8 Signs You’re Buying The Wrong Home

The excitement of homebuying can sweep you off your feet (like that first time you saw Empire Strikes Back).  In fact, it’s quite easy to lose your cool when you fall in love with a home.  And why not? It has most everything you’ve wanted in your ideal home since you began looking five months ago.  Everything is peachy… perfect!

Buying The Wrong Home

You’re now in a very dangerous place.  Your emotions are high, your defenses are down.  It’s easy to pass over a home’s flaws when you’re ‘all in.’  As journalist Cathie Ericson best puts it: “It was your dream home – until it wasn’t.”  When you’re in the hunt for a home, pay close attention to issues that appear to be very costly or seem potentially larger than only your surface observations.  Be mindful of possible issues that can extend beyond the walls of the home too.

We’ve pinpointed eight telltale things below you simply cannot neglect when actively searching for a home in today’s market.

Foundation Issues

Larger cracks in the structure of a home shout ‘enter at your own risk.’  They can even flash in red and say ‘don’t buy me.’ A cracked foundation can be a mess and usually isn’t worth your time or resources.  Are there doors in the home which don’t close as they should? When you walk through the property, do the floors feel uneven? These can point right to structure or foundation issues.

Buying The Wrong Home

Water Where There Shouldn’t Be

When I first delve into real estate well over a decade ago, I was told water in a home was the root of all evil.  Though not often overlooked by homebuyers, emotions can blind us to this potential problem, until we find ourselves knee-high in it.  Are you aware of the probable signs of water damage when you walk through a home? Do you see any signs of discoloration? Do you sense a musty or mildew smell?  Are the home’s systems/storage elevated off the basement floor? These may all be signs that water is the culprit and a bigger problem than the seller disclosing.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor

Many prospective homebuyers don’t give this much thought, but they should do their due diligence and survey the neighborhood.  They should talk to neighbors, if they can. Quiet is a very subjective term in real estate, yet you may be concerned with the decibel level on the block?  Sometimes neighborhood conditions at day or at night vary greatly.

The Windows Won’t Budge

If you’ve looked at numerous homes you’re bound to come across this issue.  In Northeastern Pennsylvania between the weather changes, homeowners painting their frames with the windows shut and their age, you can really be in for it.  Don’t overlook your outlets to the outdoors. If you do, it can cost you energy efficiency, money and comfort-ability.

Don’t Forget About Resale

You may live in your home for ten or twenty years or you might need to sell three or four years from now.  You may not think purchasing a two bedroom home is a big deal, but the next buyer might. The traffic on your street may not bother you, but it might be a deal-breaker for the next buyer.  When purchasing a property, always take into account its resale value.

A Specialist Is Needed

Sometimes you need to call on a professional.  There are times when a home inspector will be all a prospective buyer requires for reassurance, but there will be other times when an uneven floor, dead trees on the lot or a septic system, for instance, may require a more thorough investigation and the proper specialist to do that.

One In Five Could Fall Victim To This

Did you know that 20% of homeowners are members of a homeowners or condo association?  If you have serious interest in a property, which is part of a homeowners association (HOA), make sure to obtain a copy of the covenants and restrictions for that association.  Your REALTOR® can provide you with a copy.  It’s important to know what the HOA does and does not permit before you make a commitment to purchase.

Don’t Get Overwhelmed

The process of homebuying is a wonderful one, filled with adventure to say the least.  It’s a solid investment where you can live and make memories, but don’t let your emotions override how you would normally handle most other situations.  Buying the wrong home can set you back.  When you find a home you love, step back from the front lines and give it serious thought (remember, this is a large investment). Analyze what you can afford based upon your budget.  Think about the surprise costs that might come your way on any given year for maintenance and repairs. Consider the home’s condition. Consider the utility bills. Throughout this process, it’s important to remind yourself not to be overwhelmed.

When Remodeling Counts: 6 Home Renovations With The Highest Return

We acquire a stronger taste for spring as the weeks go by and with that comes open house fever and an impulsiveness from some homeowners of wanting to sell now.  The desire to sell can be met with an overwhelming awareness that a home isn’t quite ready for the market yet.  We get it, the struggle is real.  As a homeowner, you want to present your home in the best possible light from its initial offering, whenever you and your real estate professional deem it appropriate to market, given your unique circumstances.

