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!

Jan. 18, 2022

Discover New Flavors at Reading's Top Restaurants

Are you looking for new flavors to start your new year? Living in Reading gives you a full range of culinary delights to discover. Why not try out one of these top restaurants in Reading to see what you've been missing out on? Or make a reservation for you and your significant other for Valentine's day.

Judy's On Cherry

30 S 4th St, Reading, PA 19602

Upscale Mediterranean bistro with vaulted ceilings & a wood-fired oven used to cook many dishes. Hearty winter appetizers include Cast Iron Skillet Spiced Baked Cheese, Lamb Meatballs with Mint and Pine Nuts in Romesco Sauce, and Baked Figs with Gorgonzola and Bacon.

Ugly Oyster Drafthaus

21 S 5th St, Reading, PA 19602

The Ugly Oyster was built in Yorkshire England by Traditional English Craftsmen. It was disassembled, transported and reconstructed by those same craftsman at its current location. The bar is stocked with more than 80 beers from all around the world, and the Guinness is always tapped to the strict specifications of Arthur Guinness Himself.

Beckett's

324 Walnut St, Reading, PA 19601

Old-school, no-frills institution offering fried chicken, BBQ ribs & other soul food provisions.

The Peanut Bar Restaurant

332 Penn St, Reading, PA 19602

Longtime tavern serving classic American plates & seafood in old-school digs with free peanuts. Wednesday is Seafood Night at The P.B! Enjoy One Pound Delicious Steamed Shrimp cooked in Old Bay & Beer, a delicious Scampi Sauce or our amazing Buffalo Sauce.

Cafe Sweet Street

722 Hiesters Ln, Reading, PA 19605

Locally sourced American entrees, plus pizza & dessert, in an industrial-chic space with a terrace. A true destination, Café Sweet Street’s welcoming atmosphere is complete with industrial-chic design, not to mention the fragrant aromas of freshly baked croissants which are sliced for signature sandwiches and a stunning display of gourmet desserts. 

Make sure to visit to our blog every week for more real estate advice, along with local Berks County articles. Need help finding the perfect home for sale in Berks County? Our powerful home search tool will help you find the home of your dreams. 

Posted in Reading Community
Jan. 11, 2022

Easy Ways to Make Your Berks County Home Smarter

Is your Berks County home in need of some smart improvements? What was once the world of tomorrow has become today's reality thanks to smart home technology. Using only your voice, you can easily turn on your lights, open your garage door, set the thermostat, or play your favorite music.

Setting this up might seem difficult. You will be able to create a smart home in no time if you follow these 3 steps.

1. Make Sure Your Internet Connection Is Up to Speed

Before you start investing in smart home gear, check your internet and make sure it's reliable, fast and has an unlimited data plan. You'll want a reliable internet connection and a high data cap (or none at all!) to get the best out of your smart home.

One smart device might not require a lot of data, but as you add more, the total can balloon—especially if you stream videos or perform other intensive tasks simultaneously.

2. Choose Your Voice Assistant

Before you start buying smart home gear, decide whether smart assistants are a good idea. Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant are all great in their own ways, but their integration with smart devices varies quite a bit. This means that you may need to select your devices based on their compatibility with the assistant.

Alexa

Alexa offers the most integration options of any of the assistants. So if voice control is important to you, Alexa can probably handle it. You can get Alexa on smartphones and Amazon Echos.

Siri

Siri has the fewest integration points, is only supported on a limited number of devices (Apple only) and is considered the poorest voice assistant of the three. Siri is available on iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, and HomePod speakers, so it's best to be heavily invested in Apple's products already.

Google Assistant

Google Assistant is midway between Alexa and Siri. It offers fewer integrations than Alexa, but it is the best digital assistant for answering questions, thanks to Google’s impressive machine-learning ability. Google Assistant is available across a wide range of platforms, including the Google Home smart speaker.

3. Start Adding Your Devices

Once you have decided which assistant is the right one for you, start looking for devices that work with it. Examples of common devices include smart thermostats, video doorbells and smart lighting.

