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!

June 13, 2019

Can You Afford That House in Berks County?

If you plan on buying a home in Berks County, you've probably figured out already how much money you'll need for the big payments, such as the down payment, monthly payments, etc.

What about the costs once you move into your new home in Berks County?

Here's a few factors to consider before buying your next home.

Green Thumb?

Do you love to garden, or at least want beautiful landscaping? If so, buying a home in Berks County with a yard will be an enjoyable experience.

Keep in mind that gardening supplies and materials, plants, flowers, and such cost money. And if you hire a landscaper, you can spend about $100 or more per month on lawn maintenance.

Are you willing to skip the lawn in favor of hardscaping to reduce costs?

Factor hobbies and services into your monthly budget to see if the numbers still work out in the black.

Entertainment

You don't want to sit around in your new home bored, so of course you want to factor in entertainment costs. How much do you spend now on entertainment? Add up those costs and balance them with buying a home. You don't want to get tired of your new home because you don't have the money to do anything fun.

Retirement

If you’re in your 20s, you should try to save 10% of your income; in your 30s, you should be saving 15%. If you need to cut back on your retirement savings to make a home purchase work, think hard about when you’ll be able to get back to your ideal contribution levels and how much you may be losing out on during that time.

Although home ownership can help build long-term wealth, it’s important to also maintain retirement savings for future security.

Visit our blog every week for more local articles about Reading and the surrounding communities of Blandon, Boyertown, Douglassville, Exeter Township, Fleetwood, Kutztown, and Oley. And make sure to check out our latest listings and search for your dream home with our convenient home search tool.

Posted in Home Buyers
June 10, 2019

The Best Ice Cream in Berks County

Summertime is here, at least unofficially, and it's time to find ways to stay cool in Berks County. And there's no more delicious way to do that than a huge scoop of ice cream and other frozen delights. Here's some of the best places in Berks County to find the perfect treat to keep you cool.

Sweet Ride Ice Cream | 542 Penn Ave, West Reading, PA 19611

Step into the past at the The Sweet Ride Ice Cream Parlor & Soda Fountain. Featuring a 1946 Soda Fountain, 30+ rotating premium ice cream flavors, a plethora of toppings, coffee, candy, snacks, and old time favorites like New York Egg Cream, Lime Rickey, Dusty Road Sundae, and so much more.

Willy's Ice Cream Shop | 3700 Pricetown Rd, Fleetwood, PA 19522

Sat back under the umbrellas and enjoy some of the best scoops in Fleetwood, with generous portions of hard or soft serve to keep you cool on the hot days.

Jenn & Jessie's Ice Cream | Oley, PA 19547

In addition to ice cream based treats, the menu includes salads, hot dogs, bbq sandwiches, burgers, soup, chicken salad croissants and meatball sandwiches.

The Creamery at Plum Creek Farm | 5035 Bernville Rd, Bernville, PA 19506

Come out to the farm for the freshest ice cream in Bernville, along with other tempting treats like soft pretzels, sandwiches, salads, and fries. Then bring home some of their freshly grown produce and amish jarred goods.

Pop's Malt Shoppe208 W Main St, Ste 2, Kutztown, PA

Located on Main Street in Kutztown, the 50's atmosphere will put you right in the mood for all the treats of yesteryear, with burgers, fries, shakes, & heaping scoops of ice cream.

Visit our blog every week for more local articles about Reading and the surrounding communities of Blandon, Boyertown, Douglassville, Exeter Township, Fleetwood, Kutztown, and Oley. And make sure to check out our latest listings and search for your dream home with our convenient home search tool.

Posted in Berks County
June 6, 2019

Lesser-Known Fees When Buying a Home Buying in Berks County

Buying a home in Berks County, or anywhere, can be a tricky process. There are a bunch of little costs that can add up if you're no prepared.

Most people in Berks County focus on the larger costs of buying a home, like the down payment and monthly mortgage payments. As such, it's easy to overlook other costs.

Here are a few of these lesser known fees and what they could cost you.

Home Inspection

Home inspections are a necessary part of buying a home. It protects you from hidden problems that could catch up with you after buying a home. 

