Real Estate Information Archive


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Forget Easter Eggs- Try House Hunting!

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

House-Hunting Tips
Buying a home? These eight tips can help make your house-hunting experience positive and rewarding.

1. Location counts. You've probably heard the old real estate joke about "location, location, location," but the point still bears repeating. Location is crucial. How far are you really willing to commute to your place of employment? How good are the local schools, shopping centers, public transportation, seniors services and other public amenities? Will your new home be next to a vacant lot or a commercial property? Even a picture-perfect dream home can be a mistake if it's in an undesirable location, and a poor-location home can be a particularly bad choice if you anticipate reselling the home within a few years.

2. Make a list. Do you (and your spouse, if you're married) really know what you need and want in your home? You'll save yourself many hours of shopping (and potentially arguing) if you make a list ahead of time. Zero in on the features you must have, would like to have, definitely don't want and would prefer not to have. Your goal is to find the right home for your family without falling in love with one that doesn't suit your needs. Tip: Start compiling your wish list by thinking about what you like and dislike about your current home.

3. Do your homework. Not long ago, consumers had very little access to information about recent home sales prices, market trends, homes on the market, neighborhood statistics and the home-buying process. Today, all this information and more is available on the Web. Go surfing. Get educated. Become empowered.

4. Get preapproved for a mortgage. Your top-dollar home price is a function of your household income, your creditworthiness, interest rates, the type of loan you select and how much ready cash you have for the down payment and closing costs, among other factors. Rather than guessing or estimating how much you can afford to spend, ask a lender or mortgage broker to give you a full assessment and a letter stating how much you're qualified to borrow. The true amount may be much more or much less than you think.

5. Use a checklist. Touring multiple homes is a confusing experience for most people. Rather than relying on memory, make notes about the homes you visit. Turn your priorities into a personalized home-shopping checklist and use it track the features of each home.

6. Wear comfortable clothing and sturdy shoes. House-hunting can be tiring, especially if you're relocating to a distant community and want to see a dozen homes in one day. There's no sense in torturing your feet unnecessarily.

7. Be prepared to make an offer. House-hunting can also be frustrating, especially if you know in your heart you're not really emotionally or financially ready to buy a home. If you're not ready, don't put yourself through the exercise. If you are ready, go through a blank purchase contract ahead of time so you'll know what decisions you'll face when you make an offer.

8. Relax. Granted, buying a home is a major life-altering event. But it's not worth making yourself insanely crazy or super-duper stressed. Save time at the end of your house-hunting expedition to unwind, calm your thoughts and emotions and keep the whole experience in perspective.

Taken from

By Marcie Geffner

The Importance of Neighborhood Reports

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

Location, Location, Location. That's what everyone says, isn't it? It's true that location is, for the most part, the only aspect of your home that cannot be changed. So why don't people pay more attention to it?

For sellers, understanding and considering their neighborhood and location is very important when it comes to pricing their home to sell. What type of school district is this school in? What are the crime rates and median house prices for this area? Any expert agent should be able to provide this information to you. The Diane Cardano Team goes a bit further and provides this public information to prospective homebuyers of your property as well. If you are in an award-winning area, why not show that off?

For home buyers, this is often an overlooked aspect of their home search. It's easy to get caught up in sizzle factors of a property- that finished basement great for a man-room, or that soaking tub every woman desires. How about what the world outside of the home is like? You need to make sure you research the school district, crime rates, housing information and other statistical information to make sure this is a place you'd feel comfortable living.

Remember, open houses and showings can paint a pretty picture- but what happens at night in the neighborhood? How about at 6am? During a week day? Perhaps it's a good idea to test run the commute, and drive through and around the community during all hours of the day to get a real feel for the area.

If you need help getting information on a particular area, let us know! We can print out a report for you!

Why It's So Hard To Sell Your Own Home

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

Check out this interesting article from

FSBO Woes: Why It's So Hard to Sell Your Own Home
For most people, a for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) transaction simply isn't in the cards.

By Marcie Geffner at

Granted, some people are able to sell their own homes without the services of a real estate agent. Some of these successful do-it-yourselfers are very experienced home sellers. Others are transferring ownership of their home to a child, a coworker or a tenant who's already living in the home. These circumstances are the exception, not the norm, however. For most people, a for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) transaction simply isn't in the cards. Here are five reasons why.

