You’ve made decisions in your personal life and career; you’ve worked hard and now consider yourself established. The time has arrived where you are ready to own a home, and make that dream a reality.

But now you’re faced with the option of creating your own home from the floor up or purchasing a pre-existing home in your preferred town/city. Either buying or building a house will get you into a place to call home, but they are two very different paths with pro’s and con’s that need to be addressed. Here is a guide to weigh your options.

Buying a home can be as simple as contacting your local Realtor, going on showings, finding the right home for your life and having your offer be accepted. However, when it comes to purchasing a home there are numerous details and steps to consider during the buying process.

Building your own home gives you the flexibility to have things just the way you would like, to your own individual specifications. Building new means starting with a blank canvas, but even with the added conveniences, there are some drawbacks.





* Convenience* Cost – Best value, usually able to negotiate better price on the home.* Appliances and fixtures are typically included, desired upgrades can be negotiated into the purchase.* If your offer is accepted, you can likely close and move into your new home in 30-45 days.

* Less stress – Much less considering during the buying process, less decisions to be made and/or negotiated. Don’t forget to consider home inspections.

* Already in an established area – easier to consider the character of the home and the area it is located in.

* Landscaping is usually complete and matured.

* Tremendous sentimental value and personal pride in making it ‘your home’.* Everything is able to be customizable from the carpet in the living room to the countertops in the kitchen and everything in between; structurally and design-wise.* Everything is brand new and up-to-date.*Construction materials and building code will be up to the latest standards.

* Energy efficient – better building standards, new quality materials and efficient appliances and systems.

* Deferred maintenance – you will not have to replace a leaky roof or water heater for many years. Unforeseen issues will most likely be covered by a warranty.

* New communities offer incentives such as recreational facilities, community maintenance and locations close to stores.





* Older floors plans do not have the same fluid traffic flow and opening feeling that most new homes possess.* You will most likely have to make compromises on your list of wants and needs.* Existing homes are often in need of some maintenance or renovations.* Less energy efficient – might need updates on wiring and other major systems depending on the age of the home. * Usually take s 6-7 months to build, and you may even have to wait 1-2 more months depending on unforeseen issues; bad weather, builder’s schedule, material defects.* New construction typically has higher costs and most initial estimates are not accurate. A lot can change during the building process.* Might have to live with the noise and construction vehicle traffic if you are located in a new community, which could go on for months.* The personal time commitment can be draining emotionally and financially.

*Must also purchase the land for your house to be built on.



The decision to build or buy is not an easy one and each has its own set of advantages and problems that need to be carefully weighed against one other. There is no wrong or right choice; only your personal preference.  The best thing you can do is to plan ahead; review the pros and cons of each choice thoroughly; determine your budget and stick to it; consider job security and long-term plans for being in the area; and last, but not least, don’t forget about maintaining your own sanity!





When it comes to selling your home, results matter. Berkshire Hathaway Homesale Realty promises to provide you with an exceptional real estate experience.


AskHomesale.com provides real estate advise and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. Askhomesale.com is part of the Homesale Realty Family. The Homesale Family of Companies is the leading real estate company serving the Baltimore, Maryland, South Central and Southeastern PA real estate markets.  Homesale Realty has more than 25 offices with over 1,000 REALTORS®. Homesale Realty’s footprint includes Maryland real estate offices in Baltimore City, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Westminster, and Timonium.  Pennsylvania real estate offices include York, LancasterWyomissing,Chambersburg,Gettysburg,Harrisburg, and Schuylkill Haven.

Tips for Home Buyers  |  Tips for Home Sellers | Tips for Homeowners



the price is rightWhen selling your home, the right price and an attractive appearance are arguably the two most basic essentials.  Buyers have a pool of choices and since no two homes are alike it is crucial to make a distinction between your home and the competition.

Studies have shown that the first 2 weeks on the market are the most important.  During this time, your home will be exposed to the most active buyers, through internet searches and buyers’ agents. Therefore, if you are over-priced, your home could easily get overlooked and you could be forced to endure a slow stream of random buyers who enter the market after that point.

According to one report, homes that sold within the first week of being on the market, earned an average of about 2% over list price, while homes that sat on the market for four months sold for more than 11% below their original list price.

There are several things you should consider:

Request CMAs – Determining the value of your home is the best place to start.  A CMA (comparative market analysis) will show you the prices of recently SOLD homes in your area, homes on the market now, and homes that did not sell.  You should consider the price of the sold homes, not just the current LIST price of area homes.  You should entertain CMAs and marketing strategies from at least 3 Realtors.  Realtors seldom want to list a home that is over-priced for the simple fact that the chance of selling your home would be much lower.

