Great Home in Center City!

ImageOur newest listing is a completely (and I mean from the frame out!) remodeled Allentown townhome.  I saw this home at every stage of it’s demolition and subsequent rebirth, and what a fantastic job by the owner and his crew!  They started out by completely removing all of the old flooring, walls, windows and more to prepare this 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom home for the future work.  Then they rebuilt it, expanding rooms, changing floor plans and adding space and conveniences that didn’t exist when the home was first built in 1891.  The finished product really shines, with an ultra-modern kitchen with granite counters, a spacious bathroom with new tub and shower and four really nice-sized bedrooms.  See more pictures and information on our website:  735 N 7th St, Allentown, PA

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This Home Improvement Project Offers the Worst Return on Investment

ImageMany home remodeling projects do wonders for the value of the home. Certain upgrades and renovations pay dividends when it comes time to sell, and you often can recoup the money you’ve invested in the upgrade.

There are exceptions, however. And one stands head and shoulders above the rest (or should I say below) when it comes to return on investment: 

The home office. 

Surprised? It may seem like a home office would be a boon for your home at sale time, especially considering the number of people who telecommute and work online. But the fact of the matter is, a home office seldom recoups more than 45% of the money invested in the remodel. 

Why? Multiple factors.

First, even people who work at home often don’t work at home. When was the last time you walked into a coffee shop and didn’t see a laptop open? Many people still find space outside the home to work. 

Second, a full-on home office renovation often takes up a bedroom which new owners might want to be able to convert back into a bedroom. If you’ve spent the time and money having built-in furniture added, media wiring, and other “office like” details installed, it represents a cost to restore or lost-usage for the new owners.

Of course, if you need a home office and want to have the home office of your dreams, it might be worth it to you to put the return on investment aside. But don’t undertake the project thinking it will pay off down the line. 

Curious which home remodeling projects pay off at the sale of your Lehigh Valley home? Let’s talk about what you’re considering: call me at 484-893-1234 or email joe@debandjoe.com.

The Important Final Step When Buying a Home

Too many people fail to appreciate the importance of a final walk-through.

As a buyer, your last moment of leverage is signing on the (many!) lines during closing. Just before that day, though, you should do a final walk-through of the home you’re buying. While you might think a quick glance through the rooms is enough, you’d be well advised to take your time.

In fact, a good walk-through should take at least 30 minutes, depending on the size of the home. You might even want to consider hiring a home inspector to revisit the place to make sure any repairs essential to the deal were taken care of properly.

Don’t perform the walk-through too early, either. No more than two days at most. If you complete the walk-through too soon, there’s always a chance severe weather or other adverse events could damage the home. (Recent weather events are also a good reason to check for leaks or water in unexpected places.)

Be sure to check appliances, light switches, heating and air conditioning systems, garage doors, and any other major systems (pool pumps and heaters) along the way, too.

Should you come across anything that raises alarms, be sure to look for a way to settle the issue in a friendly, non-confrontational manner. While you don’t want to jeopardize the closing, you may be well within your rights to seek some sort of concession from the seller.

Even with short sales and foreclosed properties, you’ll want to do a walk-through to make sure all appliances and fixtures promised are still in place before the closing. (A home might be “as is,” but it’s definitely “as is” under the terms of the contract! Don’t get shorted.)

On the whole, the walk-through is an exciting time… after all, it’s almost yours! But don’t let excitement cloud your good sense. Use a little of this walk-through wisdom to protect your investment!

I’m always on the lookout for my clients. If you need representation for buying or selling a home, please get in touch today: email me at joe@debandjoe.com or call our office at 484-893-1234.

New Home for Sale in Forks Township!

Puppies help to sell houses

We’ve just listed a really great home in Forks Township that’s going to be a deal for anyone looking for a great buy in this area. This home was well cared for and has really nice-sized rooms including four bedrooms, a first floor office and a family room with a wood-burning fireplace. When you enter the home there’s gleaming hardwood floors guiding you toward the open kitchen (with breakfast area) and family room; the living room and office are on each side as you walk back. This is a great first floor layout! Did I mention there’s a finished basement rec room with wet bar and a seperate craft room? Perfect for the kids or for that ‘man-cave’! Wait, Deb’s telling me it would also make a great ‘lady lair’. I’m not sure there is such a thing, but we may have just coined a new term!

Okay, here’s the really cool part. The yard is awesome with a nice paver patio leading up to the (ta-da!) in-ground pool! I don’t know who we’re going to sell this house to yet, but I want an invite to the first cookout. Spring and summer can’t be that far away! Maybe this is the best part…this house is priced at $310,000!! It’s a great deal and we’d love to get more information for you, including more pictures. Give us a call at 484-893-1234 or e-mail us at homes@debandjoe.com.

