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!

April 20, 2020

Tips to Help You Productively Pass the Time

Are you getting restless under quarantine? Some people in Berks County may spend time thinking about what they can't do now. But the question should be "What can I do now?" This is a rare opportunity to take the time we normally wouldn't have otherwise to have some fun and better ourselves.

Here's a few ideas to help you and your family pass the time productively.

Connect with your quarantined ancestors

Do you have old photos or journals of your ancestors who had to deal with a pandemic? Why not try to find out more about their story and how they dealt with it? With online ancestry services, you may be able to discover things you never knew about your relatives from the past.

Set up a home movie theater

If you have some leftover stimulus money, you can order a digital movie projector and set up your own movie theater. Projectors are smaller and less expensive these days, and they will let you project your favorite movies on any blank wall. You can set up a pillow fort with the kids and enjoy the show.

Write in a journal

You may not have thought you had much to write about in the past. But now you certainly have something to write about. Putting down your thoughts and memories in a journal will help you process your feelings, as well as give those in the future a glimpse into the world-changing events of 2020 from a personal perspective.

Detail your car

When was the last time you gave your car a good wash and detail? Every car can use a good detailing, especially if it's been a few months since the last time you cleaned it. If you don't want to waste paper towels or wipes, find some old shirts you can turn into rags. Get out your vacuum and give it a good vacuuming. 

Learn a new language

Why limit your ability to say “quarantine stinks” to just your native language? Why not learn a new language and impress your friends and colleagues during your next Zoom meeting? Duolingo is a free app you can use to learn up to 35 languages. You can even learn Klingon if you're feeling like you want to boldy go for an unexpected language.

Boost your immune system with green juice

Not all of us enjoy veggies, but they do go down smoother in a smoothie. It's a great way to boot your immune system. There are endless veggie smoothie recipes online. And who knows, you may find a new treat.

Read a happy book

For quite some time, Ebooks have made it possible to read just about any book ever published. Since you can't get to the library or book store, now is a great time to get into reading Ebooks and find a story that will lift your spirits.

We know this is a tough time for everyone in Berks County, as well as the rest of the country. We hope you'll come back to our blog every week for more helpful articles, along with Berks County real estate news. Stay home, and stay safe!

Posted in Reading Community
April 13, 2020

Help Support Reading PA Restaurants Offering Takeout and Delivery

Since the State of Pennsylvania has issued a stay at home order through April 15, many local businesses in Reading and the surrounding area have been impacted. But we all can help in some way or the other. One thing we can do is order food from restaurants offering takeout and delivery. It's a great way to break up the monotony, as well as help keep local businesses afloat.

Here's a few local Reading restaurants that are offering takeout or delivery, according to updated information on Google. This of course can change at any time, but for now this list should be accurate.

Aladdin Restaurant | Order Online

401 Penn Ave, Reading, PA 19611

Offering Lebanese and Mediterranean dishes. Takeout or delivery.

Judy's On Cherry

332 Cherry St, Reading, PA 19602

Mediterranean bistro with many dishes cooked in a wood-fired oven. Takeout.

Panevino

25 N 2nd St, Reading, PA 19601

Rustic Italian cuisine, including handmade pastas. Takeout.

Golden Bowl Restaurant

850 Penn St, Reading, PA 19602

Chinese staples such as chow mein, fried rice & General Tso's, plus lunch specials. Takeout or delivery.

West Reading Tavern & Restaurant | Menu

606 Penn Ave, West Reading, PA 19611

Burgers, sandwiches, tacos, entrees, soups and salads. Takeout. Pickup is at the rear of the building on Cherry St. Customers should enter the open breezeway for our patio and pick up their orders there.

Brewer's Bar & Grill | Order Delivery

101 S 3rd Ave, West Reading, PA 19611

Wings, appetizers, burgers, chicken, entrees, sandwiches, rice bowls, brewer's bowls, and salads. Takeout or delivery.

Williams Family Restaurant | Order Delivery

1701 Kutztown Rd, Reading, PA 19604

Sandwiches, burgers, fish, pasta, and more. Takeout and delivery.

We hope you're able to help support our local businesses in Reading. Above all, stay safe!

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
April 6, 2020

How Can You Use the Current Market to Get a Great Deal On a Home in Berks County?

The current pandemic we're going through has changed a lot of things, including the real estate industry. Right now in Berks County, it's a buyer's market, as interest rates are at an all-time low.

In a buyer’s market, sellers are typically more motivated to negotiate. This gives you more bargaining power as a buyer. Negotiating points include not only the sales price, but other items as well. Here are three parts of the purchase process that you can use to get a great deal on a home in Berks County.

