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Dan Golden's Blog

By Dan Golden | Agent in Bucks County, PA
  • A sellers' market

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Bucks County, Home Buying in Bucks County, Home Selling in Bucks County  |  March 27, 2013 10:14 AM  |  588 views  |  No comments
    Reports as recently as last night detail how much the real estate market has changed in the past few months. Segments on both NBC Nightly News (Tuesday) and CBS Morning News (Wednesday) reported how real estate sales in some markets are heating up. In fact, in some places the market is scorching hot.

    The CBS report of March 27 said sales have increased 8 percent nationally and by even more in California. Their segment concentrated on California. In Los Angeles, properties are being swooped up almost as soon as they come on the makret. It told of one investor who purchased a duplex for $600,000 (cash) and had plans of selling it for $850,000 after fixing it up a bit.

    There are a ton of buyers in the LA market and competition for each property is fierce. It told of one couple that has been trying to purchase a home for a year. They made four offers, the last two above asking price, yet were outbid each time. IN LA, the report said homes are selling twice as fast as they did last year and real estate agents say 100 people at an open house is the norm. Wow!

    The Nightly News report also spoke of the change. It told of how a shift has occurred in the attitude of people on home ownership, with 79 percent now preferring to own a home. That attitude has fueled the fastest pace of homebuying since 2006. Remember the reports from Las Vegas showing the thousands of foreclosed homes and homes for sale when the real estate bubble burst in 2008. Well, the Nightly News said large investors are buying everything in sight.

    What does that mearn for buyers and sellers in Bucks County. Well, trends from California tend to head east. If you are a buyer, get out there and get in the game before prices and interest rates begin their inevitable climb upward. If you are a seller, the message is just as simple. Now is the time.
  • Reassessment dispute update

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Bucks County, Home Buying in Bucks County, Home Selling in Bucks County  |  December 3, 2010 3:18 PM  |  877 views  |  1 comment

    A lot has been happening on the assessment appeal front in the Central Bucks School District. The Bucks County Board of Assessment appeals earlier this month rejected the school district's appeals of assessments on properties that had recently sold. The county Board of Assessment Appeals ruled that the district did not provide enough evidence, that sale price alone was not enough to warrant a new assessment of a property. About a week or so ago, the school district announced that it would not appeal those rulings.
    And though the school district will not appeal those cases that were rejected by the assessment appeals board, it did not rule out future appeals of sold properties that the district believes are under-assessed. The school district could elect to have properties appraised and present that information to the assessment appeals board in any future appeals. The district would of course have to pay for appraisals of the properties. But even with an appraisal, there is no guarantee that the assessment appeals board would approve the reassessment. The last countywide reassessment was in the '70s.

    You can bet that ohter school districts in the county are keeping a close watch on this situation.
  • Appraisers rule!

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Bucks County, Home Buying in Bucks County, Home Selling in Bucks County  |  December 2, 2010 8:18 AM  |  879 views  |  1 comment
    The mortgage meltdown has brought about a number of changes in the real estate market. One that you might not have heard off affects sellers. It used to be that the market determined the price of your house. If you thought your house was worth $300,000 and put up for sale and sold it for $290,000, then that's what it was worth. Now the market factor shares the spot it used to occupy in determining the worth of your house with the appraisal.
    Lenders, in an effort to reduce fraud in the mortgage industry, are under strict new regulations in how they determine who they can lend money to for mortgages. One of the factors that helps decide if an applicant gets a mortgage is learning if the property is worth what the mortgage company or bank is willing to lend to the prospective buyer. Lenders do this by getting an appraisal.
    Appraisers must compare your house to what other similar houses have sold for in your general area. Mortgage companies and appraisers have always done this, but it seems to me the regulations have become inflexible and tilted away from common sense.
    If you live in a four-bedroom Colonial, appraisers will check to see what that kind of house sold for. If you live in a ranch, then they will check for a ranch. Sounds fair, right? The problem arises when, if your are selling a ranch, no similar ranch houses have sold recently in your neighborhood. If that is the case, appraisers will go outside the neighborhood to look at ranch houses. And if the neighborhoods those houses are in aren't quite as nice as your neighborhood, then the appraisal for your house is likely going to be lower than the agreed upon price.
    When that happens, the seller, if the the buyer has an appraisal contingency, will be forced to lower his price to meet the appraisal or lose his buyer. If the buyer walks, the seller must deal with the lower appraisal with some future buyer. Either way, it has an impact on the price you get for your home. And even if your buyer does not have an appraisal contingency and the mortgage company, because of a large down payment by the purchaser, is not concerned with a lower appraisal, the buyer now believes he's paying too much for his house. Instead of a willing buyer, you have a buyer who might have to be dragged kicking and screaming to the settlement table if you are not willing to make a concession on price because of the appraisal. It can get messy.
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