Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

Sept. 23, 2021

4 Energy Saving Tips for Fall

It's time to change your green thinking to conserve energy now that fall and winter have arrived in Berks County. Fall and winter mean focusing on home energy-saving tips that will help you save more energy.

Here are some tips for living green during the cold months. You'll reduce your carbon footprint and save on energy costs. Utilizing energy-efficient appliances and gadgets, tackling some home improvement projects, and staying smart with heating your house are some of the key points.

Take a look at our energy-saving tips for fall and winter.

1. Do home repairs

With the weather cooling down and pests not as bothersome, now is the perfect time to do home maintenance. Some small changes to your home can reduce your energy bills and help the environment.

  • Upgrade your windows from single to double pane (watch for ENERGY STAR options to increase your savings). If that’s out of your budget, remember to utilize coverings like blinds, drapes, solar film or shades.
  • Check insulation thickness, and add more, if necessary.
  • Weatherize your home using caulk or weather stripping. Seal air leaks around letter drops, vents, door frames and windows. And don’t forget the attic. There are often small openings that are overlooked.
  • Upgrade your appliances to the most energy-efficient options. Watch for ENERGY STAR labels and ensure the size matches your needs.

2. Tweak appliance use

Summer heat put a lot of strain on your appliances, so give them a break. Adjust your appliance usage to conserve energy and therefore save on your electric bill.

  • Turn your refrigerator down a few degrees. If yours has an energy-saving setting, switch it on.
  • Reduce the temperature to 120° (not any higher) on your water heater, and wrap an insulating blanket around it.
  • Be sure your household washing is in warm or cold water.

3. Utilize gadgets

Modern technology doesn't require you to do much thinking or planning. With the help of smart gadgets, you can lower your home's energy costs.

  • Use LEDs for lighting needs. They use less electricity and last longer.
  • Smart power strips shut the power off to electronics when not in use. You can create a master setting for them, too.
  • Programmable thermostats can be set to heat during specific times of the day. You can customize heating schedules that fit your routine.
  • Motion sensors and timers for outside lighting can minimize unnecessary use.
  • Use solar lighting for your lawn and garden.

4. Control heating

It is imperative to keep warm during the upcoming winter months in Berks County. Do you know that your heating bills can account for half of your energy costs? Make sure you run your heater efficiently when it's time to warm your home.

  • Complete seasonal maintenance on your heating system.
  • Give your home time to warm once the heater is turned on. Bursts of increased temperatures won’t make it warm any faster.
  • Be sure dirty air filters aren’t making your system work harder; replace as needed.
  • Reverse your ceiling fan. Position the blade direction clockwise to push warm air down from the ceiling to the floor.
  • Keep from blocking vents and registers so heat has a clear path to the room.
  • Use the sun to your advantage by opening curtains and blinds during the day (especially on the south side of your house). Close them at night to reduce drafts.

If you follow these tips, you’re sure to save money and energy during the cold months in Berks County.

Visit our blog every week for more real estate articles and local Berks County articles. We can help you find the perfect home for sale in Reading and the surrounding communities of Blandon, Boyertown, Douglassville, Exeter Township, Fleetwood, Kutztown, and Oley with our powerful property search tool.

Posted in Real Estate Advice
Sept. 16, 2021

Celebrate Autumn at These Berks County Pumpkin Patches

It's finally fall in Berks County, so let's enjoy all the great sights and scents of the season! Autumn foliage will soon peak, and Halloween will soon be here. A great part of autumn is visiting pumpkin patches and hayrides in Berks County. Check out these places this year.

Duncan's Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch

30 Quarry Rd., Robesonia, PA 19551

Duncan's Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch is the best place to spend time with your family. The whole family will enjoy getting lost in the maze and taking a hayride. Then, roast marshmallows and hot dogs over an open fire. Visit the pumpkin patch before you leave and pick out the perfect pumpkin! 

Duncan's is open on Fridays from 6 to 9 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from 1 until 9 p.m. There will also be live music by Cool Beans on October 12th and 19th from 7 until 9 p.m. 

Mast Farms Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch

2715 Main St., Morgantown, PA 19543

A visit to Mast Farms Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch in Morgantown is a must for those looking to enjoy fall-themed activities. There is a maze here that is one of the largest in Eastern Pennsylvania. The 12-acre corn field features two fun corn mazes, a straw bale maze, and a challenge maze. It doesn't end there! Guests can also enjoy ziplines, pedal tractor tracks, hayrides, slides, bounce houses, obstacle courses, and more. 

