Jeffrey Hogue Real Estate Blog

Articles and insights into the world of Real Estate.


Did the Real Estate Industry Get a Spanking - Again?

Fri, Jan 7th 2022 12:00 pm by Jeffrey Hogue Real Estate

The real estate industry has an ongoing problem with transparency, especially regarding representation and sales commissions. November 2020, the Justice Department filed an Antitrust Case against the National Association of Realtors® to Repeal and Modify Certain Anticompetitive Rules. Let's have a look at the outcome and how it may affect consumers.
 

When something seems more complicated than it should be, there is often an underlying purpose. Ever since I can remember, there has been confusion about who represents who in a real estate transaction. If that weren't enough, try and figure out who is paying who for that representation. It should be simple, right - A homeowner contracts with...



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Happy Home Buyers and Sellers Are Always Right

Fri, Jan 7th 2022 11:00 am by Jeffrey Hogue Real Estate

Too often, the focus of a real estate deal is whether it gets done or not. There are times deals get done at the expense of everyone's happiness and sanity. The lesson is that a deal's success relies on how satisfied a client is no matter how the sale turns out.
 

I have often said that "Habit" and "Ego" can be the greatest enemies of a good idea. I was soundly humbled and reminded of my words during a recent real estate transaction.

The Story

It was a happy day for my sellers and me. We received a full-price offer on their home. There were a couple of things to consider - a mortgage commitment, home inspections, but that did not stand in the way of their euphoria.

Within a week, sever...



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Reading - Berks Real Estate Outlook, Fourth Quarter, 2020

Fri, Jul 16th 2021 10:22 pm by Jeffrey Hogue Real Estate

Three quarters of the year 2020 have passed. It is now October and time to look at what has happened in Reading, PA, and Berks County real estate and see what fortunes quarter-four may bring.
 

To say 2020 Has been interesting might be the understatement of the year. As real estate goes here in the Reading-Berks area, the story continues to be the low inventory of available homes and its effect on prices. January 2020 started pretty benignly with the median home sale price pegged at $160,000. Roll the calendar to September, and the median price ballooned to $196,500, an increase of 22.8% - Only one word can aptly describe the escalation in home values, WOW!

 

What is Causing Rising Home...



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Have House Prices in Reading and Berks Peaked?

Thu, Jul 15th 2021 9:53 pm by Jeffrey Hogue Real Estate

House prices in the Reading-Berks area have been on a torrid hot streak that not even a pandemic could cool. The question is whether that streak will continue, or have we reached the top? Let's see what the numbers tell us.
 

In my 27 years of practicing real estate in the Reading-Berks area, I have never witnessed a more robust seller's market. In May of this year, the median single-family home price climbed 12.8% year over year. The median price jumped 7.1% in the first half of 2020 compared to the same period last year. As you can see, the housing market has proven incredibly resilient to the pandemic's economic fallout to this point.

 

If you read my articles regularly or listen to ...



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Accurate Property Information is More Important Than Ever

Thu, Jul 15th 2021 9:30 pm by Jeffrey Hogue Real Estate

The importance of accurate information may never be more evident than during a pandemic. One of the most critical reasons we need correct data is the price we pay when it is incorrect.
 

Being a Realtor® in Pennsylvania during the pandemic has been somewhat challenging, but not without its rewards. Many of the tools I use to assist my clients with buying and selling a home got stripped away. To be effective, I had to adapt and overcome by replacing those tools with more efficient ones suitable for the situation.

 
One thing evident was that people would try to purchase homes sight unseen. In the real estate world, the phrase "Sight Unseen" means the buyer did not physically visit the prop...



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Accurate Property Information is More Important Than Ever

Thu, Jul 15th 2021 9:17 pm by Jeffrey Hogue Real Estate

The importance of accurate information may never be more evident than during a pandemic. One of the most critical reasons we need correct data is the price we pay when it is incorrect.
 

Being a Realtor® in Pennsylvania during the pandemic has been somewhat challenging, but not without its rewards. Many of the tools I use to assist my clients with buying and selling a home got stripped away. To be effective, I had to adapt and overcome by replacing those tools with more efficient ones suitable for the situation.

 
One thing evident was that people would try to purchase homes sight unseen. In the real estate world, the phrase "Sight Unseen" means the buyer did not physically visit the prop...



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Real Estate, Like Most Things, Demand Change

Thu, Jul 15th 2021 9:15 pm by Jeffrey Hogue Real Estate

Change can be described as letting go of the old and encouraging something new. It is also said that without Change, life would cease to exist. I believe both phrases amicably describe the recent changes I have experienced in my real estate career.
 