Think like a Buyer – The features you consider important in your home may not be the same features that buyers will consider valuable.  Discuss current home trends with your Realtor.  Your home’s price should be comparable to other similar homes; not be reflective of what you think its worth.

Sweeten the Deal – Some buyers have needs that go beyond the bottom line price.  The ability to close quickly, seller-financing, or assistance with closing costs can be a strong attraction to buyers.  The more flexible you can be in meeting these other financial needs, the more successful you will be in pricing and selling your home quickly.

Do your own Research – It is important to educate yourself and visit open houses in your area.  Make an assessment of how these homes compare to yours in terms of location, size, amenities, and condition.  If all sale prices were the same, would you buy your home or someone else’s?

React Quickly – Immediately after your home hits the market there should be a flurry of interest and showing activity.  If not, this may indicate that your home is over-priced.  If this limited interest continues for a few weeks, you should react.  It’s still not too late to reduce the price, but do it quickly in order to sustain some interest!

Consider the Market – Things to think about: Are homes selling quickly?  Are the interest rates attractive?  Is the economy good?  How is the local job market?

Keep it Clean – You only get one chance to make a first impression.  Clean it up and fix it up.  Make all necessary small repairs, such as fixing minor leaks, patching drywall cracks, or holes in the walls.  Clean up clutter and remove personal items.  Make sure your home is immaculate every time a buyer steps inside.

You have one chance to grab buyers’ attention.  Make sure your home’s price stands out from all the others for the right reason!!



shutterstock_54580285If you thought gas and electric were the only option for your stovetop, it is time to think again. Induction cooktops are the next wave of unique stovetops. This type of cooking technology is the master of the quick change—delicate enough to melt butter and chocolate, but powerful enough to bring six cups of water to a boil in just three minutes.

The innovative technology is already popular in Europe, but is still being introduced into the U.S. market. However, it seems falling prices and ever-growing consumer awareness might finally help the superior technology to be adopted into U.S. homes.


Induction is unique, it uses electromagnetic energy to directly heat pots and pans. In comparison, gas and electric cooktops heat indirectly, using either a burner or heating element to heat cookware from underneath. That radiant energy is then passed on to your food.

Induction cooktops don’t use heating elements or burners underneath the pan. Instead, they employ a series of magnets that excite the iron atoms in a pan to generate heat.

It is far more efficient to heat cookware directly, rather than indirectly. Induction is able to deliver roughly 80 to 90 percent of its electromagnetic energy to the food in the pan. Compare that to gas, which converts a mere 38 percent of its energy, and electric, which can only manage roughly 70 percent.

That means induction cooktops not only heat up much faster, but their temperature controls are also far more precise. Induction cooktops can achieve a wide range of temperatures, and take far less time to boil than their electric or gas counterparts. Additionally, the cooktop surface itself stays cool. You don’t have to worry about burning your hand on a burner that’s cooling down, and it’s even possible to put a paper towel between a hot frying pan and an induction burner to keep oil from spattering on a cooktop.



Induction is all the rage in Europe. In some areas—particularly Scandinavian countries—induction cooktops command more than 60% of the market. (Sweden takes the cake, with a 75% market share for induction.) It’s no coincidence that these are countries with high electricity costs, where energy-efficiency is a must. In the U.S., energy prices are lower and, gas and radiant electric still reign. But, interest in induction cooktops is rising.

Cookware is one major reason Americans have been slow to adopt induction. Since induction relies on electromagnetism, only pots with magnetic bottoms; such as steel and iron, allow the transfer heat. But that doesn’t mean you need to buy all-new cookware. If a magnet sticks to the bottom of the pots and pans you already have, they’ll work with induction.



source: reviewed.com





Recently on Inman News, there was an article that focused on millennials renting vs. purchasing a home. It discussed a book written in the 1960’s about investing in real estate. Although the nature of the book is outdated, the basic concept is, if you want to become a millionaire by the age of 65, all you have to do is buy $1 million worth of real estate in your thirties, with a 30 year mortgage and then pay the mortgages off over time.

Now a millennial will most likely look at that statement and think it is absurd. With that being said, that statement is a very basic summary of the book. There are numerous ways to apply this concept. Some may require a great deal of effort, such as flipping houses, and other ways involve high risk. But another way is to just stop renting.

To say “just stop renting”, can be a lot easier said than done. However, here are three helpful tips for Millennials on purchasing a home in 2015.


