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!

Nov. 18, 2019

Fun Events For the Whole Family in Berks County

The holiday season is almost here, and there's no better place than Berks County to have fun with the family this month. There's plenty of ways to bring in the holiday cheer in Berks County. Here's a few upcoming events in Berks County to put on your holiday fun calendar.

Santa's Trolley

Wednesday, November 20
Colebrookdale Railroad at 3rd & Washington Streets, Boyertown, PA 19512

Join Santa on an adventure into Christmas past on a 1930 Philadelphia-built Brill Motorcar. Cocoa, cookies, a free souvenir, and a visit with Santa are included on this roughly 40-minute excursion.  Santa visits with each child and reads a story with all on-board. 

Reading's Christmas on the Mountain

Friday, November 22
Hillside Playground at 459 North 14th Street, Reading, Pennsylvania

This free to enter, free to park display now has over 1 million lights, inflatables and vintage and modern Christmas decorations. An extended light show spectacular set to your favorite classic and modern Holiday music, a completely new 'Frozen on the Mountain' area, beautifully crafted replica of Santa's Workshop along with many other new additions for 2019.

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

Friday, November 22
Colebrookdale Railroad at 3rd & Washington Streets, Boyertown, PA 19512

These special evening trains bring the storybook magic of the season to life Join us in your pajamas and sip complimentary hot cocoa as we read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. Enjoy Christmas music and the comfort of our Edwardian-era cars, look for lights as the Secret Valley rolls past your window.

Koziar’s Christmas Village

Friday, November 22
Koziar's Christmas Village at 782 Christmas Village Road, Bernville, Pennsylvania

New decorations and displays with over a million lights! Visit the “Greatest Christmas Display in the U.S.A.”  A Top 10 PA Attraction and an ABA Top 100 Attraction in North America.

Holiday Parade

Saturday, November 23
Downtown Reading at Penn Street, Reading, Pennsylvania

The Annual Holiday Parade features holiday-themed music, floats created by local organizations, and live entertainment. It's a great way to get into the holiday spirit!

Looking for more fun things to do in Berks County? Make sure to visit our blog every week for more local Berks County articles and real estate advice. Looking for the perfect home in Berks County? Our convenient and powerful home search tool will help you find the home of your dreams. 

Nov. 11, 2019

Honoring All Who serve

Veterans Day is a good time to remember that our freedom isn’t guaranteed. It’s protected by the men and women in our Armed Services. To those who secure our way of life… thank you!

How can you show your appreciation to our veterans today? Here's a few suggestions from military.com.

  • Donate
  • Fly a flag - correctly
  • Ask someone about their service
  • Don't Confuse Veterans Day with Memorial Day
  • Visit a VA Hospital
  • Get Outdoors with a Veteran

Have a Happy Veterans Day!

Posted in Reading Community
Nov. 4, 2019

How to Improve Your Berks County Home and Save on Energy

If you plan to sell your home in Berks County, it's important to keep your home running in a way that will cut down on energy use. Not only will doing so save you money now, but it will entice more potential buyers.

How can you make your home more energy efficient?

1. Make the Switch to LED

LED bulbs have made a huge impact on energy conservation. LED bulbs last at least 25 times longer and consume up to 90 percent less electricity than incandescent bulbs.

You can save up to $75 in a year just by switching 5 of the most used bulbs in your home. Imagine how much you could save if you switched all of them.

2. Seal Those Leaks

Heating and cooling make up half of your home's energy usage. A bunch of little leaks can add up to opening a 3 x 3 foot window.

Take simple steps like caulking windows, sealing leaks around chimneys and recessed lighting, and sliding draft guards under your doors to save up to 20% on heating costs.

3. Heat and Cool Efficiently

If your home is empty part of the day, install a programmable thermostat and in colder weather schedule your home’s heat to lower when you are away or asleep and increase when you are returning home or waking-up. 

During summer weather, schedule the thermostat to raise the temperature when you are away or asleep, and lower it at other times.

4. Maintain Your HVAC System

Make sure to clean or change your furnace filters regularly. A dirty furnace filter will slow down air flow, making the system work harder to keep you warm (or cool) and costing you more money.

