Monday, December 27, 2010



Hidden between 7th and 9th St in the middle of the 300 block of Kershaw you will find this gem of a home. This neighborhood located on the west side of Haines Rd straight across from Haines Acres is know as Fayfield. If you like the Fayfield area and are looking for a deal on a spacious home there, look no further, this is it. Don't let the look fool you, this solid brick Cape Cod style home offers over 3600sq.ft. of finished living space. Inside you'll find 3 bedrooms and 3 full bathrooms. You'll also be amazed when you see the two-story family home theater room. Outside around the back of the home on this almost 1/4 acre lot you'll see the in-ground swimming pool. In the front attached to the home you have a two-car garage. The home is heated with natural gas forced hot air in the winter and cooled with central A/C in the summer and is close to plenty of shopping venues and restaurants. It is located in The York Suburban School District and The East York Elementary School area.
This home can be purchased for as little as 3% down through Fannie Mae's HomePath Mortgage Financing. For details on this type of financing and/or to schedule a private showing for this or any other home currently for sale in York, PA, call Dennis Harbold. Dennis is a Buyer Specialist with The Pilgrim Team at Professional Realty Associates. You can reach Dennis on his cell phone any day or evening by calling 717-887-3302 or by emailing him at
This information is deemed reliable, but not guaranteed
Listing courtesy of EXIT Platinum Plus Realty

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

3185 Balsa Street York PA 17404

This home in the Central York School District has just been lowered
10,000 dollars down to 249,900
The home features 4 bedrooms with 2 full baths and 2 half baths and over 2000 square feet. The home sits on almost a half acre lot and there is a private rear yard with a maintenance free deck and a POOL!
For more information contact Mike Rudacille with The Pilgrim Team at Professional Realty Associates 717-757-5955 or
Listing courtesy of: Country Home Real Estate

Monday, December 20, 2010

Penn Oaks South

This well-built brick colonial on a level mature .37 acre wooded lot in Penn Oaks South located on the east end of York, PA is just waiting for someone to come along and call it home. It's living space on the first and second floors total 2800 sq.ft. with another 1400 sq.ft. unfinished area in the basement. The four bedrooms are all very nicely sized and the two and one-half bathrooms keep everyone moving in the mornings. The huge 19 x 23 ft master bedroom hosts a sitting area, walk-in closet, vanity area with sink, full bath with shower and a second sink. The family room has gorgeous wood floors, built-in book shelves and a wood-burning fireplace. The eat-in kitchen opens to a sunroom with windows and screens. Parking is no problem with the attached, side loading, oversized two-car garage with garage door openers. Included with this home is a one year home warranty, refrigerator, oven/range, built-in dishwasher, built-in microwave, garbage disposal, washer and dryer. The neighborhood is home to Penn Oaks Park located off of Kingston Road South. This 16 acre park includes such amenities as a picnic shelter, a basketball court, 1 athletic field (baseball & soccer) and a playground area.

To schedule a private showing and see this home for yourself or for more information on this or any other homes for sale in York, PA, call Dennis Harbold. Dennis is a Buyer Specialist with The Pilgrim Team at Professional Realty Associates. You can reach Dennis on his cell phone any day or evening by calling 717-887-3302 or by emailing him at
This information is deemed reliable, but not guaranteed
Listing courtesy of Morgan-Collins, Inc

Thursday, December 16, 2010

1664 Guildford Lane York PA 17404

This bank owned home in Brittany II located in Central York Schools has just been lowered 30,000 down to 264,900
The home has 4 bedrooms 2.5 baths sits on over a half acre lot and is almost 3000 square feet. The home is in good condition for being a bank owned home.
If you would like more information just contact me at
use the subject line "Guildford"

Listing provided courtesy of: Coldewll Banker Select Professionals

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

618 S Maurice St. York PA 17404

This home in Central York School District just sold.
Penn State Estates is the neighborhood where it is located.
The home was originally listed at 215,000 on July 15, 2010
The price was lowered to 209,000 on 8/13/10 and then again down to 204,000 on 9/2/10
The home went under contract on 9/14/10 and settled on 12/14/10
It was sold for 194,750
The Cape Cod style home has 3 bedrooms and 2 full bathrooms and just under 1700 square feet. The lot is .28 of an acre.
Location is convenient with easy access to Route 30 and Interstate 83

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

2120 Phillip Court in Aslan Heights

This home sold on November 10, 2010
It sold for 284,900 but the seller did pay 14,245 towards the buyers closing costs making it a "net" sale of 270,655
The home has 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms and is 2700 square feet. The lot is .28 of an acre.
Some of the many features of this home are 9 foot ceilings, stainless steel appliances, and wood floors.

Monday, December 13, 2010

York PA Charities

Thanks in large part to the still-struggling economy, need in the York area has been great this year. New users fueled part of that increase. Many more children have been eating at Our Daily Bread as more middle-class families have been relying on the kitchen.
More people have lost their jobs, they have to keep a roof over their heads, and they need a car. If they can find food, that's a huge expense off their back.
At Our Daily Bread, they've served about 67,000 meals in 2010. That's the most in more than a decade.
While the recent cold snap has driven additional people indoors to the warmth of the soup kitchen and other charities, the good news is there's a lot of help available during the holiday season because more people take the time to volunteer or donate this time of the year.
Our Daily Bread accepts food donations, but money is most needed to help pay for utilities. Call Paula Koch at 848-1674.
York Rescue Mission is collecting nonperishable food items, including pastas, spaghetti sauce, canned vegetables, soups and meats, oatmeal and grits. Call Ada Hite at 812-1692.
The United Way of York County is collecting money to be used for service programs at 73 partner agencies. Call executive director Robert Woods at 843-0957 or go to

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Aslan Heights/Bentley Croft

Most of the homes in this development were built in the late 1990’s to early 2000’s by
E Treffinger General Contractors Inc. This area is located in Central York Schools which consistently ranks as one of the top schools in York County. Roundtown Elementary is the elementary school which serves this neighborhood.
There is a homeowners association, click here to view the websites Aslan Heights HOA Bentley Croft
The average home here is a 3 or 4 bedroom with 2.5 baths and a 2 car garage. Lot size is around .25 acres give or take. The entire neighborhood consists of around 250 lots. There is also about 15 acres of open space and preserved wetlands owned by the Homeowners Associations throughout the development.

There are currently only (4) homes for sale in the neighborhood which are listed between 189,900 and 275,000. There have been (5) homes sold in Aslan Heights/Bentley Croft sine 8/1/2010 with the lowest one selling for 212,000 and the highest selling at 275,000
* as of 12/7/2010

Nearby attractions include 106 acre Cousler Park which has miles of walking trails, numerous athletic fields, pavilions, a concert area, pond, and handicap accessible playground equipment. Nearby shopping includes stores such as Weis Markets, Giant, Target, Wal-Mart, Kohls, Macys, as well as the West Manchester Mall, Galleria Mall, and Delco Plaza.
There are numerous restaurants and eating establishments to satisfy any pallet within a few minutes drive of the neighborhood.
The area hospitals are York Hospital and also Memorial Hospital which will be moving to within minutes of the neighborhood to their new location off of Roosevelt Avenue.
York County Pennsylvania residents also enjoy an easy commute to Baltimore, Lancaster and Harrisburg.

