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!

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
Feb. 10, 2020

Have a Romantic Valentine's Day in Berks County

Have a Romantic Valentine's Day in Berks CountyValentine's Day is coming up quick! Have you made your plans yet to have a romantic night out with your special someone? If not, don't worry. There's plenty of ways to show your true love how much you care in Berks County. Here's a few special Valentine's Day events coming up this week in Reading.

Valentine’s Dinner at the Reading Liederkranz!

Fri, Feb 14, 6 – 9 PM
Reading Liederkranz | 143 Spook Ln, Reading, PA

The theme is “Pairs and Spares” and is open to both couple and single reservations. Enjoy a special menu for the evening along with music by Maria Damore and Ken Bagonstose.

Valentines Wine Shakes and Wine Floats

Fri, Feb 14, 5:30 – 8:00 PM
Sweet Ride Ice Cream Parlor | 542 Penn Ave, West Reading, PA

How about this sweet twist for Valentine's Day - wine and ice cream! Ridgewood Winery will be at Sweet Ride Ice Cream Parlor for some specialty Wine Shakes and Wine Floats. Bring your registration form to this event and you will be entered into a drawing for a gift certificate to the winery (must be 21 to enter) and Sweet Ride Ice Cream.

Saints or Sinners Valentine's Ghost Tour

Fri, Feb 14, 9:30 PM – Sat, Feb 15, 10:30 PM
Brinton Lodge | 1808 Schuylkill Rd, Douglassville, PA

Were they saints or sinners? Treat yourself to something different this Valentine’s Day, and discover haunting love stories and loveless ghost stories on the Saints or Sinners Valentine’s Ghost Tour! Advance ticket purchase is required. Call 610-572-7121.

Valentine's Day Cupcake & Wine Pairing - Hamburg

Fri, Feb 14, 4 – 7 PM
Lucky Leprechaun Vineyard and Winery | 412 State St, Hamburg, PA

Bring your true love for a special night at the Lucky Leprechaun Vineyard and Winery. You'll get four full-sized gourmet cupcakes from local baker, Lisa Moyer, and four large samples of wine.

Have a Happy and Romantic Valentine's Day in Berks County!

 

 

Feb. 3, 2020

How to Make Your Berks County Home Pet-Friendly

Make Your Berks County Home Pet FriendlyLet's be honest: most homeowners in Berks county have pets. And no doubt they love them and want to create the best home for them. Most people think of their pets as family and want to consider them when decorating their home. Decorating and furnishing your home with your pets in mind will make life easier and safer for everyone.

Here's a few ideas to make your home in Berks County more pet-friendly:

1. Buy pet-friendly furniture

Buying furniture with stain resistant fabrics is always a wise choice if you live with cats or dogs. It's almost inevitable that your pets will stain your furniture on occasion, especially if they've been outside and their paws are dirty. You also want to stay away from furniture with fabrics such as silk, tweed, and velvet, as they can scratch and stain more easily. Try to select darker colors that will hide stains.

2. Choose durable floors

Hardwood and ceramic tile floors work best with pets, as they resist scratching. In high traffic areas, use ceramic tile, and hardwood in the lower traffic areas. If you choose to use rugs, just don't get expensive ones, as they will degrade.

3. Create a separate sleeping area

Dogs and cats love soft fluffy beds. So if you don't provide them with their own bed, they'll probably choose yours. You might want to choose a pet bed filled with cedar chips and a washable cover. The cedar chips helps repel flies and smells great as well.

4. Safely store vitamins and medications

Pets should be thought of as children - they will get into anything they can reach. That includes medications and vitamins. Lock them up or store them in an unreachable cabinet to keep your pets safe.

5. Hide the trash

Make sure your trash cans have lids and avoid low trash cans in the bathroom. Try to store your trash can under the sink in the bath and kitchen if possible.

6. Build a pet area close to an entry

If your dog or cat likes staying in the great outdoors, you should deal with the goings and comings. Remember that when they come from outside, they will bring in debris, dirt and other stuff. The pet area next to the door should have a hanging place for putting your leashes and other accessories. Consider half-tiling the walls to catch the stains from the inevitable shake off.

7. Keep breakables out of sight

One swipe with their fluffy tail and your collection of decorative glass items will be in pieces. Protect both your pet and your valuables by placing them at a high place that your furry friend cannot reach. If you have a cat, you may have to put them in a room that the pet doesn't access as cats are notorious for climbing high places.

8. Install screens on your windows

If you are planning on opening your windows for fresh air during summertime, consider installing window screens. This is especially important if you have indoor-only cats and want to keep them from getting lost or hurt.

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. 

Jan. 27, 2020

Tips to Help You Buy Your First Home in Berks County

Tips to help you buy your first home in Berks CountyHave you set the goal this year to buy your first home in Berks County? If so, there are some things you should keep in mind to make sure your finances are in shape to make your dream a reality.

1. Avoid Changing Jobs

When you apply for a mortgage, the two big things that lenders look at is employment history and income. There's nothing wrong with getting a new job in itself. But when you time it with buying a home, it can be a warning sign to lenders.

The best scenario is to have a steady job history without any gaps over the past two years at least. Lenders can forecast your future income more easily when you have steady employment.

Of course, you can't always predict when you'll change jobs. So if that happens while looking for a home in Berks County, let your lender know ASAP. This won't spoil the deal, but you may need to provide extra documentation.