Smart Thermostats

Several benefits are provided by thermostats like the Nest Learning Thermostat:

  • They learn your preferences, so you don’t have to adjust them much.
  • They are very energy efficient. Typically, the Nest will pay for itself in energy savings after about two years. Beyond that it’s all extra money in your pocket.
  • You can control them from your smartphone and adjust the temperature before you get home.

Nest isn’t the only maker on the market, but it was arguably the most talked about. It looks great, and it functions well. 

Video Doorbells

Video doorbells have become quite popular. You can see who’s there and even speak to them—even when you’re not at home. They’re also a great deterrent to package theft, which is becoming increasingly prominent. 

Smart Lighting

Another popular choice is smart lighting. In addition to the usual smartphone control and automation, smart lighting like Philips Hue comes in a variety of colors. The color and color temperature may be set pretty much to anything you want, which is great to set the mood. The bulbs also last a long time and do not consume lots of power, so they are good for the environment and your wallet.

Many more smart home options are available to explore, but this list should provide you with enough to get you started with a reliable and safe smart home. So, what are you waiting for? Get going and start enjoying the convenience and benefits of a connected home today.

Make sure to visit to our blog every week for more real estate advice, along with local Berks County articles. Need help finding the perfect home for sale in Berks County? Our powerful home search tool will help you find the home of your dreams. 

Posted in Real Estate Advice
Jan. 4, 2022

5 Surfaces in Your Berks County Home for Sale That Should Be Cleaned by a Pro

If you plan to sell in Berks County, you need to keep your home clean. It's easy to feel overwhelmed by all the areas that you'll have to clean when cleaning your home. No matter how hard you scrub or wipe, some surfaces just aren't going to clean up. You can save yourself some time and effort by leaving this type of work to the professionals. They will be able to make your home look like new again with their powerful cleaning solutions and tools. Below are the surfaces that are best cleaned by professionals.

1. Upholstery

Stains, dirt, and bad odors can be removed with upholstery cleaning. Some cleaning solutions can damage fabrics and leave them discolored or ruined. If you hire a professional, they will use gentle yet effective cleaning products that will restore the beauty of your upholstery. Your ottomans, couches, chairs, and even pillows can be treated this way. More importantly, many cleaning companies offer a guarantee to protect you against damage. If you have antique furniture or fabrics that just need deep cleaning, this may be the best solution.

2. Stone

If your home's granite or marble countertops are beginning to look worn, hiring a professional is a good option. Your surfaces will be treated carefully with time-tested cleaning solutions and procedures in order to restore them to their natural beauty once more. This can even help get rid of scratches, stains, and other signs of wear and tear, making it especially beneficial to the value of your home.

Because professional equipment is expensive and difficult to find, hiring someone instead of doing it yourself will save you money. You can also avoid physical distress that comes with a large stone cleaning job because the professionals will handle all the work.

3. Tile

It is possible to remove deep down stains and restore the original appearance of tiles and grout with professional tile and grout cleaning. You could do this yourself, but it would take you hours of back-breaking work and there is little chance you would end up with results that are as good as a professional's. By hiring an expert, you save time and enjoy the look of new tiles without having to do any renovations in your home.

If you think your tile and grout do not need to be cleaned because you sweep and mop regularly, get on your knees to take a closer look. Most likely, you will see a lot of discolored or stained areas. You can resolve these issues with professional service, even if you clean frequently.

4. Windows

If you have more than one story in your home, cleaning your exterior windows can be difficult and potentially dangerous. If you hire a professional instead, they will use special equipment and cleaning solutions to get these clean safely. A lot of companies even include interior window cleaning in their prices, so your windows will once again shine like new.

5. Wood Floors

You can extend the life of your wood floors by routinely mopping and sweeping. Daily use, however, causes them to fade and appear scratched even after weekly cleaning. Having a professional restore your hardwood floors is crucial if you want them to look their best. Their experience ensures that your floors will be thoroughly cleaned and restored without any mistakes. In just a short amount of time, their professional techniques will transform your floors with no effort on your part.

