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!

Berks County, How Do You Shop For Homes?

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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?

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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

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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...]

The Butcher, Baker and Candlestick Maker… Oh and Zillow

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Pricing a home or property may be the most challenging thing a Realtor® endeavors to do for an owner. Price it too high and the home is destined to be mercilessly passed over by the masses searching homes online. Estimate the home’s value at something less than what the owner believes it is worth and you may not get the listing. Why? Many home owners converse with family, friends and acquaintances when considering selling their home. This produces well-meaning accolades such as, “your home is in a great neighborhood. It will sell fast”; “Your home is nice! It is at least worth (Insert Large Number HERE)”; and my particular favorite, “If I were looking for a home I would buy it”. Armed with the confidence offered by their comrades, the owner enthusiastically goes online to get a better idea of what their home may be worth. They run aground on a website called Zillow.com. There they are confronted with this thing called a Zestimate®. What the heck is that? To better understand wh … [Read more...]

Mid-Century Homes ~ Back to the Future

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Berks County is full of luscious split-level mid-century homes. My description of a mid-century property is post-war, pre-plywood. It was a simpler time. A time when a smartphone was one that did not ring during dinner time. I was recently contacted by CNN news to do a story about mid-century, or as they put it, time capsule homes. I gladly accepted the assignment. It started as a question and answer session. The Q&A was never published so I have posted it here for your enjoyment. So it is back to the future we go with the questions and answers… CNN: What are the challenges of selling mid-century, or time capsule homes? α        Jeffrey Hogue: Mid-century homes remind me of bell bottoms. If you wait long enough everything comes back in style. Mid-century homes have seen a rise in popularity over the last several years with good reason. The challenge in selling a home like this lies in the way it has been maintained over the years. Many Mid-Century Home purists want the prope … [Read more...]

To All Our Mothers

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Dear Mothers of the World, We as the human race would like to thank all mothers for your unconditional love. When no one will listen to us you always do. You do this even though we sometimes ignore you when you ask us for our time or attention. When we need to be consoled you are always there. We know that you will always take our side and help us find peace even in the face of our wrongdoings. Thank you for telling us about the mistakes we will make and being there to catch us when we make them. There are times we take you for granted because, like our senses, we believe you will always be there. Even knowing this you are unwavering in your feelings toward us. It is said that God made the world in 6 days and then he rested on the 7th. Afterward came man. It is somewhat evident that man could not emotionally survive alone so God made women. It is obvious that he could not fit his greatness into one being and like any good creator made sure he perfected the second … [Read more...]

Amazing Article in Top Agent Magazine

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About one month ago I was contacted by the staff at Top Agent Magazine. They wanted to do an article on me and asked if I was interested. I eagerly accepted the proposal.   Within a week an editor called me to do a phone interview. He stated that it would take about 20 or 30 minutes. He obviously was not aware of who he was talking to. We were on the phone for an hour and 10 minutes. At the end of the interview he stated that there was so much material it may be impossible to put it all on the one page article layout. About 3 or 4 more days went by and I received another call from the editor. He told me that the magazine was offering me a 5 page article and the cover of the Pennsylvania edition of the magazine. I sent several photos for them to consider using and was even more excited when the magazine called and said they would offer the cover of the issue as well. I am both thankful and honored to be considered worthy of the offering by Top Agent Magazine. They did a … [Read more...]

Touch-A-Truck ~ A Great Day in Berks

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This past Saturday afternoon the Junior League of Reading, PA Inc. held their 9th annual Touch-A-Truck event at First Energy Stadium. Children from all over Berks County and beyond came to see the different array of vehicles on display.     This year I brought the bucket truck, as usual, and also had the folks at the JeffreyHogueRealtor.com Action Track USA bring the Kenny Brightbill #19 Speedster. I was able to take photos of many of the youngsters, and some parents, sitting in the racecar. I am not sure who had more fun as you will see from the photos. The Junior League of Reading, PA, Inc. is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Theyare part of an international organization, The Association of Junior Leagues International, which has 296 Junior Leagues throughout the US, Canada, Mexico, & Britain. Since 19 … [Read more...]

Berks County, PA ~ Are Our Lawmakers Baking a Blight Cake

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Berks County, PA and Reading were once the shining star of the mid-20th century. Even during the depression years Reading stood as a haven of prosperity compared to other cities around the country. In fact the population of Reading during the 1930’s topped 110,000. There has never been more inhabitants in the city before or after that time. Why? Simple, affordable housing and jobs. From the 1920’s through the 1950’s the textile industry was booming. Reading was a leader in the industry and also had steel, railroads and many other blue collar opportunities. The homes in Reading were well suited for the growing families who migrated to our city. Many who remember those days tell stories of how areas of the city were home to ethnic groups of all races who took residence together in the neighborhoods. Whole families and their friends desired to live close to each other. They worked together, played together and lived together. Things have changed but our traditional economic think … [Read more...]

27 Home Features Business Owners Think About Before Buying

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My husband and I have started, owned, and grown four businesses in our 24 years of marriage and are starting a fifth. In that time, we have owned four homes. Although the majority of our business has been conducted outside the home, most were started at home or involved the use of our home in numerous ways. If you are a business owner or ever think you’ll be one, here are 27 home features to think about when buying a home. 1)     Is there potential “regular and exclusive” office space? Home-based business tax deductions are based on the square footage area or ratio of rooms used, but must meet the regular and exclusive test set by the IRS. While I do not do taxes and this is not tax advice, the amount and size of your home office deduction can be a huge money saver at tax time for small business owners. 2)     Is the house suitable for client visits? Will any clients who come to this house feel comfortable? Even if you have another place where your business is located, it is not unc … [Read more...]

