Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Some thoughts on the Zillow Trulia merger

As the leading real estate sites Zillow and Trulia combine forces, the industry is abuzz with the ramifications of the merger. The official word is, that there are no plans to merge the websites and they will continue to operate as separate sites.

Consumers have total access to real estate data online. As with everything else online, how will the real estate industry progress along the continuum of ...Noise - Data - Information - Knowledge - Wisdom... remains to be seen.  Having said that, here is my take on how this merger will affect the industry.

Combined resources may mean better data for the consumer. 
The biggest criticism of these real estate websites has been incomplete and inaccurate data. In the long run, this acquisition is good for the industry, because it will consolidate some of the offerings and lead to better all-around data, which will lead to a better consumer experience. If accuracy can be significantly increased, the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) that was so far the domain of Real estate agents, may be in danger of becoming redundant.

Realtors will continue to be integral to the process of buying and selling a home. 
I feel, Realtors who add value and are tech savvy, will always be sought after. In an industry where barriers to entry are low, this will create a shake out and the agents who do not provide good service, or are part time and fail to update their skills, will have to drop out.

Combined sites will lead to Advertising Price Increases 
Zillow's CEO has maintained that the sites sell ads, not houses. It is not a brokerage but an advertising tool. With the two largest websites merging, their advertisers (Realtors, Brokers and Mortgage lenders) fear that a law of supply and demand will certainly have an impact on prices. A Monopoly may be created because arguably the combined sites have over 75% consumer traffic. Ofcourse there is a viewpoint that the long tail adds up to a lot more consumer eyeballs - so 75% is a highly exaggerated number.

Big real estate corporations will partner with Zillow-Trulia
It will be easier and more cost-effective for the big franchisors to work with these websites, than to fight them. Their “strategic partnerships” will solidify the legitimacy of Zillow-Trulia in the consumer’s mind. Realogy - the parent company that owns the Coldwell Banker franchise (my broker) already has a Fab Plus package in place which gives their agents heavily discounted packages.

More remains to be seen.  I am completely fascinated and feel this will turn into a series of articles for this blog.  Stay tuned.

Bela VoraREALTOR®, 
Coldwell Banker Preferred - Exton Real Estate.
Office: 610 363 6006; Cell: (484) 947 3127
Website  |  Facebook  |  Blog 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Research schools before you buy your home.

Schools are an integral part of the buyer's criteria for home purchase.

The Daily Beast has identified America's Top High Schools 2014.  Follow the link below and find the school district that you want to research.
They have used 6 indicators from a large survey, to compare Public High Schools in the US and have emphasized graduations and college acceptance rates.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/08/27/america-s-top-high-schools.html

More info on schools and links in my blog.

More Information Here

or CALL

Bela Vora, R3ALTOR
Coldwell Banker Preferred - Exton Real Estate.
Office: 610 363 6006; Cell: (484) 947 3127
Website  |  Facebook  |  Blog 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Home for Sale - 268 Flagstone Rd. Chester Springs, PA

268 Flagstone Rd., Chester Springs, PA #Home for Sale #R3ALTOR

268 Flagstone Rd., Chester Springs, PA #Home for Sale #R3ALTOR
 New Listing in coveted Byers Station!

Immaculate, bright and airy three bedroom end unit. Excellent location within neighborhood with wide open parking lot views, no adjacent tall buildings.
268 Flagstone Rd., Chester Springs, PA #Home for Sale #R3ALTOR

3 Bedrooms 2.1 Baths
Downingtown East Schools

More Information Here

or CALL

Bela Vora, R3ALTOR
Coldwell Banker Preferred - Exton Real Estate.
Office: 610 363 6006; Cell: (484) 947 3127
Website  |  Facebook  |  Blog  

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Tips for Home Buyers in a Sellers Real Estate Market..

In Chester county this past few months, we have seen a sellers real estate market, low inventories and a strong buyer demand for homes.  Great news for home sellers.  However, a little tough on home buyers fighting off competition to buy their dream house.

Here are some tips for Home Buyers in a Seller Real Estate Market 

1. Hire the right Realtor -  Sit down with your Realtor for an initial consultation to understand location, school districts, work commutes, home values, mortgage options etc.  Cannot emphasize how crucial this is.  You don't just want a Realtor who has a key to all homes you want to see...you want a professional who gives good advice, who takes time to understand what's right for YOUR family.