Consider getting a winter tune-up. Just as a tune-up for your car can improve your gas mileage, a semi-annual or yearly tune-up of your heating and cooling system can be vital to improve efficiency, saving you money and making your home more comfortable. 

By following these few steps, you can make a big dent in your energy bills. And when you sell your home, it will be more attractive to buyers in Berks County.

Join us every week for more helpful real estate 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. Make to visit to our blog every week for more real estate advice, along with local Berks County articles. 

Posted in Real Estate Advice
Oct. 28, 2019

Have a Safe and Happy Halloween in Berks County

Halloween is always a fun and exciting time for everyone, especially our kids. And of course, we want to make sure they have a happy and fun time out on the streets of Berks County while they fill their bags with treats. But the real trick is to make sure they stay safe so they can cram all those goodies later.

Here's a few tips to keep in mind to make sure your kids stay safe this Halloween:

On the Streets

  • Put electronic devices down, keep heads up and walk, don’t run, across the street.
  • Teach children to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them.
  • Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to
    the left as possible.
  • Walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.
  • Watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Teach children to never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
  • Join kids under age 12 for trick-or-treating. If kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, tell them to stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups.

Costume Safety

  • Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors.
  • Choose face paint and makeup whenever possible instead of masks, which can obstruct a child’s vision.
  • Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen by drivers.
  • When selecting a costume, make sure it is the right size to prevent trips and falls.

Driver Safety

  • Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
  • Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs.
  • Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.
  • Get rid of any distractions - like your phone - in your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
  • Turn your headlights on earlier in the day to spot children from greater distances.
  • Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Be especially alert for kids during those hours.

The bottom line is for everyone to pay attention to their surroundings and be on the lookout for each other. That way we can make this a safe time of year for everyone.

Have a Happy Halloween!

Make sure to visit our blog every week for more local Berks County articles and real estate advice. Looking for the perfect home in Berks County? Our convenient and powerful home search tool will help you find the home of your dreams. 

Oct. 21, 2019

Pick Your Own Fresh fall Produce at These Berks County Orchards

If you prefer to pick your own fall fruit, then there's no better place to do it than in Berks County orchards. Do you know where to pick the best fall produce in Berks County? Here's a list of some of the best orchards and farms around to help you get the very best fall produce around.

Frecon Farms

501 South Reading Avenue, Boyertown, PA 19512

Phone: 610-367-6200. Fax: 610-473-9042. Email: info@freconfarms.com.

Every year they open their apple & pear orchard to families and friends to get outside and reconnect with their food. Varieties of apples, pears, pumpkins, and raspberries are all available as they ripen and there is no better way to get the freshest, highest quality fruit. Come and enjoy a crisp fall day strolling the trees, picking apples, pear & pumpkins in the fall.

Rodale Institute

611 Siegfriedale Road, Kutztown, PA 19530

Phone: 610-683-6009. Alternate Phone: 610-683-1400. Email: ribooks@fast.net.

The apple orchard and pumpkin fields are near the bookstore, which is located east of the main office near Kunkle Road. Directions to the Bookstore: From I-78, take exit 45 (New Smithville) and follow Route 863 South for approximately 1/2 mile. At the 3-way intersection, take the middle fork (Siegfriedale Road) for 2 miles to our one-room schoolhouse/bookstore on the left. Bring your own bags or boxes to take your harvest home.

Weaver's Orchard

40 Fruit Lane, Morgantown, PA 19543. Phone: 610-856-7300. Email: info@weaversorchard.com.

Weaver's Orchard offers farm fresh fruit from May-November and also features a market open year round. The market features produce year-round along with a bakery, deli, locally sourced all-natural meat and dairy products, freshly pressed apple cider, all made on the premises, along with hand-dipped ice cream and more! The orchard is a perfect spot for events - from school tours and birthday parties to Easter egg hunts, tasting events, nutrition seminars, and fall festivals. Experience the orchard through pick-your-own apples and pumpkins, live music, hayrides delicious apple treats and many kid's activities - such as pony rides, tractor-train rides, moon bounce, zip line, straw barn, pumpkin painting and much more!