For specific details or to arrange a private viewing of this property contact The Pilgrim Team at Professional Realty Associates 717-757-5955

Monday, December 06, 2010

Fox Run Creek Estates in Dover PA

New Construction homes in Dover Township York County Pennsylvania.
We are offering over 15 different floor plans and many lots to choose from.
Prices start at 169,900. Most homes are three bedrooms and 2.5 baths.
Enjoy the mountain views from the quiet neighborhood. Close to shopping, schools, and parks. Many different options and upgrades are available. We have a couple homes already built to view or purchase now. These homes are located in the Dover Area School District. Weigelstown Elementary is the elementary school for this area.
Giant and Weis are the closest grocery stores. Wal-Mart, Target, and Kohls are some of the stores within a 10 minute drive. For more information contact The Pilgrim Team 717-757-5955

Cheltenham a Desirable Place to Call Home

This article should provide you some helpful information on the community called "Cheltenham". It is located in the northern part of the Central York School District (which is known for its lowest tax base in York County) also it is in Manchester Township.

The best way to get there is by driving I-83 to west on route 30 to right on Roosevelt Ave, and bear right on Greenbriar Rd, go approximately 2.5 mile past Cousler park and it located just past The Outdoor Country Club and across from Brittany II.

This are is one on the more desirable area's in the county due to the excellent schools, recreation and parks nearby. One of the main attractions would be the Outdoor Country Country Club with a membership of over 500 and is still seeking new members designed in 1959 by Ed Ault and it is a par 72 and 7000 foot course.

Cheltenham is surrounded by high end homes and the communities would include Brittany, Brittany II, The Outdoor Country Club, Country Club West and Hepplewhite Estates. It is not a large community consisting of approximately 107 home sites. The home sizes average from about 24 sq. ft. to over 3800 sq. ft. Lot sizes average about 1/3 acre. All Utilities are underground and include public water, sewer, natural gas and CATV.

As of this writing there are a few lots remaining that could be built on. If you would like information on those lots and what Builder would be available to build your custom home, please don't hesitate to call us here at The Pilgrim Team at Professional Realty Associates as we have the experience to make your build an enjoyable one. If you are looking for an existing home prices range form $234,000 to $299,900. If you would want us to provide further information contact us and we will be more than be of service to you.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Toys for Tots

It's hard to believe that Christmas is just a little more than three weeks away. Wow, where does the time go? It seems like we just saw an end to summer. With Thanksgiving already behind us and the new year just ahead, once again this year The Pilgrim Team at Professional Realty Associates is using the office as a drop-off point for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program. You can find our office and drop-off your toys at 3921 E Market St., York, PA 17402.

The Pilgrim Team at Professional Realty Associates is a full service real estate company offering it clients the highest standard of excellance and professionalism in real estate service. We are dedicated to making your real estate transaction as pleasant and stress-free as possible. We offer new and existing homes for sale in all of York County and the surrounding areas. Our new home communities in York County include: Fox Run Creek Estates, Ashcombe Farms South, the Townhomes at Ashcombe Farms West and Brookside Heights. In Lancaster County we offer Stone Mill Estates. Call us for help with all your real estate needs.

For those of you wondering just how the Toys for Tots Program works and who benefits from it, I have copied the Mission, Goal, Objectives, and Activities from their website. They are as follows:

MISSION:The mission of the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to needy children in the community in which the campaign is conducted.

GOAL:The primary goal of Toys for Tots is to deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens.

OBJECTIVES:The objectives of Toys for Tots are to help less fortunate children throughout the United States experience the joy of Christmas; to play an active role in the development of one of our nation’s most valuable resources – our children; to unite all members of local communities in a common cause for three months each year during the annual toy collection and distribution campaign; and to contribute to better communities in the future.

ACTIVITIES:The principal Toys for Tots activity which takes place each year is the collection and distribution of toys in the communities in which a Marine Corps Reserve Unit is located. In communities without a Reserve Unit, the campaign can be conducted by a Marine Corps League Detachment or group of men and women, generally veteran Marines, authorized by Marine Toys for Tots Foundation to conduct a local Toys for Tots campaign. Local Toys for Tots Campaign Coordinators conduct an array of activities throughout the year, which include golf tournaments, foot races, bicycle races and other voluntary events designed to increase interest in Toys for Tots, and concurrently generate toys and monetary donations.

Let's all remember the real reason for the season and do our part to help bring a little peace and joy to those less fortunate than ourselves.

Have a Wonderful Holiday Season and may this coming year bring Peace and Joy to Everyone!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Distressed Property Institute Stands Firmly Against Real Estate Fraud

Distressed Property Institute Stands Firmly Against Real Estate Fraud

Industry-leading organization publishes statements regarding mortgage modification scams, short sale flips, and other forms of fraud in the real estate industry.

The Distressed Property Institute, the premier organization educating real estate professionals on
how to help homeowners avoid foreclosure, is officially positioned against fraud in the real estate
industry, specifically as it pertains to mortgage modification scams, short sale flips and options

“It is the firm stance of the Distressed Property Institute that fraudulent behavior perpetrated
against homeowners is deplorable, and there is no excuse for these actions, whether personal,
financial or otherwise,” said Alex Charfen, co-founder and CEO of the Institute. “The number
alleged cases of fraud against American homeowners is increasing, and in some areas arrests
are on the rise. We support the efforts of our administration and law enforcement to crack down
on these predatory practices.”

In 2009, the U.S. Treasury, U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation and
Federal Trade Commission issued statements affirming their unified stance on these issues:

• U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Treasury Department
Press Release: April 6, 2009 – Federal, State Partners Announce Multi-Agency Crackdown Targeting Foreclosure Rescue Scams, Loan Modification Fraud

“This administration is deeply committed not just to providing at-risk homeowners with
assistance but also to cracking down on anyone who seeks to defraud them. … [The]
Treasury is also issuing an advisory alerting financial institutions to the risks of emerging
schemes related to loan modifications. The advisory identifies certain ‘red flags’ that may
indicate a loan modification or foreclosure rescue scam … Examples of possible signs of
fraudulent activity, such as requiring that fees be paid before services are provided, are
listed in the advisory.” i

• Federal Bureau of Investigation
Press Release: July 7, 2009 – FBI Issues 2008 Mortgage Fraud Report

“Mortgage fraud hurts borrowers, financial institutions, and legitimate homeowners. …
The FBI, in conjunction with our law enforcement, regulatory, and industry partners,
continues to diligently pursue perpetrators of mortgage fraud schemes.” ii

• Federal Trade Commission
Press Release: July 15, 2009 – Federal and State Agencies Target Mortgage
Foreclosure Rescue and Loan Modification Scams

“People facing foreclosure should avoid any company or individual that requires a fee in
advance, guarantees to stop a foreclosure or modify a loan, or advises the homeowner to
stop paying the mortgage company.” iii

• Freddie Mac
April 12, 2010 – Emerging Fraud Trends: Short Payoff Fraud

“Given increased defaults and declining property values in certain locations, the
mortgage industry is experiencing an increase in short payoffs, sometimes called short
sales. In fact, over the last two years, short payoff volume at Freddie Mac has grown
more than 1,000 percent (2007-2009). This upward trend in volume leaves the market
ripe for incidences of short payoff fraud.” iv

Addressing its membership organization of more than 22,500 real estate professionals
nationwide, the Institute has distributed this official statement among its members.

