Archive for November, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving to All

Relax and enjoy your weekend

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Split Levels Rising

November 25, 2008
 

It’s about time. 

As you travel to different parts of the country, styles and tastes in homes (and everything) change continually.  Today, one style that is beginning to receive renewed interest is the split level home.  We all know them.  We lived in them, or our grandmother lived in them, or our friends did.  I think it is time to take a second look.

Beautifully Updated Split Level Home

Beautifully Updated Split Level Home

Throughout the fifties and sixties, the Philadelphia PA and Delaware suburbs experienced a tremendous amount of growth.  One of the primary style beneficiaries of this growth was the development of the split level home.

As homes expanded and families needed additional room to grow, styles shifted from predominately small ranch homes and custom built housing to splits and colonials.  Splits in particular were very popular throughout the region due to their flexible floor plans and ease of construction on many land topographies.  They were built in every style, shape, and location and proved a convenient alternative to both one level and 2+ story homes.  Their flexibility, ease of access, and reduced stairs proved popular with both families and those who were looking for easier access.

Today, the area continues to contain a rich variety of split level homes in all shapes and sizes.  From small to large, city to country, two to six levels, there is an endless variety of configurations.  In Delaware County, in addition to entire developments of split level homes, they were also commonly used to infill lots in older developments as well as being built as single family homes on very large lots in the western townships of the county. 

Since they are now frequently fifty to sixty years old, many are in the process of being redone: both updated to reflect today’s tastes as well as being retrofitted to mirror the styles from when they were built.  The beauty of the split level style is that many offer a fairly clean palette that can be modified to reflect almost any time or style.

After being passed on for years to more traditional styles, split level homes are now receiving increased interest as families again are looking at more imaginative and practical living opportunities.  It’s time to take a closer look.

Must Read Forbes – Green Tax Credits

November 23, 2008

reducedforbes1OK – I admit that there was not much activity today at the Open House in Newtown Square (apparently watching the Eagles trumped new home visits), but I did have the opportunity to catch up on some reading.

If you have or are planning any home improvements, you need to take a look at the Forbes Magazine special issue “Energy & Genius” dated November 24, 2008.  The entire magazine is an interesting review of energy issues and the ideas being pursued to change the way the world is consuming its resources.  No one is going to agree with everything included, but it does include something for everyone – no matter where you stand on the green scale.

More importantly, as we head toward the end of the year and you are preparing for your 2009 taxes, it has a great article highlighting some of the tax credits that may be available for home improvements – check out the article online: “The Green Tax Gusher”.  It also notes some good ideas on both projects that should be completed this year and some that probably should be delayed as credits will not be available until 2009.  Also, be sure to check out www.dsireusa.org for a good state-by-state listing of incentives.

Finally, beginning on page 87, Philadelphia has a twenty page advertising insert that covers the region’s recent developments and future plans.  It’s an interesting view as to how Philadelphia is advertising itself to the world – “A New Day.  A New Way.”

All in all, a great issue worth a review if you have an opportunity to get your hands on it.

Weather Note

November 21, 2008

Well, so much for our beautiful fall weather as seen in the post from earlier this week.  Now you can see Swarthmore soaked in snow from earlier today – a bit of an unexpected change.

first-snow5

Also, I am currently completing the requirements for the National Association of Realtor’s GREEN designation.  One of the recommended websites to begin to learn about green home and building features is The Green Guide.  If you are just beginning to learn about Green issues, this could be a good place to start.

Just the Stats

November 20, 2008

Delaware County, Suburban Philadelphia, Wayne Homes

One of the most frequently asked questions is: What’s going on in the market? 

In answer to this question, I’ve prepared a quick statistical update on the current market in Delaware County PA.  Bottom line: Due to the existing political and economic climate, activity has decreased substantially, but overall the prices and market are holding up reasonably well.

First the numbers:

Delaware County Statistics as reported from the TrendMLS system:
        

 october-stats

 

Several Observations:

-Sales activity has slowed dramatically: YTD Sales down 23+%, Oct Sales down 28+%, and Oct Pending down 37+%
-Listing activity has remained fairly constant with no rise in inventories.
-Sales have dropped faster than listings so there has been an increase in the number of days on the market.
-Prices overall have drifted slightly downward, but the number above seems skewed by the change in the mix of sold homes.
-The luxury market (here noted as homes listed for greater than $1M) has dropped by over 73%.
-The low end of the market (conforming loans) has remained strongest.

In Summary:

Overall the activity in the market is down and seems to have also shifted toward the lower price ranges.  Prices at the top end are drifting down, while prices on the low end are stable or rising.  The prices are moving toward the mean.

Mortgage and credit issues remain critical to each transaction with many last minute changes coming from the lenders.  Once the mortgage and credit markets loosen a bit more, activity should begin to build across the board.

The good news: If a property is priced correctly in comparison with the recently settled homes in the area, there are motivated, well qualified buyers that have the means and will to make the offers and move today.

I will do another overall update next month.  These numbers are based on Delaware County, but if you ever need any information on a particular property or different county just west of Philadelphia, please feel free to e-mail or contact me anytime.

Where Do You Work?

November 18, 2008
dscn23012

Radnor in November

Whenever you go to a large meeting, class, or convention, two things are generally true: you meet many people and you never know what knowledge you may gain.

Having just returned from the National Association of Realtors Annual Convention in Orlando, both are true.  The courses and displays highlighted the tremendous changes seen this year.  I was able to attend the excellent first two day NAR Core Green course ever given.  Several days of seminars and classes were also offered which covered a staggering range of topics covering all aspects of the industry.  Finally the trade show featured vendors, suppliers, and buyers from all parts of the industry and the world – a great opportunity to see the market from a broader perspective than we see on a daily basis.

Interestingly enough, I learned one other critical element – how to describe where I live and work.  I am licensed in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and California, and currently work out of offices in Newtown Square, PA and Wilmington, DE.  I have done business in the past in Delaware County, Chester County, New Castle County, Montgomery County, and LA County, and I’ve always had a bit of difficulty responding to the simplest question: Where do you work?  After having been asked by every person I met for the last week and having tried a variety of answers, I finally found the answer that almost everyone understood without further explanation.

So now, if you are looking for me, I am … Just West of Philadelphia.  Let the fun begin.