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 Realtor in Berks County. 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!

What Would Happen to Home Values if There was No Seller Credit

Many home sellers consider paying some or all of a home buyer’s closing costs a negative. Would it be better if the practice of paying closing costs did not exist? The answer may change your way of thinking about the practice. Spend any time in the real estate industry and you will hear the adage, home values are mainly a product of three things, location, location, location. Obviously, the location has much to do with home values but is there another term that should be considered? How does liquidity, liquidity, liquidity sound? I know, “liquidity” does not sound as sexy as “location”, but may have as much influence on home values. So what is liquidity? As it relates to home sales, liquidity is the availability of funds. The more money that is available to purchase homes, the more homes sell. The more home sell, the more home prices rise. Simple law of supply and demand in play here. The availability of money is just one factor. The ease in which a home buyer can obtain money … [Read more...]

Understanding the Real Estate Listing Contract Part 5 ~ Deposit Money

When listing a home for sale, there are obviously many things to consider. In the last installment of this series on Understanding the Listing Contract, I will touch on how the deposit money a seller receives is handled by the Broker. A good faith deposit is often given to the seller by the buyer in a real estate transaction. One of the main duties of a real estate Broker is to properly handle the deposit money. Paragraph 11 of the listing contract outlines how the deposit money will be handled. The Broker for the seller will keep the buyer’s deposit in an escrow account. The money will not be released unless one of the following things happens; A) The sale is completed; B) An agreement is terminated, and the buyer and seller agree on how the deposit will be distributed, in writing; C) No action is taken by either party within a predetermined time designated to dispute the agreement; D) A court order. The end of a defunct deal may not be the end of the trail for the deposit. The … [Read more...]

Understanding the Real Estate Listing Contract Part 4 ~ Marketing Property

You’ve probably heard the adage, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” This statement is often true when it comes to real estate. I guess the same can be said about marketing property. The tools have changed, but the goal is still the same. That goal is to find a ready, willing, and able buyer. Paragraph 24 of the listing contract starts with the marketing basics, you know, for sale sign, lock box, key in office, open houses and advertising in all media, including print and electronic, photographs and videos. The items listed are at the discretion of the Broker and NOT the seller. This condition is an often overlooked portion of the contract. It is important that you and your real estate agent agree on the marketing items listed as well as any additional marketing services. Once you are in agreement, these items should be listed in the contract. In the same vein, if you do not want something like a lockbox on your property or open houses, this should also be clear … [Read more...]

Understanding the Real Estate Listing Contract Part 3 ~ Broker Cooperation

In the last installment, we took a look at the listing broker’s fee. I will now dive a little deeper into what the listing contract says about the distribution of those commission dollars through broker cooperation. One of the reasons many decide to use a Realtor® to sell their home is to get maximum exposure to as many prospective buyers as possible. One way this is accomplished is through cooperation with other brokers. Broker cooperation means that the listing broker will grant access to and the ability for the broker’s buyer to purchase the subject property. Cooperation does not mean compensation but it sure helps. If there is no offer of compensation to cooperating brokers, the property cannot be listed in the Trend Multi-list system. Trend states the following, “Listing agreements must include the seller’s authorization for you to offer cooperative compensation. It must also include the Listing Broker’s explicit agreement to make an offer of cooperative compensation, and the a … [Read more...]

Understanding the Real Estate Listing Contract Part 2 ~ Broker Compensation

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 the flat fee, but I will give you my take. Take a home listed for $50,000 at 6% commission. The cost will be $3,000 if it sells for that amount. If the home ultimately sells for $40,000 the commission would be $2,400. The brokerage may have a minimum commission they charge, say $3,000 for this example. T … [Read more...]

Understanding the Real Estate Listing Contract Part 1 ~ Representation

The real estate Listing Contract is one of the most fundamental documents used by Realtors®. The document is also one of the most misunderstood. In this 5 part series, I hope to shed some light on parts of the contract that have invoked the most questions from customers I have represented over the years. If you have ever listed a home or property for sale with a real estate agency, it is likely you signed a Listing Contract. Like most contracts it works very well until it doesn’t. Only when things do not go as planned does the contract get pulled out of the drawer and ripped apart word by word. The real estate Listing Contract attempts to address the “who” as it relates to representation. Obviously, the seller is represented by the real estate brokerage whom they have chosen. The question often posed is, “Will you be representing the buyer of my home or just me?” This question is addressed in paragraphs 3 and 4 of the contract. The simple answer is “Yes” but as you can guess, there … [Read more...]

