What is my home worth? Let’s look at the most important aspects of home value.

You ask; What is my home worth?

I’ll ask: What are some of the features you can NOT change?

The top three things that dictate a home’s value (and I know you have heard this before)

  1. Location (regional)
  2. Location (local)
  3. Location (physical)

Let’s elaborate: Location is geographical. Do you live in New England, Southern California or the Deep South. Maybe you are in the mid west. Apples to apples on the condition and size of a home these locations will drastically change your home’s value. What town or city do you live in and how close to the urban center are you. How close are you to local highways and major travel routes? It’s a delicate balance between being too close to center and too far away. People love convenience but not too convenient.

Now that we have settled in on how convenient your commute to work or the grocery store will be, let’s talk about other local amenities. How are the taxes handled for the town your property is located in? You may have a good idea about your towns overall value in comparison to neighboring towns.

So let’s talk about physical location; do you live on a hill, on a main road, are there trees, privacy, or a cul-de-sac? Are you in a gated community, are there association fees? What do you see when you look out the window? What do you see when you drive home? What can you hear? Is there an airport or a train, maybe a highway in the distance?

See the importance of understanding location as value above everything else, location is the one thing a buyer cannot change about your house. Everything else can be fixed, changed, adjusted to suit the new owners liking but location can never be changed. You can move your neighboring farm or the highway. You can change your views or remove a hill.

With today’s technology a house with a center chimney can be renovated to have a full open floor plan, A ranch can be built into a colonial, a three bedroom can become a 4 bedroom and vice versa.

There are other factors that play into the value of your home; Such as condition and size in comparison to other homes with comparable location and these things should not be taken lightly either.

You should also consider your Realtors location. I’m not saying you want to hire a town specific agent either. Agents who specialize in one town limit their connections to people inside the town. We are seeing a trend of transplants. Meaning, many buyers are coming from outside the current location which they are buying; People moving from towns to a city or from the city to a more suburban or rural area. Make sure your agent has reach, both local and metro and make sure they have a great internet presence. Location is everything including where your listing will be seen and talked about. Just because an agent sells more homes in a specific town doesn’t always mean they are the best fit for the job. Check the agents overall criteria. How many homes have they sold in all locations? How far can they reach and to how many people. Your location on the web in a sale is as important as your location on the planet.

Your Estimate may not be right

NoZillow

Seriously.

Zillow and other 3rd party valuation sites are pulling in local sold data on homes that might not be in the same community or neighborhood as yours which can significantly change the value.

Zillow hasn’t seen your home, or your upgrades, or the updates you’ve made.

Allow me to come see your home so we can properly evaluate..

  • Size of the home
  • Condition
  • Updates and Upgrades
  • Features
  • Neighborhood
  • Lifestyle
  • And any other factors that could affect the value.

The truth is that your home will only sell for what the market calls for regardless. Zillow doesn’t set the price, and neither does your agent. The true value of your home is what someone will pay for it.

Let’s get as close to that price as possible.

To schedule a meeting with me, fill out the form below and I’ll be in touch.

Valuation Request

victoria@victoriamack.com
267.918.6322

What is the difference between a Real Estate Agent and a REALTOR ®

Real estate agent vs a realtor

You may (or may not) have heard that there are different types of Real Estate Agents – that you may not don’t understand the difference between a Real Estate Agent and a REALTOR ®.  More often than not, people refer to each of them hand in hand because they just don’t know.  All REALTORS® are real estate agents but not all real estate agents are REALTORS®.  There are actually some big differences between the two of them and they are important to know especially if you are going to rely on their guidance and expertise in the real estate market.

Each state government regulates their real estate professions.  In Pennsylvania, you must successfully complete 75 hours of approved real estate education within 5 years of the passing date of both portions of the examination, and be at least 18 years old with a high school diploma or an equivalent. Once you complete the class, you schedule your appointment to take the real estate licensing test.  Once you pass the test, then you can get your license.  Your license will need to be renewed every 2 years (every even year: so if you got your license in 2020, you have to renew your license by 5/31/2022 and every even year so forth). To find out more information on the classes, visit PA Association of Realtors.