1. FSBOs can't list their home in the MLS. FSBOs aren't permitted to put their home in the multiple listing service (MLS) because these industry membership organizations are open only to licensed real estate brokers and agents. FSBOs are also locked out of many home search engines and Web sites, including the gigantic Sure, a determined FSBO can put a for-sale sign in his or her front yard and run a tiny advertisement in the local newspaper, but the home won't receive nearly as much exposure as it would through the MLS.

2. Agents won't show FSBO homes. In a typical home sale, the buyer's agent receives a percentage of the commission that the seller pays the listing agent. Without a listing agreement, there's no guarantee that the buyer's agent will be compensated for his or her services, unless the buyer has signed a buyer's brokerage agreement that specifically provides for such compensation. Even if a FSBO offers to pay the buyer's side of the commission, most agents won't want to go through a transaction with an unsophisticated self-represented seller across the table. That means the pool of potential buyers for FSBO homes is limited primarily to unrepresented and probably unqualified prospects.

3. FSBOs usually overprice their home. Like most homeowners, most FSBOs honestly believe their own home is worth more than comparable homes in the same neighborhood. Usually, they're wrong. A real estate agent can provide an update on market conditions, an assessment of the likely selling price of the home and tips for improving the home's buyer appeal. Overpricing a for-sale home is a sure way to deter potential buyers 4. Buyers will feel intimidated. Potential buyers will spend less time in a for-sale home if the owner is present during the showing, and they'll be shy about discussing its pluses and minuses with their own agent if the owner is within earshot. Buyers will also be less inclined to make an offer if they know they'll be negotiating directly with the seller. Having an agent on each side creates an effective emotional buffer between the seller and buyer.

5. FSBOs are likely to stumble into legal trouble. Real estate transactions are fraught with potential liability for unwary sellers, particularly in states that have extensive disclosure requirements (e.g., California). A FSBO who overlooks even one required form or legally mandated disclosure could face a protracted and expensive buyer lawsuit after the transaction closes.


Great News: Housing Starts Unexpectedly Surge

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

Housing starts unexpectedly surge

Government report shows construction of new homes jumped 22% in February.

NEW YORK ( -- Initial construction of U.S. homes unexpectedly surged in February, after falling for eight months, according to a government report released Tuesday.

Housing starts rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 583,000 last month, up 22% from a revised 477,000 in January, according to the Commerce Department. It was the first time housing starts increased since June, when they rose 11%.

Economists were expecting housing starts to decline to 450,000, according to consensus estimates compiled by Still, starts are down more than 47% from February 2008, when over 1.1 million new homes broke ground.

New construction of single-family homes, considered the core of the housing market, increased 1.1% to an annual rate of 357,000 versus 353,000 in January.

February's increase was driven by a nearly 80% increase in construction of multi-family homes. New construction of buildings with 5 or more units increased surged 80% to 212,000 from 118,000 in January.

Applications for building permits, considered a reliable sign of future construction activity, rose 3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 547,000 last month. Economists were expecting permits to fall to 500,000.

While the surge in new construction was a welcome sign for the nation's battered housing market, analysts warned that the increase could be short lived.

"With new home sales still falling and the months' supply at a record, there is no reason for homebuilding to rise," wrote Ian Sheperdson, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics in a research note. "This is a temporary rebound, not a recovery."

New home construction surged in the Northeast, jumping nearly 89% last month. Starts also increased in the Midwest and the South.

In the West, where the housing market was overbuilt in the boom years and where there is a glut of foreclosed homes, starts declined nearly 25% versus the previous month.

Casting Out Clutter

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

Love those toy trains from your childhood? Totally attached to your collection of moose stuff? Dedicated to your college fraternity memorabilia? Take a deep breath and a long gaze –then box ‘em up and ship them out to a storage facility or at least to a hidden spot under your bed. For no matter how much sentiment these personal items hold for you, these little treasures are nothing but CLUTTER to prospective buyers.

Removing clutter is an important step in fighting the staging shark. Clearing clutter from your home accomplishes two things; it makes areas of the house easier to clean and it neutralizes the space so prospective buyers can picture their own treasured items there. So, if you begin cringing as you read the following suggestions, repeat this mantra after me: Space sells.

Many folks find it easier to begin with clearing out the garage, an area where unwanted items often land. Throw away worthless items you can do without and store important items in a warehouse or friend’s garage. As you collect "disposable" items from your house de-cluttering, organize them neatly in your garage in preparation for a garage sale. Many home sales experts recommend removing half your furniture from the house. This is a good time to repeat, "space sells." Accent tables, extra chairs, cabinets that hold huge collections are good choices for removal.

