging to the seller as they can face serious legal repercussions.

How are Seller Disclosures Made?

Every state has a different disclosure law, which impacts the way seller disclosures are made. For example, Pennsylvania has very severe disclosure statement requirements, obligating sellers (and their agents) to complete or sign off on papers like a Natural Hazards Disclosure Statement, and even Megan’s Law Disclosures.

Wondering about the structure of disclosure statements? They come in the form of a boilerplate document that’s assembled by the local or state real estate association. In this statement, the seller answers a series of yes/no queries about their house and their experience of living in it.

Moreover, sellers also have to share any documented communication (such as with a neighbor, previous proprietors, or the agent) about a significant fault or item that could have a negative impact on value of the property.

What is in A Seller Disclosure?

The seller can include pretty much all the issues or enhancements that they know of concerning the property. For instance, they may include who worked on the property and whether the permits were pulled. Or, they may mention info on the kind of plumbing and electrical wiring the house has.

Nuances about the neighborhood may also be relevant, along with the working of the household appliances, roof leaks, and other such problems.

Think of a seller's disclosure as the seller’s opportunity to disclose anything that can negatively affect the monetary worth of the house or the living experience of the new owner.

Real Estate Disclosure vs. Home Inspection

The inspection and real estate disclosure process is a critical part of your home-buying experience.

Home inspection allows the buyer to fully inspect any property they intend to purchase. As a buyer, you should always do a full property inspection before proceeding with the purchase. The property inspector checks all systems and components from the rooftop to the basement. Often, a seller hires an inspector before going on the market and supplies the written report to the purchaser.

On the other hand, the real estate disclosure is something the seller gives to the buyer by documenting their knowledge of the property. Although it provides useful info, it is not a substitute for an assessment by an independent third party inspection. A thorough house inspection may disclose faults that the seller may not have been aware of.

Consult Main Line Homes

When it comes to the seller's disclosure, you’ll find plenty of misinformation out there. Therefore, it is important to consult a professional real estate service like Main Line Homes about your disclosure statement before making the home-buying decision. 

The house disclosure allows you to have a complete understanding of the condition of the property you are purchasing.

From your initial property search to the moment you get the keys to your new home, Main Line Homes will be there, guiding you through the process. We can even help connect you with mortgage professionals to get the best rates.

Thinking of buying or selling a home? Call 610-642-3744 or email Janis Peterson at to buy or sell your next home with our experienced real estate agents. Browse attractive homes for sale in Radnor, Wayne, Ardmore, and across the entire Main Line today!

Posted in Selling A Home
May 16, 2020

Closing Costs

All You Need To Know About Closing Costs

Buying a house involves coming up with a lot more money out-of-pocket than just the down payment. Before getting the keys to your new house, you have to sign for a mortgage, and that means you will need to pay closing costs.

The total cost can come as a blow to many homebuyers who are only expecting to arrange the amount of their down payment. They might not have the additional money, and the deal might not close at all without it.

Thus, clearly estimating the mortgage closing costs can take the mystery out of your home-buying expense, helping you get to the clear bottom line. That’s why we’ve compiled everything that you must know about real estate closing costs in this guide.

What are Closing Costs?

Closing is the interval when the title of the property is transferred from the seller to the purchaser. Real estate closing costs are the charges that you have to pay at the closing of a property deal.  

The most economical way to cover your closing costs is to pay them out of pocket as a one-time expenditure. If the lender allows, you may be able to fund them by folding them into the loan. However, you’ll then have to pay interest on those costs through the life of the mortgage.

What is Included in Closing Costs?

Closing costs differ extensively depending on your location, the property you purchase, and the kind of loan you choose. However, below are nine common charges included in the closing costs for buyers.

  1. Application Fee: This fee covers the cost for the lender to process your application, such as a credit check for your credit score and other administrative expenses.

  2. Appraisal: This fee is paid to the appraisal company to confirm the fair market value of the house. The typical fee of a home appraisal by a certified professional appraiser ranges between $300 and $400.

  3. Attorney Fee: Some states require an attorney to be present at the closing of a real estate purchase. This fee is paid to the attorney to review the closing documents on behalf of the buyer or the lender.

  4. Courier Fee: This fee includes the cost of shipping documents to complete the loan transaction as quickly as possible.

  5. Home Inspection Fee: You may want to hire your own home inspection service to verify the condition of the property and to check for home upkeeps that may be required before closing.

  6. Homeowners’ Insurance: This insurance covers potential damages to your property. You have to pay the first year’s insurance at closing.

  7. Prepaid Interest: Your lender may ask you to prepay any interest that’ll accrue between closing and the date of your first mortgage payment.

  8. Property Tax: Your lender may want any taxes due within 60 days of acquisition by the loan servicer to be paid at closing.

