How to Find the Best School District For Your Kids

school districtIf your are moving and buying a home, there are a ton of things you’re probably looking for. If you’re like almost half (48%) of home buyers, you’re looking for a home that has never been lived in, according to Zillow. Another thing that seems to be really important for home buyers is finding a good neighborhood school district. The majority of home buyers have children, and they want to make sure they are sending their kids to a good school. 

If you are faced with this issue, there may be some worry about picking a school district for your kids. Fortunately, there is something you can do about it. 

Research, Research, Research
The most important thing you can do is research potential new school districts. There are tons of resources online that provide copious amounts of information about the schools you are considering. Test scores, rankings, and demographics of that school are easy to find online. Student to teacher ratio, student diversity, and even the percentage of students that receive lunch for free is available via public record. Real estate agents are also typically knowledgeable when it comes to school reputations. 

Visit the School
You don’t want to regret your purchase because your children end up hating the school district you send them to. Set up a tour so your children can see the school and even interact with some staff members and current students. It will give you a good feel for the way the school runs, interacts with the children, and plans to teach them going forward. 

What Is Good For Your Child?
Although a school might look perfect on paper, you have to remember your child’s specific needs. Test scores and affordability aside, you need to make sure that this new school district will be a good fit for your children personally, especially if you child has any special needs.

If you are moving, remember these three tips for finding the perfect new school district for your kids. 

3 Ways to Get Your Home Ready to Go on the Market

houses for saleYou’ve decided that it’s time to sell your home and move, and you’ve found the perfect house for you and your family to make new memories and start a new journey. 

Buying a home is a time-consuming process. And while you’ve probably mostly been thinking about your new house, there are other things to consider. All of the features that made you fall in love with your new house are the same things buyers will be considering when they look at your house. That means that you actually have to get your home ready to be sold. Here are some tips on preparing your house to go on the market, given to us by HGTV.

Landscaping
When people are looking for houses for sale, the first thing they see is the landscaping in the front of the house. First impressions are certainly important when people are looking at homes for sale. If they get a bad first impression, they might not even want to continue looking at the interior of the home, meaning there’s no way that they will consider making an offer. Spruce up your landscaping to make sure the potential buyers love the look of the house.

Repairs
Before you put your home on the real estate market, you should fix any serious issues that are happening in your house. A whole 34% of people looking for houses for sale are looking to avoid renovations and issues with things like electricity or plumbing. Fix problems like a leaky roof or broken cabinets in your kitchen so that your home is in premium condition. Buyers are much more likely to make an offer on your home if they know they won’t have to do anything once they move in.

Final Touches
HGTV advises that you put some final touches on your home, like de-cluttering and organizing. You want your home to resemble other new homes on the market. Maybe put a fresh coat of paint on the walls. Clean up the counters and organize your closets. Buyers will be impressed and think that their home can also look that nice.

If you are thinking about putting your home on the market, remember what buyers are looking for in houses for sale. Prepare your home to sell fast with these three tips. 

Understanding the Changing Housing Market: Part 2

new homesThe housing market is facing some major changes. Hopefully, the majority of these changes will lead to a healthy and strong market for all, but it’s unrealistic to think that there won’t be any kinds of setbacks. 

As far as buying new homes is concerned, at least in some parts of the country, things are looking fairly good. Not so much in other areas, however, where finance problems and a lackluster market are causing some serious concerns. 

According to The New York Times, the new tax bill is causing some conflicting issues within the housing market. 

“The current tax code favors people who are buying a home versus the rest of America,” said Glenn Kelman, CEO of Redfin. “As a captain of industry, I would prefer more tax breaks to help people buy houses, but as a citizen, I realize someone has to pay.” 

Along with the various tax changes that are affecting the housing market, the fact that young millennials are breaking into the buying sector is significantly impacting the market as well. You’ve already read about how millennials prefer smart homes with high energy efficiency levels, but there are some other aspects of homeownership that haven’t been as popular over the years. 

These millennial homebuyers not only want energy efficient homes and properties close to vibrant nightlife, they want to live in areas where they feel safe and comfortable walking around, too. In fact, 56% of millennial homebuyers (compared to 46% of baby boomers) prefer to live in neighborhoods that are much more walkable. 

Though millennials are using the Internet and even their smartphones much more than any other group to purchase homes across the country, they are also relying on realtors more than anyone as well. Business Insider adds that 92% of the millennial generation purchased new homes through a realtor, coming in as the highest demographic. 

