Tag Archive for: Greater Scranton Board of REALTORS

We love celebrating our real estate professionals who make us who we are, year in and year out! We have an incredible “team” of agents in our ranks at Realty Network Group, both new and veterans alike. We’re so proud of them. Each one adds something unique to our brand and really accentuates the expertise and diversity we desire to share with our clients, who are looking to purchase a home or investment property or seeking to sell one.

At the half-way point of 2023, a market unlike any other, we’d like to honor our top ten selling REALTORS® aka our top producers. We hope you’ll congratulate them as well!

Ann E. Cappellini — $2,947,613

Top Producers

Maria Muchal Berta — $2,782,450

Top Producers

Ann A. Sheroda — $2,370,000

Top Producers

Scott J. Weiland — $1,734,500

Top Producers

Halle Stevens — $1,623,100

Top Producers

Dana A. DeLeo — $1,533,960

Top Producers

Heather A. Luklanchuk — $878,350

Top Producers

Christina M. Keller — $654,900

Top Producers

Lynn H. Marino — $650,680

Top Producers

Cheryl Gerrity — $647,500

Top Producers

 

 

Seeking the services of a real estate professional? Find your match here.

These numbers reflect these top producers’ sales volume via the Greater Scranton Board of REALTORS® (January-June 2023).

Four Things To Consider Before Buying A Home

The most important things for homebuyers to consider when purchasing a home are:

  1. Being able to afford a home based upon one’s situation in life
  2. Not over-paying for a home based upon its market value
  3. A home’s location – What do the neighborhoods, school districts and surrounding area look like?
  4. A house’s age and the age of its components

Notice how security is an aspect you can’t ignore with the prospect of purchasing a home. It’s only natural to have hesitation about buying a home as it’s a big investment. Furthermore, feeling a sense of security goes beyond the financial commitments, which are required from buyers as they move forward with their purchase. If you lack security, you’ll be without peace taking another step toward homeownership. It’s also important to note that three of these four considerations listed above directly relate to money.

Tops on the list is paramount, because if your circumstances in life won’t allow it, you can’t or perhaps shouldn’t purchase a home. Home affordability comes in all shapes and sizes. What might be affordable to buyer A, isn’t feasible to buyer B. Being able to afford a home relates to the ability to budget properly for each and every cost associated with the purchase. Your debt-to-income ratio might be the surest way to prove to yourself as well as a lender, you’re able to follow-through with a home purchase. Besides your debt-to-income ratio, you should also reflect upon how much of a mortgage you can afford? You may be approved for borrowing a certain sum, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should take on that loan. The underwriters who dabble in rating an applicant’s ability to purchase will ultimately examine a buyer’s gross income, outstanding debt, assets and liabilities. They’re going to probe to see what demands have been placed on the buyer’s income. They’ll also forecast, as best they can, to ensure the bank’s ability to get paid back in the future isn’t at risk.

Secondly, buyers and sellers have been more cautious with the drastic increases in home appreciation since the onset of the pandemic. While the pandemic has vanished, home prices continue their upward climb. Since the beginning of COVID, when real estate sales were restricted, home prices have risen 54.8% in the Greater Scranton market.* A market recently named as the most affordable in the country. Again, while there are sales to be had right now, in fact we’re entering a time of the year where homebuyers will discover some of the best premiums around, buyers should exercise prudence. How long do they intend to live in the place they’re thinking about buying? Their offering on a property may not align with its value and might place undue hardship on the homeowner, if they need to sell a few years after their purchase. We would recommend living in a home for at least seven or more years at the risk of taking a loss. Though homes are generally a solid investment, there are no guarantees. If you need the freedom to move at a moment’s notice, within a shorter time frame from when you purchased the home, you might want to refrain from buying until your circumstances change.

For some buyers, a home’s location is the first litmus test it must pass. If the setting isn’t appealing or the property – though it has virtually everything the buyer is looking for – is in a non-ideal section of town or the purchaser has a family/children and thus schools are high on their list, then it’s hard to overlook locale. We would suggest reviewing pros and cons of various listings as it relates to their whereabouts. You can’t change their bearings, so start there and rate how important distances to work, school, daycare and shopping are, for instance. Look into traffic patterns and noise levels in particular parts of town. If school districts are important to you, target homes in the districts you would prefer to live. Scope out the home’s surroundings. Catch a glimpse of the area on the weekends, during the week, day and night. Is the neighborhood kid or pet friendly? Is the home in a walkable community?

Finally, the vast majority of homebuyers aren’t acquiring a new or newer construction home, one that’s less than ten years old. Being that many buyers are moving into a house that has been around the block, we’d certainly recommend a home inspection as a contingency to the purchase. Besides that, over time, a home’s elements begin to display patterns of behavior and likewise, deterioration. What parts of a home should you keep your eyes on? Windows, roof, HVAC (heating/cooling) system, foundation, to name a few, but again, call in the professionals, such as a reputable home inspector. They’re more than capable of assessing the age of a house’s components/appliances. A few decades after the construction of a home, repairs become more common, and thus as a prospective buyer it’s important to understand what your yearly maintenance/repair costs might resemble.