Real Estate Agent vs REALTOR®

  • Real estate agent: A person who completes the required classes, passes the exam and is granted a real estate license can be called a real estate agent.
  • REALTOR®: A real estate agent who becomes a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, meaning that they ascribe to and uphold the Code of Ethics and Professional Standards of the NAR (National Association of REALTORS®.

You don’t automatically become a member of The National Association of REALTORS®.  There are additional classes to take and annual dues to pay. According the NAR website:

  • “The NAR is composed of residential and commercial REALTORS®, who are brokers, salespeople, property managers, appraisers, counselors and others engaged in all aspects of the real estate industry.” Members sit on boards and committees together to share information about their respective expertise in the real estate industry.  “Members belong to one or more of some 1,700 local associations/boards and 54 state and territory associations of REALTORS®.”
  • The NAR constantly offers professional development to its members.  The association offers institutes and councils in all facets of real estate, everything from changes in lending practices to appraisal to international real estate.

 The Code of Ethics

A REALTOR ® must also prescribe to a legally enforceable code of ethics. The general buyer or seller is not aware of what this code of ethics is about. According to NAR and The Code of Ethics, here is what your REALTOR® pledges to do:

  • Pledge to put the interests of buyers and sellers ahead of their own and to treat all parties honestly.
  • Shall refrain from exaggerating, misrepresenting or concealing material facts; and is obligated to investigate and disclose when situations reasonably warrant.
  • Shall cooperate with other brokers / agents when it is in the best interests of the client to do so.
  • Have a duty to disclose if they represent family members who own or are about to buy real estate, or if they themselves are a principal in a real estate transaction, that they are licensed to sell real estate.
  • Shall not provide professional services in a transaction where the agent has a present or contemplated interest without disclosing that interest.
  • Shall not collect any commissions without the seller’s knowledge nor accept fees from a third-party without the seller’s express consent.
  • Shall refuse fees from more than one party without all parties’ informed consent.
  • Shall not co-mingle client funds with their own.
  • Shall attempt to ensure that all written documents are easy to understand and will give everybody a copy of what they sign.
  • Shall not discriminate in any fashion for any reason on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.
  • Expects agents to be competent, to conform to standards of practice and to refuse to provide services for which they are unqualified.
  • Must engage in truth in advertising.
  • Shall not practice law unless they are a lawyer.
  • Shall cooperate if charges are brought against them and present all evidence requested.
  • Agree not to bad mouth competition and agree not to file unfounded ethics complaints.
  • Shall not solicit another REALTOR’S client nor interfere in a contractual relationship.
  • Shall submit to arbitration to settle matters and not seek legal remedies in the judicial system.

Though you have an option of who you work with for a real estate professional, it is always a good idea to work with a member of the National Association of REALTORS®.  These agents are committed to being the most professional and courteous. These agents have great experience and are constantly improving their knowledge through training and certifications.  Make sure before you agree to work with someone, that they have your best interests in mind and will represent you in the most favorable way.

As a proud REALTOR® and I pride ourselves in our ability to work with buyers, sellers and investors and have the education and training to exceed your expectations.

6 Questions to Ask Yourself When Selling a House…

Here’s what you should ask….

Ask yourself, and then ask a Realtor®

If you’ve been thinking about selling your home, chances are that you’re excited about the possibility of moving and starting a new chapter of your life. Simply deciding to sell your home isn’t enough, though. The process of putting your home on the market can be overwhelming and time-consuming, so before you try to sell your property, you need to ask yourself a few questions. Being honest with yourself and with the people around you will help you have a more positive selling experience when you’re ready to move. 

  1. Why are you moving?

Be honest with yourself. Why do you want to move? Are the neighbors terrible? Do you not like the kitchen? Do you need a yard? What is it about your home that makes you feel like selling it? Your answer might be simple. After all, maybe your family is growing and you need more space; or the opposite, you may have came across the season of empty-nesters and you need to downsize. It is possible though, that your answer is more complex: such as a divorce, death, or financial.

