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Aug. 14, 2017

Greater Philadelphia Area Market Update for August 2017

Today I want to take some time to give you an update on the Greater Philadelphia Area real estate market. 

Let’s first talk about inventory accumulation, which is an indicator of if we’re in a buyer’s or a seller’s market. We take the number of homes that are for sale and divide it by the number of homes that are sold each month to give us a final number. Currently, we have just under four months of inventory in the Greater Philadelphia Area—which puts us in a seller’s market.

Because of the lack of inventory and increased sales from this time last year, we’ve seen the market value of homes increase by 8%. That means that it’s a great time to be a seller. If you’ve been thinking about selling your home, now is the time to get it on the market.


If you’ve been thinking about selling your home, now is the time to get it on the market.


Interest rates are still at historic lows, with the current rate hovering just around 4%. Even though you may have to be more aggressive as a buyer to purchase a home, you’re still getting your mortgage at a low interest rate. 

If you have any other questions or you’re looking to buy or sell a home, please give me a call. I would be happy to help!


July 26, 2017

What Does the Zillow Lawsuit Mean for You?

One of the hottest topics in real estate today is the Zillow lawsuit. 

A woman from Illinois was selling her property but the Zestimate came in significantly lower than what she thought her home was worth. She feels that the low Zestimate negatively impacted her ability to walk away from her property. 

This woman is not seeking damages. She simply wants the rules to change on how Zillow is allowed to promote valuations in the marketplace because Zillow is not an appraisal company. 

That’s an important distinction because one in 10 Zestimates actually fall 20% below market value.


One out of 10 Zestimates fall 20% below market value.


We’re talking about real money. Buyers use Zillow as a tool to search for property and when they see that the Zestimate is so much lower, it’s going to be harder as a seller to actually sell the property for its market value. 

As I’ve mentioned before, if you’re thinking about selling your home, Zillow can be a good baseline. However, if you want to know what your home is actually worth, it’s important to work with a real professional real estate agent. 

If you would like to learn more about the Zillow lawsuit or find out what your home is worth, just give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!


June 21, 2017

What Are the Necessary Steps to Selling Your Home Successfully?

Listing your home quickly and successfully in today’s market means following several important steps. Here’s what those steps would look like if you listed with our team. 

First, you must do extensive research into your property. This way, we can present the best possible value for it. After that, we'll come out to your property, take a look at it, and advise you on how to properly stage it. We would also provide listing contracts to allow you to start the marketing process. 

Once all the listing contracts are signed, it’s time to take some professional photos. As a courtesy to all our clients, we offer the services of a professional real estate photographer to help create a great first impression for any potential buyers. 

After the pictures are done, it’s time to go live on the market. This is the stage when we’d enter your home into the MLS as well as other websites and start our aggressive marketing plan. From 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., our agents call any potential buyers out there that might be interested in your house. 


These steps will create a great first impression for any potential buyers.


Once we’re live, we strive to keep in communication with our clients, which means keeping you up to date on any market changes, any interest in your house, and any other feedback so you know exactly what’s going on with your listing. 

This is a quick and easy process to get your home on the market and sell it quickly and for top dollar. If you have any questions, please feel free to give us a call. We look forward to hearing from you soon.


June 5, 2017

Is It Better to Work With a Team or an Individual Agent?

When buying or selling real estate, are you better off working with a team or a single agent? 

Using a team approach offers many more benefits than working with an individual agent. By working with a team, you’ll have experts in each area of the transaction instead of a “jack of all trades, master of none.” There are so many moving parts in a real estate transaction that if you don’t have specialized knowledge on your side, important details can be overlooked and cause you a lot of headaches. 

In a real estate transaction, oftentimes there are two agents involved: the seller’s agent and the buyer’s agent. Each side represents two individualized skill sets. If you’re working with an individual agent who has to do both, you won’t have the opportunity to utilize the specific skills needed to master each craft. With thousands of dollars on the line in your transaction, you could leave money on the table by not having that knowledge at your disposal. 


Working with a team means you’ll have experts in each area of the transaction.


In the coming weeks, I’ll introduce you to more members of The Zach Behr Group so you can learn about their varying areas of expertise and get an even better idea of how much better off you are working with a team instead of a solo agent. 

In the meantime, if you have any questions or are thinking about buying or selling a home, don’t hesitate to give me a call. I look forward to talking to you soon.


May 18, 2017

We’ve Got a Great List of Home Service Providers

This topic is kind of a follow-up to a conversation we had a few weeks ago about all the benefits of upgrading your property before you list it for sale. One of the biggest complaints I hear from homeowners doing this type of work is the difficulty in finding a great contractor.

The quality of work that’s done on your home will have a direct relationship to the amount of money you get when you list if for sale. There are a few different ways we recommend that you find the right contractor.

The traditional method is to ask your family, friends, or colleagues about contractors they have worked with. You’re likely to get some great recommendations, but there’s an even better option.


Reach out to us if you’d like a copy.


I’ve compiled a database called “Zach’s List” that includes some of the best service providers and contractors around. Whether you need help with your plumbing, your roof, or your landscaping, we have someone who does quality work at an affordable price that we can refer you to.

If you’d like a copy of “Zach’s List” or have any other real estate questions, give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

April 25, 2017

How Accurate Are Zestimates?

Can you really trust Zillow’s Zestimates on your home’s value? Although your mind might start racing after you get a high Zestimate, there are some things you should know about that number.

