Now is the time to buy!

Now is the time to buy!

Rates 3-16

As expected, the FOMC announced its first rate hike of 2017 and hinted at additional increases throughout the remainder of the year. This survey was conducted prior to the Fed’s decision, the release of the February jobs report all but guaranteed a rate hike and boosted the 30-year mortgage rate 9 basis points to 4.30 percent this week. Increasing inflation, continued gains in the labor market and the Fed’s intentions for further rate increases—all three will keep pushing mortgage rates up this year.


Ring Video Doorbell added to our SmartHome

Check out the Ring Doorbell on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2md9KXY
Ring Chime: http://amzn.to/2l9lMkk
Ring Pro Doorbell: http://amzn.to/2mdjXE1

This is my new favorite addition to our SmartHome. Ring Video Doorbell that will alert you on your phone when someone rings your doorbell or if motion is detected. For $30/year or $3/mo there is cloud storage for all the videos. It’s the internet of things!  Click below to watch the video.

 

Other items we have installed in our SmartHome:
Amazon Echo: http://amzn.to/2f6QJpy
Amazon Dot: http://amzn.to/2l0V7VM
Echo Remote: http://amzn.to/2fBr34U
Wink Hub: http://amzn.to/2fBrjAU
Lutron Dimmers: http://amzn.to/2f9Qckk
iHome Outlet: http://amzn.to/2eaAumZ
Nest Camera: http://amzn.to/2f6SKSx
GE Smart Lightbulbs: http://amzn.to/2fBRnfo
Kwikset Deadbolt: http://amzn.to/2fFNyqj
Amazon Prime Membership: http://amzn.to/2eCDSdO



Property Tax Rates in Montgomery County

Property taxes make a big difference in your monthly payment and are a big expense of owning a home.  Comparing the highest and lowest property tax rate in Montgomery County for a property assessed around $225,000 the difference is $767/mo using the 2 examples below.  That is just in taxes!  To get the yearly property taxes you multiply the property assessment by the tax rate.

The highest rate in Montgomery county is Cheltenham Township at 0.0566505.  Cheltenham township currently has 184 homes for sale and the average listing price is $278,191.  There is a house for sale located at 1000 Dell Ln, Cheltenham, Pa 19095 for $375,000.  The assessment on that house is $221,330 x 0.0566505 Cheltenham Township rate = $12,538/year in property taxes.

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The lowest rate in Montgomery county is Bryn Athyn Boro at 0.014759.  I don’t work in this area but apparently Bryn Athyn Boro does not have a school district because 90% of the children go to the General Church of the New Jerusalem and the rest are contracted out to other school districts.  There is only one house for sale currently for $499,000 located at 771 Fetters Mill Rd, Bryn Athyn, Pa 19006.  The assessment is $225,670 x 0.014759 Bryn Athyn tax rate = $3,331/year in property taxes.

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The total rate is broken down into 3 parts.  The Montgomery county rate is 0.003459.  The municipal rate varies but there are 2 municipalities with no municipal rate.  Then there is the school district rate.  Bryn Athyn Boro district is the lowest in at 0.001 because it doesn’t have schools & Cheltenham Township school district is the highest at 0.0450943.  Choosing the school district to live in is important because it is the majority of your property taxes.


Year to Date Stats for Chester County

Here is the monthly breakdown for year to date statistics in Chester County.  The inventory accumulation for all residential real estate in Chester County is 4 months which means it is a balanced market but if it gets down to 3 months it means it is a seller’s market.  6+ months of inventory accumulation means it is a buyer’s market.

We have seen a big slow down in the past month or so and you can see that in the units pending & units sold when comparing Nov 2016 & Nov 2015 and the DOM (days on the market).  DOM has gone up and pending and units sold have gone down in November compared to last year.  Also, it seems there are a lot more price reductions recently.  I think with the interest rates increasing the market will really slow down until the warm weather comes back in the spring.  So probably not the best time to sell but a great time to find deals!

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I narrowed it down on the year to date statistics for homes for sale between $200,000-$500,000 in Chester County.  The inventory accumulation goes down to 3 months so it is a seller’s market in that price range.

You can narrow it down even more and it truly shows you how location really is everything in real estate.  In the $200,000-$500,000 price range the inventory accumulation is 1 month in Thornbury Township & it is 18 months in the Oxford Boro.  So, great time to be a seller in Thornbury township and a great time to be a buyer in Oxford Boro.


#IoT Let’s talk about the internet of Things

The internet of Things is the interconnection of smart devices.  It is the infrastructure of the information society and it is coming to your home, your cities and even your vacations.  The stylized hashtag for it is #IoT.

