April 16, 2014

Prudential Real Estate 2013 Fourth Quarter Awards

gold20ribbonEach quarter Prudential Real Estate compiles a list of the top real estate offices throughout the country, ranking them based on their size and location. We are proud to announce that Prudential Homesale has SIX offices that have ranked in the top 3 for their respected category for Q4 2013.

Prudential Homesale Services Group – Centerville

Office Awards:
 2nd Place in Award – ‘Top 3 Offices with a minimum of 41
Sales Professionals and a maximum of 75 Sales Professionals in U.S.
Northeast for Total GCI’
3rd Place in Award – ‘Top 3 Offices with a minimum of 41
Sales Professionals and a maximum of 75 Sales Professionals in U.S.
Northeast for Residential Units’

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Prudential Homesale Services Group – North Pointe

2nd Place in Award – ‘Top 3 Offices with a minimum of 76
Sales Professionals in U.S. Northeast for Residential Units’

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Prudential Homesale Services Group – Carlisle Office

1st Place in Award – ‘Top 3 Offices with a minimum of 21
Sales Professionals and a maximum of 40 Sales Professionals in U.S.
Northeast for Residential Units’

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Prudential Bob Yost Homesale Services – East York

3rd Place in Award – ‘Top 3 Offices with a minimum of 76
Sales Professionals in U.S. Northeast for Residential Units’

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Prudential Bob Yost Homesale Services – West York

2nd Place in Award – ‘Top 3 Offices with a minimum of 41
Sales Professionals and a maximum of 75 Sales Professionals in U.S.
Northeast for Residential Units’

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Prudential Homesale YWGC Realty – Clarkview

1st Place in Award – ‘Top 3 Offices with a minimum of 76
Sales Professionals in U.S. South for Total GCI’
2nd Place in Award – ‘Top 3 Offices with a minimum of 76
Sales Professionals in U.S. South for Residential Units’

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Congratulations again on your fourth quarter success!

 

April 14, 2014

Neighborhood Spotlight- Ellicott City, MD

Thinking about moving to Maryland? Howard County has a diverse selection of neighborhoods and locations to choose from. Ellicott City is a popular choice and after reading this, your interest may be increased. Voted #8 on the best places to live charts, Ellicott City offers the best of both worlds — a charming, historic downtown with plenty of restaurants and a thoughtfully laid-out, planned community with tons of stores.

Take a Day to Relax
Have a spa day and get away from it all at The Spa Turf Valley. Take advantage of the “Total Indulgence” package that includes a facial, massage, body treatment, and lunch. A good value for all that’s included that will leave you completely stress-free.

Have Fun with the Childrenellicott city

If you are looking for an educational and fun outing to experience with the children, then the B&O Railroad Museum near Ellicott City may be your best bet. Offering a wide selection of activities throughout the museum, young children will be able to sit in authentic antique rail cards, and for older kids, they can be entertained by the roundhouse of full antique trains and real train cars that they can enter.

Go for a Walk at the Park

Scientific studies have found that walking is good for your health. Benefits include improved immune system function, lowered blood pressure, and better feeling of overall health. Patapsco Valley State Park is a great place to spend with your family and it’s “nationally known for its trail opportunities and scenery.”

Shop until you Drop

Wind River Classic is a national outlet in Ellicott City that features women designer samples and major retailer overstock at 60% off or more regular retail.

Have a Sweet Tooth?

Stop into Old Mill Bakery Café for fun and tasty treats. From baked goods to coffee, the whole family will love this shop.

Wine & Dine

Looking to fine dine for date night? Portalli’s Italian Restaurant is an exceptional restaurant located in historic Ellicott City that offers a mixture of traditional Italian dishes and Italian-inspired dishes.

Real Estate Overview

With a desirable combination of good schools, low crime, college-educated neighbors, Ellicott City really has some of the features that families look for when choosing a good community to raise children. If you’re interested in buying a home in Ellicott City, please contact one of our local real estate professionals.