If you are contemplating a spring or summer release, but you realize certain renovations are necessary to maximize your home’s value (while not over-improving), there may still be time to upgrade where suitable and put your home’s best foot forward.  So what renovations will give you the most bang for your buck?  Every home and neighborhood are different, so it’s important to recognize what may work for one house, may not for another down the street or across the county.  It’s also important to take the time to discuss possible upgrades/options with your REALTOR® and even perhaps a home-staging expert.

For your consideration, we’ve highlighted 6 home renovations with the highest return in 2018*:

6 Home Renovations With The Highest Return

Insulation (Attic/Home)

Increasing your home’s energy efficiency is of vital importance to many homeowners.  You can also reap benefits on the other end as well – lower utility bills.  With the low cost of entry to complete this project and the high rate of return combined with the potential to keep your heating/cooling costs down, this renovation is a no-brainer to many who need it.

Cost estimate (average): $1,300-$2,100

Cost recuperated (average): 76%-108%

Stone Veneer (Manufactured)

Enhancing curb appeal is critical for enticing prospective homebuyers to enter your home.  Whether they are driving-by the property or they’ve seen it for the first time online, stone veneer has the power to attract buyers.  This is a project with a much higher-than-average ROI.

Cost estimate (average): $7,800-$8,400

Cost recuperated (average): 89%-$97

6 Home Renovations With The Highest Return

Steel Front Door

Another job that can boost your home’s energy efficiency as well as its curb appeal is upgrading your front door.  You might be able to get away with refinishing and repainting it a bold color, but if not, this is the next best option.

Cost estimate (average): $1,400-$2,000

Cost recuperated (average): 75%-91%

Garage Door (Replacement)

Sometimes it’s time for a change and better functionality helps as well.  This remodeling job should also improve a home’s curb appeal depending on where the garage is located.  Note that its relatively low cost makes it attractive to pursue.

Cost estimate (average): $2,300-$3,600

Cost recuperated (average): 77%-87%

Wood Deck (Addition)

Relaxing outdoors on your very own deck can be exciting for both homeowners and buyers alike.  While there are options like Trex® decking, which have their own added benefits, a wood deck addition can give you a decent return on your investment.

Cost estimate (average): $10,700-$11,300

Cost recuperated (average): 72%-83%

6 Home Renovations With The Highest Return

Kitchen Remodel (Minor)

Kitchens are one of the top three interior areas of a home that buyers gravitate toward when they become serious about their home search.  It’s important not to overlook this area of your home.  Do you have outdated cabinets, countertops and appliances?  Does your kitchen look like something out of the 1970s or 80s?  A renovation here might be necessary to attract the right type of buyer.

Cost estimate (average): $20,800-$35,000

Cost recuperated (average): 57%-81%

It’s important for homeowners to recognize that for almost every home project imaginable they’re not going to get back financially what they’ve put in to that renovation.  These are only estimates and average ranges of cost and ROI.  Here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, materials and labor can be cheaper too.  Before you decide to undertake renovations throughout your home, you should keep in mind how long you’ve lived or plan on living in your home, since you’ve purchased it.  A good rule of thumb, would be ten or more years – which is the present standard for tenure in a home.  If you have lived in your home or plan on keeping it for ten or more years, remodeling it can surely add value.  Again, this is a conversation you need to have with your REALTOR®.

For further information about the costs for these and other projects in and around the home, click here.  If you would like to reference either of these reports for more details, see below.

*These ROI are based upon two reports, Remodeling’s 2018 Cost Versus Value Report (Hanley Wood Media) and 2017 Remodeling Impact Report (National Association of REALTORS®).  It’s important to understand the cost of these projects.  What you recover from them are influenced by multiple factors, including design, materials, location (in NEPA versus elsewhere), age of the home, condition of the home and the preferences by you, the homeowner.

Five Fantastic Insights For Landing Your Perfect Real Estate Agent

We’ve experienced some rather unique weather patterns this winter in Northeastern Pennsylvania.  Over the past week alone we got a tease – a taste of spring!  When seasons begin to change, and they will, home sellers start to catch “the fever.”  It’s an interesting phenomenon that exceeds most anything you’ll experience at this time of the year (yes, even in Punxsutawney).  This can be a stressful time of the year for homeowners as they gear up to sell their homes.  Life moves on and sometimes, for whatever the reason, you may need to move to, sell a family estate or the like.  It’s even nerve-racking for homebuyers, especially first-timers, looking to enter a market where inventory has been lower than we can ever remember it.