Give Yourself a Break

Cleaning some surfaces in your home is best left to professionals. Additionally, they possess high-quality machinery and solutions in addition to having the ability to treat various types of materials carefully. Your home will shine with their help and you'll spend less time cleaning throughout the year. Plus, you’ll get higher offers and sell your home more quickly.

Make sure to visit to our blog every week for more real estate advice, along with local Berks County articles. Need help finding the perfect home for sale in Berks County? Our powerful home search tool will help you find the home of your dreams. 

Posted in Home Sellers
Dec. 28, 2021

Celebrate 2022 in Berks County!

2022 is here at last! It's time to celebrate the coming new year in Berks County. Here are a few events to help you ring in the new year.

New Year’s Eve 2022!

Dec 31, 2021, 12 PM – Jan 1, 2022, 10 PM
Berks Lanes
3190 Shillington Rd, Sinking Spring, PA

Celebrate the New Year on your own lane with special packages for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day that the whole family will enjoy!
Select a Family (daytime) or Ball Drop (evening) package and experience the party of the year with us. Packages include:
Unlimited Bowling + Shoes
Signature Menu 
Champagne (or Sparkling Cider) Toast
Book your New Year’s reservation in advance because space is limited!

Kula Kamala Foundation Annual New Year's Eve Gala

Dec 31, 2021, 6:00 PM – Jan 1, 2022, 12:30 AM
Kula Kamala Foundation & Yoga Ashram
17 Basket Rd, Reading, PA

Registration is now open through our website www.kulakamalafoundation.org/classes Scroll down to enrollments (past classes) and you will find the link for the New Year's Gala. Starting off with a vegan/gluten free dinner! The menu is delicious:
Carrot and Celery Soup
Roasted Beet and Citrus Salad with Grapefruit Vinaigrette
Mushroom Bourguignon over Garlic Mashed Potatoes
French Green Beans with Shallots and Sesame Ginger Sauce
Pumpkin Roll Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Mango Mousse

New Year's Eve Dinner

Folino Estate
340 Old U.S. 22, Kutztown, PA

Join us in our beautiful private event space for a memorable 5 course dinner to ring in 2022! We'll welcome you with a glass of our Frizzante Bianco and a gourmet tasting plate followed by the menu below. We can't wait to host you and your loved ones!

New Year's Eve - Royal Knight Club

Stokesay Castle & The Knight's Pub
141 Stokesay Castle Ln, Reading, PA

Party your way into 2022 at Stokesay Castle's Royal Knight Club! Dance to DJ Koolie Kirk & DJ QBall, and Enjoy an OPEN BAR & Hors d'Oeuvres throughout the night.

Third Annual New Year’s Eve Dinner

619 Penn Ave, West Reading, PA

Please join us for our awesome New Year’s Eve dinner! Beers and menu will be released early December. Reserve your seats now for $70 a person. For parties of four or more we will offer a discounted rate of $65 a person.

Have a Happy New Year in Berks County!

Make sure to visit to our blog every week for more real estate advice, along with local Berks County articles. Need help finding the perfect home for sale in Berks County? Our powerful home search tool will help you find the home of your dreams. 

Posted in Reading Community
Dec. 21, 2021

Happy Holidays!

The holidays are all about spending time with family, friends, and a cozy home.

This holiday season, may you have all of these things.

 

Thanks for trusting us with your real estate needs in Berks County over the past year. Here's to another year of making dreams come true!

Happy Holidays!

Dec. 14, 2021

Save Money on Heating Costs in Berks County

Is your home ready to handle the winter months here in Berks County? If you take some fairly simple steps to winterize your home, you can not only stay warmer this winter, but save some money as well. Here are some suggestions that can help your Berks County home survive the winter months.

Weatherstrip your doors and windows

Sealing your windows may seem obvious, but it’s surprising how much heat they can leak. Window seals may grow weak over time. Make sure to check all your windows for any leaks or moisture around the inside of the window, which can be an indicator of air leakage. Seal any leaks as needed with new weatherstripping.