After the events of 2020, many people have been rethinking of our living situation and may need to make a change. With many professions switching to remote working you many not need to live in the city or town of your employment. Whatever the reason, make sure you think of why you are moving so you can convey with your real estate professional to help navigate the best strategy and plan for your upcoming move.

  1. Are there any serious problems with the house?

Potential buyers will have the house inspected before they purchase your home. What will the inspector find? Are there any serious problems with the home? If there are, realize that you need to disclose this to potential buyers. Major problems will also impact the price of your house. If your home has a lot of issues, consider fixing them before you put your home on the market in order to get the best possible price.

  1. What are other houses in the neighborhood selling for?

Are other homes in your area selling well? If they are selling, how much are they going for? If your neighbors’ houses are selling for well above the market average, chances are that you’ll be able to sell your home at a similar price. If the market in your area is poor, though, you may want to wait awhile to put your house up for sale so that you can get a better price.

In today’s market (2021), we are seeing low inventory and the demand is extremely high. Therefore we are in a high seller’s market. (meaning that there’s more buyers in the market than homes for sale). Pair that with historic low interest rates you have a very competitive situation – resulting in multiple offers which can drive the sale prices up.

  1. Should you use a real estate agent?

Before you start advertising that your home is for sale, consider whether or not you want to use a real estate agent. Some families choose to do their own marketing, promoting, and selling, but others like that a real estate agent will help drive buyers to your home. If you don’t have a background in real estate or home buying, an agent could be a valuable asset. Not only will they help you promote your house, but they’ll also help you make minor adjustments to your home that could help it sell faster.

  1. What should potential buyers know about?

Finally, ask yourself what potential buyers need to know before they buy your home. If there is anything that you would want to know before you purchased a home, make sure you give your buyers the same consideration. In PA, you would have to complete a Seller’s Property Disclosure, this document is a series of questions that you will complete on your knowledge of the home during your time living in the home. These questions are based on homes in the state of PA, you would complete each question by answering: yes, no, N/A, or Unknown. (every state is different and may have their own property disclosure form – please check with your local realtor to see if your state has their own form) It is important to answer these questions honestly and to the best of your knowledge. For example, if you’ve ever had water leak in your home, make sure that you disclose this to your buyers. Never try to hide serious problems in order to make a sale. Instead, be up front and forthcoming about anything you feel is cause for concern. Remember: disclose, disclose, disclose. This is your first line of defense and to help with negotiating proposed repairs to the buyer’s inspection.

6. When do you see this process starting and ending?

This question is important to understand what is a realistic time frame. Do you need to sell in order to buy? Can you buy first and then sell? or Do you plan to sell and rent? Whatever the time frame, you need to understand how are you going to accomplish your goals with least stress and hassle. We all need a plan as to what we need to do, where we need to go, and how are we going to get there. It’s going to take time.

When buying, account for the time it would take to get your preapproval and see if you can afford 2 homes at the same time where you can buy, move, then sell. If you need to sell so you can buy, have your home on the market, and search for your home. You can put a home sale contingency addendum to your purchase offer on your new home or if you can, live with family or a short term rental until you sell your home, have your funds from the sale and then search and purchase your home. Same thing with a rental, you need time to find and apply for your new rental home.

For some additional information, check this video to see if you should sell your home in 2021 and tips on how to win the bid!

Should I Move to Philadelphia?

I have lived in the Philadelphia area all my life and being a resident of the City of Philadelphia for about the last 5 years. There’s some parts of the city that I love and some parts that I do not like.

Pros:

History

Philadelphia's Intriguing Historical Sites

Being the beginning of America, Philadelphia has a lot of history. The nation’s Declaration of Independence was signed and is housed here at Independence Mall. We have a plethora of museums and historical markers from the Franklin Institute to the Betsey Ross House. Philadelphia was the residence of major historical figures such as Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. We were the nations first capital.