 

* Greater Scranton Board of REALTORS® stats; median homes sales for March 2020, October 2022

Finding A Home Before It’s Listed

Surviving a seller’s market the likes of the past few years can be exhausting, especially for buyers. Many realize this isn’t the market for them. When most of the COVID restrictions to purchasing a home in Pennsylvania were lifted in June of 2020, homebuyers raced into bidding wars and other highly contested situations. The climate wasn’t on their side and some could argue it was a little caustic for those who needed to move due to career or lifestyle changes. Whatever the case, potential buyers are beginning to see some relief in terms of a smaller pool of competition searching for their dream home.

Nonetheless, a buyer’s market can only be seen in the distance and many would-be buyers remain secluded behind their firewall and smart devices, browsing homes from a greater orbit than most sellers or REALTORS® might care to admit. What opportunities wait in the wings? Is there a path to homeownership for those who are looking to buy, but have been disenchanted by the market over the last few years? Here are three main courses of action buyers should undertake now to stay ahead of the game. In the words of Din Djarin, “This is the way.”

Lock Down An Agent

The absolute best way to spot which homes are entering the market before they go live is to seek the services of a competent real estate professional. But not just any agent will do. We would suggest finding one who is experienced, successful, reputable, hard-working and well-connected. Isn’t this too much to ask? Not necessarily. In fact, even though this certainly narrows the field quite a bit, an agent with a few of these qualities will likely possess them all.

It greatly benefits you to work with a REALTOR® who has a large network already in place, one that’s been working for them. In markets, such as the Greater Scranton area, where housing supply is exceedingly low, real estate professionals are constantly in touch with one another. Get inside intel by utilizing their strengths to your advantage. Yes, you might be the “metaphorical bait” cast out to entice would-be sellers, but it could pay off. By asking your agent what other reputable agents in their business have been sharing, you could get the inside track to finding a home before others even know about it. Your agent may also have presented their services to other homeowners who were thinking about selling. They might know of homes, which are set to debut on the market in the immediate future. Your agent might also be seeing “coming soon” listings from other agents in their MLS.*

Hello Neighbor

While we’re not advocating for anyone to go on private property nor play the creeper in their search for the perfect home, there are some things you can do to increase your chances of buying in this market (or any market, for that matter). First, search out neighborhoods that are desirable, whose location fits the profile you’ve created. Next, walk the streets and find properties that grab your attention. Maybe there are for sale by owner (FSBO) listings or homes that are on the verge of foreclosure that interest you. Of course, your REALTOR® will assist you throughout this whole process, connecting with owners of FSBOs or those trying to avoid the bank from ceasing their property. They’ll see if the owner would have any interest in selling their property to you, a serious buyer. Often, FSBOs have little luck selling on their own, and thus are likely very interested in selling to an agent who has an interested party.

Homeowners’ associations (HOAs) can be another channel for prospective buyers as well. Have your agent reach out to the association to see if there have been rumors of residents who are about to move/sell. That internal chatter might be just what you need to locate your next house. Some of these HOAs regularly have community (digit) bulletin boards, which seek to share information with other members of their association.

Another great strategy to employ is direct mailings (letters of interest or postcards). While snail mail isn’t as effective for real estate agents to deploy, mass mailings straight from buyers could open some doors. This tactic will allow you to avoid the open market. It shows select homeowners that you’re very interested and would strongly consider buying their home at the right price. If you’re willing to put the extra time and money into your home search, this approach can be a game-changer. 

Don’t Be Shy

While it is important to routinely stay in touch with your REALTOR® and have them do a bulk of the heavy-lifting, don’t fear getting your hands dirty too! Those looking to buy, need to get out there and leave no stone unturned. They need to network, establish connections (prior to their search is ideal) and get the word out that they are serious about purchasing a home. Share this desire with everyone you meet, but especially family, friends, co-workers in addition to your sphere on social media. There might be opportunities on Facebook to join neighborhood or community groups (though some are private) and identify what you’ve been seeking all along. Social clubs, open houses, country clubs, professional and charity organizations can all be great avenues for gaining worthwhile information in your home search.

If you’re looking to gain the upperhand over other aspiring buyers, keep your ears attune to life events such as the birth of a baby, weddings, divorces, obituaries, just to name a few. These occasions are legitimate leads for those looking to buy.

 

Finding a home that’s “off market,” either presently not listed on the MLS (i.e. a pocket listing) or not for sale in the first place, can be challenging for most, but it can and has been done. Stay focused and stay up to speed with the inventory in a particular locality. Of course, lean on your agent at all times and good things will develop as time begins to take root in this grand adventure you find yourself in.

For more insight prior to purchasing a home, make sure to read this.

* According to local MLS requirements, unless a listing is filed at the Greater Scranton Board of REALTORS® office (GSBR) and a seller(s) has explicitly requested in writing that their property not be displayed on the Internet, the listing information must be disseminated by the MLS. Furthermore, any member of the National Association of REALTORS®, and likewise the GSBR, must adhere to the clear cooperation policy, which states that “within one business day of marketing a property to the public [i.e. a “coming soon” listing displayed on social media], the listing Broker must submit the listing to the MLS for cooperation with other MLS participants.”

