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 Zillow.com and Trulia.com. 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 www.jeffreyhoguerealtor.com 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!

Are Real Estate Agents Collected by Real Estate Agencies?

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A look at the agent collector model and how it hurts real estate agents and ultimately customers I have now owned Weichert Realtors® Neighborhood One for almost two years. In that time I've surmised that while making a profit is good,  profit in and of itself, means little if your customers are having a terrible experience using your service. Real estate companies are about offering good service. This comes from having a good real estate broker, staff and owner all with the intent of meeting the customers goals competently. In most if not all states real estate agents have to work under (supervised by) a broker. Real estate agents are a kind of extension of the broker. Brokers are actually responsible for the actions of their real estate agents. This link explains the difference between agents and brokers. Most consumers are completely unaware of the fact that when they sign a listing contract or buyer agency agreement the broker of the agent's company is actually in authority. If y … [Read more...]

Berks County Real Estate Market Statistics, February 2015

Market Trends  Berks County  February 2015 - TREND 2

The Berks County Real Estate Market Statistics for February 2015 are in! While the weather in Berks was undoubtedly cold in February, home sales were hot. Market sales of homes was up a whopping 17% over the 2014 numbers. This sounds great but wait. Median home sold price was down an even more astonishing 15%. It is unusual to see prices drop that much when inventory of available homes is down 6.8%, interest rates have declined and gas prices are over $1.50 per gallon lower than last year at this same time. Normally when the inventory of available homes shrinks you see a rise in prices due to supply and demand (economics 101). Add cost of living factors, such as fossil fuel prices dropping, to the equation and one would believe that it would be even more affordable to own a home. Obviously it is, just at a lower price point in Berks County. Some economic analysts are calling for it to be a prosperous spring season for real estate. Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief … [Read more...]

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Buyer Agency vs Seller Sub-Agency

buyers agent

Misconceptions of who represents who in a Real Estate Transaction It has become ever clearer to me that many home sellers are not aware how representation in a real estate transaction has changed. They still believe both their agent and the agent showing their home to a prospective buyer work for them. Before 1999 that was often the case. Things have changed. Before 1999 most agents showing homes to buyers were working for the seller as a sub-agent. Seller’s signed a listing contracts with the understanding that the commission they agreed to pay was for representation when selling their home. In other words the seller paid their agent and in the case the property was sold through the efforts of another agent that agent received compensation as well. In most cases, the commission was split equally between the cooperating real estate agencies. Home buyers were unaware of the seller / agent relationship. Buyers felt as though they were led to believe the agent showing them a home w … [Read more...]

The Most Important Thing When Buying a Home is Opportunity

Question mark from Question words

Are home buyers missing the bigger picture when searching for a home, like the opportunity to own one? On a weekly basis I’m contacted by buyer’s agents regarding the purchase of a home I have listed for sale. It is not uncommon for them to send me a list of questions their buyers have about the home via email that numbers in the 20’s or 30’s. If the property is hot (has a lot of activity) it may be under contract before the seller answers the questions. It may have been better for the buyer to have submitted an agreement to purchase the property and ask questions later. Don’t get me wrong, It is understandable that a buyer has questions about a property they are interested in purchasing. The real question is why they don’t grasp the right to purchase the home first and ask questions within the guidelines of the agreement later. To better explain my position it is important to understand how most agreements to purchase real estate work. Many times an agreement has conditions s … [Read more...]

Real Estate Marketing ~ A Tech Perspective

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Real Estate Marketing Takeover ~ Tech Style In the beginning there was Realtor.com. It was considered a friend of the Realtor®.  It helped people from all over the world find homes for sale in the United States. Often after finding a home the prospective buyer would find the Realtor® who listed the property for sale. The information was accurate and the service affordable to Realtors®. This was a real estate agent’s dream. A kind of national MLS. It wasn't long before other home search websites appeared. The property information on these websites was far from accurate. Without accurate property information many of these burgeoning real estate websites were doomed.  A few survived by getting second hand information from municipal or property records. Some made deals with property information aggregators like ListHub. Once these real estate websites became more relevant they befriended Realtors®, Brokerages and multi-list Services (MLS). It was through these relationships that they st … [Read more...]