The Art

Philadelphia Museum of Art | PhillyVoice

Philadelphia is also known for their art and culture. Throughout the city, there are statues, sculptures, and murals that are showcased within Center City and Philadelphia neighborhoods. It’s nothing to drive down a Spring Garden St, Girard Ave, Broad St, Chestnut St, Walnut St, etc to see several murals on the sides of a row homes and buildings. The famous Rocky Steps at the Philadelphia Art Museum is where you can see down the Avenue of the Flags (aka Ben Franklin Parkway) to see the Art Museum and Logan Square Fountain to City Hall – the heart of Center City. There’s a Rocky Statue on the right side of the Art Museum steps.

Cheaper Cost of Living

Pennsylvania counties with the lowest cost of living - pennlive.com

Compared to other major metropolitan cities, Philadelphia is considered cheaper than Boston, New York City, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. Many people along the east coast is making their way to Philadelphia because of not only the location but they can make their money in these other cities and commute back and forth to Philadelphia where the living is cheaper.

Easy Access to Surrounding States

Visiting Philadelphia with Kids

Location, Location, Location! Philadelphia is the city between NY and DC. You can easily get to NY and DC by train or by car and be in those cities within 2-3 hours. There are many major routes to get in and out of the city. Besides that, New Jersey and Delaware are the neighboring states. There are 4 major bridges connecting Philadelphia to New Jersey: Betsy Ross, Tacony, Ben Franklin, and Walt Whitman. In the summer, Philly folks will take the 1 hour and 30 minute drive to the many NJ beaches. To get to Delaware is to take I-95 South and you’ll be in Delaware within 30 minutes.

Amazing Food Scene

The 25 Most Iconic Dishes in Philadelphia - Eater Philly

Philadelphia is known for the Cheese Steaks and our Ritas “Wooder Ice”. We love our Chickies and Petes and our Wawa’s. With a lot of chefs that had open their restaurants and eateries in the city, there are a lot of different cuisines that we can enjoy. From the Fat Salmon (Center City), Fogo De Chow (Center City), the rivalriy of Pats vs Genos in South Philly.

Cons:

Pollution

Philly trash ticketing is up 300%. It hasn't fixed the litter ...

Philadelphia is trashy. If your driving or walking on a road or even sitting at a park bench to watch traffic, you may see someone throw out a McDonald’s bag, plastic bags, etc out in the middle of the road with no conviction. We do have a lot of trash, but were getting better. The city has put out a campaign to help clean up the city.

Parking

Median parking on South Broad Street is dangerous and must end ...

Have you ever watched Parking Wars on A&E? The Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) is notorious for ticketing, booting, and towing cars who have not paid their parking tickets or parked in the wrong spot. If you park within the Center City, Spring Garden, Art Museum, Fairmount, Manayunk and several other neighborhoods, you will have to be a resident, to get a permit to park for and extended period of time. Most signs within busy neighborhoods and areas are limited to only 1-2 hour increments. Sometimes the signs can be extremely confusing. I would have to double and triple check to ensure that I can park.

Taxes

Philly Beverage Tax: Where the money goes | Office of the Mayor ...

Within the City Limits, we have 3 different types of taxes: City Wage Tax, Sales Tax, and Soda Tax. The City Wage tax is for anyone who resides in the City of Philadelphia and works anywhere has to pay 3.8712% in taxes, regardless on whether they work inside the city limits or not. Anyone who works in the city limits but reside outside of the city has to pay 3.4481% in taxes.

Sales Tax is about 8% whereas the neighboring counties only pay 6%. If you purchase anything outside of food (except for prepared foods) and clothing, within the city expect to pay that sales tax. Most people either travel outside of the city to purchase their items or go to Delaware where there is no sales tax.

Soda Tax (also known as the Philly Beverage Tax) is a new tax, which took effect at the beginning of 2017, is 1.5 cents per ounce on sugary or artificially sweetened drinks. Obviously this doesn’t apply for water or naturally sweetened drinks such as orange or apple juice. However since the implementation of this tax, people who live along the border of the city limits or are able to, travel to neighboring suburbs to purchase their drinks that they would have to pay the tax for in the City. Because of this tax, local businesses who sells these drinks has been impacted thus the city’s sales of these drinks has fallen to about 51%.

