HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

by Buz Wolfe

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our clients, friends, peers, and family a blessed and Happy Thanksgiving! As I approach the 30th Anniversary of the founding of our company, I am constantly reminded of the many blessings which have been bestowed upon us over these years.

Since these warm wishes are echoed by my entire staff, I thought it might be fun to give you a quick two sentence description of some “fun facts” about the Wolfe & Company sales staff.

Steve Martson has a law degree. He spent a very successful career in the private sector corporate world.
Harry Snyder is a retired Air Force and Commercial Airline pilot. He has over twenty five years experience as a top producer in high end properties.
Wayne Deakin is a Penn State alumnus. He has spent approximately twenty years handling rental, property management and recreational cabin properties for us.
Mitch Gelbaugh started with the company in 1986 and went on to spend eighteen years at RE/MAX where he was inducted into the RE/MAX Hall of Fame. Mitch holds an Associate Broker’s license.
Eric Shryock just celebrated his twenty fifth anniversary with the company. Before entering the real estate field, Eric was a PGA Class A Golf Professional.
Gary Sausser is a West Point grad and enjoyed a distinguished Army career culminating in the rank of Brigadier General. Gary also holds the CCIM – – the highest commercial designation available in the real estate industry.
Tom Lindsey enjoyed a successful career in the commercial construction business before entering the real estate business in 1988. Tom also holds an Associate Broker’s license.
Sam McLoota is also a Penn State alumnus and a graduate of the Smeal College of Business. Sam is also an alumnus of the Leadership Cumberland program.
Joan Wolfe spent many years “behind the scenes” taking care of bookkeeping, payroll, IT and procurement for the company before securing her sales license. She continues to wear “all of the hats”.
Erin Wolfe is a Bucknell alumnus and taught in the Chambersburg and Cumberland Valley Schools before entering the Real Estate business. Erin is on track to finish among the top five percent of producers in the marketplace for 2015.
John Matasovsky’s first career was with the Pentagon. He relocated to the area because of his love for fly fishing and he also holds the SRES designation.
Michael Garrity relocated to the area from Chicago with his wife who is part of a long established Carlisle business. Michael also has the CCIM designation and is a graduate of Marquette.
Andy Wolfe is a graduate of Juniata College where he played Division III basketball. Andy will soon sit for the General Certified Appraisal examination.
Tracy Sharp has been “running the company” for nearly ten years. Tracy and her family are native to the area and relocated back here after a corporate career in Human Resources.

The market remains good and our staff remains dedicated to serving our clients through the balance of the year and into 2016. At Wolfe & Company Realtors it is still NO FEES – NO TEAMS – NO NONSENSE. And remember – – – EXPERIENCE MATTERS!

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WHAT IS TRID?

by Buz Wolfe

By now, you have probably heard about TRID – – the big real estate change which occurred on October 3rd. The “TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure” was designed and implemented by the federal government in yet another over reaching attempt to “protect” consumers. TILA stands for “Truth in Lending Act” and RESPA stands for “Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act”. These two federal lending requirements are to be “Integrated” into a “Disclosure” that provides very firm rules as to the precision and advance notice to which lenders must adhere in providing information to borrowers.

While the goal of providing consumers/borrowers/buyers with more accurate and timely information is a very good one, the new procedures are fraught with problems and will be likely to create many personal crises and painful delays in settlements.

What do you need to know? Basically, the most important thing that parties to a real estate transaction should know going forward is that it will be more important than ever to deal with LOCAL lenders, attorneys, title companies and settlement agencies.

Many of the functions previously performed by title entities and settlement entities will now be purely the responsibility of the LENDER. Borrowers/buyers will now have three days after receipt of their Closing Disclosure to review the form prior to closing. Any changes to the Closing Disclosure will likely trigger a new three day waiting period before closing can occur. Any changes made by the lender or by any of the borrower’s/buyer’s activities since the initial Loan ESTIMATE will also require the three day waiting period – – there is very little ability to avoid the “three day rule”.

For additional information on TRID and how it may affect you, feel free to contact Wolfe & Company Realtors for additional information. Remember – – the lender and settlement agent must work together. Know who you are working with! Local will almost always be better!

And…EXPERIENCE MATTERS! Managing your transaction is more important than ever and no one does that better than Wolfe & Company Realtors!

*Ray L. “Buz” Wolfe, CRS has been Broker/Owner of his own firm since 1986. In 2014, he was again the Carlisle Area’s Top Producing Broker with $10,000,000 in settled transactions.
**All information believed to be accurate but not guaranteed.

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HOW FREE IS FREE?

by Buz Wolfe

A recent industry trend is for real estate companies or real estate teams to offer a “free” moving van to customers and clients utilizing their services. Well, I did a little checking into this.