Have a fun fall enjoying the farms and orchards of Berks County!

Make sure to visit our blog every week for more local Berks County articles and real estate advice. Looking for the perfect home in Berks County? Our convenient and powerful home search tool will help you find the home of your dreams. 

Oct. 14, 2019

Things New Homeowners in Berks County Should Do ASAP

You've done it! You've found the home of your dreams in Berks County, and you can do whatever you want to with it. No more landlords - you make the decisions.

Of course, you want to be a homeowner with good habits, so that you get the best return on investment for all the years you live there. And the minute you move in is the time to start.

Here's a number of items you should take care of for when you move into your home.

Security & Safety

Make sure you take care of these items right away:

  • Change locks. Spares could be floating around anywhere.
  • Hide an extra key in a lockbox. Thieves look under flower pots.
  • Reset the key codes for garage doors, gates, etc. You never know who the former owners gave the code to.
  • Test fire and carbon monoxide detectors. The former owners may have tested them, but maybe not.
  • Check the temperature on your water heater to make sure the water isn't too hot. Manufacturers tend to set them high. 120 degrees is ideal.
  • Make sure the bulbs are good in all exterior lights.
  • Put a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and each additional floor.

Maintenance Planning

Set reminders in your calendar to take care of these basic maintenance tasks:

  • Clean out the dryer hose and vent yearly. Clogged hoses can lead to fires.
  • Change your HVAC filters at least once a season.
  • Schedule HVAC maintenance for spring and fall.
  • Clean your fridge coils at least once a year. Newer refrigerators have insulated coils, so they don't need cleaning.
  • Drain your water heater once a year.
  • Clean your gutters at least twice a year.
  • And if all items on your inspection report were not addressed, make a plan to fix them — before they become bigger and more expensive repairs.

Emergency Preparedness

An emergency is not the time to figure out how to handle an emergency. Plan now.

  • Locate the main water shut-off valve. Because busted pipes happen to almost every homeowner at least once.
  • Find the circuit box and label all circuit breakers.
  • Find the gas shut-off valve if you have gas.
  • Test the sump pump if you have one. Especially before the rainy season starts.
  • List emergency contacts.

Assemble an emergency supply kit. Some key items are:

  • Flashlights and batteries
  • Non-perishable food and water
  • Blankets and warm clothing
  • A radio, TV, or cell phone with backup batteries
  • Home & Mortgage Documents

Just in case there's a dispute with your lender or neighbors, and to keep in mind due dates, make sure to keep these documents handy:

  • Lender contact information
  • Property survey
  • Inspection report
  • Final closing documents
  • Insurance documents
  • Set mortgage and other bills to auto-pay so you’re never late.

With these few reminders at hand, enjoy your new home in Berks County!

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

Posted in Home Buyers
Oct. 7, 2019

Unique Places to Shop in Berks County

If you love to shop, you can't find a better array of unique stores than in Berks County, PA. Pennsylvania’s Americana Region is home to stores that highlight our Pennsylvania Dutch heritage, as well as amazing antique stores and America’s first multi-store outlet center. Here's a few of the top places to get your hopping fix in Reading and the Berks County area.

Adamstown Antiques Capital USA

You’ll discover over 5,000 antique dealers, ready to browse in Adamstown, Antiques Capital, USA, a small historic town considered the best single place in the United States for antiques.

Oley Valley Organics

Oley Valley Organics is a quaint organic food store located  in the beautiful Oley Valley in Berks County. Representing 60+ Local Growers and Producers. Five flavors of Kombucha & Kefir Water on Tap!

Penn Street Market

It’s been over 250 years since the original Penn Street Market was created in Reading. An expanded selection of farm products with stands selling everything from tomatoes to cave-aged cheese, honey and beeswax, soap, baked goods, dairy products, gourmet coffee, artisanal breads, premium olive oils, produce, farm fresh eggs, fresh produce, wild teas and homemade cookies.