Part of the anxiety is born when a customer believes he/she is going at it alone.  And in those situations, I would certainly say, stress would be justified.  The good news is, if you have a real estate agent who’s your perfect match, you have an advocate and smoother sailing ahead.  So what’s the trick?  How can you discover your perfect match in your local real estate market?  Below we’ve highlighted five fantastic insights which will help you find the real estate agent who’s right for you!

Perfect Real Estate Agent

Research, Research, Research…

Part of the anxiety of choosing a real estate professional comes with the thought of getting stuck with an agent who’s a real dud. Or maybe you don’t even know where to start.  This is the day and age of social media, is it not?  May we suggest this be your point of origin.  Take your request to Facebook and your other social channels.  Ask your circle of friends and acquaintances, who they would recommend in your local market.  Referrals can go a long way in assisting you in this vetting process.  According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) 2017 Profile of Homebuyers & Sellers, “forty-two percent of buyers used an agent that was referred to them by a friend, neighbor or relative.”  Next Google this agent.  What have you discovered?

More Research…

Even if the referral or top candidate seems like a perfect fit, don’t settle just yet! Choosing an agent is similar to choosing a spouse.  You’re most likely going to be spending a great deal of time with each other.  Again, I doubt you want to get stuck with a bad apple.  Gather up a few more names of potential matches.  Venture out into your market and do a field study.  You won’t be needing muck boots or insect repellant, but you need to take some initiative.  Effort here on your part can really pay off later, so be proactive.  When you venture out into the market, go “undercover” and see potential candidates in action at open houses.  Were they on time?  How did they handle themselves at their open house?  Were they welcoming?  Did they provide helpful information to you and other prospective buyers?  Did they answer all your questions?  How did they market the property?  Did they follow-up with you days later regarding your interest in the property?  After your field study, trek back to Google and do some more investigating.  Find testimonials about the agents you are considering.  What are their past clients saying about them?


These Three Qualities…

There are three things that everyone entering the market should look for in his/her real estate agent: Knowledge, efficiency and honesty. First, how well does the agent know the local market or more specifically the neighborhood(s) you’re interested in?  Do they live there (or at the very least close by) or have they lived there?  Local market knowledge is an essential ingredient for your perfect agent to possess.  Secondly, real estate transactions can be a nightmare if they’re not dealt with in an organized and efficient manner.  Does your potential match have the wherewithal to anticipate problems before they arise?  Lastly, finding an agent you can trust can put you at ease right from the onset.  You need an agent you can feel comfortable with, someone you can share confidential information with and someone who will keep your best interests front and center.

The Rare Exception…

While it is possible to find a real estate professional who has both stellar numbers/production as well as customer service, this is a rare exception. With all things being equal, and time being one of them, balancing high output with quality customer service is harder to find than most would lead you to believe.  There’s a big myth in our Greater Scranton market that top producing agents because they have the numbers are always the go-to professionals, but this is simply not the case.  And while I’m not discounting the fact that being a top-producer is a great quality to own, being one doesn’t ensure that your trustworthy or abide by the NAR Code of Ethics.  Yes, there are those who sell millions of dollars of property each year, but their minimal knowledge of your preferred neighborhood would pale in comparison to the motivated new agent who knows that target market very well.  Because the agent is in the top one or two percent of their local board, doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll have the proper amount of time to dedicate to you.

Perfect Real Estate Agent

Communication Is Key…

As in any business dealing, it’s vital to keep an open line of communication with all parties at hand, especially the one directing this orchestra of real estate – namely your agent. How do you prefer to be contacted as it pertains to real estate?  Does his/her communication style jibe well with yours?  How does he/she plan to sell your home or find your dream one?  It’s important to lay down a good foundation for what your communication style is like and what you’re looking for from your agent.  Do you prefer to be contacted at least once a week (even if all is quiet in the marketplace)?  These are imperative questions to address prior to selecting your perfect agent.


