Monday, August 24, 2009

Strong gain in existing home sales uptrend

This was posted by the NAR on August 21, 2009 by Walter Molony.

For the first time in 5 years, existing home sales have increased for 4 months in a row, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Existing home sales- including single family, townhomes, condos and co-ops, rose 7.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.24 million units in July from a level 4.89 million units in June, and are 5.0 percent above the 4.99 million unit pace in June 2008. The last time sales rose for 4 consecutive months was in June 2004, and the last time sales were higher then a year earlier was November 2005.

Did you have questions about the first time home buyers tax credit? Here is some information in a nut shell...

Who qualifies? First time home buyers who purchase homes between Jan 1, 2009 and December 1, 2009. To qualify as a "first time home buyer" the purchaser or his/her spouse may not have owned a residence during the last 3 years prior to the purchase.

Which properties are eligible? The 2009 First time home buyers tax credit may be applied to primary residences, including single family homes, condos, town homes and co-ops.

How much will the credit be? The maximum allowable credit for home buyers is $8000. Each home buyers tax credit is determined by 2 factors:
The price of the home- the credit is equal to 10% of the purchase priceof the home, up to $8000.
The buyers income- single buyers with incomes up to $75,000 and married couples with incomes up tp $150,000- may recieve the maximum tax credit.

Will the tax credit need to be repaid? NO!!! The buyer does not need to repay the tax credit. If he/she occupies the home for 3 years or more. However, if the property is sold during the 3 year period, the credit will be re-couped on the sale.

If you are thinking of buying or selling a home, or know of someone that is, please give me a call or drop me an email. My web site is

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Time to prep your yard for home buying season.

Before a potential buyer even sees the inside of your home, you're front yard is the first thing they will view. First impressions can make or break a deal. Here are a few tips to help insure the front yard doesn't kill the deal before the car is even shut off.
Last year, thousands of U.S. households did some kind of landscaping project. The average annual bill was just under $375, according to the National Gardening Association. Many of projects can turn into disasters especially when the homeowners go to the closet big name garden center and just pull anything off the shelf that looks nice. Go to the local nursery that knows your area, and knows what they are talking about. Let them tell you what plants will work well in the area. Take into consideration soil conditions, sunlight and amount of rainfall. Do some planning first, then talk to the people that are pros about what your goals are, how much money you are willing to spend, and how much time you will need to water, prune, weed and fertilize.
Here are a few tips to help...
1) Lay the groundwork for successful planting. Does the property have good drainage or is water going to lay there. What is the Ph of the soil? Is it rocky, clay, sandy or nice soil?
2) Create a plan to draw your eye to a central point. Your yard doesn't need to have several flower beds all over the place, just a few well planned and thought out beds. Plant along a wall so it creates a focal point You can use different types of shrubs, or flowers to accomplish this.
3) Create a "portable atmosphere". Plant your flowers and herbs in decorative pots and any type of container. Get creative. Use old baskets, buckets, sneakers! They can make your deck or patio inviting and relaxing. Then, when you move, they move with you.
4) Part of your plan should be for privacy and shade. Part of a successful plan in landscaping is to hide your neighbors from view, or to help muffle the street noise. Tall plants can be used to screen your windows from your neighbors, or vice versa. Hedges are great for helping to block noise. Use your plantings to make different sitting areas. A tanning area, a quite area for reading, or an area created around a fire pit.
5) And finally, something that looks great after the blooms are done. Shrubs offer different colors and shapes. Shrubs will also be lower maintenance then flowers and herbs.
This is just a few ideas to get your home ready to put on the market. This is a buyers market and there is much more competition. That doesn't mean homes aren't moving. It means that
your home MUST be better then the neighbors, and it MUST be priced better then the neighbors. Do what it takes to make the home the most appealing home in the area. It will be worth it.
If you are putting your home on the market, or know of someone that is, please give me a call. I would like to meet you show you what I can and will do. I don't want to just list your home, I want to sell it. give me a call. My web site is I am looking forward to meeting you.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What are you waiting for? Here are 5 GREAT reasons to buy a home NOW!

What are you waiting for? The real estate market has never been better to buy a new home. If you are a first time buyer and no property to sell, you are in a great position to jump off the fence and make that purchase. Here are 5 reasons to do it...