April 9, 2014

Spring Cleaning

~Not all of us were born with green thumbs, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have beautiful, restored gardens.~

April 14 IOV - Ecard

AskHomesale.com provides real estate advice and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. Askhomesale.com is part of the Prudential Homesale Family. The Homesale Family of Companies is the leading real estate company serving the Baltimore, Maryland, South Central and Southeastern PA real estate markets.  Prudential Homesale has more than 25 offices with over 1,000 REALTORS®. Prudential Homesale’s footprint includes Maryland real estate offices in Baltimore CityFederal HillFells PointWestminster, and Timonium.  Pennsylvania real estate offices include YorkLancasterWyomissingChambersburgGettysburgHarrisburg, and Schuylkill Haven.

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

April 7, 2014

Credit Karma

For many of you, the thought of buying a home raises some financial concerns such as CreditKarmagetting pre-approved and affording the down payment. Getting pre-approved is often based off your debt-to-income ratio, your credit score, work history, etc. Take note, that just because you pay everything on time, doesn’t necessarily mean that your credit score is perfect. It is important to have a sense of where your credit stands; check out creditkarma.com to find out.

CreditKarma.com provides you with a free credit score; no credit card required. By creating a free account and becoming a Credit Karma member, you will have safe and secure access to four different credit scores including your TransUnion Credit Score, Vantage Score, Auto Insurance Score, and Home Insurance Score. This system also includes a simulator that allows you to plug in variables and see how your credit score may be affected.

Staying up-to-date on your credit score and working to continuously improve it, will keep you on track so you know when buying a home is right for you.

March 31, 2014

Before you Buy…

before you buyThe home you found might appear to have the right features and price but before you make an offer there are some other factors you should consider.

Sometimes when we want something so badly, we might not always ask the questions we should. Since this is one of the largest financial investments most of us will make in a lifetime, taking a step back and having one more look is probably a good idea.

Have you considered the items below?

  *Have an Inspection – Most homes have a defect; some are obvious, most are fixable. Knowing what could potentially need fixed can help you negotiate a better price now. Inspections for lead paint, radon, and pests are also strongly recommended.
* Ask for utility bills – Homes with high ceilings or glass walls might just break your monthly heating/cooling budget and maintaining a beautiful, but elaborate landscape could cause your water bill to skyrocket. All of these should be considered in your monthly expenses.
* Is there an Association? – An association that will keep lawns mowed in summer or walks shoveled in winter could be a very nice perk. As association that organizes community functions also shows that the residents care about their neighborhood.
* Talk to Neighbors – It might be nice to know how many residents are homeowners versus renters.
* Visit at various times – A seemingly quiet street now may be noisy during morning or evening rush hours. The school across the street may appear quiet over the summer but that could change during the school year.
* Look through newspaper archives – Do a little research to see if the area you are considering has any “skeletons” in its closet. Is it prone to water contamination problems or are their future plans to run a power line through your back yard? It pays to be informed.
* Examine taxes closely – Don’t just ask to see the current tax bills, but look at past bills as well. Does this municipality re-appraise homes frequently, leading to increased taxes? Is the local school funded by property taxes? This could be another cause for tax increases.
* Check with City Hall – Check into the property and neighborhood zoning. Also look for any easements or liens that may be connected to this property. Your realtor can help you with the research.
* Reconsider the “options” – Do you really need the in-ground pool? Can you afford the costs to maintain it? Can you live with just a one-car garage or on-street parking? Consider these items again before you buy.
* Explore – Get to know the area around the home. Are you close to an airport or fire station where noise could be a factor at all hours of the day and night? Is the home close to an agricultural area where smells or airborne dust could cause problems? Look beyond the streets of the neighborhood for other potential “deal-breakers”.

Try your best to be impartial and un-emotional when re-evaluating the home. This may be hard to do, but you will be glad that you took the extra time and put just a little more thought into it.

Your home purchase should fill you with joy, excitement, and happiness;
not leave you with buyer’s remorse!

March 24, 2014

Prepping to Sell

Every seller wants his/her home to sell quickly and at the best price possible;  it takes more than just good luck to make this happen.  With careful planning and a little bit of know-how you can highlight your home’s strengths and downplay the weaknesses; turning it into a very desirable home!

De-clutter and de-personalize are typically the top two suggestions for making a home more marketable.  The buyers need to be able to imagine themselves, not you, in the home.  Photos and family heirlooms will distract buyers from looking at your home’s fabulous features.  Removing extra clutter and furniture will make rooms appear larger and also makes it easier for buyers to move around your home.  Rent a storage space if necessary to hold extra items while your home is on the market.