Whether you’re looking to buy or sell in today’s market, having a real estate professional who complements the criteria above can save you considerable time, energy and Advil.  Make a mental note of these pointers and choose wisely.  Search for someone who has a solid work ethic and is engaging.  If you’re looking for a home or investment property, sign a buyer’s agency agreement, but for a shorter duration of time.  You can always extend it if you believe it would be mutually beneficial, but you’d hate to be stuck with an agent who isn’t the best fit for you.  So get to work and find that perfect real estate agent for you!

For more insight on finding a great agent, check this article we wrote last summer.  You can find some wonderful REALTORS® here.

Decorating Your Home For The Holidays Doesn’t Have To Affect A Possible Sale

Tis the season to spend time with your family and friends and drive around admiring the beautiful sights and sounds of the holidays. In our area you can catch a few spots where one can really enjoy the season: Festival of Lights at Stone Hedge Golf Course and the Holiday Light Spectacular at Nay Aug Park, immediately come to mind. Having said that, if your home is listed for sale, it should not exude Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or Festivus, for that matter.

As a general rule of thumb, you want to keep it simple and stage your home appropriately regardless of what season of the year it happens to be.

Here are six ways you can spruce up your home in the spirit of the holidays without scaring off potential buyers:

Safety First


Thefts are typically on the rise come the holiday time and packages have their way of disappearing if you aren’t careful. Have packages delivered to the office (place of work) or an alternative address where you know someone will be to retrieve the shipment. You don’t want these packages lying around your home during showings either. Lock them away somewhere safe during showings or open houses.

Skip The Curbside Fanfare

Decorating Your Home For The Holidays

Avoid the gaudiness that can come with the holiday season. You know what can turn off homebuyers – inflatables (especially the ones with those noisy fans), plastic Santas, large signs (which don’t consist of your real estate agency’s information) or anything that might be more fitting on the Las Vegas Strip than in your neighborhood. Curb appeal is critically important for getting buyers into your home, even in December.

Less Lights

Decorating Your Home For The Holidays

Classic white lights are always warm and welcoming to guests who enter your home during the holiday season. The old home staging adage “less is more” is very appropriate for home decorating in addition to decluttering throughout the year. This goes for lights both outside and inside the listing. Don’t get tangled and bogged down with the frantic pace of the season – slow things down and keep it simple. Use less lights.

Trees Are Your Enemy


Christmas/Hanukkah trees can be majestic and enhance the overall holiday experience for families, but unless you have a grand foyer with high ceilings that really displays what the room was created for, the tree should be brushed aside while your home is on the market. This is particularly true if you favor living trees over artificial ones. Living trees can introduce mold spores into the air affecting buyers and they can be a mess to clean. Also, keep in mind any tree, if it’s large enough, can make a room appear smaller to a potential buyer.


Don’t wrap your home in an ugly Christmas sweater this year! Hide those holiday cards (don’t display them on the fireplace mantel), keep those named stockings at bay and be mindful of how buyers might perceive your decorations. Regardless of the time or season, a homeowner’s personal artifacts should fade to the background or disappear altogether when the home is for sale. More on depersonalizing your space here.

Lean On Aromas & Ambience


Tune into any Hallmark Christmas movie and you know what works when it comes time to selling during the holidays. The smell of baked goods or hot chocolate or warm apple cider with mulling spices comes to mind. The warmth of a burning fireplace or wood-burning stove can be inviting as well. Celebrate your religious background with color, candles and the like. It’s important to create a sense of the season without the over-the-top decorations which can easily invade your home.

These are six ways that you can keep the holidays in check. It’s important to be able to celebrate the season, while not detracting from a homebuyer’s experience. A potential purchaser needs to be able to use their imagination to foresee himself/herself living there. This December, deck your halls, but do it right!

11 Amazing Facts About These 7 Scary Household Hazards

Sure, rats, spiders and clowns may terrify you, but chances are you won’t sustain any life-threatening injuries from them.  Spiders scare me with all their legs in addition to their secrecy.  Furthermore, the house centipede might be the scariest thing known to humans.  They are fast, ugly and make even the most masculine man scream like a four year old child.  Yet, unlike these household pests (as well as your local neighborhood clown), there are genuine household hazards which are truly scary and should be on your radar this All Hallows Eve.  We’ve emphasized 7 scary household hazards, but let us know if we’ve missed any.