If you’re serious about buying a new home and want to browse some luxury real estate and new homes in Delaware County, you’ve come to the right place. To check out some luxury homes for sale in a great area, contact West End Walk today and good luck on your search for the perfect home!

Understanding the Changing Housing Market: Part 1

luxury homes for saleThe housing market has drastically changed over the last few decades. Thanks to technological advancements, a change in priorities, and entirely new demographics entering the market (not to mention that little crash back in 2008), the U.S. housing market doesn’t resemble its former self at all — and that’s not such a bad thing. 

Many younger buyers are finally entering the market and searching for luxury homes for sale and high end real estate, which we haven’t seen for years. Unfortunately, the market isn’t going to be as lucrative across the board for everyone in the United States — especially after the passing of the recent tax bill. 

So how can you expect the U.S. housing market to change in 2018?

How will the tax bill affect the housing market in 2018?
“It’s very hard to come up with how this is helpful to housing,” said Jonathan Miller, President and CEO of Miller Samuel Inc. “It’s either neutral or negative; there’s no positive, at least that we’re aware of at the moment. All this does is make everything more expensive, at least in high-cost housing markets.” 

It seems as though smaller housing markets won’t be impacted too significantly by the new tax provisions, at least immediately. But it could be difficult for buyers to find affordable luxury homes for sale in some parts of the country. 

Millennials demand green housing
Currently, 66% of all the buyers on the market are buying a home for the very first time, and 34% of them are millennials. In addition to homebuyers searching for luxury properties, these younger buyers are also fixated on energy-efficient homes as well. In fact, 48% of buyers interested in brand new homes cited energy-efficiency as their most desired feature in a new home. 

Another way millennials are changing the housing industry is their reliance on technology. According to Business Insider, 99% of millennials searched online while looking for a home, compared to only 89% for baby boomers or 77% for the silent generation. 

If you’re looking for new homes here in Delaware County, however, you are in luck. There are quality luxury homes for sale that you can check out and move into as soon as you’re ready. If you are serious about buying a home in Delaware County, contact West End Walk today. Also, stay tuned for part two of our series on housing market changes to expect in 2018.

When Buying a Home, Does the Size of the Down Payment Matter?

homes for saleIf you’re thinking about checking out new homes for sale and making your first ever purchase, you might want to pump the brakes a little bit. Before you make any big financial decisions, you’re going to need to have enough money in the bank for the down payment, monthly mortgage payments, closing costs, and all of the other necessities that come with buying a house. This is especially true when purchasing a home for the first time, as the size of your down payment will affect your negotiating position, your mortgage rates, and your financial future.

That’s why you need to enter into the home buying process on secure financial footing, even if that means delaying the process by another six months to a year. So before you rush into the home buying process, it’s important to understand why you need to save your money until you can afford a sizeable down payment.

Finding the Home of Your Dreams

Let’s be honest: if you want to purchase your dream home, then you’re going to need plenty of cash right up front. That’s true whether it’s a luxury townhouse, a large home with plenty of land, or a smaller home in a trendy urban area. Ultimately, unless you have enough money in the bank to make a sizeable down payment, the home buying process is going to be frustrating and disappointing.

If you can only afford a modest down payment, then many of the best homes for sale in your neighborhood of choice will be out of your reach. That can severely limit your options when it comes to square footage, number of bedrooms, and neighborhoods.

What If You Already Have a House in Mind?

Fortunately, knowing exactly what home or neighborhood you want to live in can make the process simpler. Rather than saving as much money as possible, you can contact the seller to find out what kind of down payment is required. Once you have this information, you can work backwards to determine how much money you will need to save.

Your Down Payment Will Affect Your Mortgage Rate

Too many first-time home buyers have rushed into this process only to discover, to their regret, that they can’t afford to maintain their quality of life and make their monthly mortgage payments. That’s because a small down payment will normally result in less favorable mortgage rates. When you are able to make a large down payment, you can usually negotiate better mortgage rates with your lender, saving money in the long run.

Negotiate From a Place of Strength

The current residential real estate market is a seller’s market, which means it’s very easy to sell a home quickly (and for more than the asking price). This state of affairs can also put buyers at a disadvantage, especially cash-poor buyers. 

Let’s say that you find the house of your dreams, but you aren’t the only person making an offer. Typically, buyers who can offer cash or large down payments will win out over buyers who can’t spend as much up front. In a seller’s market where multiple bids are common, it’s essential that you enter into the negotiation process from a position of strength. But if you rush into this process before you can afford a large down payment, you will likely be looking for new homes for sale for a long time to come.

