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 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 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!

Ready to Sell Your Home? Don’t Remove Family Photos Just Yet

Be careful how much you depersonalize your home when preparing it for sale. You could be sending the wrong message. Getting a home ready to be seen by the masses is no easy task. It’s important everything look good and is working properly. I think most would agree; a clean, well-decorated home will sell for more money in less time. But is there more to it than that? Maybe so. Homeowners preparing to sell often ask me what they can do to enhance or improve their property. Most times they are already aware of many tasks they need to perform to present their home at a higher level. The question is often posed to obtain reassurance that they are on the right path and pick up a few tips along the way. Often, after these homeowners tell me what they plan to fix and paint I will hear them say “Oh, and yes, I will remove all personal items and photos.” In past years it was almost standard operating procedure to remove family photos and other personal items to depersonalize a home. The … [Read more...]

Berks County Real Estate Property Tax Update

It’s time once again for my Berks County real estate Property Tax update. If you own a home in Berks County bend over, pick up your favorite beverage and find a comfortable seat. Hopefully, this won’t hurt much. It’s time once again time for my Berks County real estate Property Tax update. If you own a home in Berks County bend over, pick up your favorite beverage and find a comfortable seat. Hopefully, this won’t hurt much. The Berks County School Districts have finalized their budgeting, and the numbers are in. The chart shows that all but three of the eighteen districts raised the millage. To understand what this means to you consider the following example. Berks County School District 2015~16 Millage 2016~17 Millage Percent Change Antietam .0367900 .0377900 +2.718% Boyertown .0239600 .0242700 +1.293% Brandywine .0323000 .0323000 SAME Conrad Weiser .0263230 .0271350 +3.084% Daniel Boone … [Read more...]

Berks County Home Sales by the Numbers

A look at Berks County home sales half way through 2016 and how things are shaping up for the second half. It is hard to believe that we are more than halfway through 2016. It is at this time I like to reflect on how Berks County home sales are progressing and how we compare to other regional markets. The empirical data mixed with a degree of speculation could also lend insight to what we can expect in the second half. By the numbers… As of June 30, 2016 there were 2,398 homes sold in Berks County. In 2015 there were 2,076 homes sold in the same period (an increase of 15.5%). In 2014 1,810 homes sold (an increase of 14.69% over 2015). The breakdown… Berks ~ Jan 1 to June 30 2014 2015 2016 $0-$100,000 527 622 636 $101,000-$200,000 799 904 1,073 $201,000-$300,000 352 420 492 $301,000-$400,000 86 90 135 $401,000-$500,000 25 20 32 $501,000-$750,000 11 17 22 $751,000 & Up 6 3 6 The following chart displays Be … [Read more...]

Does Zillow.com Make Customers Play Realtor Roulette?

If you use Zillow.com to search for homes and it matters who contacts you back when asking for property information read this. It will better help you win the game of Realtor Roulette that Zillow.com plays. More and more people shop for a home online. The real estate website visited more than any other is Zillow.com. I refer to them as the Amazon.com of real estate. Zillow.com excels at offering home shoppers comprehensive information on properties for sale, school districts, mortgages and just about everything real estate related in between. One of those “in between” things Zillow.com offers customers is information about Realtors® that serve the areas that interest them. Zillow.com displays things like how many properties the Realtor® has sold and how many customer reviews they have accumulated. While all the Realtor information may be helpful, home buyers and sellers dominantly visit Zillow.com to see which homes are for sale or assess the value of their present home. So yo … [Read more...]

Really Want That New House? Consider an Escalation Addendum

Finding the right home is just the beginning. The next step is to acquire that home. Understanding your home purchase options is critical. An escalation addendum may be a solution. So you have found that perfect home. You tell your Realtor® you want to make an offer. Your Realtor® calls the listing agent and asks if there are any other offers on the home. The listing agent says no but there have been several showings and an abundance of interest. In fact, the listing agent says that another agent is likely to bring an offer. After hearing there is other interest your mind races. What to do next? How do I get the home and the best deal at the same time? Your real estate agent does a market analysis on the home. It shows that previous properties sold for less than what the home you have chosen is listed for ~ Arggghhh!!! The scenario I have laid out is becoming more common in the Berks County area. It has been almost nine years since we have seen significant home price a … [Read more...]

Declutter ~ Declutter ~ Declutter!

The mantra of real estate value has always been “Location ~ Location ~ Location”. While this is still true Declutter ~ Declutter ~ Declutter may now be running a close second. It is no mystery that people everywhere have more stuff than ever before. This is especially true in Berks County where we tend to keep things we know should have been discarded years earlier. Now it is time to sell that Berks County home but there is one problem…You cannot find it through the clutter. What to do? Well, if you are a true Pennsylvania Dutchman it is time to “RED UP”. If you are not, then decluttering will have to do. After you have disposed of all the things you can bear to part with, moved some furniture around and done some sprucing up it is time to call the Realtor®. If that Realtor® is me it is likely we still have some work to do. When I photograph a home it is important that it is displayed to the world without anything that may take away from the homes natural beauty. This norma … [Read more...]

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...]