For example, a dining room table with chairs should be kept in the room while a corner china cabinet or curio shelf would be removed. Bedrooms should contain just one double or queen size bed or two twin beds. Extra beds should be stored. Take an inventory of those items you can do without for awhile. Make a note of where you plan to put each item when it is removed. Store it, sell it or give it away. Depersonalize space. Remove your teenage daughter’s poster of Orlando Bloom from her bedroom, your husband’s stuffed deer head from the study and any partisan items like bumper stickers, books or magazines from the family room. All spaces should be neutral zones so potential buyers can picture their own belongings in each room. Remind your family members that they can have these items back as soon as the house sells!

Just as it is good to remember that space sells, it is also important to remember The Rule of Three. Step one of the rule: Take everything off the kitchen counter, bathroom vanity, table tops and mantles and wipe them clean. Step two: Return only THREE items to each space. Yes, ONLY three. As for the left over items-store them, sell them or give them away. Keep in mind that nothing is sacred when a house is on the market. Anything that can be opened in any room-closets, drawers, cabinets, shower curtains, pantry doors-will be explored by potential buyers. Clean out and organize closets, drawers and the pantry. Keep the shower spotless and remove shampoo and conditioner bottles or any other personal care items.

In the bedroom, remove half the clothes from each closet, put shoes on a rack and hang purses and belts on pegs or organizers. Don’t forget to recycle all those newspapers you have stashed in the hall closet. Leave no cabinet door unopened or unclean. In her book, "Simples Steps You Can Take to Sell Your Home Faster and for More Money in Any Market," AIlyce R. Glink suggests creating a "clutter collector" in areas where papers and writing utensils seem to collect. Glink’s clutter collector is a large flat storage box that is kept where mail and schoolwork seem to end up each day. Keep all receipts, old phone messages, pens and pencils, children’s artwork, permission slips and other miscellaneous papers in the box. Just before a potential buyer is scheduled to arrive for a showing, store the cutter collector underneath a bed.

Whew! Now that you’ve de-cluttered your house, what do you do with the items that you no longer need but are still usable? You have several options. If you donate them to a charity, you may be able to receive an income tax deduction for the value amount. An added bonus: Often these organizations will pick up donations so you can spend your time elsewhere. You can always sell unwanted items through consignment shops, classified ads, garage sales, tag sales or an auction. It might be nice to have a little extra cash to help pay moving expenses. But if you can’t bear to part with these unnecessary treasures, self-storage may be the right answer for you. Rented storage units are particularly convenient places to keep furniture, seasonal sports gear, holiday decorations and patio furniture.

If clearing clutter seems like an overwhelming task, just remember that doing so is an important part of fighting the staging shark. Reducing clutter makes each room easier to clean because there are fewer objects to move when dusting and vacuuming. And don’t forget what is down the road: The move. The more you clean out or box up, the easier it will be to prepare to move after your house sells. Since you will have more important things to do at that time, doesn’t it make sense to get it done before your buyer looks at the house?


First Seller Seminar Of The Year Is A Success!

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

2008 was a year of change. The market shifted and it challenged us to think differently and find ways to embrace this New World of Real Estate. Nothing was business as usual.

Because of this, it was also a year of innovative ideas. We were concerned with the fact that the vast majority of people don't know what they don't know when it comes to the sale of their home or real estate in general.

2009 Seminar Attendees Sucking Up Information Like Sponges!

We began to hold free seminars, open to the public, to educate them on the steps to selling a home fast and for top dollar. We were amazed at how people truly desired and needed this information. They wanted to learn so much so that they signed up in droves to listen to Diane's presentation and tips based on her 16 years of real estate experience.

This year is proving to be no different! We held out first Savvy Home Seller Seminar of 2009 last week at North Hills Country Club. It was our best yet with participants actively engaged and just blown away by what they did not know. In some cases, people were amazed at what has changed in real estate since they last sold a home 10, 15, or 30 years ago. In other cases, some thought the influence of technology in home sales was incredible.

Diane working on-on-one with attendees to answer their questions!

Either way, participants left VERY satisfied with the information received and found it to be time well spent! Most referred us their closest friends and family members who are thinking about selling a home so we can sign them up for the next one in May!

If you or someone you know would like to participate in an upcoming Savvy Home Seller Seminar, just give us a call at 215-576-8666 to get on the mailing list or register at!