1. Bargains in the Purchase Agreement

When you write an offer to purchase, ask for everything. Even if you don't want their furniture and appliances, ask for them. Ask for everything you can think of to put the sellers in overload so that you divert their attention away from the low price you are offering.

Once the bartering begins, all of their focus will be on trying to hang on to their backyard furniture, instead of the fact that you have offered considerably less for the house than what they are asking. Now you are in a position to compromise.

So now you can give up the furniture and the drapes; you didn't want all those items anyway. What you really want is your low price. In the end, if you persist, you should get that price and maybe the other items as well.

Also, make sure you don't give the sellers too much time to think about your bid. A 24-hour acceptance requirement is quite common and a strategic step in your position as a bargain hunter. Not only does this request create a sense of urgency for the sellers, but it cuts down the chances of another bargain hunter making a better offer.

2. The Home Inspection ― Your Ticket to a Deal

Although the sellers, by law, must disclose the problems in the home that they know about, there may be items they aren't aware of. But there may be issues that the owner is not aware of. As such, make sure you get a home inspection.

With the hard copy of the inspection in-hand, this is your chance to negotiate a lower price. You will need to get estimates for the repairs from local licensed contractors. You then have support for your requests to the sellers.

If the sellers are unwilling to work with you, walk away. It is entirely within your rights under the purchase agreement to do so. Most sellers, however, realize that the repairs will need to be done if they hope to sell the home, so they are likely to entertain your new bid.

If the cost of needed repairs is beyond the sellers' current budget, you might suggest a cash-back at the close of escrow incentive. That way, the homeowner doesn't have to pay out-of-pocket for work and you will have cash-on-hand to have the repairs performed on your schedule.

3. Eliminate Your Closing Costs

In today's buyer's market in Berks County, innovative negotiating is just one of the tools in your chest. Negotiating closing costs may be your last resort, especially when dealing with a particularly difficult and unrealistic seller.

Some sellers will balk at being asked to pay your closing costs. Others will increase the selling price of the house to absorb the costs. There is a danger in this, however. Any addition to the price may cause a problem with the appraisal. At that point, it is back to the negotiating table for buyer and seller.

The sale of a home is an emotional event. There are ways to present the suggested negotiations while still appealing to the sellers' emotions. If your low-ball approach is due to your financial position, have your agent share that with the homeowners. Let them know how terribly much you want the house and make them care about you enough to want to help you.

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 Buyers
March 30, 2020

Simple Ways to Improve Your Curb Appeal

Even with the COVID-19 pandemic, people are still buying homes in Berks County. If you decide to sell your home soon, the first thing you should look at is the first thing home buyers look at - your curb appeal. Sprucing up your curb appeal is a sure way to attract buyers, especially now since most home buyers will be looking at your home online, or by driving by. And if you don't plan on selling your home, taking care of your home's exterior is a great way to be productive and feel good about your home.

What are some affordable ways to enhance your curb appeal without having to leave your home for supplies?

Manicure the Lawn

Tending to your lawn is a do-it-yourself task that can add instant curb appeal to your home. Get out the lawn mower, cut the grass regularly and conquer those weeds. And if you have a lawn edger, get that out as well and give your lawn an extra level of manicuring.

Tend Those Beds

Grooming your garden beds is another affordable way to tell buyers your home is well cared for. Weeding is the perfect way to start, as well as removing debris. If you happen to go to a store for groceries that also sells mulch, buy a few bags and spread it over your garden. This will give your garden a fresh look and keep weeds to a minimum.

If you have the opportunity, try planting some annual flowers like pansies, black-eyed Susans, impatiens and petunias for quick and long-lasting color.

Wash Off Dirt

Get out your garden hose and a nozzle and blast away debris off sidewalks, driveway, and the front of your home. If you have access to a power washer, even better! Just be careful if you power wash your siding as it could be too powerful and cause damage.

Tidy Up the Driveway

Move your garbage and recycling to the side of the house, preferably behind a bush or small screen, or in the garage. Make sure to clean up any debris laying around the driveway and front lawn. And if you have any old ornaments that are showing their age, get rid of those as well.

Make the Windows Sparkle

Clean windows inside and out to make your home sparkle. If your home's windows tilt out, it's quite simple to wash exterior windows. Otherwise, you might need a friend or family member to steady a ladder while you do the work. Try washing outside windows by spraying them with a garden hose to remove dirt and cobwebs. Then sponge them down with a small amount of vinegar or detergent diluted in warm water and rinse. If you need to wash your windows from the outside and your windows don't tilt out, try using a long-handled brush.

