Jeffrey Hogue Realtor

Real Estate home sales, new home construction sales, commercial real estate sales, all iin the Berks County area. Realtor since 1993. Top producing Realtor in Berks County 2012. Over 22,000,000 sold. Instead of telling you what I do, how many homes I have sold and all the awards I have achieved simply read my customer REVIEWS on and My customers will tell you more about me than I could ever say. I am truly humbled by their comments. Please see my web site at for more on this subject.

Real Estate Blog and Articles

Knowledge is Power ~ This Blog is meant to empower the consumer with real world, no nonsense real estate information...Enjoy!

Why do People Dislike the Real Estate Industry?

real estate industry

Each year Forbes Magazine and many other websites come out with a list of the most disliked industries and guess which one is right up there almost every year. You guessed it, the real estate industry. Hmmm. I wonder why? Has the real estate industry done something to earn that lofty ranking on such an infamous list? Here are my thoughts on the matter… When an agent first gets their license they are faced with a big decision. Where should I go to practice real estate? There are plenty of brokerages ready to go hunting for these prospects. You see many brokerages tend to focus their attention on hiring and recruiting agents to fill seats and collect the fees from them. They lure prospective agents with the promise of training, mentorship and opportunity. Few actually follow through on these promises which leaves the industry with agents that do not have the necessary skills, confidence or competence to perform their fiduciary duties. The biggest losers in this scenario end up being not … [Read more...]

Do Sellers Pay Full Commission Rates for Half Representation?


The commission rate to sell a home has always been, and will likely always be a hot button issue. Commission rates vary but most people recognize the rate of 6% of the sale price of a home as the industry standard. So what is the seller actually paying for? Prior to 1999 home sellers contracted with real estate brokerages in an effort to find a ready willing and able buyer for the seller’s property. The overwhelming majority of residential home sales were achieved through the efforts of a seller agent and a seller sub-agent. Yes, both brokerages represented the seller. It was a time before the advent of buyer agency. And, as stated above, the commission for providing this service was often 6% of the homes sale price. In most cases 3% would go to the seller’s broker and 3% would go to the seller’s sub-agent. Fast forward to today’s most common home sale representation scenario. The seller hires a broker to represent their interest in the sale of their home. No longer is it the duty o … [Read more...]

Mortgage Rates are back in the News and for Good Reason

mortgage rates

This past Friday an economic event took place that few will ever know about. We saw history in the making in the global bond market, with all-time lows in 10-year yields in each of the following countries: Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland and Japan. What do each of these countries have in common? Slow to negative wage growth and extreme deflationary pressures. These negative economic factors drive interest rates lower because interest rate yields are a reflection of both growth and inflation. Lower yields mean lower borrowing costs aka, low mortgage rates. Good thing right? Wait, there’s more to it. The reason why the historic implication of last Friday may go unnoticed by most people, is that many have become conditioned to believe weaker growth is a good thing economically. Why? Because it means more central bank “action” to prop of stock markets in the near-term. This means that governments will print more money, adding liquidity (cash) to the s … [Read more...]

The Other Real Estate Web

The Glowing Pagoda (Reading PA)

Have real estate web sites changed the location, location, location theory on home values? The number one rule in home values used to be based on the theory of location, location, location. Then came the web and subsequently real estate web sites. While the location theory still holds the number one spot in home value consideration it is now closely pursued by many other factors that were never considered prior to the birth of webonomics. To some extent the internet has even changed how the location theory is considered. Now you can find out the crime rate in a given area, school district ratings, average income, cost of living, unemployment rate and yes, taxes in the click of a button. The internet has made the world a much smaller place. Home valuation based on location is more than just a neighborhood, township or school district. It is the sum total of the whole area. This is why having good governing authorities in our city, boroughs, townships and county have … [Read more...]

Why Don’t People Just Make an Offer?

Make an Offer

If you have been doing something long enough there are questions you get asked repeatedly. Sometimes there is a simple answer and sometimes there is no real answer. As a Realtor® there is one particular question I deal with often enough that it deserves special thought and attention. Home sellers will often ask “If they think the price is too high, why don’t people just make an offer?” The question normally comes up after their home has been on the market a couple weeks, it has been shown several times and no one has made an offer. One reason may be that prospective home buyers do not want to offend a seller by making an offer lower than what the seller is asking. While this may be the case in some instances I do not believe it is the leading factor. While the desire not to offend a home seller they never met is commendable the emotion to purchase a home you want to live in is greater. This emotion is enhanced even more of the home buyer feels they got a great deal. I believe t … [Read more...]