1)Affordability is better then ever! Homes are sitting on the market longer, prices are dropping. Put the offer in, ask the seller to pay, or at least assist with your closing costs. Dont be afraid of a counter offer, you can say yes, no or counter again.

2)You have an incredible inventory to choose from. In many places, it is taking months to sell a home, creating tons of inventory. This inventory includes new construction that builders are stuck with(ask for incentives) to foreclosures. A large inventory definately keeps the buyer in the driver seat and is driving prices down. Sellers are starting to realize the market isnt what it was a year or two ago and are starting to get the picture. Sellers are getting desperate. With homes on the market longer, sellers are finally realizing what is going on. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT!!

3)Builders are offering big discounts!! Banks want their money from builders also. Home builders are getting more aggressive with their pricing as well. FREE upgrades packages. Finished basements, lighting packages, kitchen upgrades!! GO for it!!

4)Mortgage rates are still very low. It is not just the price tag on the home that effects what you can afford, but the interest rates as well. A few months ago, rates on the 30 year fixed hit incredible low rates. rates that haven't been seen in years, and rates are still close to that level. The first week in February, the avargae rate for a 30 year fixed was 5.25%. More help may be on the way. A short time ago, President Obama said that his new economic plan would help lower the cost of mortgages for home buyers. More details have not been given. Low rates dont mean the mortgage companies are handing out money, you still need good credit, a substantial down payment, and the willingness to document your income to qualify for those great rates, if you qualify at all.

5) You can get a federal tax credit! There is currently a tax credit up to 8000 bucks! to home owners that haven't owned a home in at least 3 years. That money doesnt have to be paid back if the home is purchased between Jan 1 and Nov. 30th of this year, if that home is not re-sold for atleast 3 years! That money will certainly come in handy. The avarage first time homebuyer shells out about 6 thousand in the first 6 months of of owning a home.

Here you go, 5 great reasons to buy that home. If you are in Chester County, or Delaware County you have the reasons, you have my name and number. Give me a call, let me walk you thru the process. Let me help you get into that first home!
My name is Rick Sapovits, my web site is I can be reached at Keller WIlliams Real Estate, 610-363-4300 x 2452. I look forward to hearing from you.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

So you think you are ready to buy a home?

Here is a list of things you need to do before you start to shop for a home, and when you need to do them.

Any time you buy a home, it can be quite stressful, and mind boggling, especially for the first time buyer.

The following time line starts 1 year before you seriously start shopping for a home. You can do it quicker if need to, but you will be smart to take your time and walk thru all the steps in order. The more time you give your self for this process, the better off you will be in the long run.

One year out (or as soon as possible)...

Get your credit reports. Every American is entitled to a free credit report every year. Contact on of the big 3 credit reporting companies. Errors on the report can force you to pay a higher interest rate on your mortgage, or even prevent you from getting a mortgage at all. Go to This information comes from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Make sure you look for accounts that aren't yours, and collection accounts for debts you don't owe and negative marks that are older then 7 years.

Get and improve your FICO credit scores. Your credit scores, which are 3 digit numbers used to gauge your creditworthiness, help determine the rates you can get for a loan. There are tons of different credit scoring formulas, but the one used by most lenders is the FICO

Deal with your debt. Most people don't need to pay off their college loans, auto loans or other low rate debt before getting a mortgage. What you do need to take care of is the toxic debt, credit card balances! These are sure signs that you are living way over your means. Get them taken care of now. Once you are in your home, there are many, many expenses associated with home ownership(property taxes, insurance, repairs, decorating, and maintenance)

SAVE SAVE SAVE, then SAVE some more! Stop eating out, do you need all those cable channels? Do everything you can think of to put away as much money as possible. FHA loans only require 3 1/2 percent down, You need 20 % down to avoid PMI.

Put your bills on automatic pay. A single 30 day late payment can drop your score 100 points. Been there, done that! Set it up with your bank. Set up automatic debit payment that comes directly from your checking account.

6 months out

Start checking out your mortgage options. Too many people today are loosing their homes because they didn't understand what kind of mortgage they had. If you cant afford a 30 year fixed FA-GETABOUTIT!! To many times there are low teaser payments that allow the buyer to purchase more then they can really afford. Then the payments jump and they can no longer afford the home.