We would like to highlight some of them here with 11 facts you’ll want to keep carved in your mind (*unless otherwise noted, these are per year and in the United States):

7 Scary Household Hazards

There are on average 358,500 home structure fires

This is a scary number and many of these are preventable.  Checking for fire hazards starts in the kitchen as this is a “hot spot” where numerous fires originate, especially on the stove top. You’ll also want to give space heaters room to function (watch out for curtains or anything flammable coming into contact with them).  Two other warning areas should be candles (like your pans in the kitchen, don’t leave them unattended) and faulty/deteriorating electrical cords.

Over 20,000 deaths are related to radon exposure

It’s radon, it’s the number one leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers and it’s a deadly, invisible, radioactive gas.  It seeps through the ground like a ghost and it doesn’t taste nor smell like anything.  The EPA estimates that 21,000 fall victim to it each year, while the National Cancer Institute has their number approaching 22,000.

7 Scary Household Hazards

Christmas can elevate your chances of catching “pine flu”

Did you know that live Christmas trees can release mold spores into your home?  While this may not be a problem for most, people who have asthma issues or sensitivity to various allergens might want to reconsider bringing that live tree indoors next month.

7 Scary Household Hazards

44,019 die from unintentional drug-poisoning

It’s the leading cause of injury death in our country and again, with education, programs and assistance these very unfortunate statistics can drop a great deal.  Drug-poisoning takes more lives each year than automobile accidents, guns or falling.  Do you know that someone calls a poison control center about every 11 seconds in our nation?  Please make sure drugs and harmful household cleaning products are out of reach from toddlers and young children.

Carbon monoxide is another silent killer

Like radon, carbon monoxide (CO) is odorless, tasteless, colorless and undetectable without the proper detector placed in your home.  This gas is toxic and takes the lives of 438 people annually in our nation.  Remember, you can’t smell this gas so it’s imperative that you get one carbon monoxide detector installed on each floor of your home to properly protect yourself as well as your loved ones.

7 Scary Household Hazards

One in four Americans over the age of 65 falls

Not surprisingly, falling hazards are the number cause of injuries to seniors, but it doesn’t have to be such a dangerous “slipup” that many take in their day-to-day activities around the home.  Here are a few “steps” you can take to keep your loved ones safe – they should avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing, install hand/guide rails for their use, declutter, wear shoes that have good traction/footing, live on one level (if possible) and keep areas of the home where they travel well-light.

A TV can fall with the force of thousands of pounds

Yes, think about that the next time you place a television or large appliance on a free-standing piece of furniture in your home.  That’s roughly the equivalent of a NFL lineman slamming into your child… times 10!

7 Scary Household Hazards

Fire takes the lives of 3,362 people

While the fire death rate has dropped over 17% in the past decade, and that’s fantastic news, there’s still more work to be done – education is needed, more fire-escape plans need to be rehearsed and more detectors need to be installed to protect our families.  It’s not all scary and it doesn’t have to be, but that number is still way too high!

Every 19 minutes an older adult dies from a fall

Another scary fact, sadly this is all too true.  That’s over 19,500 annually; keeping in mind these are unintentional as most of the dangers on this list are.

Almost one in four calls to a poison control center originated from a health care facility

This is interesting and scary – health care professionals need the assistance of poison control centers.  Mr. Yuck we love you!

Every 30 minutes tipping furniture will send a child to the ER

And roughly 67% of them involve toddlers.  Often it seems anything involving children can be twice as frightening.  Please protect our children, they are super precious.
















5 Reasons A Penny-wise Consumer Will Start Shopping For Homes In The Fall

5 Reasons For Fall Home Shopping


Autumn is my favorite season!  The aroma of pumpkin spice fills the air with the sounds of high school marching bands at high school football games.  The taste of apple cider has arrived and so have haunted houses (clowns anyone?).  Prospective buyers should be excited for another reason this fall – home shopping!  It makes perfect sense and here are five reasons why…

5 Reasons For Fall Home Shopping

Falling Prices

Buyers, this is your time of the year!  Home sale prices typically hit their peak in June and July in most markets.  Though oddly enough, July ’17 and Nov ’16 in the Greater Scranton area were the two high points for median home sale prices over the past twelve months.*  In autumn, sales prices of homes will begin to dip, many home-sellers will retreat and buyers who need to buy could be in a great position given a good shot of perseverance!

Statistically, according to RealtyTrac’s fifteen-year study of over 32 million homes from two years ago, the best month to purchase a home is October… Bargain shoppers, tis the season!


