5 Things to Know About Philadelphia Real Estate

Philadelphia Real Estate

Moving to a new city can be tough, especially if you haven’t done your research. To avoid the stress and headache of figuring out a new town, it’s always best to look at average home prices, crime rates, and commute times well in advance. For those looking to move to the city of Philadelphia, here are a few things that you should know before uprooting your family.

Average Home Price

Finding a home without your budget is one of the first things to look into when moving to Philadelphia. The average home runs around $134,100 and has increased by 6.2 percent over the past year. It’s also likely that prices will continue to rise in the coming year, so be sure to keep that average in mind as a minimum when looking for a new home.

Best Neighborhoods for Families

The Upper Kensington district is a great neighborhood for families and contains mostly residential properties. With a relatively low average housing cost of $81,300, the area also has plenty of shopping, dining, and entertainment options that are perfect for all ages.

For those craving the urban lifestyle, Philadelphia has a lot of great walkable neighborhoods. There are also plenty of suburbs for those seeking a family-friendly neighborhood to call home.

With a large public park that includes running and biking trails, sports arenas, and picnic pavilions, Olney is another great choice for family living. The neighborhood also has a diverse ethnic population, a business district, and has a low $81,300 average housing price as well.

Buyer Versus Sellers Market

The city of Philadelphia has been a buyers market until recent years as average home prices have started to climb. Since there aren’t as many properties to choose from, listed homes are quickly taken off the market and bought at steep prices from buyers willing to make a sale. If you’re a first-time homebuyer, make sure to start looking at listings as soon as possible and keep in mind that each property you look at might not be listed for very long.

City Homicide Rates

The Philadelphia Police Department reports that the number of homicides seems to be on the rise this year with over 48 homicide cases, which is a 37 percent increase. And while the city has a high crime rate compared to the rest of Pennsylvania, its statistics are lower than average when matched against cities in the United States with the same population size.

If you’re considering living in Philadelphia, be aware that home prices are on the rise! What was once a buyers’ market is turning hot fast!

If you’re considering living in Philadelphia, be aware that home prices are on the rise! What was once a buyers’ market is turning hot fast!

Average Commute Times

Philadelphia is a business hotspot that attracts thousands of commuters from around the area. With over 253,000 people who travel into the city for work and 147,000 residents that commute away from the city for their jobs, the roads can become easily congested. Due to several people traveling to and from the city, the average commute one way is around 32-minutes. Traveling from one neighborhood to the center of Philadelphia can range from a mere 17-minutes to 45-minutes if living near Brewerytown. Rush hour typically lasts from 6am-9:30 am in the morning and 4pm-6:30 pm after working hours, with the worst traffic usually occurring on major highways such as I-676, I-95, and I-76.

If you’re ready to take the plunge and move to Philadelphia, give the folks at Cheap Movers Philadelphia (website | Google+ | Facebook) a call. This local Philly mover can help you score discounted rates on moving services to Philadelphia, even if you’re moving here from out of state. Have a less stressful moving experience and save money on your move!

 

How to Prepare Your Client for Moving Day

Interstate

Even if your clients appear to be relaxed while preparing for their upcoming move, there’s a good possibility that they’re worried about getting everything done. Since uprooting a family can be stressful and chaotic, it’s important to properly care for your customers by providing quality guidance each step of the way. To help ease their concerns, here are a few simple ways to prepare your clients for moving day.

To-Do List

Planning ahead for a move may seem like a no-brainer, but many clients still choose to wing-it when it comes to packing and preparing. And since last minute tasks can cause stress to the moving process, make sure to give your customers a moving to-do list to help them out. Include tips on packing, organizing, and cleaning a home, as well as any other useful information that involves gathering household items together.

Moving Supplies

Most clients tend to overlook the amount (and cost) of moving supplies they’ll need for their home. By the time they’re ready to pack up all of their belongings, there aren’t enough cardboard boxes, duct tape, or other items for everything that they have. To avoid this problem, create a moving kit of items that will help your clients organize their household items. According to this Boston moving company, the ideal moving kit would include unfolded boxes, tape guns, garbage bags, ziplock bags, bubble wrap, or other packaging material.

You can never have enough cardboard boxes when prepping for a move!

You can never have enough cardboard boxes when prepping for a move!

Relocation Packet

It can be tough to move from a familiar neighborhood to a brand new location. And if your clients are moving to a new area, be sure to send them a relocation packet with helpful information about their new city or state. Include public transportation stops, grocery stores, shopping malls, fun activities, and restaurants options to help ease their transition.