You can rent the biggest U-Haul available for $39.95 a day plus $.78 a mile – – at least the last time I checked. Most residential moves are made within the course of one day.

These same real estate teams and real estate agencies are charging their clients anywhere from $200 – $700 in additional fees over and above the standard real estate commission. This makes you ask yourself, just HOW FREE IS FREE?

As best I can tell, we are the only leading real estate company in the area that does not charge additional fees. We charge no fees to our Buyer clients whatsoever and no fees above agreed upon commission to our Sellers. That’s what we mean when we say……………………………..

“NO FEES – NO TEAMS – NO NONSENSE!”

For simply the most reliable and fairly priced real estate service available in South Central Pennsylvania, contact Wolfe & Company Realtors. Experience does matter!

*Ray L. “Buz” Wolfe, CRS has been Broker/Owner of his own firm since 1986. In 2014, he was again the Carlisle Area’s Top Producing Broker with $10,000,000 in settled transactions.
**All information believed to be accurate but not guaranteed.

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EXPERTS ANONYMOUS

by Buz Wolfe

When it comes to real estate, “EVERYONE IS AN EXPERT”.  Trust me on this one.

I do a great deal of industry related reading and research.  For the most part, this is to keep me current with trends in the industry and to assure that my company is complying with all the appropriate rules and regulations.  Seldom, however, do I bother to read about what the “experts” think.

One recent exception was an article in the Sunday Patriot News by Terry Savage of the Savage Truth.  She lists a number of things that should be considered before purchasing a home and states that “If you plan realistically, your home could be your best investment, especially with low mortgage rates.”

Ms. Savage does go on to make two points with which I completely agree.  In fact, I have made both of them many, many times in the past.

First, your home is your residence not a trading investment .  While real estate has traditionally been an excellent investment and the largest savings investment for most Americans, this point should not be lost.

Number two, the family home is not a liquid asset.   See above.

There are, however, many additional benefits to home ownership.  These include property tax deductions, mortgage interest deductions, closing cost deductions (Pennsylvania has among the lowest mortgage closing costs in the Nation according to BankRate.com), home office deductions, Energy Star deductions, and property sale deductions.

It is true that your home should not be a “piggy bank” and that there is more to life than making house payments.  Still, as we have seen time and time again, the single family home remains most Americans best and most significant investment.  With property values returning to 2005-6 levels, inventory at appropriate levels, and mortgage interest rates still at historic lows, now is the time to “start up”, “trade up”, or “downsize”.

Need help?  EXPERIENCE MATTERS!

 

 

*Ray L. “Buz” Wolfe, CRS has been Broker/Owner of his own firm since 1986.  In 2014, he was again the Carlisle Area’s Top Producing Broker with $10,000,000 in settled transactions.

**All information believed to be accurate but not guaranteed.

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THE VALUE OF USING A REALTOR

by Buz Wolfe

A 2014 study by the National Association of Realtors confirms that Agent-assisted home sales typically are 13% higher than For Sale by Owner sales (FSBOs). This is really impressive! Most folks choose the For Sale By Owner (FSBO) route to “save” the commission. While commissions are negotiable, they generally range in the 5-6% range. Obviously, the use of a Realtor MORE than covers the cost – – by a wide margin, actually.

There are other reasons why the FBSO route rarely works. Nationally, and historically, only 10%-20% of For Sale By Owners are actually successful. Why?

First, many buyers are inheritantly suspicious of a FSBO property. They suspect that there may be issues that persuaded the owner not to list with a Real Estate Broker.

Second, buyers are frequently suspicious of the manner by which the asking price was arrived. While many FSBO’s over price their properties, the statistic referenced above suggests that many actually end up selling their house for too little.

Third, buyers frequently are reluctantly to deal directly with the seller. They prefer to engage a qualified “middle man” to represent their interest in the transaction.

Fourth, most For Sale By Owner deals fall apart because neither the seller nor the buyer have any idea what to do after they agree on a sale price. Contract preparation and the maze of conditions that must be met to get to the settlement table is far above the reach of most private parties.

Fifth, with over 95% of prospective buyers now getting on internet sites before contacting a Realtor, it is almost impossible for a FSBO to gain the kind of exposure available through the multiple listing and websites dedicated to real estate properties.

I have always respected anyone’s right to try and sell their property privately. There is, however, a very good reason that less than 2 out of 10 are successful. Realtor assisted transactions benefit the seller in many, many ways.

And, remember. Not all Realtors are created equal. EXPERIENCE MATTERS!

*Ray L. “Buz” Wolfe, CRS has been Broker/Owner of his own firm since 1986. In 2014, he was again the Carlisle Area’s Top Producing Broker with $10,000,000 in settled transactions.
**All information believed to be accurate but not guaranteed.