Switch to a smart thermostat

If you still have those old dial thermostats, now is the time to switch to smart ones. They do a far better job of managing the temperature in your home. You can program them to coincide with your lifestyle, making your home warmer when you are home and saving energy when you are away from home.

Close the damper when not using the fireplace

We all love to sit by a warm fire on a cold day in Berks County. But don’t forget to close the dampers when you’re done to keep the cold air out and warm air in. You can also save electricity in winter by installing a more efficient fireplace and switching from wood burning to gas. Installing a glass screen will make your fireplace more energy efficient as well. It radiates the heat from the fire but prevents warm air from being pulled in and vented out the chimney.

Give your heating system a yearly checkup

Don’t get caught by surprise if your heating system breaks down in the winter months. Make sure to get a yearly heating system checkup to identify potential issues. This can spare you from making emergency repairs to your system when you’re trying to stay warm.

Don’t block your air vents

If furniture or drapes are blocking your heating vents, you’re making your furnace work harder than it should. Blocked vents increase air pressure in your ductwork, which can create cracks and leaks. Clearing your vents ensures that every room in your home is getting good circulation and that your system is working as designed. If a piece of furniture is sitting over a vent, try using an inexpensive vent extender to direct air out into the room.

Check the insulation in your house

Does your home have aging insulation? Good insulation can be an inexpensive way to reduce your electric bill in winter. Adding insulation in your attic is a great place to start since it can keep more heat in your living areas. Another area where heat often escapes is through your walls, especially around electrical outlets and anywhere utilities enter your home. Pay extra attention around plumbing, both to prevent heat from escaping and to protect pipes from potentially freezing.

Adjust your water heater’s temperature

Your hot water heater might be wasting more energy than you realize, especially if it’s an older model. Today’s energy efficient water heaters can pay for themselves quickly with the energy they save. For most people, keeping the temperature set at 120 degrees provides plenty of hot water. To save even more, consider adding a hot water heater blanket, which is a layer of insulation that wraps around the hot water tank. 

Insulate your pipes

The pipes that deliver hot water to faucets, showers, and appliances around your home can bleed energy. Depending on how far the water has to travel, you could be losing a lot of heat. Adding insulation to hot water pipes can raise the temperature of the water by 2°F–4°F. Besides delivering hotter water, insulated pipes mean you don’t have to run the water as long, waiting for hot water for a shower.

Make sure to visit to our blog every week for more real estate advice, along with local Berks County articles. Need help finding the perfect home for sale in Berks County? Our powerful home search tool will help you find the home of your dreams. 

Posted in Real Estate Advice
Dec. 7, 2021

Enjoy These Holiday Events in Reading!

If you're looking for fun holiday activities to enjoy with your family, look no further than Reading! Here are some of the festive events planned during the month to put on your holiday fun calendar.

Santa Meet and Greet

Sat, Dec 11, 3 – 7 PM
Reading Area Firefighters Museum
S 5th St, Reading, PA

Join us on Saturday, December 11 when Santa Claus makes his visit from the North Pole from 10am to 2pm. Come tell Santa what you want for Christmas in our Victorian Era Parlor. Children will be able to sit and talk with Santa. Parents can take pictures if they wish. Receive a special treat from Santa. This special event is free for all children 16 and under, Gen admission ticket Adults $5 all are welcome (1 Adult ticket per 5 free child). A free ticket will need to be obtained for each child that will be attending.

Caboose Crew @ Holiday Lights at Grings Mill

Sat, Dec 11, 11 PM – Sun, Dec 12, 2 AM
2083 Tulpehocken Rd, Reading, PA

Macaroni and Cheese, soup and chili will be available while you enjoy the holiday lights!