More bad news for sellers: Typically if you’ve had your home on the market throughout the summer selling season and you’d prefer not to carry that mortgage payment through the winter in addition to those heating costs, then you unfortunately may find yourself in a compromised negotiating position.  Better negotiating power is in the hands of the buyer, especially when the seller includes his/her home in an array of weak fall inventory – an inventory which generally consists of people who need to sell.

Off-peak times such as fall and winter present opportunities for buyers to ask for contingencies or perhaps less favorable terms as part of the agreement of sale and get away with it.

5 Reasons For Fall Home Shopping

Vanished, The Paradox Of Choice Has

If you have too many choices you run the risk of making a poor decision, or at the very least one you might regret down the road (this happens to me if I ever must purchase jarred pasta sauce).  Too many houses on the market (not an issue this past summer), can create a surplus of options ultimately leading to negative results for buyers.  Under normal spring/summer real estate conditions where a plethora of choices exist, buyers might, under the stress from the competition, make a hasty decision.  During those years, shopping in the fall can be your antidote to the paradox of choice.

Where’s The Competition?

For some buyers, if having your children in their new school district at the start of the school year isn’t absolutely necessary or if doesn’t affect your job, then moving in November or December can actually prove to be financially beneficial.  We’ve heard it said by the National Association of REALTORS® and others that the best time to buy a home is when inventory is high, but the reverse can actually be true for purchasers who don’t have restraints in place and have patience.  If you don’t care if you move in the summer or not, then you might want to consider saving that extra cash with an autumn purchase.

We’re talking an average savings of over $8,000 from summer to fall.**

Owe Less To The IRS

A home purchase before the end of 2017 can save you money by reducing your tax bill in 2018.  You might be able to take tax deductions such as property tax, mortgage interest and/or mortgage points/closing costs to offset your taxable income, if you close on your home by year’s end.  Furthermore, during the early years of your loan when you’re paying more interest and less principle, the mortgage interest deduction can have a significant impact on your return.  Owing less is more!


As you can see there’s a variety of ways a homebuyer can save money and face less anxiety during fall.  Even though some of it may be at the expense of homeowners who presently have their properties on the market, buyers need not have a sense of guilt about these types of savings.  You take them wherever and whenever you can in the wonderful world of real estate.  With the holidays quickly approaching, buyers can surely use some extra cash in their pocket.


* 2016-17 Statistics from the Greater Scranton Board of REALTORS®

** NerdWallet 2016 study

At Times Change Is What We Need

Peg WascuraPeg Wascura has been a professional service agent her whole career.  A REALTOR® since 2001, she has transitioned her exceptional service experience into the real estate arena.  The joy for Peg is getting to know you as a person, your wants and needs as a client, to build a partnership with you, to make your real estate purchase/sale a satisfying experience.

Previous to real estate, Peg was a proud and successful owner of her own hair style salon for twenty-five years.  When it came to changing careers, it was clear that her next step was becoming a real estate agent.  She learned the profession through Penn State University and continues to build upon her experience daily.  Her focus is to achieve the best possible outcome for her clients’ real estate needs.  She’s there to assist them seven days a week.  She has incredible drive to make their needs her number one priority, and deliver on the sale or purchase of their home.  “I’m proud to be a part of a company with state of the art technology, advanced training and a supportive environment,” expresses Peg regarding her recent switch to Realty Network Group.

Peg is a life-long resident of Lackawanna County, born and raised in Bucks Country – Dunmore.  She now resides in Eynon.  She’s active both as a REALTOR® and a member of her community.  In her spare time, she volunteers at Saint Francis of Assisi Soup Kitchen.  She also loves to spend time with her family, take long walks and has a passion for decorating.

If you need someone to work hard for you – someone who can offer new solutions, ideas, and personal touches to assist you with your real estate needs, contact Peg through Realty Network Group today at pwascura@realtynetwork.net or 570.357.5165 (cell).

Need To Sell Your Home Quick? Don’t Pass Up These 4 Steps To Selling Success

Don’t get caught this winter out in the cold with a home you need to sell.  Take these four steps in order to sell your property for the highest possible price in the shortest amount of time.  We recommend at least a month of prep-time to get your home ready for the market.  Get to it!  Fall will be here before you know it.

