Real Estate Information Archive


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by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

Congratulations are in order! Today we celebrated 3 settlements! Congrats to our new homeowners: Jaclyn and Joe, Stephen and Joan, Hassan!

Become one of our happy us at 215-576-8666 for help buying or selling a home!


We've Changed Our Name!

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

Hello! It is with much excitement that we share this news with you today! We are officially no longer Remax Consultants. Our new name is CARDANO Realtors!

Our office is growing with more agents and more client programs- there will be more to come!

Just wanted to share with you our excitement!!!!

Interest Rates To Remain Low?

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

Check out this article I came across the other day...

Fed slows housing market plan; rates to stay low

WASHINGTON — Signaling confidence in a recovery, the Federal Reserve decided Wednesday to stretch out the pace of a program intended to lower mortgage rates and prop up the housing market.

Even so, rates on home loans are expected to remain low.

To foster the recovery, the Fed also decided to hold the target range for its key bank lending rate at a record low of between zero and 0.25 percent.

Stocks fell as a brief rally followed the Fed's statement and then faded. The Dow Jones industrial average came within 82 points of crossing 10,000 for the first time since October but ended with a loss of 81.

Stocks often trade erratically on days when the Fed issues policy decisions as investors pore over the statement. Some analysts said the Fed's statement was anticipated and didn't give the market enough reason to go higher — especially with stock indicators up more than 50 percent from their March lows.

"The market got exactly what it was expecting," said Thomas Wilson, a managing director at Brinker Capital in Berwyn, Pa.

Wilson cautioned, though: "I think there is a real concern out there that this is just a head fake and the stimulus out there is temporary," pointing to the Fed's slowing of its purchases of mortgage-backed securities.

With the economy on the mend, the Fed said it now plans to reach its goal of buying $1.45 trillion in mortgage-backed securities and debt by the end of March, rather than by the end of this year as originally scheduled. It's the second time since August that the Fed has opted to slow emergency programs designed to encourage spending and boost the economy.

Those decisions show Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and his colleagues are shifting from managing the financial and economic crises to nurturing a budding recovery.

In a far brighter assessment, Fed policymakers said: "Economic activity has picked up following its severe downturn." In August, policymakers had said economic activity was "leveling out."

The Fed again pledged to keep its key lending rate at a record low "for an extended period." Economists predict that means through the rest of this year and perhaps into part of next year.

Holding that rate steady means commercial banks' prime lending rate — used to peg rates on home equity loans, certain credit cards and other consumer loans — will stay at about 3.25 percent, the lowest in decades. The goal is to entice people and businesses to step up spending to aid economic growth.

Yet even so, Fed policymakers predict inflation will remain "subdued for some time."

Analysts say mortgage rates should remain low for now but could eventually head higher. That's why homeowners who want to refinance mortgages shouldn't delay, said Greg McBride, senior financial analyst at

McBride said rates will eventually be pushed up by the Fed's gradual withdrawal from the market, the strengthening housing market and the likely increase in inflation as the economy stabilizes.

Refinancing is especially urgent for people eligible for a separate government-backed refinance program, which expires in June, McBride said. But he said homeowners in adjustable-rate loans whose payments fell this year also need to move quickly.

"They could be tempted to put their heads in the sand on refinancing for another 12 months," he said. "It could be a different story 12 months from now," with much higher rates for 30-year fixed rate mortgages.

In their more optimistic outlook, policymakers noted that financial conditions and the housing market have improved. Those observations build on Bernanke's declaration last week that the recession is "very likely over."

They also cautioned, though, that other factors could weigh down the recovery. Consumer spending — the lifeblood of economic activity — remains constrained by job losses, sluggish income growth, lower housing wealth and still hard-to-get-credit.

Even though the Fed will slow its purchases of mortgage securities, rates for home loans should remain low "in the 5 percent range" as long as the purchases continue, said Guy Cecala, publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance.

The program has helped the housing market, which led the country into recession. Home sales have firmed, and mortgage rates have dropped. Rates on 30-year home loans fell to 5.04 percent last week, compared with 5.78 percent a year earlier, Freddie Mac says.