Inspections cost between $300 and $500. This is a fee that must be paid whether or not you end up buying the home. A specialist may also be needed if specific issues are discovered, such as foundation issues.

Appraisal Fee

You lender will likely require an appraisal of the property to make sure it's worth what the seller is asking for it. If you are the seller, you should review the appraisal for accuracy. An appraisal can take about 2 hours and costs between $200 and $425.

Application Fees

Your lender will run a credit report and charge an application fee, which is usually included in the credit report fee. This can run $75 to $300. Be sure to ask for a breakdown of the application fees to understand all costs.

Title Services

Title fees will include the costs for a title search of the public records for the property you’re buying, notary fees for the person witnessing your signature on documents, government filing fees, and more. These can cost between $150 and $400, and it’s important to get a line item for each cost.

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

When you put down less than 20% on your new home, the lender requires that you purchase PMI once you reach 78% of your loan-to-value ratio or you have 22% equity. So PMI is a policy that you have to buy to protect the lender from you. PMI rates can vary from 0.3% to 1.5% of your original loan amount annually.

Tax Service Fee

This is the cost (about $50) to ensure that all property tax payments are up to date and that the payments you make are appropriately credited to the right home.

Make sure you ask about the fees you're paying. Talk to your lender or real estate agent to see if any of those fees can be reduced.

Don’t be afraid to price shop to ensure you’re getting the best value. Just because you’re spending hundreds of thousands on a home doesn’t mean you should be comfortable throwing thousands of dollars at fees.

Visit our blog every week for more local articles about Reading and the surrounding communities of Blandon, Boyertown, Douglassville, Exeter Township, Fleetwood, Kutztown, Oley, Reading, Shillington, and Topton,  And make sure to check out our latest listings and search for your dream home with our convenient home search tool.

Posted in Home Buyers
May 31, 2019

Buy or Sell Your Home - All on JamesErnst.com

Buying and selling a home in Berks County just got easier! Our website is designed specifically to help people buy or sell their home in the communities of Blandon, Boyertown, Douglassville, Exeter Township, Fleetwood, Kutztown, Oley, Reading, Shillington, and Topton, Pennsylvania. James Ernst is a lifelong resident of Berks County and knows the local real estate market inside and out. This website is your one-stop place to find out all you need to buy or sell your home in Berks County.

Here's a few of the main features of our website to help you buy or sell a home:

Interactive Map Search

See all available properties in the area you want to move to on our interactive map. It’s updated every 15 minutes to make sure you see the latest listings available in Blandon, Boyertown, Douglassville, Exeter Township, Fleetwood, Kutztown, Oley, Reading, Shillington, and Topton. You can even draw around the exact spot you want to move to with the polygon search, helping you narrow down the exact home you’re looking for. And if you don’t see a home you want now, you can save your search and receive email notifications of new homes that hit the market in that area.

Advanced Search

The Advanced Search is a powerful way to find the home that best fits your needs. You can chose from exact features and specs, such as price range, beds, baths, square feet, school district, and much more.

Market Reports

Keep on top of the real estate market in the area, based on what you search for. When you sign up for our market reports, you get all of these features to help you find the perfect home:

  • Create property searches to get additional alerts
  • Choose frequency of the emails (daily, weekly or never)
  • Save multiple searches
  • View all detailed property information
  • Virtual pictures
  • Save favorite properties to track
  • Quick responses to questions

Community Pages

We’ve put together useful information about the local communities of Blandon, Boyertown, Douglassville, Exeter Township, Fleetwood, Kutztown, Oley, Reading, Shillington, and Topton. You can learn more about these communities and see homes currently for sale there.

Property Evaluation

How much is your Berks County home? Find out here with our easy-to-use home valuation tool.

This website is the best place to start your buying or selling journey in Berks County. Call 610-779-2500 or use our contact form to let us know how we can help you further.

Visit our blog every week for more local articles about Reading and the surrounding communities of Blandon, Boyertown, Douglassville, Exeter Township, Fleetwood, Kutztown, Oley, Reading, Shillington, and Topton,  And make sure to check out our latest listings and search for your dream home with our convenient home search tool.