Holiday Open House

Wed, Dec 8, 11:30 PM – Thu, Dec 9, 1:30 AM
Sinking Spring Public Library
3940 Penn Ave, Reading, PA

Drop in between 6:30 - 8:30pm to play games, pick up a winter craft, decorate cookies & more! Santa will arrive on a fire truck at 7pm. All ages welcome. No registration is required for this free event. Sponsored by the Borough of Sinking Spring & the Sinking Spring Public Library.

Holidays at the Homestead

Sat, Dec 11, 4 – 9 PM
400 Daniel Boone Rd, Birdsboro, PA

Join us in discovering traditional Pennsylvania German and English holiday practices at the Boone House with costumed interpreters and hearth cooking demonstrations. Enjoy carolers throughout the day, the Belsnickel from 1:00-3:00, and a paper ornament craft to take home.

The Elf on a Shelf Live

Wed, Dec 22, 6 – 11 PM
Santander Performing Arts Center
136 N 6th St, Reading, PA

Mills Entertainment is pleased to bring you this theatrical production with enhanced safety protocols in place. In addition to the safety measures put in place by our venue partners, Mills Entertainment requires all attendees over the age of two to wear a face covering, regardless of vaccination status. Additionally, any patron who is experiencing a fever or is not feeling well is encouraged to stay home and will be extended a flexible refund policy.

Make sure to visit to our blog every week for more real estate advice, along with local Berks County articles. Need help finding the perfect home for sale in Berks County? Our powerful home search tool will help you find the home of your dreams. 

Nov. 30, 2021

How Does Inflation Affect Berks County Real Estate?

You have probably noticed quite a bit about inflation in the news lately. The consumer price index rose another 13 percent in September. Prices increased by 5.4% from a year ago, the biggest increase since 2008.

New cars, gas, food and restaurant meals were some of the categories seeing the largest increases. September's core inflation rate was 0.2%, and it was up 4% from last year.

Various factors have contributed to these issues, such as the closure of factories in Asia and the slowdown of U.S. ports due to COVID-19. Inflation will continue to rise for some time due to supply chain constraints and high demand.

What is the impact of all this on the Berks County real estate market?

The Inventory Issue

For so long, interest rates have been low, so everything, including the housing market, has become a bubble. Additionally, limited inventory is creating inflationary pressure in the housing market. There are numerous reasons for this.

The first thing to note is that many homeowners are not listing their houses. This can be attributed to factors like lockdowns as well as the fear they won't be able to find a new one.

Construction delays are also caused by supply chain bottlenecks.

It is not uncommon for buyers to have to bid well above asking price in order to get properties, presenting a frustrating situation.

Other Inflationary Effects On Real Estate

Besides the scenarios above, inflation can also affect how much you have to pay for a home in other ways.

First, inflation refers to a rise in the price of goods and services. Houses are built from everyday goods. A builder will pass on higher costs to the buyer in the form of higher prices if the price of lumber or appliances goes up.

Yet, inflation can have oppositional effects on real estate in some cases. In theory, higher inflation should make borrowing money more expensive. As a result, people borrow less of it, which may result in fewer home purchases and slower economic growth. The current low interest rates are preventing that from happening, however.

Home prices tend to rise automatically when the Central Bank increases money supply into the economy, which is the primary cause of inflation.

Real Estate Can Protect You Against Inflation

Although real estate can be negatively affected by inflation in the form of higher prices, it can also be a protective factor.

With rising home prices, you lower your loan-to-value ratio over time. The equity in your home increases simultaneously, but your fixed-rate mortgage payment remains unchanged.

Real estate investors who earn income from rental properties will probably be able to charge higher rent when inflation increases. While the mortgage remains the same, the rent can be raised.

Furthermore, home prices, in general, do tend to rise steadily over time. Home prices that fell during the 2008 real estate bubble burst were back to pre-crash levels in less than ten years in most cases.

Housing and inflation can have a positive and a negative relationship. Currently, inflation isn't good news for Berks County home buyers. But if you own a house in Berks County, it is one of the best ways to protect yourself from rising prices.

Make sure to visit to our blog every week for more real estate advice, along with local Berks County articles. Need help finding the perfect home for sale in Berks County? Our powerful home search tool will help you find the home of your dreams. 

