Most & Least Expensive Homes for Sale in Chester County…

This is just for single family homes in Chester County.  There are currently 1731 single family homes for sale in Chester County in the MLS.

Most Expensive Home:  912 Providence Rd. Newtown Square, Pa 19073 is being offered for $10,995,000.  It is located on 72 acres and is a 86 year old stone farmhouse and almost 15,000 interior square feet.  This is called Heartwood Farm and includes the original farmhouse & a historic second home built in 1780.  The farm includes 2 barns with 24 total stalls, office, an apartment, fenced lighted riding ring and a 5 car garage.

Least Expensive Home:  741 Broad St.  Oxford, Pa 19363 is for sale for $30,000.  It is a Fannie Mae/government foreclosure and you need to sign a disclosure that you’ve been told there maybe mold in the home before entering.  It is a small rancher located in Oxford Boro.

The average list price of all 1732 single family homes is $652,535 and the average days on the market is 129.  The total value of all 1732 homes is $1.1 Billion!


Where to find Foreclosures

Fannie Mae (Homepath) Foreclosures

If you will be financing a foreclosure I think the best deals out there are Fannie Mae foreclosures. You can find them at http://www.homepath.com/
Why are they such a good deal? They only require 5% down (It used to be 3% but they increased it last November). There is no mortgage insurance. The savings on mortgage insurance for a $300,000 house could be about $300 month. Also, they have special mortgage financing where you can roll up to $35,000 of a renovation loan into your mortgage.  The buyer is required to pay the entire transfer tax amount which is 2% in this area (some townships are higher).

HUD homes

In my experience HUD homes usually need a lot of work and are better for cash buyers and conventional financing (usually 20% down).  You can find more info at their website http://www.hudhomestore.com/Home/Index.aspx.  These are foreclosures from the government Department of Housing and Urban Development.  They have special buying programs for non profits, teachers, firefighters, law enforcement officers and emergency medical technicians.  They even have homes for $1.  Crazy.  Check out their website.

Making an offer on a Hud home is pretty simple.  It’s an online bidding system and you need a registered real estate agent to submit the bid.  You will need a copy of a photo ID, copy of a social security card and proof of funds if paying by cash or a preapproval if you are getting a loan.  If your bid is accepted then we have 2 days to submit all of the paperwork and the earnest money deposit.  The buyer is required to pay the entire transfer tax amount.  In most real estate transactions in this area it is split between the buyer and seller.  Also, seller assist with closing costs are limited to 3% of purchase price.

Freddie Mac (Homesteps)

Freddie Mac foreclosures are typically taken care of compared to all the other bank owned properties.  They have a commitment to securing the home (squatters can be a problem), removing trash and debris and keeping the property clean.  You can find more information at http://www.homesteps.com/.

They only offer special financing and deals in certain states.  Unfortunately, Pennsylvania is not one of them.

Private Banks

I have seen many foreclosures by private banks.  They typically put a little more effort into fixing up the homes and remediating mold or moisture issues.

Auction Sites

I have been the agent on an auction bid for a HUD home.  When the foreclosure doesn’t sell through the MLS many times the bank or the government agency will put them on an auction site where you can bid on them.  However, many of the auction properties are non financeable and you need to buy them with cash.

Here are some sites I have seen:

Foreclosures are great deals but not many hit the market in top rated school districts in this area.  So if you are interested it is very important to either have proof of funds ready or to have your financing lined up with a preapproval so you can move quickly on submitting a bid.

If you are interested in foreclosures contact me and I can set you up on an automatic search so you get an email as soon as they hit the market.


5 Least Expensive Sales in 2013

Let’s take a look back at the least expensive sales in 2013.  They were all located in Delaware county and were not surprisingly all distressed properties that were bought with cash.  These are the 5 least expensive sales in Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties.  Let’s take a peek:

840 Guenther Ave 271

840 Guenther Ave 271

This is a 1 bedroom 1 bathroom condo in Lansdowne.  It was a Freddie Mac foreclosure that sold for $2,000.  It was originally listed for $29,900.  It’s pretty crazy that it sold for less than it’s annual property tax of $2043.