2. Know your 'Must haves' and 'Like to Have' in your new home - Not easy to distinguish between the two, but very important.  You will not recognize the perfect home even if it is in front of you, unless you have this clarity.  Often the home features one wants are contradictory and no home will have everything,  If it does, it comes with a price tag that may be prohibitive.  Writing it down helps.

3. Understand the paperwork and process - Whether you are a first time buyer or have been a homeowner multiple times, the real estate process differs from state to state, and even within the state, the contracts are continually updated.  Home buyers should read and understand what they are signing. When documents are signed electronically, pages flip fast and it is difficult to stay focused.  What is an escrow deposit? What should the amount be? What is an 'Escalation Addendum' and when is it used?

4. Research neighborhoods - Local tours are not just for relocating buyers.  Have your Realtor give you a tour and explain pros and cons of local neighborhoods.  This is why a Realtor friend who lives and works 20 miles away is not the person you want to hire. Work with a local Realtor who knows home values and even local news like "Builder of this neighborhood is being sued for ...."  or "that house backs up to the highway ... or there is a mushroom farm behind that neighborhood which smells..."

5. Be financially prepared - Speak with a mortgage advisor and get a preapprvoal.  Yes, I understand that you know your finances and have tried the online mortgage calculators, and have friends who give you good advice. Mortgage underwriting requirements get updated constantly, an offer may be submitted in a hurry and your lender may be unavailable to give the pre-approval, the estimate of closing costs given by the lender may include items you were unaware of (eg. HOA cap contribution)...many reasons why it helps to do this in advance.  Yes your credit score will get "dinged" if there is an inquiry - but by how much?

6. Be a strong buyer - A buyer with the fewest contingencies is a strong buyer.   Do you need a mortgage? Do you need to sell your home before you can buy? Do you have the down payment and closing costs or will you need a sellers assist or will you borrow from family?  Do you have a good credit score? Can you settle quickly or need to wait until schools are over, or lease runs out?  Are there any penalties for breaking your lease? Sellers will look at not only the purchase price being offered, but also the other terms of the contract and the Buyers Financial Information (BFI) before they decide, and may even opt for stronger buyer over a higher purchase price.

7. Understand Inspections - Whether you will buy a new construction home or resale, understand the anatomy of a house and what the big ticket areas of fixing something in a home could be.  Know and understand what to negotiate and don't sweat the small stuff.  How expensive are stucco inspections? Onsite septic and well inspections?  How much does radon remediation cost?

Hope this was helpful.  Did I miss anything?  Please share your experiences below.

Bela Vora, REALTOR®,
Coldwell Banker Preferred - Exton Real Estate.
Office: 610 363 6006; Cell: (484) 947 3127
Website  |  Facebook  |  Blog  


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Firework schedule for areas in Chester County - 2014

July 4, 2014 fireworks are not only on July 4 but a few weekends before and after as well.  Here is a list of some in this area of Chester county.  Enjoy!


June 21, 2014 – Saturday
East Goshen Township Community Day – Events start at 5PM, Fireworks at Dusk. FREE, http://www.eastgoshen.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/EGT-REC-Summer-Special-Events-2014.pdf.

July 4, 2014 – Friday
Wawa Welcome America 4th of July Jam – Party goes noon-7:00, fireworks 7:00-11:00. FREE. http://www.visitphilly.com/events/philadelphia/july-4th-festival-concert-and-fireworks/

Longwood Gardens* – Celebrate America, 9:15 PM. Entrance Fee, http://longwoodgardens.org/events-and-performances/events/fireworks-fountains-shows.

Downingtown Good Neighbor Day - Fireworks at Dusk (9:30ish PM), with entertainment all day at Kerr Park, Pennsylvania Avenue. Part of Downingtown’s Good Neighbor Day festivities. A full day of family goodness. FREE, http://www.goodneighborday.com/.

Phoenixville Annual Fireworks – Held at Friendship Field (corner of Fillmore St and Franklin Ave. FREE, http://www.phxfirstfriday.com/phoenixville-events.html.