Posted in Real Estate Advice
Nov. 23, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'd like to wish all of you the very happiest of times this holiday season in Berks County as we show our thanks this Thursday. The past two years have been challenging, but we still have so much to be thankful for.

Here are a few things in our lives we can show thanks for this week:

  • Family
  • Clean Air
  • Children
  • Friends
  • Music
  • Your Job
  • A Good Laugh
  • Health

We hope you and your loved ones enjoy each other's company this week and your home is full of love and laughter.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Nov. 16, 2021

Tis the Season for Berks County Holiday Markets and Events

The holiday season has arrived in Berks County and it's time to enjoy all the trappings this time brings to the area. Enjoy a parade and find the perfect gift at one of the craft shows and holiday markets in the Reading area. Here are a few events to put on you holiday to-do list.

City Of Reading Holiday Parade 2021

Sat Nov 20 2021 at 07:00 am to 10:00 am
443 Penn St, Reading, PA 19601

Join Major Eddie Moran for the Reading Holiday Parade 2021 on Saturday, November 20. The start time is 10 am. Help us welcome SANTA to Reading!
The parade will feature local schools, churches, businesses, and
other wonderful organizations. This year’s theme ‘Christmas Around the World’ will honor the diversity in Reading and Berks County.

Holiday Craft Show

Sat, Nov 20, 9 AM – 3 PM EST
Branches of Dance
4425 Pottsville Pike #3, Reading, PA

Support small business and join us for your Christmas shopping!
Local crafters, vendors, music, raffles, bake sale, and free Nutcracker story time.

Proceeds from this event will support Branches of Dance’s Production of The Nutcracker held in December 2022.

Just Before the Holidays

Sun, Nov 21, 11 AM – 3 PM
Kutztown Fairgrounds
450 Wentz St, Kutztown, PA

Confirmed Vendors: Norwex, Color Street, Touchstone Crystal, Crocheted By Cathy, Paparazzi, Bugs Bubbles & Bombs, Scentsy, Bewitched Candles, Diamond Publishing, Thirty One, Usborne Books, PeriOpal Skin, Mary Kay.

Arts Festival Reading

Sat, Dec 4, 10 AM – Sun, Dec 5, 5 PM
GoggleWorks Center for the Arts
201 Washington St, Reading, PA

Arts Festival Reading (AFR) is making its return this year! December 4th & 5th join us at GoggleWorks from 10am-5pm for an event that is sure to offer new and creative ways to celebrate phenomenal artists and artisans. AFR features juried artists from across the country and studio artists from GoggleWorks, along with food, music, kids’ programs, and live artist demonstrations.

Christkindlmarkt — The Reading Liederkranz

Sun, Dec 5, 10 AM – 4 PM EST
Reading Liederkranz
143 Spook Ln, Reading, PA

Experience Christmas in Germany at the Club on Sat Dec 4th & Sun Dec 5th as we host our Christkindlmarkt. We will have vendors, mulled wine, a bonfire, and both our inside & outside kitchen will be open for food service. Both of our bars will be open for drinks as well. This event is open to the public with admission being $5.00 at the gate. (13 - 80 yrs old, Free to other ages) On-site parking available and free. Come visit our little Christmas Village and get some shopping done with a drink in your hand!

Christmas in Kutztown

Sat, Dec 4, 1 PM EST
Allentown & Auburn Railroad
232 Railroad St, Kutztown, PA

Join us for our annual Christmas in Kutztown event. This year we're heading to the Train Station but we’ll be bringing back all of your favorites like letter writing to Santa, cookie decorating, ornament making, and more. There will be train rides, food trucks and plenty of vendors! This event is free to the public and funded by sponsorships and attendee donations. All proceeds are reinvested back into the community in the form of events and other downtown initiatives More details to follow!

Make sure to visit to our blog every week for more real estate advice, along with local Berks County articles. Need help finding the perfect home for sale in Berks County? Our powerful home search tool will help you find the home of your dreams.