Renninger’s Antique & Farmer’s Market

This is the mother load of vintage, antiques, collectibles and flea market finds.  The market is a virtual beehive of activity as shoppers browse through tables of jewelry, glassware, tinware, textiles, primitives and more.

Tom Sturgis Pretzels

Tom Sturgis Pretzels continues to use old-fashioned recipes and techniques combined with modern equipment to give the full flavor to its pretzels that customers have come to expect. Guests can enjoy samples of pretzels while they browse the full product line of pretzels, as well as a variety of gift items. 

Make sure to visit our blog every week for more local Berks County articles and real estate advice. Looking for the perfect home in Berks County? Our convenient and powerful home search tool will help you find the home of your dreams. 

Posted in Reading Community
Sept. 30, 2019

Easy Rules for Negotiating Your Home Offer in Berks County

Here’s the dream: Your offer is perfect, you don’t need to negotiate, and you can spend the next few weeks addressing more pressing home-ownership questions, like “Why is it called wainscoting?” and “Do I want a new couch in blush or emerald green?”

And it could happen. Many sellers in Berks County accept the best offer they receive, and for a variety of reasons.

But sellers are also known to reject offers for a variety of reasons. Or they make counteroffers. This is especially likely if you bid low, or when you’re up against multiple competing offers.

Here are a few rules every buyer should know before they, and their agent, start negotiating:

Act Fast — Like, Now

When you receive a counteroffer, you should respond quickly, ideally within 24 hours. The longer you wait, the more space you leave for another buyer to swoop in and nab the property. Also? If a seller senses hesitation, they may decide to withdraw their counteroffer before you even have a chance to respond.

Raise Your Price (Within Reason)

While you obviously don’t want to overpay for a house, you may have to up the ante, especially if you initially made a lowball offer. Lean on your agent’s expertise to determine how much money you should add to the Got an Offer Strategy?Before you make an offer, talk with your agent about how high you’re willing to go if the seller doesn’t accept your bid.sales price to make it more enticing to the seller.

Then, through their powers of persuasion, your agent can make the counteroffer look even more attractive by pointing out similarly priced “comps”, recently sold homes in your area that are comparable in terms of square footage and features.

As your agent negotiates, it can feel like things are escalating quickly. It’s stressful. You may feel a sudden urge to do whatever it takes to win.

Before you go overboard, there are two things you must keep in mind:

You can’t exceed the monetary confines of the pre-approved mortgage you received from your lender.
You shouldn’t overextend your budget.
Because your counteroffer has to be an amount you’re comfortable spending on a home. You want that new house and to keep living your life. Plus: You’re not out of options yet.

Increase Your Earnest Money Deposit

Increasing your earnest money deposit (EMD) — the sum of money you put down to prove to the seller you’re serious (i.e., “earnest”) about buying the house — is another way to show the seller you have more skin in the game. A standard EMD is typically 1% to 3% of the sales price of the home. Making a counteroffer with a 3% to 4% deposit could be what you need to persuade the seller to side with you.

Demonstrate Patience About Taking Possession

Depending on the seller’s timetable, changing your proposed possession date, the date you take over the property, could butter them up, too. If the seller wants to stay in the home for a few days after closing, try offering a later possession date. You could also draw up a “rent-back” agreement, meaning the seller pays you rent for staying in the home for a set period of time after the closing date.

Check back every week on our blog for more local articles about living in Southern Eastern Pennsylvania and the surrounding communities. You can use our convenient and powerful home search tool to find the perfect home for sale in Reading. And make sure to read more about the communities in Southern Eastern Pennsylvania to find the perfect neighborhood to buy your next home.

Posted in Home Buyers
Sept. 23, 2019

Remodel Your Bathroom to Sell Your Home Faster in Berks County

Are you planning to sell your home in Berk's County, but your bath is looking a tad dated, as in 1970's? Having an updated bathroom can make a huge difference in how fast and for how much you sell your home in Berk's County. It may cost a chunk of money, but if you remodel your bath right, you can definitely recoup it in the sale and benefit from selling your home faster.

A midrange bathroom remodel is a solid investment, according to the "Remodeling Impact Report" from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. A bath remodel with a national median cost of $30,000 will recover about 50% of those costs when it’s time to sell your home.