1. If you are waiting to purchase a home because you want to save a large amount of money for a down payment, the reality is; you don’t have to. The mortgage world is changing right now, for the better. Lender standards are regaining flexibility. Requirements for down payments are going down, in many cases, a down payment is only 3% of the sales price. In 2014, underwriting for self-employed borrowers was extremely strict, but now is moving back towards a reasonable standard.

If you were disqualified by a lender last month, does not mean you shouldn’t re-engage this month. It is a new year, a new market and new guidelines. Millennials shouldn’t assume that just because they can research qualifications online, that they have the ability to self-qualify – or worse, disqualify for a mortgage. Researching qualifications online is a great start, but it is still extremely important to meet in person with a mortgage professional.


2. Search for a home that meets your needs today , your projected needs for a decade. Everyone goes through similar life cycles; you live with your parents/guardians, and then at some point you move out. Once you leave, you have a set of needs for housing, such as proximity to work, nightlife, transportation…etc. But then if/when you start a family, your housing needs will change. Mid-forties are considered the peak earning years, and frequently this is followed by the last move-up in housing. Mid-fifties can bring on the empty-nester era and downsizing to a smaller home. And then when retirement rolls around, a second downsizing may occur, perhaps in a different location. So when you do decide to purchase a home, you should plan ahead accordingly.


3. A home is not an ATM; a home is a long-term investment. The issues that arose during the housing bubble were due to the increase in the pool of buyers, and the thought that the souring appreciation would never end; so many people pulled out their equity (cash-out refinance) and used it to purchase assets, like cars and other depreciating items.

If members of the millennial generation buy appropriate homes for a decade, pay mortgages on-time, don’t do a cash-out refinance, and move-up (or downsize), once they get to a certain age, they will own their own house mortgage-free. That is something no life-time renter will ever be able to say.

Millennials most likely have large student loans, probably don’t want to take on more debt, and view renting as a flexible way to move anytime/anywhere. But as a millennial, it might be time to change your perspective, and start thinking long-term about your life. If you buy sooner rather than later, you won’t look back ten years from now saying you made a bad decision when you got the 30-year fixed rate mortgage under four-percent.


If you are planning on moving or know of someone who is thinking about moving, then contact your local Homesale Agent for help. For more real estate information, please visit our Homesale website.



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AskHomesale.com provides real estate advise and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. Askhomesale.com is part of the Homesale Realty Family. The Homesale Family of Companies is the leading real estate company serving the Baltimore, Maryland, South Central and Southeastern PA real estate markets.  Homesale Realty has more than 25 offices with over 1,000 REALTORS®. Homesale Realty’s footprint includes Maryland real estate offices inBaltimore City, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Westminster, and Timonium.  Pennsylvania real estate offices include York, LancasterWyomissing, Chambersburg,Gettysburg,Harrisburg, and Schuylkill Haven.

Tips for Home Buyers  |  Tips for Home Sellers | Tips for Homeowners

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Closing the door on 2014


Yesterday, S&P Dow Jones Indices released the latest results for the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Prices Indices. The index tracks home prices nationwide and in 20 major cities.

There are two composites conducted; 10-City and 20-City. Both of the composites saw year-over-year declines in October compared to September. The S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, which covers all nine U.S. census divisions, recorded prices grew 4.6% in October 2014 compared to October 2013. Although this is the slowest paced price growth since September 2012, many economists say it is healthier for buyers and sellers than the aggressive growth (double-digit) growth last year at this time.

From September to October housing prices scantily climbed to 0.7% (after adjustments). The results from the 20-City composite reveal that San Francisco and Tampa, Fla were the strongest gains, and Chicago and Cleveland were the weakest gains. Even though the price gains have been gradually slowing since the beginning of 2014, David M. Blitzer, chairman of Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, noted that the October numbers could be a positive change in direction. “After a long period when home prices rose, but at a slower pace with each passing month, we are seeing hints that prices could end 2014 on a strong note and accelerate into 2015,” stated Blitzer.

Stan Humphries, Zillow’s Chief Economist, commented on the report, “Housing definitely came back to earth over the second half of 2014, and we welcome and expect to see more of the same as we look ahead at 2015.” Humphries also stated, “A slower-moving housing market is inherently more stable, more balanced between buyers and sellers and more sustainable over the long-term. We’re ending 2014 on a good note, and this momentum will continue.”

If you are planning on moving or know of someone who is thinking about moving in 2015, then contact your local Homesale Agent for buyer/seller help. For more real estate information, please visit our Homesale website.


References: RIS Media, Forbes
Closing the door on 2014