  9. Transfer Taxes: This is the tax paid when the title is transferred from seller to purchaser.

How Much are Closing Costs?

When buying a home, these costs typically run from about 2% – 7% of the purchase price. However, the average closing costs amount to around 3% of the total house price. For example, if you’re purchasing a $300,000 house, your closing costs could be anywhere from approximately $6,000 to $15,000 or even more.

You can't usually borrow these funds because that would increase the buyer's loan ratios to a point where they might no longer be eligible.

Who Pays Closing Costs?

Most of the real estate closing costs fall on the buyer, whether you purchase a home or refinance. However, the seller usually has to pay a few charges too, such as the real estate agent’s commission.

Your lender must outline your closing costs in the Loan Estimate you get when you first apply for the loan. Plus, they should give you a Closing Disclosure statement at least three business days before your closing, which outlines closing fees.

Compare this to your Loan Estimate and ask the lender to clarify what each line item on your closing fees is and why it is required. It’s important to appraise them carefully and ask questions about anything you don’t understand.

Closing Costs Calculator

Calculating the closing costs on a house can be complicated, especially if you’re buying a house for the first time. But, with Main Line Homes by your side, you don’t have to worry. We can help you accurately calculate your expenses so that there are no surprises along the way.

Buying a home is an exciting experience but it can get overwhelming. From finding the ideal property, to applying for a loan, to assessing closing costs, there’s so much to do. That’s where we can come to your rescue.

At Main Line Homes, we leverage the latest industry technologies to enable up-to-date tracking of market listings, empowering you to access newly listed homes as soon as they hit the market. We can help you find homes for sale in Bryn Mawr, Gladwyne, Haverford, and across the entire Mine Line region. Get in touch today!

Posted in Buying A Home
May 15, 2020

Buying A Home, From Home

In this new era of life, things are shifting quickly, and virtual strategies for home buyers may be a great option. We are your trusted, highly experienced real estate professionals and are here to help you navigate through all that's new, when it comes to making your next move.

As always, if you have any questions regarding buying or selling a Main Line home or real estate, don't hesitate to call or e-mail us.

All my best,


Janis Peterson, REALTOR®, GRI, ABR, SRES, CSP
Long and Foster Real Estate, Inc.
355 Lancaster Ave. Suite 100
Haverford, PA 19041
Direct: 610-642-3744

Buying A Home, From Home

Posted in Buying A Home
May 15, 2020

Selling A Home, From Home

In this new era of life, things are shifting quickly, and virtual strategies for home sellers may be a great option. We are your trusted, highly experienced real estate professionals and are here to help you navigate through all that's new, when it comes to making your next move.

As always, if you have any questions regarding buying or selling a Main Line home or real estate, don't hesitate to call or e-mail us.

All my best,


Janis Peterson, REALTOR®, GRI, ABR, SRES, CSP
Long and Foster Real Estate, Inc.
355 Lancaster Ave. Suite 100
Haverford, PA 19041
Direct: 610-642-3744


selling a home from home


Posted in Selling A Home
May 5, 2020

April Main Line Real Estate Update

April is normally the height of the spring real estate market. Buyers are out shopping for new homes in preparation for summertime moves. Numerous properties are coming on the market daily, and well-priced and well-maintained homes are quickly getting sold. 

This past April brought a much different market, as the coronavirus pandemic continued through the month. We saw a much slower start than usual, as a result of stay-at-home orders, social distancing and economic fluctuations. A number of consumers started to pause on their real estate transactions toward the end of March and that continued into April. 

As we moved through the month—and more recently in this past week—real estate activity has been trending in more positive direction. Active, coming soon and temporarily off-market listings are slightly above where we were last year. New listings are down from last year, but those properties on the market have been selling quicker and for higher prices. 

While the percentage of properties sold in April was down by double-digits, the impact has not proved to be as great as several industry experts predicted. Many of you still need to move, and you’re able to do so while minimizing risk when working with professionals like me. 

Now, more than ever, our integrated network of services makes a difference. We’re here for you and available to meet (virtually) and answer any questions you might have about buying or selling in today’s market, should you need to make a move.  Even if you just want a complimentary competitive market analysis for your home, we stand ready to assist you.  In the meantime, please stay safe and healthy.   

As always, if you have any questions regarding buying or selling a Main Line home or real estate, don't hesitate to call me at (610) 642-3744 or e-mail.

All my best.


Janis Peterson, REALTOR®, GRI, ABR, SRES, CSP
Long and Foster Real Estate, Inc.
355 Lancaster Ave. Suite 100
Haverford, PA 19041
Direct: 610-642-3744
Fax: 610-658-0267

April 17, 2020

Best Pennsylvania School Districts

Top School Districts in PA - A Guide

Pennsylvania is home to many remarkable schools, some of which make it to the very top of the public school system in the United States. A comprehensive array of award-winning schools across many school districts in PA shows the dedication of the state's educational system. According to many Pennsylvania school rankings, this state has a lot to offer to children and teenagers. From dozens of first-class elementary schools to just as many honored high schools, choosing to educate your child in one of these districts is the best choice you could make.