“Fear should not drive us to act ethically. The current market conditions have provided us with an
unprecedented privilege to help struggling homeowners like no other time we’ve seen. These
challenges are actually opportunities for us to become better agents, better citizens, and better people.

“Now more than ever, it is our personal responsibility to conduct our businesses and ourselves
with utmost integrity; this has never been more vital to the success of the real estate industry, the
recovery of our country, and to homeowners in need.

“We applaud the efforts of the branches of the U.S. government to stamp out this rampant fraud,
and have aligned the Institute with this goal. We will not tolerate the abuse and predatory actions
committed upon the most vulnerable homeowners.”

Following is the Institute’s policy on fraudulent behavior as it pertains to mortgage modifications
and short sale flips:

I. Mortgage Modification Fraud

It is the policy of the Distressed Property Institute not to educate or train students onthe process of facilitating a mortgage modification, beyond directing agents to have clients (homeowners) contact their lenders if a modification appears to be an option, and providing general information on mortgage modifications so homeowners can effectively contact lenders and pursue this option.

The Institute does not support, nor does it condone, the practice of agents accepting a fee for the service of facilitating a mortgage modification, even if there is a promise to refund the fee if the service expectation is not met. Our official stance is that thispractice constitutes fraud, which is in line with statements made by the U.S. Treasury Department.

II. Short Sale Flip (and Options Contracts) Fraud
It is the policy of the Distressed Property Institute not to educate or train students on the process of flipping short sale properties beyond providing a severe warning, which includes a basic overview of this process and detailed information on how to avoid unknowingly participating in fraudulent activity.

The Institute does not support, nor does it condone, the practice of flipping short sale properties due to the potential illegalities and blatant unethical nature of these transactions. We do make an exception in the case of rehabilitation projects – however, this process involves providing a measureable service to improve the condition of the property, and is different than the standard short sale flip.

“The Distressed Property Institute seeks to train agents on how to find the best solution for each individual homeowner,” Charfen said. “Agents who charge a fee for a service they’re not licensed or adequately trained to provide, and which the government has identified as fraudulent, cannot be tolerated.

“Additionally, agents or investors who misrepresent the true value of a short sale property, or participate in less than full-disclosure with the lender, are participating in fraudulent activity. These practices are not in line with our core values.”

About the Distressed Property Institute, LLC
The Distressed Property Institute trains real estate professionals to engage with and assist homeowners facing hardships. The Institute has developed a curriculum to provide the tools and knowledge to handle distressed properties, including short sales, deeds-in-lieu, mortgage modifications, forbearance, refinances, reinstatements, government programs or other options. After completing a comprehensive live or online course, graduates are awarded the Certified Distressed Property Expert® Designation.

About the CDPE Designation
The CDPE Designation provides real estate industry professionals with detailed information onhow to engage with and assist homeowners in distress. The CDPE designation has been endorsed by RE/MAX International, Keller Williams Realty and other major U.S. brokerages, as well as industry icons such as: Dave Liniger, chairman and co-founder of RE/MAX; Allen Chiang, Chairman of the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA); Steve de Laveaga, Senior Vice President of Fidelity National Title; and Tino Diaz, Chairman and President of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP).

For more information about the Distressed Property Institute and the CDPE Designation, visit


© Copyright The Distressed Property Institute, LLC April 2010 Originally Published: July, 17, 2009
Updated: April 12, 2010
The Distressed Property Institute, LLC assumes no responsibility nor guarantees the accuracy of this document. TheDistressed Property Institute, LLC is not engaged in the practice of law nor gives legal advice. It is strongly recommended that you seek appropriate professional counsel regarding your rights as a homeowner.

Local Agent Provides Resource on Foreclosure Alternatives, Short Sales

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE For more information, please contact:

Jerry Pilgrim
The Pilgrim Team
Professional Realty Associates

Local Agent Provides Resource on Foreclosure Alternatives, Short Sales

For homeowners struggling with mortgage payments, website explains differences between foreclosure and short sales.

York, PA – 11-15-2010– Local CDPE-designated agent, Jerry Pilgrim of Professional Realty Associates, has released an informational report comparing the consequences of a short sale and foreclosure.

The report can be found at and provides a thorough explanation of how a short sale may potentially improve a homeowner’s future financial stability.

“Considering how damaging foreclosure can be for the homeowner and the surrounding community, it is important that everyone knows all of the alternatives available,” Pilgrim said. “This report is the latest addition to my website, which gives distressed homeowners a way to inform themselves on their best options.”

Currently, one in seven mortgages is in some stage of delinquency. Once a mortgage payment has been missed, the lender has the ability to begin the foreclosure process. A short sale can potentially minimize the damage to one’s future loan eligibility, credit score, employment, security clearance and more.

“We often see homeowners enter the foreclosure process without any visible means of professional guidance,” Pilgrim said. “My hope is to inform the community that there are legal, dignified alternatives to foreclosure.”

The CDPE designation provides real estate agents with the tools and knowledge needed to efficiently, ethically and effectively pursue foreclosure alternatives, specifically short sales. In addition to their initial training, CDPE-designated agents are connected to a network of professionals via the Distressed Property Institute, allowing them to remain regularly updated on the complex and quickly changing real estate market.

For more information about the CDPE Designation, visit

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Neighborhood of Fountainhead

Anybody who is considering buying a home in York County Pennsylvania should stay informed by keeping up with my Blog. I will be describing Communities throughout the York area. I will be adding useful information on communities that will include the average price ranges, Lot sizes and area information.

Today I want to talk about the Community of Fountainhead located in York Township. It is a small neighborhood that consists of 26 lots that range in size from 1/3 acre to the largest being nearly 3/4 acre.

Home prices are typically in the low $300's to over $450,000. The predominant house style is the two story colonial with some brick and stucco exterior on the fronts and beaded vinyl siding making up the balance. Ray Markey Builders is and was the Builder of the neighborhood. The Builder is know for his innovative building materials that keep up with the latest trends in new construction. One of Ray's better known standard features include the ICF foundations. It is a foundation that comes nearly completed for drywall and is very energy efficient and also very water resistant. the quality of construction is second to none.

The neighborhood of Fountainhead is located near I-83 south of Useful Information about York PA, and is an easy commute for Baltimore bound people. It is also located near Apple Hill Medical Center which is a Well-Span campus that is more reminiscent of a indoor mall than a medical facility. You will find many indoor walkers using the area for their daily exercise and then stopping for a meal and sit down to meet neighbors. OSS is another medical facility that is within a mile that is primarily where Orthopedic Surgeons treat patients with back and spinal, and joint problems. They have recently opened a new wing that allows for overnight stays for patients.

Fountainhead is alos located in the Dallastown Area School District. The District is known for its achievements in Academics in particular Science and Math. There are just about any sports offered the students that range form Football, Wrestling, Basketball, Soccer, Swimming, Tennis, Golf, Field Hockey, Volleyball, Lacrosse and more.