But the housing market's health remains precarious as foreclosures continue to mount.

"This phaseout is significant because housing, though stabilizing, is very dependent on the government help and so much of the economy depends on housing," said Sung Won Sohn, economist at California State University's Smith School of Business.

The central bank announced the mortgage-buying program in November, after financial turmoil reached a crisis point.

The Fed has bought roughly $775 billion worth of both mortgage-backed securities and debt from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae, which finance most new mortgages. The central bank is buying roughly 85 percent of the mortgages issued by those companies, according to one estimate. It's basically bankrolling mortgage lending.

By doing so, the Fed is helping provide demand for these securities — which had dried up when the crisis deepened — and forcing down mortgage rates. The Fed's purchases of mortgage securities and debt have averaged roughly $25 billion a week over the past six weeks.

The Fed did say additional mortgage purchases could occur if economic conditions warrant.

A $8,000 federal tax credit for first-time home buyers also is helping to shore up the housing market. There's a bipartisan push on Capitol Hill to extend the credit, which expires on Nov. 30.

As the recovery gains traction, the Fed will face more pressure to wind down some emergency programs. It's a fine line. Policymakers need to leave programs intact long enough to support the recovery — but not so long as to unleash inflation later on.

Inflation will remain in check, according to the Fed policymakers, who got rid of language in their August statement that noted rising prices for energy and other commodities.

Factories are still operating well below capacity. Other factors keeping prices in check include the weak job market — enabling employers to avoid wage increases — and cautious shoppers making companies wary of raising costs.

After suffering a free-fall, the economy is growing at a pace of 3 to 4 percent in the current quarter, many analysts predict. But Bernanke warned that growth in the months ahead probably won't be strong enough to generate many new jobs and prevent the unemployment rate from rising. The rate hit a 26-year high of 9.7 percent in August and is expected to top 10 percent this year.

"The U.S. economy has moved from its deathbed to intensive care, so some of the Fed's more extreme policy programs can be rolled back," said Richard Yamarone, economist at Argus Research. "However, the patient is still in intensive care, and the central bank should be careful not to pull the plug too quickly."

AP Business Writers Daniel Wagner in Washington and Alex Veiga in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

Confusion About Tax Credits

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

There's a lot of confusion surrounding the housing tax credits for first-time buyers. Here are some answers.

NEW YORK (Money) -- Question: I bought a home and qualified for the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit. I'm still a bit confused, though, about the payback rules. Can you explain them? --Jessica G., Houston, Texas

Answer: Sure. But first I'd like to remind anyone who's considering taking advantage of the first-time homebuyer tax credit of up to $8,000 that was part of this year's stimulus package that time is running out.

Specifically, unless Congress extends the deadline -- which I certainly wouldn't count on -- you must complete the purchase of the home by November 30th. That may sound like a good ways off. But when you consider that it can easily take two months to get through the entire home-buying process -- find a house, make an accepted offer, pull together the money and documentation you'll need for a mortgage, appraisal, title insurance and closing -- anyone who hasn't already begun will have to move quickly to squeeze under the November 30th wire.

That deadline aside, there are a few other criteria you'll also have to meet before you can snag the tax credit.

To begin with, the home you're buying must be your principal residence. And while $8,000 is the figure usually thrown around when talking about the credit, it's actually equal to 10% of the purchase up to a maximum of $8,000.

You've also got to qualify as a first-time homebuyer. Clearly, you meet that hurdle if you or your spouse has never owned a home before. But you may still be eligible even if you're not buying a home for the first time. Why? Because for the purposes of this program, you're also considered a first-time buyer as long as you or your spouse hasn't owned a principal residence within three years. Notice I said principal residence. Owning a vacation home or rental property doesn't disqualify you.

Then there are the income eligibility rules. To get the full credit, your modified adjusted gross income can't exceed $75,000 if you're single or $150,000 if you're married. You can claim a partial credit, however, as long as your income doesn't exceed $95,000 if you're single or $170,000 if you're married.