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THIS N’ THAT

by Buz Wolfe

 

As we find ourselves squarely into the traditional busy spring market, I thought I would pass along some “tid-bits” that I have taken from the numerous trade publications that I review frequently.  For the most part, it remains good news:

Real Estate again named best long term investment. That is according to a recent Gallup Survey where respondents chose real estate ahead of stocks, gold, savings accounts, CD’s or bonds as the best long term investment. Real Estate also took the top spot last year.

  • The most popular home improvement projects. In Pennsylvania, which differed from other parts of the country, HVAC services ranked first.  Door installation, in Pennsylvania, came in second. Third was actually pest control.  It appears to me that our conservative “Pennsylvania Dutch” characteristics are alive and well!
  • Housing market shows healthy activity with sales up. The Pennsylvania housing market saw an 11% jump in closed sales in the first quarter of 2015 according to a report published by the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors.
  • In Pennsylvania, median prices rose to $158,000 and Days On Market remains steady at 95 days. Locally, these figures are about $189,000 and 105 days.
  • 1st time buyers are beginning to enter the market. Thanks to continued low interest rates and recent changes by the FHA which lowered mortgage insurance premiums, younger and entry level buyers are beginning to again enter the market place. 30 year fixed mortgage rates remain below 4%!
  • High consumer optimism exists among consumers. According to a Fannie Mae February 2015 housing survey, consumer optimism toward the housing market and the economy has reached a new all-time survey high.  Without question, increasing home sales benefit the overall economic recovery.  Many related industries benefit from a strong housing market.
  • Cumberland County has seen the largest increase in housing units and residential building permits. Cumberland County remains the fastest growing of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties.  Over 71% of the homes in Cumberland County are actually owner-occupied.
  • Word of mouth and good customer services continue to be a Realtors greatest marketing asset. 55% of recent home buyers indicated that they hired a Realtor based on a friend or family member’s recommendation or by using a Realtor that they had used in the past.  This is no surprise to us – the large majority of our business at Wolfe & Company Realtors comes from satisfied past clients or clients referred to us by others.

Our first quarter of 2015 will rank among the best ever.  The month of April was the single best month for Wolfe & Company settled transactions in nearly 10 years.  We remain very busy – – but never too busy to provide you , your friends, relatives or others the highest level of personalized assistance available within the Greater Carlisle Area.

  EXPERIENCE MATTERS! 

 

Credit to the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors JUST LISTED column as well as studies available through the Central Penn Business Journal and the Residential Specialist CRS Magazine for many of the above statistics.

*Ray L. “Buz” Wolfe, CRS has been Broker/Owner of his own firm since 1986.  In 2014, he was again the Carlisle Area’s Top Producing Broker with $10,000,000 in settled transactions.

**All information believed to be accurate but not guaranteed.

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SO, YOU’VE GOT CASH…

by Buz Wolfe

 

SO, YOU’VE GOT CASH…

BIG DEAL!

 Really, it’s not that big of a deal.  You just think it is.

Cash sales accounted for 36% of all home sales in Pennsylvania during the month of December.  This is pretty consistent with what we are seeing in the Greater Carlisle Area where approximately 1/3 of all transactions have been cash transactions since the market crash of 2007.  Prior to the housing crisis, cash sales averaged about 25% across the United States.

I frequently see cash buyers and buyer agents making ridiculous, low ball offers on our listings simply because they have CASH.  Well, the truth of the matter is that cash will have some impact on the seller, but it is not going to allow you to buy the property for 80 cents on the dollar.  Remember, it’s all cash to the seller – be it your’s, the bank’s, or the mortgage company’s!

The ratio of list price to actual sales price here in the Greater Carlisle Area remains at 98%.  This, too, is consistent with what we have experienced here in our “micro-market” for many, many years.  When the market is slower, this percentage changes very little, but Days On Market tends to increase.  We are currently seeing Days On Market actually decline as more and more listing inventory is absorbed.

Anecdotally, I can tell you that we have recently sold four or five properties that were on the market for periods of up to a year or more.  In three of these instances, we actually received multiple or competing offers and were able to sell the properties at or near their full asking price.  It is very clear to me that the market is improving dramatically and that 2015 will likely be the best year in residential real estate since 2006.

So, you’ve got cash?  The best thing that you can do is to make the seller a reasonable offer on their property so that you will, in turn, get their attention.  Far too often, I see low ball offers that offend, antagonize or insult the seller.  In turn, the seller often does not offer a counter proposal at all or, at a minimum, does not respond with their “bottom line number”.  If you want to make effective use of your cash, make the seller an offer that they will take seriously and you will benefit from getting their best counter proposal.