So if you are looking for a charming neighborhood in a excellent setting with nearby ameneties check it out you won't be disappointed.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Real Estate Investing Now is as Good as It Gets!

If you are an Investor or have been thinking of becoming a Real Estate Investor it is time to act on you ambition. There has been know better time then now to get a positive cash flow on your investment. Whether you pay cash or want to levarge your monetary investment by financing, I can show you properties that will generate long term or even short term positive cash flow. Call Jerry Pilgrim about York PA real estate property and I will be able to provide you a Cash Flow Analysis in detail on how iI can achieve your real estate goals. I am a CIAS (Certified Investor Agent Specialist) a exclusive designation that only a few have nationwide. Stay tuned for deatils in the near future.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

National Distresses Property Numbers for Quarter 2 of 2010

The statistics below are for the National Real Estate Market. I track these numbers to get a better of what can be predicted in the future regarding pricing of homes. As you will see because there is so much inventory yet to be sold nationally and here in York, I believe that we can expect some further depreciation of value on real estate here unfortunately. If you would want more specific information on the current market value on your property contact Jerry Pilgrim at Professional Realty Associates for a complimentary home value analysis.

National Numbers for all current FHA Mortgage Loans in the 2nd quarter 2010

3.62% in Foreclosure, 12.63% in Default (30+ days late) which means there is a Total of 16.25% FHA properties in distress.

National Numbers, VA Loans 2nd quarter 2010

2.50% in Foreclosure, 7.48% in Default (30+ days late) for a Total of 9.98%

National Numbers for Subprime Loans 2nd quarter 2010

14.38% in Foreclosure, 25.90% in default (30+ days late) which is a Total of 40.28% properties in distress

National Numbers for Prime Loans 2nd quarter 2010

3.49% in Foreclosure, 6.66% in Default (30+ days late) for a Total of 10.15% properties in distress

National Numbers 2nd quarter 2010

4.57% in Foreclosure, 9.40% in default (30+ days late) for a Total of 13.97%

National Numbers all Mortgages

Total Distressed Properties 6,216,650

Total Predicted sales 3,830,000

* Numbers provided by the Mortgage Bankers Association, based on 44.5 million mortgages, non-seasonally adjusted

The numbers above indicate a national inventory of 19+ months properties to be sold. Keep in mind real estate is a local market so the numbers will vary from area to area. Here in York County PA we currently hava 17 month inventory based on local MLS statistics.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Real Estate Market Trends - The Pilgrim Team

New, Existing-Homes Sales On Rise

The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) reported a 7.6 percent increase in existing-home sales for the month of August, to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.13 million units anticipated in 2010. The increase was higher than many experts predicted, as real estate markets showed strong activity even without the home buyer tax credit. Regionally, the West showed the biggest increase in existing-home sales, with a jump of 13.8 percent. The Northeast followed with an increase of 7.9 percent, while the South and Midwest grew sales by 5.2 and 5.0 percent respectively.

NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun remains cautiously optimistic. "The housing market is trying to recover on its own power without the home buyer tax credit," he said. "Home values have shown stabilizing trends over the past year, even as the economy shed millions of jobs, because of the home buyer tax credit stimulus. Now that the economy is adding some jobs, the housing market needs to steadily improve and eventually stand on its own."

Freddie Mac reported that the average commitment rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped to 4.43 percent in August, a record low. The rate was 5.19 percent during this time last year. Total housing inventory fell slightly to 3.98 million units, representing an 11.6 month supply.

First time buyers accounted for 31 percent of the homes purchased during August. Investors also had a strong showing, accounting for 21 percent of the market, up from 19 percent the month before. Repeat buyers acounted for the remaining 48 percent of August home purchases.

Find the Right Coverage

When purchasing a home, you will need to acquire homeowners insurance. In fact, all lenders will require a policy be in force prior to funding the loan. Make sure you have enough coverage, should anything happen. Policies refer to "replacement costs" that may not cover everything. You should ask your insurance agent a lot of "what if" questions. The deductible amount also plays a big part in setting your premium. Higher deductibles lower the number of claims, and reduce your insurance costs.

Check with your insurance agent for more information on these issues, and any others. If you don't have an insurance agent, we have access to several top-notch agents we can refer you to with confidence.

Seller Opportunities

Selling your home in today's market requires strategy and execution. Here are three tips to help sellers reduce their time on market:

•Make it shine. Buyers are attracted to attractive homes. Make your home stand out by mowing the lawn, raking the leaves, washing windows, and cleaning the carpets. These are small things that will make a big difference.

•Remove clutter. Not only do clean homes show better, but tidy homes offer more to the imagination. One person's treasure is another person's trash. Removing unnecessary clutter will help potential buyers envision their own potential or the home.

•Pay attention to the market. Work with your agent and price your home to sell. A competitively priced home is the one that sells first, and in this market that counts for a lot.

These simple tips can help you sell your home and take advantage of our today's market. Please contact us if you have any questions about selling your home. We are here to help!

Real Estate Market - The Pilgrim Team - Professional Realty Associates Real Estate in York PA, Homes for Sale in York PA, Home listings, York MLS, Relocation, Short Sales

Real Estate Market - The Pilgrim Team - Professional Realty Associates Real Estate in York PA, Homes for Sale in York PA, Home listings, York MLS, Relocation, Short Sales

Monday, September 20, 2010

York Rail Trail

If you are the type of person who likes to get out for a walk, try the York Heritage rail Trail. It is perfect for walking, jogging or bicycling. You can begin in York and head south o the Maryland state line. The trail follows along the Old Northern Central Railway. This is an historic stretch of countryside.  Abraham Lincoln is the most notable when he traveled the line form Washington D.C. to Gettysburg to give the Gettysburg Address. He used it a second time when his funeral train made its way through. The King and Queen of England also traveled on the line. During World War II troop trains used the rail to move our men and women to far off destinations.

The rail line is still there and maybe someday may have a excursion train running again. Plans are in the works as of this writing.  Next time you want a scenic get away you don't have to go far to find this local York County treasure!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

The Pilgrim Team Introduces Fox Run Creek Estates

The Pilgrim Team of Professional Realty Associates is proud to announce Lancaster Home Builders Newest Community located in Dover Towship in York County PA. Lancaster Home Builders is offering 13 home floor plans priced from the Mid $150's. House designns include Rancher, Two Story, Cape Cod. The Builder will work with the home buyer in some floor plan modifications so that the homeowner can modify a particular design to fit their individual needs and requirements. The Sales Representative is Jerry Pilgrim Broker of Professional Realty Associates located in York, PA.

Open houses will begin in early November on weekends, but appointments can be arraigned to meet with a representative to tour different floor plans throughout the week. Bring your own house design and we will be glad to work with you.