Weather

Potent Storm To Bring Drastic Change To Our Region – CBS Philly

The weather here sucks. We either have really cold winters and really hot summers and no in between. Sometimes we don’t get a winter at all because the temperatures are so mild. This year, we didn’t really get a winter. We don’t get a lot of rain either. Sometimes our rainy days lasts about half a day.

Snow and Parking Chairs

philadelphia-police-say-no-savesies-shoveled-parking-spaces ...

To piggyback on the weather, when it snows. And it snows bad to where there is a lot of accumulation, if you are located on a side street, your street is not going to get plowed or salted. It’s the locals who tend to pave the way through rolling down the street. If you are located on a hill, forget about it, you will have to park somewhere where its flat and you can easily park and pull out of a spot to put a parking chair in the space. Parking Chairs is a local unwritten rule, where if you shovel yourself out of a spot, and you put a chair in that space, you can put a chair or a paint can to hold your spot until you return. No one really moves the chair however if someone does, that person may be unlucky to see that their tires are slashed.

Right in the Middle:

Low Property Taxes but Higher Sales Price

Should the Philadelphia Property Tax Classification System Be ...

Because Philadelphia is so big and dense, the property taxes are extremely low. They can be anywhere between a few hundred dollars to a couple thousand. Depending on the property of course. Now with lower property taxes compared to the surrounding suburbs, where they pay a couple thousand dollars; Philadelphia home prices tend to be on the higher side than the suburbs and vice versa.

Things are Getting More Expensive

NBC10 Philadelphia on Twitter: "It's getting more expensive to ...

Somewhat in the middle, things are getting more expensive. Philadelphia’s homes and rent values are increasing. Sometimes, people are not able to afford the better neighborhoods and becoming priced out because of gentrification. Nevertheless, people are making ends meet by either choosing to move out of the Philadelphia area to find a cheaper cost of living or moving in with family or friends.

Checkout my video on this topic. Subscribe to my channel as I make new videos every week about Living in Philadelphia!

About Me

http://victoriamack.foxroach.com

A Delaware County native Victoria has lived in the Philadelphia area most of her life. A graduate of Springfield High School in 2004 Victoria then left to attend college at Indiana University of Pennsylvania where she studied Business. In 2007, Victoria then moved back to the Philadelphia area to continue studying Business at Saint Joseph’s University and graduated in 2010. Victoria started her career as a paralegal at McKee Law Office a business law firm where she got her taste of Real Estate by helping clients save their homes through foreclosure sheriff sales, she also helped with drafting deeds through both traditional transfer or through quick claim. From that experience Victoria decided to get her PA real estate license in 2013. With the belief that real estate is a full time business Victoria works real estate full time and her other job is being a proud wife and mother of 3 boys: Kevin II Sebastian and Reign. With her love of real estate Victoria successfully works with both buyers and sellers to help make their real estate dreams come through from working with first time home buyers to the seller who is ready to start the next chapter of their life or even the investor who wants to add to their portfolio, Victoria works diligently and thoroughly to a successful and smooth transaction for her clients.

If you’re interested in Philadelphia Real Estate, call/text me at 267.918.6322 or email me at victoria.mack@foxroach.com.

Planning to Look for a House? Get a Mortgage Pre-Approval First

Before you start house hunting, get pre-approved for a mortgage.

Pre-approval will help you figure out your price range, show real estate agents that you’re a serious buyer and give a seller confidence in your offer.

A lender will review your income, assets, debts and credit to decide whether to pre-approve you. This is a more rigorous process than pre-qualification.

You don’t have to get a mortgage from the lender that pre-approves you if another company offers you a better interest rate.

Before you seek pre-approval, get copies of your credit reports and check them for errors or problems.

Make sure your finances are in order before you apply for pre-approval.

Get Preapproved Here with Trident Mortgage

When you have a pre-approval we can refine your search based on the amount that you are willing to pay on your mortgage per month. It is better to understand what you can afford when purchasing a home than to get under contract on a home that you may not be able to afford. Which causes frustration with all parties and could be a costly and timely en devour with inspection costs and your deposit being held up in escrow.