Playing isn't the only thing you can do at the farm; enjoy tasty food, see farm animals, and paint a pumpkin. 

Mast Farms is open on Fridays from 3 to 9 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m.

Wilcox Farms

1134 South Reading Avenue, Boyertown, PA 19512

There are nearly 8 miles of corn maze trails at Wilcox Farms. A greater challenge can be found by renting flashlights and trying to find your way through at night. There are a corn maze, swings, and a bale maze for the little ones. Take the tractor hayride, which will take about 20 minutes. 

The Wilcox Farm corn maze is open Friday and Saturday from 9 am until midnight (until 10/31, then until 9 p.m.) and on Sundays from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. 

Frecon Farms Pick Your Own Pumpkins

501 South Reading Avenue, Boyertown, PA 19512

In Boyertown, Frecon Farms is your best bet for finding the perfect pumpkin. There are also apples and pears to pick, along with a relaxing hayride. Be sure to visit the Market & Bakery before heading out for the day, where you can find a variety of delicious treats, made-from-scratch baked goods, as well as cider, wine, and mead as well as meats, cheese and more!

Frecon Farms is open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. and on Sundays and Mondays from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Visit our blog every week for more real estate articles and local Berks County articles. We can help you find the perfect home for sale in Reading and the surrounding communities of Blandon, Boyertown, Douglassville, Exeter Township, Fleetwood, Kutztown, and Oley with our powerful property search tool.

Sept. 9, 2021

Arrange Your Furniture for a Faster Home Sale

The housing market in Berks County may be hot, but you still want your home to look fantastic to maximize its value. Staging a home involves a number of important factors. One of those is how you arrange your furniture. There are a few things you should know when you arrange your furnishings for selling your home.

Dos

Plush Pillows

Start with the pillows. Choosing soft, plush decorative pillows is a good idea. Any room would look stunning with down pillows. Giving your pillows a karate chop to their top edge can give you an idea of their shape.

Space Around Your Furniture

Make your room more inviting by leaving space around your furniture. Whenever possible, it can be helpful to move your furniture further away from the wall in order to create more conversational space. The best place for this is between 4-8 feet from the wall.

The Right Light

Lights should be purchased that are appropriately sized for a particular room. A light should complement the décor, much like a fine piece of jewelry will complement a dress. Investing in the right lighting will enhance a room’s ambiance.

Paint Colors Enhance the Look of a Room

Choosing the best color paint for your room can make or break it. A professional can help you determine the perfect shade that brings out the best features in your room.

An Appropriately-Sized Area Rug

The right area rug can bring your furniture together in a cohesive group. You should make sure your rug is at least large enough for the front legs of each piece of furniture in the grouping.

Don’ts

Over-Matching Furniture and Textiles

You should avoid over-matching furniture and textiles. Instead, try to make them relate. Choose pieces that have something in common, such as mood, material, history, color, motif or style.

Skimping on Drapery

When it comes to drapes, less is not more. It's recommended you should use fabric that's up to 3 times the width of your window. If you have fixed side panels, use fabric that's twice as wide as the window.

Isolate Rooms

Rooms should flow together. You can get this effect by linking adjacent spaces. Once way to do this is by carrying over an accent color or repeat a pattern from room to room.

Stopping Before the Layering Phase

This is another area where you can go overboard with matching. For example, if you have a patterned headboard in your room, you can repeat the pattern or color, but not both. Keep it subtle.

Visit our blog every week for more real estate articles and local Berks County articles. We can help you find the perfect home for sale in Reading and the surrounding communities of Blandon, Boyertown, Douglassville, Exeter Township, Fleetwood, Kutztown, and Oley with our powerful property search tool.

Posted in Home Sellers
Sept. 2, 2021

Have a Happy Labor Day Weekend in Berks County

The Labor Day weekend is here, and it's time to bring summer to an unofficial end with these fun events in Berks County.

Duryea Day

Sat, Sep 4, 9 AM – 4 PM

Boyertown Community Park

DURYEA DAY IS BACK!! The Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles, along with the Pottstown Region of the Antique Automobile Club of America, will be hosting the 55th Annual Duryea Day Antique & Classic Car & Truck Show & Flea Market on September 4th, 2021 in Boyertown Community Park. For over fifty years, Duryea Day has earned its reputation as a family-friendly event in Berks County.