Fox Run Creek Estates is located in an area of York County wit gently rolling hills with scenic vistas of the Skytop area north of Dover, PA. Parks including Pinchot State Park, Ski Roundtop are nearby. For more information visit us at: Fox Run Creek

Monday, August 16, 2010

Hidden Costs of Bankruptcy

Hidden Costs of Bankruptcy: "Considering filing for bankruptcy? There may be alternatives you've never considered …
If you are having trouble paying your mortgage and are possibly considering bankruptcy, there may be better solutions for your particular circumstances. I've created the free report available on this page, 'The Hidden Costs of Bankruptcy,' to provide more information.
Alternatives to foreclosure, such as conducting a short sale and moving into a rental residence with less expensive payments, may offer the breathing room you need to reorganize your finances.
To get your free report, fill out the form below and click send. However, if your situation is urgent and you need immediate assistance, please don't hesitate to contact me.
I'm here to assist you.

Homeowner Resources
Get Your FREE Report!
What is a CDPE®?
Learn how agents with the Certified Distressed Property Expert® designation are best suited to help distressed homeowners.Contact This CDPE®
Jerry Pilgrim
Professional Realty Associates
3921 E Market St
York, PA 17402


York PA July 2009 and July 2010 Real Estate Comparison Report

Home Sales Comparisons for July 2009 and July 2010 in York County PA

July 2009

Homes sold = 407, Total new listings = 859, average list price sold was $189,141 and sold price was $183,511, Average unsold median price was $228,398.

July 2010

Homes sold = 271, Total new listings = 741, average list price sold was $176,203 and sold price was $170,014, Average unsold median price was $370,201. The amount of time it will take the market to absorb the current inventory (3,220) would be 11.88 months.

As you can see that there was a -33% decrease in sales from a year ago. With a total inventory of 3,220 currently unsold homes, properties must be positioned at the correct price or the market (buyers) will reject the over priced properties. Most surprising is the huge jump in the unsold median price of homes ($370,201) which is a indication that the upper price brackets are not selling and continue to build in the inventory of homes. This is an alarming trend that must be reversed sooner rather than later.

With the current interest rates hovering in the low 4's NOW is the time to buy a home at low prices and with potentially low principle and interest payments. I believe the current economic uncertainty must be cleared up and property taxes always on the rise are putting a damper effect on higher end homes. Something must be done in Harrisburg soon or we face a worsening crisis with high end homes.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Short On Space? Make The Most With What You Have!

One of the most common complaints that homeowners have is the lack of space. The home that had lots of space when you first bought it has seem to shrunk over the years. It could be that your family is growing or you just find that your needs have changed over the years and suddenly your home is too small and you need more space. If purchasing a new home with more space is not in your plans, you can still utilize the space you have with some helpful hints below!

Utilize attic and basement storage. If you can gauge the temp and moisture levels in both attics and basements, they can be great places to store many things. Of course if your basement is susepable to moisture, storing items that can be effected by mold wont work. However, many things like old toys, sports equipment or small furniture can be stored no problem. Now, if you have no attic and no basement, but you have a lot of wall space, you could consider utilizing wall shelving units for things like books or pictures.

Utilize your closets. The problem a lot of people have with their closets is that they put too much in here and they don't utilize all the space available. If you need to reorganize your closet, it's a good idea to get your hands on some shoe racks, clothing bags (with hangers), storage systems, containers, etc. Try using some jewelry boxes as well for your earrings, watches, and necklaces. Storage systems are really popular right now for closets and most can be customize for your specific needs.

Don't overlook hidden space. The solution to finding extra space can be found in the areas you might have not thought about before. Some ideas are building drawers and shelves beneath a staircase or installing ceiling shelving units in the garage. Nooks and corners you may have thought were useless might end up being the extra space you need!


Friday, July 02, 2010

Neighborhood Crime Watch

One of the oldest and best-known crime prevention concepts in North America is called Neighborhood Watch. It is also one of the most efficient and least costly ways to prevent crime and reduce fear. Neighborhood watch is a group of neighbors looking out for their fellow neighbors, and these types of groups have been shown to reduce crime by 50%.

This program empowers homeowners to become active in protecting their community through participation in Neighborhood Watch groups. Residents participate in Neighborhood Watch in their area by organizing residents to communicate any suspicious behavior to others by phone trees and reporting it to the authorities.

Benefits of Neighborhood Watch

•Your risk of being burglarized as well as other crimes such as auto theft, vandalism and personal assault are significantly reduced.
•By helping with this program you help to stretch the tax dollars by helping law enforcement agencies, who are limited in their available manpower.
•Participation causes not only neighborhood crime to go down, but many communities report a new feeling of caring and belonging amongst neighbors. Many have used their combined efforts to improve their streets, recreation opportunities and local services.

If you are interested in starting a neighborhood watch in your community, below are some steps to help you get started!

•Form a small planning committee of neighbors to discuss the needs of your community, gage the level of interest and potential problems, decide on a date and place for an initial Neighborhood Watch meeting
•Contact Your Local Sheriffs Office or Police Department for more information or to arrange a speaker
•Arrange a meeting location close to your neighborhood. It should have enough room to hold your invited neighbors and, if needed, for the use of audio visual aids such as an overhead projector.
• For more information and educational materials related to starting a Neighborhood Watch, visit the program's website.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Second Mortgage Modification

Although the media is reporting that the recession is getting better, the economy is still in recovery. There are still thousands of homeowners who are struggling to make mortgage and ends meet. Many homeowners have had not only modify their first mortgage but also take a second mortgage in order to make ends meet, but now making that payment on top of all the other growing expenses can leave many struggling. There may be some help for those homeowners who are in this situation.

The 2nd Lien Modification Program (2MP) may be just what you need. A few large institutions have already signed on to the 2MP program: Bank of America (and Countrywide), CitiMortgage, Chase (with EMC and WaMu), and Wells Fargo (and Wachovia). More are expected to join this growing list.

Below are some of the eligibility requirements:
  • You have a second mortgage on your home and:
  • Your first mortgage has been modified under HAMP
  • Your second mortgage provider is one of the participating banks
  • Your second lien was originated on January 1, 2009, or earlier
  • Your second lien has an unpaid principal balance of $5,000 or more and a monthly payment of $100 or more
  • The second lien servicer has a 2MP modification agreement or trial period plan in place for you by December 31, 2012
Interest rates are reduced to 1-2%, depending on the type of second lien you have. The term of the loan can be extended to 40 years. Even better, a 2MP servicer can even forgive all or part of the second lien, which means your debt is reduced or removed.

There are some restrictions. You can’t participate if your mortgage is subordinate to a second lien, or if it is a home equity loan in first lien position. 2MP is also not for you if you don’t have to make payments on your second lien or interest is charged until the first is paid in full. Liens insured, guaranteed or held by a Federal agency like FHA, HUD, VA, or Rural Development aren’t covered under 2MP.

If you qualify, however, it can be a financial lifesaver. To learn more, contact your mortgage provider or a housing counselor through HUD.


Thursday, June 24, 2010



Homeowners across the country and here in York, PA are hearing about the so called advantages of walking away form their financial obligation (mortgage) on their home. Fannie mae has decided that they will not take this lightly when a homeowner has the ability to pay their mortgage, yet deciides not to. Fannie Mae announced they will not allow a homeowner to be eligible for a Fannie Mae backed loan for at least 7 years. They also have said that if a state that allows a deficiency judgement (Pennsylvania does) they will do just that. Fannie Mae is letting homeowners know they will not take this lightly and pursue a claim against these homwowners.

