Hadley Home-buyer’s Open House Adventure-Part 2

Remember Hadley Homebuyer? She’s the one looking for a home. “Just looking”— not really serious about it, or so she says. But she is on-line every day checking the new listings and researching the mortgage rates. This interest in real estate is not unusual. We all have it to some degree or another. But Hadley has a good dose of it. Hadley has a dream of owning a home in the next year or so. She is an HGTV fanatic, so she can’t wait to decorate it in the latest styles. In fact, she has also been window shopping for furniture and accessories lately. When we last saw Hadley, her friend Sally had convinced her to go see some open houses on a Sunday afternoon.

Hadley and Sally’s Open House Adventure-Part 1

When we last left Hadley, our home-buyer, and Sally, her impetuous friend, they were planning to attend some open houses. “Sally”, Hadley pointed out, “not all the websites I have been using have listings of which homes are open this weekend. What should we do?” “No problem, Had,” Sally assured her friend, “the major company has all of the open houses on its website every weekend and I have subscribed, so I get an email every week with a complete list!” After reviewing the photos on the open house list from “Big Company”, the two decided on 4 houses they wanted to go see. “These are the cutest ones, don’t you think?” queried Sally. “Well, they look good in these photos, at least,” agreed Hadley. But she wasn’t so sure she knew where they were located and she was concerned that none of them showed any kitchen photos. “Oh well, you have to start somewhere”, she thought. And what could be more fun than going to open houses with your best friend!

Hadley Homebuyer and the “Stacked Deck” Problem

Typically, home buyers are very concerned that the deck is stacked against them in the home buying process. They suspect the agent is not really on their side, has conflicts of interest or just wants to get the deal done. It seems like others have inside information about the good deals that is not available to them. And they are totally scared of the whole lending process. You know, they may be right, actually, to worry about those things. Our homebuyer, Hadley, has just finished texting with her best friend, Sally. “OMG”, Sally texted, “My agent was so lame!”   Sally has recently bought a home and had a very unhappy experience. She felt like she did all the work while the agent took home a lot of her money at the closing! Another problem that drove her crazy was that a home she found on-line would be “sold” or “under contract” when she told her agent about it. Sally was convinced that her agent was not getting the straight scoop about the status of these houses. And when it came time to negotiate the deal, Sally felt like her agent was negotiating with her, not the other side. Hadley wants to do better. She wants an agent who can add something that she cannot get by just working harder herself. She wants an agent who will dig hard to find the perfect house and then negotiate hard for all the right terms so she can get the deal she deserves. But wait,[...]

Introducing Hadley Homebuyer! The Agent-less Avatar

Say hello to Hadley Homebuyer. She is our new avatar for our blog on home buying. Just look at her. She is a smart, professional, connected woman with great ideas and enthusiasm. What she doesn’t have is AN AGENT!! Why? She doesn’t need one (or so she says). Why is Hadley starting to look for a house without an agent? Because she knows she can find everything she needs to know on the internet. She can look at photos and videos of homes, review on-line lending rates, research school districts and local taxes and even google-earth the streets where there are listings. She reads the articles about how the market has taken a nose dive and what the average loss is on homes nationwide.

A Typical Timeline for a Home Buyer

So you want to be a home buyer, huh? Do you know what a typical timeline of actions would be for that? Here is one we see a lot. Amazing how many steps there are, isn’t it? And it is so important to follow the right order in the home buying process.

How to Look at a House

You, a new home buyer, drive up to this house for the first time with your agent. What do you think? Nice brick exterior. Expensive landscaping. What would a good agent be thinking? They would be looking at the roof. What? Why in the world look at the roof? Because this house has a lot of square footage of roof–look at the steep slopes and the dormers. Any buyer interested in this house should be determining that the roof is in good shape and has a lot of good years left. And the best place to see the roof is from the street or the end of the driveway. That is why a good agent looks at this roof first. They might also tell you about how many years are left, what the cost per square foot would be to replace the roof and any particular issues that exist. For example, a wood shingle roof usually has no sheathing underneath so will need an additional layer of plywood before asphalt shingles can be put on. This adds to the cost and should be taken into consideration. Home buyers need a seasoned, educated pair of eyes to serve as their “counter” to the emotional reaction that a beautiful home can elicit. Exclusive buyer agents can do that. They have no listings or homes to “push”. So use one, if you can find one. They are a rare breed. And wait until you see what a good agent does when you get inside!!
Real Estate for Sale Main Line Philadelphia & Wayne PA

Homes Are Like Neighborhoods

Ever notice that the nicest families live in houses with front porches? Home buyers have so many things to think about when they look for a home that they often overlook the “feeling” of the neighborhood. Just like homes, neighborhoods have a personality and a feel. Neighborhoods with sidewalks and front porches attract neighborly folks and like-minded, socially active families. This type of neighborhood can be just what a home buyer wants. Not so easy to find, though. We look for signs of a thriving neighborhood for our home buyers. Front proches with chairs, sidewalks with walkers, neighborhood associations that sponsor events and parties or have Facebook pages. All are signs of a good area. A lot of involvement in the schools (active PTA), good sports programs and access to parks and recreation are also features that define a great neighborhood. Home buyers should rely on a good agent, preferably an exclusive buyer’s agent, to provide this kind of insight into neighborhoods so the home buying process includes those very important factors. Using an expert is almost always free to the buyer. Check out those front porches, folks!  