Fortunately, all of this is good news if you already have substantial savings and a good credit score. So long as you take the time to save up enough money for your future home, you can start searching for homes for sale.

American Architecture: The History of the Townhouse in America

homes for sale near meThe townhouse originated in either London or Paris in the 1600s, and like so many people, it immigrated to the Americas via New York City, where it quickly became a popular form of middle-class housing. New York City neighborhoods like Brooklyn and the Village still feature iconic, historic townhouses that easily sell for seven figures. 

Some of the oldest neighborhoods in America feature townhouses, and everyone from elderly homebuyers to college grads find these living spaces perfect. When searching online for “homes for sale near me,” be sure to include townhouses, as well. If you don’t broaden your search to include these quality living spaces, you’ll end up having to choose from only expensive full houses, and that might not be as feasible for you at this time. 

Townhouses, typically, are between two and five stories high and house between one and two families (or groups of friends/roommates). There are plenty of townhouse models, however, that have been converted into a greater number of apartments for increased residency. 

These kinds of living structures were originally built for the middle class, but there are plenty of options available to a wide-ranging demographic nowadays. Currently, townhouses have become a popular housing option for the younger homebuyer in dozens of cities across America. In fact, the millennial generation is the most likely to look at townhouses when browsing home options, at 23%. Millennials, as they are just entering the job market, aren’t nearly as affluent as some of their home buying predecessors. 

Buying a home can be a difficult process but it can also be quite exciting. It’s important that you know where to look when you begin your process, too. Be on the lookout for quality townhouses and new homes in Delaware County. Additionally, there are excellent townhomes for sale near Media, Pennsylvania. 

If you’re ready to find your make your next move into a new place, type “townhouses and homes for sale near me” into your search bar, contact West End Walk, and get ready to find your next perfect home.

September New Home Sales Increase 18.9% Across the United States

new homesSeptember sales for new homes across the Untied States have soared to the highest level in a decade.

According to USA Today, sales for new homes in the U.S. jumped last month to the highest level since 2007. This trend is further evidence that Americans are increasingly unable to find existing homes worth buying and are choosing to buy new instead.

A Zillow report states that nearly half of all buyers (48%) have been looking for homes that have never been lived in, as opposed to used properties.

Market researchers and economists stated that the housing market was drastically altered by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, which hurt sales of used homes in the South and hindered new housing projects. The measure of these new home sales is primarily based on contract signings.

“This is yet another sign that, as we first saw with the initial jobless claims data, the recovery from Harvey was very fast and the disruption from Irma in Florida was far less than initially feared,” said chief economist at Amherst Pierpont Securities Stephen Stanley.

Despite the weather damage, the numbers speak for themselves. September sales saw a 17% increase on a year-on-year basis last month and the seasonally adjusted annual rate climbed 18.9% to 667,000 new housing unites last month. The percentage gain was the largest since 1992 and the new housing unit number was the highest since October of 2007 with 561,000.

With these high sales on new houses in September, the inventory of new real estate properties on the market remained at 279,000 units. If the real estate market would follow September’s successful trends, it would take five months to clear the housing unit surplus (down from six months from August).

The housing market is always fluctuating — but as long as you’re working with experienced professionals and do a little research before you make any offer, you should be fine. If you want to learn more about the housing market, browse luxury houses for sale, or find new homes for yourself in Delaware County, contact West End Walk today.

9 Features Homebuyers Want In A New Home

real estateRoughly 32% of people looking to buy new homes are doing so for the very first time. But just because they are first time homebuyers doesn’t mean they don’t know what they want in a real estate deal. These buyers are extremely well-educated, opinionated, and sure of exactly what they want.

From luxury homes with cell phone charging stations to pet-friendly showers, here are some of the most important features homebuyers are looking for in a new property.

  1. Open floor plans — Buyers want much more space than homeowners in the past enjoyed. These open floor plans can make a small house feel much bigger.
  2. Not having to do too much — Of all the recent buyers who purchased homes, roughly 34% of them were looking to avoid having to do any renovation projects.
  3. Water-conserving fixtures — In addition to environmentally friendly features, homebuyers are much more conscious about the amount of water they are wasting.
  4. Garage with more storage space — Though buyers aren’t as concerned with large homes, they’d still prefer it if the garages were bigger. Buyers are looking for two- to three-car garages with plenty of storage space.
  5. Pet accommodations — Pets can always enjoy running around the real estate, but don’t always get to live like kings and queens inside the home — until now. Homebuyers are searching for built-in pet bowls, integrated gates and crates, and other pet-friendly features.
  6. Finished basements — No one wants a dark and musty basement. Buyers are looking for homes that have great looking basements for the entire family to enjoy.
  7. Larger custom showers — Buyers are choosing roomy showers as opposed to whirlpool tubs. Open, walk-in shower entries are becoming much more popular across the United States.
  8. Stainless steel appliances — To achieve a sleek and modern look, buyers are hoping to have their homes stocked with sleek stainless steel appliances.
  9. Charging stations — Charging stations are becoming much more popular as well. Families of the 1950s didn’t have to worry about these too much, but a 2017 family certainly does.