Now, let's get back to your query about payback rules. If you indeed qualified for the $8,000 first-time homebuyer credit for homes bought from January 1 through November 30, 2009, then you don't have to worry about paying it back, provided you continue using the house as your principal residence for at least 36 months after buying. Sell it or stop using it as your principal residence within 36 months, however, and you'll have to repay the entire amount of the credit as additional tax when you file your next tax return (although there are a few exceptions).

But the fact that you're concerned about paying it back makes me wonder whether you have actually taken a different first-time homebuyer tax credit.

Before passing the $8,000 credit in the stimulus package this year, Congress had already enacted a $7,500 first-time homebuyer credit last year as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. This $7,500 credit, which was designed to apply to houses bought by qualifying first-time buyers between April 9, 2008 and July 1, 2009, is actually an interest-free loan that must be repaid.

So if that's the credit you actually got, then you must pay it back over 15 years through an additional tax starting with your 2010 tax return (although here too there are exceptions).

So the first thing you need to do is find out which tax credit you actually received. If you bought your house in 2008, then you got the $7,500 tax credit, and you will have to repay it. Sorry, but you can't get the $8,000 credit if you bought in 2008.

You could, however, be part of what is likely a small group of first timers who bought their home early in 2009 before Congress enacted the $8,000 credit and who took the $7,500 credit. Someone might have done that because he filed his 2008 taxes before the $8,000 became available in 2009 or because he just didn't know about the larger credit or perhaps just mistakenly believed that once he filed for the smaller credit he no longer could get the larger one.

But if you, or any other qualifying first-time buyer, bought a home in 2009 and received the $7,500 credit instead of the $8,000 one for whatever reason, you're not stuck with the smaller amount. You can file an amended return for 2008, claim the $8,000 credit and get the extra $500.

That's right, even though the $8,000 credit applies to a 2009 purchase, the IRS actually allows you to claim it on your 2008 taxes. Which, by the way, is also an important point for any first-timer who already bought this year or plans to buy before the Nov. 30 deadline to keep in mind. Once you complete the purchase, you don't have to wait until you file your 2009 taxes next year to get your $8,000 credit. You can get it sooner by filing an amended 2008 return.

So to sum up, whether or not you'll have to repay the credit depends on which credit you got and how long you live in the home.

As for anyone else who needs a house, has the financial wherewithal to buy one and is thinking about taking advantage of the $8,000 first-time homebuyer credit as a way to get it, you'd better get a move on.

To get started with your home buying process, give us a call at 215-576-8666!

Taken from:

Tax Credits for Home Improvements

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

Do did you know that the government is offering tax credits, essentially money back, for common home improvements?

Before purchasing any new windows, doors, insulation, HVAC, solar panels and many other home improvement items, check out the energy star website to see what qualifies at!


Free Savvy Home Buyer Workshop

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

You're Invited! Free Real Estate Workshops This Week!

Free Savvy Home Buyer Workshop: Thursday, September 24th from 6:30-8:30 at the Abington Library. Sign up at!

Imagine you took an evening out of your life now to learn more about buying and selling a home that you would be able to save yourself thousands of dollars in your next real estate transaction. No kidding, no catch!

These no-pressure events are open to the public and nothing will be sold- the information is free, but registration is required!

About The Buyer Workshop: Speak with a loan officer one-on-one, if you choose, and have your questions answered. Learn about qualifying for a home and picking the right mortgage for you. Discuss foreclosures and short sales. Find out how to use the $8000 tax credit in advance to help you with closing costs.You will also learn what to do first and the step-by-step process of buying a home from the area's #1 Real Estate Team.

Register at!

Or call us at 215-576-8666!

Please feel free to forward this email to your friends, family and co-workers who may be interested in attending!

We hope to see you there!

The Diane Cardano Team

Will The $8000 Tax Credit Get Extended?