Here are some other great suggestions:

Neutral Appeal

Paint the LR in a fresh, warm, neutral shade to tone down any out of date finishes.  A good rule of thumb is to use neutrals in all large spaces. neutral

 

Make Minor Repairs

Replace cracked tiles, patch holes in walls, fix leaky faucets, fix doors and drawers that won’t close or jam, and replace burned-out bulbs. repair

Three’s Company

Accessories can make a room more inviting.  Odd numbers are preferable, especially three.  Imagine a triangle and place an object at each point.  Be sure to vary height and width, with tallest in the back.  Group by color, texture, or some other unifying factor. threes company

Polished Appearance

Take a little extra time to make the bathroom tile and fixtures sparkle.  Consider accessories that will give off that spa-feel!  Put out items like rolled-up towels, decorative baskets, and candles.  This gives the bath a polished look and doesn’t cost much. polished

A little pop

Visit your garden and bring a little fresh color indoors.  Fresh cut flowers will add color to your home and also herald the seasons.  Bright and sunny for spring and summer, a little fall foliage, or how about evergreens and holly berries for a smashing winter look. a little pop

Curb Appeal

Your home won’t sell if the buyer won’t get out of their car. Keep the sidewalks clear, trim lawn and shrubs, paint faded trim, and add a few colorful flowers (weather permitting). 

First impressions are very, very important! curb

So Inviting

Create a relaxing bedroom setting with soft colors and luxurious, comfy linens.  Remember to de-clutter your closet, flaunt the storage space! inviting

Groupings

Furnish your space by floating furniture away from walls.  Position into cozy groups and create an obvious traffic flow for the room.  This will open up the room and make it seem larger. grouping

 A few final suggestions:

  • Great lighting makes a home warm and welcoming.  Increase the wattage in lamps and fixtures.
  • Paint a small room the same color as an adjacent room.  A seamless look will make both rooms feel like one large space.
  • Don’t be afraid to use a dark paint in a small room, like a powder room, for a cozy, intimate feel.
  • Display art in a creative way, not just encircling your room.  This is a great way to show off your space.
  • Remove and replace favorite items you wish to keep, like curtains or fixtures.  If a buyer doesn’t see it, they won’t want it. 
  • Make your home sparkle inside and out.  Clean windows, polish chrome, vacuum daily, wax floors, replace worn rugs, etc.

 The work is done, your home is now ready to shine and impress all those potential buyers.  Happy Selling!

March 18, 2014

Thinking About Buying a Foreclosed Home?

Purchasing a foreclosed home is quite different from buying a foreclosure signtypical resale. A foreclosed home is the process by which a homeowner’s rights to a property are forfeited because of failure to pay the mortgage.

The home you found might appear to be the right price and be in tip top shape, but before you purchase make sure to take some of these suggestions into consideration.

Reconsider Auctions – This process has many risks; prospective buyers aren’t able to do thorough home inspections or stay informed of outstanding taxes owed on the property before making the purchase.

Budget your Funds– Just because the price seems low to you now, doesn’t mean that something can’t be expected later. With low payments, this gives you a chance to really save your money.

Purchase Through a Bank – It might be better to go through a bank to purchase a foreclosed home. Banks are required to handle and pay off any back taxes  and you will be able to inspect the home before purchasing.

Inspect the Home & Neighborhood Thoroughly! – Answer these questions and record your findings when conducting your inspection:

How is the neighborhood?

How long has the house been empty?

How is the landscaping of the home and neighboring homes?

Was the house winterized?

Really take time and think about what your best options are. Are you prepared for the obstacles that could arise when purchasing a foreclosed home? If so consider these suggestions and do your research. 

“Really good deals on these bank-owned, they go quick — and the buyer doesn’t necessarily have time to try to work out the financing afterward. They need to work that out first.” – Jenson

March 11, 2014

One Last Look…

Once you’ve found your dream home, the financing is approved, and all inspections are completed, many buyers are tempted to sit back, relax, and wait for closing day.  There is one more very important step in the home buying process, a final walk-through.

This is the last chance to make sure everything is in working condition and that things are as they were presented in the deal.  If not, you still have time to have them repaired or you could even walk away.  Taking time now to check on the home could help save you time and money on costly repairs in the future.