Research all the costs of owning a home. Your mortgage is just the start. You will have property taxes, and insurance on your home. You could be paying HOA and condo fees as well. Your utilities might be higher then an apartment and there will be maintenance and repair costs.

3 months out. The FICO scoring formula is sensitive to how much of your available limits you're using on credit cards and other revolving lines of credit. The less is better.

Don't open or close any accounts. Until the mortgage process is complete and you've moved into your home, don't do anything to cause actions that could harm your credit. Don't buy new appliances, or a new car. You could be living in it.

2 months out.

Get an idea of the mortgage rate you can expect. Get a new set of FICO scores. Checking your scores doesn't ding the report, and talk to some mortgage lenders about what rates you might qualify for. Don't apply yet, and don't allow your credit to be pulled.

Understand the effects of mortgage shopping on your score. You want to get the best terms and rates possible, which means you will need to shop around, but how does that effect your credit score? Here's the deal; every time you give a lender permission to check your credit, a "hard inquiry" appears on your credit report. Good for you that the FICO scoring formula lumps all mortgage related inquires made within a specific time period together and counts them as one. You want to shop around, but typically in a short period of time, and usually after an offer has been accepted.

Get pre-approved! This is when the lender gives a commitment to make you a loan, is different and more valuable to sellers then a pre-qualification, which merely gives you an idea of the size of the mortgage you might be able to afford without making any commitments. You don't have to use the lender that gives you the pre-approval, but it does involve giving permission for that "hard inquiry", but the potential ding is well worth it because you are in a better and stronger position with sellers.

Consider a mortgage broker. Once the offer is approved, you can shop for a mortgage on your own, but if you want a lot of hand holding through this process or your credit isn't great, you might benefit from the services of an experienced, ethical mortgage broker. STAY AWAY from the fast talkers, use a large national company with a great reputation.

Begin to research neighborhoods and look for an agent. If you are in Pa, please give me a call!

My web site is

Once you have found your home, and your offer is accepted... start to shop for a mortgage. You do need to move fairly quickly, the process can take 3 to 4 weeks.

Arrange for an appraisal, do your home inspections, and do a walk through. The appraisal is required for your loan to be approved, An inspection isn't necessarily required, but do it any way. It can alert you to any serious problems before the deal closes. The walk through is done within 24 hours of closing so you can make sure any repairs have been completed by the sellers that you have agreed upon.

Home owners insurance. Mortgage lenders require this coverage. You will need to prove you have it at settlement , or it ain't happening.

Get your exact closing costs. You will need to know how much money you will need at closing. Closing is when all the papers are signed, and all the agreed upon amounts are paid, which can include your down payment, and your share of legal fees, property taxes and title insurance.

Afterwards,you now have a set of keys to your brand new home!

My name is Rick Sapovits and I look forward to helping your next home.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tips to help you get a mortgage