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit May Be Extended To All Homebuyers And Increased to $15,000 Through New Bill

The last few months have seen an increase in home sales to first time homebuyers, as well as a slight improvement in the real estate market as a whole.  A lot of people feel that this is largely due to the first time homebuyer tax credit that the Obama administration passed earlier this year. The measure, which was passed as a part of February’s stimulus package, gives first time homebuyers tax credits of up to $8000 when they buy their first home.  It certainly is an attractive offer if you’re looking for a home anyway – and we have several friends that have bought homes this summer because it was such a great deal.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how the time that was available to take advantage of the tax credit was quickly running out.  The credit is only applicable to home purchases that have been completed by December 1st, and since most home closings can take anywhere from 30-60 days,  if you haven’t already put in a purchase agreement on a house by now, you may be out of luck!

For a lot of people that is going to come as a big shock and a disappointment, but all hope is not gone!   Congress is already talking about extending the program, and possibly expanding it to all homeowners and increasing the credit to $15,000.  It is far from a done deal, but it is currently being debated by our legislators.

the National Association of Realtors wants to expand the tax credit to $15,000, and it wants to allow all buyers to be able to qualify, not just those who have been out of the market for three years, according to The New York Times. The $15,000 figure is actually the amount that the credit’s initial sponsor in Congress, Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., a former real estate agent, had wanted. Now Isakson is introducing a bill that would provide up to a $15,000 tax credit to any buyer who stays in their newly purchased home for a minimum of two years, according to the Times.

So Congress currently has bills that are being put forward that would extend the tax credit, increase it to $15,000 and allow all homebuyers (not just new homebuyers) to take advantage of the credit.  Whether this bill will pass is another matter.  It is currently up for debate, and the president is debating whether continuing it would be a good plan.

Asked about whether the Obama administration would consider extending the credit, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the administration’s economic team was evaluating the impact on new home sales and would make a recommendation to the president, according to the Associated Press.

The tax credit has been expensive, but it has arguably been successful in helping the ailing real estate and construction industries survive in recent months. However, like other supposedly temporary tax credits, the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit may end up being called the Perennial Homebuyer Tax Credit.

One of the biggest problems the bill faces is the price tag.  Estimates say that it could cost anywhere from $50 billion to $100 billion dollars.   Whether that is worth it right now is debatable.

Only time will tell if Washington will decide to continue the program.  If they do I can already hear all of the people complaining that they “only got $8,000″, or from others who want this credit to become permanent – not just a one-time deal.

UPDATE:  New First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit Bill Extension Introduced

A bill introduced last night after I wrote this post would now extend the tax credit for another 6 months, while not changing the the amount of the credit,  or who is qualified to receive the credit.  From

A senate bill introduced late Thursday would extend the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit for six months after its current November 30 expiration date.

Maryland Democrat Sen. Benjamin Cardin introduced S.B. 1678, and it is co-sponsored by senators John Ensign (R-Nev.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Migh.)…

The bill would not change anything on the tax credit except its expiration date, although at least one housing industry group is calling for an expansion of the credit and another, the National Association of Realtors (NAR), has urged an extension of the tax credit.

So if this were to particular bill were to pass, the tax credit would be extended, but not increased or changed to include all homebuyers.

Taken from:

4 Tips To Sell Your Home For Top Dollar

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

1. Understand Why You Are Selling Your Home

Your motivation to sell is the determining factor as to how you will approach the process. It affects everything from what you set your asking price at to how much time, money and effort you're willing to invest in order to prepare your home for sale. For example, if your goal is for a quick sale, this would determine one approach. If you want to maximize your profit, the sales process might take longer thus determining a different approach.

2. Keep the Reason(s) You are Selling to Yourself

The reason(s) you are selling your home will affect the way you negotiate its sale. By keeping this to yourself you don't provide ammunition to your prospective buyers. For example, should they learn that you must move quickly, you could be placed at a disadvantage in the negotiation process. When asked, simply say that your housing needs have changed. Remember, the reason( s) you are selling is only for you to know .

3. Before Setting a Price - Do Your Homework

When you set your price, you make buyers aware of the absolute maximum they have to pay for your home. As a seller, you will want to get a selling price as close to the list price as possible. If you start out by pricing too high you run the risk of not being taken seriously by buyers and their agents and pricing too low can result in selling for much less than you were hoping for.

