Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

March 1, 2024

What's Happening in York County This Weekend

What's happening in York County? 

     If you are looking for something to do in York County this weekend do not miss some of these local events. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JC Riley will be playing at Courtney's BBQ on Saturday from 7:00-10:00 P.M. 

 

Winter at the Barn will be open at The Peach Tree 10:00AM- 3:00PM

Posted in What's Happening
Feb. 21, 2024

Interest Rates & Real Estate

Interest rates tend to fluctuate over time. As a real estate investor, it's important to understand how changes in interest rates can impact the housing market.

How Rising Rates Affect Home Buying

When interest rates rise, it generally slows demand in the real estate market.

Here's why:

  • Higher mortgage rates decrease purchaser power
  • Potential homebuyers face increased monthly payments 
  • This leads to fewer buyers competing for the same properties
  • Sellers have less leverage and negotiation power

 

Opportunities for Savvy Investors

However, a savvy real estate investor can find opportunities even in a rising rate environment:

  • Less overall demand means more negotiation leverage for buyers
  • Motivated sellers may offer price reductions to attract buyers
  • Investors can potentially acquire properties below market value 
  • For long-term investors, temporary rate fluctuations matter less than the property's income potential over time

 

Creative Financing Options

There are also financing options like adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) and interest-only loans that can provide lower initial payments:

  • ARMs allow buyers to take advantage of lower introductory rates
  • Interest-only loans offer lower initial monthly payments
  • These can make properties cash flow positive for investors 

 

Key Takeaways

The key is keeping your real estate investment goals and financial position in mind. While rising rates present challenges, they also create possibilities for strategic investors.

  •  Maintain a long-term perspective on any property purchase
  • Utilize diverse financing tools and structures 
  • Find opportunities to acquire properties below market value

By following these tips, you can make smart real estate buys even in today's rising interest rate environment. 

 

Posted in Buying, Selling
Feb. 14, 2024

What is the Definition of a Bedroom

What Is The Definition Of A Bedroom? Make Sure You Know The Requirements  

 By Cathie Ericson-Realtor. com 

Feb 14, 2023

Welcome to the nuances of real estate speak, where not everything is as it seems. You can’t simply place a bed in any size average space and call it a master bedroom.

There are, in fact, a number of legal bedroom requirements—and both home buyers and sellers had best know them to avoid misunderstandings related to size and square footage. So what makes a bedroom a bedroom?

“Since a home and/or master bedroom can go through many incarnations over its life, sellers should be familiar with what makes a bedroom a legal bedroom prior to listing their home, to ensure there are no issues holding up the sale when a buyer has been secured,” says Carl Ekroth of Douglas Elliman in New York City.

Bedrooms are one of the most important selling features of a home, notes Mark Abdel, a real estate professional with Re/Max Advantage Plus in Minneapolis–St. Paul.

So it’s no surprise that homeowners want to move a bed into a space and then slap that label on rooms of almost any size.

“Sellers can usually set and get a higher price the more bedrooms a home has,” Abdel says. But getting creative with your habitable space and trying to wedge a standard bed or twin into too few square feet just won’t fly. In fact, there are legal bedroom requirements and minimum bedroom sizes to take into consideration.

Legal bedroom requirements vary by state, but here are six ways you can tell if your room is a bedroom rather than just an average “room”:

  1. Minimum bedroom size: Yup—size and the number of square feet you have matter and not only because you want to fit in a bed, nightstand, and other furniture. This is the top issue, says Shaun Anders of Douglas Elliman. Although sizes can vary from state to state, 70 to 80 square feet in size is generally the acceptable minimum. “Sellers in urban markets such as New York City and Chicago would love rooms of 5 by 7 square feet to qualify as a bedroom, but no go,” says Anders.
  2. Minimum horizontal footage: The minimum square footage doesn’t tell the whole tale. A bedroom must also measure at least 7 feet in any horizontal direction. That is why you can’t call a 10-foot hallway a bedroom (you’d never fit a bed, mattress, dresser, or other furniture)!
  3. Two means of egress: There have to be two ways out of a bedroom. Traditionally, these would be a door and a window. Ekroth adds that, in most markets, a skylight would also qualify as that means of egress. You’ll have to leap from your bed to this upper exit, but that’s another discussion.
  4. Minimum ceiling height: There are more size dimensions to worry about here: At least half of the bedroom ceiling has to be at least 7 feet tall. So you can put a bed in a loft area with less than a 7-foot ceiling if the other section has a higher clearance.
  5. Minimum window size: The window opening must be a minimum size, usually 5.7 square feet.
  6. A heating and cooling element:  Your “master bedroom” needs these amenities, including a heater (a space heater won’t qualify) as well as a way to cool it down, whether that’s by opening a window or good old AC.

 

Have you asked yourself, “Does a bedroom have to have a closet?” Well, according to legal bedroom requirements, a bedroom does not need a closet (or a walk-in) to be considered official (forget the en suite bathroom). Your significant other might disagree, but legally, at least in most states, it does not.

Closets are expected in newer homes and definitely in master bedrooms, but older ones might require a more creative approach to stowing your clothes.

So what can you call a room or space that doesn’t hit these average 7-foot requirements? Based on your state, you could get away with calling it an “office,” “nursery,” or “bonus room.” Because bedroom or not, just about any indication of extra space will make most buyers’ eyes light up.