Emotions can Influence Home Sales

Home-Sales

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 was bad I wanted to make it better. I wanted nothing but good things for her. We talked about her home, about what she paid for it and what she did to make it special. As she showed me around a sense of proudness followed her every step. We then went outside to see the landscaping and talked about her … [Read more...]

Berks County Real Estate Outlook 2015

Predictions.eps

Will it be a Happy New Year for Berks County real estate? Let’s peer back to 2014 to see if we can get a feel for the coming year. According to the Trend Market Watch Report, the first quarter of 2014 showed an increase of 0.4% but home sales were down a whopping 13.5% from 2013. The second quarter showed an increase of 2.7% and home sales were up 5.3%. The third quarter showed an increase of 1.7% and home sales were up 7.2%. The fourth quarter ended with a resounding thud. While overall sales were up 13.8% for the quarter, which was tops for the year, home values decreased 5.3%. Simply put, if you owned a home that was worth $200,000 in November of 2013 it was worth $189,400 in November of 2014 based on the numbers. The number of home sales in Berks County in 2013 was 3,795, in 2014 the number rose to 3,944. This is an increase of 3.92%. The inventory of available homes dropped approximately 7 % for the year. This is normally an indicator that home prices will rise due to supply a … [Read more...]

Does Your Home Have a Story or Just Remarks?

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The art of storytelling is still an advantage when selling a home. It was not that long ago since the internet was nothing but text. There were not many photos or images streaming through that dial-up connection. If there were you could wait all afternoon to see one. Times have obviously changed, the internet is much faster allowing photos and video to be easily viewed in mere seconds. As it relates to the real estate kingdom, being able to view great home photos is truly an asset to both the home buyer and seller. The question I pose has to do with the fine art of writing and storytelling. While photos help the discerning buyer choose which homes to preview what happens when they look farther. In most cases the remarks are directly under the home photos. Unfortunately many a Realtor® has forgotten, or never knew, how to write a story about the home they are representing. What is the history surrounding the home? What architectural enhancements adorn the halls of the residence? … [Read more...]

Real Estate can be a Moving Experience

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For 21 years I have been practicing real estate in the Reading, PA and Berks County area. Before this past weekend I had only moved once during my career and that was 19 years ago. At that time I was moving from a one bedroom apartment in Flying Hills to a four bedroom home in Spring Township. The move went smoothly, no kids, plenty of willing friends and just enough stuff to fill a medium sized truck. So what’s all the fuss I constantly hear from clients about their moving experiences? It’s easy right. After all, I have to market the home, find a ready willing and able buyer, perform countless tasks to keep the deal together and make it to settlement. All the buyer and seller have to do is follow my lead and everything will take care of itself. I understand there is that moving part but what the heck as long as you are out by settlement everything will go well. For all the customers I have represented over the years who had concerns over moving I would like to say one simple phr … [Read more...]

Does the City of Reading Have a Negative Effect on Berks County Home Values?

City of Reading

This past week I had my first opportunity to collaborate with the City of Reading and its dignitaries. I had heard that it was tough dealing with the factions that run the city but brushed the comments aside to do what I thought was a good thing. To say I got an education would be an understatement. I turned to my friend Jack Gulati to see if he could persuade the mayor and city council in allowing me to decorate the Christmas tree at 5th and Penn Streets. Jack is a pro at dealing with circumstances that need influential attention. After all, Jack has more than proven his dedication to the City of Reading with the purchase of the Reading Royals and Stokesay Castle. If he would not have stepped in Reading may have lost the Royals. Fortunately Jack loved the idea and decided to spearhead the decoration event. He thought it would be a good thing for the City of Reading, the Reading Royals and, of course Weichert Realtors® Neighborhood One. I never would have guessed that asking the … [Read more...]

Why do People Dislike the Real Estate Industry?

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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?

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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

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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

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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...]