Annual Robesonia Car Show

Mon, Sep 6, 5 – 8 PM

W Ruth Ave, Robesonia, PA

5 th Annual Robesonia Car Show Sponsored by the Borough of Robesonia. Monday, September 6th, 9am to 4pm at the Robesonia Ball Field Pre registration is $10.00. Day of show $15.

2021 Kipona Festival

Sat, Sep 4, 3 PM – Mon, Sep 6, 10 PM

Riverfront Park, N Front St, Harrisburg, PA

Join the City of Harrisburg for the 105th annual Kipona Festival! The 3-day event will feature food, fireworks, live music, Artist Market, Family Fun Zone, biergarten, canoe races, wirewalkers, and more.

Labor Day Pop Up Show

Fri, Sep 3, 8 AM – Mon, Sep 6, 1 PM 

Coventry Mall
351 W Schuylkill Rd, Pottstown, PA

 

Have a Safe and Happy Labor Day Weekend!

Posted in Community Events
Aug. 26, 2021

Tips for Choosing the Right Mortgage When Buying a Home in Berks County

Mortgage shopping is important when purchasing a home in Berks County since it can affect your monthly payment as well as the remainder of the loan. It is imperative that you do adequate research beforehand to save as much money as possible. This will also make your home buying, owning, and selling experience a positive one. Mortgages are not one-size-fits-all. Home buyers are all different and have different needs. 

An ideal mortgage for someone else may not necessarily work well for you and your property. The good news is that there are general tips that can guide you to obtaining a mortgage that works for you. 

Set a Budget

The first step to finding a good mortgage deal is figuring out how much you can afford. You may be wondering if you can afford a 6-figure home purchase at this point. You can figure out what you can afford by performing some calculations. A good credit score will make reputable lenders more confident that you will be able to purchase a home, even more than you will be. 

Never forget that the lender's job is selling you a loan; your job is repaying it. This is why it is prudent to leave some room for other costs in your budget.

Think About the Repayment Period

The idea of a "30-year mortgage" might discourage you, because this means a very long commitment. It is important to note, however, that many lenders offer 15-year and 10-year loan terms. Sometimes, lenders are willing to customize the length of the loan program as long as it falls in the range of 10-30 years.

Make bigger payments over a shorter time period if you have the financial means to do so. Generally, this is more advantageous, since your total interest expenses will be lower. Moreover, your mortgage rate will be lower.

Save for Upfront Costs

Make sure to set aside some cash for the upfront costs before you begin shopping for a mortgage. Your lender will also expect you have a certain amount of cash in your bank account in addition to qualifying for the loan. This money will be used for the down payment and other closing costs. Although the amount may seem high sometimes, it helps to cushion the purchase by helping make it more manageable. If you put down a comfortable amount for the down payment, you can have some home equity. 

You could end up with a large loan if it's too small. With a slight downturn in the market, you might also end up with a home that is worth less. The situation will be problematic, especially if you need to move.

Look for the Right Lender

When you look for a lender with the same passion you look for other things, you are more likely to find what you want in the long run. A good mortgage rate will allow you to set aside more money for other projects and expenses. Moreover, you will benefit from the most competitive origination fee. Whenever you decide to buy a home, your first step should be to consult a financial advisor. 

A financial planner will help you integrate a mortgage into your overall plan. You will also be able to come up with a budget that does not destroy your financial situation. From there, you can search for a mortgage planning consultant who will provide you with the perfect mortgage solution.

Financial security is one of the benefits of owning a home in Berks County. Investing in a house can yield great returns. Review these tips before settling on a mortgage solution, as they will help you choose the right mortgage. And feel free to contact James Ernst for more advice and to help you find the ideal home in Berks County.

Visit our blog every week for more real estate articles and local Berks County articles. We can help you find the perfect home for sale in Reading and the surrounding communities of Blandon, Boyertown, Douglassville, Exeter Township, Fleetwood, Kutztown, and Oley with our powerful property search tool.

Posted in Real Estate Advice
Aug. 19, 2021

Fun For the Whole Family in Berks County This Weekend

If you're looking for something fun to do in and around Reading and Berks County, here are some upcoming events that are sure to entertain all ages.

30th Annual Boscov's Berks Jazz Fest

August 20-23, 2021

Berks Arts and Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest is looking forward to celebrating 30 years of the Fest with the community and patrons and will provide an opportunity to gather safely to enjoy live music.