If you want to find out more about any important factors that homebuyers are searching for in 2017, browse new houses, or check out amazing luxury real estate, contact West End Walk today.

5 Things Millennial Mike Is Looking For In a Home

real estateMillennial stereotypes, like all stereotypes, are wildly oversimplified, inaccurate, and sometimes even disrespectful. That being said, it’s still fun to play along with what the conceivable stereotypical Millennial might want in a home. In fact, these stereotypes can be helpful to homeowners selling their houses and real estate agents looking to appeal to buyers. 

Meet Millennial Mike. Mike works part-time at the emoji factory and is a full-time blogger for specialty coffee concepts. If Mike could pick and choose everything to have on his dream real estate property, he would select the following: 

High Speed Internet
If Mike had the option, he would rather just live inside the World Wide Web. But that’s out of the question — at least for the foreseeable future. Instead, Mike and all his young peers need a home that is able to provide fast Internet speeds and has a strong network connection. In addition to high speed Internet, Mike also wants top-of-the-line smart appliances inside in his home. He doesn’t care much for those landline phone things (whatever they are) but he would love to own a dishwasher that follows him on Twitter.

Walking Distance to a Coffee Shop
Though Mike blogs about certain types of coffee, he still enjoys drinking a conventional black coffee at the shop down the street. He calls it “retro.” About 56% of all millennials, as well as 46% of baby boomers, prefer to move to areas that have walkable neighborhoods. Mike is actually quite easy to please: he just wants to live near a nice coffee shop that also doubles as a record store. 

Energy-Efficient Everything
Although Mike isn’t too good with a hammer, he somehow knows everything there is to know about insulation levels, seasonal energy-efficiency ratios, and how to preserve energy. Good for Mike. He’ll be looking for homes that contribute to the environment, not destroy it. 

Minimalist Home Office
Mike does his best work from home and doesn’t want anything too fancy for a home office. He would be completely content with a spacious all-white room, a white desk, a nice chair (any color), and probably a globe or something. 

Not As Much Outdoor Space
Mike still loves the outdoors, but he isn’t as much concerned with having extremely large real estate. He’d much prefer a small balcony overlooking a nice patch of lawn. Though he’ll be hoping to check out luxury houses for sale with big, open windows to let light in and admire the outdoors, he’s not that into having to do yard work on a big property. 

Mike knows what he wants when it comes to real estate and so do a lot of other millennial homebuyers. Whether you’re like Mike or completely the opposite, if you want to check out some new homes in Philadelphia, West End Walk can help you right away. 

3 Tips For Finding the Perfect Home For Your Family

houses for saleGoing over houses for sale is an exciting time for any family. Though these discussions can lead to arguments and some uncertainties, it’s still important to take your family’s search for new houses seriously. Here are some helpful tips that will help you and your family find not just an okay home but the perfect place for you all to enjoy. 

Discuss each aspect of your future home with every member of your family
A good idea to all get on the same page is to have each member of the family make a list of features and items that they would hope to see in the new home. Some members of your family might be fixated on large yards while others might really want energy efficient appliances. It’s your job as a family to come together and find a way to meet in the middle. Roughly 48% of all homebuyers cite energy-efficiency as the most desired aspect of a home. You can all compare your lists and see what you all agree on or disagree on. After having a constructive discussion about which property aspects you should pursue, you can then begin your search for the perfect home for your family. 

Spend some time going over home listing websites
There are plenty of websites that list new houses for sale that you and your family can browse through. Having each member of your family go through these lists and marking down their top three to five choices is a great way to see if you’re all on the same page and if you have any matches. Go through a few old houses, luxury houses, and everything in between and see if you can find the perfect match. 

Talk to your real estate agent and analyze your finical situation
It might seem obvious enough, but far too many families don’t discuss financials with a professional real estate agent before making offers on properties. Your family’s idea of a perfect home doesn’t just mean it’s lavish and unaffordable, it should make sense for you all so you can live comfortably. 

If you want to check out some great houses for sale online or find new homes in Philadelphia, contact West End Walk.