Understanding the Variable-Rate Commission in a Real Estate Transaction

knowledge ignorance

Most everyone understands what the term commission means as it relates to a real estate transaction. The opposite is true as it relates to a variable-rate commission. In this article I hope to shed some light on what it is and how it relates to buyers and sellers of real estate. Article 3-4 of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics defines a variable-rate commission arrangement as a listing in which one amount of commission is payable if the listing broker’s firm is the procuring cause of sale and a different amount of commission is payable if the sale results from the efforts of the seller or a cooperating broker. The Code of Ethics and the National Association of Realtors® (NAR’s) Handbook on Multiple Listing Policy require listing brokers to disclose a variable-rate commission to potential cooperating brokers as soon as is practical. In response to inquiries from potential cooperating brokers, REALTORS® are also required to disclose the difference between the two rates. In addition, once … [Read more...]

Is a Real Estate Appraisal Really Just an Opinion of Value?


Should a real estate appraisal be done before listing your home? From time to time a seller will ask me if it is a good idea to have their home appraised before we put it on the market. It is a good question and one that needs some reflection about what a real estate appraisal is. In a sentence a real estate appraisal is an opinion value. The interesting thing about an opinion is that we all have one. A persons opinions can be influenced by many circumstances. So what influences might affect the real estate value opinion of an appraiser? A major influence is often the reason for the appraisal itself. Story time…Earlier this year I was invited to meet with a homeowner in regards to listing their home. I was made me aware that they planned to apply for an equity loan on the home in order to use the proceeds to purchase another home. I told them they should not list the home until after they had completed the home equity loan process. Most lending institutions will not entertain r … [Read more...]

Passing the Real Estate Buck in Reading and Berks County


Being a Realtor® is a profession you can love and hate all in the same day. One customer is happy everything is going smoothly with their real estate transaction and a call later another is coming unglued because their home is not selling. I’m sure it’s like this in many vocations but I am a Realtor® and write about real estate so that is the window of understanding I peer through and use to get my point across. One of the most asked questions I hear from my home selling customers is “how can we get more showings and an offer on my home?” This question has been even more prevalent over the past 2 months due to the shrinking demand for housing in Reading and Berks along with most of the country. If I only had the power to create a market bubble inside Berks County and have all home values miraculously go up 10% to 20%. Or better yet, a secret marketing weapon I could employ just after the home seller asks what we can do to sell the home. BANG! The home would sell and all would be r … [Read more...]

The Right Plan


When I started Weichert Realtors® Neighborhood One I knew there would be many challenges. Several real estate office owners told me that being an owner would not be something I would enjoy. After 18 months I can happily say they were mistaken. In the last 4 weeks I have received two letters from real estate agents who work for me. The first was from Samuel Padovani which I shared two weeks ago. This week I am sharing a letter I received from Vanessa Doaty… “My First 6 Months at Weichert Realtors® Neighborhood One” As a child I waited with fragile patience for Christmas to come. As an adult I was excited and nervous on my wedding day. In both cases the events were worth the wait, nervousness and excitement. Being a Realtor® gives me the opportunity to see the same emotions in my customers’ eyes when they are buying and/or selling a home. It is a pleasure to share this life event with my clients, and I always strive to provide the absolute best advice throughout the entire process. … [Read more...]

Shedding Light on the Real Estate Transaction Fee

transaction fee

Is it Necessary to Pay a Real Estate Transaction Fee? If you are reading my info-article for the first time you will quickly understand that my goal is to educate home buyers and sellers about the nuances of the real estate business. If you are a consistent reader you know I tell it like it is (or how I believe it is). This week I want to shed light on the infamous transaction fee (also known as an administrative or broker service fee). Whatever it is called by different real estate brokerages I will refer to it as the FEE. Several years ago real estate brokers faced with higher costs of doing business looked for ways to supplement their income. Many decided to charge ancillary fees in addition to the real estate commission. The fee is usually in the $200 to $500 range and purport to cover costs for increased overhead and costs incurred for complying with the myriad of federal and state laws affecting the sale of residential real estate. The fee is not limited to the home seller … [Read more...]

A Change of Plan


As I sat down this week to craft the next edition of how to fix the real estate business I was presented with a letter from one of my Realtors®. After reading the content of the letter I knew a change of plan was in order. Helping Berks County and Reading home buyers and seller understand the craziness of the real estate industry would have to wait till next week. The following letter from Samuel Padovani says it all… “Why I chose Weichert Realtors® Neighborhood One” “My very first year in the real estate business, I worked for one of the larger firms in Berks County.  It was a good experience, one I would not change.  I had the opportunity to work with some veteran agents and learned a few things as well.  I also started to see how this real estate business actually operates.  Becoming a standout agent at one of these larger offices is extremely difficult.  While the agent is trying to learn and establish himself, the company is doing everything in its power to fill the building … [Read more...]