IoT now refers to mostly smart homes and home automation but eventually it will expand into automation of smart cities and a smart grid.

Examples of IoT?  Let’s take a look at 3.

1. Our Smart Home is part of IoT.  We have a home automation system set up with a hub that talks to everything and connects the lights, thermostat, front door lock and the Amazon Echo & Dot.  You can see the video here:

 

2.  Disney World is part of IoT.  They are building their own smart city and they are using technology to make vacationing feel like magic.  There are sensors all over the parks and Disney is now like one giant computer.  Disney World uses RFID technology which is radio frequency identification and they made a wristband or wearable technology – of course with a mickey on them.  They call them MagicBands.  You wear the MagicBand on your wrist & it can open your room, you can pay for everything in Disney with it, it holds your park tickets, stores your fast passes and for Disney it tracks everything you are doing and buying.  A little scary to be tracked but the idea is it will track everyone’s behavior and Disney will be able to serve and anticipate the needs of their guests better and make your trip magical.  With just one piece of technology you are connected to the entire infrastructure of the theme park.

I go to Disney often.  Here is my MagicBand opening our room & my MagicBands:

 

Here’s a fun example how Disney used the magic bands to create magic.  We were in line for Rock N Roller Coaster.  When you first walk in the building there are concert posters on the wall.  All of a sudden it said Laura will be playing a concert live in West Chester.  It pulled my information from my MagicBand and like magic there was a poster for my upcoming rock show.  It switched too fast to the next guest in line & I couldn’t get a picture.

Disney also has a My Disney Experience App where you can make fastpass reservations (front of the line pass) & make restaurant reservations that seamlessly hooks up to your MagicBand.  You can see park maps and estimated wait times at attractions too.

Eventually this technology can be implemented in cities and towns across our world.  How exciting!

3.  Transportation will be a part of IoT.  Self driving cars are here and experts see a future where people don’t own cars.  Imagine homes will no longer need garages.  People will use an app similar to uber to order a self driving car.  We will be connected through the app for ordering a car, the cars will be connected to a GPS system to navigate the car & eventually the cars will be able to connect to each other so the system is automated and efficient.  That will eventually spread to all forms of transportation.  Data from this technology will eventually be gathered and we will be able to set up smart traffic control & that will lead to less traffic and safer roads.

Here’s a quick 2 minute video by Tesla showing the self driving car:

 

We are on the brink of exciting technological advances.  A lot of it is here already and will eventually be in everyone’s homes and hopefully IoT will help transform our world into a better, more connected, more efficient & magical experience.  It’s the internet of things!


5 Tips for finding a home in a week

  1. Know the market in your area.  First know what area you want to be in then get a good realistic idea of the market or what you can get for your budget.  Many buyers tell me their must haves and then I ask them their budget and realize they need another $100,000 to get their must haves.  Get a good understanding of what you can get for your budget.  Keep an eye on homes on Zillow and Realtor.com to get to know the market and go to open houses.  Homes never look the same online as in person.  They are either much better or much worse.
  2. Talk to a lender.  If you need a loan to purchase a home then talk to 3 local and knowledgeable lenders.  Get an idea of how much you can afford and what types of loans are available for how much cash you have to put towards your purchase.
  3. MLS listings emailed to you.  Once you know your market & your budget then have a real estate agent set up an automatic search for you in the MLS.  The MLS is the system realtors use and pay for to list and search properties.  It has the most accurate information on homes for sale.  Realtors know all the public record information, the history on the property & local market statistics through the MLS.  Often websites like Zillow and Realtor.com can get new listings a day or 2 after agents enter them in the MLS.  So, have an automatic search set up for you directly from your local MLS so you get homes emailed automatically as soon as they hit the market or if there is a price reduction.
  4. Know your must haves.  Once you get a realistic idea of the market in your area and what you can get for your budget then really think about your must haves.  The lower the budget the less must haves you should have.  The larger the budget the pickier you can be.  It depends on the area but most people can narrow it down to an area (certain school district or within a commute time of a city), minimum # of bedrooms & single family homes only or would a condo or townhouse work.  If your budget is higher you can usually add must haves like a garage, minimum of 1 acre, first floor master, etc…
  5. Be decisive.  If you really need to find a home in a week you need to be decisive in all ways.  Be decisive on the area, choosing a lender, choosing a realtor, determining your must haves and when you tour the home you love then be decisive and make an offer.  Most likely if you love the home so do a lot of other people.  Great homes sell for full price or can go above asking in this market so get the advice of your realtor and then make the strongest offer you can make.