If your space is short a foot or two, you might consider an interior remodel project to add square feet and fit the bed you want (even a king-size bed or California king). But most homeowners will try to fit a standard full-size bed, twin bed, or queen-size bed, along with a dresser, in the space to accommodate the size average requirements. But don’t let dreams of more square feet in your average room put you off—a quick reno in your home or apartment might be the solution, depending on your budget.

If you’re still not sure what makes a bedroom a bedroom, we are happy to help you figure that out. 

Posted in Buying, Home Tips, Selling
Feb. 7, 2024

Real vs Personal Property in a Real Estate Transaction

Real vs Personal Property in a Real Estate Transaction

     When buying or selling a home, often misunderstandings occur over the distinction between “real” and “personal” property. Real estate agents across the nation frequently end up playing referee in situations fueled by misconceptions, which can create tension and sometimes even kill a sale. Understanding the difference is important to anyone engaged in a real estate transaction.

 

    In simple terms, “real” property is the land and anything permanently attached to it, while “personal” property are items that are moveable. In this sense, real property obviously includes the home itself, along with other structures, such as a detached garage or barn, etc. It typically includes fixtures inside the home, such as lighting, faucets, built-in appliances, garage storage or racks, even curtain rods. “Personal” property, being moveable, would usually include everything else. A refrigerator that is not considered a built-in could be included on this list. So would a free-standing BBQ Island, or a mounted TV. As you can see, some of these items may be controversial if there is not a clear understanding about what the seller intends to take with them when they move in the contract. The best practice is for a seller to provide a list of any item they intend to keep that could be confusing and ensure it’s spelled out on the contract. This way, both parties have a clear understanding of the sale and the buyer does not plan a family BBQ on move day and find it gone.

Posted in Buying, Selling
Jan. 31, 2024

7 Ways to Save Money on Home Insurance

7 Ways to Save Money on Home Insurance

Home insurance is critical for homeowners. It protects you from unexpected damage due to fire, wind, flood, and more. Unfortunately, the cost of these policies can be very expensive and over the past few years, some premiums have doubled or even tripled as more natural disasters hit the country. Fortunately, there are a few ideas on how to save money on premiums. Here are 7 possible ideas to save money on your home insurance.

1. Bundle Policies – The easiest way to save money is to use the same company for both auto and home. Most companies offer significant discounts for doing all your business with them.

2. Increase Deductibles – Raising your deductible on all policies, even just a little can save money overall. Consider how much you are able to spend before relying on insurance and see how much you can save.

3. Home Security Systems – Most companies offer a nice discount for home security, plus you have the added benefit of greater safety for you and your family.

4. Good Credit – A higher credit score will likely give you a lower premium. Be sure to ask your insurance company to review your score at each renewal period.

5. Review Coverage – Do you have health insurance at work? Then maybe you don’t need medical coverage through your auto policy? Review your policies and make sure you need everything you’re paying for and always seek the advice of your insurance agent.

6. Claim Free – Insurance is there to use, but you may not want to use it for everything. If you have a $1000 deductible, for instance, it does not make sense to submit a claim for damage that totals $1150. Staying claim-free saves money.

Finally, shop around. At each renewal period, take the time to compare leading companies and make changes when necessary. Switching companies is very easy and can save you hundreds of dollars. Consult with your insurance agent to find out if any of these ideas might work for you.

Posted in Home Tips
Jan. 25, 2024

New Home Loan Limits Announced for 2024

    As home prices continue to rise, consumers are getting a break from the Federal Housing Administration who regulates the loan limits for conforming and government guaranteed loan programs. Home loans are categorized into government guaranteed, conforming, and jumbo lending products. As the name suggests, jumbo loans are larger loan amounts for more expensive properties and multi-unit dwellings. These larger loans will have higher interest rates and require larger down payments due to the risk associated with the loan. So, being able to utilize government conforming loans can save homebuyers thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. According to NAR, starting in 2024, the new conforming loan limit will increase to $766,550; an increase of $40.350. The new maximum loan value for FHA will increase to $498,257, which is an increase of $60,000. These baseline values are guaranteed by the federal government and designed to give homebuyers more choice and buying power to compensate for the higher home prices. It’s good to note also that in more expensive areas, the conforming loan limit is even higher. For example, in California, New York, District of Columbia, and Hawaii the conforming loan limit will be $1,149,825. Government guaranteed loans offer strong value to homebuyers. Not only are they easier to qualify for, but they also require lower down payments and lower interest rates than jumbo or non-conforming loans. As home values continue to rise, the increase in loan limits will allow homebuyers to find an affordable home and payment.

Posted in Buying
July 31, 2017

Curious About Local Real Estate?

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Curious about local real estate? So are we! Every month we review trends in our real estate market and consider the number of homes on the market in each price tier, the amount of time particular homes have been listed for sale, specific neighborhood trends, the median price and square footage of each home sold and so much more. We’d love to invite you to do the same!

Get Local Market Reports Sent Directly to You

You can sign up here to receive your own market report, delivered as often as you like! It contains current information on pending, active and just sold properties so you can see actual homes in your neighborhood. You can review your area on a larger scale, as well, by refining your search to include properties across the city or county. As you notice price and size trends, please contact us for clarification or to have any questions answered.

We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

Posted in Market Updates