Gearing Up For Home Buyer Workshop

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team
It's that time of the month again! We are gearing up for our monthly Buyer Workshop. Find more details here:
We'd like to cordially invite you to our monthly Savvy Home Buyer Workshop on Wednesday, March 18th from 6:30-8pm at the Abington Library.
This is a great opportunity to speak with a loan officer one-on-one, if you choose, and have your questions about qualifying for a home, getting a mortgage and all other questions about financing answered. Foreclosures and the new $8000 tax credit to homebuyers will be discussed.
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.
This no-pressure workshop is open to the public, and nothing will be sold at this event- the information is free! Registration is required. Visit us at for more information and to sign up!
 We hope to see you there!

10 Do's & Don'ts For Home Sellers

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

10 Do's and Don'ts for Home Sellers                                            

5 Dos

Consult your real estate agent before prepping your home for the market. If you just start making changes, you may be focusing on things that are not as important as others.

Make sure your agent will have a strong online presence. The majority of house hunters begin their search on the Internet and then narrow down which ones to actually visit.

Be certain your agent is knowledgeable about the area. He or she should have a good understanding of the local community, schools, recreation and politics to share with potential buyers.

Feature professional color photos of your home. This is as important for the Internet listing as it is for the printed brochures. The brochure should also include a detailed floor plan.

Have a clear understanding of the selling process. Familiarize yourself with the typical marketing time in your area, what to expect with a home inspection and any hot-button items that could be of concern. Also, be familiar with the contract process, attorney review, mortgage contingency, deposit escrows and closing time frames.

5 Dont's                                                                                                     

Don't just go with the agent who tells you your house is worth the most. Conduct some research to verify the pricing, and consider looking at the competition.

Don't just assume that the agent who sold you your house will be a good fit on the selling side. Interview more than one person to find out what each has to offer.

Don't ignore offers that don't meet your asking price. By not countering even low offers, you could easily discourage what may ultimately be a good offer.

Don't assume that your agent works full-time. Many do not, so be sure to ask.

Don't just accept everything your agent says. Get it in writing. Make sure he or she offers a written marketing plan with which you agree. Also, understand that once you sign, you are locked in to a legal contract for the term agreed upon.


Can Color Cost You A Sale?

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team
Use Color Psychology on Your Listings - The science behind color can guide your color decisions.

Take care when giving color advice to home sellers. Their color choices might be sending the wrong message to potential buyers.

Many salespeople and stagers say neutral beige or off-white walls are what sells listings—but a touch of color may be just what you need to revive buyers' interest in a languishing listing. And although beige may offend no one, the right color on a home's walls or spotlighted in the accessories can trigger positive physiological and psychological responses among potential buyers.

"Color can change how you feel; it has an instantaneous effect," says design psychologist Constance Forrest, principal of Forrest Painter Design in Venice, Calif., who incorporates psychological techniques in the design of interior spaces. "If people walk into a space and sense a warm color, they immediately get a sense of a cozy home and will probably reactive positively."

White, on the other hand, "makes the room invisible," Forrest says. "White is a missed opportunity to create a feeling in the space. It doesn't help buyers imagine themselves in the home." (Not to mention, in Asian cultures, white is associated with death and can add a certain doom to listings.) Forrest says that pastel colors—which have a mostly white base—can have a similar, invisible effect.

Responsive Hues

Research on color responses has shown that warm colors, such as orange and red, can increase excitement and energy, whereas cooler hues, such as blue, can be calming and relaxing. Indeed, research shows color can influence a person's senses—even body temperature—and make scenes more memorable. Knowing the responses colors evoke offers insight into where and when you should use color in a home to appeal to buyers.

Go Green, Cautiously

"Many studies have been done on the impact of color in packaging on purchasing decisions," says Debbie Zimmer, spokeswoman for The Rohm and Haas Paint Quality Institute, a research and education group on decorating and color techniques. "You can take that concept of color and paint and apply it to a space to create a mood in a home."

So what color can lift a buyer's spirits? The most potent color is green, Forrest says. In light-spectrum research that focused on treatments for season affective disorder, she notes, subjects exposed to green colors were in better moods than any of the other subjects tested.

But before you start splashing green on all your listings, take caution. Not all shades of green are a safe bet. For example, lime greens—or any yellows with green undertones—"look sickly to most buyers," says interior designer Jeanette Fisher, an author of 22 books on design psychology. Fisher has used color techniques to redo and sell homes for more than 20 years. Medium shades of green such as sage—and bedrooms painted in creamy tones of green—can be a good choice, she says. Fisher also favors buttery yellows inside and out, complemented with white trim accents.

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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