Setting Your Home's Sale Price

If You Live in a Subdivision - If your home is comprised of similar or identical floor plans, built in the same period, simply look at recent sales in your neighborhood subdivision to give you a good idea of what your home is worth.

If You Live in An Older Neighborhood - As neighborhoods change over time each home may be different in minor or substantial ways. Because of this you will probably find that there aren't many homes truly comparable to your own. In this case you may want to consider seeking a Realtor ® to help you with the pricing process.

If You Decide to Sell On Your Own - A good way to establish a value is to look at homes that have sold in your neighborhood within the past 6 months, including those now on the market. This is how prospective buyers will assess the worth of your home. Also a trip to City Hall can provide you with home sale information in its public records, for most communities.

4. Do Some "Home Shopping" Yourself

The best way to learn about your competition and discover what turns buyers off is to check out other open houses. Note floor plans, condition, appearance, size of lot, location and other features. Particularly note, not only the asking prices but what they are actually selling for. Remember, if you're serious about getting your home sold fast, don't price it higher than your neighbor's.

For a one-on-one consultation with Diane regarding the sale of your home, call us at 215-576-8666!

Buying A Great Used Car

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

So, you need a new set of wheels but you can't afford to shell out more than $20,000 - the average cost of a new car. And you don't want to drive around in an unreliable "old bomb" either. What are your options? The good news is that there are lots of great deals available on "previously owned" cars. But be aware that buying a great used car requires navigating through a few special steps to ensure that you will get the most reliable and safe car. Follow these tips and you'll be rolling down the highway with confidence.

Get the Facts

Figure out which car best suits your needs and how much you are able to spend. Use the internet to do your homework. Go online to find out the value of a particular model, scan online classified ads, and search car finance loans, among other things. Each car-buying site has a certain area of expertise.

Of course, you can do your research the old-fashioned way - at your local library. Look through popular consumer publications such as Consumer Reports for reliability and repair ratings, as well as general advice on the used car-buying process.

Places to look for used cars include: new car dealerships, used car dealers, private individuals, and auctions. Unless you plan to pay cash, get quotes from at least two financing institutions, so that you know what payment and interest rate options exist before you talk to dealers.

Avoiding Problems and Pitfalls

Try to find out as much as possible about the history of the vehicle. Ask the seller to provide you with copies of the repair records, if available. In addition, get a vehicle history report. The report includes such important information as to whether the car has ever been issued a salvage title (from being in an accident), a flood title, or a junked title, and if the odometer has been tampered with.

Depending upon the mileage and prior maintenance performed, a used car could require more repairs sooner after you purchase it than a new car would. There are several additional steps you can take before you buy to insure that you are not buying a car in poor condition. Consider paying a mechanic to look the car over first. This might cost up to $100, but if you are serious about the car, this should be money well spent to insure that you are buying one that's reliable and safe. Take the car for a test drive and check out the braking, steering, shifting, acceleration, engine noise, and how well the accessories work.

A Word About Certified Used Cars

Since the mid-1990s, dealers have been selling a special type of used car - the "certified" used car. Cars which have been leased or traded-in are evaluated to see if they qualify for certification. Vehicles that qualify are usually in very good condition, with low mileage. The dealers have their mechanics perform a detailed inspection and they offer various warranties. Certification can mean different things to different car manufacturers, so it's important to check with each dealer to get the details of their certification program. Review the warranties carefully to see which repairs are covered and which are not. You can check the websites for car manufacturers or contact dealers for information on their certification programs.

Buying a certified used car is a way to pay much less than you would for a new car, and still get recent models and features. The warranties should offer greater peace of mind because the dealers have taken the guesswork out of what condition the vehicle is in.