I Don’t Really Need to Sell My Home

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There are certain things a home seller says that can cut their real estate agent to the core. “I don’t really need to sell my home” may be tops on the list. It even trumps “I don’t need a REALTOR® to sell my home”. To understand my logic let’s look more closely at the two statements. Let’s start with a home owner who is thinking about, or going to, sell their home. They may either contact a real estate agent or be contacted by one. In either case a meeting between the parties seems imminent. On average that appointment may last between one and two hours. After careful evaluation the home owner may choose to do nothing, interview other REALTORS®, choose the agent they are speaking to or, the dreaded, decide they don’t really need a REALTOR® to sell their home and try it themselves. Now we will move to the home owner who has decided to use a real estate agent to sell their home. The REALTOR® works with the home seller to price the home, lists the home, takes photos, describes the a … [Read more...]

Risk Management is Important When Selling Your Home

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Risk management is a term we most likely hear in the world of investing. However, it’s a term that you should hear when selling your home. When you decide to sell your home, there is a tremendous amount of risk that you are trying to manage. How so? Let’s start with the single most important factor, you and your family’s future. When you choose to hire a Real Estate agent to sell your home, you are looking for representation, plain and simple. This agent must have your best interest in mind at every critical step along the way. Every decision that is made is an endeavor to minimize your risk. What is at risk? Most importantly, your family’s security as it relates to your real estate.  There is nothing more important than the happiness and security of your family. Whether you are a family of ten or a family of one, your financial future, and large portion of what determines the level of stress in your life at this time may very well hinge on selling your home. If you could remove … [Read more...]

When Paying Off Your Mortgage Early Doesn’t Pay Off!

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The allure of paying off your mortgage is a dream that many Berks County residents share. I've been there; I had no mortgage and it felt great! I reduced my monthly expenses by thousands of dollars, I owned my home and bid my bank loan a fond ‘fare-well’.  Before I paid off my mortgage I felt trapped in my business by that monthly nut, but without the mortgage I felt so much less stress as a business owner.  It was a guaranteed rate of return – what could be better than that? There is no doubt that the satisfaction of having no debt is better than birthday cake with no calories! But be aware that there are things to consider about being mortgage debt free: Credit Card and Student Loan rates are high! Do you have higher interest rate debt that should be paid first?  These days, credit card and even student loan debt may be a higher interest rate than your mortgage.  Why pay off a 3.5% home loan when you owe 9.99% credit card and 6.5% student loans?  Most people’s rates are even h … [Read more...]

Middle Class Americans are Negatively Affected by Government Housing Policies

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The dream of home ownership traditionally meant that anyone could get ahead using their ability and working hard. Over the past several decades, the United States government created housing policies that created incentive laced housing programs and the tax code that changed the dream for many American citizens. Families began to think of their home as an investment, not just shelter and a place for their families to grow up. When the housing market crashed in 2007, many suffered, homeowners, investors, the working middle class and taxpayers. Creative robust housing programs initiated by the government have not always helped the poor and middle class. The median net worth of American adults has become one of the lowest among developed nations. It is less than $45,000, according to the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Data book report. That compares with approximately $220,000 in Australia, $142,000 in France and $54,000 in Greece. Almost one third of American adults have a net worth of l … [Read more...]

Don’t Get Caught in the Home Inspection Trap

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In Berks County and Reading, Pennsylvania most buyers consider hiring a home inspection company to review the condition of the home they are about to purchase. The home inspection can include a Home/Property Inspections and Environmental Hazards (mold, etc.), Radon, Wood Infestation, Water Service, On-Site Sewage (if applicable), Property and Flood Insurance, Property Boundaries, Deeds, Restrictions and Zoning, Lead-Based Paint Hazards (For Properties prior to 1978 only), and almost anything else one can think of. These inspections are listed in Paragraph 12 of the Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS® (PAR), STANDARD AGREEMENT FOR THE SALE OF REAL ESTATE, (Form ASR). The inspections are chosen by the buyer and presented to the home seller as part of the purchase proposal. If agreed to, by the parties, these items become a contingency of the Agreement to purchase. This means that if the buyer has the chosen inspections completed by a certified home inspector they are granted the … [Read more...]

Should You Trust a Free Credit Score?

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When I find a services that might benefit my clients, I try them out. As a committed financial planner, I don’t recommend anything to my clients that I haven’t tried first and found benefit especially a free credit score app. Many of my clients including myself are annoyed that our credit scores are not FREE.  It’s our information after all.  Yesterday I found an article listing free credit scores, so I checked out CreditKarma.com to see for myself. What resulted was a wild ride of fury, confusion and finally satisfaction! MyCreditKarma.com report was clear, colorful and easy to understand.  Initially it seemed quite informative and gave Grades A, B, C and D for things like payment history, credit inquiries, credit use ratios and negative remarks.  I was proud of my A’s and also satisfied with my B’s.  But wait, there was a D!  Aghast, what dastardly thing had I done to deserve that? And wait. Look. They reported that my TransUnion credit score had gone down by more than 50 points t … [Read more...]