Need To Sell Your Home Quick

Curb Appeal

So curb appeal is more critical than you might give it credit for.  Know that first impressions are absolutely essential for drawing in homebuyer interest.  Everything from the landscaping, to the condition of your driveway, to the front door and everything in between will paint a picture for potential buyers of what your home is like.  The appeal or lack thereof will tell buyers if it’s even worth walking through the front door to see the interior of the listing.

When time’s a pressing issue, what are some quick fixes to your home’s curb appeal that will go a long way?

Paint Your Front Door – The front door says: “Hello, look at me!” or “Get the heck off my property.”  Which one does your front door presently convey?  The front door is your home’s smile, make it pop, but make sure it complements the rest of your home’s façade.

Attend To The Chaos – Are your shrubs overgrown?  Do your weeds need to be tamed?  Are you cutting your grass on a regular schedule?  These are things if not kept in check can spell disaster for any hopes of hooking a buyer.  Step back from the front of your home, as see what needs attention.

Driveway Devotion – Resealing a driveway can be a great way to boost your home’s curb appeal.  It’s an affordable upgrade that can go a long way.  People who drive onto your property will notice a driveway that’s in poor shape.  Homeowners need not worry about ones which are in decent shape, but if potential buyers believe they’re off-roading instead of previewing a home, there’s a big problem.

Professional Photography

You’ve nailed your home’s curb appeal, but have you pay attention to its digital appeal?  We understand that 89% of all buyers and 93% of those thirty-five years of age and younger search for homes online.*  It’s important to know a vast majority of homebuyers will seek out their future home via their smartphone, tablet or computer prior to experiencing it in person.  Have you taken the proper steps to at least minimally stage your home and perhaps more importantly, utilize professional photography to showcase it online?

Keep in mind that the first showing of your home is online nowadays.  It’s important as a homeowner that you gauge how consumers will view your property.  Do your rooms appear smaller than they actually are?  Are you making good use of angles and vantage points when taking photos?  Do you have that money shot?  Have you determined the time of the day that’s best to photograph rooms in your home?

Some real estate professionals do a great job at undertaking this task.  Others will outsource a third party who specializes in producing professional photography specifically for homes entering the market.  As a homeowner, it’s important to see a portfolio of options the real estate agent has for you at their disposal.


Your real estate agent can assist you in effectively pricing your home.  This will allow you to expose your home to the largest pool of buyers in the right price range.  Perhaps one of the worst things you can do is to price your home inconsistent with its fair market value!

Even if you’re in a hurry to move, pricing is probably the most important element of the game.  Therefore, keeping your emotions at bay and delving into a market analysis, can put you on the best path for pricing perfection in today’s market.  Have your real estate professional provide a detailed, customized comparable market analysis (CMA) for your property.  This will help you and he/she arrive at a number that makes the most sense.  Both time and money can play a factor here.  It’s important to look at the big picture and weigh all the scenarios with your agent.

Pay Attention To The Details

So you’ve focused on the first three, great!  Now what?  If time permits, take a step back and begin to see the smaller glaring details that might stick out as eye sores to prospective purchasers.  Are there light bulbs out around the house?  Maybe a fixed leak in the ceiling still shows signs of an issue that doesn’t exist anymore?  Maybe an appliance is in obvious need of repair/replacement?  Whatever the issue, the seller should now turn their attention to these things, especially if time allows.

Don’t underestimate the small home repairs.  Buyers tend to notice these, especially if they’re obvious.  As a homeowner, pay attention to clutter, depersonalization, lighting, scent, cleanliness and staging.  These are details that can make or break the potential for an offer!


* The National Association of REALTORS® 2016 Home Buyer & Seller General Trends

3 Indicators You Picked The Right Real Estate Agent

The stupendous world of real estate can sometimes be a tough nut to crack.  It’s full of all sorts of highs and lows and in-betweens.  There’s talk of interest rates and low inventory and pre-approvals.  As a consumer, where do you even start?

Some from time-to-time have navigated these waters of uncertainty with prosperity, but for the vast majority of home buyers and sellers, a successful real estate professional is needed to guide and follow-through with the transaction.  If you’ve recently entered the market or if you’re thinking about doing so and have little to no experience with either buying or selling, you might be confused as to how one would go about selecting a top-notch real estate agent.  There are many great qualities you’ll want to keep your eyes opened for in discovering a good match: An agent’s tenacity, work ethic, organization, knowledge of the market, use of technology, use of social media, attention to detail and the like.  However, we got even more specific and narrowed down the list.