Terms and Conditions ~ Heart and Soul of a Real Estate Transaction

Price plays the starring role of most home sales while terms and conditions are often considered the supporting cast. In reality, the terms and conditions of a real estate transaction will determine whether your home sale is a hit or not. Every home listed for sale has one major thing in common. It has an asking price. In many cases, the success or failure of the sale is relegated to finding a buyer who will pay the asking, or listed, price. It is obvious that price is important but what about the terms and conditions of the sale? It is interesting to note that in Pennsylvania, the STANDARD AGREEMENT FOR THE SALE OF REAL ESTATE reserves one line of its 13 pages to price and the remainder to terms and conditions. Certainly it is obvious why this is the case, but it does help make my point. Without terms and conditions that are clearly understood and responsibly met by all parties in a real estate transaction, there will be No sale price because there will be No sale. I would further … [Read more...]

The Perfect Home is Still in High Demand

There have been countless articles written on how best to prepare your home for sale. Giving home sellers advice on how to get top dollar is such a hot button issue you are likely to see countless more. Consider these tips when trying to present the Perfect Home to prospective buyers. It is that time of year when most Berks Countians are eager to see winter pass into spring. It is also a time when many who are considering a change of residence start to plan their moving strategy. One of the top questions asked by many would-be home sellers is, “what is my property worth”, followed closely by, “what should I do to make the home more attractive to prospective home buyers.” Here are some things to consider… Cleanliness in next to Godliness (or top value) ~ Certain homes do not stay on the market long. What these quick moving homes have in common is that they are spotless. In the quest for the perfect home, cleanliness may be the most important aspect in the mind of many home buye … [Read more...]

Is Berks County Real Estate Ready for a Break-Out?

Low inventory, long stagnated pricing, creative mortgage financing and the hope that property taxes may soon be a thing of the past. The ingredients for a robust Berks County real estate market may be in place. Each week I have the pleasure of speaking to real estate agents in areas of the country outside Berks County. Most times the discussion leads to how robust their home market is. They tell me things like, “I just put a home on the market yesterday, and there are three offers with two of them being more than asking price.” Oh and yes, the home was over $500,000. For the past several years, I have refrained from sharing my Berks County home selling stories with them mostly because they just aren't as exciting. Hopefully, that will end sooner than later. There are several reasons why I feel that our local home market may see brighter days ahead. For starters, the inventory of available homes for sale in Berks County has steadily declined since 2010. The lack of new home con … [Read more...]

A Successful Real Estate Transaction is all About Partnership

What ingredients are necessary to have a successful real estate transaction? Could it be choosing a Realtor® that has experience, knowledge, and passion? These are all great qualities, but a successful transaction may depend more on your belief and trust. Many times a successful real estate transaction starts out by accurately evaluating the marketplace and pricing the home or property accordingly. One of the first tasks when representing a home seller is to estimate the market value of their property. For some reason, more home sellers believe my home valuation assessment in an up trending real estate market than in a down trending market. Imagine that. Before any home price evaluation takes place with the buyer, discussion as to where they desire to live, what kind of home, and how much they are willing to, or can afford, paying, take place. If a home is in the area they desire, has the amenities they are looking for, and is appropriately priced; a successful transaction may … [Read more...]

Consider A Hard Money Deposit When Negotiating Your Real Estate Deal

Submitting an agreement of sale on a home often includes an initial deposit. The monetary deposit is a show of good faith on the buyer’s part. If the buyer does not complete the transaction, the deposit is refunded. Are there times when the deposit should not be refundable? In other words, should home sellers ask for a hard money deposit! In the not so distant past, if a person wanted to purchase a home they had to have a monetary deposit of 10 to 20 percent of the home’s value. In today’s real estate dealings, the purchase deposits are nowhere near that percentage. In many cases, the deposit is not even one percent. While it seems prudent to obtain a healthy deposit if you are a home seller, the act may be in vain. In almost every case, the deposit is refundable to the buyer if the home sale does not go through. The exception occurs if determined that the buyer exited the agreement unjustly. A home purchase agreement is full of contingencies. The two most common contingencies re … [Read more...]