There is all kinds of news out there about the state of the real estate market. The truth is, in Chester county and Delaware county, the real estate market is not all that bad. Homes are selling, not as fast as they were 18 months ago, and there are lots of homes on the market to choose from. With homes on the market for longer periods of time, the prices are dropping, and dropping a lot. The interest rates are still reasonable( still under 7% with good credit), THIS IS A GREAT TIME TO BUY!!!.
Here are a few tips to help get your finances in order to help you to get a mortgage...
1) Get your credit reports. Errors on the report can force you to pay higher interest rates on your mortgage, or even increase the chances of you not being able to get a mortgage.
2) Get and improve your FICO scores. Your credit scores, which are 3 digit numbers used to guage your credit worthiness, help determine the rates and terms you can get for a loan.
3) Deal with your debt. Most people don't need to pay off their student loans, car loans, or other generally low debt before getting a mortgage. What you want to get rid of is "Toxic Debt": Credit card balances, and payday loans. These are signs you are living beyond your means.
4) SAVE!! SAVE!! SAVE!! Stop eating out, drop the cable bill, pay your self first, before you sit down and pay your bills. Do anything you can think of to save money for that down payment.
5) Put your bills on auto payment. A single 30 day late payment can knock of lots of points from your credit score. It will take many months to recover from that.
6) Sort thru your mortgage options. A lot of people today are losing their homes today because they didn't understand what kind of mortgage they have, or they accepted bad advice. Rule of thumb with me... If you can't afford a 30 year fixed, you shouldn't be looking for a home. The lower teaser rates allow someone to buy more then thay can afford. Then the rates change and they can not afford the payments.
7) Start calculating how much home you can afford. Once you have settled on what type of mortgage you want, and a rough idea on a down payment, you can go to my website and use the mortgage calculator to see how much home you can afford.
8) Research ALL the costs of owning a home. Your mortgage is just the start. Taxes, utilities, insurance, home owners fees, maintenance and repairs. Don't forget the little things... like food and clothing!
9) Reduce your credit utilization! If you can not pay cash , DON"T BUY IT! Definately don't make and major purchases, like a car, appliances, trips. Don't do it. You might regret it later.
10) Don't open or close any accounts. Until the mortgage process is complete and you successfully leave the settlement table, continue to avoid actions that might harm your credit.
11) Get pre-approved for a mortgage. Pre-approval in which a lender gives you a commitment to make you a loan, is different and more valuable the a pre-qualification letter. This also makes your offer more attractive to a seller.
12) Consider a mortgage broker. Once your offer has been accepted, you only have a few days to start the mortgage process. You can shop on your own, but if you are uncomfortable with this process, you will benefit from the services of an experienced, ethical broker. Stay away from the on-line mortgage stuff.
13) You will also need to get an appraisel, home inspection and home owners insurance for settlement.

When you work with me, I will walk you through this entire process. I will guide you and give you the advice you will need. When you are ready to begin the home buying process, please give me a call, let me show you how and what I will do for you.
Most of my business is thru referrals. If you know of anyone thinking of buying or selling a home, please mention my name. I will be honored to work with friends or relitives of yours.

I look forward to working for you.

Rick Sapovits Realtor, ABR
Keller Williams Real Estate
100 Campbell Blvd, Suite 106
Pa, Exton 19341
610-363-4300 x 2452

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

10 inexpensive ways to increase your home's value

Thinking of renovating but cash is a little bit tight? Are you looking for ways to spruce up your home without breaking the bank? If you are thinking of selling your home, or just fixing it up so you can enjoy it yourself, here are 10 great ideas to consider.
The kitchen is and always be the nerve center of the home. Someone looking at your home, and I do it myself, head straight to the kitchen to check it out. Make sure the kitchen is clean, smells clean, and is updated. For the cost of a nice night out at a very nice restaurant, you can install new lighting, that is brighter and even more important, energy efficient. How about replacing the faucet. There are some really nice and reasonably priced faucets on the market. New kitchen cabinet door handles look great and really don't cost that much. Go for it!! Letting out the belt? For a few more bucks, how about new cabinet fronts?? You don't need to replace everything, how about just the fronts. You can have the fronts replaced, remove the drawers and replaced, refinish the cabinet box and in a short period of time, you give the appearance of brand new cabinets.
Appliances need a face lift too!! You can order new front panels for you appliances. Inexpensive and something you can do yourself. Sometimes the backs of the panels may be a different color. Check first before you spend any money at all.
Next to the kitchen, the bathrooms are equally important to update. Simple things like a fresh coat of paint, new towel sets, new toilet seat. Feel feisty? How about a new sink? I like a pedestal style sink. Really classy. I just finished re-caulking the tub. It was old and dingy and had to go. Cheap fix that looked nice also. Try your hand at re-grouting the tub. Not difficult, take your time, read the instructions. Some people might even go as far to install a new, one piece tub that fits right over the old existing tub. You might want to hire a professional to do this job.
A home I used to live in was nice, but the closet space was cramped to say the least. I went to Home Depot and looked around. I decided the best thing for my money was wire shelving. You can hire companies to do the job, or you can do it yourself. I just measured the closet, asked for some help in the store, bought what I needed and did the job, saved a few bucks and it looked great. Lots of options doing this. This added space and really helped to organize my tiny closet space.
I have seen homes listed as 4 bedrooms. I went upstairs and what they were calling the 4th bedroom was just a loft. A closet less loft. For it to be a bedroom, you need to have a closet. It had heat, but no closet. For less then $1200 you can frame out and drywall a closet. NOW, you can call it a 4 bedroom home.
How is the carpeting? Maybe just a good cleaning? Is the path from the kitchen to the door to the deck deeper the the grand canyon? It's outttta here. Just replace it. Not going to cost you a bundle, but it does look great. That's something a potential buyer is certainly going to notice. Hardwood floors? How about a good cleaning as well? Make them shine!!
Is the light in the room not as bright as it used to be? Have you tried cleaning the bulbs? Unscrew them, take a dry rag and just clean them off. You'll be amazed how much brighter the room is. If that still isn't good enough for you, consider replacing them with a nice chandelier. I put in a new ceiling fan with lights. I think surgery could be performed with all the lights. Real nice addition. Not to mention, it helps keep the house cooler in the summer.
As I mentioned last week, you can do a home inspection for your self if you are considering selling. How about bringing in an electrician, or a plumber just to check some of the bones in the house?
Again, curb appeal!! You really need to make a great first impression on a buyer. Purchase the mulch, add the mum's, trim the hedges, re-paint the front door. Just do it!
How about the front door? Ugly? Tired? Nice coat of paint, or a faux finish! OY! It will pay for it self at the settlement table! You can do it! Confucius said" the longest journey starts with a single step" or something like that. "If you want to sell your home, you gotta call Rick", and I'm Rick and that's my blog for this week. Talk to you again next week, and thanks for stopping back. My cell is 610-613-2840. I hang my license at Keller Williams In Exton, Pa. My office number is 610-363-0400, and I am at extension 2452. Just ask for me.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Selling your home? Here are a few things to consider...