Tredyffrin Township Annual 4th of July Celebration. Wilson Farm Park. Fireworks at dusk. Live Music 7:00-9:15 PM Chesterbrook, PA. FREE, http://www.tredyffrin.org/services/parks-recreation/community-events-/fourth-of-july-celebration.

Parkesburg Fair Sponsored by KVFD – Parkesburg PA Fireworks – Fair runs Tuesday June 30 thru Saturday July 5, 2014. Fireworks are Friday night (Rain date Saturday July 5 2014). FREE , http://www.parkesburg.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=48  | Discounted ride tickets : https://carnivalticketsnow.com/events/NjZCM0Y2NzEtMDJGNC00Q0EzLTkyNTctNTY2MTIxRjAyNzI0

July 5, 2014 – Saturday
Freedom Fest - Nottingham County Park: (Herr’s fireworks) An Independence weekend concert, children’s entertainment, activity & food vendors, and fireworks display, 6-11 PM. $10 Parking Fee, http://www.chesco.org/index.aspx?NID=1220.
North Coventry Fire Company Fair - More details coming. FREE, http://www.norcofireco.org/pages/fair.html#Schedule.

July 6, 2014 – Sunday
Celebrate Coatesville - Fireworks at dusk following a day of kids’ events, 3PM to 9:30 PM, FREE. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Celebrate-Coatesville/122488094447391
Exton Independence Day Celebration – Fireworks at 9:30PM following concert at Exton’s Miller Park. FREE, http://www.wwhiteland.org/pandr/concerts/default.aspx.

July 11, 2014 – Friday
Malvern Fire Company Fair – Runs July 8 through July 12 with fireworks Friday July 11 (rain date Saturday July 12). Fireworks at 9:30 PM, FREE. http://www.malvernfireco.com/event.php?id=109

July 12, 2014 – Saturday
Uwchlan Community Day – Lionville Park, 4-8PM, Fireworks at dusk. FREE, details presently unavailable.

July 19, 2014 – Saturday
Longwood Gardens* – Tchaikovsky, 9:15 PM. Entrance Fee, http://longwoodgardens.org/events-and-performances/events/fireworks-fountains-shows.

July 25, 2014 – Friday
Kimberton Community Fair – Annual fair runs July 21-26. Fireworks Friday night 10:30 PM, Most attractions are free, but a paid wristband is needed for rides, and visitors have to pay for games. http://www.kimbertonfair.org/

Map of all fireworks in Chester County: https://www.google.com/maps/ms?t=h&ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=212360713340459936728.000488149858bdadd101a&z=10&iwloc=00048815611e66f39ff35&dg=feature


Bela Vora, REALTOR®,
Coldwell Banker Preferred - Exton Real Estate.
Office: 610 363 6006; Cell: (484) 947 3127
Website  |  Facebook  |  Blog  

Monday, June 9, 2014

823 Dover Court Place, Downigntown, PA 19335

Welcome to Williamsburg!  
One of the most sought after neighborhoods in Downingtown!  



Highlights of this Home for Sale include
- Location Location Location! Close to all major roads, shopping, restaurants, children's activitis and more....
- 3500 sq ft + including a finished basement.
- Great sought after neighborhood - seasonal activities, swimming pool, playground, access to Struble trail...
- Extremely low HOA fees!
- Nice yard, a premium in Chester county
- Bright open and airy floor plan
- Above all, Priced to sell! $458,000.  Compare to local comps - it is a great buy!

Call me for more information.

Bela Vora, REALTOR®,
Coldwell Banker Preferred - Exton Real Estate.
Office: 610 363 6006; Cell: (484) 947 3127
Website  |  Facebook  |  Blog  

Monday, May 26, 2014

1100 Harding Circle - Windsor Ridge, Chester Springs

1100 Harding Circle - Home for Sale
Home sold in 2 days!

Great sellers - did everything they could to make the property look spectacular - professionally painted interior, handyman touch ups, carpet steam cleaning, thorough maid cleaning, deck staining...

They visited the competition with me and supported my suggestion to price at market value.

4 other townhomes for sale in the same neighborhood.  One became a rental, the other 2 still Active for Sale,  and 1 went under contract after over 6 months on the market.

Success story don't you think?

Bela Vora, REALTOR®,
Coldwell Banker Preferred - Exton Real Estate.
Office: 610 363 6006; Cell: (484) 947 3127
Website  |  Facebook  |  Blog  


Friday, April 25, 2014

Spring clean up reminders and more....