First of all, most Zestimates are at least 5% to 15% off the true value of a home. The problem stems from the fact that the Zestimate is based on data and data alone. It doesn’t take location, amenities, or upgrades into account in its value. Those are all things that can add or subtract value from your home.

To get the most accurate figure for what you can expect to sell for, you need to work with a professional agent like myself who knows the marketplace. I’ll come out to your home, take a look around, and let you know what you can reasonably expect to sell for.


An algorithm simply can’t determine true value.


I’m not trying to bash Zillow, as it can be a powerful tool. However, you should use its Zestimates as more of a baseline, rather than a certainty. Even the CEO of Zillow had his home overvalued by 40% on his own website. 

If you have any questions for me or want to know what your home is really worth, give me a call or send me an email. I would love to hear from you.


April 7, 2017

Why An Agent Who Can Negotiate Is Key

If you’re looking to sell your home, there are a few qualities you’re going to want in a real estate agent. One of the most important benefits an agent can bring to the table is his or her ability to negotiate.  

Let’s start by going over the list price to sales price ratio, which is really just the difference between what we put a home on the market for and what it sells for. The average agent in our marketplace sells at 93%, which means $93,000 for every $100,000. 

The Zach Behr Group, on the other hand, sold at over 97% in 2016. So, that means for every $100,000, we are going to put $4,000 more in your pocket than the average agent in our marketplace. 


We can negotiate the best terms for your home sale.


Negotiation is a skill, and the more we do it, the better we get. This means you’re going to walk away with more money and better terms after allowing us to negotiate on behalf of your property. 

If you have any other questions please feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I’m always happy to help! 


March 23, 2017

How to Simplify the Mortgage Process

Today John Antonelli with Vantage Point Financial is back to talk about simplifying the mortgage process. 

The mortgage process begins with a no cost, no obligation 10- to 15-minute application that gives us the information we need to make a determination as to how much you can qualify for and what products are best suited for you. When you complete that application, you’ll get a pre-qualification letter that you can use as a part of your offer on a property. 

You want to get that process done before you go out and look for homes. The home buying process can be an emotional one, but knowing what your expenses and monthly payment will look like will ensure you’re looking at the right properties, saving you time and stress. 


Meeting with a lender before looking at homes will give you more confidence when you enter the market.


Meeting with a lender before looking at homes will give you more confidence when you enter the market. In fact, on average, a client that gets a pre-approval letter before looking at homes only has to look at four to five homes before confidently submitting an offer. 

If you have any further questions about the mortgage process for John, you can reach him at (484-704-7246). 

As always, if you have any real estate questions, please feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to talking to you soon! 

March 6, 2017

Sell Your Home Faster and Maximize Its Value With These Upgrades

If you’re preparing to list your home for sale, what repairs and upgrades can you make to help it sell quickly and maximize the return on your investment? Today I’ve outlined three areas and projects you can focus on.

1. Hardwood flooring. Hardwood floors are one of the most desirable features for today’s buyer. If you have hardwood flooring that need to be touched up, be sure to refinish it or pull the carpeting and redo them.

2. Painting. Many people paint their homes based on their own personal tastes. If that’s the case with you, I recommend that you repaint your home not only to make it feel fresh, but to also make it less personal and more neutral. Emphasize grays and beiges, and avoid the color white. White is boring, and since buyers buy on emotion, this color won’t help you at all. 

3. Kitchens and bathrooms. These are the most important areas as far as buyers are concerned. You can upgrade both by adding some granite or quartz countertops. Depending on where your home is located, I highly recommend touching base with a Realtor before you make any upgrades so you don’t over-improve for your area. 


Kitchens and bathrooms are the most important areas to focus on.


Additionally, remember that all first impressions come from the outside. If a buyer pulls up to your property and doesn’t like the exterior, what are the chances that they’ll love the inside? Don't let any of these repairs go to waste by neglecting the outside of your home. If the hedges need to be trimmed, the lawn needs to be mowed, or the front door needs to be repainted, don't hesitate to do those things.

If you’re thinking about selling your property, feel free to give me a call before you make any upgrades or changes to the property so that I can help. I’d love to hear from you!

Feb. 6, 2017

How to Buy a Home With Less Than 20% Down

I’m here with John Antonelli of Vantage Point Financial to talk about how you can buy a home with less than 20% down. 

According to John, one of the best products out there to lower your down payment is an FHA loan. Not only do you only have to put 3.5% down, but you still have access to great interest rates. Right now the going interest rate for an FHA loan is 3.75%. 

There are also conventional products that offer the ability to buy a home with as little as 3% down, including some VA loans that boast a no money down option with a 3.75% interest rate. 

With these options, it’s possible to buy a $300,000 property with as little as $10,500 out of pocket. If you rent instead of buy, after paying the deposit, first, and last month’s rent, you’d be out close to that anyway. As a veteran, you’d lose out completely as you could buy a home for nothing out of pocket. 


Owning a home is oftentimes cheaper than renting.


If you choose to buy, you get the benefits of homeownership, which include tax deductibility of interest, the ability to deduct property taxes, and the opportunity to gain appreciation as you continue to pay your principal. Based on the numbers offered by those products, paying for a home is oftentimes less expensive than renting anyway. 

If you have any further questions for John, you can reach him at (484-704-7246). 

As always, if you have any real estate related questions, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I’m always happy to help.