300 Fern St.

300 Fern St.

This 2 bedroom 1 bathroom rowhome in Darby boro sold for $3500.  It was a foreclosure that eventually was sold at auction.

408 Darby Terr

408 Darby Terr

This is a 3 bedroom 1 bathroom rowhome in Darby boro and it sold for $3889.  This was another foreclosure.

108 Highland Ave

108 Highland Ave

This 3 bedroom 1 bathroom rowhome is located in the city of Chester and it was a Freddie Mac foreclosure that sold for $4373.

1112 Remington St

1112 Remington St

This 3 bedroom 1 bathroom twin located in the city of Chester was a short sale that sold for $4500.


Foreclosure in West Chester Boro for $170,000

I recently toured a foreclosure that just hit the market.  It’s a great price at $170,000 and is located in the borough of West Chester with a good sized yard and a one car garage in the alley.  Like most foreclosures, it needs a lot of work but it is a great location just a few 20130919-165943.jpgblocks to all of the shops and restaurants in the boro.

This is a great deal for homebuyers who are willing to do some work to fix up a house and it has a great lending program attached to it.  It is a government foreclosure from Fannie Mae & for owner occupants they offer 3% down loans and they waive the mortgage insurance associated with most low money down loans.  On a $170,000 loan that will save you a lot of money up front and on your monthly costs.  The other advantage to Fannie Mae foreclosures is they offer a Homepath renovation mortgage on some properties and this is one of them.  As long as you qualify, you are able to borrow and finance the amount needed to fix up the property all in one loan.  The renovation mortgage is offered to not only owner occupants but investors as well.  You can check out other Fannie Mae properties and get more information about their loans at www.homepath.com.

Call me if you are interested in seeing this property.  Check out more pictures below.

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Is now a good time to flip houses?

Home flippers made an average gross profit of $18,400 on single-family home flips, representing a 9 percent return on the initial purchase prices

Interesting article here about the increase of investors and first time investors.  If you consider that 50% of buyers in today’s market buy with cash (see here) and that banks & our government are keeping their foreclosures on their books and not releasing them for sale (see here) I think now is a great time to get into real estate investing.

With the increase of investors it is harder to low ball and get good deals but we have a stable market in this area with inventory levels at 6 months and a low inventory of fixed up homes so it will be easier to sell and sell quickly once a house is fixed up.  Of course, you need to control your labor and material costs on your flips but a 9% return for a 4-5 month flip seems reasonable.  Also, as foreclosures are released for sale by the banks and our government there will be more supply and flippers will be able to get better deals on the buy.

If you are interested in finding great deals in Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties give me a call at 484-985-5222.


New Bank Owned Properties

Here are the foreclosures that have hit the market in the past 12 days in Chester, Montgomery and Delaware counties.  Bank Owned properties are typically good deals but usually require a lot of TLC.  Email me at laurajlaws@gmail.com or call 484-985-5222 if you’d like a listing directly emailed to you or if you’d like to set up a private tour.  Click on the pictures below to enlarge them.

Chester County Foreclosures

Chesco 8-29

Montgomery County Foreclosures

MontgCo 8-29

Delaware County Foreclosures

Delco 8-29


Increase in Cash Buyers

More than half of all homes sold in 2012 & so far in 2013 have been done with cash.  That’s an amazing statistic when you consider that percentage was only 20% before the housing downturn.  Many of these are investors buying up the distressed properties in the hardest hit areas of the US like Florida, California and Nevada.  Even considering that it still seems like a huge increase in cash buyers especially when you consider how low interest rates have been in the past year.

Every day I see bank owned properties in the area being bought up for cash and I have seen an increase in foreign investors as well.  However, when I pull up recent sales for homes in the $200,000-$500,000 price range in our area I’ve noticed a lot of cash sales of homes that are not distressed sales.  There’s no way of knowing who these cash buyers are but I would guess after the economic downturn many people began saving more and now they need a place to put their cash.  It could be more Americans are looking for the peace of mind that comes with living in a home without a mortgage.

Click here for the article in the Wall Street Journal.