Digital Documents

Having your clients go through stacks of paper contracts and other documents can add more mess to their moving experience. Since clients would have to save and move all paperwork, it’s also an additional thing to pack and plan for as well. Instead of traditional paper documents, provide digital contracts online instead. You can even scan paper documents into a computer and load them on a USB drive for clients, giving them a small and easy way to organize all moving information. Alternatively, you can use a cloud storage service like Dropbox or Google Drive for digital document organization.

A USB drive will save space and allow clients to store documents on a computer.

A USB drive will save space and allow clients to store documents on a computer.

Local Connections

Walking into a new house can be depressing without power and utilities, and connecting your clients with the services in their area can help them feel more at home. You can also connect your clients with a local home designer. Since interior design tends to be important for many new homeowners, especially younger ones, a home designer is perfect for helping clients with a new house layout or style.

Ultimate Vocab Cheat Sheet for New Home Buyers

House

While the prospect of buying a new home can be exciting for first-time buyers, it can also be a daunting experience filled with confusion and questions on the homeowner process. For those of you with clients who are tackling their very first home purchase, here’s our ultimate vocabulary sheet to help familiarize them with the terms they’ll most likely hear during the buying process.

1. Appraisal – The estimated value of a property which is determined by an impartial professional appraiser. The appraisal is required by the lender if you are financing the purchase of your home.

2. Conventional Mortgage – A mortgage that is not insured by the Federal Government. The loan is subject to the conditions set by the lender and State statutes.

3. FHA Loan – A loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration. Benefits of this type of loan include lower down payment requirements and easier credit qualifications

4. Title – A report showing the activity of ownership for the property. The title also shows what mortgages or liens exist on the property. A clean title means there are no other claims by third parties to the property.

5. Certificate of Title – A certificate issued by a title company or an attorney, indicating that the title of the property is insurable.

6. Agreement of Sale – A contract between the buyer and seller. The terms and conditions are set in the contract and include items such as the purchase price, the address of the property, financing contingencies, etc.

Agreement of Sale occurs when both the buyer and seller settle on terms and conditions.

Agreement of Sale occurs when both the buyer and seller settle on terms and conditions.

7. Commission – The money paid by the seller to a real estate agent to find a buyer and complete the sale of property. Typical commission rates are between 5-10%.

8. Deed – A legal document that transfers ownership of the property from the seller to the buyer. To be legally binding, the deed must be recorded with the local government where it becomes public record.

9. Documentary Stamps – A state tax required on deeds and mortgages when the title changes ownership.

10. Down Payment – The amount of money paid by the buyer towards the purchase of property. The down payment amount is recorded in the agreement of sale.

11. Escrow – An account where funds are held until the occurrence of a specific event, usually the closing.

12. Earnest Money – A deposit the buyer gives to the seller to show good faith in purchasing the property. The earnest money funds are held in escrow and applied to the down payment at the time of closing. If the sale does not go through, the money is forfeited, unless otherwise stated in the contract.

Earnest Money is deposited in good faith, meaning that the seller is assured of future payments.

Earnest Money is deposited in good faith, meaning that the seller is assured of future payments.

13. Easement Rights – A property easement is a right of way given to a person or company to access the land of the property holder. A common example is an electric company needing to enter a property to gain access to power lines that run through a yard. Easement rights are commonly an issue on properties where oil & gas mineral rights are sold or severed from the surface estate. In this case, the mineral rights owner is given an easement to use the surface estate to access the mineral properties.

14. Closing – The transfer of the ownership of the property where the seller signs the deed to the buyer. The buyer will then sign all required mortgage documents and pay any necessary closing costs.

15. Closing Costs – A list of expenses necessary to transfer ownership of the property. Both the buyer and seller are responsible for closing costs and are paid on the day of closing in addition to the price of the property.

Tips for Helping a Client Moving to NYC for the First Time

New York

While relocating to New York City can be an exciting experience for a client, most first-timers will need a crash course on what to expect from NYC real estate. As we know, when it comes to renting and buying, the New York real estate market is a lot more competitive and cutthroat than it is in other metropolitan areas. To help clients who are making a move to the Big Apple without living there prior, here are a few things that they’ll need to be aware of.

Upfront and Additional Costs

Whether your client decides to rent or buy, they’ll be paying more than just a deposit or down payment on their new home. If your client is renting, landlords will expect them to pay the first month, last month, and a one-month security deposit when signing a lease. For example, if an apartment is $4,000/month, your client will need to pay $12,000 on the day of agreement before getting their keys. Make sure clients are aware that a broker can also charge a fee of around 15% to renters and will get a commission of around 6% on a sale.