 

May 24, 2019

Have a Happy Memorial Day Weekend

The Memorial Day weekend is here! It's time to have fun with friends and family as we remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for us. If you haven't already made plans for the weekend, here's a few ideas for things to do in the Southern Eastern Pennsylvania this weekend.

Memorial Day Parades

  • Boyertown Memorial Day | Starts at 9:15 am at Boyertown High School's Monroe Street entrance.
  • Exeter Township 39th annual Memorial Day Parade and Service | Starts at Monday at 9 a.m. at Exeter High School.
  • Fleetwood Memorial Day Parade | Begin at 9 am with a parade starting at Fleetwood Cemetery.
  • Kutztown Memorial Day Parade

Other Fun Activities

Ozzy’s Family Fun Center

Have fun with the whole family riding go-carts, playing miniature golf, lasertron, walking the sky trail, rock climbing, rollerskating, and more.

Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles

Explore the transportation history of Pennsylvania at this fascinating museum. You'll discover vehicles of all types, along with carriages, wagons, and sleighs. It's America's history on wheels!

French Creek State Park

Spend a day hiking, fishing, camping, and biking in this beautiful state park.

Crystal Cave

Explore this amazing cave filled with milky white formations that have amazed visitors for the past 145 years.

Have a Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Visit our blog every week for more local articles about Reading and the surrounding communities of Blandon, Boyertown, Douglassville, Exeter Township, Fleetwood, Kutztown, and Oley. And make sure to check out our latest listings and search for your dream home with our convenient home search tool.

 

Posted in Community Events
May 17, 2019

Find the Perfect Home in Reading

If you plan on buying a home in Pennsylvania, one of the best cities you can consider moving to is Reading. There are plenty of great reasons to live here, with affordable housing, beautiful scenery, great food, and a rich history. Reading has a small town feel with all the amenities of a larger city.

There's no shortage of places in Reading to keep your family active and entertained. Recently, Reading has become a hot spot for bicyclists who enjoy riding the more than 125 miles of trails in the preserves. Residents and visitors alike enjoy exploring the natural beauty and history of the area through various parks in Reading. The Reading Pagoda is a popular attraction in Reading, and an easily recognizable symbol of the city. There are a total of 28 parks throughout Reading where you can enjoy a wide range of activities.

Outstanding dining is also a feature of Reading, with a wide range of culinary choices. For fine dining, restaurants like Judy's On Cherry and Willoughby's on Park offer the best dining experience you find in Reading. But you don’t need to break the bank to find great food here. Brewer's Bar and Grill, Taste of Crepes, and Screpesi's Sandwich Shop offer delicious food on a budget.

Lovers of the arts are also drawn to Reading, as its home to several arts and music venues, such as Santander Arena, GoggleWorks Center for the Arts, and Santander Performing Arts.

No matter your budget for a home in Reading, you’ll find the ideal home here. Reading has a very low median home value of $79,000, which means you’ll find a home to fit virtually any need or price range. That also means that you can find larger homes for a lower price if you need more room for your growing family.

Check out our Reading Community page to learn more reasons to buy a home in this great Pennsylvania city, along with current homes for sale.

Visit our blog every week for more local articles about Reading and the surrounding communities of Blandon, Boyertown, Douglassville, Exeter Township, Fleetwood, Kutztown, and Oley. And make sure to check out our latest listings and search for your dream home with our convenient home search tool.

Posted in Reading Community
July 31, 2017

Curious About Local Real Estate?

Receive the Latest Local Market Stats

Curious about local real estate? So are we! Every month we review trends in our real estate market and consider the number of homes on the market in each price tier, the amount of time particular homes have been listed for sale, specific neighborhood trends, the median price and square footage of each home sold and so much more. We’d love to invite you to do the same!

Get Local Market Reports Sent Directly to You

You can sign up here to receive your own market report, delivered as often as you like! It contains current information on pending, active and just sold properties so you can see actual homes in your neighborhood. You can review your area on a larger scale, as well, by refining your search to include properties across the city or county. As you notice price and size trends, please contact us for clarification or to have any questions answered.

We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

Posted in Market Updates