Headliners throughout the event include singer Janis Siegel (of the Manhattan Transfer); saxophonist Boney James; Dean Brown’s Summer of Love Evolution featuring trumpeter Randy Brecker and an all-star ensemble; The Brubeck Brothers celebrating Dave Brubeck’s centennial; The Royal Scam (with the RS Horns) celebrating the music of Steely Dan; Brian Bromberg’s Unapologetically Funky Big Bombastic Band; and for the finale, smooth jazz great Brian Culbertson.

CLICK LINK below to access and print the schedule.
https://berksjazzfest.com/wp-content/uploads/BJF2021-Printable.pdf

Brick City

August 21, 2021 | 11:00am - 5:00pm

Reading Public Museum
500 Museum Road

Brick City is a celebration of iconic buildings from cities around the world, carefully recreated in LEGO® bricks by artist Warren Elsmore and his team. Take a world tour and discover highlights of cities across all seven continents. You’ll visit lively celebrations from New Zealand to New Orleans, tall skyscrapers from New York to Mecca, and imaginative castles from medieval Japan to modern Las Vegas.

Enjoy discovering new urban highlights as well as some more recognizable icons. Spot surprising common ground between buildings thousands of years and miles apart, such as the Roman Colosseum and the London 2012 Olympic Park. The magnificent centerpiece is London St Pancras Station, measuring two by four meters and built from over 180,000 standard LEGO bricks. Whether you have thousands of LEGO bricks or just a few, you’ll be inspired to make your own creations and celebrate where you live.

Pig Plop Bingo & Fun Day on the Farm

August 21, 2021| 9:00am - 2:00pm

ACEC Farm
469 Adams Hotel Road

On Saturday, August 21, join us from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for PIG PLOP BINGO.
ACEC Farm will let one of their pigs "on the loose!" in a pasture painted with numbered squares. Whatever square the pig chooses to "do its business" first, selects the winner! Winner wins a prize basket chock full of Berks County products from the B.A.R.N.OPOLY trail.
Visit our blog every week for more real estate articles and local Berks County articles. We can help you find the perfect home for sale in Reading and the surrounding communities of Blandon, Boyertown, Douglassville, Exeter Township, Fleetwood, Kutztown, and Oley with our powerful property search tool.
Posted in Community Events
Aug. 12, 2021

Get Away at These Great Berks County Camp Sites

Are you in the mood to go camping in Berks County? The summer weather is nearing an end, so now’s a great time to get out and enjoy a night or two under the stars.

Whether you feel like roughing it or having some comforts of home, there’s a campsite for everyone in Berks County. Here are a few that will guarantee you and your family a great camping experience.

Lake in Wood Resort

Skip the tent and sleep in a tipi, treehouse, or even a double-decker bus! Or you can just park your RV and enjoy the site’s amenities, which includes a lake with fishing and boat rentals. There’s also a mini-golf course, along with indoor and outdoor pools. You can play games from softball to shuffleboard, plus weekly activities. And don’t forget to pet the goats. 

Lake in Wood Resort is located near Narvon and is open late March through late October. Daily rentals range from $43 for a tent site to $135 for a double-decker bus, and tipi rentals start at $151.

Blue Rocks Family Campground

This unique campground is situated by the mysterious field of sandstone boulders near Lenhartsville. No one really knows how the rocks got there, making them a special sight to behold.

People have been coming here for picnics for about 100 years. There is now a campsite with 140 sites for RVs or tents. There are also cabins ad cottages (some with heat and air conditioning), year-round. Daily rentals range from $34 to $220, depending on the site and time of year.

You can hike on the Appalachian Trail, hike up to Pulpit Rock and The Pinnacle, the highest lookout point on the Appalachian Trail.

The campsite offers fishing, swimming, basketball, volleyball, and horseshoes. You can also check out the garage filled with antique cars and a real fire truck.

Eagles Peak

If you want an adventure for the whole family, check out Eagles Peak near Womelsdorf and Robesonia on Texter Mountain.

Camping sites are available for tents, or you can rent rustic cabins, deluxe cabins, or farms houses, all with heat and air conditioning. From March through October, you can rent an RV. Depending on the type of site and time of year, prices range from $25 to $244 a night.

You can cool off in the two pools and an impressive new splash park with waterslides and huge soaker buckets. There’s also a race course for radio-controlled cars, a mini golf course, a gaga ball pit, basketball, volleyball, bocce and peddle cart races.

If you prefer to enjoy the scenery, you can walk to Texter Mountain Preserve where you can hike and watch the birds.