Think twice about how this can adversely affect their ability to get new credit and also could cause an potential or even a existing employer to hire or retain that person due to the foreclosure and judgement on the credit report.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Homeowner Liability

Once you have purchased a home and become a homeowner, you will have certain responsibilities. Obtaining the proper insurance for your home is an important first step. Most homeowners have liability insurance, but they don't actually understand their responsibility as a homeowner. When you own a home, you can be held responsible for any injury that happens on your property. Unfortunately, that also includes things that you have no control over.

There are many instances when a homeowner can be held liable, such as if someone slips on your doorstep and is injured, if a tree on your property falls and damages your neighbors property or even if your pet bites a visitor to your home.

What most homeowners will find surprising is that that even people who trespasss on your property and then injury themselves actually have legal recourse. The law states that once the owner is aware that there is a trespasser present on the property or can reasonably anticipate that a trespasser may be present, then the owner actually has a duty to exercise ordinary care in order to avoid injuring the trespasser.

It is important for homeowners to be aware of where their liability responsibility is and to make sure they have adequate insurance to cover any damages. For many people, the coverage included with their regular homeowners policy is enough. But in some situations, you may want more. Some common reasons to get more coverage include:

  • You own a swimming pool
  • You own a dog, especially if you own an aggressive breed of dogs, this will raise your homeowners premiums.
  • You frequently host social events. If you have parties often, the likelihood of someone getting hurt goes way up-especially if you’re serving alcohol at your parties.

As in all home owner insurance matters, take care to read your policy carefully. If you have questions about your premises liability coverage, ask your insurance agent. You might need separate riders to provide all the liability coverage necessary for your situation.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Strategic Foreclosure? Is it really an option?

What is a "strategic foreclosure"? There has been a lot of talk lately on the news networks such as ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX News, MSNBC and others about these types of forclosures. I have heard the talk that if it is ggod enough for corporate america to walk away from the financial obigations it should be good enough for the private sector to do the same.

Think of it like this, and ask yourself these questions. Does the corporation have a family to feed? Does the corporation need a place to live? Does it need to have credit in the future to buy a house or even rent an apartment? Does it need a job? If you need any or all of these things STAY AWAY from the idea of a strategic foreclosure. They entice you to milk the system for all it can give you at the time, but remember payback can come back to hit you in a big way.

The only good foreclosue is NO foreclosure. You need an expert with the experience like a CDPE (Certified Distressed Property Expert) who can work closely with the Banks to negotiate a settlement that will not adversely affect you for a very long time such as a foreclosure can. Please go to my web site and seach for my CDPE site for additional information that can help you or someone you may know who is struggling with the possibility of foreclosure.

Friday, June 11, 2010

What Makes A Binding Contract?

Eventhough the first part of the The Home Buyer Tax Credit has expired (it was April 30th) part two requires that the homebuyer closes on the home on or before June 30, 2010.

One of the questions that has come up as part of the tax credit push is what exactly is a ‘binding contract’ in the eyes of the IRS. It is a common real estate term that many don't understand exactly what it is.

As with anything that has to do with tax benefits or legal obligations, it is a good idea to seek the advice of a tax accountant or attorney. They can help translate murky guidelines and offer the best course of action when buying or selling a home.

When it comes to actually writing an offer, allow your realtor to craft the contract or use a standard state contract. Your offer should be thorough and concise, it is vital to not leave any terms blank or undefined. Any ambiguities in an offer can lead to misinterpretation down the line that could render the contact ‘non-binding’. Not only can this have an impact on your Home Buyer Tax Credit, other tax advantages or even the ability to close on the deal.

Be sure to do your research and take advantage of help from real estate professionals and other resources such as the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the National Association of Realtors.

All contracts have some contingencies – and some are more important than others. Just be sure to consult with an expert to make sure your offer is clean, clear and enforceable.


Friday, May 28, 2010

Title Insurance Explained

During the process of purchasing a home, you will most likely deal with title insurance. Many homebuyers are confused at to exactly is title insurance is and whether or not they really need it?

When you buy a home you are given a title. The title is the owner's right to possess and use the property. It is important to know that it may not the home seller who owns the title. A bank with a mortgage on the property might own an interest in the property, as does someone who has done work on the house and filed a lien against it or even a homeowners association if the dues have not been paid. The government may also have liens against the property for unpaid taxes.

Homeowners will need to ensure that there are no problems with the home's title as well as confirm that the seller really owns the property. Problems with the title can limit your use and enjoyment of the property, as well as bring financial loss. A title search and title insurance will protect the homeowner from these problems.

A title search will reveal if someone other than the owner of the property owns the title. This search can be done by examining public records to look up the history of property ownership. While you can easily do your own title search, if you are obtaining a loan to purchase the property, the lender will require that a qualified third party do the title search. The title search shows not only limitations on the use of the property and rights others may have in the property, but also liens or monetary obligations that are outstanding against the property.

Title insurance is different than homeowners insurance where you are covered in case of a future event. For example, if you get car insurance you are insured in case you have an accident, you buy health insurance in case you get sick. Title insurance is different as it covers events relating to the title that have already happened. It does not cover anything that happens to the title after the date of issuance. For example if you have liens filed against the property for taxes that you have not paid, your title insurance policy is not going to help you. But, if the lien is for taxes not paid by someone who owned the house before you, then you may have coverage under your title policy.

A title company will do a title search on the property before issuing the policy to see if there are any problems with the title. This search is done in an effort to minimize the risks of offering insurance. Problems such as deeds, wills, outstanding mortgages, judgements, and tax liens can be located from the search and can typically be cleared up before the closing on the property. When these problems are not cleared they will often be listed as exceptions to the policy's coverage. You would then need to decide whether the property is still something you want to purchase given the known problems with the title.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Is A Fixed Rate Mortgage Right For You?

If you are planning on purchasing a new home and will be obtaining mortgage financing, you will have many different mortgage loan programs to choose from. It can be confusing to decide which will be best for your situation with all the different choices on the market today. However, the vast majority of them are fixed rate mortgages with a 15 year or 30 year term. These traditional mortgages are amortizing, which means that you pay off the entire loan amount by the end of the term of the loan. While these are still the most common type of loan, there are advantages and drawbacks to these mortgages. Depending on your financial situation, and the prospects of changes in your financial future, a fixed rate mortgage may or may not be the best product for you.

Below are some of the pro's and con's of fixed rate mortgages:


Interest rate on your mortgage cannot be increased for the life of your loan

Monthly payment will remain the same for the life of the loan

Loan will be completely paid off by the end of the term

Fixed Rate mortgages are very common and standard and finding a lender who offers this loan will be easy.


Fixed monthly payment amount may be difficult to make at the start of the loan

Large percentage of payment goes to interest payment in first years of the loan

Usually has a higher interest rate than a variable rate loan initiated at the same time

Interest rate cannot be reduced as in some variable rate programs

Maybe harder to qualify for, as higher income may be required

Depending on your financial situation, a fixed rate mortgage may be the best solution for you. If you can afford the monthly payment required to obtain the loan, then the fact that your interest rate and monthly payments will stay the same for the life of the loan while give you peace of mind and make monthly budgeting easier.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Improving Indoor Air Quality

Breathing fresh clean air is vital for health and avoiding polluntants makes sense. However, it has been shown in some studies of air quality in the home, that the air we breathe in our homes is often more polluted than the air breather outside. This is of course an alarming realization especially if you have children or family members who have asthma or a fragile immune system. The good news is that are a number of things that can be done to improve air quality in our homes.