With these simple tips, your home will be ready to sell. And at least, you'll have a great project to keep you and your family productive.

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
March 23, 2020

Take a Hike (and Stay Away From People) on These Top Berks County Hiking Trails

Now that it seems imminent that everyone will be in a state of lockdown of some sort in Berks County, it's a good time to go take a hike, as it were. What better way to stay healthy than to hike on some of the beautiful trails here in Berks County? Trails are increasingly being counted on as places where people can continue to be physically active and find respite while practicing social distancing. There's a trail for every skill level, so you'll be sure to find the perfect trail to take you away from all the stress of what's going on in the world. Reducing stress and staying active can have many health benefits, which we all need right now.

Here's some of the best hiking trails in Berks County to explore.

Birdsboro Preserve

1314 Haycreek Road | Birdsboro, PA 19508

Birdsboro Preserve is a beautiful preservation area just south of Birdsboro. The Birdsboro Preserve and Birdsboro Waters offer miles of hiking and biking trails. You can mix it up with different trails for a variety of combinations, views and elevations. This region is easily accessible from three different areas.

Union Canal, Bicycle & Walking Trail

The Union Canal Trail runs along the Tulpehocken Creek from the city of Reading up to Blue Marsh Lake in Leesport. The trail makes up a segment of the 71.7-mile Schuylkill River Trail in southeastern Pennsylvania. The flat, crushed-stone trail surface makes for a comfortable journey on foot, bicycle, cross-country skis, or even snowshoes. To access the Stonecliffe Recreation Area trailhead in Reading from I-176, take Exit 11B to merge onto US 422 W. In 4.9 miles take the exit onto SR 12 E toward Pricetown. Go 0.5 mile, and turn right onto Chester St. Go 0.2 mile, and turn right at the second cross street (0.2 mile) onto Columbia St. Go 0.2 mile, and the road terminates at the Stonecliffe Recreation Area parking lot, to your left.

French Creek Pennsylvania State Park Trails

843 Park Rd #9523, Elverson, PA 19520

Once an industrial complex for the fledgling United States of America, today French Creek State Park is an oasis for people and wildlife, where you'' see many animals animals and plant. Despite all buildings in the park being closed, all open areas are still available for hiking and other recreation activities.

Antietam Lake Park

232 Angora Rd, Reading, PA 19606

With wide trails and easy hiking rating, this is a great hiking trail for taking the family and dog for a walk. There are many trail variations that provide miles of scenery. You can also get some fishing in to pass the time.

Whatever you do, just make sure to stay as far away from other hikers as you enjoy the beautiful scenery of Berks County. Stay safe and healthy!

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
March 17, 2020

Simplify Your Next Move in Berks County

If you plan to buy or sell your home in Berks County, no doubt you're already thinking about how to move all of your belongings to your new home. No matter how you slice it, moving is a big task. But there are certainly ways you can make your next move a bit easier and more organized.

The first thing you should do is put a binder together to keep notes as you pack your things and move.

As you pack, you should index all of your boxes so you can be more organized when you reach your new home. Write on each box what the contents are. You can also inventory your possessions and capture the contents on film or video.

Make two copies of the box contents to keep in your binder, and the other with the box. Then if the box doesn't make it to your new home, you'll know exactly what's missing. The other thing that's good to do when you are labeling your boxes is to label it as bedroom box 1 and then you'll have the index with it. Then bedroom box 2, bedroom box 3, etc.

Packing is just the first step. There are many other things to arrange and make sure are in order. If you have enough time to plan before you make the big move, you should set out an 8-week schedule to help you bring everything in line.

Here's a suggested schedule to make before you move:

 Eight weeks: set up a zippered three-ring notebook, keep all important documents in it, record payments made, have a copy of your budget, contact information, maps to your new location, keys, etc.

• Six weeks: inventory and index your possessions, begin giving away items you do not need/want, make arrangements to consign items.

• Four weeks: start packing up things you don't use frequently, label boxes with indexes, hold a garage sale to unload items you won't be moving, contact a moving company.

• Three weeks: assemble packing materials, arrange to cancel phone and utility services and have them installed in your new location, find childcare and pet boarding, and arrange for cleaning help.

• Two weeks: arrange for any necessary banking changes, service your car.

• One week: order and pick up prescriptions, get keys to new home, pack two suitcases with items mentioned above and keep them handy during the move.

• Two to three days before your move: defrost the refrigerator, unhook any electronics, set aside a box that contains your legal documents that you will take with you.

• Day of the move: make sure your address is correct on the bill of lading, double-check everywhere in the home.

With just a little extra planning, you can make your next move go more smoothly and avoid complications.