Perhaps you have seen some of our local billboards touting our continued campaign of No Fees, No Teams, No Nonsense.  To the best of my knowledge, we are the only real estate agency in the Greater Carlisle Area that charges NO FEES to our buyer clients and NO ADDITIONAL FEES (other than commission) to our selling clients.  If you are paying additional fees, you are paying too much!  We not only provide the highest level of professional real estate service available in Carlisle – – we also provide the best VALUE available for real estate services in the Greater Carlisle Area.

EXPERIENCE MATTERS! 

 

*Ray L. “Buz” Wolfe, CRS has been Broker/Owner of his own firm since 1986.  In 2014, he was again the Carlisle Area’s Top Producing Broker with $10,000,000 in settled transactions.

**All information believed to be accurate but not guaranteed.

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“THE ROAD TO SUCCESS……”

by Buz Wolfe

…is always under construction”.  This is another adage from my favorite baseball manager, Baltimore Orioles skipper Buck Showalter.  So, what does it mean?  Well, I think it speaks to the need to adapt and adjust to new and changing trends within your business or industry.

Hey, I am “old school”.  But, I realize that if you are going to “stand pat” or adopt the attitude that “all change is bad”, your business will eventually suffer and time will pass you by.  So, why do I bring all of this up?  Last week, I got my first smart phone.

That’s right. For many years now, I have been successfully running my business with a home computer, a laptop at my cabin and office and a cell phone (The Octane) that was able to make and receive calls as well as to send and receive text messages.  Well, that all changed last week.  Personally, I have not always warmly embraced change and I am not the biggest fan in the world of our ever evolving technology.  However, finally, I have made the move.

So, if you need to get in touch with me you have all of the following options:  Office Land Line at 717-243-1551 (with voice mail); Direct Dial Land Line at 717-240-5070 (with voice mail);    Home Land Line at 717-243-6840 (with voice mail); Cell Phone calls at 717-576-8102; Text Messages at the same 717-576-8102; or e-mail at buzwolfe@wolfecr.com.  You can also find me on Facebook (3 pages – personal, professional and office); Twitter and Linkedin.

Better yet, just send me a fax……………..

 

 

 

*Ray L. “Buz” Wolfe, CRS has been Broker/Owner of his own firm since 1986.  In 2014, he was again the Carlisle Area’s Top Producing Broker with $10,000,000 in settled transactions.

**All information believed to be accurate but not guaranteed.

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THINGS LOOKING UP?

by Buz Wolfe

 

I have reasonably good vibes on the continued improvement of the real estate market both nationally, across the state and here locally.  Overall activity for this time of year, and particularly this kind of weather, is good.

The Pennsylvania Association of Realtors recently reported that existing home sales are forecasted to rise about 7% in 2015.  According to the Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors, Lawrence Yun, this is thanks to an improving economy, steady job gains and a continued increase in overall home prices.  New home sales are also on the rise with December having posted some of the largest gains in recent years.  As noted in my previous blog, historically low interest rates and more generous down payment and mortgage underwriting requirements are helpful.

I am often asked the question “What is my home worth these days?”  Well, I have been telling folks that your home is worth today approximately what it was worth in 2005.  During a recent economic forecast meeting held by Wilmington Trust Investment Advisors, a subsidiary of M&T Bank, a graph was provided regarding the Carlisle – Harrisburg Metro Area.  It confirmed that current values in the Carlisle Area are basically equivalent to the values of 2006 – – the height of the bubble market.  While some additional appreciation was seen from 2006-2007, 2008 began a period of gradual decline which was slightly reversed in the 2010 market and then followed by some additional market depreciation in the 2012 early 2013 period.  Values have steadily climbed from 2014 to present with an overall gain in the Metro Area of approximately 0.4% relative to the first quarter of 2006.  Relative to a year ago, the Carlisle Area has seen a positive overall appreciation rate of 1.6% – – not outstanding, but certainly an improvement.

Wolfe and Company Realtors will be continuing to promote our theme of “NO FEES, NO TEAMS, NO NONSENSE” over the next several months with a local billboard campaign.  We are the only Brokerage Company in South Central Pennsylvania, to my knowledge, that charges NO FEES to our Buyer clients and NO FEES in addition to the basic commission to our Seller Clients.  This does not mean you are dealing with a “discount” Broker.  The fact is, you are dealing with the most knowledgeable and experienced real estate company available to you in the Greater Carlisle Area.

For all of your Real Estate needs, contact Wolfe & Company Realtors of Carlisle.  Because……….

 EXPERIENCE MATTERS!

 

 

 

*Ray L. “Buz” Wolfe, Jr. is a licensed Real Estate Broker in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  He is not an attorney and is not licensed to practice law.  No comments made within the confines of his blog should be construed as legal advice.

**All information believed to be accurate but not guaranteed.

 

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