New Year’s Real Estate Resolution

For many, the New Year brings with it a sense of renewed hope. Often we plan to take control of the things we did not do well, or at all, and make them better. If buying or selling a home was one of those things, here are some ideas for your real estate resolution list. If your dream of moving to a new home or buying your first property did not happen in 2015, there is good news. 2016 Is just around the corner, and it is a leap year. That means you have an extra day to find that extra special home. To get you rolling in the right direction, I have compiled a list of things you might want to do so we are not having this same conversation next year. Let’s start with home sellers. Pre-inspect That Home. In my 23 years of practicing real estate, I have never been witness to the high level of scrutiny currently being placed on a home’s condition. I’m not talking cosmetics here (we will get to that later). I am talking about the components of the home like electrical, heating, etc. … [Read more...]

Should You Sell Your Home As Is?

A simple term like As Is can have many meanings. When used in the world of real estate, it goes to a different parallel. The ambiguity of the statement may not be what you want when selling your home. Or maybe it is! The real estate business is always full of intrigue and surprise. Often I am presented with situations that, not just require but demand deep thinking. Sometimes that deep thinking finds it’s way into the articles I pen. This happens to be one of those times. After negotiating price and moving your stuff, the home inspection process may be next in line for things a home seller dreads the most. Not many home sales happen these days without a home inspection being part of the purchase process. The purpose of the inspection is to find out if something is wrong with the home. Reminds me of a physical. You just can’t wait for the doctor to say you will live forever. One way home sellers believe they can navigate by the whole home inspection thing is by offering the pro … [Read more...]

INTRINSIC VALUE, the Unpredictability Factor of Home Pricing

Did you ever walk into a home and think, this is just right? The colors are inviting, and the décor is pleasing. The home has a sense of order and comfortability. It makes you happy. This intangible factor is known as intrinsic value. When I put a home on the market, prospective buyers will often call to schedule a showing. Some call me directly, and others call their real estate agent. Either way, the prospective buyer, and agent have an opinion about the home they are previewing. Typically, this is given in the form of written feedback, most commonly, email. I review the feedback and communicate it to the home seller. I am often amazed at how different the feedback can be regarding the same home. Some rate it an 8 (out of 10) and some a 2? When asked about the price it can vary by tens of thousands of dollars. This condition holds true for both buyers and professional real estate agents. So why the differences? Is it the difference in the buyer's taste, practical needs or … [Read more...]

Once Again, Pennsylvania Left at the Property Tax Reform Altar

Pennsylvania may have the most dysfunctional state governments in history, and everyone who owns a home here will pay for it. We need Property Tax Reform! So much has already been said about property taxes in Pennsylvania and Berks County that I find it hard to add anything substantial but I will give it a try. This past Tuesday our state Senators congregated at the state capital to vote on several pieces of legislation. Of interest was an amendment known as House Bill 683 PN 1427 A4499~ ARGALL AMENDMENT NO. A-4499. This was an amendment to the now popular SB76 known as the “Property Tax Independence Bill” That has such a nice ring, doesn’t it? In short, it was all about property tax reform. This is something Berks County homeowners have dreamed about since the 1830’s. Unfortunately, we can all keep dreaming as the amendment was voted down 25 to 24 with one abstention. Visit my website at to see how our state Senators voted on the amendment. Don’t be shy a … [Read more...]


The good The Bad & The Misunderstood Every week I look for a real estate subject that will help Berks County home buyers and sellers better understand the dynamics of my industry. I did not have to look far this week. It again became apparent that many Berks County home sellers do not fully understand what a seller credit to a home buyer is. What it is: Seller credit is the practice of crediting a home buyer a percentage or fixed amount of the sale price from the proceeds of the seller's property. Example: $100,000 Home sale price. Buyer offers the seller $100,000 for the home and requests a 3% seller credit (or $3,000). The net offer is $97,000. THE GOOD: Seller credit is one of the last vestiges of assistance the Government allows to assist home buyers and sellers in crafting a workable deal. In the first half of 2013, there were 847 Berks County homes sold between $100,000 and $200,000. 505 Of those transactions used a seller credit to complete the deal. That is a … [Read more...]