Buying in NYC often requires a hefty down payment or an all-cash offer. At a minimum, your client could be putting as much as 25% down. Your client will also have to pay monthly maintenance fees on top of mortgage payments and real estate taxes, which can feel like paying rent on a property that you own.

Whether your client is buying or renting in NYC, you can be sure that they'll have additional moving costs.

Whether your client is buying or renting in NYC, you can be sure that they’ll have additional moving costs.

Importance of Hiring an Experienced Moving Company

Another important cost to consider is hiring a moving company that’s knowledgeable in building and parking regulations. We generally refer our clients to Imperial Moving & Storage, a Chelsea-based company with over 20 years of experience in Manhattan relocations. In New York, most buildings will restrict the hours (and even the use of an elevator) when a person can move in, so it’s handy to have movers who know what they’re doing. It’s also a good idea to hire a company that understands the nuances of moving into cramped buildings and tight parking spots. While these services usually charge a lot of money and expect to be tipped, their experience is well worth the expense.

Picking the Right Neighborhood

Many can attest that it’s tricky trying determine which neighborhood is best for your client. While price is obviously one of the driving factors, here are a few other essential considerations:

Transportation

How convenient is the neighborhood to the MTA subways and bus routes? Is there parking available in the building or on the street? In the city’s outer boroughs, there are many one or two family housing options with private driveways. In Manhattan, your client would need to pay for onsite parking if (and only if) there is space available.

Make sure that your client knows where all public transportation options are located in their neighborhood.

Make sure that your client knows where all public transportation options are located in their neighborhood.

Groceries

Are there local shops for basic needs nearby, such as groceries and sundries? Are there delivery options if there aren’t any in the area? Check and see if there are any stores or big box companies, such as Whole Foods, in the neighborhood. You can also recommend services such as Fresh Direct or Instacart, which are grocery delivery services available throughout most of the city.

Schools

If your client has children, do some research on the public and private schools in the area. Educational opportunities could seal the deal when picking out a neighborhood, and it’s best to explain how the private school system works with filling out applications and potential long waiting lists.

Safety

Since first-timers may be relying on you to guide them in the right direction, make sure to do your homework to ensure that your client feels confident about their neighborhood’s safety. While much of Manhattan is a safe place to live, there are still areas in transition, such as East Harlem, that need to be checked up on. The outer boroughs have a mix of communities to choose from with plenty of diversity, and to see crime statistics by neighborhood, try reading through this online resource.

Moving to New York may be one of the biggest decisions your clients ever make. They are trusting you to guide them in navigating the choppy waters of NYC real estate, so make sure you are informed and ready to help.

7 Daily Habits of Successful Real Estate Agents

Entrepreneur

If you’re looking to start a career in the challenging world of real estate, you’ll need to develop a good work ethic, a positive attitude, and professional habits that can separate you from other competitors in the market. Just like with any other ambitious goal, you won’t achieve instant success or gratifying sales overnight. It takes consistent effort over a long span of time to build up a reputation that clients can trust and recommend to others. For effective practices that can boost your performance in the industry of real estate, here are seven daily habits to adopt into your routine.

1. Set a Schedule

Whether you’re working for a company or going it alone, keeping a schedule can help you to keep track of dates, clients, listings, and more. Without one, it’s easy to forget appointments or memos that are made on the fly and can cause your workweek to become chaotic. Be sure to take note of certain days or times when your workflow is a little slow so that you can check your schedule and go over meetings, cancellations, and errands during the week.

2. Develop a Morning Routine

Developing a good morning routine can help improve your success and productivity in the job market. Your morning can be as laid-back as enjoying a cup of coffee and looking over emails or more proactive, such as taking a run around the neighborhood or writing out a list of goals. Whatever you choose, it’s important to have something in place at the beginning of your day.

3. Respond to People Promptly

Part of developing trust with clients and potential customers is learning to respond to all communication as soon as possible. Be sure to check your email periodically throughout the day and follow up with any leads as soon as you have their contact information. If you receive a voicemail, call back on the same day or the morning of the next to show that you’re a dedicated and reliable agent.

Check all voicemails daily and be sure to follow up as soon as possible.

Check all voicemails daily and be sure to follow up as soon as possible.

4. Stay Physically Active

Don’t underestimate the power of physical activity. Working out isn’t just essential for staying in shape, it can also boost the blood flow to your brain and can increase your focus, memory, and productivity at work. And although many people tend to skip out on exercising to concentrate on work, spending a mere 30-minutes per day on a brisk walk, jog, bike ride, or yoga session can help you succeed in your business in the long run.