•Ventilate your home regularly
Vacuum weekly
•Use a good quality air filter on your furnace and replace it regularly
•Maintain ventilation systems (If your home has one) and dehumidifiers
•Run exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens
•If you're considering an air purifier, avoid devices that generate ozone, as these can make lung problems and asthma worse.

In addition to these tips, you should also pay close to attention to the indoor chemicals that you may be using. The two more commonly identified chemicals in our homes include formaldehyde which is present in home renovation products and solvents from fresh paint and phthalates which are used in soft plastics and synthetic fragrances such as air fresheners and dryer sheets. Even common cleaning items used such as bleach and ammonia result in poor air quality. There are many alternatives on the market today that offer bio-degradable and safe to use cleaning products for the home

Friday, May 07, 2010

Tips For Making A Small Room Look Larger

The current real estate market can make selling your home can be challenging. It may make it more difficult if you have some rooms that may be on the small side.

Small rooms can feel confining and uncomfortable, but you don't need to do a total remodel to make your rooms feel larger. By utilizing certain design concepts that fool the eye and the rooms seem much bigger and spacious. Below are some simple tips you can take to help make these rooms appear more spacious and inviting to prospective buyers.

1.Painting the room with light colors such as pastels, neutrals and white are a better alternative to “bright” or dark colors.

2. Avoid all clutter. Even on the walls it is best to use one larger painting rather than several small decorative paintings or pictures.

3. Any room will look larger if it's well-lit, either by natural light or artificial lighting. Get rid of heavy draperies and open up the windows to let the light of the outdoors into the space.

4. Mirrors are a must as they add dimension to the room by reflecting images, light and colors. Mirrors provide a “see through” feel to the room.

5. Be mindful of the furniture you select for the room. Large and bulky pieces of furniture should be removed. Using just a few smaller pieces in the middle of the room will improve the appearnce of space.

6. If possible choose glass tables, they open up the room and help to establish a larger room feel.
Use vertical space for storage. Add a hutch or floor-to-ceiling bookcases as a storage solution to reduce the amount of floor space taken.


Friday, April 30, 2010

Making A Successful Move With Pets

Making the move to a new home and leaving your familiar surroundings can be a stressful on both you and your pet. It can be even more difficult for your beloved pets when moving because they have no idea why all the commotion! It is important to have a plan and take your pet's needs into consideration to have a smooth transition for everyone. Below are some tips to help you get started!

  • Take your time and plan ahead. Stretch out your packing over several weeks so you won't have to worry about any last minute crunch times. This will help to avoid panic in the last days, leaving moving day as relaxed as possible for you and your pets.
  • Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian a few weeks before your move for a check up. Be sure to attain your pet's veterinary records so that they can be forwarded to your new veterinarian. Certain localities may have stringent requirements or restrictions regarding pet ownership. You may need permits or registrations.
  • Don't change your pets' routines. Animals thrive on routines, if they know when to expect things such as feedings and walks, they will do much better. Changing these routines can cause animals to feel stressed and might cause illness or behavioral. Try to keep everything on the same level as normal.
  • When you arrive at your new home, designate a unused room with a door that is quiet and just for them. Provide them with fresh food and water and their bed or favorite toy, something that is familiar to them. This will keep them safe and calm while the move is going on.
  • If your pets are not micro-chipped be sure to get a new pet ID tag with your new address and contact phone numbers and if they are micro-chipped be sure to update the info with your microchip company.

    If you are moving a long distance and need to enlist the help of professional pet movers you have many choices. There are companies that specialize in air travel for moving pets and others that offer various methods of pet transportation that can transport your pets to the next state or around the world. As always do your research to find one that fits your needs and comes highly recommended.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Staging Tips To Help Sell Your Home Fast

In this difficult economy, selling your home can be a challenge. Sellers are looking for help to sell their home faster and for top dollar. Staging a home for sale is one of the best marketing strategies in residential real estate.

If you are not familair with staging, it is the process of showcasing your home in its absolute best light. By doing this, you draw buyers’ attention to your home’s most appealing features and helps to not draw attention to the features that are not as appealing.

By staging your home you can emphasize on your home’s positives. It’s part art, part science--and all marketing. It can involve everything from fresh paint to clever carpentry, new lighting to new window treatments. And don’t forget the borrowed (or rented) furniture to define and enhance each room!

To see staging in action, watch an episode or two of HGTV’s Designed To Sell for some amazing tips. Also see Top 10 Home-Staging Dos and Top 10 Home-Staging Don’ts by Designed To Sell’s Donna and Shannon Freeman.

Below are some tips that you can follow to help make your home shine:

* Clear it out. You have stuff--lots of stuff. And your house is overloaded with all that stuff. Go through each room and get rid of the clutter everywhere you see it. Your rooms will look bigger, more restful, and more inviting. And all you did was pick up!

* Clean it up. Make sure everything shines inside and out, from windows, floors and countertops inside to the deck, garage and yard outside. Pay particular attention to the kitchen and bath. A little well-applied elbow grease will go a long way in selling your home. And it’s free!

Do these two simple things, and you’re already ahead in the staging game.

But should you keep going and stage other aspects of your own home? That depends on whether you have the eye, the skill--and the objectivity. Can you put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and see your home as the buyer will see it--positive points and negative points? Are you prepared to tackle those negatives? Do you have the “designer’s eye” for color and other design elements? Do you have the technical skills to complete improvements?

Staging can definitely help sell your house for more if it’s done right, whether you do it on your own or you hire a professional stager.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tips On Cutting Your Property Taxes

Every homeowner is required to pay property taxes, and on top of the other expenses that come along with owing a home, it can be a strain on the budget in these tough times. However, there are some ways you can cut your property tax bill, one top tip is having a propery reassessment.

Homeowner's property taxes are typically calculated based on an official assessment of the property. Because the value of many home's have dropped in the last few years, homeowners can challenge what the value of the home is currently valued at and thus reduce the tax bill by hundreds of dollars. Even before you seek an assessment, it is a good idea to check your records to make sure there are no mistakes. Simple typos and incorrect information can cause homeowners to be.

With the current economic crisis, many counties are raising property taxes in an attempt to balance their fiscal budgets and reduce their deficits. According to a survey by the National Association of Counties, a group that represents county taxes, about 18% of counties whose fiscal year begins between January and June increased property taxes to address revenue shortfalls.

Whether you are planning to sell your home in the near future or are planning to stay for a few more years, it is worth trying to get a reassessment. Keep in mind that if you can reduce your taxes, it will be a great selling tool.

Friday, April 09, 2010

When Looking At Homes Watch For These Red Flags

Once you begin the househunting process in your search for a new home, it can be easy to get caught up in the excitement and overlook potential problems. It is of course vital to always have a professional home inspection before signing any contracts. However, it is important to be on the look out for some potential issues before you start the process of purchasing the home. Below are some red flags to look for when you begin searching for your home.