Here's a few key points to keep in mind id you decide to remodel your bath:

Stick to a Plan

Remodeling a bathroom is never a good time for improvisation. You need to plan it all out as much as possible. What materials will you use? What fixtures do you want? What is your budget?

According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, you should ideally spend up to 6 months planning your remodel. This way you have a clear plan that will help you make decisions along the way. The work itself should take about 2-3 months. When the work starts, you need to resist making changes, as this will add to the cost. Your contractor may also have clauses in their contracts that specify premium prices for changing original plans.

Not a good planner? A designer can help make sure the contractors and installers are scheduled efficiently. Keep in mind, a pro designer can cost $100 to $200 per hour, and spends 10 to 30 hours on a bathroom project.

Keep the Same Footprint

Try to keep new plumbing near existing plumbing fixtures. This will save on demolition and reconstruction, along with reducing dust and debris.

Make the most of the space you have. Glass doors on showers and tubs open up the area. A pedestal sink takes up less room than a vanity. If you miss the storage, replace a mirror with a deep medicine cabinet.

Contribute Sweat Equity

Shave labor costs by doing some work yourself. Tell your contractor which projects you’ll handle, so there are no misunderstandings later.

Some easy DIY projects:

  • Install window and baseboard trim; save $250.
  • Paint walls and trim, 200 square feet; save $200.
  • Install toilet; save $150.
  • Install towel bars and shelves; save $20 each.

Choose Low-Cost Design for High Visual Impact

If you're planning to sell your home in Berks County, then go with a “soft scheme” that adds style without creating a look that's too unique and will scare away buyers.

Soft schemes employ neutral colors for permanent fixtures and surfaces, then add pizzazz with items that are easily changed, such as shower curtains, window treatments, towels, throw rugs, and wall colors. These relatively low-cost decorative touches provide tons of personality but are easy to redo whenever you want.

Need to learn other ways to sell your home faster in Berks County? Make 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. 

Sept. 16, 2019

Start Fall Off Right With These Events in Berks County

Fall is almost here, and it's time to start planning for all the fun we're going to have in Berks County to bring in the season. Here's s a few events coming up that will help you and your family celebrate the beginning of Fall in Berks County.

Kutztown Antiques Radio Meet
Friday, September 20, 2019 from 08:00 am to 04:00 pm
Renninger's Kutztown Antiques

Sponsored by the Delaware Valley Historic Radio Club, you will find more than 200 booth spaces of antique radios, parts, audio, ham and related items under two large pavilions. Meet the experts who fix and restore antique radios. Non-computer show. Friday night auction at 6:00pm.

Boyertown's Annual Oktoberfest
From Friday, September 20, 2019 at 05:00 pm to Saturday, September 21, 2019 at 09:00 pm
Boyertown at 128 East Philadelphia Avenue

Event will include a 5krun, crafters, artists, German entertainment and music, German beer, local beer and wine, food vendors, entertainment and more. Keg Ceremony Saturday at 11 a.m.

Fall Fest
Saturday, September 21, 2019 from 11:00 am to 08:00 pm 
West Reading at 600 Penn Avenue

Celebrating its 13th year and coming just a few days before the official first day of Fall is West Reading’s Fall Fest.  Spanning the 400-700 blocks of Penn Avenue, the streets are closed so festival goers can indulge in 200 craft and retail vendors, including a wide array of food and beverage choices, including beer, wine and spirits + music on three stages!

73rd Annual Oley Valley Community Fair
Thursday, September 19, 2019 at 09:00 am to Saturday, September 21, 2019 at 10:00 pm
Oley Fire Company Fairgrounds

This year marks the 73rd anniversary of the Oley Fair, made possible by hundreds of community volunteers annually. A true country fair, area residents enter farm and home products in judged competitions. Be sure to see the livestock, produce, and baked goods exhibits and find the blue ribbon winners among them.

Make sure to visit our blog every week for more local Berks County articles and real estate advice. Looking for the perfect home in Berks County? Our convenient and powerful home search tool will help you find the home of your dreams.