Lets face it, it is a buyers market, and it has been for months. The days of multiple offers and offers as soon as the sign is placed in your yard are gone. Here are a few tips to help sell your home. Home repairs are extremely important now. In the past, If a buyer wanted your home bad enough, they would jump thru hoopes and except a lot of things. Again, those days are gone. There are simply too many homes on the market to except just anything. Fix it, NOW!! First impressions do count, curb appeal is very important. I went to see an 800, 000 dollar home the other day. The home was vacant, and it looked like it. The mulch was bad, the gardens in the front were in need of some serious weeding and the lawn, although nicely cut, was brown. The home next door didn't help because it was perfectly manicured. Trim the shrubs, put down some fresh mulch, flowers, fresh paint if it is needed. Is the front door lock tarnished? Replace it! Is the welcome mat, "Unwelcoming", it's outtta here! If the exterior of the home looks great, it will give the impression that the inside will be great as well.
I always suggest that you neutralize and de-clutter. Look, your getting ready to move, so pack that stuff up, clear out some closets. Get it in boxes, put it in the basement or garage(neatly). Any buyer will understand boxed stuff, but a jammed closet will turn them off quicker then PECO on an over due account. If you are going to paint, and please do so if it is needed, PLEASE choose a neutral color. Forgets the reds and blues. Go with a mauve, or egg shell white, or irish linen.
Have you considered having a home inspection done before you put it on the market? You can do it. I did. I found out that I had a few minor things that needed to be taken care of and had them done. Go ahead, let that buyer have one done as well. It's their money. You can also share your inspection with a buyer. A home buyer will recognize the value of a house that doesn't need major repairs. Just do it!!
It's no secret that buyers are "wowed" by updated kitchens and bathrooms. Again, I went into another home the other day, only 600, 000, but the kitchen missed. Dark, old counters, cabinets that were ok, but if I were in the market, I would keep on going and not consider the home. There is nothing wrong with just re-facing them if the cabinets are structurally sound. Make sure everything matches!!
Another idea to give a buyer piece of mind, give them a home warranty. Warranties can be purchased thru companies like First American Home Trust. If you list with me, I will give you one!
These are just a few simple ideas to help. You need to go the extra mile to get your home sold. Homes are sitting on the market longer. There are over 4 million homes on the market now across America. You need to do something special to make your home stand out over your neighbors. If you would like meet with me, at no obligation to you, to discuss how I will market your home, Please give me a call at 610-613-2840. If you want to sell your home, you gotta call Rick! I'm Rick and thats all for now. Stop back again!!