Here are some things to look for: final walkthrough

Major Systems – Turn on the heat and the air conditioning as soon as you get there.  This will give it time to run so you should notice a temperature change.  Make sure you are hearing more than just the fan running.

Plumbing – Take the time to turn on every faucet and shower.  Do they drip?  Is there good water pressure?  Take a look in the basement and below sinks for any possible leaks.  Also flush all toilets to insure they work properly and are not leaking.

Repairs – Some repairs or upgrades may be required per the terms of your contract.  Check that the seller has taken care of these items and they have been done properly.  Don’t be afraid to mention something that has not been completed. 

Appliances – Turn on the dishwasher, the oven (light and fan too), washing machine, clothes dryer, and any other major appliance that is part of the home, to make sure they all work.

Landscaping – Take a stroll around the exterior of the home and the entire yard.  Believe it or not, some sellers have actually taken outside plants/shrubs with them.  Make sure nothing is missing.  If there is an irrigation system, check that it works.

Remotes/Keypads – If the home is equipped with a security system, does the keypad work?  If there are ceiling fans with remote controls, make sure the seller did not accidentally pack them.

Lights – Check that all lights and switch plates are in place.  A seller may forget to mention that they intend on taking a certain light fixture, etc.  Be sure that everything you expecting is in its proper place.

Walls – Take a look at walls and ceilings for any holes or damage that may have occurred while the seller was moving out. 

Cleanliness – Sellers are required to leave the home clean and free of their possessions.  Make sure the garage, yard, and any outbuildings are empty and clean.  You don’t want to find yourself responsible for the disposal of something large or even hazardous.

You may have had a professional inspection performed, but you should be just as diligent on your final walk-through.  Use this opportunity for more than planning furniture placement, check these important items first and then enjoy planning your move. FYI, another good idea to consider is the purchase of a home warranty.  This will give you a little extra peace of mind and will take care of any costly repairs for major system issues, appliance break-downs, etc. that might occur after you move in. 

March 6, 2014

It’s Time!

As you look outside, you see more snow falling and you feel the temperature getting colder every day.  You’re concerned with cleaning off your car and getting shoveled out; buying a home may not have even crossed your mind.  Many argue that spring is the best time to find your dream home, but if you are ready, The Time is Now!

March IOV

AskHomesale.com provides real estate advice and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. Askhomesale.com is part of the Prudential Homesale Family. The Homesale Family of Companies is the leading real estate company serving the Baltimore, Maryland, South Central and Southeastern PA real estate markets.  Prudential Homesale has more than 25 offices with over 1,000 REALTORS®. Prudential Homesale’s footprint includes Maryland real estate offices in Baltimore CityFederal HillFells PointWestminster, and Timonium.  Pennsylvania real estate offices include YorkLancasterWyomissingChambersburgGettysburgHarrisburg, and Schuylkill Haven.

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

February 27, 2014

How to Choose the Right Real Estate Agent

Buying or selling your home can be emotional endeavor, but with the help of a dedicated and dependable real estate agent, it can be an enjoyable and peaceful process. There are many aspects that you must consider when trying to choose the agent that is right for you. By following some of these simple guidelines, you will be heading in the right direction for a successful real estate experience.

Research & Record Your ResultsReal Estate

This cannot be stressed enough.  Referrals from family and friends are great but we still encourage you to do your research.  Go to open houses and watch an agent in action; this will help you see them in a professional and casual setting.  Another suggestion is to drive around the neighborhoods in your market place and see which agents and companies dominate the area.   Make a list of your top choices for a Realtor and Google them.  In that list, record the pros and cons from online reviews, ratings, testimonials, etc. 

Schedule Interviews & Ask Questions

This is the biggest step in the process. Keep in mind that as a seller, top agents will market your home on multiple websites and social media.  As a buyer, they will notify you as homes that meet your criteria enter the market. Find out how the agent will keep you updated and represent you during negotiations.  There are hundreds of questions you could ask, but remember to separate the good, better, and best agents by comparing the answers you get to your questions.

Lay Down your Laws with Some Simple Guidelines

Real estate transactions consist of fine details that can be missed and disrupt the whole process if you don’t have the right agent in your corner. Communication is a key aspect and you must stress that your agent needs to be available via email or phone, whichever is preferred.   Set realistic goals and stress that you and your agent must work as a productive team.

When it comes to buying or selling your home, finding the right real estate professional makes the difference!

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