French Creek State Park

This state park is located in the largest contiguous forest between New York City and Washington, D.C., so you’ll feel like you’re really getting away from it all.

Camping options include yurts stocked with a fridge and a microwave plus a fire ring outside. Pitch a tent or bring an RV. Or stay in a modern cabin in the woods with kitchens, private bathrooms and heat. Prices range from $19 a night to $92 a night depending on the type of site and time of year.

Play in the lake, go fishing, hiking, biking, and more. You can also take an orienteering course. Search for rare plants in Pine Swamp or birds like bald eagles and Cooper’s hawks in this park, which has been named an Important Bird Area by Audubon.

Visit our blog every week for more real estate articles and local Berks County articles. We can help you find the perfect home for sale in Reading and the surrounding communities of Blandon, Boyertown, Douglassville, Exeter Township, Fleetwood, Kutztown, and Oley with our powerful property search tool.

Posted in Reading Community
Aug. 5, 2021

Is Open Shelving the Right Choice for Your Berks County Kitchen?

During the last several years, open shelving has become a kitchen fixture in Berks County. What do you think about this trend? Do you think you should incorporate it into your own kitchen? 

Can it survive once people recognize that it lacks functionality? Or will it wither away? If you remove all your upper cabinets, will you love it or regret it? These are the questions we're looking at as we explore both the pros and cons of open shelving.

Rise in popularity

You may notice that open shelving is everywhere. “Open shelving is one of the most popular—and also controversial—kitchen trends of recent years,” states Apartment Therapy. 

Open shelving has replaced upper cabinets entirely in some kitchens in an effort to make them appear more open and modern. While others only replace one or two smaller sections of upper cabinets, others utilize the trend to a greater extent. This is a good place to start if you are hesitant to convert your entire kitchen to open shelving. 

You can also get started by taking off the fronts of your cabinets rather than removing them all. By doing this, you can achieve the look without a major change, and you can always replace the doors if the trend passes.

Light, airy, and open

Having open shelving offers all of that, and that's why many people opt for it. Sometimes it works too well. An empty space can sometimes look too minimalist if you remove all of the upper cabinets. 

Showcasing the goods 

It's also a great way to showcase china, nice dishes, or decor. 

Highlighting a mess

In order to do this, you have to have china, good dishes, or decorative items, as well as the ability to display them in an orderly fashion - instead of mismatched bowls or unequally stacked items. 

However, if you're looking for a way to be motivated to keep your kitchen clean, this could be helpful. The HGTV website suggests open shelving if you are looking for an organized, built-in setup to keep your kitchen organized. In order to prevent having your kitchen look like a hot mess, you must commit to making sure everything is neat.

It’s dusty in here

If you don't keep your dishes behind closed doors, they will likely get dusty no matter how they look. It's great to see a neatly arranged dishware collection on a shelf, but the reality can be disappointing. The reason is that the plates, bowls, mugs, and glassware become covered in dust and grease due to their careful arrangement.

To sum it up, open shelving can look great in your kitchen. But you need to keep it neat and clean to maintain that look.

Visit our blog every week for more real estate articles and local Berks County articles. We can help you find the perfect home for sale in Reading and the surrounding communities of Blandon, Boyertown, Douglassville, Exeter Township, Fleetwood, Kutztown, and Oley with our powerful property search tool.

Posted in Real Estate Advice
July 29, 2021

Want an Aquarium? Follow These Safety Tips

There's a fish tank on sale at the pet store and you're considering setting it up, but you also remember some of the horrible tales your friends or colleagues have told you. Cracks and breaks in the tank caused water damage. A leak from the tank resulted in an electrical short. There are probably a few more you can think of as well. Luckily, there are ways you can be a safe aquarium keeper so that you can keep your Berks County home safe. To do so, follow these steps:

Avoiding A Broken Aquarium

Although aquarium glass is very strong, it can break. You want a strong, sturdy stand to prevent that from happening. It is important to keep in mind that you should place your fish tank on a level surface; otherwise, too much pressure on the glass and seals will result in cracks and breaks, as well as leaking water. Aside from keeping the tank out of high traffic areas, you should also teach your children not to climb or hang on it. 

Whenever you move an aquarium, make sure it is as empty as possible. Moving an aquarium, even partially filled, can be risky. Additionally, sand, gravel, and decorations need to be removed. These still add weight to the tank and can thump around inside the tank, damaging the glass.