Some things in life are inevitable. I don't need to tell you what they are, but Change is undoubtedly up there on the list. Take the real estate business, for example. I spend a large portion of my real estate career, predicting Change. I commonly receive questions like, "How's the market today" to which I enthusiastically respond, "Better than yesterday, but not as good as tomorrow."

 
There are times we need or desire Change and set out to ...



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Reading ~ Berks Real Estate and Coronavirus

Thu, Jul 15th 2021 8:45 pm by Jeffrey Hogue Real Estate

What is happening now? What is likely to happen? Where do we go from here? These are questions people are asking worldwide as it relates to Coronavirus. I will attempt to offer answers on how COVID-19 may affect the real estate industry here in Reading, PA, and Berks County.
 

The recent news cycle is teeming with articles and information about Coronavirus, which is understandable. The goal of this article is not to offer any scientific explanations or political opinions. I will instead focus on my recent experiences with clients and how they are handling the news of the Pandemic. I will also attempt to peer into the future and offer some insight into how Berks County home buyers and sell...



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INTRINSIC VALUE ~ The Unpredictable Element of Home Pricing

Wed, Jul 14th 2021 9:08 pm by Jeffrey Hogue Real Estate

Ever walk into a home and think, this is just right? The style is inviting, the décor is pleasing, and the location is perfect. The house has a sense of order and comfortability and makes you feel good. These intangible factors create something I call intrinsic home value and are different for everyone.
 

"What is my home worth?" ~ This is the primary question asked by homeowners during a listing appointment, and rightfully so. It is a question of much importance and has many answers.

 

What Makes The Intrinsic Value Method Different

Many property valuation methods, like the CMA, or Comparative Market Analysis, use empirical data to arrive at a value. The intrinsic home value method us...



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Home Buyers Need to See the Light

Wed, Jul 14th 2021 8:30 pm by Jeffrey Hogue Real Estate

The process of selling a home can, at times, be challenging. The challenge is that much greater if the home cannot be seen. I am not referring to a preview or showing here. I am talking about lighting.
 

The goal of most real estate marketing plans is to make sure as many prospective buyers see the home as possible. Getting the buyers to the house is only half the battle. Once they are there, it is essential they like what they see. Intelligent home lighting can significantly enhance what they see and how they see it. During a home showing, it is a good idea to have all the interior and exterior lights on ~ Yes, Even when it is sunny. It is a proven fact that proper lighting helps with mo...



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Home Buyer Bootcamp ~ Intangibles and Other Considerations

Wed, Jul 14th 2021 12:00 am by Jeffrey Hogue Real Estate

There are many things to consider when making an offer on a home. Some of those things are very common, while others are less understood. How the intangibles are structured, can be the reason a seller chose your offer over the others.
 

In my final installment of Home Buyer Bootcamp, we will discuss what I call the intangibles of the deal. Intangibles can include things like home sale contingencies, seller credits, and appraisal contingencies.

 

Structuring a Seller Credit

In Reading and Berks, a large percentage of home sales include a seller credit. In short, a seller credit is when a seller uses proceeds from the home sale to pay all or part of the buyer's closing costs. For more on...



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Where Has the Deposit Money Gone?

Wed, Jul 14th 2021 12:00 am by Jeffrey Hogue Real Estate

It is common practice for a home buyer to provide an earnest money deposit when purchasing a home. An earnest deposit is a sign of good faith and commitment from the purchaser to honor their obligation to purchase the real estate. Over the years, that good faith practice has dwindled. Let us explore why.
 

Back in the 1970s and 80s, there were few Berks County Real Estate Companies that would accept anything less than 10% of the cost of the property as a deposit. If the buyer's agent did not deliver the 10% deposit along with the agreement, the Broker for the seller would not even present the offer.

 

If a buyer planned on purchasing a home priced at $200,000 and were financing 90%, the...



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Home Buyer Bootcamp ~ Negotiating the Deal Part 3

Tue, Jul 13th 2021 11:45 pm by Jeffrey Hogue Real Estate

Balancing your home purchase offer will give you the best chance of getting the home you want without risking everything.
 

In part one of Home Buyer Bootcamp - Negotiating the Deal, we discussed the offering price. In part two, we got into the terms and conditions. In part three, we will consider bringing all the components together to create an attractive offer that is not above your risk tolerance.

 

Balancing the Offer ~ The Situation

In our example, the desired home is priced at $200,000. There are three other competing offers, and the house has only been for sale three days. The seller's agent is presenting all offers quickly, so there is no time to do a second showing or have an...



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Home Buyer Bootcamp ~ First Thoughts

Tue, Jul 13th 2021 6:53 pm by Jeffrey Hogue Real Estate

Stop losing out on that dream home! Real estate strategies that can give you the best chance of getting the home you desire.
 