Best Month To Sell Your Home

Homeowners are incentivized to sell, if they’re in a position to do so, as we set sights on the spring housing market. It’s no surprise that last year was a stellar year for homebuying and selling. Unfortunately, many were left on the sidelines, especially first-time buyers who only had FHA loan approval or were relying on a more limited down-payment as they pursued homeownership. Often investors beat first-timers to the punch, swooping in and snatching up available homes for sale. The challenges still exist. You need only ask those who are still looking to buy.

Persistent low supplies, even locally, have driven up home prices. Fueling the fire was 2021 with its record-breaking growth in the housing sector. Appreciation in home prices was high at the start of the year and accelerated even higher by year’s end. “Price appreciation averaged 15% for the full year of 2021,” which was more than double the prior year.

Sellers who can afford to sell, and we use that term “afford” loosely, should do so. If you’re a homeowner thinking about selling, is there a better time of the year to put your property on the market? Is there an optimal time to sell? Is there a month or a very specific time of the year where a seller would be in a better position than if he/she waited? These are great questions. New and sold listings in our market will shed some light on this discussion.

New Listings in the Greater Scranton Board of REALTORS®
2021 2019 2018
February 172 244 228
March 267 324 320
April 330 400 364
May 387 432 448
June 374 381 434
July 368 360 387
August 397 331 353
September 329 329 313

*GSBR statistics 2018-2021

 

Sold Listings in the Greater Scranton Board of REALTORS®
2021 2019 2018
February 157 159 138
March 243 180 187
April 248 203 168
May 262 250 258
June 312 240 214
July 294 270 240
August 313 265 285
September 298 228 225

*GSBR statistics 2018-2021

The COVID-filled year of 2020 was a tale of two markets, an extremely silent one as well as a vigorous one beginning in June of that year, and therefore, we skipped it for obvious reasons. But the patterns of three of the last four years show a trend. New listings entering the market peaked in May/June and sales hit their highs in July/August. And this correlation between sales and listings is logical with an estimated forty-five to sixty days to close for properties in our market.

It might be advantageous for prospective sellers to circle the month of March on their calendars. Next month you say? Yes, March is the perfect time to list! ATTOM data would also suggest March or perhaps even April is the best time to put your home on the market. May and June experience the highest returns for those looking to make a profit in selling their property. But don’t sweat it, if you’re not ready to go in March or April, you might be able to catch some of that buyer activity during the summer months.

We would caution anyone looking to sell though as home price appreciation may begin to taper as this year comes to a close. The median home price was almost 12% higher than it was a year ago and that should continue short-term, according to realtor.com’s chief economist. But many forecasters believe a plunge in home prices is coming by year’s end. Sellers who are on the fence, should act soon. In fact, next month might just be the perfect month!

RealtyNetwork.net: Award-Winning Website

It’s hard to imagine the real estate terrain we find ourselves in these days, but yet here we are. Many parts of the Northeast, who prior to the pandemic were struggling, are now reporting record signs of growth – the largest increase in home sales since the end of 2006. Unlike much of the Northeast portion of our country prior to COVID-19, Northeastern Pennsylvania’s market was thriving. When the economy became derailed in March, real estate entered stealth-mode for over two months. Since then the terrain has been very smooth, churning at a fast pace. Home sales and home prices have been on the rise. Though homes are selling for 11.6% more this August versus one year ago, home prices year-to-date are enjoying a more comfortable 2.2% increase (year-over-year).*

Sure, the challenges are present for our market: our inventory is very low, more homes are going under contract than are being listed and commercial space is beginning to saturate our market; but the Greater Scranton area appears to be insulated from the other surrounding regions. Lower-priced homes have been in short supply this year, especially in recent months. Hopefully new construction kicks it into gear, but the higher costs of lumber since mid-April hasn’t helped the situation. Some homeowners have decided to stay put, which hasn’t boosted the housing inventory either. Nevertheless, our area remains very affordable and for many first-time buyers, they eventually find what they’re looking for.

Demand remains strong and thus it can be frustrating for some homebuyers, especially in our current seller’s market. It’s particularly stressful if you’re searching in print these days! Some of the properties we market in print are no longer active when they appear in black-and-white in the publication. Honestly, properties are moving fast these days. May we make a suggestion? If you’re actively searching for a home in today’s market, look online without hesitation. We would also strongly suggest having your agent keep you up to speed with the latest listings that fit your criteria and the trends affecting the neighborhood(s) where you’re searching.

Where you search online can make a difference too. Recently, we were awarded Best Real Estate Website in Northeastern Pennsylvania for the third year in a row by local newspaper readership. Our award-winning website, realtynetwork.net, features the entire inventory of homes on the market through our comprehensive database. Our site has a simple interface with straightforward navigation and high mobile-performance, so you can easily connect with us from wherever you are. There are many tools available for visitors to explore as well. Venture to our award-winning website today and let us know what you think.

 

* Greater Scranton Board of REALTORS® stats