Don’t Get Caught in the Home Inspection Trap


Most home buyers consider hiring a home inspection company to review the condition of the property they are about to purchase. The home inspection can include the following: Home/Property Inspections and Environmental Hazards (mold, etc.), Radon, Wood Infestation, Water Service, On-Site Sewage, and almost anything else one can think of. The inspections are chosen, and often paid for by the buyer and presented to the home seller as a contingency of the home purchase. When the buyer has the chosen inspections completed by a certified home inspector the agreement offers them the following options: Accept the Property with the information stated in the Report(s) and agree to the RELEASE in Paragraph 28 of this Agreement. Terminate this Agreement by written notice to Seller, with all deposit monies returned to Buyer according to the terms of Paragraph 26 of this Agreement. Present the Report(s) to Seller with a Written Corrective Proposal (“Proposal”) listing corrections and/or cr … [Read more...]

What’s the Deal with Listing Your Home?

listing your home

Anyone seeking a service from another hopes that the company and/or person they choose can get the job done. As long as things turn out right everyone is happy. If things do not turn out right, well, you know…Stuff can hit the fan. Hiring an agent when listing your home for sale can be challenging. Take the following metaphor, for example…If you have ever played blackjack at a casino this scenario should resonate with you. If you have not, follow along. The picture will take shape. You sit down at a blackjack table with 5 other strangers. Behind the table is the dealer. You and the other players place your bets. The cards are dealt and the dealer breaks (loses) .That means you and all the other players win. The dealer continues to break for the next five hands and everyone at the card table is euphoric. You start tipping the dealer, high fiving the strangers at the table and stacking your chips. The dealer continues to shuffle and deal out winning cards. You are happy and so is the d … [Read more...]

Berks County, How Do You Shop For Homes?

house search

If there is one thing I can say about a Berks Countian it is that they know how to shop and find a deal. Some people who are not native to the area say we are cheap. I say they are jealous. Anyone can spend $200 on a bottle of wine and choose a winner. One need be savvier to choose a good $10 bottle. So who better to ask about home shopping than Berks County residents? In 2013 the National Association of Realtors® stated that 90 percent of home buyers search online during their home buying process. I sometimes think the 10 percent that don’t live in Berks but we all know that cannot be true… Right? Here are some other cool statistics from NAR. I think the key phrase in NAR’s statement is that buyers shop for homes online during the process. Obviously this means that other forms of media are still being utilized to find homes. Yes, finding the right home for the right price is a process. The savvy home buyer will use newspaper, magazines and flyers on grocery store walls, if … [Read more...]

The Consumer Notice ~ Does it Really Protect Consumers?


It seems that everywhere we turn the government is trying to protect us. But from what, ourselves, others? Nobody can really be sure. Take commercials for prescription drugs like Viagra® for example. The whole commercial may last 60 seconds. In that time we are told every adverse thing that may happen to us, and what to do if something does if we use the product. If you get a rash stop using the product, get a physical to make sure you are healthy enough for the task at hand, if you have an erec…Well, you get it. We remember some of the warnings because they are humorous and end up on shows like Saturday Night Live. Others are long forgotten even before the commercial is over. In November of 1999, Pennsylvania enacted the Agency Disclosure Law which was designed to protect Consumers. The Act requires that prospective customers about to engage in a real estate transaction read the Consumer Notice and sign it prior to entering into a meaningful discussion with any real estate sales … [Read more...]

Home Showings ~ Quality vs Quantity


If you desire to sell your home it is likely you will need prospective home buyers to visit and take a look. This action is known in the business as a home showing. Most homeowners attempting to sell their property don’t necessarily like to be inconvenienced by letting their home be shown but understand the necessity. Their agents tell them that the more the home is shown the more likely it is to sell. In most cases this statement is true but times have changed. Before the advent of the internet prospective home buyers would look for homes for sale by driving through neighborhoods and looking for real estate signs. They acquired the latest real estate magazines and/or the Reading Eagle classifieds. Finally, they would contact a Realtor®, sit down with them and look over the multi-list book, yes book. These actions took effort on the buyers’ part and made looking at homes more than a passing fancy. Thanks to the internet more people have access to information on homes that are for … [Read more...]