One employment change that can help your application is if you go to a salaried position rather than hourly. This will make your paycheck more predictable, which appeals to lenders.

2. Limit monthly subscription services

Are you keeping track of all those monthly services you've signed up for? If you have them connected to your credit card, it could show high credit utilization. Try to go through your subscriptions to see which ones you can do without and cancel them.

3. Build strong credit

Of course, your credit score matters when applying for a mortgage. Paying your credit cards on time shows that you are responsible.

If you don't have a long enough credit history, lenders may look at your records of rent payment, utility bills, student loans, and other debt.

The higher your credit score, the lower your payments will be each month. A higher score also means you can borrow more. Keep a close eye on your credit history and make sure to correct any mistakes you find.

4. Avoid large purchases

Try to avoid going on a big vacation or buying a car when you apply for a loan.

Your debt-to-income ratio, or how much money you make compared to how much debt you have, can significantly affect how much money a lender is willing to give you. Keeping debts to a minimum can help make the home-buying process go a lot more smoothly.

Just like proofreading your resume before you apply for a job, cleaning up your financial resume can help improve your chances of buying a home. Take advantage of online tools and resources, which can help you determine how much home you can afford. 

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
Jan. 20, 2020

Save Money Eating Out at These Cheap Eats in Berks County

The Best Cheap Eats in Berks CountyHave the holidays left you a little cash-strapped this month? Or maybe you're trying to save money for a down payment on a home for sale in Berks County? If so, there's no reason you have to cut eating out from your budget. There are plenty of great places to eat in Berks County that are easy on the pocketbook, yet big on taste and service. Here's a few of the top places to eat in Berk's County that will help you save a few dollars.

Taste of Crepes

617 Penn Ave, West Reading, PA 19611-1003

Not only will you enjoy the tastiest crepes in the county, you'll get a great meal for less than $10. They have a wide range of crepe flavors that are made fresh to order, from sweet fruit-filled crepes, to meat-filled crepes, and breakfast varieties. Taste of Crepes is a fun dining experience and one of the most popular restaurants in Reading.

Route 61 Diner

3455 Centre Avenue, Reading, PA 19605

This classic diner is a great place to get a square meal for under $10. Yet with their tasty menu, you may be tempted to spend a little more than that. Their generous portions and friendly service make Route 61 a solid deal.

Mi Casa Su Casa

320 Penn St, Reading, PA 19602-1010

Almost every item on Mi Casa's delicious menu is under $10, so you can feel free to dig in even if your wallet is thin. They have a homely feel and great service that adds to the experience. Mi Casa Su Casa is locally owned, and the owners actively give back to the community. So your hard-earned money does more than just fill your stomach.

Let's Taco Bout It

616 Penn Ave, West Reading, PA 19611-1004

For a fun taco eating experience on a budget, Let's Taco Bout It's name says it all. You'll be pleased with the quantity and the quality of their servings. You can even get a cactus taco! Or you can try their delicious corn on the cob. It all adds up to an affordable and tasty taco experience.

Larry's 9th and Union V&S

1558 N 9th St, Reading, PA 19604-1804

For affordable and delicious sandwiches and pizza, Larry's has what you want for a great price.  You can get a large sandwich for only $6.50 and burgers for as little as $3.65. Or you can grab a slice of pizza for only $1.85, or 1 dozen jumbo wings for $7.99. You certainly won't break the bank eating at Larry's.

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. 13, 2020

Make Your New Berks County Home Safe

Make Your Berks County Home SafeNow that you've moved into your new home in Berks County, one thing you need to focus on is how safe your new home is. You no doubt carefully inspected the home and neighborhood before you bought it. But there are a few other things to consider now that you've moved in to make sure you keep your family safe and sound.

Change the locks

You may have been given the keys to your new home, but are there other keys on the loose somewhere, perhaps with family or close friends of the previous owner? Even if it's a brand new home, the builder could have handed out a key to workers during the construction. To be 100% sure, change the locks.

Install a security system

It no longer costs a ton of money to have a security system in your home, especially with smart technology. Even if you live in a safe neighborhood in Berks County, it's a good idea. You can start with a basic system that has a couple of cameras and lights, and then add more cameras or lights as needed.

Get to know your neighbors

Knowing your neighbors can be a big protection against crime. Since you're new to the neighborhood, it's good for them to know who you are, and vise versa. A good neighbor can spot potential threats to your home, and you can return the favor.

Case the joint

Pretend that you're trying to rob your own home and find the weak points where an intruder can get in easily. Make sure to fortify any of these weak points to keep intruders out.

Give it a once over

Check all through the house to make sure door and windows work as they should. Check for any loose wires or other hazards. Make a list and get these items fixed as soon as you can.

Outdoor safety

Check your property for things that can cause injury, such as a rusty gate or fence, or other things left by the previous owner that could be tripping or stabbing hazards.

Check smoke detectors

You can't be sure that the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in good condition unless you check them. They could be old and need fresh batteries.

Dryer vents

Make sure that all the vents to stoves, gas pipes, and dryer vents are all clear and working properly. This is something that should be checked regularly to prevent dryer vent fires.

Light it up

Burglars love the dark. So don't give them any. Make sure that all of your entrances are well lit, and that you have other areas light up with motion detectors. If there's an emergency, your house number should be clearly visible to emergency responders. You can also put timers on lights in some of the rooms to make it look like someone is home, which is a good idea if you plan to go on vacation.

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