November 2014 Housing Trends eNewsletter from Amanda and Sean

Welcome to the most current Housing Trends eNewsletter. This eNewsletter is specially designed for you, with national and local housing information that you may find useful whether you’re in the market for a home, thinking about selling your home, or just interested in homeowner issues in general.

Please click on this link to view the Housing Trends November 2014 Newsletter:

The Housing Trends eNewsletter contains the latest information from the National Association of REALTORS®, the U.S. Census Bureau, reports and other sources.

Housing Trends eNewsletter is also filled with local and national real estate sales and price activity provided by MLSs and the National Association of Realtors, U.S. Census Bureau key market indicators, housing market video reports, blogs, real estate glossary, maps, mortgage rates and calculators, consumer articles, community reports that map shopping, schools, recreation and more.

If you are interested in determining the value of your home, click the “Home Evaluator” link for a free evaluation report:

Sound decisions can only be made with accurate and reliable information, and I am happy to be a trusted resource for you. Thank you for the opportunity to provide you with this monthly eNewsletter, and I look forward to answering any questions you may have and to the opportunity to be your REALTOR® in the future.

Why Do I Need My Checkbook to Write an Offer?

In PA, when you write a contract for the sale of property, it is accompanied by a check.  The sellers’ agent will usually like to see about 1-2% of the purchase price as a good faith deposit with the contract.  If you reach an agreement with the sellers, this money is held as an “earnest money deposit” in the escrow account of the listing brokerage, and is then brought to closing on your behalf.  So if you would have owed $5000 at closing for example, you would only owe $3000 since you had already given $2000.  The money is to show that you “in good faith” plan to purchase the property.  If you back out for reasons in the contract (like inspections or not getting a mortgage), the money is returned to you.  If the offer is not accepted, the check is never cashed and is returned to you.  The only way to lose a good faith deposit is to violate the agreement or to back out for a reason not set forth in the contract (like deciding the day before closing that you would like to buy the house next to your parents that just came on the market instead).  Make sense?

What exactly is Seller Assist?


Most buyers are very familiar with the term “down payment” and are aware they will need some savings in order to purchase a home.  What some buyers are not aware of is the other costs associated with homebuying.  These costs, including title insurance, lender fees, escrow accounts for taxes, transfer taxes and settlement fees can cost up to 6% of the purchase price of the home.  “Seller assist” is a feature of mortgage loans that is used to help the buyers to mortgage a portion of these closing costs.  Each lender has its own specific guidelines as to how much assistance the seller can provide.  Typically, the amount allowed depends on the type of loan.

For most conventional loans:

  • If the down payment is less than 10 percent, the seller may contribute up to 3 percent of the purchase price.
  • If the down payment is 10 percent or greater the seller may contribute up to 6 percent of the purchase price.

For Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-backed loans:

  • Sellers can contribute up to 6 percent of the sale price.  There is a proposal in Congress to reduce FHA seller assistance to 3 percent, but nothing has been finalized.  Buyers must put down at least 3.5 percent to qualify for an FHA-backed loan.

Here’s how seller assistance works:

Let’s say the buyer and seller agree on a sales price of $100,000, and the buyer’s closing costs are going to be $3,000.  The buyer says he’ll raise his offer to $103,000 if the seller agrees to pay $3,000 in closing costs.  The seller nets the same amount.

The advantage to the buyer is he can finance the closing costs into the loan.  The only catch:  The property has to appraise for the higher amount or the loan won’t be approved.

Your mortgage lender, along with Sean and Amanda, will be happy to explain more about how Seller Assist can help you in your next home purchase!

Get Your Lawn Summer-Ready!

Get you lawn in tip-top shape using this season-by-season lawn maintenance calendar from House Logic

The Truth Behind Zillow Zestimates

A lot of buyers and homeowners have been trusting the real estate website to properly value their home. DID YOU KNOW they are required to post their accuracy ratings each quarter? For 2013 so far, they are within 5% of the actual sale price value only 38-39.5% of the time in Lehigh and Northampton counties. If those were my statistics, I would not have a job!  Please trust your real estate professional to give you a comparative market analysis of the value of your home or a home you plan to purchase … computers and algorithms can only get you so far. Plus we are much more interactive 🙂

You can check the accuracy of the Zillow Zestimates in your county by visiting

Welcome to Our New Website!

Welcome to Our New Website! Both born and raised in the Lehigh Valley, we credit our success to a shared commitment to exceptional service. We specialize in residential listings and re-sale, first-time home buyers, foreclosures, commercial and investment properties, and liquor license sales. Our real estate experience and resources ensure clients get the results they want. Check back soon for news, updates and tips on buying and selling your home!