We all have our regular checklist of Spring maintenance projects ready and some have a few things checked off already.  While you are mulching the beds and getting the driveways resealed, or washing windows this spring - here are some less obvious ones you may miss, especially if you are a new homeowner.


I am picking 3 to focus on - because I feel they are easily missed.

Roof -
Check your roof for any missing shingles that may have been lost during winter. Have a qualified roofer check the flashing around plumbing vents, skylights and chimneys and repair if necessary.  It is a very cost effective to maintain, rather than deal with roof leaks and subsequent drywall repair and more.

Firewood - 
To prevent wood-boring pests such as termites from invading your home and nearby structures, you’ll want to move the woodpile at least two feet from any structures and 18 inches off the ground. You can use concrete blocks, bricks or a firewood grate to keep firewood off the ground to encourage air flow and prevent moisture, which attracts insects.  Don’t store firewood near trees, either, as insects such as bark beetles can move from the woodpile to invade your trees and cause severe damage.  Especially important this year due to the large scale tree damage cause by the severe winter.
Grading
Now that the snow has cleared, it’s time to check the soil around your foundation for negative grading . Negative grading means that the soil around the foundation of your home slants toward the house, and this means that your house is vulnerable to water damage and leaks.  If you notice negative grading around your home’s foundation, then it’s time to add soil and create positive grading, where the soil slants away from the foundation.  A must for the owners of newly constructed homes.  If you are thinking of building  a patio, make sure the contractor compacts the soil right or you may have a sinking patio in a few years.

Here is a regular checklist of Spring Projects - and Martha Stewart's Spring Cleaning Checklist.

Did these checklists miss any important items? Please include them in the comment section below.

Bela Vora, REALTOR®,
Coldwell Banker Preferred - Exton Real Estate.
Office: 610 363 6006; Cell: (484) 947 3127
Website  |  Facebook  |  Blog  

Q: What home maintenance things should I be doing in the springtime?


You’re right that spring is the time to be working around the house, inside and outside. Here’s a checklist of things that you should be working on to prepare for the year ahead.
Outdoors:
  • Clean the gutters and check for any leaky or loose areas.
  • Check the siding for missing or peeling paint and repair. Also check siding for any damage that may have occurred over the winter.
  • Trim shrubs and trees away from the house to preserve the siding and roof.
  • Rake up any leaves from last fall. Pull up weeds and dead plants from last season.
  • Check your roof for any missing shingles that may have been lost during winter. Have a qualified roofer check the flashing around plumbing vents, skylights and chimneys and repair if necessary.
  • Remove any firewood stored near your home so that it is at least 18 inches off the ground and at least 2 feet from the house.
  • Check your outdoor faucets for freeze damage.
  • Have the air conditioning unit cleaned, inspected and tuned up for the hot days ahead.
  • Check your gas- and battery-powered lawn equipment to ensure that it’s ready for spring and summer use. Tune up the lawn mower and have the blades sharpened.
  • Examine the house’s foundation for any cracks and caulk or call a foundation specialist for more permanent repairs.
  • Pressure-wash your home to remove dirt, mold and stains from the siding, deck and patio.
  • Repair cracked sidewalks and driveways.
  • Inspect your deck and reseal if necessary. Also check for and fix any loose railings and decay.
  • Check and clean the dryer vent.
Indoors
  • Check windows and doors for air and water leaks and fill or repair.
  • Check your cracks and gaps where insects or mice can get into your home, and fill these areas.
  • Check faucets and plumbing for leaks and repair or replace any leaky pipes or faucets.
  • Check tiles and grout for cracks and reseal any areas where cracking occurs.
  • Clean the windows and screens inside and out.
  • If you don’t have central air conditioning, then spring is the time to reinstall window AC units.
  • Vacuum your refrigerator coils so the fridge operates at top efficiency.
  • Replace batteries in smoke detectors.
  • Drain your water heater. Click here for instructions.
Sources: HGTV.com, BobVila.com, Kiplinger.com, www.usnews.com.

Bela Vora, REALTOR®,
Coldwell Banker Preferred - Exton Real Estate.
Office: 610 363 6006; Cell: (484) 947 3127
Website  |  Facebook  |  Blog