•Be on the lookout for strange odors. Pet smells, musty odors and even cigarette smells can be red flags as they can be hard to get rid of and may signal a deeper problem. Keep in mind if the home smells like heavy cleaning products the seller might be trying to hide a problem.
•Watch out for wiring issues. While an electrician is the only one to accurately diagnose wiring problems there are some things you can be on the look out for. Make sure all the switches and outlets in the house function properly. Any lights that flicker or don't work as well as hot outlets are all symptoms of wiring problems.
•Problems With Windows. You can tell a foggy window problem right away just by looking at them but also be sure to check out all the windows to make sure they are fully functional. Some older windows maybe warped or painted shut and if you do see foggy windows that is a sign that the seal is broken.
•Look up for ceiling stains. Some buyers don' think about looking up at the ceiling but if you see stains then its obvious..something’s leaking. It might be a simple repair or it might be quite costly. Most roof leaks result from neglected flashing that seals “valleys” in the roof or around a chimney or vents, roof leaks mean mean it’s time to replace shingles. If the leak is under a bathroom it might be shower or even the toilet that is causing problems.
•Look closely for insects and rodents. Keep a close eye out for signs of rodents and bugs. Be on the lookout for hidden mouse traps, rodent droppings, roach motels or other signs that there may be a problem. If you do locate a home that you are ready to purchase, absolutely get a termite inspection as they can only be detected by a professional inspection.

Of course these are just some things to look for and while they may not present a serious problem and may be a mior fix it is important to be aware of potential issues and headaches downt the road.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Preventing Home Theft

  • Taking steps to prevent theft can reduce your insurance premiums and save you from the heartbreak of losing items that are worth more to you than money. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation estimates, in 2007 alone, there were nearly 2.2 million burglaries in the United States. There are steps that homeowners can take to make their properties less vulnerable to intruders and precautions to prevent becoming a victim of theft. Consider the following safety tips to protect your home and family

  • Make it difficult for an intruder to hide; trim bushes and trees to allow maximum exposure of windows and doorways.
  • Install a home security system. According to the FBI, homes equipped with centrally monitored alarm systems are 15 times less likely to be targets of break-ins.
  • Install motion-detection lights on all sides of the house. This will help to make your home less inviting to burglars.
  • Take part in the neighborhood watch and get to know your neighbors. Neighbors can play a key role in preventing home thefts. Homeowners who interact with their neighbors are less likely to be victimized by other members of their community. At the same time, closely knit neighbors are more likely to call the police if they see someone suspicious poking around your property.
  • When you aren't home, use a timer set to turn interior lights on and off at varying intervals as though your home was still occupied.
  • Use solid core or metal clad entrance doors with solid door frames firmly attached to your home. Many intruders enter residences by physically destroying lightweight hollow core doors and flimsy door frames.

Taking these preventive measures can reduce the chances of your home being broken into and your possessions stolen. It is a good idea to review your insurance policy to make sure it provides all the protection you need. It is recommended that you videotape your valuables and note any serial numbers in case of theft.

Friday, March 26, 2010

What is Private Mortgage Insurance?

Once a home has been purchased and you go to closing you may be required to purchase private mortgage insurance (PMI) . This insurance is payable to a lender and is specifically to offset losses in the case where a mortgagor is not able to repay the loan and the lender is not able to recover its costs after foreclosure and sale of the mortgaged property.

PMI insurance protects the lender, not the homeowner and it is typically required by lenders due to the higher level of default risk that's associated with low down payment loans. This type of insurance is usually only required if the downpayment is less than 20% of the sales price or appraised value (in other words, if the loan-to-value ratio (LTV) is 80% or more)

The cost of PMI premiums vary, but typically they fall between one-half and one percent of the loan amount, depending on the size of the down payment and loan specifics. These costs are in addition to your mortgage payment and not usually tax deductible. The PMI may be payable up front, or it may be capitalized onto the loan.

Many homebuyers want to know how long they will be required to have this insurance. If you are currently paying PMI, you will need to continue paying your premiums until you pay down your mortgage to the point that it equals 80 percent of the original purchase price or appraised value of your home at the time the loan was obtained, whichever is less.

You have another option where the lender will automatically cancel the payments but they wont do this until you 22% equity in the home rather than 20%. Keep in mind you do have the right to cancel PMI at the 20% mark a lender won't automatically cancel it for another 2 percent

Friday, March 19, 2010

Eliminating Toxins In Your Home

Most homeowners don't realize just how many toxins they have inside their home. These toxins can be found in many household items that are used on a daily basis. These toxins can be especially dangerous if someone in your home has allergies or asthma. Below are a a list of simple changes that you can make to make your home free of toxins.

Cleaners: Most cleaners you purchase at the store contain toxins and irritants that can cause breathing difficulties, such as bleach and ammonia. You may use cleaners on a daily basis contain many powerful cleaning agents that contain toxins that can cause problems. The good news is that there are many
alternatives on the market today that do just as a good of job cleaning but are much more safer to both the environment but to those that live in your home!

Paint: Paint has traditionally been high odor substance that contains potential toxins. There are many 'green' paint options available today that are not only low odor but that have no cancer causing toxins (also called VOCs). Look for paints that have been certified by
Green Seal. Benhamin Moore also has a Natua line of paints that are just as rich and durable, just water based and much safer.

Air Fresheners: Everyone loves their home to smell fresh, but items like air fresheners, candles and fragrances contain synthetic components that can cause irritation to the lungs. In addition to irritants some can contain a chemical called 'phthalates', which has been shown to cause birth defects, hormone disruption and reproduction problems. Look for alternative candles or scents that have essential oils instead of synthetic fragrances.

Furniture: Many people don't think of furniture as being toxic but if your furniture is old and worn it main contain flame retardants called PBDE's that can cause serious health problems. These chemicals can effect brain, nervous or reproduction problems. Be informed that stain repellents on furniture can also contains toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde. Do your
research before putting any repellent on your furniture.

Also consider adding houseplants - they help filter the air and add a sense of life to any home. If you don't already have one, using a
bagless vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter can greatly help to improve the air quality in your home.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Home Purchase Agreements

During the homebuying process, you will be required to submit what is known as a real estate purchase agreement to the seller. This agreement will be between you and the builder if the home you are buying is a new construction. The purpose of this agreement is a legal document between the buyer and the seller and will outline certain to aspects of the sale, including the purchase price.

The real estate purchase agreement also indicates specifics of the sale such as the time frame for the sale and any conditions or contingencies relating to the sale, and other things you should be aware of.

As with any other legal contract, a real estate contract may be formed by one party making an offer and another party accepting the offer. Typically, the party making the offer prepares a written real estate contract, signs it, and transmits it to the other party who would accept the offer by signing the contract. At this point, the other party may accept the offer, reject it or make a counteroffer. To be enforceable, a real estate contract must possess original signatures by the parties and any alterations to the contract must be initialed by all the parties involved.

Because these agreements can be confusing, it is always a good idea to work with a real estate professional when dealing with legal forms before signing if you have any questions or are confused with any of the terms.