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 Buyers
March 9, 2020

Mistakes to Avoid When Downsizing to a Smaller Home in Berks County

Mistakes to Avoid When Downsizing to a Smaller Home in Berks CountyIf you've owned a home in Berks County for some time, no doubt you've heard about downsizing. It basically means selling your home and buying a smaller, more manageable home. Downsizing is something people decide to do when they retire, as it makes life more simple and you have less to take care of.

There are some mistakes to avoid when downsizing. 

Waiting too long to make the decision.

You may have been living in your current home Berks County for a long time. As such, it may be hard to leave it behind, so you may hesitate to let it go. But if you put off downsizing for too long, it may make the process harder.

The reason for this is simply that as you get older, it's going to get harder to move things and deal with the stress of moving. 

Also, as we grow older, there could be life-altering events to deal with, such as sickness or the death of a spouse. Having to deal with a move under those circumstances would make downsizing even harder.

If you're considering buying a smaller house in Berks County, now may be the best time to do it before it becomes an overwhelming challenge.

Not planning thoroughly.

Buying a smaller home will take planning, just like buying any home. What kind of home will fit your new lifestyle? What neighborhoods in Berks County will be best for what your needs are? What possessions will you need to get rid of to fit in your new home?

You should give this a significant amount of thought an planning. If not, you could end up less happy than you were before.

Not preparing for the actual move.

Moving into any home is stressful. But when you downsize, you need to make a lot of decisions about what to keep and what to give away. Not giving yourself enough time will force you to make rush decisions that you may regret later after you move.

Take at least a month or more to go through and pack your belongings and decide what to keep. It works best to do this one room at a time and for an hour or so at a time so you don't wear yourself out.

More than likely you’ll find nostalgic items from the past you think you want to hold onto. Keep in mind where you are heading and if you’ll have the room. This is a tough decision in the downsizing process.

Trying too hard to fit your current furniture into your new place.

You need to take into consideration the layout and space of a smaller home you plan to buy in Berks County. With less room, you will need to decide what furniture will fit best. This may make for some hard choices if you have cherished furnishings. But cramming all of your furniture into a smaller home will make your new life less comfortable. Try to prioritize comfort over possessions. remember that you're making this move to make your life simpler.

Downsizing to a smaller home in Berks County is a big decision. It take panning and effort. But if you take the time to make good decisions, your move to simplify your life can be a good one.

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 Buyers
March 2, 2020

5 Things to Do Before Selling Your Home in Berks County

5 Things to Do Before selling Your Home in Berks CountyBefore you put your home up for sale in Berks County, you need to take care of some essential tasks. You need to make sure your home is prepared to sell. Taking time in advance to get your home ready for the Berks County market will help your home sell faster and make more money.

Here is a checklist of items you should focus on before you sell your home in Berks County:

1. Get your paperwork together

A modern home has many systems that make it function, from HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and appliances. If you have any paperwork that shows what work and maintenance has been performed on these systems, put it together so that buyers can see what needs to be done to keep it all running.

Buyers will also be interested in how much you've been paying for utilities, so make sure to have a sampling of bills put together that shows these costs over the past year or two.

2. Check on the little things

When you live in a home for years, you get used to the way things are, even if those things are looking a bit rough. Check around your home with a critical eye and find things that could use some fixing up. Have a friend help you if you can, as an extra set of eye can be a big help. Look at your home as if you're the buyer.

3. Erase evidence of pets

Most buyers don't want a home with pet damage. It's critical to not only fix any damage caused by pets, but smells as well. Of course, you're used to how your home smells with pets, but strangers coming to view your home are not. They will smell your pets and see any damage. 

Do what you can to get rid of these signs, especially shampooing the carpets or replacing them if they are too damaged. Also, when you have a showing, make sure to relocate your dog or cats if at all possible.

4. Clean up the landscaping

This step can cost almost nothing, except time and effort. Remove all the clutter and dead foliage from your yard. Cut the grass and trim away dead branches and shrubs. Fertilize your grass if it's brown or dying.

If you want to really make a difference, you can plant some flowers and lay down much to make a colorful splash for the spring real estate market.

5. Make things less personal

The main goal of showing your home to buyers in Berks County is to let them see how they can make the home their own. To do that, you need to remove as much of your personal items from view as possible. This means personal photos and all of your personal interests.

But be careful not to go overboard. You don't need to remove all traces of your existence. You can replace family photos with a few neutral photos of scenery, and leave a few decorative items around the house. 

Taking the time to make sure your home is ready to sell in Berks County will pay off in the end when your home sells faster and gets a higher price.