5. Learn New Things

Exercising your mind is just as important as exercising your body, and to stay ahead of your fellow competitors, you’ll need to learn more aspects of the field of real state on a consistent basis. Whether it’s reading real estate blogs, business books, or listening to podcasts, absorbing new information every day will keep you at the top of your game.

6. Build an Online Presence

A strong web presence is becoming more and more essential to a real estate agent’s success. At a minimum, you should have a social media profile on LinkedIn or Twitter so that potential clients and companies can see what you do and connect with you. It’s also important to regularly check and comment on real estate articles to get your name out there. And if you’re able to, starting a real estate blog is an excellent way to bring in clients through content marketing.

Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets are a great way to promote yourself online.

Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets are a great way to promote yourself online.

7. Use Time Wisely

With only so many hours in a day, successful real estate agents know how to maximize their time. If you have a long commute into work, try calling a client back or listening to the news instead of turning the radio on. If a meeting is delayed or canceled, use the extra time to develop a new marketing technique or online strategy. Constantly look for ways to remain productive so that you can get the most out of your days.

Trendiest Neighborhoods in NYC’s Outer Boroughs

relocating-new-york-city

As one of the most expensive real estate markets in the world, New York City is getting far too pricey for many of its residents. Manhattan real estate prices have skyrocketed with the rise of foreign investments in the market, and most people simply can’t afford to pay their raised rent and grocery bills at the same time. Over recent decades the sky-high Manhattan prices have driven many people to move to the outer boroughs where there are better deals on larger living spaces. If your clients are looking to relocate out of Manhattan, here are some of the trendiest neighborhoods in the NYC area you should be familiar with:

Brooklyn

While prices have risen in Brooklyn’s revitalized neighborhoods such as Williamsburg and Greenpoint, there are still hidden gems with reasonably-priced apartments available in this NYC borough. Gowanus was once a gritty industrial center that is now becoming a hot spot for residential conversions of industrial buildings. The neighborhood has attracted artists and musicians for the past few years because of its many loft-like spaces that accommodate workspace. With the opening of Brooklyn’s first Whole Foods store, Gowanus is quickly becoming a more residential and affordable place to live. It’s also conveniently located near the N, R, and F subway lines, as well as the beautiful Prospect Park.

The snow-covered Flushing Meadows Park is a quiet place in the dead of winter, but transforms into a lively neighborhood hangout during the warm summer months.

The snow-covered Flushing Meadows Park is a quiet place in the dead of winter, but transforms into a lively neighborhood hangout during the warm summer months.

Bronx

Much of the Bronx has a bad reputation for being unsafe, but there are some family-friendly neighborhoods in the North Bronx area that provide relatively affordable housing with parks, good schools, and cultural attractions close by. Riverdale is a family-oriented community with an intimate neighborhood vibe. If you can afford it, there’s high-end housing available that overlooks the Hudson River, but the most affordable options are closer to Manhattan College and Van Cortland Park. The park is a peaceful space with walking trails, baseball fields, and a golf course, and the surrounding neighborhood provides plenty of low-key shopping venues and restaurants. Riverdale also caters to families and students with its relaxed and safe atmosphere and is reachable by the No. 1 subway and by Metro-North trains.

Queens

Located on the East River in Queens, Astoria is the perfect neighborhood to venture out to if you still can’t afford the nearby hot spots to live in. With proximity to the G subway, you’ll still be close enough to enjoy the Brooklyn hipster scene in the surrounding neighborhoods, while also having relatively easy access to and from Astoria with the N, W, R, and M subway stops. Astoria is a diverse neighborhood with great ethnic restaurants and bistros and offers large housing spaces without breaking the bank.

Staten Island is the most suburban of all the NYC boroughs and offers convenient transportation to Manhattan via the Staten Island Ferry.

Staten Island is the most suburban of all the NYC boroughs and offers convenient transportation to Manhattan via the Staten Island Ferry.

Staten Island

St. George is the most lively, creative, and convenient neighborhood located on Staten Island. While the rest of the island has a more subdued, suburban environment, St. George feels like a small town with many apartments, eateries, and activities, making it a choice place to live in NYC. The St. George Waterfront Redevelopment Project even boasts a retail outlet center and an observation wheel located on the NYC harbor. St. George is also home to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, making it an ideal location for going to and from Manhattan. While the trip is roughly 30-minutes long, it’s very affordable, and you can’t beat the stunning views of the city skyline and the Statue of Liberty.