We've put together a list of the best Pennsylvania school districts, according to several rankings.

Radnor Township School District

Radnor Township School District is located in the highly sought after community of Wayne and has 3,698 students in five schools. The first established school was Radnor High School, back in 1893. RTSD is the only public school system in Radnor Township and is consistently recognized as one of the best school systems in the United States. Radnor High School is ranked #3 among the best high schools in Pennsylvania.* The district offers a rich network of learning spaces, playgrounds, parks, and athletic fields. With a tradition of excellence and a safe spot at the top of many PA school district rankings, Radnor Township School District takes pride in providing excellent education and guidance.

Tredyffrin-Easttown School District

The Tredyffrin-Easttown School District is one of the top-rated school districts in PA, with over 6000 students attending eight schools. It’s known to have many outstanding teachers. Both students and staff of Tredyffrin-Easttown School District continuously win various awards for their accomplishments. During the previous school year, the district has won remarkable awards in various fields. For example, several middle school teams won multiple first places at a county level math competition. Conestoga High School is ranked #4 among the best high schools in Pennsylvania.* A Conestoga senior was recognized as one of the final 40 young scientists in the annual Regeneron Science Talent Search.

Wallingford-Swarthmore School District

Wallingford-Swarthmore School District takes pride in providing equity and commitment to education for each student. Over the years, the schools of this district have been earning various distinctions and honors. Several WSSD high schools were recognized by the US Department of Education as National Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence and given remarkable distinctions and honors. Strath Haven High School is ranked #9 among the top high schools in Pennsylvania.* With remarkable science teams, robotic teams, a fabulous chorus and orchestra, this school district offers top-notch education for children lucky enough to live in the area.

Lower Merion School District

Established as one of the first public school districts in Pennsylvania in 1834, Lower Merion School District has enjoyed a longstanding reputation as one of the finest school systems in America. It takes pride in a remarkable history of achievement and innovation. The district has nine schools, and the Commonwealth has recognized all of them for excellence. Seven of them take pride in getting the National Blue Ribbon Award for Excellence in Education. Both Harriton (#13) and Lower Merion High Schools (#14) are ranked among the best high schools in Pennsylvania.* Of note, the late Kobe Bryant began his basketball career at Lower Merion High School. As one of the best school districts in PA, Lower Merion School District provides excellent education for all residents of Lower Merion Township and the Borough of Narberth.

Mt. Lebanon School District

Being a nationally recognized, award-winning school system, the Mt. Lebanon School District combines highly trained staff with committed and educated families. The students of this school district in PA are nationally recognized for achieving remarkable results and receiving local, state, and many national honors in several forums. The mission of this district is to provide each student with the profound, quality education they need. The dedication of the teachers combined with parents who are always engaged in their children's education, and with the help of the community have helped sustain a strong public school system rightfully recognized as a top school district in PA.

North Allegheny School District

Located in the Pittsburgh region, the North Allegheny School District has 8,300 students in grades K-12. It ranks at the top for several reasons, including being the best district for athletes, and the second-best in the state for having quality teachers according to some studies. The main mission of all teachers in the North Allegheny School District is to prepare all students for success in the changing world. This PA school district takes pride in promoting diversity and inspiring excellence in students in athletics, but also in arts and various other activities.

Fox Chapel Area School District

As a nationally recognized, award-winning school district, and one of the best according to Pennsylvania school rankings, the Fox Chapel Area School District serves six municipalities with approximately 30,000 residents. Located in a suburban community around 10 minutes away from downtown Pittsburgh, FCASD has an outstanding reputation. A wide range of economic, social, religious, and cultural backgrounds among students and their families provides a unique learning facility for every student. The district provides a wide array of educational opportunities to meet the needs of all students and the high expectations of the community.

The Main Line is also home to many highly-regarded private schools, including Malvern Preparatory School, The Haverford School for Boys, Agnes Irwin School, Baldwin School for girls, Episcopal Academy, Friends' Central School, Akiba Hebrew Academy (now called Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy), The Shipley School, and Valley Forge Military Academy, which includes among its famous alumni General H. Norman Schwarzkopf and J.D. Salinger, author of the classic, The Catcher in the Rye.

Pennsylvania has a comprehensive, outstanding school system with various districts that continue to boast remarkable results. Feel free to contact a Main Line Homes representative today for more detailed information and advice about real estate opportunities in the PA neighborhoods that offer access to these exemplary schools.

*US News & World Report, 2020 rankings of 754 high schools in Pennsylvania

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