Homes with A Past

I walk every day by a group of houses with nice flower gardens and friendly dogs. But I never noticed the sign until the other day. “Chauffeur’s Cottage”, it said. Who has a chauffeur these days? Of course it didn’t mean that a driver lives there now, but it made me wonder who had built that house for their driver to live in and where that person had lived. The Philadelphia Main Line has a rich history of famous Philadelphians: captains of industry, brewers of beer, architects and investment barons. So we also have many small homes, cottages and carriage houses originally built for those who served the wealthy or for their out of town guests. These homes present a wonderful opportunity for home buyers who do not need tons of space but appreciate the craftsmanship and architecture of that period. Buying such a home can also be a good investment because it often provides that desirable quality of not being the most expensive home on the block. Always better to let the other home raise up your home’s value rather than the other way around! Look around your town for homes with a past and you might find a wonderful place to make a future.  

What Do You See from Your Window?

Of all the things that home buyers think about the first time they walk into a house, the view out of the kitchen window is probably not even on the list. But I almost always mention it. Why? Because I think it says a lot about a house. For me, a view of the blank side of the neighbor’s wall would make me feel claustrophobic. I know I need trees, hopefully some flowers, and ideally some birds on the feeder. So that is what I have: Some of my home buyers are city folks. They hope for a parking spot, some small green area in the back or a deck to enjoy the cityscape. But do you know which houses they lean towards? The ones with windows on the back side. Everyone needs light and beauty. A dark home can be an unhappy one, and no one can “put their finger on” why that is. My British neighbor used to tell me that her mother advised, “Never buy a home on a north-facing slope”. She was speaking of those dark houses where no light can get in. Where your mood changes as soon as you enter. Most kitchens face the back of the house. And most have the sink in front of a window. But I have seen many homes where the sink faces a corner or a wall. And some kitchens are on the interior of the home, overlooking the family room or a dining area. I point that out and[...]

Is Curb Appeal Overrated?

How much should a home buyer value curb appeal? Look at this house. Nice architectural features, good paint colors, some interesting landscaping. This is just the type of home most home buyers will elect to go see. And a good listing agent will put this shot on the public websites and its own site to attract buyers. But a good exclusive buyer agent will always look beyond curb appeal. Fresh paint and flowers are a good initial indicator of the condition of a home, but NOT the only ones. Plenty of listing agents know to tell their sellers to do those things that will make the photos look good. Good buyers agents also know that such “fluff” is not always the true picture.   Many a home with good curb appeal has serious condition issues once you take a closer look. Maybe the roof is on its last legs, or the heating system is outdated and inefficient. Those 1950’s bathrooms with the wet-bed tile are oh so expensive to remodel. Replacement windows are one of the most expensive upgrades a home buyer may have to make. Count those windows!

Featured Testimonial

I moved to PA from Washington State and learned that realty is local. There were things that I thought I knew about buying a house previously but boy was I wrong. Linda was very patient with me but also did not hold back when she saw potential problems, and always made sure I had all the information I needed before making a decision and didn’t belittle concerns to just get a sale. Above all else, and this was the most important thing to me, Linda has a high ethical standard, is very transparent in her approach and is someone I trusted making one of the biggest decisions of my life. – A. Lindsay (Courtesy of Google)

 

Hear From Our Clients

  • "We were so pleased that a co-worker recommended someone in the area that she trusted. Boy, did we strike gold on all counts. You are amazing!"
  • "Instead of trying to take advantage of conflicts of interest, she puts the client's interests first."
  • "Linda is a hardworking, proactive and knowledgeable realtor. Throughout the process of finding and buying our new home, she was always responsive and kept us up to date on every detail."
  • "Linda and the group at Sage are the right fit. You won’t find more knowledgeable, prepared and professional agents."
  • "Linda and Tracey really know the Main Line area."
  • "Throughout the entire process we never doubted that she always had our best interests in mind. We wouldn’t consider anyone else when buying a home on the Main Line."
  • "From start to finish, Linda brought to bear a most helpful combination of experience, knowledge, attention and integrity on a somewhat complicated transaction. There was never any doubt that she represented our interests."
  • "Her knowledge of the area helped us quickly narrow our search and ultimately scored us an amazing home in an incredible neighborhood."
  • "It is hard to trust when you are not sure of the rules of the game. Working with Linda made us feel like we were family. Linda took her time to relay and explain everything in detail."
  • "Linda’s honesty and real estate savviness made for a wonderful home buying experience!"

Read more about what our clients have to say

Hear from our Clients

  • "We were so pleased that a co-worker recommended someone in the area that she trusted. Boy, did we strike gold on all counts. You are amazing!"
  • "Instead of trying to take advantage of conflicts of interest, she puts the client's interests first."
  • "Linda is a hardworking, proactive and knowledgeable realtor. Throughout the process of finding and buying our new home, she was always responsive and kept us up to date on every detail."
  • "Linda and the group at Sage are the right fit. You won’t find more knowledgeable, prepared and professional agents."
  • "Linda and Tracey really know the Main Line area."
  • "Throughout the entire process we never doubted that she always had our best interests in mind. We wouldn’t consider anyone else when buying a home on the Main Line."
  • "From start to finish, Linda brought to bear a most helpful combination of experience, knowledge, attention and integrity on a somewhat complicated transaction. There was never any doubt that she represented our interests."
  • "Her knowledge of the area helped us quickly narrow our search and ultimately scored us an amazing home in an incredible neighborhood."
  • "It is hard to trust when you are not sure of the rules of the game. Working with Linda made us feel like we were family. Linda took her time to relay and explain everything in detail."
  • "Linda’s honesty and real estate savviness made for a wonderful home buying experience!"

Read more about what our clients have to say

Sage Buyer Tips

Use Sage Buyer Tips to research the Main Line and stay up to date on real estate news. This online destination is chock full of resources for buyers and sellers: you can see our Main Line communities or explore Sage favorite places. Browse properties here and search other Main Line real estate. With Sage’s advice and experience, first-time buyers and those looking to upgrade can find homes best suited to their needs.