Most of you that read my articles know that I end all of them with the phrase "Knowledge is Power." As the United States real estate market tightens and home inventory continues to establish historic lows, that statement has never been more valid. Buying a home means much more than owning real property. Where you live is important and will likely dictate many things about your life beyond the four walls.

 

Many buyers lose out on the home they desire and never really know why. They make an offer and hear things like "you were outbid" or "they accepted another of...



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A Tax Related Increase That's Good for Berks Homeowners

Tue, Jul 13th 2021 6:46 pm by Jeffrey Hogue Real Estate

It's once again time for Pennsylvania economists and mathematicians to meet and play with the Common Level Ratio. What adjustments did they make, and what effect will it have on property taxes here in Reading, PA, and Berks? Let's find out.
 

Property taxes are always a hot button issue here in Reading and Berks. All too often, the news relating to property taxes brings tears to the eyes of most homeowners. That said, I'm pleased to report that for the sixth consecutive year the Common Level Ratio has increased! Yes, we can actually use the words increase and taxes in the same phrase, and it is a good thing.

 

So what is a Common Level Ratio Anyway?

If you go to the PA Department of Re...



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Berks County Real Estate Roundup for 2016

Mon, Jul 12th 2021 6:45 pm by Jeffrey Hogue Real Estate


Think 2016 went by fast? Like most years, it did, and it was a leap year so even had an extra day. Most new years bring hope for the coming and reflection of the latter. It is at this time I like to reflect on how Berks County home sales fared for the previous year and how we compare to other regional markets.

 

By the numbers…
As of December 29th, 2016 there were 4,881 homes sold in Berks County. An increase of 6.3% over the 2015 total of 4,593 and 20.1% of the 4,035 homes sold in 2014. Sales were pretty evenly split throughout the year with 2,398 sold from Jan 1 to June 31 and 2,483 from July 1 to Dec 29. The breakdown…

 

Berks ~ Jan 1 to Dec 29 Sales

2014

2015

2016

$0-$100,000

...

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Real Estate Speak ~ Don't Believe Everything You See Online

Sun, Jul 11th 2021 5:34 pm by Jeffrey Hogue Real Estate

The internet is good at many things. Manipulation and misdirection are sometimes part of that skill set. Understanding the goal of online real estate sites may shed light on what information is useful and which is not.

I am often amazed at how influential real estate websites are and what power they hold over the general public. Rarely a day goes by that someone doesn't ask me about something they saw on Zillow. I do my best to field the question and educate the questioner on the role many websites like Zillow play in the grand scheme of our industry.

 

Most sites like Trulia and Zillow are advertising sites for Realtors and Brokerages. I advertise there because home buyers and sellers...



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Emotions can Influence Home Sales

Sun, Jul 11th 2021 5:15 pm by Jeffrey Hogue Real Estate

Emotions may have more of an influence on home sales than you think. Here is my story of how emotions can influence home sales...

Recently I received a call to list a home from a lady who asked me to meet with her to discuss, what she hoped would be, the sale of her home. Nothing out of the ordinary simply a business call to do what I love, home sales.

 

Upon arriving at the home I met the lady who made that call. She was charming, smart, a seasoned traveler and more. In my humble opinion, she was, and is, class, personified. She had an influence on me almost immediately. She told me stories and things about herself, both good and bad. When the tale was good I cheered inside, when it w...



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Have Home Sellers Lost Their Status to Real Estate Portals?

Sun, Jul 11th 2021 5:00 pm by Jeffrey Hogue Real Estate

The large real estate portals giveth opportunity but do they also taketh away home sellers and their agents rights?

Wyomissing, PA, April 27, 2015------ The hot topic in real estate used to be the marketing, buying and selling of homes and property. It seems as though the buzz has been replaced with debates and discussion on data feeds, real estate portals and syndication. It is reminiscent of the old days when there were issues of procuring cause and the like. I guess it’s always a to-do when it is about money.

 

Procuring cause debates are normally between real estate agents and brokerages while data feed/syndication discussions can fall unknowingly on the property owners themselves....



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Understanding the Real Estate Listing Contract Part 2 ~ Broker Compensation

Sat, Jul 10th 2021 5:40 pm by Jeffrey Hogue Real Estate


In part 2 of this 5 part series, I will explore the issue of Broker Compensation otherwise known as the Commission.

When you list your home it is not the price you get that matters most; it is the “Walk Away” dollars. Before signing a listing contract, it is required of all real estate agents that they supply a closing cost estimate to the property owner.  One of these costs will be the Broker Compensation or commission.

 

The Broker Compensation will be in paragraph 5 of the listing contract as a percentage of the sale price of the home. There is also a space that allows for a flat fee, noted by the term “OR,” followed by the term “Whichever is Greater.” There are many reasons for t...



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