1825 Dayton Dr, Forks Twp.

Why Would You Use a Ceiling Fan in the Winter?

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Are you using your ceiling fans the right way?

We all know that In the summer a fan can provide cooling breezes, but during winter they can also assist in circulating warm air through your home.  The trick is understanding the switch on the fan which controls the direction of the fan blades:

During the SUMMER months, the standard setting of COUNTERCLOCKWISE provides cooling down drafts.  During the WINTER months, the reverse setting of CLOCKWISE creates an opposing updraft, which redistributes the warm air which rises to the top of the room. By pulling cooler air up from the ground, the warm air is more efficiently distributed throughout the home.

Some fans have a wall switch or remote to control the fans direction, but most ceiling fans have a simple toggle-switch which flips to change the direction of the fan’s motor.

We like to help people with their questions about their homes and hope you find these tips helpful  Remember, if anyone you know is thinking about buying or selling a home in the Lehigh Valley to give us a call at 484-893-1234 or email us at homes@debandjoe.com!

Protect Your Home with this Quick Tip

Photo of burglarI came across this interesting infographic in the Washington Post recently called “Anatomy of a Burglary,” which reveals some fascinating statistics about break-ins, including a few ways to protect your valuables and deter thieves.

Some interesting facts:

  • Most burglaries occur between 10AM and 3PM.
  • The typical house burglar is a male teenager who lives within a couple of miles of your home.
  • Burglars spend on an average between 8 and 12 minutes inside your home.

Not only did the graphic detail the most common entry points for a burglar, but it also offered these helpful tips for protecting your home:

  • A home with a security system is 3 times less likely to be broken into than a home without a security system. (Even if you don’t have one, buying the stickers for them can deter an amateur.)
  • Consider alternatives to the master bedroom for hiding valuables. It’s the first place most burglars go.
  • Burglars want to spend fewer than 60 seconds breaking in. Anything you can do to lengthen that time will increase the likelihood they’ll pass on your house.
  • The appearance of an unoccupied home is what typically attracts burglars. Not bringing the garbage cans back up a few days after trash day can be a big sign you’re not around.

For a detailed look at the infographic, visit the Washington Post site here:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/artsandliving/homeandgarden/features/2007/burglary-070507/graphic.html

Protect your home and your valuables! Common sense is often enough to keep you from becoming a victim.  And remember: Keep an inventory of your possessions for insurance purposes. CNET has a free Home Inventory worksheet you can download to help with the task.  Just remember to save more than one copy of the report when you’re done in case your computer is one of the stolen items!  In this case a paper back up might be a good idea.

I hope you’ll continue to view us as a trusted resource for everything ‘home’ related.  If you know of anyone who’s thinking about buying or selling real estate please give us a call at 484-893-1234 or at homes@debandjoe.com

What van Gogh can teach us about Real Estate

“The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found those dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.”

Vincent van Gogh, Dutch painter (March 30, 1853 – July 29, 1890)
http://www.vangoghgallery.com/

Artists take risks. They pursue their vision, often without financial security, facing long odds while stewing in their own self-doubt. When the world tells them “it’s not safe,” they listen to their own voice despite “prevailing wisdom.” They have a vision and they pursue it.

Occasionally, if they’re very lucky, they get to look back on their life and see the path that lead them to create a masterpiece. At the time, the path wasn’t easy, yet in retrospect, it looks very much like the only possible path they could take.

I think in twenty years or even ten years, we’re going to hear the collective sound of people kicking themselves because they did not buy a home this year. As their teenage sons and daughters graduate and enter the future job market and begin searching for their first home, they’ll turn to their parents and say, “Seriously? You’re telling me when I was in middle school, you could get a 30-year fixed for under 5%?”

Too many remain terrified by the last great storm in the housing market. They stand now on the shores of incredible opportunity, but can’t shake the vision of all those values sinking into oblivion.

Think about the future. Who might need a home? Is there an opportunity to “be the bank” when the time comes? The descendants of those savvy collectors who bough a Van Gogh painting for mere dollars in 1885 are surely grateful for their grandparents’ eyes today, aren’t they?

Yes, there is uncertainty, but this is the calmest water you’re ever going to see. Set sail now and buy a home. Those that do will certainly be rewarded. As for the masterpiece? It will be the satisfaction of looking back and realizing they bought at just the right time.

There’s certainly no risk to exploring the opportunity. I’d love the opportunity to sit down with you and plot a possible course to the best investment you could make. Contact me today at: homes@debandjoe.com or 484-893-1234.