Check for Car Safety Features

One of the most important considerations when looking for a car is what safety features they have. You should be able to understand what they are and what they are worth to you. If you haven't bought a car in many years, you may not be familiar with some of the newest safety features. Some features are mandatory and some are optional. Safety features on many recent models include:

  • Front and side air bags.
  • Head injury protection such as head air bags (shield you from impact with the upper interior of the car).
  • Anti-lock brake systems (ABS).
  • 4-wheel drive with traction control (usually with ABS).
  • Automatic dimming rear-view mirrors (to reduce glare).
  • Daytime running lights.
  • New child seat attachment systems.
  • Built-in child safety seats.

Dealing with Dealers and Private Sellers

Once you have done your homework, know which car you want, and how much you want to spend, it's time to start bargaining with the sellers.

Finding private sellers is as easy as checking the newspaper classifieds or going online to the electronic "classifieds" at websites such as AutoTrader. Don't forget to check with your family and acquaintances to see if anyone is selling their car. When you buy from private sellers, you usually pay less than you would if purchasing from a dealer. However, you may not have as many legal protections. Therefore, although you pay less initially, you run the risk of getting lower quality as well.

When talking to car dealers, remember that it is very difficult to get out of a contract once you sign on the dotted line. Therefore, do not commit to buying or sign anything the first time you go in. Since you did your homework, take the information you gathered and show the dealer you are an informed person, so you can make the deal on your terms instead of theirs. Negotiate based upon the selling price - not payment plans - and be sure to get full disclosure of every charge involved. Don't take their word on promises made - get any proposal in writing.

Finally, follow your instincts - if you feel pressured or powerless when dealing with any seller or you sense they are playing games with you, LEAVE. There is always another good deal waiting for you around the block.

Tips for Negotiating a Good Deal

  • Regardless of who you are dealing with, a good strategy is to let them know you have "cash in hand" or pre-arranged financing.
  • If you have done your homework, you should be able to tell if they are asking for too much money for their vehicle. Let them know you have checked the prices at other sources and ask them to lower the price.
  • Notice the condition of the body, paint, and tires. If it needs work, this is a reason to ask the seller to lower the price.
  • If you have had the car inspected and found it needs mechanical repairs, inform them that the price should be lowered accordingly.
  • Try to find a balance between appearing uninterested and being too anxious to buy. If you seem indecisive and hesitant, the seller might respond by lowering the price. But, be careful because this could backfire. If you seem too hesitant, someone else might be close by with cash in hand to buy the car.

Free Real Estate Workshops For Buyers & Sellers

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

 You're Invited! Free Real Estate Workshops!


Free Savvy Home Seller Workshop: Tuesday, September 22nd at 6:30pm at the Willow Grove Marriot. Sign up at!

Free Savvy Home Buyer Workshop: Thursday, September 24th from 6:30-8:30 at the Abington Library. Sign up at!

Imagine you took an evening out of your life now to learn more about buying and selling a home that you would be able to save yourself thousands of dollars in your next real estate transaction. No kidding, no catch!

These no-pressure events are open to the public and nothing will be sold- the information is free, but registration is required!

About The Seller Workshop: Learn about staging and pricing your home to sell quickly and without hassles. How to market your home on over 2,000 websites with one click. Negotiating tips and little-known secrets to keep more money in your pocket. First time sellers kit with detailed checklists helping you know where to begin. Empty Nester program with valuable information to help maximize your retirement dollars. If you are struggling with your mortgage, whether or not a short sale can benefit you and much, much more! 

Register at!

About The Buyer Workshop: Speak with a loan officer one-on-one, if you choose, and have your questions answered. Learn about qualifying for a home and picking the right mortgage for you. Discuss foreclosures and short sales. Find out how to use the $8000 tax credit in advance to help you with closing costs.You will also learn what to do first and the step-by-step process of buying a home from the area's #1 Real Estate Team.

Register at!

Please feel free to forward this email to your friends, family and co-workers who may be interested in attending!

We hope to see you there!

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 20




Contact Information

Photo of Diane Cardano & Associates Real Estate
Diane Cardano & Associates
CARDANO Realtors
1021 Old York Road, Suite 401
Abington PA 19001
Office: 215-576-8666
Fax: 215-576-8677