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
Feb. 24, 2020

Live the Best Golf Life in Reading at These Top Courses

Live the Best Golf Life in Reading at These Top CoursesAre you planning to buy a home in Berks County and looking for some of the best golf courses in the area? You need look no further than these top golf clubs and courses in Reading. Spring is just around the corner, so now is the time to get out the clubs and get ready for a great season of golf in Berks County. No matter your skill level, there's a course that will test your skills and help you refine your game. You can use our advanced property search to find the perfect home for sale in Reading near any of these courses so you'll be within easy reach of these stunning greens.

Here's some of the top golf courses in Reading PA:

Flying Hills Golf Course

14 Village Center Dr, Reading, PA 19607

Since 1971, this championship course has been challenging golfers with 6028 yards of sloping greens and an overall course rating of 68.2. The Flying Hills Village Center features a number of amenities and businesses for your convenience, including dining, pros shop, preschool, medical, hair styling, and more.

Berkshire Country Club

1637 Bernville Rd, Reading, PA 19601

Founded in 1899, Berkshire Country Club is one of the top rated course in Pennsylvania, featuring golf, tennis, swimming, and a stunning clubhouse, in addition to a beautiful and challenging course. The course features a championship tee yardage of 6,375 and four additional sets of tees, carts and walking programs, driving range and practice facility. There's also a two-ended, 300-yard driving range features all grass tees, target greens, and a short game area with bunker.

Manor Golf Course

153 Bran Rd, Reading, PA 19608

Manor is one of the oldest public golf courses in eastern Pennsylvania at almost 100 years old. This traditional course, designed by the famous Scottish architect, Alexander Findlay, offers a game where "shot making takes precedence over length." They offer junior golf programs, private lessons, leagues, events, and more to make this club all you need to stay in the game.

Reading Country Club

5311 Perkiomen Ave, Reading, PA 19606

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Reading Country Club is also an Alexander Findlay designed course and stands out for being one of the best examples of his work. You'll relive the golden years of golf on this historic course, with almost 100 years of golfing tradition.

Chapel Hill Golf Course

2023 Old Lancaster Pike, Reading, PA 19608

This par 70, 6056-yard championship style golf course will challenge any skill level. They also have a golf simulator that will help you keep your skills in check all year round.

If you need help finding the ideal golf course home in Berks County, we can help. Contact us today to talk about how you can live the ultimate golf lifestyle 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 Home Buyers
Feb. 17, 2020

Don't Sabotage Your Home Sale

Don't Sabotage Your Home SaleWhen you sell your home in Berks County, of course you have the right to be involved in every aspect of the sale. But you also need to be careful not to get in your own way.

Real estate professionals know all the ins and outs of selling a house and how to deal with buyers. Most home sellers understandably do not have that experience. It's very easy as a home seller to sabotage your own efforts without even knowing it.

Here are three of the more common mistakes that home sellers make, and how to avoid them.

Making showings difficult

There's a simple rule as home seller when it comes to showing a home - stand back and let the pros handle it.

Oh yes, you lived in that house for years and know every little nook and cranny, and every story about your home as well. But your insight is not what's going to sell your home. The agent you hired will use their years of experience and training to sell your home. After all, this is what they do and how they get paid. They want to sell your home just as much or more than you do.

In fact, you should not be present at all during a showing. Your presence alone is a distraction to the buyer. When a showing is scheduled, have a plan to leave your home during the showing. Get something to eat, go to the mall, run errands, visit a friend, anything to make sure you're not there during the showing.

And when it comes to scheduling showing, do your best not to turn down a showing appointment. You may think the buyer will just come at another time, but usually that's no the case. Every appointment you turn down is an opportunity to sell your home. Don't turn down an appointment unless it's absolutely unavoidable.

Keeping a mess

Is your home clean? Ask your agent and follow their advice. This may mean making some real effort to make sure your home is ready to show to buyers in Berks County. You may have to hire cleaners, or clean it yourself. Make sure you clean your home to the level it takes to sell. No matter how much effort you put into cleaning your home, it will be worth it when your home sells faster and for more money.

Failing to make repairs

If you are told by a real estate professional to make repairs on your home, do it. Sure, you may not want to shell out a lot of money on a home you won't be living in anymore, but you also have to make your home desirable to home buyers in Berks County.

The fact is that most buyers don't want to buy a home with issues. Moving into a new home is hard enough without having to deal with immediate repairs. And if your home needs too many repairs, you may get lower offers. In the end, it's easier for you to take care of any repairs before you put the house up for sale.

There are many things you might do as a seller to get in the way of selling your home. In the end, if you closely follow the advice of your agent, you should do just fine staying out of your own way.

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