Be sure to check the glass and the seals if you've purchased a tank from someone. Make sure there are no cracks or breaks in the plastic on the top or bottom of the tank. Before bringing the used tank into the house, it should be filled up at least halfway to be tested, regardless of how the seals and glass look.

Avoiding Equipment Hazards

The aquarium itself isn't the only thing that can be dangerous. If not handled properly, glass of any kind, like the lid, a heater, or decorations, can also be hazardous. Turning on a heater before it is adequately covered in water can cause a lot of damage. Whenever you remove a lid, never lay it down on the floor where it can be stepped on or lean it against a spot where it can tip over. Care should be taken when cleaning decorations made of glass or other easily breakable materials.

Electrical Concerns

Electrical hazards can be a real threat. You, your family and your fishy friends can have major problems with frayed and old aquarium wires, broken aquarium lighting, or damaged heaters. Be sure that all of your equipment cords include a 'drip loop' to prevent water from entering outlets or power strips. 'Drip loops' are simple. Just let the cord hang below the outlet, and if any water got into the cable, it would simply drip out the bottom. Keep the power strip about a foot above ground so the cords drop below it.

When done right, and with knowledge of the basics, an aquarium is a beautiful and fun addition to your home.

Visit our blog every week for more real estate articles and local Berks County articles. We can help you find the perfect home for sale in Reading and the surrounding communities of Blandon, Boyertown, Douglassville, Exeter Township, Fleetwood, Kutztown, and Oley with our powerful property search tool.

Posted in Real Estate Advice
July 22, 2021

Choosing the Best Refi for Your Berks County Home

A growing number of homeowners in Berks County are refinancing due to the falling mortgage rates. With recent dips in interest rates, experts say that even those who refinanced in 2019 may be able to save money.

“Millions of homeowners could benefit by refinancing their mortgages, even if they bought or refinanced as recently as May 2019,” said NerdWallet. “A typical refinance could save more than $150 a month.”

However, rates are only one factor to consider. Consider the following things when looking into a new loan. 

How much is it going to cost you?

It is typically a good idea to refinance in order to lower your payments and interest rate. However, refinancing costs money, and you may have to pay extra charges. It's important to evaluate all of the fees, negotiate wherever you can, and figure out how long it will take you to break even.

“Estimate your break-even period: the time it takes for the accumulated monthly savings to exceed the loan fees,” said NerdWallet. “For example, if you pay $3,600 in fees to save $100 a month, it will take 36 months to break even ($3,600 divided by $100 equals 36). If you believe you’ll stay in the house beyond the break-even period, it might be worthwhile to refinance.”

Think about the terms

Is it necessary to have a 30-year loan? A 15-year term might be in order with rates this low. It might be wise to look into adjustable rates. Getting rid of private mortgage insurance (PMI) can save you even more money per month when you refinance from your FHA loan into a conventional loan. Take the time to consider your options instead of selecting the obvious choices.

How’s the service?

“On the service side, getting your questions answered in a timely and accurate way is an important element of the process,” said Investopedia. “Getting a loan requires quite a bit of paperwork, as well as the collection and dissemination of a significant amount of personal information. Having a single, reliable point of contact for your questions can make the difference between a smooth, easy process and a tough experience.”

A conventional loan isn't your only option. 

FHA streamlines are a lesser known refinancing option. Refinancing this way has the benefit of eliminating many of the usual lender requirements. “If you currently have an FHA mortgage, the FHA Streamline Refinance is the easiest way to get a lower rate and monthly payment,” said The Mortgage Reports. “The FHA Streamline is a ‘low-doc’ refinance with limited paperwork required; the lender doesn’t have to verify your income or credit, and there’s no home appraisal. That means a Streamline Refinance closes faster than other loans and has slightly cheaper closing costs.” 

This type of refi is also available through the VA and USDA.

Did you get a second opinion?

“Even if you go back to your current mortgage lender for your refinance, shop at least a couple of other lenders to see how interest rates and terms compare,” said NerdWallet. “You might believe that going to your existing lender will save you time and hassle. ‘They know us, they’ve already got all of our paperwork,’ you may think. If only that were true. It’s a new loan for them, just like it’s a new loan for any lender. The paperwork will be the same. When lenders know you’re shopping around, they are more likely to compete.”

Visit our blog every week for more real estate articles and local Berks County articles. We can help you find the perfect home for sale in Reading and the surrounding communities of Blandon, Boyertown, Douglassville, Exeter Township, Fleetwood, Kutztown, and Oley with our powerful property search tool.