We’ve laid out three indicators that you picked the right real estate agent:

He/She is always honest with you and it shows

In any relationship, honesty is a foundational virtue allowing the relationship to prosper and grow.  So too in real estate, if your agent lacks the ability to be honest with you about the current market conditions, their schedule of availability, about what the other parties have said, etc. then he/she is not a good fit for you.  Honesty can save you from unnecessary worry throughout the real estate process.  Honesty is the backbone of any great REALTOR® – it will drive his/her decision-making process and it affects how he/she responds under pressure.  And at times the truth hurts, but you may need to hear it.  If an agent can be honest with you even when it may costs he/she some money in the process, you’ve found a superb trait for your agent to possess.

He/She is someone you love to work with

In life, we often don’t get a choice as to who we must interact with on a daily basis – a few of my old high school teachers I got stuck with immediately come to mind.  There’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy working with your real estate agent.  This is an adventure of grand proportions, where you’ll be making one of the largest investments of your life.  Don’t take the selection process lightly and don’t sign a buyer’s agency agreement (or at least not for a long period of time) until you have found an agent who you jive well with and have a great rapport.  Communication is essential in any business, especially a real estate one.  You need a professional that will pick up the phone to answer your call, follow-up on things right away and one who is a relationship-builder.  When you enjoy being around a particular agent and you’re about to pursue buying or selling real estate, lock them up and sign a buyer’s agency agreement.

He/She doesn’t sit on the sidelines waiting for things to happen

The better real estate professionals understand they are not drones; they don’t just sit on the sidelines and take orders from their customers and clients.  Successful agents are proactive.  Successful agents will anticipate problems and possible solutions for those issues.  They’ll be aggressive and look out for their client’s best interests.  As a seller, if you’ve found a good agent, you’ll know it by how much of a priority you and your home is to him/her.  As a buyer, you’ll know if you’ve connected with one if they treat you and your property search with the utmost importance.

Find A Home In Pennsylvania

Find A Home In Pennsylvania

Find A Home In Pennsylvania

Come find a home in Pennsylvania.  Better yet, Northeastern PA (NEPA) is a wonderful place to live.  I live in Dunmore, on the outskirts of Scranton City.  It’s a great area to live, work and vacation.

Pennsylvania is full of blue collar workers, built on steel in the west and coal in the east.  Many throughout the Commonwealth work in various trades.  There’s opportunity for nurses, educators, contractors, just to name a few.  There’s work and then there’s play too: Come see all that our beautiful state has to offer!  Have you ever been to the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon at Pine Creek Gorge?  How about a trip to Dutch Wonderland?  PNC Park?  Independence Hall?  Everhart Museum?  Crayola Factory?  What are you waiting for?  These are a few of the interesting spots you can enjoy in our state today.

I know I sound like a PSA right about now, but an adventure does await you, especially if you’re a nature lover!

Biking, fishing, hiking, swimming, hunting, skiing – you name it, PA’s got it.  If you’re not into the great outdoors, no worries either, there’s plenty of “non-nature” activities to tackle throughout the year as well.

Visit NEPA

Northeastern PA highlights so much of what works throughout the Commonwealth – the Baby Yanks (Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees), the arts, high school football, great restaurants, universities and shopping/outlets.  NEPA also has unique attributes which can be harder to find when you leave our region such as a superb variety of fantastic pizza, the Nicholson Bridge, Steamtown, Saint Ubaldo’s Festival, Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour and more!

Scranton is arguably the main hub of our area.  I believe it’s a city making a slow-and-steady comeback.  You know Scranton!  Would it help if I said Dunder Mifflin?

I recently came across the following video by NBC News reporter/videographer, Matt Danzico, a Scranton native who produced an interesting piece on our region (as well as my hometown of Pittsburgh).  He addressed a study’s claim, which was released roughly two years ago, where Scranton was found to be America’s unhappiest region.  A little harsh?  Perhaps, but I loved Danzico’s treatment of the survey and this Gawker’s article.

As someone who’s lived in Northeastern PA my entire life, I can tell you that I see a wonderful place to live, raise a family and get involved in community.  Visit Pennsylvania.  Visit NEPA… you’ll love it!